2.) Does the God of Christian Theism Exist? Justin Schieber v. Ignacio Reyes: A Van Tillian Evaluation
3.) Irrational skepticism forum: Steve Hays’ posts compilation
5.) Vern Poythress’ Why Philosophy Matters for Christians
Posted in apologetics methodology, apologetics tactics, christian apologetics, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, Reformed, Theology, Van Til on October 11, 2014 | 11 Comments »
Christian apologetics and apologetics’ methodology must take into account the reality of Total Depravity. Much more could be said beyond the video but this might be a place to start in terms of thinking about presenting evidence in light of one’s listeners’ presupposition and sin.
Can we say a Reformed apologist is a Reformed apologist if they are naively presenting evidence without being wise in how they go about presenting evidence?
This is a short and wonderful devotional commentary through the first eight Psalms. It might seem unusual that the author J.V. Fesko is a professor of systematic theology at WSC is writing this commentary on the Psalms but I thought he did a good job for a devotional commentary. Every theologian ought to be able to write something like this since the Word is what every theologian is building upon. Fesko’s commentary is trying to show the readers how the first eight Psalm is about Jesus Christ. I think for those who want to see what Christ-centered preaching/reading of the Bible is like, this is a book to get the flavor. My favorite chapter was his look into Psalm 1. I really enjoyed the author’s observation and argument from the content of Psalms 1 that the “righteous man” in Psalm anticipates more of Christ than it does anyone else since only Christ is the one who is totally righteous. The author insist strongly that Psalm 1:1 ought to be translated “blesses is the man” rather than something more generic such as “blessed are those,” since the “man” here is referring to Jesus. Fesko then makes the point from the New Testament that we can be righteous too provided we are grafted into Christ, thus playing on the motif within Psalm 1. I appreciated the devotional questions in the back of each chapter. The author was able to point us to Christ and also not neglect the original context of the Psalms themselves (David and his life, etc). I only wished he could have brought out more insight from the text itself at times (that criticism is one not only for this book but one that I have for most devotional commentary in general). Excellent book, I recommend it.
NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Reformation Heritage Books through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.
I am glad that Oxford University Press published this book since works by Middle East historians on early Islamic conquest (seventh to ninth century AD) are rare as the author stated in the introduction and the end of the book. I thought this is a relevant book in light of the contemporary discussion about Islam, Islamic violence and the Middle East which lead some to ask the question of what the Islamic Arabic world was like shortly after Muhammad died. It is indirectly relevant to those discussions because this book touches on the early Islamic movement and warfare. The author has no intention of writing a book bashing Islam nor is he presenting an apologetics for Muslim. The book’ main thesis is to challenge the common assumption made by many people today including historians that the Islamic Arabic empire expanded rapidly at an unprecedented rate and that these military expansion are driven to convert people to Islam. Here the author points out that the Islamic expansion was at the same rate as those of other nomadic people such as the Mongols; the author also noted how few people converted to Islam during the military conquests during the early Caliphs as evidence that in the beginning the expansion was not about bringing about conversion of others to Islam per se. In fact, there were strong incentive in the beginning not to convert people into the Arabic community of faith, as that would mean the distinction between conqueror and conquered would be erased and the profit of invasion for the conqueror would disappear (in later period the issue of conversion was controversial because of what it would mean for the original Arabic party). I think the author’s citations of early Muslim political sources are solid in establishing this point. I really enjoyed how the book describe the context of the Arabic/Islamic expansion as during a time in which much of the known world was going through a population decrease due to diseases and also the weakening of empires that allowed the Islamic empires to rise and fill in the vacuum. Specifically those empires were the Byzantine, Persians and the Chinese. What made this book unique to other works on the Islamic military expansion (some of which are mentioned in the bibliography) is that this particular work didn’t just study the issue from 9th and 10th Century Arabic Sources (some centuries removed from the actual events) but instead it focused on the earlier sources and it also looked into non-Islamic sources. It is incredible to see the citation and footnotes of a wide array of cosmopolitan sources, from the Byzantines, Armenians, Christian monks, Persians, Chinese, Buddhist monks and travelers who wrote account, the author’s ability to cover such large and diverse sources make this a valuable work for decades to come. The appendix must not be missed in which the author summarizes some of the primary sources he employ, so that readers will get a better understanding of what it was that the author was citing. Excellent work and I recommend it for the history buffs, those interested in understanding the role of warfare and violence in Islam and those interested in the history of the Middle East.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Oxford University Press and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.