War: The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Culture, Current Affairs, Ethics, History, The War on Terrorism4 Comments

During the course of my lifetime (b. 1949) America has fought many wars. In fact, we have been engaged in foreign struggles and combat for almost the entirety of my lifetime, with the exception of the four years of President Carter’s administration (1977-1981). This simple fact got me to thinking recently about an anniversary of a historic document in American … Read More

How Could Tyranny Destroy Our Democracy?

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Free Speech, Freedom, History, Ideology, Philosophy, Politics, Pope Francis, The FutureLeave a Comment

Political scientists and historians are increasingly expressing profound concerns about the future of democracy in the West. I have been asking, as an amateur historian of America, “How and why do democracies die?” The study of democratic backsliding, though around for a long time, is becoming more urgent as we watch events unfold so rapidly it creates deep concern in … Read More

Should Ecclesiastes Be in the Biblical Canon?

John ArmstrongBiblical Theology, Current Affairs, God's Character, History, Spirituality24 Comments

My question will likely startle some. It seems obvious to others. Count me among the latter group. I have read the book many, many times but it has never seemed clearly apparent to me that it belongs, even among the books that we call the “wisdom literature.” I recently read Ecclesiastes again, this time in The Message. Same question: Why … Read More

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

John ArmstrongACT 3, Church History, Current Affairs, History, Prayer, Protestantism, Renewal, Roman Catholicism, Unity of the Church11 Comments

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international Christian ecumenical observance kept annually between January 18 and 25. It is actually an octave, which means the observance lasts for eight days. The observance began in 1908 and was focused on prayer for the church unity. The basic idea, and the January dates, were suggested by Father Paul Wattson, … Read More

The Signs of Love Should Not Be Obscured

John ArmstrongACT 3, Christ/Christology, Current Affairs, History, Love, Spirituality, The Future6 Comments

The world roils in bad news and the story of immense tragedies. These painful realities are quite real. But the great danger we Christians face in 2016 is to focus our attention on this “bad news.” In his final public utterance of 2015, Pope Francis on Thursday, December 31, insisted that the horrors of the past year are often “weighed … Read More

Jimmy Carter: A Full Life

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Books, Civil Rights, Current Affairs, Ethics, History, Leadership, Personal, Spirituality, The Church30 Comments

Like so many I have had a mixture of feelings and responses to President Jimmy Carter over the years. It seems to me that most critics, left and right, have freely attributed to him the label of “poor president” or “political failure.” I wonder what history, long after his death, will actually say. Many thought that Harry Truman was a … Read More

Reading Maya Angelou

John ArmstrongBooks, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Freedom, History, Marriage & Family, Personal, Race and Racism6 Comments

I owe a debt of profound gratitude to my friend Vill Harmon (second from left in this photo with my good friends and two ACT3 board members). Vill is the secretary in the office of Ecumenical and Interreligious for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In July (2015) Vill and I shared a conversation about our background, especially in terms of race … Read More

Nature’s God: The Origins of the American Republic and Why It Matters (Part Two)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Culture, Current Affairs, History, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Renewal, The Church, The Future26 Comments

Matthew Stewart’s Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic is, at least to my mind, one of the most interesting, readable and important books I have read in 2014. I could hardly put it down. It reads easily and demonstrates quite convincingly most, though not all, of the author’s claims. Stewart argues that the ideas which directly shaped … Read More

Nature’s God: The Origins of the American Republic and Why It Matters (Part One)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, History, Ideology, Religion, Renewal, The Church23 Comments

The American patriots who were directly responsible for the founding of our nation were considered, by almost all orthodox Christian ministers at the time, to be “radicals” and “atheists.” So goes the essential claim of philosopher/author Matthew Stewart in his exciting new book, Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (W.W. Norton, New York, 2014). His claim is, at … Read More

Westminster Theological Seminary – Can Institutions Respond to Controversy in Radical Love (Part Three)

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Biblical Theology, Christ/Christology, Church History, Current Affairs, Education, Hermeneutics, History, Personal, Reformed Christianity, The Church, The Future8 Comments

There have been a number of previous controversies at Westminster Theological Seminary (PA). In the middle of the last decade there was one that many believe is linked (in some way) to the “retirement” issue of Doug Green. The Enns debate surrounded the teaching of Dr. Peter Enns, an Old Testament professor who left the faculty six years ago. It is widely believed … Read More