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Posts tagged "Moralism"

Adam Smith and the Nature of Heaven

This one comes to us from David Clay. Adam Smith, widely acknowledged as the father of modern economics, was first and foremost a moral philosopher by trade. Nearly two decades before Wealth of Nations (1776) revolutionized the world’s understanding of economics, Smith had established his philosophical reputation throughout Europe with The Theory of Moral Sentiments […]

The Living Christ and the Principle of Grace

An astute reflection by Jared Jones: There is a bustling market for “principles” in the world today. “Timeless truths to live your life by.” “7 Principles of Health.” “376 Different Things to Try in Bed that You’ll Try to Remember for the Next Time You’re in a Relationship Because the Only People Who Pick Up […]

Everything New Is Moralism Again – Jacob Smith

Our video coverage of the NYC Conference rolls on with a killer breakout from the one and only Jacob Smith:

Everything New Is Moralism Again ~ Jacob Smith from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

NYC Preview: Everything New Is Moralism Again


We are really excited to once again be hosting the Spring Mockingbird Conference at St. George’s Church in New York City in a couple of weeks. The Old School Princeton Theologian, J. Gresham Machen once said, “Soon there will be so much applied Christianity that there will be very little Christianity to actually apply.” It seems to me that many of us who come to the Mockingbird Conference are being or have been burned by this so called, “applied Christianity.”  None of us, from the left or the right in American Christendom, have been safe from the grueling burdens of “applied Christianity.” This is because ultimately whether it is the latest seven-part-series-to-a-holier-you or new ways-we-can-make-the-UN-Millennium-Development-Goals-a-living-reality-in-our-churches, all of this new stuff is not the Gospel, but simply moralism again.

In my break out session “Everything New Is Moralism Again” I will be briefly walking us through the problem of American Christianity since the First Great Awakening. In this session I will be making the point that revivalism and an over-emphasis on social justice is not that helpful, and how our attempts at being relevant to society has ultimately made us irrelevant. Then I am going talk about the one thing that the church has been given-the very thing that draws us to this conference year after year-and why it is so freaking important. Spoiler Alert: it is The Gospel of Grace!  It should be a good time filled with lots of laughs and memories…so bring your cameras!

Sign up for the conference today!

What Would Jesus Tweet? The Gospel in the 21st Century (Conference Recordings!)


An enormous thank you to all the fantastic people at St Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY, who made the What Would Jesus Tweet mini-conference possible earlier this month! What a privilege it was to meet so many new friends; the warmth and graciousness of the welcome we received was nothing short of overwhelming. To read a (very generous!) re-cap of the event, go here. The recordings are now available, both on our Resources page and here, in the order in which they were given. Click on the talk titles to download, or on the players below to listen:

Talk 1: What Would Jesus Tweet? – David Zahl

Talk 2: Everybody’s Anxious, Nobody’s Bored – David Zahl

Everything New Is Moralism Again – The Rev. Jacob Smith

The Psychology of SalvationDr. Eric Johnson

Talk 3: What We Talk About When We Talk About Freedom and Closing Q&A – David Zahl and Jacob Smith

The Astonishing Tales of Costanza, or The Danger of Moralizing Suffering

Yesterday was a big day! Tullian Tchividjian’s indispensable new book Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free finally hit the shelves, and its release could not dovetail more perfectly with the theme of this past weekend’s conference (recordings should be up tomorrow), namely, how you and I interpret and experience suffering, and whether or not […]

Charles Taylor on the Obsession with Getting Ourselves to Act Right

A pretty stunning passage from philosopher Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age describing the 19th century slide that Christianity took into moralism, and how the natural endpoint of that slide is unbelief, ht KW: Perhaps the most important for our purposes was the protest against a narrowing of the ends of life to a code of […]

The Problem of Moralism According to Alister McGrath

“Christ is the supreme human example, who evinces an authentically human lifestyle which we are alleged to be capable of imitating. Such a view is not merely adequate as an exposition of the significance of Jesus Christ, but is unrealistic in its estimation of the capacities and inclinations of human nature. It is an ethic […]

U2: From Seekers, to Saints, to Sinners, to Saved by Grace–Part 4

PART 4: SAVED BY GRACE Back in May, Mockingbird began a series examining the intersection of the lives, the faith, and the music of the members of U2. You can read the earlier posts here, here, and here. The series was born out of the observation that the personal journey of the band—in particular that […]