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October 18—St. Luke the Evangelist
Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 10:27 AM

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Today the church celebrates St. Luke the Evangelist (see the St. James Calendar of the Christian Year). The artwork here is St. Luke the Evangelist from the Gospel Book of St. Augustine and was discussed in the May/June issue of Touchstone in the A Thousand Words column by Mary Elizabeth Podles.

Here are some other articles about St. Luke from the pages of Toucshtone.

Most Excellent Theophilus by Patrick Henry Reardon

The Glorious Dying of the Son: The Gospel of Luke & Jesus’ Noble Death by Peter J. Scaer

Today in Our Hearing: The Living Voice of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke by Arthur A. Just



The Touchstone 2017 Conference—Registration Now Open!
Thursday, August 24, 2017, 1:16 PM

Screen Shot 2017 08 24 at 1.14.15 PM 805x1024 The Touchstone 2017 Conference   Registration Now Open!

We hope to see you there! Register today.



Book of Days—April 26, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 9:48 AM

As a new feature, Gregory Laughlin, Associate Professor of Law and Law Library Director at the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, will post from time-to-time writings which relate to the day of the year or of the Church Calendar, along with, where available, links to readings of those writing available on YouTube on elsewhere. This will serve as a sort of literary book of days, or, rather, blog of days, if you will.



Today, April 26, was the date of the baptism of William Shakespeare in 1564 at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was the third child and first son of John and Mary (Arden) Shakespeare, and the first to survive into adulthood. The Shakespeares would have five more children, four of whom survived to be adults. John Shakespeare was a prosperous glover and leather worker and the son of a farmer, Richard Shakespeare. Fifty years after his death, Thomas Plume related of a conversation with Sir John Mennes, in which the latter reported that John Shakespeare had told him that “Will was a good honest fellow, but he durst have cracked a jest with him at any time.”

In commemoration of William Shakespeare’s baptism, Sonnet 71:

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell;
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if (I say) you look upon this verse,
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

A reading of this sonnet by the actor David Tennant:



Three Trojan Horses
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 4:16 PM

From the May/June Issue of Touchstone:

Trojan Horse 155139970 1 Three Trojan Horses

Three Trojan Horses
Insider Attempts to Disorient the Orthodox
by
Alexander F. C. Webster

The benighted Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete in June 2016 reminded Orthodox Christians that the rock of Orthodox faith and practice has been splitting for decades. The fissures are particularly evident among the approximately one million Orthodox Christians in the United States.

What is unconventional about the tone of the conflict is the aggressive ad hominem rhetoric of the avant-garde toward those who insist on unwavering fidelity to Orthodox Tradition. In a community widely known for its conservative approach to religious doctrine, morality, and liturgical rites, innovators would normally maintain a low profile, avoiding unwanted attention and charges of “heresy,” while gradually trying to effect “change.” Ironically, the Orthodox traditionalists are under assault and on the defensive in America and in a few autocephalous (“self-headed”) Churches around the globe.

The Orthodox “left” is waging their offensive on three fronts. Since the vast majority of the Orthodox faithful in this country are unaware of such machinations by the few but determined intellectual elites—clergy and laity—engaged in this spiritual warfare, I shall borrow Orthodox columnist Rod Dreher’s use of Homer’s “Trojan Horse” as an apt metaphor for the primary tactic of those elites.1 In fact, I intend to triple-down on that metaphor. Like the celebrated tactical ploy of the ancient Greeks, the contemporary Orthodox Trojan Horses appear to be gifts but are, instead, full of clandestine theological warriors poised to sack the Church.

Read the rest.



Lenten Reading in Touchstone
Friday, March 10, 2017, 10:30 AM

We’ll be posting some articles for Lent from the archives at touchstonemag.com in the coming weeks. Do check in to see what’s posted.

Screen Shot 2017 03 10 at 10.27.41 AM Lenten Reading in <em>Touchstone</em>



L’affaire Esolen
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 9:56 AM

From the upcoming March/April 2017 issue of Touchstone.

cover 30 02 Laffaire EsolenL’affaire Esolen
We Stand in Solidarity & in Good Company
by James M. Kushiner

Readers who were privileged to hear Anthony Esolen speak at Touchstone‘s 30th anniversary conference last October will agree that he is inspiringly passionate about the education of the next generation. This passion is not fueled by resentment over the deliberate rejection of the best of Western culture and civilization, nor by the refusal of our politically correct colleges and universities to properly educate young people in the best traditions of our forebears.

Rather, the source of Tony’s passion, I believe, is the sheer joy and wonder experienced in encountering the multifaceted and richly diverse and liberating culture of Christian civilization—including its appreciation of and commentary on the older culture of the Jews, which lies at its root, and the classical Greek and Roman cultures, which richly augment it. He loves teaching Dante because it allows him the privilege of sharing Dante’s resplendent insights into the Divine Love that moves the stars and moves our hearts toward the glory of Christ.

Esolen and other purveyors of Christian culture have watched the devotees of a new religion called “diversity” pack the treasures of our cultural heritage into storage boxes and relegate them to the attics and basements of the academy. Access may be permitted for private study—much as Soviet researchers were allowed guarded access to books in Old Church Slavonic or on the lives of the saints—but, say the Diversity Police, such books are not fit for public consumption or for fair presentation in the public marketplace of ideas. Indeed, some might prefer to throw them in the dumpster or just burn them up for good.

This suppression is carried out under the banner of “diversity” or “multiculturalism,” which ironically claims that all cultures are equal while it derides Judeo-Christian culture—and will eventually denigrate any other culture that doesn’t support the cookie-cutter diversity agendas of the LGBT lobby. Those who do not affirm gender theory and racial identity politics are homophobic, hateful, “on the wrong side of history,” and therefore expendable.

And so, Dr. Esolen, Providence College’s most prolific, popular, widely known, and widely read professor, but one who dared to criticize the lack of true diversity at his college, must be destroyed. Rod Dreher and others have written in detail about the shameful Esolen affair at Providence.

But Esolen is not alone—in more ways than one. Many other teachers, at schools small and large, have been harassed, punished, and even silenced for their adherence to orthodoxy. Not many years ago, I had lunch with two gifted professors, from two different schools in Virginia, who both suffered at the hands of the academy because their Christian views had been discovered in Touchstone articles. And we likely do not know the half of it. If all the tales of academic persecution by the devotees of “tolerance” and “diversity” were to be told, how many pages would they take up? (One might start in the pages of Academic Questions, the journal of the National Association of Scholars.)

The editors of Touchstone stand solidly with our brother Tony Esolen and with all who are targeted for censorship or expulsion. We do so neither out of malice nor with resentment over the losses that have been endured, but for the honor of bearing the mark of those who have seen the Light of Christ and will not be silenced, ever. •



Touchstone on Facebook & Twitter
Monday, January 23, 2017, 10:08 AM

Follow Touchstone on Facebook where we post articles almost daily from the vast Touchstone archives.

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We’re also on Twitter.

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Domestic Altars & Godly Offspring
Friday, December 30, 2016, 10:27 AM

bigcover 30 01 229x300 Domestic Altars & Godly OffspringBelow is an excerpt from senior editor Allan C. Carlson’s talk “Family Matters: Domestic Altars & Godly Offspring” given on October 15, 2016, at Trinity International University for Touchstone‘s 30th anniversary conference.

. . . the family renewal of the middle decades of the twentieth century is better seen as the consequence, rather than the cause, of religious renewal, a social force resting on doctrinal and institutional integrity.

So what went wrong? Why did all of the indications of family strength—early marriage, nearly universal marriage among adults, a relatively high average family size, a falling divorce rate—why did they all shudder and collapse between 1965 and 1977?

The short answer? It was the failure of the churches. That failure took form in three ways. . . .

. . . The first of these was a broad complacency among religious elites. A healthy family system, and the social benefits that it delivered, was taken for granted. . . .

. . . The second failure of the churches that lay behind family collapse was the open embrace of strident dissent, the encouragement of attacks on the common, orthodox Christian understanding of marriage, sexuality, and family. . . .

. . . The third failure of the churches came as they let down their guard, allowing for a return of the gnostics. Our conference began with Robby George’s talk on this matter. It seems significant that we end on the same question. . . .

Screen Shot 2016 12 30 at 10.20.49 AM 197x300 Domestic Altars & Godly OffspringWe are pleased to be able to share these talks with Touchstone readers in upcoming issues. Dr. Carlson’s is printed in Jan/Feb 2017 and is available to read at touchstonemag.com. You can also LISTEN to his talk—as well as the talks given by Robert P. George, James Hitchcock, Anthony Esolen, David S. Dockery, Thomas S. Buchanan, S. M. Hutchens, Patrick Henry Reardon, and James M. Kushiner—by purchasing access to the conference audio download page.



Most Read Online from Touchstone in 2016
Thursday, December 29, 2016, 9:00 AM

ts covers 2016 Most Read Online from Touchstone in 2016

10. The Only Lord We Know
On the Confession of the One True God
by James M. Kushiner & Patrick Henry Reardon (March/April)

9. Two Tales of Freedom
Getting the Origins of Religious Liberty Right Matters
by Matthew J. Franck (July/August)

8. The True Atheist Myth
Jordan Bissell on Past & Present Atheism & the Invention of Happiness (September/October)

7. The Still Small God
The Mustard Seed & the Wonders of His Kingdom
by Anthony Esolen (November/December)

6. The Little Jesus Who Would
Robert Hart on Cutting Christ Down to One Size Fits Whatever We Want (March/April)

5. The Master’s Voice
Our Choice Is Obedience or Jesus as Anti-Christ
by Anthony Esolen (May/June)

4. Surgical Fantasy
Robert Hart on Biblical Compassion for Sex-Change Confusion (May/June)

3. It’s Not Your Hijab
It’s the Theology: In Praise of Wheaton College’s Stand
by J. Daryl Charles (May/June)

2. School’s Out
Where Not to Send Young Children
by S. M. Hutchens (September/October)

1. The Vanishing Point of Marriage
How the Minimalist Redefinition Erodes a Foundational Institution
by Andrew J. Peach (January/February)

Most Touchstone articles from 2016 are not available online, so be sure to subscribe today so you don’t miss anything in 2017! By doing so you will also be granted access to 2016 in our digital archives.

If you already are a subscriber please consider giving a gift subscription to someone you think would enjoy reading Touchstone.



Thomas C. Oden (October 21, 1931 – December 8, 2016): Paleo-Orthodox Theologian
Monday, December 12, 2016, 9:18 AM

510RUfbnVDL. UX250  216x300 Thomas C. Oden (October 21, 1931   December 8, 2016): Paleo Orthodox TheologianThomas C. Oden, one of the most prolific and influential theologians of this generation, was ushered into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ on December 8, 2016. Not only was Oden one of the most prolific and influential Christian thinkers of our time, but his theological journey was also certainly one of the most interesting.

I had the privilege of hearing him give lectures in the early 1980s at Drew University, where for many years he held the Henry Anson Buttz Chair in Theology and Ethics, as he was making his turn from years invested in the liberal social gospel toward a classical Christian orthodoxy shaped and informed by the best of the Christian tradition. Particularly he was influenced by the shaping of that tradition as it developed over the first five centuries of the church. I met him shortly thereafter when he visited his first meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. He later became a friend and encourager for me, especially during the decade of the 1990s and beyond. For his friendship and guidance in my life, I will always be grateful.

He once described his theological pilgrimage to me as a series of twists and turns that carried him through liberalism, the social gospel, psychotherapy, and neo-orthodoxy, before eventually bringing him back home to classical Christianity, or what he preferred to call “paleo-orthodoxy.” Oden’s earlier years as leftward-leaning theologian can be traced through his publications, engagement, and interaction with Rudolph Bultmann (1964), Karl Barth (1969), and Soren Kierkegaard (1978). Each of these publications seemed to move him closer to historical orthodoxy, even as he explored the relationship of theology to psychotherapy in various works along the way (1967.1969, 1972,1974), always with an eye on pastoral ministry and the relationship of theology to the church.

In 1979, he sent a wake-up call to others, inviting them to join in his return to convictional and classical orthodoxy with the volume, Agenda for Theology. This publication served as the forerunner for his carefully-conceived, comprehensively-designed, and thoughtfully-written, three-volume systematic theology (1987, 1989, 1992), which drew deeply on the writings of the church fathers. The heartbeat and message of these three volumes were summarized in one of my favorite works, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy (2003). Oden, the Wesleyan theologian, joined with his Calvinist friend J. I. Packer to co-author an important resource on the confessional consensus of believers through the ages, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, which was called, One Faith: The Evangelical Consensus.

Oden’s massive theological project recognized that modernity did not satisfy and that the curiosity for the new, the novel, and the creative did not in itself serve the church well. He captured the fullness of this story within the framework of his fascinating pilgrimage in the 2014 autobiographical work, A Change of Heart: A Personal and Theological Memoir.

I was privileged to put together a volume of essays in 1995 under the title, The Challenge of Postmodernism: An Evangelical Engagement. Thomas Oden contributed two brilliant essays for that book: “The Death of Modernity” and “So What Happens after Modernity: A Postmodern Agenda of Evangelical Theology,” which I think summarized his theological agenda for the final 35 years of his life. That agenda was given ample resources not only through Oden’s writings but also through the numerous editorial projects in which he was involved such as the 29-volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, among others. These works, we pray, will continue to shape the next generation of Christian thinkers, pastors, and students for many years to come.

The Christian community has lost a giant with the passing of this cheerful, godly, evangelical, ecumenical, and paleo-orthodox theologian. A friend and source of encouragement to many, we join with numerous others to offer thanks to God for the life, ministry, influential writings, and convictional commitments of Thomas C. Oden.

—David S. Dockery
President, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


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