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Archive for the ‘Reformed’ Category

books

It’s my goal that in the next nine years I would read at least one commentary for every book in the Bible–so I can recommend a good commentary for the books in the Bible.

It is partly as my own devotional reading through the Scriptures and partly because of being asked what good commentaries I’ve read that I would recommend for certain books.  Since I realized I need to read more Bible commentaries, I thought this might be a good project on Veritas Domain.

Sometime this week I’ll post up a page that list out what has already been done.  I will be reviewing expository and exegetical commentaries.

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John-Frame

We have been posting daily quotes from John Frame’s Doctrine of the Christian Life on our facebook and twitter account.  This morning I want to share an extended lengthy quote from John Frame on the relationship of the intellect, will and emotions.  John Frame is at his best when he explores the inter-relationships and/or inter-dependence of things and here is no exception.  People often have a wrong conception of the relationship between will and the intellect so the following is helpful.

Traditionally, will is contrasted with intellect (reason) and emotions.  In some accounts, it almost seems as though will, intellect, and emotions are little beings up in our heads who vie for supremacy.  Arguments have been made both about which of these three faculties is superior to the others and about which one ought to be superior.  Philosophical movements have been identified by views on this alleged conflict: Aquinaas has been called an intellectualist, Scotus a voluntarist, and Kierkegaard an emotionalist.

My own view, however, is that we make decisions as whole persons, and that intellect, will and emotions are perspectives on the whole persons, not subsistent entities.  The intellect is the person’s ability to think, the will his his capacity to decide, and the emotionsa re his capacity to feel.  We are talking about three abilities that people have, not three independent entities within them.  That I think is a more biblical perspective, for Scripture never distinguishes these three capacities or make any general statements about the superiority of one or the other.

In my view, the three abilities are interdependent.  You cannot make a decision (will) unless you judge (intellect) that it is the right thing to do.  On the other hand, you cannot make the right judgment (intellect) unless you choose (will) to make it.  The will is certainly involved in our intellectual judgments.  As Paul teaches in Romans 1, certain people choose to disbelieve in God, despite the sufficiency of the evidence of his existence.  Other people choose otherwise.  In both cases, belief is a choice.  The intellectual judgment is a decision of the will.  That is one reason why I have emphasized that the intellectual realm has a moral dimension, that there is an ethics of knowledge.

So will and intellect are dependent upon one another, and so are choice and reason.  They are not independent entities, but perspectives on the mental acts of human beings.  In everything we do, there is thought and choice.  And we think about what to choose, and we choose what to think.  And we choose what to think about what to choose.  We accept reasons because we choose them, and we choose them because we find them reasonable.

(John Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 368).

I find the above helpful.  I would add that not one of the above faculty is morally superior to another.  Our sinfulness has corrupted all our faculty.  So we sin with our mind, our choices, and have sinful emotions, etc.  This has implication for apologetics that we have unpacked on our blog elsewhere; certainly the most obvious is that our mind is not a neutral arbiter of facts, nor does appealing to our intellect alone would necessarily lead someone to Christ if the sinful will chooses not to do so.   How much more do we need the grace of God.

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What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter Bauchman

Among the many Christian books on family, courtship and fatherhood that I have read, I think this book has become one of my top five.  While the book was intended to address fathers to encourage them to think biblically of what to look for in a man who wants to marry their daughter, nevertheless I think others can benefit from reading this book too such as single mothers evaluating those interested in their daughters, or the young man who want to become a godly husband in the future.  A young woman who wants to understand her father’s responsibility in the area of courtship and Pastors who wishes to teach a biblical view of courtship to their church will also benefit from reading this work.

The author Voddie Bauchman is a big advocate of a biblical view of family and has previously authored Family Driven Faith.  I find the emphasis in the book on the role of parents and especially that of fathers in the courtship of young Christian couples to be refreshing since it seems as if many contemporary Christian books on courtship hasn’t explain as clearly as this one did of the role of fathers in their child’s courtship.  Bauchman packs many practical advice and exhortation in this book that is biblical and wise.  As a father of two young daughters both of whom are under three years old at the of this review, this book made me realized that I can’t be too early in thinking about and preparing my daughter for marriage (let me add the caveat that preparing and training them for marriage now doesn’t mean I’m gong to have them marry at this moment!  I do think we must do so in a way that is age appropriate).  I appreciate the opening chapter on the multigenerational vision in the Bible that goes beyond the topic of courtship and about the family, church and society.  Bauchman uses his own background of broken family in the book to point to us the importance of doing family God’s way rather than what our society says.  I also appreciated how the author skillfully went through some of the passages from the Bible that I have not thought of in connection to fathers and daughter’s relationship and the broader topic of courtship—he even navigated exceptionally well through Old Testament passages in which he acknowledges the original recipients were Jews while maintaining that there are some wise principles to gain from looking at them even when the civil force of these laws are currently not enforced.  I also appreciate how Bauchman is realistic to realize the pool of godly candidates to marry our daughters are probably small and in chapter ten he gives us instruction of how, by the grace of God, we can go “build” godly men ourselves in the local church.  Here we see the importance of making disciples of younger men by older men does have some earthly blessing.

I won’t want to give away the whole book in this review.  Looking at my book and seeing all the highlights reminds me there is many things I could have talked about.  Go and get this book.

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Psalm2-TH1

The incredible blogger Jeff Downs has shared with us several weeks ago of a resource regarding a Biblical Worldview.  Reverend Christian McShaffrey of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) has preached a series titled “A Psalm 2 Worldview.”

The description of this series is given below:

A “worldview” is a philosophy of life which determines how a person sees the world. Everyone has a worldview, but most people simply “catch” their worldview and assume that it is correct.

As Christians, we simply cannot afford to be thoughtless when it comes to understanding the world around us and interpreting the events which occur in it. Rather, we need to allow the light of scripture to illuminate and interpret reality. It is only in this that we will find hope and peace in this world.

Pastor McShaffrey presented the basic principles of a Christian Worldview by explaining and applying Psalm Two during the Fall of 2013.

Here are the audios:

10/20/13  –  The Raging of the Heathen (Psalm 2:1-3)

10/27/13  –  The Disposition of God (Psalm 2:4-6)

11/03/13  –  The Inheritance of Christ (Psalm 2:7-9)

11/10/13  –  The Invitation to Nations (Psalm 2:10-12a)

11/17/13  –  The Blessedness of Christians (Psalm 2:12b)  

Enjoy!

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Here are some links on Presuppositional apologetics gathered between July 15th-21st, 2014!

1.) Biblical Apologetics: Practical and Workable

2.) Book Recommendation: Inerrancy and Worldview by Vern Poythress

3.) Atheist Peter Boghossian Loathes Christians: “Reprogram Them!”

4.) Proving God’s Existence: Would You Believe If He Showed Up at Your Door?

5.) 

6.) Is the mind an emergent property of the physical brain?

7.) Last installment of Presuppositional apologetics’ links

 

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Chance_comps.indd

Earlier this year Crossway published a 368 page book by Dr. Vern Poythress titled Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probabiliy and Random Events.  I appreciate how Dr. Poythress has made many of his books  available to the public for free as a PDF.  This new book is now among them!

You can download the PDF by clicking HERE.

The description of the book on the publisher Crossway’s website is as follows:

What if all events—big and small, good and bad—are governed by more than just blind chance? What if they are governed by God?

In this theologically informed and philosophically nuanced introduction to the study of probability and chance, Vern Poythress argues that all events—including the seemingly random or accidental—fall under God’s watchful gaze as part of his eternal plan. Comprehensive in its scope, this book lays the theistic foundation for our scientific assumptions about the world while addressing personal questions about the meaning and significance of everyday events.

Here’s the table of content:

Table of Contents

Introduction: Experiences with Unpredictable Events
Part 1: The Sovereignty of God
1.  The Bible as a Source for Knowledge
2.  God’s Sovereignty
3.  Unpredictable Events
4.  Disasters and Suffering
5.  Human Choice
6.  Small Random Events
7.  Reflecting on Creation and Providence
8.  God’s Sovereignty and Modern Physics
9.  What Is Chance?
Part 2: God as the Foundation for Chance
10. Regularities and Unpredictabilities
11. Trinitarian Foundations for Chance
12. Responding to Chance
13. Chance in Evolutionary Naturalism
14. Chance and Idolatry
Part 3: Probability
15. What is Probability?
16. Predictions and Outcomes
17. Theistic Foundations for Probability
18. Views of Probability
19. Subjectivity and Probability
20. Entanglement of Probabilities
21. Probabilistic Independence
22. Independence and Human Nature
23. Is God Probable?
Part 4: Probability and Mathematics
24. Pictures of Probability
25. Mathematical Postulates for Probability
26. Theistic Foundations for Some Properties of Probability
27. Limitations in Human Thinking about Events and Probabilities
28. Conclusion
Appendices
Appendix A: Why Gambling Systems Fail
Appendix B: The Real Problem with Gambling
Appendix C: A Puzzle in Probability
Appendix D: Interacting with Secular Philosophical Views of Probability
Appendix E: Permutations and Combinations
Appendix F: The Birthday Problem
Appendix G: Diseases and Other Causes
Appendix H: Proofs for Probability
Appendix I: Statistics
Appendix J: The Law of Large Numbers versus Gamblers

Enjoy!

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Here are links on Presuppositional apologetics gathered from July 8th-14th, 2014.

1.) Clearing the Presuppositional Malaise

2.) Theological Memeology: Don’t Push ‘Religion’ on Me!

3.) VAN TIL CIRCLES AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

4.) The Biblical Basis for Presuppositional Apologetics

5.) Biblical Apologetics: Exegetical and Theological

6.) Militant Atheist Peter Boghossian Wants to Reprogram Christians into Atheists: Reeducation Camps is His Solution to Religion

7.) Book Recommendation: What’s Your Worldview? by James Anderson

Last Week’s: Early July 2014 Presuppositional Apologetics Round Up

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James White

Found this on Youtube of Dr. James White’s Dividing Line on the topic of apologetics’ methodology.  Specifically Dr. White advances Reformed apologetics, also known as Presuppositional apologetics versus non-Presuppositional apologetics methodology.

It is three hours long:

Dr. White’s presentation is trying to show how theology matters–even in apologetics.  I appreciate his look at one of William Lane Craig’s debate and contrast that of Greg Bahnsen vs. Stein debate.

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GO TO PART 23

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Point:  Practitioners of Presuppositional apologetics will no doubt notice that an atheist’s argument often ends up destroying so many other necessary things in life and rationality in their attempt to dismiss the existence of God.  This needs to be pointed out and yet in past experience, the significance of this is missed.  The following analogy might help to get the point across of what is happening.  It’s like someone trying to burn down their house–to kill something that is supposedly minor, like a spider.

Picture: On the news there is this story:

A Kansas woman was arrested after police said she went to extremes trying to kill a spider.

Ginny M. Griffith, 34, told officers in Hutchinson she set a pile of towels on fire at about 1:30 a.m. Friday in hopes of catching the spider and burning it to death, the Hutchinson News reported.

While it’s not clear if she ever caught the arachnid, the fire department did have to intervene.

Crews managed to put out the blaze without injury. The building suffered only light smoke damage.

Griffith, however, has been charged with aggravated arson. The other side of the duplex she lives in was occupied at the time, police said.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

CHRISTIAN: Have you realized that in the last hour of our conversation, your atheism posed more problem than it solved?

OPPONENT: How?

CHRISTIAN: You ended up advocating self-refuting positions: laws of logic without law-like attributes, truth is all relative, ethical subjectivism while saying Christianity is morally wrong, etc.  That’s a problem.

OPPONENT: But I don’t see why that’s problematic.

CHRISTIAN: I’ve explained throughout our conversation how it destroys your foundation for life and even for this very debate!  I suppose an analogy might be appropriate.  There’s this story I heard the other day…<Insert analogy>.

OPPONENT: That’s funny.

CHRISTIAN: Certainly she has problem with the spider.  But do you think in the end she has created more problem than she solved in trying to get rid of the Spider?

OPPONENT: Of course!

CHRISTIAN: That’s the same thing you are doing!

 

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Here are links on the subject of Presuppositional apologetics gathered from the World Wide Web between July 1st-7th, 2014.  Which ones did you enjoyed?

1.) Mars Hill: A case for friendship evangelism or antithesis?

2.) Word Faith worldview: An Inexhaustive Internal Critique

3.) Theological Memeology: Infinite Punishment for Finite Crimes

4.) Keep A Record Of God’s Providence In Your Life

5.) The motivation of Frame

6.) Life is but a dream–Great point about the paradox of atheistic materialism being similiar to Idealism and a fading dream!

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Reformation Montana 2014

There’s a conference that sounds very interesting: Reformation Montana.  It was earlier in Mid-June.  The audio recordings of the conference is now available online and they have a good line up of speakers!

Click on the sessions below to hear audio from each speaker.

 Thursday
 
2:00-2:50              Chris Rosebrough 
3:00-350               Justin Peters
4:15-5:00              Sye Ten Bruggencate
6:45-7:45              Justin Peters
8:10-9:00              Chris Rosebrough   

Friday
 
9:00-10:50            Voddie Baucham  
1015-1045            Q&A with Sye Ten Bruggencate
11:00-12:00           Phil Johnson  
2:00-2:50              Voddie Baucham   
3:15-3:50              Q&A with Chris Rosebrough
4:15-5:15              Phil Johnson     
7:00-7:50              Voddie Baucham  
8:10-8:45              Panel Discussion (with all Speakers)  

Saturday

9:00-10:00           Phil Johnson 
10:15-11:15           JD Hall   
1130-12:30           Voddie Baucham  

(SOURCE)

 

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camden buceyIf you listen to Reformed Forum Podcast you will be familiar with the name Camden Bucey who is the President of Reformed Forum and currently a Pastor at Hope OPC.  He also has an Master of Divinity and a doctorate in Systematic Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary.

Dr. Bucey has taught a series on Presuppositional apologetics last year.  The audio recording of those messages has been made available on the church website and are reproduced below.  Click on them to download the MP3s.

1.) Introduction to Defending the Faith

2.) Worldviews and Philosophy According to Christ

3.) WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?

4.) Revelation

5.) Who and What is Man?

6.) The Antithesis

7.) Common Grace

8.) Presuppositions

9.) Apologetic Method

10.) Strategies and Tactics

11.) Proof and Evidences

12.) Review and Examples

Enjoy!

Thanks to Jeff Downs for pointing these out to us!

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John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings Volume 1

For those who want to get this book at a discounted price go over to WTS Bookstore online by clicking HERE.

This is a collection of various essays and articles written by John Frame over the years that hasn’t been published, with some being articles on his website and others being shared for the first time.  For anyone who is a fan of Frame this is a great supplement to the many works that Frame has written over the years.  Ideally those who have a little exposure to John Frame’s writings (say a book or two or some journal articles by him) will benefit the most from this book.  John Frame can write very lengthy books so I appreciate the format of shorter essays in this book.  In particular I found the first chapter that serves as a great introduction and summary of his perspectivalism.  This essay is very important in light of how some within the Reformed camp have misunderstood his position as relativism.  If some of his opponents have known about this essay it might have deterred some of the unhelpful criticisms of John Frame out there (or then again it might not).

I also found the various articles in part one of the book that focus on theological method to be a wonderful feast for the mind—in fact it’s probably the best part of the book.  Specifically I enjoyed his discussion about contrast and exegesis, with his call for preachers and theologians to properly extract what exactly the Scripture is saying and then correctly noting what the contrast of the idea is; this is important when we say that the Bible prohibit or refute something and people often err in saying what the Bible is against when in actuality the Scripture didn’t prohibit or contradict it.

In part two of the book on theological meditation I appreciated his review of N.T Wright’s bibliology in which Frame showed how Wright overstretched his rhetoric when he claimed in the subtitle of a recent book that he has gone beyond the “Bible Wars” by offering another alternative.  In reality Wright didn’t really offer anything new and it turns out instead that at times he is unhelpful because he isn’t clear or too ready with the cliché.  At times Wright turns out to be still quite conservative in his view of the Bible despite how he rags on conservatives.  Frame also did a good job of showing Wright’s complaint to move beyond the concept of infallibility is inconsistent with his job of being a Bible historian is still dedicated to defending the historicity of the Bible.

Surprisingly the shortest part of the book was the section on apologetics.  Here I have to level a criticism of Frame’s review of Greg Bahnsen’s Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended.  After going through carefully what Frame has to say, I thought the essay really was not a review of the book but more of a celebration and recollection of Greg Bahnsen the apologist.  Frame criticized Bahnsen for being unfair to Gordon Clark, Carnell and Schaeffer but Frame doesn’t really demonstrate that Bahnsen really was unfair in his critique of these men.  It was more of a comment made in passing rather than actual documentation it was so.

The last section was more personal and had several assorted pieces that reveal more of John Frame the man.  If you are a big fan of Frame you would love this section and Frame is pretty funny.  I recommend this work to those who want to understand more of Frame’s contribution to theology and apologetics and those who want to get every work by Frame.  These two types of readers will benefit most from this book.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

 

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Celebrating Francis Schaeffer 30 years Anniversary

A British Christian organization called Christian Heritage over at Cambridge has featured an event back in May 15th, 2014 celebrating the life of Francis Schaeffer on the 30th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death.

Here’s a description of the event from the event page:

The 15th May was the 30th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death. To many he was unquestionably one of the twentieth century’s most outstanding evangelical leaders. His influence throughout the church was vast. Had he not ‘buried’ himself in a small mountain village in Switzerland to start a little-known work called L’Abri Fellowship, committed to prayer rather than ‘advertising’, perhaps more would know his name. Was he a prophet? Did his extraordinary authority arise from a quite unique biblical analysis of our culture? Were his warnings and pleas not exactly what were needed?  But was he – for that very reason – not also an uncomfortable prophet? Did his critiques of Evangelicalism not cut too close to the bone? Join us to find out more.

Here are the talks:

Thursday 15 May, 5.45 – 9.00pm

5.45 – 7pm: The Real Schaeffer byAndrew Fellows who is the Director of the English L’Abri Fellowship and Ranald Macaulay, Schaeffer’s son-in-law and founder of Christian Heritage

7.30 – 9pm: Schaeffer’s ‘True Truth’ byDr Os Guinness who is aprolific author and social critic

 

(HT)

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These are Presuppositional apologetics links gathered between June 22nd-30th, 2014.

1.)Peter Boghossian and the Angry New Atheists Refuted part I

2.) The Noetic Effects of Sin and Our Apologetic Response

3.) Expositional (Presuppositional Apologetics) -Shane Kastler

4.) Why I’m Not an Evidentialist: a Response to J Warner Wallace

5.) Treading Through the Tenets: Of Metaphysics and Marriage

6.) The Sufficiency of Scripture: Is God’s Word Enough, Part 6

7.)  Review by James Anderson

8.) Van Tillian apologetics links: Third Week of June 2014 Round up

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