Category Archives: Piety without Exuberance

Should We Change Our Name?

william james

Maybe it should be Metaphysical Club instead of Old Life Theological Society, so impressed as I am by Louis Menand’s book about pragmatism and more. I have not read a history book that has been so hard to put down, so vivid in its depictions of characters, so plot driven as it were, and so… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Worldview | Tagged , , , | 41 Responses

The Presbyterian Narrative


If Ref21 had commboxes with their posts, I could simply make this point (or set of points) in response to Rick Phillips over there. But I guess ACE stands for Anti-Commbox Evangelicals. At the risk of offending Bill McClay (as if he reads OL) who wrote a very fine piece on the “American narrative,” the… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Because Someone Has to Provide Oversight, Confessionalism, Piety with Excitement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 68 Responses

Golden Oldie (part two)


An excerpt from “‘Reformed’ or ‘Revived’: Why Words Matter”, Modern Reformation (July/August 1998): Perhaps a better way of showing these differences is to contrast the words “revive” and “reform.” These words connote the same difference already noted between Tennent and the Second Helvetic Confession. The word, “revive,” suggests an effort to recover genuine spiritual existence… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Confessionalism, Piety with Excitement, Reformed Protestantism | Tagged | 11 Responses

I Wonder What He thinks of Earnestness


From the fellow who thought the comparison of Scripture reading to oatmeal needed an injection of sanity: I had never heard the phrase “God’s ordinary means of grace” until I was introduced to the reformed faith. As a result I had no doctrinal or experiential category for the true significance of those ordinary elements that… Read More→

Also posted in Application of Redemption, Because Someone Has to Provide Oversight | Tagged , , | 13 Responses

The Phebe Bartlet Syndrome

4 year old

Leon Brown wonders: Asked differently, should we put a smile on our faces for a hour and a half on Sunday mornings when things are truly chaotic in the home? No sooner than we depart the church building, we are met by disobedient children and dueling spouses. Our pornography addiction resurfaces; our anger meets us… Read More→

Also posted in Because Someone Has to Provide Oversight, Wilderness Wanderings | Tagged , , | 26 Responses

Is Scripture Like Sweetbreads or Broccoli?


Danny Hyde makes a case for reading Scripture in a way that will “inflame.” It could be (all about) my cold heart, but I’ve always been wary of getting close to fire. It may shed light, but it also consumes (as in our God is a consuming fire). Still, what struck me as curious about… Read More→

Also posted in Are They On Their Meds?, High Church Presbyterianism, Shock and Awe | Tagged , , | 162 Responses

Authenticity, Schmauthenticity


Ever since the First Pretty Good Awakening (at least), a kind of conservative Protestant has looked for indications of genuine faith — such as religious affections, or unwillingness to compromise with worldliness (read holiness) — to distinguish real Christianity from one that simply goes through the motions. (The search for certainty comes in other forms.… Read More→

Posted in Piety without Exuberance | Tagged , , | 45 Responses

Calvinism Envy


Mark Tooley wishes Methodists were more like Calvinists. (H.L. Mencken couldn’t tell a difference when it came to Prohibition and World War I.) Calvinists are sometimes mocked but they do have their own élan. These determined people endured the flames, created their own cosmology, generated revolutions, crossed oceans, conquered virgin lands, built civilizations, and writ… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Reformed Protestantism | Tagged , , , , , , | 52 Responses



Speaking of the Land of Chocolate, the lead singer of Jason and the Callers has another defense of the magisterium as he understands it. In it is this assertion: Because in order to distinguish between divine revelation and human opinion in a principled way, some visible body must exist with the authority to do so.… Read More→

Also posted in Are the CTCers Paying Attention?, Roman Catholicism | Tagged , , , | 51 Responses

Protestantism Isn’t All Bad


Jason and the Callers do not say much good about Reformed Protestantism. They could possibly admit that the doctrinalist world of confessional Presbyterianism may have given them a taste for the theory greater than which none can be conceived — the visible church is the church that Christ founded. But they could also be a… Read More→

Also posted in Are the CTCers Paying Attention?, Roman Catholicism | Tagged , | 24 Responses