Month: May 2007

New Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell

A great friend and outstanding scholar, Stephen Witmer has been appointed to teach New Testament at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary under a one year contract. Stephen’s keen intellect and sincere heart will be a great addition to the faculty at GCTS. Stephen did his B.A. in Philosophy and History, with a minor in Biblical Studies at Wheaton College, M.Div and Th.M at GCTS, and has just completed his Ph.D in New Testament at Cambridge University, where he recently taught 1Corinthians, the Gospel of John, Acts, and provided oversight to undergraduate students.

The Decline of Christianity

With all the talk of Christianity shifting to the southern contients, what are we to make of the so-called Christian West? It is true that missionaries are steadily sent from Africa, Korea, and China to re-evangelize the West. Is it also true that the West must necessarily decline in Christian faith due to the overwhleming evidence and advance of modernism? Rationality trumps faith, so Christianity declines?

In his book, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding secularization 18002000, Callum Brown applies the Postmodern lens to trimphalistic secularisation. He contends that the West, Britain in particular, did not steadly decline due to secularization, but rather was a force to reckon with for a good part of the 20th century. His primary argument is based on non-emperical measurements of Christianity. Instead of relying on statistics, he examines the social discourse of Christianity in Britain, noting that self-identity and culture have been consistently shaped by Christianity, whether people are in church or not.

What of the U.S.? There seems to be a steady flow of Christian discourse in politics, science, literature, etc. Although no county has seen overall growth in the past few years, Christianity seems to still get press. Has Christianity been effectively banished by statistics or is there something to the lingring Christian social discourse?

See review here.

Aromatheology?

Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Real Sex, reviews an new book on aromatheology:

Implicit in Scenting Salvation is also a word to contemporary Christians. When New Age aromatherapists direct our attention to the sense of smell, they may be on to something. Yet the aims of aromatherapy are not identical with the theories of smell articulated in the early church. Modern-day aromatherapy promises to help us relax, find inner peace, and get in a good mood. None of those is a bad goal, of course. But the Christian tradition suggests sensory engagement has fruits beyond relaxation. Rather than sniffing to retreat into a pool of calm, we smell in order to engage creation, and, finally, to know God.

See the whole review here.