The bankruptcy of the Christian intellectual II

By Augustinus

I just read Ralph Wood’s 2011 study of G.K. Chesterton’s life and work called “Chesterton: The nightmare goodness of God”. Ralph Wood is University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University. His book on Chesterton was endorsed by several people whom I have read and respect including David Bentley Hart, Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce and Fergus Kerr.  In the book Wood praises Chesterton for his great work on behalf of the church but then also seeks to criticize the great man on several points. One such was Chesterton’s great poem on Lepanto: the great naval battle of a European coalition against the Ottoman Turks. Wood criticizes Chesterton because the great man celebrated the bloody victory of the west over the barbaric Islamist fanatics too enthusiastically for Wood’s tastes. For Wood apparently, Christianity is mainly about peace and love and not denigrating other religions like Chesterton does in his magnificent, celebratory, epic poem Lepanto. Wood spends a lot of pages in his book trying to argue that Chesterton really wasn’t the kind of guy who celebrated bloody victories over heretic foes but Chesterton WAS that kind of guy. Believe or not the Church has always produced militant foes of heresy and that is precisely the kind of man the church needs today; unapologetic defenders of the Truth.

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