Unlike the Theonomists who have chosen to ignore a significant portion of Post-Reformation history, most Protestants and Europeans in general emerged from the 17th century with a profound realisation that Confessionalism was not going to work as a basis for Ecclesiastical Establishment. England (in part) fought a war over this and in the end decided for Establishment and Social Pluralism. The Nonconformists were not granted full status and rights until the 19th century and after but they were at least tolerated. Just because that term has been abused does not mean it should be dispensed with. It is a noble and even Biblical concept (1 Cor 5.9-12).
18 February 2018
The retired PCA cleric who authored this piece has once again motivated me to write a response. Clearly he misunderstands the nature of Two Kingdom Theology. I say this also pointing out that he never clarifies which variety or strain of Two Kingdom Theology he wishes to oppose.
10 February 2018
In the wake of the California scandal of a 'homeschool' family that was starving and torturing its children there has been a wave of 'hit' pieces circulating throughout the media landscape. This is but one of them.
Personally in the case of these rather sick people from California I think a great deal of blame belongs with the extended family. They knew something was odd and yet did not pursue it. When people fail to act within their own spheres they will inevitably abdicate their authority to the state. And now, everyone is viewed with suspicion.
14 January 2018
In the wake of RC Sproul's death there have been a host of tributes written on his behalf. Recently I encountered an article praising Sproul and his role in framing the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy which first appeared in 1978. This statement is met with almost universal praise from within Evangelical and Confessional circles and there is much to praise indeed. While the over two hundred signers were certainly upholding the Bible in an age of unbelief, few realise or understand that modern inerrancy represents a shift in thinking and indeed a break from older Protestant understandings of Scripture.
It is noteworthy and admirable to find men of Christian faith upholding the Word of God. This is especially true in an era of materialism and scientism. They are to be commended for this adherence to supernaturalism and the notion of Divine Inspiration.
31 December 2017
Viktor Orban is at this point all but a pariah to the powers that be in Brussels and Washington. He continues to resist the EU and has voiced considerable opposition not only to the policies of Europe but even the ideology of the post-war project.
29 December 2017
Facial recognition software, biometric data, high-speed processing and lower-order or Narrow Artificial Intelligence are being wed to authoritarian political structures. It is the Panopticon for a new age.*
I must admit, I found this video to be deeply troubling. I found myself wondering about the future of the Chinese Underground Church. The tools of totalitarianism are becoming so pervasive that nonconformists (of any stripe) are literally going to be forced back into the mountains and forests... as in the old days.
And yet in the old days, the state apparatus did not possess drones with thermal imaging and the easy means to access remote places.
24 December 2017
Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem provides a convenient distraction for the embattled Trump administration. Embroiled in layers of investigation and cover-ups to hide cover-ups, the shift in media coverage provides them with some welcome respite.
09 December 2017
Recently I encountered (yet again) another example of what I have termed The Presbyterian Fallacy.
Briefly by way of context, Episcopal forms of Church government do not claim their authority is based on Scriptural exegesis. While they believe their polity is 'Biblical' in the sense that it 'flows' from Scripture, they will freely admit that it's not something that can be appealed to chapter and verse. They would argue the New Testament does not prescribe a specific form of polity. Or they might argue that the Apostles established a type of regional hierarchy which over time legitimately developed into the episcopacy.
23 November 2017
The question of Final Salvation is further clouded by what could be described as Today's Calvinism and the metanarratives it has attached to Historical Theology. I'm not merely referring to the so-called New Calvinism or movements like Young, Restless and Reformed.
By Today's Calvinism I'm speaking of Reformed Theology and Calvinism in general terms. Specifically I'm speaking of North American Calvinism in the wake of the 19th century. While international Calvinism went into decline and largely succumbed to Liberalism, the remaining sectors of conservative Calvinism underwent changes.
19 November 2017
In a previous post I expressed some scepticism and ambivalence with regard to the recent spate of harassment claims. The men are indeed bestial and ungodly in their behaviour and yet many of these women, especially in the arts or corporate settings are not wholly innocent.
In other cases the behaviour can only be described as predatory. While an aspiring entertainer or businesswoman can always walk away and maintain virtue (even at great cost) there are those in other situations that are under real authority in the form of the state and thus under actual threat. These situations are often different in their nature and the women subjected to abuse are truly victims. I'm speaking of officials who hold badges and offices, who wear uniforms and carry guns. These men who use their authority to abuse the weak are of a different and very pernicious stripe.
12 November 2017
Feminism could be described as being 'kicked into high gear' due to the rash of recent scandals.
On the one hand misogynist predatory behaviour is vile and always wrong. These people don't need defending.
On the other hand, society's war on men and boys and the feminisation of men is equally problematic. I say it again, it is equally problematic. That will offend some people.
05 November 2017
But again, isn't certainty eliminated? By no means. Does it become all but impossible to form creedal statements and confessions? Not in the least, but of course I question the motives behind this impulse. The statements will out of necessity become broader and thus more inclusive. Once again at this point I will be accused of being an ecumenicist, a liberal, one whose doctrinal sea is a mile wide but an inch deep.
I write this as something of a sequel to the essay on Salvation and the Question of Works.
It's one thing to discuss the nature of saving faith and to refute the spurious charges of rapprochement with Roman Catholic soteriology. But there's another issue or aspect of this debate that also deserves mention. This is the question of what is sometimes referred to as Final Salvation. I have written about it before and alluded to it in the recent aforementioned post but a few more comments are in order.
I mentioned that Eternal Security and Perseverance of the Saints are not the same thing. I would argue that the older Reformed doctrine of perseverance has all but degenerated into a Once-Saved-Always-Saved baptistic version of Eternal Security. I also talked about how salvation is presented in larger terms in which Justification is an essential component or aspect but it is not given the place of prominence, at least not in the way Solafideist theology has prioritised it. Additionally I mentioned how even these soteriological questions are cast in terms of the Already and the Not Yet.
29 October 2017
What practical choices do you make that are odds with Middle Class life? How are they perceived?
I greatly appreciate the spirit of the question being asked and obviously such concerns resonate with me. On a practical level it is however difficult to answer as I believe each person has to work out these things for themselves.
Recently I encountered someone bringing a rather novel interpretation to the 'Lord, Lord' passage of Matthew 7. The well-known pericope contained within the Sermon on the Mount is for many (and rightly) a source of trembling. It speaks to self-deception and false faith.
23 October 2017
The title comes from Simon Wiesenthal's famous work. It's the story of ex-Nazis and fascists with dark pasts blending back into the world and it's one that draws me back time and again.
06 October 2017
The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced in Intertestamental Egypt by Jewish scribes is frequently cited by New Testament authors and their use of it has generated a great deal of controversy and even confusion... even today.
It is not exclusively used when citing the Old Testament, but its use at times seems to dominate. The problem is the Septuagint doesn't always match the actual Hebrew Old Testament. Sometimes the Jewish translators seem to employ a fairly loose or dynamic principle of translation... something most conservatives of our day would be rather uncomfortable with.
01 October 2017
The recent racist incident at the USAF Academy was certainly appalling and is rightfully condemned but I'm afraid I cannot go along with the world's praise of Lt. Gen Jay Silveria, the Superintendent of the school.
His speech is almost ubiquitous at present dominating news feeds and newspapers and I'm sure he'll get a few feathers in his cap. Many are saying, "This is the speech we wish the president would give."
"This is the right response to racism."
This is insanity on display. These commentators as well as the general are blind. This is true in terms of our culture and its history but they are also spiritually blind and their moral judgments are askew. Allow me to elaborate.
23 September 2017
His Critics and Some Comments
Earlier this summer I offered a few comments on this Aquila Report article in a discussion with a friend. This is slightly edited version of them here...
05 September 2017
Helm's writings have always been worthwhile, even when I disagree with him. Provocative and thoughtful, his is a website worth a regular visit. In this case it was not so much a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. Instead I read with interest as he delved into the long disputed interpretation of Augustine's City of God.
What is Augustine's eschatology? Anti-Chiliastic to be sure, what is his expectation for the Church in this age? How does the Church relate to the culture and the state? These are questions people still debate even in the 21st century.
03 September 2017
A Christian Preface to the Apologia on Syllabic Poetry: A brief discussion of Christianity and the Arts
This is an older essay that I've chosen to revise and publish at this time due to its reference in a recent discussion. Most readers will not find it to be of interest, some will find it baffling. A few may find it to be stimulating or at least I hope so.
What is a Christian view of the arts? That's a large topic and one that I cannot fully explore at this time. It is a worthwhile subject to be sure and yet for all that I would say its value is perhaps more limited than many would acknowledge.
27 August 2017
Apart from the Scriptural evidence that supports the nonviolent and pacifist position, there is a significant testimony to be found in Church History.
12 August 2017
Christ brings division, even among Christians (1 Cor 11)... the peace we seek, is found only in him. False worldly peace doesn't excuse the gun-toting, gun-enforced pseudo-peace of either the Right wing militarist or the Libertarian, nor does a lack of peace in a world of violence grant permission for Christians to take up the sword. Thousands of pages have been written attempting to defend the Christian war ethic, just war, 'self-defense' and a host of other lies and scriptural distortions.
23 July 2017
Non-violent activism is not pacifist but political, a form of manipulation rather than overt coercion. But it is coercive nonetheless. Once again while a number of figures associated with this kind of activity are on a certain level admirable, they are not actually following the ethic of the New Testament.
22 July 2017
Pacifism and Nonviolence are controversial and sometimes confusing topics. This is compounded by the fact that they mean different things to different people. Not everyone is in agreement as to what they mean as far as concepts, let alone what are their limits and goals.
29 June 2017
25 June 2017
If you've never been to Princeton, New Jersey I highly recommend it. It's a fascinating place filled with history and character. There's much to see and yet the real thrill is to just walk around, enjoy the streets and wander the magnificent old buildings of one of the most renowned of the Ivy League schools.