Harold O.J. Brown

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The Conversion of a Culture: Crisis and Resolution
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The Conversion of a Culture: Crisis and Resolution

Can an entire culture “be converted”i.e., turn away from entrenched patterns of selfishness and self-indulgence and replace them with patterns of altruism?  Can an entire society begin to act in accordance with the Second Great Commandment, “Thou

Protestantism, America, and Divine Law
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Protestantism, America, and Divine Law

Since the time of the Founding Fathers, Protestantism appeared to be the default religion in the United States.  At the end of World War II, when the United States began to enjoy superpower status, Mainline Protestantism (comprising the older

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Judge Roberts

As the U.S. Senate prepares to consider President George W. Bush’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, there seems to be a certain ambiguity about Judge Roberts’ position on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made

Powers, Principalities, Spiritual Forces
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Powers, Principalities, Spiritual Forces

In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul writes, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (6:12).  Political scientist and lay theologian

No Graven Images
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No Graven Images

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . .
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them . . .

—Exodus 20:4,5

In the fourth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Satan tempts Jesus with

Honor to Whom Honor
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Honor to Whom Honor

“Render to all what is due them,” writes Saint Paul, “Tax to whom tax is due, custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Romans 13:7, NASB).  When a zealous Christian offered to help Mark Twain

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Civil Unions

Civil unions, which offer same-sex couples the privileges that presently accrue to those who have been united in normal marriages, have been discussed by several legislators since the MassachusettsSupreme Judiciary Court ordered the state legislature to establish “homosexual marriage.”  The

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Remembering the Covenant

During his term as president, Jimmy Carter, then a Southern Baptist, called for a White House Conference on Families in order to redefine family as any group of humans living together—so general a definition that college roommates or even a

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God, Man, and Family

The first chapter of the Bible forms the basis of the Christian understanding of the nature and dignity of man—and woman: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female

Two Trails of Blood
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Two Trails of Blood

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

—Tertullian

The spread of Christianity was marked by a trail of blood, shed by myriad martyrs during the first three centuries of the Christian era.  Another trail of blood

New Skins, Old Wine
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New Skins, Old Wine

For almost 2,000 years, Christians have been confessing Jesus Christ as God and Savior in the assurance that they knew enough about Him to justify making this confession. From the earliest days of Christianity, its adversaries have repeatedly challenged the

Sic et Non?
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Sic et Non?

A number of years ago, when I was teaching a ninth-grade religion class (in Switzerland, where religion is taught in public schools), one of the boys said to me, “All religions teach the same thing.” Although only 15, he was,

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Not Absolutely Evil

Human beings cannot be absolutely evil, according to Christian theology, because they are made in the image of God; though fallen, they always retain an awareness of good and evil. Recent reports in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo (February 26)

Come, Sweet Death
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Come, Sweet Death

In the spring of 1975, C. Everett Koop, M.D., addressed a conference of Christian laymen in New Orleans on the topic of abortion—more specifically, on the implications of Roe V. Wade. Among the changes he foresaw were a growing

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Christianity and the Legitimacy of Government

The late Paul J. Tillich (1886-1965)—not exactly a hero to conservative Christians, Protestant or Catholic—spoke of the rival impulses that cause agony in personal and community decisionmaking, which he defined as the clash between autonomy and heteronomy. In autonomy—literally, “self-law”—individuals

Tradition, Old and New
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Tradition, Old and New

“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3). Jesus had many negative things to say about the dangers of placing excessive emphasis on tradition; in the passage quoted above, he goes on to cite

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Dare to Be a Daniela

In early July, the United States Supreme Court, acting on a plea brought by two unidentified families, one Mormon and one Roman Catholic, ruled the practice of prayer at high-school football games unconstitutional (Santa Fe School District v.

Shifting Ground
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Shifting Ground

Kenneth Miller, a professor of biology at Boston University, has produced a beautifully written work. His book is intended to refute every objection to the more or less universally accepted doctrine of evolution, to discredit its opponents, and to assert

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The Goddess and the Bride

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. . . . And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam” (Genesis

Our Heads Cut Off
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Our Heads Cut Off

        “Language is the armory of the human mind; and at once contains the trophies of its past, and the weapons of its future conquests.”

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This remarkable French mathematician has written extensively on what he considers the fundamental

Emerging Majority?
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Emerging Majority?

It is reported that when British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, thus effectively ending the War of Independence, his regimental band played a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down.” As we approach the end of the

The Coining of the Third Age
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The Coining of the Third Age

In the early winter of 1999, much of the world is looking forward with eager anticipation or uneasy apprehension to the dawning of the Third Millennium. It is the third millennium A.D., of course, the beginning of the third thousand

A Quiet, Little Jihad?
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A Quiet, Little Jihad?

In late summer last year, two United States embassies in East Africa were the target of murderous bomb attacks by Islamic terrorist groups. After ordering two retaliatory missile attacks on installations presumed to be connected with militant Islamic extremism, President

That They May Be One
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That They May Be One

On the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed what is known as the Great High Priestly Prayer. It is recorded for us in John 17. In that short chapter, addressing the Father in the presence of His disciples, He prayed

Fighting Words: Abortion and Civility
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Fighting Words: Abortion and Civility

Austrian sociologist Hans Millendorfer claims to have discovered, at least in his native Austria, a perplexing correspondence: his statistics show a rise in abortions paralleled by a rise in civility. To those of us who consider abortion a violent and

A Good Report
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A Good Report

Writing to Timothy, his younger brother in the faith, the Apostle Paul listed a number of attributes desirable in a bishop. His final admonition is this: “Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without [outside]: lest

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The Subject of a Conference

An ecumenical jihad was the subject of a conference, “Not of This World,” held at Rose Hill College in Aiken, South Carolina, last May. Here Eastern Orthodox Christians hosted Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants in an effort to discover common

Not Ours to Give
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Not Ours to Give

Gary David Comstock is Protestant chaplain and visiting assistant professor of sociology at Wesleyan University. The author cites his “lover/partner Ted” in the acknowledgments, and thus manifestly belongs to the group he describes in uniformly favorable terms. The book is

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Partial Birth Abortion

Partial birth abortion—a procedure which its practitioners call D&E, dilatation and extraction—is once again the subject of congressional legislation that would ban the grisly act. President Clinton would appear to be in a bind with this bill, because he

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Defining Relationships

The “Defense of Marriage Act” was making its way through Congress as these lines were being written. Having passed the House, the debate was turned, by the “good” offices of Senator Edward Kennedy, into a joint defense of marriage and

Sacraments of Death
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Sacraments of Death

Among the sacraments of the Christian churches, the one most frequently received is the Lord’s Supper, also known as the Eucharist or Holy Communion. In the classic English language liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer, the ministrant offering the

The Unbanable Book
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The Unbanable Book

A recent full-page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune, which no longer calls itself “The World’s Greatest Newspaper,” listed four documents that supposedly are foundational: the Magna Carta, the Treaty of Versailles, the Declaration of Independence, and the Infiniti Retailer

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Share Responsibility

John C. Salvi III has been convicted of killing employees at two abortion clinics and sentenced to two consecutive life terms by Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara. The judge refused to let Salvi read a statement about his religious beliefs—or delusions, as

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Enough is Enough

The heinous crime that was perpetrated against a 12-year-old girl by three American marines on Okinawa has harmed many people: the young girl and her family; the three men, whose lives will be blighted by the consequences of their crime;

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Conflicting Beliefs

When Christians invite Muslims into their homes, it sometimes happens that the guests wish to perform their ritual prayers at the specified “prayer time.” This may be intended as a witness of their Muslim commitment, but it is not a

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Aunt Jemima

Aunt Jemima, the jovial and plump woman who for decades graced the pancake mix cartons, was replaced a few years ago by a younger, slimmer figure, who was nevertheless identifiable as someone who could have been the niece of the

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A New, “Inclusive” Bible

Oxford University Press, perhaps the most prestigious English language Bible publisher (although far from the largest), brought out The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version on September 11. After “more than five years of steady work,” the editors, according

America’s Christian Heritage
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America’s Christian Heritage

The phrase “America’s Christian Heritage” might irritate any hearers who do not want to be classed as members of the tribe that first received its name in Antioch (Acts 11:26). But wait: we recognize that one does not have to

Politics and Civilization
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Politics and Civilization

William Pfaff, syndicated political columnist for the International Herald Tribune (Paris), is probably the most perceptive writer in the world today on European affairs, particularly as they affect and are affected by American policy. He is not as much of

Games and the Man
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Games and the Man

“Remember thou, that it is better far

To pull a poor oar in the third boat

Than to be captain of the basketball team.”

Spoken by the editor of the Harvard Lampoon at freshman orientation, those words had life-changing impact

Arguing With Jesus
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Arguing With Jesus

Professor Neusner, one of the world’s most accomplished scholars in the field of religious studies, begins by proclaiming that as a practicing and believing Jew he says a polite “No” to another practicing and believing Jew—but one who made extraordinary

Conspiracy in the Caves
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Conspiracy in the Caves

From the time of their discovery in 1947, the “scrolls from the Dead Sea” have been a source of fascination, speculation, consternation, confusion, and, in the view of these two authors, a far-reaching religious conspiracy. Deception reads like a thriller,

Regression and Renewal
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Regression and Renewal

In February 1941, the world was at war. Nazism and fascism ruled virtually all of Europe and parts of Africa. Imperial Japan was poised to conquer much of East Asia. Joseph Stalin still controlled the world’s largest land mass, although

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Causing Divisions

AIDS, like abortion, seems to have divided the religious community along conservative and liberal lines. One might suppose, in a reasonably rational society, that the increasing availability of contraceptives would reduce the incidence of abortion. However, in the United States

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Receiving “Moral” Support

Bishop Spong’s agitation for the ordination of practicing homosexuals received “moral” support last February from the Special Task Force on Human Sexuality of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Presbyterian commission recommended the ordination of homosexuals as well as the provision