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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Solzhenitsyn predicted it.  In his famous 1978 Commencement Address at Harvard, A World Split Apart, he chose not to pander but to tell the truth that a secularized, left-leaning intellectual elite did not wish to hear.  He assessed the spiritual and moral health of the West and found it wanting.

He told us that, while the Western democracies opposed the political and economic systems of tyranny that held sway in the USSR, the conditions that undermined the moral foundations of the Communist world and made it possible for governments to enslave their populations were being recklessly replicated in the West: materialism, legalism, a false view of freedom as will-to-power, and, most important of all, atheism.  For Solzhenitsyn, the tragedy of Soviet totalitarianism is not caused by misguided men choosing to implement a flawed economic or political model, as if a few tweaks could rectify the situation.  No, the source of tyranny lies deeper and on this deeper level the West is sliding toward the materialistic humanism that always trends left.

This analysis explains why the Christian Church in Europe and North America is under attack today.  (more…)

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Here at The Bayview Review we aim to champion conservative values and ideas, that’s no secret. We do this for two reasons. First, we think that, in general, conservatives get most things right. That is, our aim is to advance true beliefs and conservatism is what allows for that in the most straightforward way. The second reason is that there are a lot of people that think conservatives are wrong because they don’t understand what conservatives actually believe about important issues. Nothing could serve as a better illustration of this than the issue of homosexuality and same-sex ‘marriage’. Within this arena, not much could better illustrate a misunderstanding of conservatism than Dan Savage’s three-minute diatribe against the “anti-gay bigotry” that he claims is justified by conservatives’ appeal to the Bible.

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Mark Tooley has an excellent analysis of the situation in the United Methodist Church in this article entitled: “United Methodists Transition from Liberal to Global.”

The global 12 million member United Methodist Church, now likely the world’s 9th largest communion, is no longer a predominantly liberal U.S. denomination. Its quadrennial governing General Conference, which met for 10 days in Tampa ending May 4, refused to alter the church’s official disapproval of homosexual practice.

Some news stories huffed disapproval and surprise. After all, the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), and United Church of Christ have all surrendered to American culture on sexual ethics. Their membership spirals subsequently accelerated into formal schisms. But United Methodism, unlike these other historic denominations that once dominated American religion and liberalized in the early 20th century, is now a growing church and has a record number of members. (more…)

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Wheaton College has come out against the Obama administration healthcare mandate the infringes the freedom of religious institutions.  The Daily Herald reports:

Wheaton College and other distinctively Christian institutions are faced with a near and present threat to religious liberty.

Last August, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate that the insurance plans for religious institutions (except churches) must provide coverage for all government-approved contraceptives. The list of required contraceptives includes abortifacient drugs — “morning after” and “week after” pills that claim the life of a fertilized egg.

During the period for public debate, the HHS received more than 200,000 comments objecting that the contraceptive mandate would violate the First Amendment rights of anyone who believed — for religious reasons — in the sanctity of human life. (more…)

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The United Methodist Church is the largest of the old, declining, liberal Protestant denominations in the United States.  Nevertheless, it still claims 8.6 million members and many of them are Evangelical.  In its General Conference, held every four years, delegates come from the mission churches planted overseas in back in the days when liberal Protestants still did missions.  The African and other overseas churches are growing rapidly and are, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly Evangelical.  They now number about 4.4 million members.  The Evangelicals in the US plus the mission church delegates from overseas now constitute a majority of General Conference delegates.

As Evangelical churches continue to grow in the US and especially overseas and the liberals die off, the denomination is expected to become more and more Evangelical.  So, interestingly, the UMC thus constitutes a kind of microcosm of world Protestantism today.  What does the future of world Protestantism look like?  Is is liberal? Ecumenical?  Liberation/Marxist? Feminist?  Or is it conservative, traditional and Evangelical?  General Conference is going on in Tampa this week, so let’s drop in and find out.   (more…)

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I suppose it was just a matter of time until people within Evangelicalism began to call for unmarried people to start using contraception as the “lesser of two evils,” with the other evil being abortion.  This story in Christianity Today by Matthew Lee Anderson, Why Churches Shouldn’t Push Contraceptives to their Singles, is at once shocking and unsurprising.

As Western Evangelicalism continues to become bigger, more worldly and more accommodated to the late modern secular society around it, its resources to resist the depraved immorality of late, modern, Western decadence continue to deteriorate.

Pope John Paul II and a growing host of intelligent Catholic writers such as Mary Eberstadt, Christopher West and Janet Smith have put forward the thesis that contraception and abortion stand or fall together (more…)

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The greatest threat to peace, justice and freedom in the word today comes, not from Christianity as the Left would have you believe, but from the heretical offshoot of Christianity known as Marxism.

When I speak of “the Left” I am using a deliberately vague word whose meaning expands and contracts depending upon the context. It is an umbrella term that includes a number of different categories of people, publications and organizations, all of which trace their intellectual heritage back to Karl Marx (just as groups as different as the Roman Catholic Church, Baptists and Messianic Jews all trace their heritage back to Jesus Christ.) Let me list some of them: (more…)

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Same-sex “Marriage” and Schism

There are many theological issues over which sincere Christians can agree to disagree until further light comes to us.  Evangelical Christians have learned to be a united renewal movement within the broader Church despite disagreements over the form and mode of baptism, models of church government, Calvinism versus Arminian soteriology, speaking in tongues and so on. The two-decade long process of Evangelical and Catholics Together has dulled the anti-Catholic fervor of most Evangelicals, although many Reformed conservatives still hold out.  Personally, I think a tipping point was reached with the Lutheran-Catholic joint statement on justification and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  I still believe the Roman Catholic Church is in need of further reforms, but I acknowledge that on many issues the last two centuries has witnessed a remarkable number of reforms for which the 16th century Reformers called.  Significant ecumenical progress is underway. (more…)

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Why I Believe in Inerrancy

The doctrine of inerrancy was once one of the key ideas that defined evangelicalism from various other theological camps. That is, to be an evangelical you had to accept that the Bible is inerrant. Today, however, this is no longer the case. There are a growing number of Christians that no longer feel the need to believe that the Bible is inerrant, even though these Christians still consider themselves to be evangelicals. Why is the doctrine of inerrancy losing favor?

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There is just one brief thought I want to add to my last post.  There I quoted Dr. Davis as follows: (note the italics, which are mine)

Either God has a basis for his differential treatment of the elect and non-elect or he doesn’t. If there is no basis, then God’s decision to award irresistible grace to the one but not the other of these groups is wholly arbitrary; in which case God is a reckless, unprincipled decision-maker–a conclusion which is at once both manifestly unfair (to the non-elect) and theologically appalling.

I should have pointed out that there actually are three possibilities here: (more…)

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