16 April 2017

Biblical Studies: Slipping into Reductionism?

The counter to Systematic Theology is to focus primarily on Biblical Studies and largely within a framework that is often called a Redemptive-Historical hermeneutic.

02 April 2017

Feminism Repackaged, Revised and... Re-claimed?

Increasingly Evangelicals are trying to 'claim' feminism and wed it to the anti-abortion movement. This is such a strange shift and yet is part of a larger drift within the Evangelical movement.

19 March 2017

Tolkien, Liberalism and Modernity

It is not uncommon to hear it suggested that Tolkien's idealised depiction of The Shire reflects the type of society envisioned by Libertarians. They would point to the fact that despite having a mayor and a few officials The Shire is largely self-governing and self-regulated.
Tolkien mentions an unofficial system of patronage in which some of the wealthier hobbits provide for those in need so that no one is truly destitute.

18 March 2017

Today's NIV

Recently I reported in a comment of an experience I had at a local Evangelical Church that related to the newer edition of the New International Version (NIV).
Starting in 2011, the NIV switched over to gender-neutral pronouns. As to the reason why, I'm sure some justifications have been given but at the end of the day it must be admitted it's a capitulation to the gender-climate and political correctness.

04 March 2017

Gnosticism through a Dominionist Lens Part 5

In the world but not of the world

Gnosticism through a Dominionist Lens Part 4

Elitist Knowledge

Gnosticism through a Dominionist Lens Part 3

The Matter of This Age

Gnosticism through a Dominionist Lens Part 2

Varieties of Contra Mundum

Gnosticism through a Dominionist Lens Part 1

The Hellenistic-Judaizing Spectrum
After watching this brief lecture from Ryan Reeves a professor at Gordon-Conwell I've decided to use it as something of an object lesson, a framework with which to interact. The information is fairly basic but is viewed and interpreted within a framework that I would argue is something less than Scriptural.

01 March 2017

Ockham's Razor, Scepticism and Biblicism Part 5

Recovering Authoritative Scripture and Questioning the Western Heritage

Ockham's Razor, Scepticism and Biblicism Part 4

Anchoring and Scepticism

Ockham's Razor, Scepticism and Biblicism Part 3

The Razor and Rationalist Views of the Text

Ockham's Razor, Scepticism and Biblicism Part 2

Saving Faith and Scepticism

Ockham's Razor, Scepticism and Biblicism Part 1

This is a re-working of a post from 2010 on Nominalism and Thomism. I have updated, clarified and expanded the original article.
 I apologise in advance as there is a degree of redundancy and overlap with the 'Riddles of Fundamentalism' piece. That said, this essay ventures into other realms not covered in that series.
Part 1: History and Inference
Nominalism is often blamed for the philosophical scepticism that arose in the 14th century leading to a climate that allowed The Great Schism to happen, a breakdown in the authority and prestige of the Papacy and ultimately the basis for the social consensus. It had sowed the seeds which led to the breakdown of the Scholastic justification of the Papal System and even Christendom itself.

17 February 2017

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 5

Crisis, Conflict and Taxonomy
The period of 2006-2008 brought the final implosion and collapse of the George Bush regime. Many of the ideologues had been forced out or had willingly abandoned ship. US foreign policy was in shambles, the military was shaken and the economy was on the brink of catastrophe.
This crisis which would extend over the whole of the Obama presidency has created the conditions for what could be rightly called an Establishment Crisis or even a Deep State Civil War.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 4

A System in Crisis and the Threat of Phoenix-style Counterinsurgency
By 2006 PNAC/Neo-Conservative project had been discredited. Clearly their grasp of geopolitics and its doctrinal application in terms of Rumsfeld's military doctrine had failed. As Wesley Clark famously revealed they had planned regime change operations in numerous countries but Iraq had become something of an albatross.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 3

The Various Reincarnations of the Rollback Faction
The Deep State underwent a period of reorganisation in the 1970s. The CIA survived the various commissions which though revealing tremendous amounts of information functioned in many ways as a means of damage control. Cynicism set in but society marched on. The 1970s were an era of social darkness, a time of intrigue, lies exposed and deeper lies being hidden.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 2

The Crisis of the 1970's and Watergate
The loss of America's absolute ascendancy of the world economic scene brought a degree of dynamism and instability. Germany, and Western Europe were becoming economically powerful and in Asia, Japan had recovered. South Korea would soon follow. They were in many ways (and still are) US satellites. The US militarily occupies these nations and controls both their military and foreign policy. But what to do about their economic competitiveness? Some believed they needed to be subjugated, limited and controlled. How to do this? There was no consensus. Others believed they needed to be incorporated and managed. This could be done in part through cross investment, collaboration and through such an agenda it was possible to strengthen both their interests and that of the United States.

Establishment Civil War: Deep State Narratives and a Proposed Taxonomy of Factions Part 1

The Nature of the Deep State and the Post-War Era
I could spend 2 years, write 1000 pages, breakdown and footnote everything and make my case. Apart from a few observations and explicitly Christian commentary my narrative regarding the Deep State wouldn't be unique. I don't have the time or resources for such projects so instead I offer an account based on my years of study, investigation and reflection. What I hope to do is develop a background narrative leading up to the various divisions within the Deep State power structures that command the contemporary US Empire. Due to events of the past decade I believe they are presently in a state of crisis which has produced a great deal of instability and even volatility.

15 February 2017

Lutheran Sacralism: Veith on Economics

GE Veith is a retired professor, formerly associated with Virginia's Patrick Henry College. A conservative Lutheran he has long been associated with Evangelical and Dominionist projects from World Magazine to Wheaton, the Heritage Foundation and Patrick Henry. His writings primarily focus on the Christian relationship to arts and culture. The link is to a talk on economics given by Veith at the 2016 Just and Sinner Conference.
I respond due to the fact that he's a popular teacher and the message he presents is one that resonates with contemporary Evangelicalism. As he represents a posture and theology contrary to what is taught in the New Testament, it needs to be challenged. I hope my brief comments will at the very least introduce a different set of categories and concepts for readers to interact with and consider whether Veith is representing the Christianity of the Apostles or something quite different.

07 February 2017

Inbox: Neo-Evangelicalism within the Framework of Evangelical Development

What's the difference between Neo-Evangelicalism and regular Evangelicalism and when did it arise?
It's not an easy question because no one can agree on what these terms mean. That said, though it's hard to be precise many seem to know almost intuitively what is meant.
If I were to provide a generalised narrative that is so broad as to be inaccurate and easily criticised, but still provides a starting point...
I propose three phases:
1950s-1970s
1970s-1990s
1990s-present
There won't be another phase.

01 February 2017

American Dominionism and Europe's Evangelicals (Part 2)

These social and cultural changes and this shift within European Evangelicalism began to take place just as the 'new' theology started to arrive and wield a greater influence. It has been aggressively promoted and heavily backed by American money. The effects have been nothing like what is happening in the United States and frankly seem 'minimal' by comparison.
Nevertheless the ideas are there and they are growing.

American Dominionism and Europe's Evangelicals (Part 1 of 2)

The influence of Dominion theology continues to grow. It's nothing new in terms of the European Evangelical scene but it clearly continues to gain influence and now like its American cousin has become almost universal.

23 January 2017

The Rise of the New Religion

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/29/the-long-slow-death-of-religion/

It is not uncommon to encounter these types of articles and essays but as usual the author misses something. While he celebrates the demise of religion in the face of secular reason, it has completely escaped him that rather than religion being replaced by secularism, a religion is being replaced by... a new religion.

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.