Recovering the Christian Mind

The Center for the Study of God & Culture exists to encourage Christians to relate cultural and political issues to the theological framework of the Christian faith, to view all of life in relationship to the sovereign purposes of God as the antidote to the outrage and fear which characterizes so much of the Christian response to the evil of our age.

To that end, we produce resources and podcasts with the objective of recovering the Christian mind. That sentiment is not original with us.

The English Anglican theologian Harry Blamires (1916-2017) published Recovering the Christian Mind in 1988 as a response to the secularism of the late 20th century. It was a follow up to his 1963 The Christian Mind in which he wrote:

"There is no longer a Christian mind. There is still, of course, the Christian ethic; a Christian practice, and a Christian spirituality… But as a thinking being the modern Christian has succumbed to secularization. He accepts religion — its morality, its worship, its spiritual culture; but he rejects the religious view of life, the view which relates all earthly issues within the context of the eternal, the view which relates all human problems — social, political, cultural — to the doctrinal foundations of the Christian Faith."

Rescuing Christmas from the Humanism of Charles Dickens


A Christmas Carol is the story of a miserly old man named Scrooge who is visited by four spirits, or ghosts, one Christmas eve: his long-dead former business partner, Marley; and then in immediate succession the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. It is a story that has become a part of the American psyche and has done more to shape our view of Christmas than any other piece of literature, including the Bible.

In his book, The Man Who Invented Christmas, Les Standiford describes Dickens as “the first modern novelist” and “the chief spokesman for his age.” During the mid-1800s, Charles Dickens was the most famous novelist of his time. He had come from a childhood of poverty and humiliation to become one of England’s most articulate social critics, and he used his gifts as a novelist to advance a social agenda that still influences social policy today.

When he published A Christmas Carol in 1843 he had already made a name for himself with such novels as The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and The Old Curiosity Shop. But by 1843 he was nearly bankrupt.

Really for no other reason than he desperately needed the money, Dickens began writing A Christmas Carol in October of 1843 and finished it in just six weeks, releasing it just in time for Christmas on December 19. All 6,000 of the original copies sold out within a few days.

A Christmas Carol is more than just a heartwarming Christmas tale. At its very foundation is an intentional presentation of an alternative gospel based in Charles Dickens’s humanistic view of the world, which can be summarized as:

The happiness of man is his ultimate end and purpose. We are fellow travelers to the grave and therefore ought to seek all of the pleasure this life has to offer. “The end he sought in all his zeal was a society in which the pleasures of life could be enjoyed by everyone: culture, entertainment, good food and drink, convivial fellowship, and a happy family.”

Man is basically good and possesses an “innate decency.” Dickens believed “in the possibility of an individual’s capability for self-determination,” that “man had the capacity to change himself and his lot in life.”

The source of man’s sin is his ignorance, which leads him to poverty and ultimately to commit crime. Dickens offered education and benevolence as the solution. “With the application of his knowledge, reason, and innate decency, mankind had everything needed to make a just and happy world.”

All of these themes find their apex in A Christmas Carol:

Les Standiford: “A Christmas Carol is a bald-faced parable that underscores Dickens’s enduring themes: the deleterious effects of ignorance and want, the necessity for charity, the benefits of goodwill, family unity, and the need for celebration of the life force, including the pleasures of good food and drink, and good company.”

A Christmas Carol presents “a secular counterpart to the story of the Nativity.” Dickens “complemented the glorification of the nativity of Christ with a specific set of practices derived from Christ’s example: charity and compassion in the form of educational opportunity, humane working conditions, and a decent life for all. Just as vital as the celebration of the birth of a holy savior into a human family was the glorification and defense of the family unit itself.”

Colossians 2:8-15 deals head on with the humanist error of focusing on the humanity of Christ to the exclusion of his deity, which is precisely the error that Dickens makes. The humanism of Charles Dickens values the example of Christ more than Christ himself, a view of Jesus that betrays an unbiblical understanding of the humanity of Christ:

1. The Humanity of Christ was a veil for the Deity of Christ: v. 9

(Hebrews 10:19-20 “through the veil, that is, through his flesh”)

2. The Humanity of Christ was a vehicle for the deliverance of God’s people from their sins: v. 13; Colossians 1:22

Here Jesus deals with Christmas Past: Dickens believed man could atone for his past mistakes by living more charitably in the present.

a)    Matthew 1:19 – 21 “He shall save his people from their sins”

b)    1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree”

c)    John 1:29, 35 “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”

d)    Isaiah 53:6 “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”

3. The Humanity of Christ made possible his victory over the devil: v. 15; Hebrews 2:14 – 18

Here Jesus deals with Christmas Future: Dickens believed that your future reward was based on your present life of good works and benevolence.

a)    Through his resurrection he has defeated death and the devil: delivering those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage: this is Scrooge’s fundamental problem: he doesn’t want to die.

b)     Through his resurrection he has become our priest

Jesus did not come into the world to reveal to man his own potential. Jesus came into the world “when we were yet without strength” and he died for the ungodly.

Jesus didn’t come into the world to be an example of how humans should live charitable lives. He came into the world, not to rehabilitate us or to reform us, but to make us new.

Episode 30: Greg Lukianoff on Cancel Culture

Recovering the Christian Mind |October 11, 2023

Today’s episode of Recovering the Christian Mind is a conversation with Greg Lukianoff about his forthcoming book, The Canceling of the American Mind.

Greg Lukianoff is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and one of the country’s most passionate defenders of free expression. He has written on free-speech issues in the nation’s top newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and was executive producer of the documentaries Can We Take a Joke? and Mighty Ira. Lukianoff earned his undergraduate degree from American University and his law degree from Stanford. He worked for the ACLU of Northern California, the Organization for Aid to Refugees, and the EnvironMentors Project before joining FIRE in 2001.  

Episode 29: A Conversation with Matthew Boyd

Recovering the Christian Mind | July 12, 2023

Matthew Boyd made his Major League Baseball debut as a Toronto Blue Jay on June 27, 2015 and one month later he was traded to the Detroit Tigers. He has played 8 years of his 9 year career with the Tigers, but not without adversity.

He was sidelined for the entire 2022 season after flexor tendon surgery in September 2021.

More recently, 16 pitches into a game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, something didn’t feel right. Two days later he would have season ending Tommy John surgery.

Matthew is a committed follower of Jesus Christ. How does the Christian faith work when something isn’t right, when we are facing adversity, setbacks, and disappointments?

Episode 28: A Surprising Discovery at Oxford University

Recovering the Christian Mind | June 5, 2023

In this episode of Recovering the Christian Mind we revisit an interview with Dr. Carolyn Weber about her memoir of coming to faith in Jesus Christ as an agnostic while a student at Oxford University: Surprised by Oxford.

This is a wide-ranging conversation with includes discussions of anti-Christian bias in academia, the pressures Christian academics face as professors and teachers in academia, and the surprising way God used the intellectual environment of Oxford to bring an agonistic to Himself.

This interview was recorded in 2011 and is probably one of my top five favorite conversations I ever had during my 12 years as a talk radio host.


A Commonwealth Scholar, Dr. Carolyn Weber holds her B.A. Hon. from Huron College at Western University, Canada and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. from Oxford University, England. Dr. Weber is an award-winning author, popular professor and international speaker. She is delighted to serve as a professor at New College Franklin in Franklin, TN, where she is grateful to be part of the rich fellowship of learning at this unique and wonderful college.

She has served as faculty at Oxford University, Seattle University, University of San Francisco, Westmont College, Brescia University College and Heritage College and Seminary. She was the first female dean of St. Peter’s College, Oxford.

Dr. Weber’s most recent book is Sex and the City of God: A Memoir of Love and Longing (IVP: 2020)

Episode 27: Behind the Scenes of Revival: The Work of God

Recovering the Christian Mind |May 30, 2023

Consider today’s episode of Recovering the Christian Mind a Bonus Track to yesterday’s conversation with Pastor Jeremy Walker about the excellent new two-hour video documentary on the history of revival, Revival: The Work of God.

In this brief conversation, Jeremy and I discuss the production aspects of the documentary: the beautiful locations they visited, including historic churches and places, and the pastors and professors they interviewed to help all of us place revival in its proper biblical and historical context.

Episode 26: What is Revival? A Conversation with Pastor Jeremy Walker

Recovering the Christian Mind | May 29, 2023

Pastor Jeremy Walker is the Writer and Presenter of the new Reformation Heritage Books documentary, Revival: The Work of God.

This two-hour video documentary sets revival in its biblical and historical context, freeing us from our contemporary pragmatic view which sees revival more as a result of human creativity and ingenuity than a true work of the Spirit at the sole initiative of our sovereign God.

Pastor Walker says, “In times of reviving, God does what He always does. But there’s a pace and a power to it that is distinctive; and sometimes it’s momentary – it’s A sermon; other times it’s a period; sometimes it’s a lifetime; sometimes it sweeps across a whole region that there’s this sort of elevating of the spiritual tone that is, I think, incontrovertible. It is the God who, in His grace, draws near to bless in ways that are perhaps beyond, certainly that beggar, I think, our low and shallow expectations of Him.”