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McKaiser and Lennox at the #GMWits debate could have been stronger

Debate-Podium

Debate-Podium

by Ryan Peter
Originally published at ryanpeterwrites.com
1327 words


Last night, well-known Christian apologist John Lennox and Eusebius McKaiser, PowerFM talk show host and agnostic philosophical lecturer, went head to head (mind to mind, more like it!) in a debate on morality at WITS. You can pick some of the conversation on Twitter at the #GMWits hashtag and a Youtube video will be pasted later (I’ll update this blog with it when it comes out).

So what happened? It was invigorating and stimulating, as these debates should be. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was impressed with the turn-out. I loved the brilliance and civility of both speakers. However, I did feel that Lennox could have been stronger, McKaiser could have been clearer. I loved the debate but felt it got bogged down in the wrong areas.

The topic was whether or not God is required for morality. Can morality exist on its own? Or does it require God? (How you frame the question really betrays your bias, doesn’t it?) Each speaker opened up with a brief breakdown of how they came to believe in the existence or non-existence of God. Some interesting points: Lennox said that the conflict between Science and Religion is superficial and then stated, “I am coming to believe that atheism and science don’t mix at all.” From McKaiser’s side, he simply stated that he does not believe that “God exists” is a true claim and all of his philosophical study has never really produced any viable evidence for the existence of God. At the very best you can come to the conclusion there is a deity, but not that the Christian god exists, he said.

But onto the real debate

But this was a debate on morality and it’s here where I felt McKaiser didn’t address the key question I was hoping he would. McKaiser, interestingly enough, believes that objective morality exists, but it doesn’t require God to exist. That was fascinating for me. He is not a moral relativist. (He even stated that relativism is, in his opinion, highly dangerous.) But what does he ground objective morality in? The answer seems to be rationalism (or his own rationality, I would imagine, as a starting point). So the question posed to him from Lennox was, “Why do you put so much faith in your own rationality?”

Why does McKaiser believe this is a reliable base? Unfortunately I didn’t feel he answered this question or articulated his position clearly. This for me was really what I wanted to hear. But whether he dodged the question or just didn’t make it clear, I didn’t hear an answer that satisfied me (I’m using that phrase deliberately in a tongue-in-cheek way to McKaiser’s argument about evidence for God). At first he answered the question by highlighting that Lennox is thoroughly convinced of the reliability of scientific method, but makes a jump to believing that water could turn to wine. It was a brilliant challenge and Lennox didn’t really answer it directly in my mind either, but it didn’t really answer the question. I suppose he was saying that Lennox himself places great faith in rationalism, but Lennox was clear that the only reason why that is is he believes we are made in God’s image and as a result we share some attributes of God, such as rationalism.

Why does McKaiser believe people have intrinsic value? On what basis does he make that claim? As my friend Wesley asked, “If moral objectivity exists outside of God and we say rape is bad, because that person has value, who / what determines that value?” I wondered: if I must trust my own rationality for morality, how do I know I can trust it? What if I’m actually mentally ill and don’t know?

McKaiserLennox

Some assumptions

So I’m left to play a bit of a guessing game on McKaiser’s position. I wondered if McKaiser was going to bring up some sort of Kantian model for his position, but he didn’t go there. I wondered if he was going to bring in society and “nurture”, or evolutionary arguments, but he seems to reject either of those. It would seem to me that he takes rationality for granted. Where does rationality come from? What is the standard for rationality? Where does that standard come from? Does it come from an external place (society?) or an internal place (EQ?). Is this really about cosmology? (For example, the universe is an ordered place, and therefore we are naturally inclined to orderBut of course, the drive for order has resulted in some pretty immoral actions!) Is this really about the conscience? And where does that come from? McKaiser obviously wants to avoid anything that sounds like an inner light or mysterious “knowing” or a soul or even the “heart”, or something along those lines, and talking about the conscience might force him in that direction (and besides, it seems the conscience can be tweaked).

I realise the limits of this sort of debate in terms of time and structure, but I really didn’t feel satisfied by the end that this was answered. Yes, I know my own presuppositions but try my best to be open-minded.

Usually arguments that say we don’t need God for morality seems to venture around the idea of how we “ought” to be. (Lennox brought this up saying it seems people move from “is” to “ought”.) We “ought” to not need anyone to tell us right from wrong, but we all know the world is not like that. (Lennox’s statement that atheism in particular has no argument for the problem of evil was an interesting one.) Simple observation tells us that not all people are rational and not all societies are rational – including some religious ones. So where is this grand objective rationalism coming from?

Obviously, given my beliefs, I would agree with Lennox that it comes from something external and bigger than us, built into us as part of our very make-up. That, of course, is God.

Two common answers

There are generally two common answers I find to the question of “If it’s not God, what are you basing your rationality on?” The first is, “It doesn’t need to be God” and then we need to know what it is. Unfortunately, like last night, I never quite find that people who hold that position really get to what it really is. The second is, “Why does it need to be God?” which doesn’t answer the question. That answer is really just being the irritating mountain man seer who only ever answers your questions with a question; or a psychologist who is trained to just ask you questions to help you come to your own conclusions. That doesn’t work for philosophy, though.

Lennox could have been stronger last night and could have pushed this question harder, in my opinion. Yes, there are some questions he didn’t really answer either, but what I really wanted to hear addressed wasn’t – not to a degree that satisfied me, at least!

The point of debate

But don’t get me wrong – I learned a lot last night, which is the point of this sort of debate. It’s about learning, not about winning. All the smack down comments on Twitter and some of the blogs I’m expecting to see today I think will miss this point. Some people seem to go to these things pre-deciding who will “win”. What’s the point of that? You’re never going to learn anything like that.

There was no clear winner last night (there seldom is) but there was a ton of stuff to think about and consider from both sides, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It didn’t get into ridicule zone (which I was afraid it might) and the crowd was fantastic too. Thanks Eusebius and John for an invigorating, enjoyable evening!

LAST LAUGH: Someone put a Dianetics book from L.Ron Hubbard on McKaiser’s seat when he wasn’t looking. Chuckled at that!

***

Ryan Peter is a writer and novelist from Johannesburg and the editor of The Christian Blogger. Follow him on Twitter – @RyanPeterWrites.

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SA Editors Condemn 24.com Content Policies

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New_Orleans_Item_Newsroom_c_1900

by Ryan Peter | 546 words
Published at The Christian Blogger

I’ve been watching a copyright-infringement case between Fin24 and Moneyweb with some interest as its outcome will have an effect on copyright and fair-use policies in South African media. In short, Moneyweb is accusing Fin24 of plagiarism and 24.com is disputing this.

This is important because aggregated content has become a very dubious practice on the Internet. Many people seem to think they can just copy a complete article from anywhere, paste it onto their website, provide a link back to the original URL somewhere in the article, and claim that it was “fair use”. But if you didn’t pay for the content or get permission to use it from the original publisher, you are plagiarising.

As it stands now, 24.com is pretty much the only major media house which sees things differently. See this article by Ryk Van Niekerk: Editors condemn 24.com aggregation policy and practices. In it 24.com’s aggregation policy is highlighted. Here’s what its policy looks like:

“When aggregating content, take note of the following guidelines:
1.  Never use more than 30% of the original source
2.  Rewrite all content
3.  Where possible add in your own content and own information
4.  Always credit the original source
5.  Include a link to all original sources”

Van Niekerk says, in his article, that this may seem like a simple policy, but it has dire consequences for the whole industry.

“We argue that what the policy does is permit a form of illegitimate and unlawful copying from third parties and it becomes in effect a licence to plagiarise,” he says.

I agree. I’ve been involved in several arguments with prominent bloggers and news websites on this issue. A media house pays a journalist a salary (or a freelance fee) to write a story. Pasting it onto your website and garnering traffic from it when you didn’t pay for it is simply stealing. A blogger spends time writing their blog. You can’t just post it to your site without asking, it’s stealing. It doesn’t matter if you put a link back to the original piece, you are profiting in some way, be it only in traffic, from someone else’s work without having asked them if you could use it.

If you’re serious about your blog you need to know what really is “fair use” and what isn’t. As this case goes on we’ll post updates on The Christian Blogger from time to time.

Content aggregation done wrong can actually ruin our witness. This isn’t just happening online. One needs to only look at how accusations of plagiarism have been detrimental to U.S. pastor Mark Driscoll’s ministry. In an article it’s fine if you quote and cite correctly, but 30 percent of the original article (with the rest merely “rewritten”) is too much. Perhaps a blogger can get away with more, since most are not professional journalists etc., but we still need to make sure that “fair use” is, indeed, “fair” use.

If you’re fine with people using your articles wherever and whenever, consider putting a creative commons license on your blog. There are several licenses you can choose from that help to make it clear exactly how you prefer for your work to be used.

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Ryan Peter is a writer and novelist from Johannesburg and the editor of The Christian Blogger. Follow him on Twitter – @RyanPeterWrites.

Depression, Robin Williams, and Pathetic Church Beliefs

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by Ryan Peter | 1332 words
Originally published at www.ryanpeterwrites.com


 

Robin Williams. Talented. Funny. Wacky. Deep. Able to move from one subject to another without even taking a breath. Sometimes accused of being sentimental, although I always thought that he seemed to choose his roles carefully. I used to criticise him a bit – perhaps because I often saw him represent a shallow everything-will-be-ok, you’re-ok and I’m-ok modern liberal sort of philosophy so prevalent in our western culture. I realise now that he actually didn’t – in fact, now I think I get him. I was wrong. Badly wrong. But, of course, it’s too late.

In fact, if anything, the real shallow philosophy worth speaking about is the general church culture and hopelessly pathetic theology around depression. Yesterday when I read the news of Williams’ death and how he battled with depression I felt a jab in my heart. I’ve known too many people who’ve lost their lives to this disease. In fact, I think I know more people who’ve battled with this than any other disease, including cancer. And I’ve been a first-hand sufferer of it too.

If you’ve battled with depression you know – modern ideas of success and happiness miss the point. Motivational clichés lack power. I think Robin Williams knew that. I think that’s why he chose the film roles he did.

I know that feeling of being surrounded by friends and family and people who really do love you at a dinner table – and everyone is laughing – and you’re laughing – and suddenly, out of nowhere, something deep inside you changes. It’s hard to explain what it is, but heartbroken kind of does explain it. You literally feel like something inside is broken, as if you’ve just been cut open inside, and it burns. Before you realise it, you’re talking to yourself in your mind about how you’re really not worth anything – that it would be better if you just didn’t exist. All of your fears and your guilt and your absolute inability to win with anything crush any semblance of happiness inside. Some might call it an existential crisis, saying that everyone gets that, but here you’re having an experience where you wish life itself just didn’t exist.

It’s interesting to me that at the age of 63, Williams still hadn’t “gotten over it”. People who don’t really experience this sort of thing to this sort of degree perhaps don’t realise how “getting over it” and “think positively” and all the usual motivational nonsense means precious little. Motivational posters aren’t going to cut it, and your sayings like “your attitude determines your altitude” are just nonsense. And, (some) Christians, “praise music” is not a cure-all. At the wrong time it can do the very opposite to what you think and can diminish faith.

While I don’t think I’ve ever suffered to the degree of others I know (including loved ones in my family) I do think I’ve suffered a bit more than I was ever comfortable admitting when I was going through my worst time. It was then that I realised just how shallow modern theology is – how so much of what we preach from the pulpit is geared for the winners and the successful and the strong and mighty and the able and the moral and the cool and the popular and the leaders.

So much of our modern day preaching is more to do with being a good leader and a success in life and taking it by the horns and being a good example and on and on and on it goes. You must be this, do that, look like this, act like that, and only then will God or anyone else take you seriously. It’s all a formula. People have built ministry empires around providing all the formulas to make you healthy, successful, and a strong, respected leader. Some has its place but most of it isn’t the gospel, it’s just shallow motivational-speak.

Ann Voskamp, in a recent blog post on the subject, says it perfectly when she says: “The Jesus I know never preached some Health Prosperity Gospel, some pseudo-good news that if you just pray well, sing well, worship well, live well and deposit all that into some Divine ATM — you get to take home a mind and body that are well. That’s not how the complex beauty of life unfolds.”

How true. But don’t think it’s just prosperity churches – evangelical churches can place such a big emphasis on leadership and success in that area that the result is fewer leaders, not more, because so many people feel they can’t make the grade, don’t have the right personality, or just don’t have the right ambitions in life. (Meanwhile, 1 Thessalonians 4:11 tells us to live a quiet life!) I often wonder if we now, in the evangelical church, have too many leaders and too little actual pastors. Pastoring is hard work. And thankless.

Boy does this bring memories. Robin Williams in "Good Morning, Vietnam!"

Boy does this bring memories. Robin Williams in “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

Over the years when I really had to face my depression head-on I realised that modern Christian pop-theology offers no real answer: it’s too shallow, full of clichés, and only seems to work for the strong. My depression did two things: one, it opened me up to a pornography addiction and, two, it (and the addiction) forced me to really get to the bottom of my faith. In a strange way, I’m thankful for it and even the addiction. It’s brought me to a place where I can say this with experience and conviction: what most people think Christianity is, it actually isn’t. What most people think Christian theology teaches, it actually doesn’t. What most people think Jesus was about, he wasn’t.

In my struggles I discovered some funny things: Christianity isn’t for the winners at all. It’s not for the big names and the popular. God isn’t actually impressed with big leadership and big ambitions (although we certainly are!). He isn’t into categorising people. He also isn’t just into accepting everything about our sin. He it totally Other, yet we can know him. Jesus wasn’t a success by the world’s standards – he died without creating a political movement or creating a squeaky clean philosophy with all the answers. He himself had to cry, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46.) Read Lamentations and see how real Christianity can get. This is a faith full of promise and positivity without ever side-lining the reality of the brokenness of our world and the souls that live in it. Christian theology isn’t squeaky clean – it makes space for the questions and often only answers by saying: You don’t need answers. What you need is Presence. Intimacy and union with God.

Life is a romance – it’s full of heartbreak and it’s full of beauty. All at the same time. Often beauty and joy actually rise out of the heartbreak. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5.) There is something deeply perplexing about this and our rational mind finds difficulty in grasping it. It just doesn’t make sense. Yet, actually, it does, if we think of sense in the fullest meaning of the word. Christianity is both rational and experiential, just like life is; and ultimately just like God is. He is not all mind. He is not all spirit. He is a person. Once you come to accept mystery you come to find that mystery is actually far more rational than cold, hard logic.

Williams was an episcopalian, which he jokingly called “Catholic lite – half the religion, half the guilt!” My prayer is that somewhere in there he found Jesus and who he really is. Perhaps he never explored the depths of Christian theology and perhaps he had some other funny ideas, who knows? There is so much rubbish in this world I’m sure we all have some funny ideas that just aren’t true. But Christianity isn’t about knowing the facts but knowing the Person who is true – God the Father, revealed in Jesus Christ.

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Ryan Peter is a writer and novelist from Johannesburg and the editor of The Christian Blogger. Follow him on Twitter – @RyanPeterWrites.

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The Big Question of Christian Music

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by Ryan Peter | 1211 words
Originally published at ryanpeterwrites.com


You might notice that this release of The Christian Blogger has a bit of a focus on music. That happened mostly by accident – it just seemed to be what people were blogging about. Given the discussions on the topic, I thought I’d weigh in.

I suppose the first thing I should say is, is Christian music really a big question? When I was younger, I thought so. My teenage years as a Christian were largely formed by my fledging album collection. I never really paid much attention to preaching or reading (besides the Bible) – my Christian music heroes discipled me from afar. My dream was to be a like them – a Christian rock star. I used to stare at the back of the CD covers of my Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and Tree63 CD’s, dreaming about the day when it would be my turn – when my music would also count and make an impression on people.

Recently, John Ellis from Tree63 came under a great deal of fire when he had jokingly said in an interview with well-known personality Gareth Cliff that he had written Christians songs ‘for the money’. He also stated that Tree63 were not a Christian band – in an effort to try and make the (rather tired, by now) distinction between a “Christian band” and a “band full of Christians”.

Over at JohnEllis.co.za, Ellis put the record straight and apologised for the whole ordeal. The money comment was, in Ellis’s words, a “wry joke, badly timed,” and regarding the issue of a Christian band versus a band full of Christians, Ellis says:

“I tried to make the age-old distinction between a band full of Christians and a ‘Christian’ band. It’s a thorny issue that’s been raging since the very first idea of Christian-themed pop music ever surfaced, and any band that has sung about spiritual things in the secular arena (Stryper, U2, Kula Shaker, Delirious?, Switchfoot, Tree63 etc.) has had to field those questions. It can come across as splitting hairs, which is ironic for a bald man to do… essentially Tree63, as ‘Christian’ as it became, was primarily a rock band singing about Jesus, not a church band with a missional agenda and music as second-thought.”

Meanwhile, in the comments section at his post, you can see how people responded. Some happy, others shocked.

Is there such a thing as a Christian dentist?

My brother-in-law, Jonno Warmington, said this to me the other day when we chatted about this: Is there such a thing as a Christian dentist? If you mean a dentist who does his work for the glory of God, well that’s fine and well – that’s what we all do. But if you mean a dentist who only ever does dentistry on Christians; only ever works in Christian mouths; and only ever pulls out Christian teeth; wouldn’t that be a rather odd practice? Most of us wouldn’t think it strange and a sell-out when a Christian dentist says he is happy to work on anyone’s teeth.

But when it comes to music, we seem to think that, for some reason, it ought to be different. In fact, it seems that this is really a general problem for most of Art – there’s some reason why you can’t be a Christian musician, or a Christian writer, or a Christian painter, without looking to use your art exclusively for overt evangelism. Why is this?

Perhaps it’s because of how art appeals to the imagination. But the problem is this: once you try and dictate to an artist what his art is supposed to look like (AKA, how Christian it’s meant to be) you sell the art out to the corporate, one-size-fits-all squeeky clean mass-produced culture. In other words, you actually force the artist to become the very thing you complain about: a sell-out.

Let artists be artists and then you’ll be surprised what they can do. Force them to fit your mould and wishes and you’ll be shocked at how they’ll respond. Never corner an artist. In place of it you’ll get a raging beast who will bite back, feeling trapped and confined. They don’t fit in the box, so why expect them to? Why tell them they must? It goes against the very God-given gift and personality they have.

Christian leaders are not always the best in telling people not to be rock stars

In my younger years, when I wanted to be a rock star, I noticed something that’s worth saying here, even if it is a bit harsh. A lot of Christian leaders had a lot to say to me about my desire to be a rock star, but for some reason they were blind to their own “rock star” ambitions. You know, the very real ambition to become a big deal in the church. A superstar preacher. An apostolic asteroid. The guy with the biggest church and the most influence. And for some reason, all that kind of ambition is okay because a lot of Christian leaders hide behind the idea that all that is “for the advancement of the Kingdom.” Actually, it’s the advancement of their own Kingdom and built on their own need for affirmation, and pastors and preachers and evangelists and apostolic guys need to face the reality and motivation behind the ambition in their own hearts.

I feel perfectly comfortable calling this what it is because I’ve had to work through it. Here’s a post I wrote that spoke a bit about it: I’m not interested in counting for God anymore. This sort of unhealthy ambition is one of those sins in the church that too few leaders bother to address in their own lives but are quick to see in others. I’m by no means pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but I am making the point because I think it does add value, especially when I consider how celebrity focused the evangelical church has become. (Cue this week’s unhealthy finger-pointing furore over Mark Driscoll.)

So, is Christian music important?

In short, I say no. Or, rather, not as much as we seem to think. I believe music is a nice-to-have for church services, but I don’t believe (as I used to) that it’s imperative. Most of the mainstream evangelical church puts a heck of a lot of stock in it, and I can’t really see why any more. We can use music as a “means of grace” (a way in which we connect with God and experience his grace in an intimate way) but there are plenty of other “means of grace” (I use the term loosely, not as some liturgical churches would use it) which seem to get less airtime. In fact, one of the most legitimately Biblical “means of grace”, the breaking of bread, gets far less airtime in contemporary evangelical churches than music – yet there’s scant reference to music in the New Testament.

In fact, we can’t really know for sure how the early church incorporated music into its worship services (one can build a stronger argument for liturgical practices than for the modern day contemporary service, by the way). If we thought about how we’ve put music on a pedestal in Christian living carefully, we wouldn’t get so easily shocked and shout the “sell-out” label when good musicians want to just be good musicians and make a living off it. Rather than do that, why not find ways to support the arts in our country – because you may not realise just how little support it receives in Corporate South Africa.

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Ryan Peter is a writer and novelist from Johannesburg and the editor of The Christian Blogger. Follow him on Twitter – @RyanPeterWrites.

Hobby Lobby U.S. Court Case and What it Means for SA Religious Freedom

Palace of Justice - Pretoria
Palace of Justice - Pretoria

Palace of Justice – Pretoria

by Ryan Peter | 540 words
Published at The Christian Blogger


 

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses were not required to pay for insurance coverage for contraception, overturning the Obama administration’s mandate on the matter, in the case of Burwell vs Hobby Lobby. The Supreme Court said it violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. Wikipedia has all the facts already. It’s a landmark case in the U.S. as it points a way forward in how family-owned businesses can run according to the faith convictions of those that own them.

Just a few days prior to that, the South African Equality Court in Belville ruled that the Christian owners of the “House of Bread” guest house in Wolseley and a homosexual couple, whose business the guest house owners had rejected, should first try and reconcile out of court with a suitable mediator. I found these two cases interesting as they were both really about the same thing – how freedom of religion works in a business context. In both cases, the business owners were Christians who wanted to run their businesses according to their personal faith convictions; in both cases, the courts ruled that that is justifiable. (In the South African case, however, it may still go to court if they cannot reconcile.)

In the South African case, according to Gateway News, the Magistrate referred to a statement by the Constitutional Court in a case in 2006: “The hallmark of an open and democratic society is its capacity to accommodate and manage difference of intensely-held world views and lifestyles in a reasonable and fair manner.” Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA) acted as First Amicus Curiae in the matter for the guest house owners and had first suggested that the parties look to reconcile out of court. According to FOR SA they put forward the notion that it “is in the interest of not only of the parties involved in the dispute, but in the interest of building a bridge of mutual respect and acceptance between the broader gay and lesbian community on the one hand and the Christian faith community on the other, rather than drive a wedge between these communities as this case unfortunately has the potential to do.”

The reasoning here is sound, in my opinion. I’m grateful that FOR SA took this route – it says a lot to the gay and lesbian community. When it comes to these cases, Christians shouldn’t try and prove a point but should first aim to be peacemakers, as that is what we’re called to do. For me this was an encouraging development.

Back to the Hobby Lobby case. According to npr.org, a democratic effort to overturn the Hobby Lobby ruling has failed. I wonder how much the Hobby Lobby case will be used as a guide for judges with similar cases here, even if only privately, especially given its profile in the U.S.

The topic of how faith-owned businesses should run has been a long standing issue, with many opinions from all camps. It’s worth keeping an eye on developments here as this is all, so far, a victory for a healthy pluralism, which I believe is the better victory to have. It’s not about Christians doing whatever they want, it’s about society living peaceably together, regardless of worldview.

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Ryan Peter is a writer and novelist from Johannesburg and the editor of The Christian Blogger. Follow him on Twitter – @RyanPeterWrites.

Welcome to Our First Edition

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by Ryan Peter | 654 words
4 July, 2014


 

Karl Barth once told Time Magazine that he advised young theologians to “take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” In that same interview he spoke about the importance of newspapers and said, “I always pray for the sick, the poor, journalists, authorities of the state and the church – in that order. Journalists form public opinion. They hold terribly important positions. Nevertheless, a theologian should never be formed by the world around him.” [i]

Regardless of whatever you may think of Barth’s theology in general, I think he’s right on this count. Christians must have the ability to filter the news through the Bible and writers, theologians, and Christian teachers in particular, must be on the forefront of doing that. If they can do that well, just by making use of their gift, they help to bring Christians to maturity and, at the same time, can use the news apologetically to help the world see the Light of Christ in amongst the muck, mire, pain and sin of this world. I also do believe fiction can play a great role in apologetics, but that’s for another time, perhaps.

In Colossians Paul speaks of how he ‘toils’ and ‘struggles’ with all the energy that God ‘powerfully works within’ him so that he can proclaim Jesus – “warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28, 29.) He then continues to exhort the Colossians to “see to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8.)

It’s my hope that The Christian Blogger will be one way – even if it’s small – in which this can be done. I find that most of the Christian ‘teachers’ of today teach rather shallow theology that, perhaps, isn’t even theology at all; and, by and large, the Church has lost the ability to really engage on a thinking level with a world that is still thinking, but is thinking all skew. It’s always been our job to be the salt of the earth, but we’ve largely disconnected on one hand and, those who do engage, seem to use earthly weapons instead of the spiritual weapons given to us in Galatians 5:16-24. This is especially true in South Africa, I believe.

It’s also my hope that The Christian Blogger will help to create not just a resurgence but also renewed interest in the South African blogging space. As Steve Hayes recently noted at his blog: Where have all the Christian bloggers gone?, the vitality and diversity we enjoyed several years ago in the blogging community has died down to practically a whisper. This seems to be due to several factors, some of which he outlines and some of which we’ve outlined at our About page: Welcome to the Christian Blogger. Whatever the reasons I believe that if bloggers get support and readers, they will blog more. We need more thoughtful Christian writers in South Africa. As things stand now, we don’t have nearly enough.

We’ve got twelve blogs in all for this edition. Hopefully this will grow as a network of bloggers begins to grow, and as more people take interest in blogging again. I hope we can begin to see more blogs that address current affairs and what’s going on in our country, and the world, in a theological / apologetic way.

The Christian Blogger can be delivered straight to your Kindle. We’re making use of Amazon’s email-to-Kindle technology. If you would like help on how to set that up, read this post: Receiving the Christian Blogger directly to your Kindle.

I hope you enjoy our first edition. No doubt we will encounter a few technical glitches – please let us know if you spot anything. Please also send us comments, suggestions, criticisms, and – of course – blogs! Email webmaster@thechristianblogger.com.

Ryan Peter
Editor
4 July, 2014


[i] Time Magazine, published on Friday, May 31, 1963.) Source: Princeton Theological Seminary.