Archived Posts June 2005 - Page 7 of 11 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Magna Carta

On this day, 790 years ago, the rule of law was affirmed in Britain. On June 15, 1215, King John of England signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Viewed as the basis of English common law, which greatly influenced the foundations of American society and government, the Magna Carta recognized a law greater than the will of the king. As Winston Churchill spoke of “a law which is above the King and which even he must not break,” Lord Acton too said similarly, “Socrates taught a law independent of the state and superior to it.”

The Magna Carta can be viewed, in Churchill’s words, as a “reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression in a general charter,” which “is the great work of Magna Carta; and this alone justifies the respect in which men have held it.”

You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God’s Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Roman Catholic


Classical Liberal






Modern Liberal


What’s your theological worldview?
created with

No real surprises here, I suppose, although I would have liked the categories to be a little cleaner, and more representative of the breadth of Christian traditions (Eastern Orthodoxy doesn’t seem to be an option, for example). If you’re interested, please take the quiz and feel free to post your results below.

HT: Confessing Evangelical

A quote from a speaker at the CRC’s Synod 2005, endorsing the Micah Challenge and the ONE Campaign.

He also intimated that churches could never hope to match the $40 billion pledged recently to cut aid debt for African nations.

Tell that to all the people and companies that gave a record $249 billion to charity in 2004. Religious organizations got the biggest portion of that number $88 billion.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think he’s giving the Church enough credit. Why beg for scraps at the government’s table when you could build your own?

Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, June 14, 2005

After SpaceShipOne was awarded the Ansari X Prize last year, Paul G. Allen became "the best-known member of a growing club of high-tech thrillionaires, including the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who find themselves with money enough to fulfill their childhood fascination with space," reports John Schwartz in today’s New York Times.

The success of private space flight is built on the broken dreams of the government’s space program. Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, a co-founder of the X Prize, says, "There is sufficient wealth controlled by individuals to start serious space efforts." But under NASA’s tenure, "The dreams and expectations that Apollo launched for all these entrepreneurs have failed to materialize. And in fact, those who look into it realize that the cost of going into space has gone up and the reliability has, effectively, gone down."

This article in The New Atlantis by Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, a space advocacy group, "Getting Space Exploration Right," gives an excellent in-depth review of NASA’s shortcomings over the last thirty years. Unfortunately, Zubrin does little to discuss the possibilities of private initiative in space flight.

As shown by the success of the Ansari X Prize, NASA is not the only option. You can read my further reflections on the implications of space travel here, "Stewards of the Cosmos."

A contentious energy bill passed by the House is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate today. House Republicans are calling for swift passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but some Senators are threatening to put off a vote until their concerns about offshore oil drilling are met.

Energy policy has become a high-profile topic in recent days, due to skyrocketing gasoline prices, as well as the impending summer strain on electricity. The bill would deal in part with the nation’s electricity grid, nearly two years after a massive blackout hit the eastern U.S.

Blog author: jballor
Monday, June 13, 2005

“Wind Farms Costly for Kansans, New Study Finds: Consumers would pay higher bills, reap few green benefits,” by James M. Taylor, Environment News, May 1, 2005, The Heartland Institute.

Via the highly recommended Evangelical Ecologist.

See also Acton’s Anthony Bradley on wind power, in a commentary here and a radio interview here (mp3).

From Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Black Cat, first published in 1843:

And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSENESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart—one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness…this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself—to offer violence to its own nature—to do wrong for the wrong’s sake only…

This is one of the better prosaic descriptions of the theological doctrine of total depravity, commonly identified as one of the five characteristic teachings of Reformed theology.

The label “total depravity” can be somewhat misleading, however. For as Poe’s narrators tend to embody the worst possible traits to the greatest possible degree, the doctrine is more about the comprehensive effects of sin than it is about the qualitative corruption. That is, the doctrine of total depravity means most properly that no area of the human person or human life is unaffected by sin. It does not mean that every area of human life is as bad as it could possibly be. This latter misunderstanding of the doctrine of total depravity is apparently the one which C. S. Lewis works with, when he states in his The Problem of Pain,

I disbelieve that doctrine [Total Depravity], partly on the logical ground that if our depravity were total we should not know ourselves to be depraved, and partly because experience shows us much goodness in human nature.