By Editorial Staff
Published March 31, 2008
by Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart
While most Christians will admit that they have a mind, many seem to think that they don’t need it. In fact, some Christians today seem to believe that thinking is an act of unbelief. Many Christians do not even begin to think about how the Bible might apply, for example, to economics, law, or education. They might have opinions about these areas but no formulated, thought-out worldview.
This view has not always prevailed in the history of Christian culture. In fact, some of the greatest thinkers throughout the centuries have been Christians. Of course, not all of them were perfectly consistent in their application of Christianity to various intellectual pursuits. The important point is that they did not believe their faith kept them from using their minds.
- In the area of LAW, Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England has remained a classic of legal scholarship since it was first published in the mid-1700s. Blackstone defined law as “a rule of action dictated by some superior being.” He claimed that God dictated laws for men, which could be discovered in nature and in the Bible: “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human law should be suffered to contradict these.“1
- In LITERATURE, the number of great Christian writers through the centuries is astounding. To look only at England, we find that many of the greatest poets were Christians, even clergymen: John Donne, George Herbert, and John Milton. Samuel Johnson was, in his time, the leading literary critic in the English language, and the compiler of an early English dictionary. Even into this century, many leading English literary figures were Christians, including G. K. Chesterton, T. S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis, and Dorothy Sayers.
- In PHILOSOPHY, Christians dominated the West from the fifth century until modern times. The great philosophers of the Middle Ages were all theologians: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Anselm of Canterbury, William of Ockham. When philosophers began to abandon Christianity in the 17th century, most continued to be influenced by Christianity and to address the issues that Christians had been wrestling with for centuries. Even the “father of modern philosophy,” Rene Descartes, despite the evil effects of his thought, was trying to provide a secure proof for the existence of God.
- In POLITICS, many of the important political leaders of the medieval and early modern West were Christians. Until the later Middle Ages, every king of Europe claimed to be Christ’s representative on earth. In Russia, the czars claimed to be the protectors of the Orthodox Church right up to the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. In the modern era, such outstanding political figures as John Adams, George Washington, William Gladstone, and William Wilberforce were all to varying degrees professing and practicing Christians.
- In the ARTS, we discover again that most of the (sometimes anonymous) medieval painters, sculptors, and architects were evidently Christians. The great cathedrals of Europe, the magnificent stained glass windows, the colorful altar pieces, the statuary that adorned the cathedrals – all were dedicated to Christian themes, and were generally produced by Christian artisans. During the Renaissance and Reformation periods, artists began to gain more individual recognition, and we have clearer evidence that many were believers. Among these were Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrect Durer, two Protestant painters.
- In MUSIC, much of Western music was written by Christians.2 Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friederich Handel are two representatives of the great German Christian tradition in music. Handel’s “Messiah,” a series of Scripture texts set to some of the most exhilarating music ever written, is still a holiday favorite today. Everyone recognizes the tune to Handel’s magnificent “Hallelujah Chorus.” Bach was, if anything, even more self-consciously Christian than Handel, and dedicated many of his compositions to the glory of God.
- SCIENCE and technology in the modern world often seem to be at odds with Christianity, but this was not always the case. In fact, after Christianity had taken over the Western Roman Empire, there was an unprecedented burst of innovation in agricultural technology. The inventions included the heavy plow, crop-rotation, new types of harnesses for horses, and nailed horseshoes. Some scholars have concluded that this burst of technology, which continued throughout the medieval period in Europe, was a result of Christian beliefs and attitudes.3 Many of the leading scientists of the early modern world were also professing Christians: Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, Robert Boyle, Lord Kelvin, Louis Pasteur, Michael Faraday, Clerk Maxwell, and many more.
1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1765), vol. 1, pp. 38-42.
2 See Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson, The Gift of Music (rev. ed.; Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1978).
3 Lynn White, Jr., Medieval Religion and Technology (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1978), pp. 77, 236.
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
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Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
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