19 June 2017

BK Kuiper and Sacralist Historiography

I've touched on this issue before but I recently encountered it again and have been meaning for several years to write a small piece about it.
BK Kuiper's The Church in History remains popular among homeschoolers and is particularly regarded in Reformed circles. They would say he writes from a distinctly Reformed perspective and provides a matching metanarrative. His critics would argue he writes with a distinct and at times misleading bias.

12 June 2017

The Moravian Way: Pilgrim Missiology vs. Magisterial Dominionism

It is one thing to evangelise the lost in other cultures, but this is quickly followed by another question. After becoming Christians, how do the converts live and interact with their society? This is an issue missionaries have long wrestled with. Undoubtedly, every society presents cultural elements and norms that are religious in nature and present a problem for the Christian, especially the new proselyte.

17 May 2017

Corporate vs. Individual Boycotts

From time to time the issue of Church boycotts comes to the fore. Usually what is meant by this is that certain denominations and para-church organisations will decide to collectively boycott a particular retailer or organisation due to moral objections regarding a product or sponsorship.
I do think we need to reject certain corporations and institutions. As Christians we understand that we live in a lost and sinful world full of idolatry and like the Early Church there are aspects of society that are all but closed to us. This is not the viewpoint of most who advocate this view. Frankly they're confused and their proclivity to call for a boycott is not rooted in antithesis but is instead a political tactic meant to 'break' an opponent. Their hope is that their numbers are sufficient that the company or institution will take such a financial hit, that they'll reconsider the policy.

07 May 2017

Urban Christianity: Chelcicky vs. Keller

Tim Keller is but one among many who argues that Christians ought to live in and focus on the city. It's the centre of culture and the focal point of ideas and activities. If we're to live out the Dominionist ethic (he seems to argue) then the city is the effective place to carry this out.

06 May 2017

Rome, Classical Liberalism and Sola Scriptura

On the one hand many Protestants champion Classical Liberalism as an outgrowth and even the natural offspring of the Magisterial Reformation. Reason over tradition, progress, the rights of the individual, civil society and democracy are all viewed as legitimate fruits of Reformation thought applied to the sociological realm.
And yet it all went wrong and in the background there has always lingered a rather potent Roman Catholic critique. It perhaps reached its zenith in the 19th and early 20th centuries and yet the cultural crisis of that era may in fact be eclipsed by the realities of our own day. We are still living in the wake of the World Wars, still living out their implications.

05 May 2017

The Criminal Syndicate known as Verizon

Increasingly there are many US corporations that are prima facie immoral. Their business practices are openly dishonest and in working for them you cannot maintain your integrity. You are necessarily part of the planned obfuscation and manipulation of consumers.
These businesses operate boldly under the banner of caveat emptor. They are not looking out for you in any way shape or form. You are a 'thing' to be exploited and squeezed. If you don't scrutinise the fine print, ask the right questions and in every way watch your back... that's your problem.
Their goal is clearly to entrap you, to snare you into signing a contract that they will resist freeing you from.
Such has been my experience with the mobile phone industry and yet it is but one of many such examples. I am committed to using a burner flip-phone. I will not sign a contract with a cellular carrier. I will go without a phone before I do that. They are without a doubt one of the most dishonest lots I have ever encountered.

29 April 2017

Mystery, Logic, Engineering and Neo-Luddism

When philosophers, apologists and other thinkers labour to destroy certainty, attempts at coherence and confidence in logic, the scepticism they produce sends many into crisis and the response can range from the robust to the frantic, the diligent to the foolish.
One of the most common arguments I hear (and often at that) from within Christian circles is that scepticism is wrong because if the world adopted this view then we could have no inventions and no technology. They will usually buttress this reductio ad absurdum by arguing that it's a good thing their auto or aeroplane mechanic wasn't a sceptic. 
This argument rests on several fallacies.

The Woman's Desire

 http://theaquilareport.com/desire-woman-response-susan-fohs-interpretation/

The question over the woman's desire in Genesis 3 has been a battleground for several decades now. The linked Rachel Miller article on the Aquila Report refers to a Westminster Theological Journal article from the 1970s by Susan Foh. I remember being pointed to the article in the late 1990s. I think by then the controversy had been resolved in the minds of most people. After all this was the era of Hillary Clinton as first lady. The culture wars were on and in earnest. How could you even question this reading of Genesis? Are you pro-feminist?

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.