Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Christian Scholars and Tenure

leave a comment »

In the most recent issue of “The City,” a publication of Houston Baptist University, Owen Strachan interviews Douglas Wilson and asks, What words do you have for young Christian faculty members at secular institutions that are seeking tenure? What do they do in these kind of university climates?

Wilson: “I would echo the words of Robert George at Princeton, who spoke at commencement at New Saint Andrews a few years ago. At dinner afterward, Peter Leithart asked George what advice he would give to young scholars in this situation—how did you do it? Robert George said that he did it with both guns blazing. Obviously everyone’s situation is different and you can’t have a one-size-fits-all thing. The gatekeepers in these universities are pretty astute, and they watch the gates carefully. If you’re so far in the closet that you can see Narnia, when they find out and let you go, you’ve given them deniability. They can say “it wasn’t his evangelical faith, but the quality of his work” or something like that. If you’re clearly an evangelical and there’s a hit job on you in the department, that possibility will be clear to those who are watching the situation. Now, I don’t think you should be unnecessarily scrappy. But I do think it’s important for Christians to be clear, and if God wants them to be promoted then they will, like Daniel in Babylon.”

Perhaps this servers as a good illustration for how Christians should engage the general public, too, in defending the faith with conviction. Wilson had to face this issue personally in a lecture at Indiana University in 2012 on biblical sexuality. It’ll do us no good if we couch our language in vague terms, failing to define what we mean, or skirting issues entirely. We should come with both guns blazing.

Written by Josh Philpot

December 7, 2013 at 8:00 am

Posted in Culture

Anne Rice

leave a comment »

A couple of years ago I read Anne Rice’s “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” and wrote some thoughts here on the blog. Recently I saw this video of her sharing how she returned to the Roman Catholic church after 38 years of being an agnostic. It’s a fascinating video and I encourage you to watch it in its entirety:

Written by Josh Philpot

July 6, 2010 at 12:52 am

Posted in Culture, Gospel

Tagged with

Son of Hamas

leave a comment »

As a graduate of Liberty University I’ve been ashamed to watch the rise and fall of Ergun Caner, who recently lost his position as dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Caner received heavy scrutiny over the past year for fabrications he made about his life as an American Muslim and his conversion to Christianity, seemingly for personal gain. I will not rehash the details here, so if you want an overview of the situation you can get a good summary at this site.

In the midst of such lies and half-truths it is refreshing to hear about Mosab Hassan Yousef, the author of the NY Times bestseller, “Son of Hamas.” Yousef is the eldest son of a founding member of the terrorist organization Hamas, and even participated in acts of terrorism and torture in his young adulthood. He eventually became a Christian and as a result had to seek political asylum in the US. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have it on my Amazon wish list and look forward to picking it up some day (Tim Challies reviewed the book here). Phil Sumpter linked the following videos on his blog recently, which I found fascinating. Although I have no doubt that Ergun Caner was raised in an Islamic home and converted to Christianity, the embellishments in his own story for self aggrandizement are disappointing to say the least. Yousef’s story, however, is of a different kind. His is a true story of a true terrorists and a loss he suffered for embracing the gospel. The videos below provide a glimpse into his life as a Muslim, struggling to understanding the love of God and how to communicate that to his family.

Written by Josh Philpot

June 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in Culture, Gospel

Was Noah the first environmentalist?

with 2 comments

Darren Aronofsky, director of “The Fountain,” “Pi,” and “Requiem for a Dream” recently sat down with Peter Sciretta of slashfilm.com and spoke about some of his upcoming film projects. One of his future movies is a “religious film” dealing with the biblical character of Noah. Here is part of the interview:

Peter Sciretta: The only thing I wanted to ask you about is when you were in San Francisco with The Fountain, you told me about your next project, which is going to be a religious film…

Darren Aronofsky: That was Noah.

Peter Sciretta: Yes, Noah, what’s happening with that?

Darren Aronofsky: We have an amazing screenplay.

Peter Sciretta: Who wrote it?

Darren Aronofsky: I wrote it. Me and Ari Handel, the guy who worked on The Fountain. It’s a great script and it’s HUGE. And we’re starting to feel out talent. And then we’ll probably try and set it up…

Peter Sciretta: So this isn’t something you can make for six million dollars?

Darren Aronofsky: No, this is big, I mean, Look…it’s the end of the world and it’s the second most famous ship after Titanic. So I’m not sure why any studio won’t want to make it.

Peter Sciretta: You would hope so?

Darren Aronofsky: Yeah, I would hope so. It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it. Oh that’s right I forgot I told you that whole religious thing.

It is interesting to see how our culture views biblical stories – outside the metanarrative of Scripture and inside their personal worldview. For Aronofsky, the flood narrative of Genesis 6-9 is about an environmental apocalypse, with its main character being the Al Gore of the ancient Near East. For Christians, the story is much bigger. A few things struck me as I read this interview: 1) Noah’s story is the biggest theme going on in the planet. 2) Noah’s story does connect with us. Not only are we all longing for a savior (just look at all the superhero movies that have been made in the last 5 years), the whole creation is groaning inwardly, eagerly awaiting the redemption of sons (Rom. 8:18-25). 3) Noah’s ark is much more famous than the Titanic. 4) Noah’s story is very timely.

Noah was no environmentalist or weatherman. Noah was a savior. More to the point, Noah was typological of the coming Savior who not only saves people from judgment, but also saves them from their sins. In return, those who are united to him receive life. Noah’s story is about the flood, yes, but what Aronofsky doesn’t realize is that Noah’s story is about Jesus. Unlike Noah, Jesus was (is!) an environmentalist – he walks on water (Matt. 14:22-33) and the winds cease at the sound of his voice (Matt. 8:23-27). Like Noah, Jesus ushers in a new creation as the last Adam (Rom. 5:14). Yet while Noah preaches the gospel by calling the people to turn from their wickedness and enter into the salvation that God provided, Jesus is the salvation. Jesus is the gospel.

If “Noah: The Movie” is ever made I will probably see it. But Hollywood will never get it right. The flood narrative is not the end of the story. It only points to the one through whom all men will be reconciled.

“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” – Hebrews 11:7

Written by Josh Philpot

April 5, 2009 at 11:25 am