Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?

In his book, Christian Theology, Dr. Millard Erickson raises the issue that the age of theological giants seems to have faded. Erickson is not the only one to notice that trend. In an article by Dr. Roger Olson titled Where have all the (theological) giants gone? tries to answer the reason why. Here is the conclusion of that article:

Some years ago I was offered a chair of theology at a leading Baptist seminary.  I passed it up to come to my present seminary and I’ve never been sorry.  But a few years ago I asked our then dean about the possibility of ever having an endowed chair here.  His response was enlightening: “Probably not.  Baptists don’t care about theology.”  He could just as well have said “Christians don’t care about theology.”

Go to any Christian (or secular) bookstore and look for the section marked “theology.”  It probably doesn’t exist.  I’ve been alive long enough to remember when EVERY Christian bookstore had a fairly large section labeled either “theology” or “doctrine.”  An editor at a well-known Christian publisher told me “Few people read religious non-fiction.”  If you want to get a theological message out to the Christian (or non-Christian) public you’d better package it as fiction–The Shack, Left Behind, etc.

So, what I’m saying is that perhaps the fault for the lack of theological giants isn’t just the radical theologians.  Perhaps it’s also part of an overall “dumbing down” of society and especially the churches. 

So why does it matter?  Well, I think it was a good thing that Christian theologians (even some heretics) were public intellectuals and that theological debate was part of the larger cultural landscape.  It helped hold folk religion at bay.  Without that public theological discourse, American Christianity has by-and-large fallen into the hands of folk religion and folk theology–an anti-intellectual mix of cliches and religious urban legends and individual “spiritual” feelings. . . .

Finally, where are the influential “deep thinkers” among evangelical Christians?  Where are our giants?  We once had Carl F. H. Henry, Bernard Ramm, Donald G. Bloesch, Millard Erickson and, yes, even Stanley Grenz.  These were people all evangelical students of theology once read and talked about whether they agreed with them or not.  They transcended the petty divides and wrestled creatively with theology’s big issues and questions from an evangelical perspective.  Who does that now?  A few names come to mind, but I’m not sure they are nearly as widely read or influential as those earlier evangelical giants were: Kevin Vanhoozer, Alister McGrath….?  What’s amazing is how short the list is!  (I’m sure I left someone out, but the point is–who is replacing the giants of the past?  It’s difficult to come up with names!) . . .

Some excellent points raised here. I do believe the dumbing down of Christianity has contributed to the lack of theological giants. But it really goes both ways, as Olson makes clear. The lack of theological giants has led to the dumbing down of theology.

But there is more here than just this. Culturally, postmodernism has made theology less interesting. In the Reformation, theology was a matter of heaven and hell.  Now, young postmoderns roll their eyes and sigh when confronted with the hypostatic union. Culturally, we are becoming more secular and the Church has responded by becoming more secular itself. Pragmatism has replaced a fined tuned theology. Instead of celebrating our distinctives, we are emphasizing theological tolerance that encourages heresy in the name of openness and "conversation."

The giants are gone and both the culture and the church are their murderers. This does not mean that theology is dead, but that theology does not enjoy the audience it once did. Are theologians just talking to themselves or having the deep cultural impact that they used to? Theology is still the answer to the questions we are asking, but many in the culture and the church don't want to hear what we have to say.

Dr. Roger Olson - Where have all the (theological) giants gone? 

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4   
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

For more:
Blogizomai - Repost | "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - The Top 5 Essential Works of Theology of the Past 25 Years
Reviews - "Doctrine"
Reviews - "The Good News We Almost Forgot
Reviews - "Dug Down Deep" by Josh Harris
Reviews - "Heresy"
Reviews - "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath
Reviews - "The Theology of the Reformers"
Blogizomai - Repost | Schreiner on the Practice of Inaugurated Eschatology
logizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of Everything We Are and Do
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology
Blogizomai - The Meaning & Implications of the Resurrection
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4    
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5  

Where have all the theological giants gone? In his prolegomena, Millard Erickson makes a few points regarding the theological scene today. His third point is particularly interesting:

Related to these two other developments is the fact that there do not seem to be the theological giants such as were abroad even a generation ago. In the first half of the twentieth century, there were great theological thinkers who formulated extensive, carefully crafted systems of theology: Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Paul Tillich, Rudolf Bultmann. In conservative circles men like G. C. Berkouwer in the Ntherlands and Edward Carnell and Carl F. H. Henry in the United States were recognized as leaders. Now most of these theologians have passed from the active theological scene, and no thinkers have risen to dominate the theological landscape quite as they did. Two who have made noteworthy accomplishments are Wolfhart Pannenberg and Jurgen Moltmann, but they have not garnered sizable followings. Consequently, there is a considerably larger circle of influential theologians but the extent of the influence exerted by any one of them is less than that of the men already mentioned. (65-66)

One must wonder why this is. Prior to this, Erickson noted that theological movements throughout history have gotten shorter and shorter. Augustine's influence was for centuries followed by Thomas Aquinas whose influence was great, but not as long as Augustine's. Then there was the Reformation then Wesley, liberalism, Karl Barth, etc. Each theological movement and representative gets shorter and shorter.

This perhaps explains part of the reason why there has not been a theological giant in recent years. Erickson does not mean to say that there are no competent theologians. I'm sure Erickson thinks himself to be one since he has penned countless theological works including this 1300+ page systematic theology textbook.

But this trend can be moved beyond theology. For example, where is the next Billy Graham? TIME Magazine once thought T. D. Jakes is him, but let us pray that that is not the case. Billy Graham was preceded by Billy Sunday who was preceded by D. L Moody. So where is the next Billy Graham?

I don't think there will be one. Instead, what God seems to be doing in his providence is change the focus from one man and his ministry to a number of giants throughout the world. For example, the most influential churches in the country are spread out. John MacArthur is in California with Rick Warren. Then there are influential congregations in Atlanta, Texas, Baltimore, Michigan etc.

This is to say that Erickson raises an issue than appears to follow a broader cultural trend in Christianity, theology, and culture in general. It appears that people are not turning towards an individual giant, but to several influential voices and I'm not sure this is necessarily a bad thing.

But Erickson explains this strange phenomena this way:

Theology is now being done in a period characterized by, among other things, a "knowledge explosion." The amount of information is growing so rapidly that mastery of a large area of thought is becoming increasingly difficult. While this is especially true in technological areas, biblical and theological knowledge is also much broader than it once was. The result has been a much grater degree of specialization than was previously the case. In Biblical studies, for example New Testament scholars tend to specialize in the Gospels or in the Pauline writings. Church historians tend to specialize in one period, such as the Reformation. Consequently, research and publication are often in narrower areas and in greater depth. (66)

This is a valid point and I think he's on to something here and this has been a trend since the Enlightenment. It used to be that one could be a theologian, a medical doctor, and a scientist. Now, it is virtually impossible. Everything has a speciality and a speciality within a speciality and theology is no different. The historical theologian, as Erickson points out, may specialize in the Reformation, but he may more specifically specialize in Martin Luther and the German Reformation. This certainly makes things more difficult for theology, but I'm not sure it is the main reason why such giants appear to be missing. What the main reason is I do not know, but one must admit that a generation ago, there were a lot of specialties and yet Barth still wrote his tome and dominated the theological scene. He was aware of the Document Hypothesis of the Pentateuch, higher and lower criticism, modern liberalism, and debates within philosophy, science, and theology and yet still managed to do what Erickson says is missing today.

So where are the giants? I don't know, but we can certainly affirm that we are not without influential and powerful voices all around us. As a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I sat under what I consider to be theological giants in their own right. Seminarians throughout the country can say the same thing. Theology continues to progress and God is still raising up competent and wise men to serve His church to guard the faith, and to carry on the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

For more:
Blogizomai - Repost | "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - The Top 5 Essential Works of Theology of the Past 25 Years
Reviews - "Doctrine"
Reviews - "The Good News We Almost Forgot
Reviews - "Dug Down Deep" by Josh Harris
Reviews - "Heresy"
Reviews - "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath
Reviews - "The Theology of the Reformers"
Blogizomai - Repost | Schreiner on the Practice of Inaugurated Eschatology
logizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of Everything We Are and Do
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology
Blogizomai - The Meaning & Implications of the Resurrection
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hump Day Humor: Tread Mills

HT: Trevin Wax

For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Coning 
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: See You Next Fall
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: 80 MPH
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Kids Say the Darnest Things!
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Trash Man With An Attitude
Blogizomai -  Hump Day Humor: Trash Man With An Attitude
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: The Other George W. Bush
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Snake King
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Not Going To Be Able To Jump It
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: The Three Little Pigs
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: I Walked on the Moon
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Open Heart Surgery & the Seat of Our Emotions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Grandson With a Dog Collar
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Top Ten George W. Bush Moments
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Chopsticks Are Better Than Sticks  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Did you hear a Click?
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Christmas Shopping Prank
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Cannonball!!  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: A Bowflex Machine?
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Rick Perry Bad Lip Reading
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  North Comma South Carolina  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Animal Rights Consistency  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Unanswered Questions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Fun With Dick and Jane  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Leprechaun in Alabama
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: This is Not a Joke - Affirmative Action For the Ugly-Americans
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Office Pranks
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day:  Church Greeters and Hand Sanitizers
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Mark Lowry's Mamma Had Enough
Blogizomai - Humerous Hump Day: Brian Regan Cell Phones 101
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day - Harry Carry and the Moon Made of Rips
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Voltswagen Pinata
Blogizomai - Everybody Needs Toucan Subs: Bad Lip Reading Does It Again
Blogizomai - Taxidermatology: The Most Lifelike Dead Animals Around
Blogizomai - This is News?: The Politics of Personal Distruction Continues
Blogizomai - The Election Commercial Season is Upon Us: Discernment in the Season of Political Ads
Blogizomai - Fuzzy Math & Even Fuzzier Theology: Abbott & Costello Meets Modern Theology
Blogiozmai - They're Only Giving Him Material: Letterman Responds to the Jihadists After Him
Blogizomai - Adam & Eve on Comedy Central: Colbert Takes on Mohler & Traditional Christian Theology
Blogizomai - Everything is Amazing, But Nobody Is Happy: An Important Lesson
Blogizomai - The BCS Applied in Real Life
Blogiozmai - Repost Friday: Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!
Blogizomai - Judge Free Zone?: Daily Show Illustrates Discriminatory Discrimination
Blogizomai - Man Dozes Off During Vice-President's Speech
Blogizomai - "The Wit of Martin Luther": A Review

All Around the Web: Links For Your Wednesday - May 30, 2012

HT: Josh Hariss

9Marks - What a Minister's Library Should Look Like | This is a really helpful guide on building a pastor's library. Certainly we could add to it and change some of the authors (which reflect person preferences), but this is a good start.

  • Systematic Theology (Bavinck, Berkhof, Frame, Piper)
  • Biblical Theology (Vos, Ridderbos, Goldsworthy)
  • Bible Reference (NT and OT Introductions, Bible Dictionaries, Atlases)
  • Commentaries (Both scholarly, one-volume and popular are useful)
  • Greek and Hebrew Reference (Books, but also Accordance)
  • Practical Theology (Keller, Tim Chester, Jack Miller)
  • Ecclesiology (I’m brand loyal - only 9Marks authors allowed!)
  • History/Biography (Pelikan, Vidler, Trueman)
  • Sermons/Collected Works (Edwards, Calvin, Spurgeon, Owens)
  • Current Events/Cultural Analysis (Wells, Mohler)

Doug Wilson - That Seamy Chain of Syllogisms | Wilson nails it here regarding homosexuality and the slippery slope.

But of course if none of this happened, and our ancestors climbed down out of the trees circa 15 million years ago, then evolutionary shape shifting is the order of the day, and there is absolutely no reason to not let people marry whoever or whatever they want.

The marriage debates are a prime illustration of why governmental neutrality on basic religious issues is an impossibility. He who says A must eventually say B, and now that we are getting to the end of this seamy chain of syllogisms, we are confronted with the demand to allow homosexuals to marry. But this is not the end of it, and shows why it is so important to get down to first principles.
The secularists want to say that in addition to straights, we have a range of options with the fetching label of GLBTQ. Anybody who thinks that list of letters won't grow just isn't paying attention. Pederasty, bestiality, hetero-polygamy, hetero-polyandry, and bisexual-polyoptions are all waiting in the wings.

The reason why homosexual marriage won't end the debates (and the hate crimes of those who take up the wrong side of the debate) is that these marriage "reforms" clearly have not solved the problems of the bisexuals. With our arbitrary limitation of marital status to two and only two people, we are plainly telling the bisexual that he must choose between a heterosexual marriage or a homosexual marriage, but that he can't do both. "But I am both!" he wails . . . suppose this poor little buster wants to express all of his sexual yearnings within the holy bonds of matrimony, and the clerk down at the county courthouse, just seething with hate, won't give him a license with a place on it for three signatures. And then the Muslim guy, next in line, wants one with a place for four signatures.

This is all perfectly irrational, of course, but the real problem with rational consistency lies with those Christians who want to fight this latest onslaught without resorting to Genesis and the foundational authority of God's Word (in short, without fighting for mere Christendom). What these secularists (or sexularists, that works too) are advocating is perfectly consistent with their premises, and with the sexual history of the human race (a sinful sexual history). This is why Christians can't fight this on the basis of "traditional values." The sexual traditions of humanity, considered apart from God's Word, have contained way too many child brides, harems, serial polygamists, and concubines to provide us with the appropriate guidance here.

If you want a knock down argument for mere Christendom, look no further than a marriage referendum on a state ballot near you.

Euangelion - Is it Bigotry to Advocate Gay Marriage but Oppose Polyamory? | In a similar vein, there's this. If marriage is defined by love and nothing else, there is no end to the redefinition of marriage.

If you are gonna say that marriage is about “love not law,” and cannot be restricted by “religious prejudices” or “get your religion out of my bedroom” – to quote the standard mantras – then the same apparent bigotry of opponents of gay marriage is committed by opponents of polyamory. It is grossly hypocritical to be in favor of gay marriage and yet to be opposed to polyamory because the same arguments for gay marriage can (and will be) used for polyamory.

For some, this is an argument against same sex marriage, though I am genuinely curious as to how this issue will be handled by same sex marriage advocates.

Dr. Tom Rainer - Seven Keys to Preventing Pastoral Burnout | This is helpful.
  1. Remember your call.
  2. Pray for your critics.
  3. Wait a day before responding to critics.
  4. Be intentional about down time.
  5. Find a friend to share your burden.
  6. Do not neglect your prayer life.
  7. Do not neglect your time in the Word.

Challies4 Results of Christ's Ascension | Taken from RC Sproul's book The Work of Christ.

#1. Glorification.
#2. Coronation.
#3. The Gift of the Comforter.
#4. The Ministry of the High Priest

Greg Thornbury - Q: Is the Book of Jonah Fact or Fiction? |
  1. If the suggestion that Jonah is an allegory, midrash, or parable is true, why is it that the story does not actually carefully follow the form of any of these ancient literary genres?  In other words, when you compare Jonah to other Ancient Near Eastern fictional stories, it still reads more like history than any other type of literature.
  2. The book of 2 Kings 14:25 speaks about Jonah, son of Amittai, as being a prophet of Israel from Gath Hepher, a small community near Nazareth.  It also states that previously Jonah had the pleasant task from of delivering the good report from God that Israel would enjoy a season of peace.  That background actually fits with the psychological profile of the prophet we meet in the book of Jonah, the same individual, “the son of Amittai.”  Presumably, he was quite happy to be the prophet announcing safety and good times to his countrymen in 2 Kings 14, but rather grumpy and recalcitrant when it came to deliver a message of deliverance to Israel’s then arch enemies: the cruel Assyrians in their capital city of Nineveh.
  3. According to the distinguished archeologist Donald J. Wiseman, a careful analysis of the historical evidence shows that the details related in the book of Jonah “exhibit an intimate and accurate knowledge of Assyria which could stem from an historical event as early as the eighth century B.C,” and as such “The story of Jonah need not be considered as a late story or parable…”  Stated simply, the archeological evidence we have today conforms to the details presented in the book of Jonah. (see Wiseman’s argument in its completeness)
  4. Finally, Jesus himself considered the Jonah story to be historical, and frankly, if it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for you.  In Matthew 12:39-41, Christ pointed to Jonah’s sojourn into the belly of the fish as a precursor and a sign pointing to his own death, burial, and resurrection.  There is absolutely no wiggle room here, for what is often not remembered is that Jesus also points to the revival in Nineveh as a historical fact. He states: “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation; and look – something greater than Jonah is here!”  If the men of Niniveh will make an appearance at the judgment, then that means they were REAL men, living in REAL history, who heard a REAL message of repentance from a historical prophet Jonah.

Credo - Ten Baptists Everyone Should Know: Andrew Fuller |

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) was born on February 5, 1754 in the village of Wicken in Cambridgeshire, England.  He was born into a family of Baptists at a time when the Particular Baptists of England were strongly influenced by what is known as hyper or high Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism is a term used to refer not to those who merely believe in the five points of Calvinism, but for those who additionally affirm the eternal justification of the elect and reject the public and promiscuous proclamation of the gospel. In fact, John Gill’s doctrine of eternal justification was used as an excuse to not openly invite all men to believe the gospel. Instead, one should wait upon evidence of election in individuals before telling them to believe in Christ. Although the Evangelical Revivals were taking place in England at the time through the preaching of men such as John Wesley and George Whitefield, most Particular Baptist congregations remained unaffected by this evangelistic movement.

Fuller’s own personal testimony was the story of his times in miniature. He was himself raised in a high Calvinistic background. His own pastor rarely addressed unbelievers. These early experiences by Fuller led to his later questions regarding the sinner’s duty to believe in Christ. According to the high Calvinists, a “warrant” or evidence of election was necessary before the opportunity to believe the gospel could be set before any sinner. This teaching led Fuller to languish for many years without confidence to approach Christ for mercy. Although Fuller read John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and many other works which told of Christ’s sufficiency to save, he still lacked confidence that he had the right to believe on Christ.

President Barack Obama Memorial Day Speech at the Vietnam War Memorial 

Mitt Romney Memorial Day Speech 

Trevin Wax - Friday Funny: Why Texting and Walking is Dangerous |

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man

Recently, we discussed the important question of where to begin in formulating a systematic theology? The question is really between Theology Proper and Bibliology. Both are dependent on the other. Scripture or revelation, presupposes a Revealer. Yet at the same time, how do we know anything about this Revealer apart from His revelation?

As I was thinking about this important question, I was reminded of how John Calvin began his theological tome, Institutes of the Christian Religion (read online for free here). Calvin begins with a great discussion on the knowledge of God and the knowledge of men.

1. Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us (see Calvin on John 4:10), that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him. 

2. On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also —He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white. Nay, the bodily sense may furnish a still stronger illustration of the extent to which we are deluded in estimating the powers of the mind. If, at mid-day, we either look down to the ground, or on the surrounding objects which lie open to our view, we think ourselves endued with a very strong and piercing eyesight; but when we look up to the sun, and gaze at it unveiled, the sight which did excellently well for the earth is instantly so dazzled and confounded by the refulgence, as to oblige us to confess that our acuteness in discerning terrestrial objects is mere dimness when applied to the sun. Thus too, it happens in estimating our spiritual qualities. So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity

For more:
Blogizomai - Dungeons & Dragons, and Calvin, O My!: Moore's Exhortation to the New Calvinists
Blogizomai - He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty
Blogizomai - Reformed in Grace But Arminian Everywhere Else: MacArthur on the Future of the YRR Movement
Blogizomai - Was Calvin a Calvinists?: Helm Weighs In
Theology -A Brief History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Theology - The Assurance of Things Hoped For: 150 Years of Southern Seminary
Reviews - "Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: 1859-2009"
Reviews - "James P. Boyce:  Select Writings"
SBC - The Conservative Resurgence at SBTS (here is Dr. Mohler's recount of the conservative takeover)
SBC - The Complete Works of Albert Mohler
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Calvin on the Redemptive Necessity of the Resurrection
Theology - Calvinist Baptists and the Many (False) Misconceptions
GBC - "Without the Gospel": A Gem From John Calvin
GBC - Calvin on God in Theology and the Christian Life
GBC - Calvin on Providence
GBC - Calvin on Treasures in Heaven
GBC - Calvin on Fasting
GBC - Calvin on Prayer: Why Bother?
Reviews - "Young, Restless, and Reformed"
Reviews - The Theology of the Reformers  
Reviews - The Unquenchable Flame  
Reviews - "On the Necessity of Reforming the Church" by John Calvin
Reviews - John Calvin:  A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, & Doxology 
Reviews - Christianity's Dangerous Idea 
Reviews - "Five Leading Reformers"
Blogizomai - "The Reformer": Christianity Today Does Exposé on Albert Mohler
Theology - Mohler on the Future of the SBC

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4    

So where do we begin when formulating a systematic theology? That's a big question. Outside of the introductory material covered under the subject of Prolegomena, theologians have debated whether theology should begin with Theology Proper or Bibliology. As Erickson points out, both are dependent on the other: If, on the one hand, one begins with God,the question arises, How can anything meaningful be said about him without our having examined the nature of the revelation about him? On the other hand, beginning with the Bible or some other source of revelation seems to assume the existence of God, undermining its right to be considered a revelation at all. (31-32)

For those who say that we should begin with Theology Proper they argue:

1.  God exists (this point is assumed as a first truth or established by an empirical proof).
2.   God has specially revealed himself in the Bible.
3.  This special revelation must be investigated in order to determine what God has revealed. (32)

What is assumed here is that God exists and that the doctrine of God can be established without establishing the doctrine of Scripture. After all, how does the Christian speak of God apart from what that God has revealed of Himself of Scripture? The opposite is problematic as well. It seems that either way a systematician goes, some basic assumption must be given.

So what is the solution put forward by Erickson? He offers a sort of combined approach:

Instead of beginning with either God, the object of knowledge, or the Bible, the means of knowledge, we may begin with both. Rather than attempting to prove one or the other, we may presuppose both as part of a basic thesis, then proceed to develop the knowledge that flows from this thesis and assess the evidence for its truth.

On this basis, both God and his self-revelation are presupposed together or perhaps we might think of the self-revelation God as a single presupposition. This approach has been followed by a number of conservatives who desire to hold to a propositional or informational revelation of God without first constructing a natural-theology proof for his existence. Thus the starting point would be something of this type: "There exists one Triune God, loving all-powerful, holy, all-knowing, who has revealed himself in nature, history, and human personality, and in those acts and words which are now preserved in the canonical Scriptures of the Old an New Testaments." From this basic postulate we may proceed to elaborate an entire theological system by unfolding the contents of the Scriptures. And this system in turn will function as a worldview which, like all others, can be tested for truth. While no specific part is proved antecedent to the rest, the system as a whole can be verified or validated. (34-35)

I'm not sure middle-of-the-road this is the best approach. Certainly one must enter theology with some basic assumptions and the presuppositions on Theology Proper and Bibliology is central. But the question he is seeking to answer is practically, where do we begin? Erickson cannot simply offer a middle of the road approach, but must begin his own theological textbook somewhere and he does.

The second section of the book begins with revelation - both General and Special - and then discusses Bibliological issues of inspiration, infallibility (which is only given a brief treatment), inerrancy, and authority. In other words, outside of dealing with natural theology and common arguments for the existence of God, Erickson begins his systematic theology with Bibliology. Erickson makes his choice and I believe it is the best choice. 

We must admit that this is a problem for the systematician. I agree with the approach of men like Erickson, Wayne Grudem, Louis Berkhof, and others that Bibliology is the best place to begin all the while acknowledging this difficulty.* When picking up a Christian theological textbook, one should be at least be able to assume that the writer is a theist and a monotheist. One could probably safely assume that the author is a trinitarian since the Trinity is a unique Christian doctrine. Thus when approaching a Christian systematic theology, basic assumptions are already present, thus I find it best, admitting some of the limitations, to begin with Bibliology because everything that follows is rooted in what is revealed in Scripture and the gospel.

We could also add another problem here. The debate is rightly limiting between Theology Proper and Bibliology, but we could expand that. Why not begin with anthropology? Our prolegomena discussion admits that we are finite and God is infinite, thus we can only look through the glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13). Thus perhaps we ought to begin with some real humble honesty - theology is a science, but a humbled science. We are engaged in the most important subject in the world, but we are limited. We could also begin with other theological issues (Soteriology, Christology, or even Eschatology), each with its own obvious problems, but the challenge of where to begin is a real one and an important one. Every theology and worldview begins with some basic presuppositions - presuppositions that can and ought to be defended but are presuppositions nonetheless - and thus I find it best that in Christian systematic theology we need to begin by defining and articulating what we believe about the Bible and why.  That, then, will allow us to more fully discuss Theology Proper, Anthropology, Harmitology, Christology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, etc.

* There are several theologies that begin with Theology Proper but fail to really interact with this question. See Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, James P. Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology, Mark Driscoll, Doctrine as a sample.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Church Membership": A Review

. . . to be a Christan is to belong to a church. (46)

Perhaps that one half-sentence summarizes the helpful book Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus by Jonathan Leeman. The book is in many ways what you would expect from the title alone. It is a book about church membership, what it is, why it matters, and what role the church plays in the world. Like all other 9Marks resources, it is a helpful book that really serves both the ministers of a church and her members.

The book offers nothing new that one hasn't heard of before, but it isn't the point to be innovative, but to be clear for the average reader. The author wants to see the imperative of the local church and church membership. Consider for example this helpful quote:

Once you chose Christ, yo must choose his people too. It's a package deal. Chose the Father and the Son and you have to choose the whole family - which you do through a local church. (31)

He also compares the church to an embassy. The author uses the helpful illustration of when his passport expired while overseas. If he had tried to return to the United States without it, he would have been in a lot of trouble. So instead, he went to the US embassy in Belgium (where he was overseas) and had his passport renewed. He adds:

The embassy didn't make me a US citizen that afternoon, but it did officially affirm it. Even though I'm a US citizen , I don't have the authority to officially declare myself as one before the nations. Yet the embassy's affirmation ave me the ability to continue living n a foreign city protected by all the rights and benefits of my citizenship. (27-28)

He then makes this connection the church:

So an embassy represents one place in another place of the globe. But what if I told you there's another kind of embassy, one that represents a place from the future? That's what the local church is. It represents the whole group of people under Christ's lordship who will gather at the end of history. (28)

That is really helpful.

Near the end of the book, Leeman looks at the difficult issue of church discipline. He has written a more thorough treatment of this difficult issue in another volume, but here he offers a concise look at the issue that if brief yet helpful. Some of my questions regarding the minute specifics remain unanswered but he doesn't try to uncover every rock.

Overall, this is a helpful book that should be read by every pastor and layperson. As a pastor I know that a concept like church membership is foreign to most "members" and most don't understand what it is or why it matters. Leeman helps us recover it.

For more:
Blogizomai - "What is the Mission of the Church?" by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert
Blogizomai - "Why Church Matters?" by Joshua Harris
Reviews - "A Light To the Nations"
Reviews - "What is a Healthy Church Member?"
Reviews - "Why Men Hate Going to Church" by David Murrow 
Reviews - "Biblical Foundations For Baptist Churches"
Reviews - "The Body"
Reviews - "9 Marks of a Healthy Church
Reviews - "He is Not Silent"
Reviews - "Women's Ministry in the Local Church"
Reviews - "The Purpose-Driven Church"
Reviews - "Church on the Other Side

All Around the Web: Links For Your Monday - May 28, 2012

Let's play where's the Secret Service agent.

HT: The Blaze

Mars Hill - Why Theology Matters | Dido!

CNN - 'The Demise of Guys': How video games and porn are ruining a generation | Parents need to be aware of this.

(CNN) -- Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?
Increasingly, researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.

Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz.

Video game and porn addictions are different. They are "arousal addictions," where the attraction is in the novelty, the variety or the surprise factor of the content. Sameness is soon habituated; newness heightens excitement. In traditional drug arousal, conversely, addicts want more of the same cocaine or heroin or favorite food.

The consequences could be dramatic: The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next thing is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.

Dr. Russell Moore (Desiring God)Fake Love, Fake War: Why So Many Men Are Addicted to Internet Porn and Video Games | In response to the above article, Dr. Moore hits the nail on the head.

There's a key difference between porn and gaming. Pornography can't be consumed in moderation because it is, by definition, immoral. A video game can be a harmless diversion along the lines of a low-stakes athletic competition. But the compulsive form of gaming shares a key element with porn: both are meant to simulate something, something for which men long.

Pornography promises orgasm without intimacy. Video warfare promises adrenaline without danger. The arousal that makes these so attractive is ultimately spiritual to the core. . . . 

The drive to the ecstasy of just love and to the valor of just war are gospel matters. The sexual union pictures the cosmic mystery of the union of Christ and his church. The call to fight is grounded in a God who protects his people, a Shepherd Christ who grabs his sheep from the jaws of the wolves.

When these drives are directed toward the illusion of ever-expanding novelty, they kill joy. The search for a mate is good, but blessedness isn't in the parade of novelty before Adam. It is in finding the one who is fitted for him, and living with her in the mission of cultivating the next generation. When necessary, it is right to fight. But God's warfare isn't forever novel. It ends in a supper, and in a perpetual peace.

Kevin DeYoung - How to Leave Your Old Church | Some great advice from DeYoung. I would warn, however, regarding the pervasiveness of church hopping so common today. Most pastors consider their church growing if they steal members of other churches. That is just wrong.

  1. Try to leave graciously.
  2. Tell the pastor you are leaving.
  3. Leave off a ledge.
  4. Learn how to kindly and honestly answer the question “Why did you leave?”
  5. Develop a plan right away for how you will look for a new church.
  6. Don’t burn bridges.
  7. Keep praying and ask others to pray for you.

Washington PostKentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism? | I would say that this is getting old, but it was old years ago. The charge of racism is a political defense one uses to defend failure. Democrats went to the polls in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Kentucky to make a statement. President Obama won each state, but the statement was made clear. Could it not be possible that people disagree with the President irregardless of his race? I think so. I know so.

That President Obama lost roughly 40 percent of the vote in Democratic primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia over the last two weeks has drawn massive national headlines.

Those headlines have drawn a collective eyeroll from Democrats — and many others who closely follow national politics — who ascribe the underperformance by the incumbent to a very simple thing: racism.

No, none of these Democrats are willing to put their name to that allegation — either generally or for this story. But, it is, without question the prevalent viewpoint they hold privately.

They argue that conservative white Democrats — particularly those in the South and Appalachia — don’t want to vote for an African American for president and, therefore, are willing to cast a ballot for almost anyone else up to and including an incarcerated felon. (Keith Judd, we are looking at you.)

The problem with that theory is that it’s almost entirely unprovable because it relies on assuming knowledge about voter motivations that — without being a mindreader — no one can know.

Politico - Obama stumbles out of the gate | The President has struggled recreating the magic from 2008, but I expect he'll find it soon, but it will be too little too late because things remain so bad. The biggest issue at the end of the 2008 campaign was the economy. It still is. That's not good.

Nothing inspires Democrats like the Barack Obama swagger — the supreme self-confidence on stage, the self-certainty in private.

So nothing inspires more angst than when that same Obama stumbles, as he has leaving the gate in 2012.

That’s the unmistakable reality for Democrats since Obama officially launched his re-election campaign three weeks ago. Obama, not Mitt Romney, is the one with the muddled message — and the one who often comes across as baldly political. Obama, not Romney, is the one facing blowback from his own party on the central issue of the campaign so far – Romney’s history with Bain Capital. And most remarkably, Obama, not Romney, is the one falling behind in fundraising.

Here is the Obama campaign mini-campaign movie:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Dear Christian, Let Us Now Rejoice": A Hymn on Justification by Martin Luther

The only hymn I have ever sang written by Martin Luther is "A Mighty Fortress is My God," but recently came across another rich hymn by Luther that tells the tale of justification. Its called Dear Christian, Let Us Now Rejoice. Here it is:

1. Dear Chris­tians, let us now rejoice
And dance in joy­ous mea­sure:
That of good cheer and with one voice,
We sing in love and plea­sure.
Of what to us our God has shown,
And the sweet won­der he hath done:
Full dearly hath he wrought it.

2. For­lorn and lost in death I lay,
A cap­tive to the devil,
My sin lay heavy, night and day,
For I was born in evil.
I fell but deeper for my strife,
There was no good in all my life,
For sin had all pos­sessed me.

3. My good works they were worth­less quite,
A mock was all my merit;
My will hated God’s judg­ing light,
To all good dead and buried.
E’en to despair me anguish bore,
That nought but death lay me before;
To hell I fast was sinking.

4. Then God was sorry on his throne
To see such tor­ment rend me;
His ten­der mercy he thought on,
His good help he would send me.
He turned to me his father-heart;
Ah! then was his no easy part,
For of his best it cost him.

5. To his dear Son he said: ‘Go down,
’Tis time to take com­pas­sion.
Go down, my heart’s exalted crown,
Be the poor man’s sal­va­tion.
Lift him from out sin’s scorn and scath,
Stran­gle for him that cruel Death,
That he with thee live ever.’

6. The Son, he heard obe­di­ently,
And by a maiden mother,
Pure, tender—down he came to me,
For he would be my brother.
Secret he bore his strength enorm,
He went about in my poor form,
For he would catch the devil.

7. He said to me: ‘Hold thou by me,
Thy mat­ters I will set­tle;
I give myself all up for thee,
And I will fight thy bat­tle.
For I am thine, and thou art mine,
And my place also shall be thine;
The enemy shall not part us.

8. He will as water shed my blood,
My life he from me reave will;
All this I suf­fer for thy good—
To that with firm faith cleave well.
My life from death the day shall win,
My inno­cence shall bear thy sin,
So art thou blest forever.

9. To heaven unto my Father high,
From this life I am going;
But there thy Mas­ter still am I,
My spirit on thee bestow­ing,
Whose com­fort shall thy trou­ble quell,
Who thee shall teach to know me well,
And in the truth shall guide thee.

10. What I have done, and what I’ve said,
Shall be thy doing, teach­ing,
So that God’s king­dom may be spread—
All to his glory reach­ing.
Beware what men would bid thee do,
For that cor­rupts the trea­sure true;
With this last word I leave thee

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Real Robin Hood

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Embeding not allowed.  Can watch here.

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

All Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - May 26, 2012

HT: Dr. Denny Burk

Politico - Poll: Record low are 'pro-choice' | Great news, but as you'll find in my new ebook "The Death of Death and the Death of Christ: Engaging the Culture of Death With the Gospel of Christ," polls are essentially meaningless and do not determine morality. We can celebrate, but all the while, babies are still dying.

The percentage of Americans who identify themselves as “pro-choice” is at the lowest point ever measured by Gallup, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

A record-low 41 percent now identify themselves as “pro-choice,” down from 47 percent last July and 1 percentage point down from the previous record low of 42 percent, set in May 2009. As recently as 2006, 51 percent of Americans described themselves as “pro-choice.”

Meanwhile, 50 percent of Americans now consider themselves “pro-life,” one point below Gallup’s record high on the measure.

“Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for “pro-choice” — from 1998 through 2008 — to a close division between the two positions since 2009,” explains the polling firm.

“Pro-life” identification is up among all three U.S. political affiliations: 72 percent of Republicans are “pro-life,” up from 68 percent last year; 47 percent of independents are, compared with 41 percent last year; and 34 percent of Democrats are, compared with 27 percent last year.

Baptist21 - Danny Akin on Why the Conservative Resurgence was Necessary |

Kevin DeYoung - How to Start at your New Church | Some really good advice here.
  1. Make a decision to decide and then stick with it. Pastors understand that choosing a church is a big deal.
  2. Introduce yourself.
  3. Start coming to church functions like you’ve been there forever.
  4. Do ask about important doctrines, but do not press for massive changes.
  5. Take the membership class.
  6. Try not to be offended if you don’t get asked to do something right away.
  7. Don’t worry about saying no if you do get asked to do something right away.

Crossway - Video: Date Your Wife | Some great advice here. Look for the book when it comes out.

Practical Shepherding - What are 10 practical ways to love and serve your wife? |

1)  Before you touch her body, touch her mind and heart.
2) Sweat the small things.
3)  Encourage her in areas she thinks she fails.
4)  Study her.
5)  Date her.
6)  Write words to her.
7)  Ask specific questions.
8)  Be thoughtful.
9)  Be patient.
10)  Pray for her.

Christianity Today - Young people ‘rampantly’ accessing porn | Wake up parents, pastors, and churches.

The explosion in internet use in recent decades has not come without a cost as more and more people access sexually explicit material over the internet.

Dr William Struthers, Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, said that 12 to 18-year-olds in the US and UK were “rampantly” accessing internet pornography.

“It’s not a question of if my 10-year-old son is exposed. It’s a matter of when,” he said at a talk in the House of Commons yesterday.

Whereas 20 years ago, teenagers might have stumbled across the odd dirty magazine, the internet has made accessing pornography so easy that it is “intrusive”.

It is not uncommon nowadays for teenagers - boys especially - to email sexually explicit material to each other and there are numerous websites offering inappropriate material with few restrictions to keep young people out.

And whereas previously, most girls viewed pornography as disgusting, they are becoming more and more open to it.

Politico - Florida poll: Quarter of voters less inclined to back Obama over gay marriage issue | This means that Romney will likely win Florida. That means he still needs to win Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia which will be a challenge.

President Obama's same-sex marriage endorsement makes a full quarter of Florida voters less likely to cast their ballots for him, according to a poll released Monday.

Quinnipac's latest poll of the Sunshine State finds that 25 percent of voters say Obama's endorsement of gay marriage makes them less likely to vote for him. On the other hand, 11 percent say that it makes them more likely to vote for him. 

Among independents, 23 percent say that they're less likely to vote for Obama over same sex marriage. Older voters (55 and older), born-again evangelical Christians, lower income voters and military veterans are all more likely than other demographic groups to say that Obama's backing of same-sex marriage will sway them towards Romney.

On the whole, Romney beats President Obama by six points in Florida, leading 47 to 41 percent over the incumbent president.

Politico - Obama struggles in Kentucky, Arkansas | I know that in the end these primaries are pointless since both major parties have their nominee (Romney isn't official technically yet) but the fact that Democrats are voting undecided or for other "candidates" says a lot about his popularity. I do not believe he will win in November.

President Barack Obama continued to have trouble on Tuesday performing in Democratic primaries in traditionally conservative states, barely eking out wins in Kentucky and Arkansas.

The president didn’t even have an opponent in Kentucky, but with 99 percent of the vote counted, Obama took just 57.9 percent of the vote, with the remaining more than 42 percent of ballots cast for “uncommitted.”

In Arkansas, with 70 percent of the vote tallied, Obama nabbed just 59 percent of the vote. His opponent there, John Wolfe, was able to take 41 percent of the vote at that point, according to The Associated Press.
Wolfe, an attorney from Tennessee whose platform includes repealing “Obamacare,” was able to win several counties.

Mitt Romney fared better in the two primaries, but even the presumptive GOP nominee, who has had trouble exciting the conservative wing of his base, didn’t turn in a stellar performance.

While Kentucky and Arkansas are red states that the presumptive GOP nominee is expected to win easily in November and that John McCain took handily in 2008, Republicans were quick to tout Obama’s poor numbers in both states.

Obama didn’t pick up either state in the Democratic primary in 2008, when he was in a heated battle for the nomination with Hillary Clinton. He took only 30 percent of the primary vote in Kentucky and 26 percent of the vote in Arkansas, a state where Clinton was a clear favorite after her husband served as governor there for more than a decade.

Romney's road to the White House

The outcry against this pastor is just and the Christian church should lead it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"The Trial of Luther": A Review

My favorite historical figure to study is by far the German monk and theologian, Martin Luther who gave birth to the Great Reformation and forever changed the world. I do not believe that there is anyone who changed the world (since the end of the apostolic age) more than Martin Luther. Luther saved the gospel from the grips of a bureaucratic Church that had turned salvation into a profit and became extremely corrupt. Luther's legacy is in the recovery of the gospel and it was this gospel that propelled Luther to preach, teach, write, debate, and live at his own risk.

I am currently taking a class on the life and theology of Luther and am currently doing some research on Luther's understanding and central doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). In the paper, I trace three important milestones in Luther's life that reveal Luther's real convictions on Scripture: his discovery of the gospel, the Diet of Worms, and the translation of the Bible into German.

One of the books I have read while doing research for this project is James Atkinson's book, "The Trial of Luther." Atkinson's book looks at a number of trials in the life of Luther climaxing at Worms. He begins by looking at Luther's appearance before Cardinal Cajetan. From there he moves, in more detail, to the Leipzig debate. Finally, after discussing other moments in Luther's life, the author spends the last half of the book tracing the trial at Worms.

Atkinson provides one of the most detailed account of the Diet of Worms than most biographers. Although this is not a strict biography, it certainly provides keen insights into many of the high points of Luther's life up to the Diet of Worms. This long section on the Diet is quoted directly from primary sources of witnesses who were there. He quotes, in great length, Spalatin (who worked with Prince Frederick the Wise) and Aleander-von Eck who were among Luther's accusers.

What I liked about this book, outside of its scholarly and historical gifts, is how engaging the author makes the story. I read this book in one day not because I am a fast reader, but because the story was engaging. Atkinson has an ability to switch between summarizing and going into great detail as he retells this great moments in the Reformer's life. I particularly found his description of the Leipzig debate. I felt that the author really laid out the issues clearly and precisely.

Overall, I recommend this book, especially to those who really enjoy studying the life of Martin Luther. Though this book is limited in its scope, it is good and well worth the read. I have often found myself disappointed with biographies that try to tell the entire story of Luther and thus quickly pass by some of these great moments in his life. By focusing on just a handful of "trials," the author gives us the detail we all have been wanting.
Originally posted on August 29, 2009.

The above picture depicts Luther at the Diet of Worms.

For more:
Blogizomai - The Story of Martin Luther: An Interview With Michael Haykin
Reviews -Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death
Reviews - "Five Leadeing Reformers"
Reviews - Reviews in Brief - Martin Luther and the Reformation
Reviews - The Theology of the Reformers  
Reviews - The Unquenchable Flame 
Reviews - Luther: Man Between God and the Devil
Reviews - Christianity's Dangerous Idea
Blogizomai- Martin Luther (1483-1546)  
Blogizomai - The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
Blogizomai - For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6
GBC -Martin Luther: Mediating on the Cross
Theology -The Mount Rushmore of Preachers and Pastors

Martin Luther's "Here I Stand"

491 years ago today, the follow edict of the Diet of Worms was issued from King Charles regarding the great reformer Martin Luther:

 For this reason we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favour the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, where upon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work.

Below is the story of the Diet of Worms and including Luther's infamous confession.

Here is the dramatic version of this monumental event in history.

For more:
Blogizomai - The Story of Martin Luther: An Interview With Michael Haykin
Reviews -Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death
Reviews - "Five Leadeing Reformers"
Reviews - Reviews in Brief - Martin Luther and the Reformation
Reviews - The Theology of the Reformers  
Reviews - The Unquenchable Flame 
Reviews - Luther: Man Between God and the Devil
Reviews - Christianity's Dangerous Idea
Blogizomai- Martin Luther (1483-1546)  
Blogizomai - The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
Blogizomai - For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6
GBC -Martin Luther: Mediating on the Cross
Theology -The Mount Rushmore of Preachers and Pastors

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3  

Why do we need theology? In his book Christian Theology, Millard Erickson offers three reasons why theology remains contemporary and necessary.

1.  Theology is important because correct doctrinal beliefs are essential to the relationship between the believer and God. (30)
2. Theology is necessary because truth and experience are related. (30)
3.  Theology is needful because of the large number of alternatives and challenges abroad at the present time. (31)

The second point is worth exploring. Erickson writes:

Theology is necessary because truth and experience are related. While some would deny or at least question this connection, in the long run the truth will affect our experience. a person who falls from the tenth story of a building may shout while passing each window on the way down, "I'm still doing fine," and may mean it, but eventually the facts of the matter will catch up with the person's experience. We may continue to live on happily for hours and even days after a close loved one has, unknown to us, passed away, but again the truth will come with crushing effect on our experience. Since the meaning and truth of the Christian faith will eventually have ultimate bearing on our experience, we must come to grips with them. (30-31)

This is why every great pastor needs to be a capable and competent theologian.

For more:
Blogizomai - Repost | "Life's Biggest Questions" by Erik Thoennes
Reviews - The Top 5 Essential Works of Theology of the Past 25 Years
Reviews - "Doctrine"
Reviews - "The Good News We Almost Forgot
Reviews - "Dug Down Deep" by Josh Harris
Reviews - "Heresy"
Reviews - "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" by Alister McGrath
Reviews - "The Theology of the Reformers"
Blogizomai - Repost | Schreiner on the Practice of Inaugurated Eschatology
logizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of Everything We Are and Do
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology
Blogizomai - The Meaning & Implications of the Resurrection
Blogizomai - Lewis on Practical Theology