For more than half a century, Rousas John Rushdoony and his followers have articulated and disseminated what they understand to be a biblical worldview, based in aspects of traditional reformed theology and both the Old and New Testaments. This worldview seeks to apply biblical law to every aspect of life and to transform every aspect of culture to establish the Kingdom of God. While some components of their vision are so extreme that Christian Reconstructionists are often dismissed as an irrelevant fringe group, other aspects of their vision have taken root in conservative American Protestantism, especially in the Christian homeschool movement, and therefor influenced American conservatism more broadly. This essay outlines that worldview and points to some of those areas of influence.
Michael J. McClymond
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)—pastor, philosopher, theologian, and Calvinist saint—was a man of deep piety and a meticulous observer of others' spiritual experiences. He devoted much of his life to the analysis and interpretation of religious emotions, which he called “affections.” Today, most scholars regard Edwards as the greatest theologian in American history, and his writings have had vast influence in both church and academy. Edwards might be dubbed the patron saint of religious revival and revivalism. Like his Puritan predecessors, Edwards saw a dichotomy between true, God-given, and grace-filled religion on the one hand and false, counterfeit, hypocritical, and non-gracious religion on the other. This article examines Edwards's views on religious emotions such as understanding, inclination, affection, passion, and love. It also discusses his treatment of the “new sense,” also referred to as the “spiritual sense,” or “sense of the heart.” Moreover, Edwards's philosophy regarding enthusiasm, visions, and the ambiguous status of imagination is discussed. The article concludes by considering Edwards's legacy concerning religion and emotion.
Mary, the queen of heaven and the most powerful intercessor among all the saints, was the focus of intense piety and devotion at the turn of the sixteenth century. She played a central role in the life of Christians, both in private devotions and in public ritual. But not everyone was pleased with the quantity or quality of Marian devotion. Following earlier critics, Martin Luther rejected much of the medieval cult surrounding Mary and transformed Marian devotion, inspiring a shift in her image from that of a powerful, merciful queen to a humble, obedient housewife. Although he maintained a warm, if transformed, devotion to Mary himself, Luther’s understanding of her role as the Mother of God and foremost of saints was dramatically different from the late medieval understanding. His influence on Protestant areas had the long-term effect of reducing Mary’s importance in Christian life and her visibility to Christians.
For Anglicans there has never been a distinct division between public and private, political and personal, when it comes to matters of faith and their application in Christian ethics. This chapter considers Anglicanism’s engagement with politics. It looks at how Anglicans have addressed issues of justice, righteousness, and redemption from the ethics of individual choice through to national and international politics and economics. This chapter analyses the history of Anglican approaches to politics by unpicking scripture. It discusses how Anglicanism has interacted with politics by looking at churches and nations, the evolution of the Anglican Communion’s institutional life, and contemporary culture.
This chapter examines the continuities, development, and diversity found among evangelical Christians as they explore different patterns of evangelical response to new and challenging questions relating to sexuality and gender. Evangelicals have generally accepted contraception although there has been some recent opposition. Understandings and responses to divorce and remarriage vary from prohibition to generous accommodation with general acceptance of diverse genuinely evangelical views. Issues of gender and women in church leadership have, however, caused tensions and divisions between more restrictive ‘headship’ views and more egalitarian understandings, raising issues related to biblical inspiration and authority as well as hermeneutics. In contrast to diversity in these areas, most evangelicals remain committed to a sexual ethic focused on marriage and abstinence for the unmarried, and thus opposed to any approval of homosexual partnerships. Although some evangelicals are questioning this, most see change here as unbiblical and going beyond evangelicalism.