Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order (1)

I begin here a series of posts on Margo Todd’s 1987 book, Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order. The book is a corrective on the (still popular) scholarship of the 1960s and 1970s. The text below includes her thesis. If puritans were a self-conscious community of zealous religious reformers, they were also possessed of …

How the Regulative Principle of Worship Affirms, Supports, and Ensures a Meaningful World

Many Protestants have rightly recognized that much of our thinking, our theology, our worldview, and our way of being is hopelessly modern. We are so caught up in modernity that it takes conscious effort to escape it. Our modern age produces in us the proclivity to see the world as meaningless—as, what Charles Taylor calls, …

A Reformed Perspective on Natural Beauty

The universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God. ~ Belgic Confession of Faith Swiss Alps The Protestant Reformers spoke often of the beauty of creation. Indeed, natural beauty[1] plays an important role in some …

Natural Rights and the Calvinist Political Tradition (1)

In the last couple decades, many scholars have recognized the contribution of Calvinist theologians and political theorists to the formulation of natural rights. Prior to this, largely due to Leo Strauss, Calvinists were lumped in with the pre-modern notions of objective natural rights. These, according to Strauss, …are doctrines [that] taught the duties of man; …

Calvin and Winthrop Between the Ages: Medievalism, Hierarchy, and Modernity (Part 2 of 4)

This is Part 2 of a series on Calvin and modernity. This post covers Calvin’s two-kingdom theology and his theology of work. I show that Calvin’s thought cannot be the foundation of modernity and that his thought is a modification of medieval thought, not a radical break from it.                                 Chillon Castle, near Geneva, Switzerland …

Calvin and Winthrop Between the Ages: Medievalism, Hierarchy, and Modernity (Part 1 of 4)

The following post is Part 1 of a series on Calvinism and Modernity. The first three posts will show that Calvin’s social and political philosophy is conservative by medieval standards, though there are important modifications to medieval thought. Calvin is not the first modern, a proto-modern or the foundation of modern politics, as many have …

Review of The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders (1)

In the next few weeks or months, I plan to review the book The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution, chapter-by-chapter.[1] It is written by Gregg Frazer, a Master’s College professor of history and political science. The book has caused a stir among those who have an interest in the United States …

Catholics to Beatify Sola Scriptura

For the first time “on American soil” a saint is to be declared.  Apparently a 26 year old nun who died in 1927 was “holy” enough to merit this award. But how utterly ironic that – contrary to the teachings of Rome during her lifetime – she discovered that the Word of God is “THE wellspring of …

Eyes of the Soul: Puritan Faith and Imagining the World to Come

This post continues my explication of the Puritan rejection of the world (see here). Here I outline the Reformed view of faith using the works of John Bunyan and others. In the philosophy of religion, the term “faith” often denotes a belief apart or above reason. The conversation centers on the relationship of faith to …

A Dialogue with Dean Obeidallah – U S Laws are based on the Bible!

I am delighted that Dean Obeidallah has graciously responded to my tweets about his recent article. Dean is concerned that the rise of Mike Hucakbee and Rick Santorum may lead to what he calls a “Christian Sharia”.  And given Dean’s misunderstandings of the Bible, I can certainly see his point.  After all, if you think …