Category Archives: Articles on Conservatism

On Baby Grands and Expensive Hymnals

On Baby Grands and Expensive Hymnals

“Why this waste?”, said the greediest member of the Twelve. Judas’ supposed concern with helping the poor and for efficient use of ministry finances was really a facade for his unvarnished envy. Judas wanted money, and like every jealous soul, disliked money being spent lavishly on someone else. The sentiment that it is frivolous waste… Continue Reading

Christians and Critical Judgments

Christians and Critical Judgments

This entry is part 16 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Most Christians are happy to accept the authority of expert opinion. What is instructive to note is which domains of knowledge they are comfortable to refer to experts, as opposed to those in which they actively oppose expert opinion. To paraphrase what I wrote to one commenter, Christians are happy to listen to experts when… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

Cooperation and Culture: Conclusion

Cooperation and Culture: Conclusion

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The gospel is the boundary of Christian fellowship and cooperation, but the degree to which we cooperate with others who believe the gospel will be necessarily affected by the degree to which there is agreement in important secondary matters because those secondary matters affect the gospel and our worship of God. This is the idea… Continue Reading

Philosophy and applications in the local church

Philosophy and applications in the local church

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I argued that differences among philosophies of culture must necessarily affect cooperation on various levels of ecclesiastical cooperation. Having said this, it is important to distinguish between philosophy of culture and worship and particular applications of that philosophy. I am suggesting that agreement concerning philosophy is an important factor influencing my ability to… Continue Reading

Differences over philosophy of culture must always affect cooperation

Differences over philosophy of culture must always affect cooperation

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Up to this point in this series, I have described the essence of conservative Christianity, particularly its philosophy of beauty and culture, and described the nature of ecclesiastical cooperation. So where, then, do philosophies of culture fit on the spectrum of Christian fellowship and cooperation? First, to state the obvious, philosophy of culture is clearly… Continue Reading

Fundamentalism and a Conservative Philosophy of Culture

Fundamentalism and a Conservative Philosophy of Culture

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I suggested that biblical cooperation is not an “all-or-nothing” sort of thing, but is rather dependent upon the particular matter under consideration and the circumstance, whether it be simple fellowship, joining a church, or proclaiming the gospel. This was the genius of the idea of fundamentalism. Beyond refusing to recognize as Christian those who… Continue Reading

The Center of Christian Unity

The Center of Christian Unity

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The purpose of this series is to ask the question of whether a conservative philosophy of worship and culture should affect ecclesiological cooperation. For the past several weeks I have been explaining how I define conservative Christianity. Conservative Christians believe in absolute standards of truth, goodness, and beauty and in preserving certain cultural forms and… Continue Reading

The Importance of Form

The Importance of Form

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I briefly summarized what I consider the first pillar of conservative Christianity–affirmation of transcendent truth, goodness, and beauty–and spent a bit of time on absolute beauty since it is the transcendental often overlooked. The purpose of explaining these principles is that I will later ask the question of whether these issues are important… Continue Reading

Preserving Transcendent Beauty

Preserving Transcendent Beauty

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I began a series that seeks to answer the question of how important one’s philosophy of culture and worship is in relation to ecclesiastical cooperation. While most “gospel-centered” authors today would argue that philosophy of worship and culture should not affect cooperation, I am arguing that they are central. In other words, I am… Continue Reading

The “Two Hands” of Ministry

The “Two Hands” of Ministry

In 2006 an approach to church ministry began to gain popularity. It was called a “two-handed” approach to ministry. One closed hand represented the theology of the church and its grasp of biblical truth and principles. The hand being closed symbolized the non-negotiable aspects of theology. One open hand represented the methodology of the church.… Continue Reading

Should philosophies of culture hinder cooperation?

Should philosophies of culture hinder cooperation?

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

There are several adjectives that I happily use to describe myself and my beliefs. The first is obviously, “Christian,” but there are a lot of people and groups that call themselves “Christian” with whom I have significant disagreement, so I need other adjectives to modify “Christian.” I happily call myself a Baptist Christian, which says… Continue Reading

The importance of cultural discernment in Christian education

The importance of cultural discernment in Christian education

If Christian educators are intent upon educating their students with truth, both its factual content and the way the truth is imagined, then they must commit to utilize the best of our classical tradition. We have at our fingertips a rich heritage of cultural forms that have grown within value systems that are fully consistent with what it… Continue Reading

What makes something classic?

What makes something classic?

“Classic”–a word that can describe any number of things, including art, literature, music, theology, and tradition. But what does it mean? What makes something classic? A very helpful explanation of what makes something classic, and the value of classic things, can be found in Jacques Barzun’s Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning. Barzun… Continue Reading

Tozer’s Three Concerns

Tozer’s Three Concerns

Although A.W. Tozer’s writings ranged over all kinds of topics, three concerns dominated Tozer’s writings. You’ll find him returning to these often, and giving them different treatments each time. What they amount to is what Tozer saw as the most serious maladies of evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The first was what he called textualism. For Tozer, this… Continue Reading

What does “classical” mean?

What does “classical” mean?

The word “classical” gets thrown around a lot, from descriptions of classical music to classical education to classical culture. But what does it really mean? As with most words, people could use the term, of course, for a whole host of different ideas and connotations. But here is what I think is at the heart… Continue Reading

Conservative Christianity: A Reading List

Conservative Christianity: A Reading List

A friend recently emailed asking for a basic reading list that would introduce an interested individual to conservative Christianity as we articulate it here at Religious Affections Ministries. Here’s what I came with. What would you add? I would start with our A Conservative Christian Declaration as an introduction to the fundamental ideas we believe… Continue Reading

There are no conservative hermits

There are no conservative hermits

The following is excerpted and adapted from an address that I had the privilege of offering at a recent gathering of conservative friends, on the nature of pastoral love. As many of you have found (and despite accusations to the contrary), conservatism is a much broader set of commitments than a particular music preference. Among… Continue Reading

Where The Differences Lie

Where The Differences Lie

Useful debate takes place when sparring parties understand their opponent’s position, and can represent it in terms the opponent would agree with. Apart from this proper knowledge, disagreements cannot be profitably discussed, for the disagreements are not even properly understood. What follows this ignorance is usually a headache of talking past one another, flaming straw… Continue Reading

Paul the Cultural Conservative

Paul the Cultural Conservative

One of the most difficult passages of Paul’s writings to interpret is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. In this passage, Paul commands Christian women who are praying or prophesying to cover their heads. At almost every turn, interpretative issues arise. Part of the problem is that we have very little understanding of cultural practices of the time that… Continue Reading