What Is a Statement of Doctrine?


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?”

Inclusive Confessional Documents


As I’ve always understood it, To An Unknown God is an œcumenical project, a project in which iron sharpens iron, a project that aims to find what’s true and noble in each Christian tradition and critique what’s fallacious and base. This means that, without sweeping real disagreement under the rug, we work together for one and the same city according to the standard of the God who reveals himself in Scripture and in nature.

Amid calls in some quarters for subscription to a statement of faith, a major reason we have no consensus document is that we hope out of creative tension to forge an eventual consensus faithful to the Truth that the Holy Ghost reveals in the Scriptures. Continue reading “Inclusive Confessional Documents”

Sex and the Crisis of the Human Soul


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”

The Search for Perfection


Martin Luther said that the Christian life should be one of constant repentance. Does this mean that we should continually be beating ourselves up? I think in a way it does.

Whenever we are asked to do something, if we do not do it as well as we should it is reasonable to critically evaluate our performance. Now what does Jesus say to us? He says that we are to love our enemies, but we usually do not. He says we are to forgive people four hundred and ninety times (that is, all the time), but we often want to give up much sooner. He says we are to sell what we have and give to the poor, but we sometimes buy unnecessary things for ourselves instead. In short, He says, “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, NKJV) But we are not. Continue reading “The Search for Perfection”

Sinning through Questioning? The Ministry of Mark Driscoll


The New York Times Magazine published an article last weekend about Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll and his increasingly popular megachurch, Mars Hill. While various aspects of Mr. Driscoll’s theology and his seemingly uncritical embrace of American popular culture are disturbing, nothing is more troubling than his intolerance for dissent, an attitude that seems to border on despotism and is, frankly, unchristian. Continue reading “Sinning through Questioning? The Ministry of Mark Driscoll”

Courtship, Pornography, and True Worship


A friend of mine just sent me a link to a post from conservative theologian and pastor Douglas Wilson’s blog. In it, Mr. Wilson offers Christian fathers a list of twenty-one questions with which to interrogate their daughters’ prospective suitors. Questions of antiquation aside, I find Mr. Wilson’s suggestion irresponsible and the theology that underlies it troubling. Continue reading “Courtship, Pornography, and True Worship”

Realities, Not Ideals


Jesus speaks in Mark 10:2–11 about divorce:

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

This was hard to understand. At least, it was for the Lord’s disciples. Continue reading “Realities, Not Ideals”

The Anglican Church and Theological Bondage


Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, on liberal theology in the Anglican Church (The Times [London]; HT: Al Mohler):

Having survived the inhuman physical slavery of the 19th century, the political slavery called colonialism of the 20th century, the developing world economic enslavement, we cannot, we dare not, allow ourselves and the millions we represent to be kept in religious and spiritual dungeon.

You read that right: an African called it “slavery”. It wasn’t a Westerner co-opting the word in disrespect for those who have suffered chattel slavery. Continue reading “The Anglican Church and Theological Bondage”