Author Archives: Brian Edgar

Torture: From the Gulag Archipelago to Guantanamo Bay

By Brian Edgar

Is it ever right to do wrong in the name of the common good? Does the end justify the means? Can it be argued that torture is sometimes a necessary evil which is really morally good? Read More »

Posted in Peace and War, Politics and Human Rights | Comments closed

Christians and war

Every new violent international conflict means a resumption of the long-standing debate between proponents of the two historic Christian approaches to war – Pacifism and Just War theory. But neither can offer more than a provisional and incomplete answer because both deal with circumstances that have already gone seriously wrong. Read More »

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Pacifism, just war and peacemaking

By Brian Edgar

While peace is always the same, war just isn’t what it used to be.

Unfortunately, individuals, coalitions and governments are finding new and diabolically creative ways of causing death, pain and hardship. This article reviews some of the changes that are taking place with regard to war and then makes some comments on three of the most common Christian responses: pacifism, just war theory and peace-making. Read More »

Posted in Peace and War | Comments closed

Climate Change: problem or opportunity?

By Brian Edgar and Mick Pope

Climate change is just one of the many issues which ought to be of interest to Christians. But climate change is also different to most of the others because of the way in which it draws together so many different dimensions of life.

  • This is not merely a scientific issue, it is also a social one.
  • It is not only an ethical issue, but also a deeply theological one.
  • In fact, it is a global, political, ethical, philosophical, theological, social, environmental, spiritual and eschatological issue! Read More »
Posted in Climate Change, Science and Faith Theory | Comments closed

Climate Change – an inter-faith dialogue

Do different religions have any common ground when it comes to climate change? When  the Climate Institute invited Australia’s faiths to join in a discussion about climate change sixteen contributions were received and published under the heading Common Belief: Australia’s Faith Communities on Climate Change. Read More »

Posted in Climate Change | Comments closed

AEA on climate change

The Australian Evangelical Alliance produced a statement on climate change which was published in the Climate Institute’s compendium of Australian religious statements Common Belief: Australia’s Faith Communities on Climate Change. Read More »

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Five reasons to care about climate change

Should evangelicals have anything to say about climate change?  I was asked this by Lausanne World Pulse and so I provided the following five reasons why evangelicals should be involved in what is said and done with regard to climate change. Read More »

Posted in Climate Change | Comments closed

Seven climate change gaps

In 2007 I wrote about 7 climate change gaps that were appearing.

  1. The Emissions Gap
  2. The Effect Gap
  3. The Growth Gap
  4. The Moral Gap
  5. The Policy Gap
  6. The Language Gap
  7. The Opportunity Gap

You be the judge of whether they are still open or whether they are closing! Read More »

Posted in Climate Change | Comments closed

Calvin and Science

By Brian Edgar

The year 1543 was a momentous one. Not only did Nicolaus Copernicus publish De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of Celestial Bodies), his astronomical masterpiece which offered a heliocentric alternative to Ptolemy’s geocentric system but Andreas Vesalius published his equally groundbreaking work in biology – De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body). And as if that was not enough John Calvin published his own explicit call for an intellectual reformation in theology in his tract The Necessity of Reforming the Church, a tract that would be used for centuries to focus attention on the practical implications of the reformation doctrines of the gospel for the life of the church. Read More »

Posted in Science and Faith Theory | Comments closed

Life after death – the intermediate state

By Brian Edgar

Marc Chagall - an angel takes Jesus

There are four connected ideas about death and resurrection which are widespread but wrong.

  • The first idea is that when a Christian dies they go into a disembodied form and wait for the time of the final resurrection (there are significant differences in opinion as to actually what happens during this ‘intermediate state’ – sleep? being in the presence of God? in purgatory?)
  • This concept requires the second idea, which is that the person is understood in a dualistic sense, composed of two parts which can be separated (although again, there are differences of opinion as to how this actually works: body and soul? body and spirit?).  This involves the idea that the ‘real person’ is found in the souls/spirit part and that the person in this form can exist quite independently of the body. Read More »
Posted in Purpose and Destiny, Theology of the Person | Comments closed

The human person according to Paul

By Brian Edgar

What exactly is meant when there is talk of a person being made up of ‘body and soul’? Are there two parts to a person? Can they exist separately?  Does the soul live on after the death of the body?  Discussions of the Biblical understanding of the person inevitably lead to the question as to whether the person is best understood  as unified whole (monism)  or as a integrated dualism of body and soul/spirit. Read More »

Posted in Purpose and Destiny, Science and Faith Theory, Theology of the Person | Comments closed

Intelligent Design in schools?

By Brian Edgar

There was, a little while ago, a very public debate about whether the teaching of Intelligent Design should be banned in Australian schools. There are strong advocates for doing this it and the suggestion inevitably produces tensions. The situation in Australia, however, is not as heated as in the USA, partly because the processes by which curricula are established are different, and this tends to reduce the level of tension. Nonetheless, it remains a controversial issue.

Unfortunately, I reckon there is, in Australia, a general lack of theological understanding about what intelligent design actually is and what it achieves Read More »

Posted in Purpose and Destiny, Science and Faith Theory | Comments closed

The church and workplace ministry

I never knew what a loss adjuster was until my after-church conversation with Max. I asked what he did for a living and was mystified by the idea of being ‘a loss adjuster’.  But it made sense as he explained it. A loss adjuster is an independent assessor of the loss incurred by an insured business after, say, a fire has occurred. Insurance covers the business for physical losses and for loss of income while out of action. But calculating depreciation on factories and plant and the actual looses involved in the time before the business re-opens is a complex matter and it is easy for insurance companies and their clients to differ. A loss adjuster takes into account all sorts of factors including seasons and sale patterns, alternative sources, the condition of the factory and so on.

But what was really difficult, as Max explained it, was the ethical dilemma Read More »

Posted in Everyday Theology | Comments closed

Faith-sharing in professional practice

By Brian Edgar

How should Christians who are professionals – specifically, in this case, health professionals share their faith? Of course, being a pastor or theologian is a very different experience, so my words have to be assessed in that light although I did become personally familiar with these issues over some years in the so-called ‘secular’ workforce. Read More »

Posted in Everyday Theology, Ministry and Mission | Comments closed

Embryo donation and research

By Brian Edgar

Now that “Robert” and “Sue” have three healthy children – all conceived through IVF, what should they do with the four ‘surplus’ embryos which they no longer need?   Should they have them destroyed, or donate them to another couple or perhaps give them to scientists to use for research? Read More »

Posted in Embryos and Stem Cells | Comments closed