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.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Reformation
Your comments are welcome!
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“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. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)