08 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism 5: Biblicism, Oracular Presence and Concluding Thoughts

Faced with the overwhelming and crushing burden of philosophical collapse and the onset of scepticism we are presented with another option. It comes in the form of a Person, a Way, a Door, a Prophet. We are called to listen to His Voice and trust in Him. As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, the Word of God... Scripture comes into the picture. It contains the accounts of the good news, the doctrine, the paths of discipleship and it is, is centered on, and culminates with the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

07 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism Part 4: False Fideisms, False Biblicisms and the Quest for Coherence

It is at this point in the discussion wherein fideistic and anti-modernist labels that are used to describe many 20th century movements such as Neo-Orthodoxy, Barthianism and the 21st century Emerging Church are exposed as flowing from the same polluted Athenian font that continues to overshadow virtually all Western intellectual endeavour.

05 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism Part 3: Faith and Epistemology

While often accused of being Anti-Modern and fideistic, Fundamentalist epistemology could be more accurately described as representing a Evidentialism with a strong tendency to rely upon Coherentist arrangements and interpretations of empirical data, all resting upon axiomatic basic beliefs. Its Foundationalist ideology must be understood as a variant of Empiricism and within the general flow of what has come to be known as the Analytic tradition.

03 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism Part 2: Epistemology, Social Context and the Charge of Anti-Modernism

Industrialisation proved traumatic for Western society. Traditions, what we might call social forms of coherence, accepted norms, standards and commonalities were modified and in many cases jettisoned. A new urban culture began to form that changed many economic, social and thus finally familial and traditional dynamics. While on the one hand this was the outcome of modern thinking and the science and technology it produced, in another sense its non-coherence and fragmentation led to a social crisis. The mechanistic view of the universe first moved God to the periphery and then abandoned Him altogether. Science and technology came into their own and created a new type of Foundationalism for the new era. The previous coherence of what we might call Enlightened Christianity, the form familiar to late colonial and early Republican America was no longer needed or viewed as valid.

02 January 2017

Riddles of Fundamentalism: Modernist Epistemology and the Question of Biblicism Part 1

The other night I was watching the old Fess Parker version of Davy Crockett and found myself trying to explain to my kids his mannerisms and the 'can-do' and 'aw shucks' common sense of the frontiersman.

It's just a movie of course and yet there's something to be said on that topic. The old backwoods sensibility and pride in lack of sophistication is something deeply rooted in sections of American culture. It took one form in the log cabin and another in the halls of academia along the Eastern Seaboard, and yet it's something common to the American experience and its intellectual tradition.

28 December 2016

The Head of State and the benefits of Constitutional Monarchy

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has intervened and blocked the nomination of the first female candidate for Prime Minister. Incidentally as a member of Romania's Tatar community she would have been the first Muslim as well.
It seems odd today, but back in the 19th century as many nations were being transformed into modern states, Constitutional Monarchy was certainly one of the more popular forms of government. It seems quaint and archaic because few today see a role for a monarch. And yet thinkers of the time understood that it was important even in a parliamentary or constitutional system to have someone who could function as caretaker.

07 December 2016

Identity Politics and the Myth of Cultural Marxism

The nightly news seems to be dominated by police shootings. A seemingly endless stream of racial tensions have dominated American culture over the past couple of years prompting a call to revisit the unresolved questions of the Civil Rights Era. A new generation is wrestling with the issues, and minority communities have been forced to grapple with the reality that a Black president did not signify the end of racial tension. In fact many have come to believe the election of Obama has inflamed simmering passions and instead of moving our culture closer to a state of peaceful coexistence, things have taken a bad turn.

29 November 2016

A Lutheran Interpretation of Reformed Two Kingdom Theology: Some Observations and Considerations

http://justandsinner.libsyn.com/a-critique-of-escondido-two-kingdom-theology

Jordan Cooper of Just and Sinner recently lectured on some of the significant differences between the Reformed and Lutheran versions of Two Kingdom Theology. The Reformed variety usually associated with Westminster Seminary West in Escondido California is often conflated with the Lutheran variety and this troubles Cooper. He wants to set the record straight. This has probably been furthered by the fact that to many, Westminster West also has (more or less) embraced a Lutheran Soteriology and understanding of sola fide.

27 November 2016

2016: Theonomy Revisited

Every once in a while I feel it necessary to check-in with the Old Guard Theonomists. There aren't that many of them left. While I have always disagreed with them I at least appreciated their integrity. The Theonomy of the 1980s and 1990s was open in its rejection of Classical Liberalism in the form of democracy, rights, individualism as well as its rejection of Libertarian impulses.

17 November 2016

A Generation Passes

Chick, Ruckman, LaHaye and Schlafly

So far this year has seen three significant figures pass from the Evangelical and Fundamentalist scene. The torch is being passed and at this point there are only a handful of leaders remaining from that older generation that rose to prominence in the 1970s with the creation of the Moral Majority. The remaining voices, men like James Dobson and Pat Robertson are now in their eighties.

30 September 2016

The Sanctification of Social Conformity: Offering Incense to Caesar and Christian Second-Class Citizenship (Part 2 of 2)

Our criticism of the system is on the one hand an example of shining light in the darkness but primarily our concern is to expose the nature of the system and thus reveal the apostate nature of Christendom which has constructed this system and is still heavily invested in it. As has been said before, lost people are going to engage in such behaviour. It's no great shock. But when professing Christians do it, then it needs to be called out and exposed. This criticism needs to be understood as not anti-state or political. At worst the result of criticism and exposure should be non-participation... which admittedly can threaten the system and the world will certainly find it offensive and accuse us of being 'bad citizens'. But considering that Christians will only ever be a small minority in any given social system, there is no real or existential threat. The state may not view it that way, but it is nevertheless true.

The Sanctification of Social Conformity: Offering Incense to Caesar and Christian Second-Class Citizenship (Part 1 of 2)

In Roman times Christians were excluded from many aspects of society, many occupations, clubs, guilds and other means of fully participating in the social order were all but closed to them.

They often excluded themselves because participation and membership in these organisations meant worshipping Caesar. All too often simple rituals, prayers, libations and other elements of the pagan cult were part of the warp and woof of daily life in these institutions. Christians could not in good conscience participate in even these seemingly harmless, even trite rituals. As a consequence they were decried as anti-social.

22 September 2016

Sacralism and the Invitation System

Iain Murray's 'The Invitation System' rightly condemns the Altar Call for its tactics of coercion and manipulation, for making emotional appeals that lack substance. As an unbiblical method it creates a false conversion and ultimately does more harm to the hearer than if they had never heard the gospel in the first place.

The Altar Call is built on a spurious theological foundation. Misunderstanding conversion, the gospel, sin, repentance and salvation it is a dangerous caricature of the true gospel invitation to heartfelt repentance and brokenness.

At this point I heartily agree with Murray, who condemns the theology of Charles Finney as well as those who came after him and took up his mantle and legacy. This theology gave us Moody, Sunday, Graham and it could be argued was re-cast once more in the Seeker movement. These men have done irreparable harm to the cause of Christ.

And yet, for all that, in another form this is the very theology advocated by Murray.

How so?

15 September 2016

The Cosmology of Tolkien

While perhaps a little off-topic for this website, I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding Part 1of this lecture on Tolkien's Silmarillion. The topic has long attracted me and in fact there are aspects of it that grow more interesting to me over time.

For many years I have been interested in both Tolkien and Lewis and in particular how their Cosmological understandings play out in their fantasy works. Their writings reflect the Middle Ages, the era both authors appreciated, but some time ago I realised this question was more complex than the intricacies of Medieval Scholastic Speculation. There are larger questions regarding Apocryphal literature. That's easy enough to dismiss but I continue to revisit the issue in light of the New Testament's interaction and utilisation of certain works.

28 August 2016

Jeroboam's Altar and Christo-Americanism

Like Babylon and Assyria of old, America can indeed be called the 'servant' of God and His Providence. In the New Testament the state is in the same spirit called His 'minister'. The ideas if not the words are the same.

The Dynamic Principle in Sociology

This was recently added to the glossary.

The Dynamic Principle in Sociology states: All political and economic models break down due to competing interests and ideas. Academic models are based on stability or at least temporary equilibriums which do not exist in the reality of any given moment. Real world forces and contingencies always exert pressure and never allow any political or economic models to function in the sterile environment of the ivory tower. Sociological fundamentalisms are based on subjective frameworks both in terms of ideology and context and are therefore de facto invalid and unworkable.

25 August 2016

Rust Belt Appalachia Musings

There have been numerous reports as of late of towns within the Rust Belt that are trying to crack down on slum rentals by demanding inspections. Just recently in New York they put forward a proposal to grant interior access to inspectors which would force renters to allow government officials into their homes.

Obviously not all renters are thrilled with this prospect, nor are the landlords.

20 August 2016

Finance Capital and the Real Economy

The recent episode regarding Macy's is telling. Macy's like many other retail outlets has been struggling for some time. Sales are down and many large retail outlets have been trying to cut costs and reorganise. It's turned the shopping experience into frustration as many of the stores keep limited inventories on hand and instead direct you to their websites. This is while you try (and fail) to find someone to wait on you.

It might seem counterintuitive but Macy's announcement to close 100 stores sent their stock soaring by 17%. It was a great day on Wall Street. How can this be? Isn't the closing of stores a bad thing?

17 August 2016

Inbox: What does it mean to speak prophetically in our day?

I believe special authoritative revelation ceased with the end of Apostolic Age. Christ himself was the Final Prophet as it were, at least according to the clear teaching of the book of Hebrews. And that's just for a start.

His Apostles by extension were specially commissioned to 'finish' (again, as it were) His ministry and bring out the full revelatory glory of His Person and work as well as provide us the authoritative foundations for the New Covenant era. They weren't just Prophets, they were akin to the Twelve Patriarchs, but this time of the New Israel.

13 August 2016

MacArthur's Grave Error

In another recent sermon entitled 'Who is God's Candidate', John MacArthur exposes deep flaws in his thinking, his own internal contradictions and a commitment to Judaized theology that overarches all of this thought.

09 August 2016

MacArthur's Warning

John MacArthur's recent 'We Will Not Bow' sermon is getting some attention. It's evident the Christian Right is in turmoil with regard to both their political project and society in general.

02 August 2016

A Pseudo-Two Kingdoms Debate

Tuininga v. Boot


Listening to this debate was something of an exercise in frustration. It was a case of Dominionism v. Dominionism and the debaters admit as much--- that the differences are minimal. It really comes down to questions of form and expectation.

09 July 2016

Evidence and the Rule of Law

As the years march on post-2001 we're still only beginning to grasp the full implications of the Patriot Act and the fundamental changes that have swept through our society.

04 July 2016

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

There is an oft-repeated but utterly fallacious argument that Democracy and Capitalism go hand in hand. Capitalism is about 'voting' for what goods and services you want and is thus an extension of the democratic system.