Partisan Anxiety, Extremism, and Fight Club

It really isn’t the case that social and political phenomena, particularly in non-establishment forms, can be explained fully by pointing out basic religious and philosophical principles. Those are important, but they never tell the whole story. We have to look at a bit of psychology, as well as noting wider trends among similar groups of people. I tried to do this in my first lecture on religious converts at the Bucer Institute (mp3s here). I found that I got two primary reactions.  One said that it was totally unscientific and therefore of no use, and the other said my description was precisely what had occurred in their own experience and was among the most valuable insights in the whole lecture series. So I suppose I will confess to being unscientific in this regard while continuing to insist that certain psychological and personal issues are real. Pastors and politicians especially need to understand this.

This definitely applies to certain personalities that are attracted to religious extremism. It really isn’t even correct to call it religious extremism, because, as we saw in the case of Breivik, they can routinely admit to not being very religious at all. So let’s call it cultural extremism. Continue reading

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Two Kingdoms and Political Theology

I thought it would be helpful to have a sort of index to the political theology discussions we had on this blog last Fall.

1. Darryl Hart’s Response to My 2 Kingdoms Essay

2. Apostolic Succession and Civic Freedom (pt. 1)

3. Apostolic Succession and Civic Freedom (pt. 2)

4. Apostolic Succession and Civic Freedom (pt. 3)

5. Neo-Anabaptism and the Kingdom (pt. 1)

6. Neo-Anabaptism and the Kingdom (pt. 2)

7. Neo-Anabaptism and the Kingdom (pt. 3)

Culture War, Faith, and Terror

As a young pastor and writer who has often defended the notion of “Christendom” and even advocated for something of a recovery of it in our current day, I was particularly alarmed when the ideology of Anders Behring Breivik came out.  The murders in Norway were a tragedy in their own right and we shouldn’t fail to mourn them before rushing to “the big picture” significance, but it is still the case that Breivik is now a symbol for the right wing and perhaps even “Christian” equivalent of Islamic terror.  Correctly or not, he will always play that role in the public discourse and his use of “Christendom” will have to be accounted for before anyone can speak positively of that term again. Continue reading

“The Two Sons of Oil” and the Limits of American Religious Dissent

The kind folks at The Journal of Law and Religion have accepted an essay of mine for publication.  This is a more fully worked out version of what I presented at the Southern Political Science Association back in January, and it has to do with certain Presbyterians in early America who rejected the US constitution and its view of religious liberty.

Trinitarian Basics- Part 6

Eternal Generation and Spiration

These two concepts essentially address the same issue, with the former speaking of the relation between God the Father and God the Son, and the latter speaking of that between God the Father and God the Spirit.  We’ll leave the filioque to the side for the moment.  Also, I’ll be primarily speaking of the eternal generation, but know that I could also add to everything I say, “And it works the same way for spiration of the Spirit…”  I’m just conserving space here.

What is meant by this doctrine is also what is meant by the “monarchia” of the Father.  That is, trinitarian ordering begins with the Father and then moves to the Son and the Spirit. Continue reading

Apologies for Inactivity

I’m sorry to have run away from this blog recently (and in the middle of my Trinitarian Series as well!).  I will try to finish the current series up, explaining the monarchy of the Father and eternal generation and spiration.  Afterwards, I will begin some political stuff that I’ve been working on behind the scenes.  I might even give some thoughts on the Norway stuff.  Don’t lose faith in me.  I shall return!