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Links to Think: 01.21.12

January 21, 2012

Neo-fundamentalism (excellent but somewhat lengthy essay) – Roger Olson gave that as the title to the post in which he shared a lengthy essay written by Michael Clawson.

“This is not simply a return to the original Protestant fundamentalism of the early-twentieth century, though it is analogous to it. Instead, I argue that some conservative evangelicals are reacting to the contemporary influences of postmodernity in much the same way that the original fundamentalists did towards the influences of modernity a century ago – namely through hostility towards the broader culture, retrenchment around certain theological doctrines, and conflict with, or separatism from others within a more broadly defined evangelicalism. Because of these similarities, I want to suggest that fundamentalism as a scholarly category (as opposed to its more derogatory uses in the popular media) is a useful framework within which to understand this contemporary phenomenon.”

“The driving force behind neo-fundamentalism, as with historic fundamentalism, is a “remnant mentality.” Neo-fundamentalists believe they alone are remaining true to the fullness of the gospel and orthodox faith while the rest of the evangelical church is in grave, near-apocalyptic danger of theological drift, moral laxity, and compromise with a postmodern culture – a culture which they see as being characterized by a skepticism towards Enlightenment conceptions of “absolute truth,” a pluralistic blending of diverse beliefs, values, and cultures, and a suspicion of hierarchies and traditional sources of authority. Because of this hostility toward postmodern ways of thinking, neo-fundamentalists have little tolerance for diversity of opinions among evangelicals on any issues they perceive as essential doctrines – which are most of them – as opposed to the broader evangelical movement which historically has allowed for a much wider range of disagreement on disputable matters. Neo-fundamentalists thus respond to the challenges of a postmodern culture by narrowing the boundaries of what they consider genuinely evangelical and orthodox Christianity, and rejecting those who maintain a more open stance.”

Wisdom v. the Law on Women’s Issues – On her Practical Theology for Women blog, Wendy Alsup packs a lot of wisdom into this post, not just on women’s issues and not just for women.

“Apart from the gospel, the law kills. Presenting instructions to women apart from a thorough fleshing out of the gospel sets women up for failure, and I have sat under much teaching and read many books that do that very thing.”

“Furthermore, among the books I read and teachers I heard, I wasn’t just presented with the law, I was also often presented with the teacher’s personal application of the law…I have had a conviction since I was a teenager that Scripture was sufficient—sufficient in what it says is wrong and sufficient in what it says is right—and have tried to let that conviction constrain me in anything I might project onto others.”

“Wisdom is not law. And wisdom is only wise when applied correctly in the right situations. You can’t read Proverbs the same as the Ten Commandments, yet in our fight against moral relativism, conservative Christians fear situational wisdom. The result is silly, one-dimensional conclusions.”

When the State Took Away My Life: North Carolina Grapples with Sterilization Practice  –  An article on Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog about sterilization eugenics in North Carolina. Since I posted a link to the subject in last week’s links, I wanted to link to this article, too.

“Surely, the desire to prevent suffering is good. But eugenics attempts to eliminate human suffering by eliminating humans who suffer. Yet, the severest human “disabilities” usually aren’t the genetic kind, but are disabilities of character, mindset, and simple sin nature—the sort of things medicine will never be able to sterilize us from.”

Nick Kristof is right: it begins early, in the home  – Scot McKnight shares part of Nick Kristof’s (author of Half the SkyNew York Times article, “A Poverty Solution That Starts with a Hug.” Sure, it’s over-simplistic and certainly not the be-all, end-all solution, but Kristof nonetheless has a point that shouldn’t be ignored.

“You can modify behavior later, but you can’t rewire disrupted brain circuits,” notes Jack P. Shonkoff, a Harvard pediatrician who has been a leader in this field. “We’re beginning to get a pretty compelling biological model of why kids who have experienced adversity have trouble learning.”

 (Note: My sharing of these links, blogs, and authors does not equal my full endorsement of their ideologies or even entirety of the posts shared.)

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