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Posts Tagged ‘Reformed Theology’

We live in a time of incredible resources on the Christian faith, life and intellect.  Our fellow blogger “Andy” has been working for weeks on a new page called “999+ Audio Lectures” which he completed not too long ago.  You might notice that it’s a tab on our blog.  Have you checked it out?

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These are links concerning Presuppositional apologetics gathered from May 15th-21st, 2017.

1.) God is the Ground for Truth

2.) He is There and He is Not Silent- Francis Schaeffer (1972)

3.) Western Law’s Theological Basis

4.) An Atheist Suppressing the Truth

5.) Disturbing Reasoning

6.) Bible Contradiction? Did Sarah have faith that she would conceive?

 

Missed the last round up?  Check out the re-blogged post from a friend OR that of Another REBLOG HERE

 

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Here is a collection of links on Presuppositional apologetics between May 8th-14th, 2014.

1.) Evidence for God: Messianic Prophecies

2.) All Four Volumes of John Frame’s Theology of Lordship Series

3.) Van Til quote: Beginning From Above

4.) ATHEISM: THE BELIEF THAT THERE IS NO GOD

5.) Why I Am an Atheist: A Conversation with Dr. Stephen Law

6.) Ultimate Authority

7.) Why I Changed from Classical to Presuppositional Apologetics

8.) Why Francis Schaeffer Matters: His Approach to Apologetics – Part 6

9.) Checkmate

 

Missed the last round up?  Check out the re-blogged post from a friend OR that of Another REBLOG HERE

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Establish the need: Why should we care about what the Bible say about church in regards to marriages?

Purpose: In this series we will explore how theology shapes marriage and here in our sixth session we shall consider the Bible’s teaching on the church and how it makes an impact for marriage.

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This might be a timely post in light of what is today’s date.

 

I’m embarrassed to admit this but it took me nearly four years after this documentary came out before I finally got around to watching it even though I have been following apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate and sharing his materials since his early days of appearing on the radio show Unchained Radio.  But watched it I did!  I purchased two set of it, one for myself and one for our church.  Sye Ten Bruggencate is a proponent of what is called Presuppositonal apologetics, a school of apologetics that began with Cornelius Van Til.  Sye breaks down Presuppositional apologetics barney style for more people to understand.  Over the years many people have come to embrace Presuppositional apologetics through Sye’s ministry which include this DVD that was produced by Marcus Pittman’s Crown Rights Media.  I welcome that fact.  If you haven’t heard of Presuppositional apologetics as a Christian this resource might be useful to you.  Here’s my brief review.

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God is With us Oliphint

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Anyone who wants to get a taste of strong Robust Reformed Theology Proper ought to read this book.  Scott Oliphint, the professor apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary does an excellent job in this book.  My copy is heavily highlighted with notes and comments.  The following are some of the points that stood out to me:

  • This work has a good discussion of aseity as a foundational doctrine of God: God is God and not dependent upon His creation or creature.  From this point, it follows that God’s “essential attributes” are those that entail His independence (17).  Also gave a good definition of Divine Simplicity (17-18).
  • Oliphint gives a good hermeneutical principle concerning how to prioritize God’s attributes especially concerning passages that are anthropomorphic: “Contrary to what we have just noted, Scripture’s unity must be given priority in our interpretation of the various texts of Scripture.  Muller denominates that priority as ‘ontological.’  He means that any and all texts of Scripture (and here we will confine our concerns to texts that deal with the character of God) that seek to tell us something of God’s character must be prioritized on the basis of the fundamental aseity of God” (27).
  • The book is helpful in resolving the theological problem of how to account for passages in Scripture that describes God like man while also maintaining a strong aseity of Classical theism.  I found it helpful his distinction between God’s essential attributes and Covenantal attributes in which the latter describes God’s condescension in relating to us.  I think the term “covenantal” attributes is helpful even for those who might not subscribe to Covenant Theology.
  • I thought I read the best nuance definition of antinomy and paradox offerred by Oliphint on pages 36-38.
  • Interesting theological extrapolation from Exodus 3:1-14, pointing out Word Revelation and Deed Revelation, and how God’s deed in the Burning Bush tells us something about God: His presence with his people and also Him being self-sustaining.
  • At first I thought it was curious that Oliphint was cautious of using the term “Creator/Creature distinction” though he agrees with the idea as taught by those who are before him such as Cornelius Van Til, etc.  He has good reason: because God is more than a Creator, one does not want to give the idea that the essence of the distinction between God and all of His creation is because of His role as the Creator; rather, it’s because God in of Himself is wholly different.  Oliphint chooses instead to use “Eimi/Eikonic distinction” as a better term, with the term “Eimi” to capture God as the true original.
  • Book gives a good refutation of Middle knowledge including the Neo-Calvinistic version (99-105);  it must be understood in the context of God’s free knowledge and necessary knowledge which was finely discussed before Oliphint’s critique of Middle knowledge.  Here I am recalling Paul Helm’s point in another work of how Middle Knowledge is an unnecessary category in light of God’s free knowledge.
  • Oliphint is helpful to points out two kinds of condescension by God: adoption and adaptation (124-25).
  • I thought Oliphint has something stimulating to say about the issue of the incarnation.  On page 142, he has a good discussion of how the human nature of man is anhypostatic (that is, impersonal) apart from the person of the Son of God while also being enhypostatic (“in person”) through the person of the Son of God.
  • Enjoyed how Oliphint’s work was in conversation with systematic theology, historical theology, a tidbit of exegesis and philosophy.
  • It was beautiful to see Oliphint using the Doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ’s essential Divine nature and voluntary human nature to make us think about God’s relationship with us is much in the same way of His attributes He adds to condescend to us and His essential nature.

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Calvin For Armchair Theologian

Purchase: Amazon

This is the fourth book I read in the “Armchair Theologians” series, and one of the better ones I would say though my favorite was on Martin Luther. This work does a good job in explaining John Calvin’s biography–how he started out as a humanist and lawyer and eventually a pastor and theologian. Calvin’s story of how he got to Geneva is a testimony of God’s providence–for Calvin was originally taking a detour to another place and happened to visit the city only to be persuaded (well threatened with God’s Wrath) to stay–an important decision that made tremendous impact in history. I appreciated the author’s discussion about the Institutes of Christian religion, and the background for why Calvin wrote this book along with the author’s observation of how Calvin organized his theology. What I appreciate the most about this book is the fact that the author tackled some of the controversies surrounding Calvin with the consideration of Calvin in his historical situation. Evaluating Calvin in this light removes some of the objections people have stated against him or his theology. For instance, in the Predestination debate with Bolsec, the author revealed that Bolsec was the one who initiated attacking Calvin’s view first and also reminded the reader that Bolsec’s negative biography had an ax to grind. It seems that there cannot be any discussion about Calvin’s controversial life without the mention of Michael Servetus. Contrary to some myths, Michael Servetus was not killed by John Calvin since he was a pastor/theologian and not a member of the magistrate. In addition, the book pointed out that Calvin at that time didn’t enjoy a particularly good relationship with the rulers of Geneva so it’s doubtful how much pull Calvin had on the officials during that time. Calvin’s involvement at first was to correct Servetus and he was even originally not in favor of any punishment against Servetus. The book also considered the Servetus controversy in it’s historical setting, and while it does not necessarily excuse what happened it should slow down the modern critic from ignorantly assuming Geneva was a hotbed of Calvinistic tyranny. Geneva at that time had already a reputation for being too tolerant for sheltering what some perceived to be too many theological wild cats and when Servetus came along the officials in Geneva even consulted with other cities as to what to do with him.  Thus, Geneva was under mounting pressure to do something. Readers must remember that this was not a time period in which religious tolerance was at a premium; yet Geneva’s only religious execution was Servetus in contrasts to the multitudes the Roman Catholics managed to kill in religious wars or burn at the stakes those who were Protestants, etc. The most problematic part of the book was the last chapter on the heirs of Calvin, where the author’s careful and thoughtful reflection gets unhinged and his theologically more liberal perspective shows. Elwood thinks that theological Liberals, Barthians, Neo-Orthodox and Liberation Theologians are legitimate heirs to Calvin’s legacy while seeing Conservative Reformed Christians such as those of Old Princeton as the wacky right wing extremists of Calvin’s theological lineage. This would seems strange to most people and no doubt this reveals more of Elwood’s theological paradigm than it does about Calvin’s legacy. Elwood here assumes that Semper Reformanda gives license for him to assume that whatever have changed over time can be rightly called “Calvinistic.”  However I don’t think that’s true to the spirit of Semper Reformanda–Calvin’s principle of “always reforming” assumes a high view of Scripture and the Word of God as normative–something that some of Calvin’s alleged heirs that Elwood asserts in this book have failed to subscribe to.

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