Posts Tagged ‘world Christianity’

Revival Coming?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

A friend of mine who has a daily podcast, the Andrew Klavan Show, believes that a religious revival is coming. He bases his speculation on the alarming decline of values in the West. He believes that only with a renewed commitment to religion can our culture survive.

I have no idea whether this prediction will come true; Mr. Klavan expects to see evidence within five years. It’s certainly a nice thought.

Meanwhile, what is most disturbing in our own church is the continuing lethargy. At the national level, at least, there is little apparent initiative to try new programs that might lead to church growth.

On the other hand, a few seminaries seem to have been attracting younger and more able students, which bodes well for the distant future. Our own diocese is in the middle of a strategic planning program, with church growth as one aim. And of course religion–often of the fundamentalist variety–is growing in influence throughout most of the non-Western world.

I hope my friend is right. And I hope that if we do indeed see a revival of religious practice, that it’s the sort of faith that we can identify with. —J. Douglas Ousley


God v. Allah

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

At the Men’s and Women’s Group meetings at Incarnation this week, we are discussing the differences between the Christian God and the Muslim Allah.

The standard philosophical view in recent years has been that all major religions ultimately worship the same Divine Reality, though that reality is conceived in different ways and described in different language. Keith Ward, for example, says that the major religions all present “Images of Eternity;” John Hick says that the different faiths worship the same “Real.”

This benign view of the different religions has been undermined, however, by the violence of some Muslims in the practice of their faith. Allah seems to order them to do things that God would never ask Christians to do. (I have never heard of a Christian suicide bomber, for example.) This leads one to ask whether Allah really is the same God as the Christian Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

One thing is certain: skeptical journalists for whom all religion is nonsense can’t be relied upon to make theological distinctions! —J. Douglas Ousley


Paris in the Winter

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Our Men’s Group devoted part of last night’s regular meeting to discussing the recent terror attacks in Paris.

Comments were wide-ranging, reflecting the many political orientations of our membership. Some cited history, others sought to find common ground among opponents, others suggested specific prayers. My own worry is that Islamists have become so extreme in their views that they will only be stopped by violence.

Is the sanguine view of liberal Christians that at their heart, all religions are basically the same now a dubious assumption? We have always dissociated ourselves from Christian fanatics who pervert the Gospel in favor of prejudice. But the Islamist fanatics seem to be taking their beliefs to a new level of extremism. (One indication of this development is that Islamic State was founded by a group of Islamists who were kicked out of Al-Qaeda because they were regarded as too violent!) It now remains to be seen whether Islam can restore its own reputation and be regarded as one way among many to the Divine. —J. Douglas Ousley


For Christ’s Sake

Monday, August 4th, 2014

In the midst of all the horrendous world-political news, there is an unprecedented amount of Christian suffering. Christians have been slaughtered or kidnapped in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria; they have been expelled from parts of Iraq; and they are under assault in many other countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

It is not clear how American foreign policy should be shaped by these tragedies, but it is clear that Christians everywhere else should be up in spiritual arms. Yet while American Muslim groups, for example, respond vigorously to the slightest attack on Islam, American churches seem resigned to the global persecution of their Christian brothers and sisters.

It is also not clear, however, what we can do in individual cases to help them. At the very least, though, we can remember the suffering church in our corporate prayer and in our daily prayer, for Christ’s sake. —J. Douglas Ousley