commonplacing at random

chewing on random stuff

Following are some article excerpts I thought worth keeping track of… sort of a Commonplace Book entry.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a Commonplace Book, you can quickly get the general idea on Google. I came across it from Douglas Wilson.

To ask questions about the context of an action is not in itself to excuse it or rationalize it. A Christian with a Pauline understanding of the fallen human condition should, of all people, be aware of the moral complexity of human agency. It is this awareness that leads us to distinguish between murder and manslaughter, between intentional harms and those caused by culpable negligence. Responsible moral judgment requires us to consider circumstances, contexts, and motives.

Carl Trueman

and another…

And here’s where the cultural dynamics of making repentance impossible matter. To the extent that people feel that owning up to their mistakes will only result in being destroyed without mercy, they will almost always try to frame themselves as victims…

American society is fraying and public trust is evaporating. I’m convinced that a major reason for this is that post-Christian culture jettisons the concepts of atonement and forgiveness and consequently has nothing constructive to do with the realities of moral guilt and responsibility. Sometimes evangelicals only talk about the sexual libertinism of post-Christian society, but the reality is that, at its core, post-Christian society is ruthlessly legalistic and punitive. A punitive spirit does not elicit honest confession and restoration of trust. It elicits blame-shifting in the name of survival, and doing victory-laps when the walls close in on your enemies. A culture defined by this is not going to learn from the horrors of 2020. Neither will a church. 

Samuel D. James | February 1, 2021

and another…

I think we need to realize that the Bible is not enough. What do I mean by that? I’m an Orthodox Presbyterian minister. Clearly, I believe in the sufficiency of scripture. But I think what I’ve noticed in the young people that I teach at Grove City College is that many of them love Jesus. They love the Bible. The Bible is their authority. But sometimes they wonder why the Bible says things. If you simply say to them that homosexuality is wrong, they might come back and say, ‘Yeah, I agree. That’s what the Bible teaches. But does the Bible teach that simply because God wants people to be unhappy?’ We need to think about supporting that kind of teaching with subsidiary arguments based on nature, based on the body, based on human flourishing. Not that those arguments supplant scriptural authority, but they help younger people see scripture as more plausible. That’s one of the things that the Church needs to do. We can no longer rely on the world around us to shape their moral intuitions in a broadly correct way. We need to think much more proactively about how we as a church can shape those intuitions.

Carl Trueman

To end, here is a valuable link to an important topic for all who call themselves Christian. Aaron Shafovaloff wrote an article I found on the Monergism site entitled How Shall Christians Relate to the President? President, Prime Minister, Chancellor, whatever… here is truth.