April 23, 2017

First Freedom: A review

Duesing, Jason G, Thomas White, and Malcolm B Yarnell, eds. First Freedom: The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty. Second Edition. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2016.

Reviewed by Don Johnson

I laboured through this volume, I have to say that right up front. It is not that the subject isn’t important, it is very important. The subject attracted me to the book right up front. It is not that the writers are ignorant of their subject, they demonstrate (on the whole) a commendable grasp of the many-faceted topic that is religious freedom.

The difficulty, I think, is two-fold. One is that the book is a collection of essays rather than a cohesive discussion of the subject written by a single author. Collections of essays tend to suffer some discontinuity as a matter of course. They also suffer from uneven quality as some writers are simply better than others. This is true of this book, to be sure. The second difficulty is that the subject matter itself is of such a nature that riveting prose is doubtless a constant challenge for any writer. Thus, though informative in many ways, the volume is not easy reading.

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Observations About Those Who Are Still Here

Don Johnson

This week we are featuring our March/April FrontLine, I hope you’ve seen our previous articles.[1] In this post, I’d like to take note of several themes I see repeating in each testimonial.

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  1. Editorials and Contents — here; Why I’m Still Here by Mark Ward; Previews — here. []

Why We’re Still Here – Previews

We are promoting FrontLine this week. We offered a look at the latest issue with its opening editorials and contents on Monday. Yesterday we published the lead article by Mark Ward, “Why I’m Still Here.” The articles in this issue of the magazine consist of testimonials from younger fundamentalists speaking to their reasons for remaining in the fundamentalist orbit. To give a brief summation, I think it is safe to say that they remain because they see things of value in the fundamentalist approach to Christianity. They are not blind to fundamentalist faults, but the virtues keep them rooted in fundamentalism.

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Why I’m Still Here

Mark L. Ward Jr.

Few people willingly call themselves “fundamentalists” today. I try to do so only when I get to explain what I mean.

So let me explain: I’m a (Christian, Protestant, Baptist) “fundamentalist” because I value four things—four things which make me believe, in turn, that the particular brand of fundamentalism I inherited is worth saving. In no particular order, I value …

  1. honoring my father(s) and mother(s).
  2. biblicism.
  3. personal holiness.
  4. traditional worship.

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Why We’re Still Here

FrontLine March/April 2017 | VOLUME 27 | NUMBER 2

John Vaughn and Mark Ward

The Mail Bag section of the November/ December issue of FrontLine included an excerpt from a letter from Dr. Mark Ward, who writes On Language & Scripture for FrontLine. My editorial response mentioned the possibility of this special issue of FrontLine. One of the reasons we produced the “Convergence” issue was to provide a voice for growing frustrations in my generation, stymied in its efforts to reach across that “yawning generational gap” that Mark spoke of in his letter. It was a rebuke of an unethical pastoral theology observed in some, but it was not intended as an indictment of an entire generation.

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