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EDUCATION

Areopagus Christian Studies Series

2017

Christian Political Foundation for EuropeThe Romanian translation of these articles was published with support from the
Sallux | ECPM Foundation.



Jon Thompson - Crestinismul, adevaratul umanismJon Thompson, Christianity: the true humanism

Summary: „This paper argues that Christianity is the most coherent form of humanism. By contrast, secular humanism is historically and philosophically dependent upon Christianity’s view of the human person. In a survey of the origins, emergence and development of secular humanism, this paper explores that historical connection before examining some of the implications which flow from a divorce of human values from Christian belief.” (Full article in Romanian here)









David McIlroy - Alegeri infinite? Eliberandu-ne de icoana culturalaDavid McIlroy, Infinite choice? Freeing ourselves from a cultural icon

Summary: „Our culture understands choice to be the means by which we express our freedom and individuality but sees choice as a range of consumer options. We are constantly compelled to choose, yet the unexpected result is that the things we choose have no value in themselves. God’s choices have significance, involve commitments, are made relationally, and carry a cost which God himself bears. A faithful response to God’s choices will make us aware that our choices matter, that to choose well is to commit to things, that our choices affect those around us, and that the cost of our choices is one we are prepared to shoulder.” (Full article in Romanian here)






Glynn Harrison - Cine sunt eu in ziua de azi - Criza moderna a identitatiiGlynn Harrison, Who am I today? The modern crisis of identity

Summary: „It has never been easy to answer the question ‘Who am I?’ but increasing social pluralism, the fast-changing world of social media, and easy access to cosmetic surgery make it more difficult than ever. The resulting confusion may undermine wellbeing and threaten social cohesion. The biblical view of human identity as ‘given’ in Christ, worked out imaginatively in relational communities, can potentially buffer these harmful consequences, defend against narcissism and help cultivate personal resilience.” (Full article in Romanian here)








David McIlroy - Stil sau conținut: Contează reputația Bisericii?David McIlroy, Style or substance: does the reputation of the church matter?

Summary: „The church and its members are not to be concerned about their reputation for their own sake or as an end in itself. But, they should seek to protect their reputation where the honour of God is at stake, provided doing so is consistent with the countercultural values of the gospel. ” (Full article in Romanian here)










Andrew Williams - Lamentația biblică și protestul politicAndrew Williams, Biblical lament and political protest

Summary: „This  paper  considers  the  pastoral  and  political  role  of  biblical lament  in  the Christian life. The theology and practice of lament is often neglected in congre- gations,  despite  its  prominence  in  the  biblical  text.  Such  neglect  deprives churches of a pastoral resource and moreover, as this paper highlights, dimin- ishes the church’s capacity for prophetic critique and political activism in the face of social injustice. This paper argues lament is needed in corporate worship and prayer, not only to give spiritual expression to faith wrestling with pain, but also to re-energise communities of believers to name injustice, recognise political agency and sustain prophetic action.” (Full article in Romanian here)





David McIlroy - Onoare și rușineDavid McIlroy, Honour and shame

Summary: „Contemporary Western society suppresses the concepts of honour and shame, although they re-surface in its media in a theatre of the grotesque. Honour re- inforces  good  behaviour through  appeals  to  a  shared  morality,  while  shame penalises  bad  behaviour through  disgrace  and  exposure.  The  Bible  offers  a different  social  vision,  in  which  honour is  respected  through  discretion,  and where shame and disgrace can be dealt with through confession, reconciliation and restoration into the community. ” (Full article in Romanian here)








2016

Christian Political Foundation for EuropeThe Romanian translation of these articles was published with support from the
Christian Political Foundation for Europe.



Caroline Eade - Promises, PromisesCaroline Eade, Promises, Promises

Summary: “We all make promises, whether informally, to our friends and family, or formally, in contracts, deeds and vows. Promises are made by companies, governments and international leaders. It seems obvious that a promise carries moral weight. Nevertheless, all of us make rash agreements, or over-commit ourselves, or entirely forget what we have said, and therefore fail to carry out our promises. At the corporate level, it is sometimes easy for a promise to be overridden by financial or political concerns. This paper explores promise-making from a biblical perspective, and suggests some pointers for how we might promise well.” (Full article in Romanian here)






David McIlroy - The Law of LoveDavid McIlroy, The Law of Love

Summary: “The Bible is clear that to love God involves seeking to be obedient to God. Being God’s people involves seeking to make wise decisions about the way in which God wants us to live. Jesus commands his followers to love God and our neighbours. In working out what that means, followers of Jesus need to take into account what God has revealed in the Torah about what it means to love him and to love another, as fulfilled, interpreted and modelled by Jesus. The Holy Spirit is given to us to enable us to grow in love. In order to make wise decisions we need to have internalised God’s law and to meditate on it with the help of the Spirit. In heaven, doing what God wants will be second nature. Till then, reflection on God’s law is an indispensable part of discerning what it means in practice to love God and to love our neighbour.” (Full article in Romanian here)




Julian Rivers - Redefining Marriage: The Case for CautionJulian Rivers, Redefining Marriage: The Case for Caution

Summary: “The Government’s proposal to introduce same-sex marriage seems to rest on reasons of equality, stability and convenience. But on closer inspection, these are respectively incomplete, speculative and negligible. As currently defined, marriage secures the equal value of men and women. It also promotes the welfare of children. By contrast, the new definition ofmarriage will unavoidably call into question its exclusivity, its permanence and even its sexual nature. Such an unravelling of marriage is too high a price to pay for a proposal which fulfils no practical legal need.” (Full article in Romanian here)







Paul S Mills - Globalizarea si economia mondiala - in bogatie si in saracie, la bine si la rauPaul S Mills, Globalization and the world economy – for richer for

poorer, for better or worse?

Summary: „Globalization  is  transforming  the  world  for both  good  and  ill, although  it  is neither new  nor inevitable.  Globalization  is  largely  innocent of  the  crimes  for which  it  is  usually  charged.  It  has  the  potential dramatically  to  reduce  global poverty  and  undermine  repressive  regimes. But  globalization  challenges  the viability  of  the  nation  state  and homogenises  diverse  cultures.  Its  most  lasting legacy could well be easing the spread of the gospel.  ” (Full article in Romanian here)







John Coffey:  Eliberarea celor asupriti - Redescoperirea unei teologii biblice a eliberariiJohn Coffey, ‘To release the oppressed’ - Reclaiming a biblical theology of liberation

Summary: „Liberation  is  one  of  the  great  slogans  of  modern  politics  and one  of  the  major themes of the Bible. The Exodus from Egyptian bondage was the foundational narrative of the Jewish nation, and Jesus inaugurated his ministry by announcing that he had come ‘to release the oppressed’. Scripture teaches that Christ brings redemption  from  slavery  to  sin,  but  it  also depicts  deliverance  from  material forms  of  oppression.  This  paper explains  how  that  biblical  theme  has  inspired early  modern revolutionaries and  nineteenth-century  abolitionists  as  well  as modern liberation theologians. While highlighting the failings of Christian liber- ationists (old and new), the paper concludes that we need a holistic theology of liberation which addresses the diverse forms of spiritual, relational and material enslavement that are rife in the twenty-first century.” (Full article in Romanian here)




Daniel Strange: Cobeligeranta si harul comun - Poate dusmanul dusmanului meu sa fie prietenul meuDaniel Strange, Co-belligerence and common grace: Can the enemy of my enemy be my friend?

Summary: „Co-belligerence describes the activity of Christians working together with non- Christians  for  a  common  political,  economic  or cultural cause.  This  paper explores one biblical argument on the legitimacy of co-belligerence: the doctrine of ‘common grace’. While common grace can offer a stable foundation for co- belligerence, such activity is not straightforward, and calls for careful reflection, discernment and wisdom.” (Full article in Romanian here)








2015

Christian Political Foundation for EuropeThe Romanian translation of these articles was published with support from the
Christian Political Foundation for Europe.



ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?Denis Alexander, Oameni îmbunătățiți sau o nouă creație?

(original article: Enhancing humans or a new creation?)

Summary: „Enhancement involves giving abilities integral to the body beyond those we would normally consider a human to possess. Transhumanism is an influential philosophy based on human autonomy in which enhancement technologies play a central role. This paper summarises transhumanism, describes the scope of current enhancing technologies, and provides a Christian critique, presenting the biblical strategy for human transformation as a compelling alternative to the transhumanist project.” (Full article in Romanian here)







Denis Alexander, Gene, determinism și Dumnezeu

(original article: Genes, Determinism and God)

Rezumat: „This paper has three main aims. The first is to provide biological information to help with interpretation of the latest genetic discoveries. The second is to argue that there is nothing in contemporary behavioural genetics that subverts the profoundly human experience of acting freely. The third is to show that the Judaeo-Christian conviction that humankind is made in God’s image provides a firm basis for human freedom and for the absolute value of each human individual irrespective of their genetic status” (Full article in Romanian here)







ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?John Wyatt, Eutanasia și sinuciderea asistată

(original article: Euthanasia and assisted suicide)

Rezumat: „The arguments in favour of the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia are no longer focussed on unbearable suffering. Instead there is a rising demand for choice and control over the time and manner of our death, coupled with fears about the social and economic consequences of increasing numbers of elderly and dependent individuals. But there are strong medical, legal, social and theological reasons to oppose this new drive for suicide and euthanasia. The potent modern myth of the autonomous individual fails to match with the inescapable reality of human dependence and relationality. The increasing public support for the legalisation of medical killing provides an urgent challenge to the medical and legal professions and to the Christian community as a whole. Are Christians capable of living out a practical and countercultural demonstration of the preciousness of human life expressed in human interdependence, personal commitment and burden-sharing?” (Full article in Romanian here)


Julian Rivers, DINCOLO DE DREPTURI: Moralitatea limbajului drepturilor

(original article: Beyond the morality of rights)

Rezumat: „This essay considers the current tendency to talk about justice in terms of rights. It analyses biblical material and suggests that in spite of the immoral tendency of rights-language, rights can perform a useful role in identifying aspects of human dignity. After briefly considering the UK Human Rights Act, it concludes with three strategies for dealing with rights.” (Full article in Romanian here)








ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?Sujit Sivasundaram, Unitate și diversitate: biserică, rasă și etnie

(original article: Unity and diversity: the church, race and ethnicity)

Rezumat: „The affirmation of ethnic diversity can give the individual believer and the local congregation a sense of cohesion and belonging. Yet, if ethnicity becomes a primary criterion defining identity, we risk marginalising ethnic minorities. This paper brings the twin principles of unity and diversity to bear on four contexts: the individual Christian, the local congregation, the global church and the church in society. In each case, it advocates the celebration of both the unity of how being in Christ sees ethnic differences disappear and the diversity that emerges in understanding and respecting ethnic differences amongst believers.” (Full article in Romanian here)





Colin Chapman, Răspunsuri creștine la islam, islamism și „terorismul islamic”

(original article: Christian responses to Islam, Islamism and ‘Islamic terrorism’ )

Rezumat: „Why is it that some Muslims become Islamists and some Islamists turn to violence? A summary of some basic convictions held in varying degrees by all Muslims is followed by an explanation of how Islamists have developed these ideas in response to various challenges (especially political) of the modern world. This analysis brings us face to face with what has been called ‘the struggle for the soul of Islam’. It is only against this background that we are in a position to suggest how Christians can respond at many different levels to Muslims in general and to Islamists in particular.” (Full article in Romanian here)



2014

Christian Political Foundation for EuropeThe Romanian translation of these articles was published with support from the
Christian Political Foundation for Europe.



ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?Geoffrey Penn, ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?
(original article: Eschatology and Politics: the last things we want to talk about?)

Summary: „Christians fail to do justice to ‘politics’ when they seek to withdraw from the political arena or to use political power to dominate society. Similarly, Christians misunderstand ‘eschatology’ when they obsessively focus on debates about end-times chronology and when they effectively ignore it altogether. In each case, the purpose of biblical eschatology – critique, hope and a re-ordering of everyday priorities and relationships – and hence the political implications of God’s coming and present kingdom, are neglected. A broader understanding of politics and eschatology contends that everything we do is significant in the sight of God and in the light of the future.” (full article in Romanian here)



Robert White, O PROBLEMĂ ARZĂTOARE: Preocuparea creştinilor faţă de mediul înconjurător
(original article: A burning issue: Christian care for the environment)

Summary: „God created a world which he pronounced was very good and delegated to humankind the responsibility for its care. But human sinfulness has marred God's creation and our profligate abuse of the environment is causing global climate change. If left unchecked global warming will cause global economic loss, widespread suffering and death, particularly among the poor and marginalised who are least able to cope with rapid change. Our response is a test both of our obedience to our creator and of our commitment to care for our neighbour.” (full article in Romanian here)






ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?Michael Ovey, DINCOLO DE EXAMINAREA CRITICĂ? Minorități, majorități şi tirania post-modernă
(original article: Beyond scrutiny? Minorities, majorities and post-modern tyranny)

Summary: „This paper examines how two arguments, the supremacy of the majority and the amorality of power, can put some exercises of power beyond scrutiny. It revisits the idea of tyranny used by some earlier Christians and its biblical basis, and argues that an extended idea of tyranny helps analyse and appropriately resist certain contemporary claims that displace God as overlord in relation to the state, the church, the family and the individual. This ensures that such exercises of power do not escape scrutiny.” (full article in Romanian here)





Michael şi Auriel Schluter, COOPERAREA DINTRE BĂRBAT ȘI FEMEIE: Câteva implicaţii ale planului lui Dumnezeu pentru societate
(original article: Gender co-operation)

Summary: „There is much tension and unhappiness in contemporary gender relations. This was not Gods original design. Men and women were not intended to be separate or to compete but to co-operate. Gender co-operation in a fallen world can be promoted through a culture based on commitment to strong mixed-gender households and communities rather than individual rights.” (full article in Romanian here)






ESCATOLOGIA ȘI POLITICA: Ultimele lucruri despre care dorim să vorbim?John Coffey, Mitul toleranței seculare
(original article: The myth of secular tolerance)

Rezumat: “The resurgence of religious violence at the start of the twenty-first century has reinforced the myth of secular tolerance the notion that whereas religious believers are instinctively intolerant, tolerance comes naturally to the secular mind. This paper challenges the myth.” (full article in Romanian here)









Michael Ovey, ARE NEVOIE ATENA DE IERUSALIM? Un context creștin pentru gândirea seculară
(original article: Does Athens need Jerusalem? A Christian context for secular thought)

Rezumat: “This paper argues that Christian understanding can benefit from the genuine insights of secular thought, and, to achieve this, must put secular thought into the context of the doctrines of creation and redemption, both to evaluate it and to preserve its coherence.” (full article in Romanian here)







2013

The Romanian translation of these articles was published with support from the European Christian Political Foundation.



Michael Schluter, Relaţionismul: În căutarea unei viziuni biblice asupra societăţii
(original article: Relationism: pursuing a biblical vision for society)

Summary

"This paper tells the story of my search over the last twenty years to find an alternative social paradigm which is closer to biblical norms than democratic capitalism or market socialism. Biblical teaching on this issue is found in Old Testament law, where God provides a normative framework for Israelite society. Jesus says that biblical law hangs on the twin commands to love God and love neighbour. Love is not a term of economics or finance, but the language of relationships. Hence the term Relationism. The principles of biblical law, interpreted in relational terms, provide a coherent basis for public policy and personal lifestyle decisions. So Relationism holds great promise for broad-based reform of society, provided it is not severed from its roots in biblical revelation." (full article in Romanian here)


Michael Schluter, Rădăcinile: normă biblică sau anacronism cultural?
(original article: Roots: biblical norm or cultural anachronism?)

Summary

"Western society at the end of the twentieth century values individual mobility as highly as any in history. Christians in the past have not questioned that mobility is desirable. If anything, the New Testament (NT) seems to endorse a culture which holds lightly to place, and to encourage Christians to find their roots in Christ and in the fellowship of believers. However, the Old Testament (OT) appears to teach that 'roots' in place are important for personal identity and social stability. This paper will argue that Old and New Testament perspectives on roots are compatible. Christians must hold in tension the practice of roots in their personal lives and the promotion of roots through public policy, while recognising that Christ may require them at any time to leave home and even family to follow his calling." (full article in Romanian here)



Paul Mills, Marea criză financiară: O diagnoză biblică
(original article: The Great Financial Crisis: A biblical diagnosis)

Summary: „The self-destructive tendency of a debt-based financial system is being retaught with a vengeance by the current financial crisis. To diagnose our current plight, this paper expounds the biblical teaching on debt, interest, and finance; explains what is really going on from a relational perspective; and draws applications for the Christian, the church, and society.” (full article in Romanian here)







John Coffey, Secularizarea: Este ea inevitabilă?
(original article: Secularisation: is it inevitable?)

Summary: „It has long been believed that secularisation is the inevitable by-product of modernisation, and that the rise of modern science, pluralism, and consumerism is sure to usher in the decline of religion. However, in recent years, sociologists of religion have become increasingly sceptical about traditional secularisation theory. This paper explains why this is so, and argues that Christians should not succumb to cultural pessimism.” (full article in Romanian here)







Paul Mills, Credință versus prudență? Creştinii şi siguranţa financiară
(original article: Faith versus prudence? Christians and financial security)

Summary: „The first of two papers concerned with financial mangement from a Christian perspective. The paper confronts the tension in biblical teaching enjoining both the exercise of personal faith and prudence with respect to wealth. It then outlines some practical pointers for savings and insurance.” (full article in Romanian here)







Michael Schluter, Este capitalismul falimentar din punct de vedere moral? Cinci defecte de ordin moral şi consecinţele lor sociale
(original article: Is Capitalism Morally Bankrupt? Five moral flaws and their social consequences)

Summary: „Many Christians accept Capitalism as broadly in line with biblical teaching. Its economic success appears to vindicate attribution of its origins to Christian theology. This confidence in Capitalism as the best available economic system has meant that Christians have failed to recognise that it is one of the main drivers of social and moral breakdown in Western societies. This paper will highlight five failings in the philosophical foundations and institutions of Corporate Capitalism, pointing to their devastating impact on families and communities, and how they bring about the growth of giant corporations and centralised state power. Christians need to search urgently for a new economic order based on biblical revelation. One such alternative will be set out in a future issue of Cambridge Papers.” (full article in Romanian here)

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