13 January 2022

You Should Know 'Creation Regained'


The Layman's Lounge
has published my tribute to Al Wolters' greatest of worldview books: You Should Know "Creation Regained". An excerpt:

Wolters sees worldview playing a central role in the lives, not only of Christians, but of all human beings created in God’s image. A worldview provides orientation and guidance as we live our lives. It is foundational for everything else. Indeed, it is impossible to exist without one. “We need some creed to live by, some map by which to chart our course. The need for a guiding perspective is basic to human life, perhaps more basic than food or sex” (5). Synonyms include “life perspective,” “confessional vision,” “principles,” “ideals,” and “system of values” (2). Another possibility, which I favour, is basic heart orientation in that it describes the centring of our heart on something to which we ascribe ultimacy. For Christians our worldviews must constantly be tested by the Scriptures, lest we unknowingly absorb the basic beliefs and faux-redemptive narratives of the surrounding culture and thereby live divided lives.

Read the entire article here.

07 January 2022

How Marxism 'Won' the War of Ideas

Augusto Del Noce
In the first edition of Political Visions and Illusions, published a dozen years after the historic collapse of communism in eastern Europe and Russia, I treated Marxism as largely a spent force, a casualty of late modernity and of its own internal contradictions. However, when the Portuguese translation was in process, a copy editor at Vida Nova wrote me to disagree with my assessment. My analysis had not taken into account developments in Latin America where Marxism was still a potent force. He persuaded me to make one change in the text which went into the Brazilian edition published in 2014.

23 December 2021

Year-end appeal

December 2021

Dear faithful supporter:

Thank you for your financial contribution over the past year. I am deeply grateful for your concrete expression of support for my work with Global Scholars Canada. More than that, I appreciate your prayers for my international academic ministry.

Please consider making a donation at year's end so that I may continue this work. Your contribution provides:

  1. a small salary to top up my private and public pensions,

  2. equipment and incidentals related to my work, and

  3. funding for travel, which I hope will resume once the pandemic is over.

Canadians and others may donate here: http://www.globalscholarscanada.ca/give/.

Once you are in this webpage, please scroll down to the purple bar labelled DONATION DETAILS. Under “Fund” find the name of the scholar you wish to support.

Americans can donate via this site: https://global-scholars.org/donations/give-to-a-fellow/.

Under “Select a Professor” you may “- Select a Professor-” from the list provided.

Up until 31 December 2021, an anonymous donor will match every dollar raised over and above last year's funds up to $8,000. If a particular donor gave $200 last year, what counts this year for purposes of matching is what he or she gives above the $200 amount. All new donations from people who have not previously given count towards the total. This means that if someone gave $500 last year and gives $800 this year, $300 of that will be matched by the donor. A new donor who gives $1,000 this year will in effect be giving $2,000 in total.

Thank you once again for your support, and may God bless you.

Yours,

David Koyzis

21 December 2021

Gnosticism and the human body

This morning I received an unexpected note from Meghan Kort, assistant editor at Christian Courier, where I have published a monthly column since 1990. She wrote:

I’m just going through our CC website stats to gather a list of our top 10 articles from 2021 and I found a surprise near the top of the list. It’s not an article from this year at all, it’s from 2018! Your column “Gnosticism and the Human Body” was viewed 1176 times this past year putting it at #7 most viewed article of the year.

I can’t include it in our top 10 list since it wasn’t published in 2021, but I figured you should know about it’s popularity.

I am glad she included a link to the article, which I had forgotten I had written. Here is an excerpt:

17 December 2021

Ukraine: Church and civil society

Recently I received a copy of the journal, Християнська думка (Christian Opinion), whose current issue (no. 3(12), 2020) is devoted to "Church and Civil Society" and carries an article of mine, "Recovering Civil Society: Two Traditions." This journal is published by the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in the capital city of Kiev.


In the same issue Jonathan Chaplin has contributed two articles and James W. Skillen one article.

16 December 2021

The coming kingdom

Christian Courier has published my December column, which can be accessed here: The coming kingdom. An excerpt:

While our churches look back to what Christ accomplished for our salvation in the past, we also look ahead during these first two seasons in the church calendar – ahead to the Messiah’s second advent. At his expected return, all human history will be wrapped up, with God’s kingdom finally triumphing over each of its rivals. These rivals include the various political ideologies, each of which tells a redemptive story promising salvation to its followers. But they also include the more subtle desires of our hearts – desires for good things created by a good God but made too much of: career success, sexual satisfaction, fame, fortune and so forth.

Read the entire article here.

14 December 2021

December newsletter posted

I have posted my latest Global Scholars Canada newsletter here: DECEMBER 2021 newsletter. As we are in the final weeks of the year, please consider making a financial contribution to my work. Thank you!

13 December 2021

The Illusion of Power & Choices

Late last year I was interviewed by the Rev. Dr. James Ellis III, University Chaplain and Director of Student Ministries at Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada. This was shortly after I recorded a chapel talk on Job 11 for the university. The intervew has now been posted online: The Illusion of Power & Choices and can also be streamed SpotifyGoogleApple, and various other services.

 

10 December 2021

What is a worldview? Video lectures

My lectures to Brazil were indeed recorded, I am happy to say. Here they are:




09 December 2021

What is a worldview? Salvador, Brazil


On 7 and 8 December I addressed the members of the Igreja Batista Vilas do Atlântico in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil on the subject of "What is a worldview?" The first evening I spoke on "A Christian Worldview and Political Ideologies," based on my first book, and the second evening I lectured on "A Christian Worldview and Authority," based on my second. This was part of the church's annual Bible Celebration Week. My host was Roger Freitas, and my translator was Felipe Leite. I do not believe the event was recorded, but if I find that it was, I will link to the posted video here.

Nos dias 7 e 8 de dezembro, falei aos membros da Igreja Batista Vilas do Atlântico em Salvador, Bahia, sobre o tema "O que é uma cosmovisão?" Na primeira noite, falei sobre "Uma cosmovisão cristã e ideologias políticas", com base no meu primeiro livro, e na segunda noite dei uma palestra sobre "Uma cosmovisão cristã e autoridade", com base no segundo. Isso fazia parte da Semana de Celebração Bíblica anual da igreja. Meu anfitrião foi Roger Freitas e meu tradutor foi Felipe Leite. Não acredito que o evento tenha sido gravado, mas se eu descobrir que foi, farei o link para o vídeo postado aqui.

03 December 2021

CARE conversation


Today I was pleased to talk remotely with the latest cohort of young people in the CARE Leadership Programme in the United Kingdom. CARE stands for Christian Action, Research, and Education, and its website tells us what it is all about:

For over 20 years CARE has been equipping a generation of Christians to be salt and light in our culture. This 12 month graduate programme gives a unique insight into Parliament, political advocacy and Christian leadership.

22 November 2021

The True Nature of Freedom

Last week, on 18 November I delivered a lecture for the Society of Christian Scholars titled, The True Nature of Freedom, which can be accessed by clicking on the link or clicking below. Fellow Global Scholar Stephen M. Garrett moderated the lecture and discussion. An excerpt:

Since at least the French Revolution of 1789, authority has acquired a bad reputation, something that French American philosopher Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) explores in his writings. By contrast, I would like to argue that, far from being polar opposites, freedom and authority are integrally connected to each other. Moreover, what we think of as personal freedom is a type of authority. In the real world we are embedded in a network of authorities, all of which work together to enrich our lives. This network provides the backdrop to our lives, and without it we ourselves would scarcely be able to exercise authority.

Watch the lecture and conversation here:

19 November 2021

Christianity and Ideologies

Comment magazine has posted my article on Christianity and Ideologies, with the subtitle, "Embracing the rich diversity of God's world helps us resist distorting it." An excerpt:

Christians, like all of us, are prone to succumb to the temptation to embrace another such story—something that promises earthly salvation on human terms. As such we are not so much living out God’s kingdom in our daily lives as undertaking to build an approximation of that kingdom in our own societies. It is tempting to ascribe redemptive significance to our own fallible goals and policy proposals. Because the regnant ideologies have formulated their own solutions to social ills, and because one cannot simply draw a program of cultural or political renewal straight from the Scriptures, Christians too easily latch onto a ready-made agenda offered by the ideologies, bypassing the hard work of fleshing out the implications of the biblical narrative for our shared life as citizens of a political community. Hence the proliferation of Christian nationalists, Christian socialists, and even Christian Marxists.

Read the entire article here.

17 November 2021

Política (SBNE) conversation

Last evening I was privileged to participate in a conversation with Prof. Marcio Ribeiro of Seminário Bíblico do Nordeste (SBNE) in Carpina, Pernambuco, Brazil, which is about an hour or so from the coastal city of Recife. Click below to watch the discussion.

Na noite passada, tive o privilégio de participar de uma conversa com o Prof. Marcio Ribeiro, do Seminário Bíblico do Nordeste, em Carpina, Pernambuco, Brasil, que fica a cerca de uma hora da cidade costeira de Recife. Clique abaixo para assistir a discussão. 

A propósito, eu poderia facilmente pegar o sotaque nordestino em sua fala. A maioria das minhas conversas é com pessoas das regiões do centro e do sul do Brasil.

15 November 2021

Global Scholars newsletter posted

I have posted my latest Global Scholars Canada newsletter here: NOVEMBER 2021 newsletter. As we approach year's end, please consider making a financial contribution to my work. Thank you!

Face to Face and Side by Side: A Pluriformity of Friendships

Inspired by John von Heyking's recent address on Christian Faith and Friendship in the Academy, I have now published my own reflections in Cateclesia Forum: Face to Face and Side by Side: A Pluriformity of Friendships. An excerpt:

Then we have the “deep” friendships that approach Lewis’s “face-to-face” orientation yet do not quite conform to his understanding of eros. Here the two people take delight not just in their common interests but in each other, bound by a strong mutual affection and care transcending the pub and the sporting arena.

State and Non-state Communities: How Civil Society Contributes to Constitutional Government

On friday, 12 November, I was privileged to address an online gathering sponsored by ReMind Centro de Estudos, hosted by my friend Arthur Loureiro with Vinicius Pimentel serving as translator. The title of my lecture is "State and Non-state Communities: How Civil Society Contributes to Constitutional Government." Clicking on the link will enable you to see the lecture and ensuing conversation.



12 November 2021

Needed reforms

Christian Courier has just posted my monthly column which has a longer title online than in the print edition: Canada’s political institutions need reforms. Subtitle: "Three reforms Canada could make to restore a responsible government." An excerpt:

Efforts to democratize the leader selection process more thoroughly have not really empowered the grassroots, as many would like to see. Instead, they have disempowered the parliamentary caucus, increasing the dominance of the prime minister. The People (with an upper-case P) are too nebulous an entity to exercise effective control over an executive, but a party’s parliamentary caucus is small enough and more intimately associated with its leader to keep him or her in check.

This reality has led to a paradox: an effort to extend the validity of democracy throughout a political system inadvertently contributes to a rise of Napoleonic leadership and an erosion of democracy.

Read the entire article here.

11 November 2021

Brazil update: Oak Centre conversation

My Oak Centre conversation took place 10 November, and I have now posted my PowerPoint presentation here in pdf form: Serving God in a Global Academy: An Update on Brazil. Readers will note that some slides are duplicated with versions in both English and Portuguese, others are in Portuguese only, and others in English only. I have not striven for consistency, as will be evident to anyone. Those acquainted with French, Spanish, or Italian should be able to make sense of the Portuguese slides. Among the items covered in my talk are geography, history, politics, religion, the church's future prospects, and my own visit to the country in 2016.

One item of which few may be aware: some contrarians and historical revisionists believe that Christopher Columbus was actually Portuguese and not Genoese. Interesting notion, to be sure.

'Bible Belt' religion

The term "Bible Belt" usually refers to a swath of territory stretching across the American South and into the Midwest characterized by intense religious loyalties, although sometimes paradoxically associated with low levels of church attendance. It is easy to look down one's nose at Bible Belt religion, although Brandon Meeks expresses appreciation for its impact on his own faith: I Survived (Because of) Bible Belt Religion. An excerpt:

Some time ago, one leading evangelical influencer rejoiced over the decline of “Bible Belt Religion,” commenting that it “made bad people worse.” More recently, another Christian pundit took another swing at the cultural Christianity of the South, one of his favorite punching bags, calling it a form of “toxic religion” that is, at best, an expression of the Faith to be “survived.”

02 November 2021

Keller on justice

The Rev. Tim Keller, retired pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, New York, here offers readers A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory. Keller is not new to reflections on justice, writing about it elsewhere, especially in his book, Generous Justice. In this particular essay, he offers a brief outline of biblical justice, focussing on community, equity, corporate responsibility, individual responsibility, and advocacy for the poor and marginalized.

29 October 2021

A novel conversion

I recently read Charlotte Mary Yonge's popular 1853 novel, The Heir of Redclyffe, a book that was instrumental in Abraham Kuyper's conversion to Christian orthodoxy. I have just published a piece in Kuyperian Commentary on this book: A Novel Conversion. Here is an excerpt:

While not great literature, Yonge’s best-selling novel is nevertheless compelling in that it is suffused with faith in Jesus Christ as mediated by the institutional church. Even as the characters navigate the intricate proprieties of Victorian England and incur guilt through various sins of commission and omission, the church is there for them, making up the mostly implicit backdrop for all their activities.

While Christendom has fallen into disrepute in recent decades, there can be no doubt that something has been lost in its decline. We can no longer hold our neighbours to the standards of a gospel to which they do not adhere, except in so far as its teachings continue to exert a vestigial influence on them. Our society validates the authentic self and the personal quest to find it, irrespective of the damage it may inflict on our communities and interpersonal relationships. If Christendom has declined, it has not made our society any less religious. Instead, it remains deeply religious, with its allegiance now focussed on the socially fragmenting idol of the ego and its desires.

Read the entire piece here.

28 October 2021

Taking the Bible Seriously in Scholarship

Peter Schuurman, Executive Director of Global Scholars Canada, has just posted on his blog a short essay that I wrote titled, Taking the Bible Seriously in Scholarship. An excerpt:

The typical research university today is a multiversity that sees scholars virtually imprisoned within the confines of their respective disciplines and methods, incapable of understanding the larger reality of which these are part except in terms of that discipline. Not only is cross-disciplinary dialogue not encouraged at such institutions; it may be implicitly discouraged as scholars keep ploughing within their respective ruts, unaware of what their colleagues are doing elsewhere. As such, it is not surprising that an entire discipline may be captured by an ideological vision while other disciplines remain blithely unaware of it. The humanities may be in the grip of a postmodern historicism, while the social sciences may pay homage to behaviourism.

A biblically Christian worldview is well positioned to compensate for the compartmentalization we see in the secular academy. After all, our most basic confession as Christians is that our world belongs to God, which has huge ramifications for our task as academics. If God has brought into being an orderly creation subject to his laws and norms, we can come to our respective fields of scholarly endeavour confident that they find their place within an integral whole sustained by God himself through Jesus Christ.

Read the entire essay here.

26 October 2021

Friendship, the University, and Politics

Last week I was privileged to be a part of an online Global Scholars conference, "Friendship That Makes a World of Difference - A Cross-Canada Virtual Conference", subtitled, "Exploring Faith and Friendship in the Academy." My colleague at the University of Lethbridge, John von Heyking, presented a keynote address, titled, "Christian Faith and Friendship in the Academy." John's address and my response have now been posted below:

25 October 2021

Serving God in a Global Academy: Brazil update

Next month I will be revisiting my work with Brazil at an online event sponsored by the Oak Centre for Studies in Faith and Culture. The announcement follows:


Inklings Conversations Fall 2021 

(Wednesday Nov 10th   from 4:00 5:30)

 

Serving God in a Global Academy:  

An Update on Developments in Brazil

A conversation with David T. Koyzis,

Global Scholar, Politics & International Affairs   

 

Join by Zoom

 

21 October 2021

October newsletter

My latest Global Scholars Canada newsletter has been posted here: OCTOBER 2021 newsletter.

20 October 2021

A Vietnam War memory

When I was in elementary school in Illinois, my grade five teacher organized a letter-writing campaign to soldiers then serving in Vietnam. Whether all of them wrote back to us I can no longer recall more than half a century later. But I recently found the letter my GI had sent me, dated May 1, 1966, and I've posted it below:


13 October 2021

A humiliating defeat

My latest Christian Courier column assesses the recent American military loss in Afghanistan, which recalls to mind the Vietnam fiasco: A humiliating defeat. An excerpt:

When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, many of us had hoped that the U.S. had learnt its lesson from a quarter century earlier. And what was that lesson? Make sure that any foreign military involvement clearly defends legitimate American interests, know the country and its people where your troops are stationed, and keep the goals realistic. Among other things, this rules out nation-building.

Unfortunately, the George W. Bush administration, once its troops were on the ground in Afghanistan and later Iraq, succumbed to idealistic dreams of reshaping these countries into stable constitutional democracies. Unfortunately, a successful democracy is dependent on two major factors: first, a cohesive sense of nationhood, and second, supportive political traditions. Both were absent in the two countries. This practically guaranteed that the wars would become quagmires with no easy exit.

Read the entire column here.

27 September 2021

Canada more divided than ever

First Things has published my brief postmortem on last week's federal election here in Canada: Canada more divided than ever. Here is an excerpt:

Earlier this year there was no sign that the other parties, including the Conservatives, New Democrats, Bloc Québécois, and Greens, were ready to bring down the government. Nevertheless, like his predecessors before him, Trudeau decided that parliament had become dysfunctional—because it was not following his every wish and was doing what a parliament ought to do, namely, holding the government accountable for its actions. So last month Trudeau went to the newly appointed governor general, Mary Simon, and requested an early dissolution of parliament—something no governor general has refused since 1926.

Trudeau wanted to try for another majority government so he would have a freer hand. Canadians saw through this immediately, and his standing in the public opinion polls began to slide. At that point he looked set to lose his gamble and possibly even his government. But when Canadians went to the polls this week, they delivered their verdict: more of the same.

Read the entire article here.

16 September 2021

September newsletter

My Global Scholars Canada newsletter has been posted here: SEPTEMBER 2021 newsletter.

14 September 2021

At last!

Christian Courier has published the story of my recently completed Genevan Psalter project: At last! An excerpt:

This more systematic method enabled me to work through the remainder of the Psalms at a faster pace than I had anticipated. Thus, by the middle of August, I had completed the remaining unfinished psalms, at last reaching 150, thereby exceeding the target I had set for myself in the Reid Trust proposal.

The result of my efforts is not literary elegance. Some of the Psalms are rhymed, but not all. In fact, reading some of them without the music will not suggest that we have crossed from prose into verse, but they definitely fit the Genevan tunes, conforming strictly to their somewhat irregular metres.

What will I do with all this? I hope to find someone to publish my collection so as to disseminate knowledge of the Genevan Psalter, not only among English-speaking Reformed Christians, but among other Christians unfamiliar with the liturgical use of the biblical Psalter.

Read the entire article here.

13 September 2021

The second Brazilian edition: Visões e Ilusões Políticas

Last week I finally received four copies of the second Brazilian edition of Political Visions and Illusions from InterVarsity Press.




11 September 2021

The choices before us

Christian Courier has posted a second online article of mine in the run-up to the federal election: The choices before us. An excerpt:

As is generally the case, there is no obvious choice that is more Christian than the others. While the Liberals and the New Democrats are usually stronger on care for the poor and vulnerable in our society, their dogmatism on the so-called social issues, such as abortion, euthanasia and gender issues, makes them suspect to followers of the older faith traditions. Similarly, while Conservatives often, but not always, manifest a greater appreciation for the diversity of nonstate communities in Canada, they can just as easily appear insensitive to marginalized groups and to the physical environment.

Voting one way or the other will not usher in God’s kingdom, nor would we expect it to. We will thus likely vote in one of two ways: either for the party we think will do the least damage to the country, or for the best features of one party while hoping and praying that they will outweigh its negatives.

Read the entire article here.

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