Is Christianity Reasonable?

You would think that religious historians would know better. Better in this case is understanding faith (of most varieties) to be fantastic since it involves truths and realities that cannot be seen and that divide rather than unite human beings. From this perspective, even the most orthodox of Christian affirmations look foolish and even irrational. Think of the Shorter Catechism’s answer number 22:

Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

Nothing in this answer is oddly Reformed, whether of the New or Old Life variety. It is an affirmation confessed by the church worldwide. And yet it is from an unbeliever’s perspective about as reputable a description of reality as the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon.

Why then would evangelical historian, Randall Stephens, and his co-author, Karl W. Giberson, single out Ken Ham (never heard of him), David Barton, and James Dobson for their “dangerous” anti-intellectualism? In a moldy New York Times op-ed column, then wrote (based on their new book, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age):

THE Republican presidential field has become a showcase of evangelical anti-intellectualism. Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann deny that climate change is real and caused by humans. Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann dismiss evolution as an unproven theory. The two candidates who espouse the greatest support for science, Mitt Romney and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., happen to be Mormons, a faith regarded with mistrust by many Christians.

The second word of the column might be an indication of the authors’ agenda and the Times‘ editors’ willingness to further it. The Republican field is not a great one and I too wish that evangelicals had not bet the parachurch ministry parking lot on one party. But are Republicans the only ones with goofy ideas? Has it occurred to these authors that Democrats like Barney Frank keeping watch over the federal agencies responsible for mortgage lending did far more damage to the country than David Barton’s notions about George Washington’s faith? And can we really single out the pastors of Republicans without mentioning the likes of Jeremiah Wright?

But our president’s associations with a provocateur minister do not prevent the authors from complimenting the right kind of faith expressions in the United States:

Americans have always trusted in God, and even today atheism is little more than a quiet voice on the margins. Faith, working calmly in the lives of Americans from George Washington to Barack Obama, has motivated some of America’s finest moments. But when the faith of so many Americans becomes an occasion to embrace discredited, ridiculous and even dangerous ideas, we must not be afraid to speak out, even if it means criticizing fellow Christians.

In which case, the other reason for bringing Barton, Ham, and Dobson to light in this way is to show a simple point: I am not an evangelical of the kind that these evangelicals are. Well, if that is the case, then why don’t we get rid of the word evangelical altogether? Sorry to be repetitious, but wouldn’t being Christian be a whole lot easier if you were not always lumped in with every other Protestant not in the National Council of Churches? Since Stephens and Giberson both have taught at Eastern Nazarene College, they might have made the useful point that they are Nazarenes, explained what these kind of Wesleyans believe, and faulted Barton, Ham, and Dobson for not being true to Nazarene teaching. But I don’t suspect the editors of the Times would have printed that. I’m betting Christianity Today wouldn’t either.

Some religious historians have wondered aloud about the propriety of these evangelical scholars turning on their own before the watching secular world. Baylor University historian, Thomas Kidd, objects that Stephens and Giberson have misrepresented academic evangelicals (who has supposedly integrated secular points of view into their w—- v—):

The editorial’s list of topics on which evangelicals have supposedly “rejected reason” is long and eclectic: evolution, homosexuality, religion and the Founding, and spanking children. On all these topics, evangelicals have not accepted the dominant academic position on the subject, and thus, the New York Times piece implies, have rejected reason. Surely many evangelicals would be open to a reasoned discussion on some or all of these topics, but they would need to feel that Stephens and Giberson appreciate that conservative Christians have logical justifications for believing what they do. Aren’t there serious reasons to believe in a literal reading of the “six days” of Genesis 1, or the historic teachings of most major religions on human sexuality, or even that the Bible’s mandates to spank your children (Proverbs 13:24 etc.) remain in effect?

John Fea from Messiah College agrees with Kidd:

Is The New York Times the best place for evangelicals to decry evangelical anti-intellectualism? Indeed, anti-intellectualism is a problem in the evangelical community. But I wonder, to quote Kidd, if the New York Times op-ed page is “the most promising way to start addressing that failuire?”

To be completely honest, I also wonder if a book published by Harvard University Press is going to have any impact on rank and file evangelicals. It seems to me that two kinds of people will read The Anointed: 1). Non-evangelicals who want ammunition to bash evangelical intellectual backwardness and 2). Evangelical intellectuals who already agree with Giberson and Stephens. I wonder if ordinary evangelicals–the folks who actually listen to Barton and Ham and Dobson–will read the book or even know that the book exists.

In the end, I agree with Kidd. The anti-intellectual problem in American evangelicalism needs to be addressed in our churches. It is going to require evangelical thinkers to engage congregations in a more purposeful way and give some serious thought to how their vocations as scholars might serve the church.

Meanwhile, University of Colorado historian, Paul Harvey surveys the evangelical backlash against the op-ed and takes it all lightheartedly:

My co-blogmeister and most excellent historian Randall Stephens and his co-author Karl Giberson have recently been called (among other things), wolves in sheep’s clothing, dangerous menaces to evangelicalism, and, best of all, unethical attack-dog researchers and writers — the later from famed ethicist Charles Colson, in a matchless self-parody of old-time fundamentalist fury. As John Turner noted here recently, after Randall and Karl’s book The Anointed, some have felt there is no hope left for America. (It bears mentioning that most of the above noted did not actually read the book but scanned, and that inaccurately, Randall and Karl’s New York Times editorial). As a writer for the always thoughtful and temperate National Review opined, “once left-wing values enter the evangelical bloodstream, there is almost no hope for America.”

You might have noticed that some of these initial reactions are an eensy-weensy bit overwrought.

And all along no one seems to notice that what Christians believe about the Trinity, Christ, salvation, human beings, sin, and the sacraments are from a secular perspective just as crazy as spanking children or an earth that began on November 1, 4004 BC. I wonder if the solution here is for religious historians to teach more about the faith than about faith’s implications for practical living (like politics and the environment), more about what Christians profess and less about how they vote. If that happened, then Christians and non-Christians might understand better how different Christianity is from a modern w— v— and in turn believers might try to preserve their uniqueness rather than trying to make everyone else — from politicians to newspaper editors — like them.

Bottom line: if Christianity truly were odd, and Christians were abnormal, we wouldn’t have to worry about evangelical Republicans running the country.

81 thoughts on “Is Christianity Reasonable?

  1. Carl Trueman: “A few weeks ago a friend asked if I would repudiate the title `evangelical.’ My answer was `Well, it depends on how it is being used.’ I will not typically describe myself as such in the American context (back home in Blighty, the situation is somewhat different for cultural reasons)…. Where it is problematic is when it is used in a way that implies I am somehow part of a wider movement that includes, say, open theists but excludes, say, conservative Dominican theologians. My inclusion with the former and exclusion from the latter would seem to me to be entirely arbitrary, given that, while I have significant disagreements with both, I am arguable slightly closer to the Dominicans than the radical Arminians. That is not to say that I look down on either group; it is simply to make the observation that a confessional Presbyterian has some affinities with both but does not really belong to either.

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  2. DGH,

    But are Republicans the only ones with goofy ideas? Has it occurred to these authors that Democrats like Barney Frank keeping watch over the federal agencies responsible for mortgage lending did far more damage to the country than David Barton’s notions about George Washington’s faith? And can we really single out the pastors of Republicans without mentioning the likes of Jeremiah Wright?

    This simply serves to illustrate the folly of cramming Christian ethics into the realm of politics. If Christians, and frankly the electorate at large had paid more attention to the pressing and practical issues that are ravaging American politics, there may have been a more concerted effort to seek workable solutions to the problems, economic, and geopolitical that are creating so much misery on the home front. Wrangling about the dangers of evolution, or global warming from whichever perspective seems to be indicative of how we can’t drop the polemics of morality even when the viability of the Republic depends on it. It seems to me to matter very little which side of the two-party debate one falls on with respect to which one is truly “Christian” when the whole system is limping around on crutches.

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  3. You haven’t heard of Ken Ham? Oh yeah, you aren’t home schooling anyone. He’s fairly cutting edge in that group. Think creational presuppositionalism, by which I mean he is very much tuned into the theory of presup.

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  4. ” If that happened, then Christians and non-Christians might understand better how different Christianity is from a modern w— v— and in turn believers might try to preserve their uniqueness rather than trying to make everyone else — from politicians to newspaper editors — like them.”

    It’s a sad, sorry sickness that Evangelicals want the world to like them so much.

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  5. Ken Ham has an Arminian world-view, a false gospel which conditions salvation on the sinner’s decision. He also has “the Creation Museum” in Northern Kentucky.

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  6. The problem isn’t a difference between the old social gospellers and the neo social gospellers but that liberty no longer holds sway. The Technocrats have already won.

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  7. Mark McCulley,

    Having been to the Creation Museum and heard the Gospel that is presented there (and which is really the central theme of the museum) one would be hard pressed to call it “Arminian”. Ken Ham is actually of the tribe of Calvinistic Baptists. The Bookstore of the Creation Museum was also full of Banner of Truth titles (I realize those pietists have little quarter on this side of the blogosphere but one would be hard-pressed to call them Arminian).

    Now I may be wrong, but this ARP Minister and the OPC Minister that I was with both noted at the end of the self-guided tour through the museum how Biblical was the presentation of the Gospel.

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  8. Dear Ben, Did you watch the movie that Ken Ham shows museum visitors, where he tells them that Christ died for them and that they need only to ask Jesus into their heart in order to be saved? Ham is just your garden variety Arminian Baptist who wants to form political alliances with Southern Baptists like pope Mohler.

    I don’t mind the Banner of Truth volumes in his bookstore (buy Haldane and Smeaton first!), but that is not evidence of Ken Ham being “calvinistic”. Norman Geisler and Charles Stanley teach that being a Christian is like getting a tattoo. Once you decide to get it, you can’t lose it. Well, if they don’t think you can lose it, they can’t be Arminians can they? Frankly, it doesn’t matter what we call it, as long as we see that salvation conditioned on what happens in the sinner is a false gospel.

    Now, it could possibly be that some current OP clergymen do not think that election is good news. But I hope not. If Christ died for those who will perish, then the gospel has changed into something about what God does in the sinner.

    John Fesko: “Mark Noll’s argument is that in the wake of Vatican II and the publication of the Roman Catholic Church’s Catechism, Rome’s position on justification ‘now seems to fall somewhere between John Wesley’s Arminianism and the Augustinian positions maintained by Martin Luther and John Calvin.’ Thus, on the substance of what is actually taught about God’s saving work in the world, if not always on the exact terminology used to describe that saving work, many evangelicals and Catholics believe something close to the same thing. “

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  9. Is Christianity reasonable? Not at all. It is outrageous… scandalous and utterly foolishness. And that is why Christians need the gospel of grace hammered into their heads every Lord’s day.

    It really goes against the grain…

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  10. Re: Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

    It looks like the RC heard your question and answered with a DVD on the Nicene Creed:

    http://www.firstthings.com/thecreed

    Wow, they were quick! Do they have a hotline to your blog? lol 😉

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  11. Zrim… not sure you caught my humor, i.e. Romney calling Newt “zany” the other day. No statement on Mormonism implied on my part. I’m in the Luther camp when it comes to politics: (paraphrasing) For a Civil Ruler I’d rather have a competent Mormon than an incompetent Christian.
    So zany is definitely out!
    😉

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  12. Dr Hart once lamented about studying film at Temple University, “Don’t ask” The opening salvo of a thoughtful polemic gathers the reasons why –– and more importantly –– why God’s Providence is often times a sweet embrace of life. Cheers!

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  13. Jack, I’m Lutheran that way, too. But what’s zany–and one hears it often enough from evangies–is how incompetence to rule is measured by the gullibility to also believe that Jesus made a stop in America after his resurrection. But I’m not sure how that’s any different from the early Christians being maligned as bad citizens for their cannibalism (they eat flesh and drink blood, you know, just ask them). All of which just seems like incompetence in understanding the otherworldiness of religious belief, true or false.

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  14. “GAS, who are the Technocrats?

    Michael Mann, good question. Suppose we have a candidate for POTUS who wants to the use the power of the office to cure Homos and save Israel so Christ can return and rule for a thousand years in Jerusalem. A biblicist technocrat. Or suppose we have a candidate who wants to impose a traditional “ordered society” and attack Iran as the next phase in the Crusades. A Romanist technocrat. Or just your run of the mill candidates who believe themselves to be extra ordinarily gifted to the extent that they will use the power of government to better the lives of the people through some brilliant plan they have developed.

    What if instead government was limited to merely protecting people from force or fraud instead of engaging in unwarranted foreign adventures, or trying to regulate people’s behavior that causes no harm to others, or generally refraining from governmental programs that lead to negative unintended consequences? What if people actually had liberty?

    I generally agree with Hart’s diagnosis of the Evangelical condition, both spiritually and politically. I disagree with him on the political treatment. Being agnostic about our political situation is no solution. Scripture tells us to pray for the King so we might live in peace. As Image Bearers we also have a duty to stewardship. If we just allow tyranny to reign we abdicate our stewardship responsibilities. So whether it’s the Secularist or the Evangelical that’s trying to impose tyranny we have a responsibility work for liberty, because liberty leads to peace.

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  15. Christians cannot measure by reason whether they should revolt against the modern nation-state, as if a certain nation- states need to be revolted against. Nor can we measure by reason whether a nation-state has been predestined by God, because all nation-states have been predestined by God. All the powers that be are subject to the sovereignty of God, and the justified elect are to be subject to them all. The world may be the location of Satan’s rear end, as Luther described the prince of this age, but Satan’s reign of darkness nevertheless still stands under Christ’s sovereignty.

    Christians can perhaps ask if the nation-state is persistently attending to the rewarding of good and evil. To be “servant to you for good” is a criteria, not a description. “Good” and “evil” here cannot be understood in some wide historical sense such as to cover the preservation of democracy. The service for good is “to you”, ie, it is to be measure by the welfare of each individual.

    Whatever the criteria to which Romans 13:6 points, it is all the more clear in verse 7 that Christians are being instructed to discriminate. “Render to each his due” cannot be assumed to mean “render everything to the nation-state.” Christians are to refuse to give the nation-state certain types of “honor” or “fear”. The place of the nation-state in the providential designs of God is not such that Christians have a vocation to simply do whatever it says.

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  16. Christianity is foolishness to the natural man, but it is not foolishness considered objectively. The Lord asks us to come and reason together with Him: we do not take a leap into the dark when we believe. And we should be careful how we talk about mystery in case we allow unBiblical (and illogical) doctrines to pass under the radar. We are not asked to believe in vagueness or fantasy. I think we can say that in a very real way Christinaity is reasonable. It stands utterly opposed to the philosophies of the world and so the natural man considers it foolishness. Once regenerated, however, the Christian sees it for the perfectly reasonable position it is: because it is the truth. Is this not what the Apostle means?

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  17. GAS, when did I ever say that Christians ought to be agnostic about politics? I’ve said it’s possible for Xians to be so. But that generally applies if they are not citizens of the polity. If they are, then they have some responsibilities (construed from general revelation and common sense) to be engaged politically. What I object to is evangelicals or liberals using Christianity to justify their political knowledge.

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  18. “GAS, when did I ever say that Christians ought to be agnostic about politics?”

    Darryl, calling on religious historians to ignore the political context seems rather agnostic to me.

    Personally, I’m happy enough if Atheists, Romanists, Mormons, and Evangelicals are all committed to liberty each from their own religious precommitments.

    Being Sybil about ones relationship between their religious commitments and political commitments seems to lead to certain implications. I think it’s safe to say that most of our politicians have multiple personality disorder!

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  19. GAS, I do think you missed the point, which was for religious historians, who are supposed to know something about religion — after all they are not political historians — to mind the religious bits of Christianity.

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  20. GAS said “Or just your run of the mill candidates who believe themselves to be extra ordinarily gifted to the extent that they will use the power of government to better the lives of the people through some brilliant plan they have developed.”

    Ah, OK, a problem for which Ron Paul is the solution; I think I know where you’re coming from.

    BTW, in his book Sarah Palin, etc. (not the real title but that’s the part that catches my eye), it’s pretty clear that Darryl is not agnostic about politics.

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  21. MM,

    What your thing is for the cheerleader from Alaska is something that is utterly beyond me. It almost like meeting a high-church Anglican who also has a thing for Poison, Warrant, and Ratt. Frankly, I am glad that a 2k advocate is a fan of the Tourbusser from AK, if nothing it’s worth the chuckles.

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  22. Luther agrees with you on the royalties, Darryl (but, than again, can’t we find a Luther quote for almost anything? 😉 )

    ‘Therefore historians are the most useful people and most excellent teachers whom we can never sufficiently honor, praise, and thank… ”

    Martin Luther on Education (page 161)
    http://tinyurl.com/6lwmuyo

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  23. Don’t miss clicking on the link… Luther has all kinds of sound observations, including:

    “… it requires a superior man to write history, a man with a lion heart, who dares without fear to speak the truth.”

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  24. Yes, Lily, Luther says a lots of things, including “A school-master must be able to sing, otherwise I will hear nothing of him.” He continues: “the people should practice gymnastics, in order that they might not fall into revelling, unchastity, gluttony, intemperance and gaming. Therefore these two exercises and pastimes please me best, namely, music and gymnastics, of which the first drives away all care and melancholy from the heart, and the latter produces elasticity of the body and pre-
    serves the health.”

    That’s a fun link. Here it is in a cut ‘n paste-able format:http://www.archive.org/stream/lutheroneducatio00painuoft/lutheroneducatio00painuoft_djvu.txt

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  25. Too funny, MM. Thanks for the link and thank goodness we’re all taught to distinguish between the adiaphora of men’s opinions and confessed doctrine. It would be wonderful if we would learn this well and throw off the tyranny of the PC secular gurus and the celebrity preacher gurus of missional madness. Dreams are free – right? ;P

    Darryl, if it wasn’t a lazy Saturday morning, some colorful Luther quotes could most likely be found and applied to those organizations! ‘O the joys of reading Luther and hijacking his prose! Does it ever end?

    P.S. Nevertheless, Luther’s praise of good historians and it’s application to you stands! Put that in your pipe and smoke it on a dreary day. 😉

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  26. I’m not exactly sure what to think about Karl’s most recent book.

    I’m reluctant to embrace its thesis because the authors do seem to be too interested in presenting Christians as reasonable. As DGH notes, the claims of the gospel are anything but reasonable, and no amount of apologetics will make them so.

    On the other hand, the authors are right in their criticism of certain types of unreasonableness within evangelical circles. After all, I fear that we’re being unreasonable about the wrong things. Under the Kuyperian banner, evangelicals have come to accept all manner of heterodoxy in connection with the person and work of Christ, while adopting extreme (and extra-biblical) positions on issues like creationism, homosexuality, and abortion.

    As an example, consider the fate of two different writers for World Magazine. Earlier this year, one of the magazine’s writers proclaimed Glenn Beck to be a Christian because, among other things, she found the Mormon pundit’s political ideas to be so compelling. This writer is still writing regularly for World Magazine to this day, despite her apparent disregard for the differences between the Mormon Jesus and the Christian Jesus. Contrast this with the experiences of another writer for the same publication. This other writer questioned the way that evangelicals have dealt with gay Christians, suggesting that it may be unreasonable to expect some gay Christians to “become straight” in addition to remaining celibate. The Kuyperian horde wasted no time in expressing its outrage. After all, how dare someone challenge the evangelical notion that sexual orientation, like sexual conduct, is purely a product of voluntary choice. This latter author seems to have been chased out of her former position, even though her only “sin” was to suggest that we should stop asking celibate gay Christians to undergo reparative therapy as a condition of being accepted as Christians within the covenant community.

    While this evidence is anecdotal, it provides some evidence of where the Kuyperian “gospel” has led us…and where the “gospel” of the Federal Vision is leading us. In these man-centered theologies, the person and work of Christ become an afterthought; what matters are victories in the culture wars, even if we have to adopt extra-biblical positions as part of our battle strategy.

    I do believe that there is a Culture War. I also believe that that Culture War was won 2000 years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem. As Christians, we need to start living like we believe that!

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  27. Darryl, they are 80s glam rock bands. But, Jed, speaking of chuckles at Palin’s expense, one can’t do much better than Tina Fey. Sorry, Mike.

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  28. DGH,

    Where were you in the 80’s, or even the early 90’s? It’s a testament to good taste that you don’t know though. They were 80’s glam rock bands, complete with big hair tight pants, and makeup.

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  29. Many thanks, David. And, no, there are oodles of things I don’t know or understand about Reformed theology – especially the finer points. I appreciate your help and hope you find clear answers to your questions.

    I am always struck by Dr. Horton’s clarity, depth of thought and understanding of Reformed theology, and where/why he agrees or disagrees with different positions whether Reformed or Lutheran, and his ability to articulate difficult subjects well. He speaks with such care and respect for the listener, it’s a joy to learn from him. Rosenbladt has known him and worked with him for several decades and made a comment that may be worth repeating: he said Horton is absolutely brilliant and incredibly humble no matter the setting. High praise.

    After I listened to Horton, I listened to Tipton again. I was struck by how even odder Dr. Tipton’s arguments sounded after listening to Horton. Why create straw men by caricaturing Lutheran beliefs and use it as his foil and/or angle to critique Dr. Horton’s and other’s work? Using caricatures only diminishes his position and offers a invalid view. The whole thing is weird from my viewpoint since I don’t think Horton is the least iota Lutheran. I hope his interview helps begin to resolve some of the confusion and differences.

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  30. Ben, I wore out “Made In Japan” in my early teens, but you’re in a whole ‘nuther category of devotion if you followed Ritchie Blackmore through the Rainbow years. As for the Rolling Stones, they were bigger than the technical aspects of their music. While Dylan did folk and the Beatles were the nice rockers, the Stones were the bad boys painting it black and using Hell’s Angels as security guards. They’re right in any 60’s collage mixed in with Woodstock, war protests, and assassinations.

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  31. Ben, somehow theonomy and metal going together makes sense to me, as does 2k and U2. But how cigars and bow ties go with Reformed is as puzzling as Mann’s penchant for Palin.

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  32. DGH,

    Isn’t U2 that obscure Irish indie rock band from the 80’s? I vaguely remember them, and may have even enjoyed them, at least everything up to Achtung Baby. After that album it was all downhill. They picked up steam with October, and peaked with Unforgettable Fire, and should have retired as the plateau was becoming a cliff aka Pop.

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  33. This is getting interesting, ie., when Calvinists turn rock critics. I get the biggest kick out of Ben the metalhead. He’s a lovable theonomist. I am still waiting for him and Mark to finish their little spat- probably won’t happen.

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  34. DGH, can middle aged Irish men be edgy or hip? I mean, aging Old School Presby’s can pull it off, but only in the most ironic sort of ways. I simply have no reply to the Amy Grant barb, it cut me too deep. I would simply direct you to what Lewis Black has to say about her in his Stark Raving Black routine – it’s on Netflix online if you are a subscriber.

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  35. Jed,

    Fill us non-netflix subscribers in on Lewis Black’s routine on Amy Grant. I googled it and could not find it. They had reviews of his comedy album but nothing about Amy Grant on the ones I looked at.

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  36. Zrim,

    Amy Grant’s Christmas album used to be a holiday tradition in our household during my evangelical days. That was before her divorce when she went through hell and back. Those who represent and stand for moral causes lots of times end up in moral failures (I wonder if she still considers herself an evangelical?) I no longer think that is a wise route to take- I doubt if Amy Grant does either. It seems like the best comedians are still going after her. I have no idea what she is up to these days that she continues to be on the radar of those who like to rip apart Christians who fall. Here is a humorous example though from a Lutheran who takes it with humor:

    http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com/category/vlog/

    In the evidence strikes back; God raining down in the belly is worth a watch too.

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  37. Darryl, and by “you” you mean Daniel Lanois, right? Who scored “Slingblade,” speaking of edgy and hip. Who knew John Ritter could act?

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  38. Zrim,

    I can’t really say I bought all her albums (I would not admit it if I did) but we always seemed to make it a point to play her Christmas album during the holidays.

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  39. Eno is consistently working with Coldplay the past few years. A major blow to his edgy, cool and hip status… the Boards of Canada? Now we’re talkin…

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  40. I prefer Lanois’ solo work to his U2 productions. Seen him three times live, each a completely different experience. He’s the real deal. Though I still puzzle over his ambiguously theistic lyrics in The Maker.

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  41. Why in the world would anyone spring for a Lanois produced Coldplay album when they could go for one of Dylan’s all time bests – Time Out of Mind, heck, I’d buy Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl ten times before anything Coldplay.

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  42. OK, I wasn’t much of a rocker in the 1980s, I was too mellow.

    And yes, Brian Eno and Roger Eno along with Daniel Lanois, Harold Budd, the Cocteau Twins & Dead Can Dance dominated my brooding periods. For rock I was Funkadelic, The Cult, Primus and Red Hot Chilli Peper. But the 90s was all about electronica.

    Didn’t U2 go through a Pentecostal period? I remember Vineyard folks in the early 1980s gushing over them, but not quite getting the politics of Northern Ireland.

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