Untitled Document

Theological Gravity

by S. M. Hutchens

As a Touchstone editor, my alarm bells go off when I find someone making in a submission to the magazine theological statements that appear to me (1) speculative, (2) careless or ignorant, or (3) outside the area of creedal agreement plausibly described by "mere Christianity," especially when (1) and (3) are not explicitly identified as such. Much can be accepted as Touchstonian when a preamble such as, "Baptists have historically believed that _____," or "the Orthodox call this _____, and believe _____" is included, for that represents a teaching moment that gives one confessional group an opportunity to consider the beliefs of another. Not so when there is simply an assumption that something falling outside the Vincentian canon, but contained in some developed system, is mere Christianity.

Sometimes whether or not this is happening is difficult to judge, but I believe in cleaving hard toward strictness because of the grave seriousness of theology. This is something Carl Braaten in particular impressed upon me, and on this I agree with him completely. As I understand him, Carl retired from teaching at the Lutheran School of Theology essentially because he found that, as the years went on and his own convictions intensified, he could find vanishingly fewer students who took theology seriously as something that was not to be trifled with, had eternal consequences, and for which bad theologians put their own souls and the souls of those they influence at risk.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more from the online archives

33.2—March/April 2020

How It Happens

Easy Descent on an Unguarded Road by S. M. Hutchens

22.7—September/October 2009

Science Fictions

on a Random Quantum Fluctuation by Marilyn Prever

18.8—October 2005


on Why Pornography Is Not the Sin We Say It Is by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone