Theology: June 2004 Archives

Roundup

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Tim Challies raises some uncommon but uncommonly sane questions about raising hands in worship. As you might conclude from my comment, I don't agree with everything he seems to be suggesting, but these questions are worth thinking about. We usually don't think along these lines about this sort of thing.

Jollyblogger has a new post in his series on studying the Bible. I'd never gone back and read the early ones in this series. Good stuff.

The Limitless links to I seem to have lost where I found this, but here's a paper on a participatory model of the atonement. Since this is one of the things Wink has been working on, I figured I'd mention it.

A little while ago I read a review of Kenneth Kitchen's latest book on the reliability of the Old Testament. I had wanted to blog about it, so I was holding off, but I don't think I'm going to get around to it. It looks like an excellent book, though, so I really want to get it.

My list of favorite posts is getting fairly long, and I've decided to remove some of the earlier ones. I still want to have a link to them, so I'm linking to them in this post, and then I'll put this post in the list of favorite posts. That way the list will be shorter, but I'll be able to find them fairly easily without having to search the whole site.

New low for racist left looks at a poster making fun of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice that I believe to be racist. I explain why in the post, and somehow some slack-jawed yokels found the post, completely ignored my reasoning and everything about me that a quick look around my site would reveal, and proceeded to call me a racist. It was probably the most commented-on entry in the history of my blog, and the comments are quite characteristic of the average response to the kind of point I was making, which is simply to ignore it and change the subject, to charge me with things I never said and don't believe, and to take everything I said in the most uncharitable way possible.

Pacifism links to my fairly comprehensive teaching notes on arguments for and against pacifism, including both philosophical and biblical arguments.

Personhood and Abortion summarizes some of my views on abortion, in response to some statements by Senator Sam Brownback (R, KS). Careful-thinking people realize that personhood is the central issue in the debate (not life or humanity), but personhood by itself itself doesn't decide the issue one way or the other, giving pro-life and pro-choice reasons for thinking that. I offer two considerations that should also come into play, one having to do with violence and the other from the fact that we view very early miscarriages as unfortunate but not as bad as losing a child at a later developmental stage.

Update: I've removed some of the posts originally in this entry and put them into a topical one on apologetics, because they belong there. This one's a little haphazard themewise.

Update 2: I've moved more into Christian Ethics Posts. This post is getting smaller and smaller.

Idolatry

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In modern times, biblical passages about idolatry get applied to any circumstance in which someone puts something as higher than God. It occurred to me not long ago that I'd never seen anyone argue for applying idolatry passages this way in our current setting. People simply say that this is what idolatry is now that we don't have literal idols that we think of as representing deities. The assumption seems to be that what's wrong with idolatry is also wrong with putting something as a higher priority than God, but is that enough reason for calling it idolatry? One might give a philosophical argument for saying they amount to the same thing, but I hadn't seen a biblical statement to this effect, and I'd never seen anyone even making the philosophical connection clear. I've now discovered at least two passages that make this line of reasoning seem thoroughly biblical instead of marginally so, as it had seemed to me in the past.

Prosblogion

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I was planning to write something really cool for my 400th entry, but I wasn't planning to get around to it today, and Wink has forced my hand by posting his excellent comment-generating entries (which also conveniently allowed me to forbear from posting anything at all yesterday without a gap in days on the blog), so we're now at post 400. Still, circumstances conspired to generate something even better for entry 400.

Prosblogion, the philosophy of religion blog that I've been talking about, is now up and moving along at full pace. The name comes from Anselm's famous Proslogion, in which he presents the ontological argument for the existence of God. We have two faculty members and three graduate students from various locations involved so far, and Matthew Mullins (as administrator of the site) has some feelers out to some other philosophers of religion to see if they're interested. The level of discussion is already higher than I'd hoped to see within the first few weeks. Our two resident faculty have intitiated with a few great posts on the possibility of more than one perfect being and on the topic of God's sovereignty and human freedom, and I've just posted a sort of solution to the vexing problem facing Leibniz about how he can have contingency and freedom in God while still endorsing the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

KJV-onlyism

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(Note: I have not had much exposure to the KJV-only camp, and as such am not terribly familiar with their arguments. I am assuming that most of the KJV-only camp falls into Darren's second classification: The KJV is the only valid English translation. (The first classification I have no problem with, but doesn't seem to fit the name KJV-only, as it seems to more accurately be KJV-preferred, or KJV-lover. The third classification is pretty radical and I can't imagine that it has a huge following.) In particular, I am assuming that KJV-only advocates believe that the KJV is the best possible English translation, and that KJV-Oers believe that the original Greek and Hebrew is superior to everything, including the KJV.)

In the discussion about KJV-onlyism, Mac makes the argument that God would not let any portion of His Word go unpreserved for any serious length of time. Here is what he has to say on the topic

They're basically saying that segments of the word of God have gone AWOL for CENTURIES, before it finally turned up again in recent discoveries. Are they prepared to accept that that God failed to preserve parts of his word for lengthy periods of time before it somehow turned up again in modern times?
This particular argument bothers me quite a bit. Rebecca and Jeremy see it as an a priori commitment to one particular notion of how God will preserve His Word and I am inclined to agree. But what really bothers me is not that there is an a priori commitment to a principle, but that the KJV-only camp applies this a priori principle selectively.

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