Friday, January 31, 2014

John Piper and Mark Noll on Race and Christianity

The following is an excerpt from John Piper's 2011 book, Bloodlines (227-230). In this passage, Piper extensively quotes Mark Noll's God and Race in American Politics: A Short History (177-181). Both of these men summarize not only the complex relationship of Christianity and race in American history, but also the way the Christian message itself accounts for the seeming contradictions this complexity causes.

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I conclude by confessing sin, warning against chronological smugness, and pleading for persevering sacrifice.

There is no point in trying to hide the fact that the Bible has been used by Americans to justify both race-based, demeaning slavery and its abolition. Mark Noll’s book God and Race in American Politics: A Short History clarifies this painful confession. With an eye for concrete (incarnational) stories and meticulous historical detail, Noll is above all a seer of the both-and. Or call it paradox. Or historical conundrum. There are no simple explanations.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lesslie Newbigin on the Gospel And Paradox

To begin this post, I think it's fitting to explain briefly why I haven't continued writing on the subject matter of tension on this website as I'd originally intended. The reason is simple, really; It's a big subject and I'd like to be thorough.

I've enjoyed some fruitful thought about this. Nonetheless, until I consider my conclusions more developed, I'd like simply to post relevant quotes and examples of tension and paradox in theology, philosophy, and experience.

(And as I've written in another post, my goal in highlighting tension is not to play fast and loose with the truth. Rather, it's to bring attention to the fact that in some cases the truth cannot fully be grasped without "the other hand.")

To this end, I'd like to share a quote by Lesslie Newbigin on paradox found in the good news of Jesus.

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“We know that sin and suffering belong together, not as an accident, but by a necessary connection. They ought to belong together - and that is another way of saying that God punishes sin. That is not an Old Testament doctrine abrogated by the gospel. It is taught by Jesus in the Gospels with an absoluteness that is nowhere exceeded in the Old Testament.