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Archive for December, 2013

Hiebert on Titus and Philemon commentary

This is a commentary on both the book of Titus and Philemon and is a good example of why you can’t judge a commentary by its size. Although it is small, it is a valuable commentary for devotional reading as well as a wonderful resource for the exegete. I first used this book as part of my research for sermon preparation for a series through Philemon largely because I found the author’s other books insightful in studying the Scripture. It turned out to be a pretty good commentary and was on par with some of the technical exegetical commentaries that were several times bigger than its size. A year after I used this book in studying Philemon, I picked this book up again as an aide for my devotional reading through the book of Titus; once again I enjoyed the author’s insight of Scripture. For instance, Hiebert has a good discussion of what else we know of Titus from other passages from the New Testament—this is helpful and one sees a portrait of a man of God whom Paul trusted for the work of the ministry. I also thought Hiebert did a good summary of five reasons why 2 Timothy 2:13 is referring to Jesus as “great God and Savior” and not God the Father. Like his other commentaries Hiebert dispenses a fair amount of lexical insights that contribute to one’s understanding of the passage. I wished this commentary would still be in print. I had to borrow it from the Library. I recommend this work as well as other works by the author.

You can get this book over at Amazon.

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Merry Christmas!  Here are three short links that I appreciated reading this week.

THE STORY OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS, A POEM

What is Christmas all about?

A Spurgeon Christmas Message

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The Notorious Benedict Arnold

I am reviewing this book from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
For most American, no name symbolizes betrayal and treason like the name Benedict Arnold. Yet for most people, no other historical details usually accompany the name besides the fact that he lived during the Revolutionary War and eventually sided with the British. This book is an excellent read of the story of Benedict Arnold and the author wrote it in a narrative form that feels like a novel. Halfway into the book my mind started comparing Benedict Arnold to Judas who betrayed Jesus; not that the two committed the same level of betrayal but the journey were similar in that they were on one side before their allegiance switched—and switched over for the sake of money. This is a story of someone who was ambitious from the start—in the beginning of the revolutionary we read of a businessman name Benedict Arnold who hilariously went up to a group of militia from another state and audaciously told them he has authorization from his own state to be their commanders. Despite the soldiers laughing, Benedict Arnold went on to become one of America’s finest general who was highly esteemed by none other than Washington himself. Arnolds’ exploits of military genius and courage is also balanced by problems that always arise whenever he has free time and has to deal with politics. It definitely confirms the principle that free time often gives us time to entertain our inner depraved thoughts, what all of us if we truly understand our hearts ought to be careful of. Also, Arnold’s inability to understand the politics around him—whether it’s inter-colonial rivalries or the jealousy of Continental Congress over the military—only led to his frustration and paranoia of assuming that there people really out to destroy him with defamation. This wasn’t help when he was bypassed for promotion or had commanders who didn’t report fairly his contribution in battles. These seed of wanting recognition more than he got led him to eventually turn against the very cause he was fighting for—and willing to now turn his allegiance to the British. How Arnold was caught is itself an amazing story of providence. Matter fact the whole story of Arnold’s military life is filled with many acts of providences that is more than mere coincidences. I recommend this book for one’s reading pleasure and perhaps some lesson about human nature and man’s condition—then and now.

Available on Amazon!

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Here is another PDF of a lesser known work by Cornelius Van Til!

Presuppositionalism 101

Recently it has been brought to my attention that despite his lengthy work addressing the concept, there are still people today who will make the claim that Dr. Van Til was an idealist (or suggest an influence on him and him unaware of it). This is because of similarities people project between Immanuel Kant and Van Til concerning transcendentalism. Rest assured, Dr. Van Til not only was not an idealist, but clearly against idealism, and quite aware of idealism, as you will be able to prove with this work. On with the formal details…

 

 

 

CHRISTIANITY AND IDEALISM.
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Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1955. 139 pp.
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Having been accused by the Calvin Forum writers of being under the influence of idealism, this collection of book reviews on modern idealistic philosophy (1930–1942) was published in order to clarify his opposition to it.
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1.     God and the Absolute     [1930.A]

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More links on Presuppositional apologetics!  There’s quite a bit more links this time than usual, so enjoy!

What in the World is the World?: A Brief Contrast Between Materialist and Biblical Perspectives

The Bahnsen Conference – Lecture Two: Dr. Joel McDurmon

Biblical Apologetics: Audio Messages by R.C. Dozier

Apologetic Evangelism 101: Readying Ourselves to Engage the World

Is Nature the 67th Book of the Bible?

Never Always Winter by Scott Oliphint

Just a Little Persecution? by James Anderson

Good Grouping, Bad Shot

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Assurance of Salvation Series

 

We are going to have a weekly series of outlines every Saturday on the topic of Christian assurance of Salvation.

Why are we doing this series?

Our first post last week answer the question of why should we study on the topic of Christian assurance.  You can check it out by clicking HERE.

I pray that God’s people will benefit from it.

As someone who is engage offline in evangelism (and from that, apologetics) I think it’s a joy to engage unbelief biblically.  At the same, if one engages in biblical evangelism and apologetics, sometimes that also means dealing with the more practical issue that a believer has of whether or not they know for sure they themselves are Christians.  Thus, an equipped apologist must not only be ready to deal with the nonbeliever but sometimes also to be equipped and ready with sound practical theology to encourage a believer’s assurance of their salvation.

Enjoy!

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Van Til and the Limit of Reason

This is a book that has been recently published towards the end of 2013 by Chalcedon Foundation. This work is a compilation of writings by R.J. Rushdoony by his son Mark Rushdoony on the insight of the Christian apologist Cornelius Van Til. When I first heard about this work I wanted to get it because Rushdoony was one of Van Til’s early expositor, having written several works expounding his ideas and also applying his apologetics towards other areas as well. Rushdoony’s The One and the Many is one such example in which Van Til’s argument that the Trinity is the solution to the philosophical problem of the one and the many gets some more pages of application especially in the area of critiquing political philosophy. In Van Til and the Limit of Reasons, the first part of the book (chapters 1-3) was originally a booklet on Van Til that Rushdoony wrote for the Modern Thinkers Series in 1960. I have seen this booklet once at a used Christian bookstore years ago and haven’t been able to find it since, so I am happy to see it being republished as three chapters in this present work. I’m also happy that this will also reach a newer audience in our modern world of kindle and the internet. According to the beginning of the book, chapters four through seven are published for the first time. Chapter three is the longest chapter of the book and what seems to me the meat of the book. Rushdoony has a good and memorable analogy from the children story of the Emperor having no clothes to illustrate the task of Christian apologetics: we are exposing the uniblical worldview and philosophy around us as intellectually bankrupt and empty. In this chapter Rushdoony quotes heavily from Van Til’s syllabus Metaphysic of Apologetics and Van Til’s essay titled “Nature and Scripture” in a compilation work by Westminster Theological Seminary titled The Infallible Word. Van Til’s Metaphysic of Apologetics is better known by it’s later publication title A Survey of Christian Epistemology. On page 45 Rushdoony has an excellent discussion distinguishing the difference between ultimate and immediate starting point. This is helpful for readers who might be struggling with the objection that some people have that as human beings we practically begin our starting point with ourselves and what we experience. Van Til’s point was to distinguish between our immediate starting point and the foundation for those starting point, what he calls the ultimate starting point. One of the things I like about reading Rushdoony is following the trail of endnotes of the fascinating documentation of what people think and say. The first half of the book quotes work heavily from the first half of the twentieth century but the second half of the book even quote a work as recent as the 1990s (remember, Rushdoony died in 2001). For the end notes, there is a mistake in which chapter six is titled “Rationalism and Sentimentalism” and chapter seven is titled “The Irrationalism of Rationalism.” It should be the other way around. Examining the end notes and the date of the publication of the works cited made me realized at how old some of these chapters have been written—not necessarily a bad thing but it made me appreciate just how early Rushdoony came around to Van Til’s apologetics and further examine his heavy reading load in light of a Van Tillian framework. The fact that it was written very early also made it valuable to me in terms of historical insight; there are several instances I was surprised to see references to Herman Dooyeweerd. For instance chapter two suggests the optimism of Reformed philosophy during the early days of Dooyeweerd, Van Til and other translators of Dutch Reformed philosophy. I realized Rushdoony’s son in law later published The Twilight of Western Civilization and I can’t help but to imagine Rushdoony had something to do with it but in the end Van Til and Dooyeweerd ended up disagreeing.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as the first work for someone new to Presuppositional apologetics to read; it require some familiarity with Van Til’s theme and a knowledge of philosophers such as Kant, Hume, etc. But I would recommend this if you want to see how Van Til’s idea eventually shape Rushdoony, and in turn Rushdoony’s application of Van Til here and elsewhere.

Note: Available on Kindle.

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