Thursday, July 29, 2010

Classic Plantinga

"Immanuel Kant was a virtual titan of philosophy, with an absolutely enormous influence upon subsequent philosophy and theology. This is no doubt due to his great insight and raw philosophical power; it is perhaps also due to the grave hermeneutical difficulties that attend study of his work. The British philosopher David Hume writes with a certain surface clarity that disappointingly disappears on closer inspection. With Kant, there is good news and bad news: the good news is that we don't suffer that disappointment; the bad news is that it's because there isn't any surface clarity to begin with."

Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, pg 9


Calvin and Hobbes

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kendall Payne, Aslan

Really enjoyed this song:

Don't stop your crying on my account
A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve
No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me
Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Piper: Expository Exaltation

Our hearts will not be drawn out to worship if someone just dissects and analyzes the worth and glory of God but does not exult in it before us. Our hearts long for true preaching. Some of us don't even know that is what we are missing.

Like children who grew up in homes where mom and dad never exulted in anything. They never rejoiced or praised or verbally admired and treasured anything. They were always flat and unenthused (except when they got angry). You couldn't tell if anything really moved them deeply and positively. So the kids grow up not knowing what they are missing. That is what many people in the church are like who have never tasted true preaching.

God exists to be worshiped—to be admired and treasured and desired and praised. Therefore, the Word of God is written primarily to produce worship. This means that if that Word is handled like a hot-dish recipe or a repair manual, it is mishandled. And the people will suffer.

The Truth of God begs to be handled with exultation. And our hearts yearn for this and need it. Something in us starts to die when precious and infinitely valuable realities are handled without feelings and words of wonder and exultation. That is, a church starts to die, without preaching.

John Piper

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What of it Mr. Hicks?

Edward Hicks, "The Peaceable Kingdom" (Isaiah 11 and 65)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quotable: O'Donaghue

“Now one main result of the de Lubac revolution (which Balthasar accepted and still accepts) was the devaluation and gradual disappearance of philosophy as the preparation for an in a real sense the basis of theology. This process has coincided with the reaction against the manuals whether philosophical or theological, coincided also with the breakdown of essentialist thinking (ie., discourse by way of clear definition, distinction, and logical demonstration) and the coming of what came to be called Existentialism on the one hand and, on the other, the revival of Nominalism in the shape of Logical Positivism and Linguistic Analysis. In other words, the Platonic-Aristotelian realism of Aquinas and the ‘Scholastic’ tradition came to be ousted by its natural enemies and alternative options, Subjectivism and Nominalism – the one seeing the human subject (as general and common to all men) as the horizon of enquiry and truth, the other refusing to admit any horizon other than that of sense-observation and the words that sound in the ear. So it comes that courses in philosophy in Catholic seminaries and universities today provide nothing like an objective natural ground for revelation but instead provide either an analysis of consciousness or an analysis of language. That mighty theology of man, natural man in his natural integrity (damaged but not destroyed by the Fall), a theology that provides an ethic which no scriptural quotation could overturn, is now in ruins and the way is open to every kind of sane and insane biblical anthropology ranging from that of Bultmannian, who simply affirms the call to transformation, to that of the kind of born-again Christians who would slay all the enemies of the Word of God as he understands it.”

O'Donaghue, "A Theology of Beauty," The Analogy of Beauty, pg. 6

This is one of those paragraphs that fascinates me. It is dense and hard to unpack, but contains so many talking points, so many questions. It is especially relevant for my thesis which is essentially a defense of the an argument from natural theology. I could explain more, but in the words of Christopher Hitchens:
Hugh Hewitt: Now you do not, and this is applicable to his works as well to everyone else you talk about here. You don’t give the reader a break. You’re just assuming they know these books like Money, and that they know these authors like Rushdie, and that they’re familiar with the great works of English literature for the last many hundred years. Did you just have to decide at the beginning you were just going to spare no quarter, and they’re just going to have to catch up?

Christopher Hitchens: Yes, absolutely. And my reason for that is that’s how I know most of what I know, is reading a paragraph in a book, and realizing that I was expected to get a reference there, and I didn’t quite get it, and regarding that as a reproach to myself.

HH: Well, that’s like Adorno to me. I had no idea who this fellow was, and I had to read this with Wikipedia open.

CH: Well, aren’t you glad?

HH: Well, yes I am, but I’m wondering, isn’t that rare these days? Didn’t your editor say you can’t do that, Christopher? People won’t slog through with you?

CH: No, they didn’t. No, there was no, there was no dumbing down, because dumbing down in this case would not have been of me. I mean, I’d have had to find another way of saying what I already know?

HH: Yeah.

CH: It would have been much more boring.

HH: You’re right.

CH: But it would also be very condescending to the readers. I’d rather do anything than patronize people. I’d rather say look, I know this. There’s no reason you shouldn’t. And if you didn’t, don’t complain. I’ve just given you the opportunity to check it out.

HH: Yeah, go check it out.

CH: And I backed myself, saying I think there is a gold standard in writing, and in the world of ideas. And I know something about it, and I’d like to introduce you to it, too.

Quotable: Edwards

“If [Scripture] was made obscure and mysterious, and in many places having great difficulties, that his people might have exercise for their pious wisdom and study, and that his church might make progress in the understanding of it; as the philosophical world makes progress in the understanding of the book of nature, and unfolding the mysteries of it. And there is a divine wisdom appears in ordering of it thus: how much better is it to have divine truth and light break forth in this way, than it would have been, to have it shine at once to everyone without any labor or industry of the understanding. It would be less delightful, and less prized and valued and admired, and would have vastly less influence on men’s hearts, and would be less to the glory of God.”

Edwards, “Miscellanies,” a-500, 426.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Really enjoyed this: LINK

Christopher Hitchens is my favorite atheist.

Quotable: Charles Pierce

"The rise of Idiot America ... is essentially a war on expertise ... In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert."

Charles P. Pierce

ht: Jeff Klein
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 42:1–8 ESV

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"In the 1980s one Bible teacher thought that he had proof that Christ would return on a certain day in September 1988. He sold two million copies of his book, listing eighty-eight reasons for his beliefs. Many Bible students felt he had convincing arguments in support of his prediction. Some people sold their houses and gave away their money. Some terminated their employment in order to spend all their time getting ready. Some of his followers even had their pets put to death because they did not want to leave them behind when the Lord came. However, the day came and went and nothing occurred."

John Walvoord on Edgar Whisenant's book. (Walvoord, p. 1257, in Understanding Christian Theology)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bonhoeffer in America

There is no theology here. ... They talk a blue streak without the slightest substantive foundation and with no evidence of any criteria. The students--on the average twenty-five to thirty years old--are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics is really about. They are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.
Living together day by day produces a strong spirit of comradeship, of a mutual readiness to help. The thousandfold "hullo" which sounds through the corridors of the hostel in the course of the day and which is not omitted even when someone is rushing past is not as meaningless as one might suppose....No one remains alone in the dormitory. The unreservedness of life together makes one person open to another; in the conflict between determination for truth with all its consequences and the will for community, the latter prevails. This is characteristic of all American thought, particularly as I have observed it in theology and the church, they do not see the radical claim of truth on the shaping of their lives. Community is therefore founded less on truth than on the spirit of "fairness." One says nothing against another member of the dormitory as long as he is a "good fellow."
Not only quietness is lacking, but also the characteristic impulse towards the development of individual thought which is brought about in German universities by the more secluded life of the individual. Thus there is litter intellectual competition and little intellectual ambition. This gives work in seminar lecture or discussion a very innocuous character. It cripples any radical, pertinent criticism. It is a more friendly exchange of opinion than a study in comprehension.

Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, pp. 101, 104

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Quotable: Edwards

How happy will that state be, when neither divine nor human learning shall be confined and imprisoned within only two or three nations of Europe, but shall be diffused all over the world, and this lower world shall be all over covered with light, the various parts of it mutually enlightening each other; when the most barbarous nations shall become as bright and polite as England; when ignorant heathen lands shall be stocked with most powerful divines and most learned philosophers; when we shall from time to time have the most excellent books and wonderful performances brought from one end of the earth and another to surprise us ... when we shall have the great advantage of the sentiments of men of the most distant nations, different circumstances, custom and tempers; [when] learning shall not be restrained [by] the particular humor of a nation or their singular way of treating of things; when the distant extremes of the world shall shake hands together and all nations shall be acquainted, and they shall all join the forces of their minds in exploring the glories of the Creator, their hearts in loving and adoring him, their hands in serving him, and their voices in making the world to ring with his praise."

Edwards, "Miscellanies," a-500, 212-13

It is a tragedy that Edwards dream was not realized, that the educated nations would become the most barbarous. This is a legitimate tragedy. It is tempting to scoff at his naivety as if this is the only thing to be learned at such a ridiculous dream. But I wonder if we should instead hang our heads in sadness when we consider how the modern thirst for learning Edwards so obviously embraced turned so viciously on his metaphysical grounding. As science was making its advances who was there to notice the corresponding loss of faith? It is a tragedy that this glorious vision was never fulfilled:

"And they shall all join the forces of their minds in exploring the glories of the Creator, their hearts in loving and adoring him, their hands in serving him, and their voices in making the world to ring with his praise."