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Archive for the ‘Westminister Seminary’ Category

Christmas gift on defocused lights background This is the fifth year on our blog in which we post our recommendations of books as Christmas gifts on the subject of Presuppositional apologetics and the Christian worldview.  When I first began this I didn’t think it would be that popular. Here are the past years’ recommendation:

This year list’s of recommended books on Presuppositional apologetics is below.  Each category has one book with a brief description, a link to my review and links to purchase the book.

For Nonbelievers

What’s Your Worldview? by James N. Anderson

What's Your Worldview James Anderson Description: Dr. Anderson has written a book with a “Choose Your Own adventure” format that is great for non-Christians! My Review can be found by clicking HERE. Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

For Discipleship

Christian Answers to Hard Questions (9 Booklet Set)

Christian Answers to Hard Questions Description: Booklet series that is perfect for discipleship discussion! Video interviews and links to my review of individual books can be found by clicking HERE. Purchase: Westminster 

For Beginners

Always Ready: Directions For Defending The Faith by Greg L. Bahnsen

Bahnsen Always Ready Description: Many think this is the best introduction to Presuppositional apologetics! My Review can be found by clicking HERE. Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

For Intermediate and Advance Students

The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

Doctrine of Christian Life John Frame Description: I feel many discussion in apologetics’ today touches on the area of ethics.  This book is more than helpful! My Review can be found by clicking HERE.   Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

For Those Who Probably Have Every Book on Presuppositional Apologetics

The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings Volume 1 Description: A more recent book that is probably not as well known at this time.  Good collection of essays from John Frame! My Review can be found by clicking HERE. Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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Peter-Jones

 

Yesterday I posted a book review by Dr. Peter Jones who use to teach at Westminster Seminary California and is an expert on Paganism and the new spirituality.

I thought I share this Youtube video of him teaching about the Gnostic Gospel during Ligonier Ministries 2010 West Coast Conference.

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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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how-can-i-know-for-sure

 

Two weeks ago I posted videos related to a booklet series of Christian Answers to Hard Questions Series by Westminster Theological Seminary.  I’ve enjoyed reading these booklets and hope to eventually review them all.  I find them to be helpful tools as introductory discipleship on a Christian worldview from a Reformed and Van Tillian perspective.

It can be purchased for a discounted cost if you click HERE.

Here’s my review of David Garner’s How Can I know for Sure?

The book begin by noting the problem with how philosophy and religion often fail to answer the most fundamental questions in life.  Concerning philosophy, the author observed the difficulty of rationalism with trusting in our intellectual powers that suffer insurmountable limitations while with empiricism it leaves us trusting in our experience but then we can’t experience everything.  Religion, like philosophy has often failed to give answers that transcend mere human speculation.

The book then addresses our need for God’s revelation in order to answer life’s important questions.  I was happy that the author approached the issue of epistemology theologically and managed to talk about the concept of man’s suppression of the truth, and the self-attesting revelation of God.  Here we find in the book a very good definition of self-attesting:  “we mean that is authority cannot be measured by comparison to something outside itself, because as God’s voice it possesses final authority.”  I also appreciated the book bringing the doctrine of illumination to bear in answering the question of how we can know for sure what Scripture has to say.  Of course handling the subject of certainty and theory of knowledge from a Reformed and Van Tillian perspective will inevitably lead to the discussion of circular reasoning.  The author notes here that the certainty we get from Scripture isn’t a “woodenly” circular reasoning (I just thought of the adjective “woodenly” right now); but theologically the position is more nuance, in that it’s the Spirit’s testimony to the Scripture.  I also appreciate the author’s discussion of circularity in terms of a moral dimension in which he noted that the sinful circularity of unbelief that reasons in darkness and autonomously.

In terms of constructive criticism I wished the author could have spent more time showing how empiricism and rationalism failed.  The booklet has great footnotes.  When he made passing reference to the fact of the Bible’s fulfilled prophecies, fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah and the basic reliability of the Bible, I don’t think it’s fair to demand he fleshed that out for a small booklet (not to mention it would become another book than on certainty of knowledge for a Christian); but I think it would help footnoting further references.  I heard the author’s interview of this booklet over at Reformed Forum and felt the interview covered other grounds people might be asking that the limitation of a booklet presents.  It might be helpful to read the book and listen to the interview.

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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Videos of Christian Answers to Hard Questions by Westminster Theological Seminary As a busy pastor discipling God’s people I see the need for books that are short, concise, biblical and hard hitting as a resource in training up God’s people to have a Christian worldview (among other things of course). I have found that the series of booklet titled “Christian Answers to Hard Questions” written by various faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary to be quite helpful in that regards.  I have reviewed some of them in the past on our blog and Lord willing next week I’ll be reviewing several more of these works.  (I will also link my reviews on here under each booklet for those who may wish to bookmark this) You can order them as a set from WTS Bookstore at 50% off by clicking HERE. Eight of nine works have already been published; the one still not available is on the topic of Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design. The following below are videos related to each of these wonderful little booklets.  I think these videos are also helpful!

Christian Interpretations of Genesis 1

Rev. Dr. Vern Poythress

Christianity and the Role of Philosophy

Rev. Dr. K. Scott Oliphint

(My Review)

Should You Believe in God?

Rev. Dr. K. Scott Oliphint

(My Review)

Was Jesus Really Born of a Virgin?

Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowe

The Morality of God in the Old Testament

Rev. Dr. Gregory Beale

(My Review)

Did Adam Exist?

Rev. Dr. Vern Poythress (My Review)

How Did Evil Come Into This World?

Rev. Dr. WilliamEdgar (My Review)

How Can I Know?

Rev. Dr. David Garner (My Review)

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westminster theological seminary biblical counseling

Westminster Theological Seminary has no doubt been tremendously impactful in churches across the world beyond the Conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).  Besides Reformed Theology, the Seminary has also also introduced to the church at large in other denomination Presuppositional apologetics (as systematized by their professor Cornelius Van Til) and also Biblical Counseling through Jay Adams who taught there from 1963 through 1983.  Westminster Seminary also houses the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) which has been training people in Nouthetic Counseling since 1968.  Many professors in Biblical counseling in other seminary do have their doctorate work done at Westminster.  No doubt it would be appropriate to see what resources WTS has made available to the Public.  The Seminary has free audios available of lectures concerning Biblical counseling over at Itunes University!

Here are the topics the lectures covered:

1.) Dynamics of Biblical Change

2.) All Theology is Practical Theology

3.) When People Go Insane

4.) Command: Resist the Devil

5.) Dealing with a Person’s Past

6.) Union With Christ: Dynamic for Change

7.) Temptation

8.) Homosexuality

9.) Union With Christ: God at Work

10.) A.D.H.D Diagnosis

11.) Therapy and Faith: Integration or Inundation?

You can access the audios at ITunes University by clicking HERE.

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CarlTrueman

Carl Trueman’s debate was recorded and is now up on Vimeo.  It’s subtitled, “”A Lively Conversation About the Things that Matter Most.”

Thank you Westminster Theological Seminary for having this up!

 

 

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Is R. Scott Clark truly Reformed according to his own reasoning? Or is it according to his own standard of the Confession, a caricature and a wannabe of the “Reformed” faith?

This is my comment over at his blog and Scott’s comment.  The only addition from the original is my own comment here in RED.  I’ve hyperlinked some of my comments to show that I’m trying to use his words and ideas.

Someone at my church has given Dr. Clark’s book “Recovering the Reformed Confession” as an early Christmas gift, so I do want to see his ideas flesh out more.

******

SLIMJIM, on November 28th, 2009 at 1:29 am Said:

Dr. Clark,

How do you respond to a theocratic confessionalists who read your comment:

“As you know the mainstream of confessional Reformed Presbyterian and Reformed churches have revised the WCF and the BC to eliminate the theocratic language. Of course you may not agree with those actions but they are historic facts.”

And then argue that you are not REFORMED in the following manner:

R. Scott Clark has no right to misuse the term “Reformed”. When exactly did the word “Reformed” come to denote both “believes in the historic Reformed view of the Establishment Principle vis a vie the Civil Government & Church” and “denies the historic Reformed view of the Establishment Principle vis a vie the Civil Government & Church”? If we, who have the original lease on the word since the 1540s, don’t consent then how is it not theft?

There is a connection between the word “Reformed” and a certain set of doctrines and practices. I don’t think that folk who reject those doctrines and practices are entitled to re-define that word.Just because there are 490,000 revisionaries in this country the fact of numerical superiority doesn’t give them a right to redefine us or the adjective “Reformed.”

I anticipated this criticism and answered it in the book, Recovering the Reformed Confession. The short answer is that there were internal tensions between our confession of the uniqueness of the Israelite state and implicit claim that post-canonical states could fulfill the same theocratic role. The collapse of Christendom gave us an opportunity to re-think theocracy. The same thing happened with geocentric astronomy. The collapse of geocentrism gave us opportunity to re-think how we understood the intent of Scripture.

In neither case has the actual THEOLOGY changed. The substance of the Reformed faith is unchanged but we are more consistent now. Our approach to astronomy is more consistent now with our confession of the condescension of God in revelation.

On this see Machen’s essay on “Creeds and Doctrinal Advance”

http://genevaredux.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/your-weekly-machen-fix-the-creeds-and-doctrinal-advance/

There’s are several sections in the book on this.

Look, we get it in the neck from the biblicists for being static. We get it in the neck from theocrats and fundamentalists (on geocentrism) for maturing.

This isn’t proof that we were right about these issues but given the quality of the criticisms, I can live with the tension.

Dr. Clark,
Thank you for your response as it gives me more of an idea of where you are coming from. I must admit it’s rather intriquing but I must also be honest that I do have some questions about all of this.

Assuming the theocratic confessionalist position, I can see how someone from that camp respond to you in their defense using the same line of reasoning as you have employed, and insist that Dr. Clark is not truly “Reformed”:

1.) “I anticipated this criticism and answered it in the book, Recovering the Reformed Confession. The short answer is that there were internal tensions between our confession of the uniqueness of the Israelite state and implicit claim that post-canonical states could fulfill the same theocratic role.”

A Theocrat Confessionalist Response: I appreciate this, of course, but it doesn’t really advance the discussion much except to suggest that mainstream Presbyterians have tried to hide from what the Confession really says. Is it a legitimate observation that there were internal tensions within the confession? Sure, and so we get it in the neck from some who use the label “Reformed” who are not theocratic for being static. This isn’t proof that we were right about these issues but given the quality of the criticism, I can live with the tension. Afterall, the Confessions themselves contain that tension. If you don’t like someone’s tension don’t go change it and say you are one of them.

2.) “The collapse of Christendom gave us an opportunity to re-think theocracy.”

A Theocrat Confessionalist Response: But does that grant people to throw out any concept of theocracy out of someone else’s confession and then squat on being “Reformed” when they are not?

You can claim historical development til you’re blue in the face but those of us Theocrats are truly Reformed since we still confess the SAME FAITH we confessed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Popular abuse of an ecclesiastical term doesn’t change the essential meaning of that term.

3.) “In neither case has the actual THEOLOGY changed. The substance of the Reformed faith is unchanged but we are more consistent now.”

A Theocrat Confessionalist Response: This is the most interesting part of your response. You state that actual theology has not changed (from the Confessions?) in the first sentence then the next you state that the you and those in your camp are more consistent (consistent to what? to the Confessions? internally consistent within your own beliefs?) now. And in what ways are you more consistent, in faith (theology) and practice? Do note that your theology has changed from those who are truly Reformed by the absence of theocratic doctrines. Theocratic beliefs are theological in character, so to change this belief and call yourself Reformed is actually making a change away from the original Confessions that is theological in nature (unless you have a different taxonomy of theology than I am assuming). You state that “we are more consistent now,” but are you assuming “we” (including you) to be those who are Reformed? Surely this seem to be question begging, for how can you be Reformed if you do not hold to the first through the last articles? You are right that “the substance of the Reformed faith is unchanged,” even though 499,000 people hijack the term “Reformed” but now we (the 1,000 theocrats) are more consistent with rediscovering the rich heritage of our Reform Confession.

4.) “Look, we get it in the neck from the biblicists for being static. We get it in the neck from theocrats and fundamentalists (on geocentrism) for maturing.”

A Theocrat Confessionalist Response: Doesn’t this dilemma arise from the fact that those of your camp have set up quite an arbitrary choice of calling yourself Reformed and then decide what stays and what goes from the confession? You selectively are static with some aspects of the Reformed Faith but then deviate from it in some areas. Can you be arbitrary and pick and choose what you want to believe and not believe from the Confessions? Sure, don’t misrepresent me I believe you are entitled to your own beliefs but that does not give you the right to call yourself “Reformed”.

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In light of the last entry, I found this video of Tremper Longman III, the Old Testament professor out at Westminister Seminary, and his comment of which book has been influential in his life

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