Spring Issue Overview

By Patrick Anderson, Editor

Editor Patrick Anderson

This issue of the journal begins with an op-ed written by the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, published by the Associated Press 32 years ago, expressing the orthodox judicial and legislative interpretation of the Second Amendment then. Chief Justice Burger was a conservative Republican nominated to the court by President Richard Nixon, a fact that helps us understand the broadly-held judicial view of the Constitutional limitations on the so-called “right to bear arms” back then. Today’s new Republican orthodoxy, expressed by the modern Supreme Court as well as by many state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, stands in stark contrast to the earlier orthodoxy. That dramatic change should be understood as a contributor to the rapid increase of mass murders in America.

Wendell Griffen’s address recently presented at the James and Marilyn Dunn Lecture Series at Wake Forest University Divinity School is perhaps his most salient argument for reparations based on the encounters Jesus had with Zacchaeus and the Rich Young Ruler as recorded in the New Testament.

Retired American Baptist Pastor Charles Kiker’s article makes a personal call for formal, state-sponsored reparations based on his own experiences which plainly show how white privilege has benefitted his family for generations and how all of us white Americans, descendants of land-grabbing followers of Manifest Destiny, have debts to pay. We are not responsible FOR those sins, he tells us, but we are responsible TO the descendants of those dispossessed multitudes who have played on an unlevel playing field while we benefitted from the sins of our forefathers.

Mark Osler describes the ways COVID and other social factors have presented many churches with the choice of either comforting the remnant or risk-taking for the sake of those outside the church, with only the latter choice being the Christian one.

The “He Gets Us” ads on television and elsewhere have been viewed by millions of people. Kristen Thomason describes how the assumed purpose of the ads was seen as an effort to introduce Jesus and his teachings to the modern world, but rather than that the ads are more about re-branding Christianity, data gathering, and targeting vulnerable individuals to manipulate them into supporting far-right candidates and causes.

Thomas Graves is well-known among moderate Baptists as a pastor, theologian, and seminary president. He was first diagnosed with having Multiple Sclerosis in 1983, and in this article he describes his own journey with the disease, and then offers a theological treatise on natural evil stemming from primordial chaos as the root of all existence, and the incomplete, on-going creation in which we are called to join with God.


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