Public Theology

08 Oct 2020 Creation and Politics

by John Sikkema “The God who made the world and everything in it is Lord of heaven and earth… He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” – Paul in Athens (Acts 17). (Note: this article is part 2 of a series that began with "Christian Political Engagement in Light of Redemptive History".) “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God was before all things and before time. God is eternal and self-subsistent....

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21 Sep 2020 Christian Political Engagement in Light of Redemptive History

by John Sikkema A pastor once asked me, “Is political engagement part of our calling as Christians? After all, Jesus and the disciples didn’t seek political power or reform.” The answer, in short, is yes (though it matters greatly how we engage politically). Christ is Lord over all, including civil government, and if we pray for His will to be done on His earth, we cannot neglect so significant a part of life on earth. In a secular climate, Christians are prone to restrict the Bible’s relevance to personal salvation, piety, and church...

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21 Jul 2020 State and church authority in a pandemic – An interview with Professor Koyzis

In We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God, David Koyzis explains that authority is intrinsic to humanity and everything we do, because “authority is resident in an office given us in creation,” and when we encounter authority, “we encounter nothing less than the image of God, which always points beyond itself.” Part 1 of ARPA’s interview with Professor Koyzis covered some of his book’s key ideas. Part 2, below, focuses on the nature and limits of political authority and tensions between political and church authority during COVID. PART...

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17 Jul 2020 The Key to Authority is the Office of Image Bearer – An Interview with Professor David Koyzis

  ARPA’s John Sikkema interviews David Koyzis In We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God, David Koyzis addresses modern skepticism of authority by arguing that authority is intrinsic to humanity and part of everything we do, both communally and individually. Why is that? Because “authority is resident in an office given us in creation.” When we encounter authority, “we encounter nothing less than the image of God, which always points beyond itself.” Professor Koyzis was kind enough to talk about his book with me. Part 1 of our interview,...

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15 Apr 2020 Book Review: The Victory of Reason

By Levi Minderhoud God has blessed Canada. Canada, along with Western countries, is consistently one of the most prosperous, freest, happiest, and most developed countries in the world. Why? In his book, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, Rodney Stark, a professor of religious studies, argues that there are three specific reasons why Christianity – as opposed to other world religions – led to freedom, prosperity, and success in the West.   Reason #1: Christianity alone embraced reason as a method of understanding. Human reason requires a very...

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14 Feb 2020 A breach in Wall:  New court ruling casts shadow on church independence

In 2018, we told you about a Supreme Court case called Wall v Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that case, Mr. Wall took a Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregation to court for “disfellowshipping” him. Mr. Wall succeeded in the lower courts, but lost his case at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). The SCC decided unanimously that civil judges have no business reviewing a religious body’s decision to expel a member where no legal right is at stake. That case raised the fundamental issue of churches’ freedom to govern themselves, particularly in...

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28 Nov 2019 Why liberalism and conservatism are both (mostly) wrong: Politics from a Christian worldview

by John Sikkema The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges the "supremacy of God". Many see this as an inappropriate mixing of law and religion. Is it? What if the Charter stated instead that the individual is supreme? Or the people? Or the nation? Or the working class? Each of these would be a statement of the law’s foundational commitment, a statement of belief. We shouldn't think that politics becomes nonreligious simply by leaving out references to God. In his new book, Christian political philosopher David Koyzis helps us understand why. In...

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09 Oct 2018 Canadian governance: is optimism a thing?

by Daniel Zekveld As a young Christian interested in politics, I have heard questions such as, “Can Christians really be effective in politics today?” or “How much influence can you really have?” Other Christians will comment to the effect that politics is a hard task, and that it is difficult to retain the Christian faith while being involved in our political system. As a new intern with ARPA, I was also asked by a classmate, “Doesn’t ARPA get discouraged by the number of cases they work so hard on, and then lose?” The...

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04 Jul 2018 E-petitions, Ice Cream, and Blasphemy

by Mark Penninga Earlier this year, e-petition maker Citizengo.org posted a petition and call for a boycott in response to a Toronto-based chain of ice-cream stores called “Sweet Jesus.” More petitions like it quickly followed. It isn’t only their name that is blasphemous. The company mocks our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in their marketing, symbols, and even the names they use for their ice-cream flavours. The mainstream media, always on the look-out for examples of perceived Christian fundamentalism, were quick to pick up the story of the petitions and boycotts. TV networks...

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28 Jun 2018 Trinity Western University Considering Next Steps

(Lighthouse News - June 28, 2018) Trinity Western University continues to evaluate this month's Supreme Court of Canada decision on its application to open a Law School. The court ruled that law Societies in BC and Ontario were justified in refusing to admit graduates of that proposed school to the bar in their respective provinces. The ruling said that TWU’s community covenant, under which students and staff pledge, among other things, to only engage in sexual activity inside the bounds of heterosexual marriage, was discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, and...

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