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The problem with theological education

Justin Taylor has an interesting quote from John Frame on what’s wrong with evangelical theological education today. I’d be curious to know what you think about it.

I cannot help but mention my conviction that this problem is partly the result of our present system for training theologians. To qualify for college or seminary positions, a theologian must earn a PhD, ideally from a prestigious liberal university. But at such schools, there is no training in the kind of systematic theology I describe here. Liberal university theologians do not view Scripture as God’s Word, and so they cannot encourage theology as I have defined it, as the application of God’s infallible word. Students are welcome to study historical and contemporary theology, and to relate these to auxiliary disciplines such as philosophy and literary criticism. But they are not taught to seek ways of applying Scripture for the edification of God’s people. Rather, professors encourage the student to be “up-to-date” with current academic discussion and to make “original contributions” to the discussion, out of his autonomous reasoning. So when the theologian finishes his graduate work and moves to a teaching position, even if he is personally evangelical in his convictions, he often writes and teaches as he was encouraged to do in graduate school: academic comparisons and contrasts, minimal interaction with Scripture.

In my judgment, this is entirely inadequate for the needs of the church. It is one source of the doctrinal declension of evangelical churches, colleges, and seminaries in our day. Evangelical denominations and schools need to seek new methods of training people to teach theology, educational models that will force theologian candidates to mine Scripture for edifying content. To do this, they may need to cut themselves off, in some degree, from the present-day academic establishment. And to do that, they may have to cut themselves off from the present-day accreditation system.

John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, p. 278 n. 6.

The Assassination of Yogi Bear by the Coward Boo Boo – another parable of greed

My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse

If you’re looking for good gift ideas for the little girl in your life, look no further. What little girl wouldn’t love to open her presents on Christmas morning and find, to her delight, the four “My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse”?


Pestilence Pony

War Pony


Famine Pony


Death Pony


And, if that’s not disturbing enough for you, there’s even a “commercial“. Death pony rocks.  (HT)

Flotsam and jetsam (12/13)

  • Roger Olson argues that Arminianism and Calvinism are “incommensurable” systems that should not be viewed as occupying different places on the same spectrum:

On the crucial issues of the nature of God’s election to salvation, the extent of the atonement and whether grace is resistible or irresistible  (the three main ideas that divide Calvinism and Arminianism) the divide between any and every version of Calvinism and any and every version of Arminianism is deep and wide.  So much so that it is really not possible to put them on the same spectrum.

  • Cynthia Nielsen reflects on Foucault’s understanding of “biopower” and its significance for understanding (post)modern society and the (post)modern self.

With the transition from the ancient and medieval monarchical model of absolute power to the modern model of biopower, power is no longer centralized around the person of the king but is distributed in a net-like fashion operating, invading, and permeating the social body far more efficiently and effectively than the previous model.

Okay, maybe Calvinism doesn’t lead to universalism inexorably–as if every Calvinist must become a universalist.  However, many leading universalist theologians are/were Reformed and believed that their Calvinist concepts of God’s sovereignty eventually compelled them to embrace universalism.

How to drive Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings Fans Insane with One Picture

A prayer for Sunday – Ephrem the Syrian

The feast day of your birth resembles You, Lord
Because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated
from generation to generation.
Kings and emperors may pass away,
And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.
But your festival
will be remembered until the end of time.

Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At Your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,
Since you came from heaven to earth on that day
You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.

You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;
Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.

In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.
In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December when seeds are hidden in the soil,
The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.

~Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306-373)

Roger Nicole (1915-2010)

Roger Nicole – one of the most influential if lesser known evangelical theologians of the twentieth century – passed away yesterday at the age of 95. Justin Taylor has a very nice obituary today with links to reflections from D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and Mark Dever. Check it out for more information on this important evangelical leader. It really does seem recently that we are seeing the passing of a generation.

Some Saturday fun: Simon’s cat in ‘Santa Claws’

This video seemed timely given the fact that the cat that lives at my house is walking on very thin ice after angering my wife (badly) this morning. I’m really hoping he does it again tomorrow (please, oh please).


Would you go on an Answers in Genesis trip to the Grand Canyon?

Every year, Answers in Genesis sponsors a trip to the Grand Canyon and invites people from around the country to attend. I’ve been invited for this next summer and I need to decide if I’m going to go.

The point of the trip, of course, is to present data from the Grand Canyon that ostensibly supports a “young earth” understanding of creation. But, you don’t have to be a young earth creationist to attend. As I understand from people who have gone on previous trips, at least half of the group tends to be either undecided or openly in the “old earth” camp. So, it’s a good chance to interact with people from a variety of perspectives, even though the purpose of the trip is to provide arguments in favor of one particular perspective.

The bonus is that the trips are heavily subsidized. So, at the very least you end up with a pretty cheap river-rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. And, you get to hang out with professors from schools around the country at the same time.

So, what do you think? Would you go on a trip like this? Why or why not? Should I go?  I haven’t really commented much about creation issues on this blog, but I’m not a “young earth” guy. A trip down the Grand Canyon would be pretty amazing. I’m just trying to decide if this is the way I want to do it.

20 obsolete English words that should make a comeback

I just ran across this list of 20 obsolete English words that should make a comeback. I’m not entirely sure that all of them are worth resurrecting, but I’m definitely going to try and work the following into my writing, lecturing, and student-mocking:

  • Jargogle: “to jumble or confuse” (this one just sounds cool, and I can think of all sorts of ways to use it when commenting on papers)
  • Deliciate: “To take one’s pleasure, enjoy oneself, revel, luxuriate” (for those times when you need a word better than “enjoy”)
  • Ludibrious: “Apt to be a subject of jest or mockery” (do I even need to comment on how this could be used?)
  • Brabble: “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” (this could be helpful for talking about theological arguments in general)
  • Freck: “To move swiftly or nimbly” (when combined with “Frack” from Battlestar Gallactica, this could be fun)
  • Widdendream: “A state of mental disturbance or confusion” (yet another helpful paper-marking term)

There are others, but these are the ones that seemed most useful to me. Now, I think I will deliciate in my new knowledge by frecking to use these words and see if I can’t jargogle a few people into a little widdendream so we can brabble for a while and demonstrate how ludibrious we all are.