Sunday fare 11/6/22

Christological heretics

Last month, Lifeway Research and Ligonier Ministries published their biannual theological survey of American Evangelicals. The results were sobering. While an overwhelming percentage of Evangelicals believe in traditional Christian sexual morality (for example, 94 percent agree that sex outside of traditional marriage is wrong, and 91 percent say that abortion is a sin), a majority also misunderstand the nature of Jesus Christ himself, believing that he is “the first and greatest being created by God.”

In fact, a surprising 43 percent of Evangelicals say that Jesus was a great teacher, but not God at all. Both of these assertions flatly contradict scripture, which unambiguously states in John 1 that “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Nicene creed is likewise clear: “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made.”

David French, How Hypocrisy Drives Unbelief

When you get Christology (doctrine of Jesus) wrong, you’ll sooner rather than later get a lot else wrong. French gives examples.

Mount Athos

I went to Athos in August: my five day trip there was a fiftieth birthday gift from someone I love. I tried not to have any expectations. You’ll often hear Athos – the ‘Christian Tibet’ – described in romantically anachronistic terms. ‘Medieval’ is a word often used, and it’s understandable: the monasteries here are astonishingly ancient and well-preserved, and in some places modernity has barely intruded. It wasn’t so long ago that travel was on foot or by donkey, and there were no telephones anywhere on the peninsula.

But this is the 21st century, and the Machine is relentless. The electric grid is here now. Satellites pass over nightly. The world closes in. Athos has paved roads now, more and more of them, and cars and computers. It’s not unusual to see monks with smartphones in their pockets, and I can’t deny the sinking feeling that came over me when I saw this for the first time. Even here. You can come here to ‘flee the world’ – St Anthony’s instruction to his followers back in the Egyptian desert in the fourth century – and bring the world with you through the screen in your pocket. Comfort, convenience, ease – they are greater threats to our souls by far than poverty or persecution.

Paul Kingsnorth

David Benetly Hart has overstayed his welcome in my wetware

David Bentley Hart, writing in Tradition and Apocalypse: An Essay on the Future of Christian Belief: “Anyone who arrogates to himself the power to say with absolute finality what the one true tradition is will invariably prove something of a fool, and usually something of a thug, and on no account must ever be credited or even countenanced.” The same might be said of anyone who announces with absolute finality that there can never be one true tradition, and who denounces those who seek to discern such a tradition as idiots and propagandists.

R.R. Reno

Might and should be said.

Caveat “Firsts”

Dan Hitchens has identified the following as a contender for Letter of the Year to The Guardian:

_Peter Young writes that Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao will be the first minority woman to have her name on an Oxford college. But two colleges founded in the 14th century were named after a Jewish peasant woman living in Roman-occupied Palestine 2,000 years ago. They are “the House of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford, commonly called Oriel College, of the Foundation of Edward II of famous memory, sometime King of England” and “St. Mary’s College of Winchester in Oxford,” known as New College to avoid any confusion with Oriel. Among later foundations, St. Anne’s College is named after Mary’s mother, and St. Catherine would probably also fit the criteria.__Stephen Shaw
_Kendal, Cumbria

R.R. Reno

Christian Nationalism

I cannot support any sort of “Christian Nationalism” in the U.S. if only because the dominant American forms of Christianity are seriously defective — one of the defects being the very lust for political power.

[S]ubordinating truth to politics is a game which tyrants and bullies always win.

Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge

The Orthodox "phronema" [roughly, mind-set] cannot be programmitized or reduced to shibboleths.

Fr. Jonathan Tobias

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