Contextualization be Damned (Really)

Cody Lorance recently replied here to the post below which was a quote of Peter Leithart saying “Contextualization be damned” from his must-read book Against Christianity. First, I’d like to thank Cody for the thoughtful response, and I’d like to respond to you by way of three points. First, I’m fairly sure that what Leithart meant…

Confrontational Language

[Speaking of the language of the Church] And still today, what the world calls “alternative lifestyle” the Church is bound to name “abomination”; what the world calls “pro-choice” the Church must call “murder”; what the world calls the “operations of the market” the Church must sometimes label as oppression of the needy and grinding the…

Contextualization be Damned

The Church is a distinct “language group.” In some obvious senses, that is not true… … [But] Pentecost reversed Babel, overcoming the babble which followed God’s judgment upon the rebellious nations… … In that Pentecostal sense, the Church speaks and must speak one language. We have one confession, and with the confession comes a distinct…

Culture is not a Shadowy Something

Culture is not a shadowy something existing in secret “behind” its “manifestations” in language, rites, and discipline. Culture is a people organized and united by its language, rites, rules, and mechanisms of enforcement. So also is the covenant. So also is the Church. Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, 51

An Alternative Culture in His Back Pocket

Each religion, and especially each civic religion, also enacted a particular way of life. To be Spartan meant living out of Spartan myths and being shaped by Spartan rituals, but also meant engaging the world as a Spartan. Being Athenian meant learning to “lean into life” in a particular manner. Being Roman was a matter…

Apologetics as Politics (Philosophy, not so much)

It is no doubt of significance that the apostle Paul appeared before kings, magistrates, presumably Caesar, and that he preached in Jewish synagogues, in stadia and in the temple. Only once, to our knowledge, did he preach to philosophers, and that was a distinctly unsuccessful venture (Acts 17). There is a message in that, both…

Are Theologians talking about this World?

Theology is a “Victorian” enterprise, neoclassically bright and neat and clean, nothing out of place. Whereas the Bible talks about hair, blood, sweat, entrails, menstruation, and genital emissions. . . . Here’s an experiment you can do at any theological library. You even have my permission to try this at home. Step 1: Check the…

How Seminaries (try to) Keep God Out of Life

Practical theology departments at seminaries do not make theology more practical. They ensure that theology, outside PT departments, will remain impractical — that it will remain theology. Practical theology ensures that life will remain outside theology. Practical theology ensures that the secular remains secular. -Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, 45.

Tenth Sunday in Trinity: Third Commandment 1: Ex. 20:7

Introduction We move on to the Third Commandment today which continues to be concerned with idolatry. Here the specific concern is with bearing God’s name faithfully. Literally, the Third Word says: “You shall not lift up the name of Yahweh your God to vanity/worthlessness because Yahweh will not hold unpunished he who lifts His name…

As Big as the Creation of the World

It’s striking that three of the four gospels have opening sentences referring to “the beginning” (Mk. 1:1, Lk. 1:2, Jn. 1:1). Counting Matthew’s “book of the genealogy” (Mt. 1:1) as an explicit referent to Genesis (Gen. 5:1, cf. Gen. 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, etc.), all four gospels begin with creation, insisting or implying to varying degrees…