Category Archives: Interview

Mohler and Hauerwas

This needs to be read again and again: a

Mohler:  The very next essay in this book you write about the end of Protestantism and that leads me to ask a very personal question: as an American evangelical Christian, do you think that Evangelicalism is in many ways the quintessential representation of the American faith and do you think that even as you write about the church in general – I actually don’t want to put a message in your mouth, I’d rather here it from you, but I get the impression that when you look at American Christianity in general, and American Evangelicalism in particular, you appear to see a church that is looking less and less like the church.

Hauerwas: That’s true. I have great admiration for evangelicals for no other reason than they just bring such great energy to the faith and I admire that. But one of the great problems of Evangelical life in America is evangelicals think they have a relationship with God that they go to church to have expressed but church is a secondary phenomenon to their personal relationship and I think that’s to get it exactly backwards: that the Christian faith is meditated faith. It only comes through the witness of others as embodied in the church. So I should never trust my presumption that I know what my relationship with God is separate from how that is expressed through words and sacrament in the church. So evangelicals, I’m afraid, often times, with what appears to be very conservative religious convictions, make the church a secondary phenomenon to their assumed faith and I think that’s making it very hard to maintain disciplined congregations.

Mohler: I have to tell you that one of the statements in one of your books that aggravated me was a statement in which you said that conservative evangelicals should read this book, but they won’t because they don’t read this kind of book. Actually, it aggravated me because I was reading it at the time. But I understood the point you were making, and I want to come back and just press you on this just a bit because, as an evangelical concerned with many of the same things, I just want to come back and ask: When you look at evangelicalism and you look at evangelical churches, what do you see as the particular moment that now presents us with a completely different set of challenges? In other words, be a prophet for a moment. You can do that. In other words, where is evangelicalism going to be given the increasing secularization and the hyper-modernity of our culture?

Hauerwas: I think evangelicalism is destined to die of its own success and it will go the way of mainstream Protestantism because there’s just—it depends far too much on charismatic pastors, and charisma will only take you so far. Evangelicalism is constantly under the burden of re-inventing the wheel and you just get tired. For example, I’m a big advocate of Morning Prayer. I love Morning Prayer. We do the same thing every morning. We don’t have to make it up. We know we’re going to say these prayers. We know we’re going to join in reading of the psalm. We’re going to have these Scripture readings. I mean, there’s much to be said for Christianity as repetition and I think evangelicalism doesn’t have enough repetition in a way that will form Christians to survive in a world that constantly tempts us to always think we have to do something new.

  1. http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/04/28/nearing-the-end-a-conversation-with-theologian-stanley-hauerwas/  (back)

Why I am proud to be an American

In the best sense of the term, this has been a very patriotic weekend for me. It began on Thursday evening at the Banquet for Life hosted by Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is a ministry the saints of Providence have invested in for quite a few years. It is more than just another pro-life ministry, it is a labor that saw 162 women this past year choose life rather than live with the blood of the innocent in their hands for the rest of their lives. They provide counseling, medical help, and the environment to best guide confused young women out of their present chaos.

At their annual fundraising banquet they invited Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum was still living off the energy of last year’s election. The Senator from Pennsylvania shocked the nation by losing to Mitt Romney by only eight votes in Iowa and going on to win several other primaries. Though Santorum was no match for the prosperous GOP establishment candidate, the Senator was still able to leave a lasting impression in the GOP Primary.

Santorum observed in his speech that though he had opined continuously on the state of the economy and on other pertinent matters, the media chose not to pursue the Senator’s opinion on these issues, but rather focus on some of his more “extreme” ideas. Ideas like opposition to abortion, which according to the general American public are far from extreme. Yet, we are at such a stage in the civil discourse that when anyone speaks passionately about any moral issue, he is already termed a radical. To hell with logic!

The Santorum event renewed my commitment to the life issue and my support for organizations like Safe Harbor in Pensacola, Fl. May they prosper!

Friday morning then was a continuation to this patriotic weekend. After 17 years in these United States, I have finally made official what many thought had been official for a long time. The reality is, I waited this long because I understood what this meant. In one sense, it meant that my allegiance to my birth country of Brazil would move to the passenger’s seat. Practically it has been that way, but a liturgy was needed to confirm this commitment. Though I love my country’s beauty and culture, I am and will be an American at heart. My commitment to the well-being of this nation is a deep part of who I am. Though my skepticism about our government’s actions will always prevail, I am deep inside an American by choice. I didn’t have to be, but I chose to be.

The naturalization ceremony flowed with all its pomp and persistent commentary by the Judge. Her American pride was gallantly streaming. But in some ways the ceremony had to be slow for I had been waiting for a long time for this moment to come to pass, and the slow and tedious ceremony was just an symbol of how long this entire process took; thousands of dollars, the patience of a loving wife, and the trips…so many trips. So here I am: an American at last.

My religious and political propensity demands that I refrain from exalting too much this nation. But it is hard to remain silent about a nation that has done so much for me. It has nourished me in all the human luxuries imaginable. It has provided for me confirmation of my calling. It has romanced me into its beauty and culture, and then asked me to take part in it. It accepted me even when I declared from the mountain tops that this country needs repentance of the II Chronicles kind.

So this has been a patriotic past weekend. I have tasted officially of the American air with a flag pin to prove it. I indulged in corn dogs and French fries (yes, freedom fries), and no, I still do not have an appetite for country music. I entered into the fine company of what the Judge so repetitively described as the “melting pot.” I enter as one, but hope to impact many.

I am proud to be an American, but in a different way than the obnoxious tune. I am proud to be an American because I know that my loyalty is to the King of America, Jesus Christ. And though this blessed nation has deserted our Lord and Maker, I decided to use my mouth and vote to opine passionately and studiously about why this nation needs to pursue this Lord. She is lost without His care. I don’t want to only glory in her past; I want to glory in the future she will have if she turns, and repents, and bows down before the only One who can make her great.

Chuck Colson Interviews President Jimmy Carter on Faith in the Public Square

Chuck Colson interacts with former President Jimmy Carter on a number of issues. The interesting point in the discussion is to hear Carter taking credit for the growth of Christianity in China.

Carter observes that “Christianity is growing quite rapidly because of the demonstration of Christ’s teachings by those who have gone there as missionaries and so forth.” The former president echoes many of the liberal talking points, and at times implies that though Jesus is the best way, he is not the only way (a claim Colson quickly clarifies).

Jimmy Carter also dealt with his conviction on Roe v. Wade during his presidency:

“I didn’t have any problem with that when I was president, but I did have a problem with the abortion issue,” he says, “because I am very conservative on the abortion issue, but I had to comply with the Roe vs. Wade ruling of the Supreme Court. So I did everything I could to minimize the need for abortion, even though I regretted the liberality of the Supreme Court ruling. But that was the only conflict that I found with my religious faith and my political obligations while I was in the White House. I thought Roe vs. Wade violated the basic principles that I thought Jesus Christ would espouse.”

Carter is an enigmatic figure. One can disagree wholeheartedly with his political ideologies–as I do– but at the same time find his commitment to human rights and Jesus Christ honorable.

Tim Challies Responds to the Piper/Warren Interview

Challies responds to expected interview with Rick Warren. Overall, Challies offers some irenic thoughts on the matter, in the end, doubting, or at least remaining uncertain about the genuineness of Warren’s answers. You can read his analysis here.

One of the central issues for me has to do with definitions. I am willing to preserve a broad definition for Reformed, while remaining skeptical of those who would use for political gain.

Here are my comments on Tim’s blog:

Tim, there needs to be a both/and approach this interview. I am devoutly Reformed, but I am also catholic. I desire strong ecumenical relations with other bodies. Your comments regarding Warren’s lecture to the Jews demands a link to the original document or transcript. I am not sure we can have the full picture on these issues nor the strategy Warren adopted in that particular scenario. I do believe certain conversations require different tactics, and yes, even difference answers (though not conflicting with one another–I can clearly speak of grace on the one hand, and have an immensely high view of human responsibility that would make some calvinists cringe). Your critique is helpful, but I learned one thing from Dr. Sproul in my days in Orlando, and that is, what Luther so carefully stated that we ought to give others–especially believers–the benefit of the doubt on these statements…while at the same time, arguing for our differences in strategy and theology.