- Kevin DeYoung offers a list of twenty things he wishes he knew when he started ministry.
- Roger Olson explains why he is a (historic) premillennialist.
- Tim Challies has a nice review of Rhonda Byrne’s The Power. Sadly, if you haven’t already, you’re probably going to start running into lots of people who have read or are talking about this one. Please make them stop.
- Peter Leithart explains why he doesn’t find the “functional” account of creation convincing (at least with respect to Sailhammer’s functional interpretation of Day 4).
- And, Matt Dabbs explains how Bonhoeffer got him to give up on creating community.
Guest Post by Danielle Kahut (Western Seminary Student)
A critical dimension in the theological discussion, whether emphasis shall be placed on the objective study of Scripture or the subjective experience of the individual, has its roots in Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Diogenes Allen and Eric O. Springsted only loosely allude to this philosophy-to-theology link in their later chapters. It is of such importance that it needs to be emphasized.
Allen and Springsted do highlight the clear connection between Hume’s philosophy and Kant’s categories. Hume had used the fact that there is no observable link between ‘causes’ and ‘effects’ to say that the entire empiricist enterprise (the philosophical endeavor to ground knowledge on the foundation of experience) was fruitless and would therefore never produce any ‘true knowledge.’ This view, referred to as Humean skepticism, Kant felt a burden to answer.
Unlike the philosophers who had come immediately before him, Kant did not believe that experience was the source of knowledge; however, he did believe that knowledge begins there. The external sensations (touch, taste, smell, etc.) are significant because they arouse our thinking; Kant calls this first stage on the way to knowledge experience. Our reason, Kant said, cannot go beyond these experiences and arrive at true knowledge on its own; instead, our reason categorizes and makes sense of our experiences. Kant posits twelve categories that shape and filter man’s understanding of his experiences (for a good chart on these categories visit the following link: http://bcresources.net/app-Docs/Kant_TwelveCategories.pdf). This second stage, in which our categories process and interpret our experiences, Kant calls conception. The third state, knowledge, comes as a result of the forming of the raw data of experience via our categories.
This discussion of the twelve categories, and how they interact with our sense-experiences, is significant because it shifts the center of knowledge from the external world to the mind. Thus knowledge is no longer ‘objective’ in that it is independent of man, but ‘subjective’ in that it is wholly dependent on man and his processing of his experiences. This aspect of Kant’s philosophy soon had a major impact on theology. Friedrich Schleiermacher was primarily responsible for shifting the source of dogmatics from the objective study of Scripture to the subjective study of Christian religious feeling. He perceived the traditional subjects of dogmatics—God, Creation, Preservation, Salvation, Regeneration—through the subjective lens. Although the return to objective theology began on the continent over 100 years ago (cf. Hermann Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics) the shift has yet to take hold in the United States. To understand theology, especially to understand the cultural constructs which shape the current theological climate, we must understand that this turn to the subject (individuals feelings being a source of knowledge) began back in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.
Steven Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, Deepak Chopra, and Robert Spitzer were recently interviewed by Larry King and shared their respective views on the relationship between science and religion. Just in case (like me) you missed this interview and (unlike me) you care, here you go. (By the way, how does Deepak Chopra keep getting invited to these things? The fact that your name rhymes with Oprah really shouldn’t qualify as a compelling reason.)
If you want a quick rundown on what they talked about, there’s a good summary here.
Many thanks to Brian LePort for pointing out that Amazon is giving away a free Kindle edition of Steven J. Lawson’s The Expository Genius of John Calvin. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still download the free e-book and then just install the Kindle app for PC. Brian says that this giveaway is for today only, so don’t wait.
I know that most of us are financially set since our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. But for anybody who needs a new computer . . . Logos is having a giveaway! I have been using the Logos for Mac as a beta and have been very impressed with it, and Logos version 4 is a fabulous study tool for studying God’s Word.
Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!
Vernon C. Grounds passed away yesterday at the age of 96. Former president of Denver Seminary (1956-1979) and leading evangelical thinker for much of the 20th century, Dr. Grounds will surely be missed by many. According to Gordon MacDonald, “He was our friend, our spiritual father, our wise elder, our leader. In his consistent manner of living and working he gave us a model of the truly Christian life.”
Roger Olson, reflecting on influence of Dr. Grounds, offers the following thoughts:
He was one of the most influential evangelical statesmen in America and, among other things, an expert on Bonhoeffer. It was via his writings that I first realized that an evangelical could actually appreciate the thoughts of a non-evangelical (in the sense of American conservative, revivalist evangelicalism)….
In other words, Grounds was a model post-fundamentalist, centrist evangelical whose voice has been missed these past many years since his retirement. May his tribe increase.
- Camille Paglia has some scathing comments to make about Lady Gaga and whether her complete lack of “genuine eroticism” heralds the “death of sex” for this generation. HT
- Justin Taylor asked around and came up with a very interesting list of important sermons and articles worth reading.
- Kim Fabricius has an interesting post on our need to repent from our repenting (i.e. we need to realize that we’re repenting wrongly).
- Michael Lindsay summarizes a recent study on how evangelicals in positions of power actually lead, demonstrating a broad range of ways in which these leaders live out their evangelical convictions in the workplace.
- Peter Sacks criticizes a number of recent books written on American higher education. He argues that their criticisms are overinflated and sensationalized, contending instead that many indicators suggest that although our colleges are at a critical crossroads, they are far from failing entirely.
- Carl Trueman continues to write in praise of the generalist this time with a few thoughts on how to become one.
- There’s been an interesting exchange on minimalism and biblical interpretation. Jim West started things off by explaining what “minimalism” is and why “maximalism” is a distortion of Scripture’s real purpose. Daniel Kirk and Thomas Verenna followed with posts of their own. Together, these three posts comprise an excellent discussion on the “historicity” of the biblical texts.
- And, if you want to get a little grossed out this morning, here’s a list of 10 parasites that turn their hosts into zombies.
Since tomorrow is traditionally the day to commemorate John Chrysostom in the West, here is a prayer from him for Sunday morning.
O Lord Jesus Christ, open Thou the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Thy word and understand and do Thy will, for I am a sojourner upon the earth. Hide not Thy commandments from me, but open mine eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of Thy law. Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom. On Thee do I set my hope, O my God, that Thou shalt enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of Thy knowledge, not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them; that in reading the lives and sayings of the saints I may not sin, but that such may serve for my restoration, enlightenment and sanctification, for the salvation of my soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting. For Thou art the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from Thee cometh every good deed and every gift. Amen.
Here’s a fun video on why proofreading your papers is so very, very impotent (i.e. important).