Really Recommended Posts

Really Recommended Posts 3/8/13

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneIt really is difficult to keep up with all the excellent posts around the internet. But, I have taken the liberty of doing some of that work for you and found a diverse array of posts on fascinating topics. Read them, love them, comment! This week, we’ll be looking at the prosperity gospel, Calvinism, women in the Bible, Young Earth Creationism, the History Channel’s TV show on “The Bible”, and design flaws in creation.

The Prosperity Gospel Revisted- I found this post about the “Prosperity Gospel” quite fascinating. Dan offers critical interaction with the notion that the Gospel is about empowering us to gain. I also really recommend checking out the entire site, Rockadoodee, which is always thought-provoking.

Jerry Walls: What’s wrong with Calvinism? (Video)- One of the most interesting evangelical scholars writing right now, Jerry Walls, evaluates Calvinism. I found this video quite interesting. I’ve met Walls in person and I find him to be very gracious and thoughtful.

Correcting Caricatures: Women in the Bible [This link appears to be broken now… I don’t know why. Please let me know if you can view it]- Eminent scholar Walter Kaiser looks at several key texts related to women in the Bible. I found this fascinating and enlightening. Whether you are egalitarian or complementarian, it is worth reading.

2013 International Conference on Creationism- The Geochristian outlines a number of interesting discussions at this conference, which is where all the major scholars within the Young Earth Creation movement meet. Alongside this article, you should check out these articles on the state of Young Earth Creationism: The State of Creation Science as Measured by Scholarly Publishing- this one looks at scholarly works by YECs over a recent period of time and evaluates what it means for YEC; The Next Generation of Creation Scientists?- this post looks at who may be stepping in to fill the roles of the major YEC organizations.

The Bible–Night One Review- A look at the theology in the new TV series by the History Channel: The Bible.

If God Designed Humans, How Do We Account for “Design Flaws”?- One of my favorite blogs, “Well-Spent Journey” examines the notion that humans are flawed designs as an argument against intelligent design.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Really Recommended Posts 3/8/13

  1. Thanks for including me in this list and for your kind words, I’m honored. I’ve been watching the Jerry Walls post this morning (not quite done yet), and it’s been rocking my world. I won’t lie, I’ve got a lot to think about here. I’ve been more or less in the camp that says God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom is an antinomy. I’m beginning to think this may actually be somewhat of a cop-out. While there is mystery involved in man’s union with God, I think intellectual laziness on my part may be partly to blame for my current stance.

    Posted by Dan O'Day | March 8, 2013, 11:52 AM
  2. At the same time, I think there is something to be said for the fact that all of the soteriological debates within Protestantism (particularly with Arminianism and Calvinism as the polemic ‘posts’) occur largely within the framework of Aristotelian metaphysics. Even the current so-called middle-road resolution of Molinism uses this framework to a large extent (a Jesuit concocted it, what do you expect?). But the original soteriological debates (Pelagius vs. Augustine) occurred moreso in a Platonist framework. I think trying to escape all frameworks in search of some objective view is a pipe dream; separating Christianity from philosophy is fruitless (the NT itself was written in a philosophical framework where Judaic thought was in interaction with Hellenistic thought). But I do think there can be a resolution that involves cognitive dissonance. I think Jaroslav Pelikan said it best in “The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600),” where he says,

    “Fundamentally, the objection was that Augustine had resolved the paradox of inevitability and responsibility at the expense of responsibility, and that he glorified grace by belittling nature and free will…. Grace and freedom stood in a kind of antinomy, which had been resolved first in favor of freedom and was now being resolved in favor of grace, but which ‘the rule of the church’s faith’ did not permit one to resolve at all” (p. 320).

    I know that Walls critiques the ‘antinomy’ argument, but he is attacking the argument as set forth by J.I. Packer in his 2008 book on “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” (which I’ve read), a critique I agree with (because Packer calls it an antinomy then proceeds to espouse five-point Calvinism – he is more or less dodging the logical conclusions of his argument rather than leaving it as a true mystery). But I think that there is an orthodox Christian perspective that can truly leave this as a mystery without using it as a cop-out for intellectual dishonesty (or laziness). What this looks like varied a lot in the early Church (see my post on this: http://rockadoodee.com/themes-of-salvation-in-the-early-church/), but it was never resolved dogmatically. Perhaps the Aristotelian framework itself is actually our problem here. Maybe we shouldn’t try to discuss the Work of Christ apart from His Person. Maybe we should pay close attention to the fact that the only ‘dogma’ in the early Church concerned Jesus’ relationship to God the Father, and the relationship between the hypostases (persons) of the Trinity. The implication seems to be that if you get the part about who God is right, there is no need to try to dogmatize the rest. Perhaps this is because they viewed ‘salvation’ as being united with a real God – not as mere intellectual assent to the “right” statement of doctrine. Just some thoughts….

    Posted by Dan | March 8, 2013, 3:14 PM
    • Dan,

      Thanks for your excellent and thought-provoking insights. I agree that there may be mystery to this discussion, but I also agree that we need to avoid intellectual laziness or hand-waving. I tend to see arguments in some branches of literature as simply hand waving.

      As I’m sure you’re aware, I am an ardent molinist (one might even say hyper-molinist because I hold to Molina on some of the differences he has with the more recent expositions like WLC’s), and so I tend to think that solves the issues brought up by both Calvinism and Arminianism. It preserves sovereignty while not unintentionally making God the cause of sin. It also preserves human freedom and therefore preserves culpability.

      I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to interact entirely with your comment, though. It was well thought out, but didn’t really ask me a question, which is fine! Maybe you’re just trying to field your thoughts, which is great. I think that one of the reasons I’ve found this debate so compelling is that it ties in to so many other points of doctrine, from the sacraments to providence to demonology and beyond. Of course, that’s because Christian doctrine is an interlocking whole, and just about any point touches all others, but I think that if there is a tier system, where the 1st tier is those essentials like the Trinity, the 2nd tier is surely foreknowledge, because it dominates many other “third tier” discussions like eschatology, providence, and the like.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | March 8, 2013, 5:29 PM
      • I was just throwing some thoughts out there – they aren’t conclusive, finished thoughts by any means. They reflect more about the process I’m using to think through this than anything. Yes, I know you are a Molinist. I think if I were to remain Lutheran, I’d probably also be a Molinist (it fits better with single predestination). But as you may or may not know, I’m a catechumen in the Eastern Orthodox Church. I’m trying to think through all of this in different categories altogether – but I am still very much a Western, Scholastic theologian thanks to Lutheranism (but not thanks to Luther himself, he disdained Aristotle!). My thinking on soteriology is thus ‘in flux.’ My problem is that Western soteriology doesn’t seem to take seriously the ‘union with God’ aspect of salvation, and the division of justification and sanctification into neat, distinct categories isn’t supported by scripture. Instead of keeping the ‘main thing the main thing’ (union with God), Western theologians often get all knotted up in discussing the ‘ordo salutis.’ The Finnish Lutherans have some fascinating stuff to say about all of this, and while I think they’re historically misguided by trying to attribute their soteriological thought to Luther himself, some of their theology that considers salvation to be a combination of theosis and justification is pretty interesting. But I’m still thinking through all of this.

        Posted by Dan | March 8, 2013, 6:48 PM

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