What Is a Statement of Doctrine?

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

I wrote an article for the Spring 2010 print issue explaining why To An Unknown God does not have a statement of doctrine. Darren Hsiung has challenged some of the arguments I made in that article, helping me clarify a few thoughts. The exchange also makes me believe it would be worthwhile to publish a post explaining my understanding of what a statement of doctrine is and what its proponents hope it will accomplish. (Again, within the context of explaining why To An Unknown God does not have a statement of doctrine.) Continue reading “What Is a Statement of Doctrine?”

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Guidance on Stewardship of Donations

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

Over the past year, I have written several articles and blog posts encouraging Christians to think more carefully about stewardship when they make donations. (See here and here.) Unfortunately, my writing on this subject has occasionally been misunderstood. A few readers have also confessed to me that they do not understand the urgency of stewardship, that they do not see why it is so important.

For these reasons, I am going to make yet another attempt to explain why I think stewarding our donations carefully is important and why I think it is imperative that all Christians, even those who are only able to give a little, make an effort to investigate whether the organizations to which they give actually use their donations wisely. Continue reading “Guidance on Stewardship of Donations”

An Example to Explain How Keeping Organizations Accountable for Donations Works

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

What follows is a simple example that I hope will illustrate the good that can come from applying basic principles of stewardship to our decisions about what Christian organizations to support. I explain those basic principles of stewardship here. Although the example seems very simplified, the real world works in much the same way, albeit in a slower and more complicated manner. Continue reading “An Example to Explain How Keeping Organizations Accountable for Donations Works”

On Giving to Bob Weiner and Weiner Ministries

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

Last week, two friends from To An Unknown God asked me if I knew anything about Bob Weiner or his organization Weiner Ministries. Mr. Weiner has recently been in Berkeley and spoke at several local churches, where his charismatic and energetic presentation was followed by a request for donations to Weiner Ministries. He told his audience that $50 would pay to educate one individual in a foreign country to enter full-time ministry. My friends wanted to know: Should students donate to Weiner Ministries? Continue reading “On Giving to Bob Weiner and Weiner Ministries”

Sex and the Crisis of the Human Soul

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

At a reflective moment in the middle of the 1998 war film The Thin Red Line, Private Witt asks Sergeant Welsh, “Do you ever feel lonely?” Welsh answers, “Only around people.” Witt appears to ponder this for a moment and then repeats softly, as if in benediction, “Only around people.” The sentiment that Welsh expresses is the crisis of the human soul: alienation. Continue reading “Sex and the Crisis of the Human Soul”

What is Our Statement of Doctrine?

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

Frequently, when I tell people about To An Unknown God or ask them to support the journal, or even to read a copy of our latest issue, I get the same question: “Do you have a statement of doctrine?” When I first encountered this query, I was puzzled because its underlying assumption – namely, that there is a comprehensive statement of belief to which everyone must subscribe – conflicts with the very mission of the magazine. Worse, the question reveals an undue emphasis on possessing correct knowledge, suggesting a grave misunderstanding of the essence of Christianity. Continue reading “What is Our Statement of Doctrine?”

Exposing Corruption: Good for the Church?

BY JOHN MONTAGUE

Writing in the New York Times earlier this week, columnist Nicholas Kristof noted:

The Vatican believes that this newspaper and other news organizations have been unfair and overzealous in excavating the church’s cover-ups of child rape. I see the opposite. No organization has done more to elevate the moral stature of the Catholic Church in the United States than The Boston Globe. Its groundbreaking 2002 coverage of abuse by priests led to reforms and by most accounts a significant reduction in abuse. Catholic kids are safer today not because of the cardinals’ leadership, but because of The Boston Globe’s.

Continue reading “Exposing Corruption: Good for the Church?”