Archive for November, 2008

More on centres of love

November 24th, 2008 Posted in Ancient Church: 2nd & 3rd Centuries

In the latest round of debate regarding the so-called “new atheism,” Christian theologian Doug Wilson takes on Christopher Hitchens in a published give-and-take on the topic Is Christianity Good for the World?[1] Hitchens is convinced that Christianity, along with religion in general, poisons everything good in life. And thus, for him, the answer to the question in the book’s title is a resounding no. Hitchens’ answer, however, is one that would have amazed numerous pagans living in the Roman Imperium in the first four centuries after Christ. The love, generosity, and showing of mercy of believers to those outside of the Christian community was, according to Henry Chadwick–that great patrologist who died this past summer and on whom I still need to write a small appreciation–“probably the most potent single cause of Christian success” during the period of the Roman Imperium.[2]

[1] Is Christianity Good for the World? (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2008).

[2] Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Rev. ed.; London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1993), 56.

Centres of love?

November 24th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Evangelicalism has done a great job historically of creating communities of light. But what of centres of love? Have we Evangelicals been as successful there? Are our churches known as places of love? Are we lovingly building into each others’ lives? Sometimes I genuinely fear that the answer to these questions is no and that this is one reason–not the only one, but an important one–why our churches are failing to make a profound impact on our society.

ETS, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, & Parkside Church

November 24th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Last week I attended the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, a beautiful city with a rich Baptist history. The busyness of the meetings, both formal and informal, though prevented me from getting to see the nearby First Baptist Church of America–the beautiful 1775 meeting-house–and Brown University. I did see the church in the shuttle taking me to the airport last Thursday and am thankful for the saints of James Manning’s day who built this house of prayer and worship.

This past weekend, my son Nigel and I and a close friend, Stephen Swallow, and his two sons, Peter and Ben, went to Cleveland to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Had three hours at the museum–especially interesting were the various written memorabilia, like the report card of John Lennon at twelve years of age in 1953 (the year I was born) or letters relating to Jim Morrison of the Doors. It was fascinating to read a report from Jim Morrison’s Sunday School Superintendent (also written in 1953), after Jim had given a fine Sunday Scool recitation. How different was his end from his beginning! A good reminder of the necessity of finishing well.

Afterwards we stayed in a Marriott hotel and then this morning attended the third worship service at Parkside Church. Alistair Begg preached an excellent word from Isaiah 45 and Acts 17.

All in all a delightful weekend.

Book Review of Return to Rome by Francis Beckwith

November 15th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Michael Haykin has written a review of Francis Beckwith’s new book, Return to Rome: Confessions of An Evangelical Catholic.  Dr. Francis Beckwith was the president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), until he resigned last year due to his conversion to Roman Catholicism.  This review is very timely, as this book has just been released this week in advance of this year’s annual meeting of ETS.

To find this review and others which might be of interest to our readers, please visit the Book Review page of this site.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.