The Limits of W-w

Like I say, transformationalism is good on inspiration but not so good on transformation. Jim Bratt gave a peak behind the curtain of neo-Calvinist culture in the U.S. in his last post before heading to China on a Fulbright (happy trails, Jim):

Boy, do we need that now. I’m thinking of the death this past week of Tim LaHaye. The span of tomfoolery he pumped out in the name of Christianity has created lasting disrepute for the faith. The creation “science.” The “end-times” irresponsibility, compounded of self-pity, blaming others, and a certain cultural idolatry. All of it redolent of the John Birch Society swamp from which he first slithered. Still, it’s the sort of religious fantasy you can expect to hit the American best-seller list. The death that really strikes home for me is the moral nadir of Mr. Family Values, “Dr.” James Dobson. His endorsement of Donald Trump puts paid to any pretense that the ethics and politics he pushed, lo, these many years have come to anything but authoritarian nationalism with a particular macho strut. For that is Trump. Dobson’s worse for covering it with smarmy God-talk.

I say this hits home for me because back when I was on a denominational committee studying the future of the CRC’s magazine, The Banner, we were given some research stats of readership habits and opinion. James Dobson turned out to be the CRC’s #1 rated authority on current events. Charles Colson was its #1 theologian. The Fraud and the Felon atop the Calvinist hit parade. Two minor sins in that revelation somehow stuck out for me. Dobson, a member of the Church of the Nazarene. Read rank Armininian. Colson, invoking the name of Kuyper as he bullied along.

All this, I mused, was the price of that “Americanization” to which the CRC, as an immigrant church, had been long pushed to accede. Well, nationalist mush compounded by militancy turns out to be the bitter fruit of that process. And so it is today.

I don’t pretend that Kuyper ever represented more than a small fraction of Dutch people claiming a Reformed commitment. Ditto, in Dutch-American Reformed circles, for The Forum, The Journal, or Perspectives. But these magazines have fought hard and punched way above their weight because of that magic formula that Kuyper caught, and taught. And it’s worth carrying on their mission, worth trying to maintain cultural, political, and theological integrity above the open sewer into which white-American Christianism has descended.

I bring this up not to delight in the sufferings of neo-Calvinists, nor to take a shot at Jim on his way out of the blogosphere. Bratt, it must be said, is honest about the state of neo-Calvinism and properly annoyed at its abuses.

I do refer to this to remind those would-be Kuyperians that the neo-Calvinist project is a lot harder than it sounds. Take every thought captive. Christ is Lord of every square inch. Television (and plumbing) redeemed. Integration of faith and learning. New York City as a tipping point for global revival. Bratt’s own account of the CRC is a ready warning that even with all the infrastructure of neo-Calvinist culture — church, school, catechesis, denominational magazine, world-and-life bleep, you are a poor match for mass culture in a liberal capitalist democracy.

Take every though captive? More like, kid yourself that you are large and in charge.

I truly admire the grit and determination of Dutch-American Calvinists. They are one of the true success stories of transplanting a distinct form of Old World Calvinism to the New World. They were BenOp Calvinists before the Benedict Option became hip.

But as all immigrant groups know, leaving the ghetto for the suburbs is part of the American dream. So for w-w to happen you may need to hunker down in the ghetto (or if Amish on the farm or if Benedictine in the monastery). But if you are going to live and move and have your being as a citizen of a modern nation state, chances are many of your square inches will be taken captive.

And if you want a theological rationale or explanation for that, for being part of the mainstream society but not, learn, live, and love 2k. The water’s warm.

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233 thoughts on “The Limits of W-w

  1. And maybe since Christians are not citizens of this world, but of a heavenly kingdom, we might have the same immigrant problems.

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  2. “Christ is Lord of every square inch…”

    Yes. Just as long as the inches aren’t in cities like Detroit, Newark, Compton, or Port-Au-Prince. Better the inches be in cool places like Tribeca, Chelsea, Portland, Seattle, Cambridge, and Chicago (but definitely not the South Side – Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown). The faux-French coffeehouses, fusion restaurants, museums, art galleries, Jazz clubs, Shakespeare in the Park, Wholefoods, high income and low crime make these places heavenly. The only thing missing is a little bit of “gospel-centered” this and that to make it the New Jerusalem.

    Keller acolytes who talk of “Integrating Faith and Work” don’t have in mind the work done by janitors, bus drivers, security guards, sanitation workers, postal agents, or Dollar Tree cashiers. Boring, dirty, hard work. No place for your artistic passion or cool creativity in picking up garbage or delivering mail. “Christ is Lord of every square inch” is reserved for investment analysts, artistic creatives, culture makers, high-end chefs, opinion shapers, etc. No blood, sweat and tears grimy professions.

    Give me back my Ol’ Timey Religion, please.

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  3. Andrew,

    Keller acolytes who talk of “Integrating Faith and Work” don’t have in mind the work done by janitors, bus drivers, security guards, sanitation workers, postal agents, or Dollar Tree cashiers…No blood, sweat and tears grimy professions.

    Sorry man, this is not true. Neither Keller nor anyone I’ve ever met who is influenced by him would say that.

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  4. “many of your square inches will be taken captive”

    …to something/someone, at least on that we can agree? cause that what minds do

    “Who is the most influential Christian leader in the United States? The results of a new study (NOTE: this was 2011) show” … (http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-is-the-most-influential-christian-leader-in-the-us-62657/)

    41% can’t think of one
    19% Billy Graham
    9% Pope Benedict XVI
    5% Joel Osteen
    2% Charles Stanley
    2% Joyce Meyer
    1%Franklin Graham
    1%T.D. Jakes
    1% George W. Bush
    1%Oprah Winfrey
    1% Maya Angelou
    1%James Dobson

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  5. Brandon, they may not say it, though some do, but they distinguish and discriminate accordingly. Including throwing culture transformation conferences around the gospel medium of fusion jazz. I have a list. It’s high brow evanjellyfish ghetto.

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  6. Brandon, first, the Dutch Reformed do faith and work integration better than the cosmopolitan culturalists like Keller (sort of like how black churches do Kumbaya better than white megas). But I think it’s fair to say that with Keller it’s a matter more of what’s emphasized (executive work) and what’s ignored (manual labor). Still, even though the Dutch Reformed do it better, part of which is because they include the full spectrum, the problems with all-of-life still abide.

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  7. I’ll stick with my actually biblical and therefore much better definition of “worldview.” It works quite splendidly with an actually biblical and therefore better view of 2K too btw. One might even call them theological/philosophical/ethical siblings.

    Yep. Hart and Keller both have it wrong. Whats more is that they have absolutely nothing to learn from one another because both begin with unbiblical premises and can together accomplish nothing more than to skip hand in hand tra la la over the intellectual/philosophical/ethical cliff together with neither and both leading the other.

    (((However, despite ALLLLLLL of their foundational and epistemological differences, the one thing they have in common is art. culture and bloody, blasphemous, pornographic media entertainment. The most spectacularly successful campaign of necrofying idolatry the devil has ever concocted, bar none.)))

    Darryl, you have no idea what I want to talk to you about. I’m sure you think you do, but you really don’t. You would understand instantly why I do not want have that conversation here. tiribulus@yahoo.com

    There are at least a half a dozen (at least, off the top of my head) of your guys whose email addresses I have. A couple phone numbers too. SOME, hang on, are even my Facebook friends if you can believe that. None of them are sorry. You won’t be either. You know you have nothing to fear from me. Don’t you? Yes you do know that. tiribulus@yahoo.com

    By the way, you can give ol ratchet jaw AB some credit. I told him I did not want him giving me your email address without your explicit consent. Erik too actually. Despite Andrew’s propensity for speaking without thinking sometimes and Erik’s unforgiveness, both of them have been very good about this.

    Nobody will find out from me Dr. Hart. (I just cant’ seem to give up and yes it’s personal) tiribulus@yahoo.com

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  8. Brandon, actually the whole Soho, neo-beatnick, artist party alchemy, creativity nucleus, I’ve heard Keller go on and on about the need for it and it’s ‘gospel’ inspired innovation-creativity need. So, Andrew is pretty right on.

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  9. Taking captive every thought…

    That is really hard to do. I know I can’t do it for an hour, even if I mean to very sincerely.

    And I haven’t hit that passing grade where I can point fingers at others. I think the passing grade is perfection?

    Guess I will do my best and still totally rely on pleading His blood. This doesn’t fill the sails of my little ego-trip boat like pointing fingers at others.

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  10. Sean,

    Do you mind showing anyone associated with Keller saying that manual labor is not concerned with “mundane” manual labor? I think there is a fair bit of reading between the lines here that is unwarranted.

    Zrim,

    I generally agree that the Dutch tradition has been better on this. And I think what you’re saying has has traction about what Keller *does not* say. In his defense, his congregation is filled of the upper crust of the middle-class. You can’t say everything to everyone and so while Keller’s preaching wouldn’t work in Omaha, I think a preacher ought to duly adjust his preaching in Manhattan.

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  11. Trib, don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you think you study the Bible a bit deeper than people in your life that it gives you any right to snidely talk to strangers.

    You have no idea how teensy your “systematic study” and pietist claims may stack up against someone on here.

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  12. Brandon, I already made the distinction that the activities they support and engagements they fund and then Keller’s own explanation of part of the gospel dynamic of the city-art parties, all support Andrew’s assertion. Have I heard the words, “not concerned with “mundane” manual labor” come out of their mouths? No. But I have observed behavior, use of funds, discrimination toward certain socio-economic groups(Rick Warrenish sort of thinning of the herd) and championing of high-brow culture vocations occur, which all support the gist of Andrew’s assertion. Part of Keller’s whole idea of the importance of Manhattan is to move and breathe and have influence among the culture makers. If I can turn the elite in NY, I can change the world. I’ve seen this sort of aristocratic, high-handed, money discriminating behavior(rich, white, disaffected United Methodists and conservative PCUSAers) take place with Redeemer church plants multiple times. They’re for the city pretty much to the degree the real estate developers have gentrified the area.

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  13. Kent says: “You have no idea how teensy your “systematic study” and pietist claims may stack up against someone on here.”
    Maybe. I’ve been trying to find out for a long time.
    Regardless. The options are not perfection or lawlessness, like the antinomians try to say.

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  14. Brandon: “In his defense, his congregation is filled of the upper crust of the middle-class.”

    This seems by design. When you set out to Redeem Culture and Cities you would have to plant your church right smack in the middle of where the “upper crust of the middle-class” lives. There are many neighborhoods in Manhattan where the average Keller acolyte would be scared to walk after dark much less live and work. Somehow the beautiful places filled with beautiful people always seem to attract the Cultural Renewal and Human Flourishing types.

    A cursory visit to Redeemer’s Center for Faith & Work website (don’t bypass the “Artist-In-Residence” and “Faith and Art Lectures”) has nothing for the vast numbers of people whose jobs actually involve something other than wicked cool software programming and writing for The Huffington Post or Vanity Fair.

    Give me back my Ol’ Timey Religion, please.

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  15. Sean,

    Seems like you know the Manhattan scene better than I do. I don’t know the on the ground happenings there, so I’ll take your word for it. It would not shock me if that were true, but I also haven’t seen any indication of this in my church.

    Re: Keller’s talk about the city, I get the charge of “championing high-brow culture.” I think Keller’s larger argument is sound–large cities possess disproportionate influence–but I think it’s very easy to allow that to become really impressed with yourself and how “gospel-cultured” you are. I can see how this approach can also “discriminate” against other demographics when funding church plants. I’m not sure if that’s nefarious or the nature of organizations, but I think it’s something that should be considered either way.

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  16. You can’t say everything to everyone and so while Keller’s preaching wouldn’t work in Omaha, I think a preacher ought to duly adjust his preaching in Manhattan.

    Brandon, there’s the rub. The preaching of Christ and him crucified works everywhere and says everything everyone needs to know. There’s your all-of-life. If one can say of a man’s preaching and teaching that it “doesn’t work” in X place and needs adjustment then there’s your first clue something is off the rails.

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  17. Brandon, I know little about Manhattan, other than what I read and what others have said and what Keller himself has said about why he’s there. But, I am familiar with about nine Redeemer plants in and around me(Texas) and they all follow the same script and cater to the same sorts of people pursuing the same things. You could pretty much take a real estate developer’s or agents marketing strategy and get the same thing done without all the christianese and “for the city” rhetoric. I’m glad it’s not that way in your plant.

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  18. Zrim says: “Greg, so what’s it means for systematicians? Are they that above it all?”
    Nobody’s above anybody else Zrim.

    Taking ANY thought captive to obedience in Christ is impossible for an unbeliever (Romans 3, Ephesians 2 etc). Once regenerated (ἀναγεννήσας 1 Peter 1:3), and given the mind OF Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and made a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), the new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) is enabled to think God’s thoughts after him. Imperfectly while still at war with and in this flesh (Romans 7) and finitely and derivatively even when in our new resurrection bodies.

    In other words and in short, we are talking about nothing more than the internal component of lifelong sanctification. .You ARE what you think. AND you think as you are.

    What’s more, all this is exactly what comes outta your mouth so the rest of us can see it. Jesus said so. Explicitly. (Matt. 12:34, Luke 6:45) That goes for me too. Unlike the idiotic post modern mantra to the contrary. We DO indeed know each other’s hearts. We can tell by how we speak. Or the incarnate Son of God is a liar.

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  19. Greg, so you’re a strict ideas-have-consequences guy. Sure, belief and practice are sometimes connected, but in reality they are as often connected as not.

    As far as the human heart, I thought Calvinists thought it deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? But how you strict “systematicians” think you’re not doing the same thing the worldviewers do sure is a mystery.

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  20. Zrim says: “…how you strict “systematicians” think you’re not doing the same thing the worldviewers do sure is a mystery.”

    It depends on which part you mean. I don’t’ build my worldviews based on what somebody else’s is not. What are you referring to that “they” do that you are saying I also do. Maybe we do.

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  21. Greg, taking every thought captive. Kent says it’s not as easy as worldviewers suggest, you say it’s not what “systematicians” do but then say “You ARE what you think. AND you think as you are,” which sounds pretty worldview-y.

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  22. The latest Presbycast explores TKNY’s church planting efforts. We reveal that at least half of the 60 churches he’s helped plant in the NYC area are BAPTIST (babdist) churches. It occurs to me that those may be the downmarket plebe churches (and based on the areas they’re in maybe for brown people). The po’ folk get the baptist churches, the yuppies get (a few) presby churches, Anglican churches, and high-brow post-denom, ancient-future liturgical-but-no-one-needs-to-wear-a-suit-with-candles-and-jazz-combo church-faith communities.

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  23. Zrim,

    The preaching of Christ and him crucified works everywhere and says everything everyone needs to know. There’s your all-of-life. If one can say of a man’s preaching and teaching that it “doesn’t work” in X place and needs adjustment then there’s your first clue something is off the rails.

    I’m not here to defend Keller and I think a lot of what he’s produced is wrong-headed, not on purpose, but on making people think that the church is being more culturally influential than it actually is. If all he’s advocating is planting churches where people are, that’s great. I’ve heard him say that. I’ve also seen him over exaggerate what can be accomplished by “reaching the culture.”

    That being said, is there no place for contextualization? Surely Paul didn’t preach “Christ and him crucified” in precisely the same way to Jews as he did Gentiles. I think that’s all Brandon is saying.

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  24. Greg, so it’s the alleged perfectionism that “systematicians” don’t do in the quest for taking every thought captive? Well, any Calvinist should have an inherent allergy to perfectionism. But why not the same skepticism for worldviewry itself when it seems to have a strain of another allergen to Calvinist–pietism–pulsating all the way through?

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  25. “But why not the same skepticism for worldviewry itself when it seems to have a strain of another allergen to Calvinist–pietism–pulsating all the way through?”

    We’ve been through this, but define worldview please.

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  26. Robert, so-called “contextualization” sure seems to be a way to make huge holes to drive dump trucks through. But I fail to see how faithful preaching can’t be more or less the same anywhere. But if you mean an amped voice for larger churches as opposed to an unamped voice for smaller ones, ok. Somehow I think you may mean more.

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  27. 1)Where is the analysis of cost per square inch of pizza please

    2) Give me back my Ol’ Timey Religion, please.
    -You mean the kind whose legacy right now has produced: the ‘nones’; the I- don’t-need the-church; the I love- my- own-conscience(the free one un encumbered by being informed by the word of God, etc.
    You mean that one?

    3) Zrim says: The preaching of Christ and him crucified works everywhere and says everything everyone needs to know. There’s your all-of-life.
    -I believe this is your ‘all of life’: 1) your (actual) lived life and 2) your doctrine 1 Tim 4:16a

    4) Zrim says Sure, belief and practice are sometimes connected, but in reality they are as often connected as not.
    -For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Prov 23:7a

    kent –it’s a war, right?
    -the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,. 2 Cor 10:4-5

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  28. Zrim,

    I think contextualization is vitally important. It’s the same message, but the application of that message changes. There is probably a disagreement on the purpose of preaching between us that leads to our disagreements.

    At WSCAL I was told over and over, “The Indicative Grounds the Imperative.” That’s true and important, but there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. The indicative is never dangling on it’s own. It’s always used in conjunction with the imperative. Paul tells the women in Corinth to pray with a head covering, but the interpretation of most Presbyterians today is that this was a culturally conditioned imperative (grounded in the indicative of creation).

    The indicatives don’t change, but the imperatives can and do change in varying cultural settings. Competent ministers need to be aware of this and adjust their preaching accordingly (and is why WSCAL had the Preaching and Congregational Life course). That’s my thought, anyway.

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  29. I missed the bit about “Colson bullying his way along”? I read his book about prison reform and it seemed sane.

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  30. Petros says: Nice to see the anti-TKNY snipers are awake today.

    well awake, Petros, but kindof roll-over-dead on the battlefield, because, as kent says “taking captive every thought…That is really hard to do. I know I can’t do it for an hour, even if I mean to very sincerely. And I haven’t hit that passing grade where I can point fingers at others. I think the passing grade is perfection? Guess I will do my best and still totally rely on pleading His blood. This doesn’t fill the sails of my little ego-trip boat like pointing fingers at others.”

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  31. Brandon, I thought the whole Kellerite contextualization was to speak to a post-modern culture? Besides still not having a solid definition of what a post-modern context is and essentially borrowing Princeton’s “Missional” developments which have been a complete failure in reinvigorating the PCUSA and equally abysmal in giving meaning to the term missional or incarnational or inclusional, the last blurb I saw from Keller was his describing the state of the modern individual in the culture(American) as friendless and that Jesus was the friend we(you, I, slob) needed. I’m pretty sure I could’ve got that from my old CCD materials complete with a picture of a European Jesus and nurturing mother Mary. Not very groundbreaking or ingenuous or even relevant as far as I’m concerned and it’s been a terribly expensive experiment to get all the way to, ‘you have a friend in Jesus’. You’ll just have to write me up to unimpressed.

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  32. Greg, I did. A philosophy of life. Careful, Kant lurks.

    Brandon, you may be right about a difference stemming from a view of preaching’s purpose. But perhaps also a view of how to rate certain categories: contextualization, like passion, is way over rated. “Vitally important”? Unless you mean something as mundane and obvious as one must speak the longue of his hearers, that analysis gives me the same anxiety as “creative preaching.” (Bratt and I were members of the same CRC which lost our pastor to CTS’s “Center for Excellence in Preaching.” Oratorily skilled, intelligent, articulate, and gifted, but I’m afraid the express quest for “creative preaching” had a tendency to leave me wondering where the gospel was.)

    Jeff, ever listen to “Breakpoint” (sort of a bully-ish name, no?)? And if Metaxas is his heir apparent, what might that imply about Colson?

    Petros, with it lodged so deeply within your cheek, careful not to bite your tongue.

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  33. @Jeff agreed. The criticism of Colson struck me as a cheap shot that reflected virtue signaling to “all right thinking people” rather than a meaningful critique.

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  34. Zrim,

    Contextualization can be as simple as being aware of the particular sins to which your congregation may be prone and including that in the preaching. So you may have to hit racism, for example, harder in some contexts than others.

    One of my seminary professors said that if he were a preacher in Orlando, for example, he’d be hitting the promises of pop culture harder than others because of the Disneyfication of the area.

    Christ and Him crucified, absolutely. But the way you get there may be different. Paul quoted pagan philosophers on Mars Hill. I doubt he did that in the synagogues.

    All this isn’t intended to be pro-Keller. I’ve always had reservations about the whole emphasis on the city as being the most important places on earth. And as Sean has noted, the whole “reach the city,” at least in the PCA, is more “reach the hip parts of the city” than anything else. But aside from the basic need of salvation, preaching is going to look somewhat different in the inner city than it will in Keller’s Manhattan or backwoods Kentucky. I don’t see how you get away from it unless all you do is get up and read the Bible out loud and sit down.

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  35. @ggt in my more cynical moments I think “worldview” is the evangelical version of “paradigm” or “meta narrative”. An ever-evolving, ill defined term posers toss around because they think it makes them seem intellectually sophisticated.

    More charitably, Sire describes what most evangelicals have in mind when they think of worldview – our presuppositions about the nature of reality as evidenced by our answers to:
    1) what is the fundamental reality
    2) what is this reality like
    3) how do we know come to know about this reality
    4) what is a person
    5) where does morality come from
    6) does human history have a grand arc
    7) what happens at death
    (It’seems been a while, so I might not have these questions exactly right, you can check “the universe next door” if the derails matter to you.)
    Furthermore, in the w-w thinking popular among guys like Francis Schaefer, there is the belief that the worldview that characterizes your answers to these questions has causal connection to your theological views, political views, ethical behavior, interpersonal interaction, etc… Thus you get the sweeping narratives about how western moves to materialism led inextricably to the Holocaust, USSR, Cultural revolution, killing fields, rising murder rates in the US, and sex-drugs&rocknroll.

    Sociologically we see this naive w-wism is untenable – over the past quarter century murder rates, teen sex, and abortion rates have dropped while the culture has gotten less theistic. Furthermore, the main source of violence in the world is not atheistic but theistic (coming from the same basic w-w as Christians).

    Philosophically, it isn’t clear we have coherent answers, that our view is singular, or that even if such a vie exists, that it has the oomph to overcome material concerns (philosophical views are willing, but the flesh is weak).

    Finally, the implication of the rationalistic approach is to quash liberty of conscience. In short, it is over constrained. The consequence is that it lends itself to a sort of hip legalism that quickly grows dated (how could a Christian vote for Bill Clinton? How could a Christian work for a big bank? How could a Christian not care for the environment? How could you not be a culture maker? How could one be a Christian and vote for Trump? And so on, on the ww legalistic treadmill). By eschewing epistemic humility reflected by restricting one’s normative moral claims to what is taught in scripture, the ww’ers philosophical flight of fancy dilutes the gospel message and lends itself to a hip legalism.

    Many of these critiques are well known, and somewhat more careful thinkers will qualify what they “really mean” by w-w. I find these rearguard defenses of the term unconvincing and more importantly unhelpful.The more fundamental problem is their overestimate of the power of rational thought (Scott Adams of Diller fame actually has a pretty entertaining take on this) to determine behavior and our ability to derive ethical norms from first principles.

    What do you understand ww to reference and who is it you read to arrive at that definition? Sorry for the typos…I’m on a phone and not proofing. The dumb stuff is samsung’s fault.

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  36. It’s Samsung’s worldview to blame.

    But seriously, good post.

    I do take exception to one sentence: Furthermore, the main source of violence in the world is not atheistic but theistic (coming from the same basic w-w as Christians).

    Atheism tops theism for body count, and prosaic material concerns (wealth, power) outdo both of those.

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  37. @Jeff thanks. In terms of total body count you are absolutely right, and the recent upwards estimate of Mao’s murders put an exclamation point on that (Ilya Somin’s recent comments on Mao’s “great leap forward” make for chilling reading). Two caveats though… reading Sire or Schaeffer in 1980, I think the connection between materialism and genocide would be far more compelling given the examples available from the previous 35yrs. But in 2016, the examples of brutality we’ve witnessed are in fact committed by folks with a theistic worldview. The second caveat comes from guys like Pinker. While the 20th century was bloody in absolute terms, it was pretty tame in relative terms. The fraction of people killed, wounded, and displaced during the 17th century religious wars was much higher than in the 20th century from what I gather. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were not uniquely depraved…they just had better technology.

    As far as the mundane deaths (as opposed to the spectacles of war, terroism, and genocide) I agree that pedestrian issues like lust for wealth and power swamp all else.

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  38. sdb asks: “@gtt …Can you remind me what your definition of ww is and who provided it in what context?”

    A system of Theology, philosophy and ethics that governs one’s every thought word and deed. Whether they like it, or even recognize it, or not, everyone lives according to one of two and only two. God’s, and all the rest that reduce to versions of the same thing.

    I got it ultimately from Van Til, but I don”t know that I’ve seen it formulated just that way.

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  39. ” A system of Theology, philosophy and ethics that governs one’s every thought word and deed. Whether they like it, or even recognize it, or not, everyone lives according to one of two and only two. God’s, and all the rest that reduce to versions of the same thing.”

    Thanks Greg. That is more or less Sire’s definition with the exception that he recognizes that unbelievers have incommensurabe beliefs about ethics, etc… so they can’t reduce to the same thing (i.e, there are lots of ways to be wrong and different errors have different consequences).

    But whatever the case, the problems with what you are calling ww are the same:
    1) that anyone adheres to a coherent theological, philosophical, and ethical system
    2) that the system we adhere to governs all of our actions.

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  40. SDB,

    Maybe it is one’s actions that reveal one’s true worldview no matter what their state beliefs are?

    As I’ve thought about such things, I think you are on to something when you question a causal connection between worldview and every action. It doesn’t deal with the fact that people are inconsistent. Is it not the case, however, that as we grow in Christ, we ideally strive to conform our actions more and more to the teaching of the NT, which would be the Christian worldview?

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  41. Greg, “the one thing they have in common is art. culture and bloody, blasphemous, pornographic media entertainment.”

    Take that back. Keller has never recommended The Wire. His hipster is inflected through Glenside, Pa, home to New Life.

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  42. Jeff, remember Jim Bratt was very anti-Nixon. It was in the generational DNA. New book by Steven Teles argues that Colson’s Prison Fellowship was a big factor in flipping conservatives on prison reform. I’m not sure Jim would give Colson that much credit.

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  43. Dr. Hart quotes me as saying: Greg, “the one thing they have in common is art. culture and bloody, blasphemous, pornographic media entertainment.”

    And then responds with:
    “Take that back. Keller has never recommended The Wire. His hipster is inflected through Glenside, Pa, home to New Life.
    Keller has the moral discernment of a turnip. TGC blog is filled with anti-Christian cultural idolators and he writes forwards for books by lowlifes like Mike Cosper who specifically recommends the wire in one of those books actually. (Amazon reviews are very useful). It’s not about the wire (or any other work) specifically anyway. But you know that don’t you.

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  44. Reading Rabbit, Run by John Updike currently. I don’t know much about him so I’m not sure what he’s getting at by these passages, but regardless, there are some good anti-w-w sentiments:

    For the damnedest thing about that minister was that, before, Rabbit at least had the idea he was acting wrong but now he’s got the idea he’s Jesus Christ out to save the world just by doing whatever comes into his head. I’d like to get hold of the bishop or whoever and tell him that minister of his is a menace. Filling poor Rabbit full of something nobody can get at and even now, filling her ear, his soft cocksure voice answers her question with an idle remote smugness that infuriates her so the tears do come.

    “If Gott wants to end misery He’ll declare the Kingdom now.” Jack feels a blush begin to bum his face. “How big do you think your little friends look among the billions that God sees? In Bombay now they die in the streets every minute. You say role. I say you don’t know what your role is or you’d be home locked in prayer. There is your role: to make yourself an exemplar of faith. There is where comfort comes from: faith, not what little finagling a body can do here and there, stirring the bucket. In running back and forth you run from the duty given you by God, to make your faith powerful, so when the call comes you can go out and tell them, `Yes, he is dead, but you will see him again in Heaven. Yes, you suffer, but you must love your pain, because it is Christ’s pain.’ When on Sunday morning then, when we go before their faces, we must walk up not worn out with misery but full of Christ, hot” – he clenches his hairy fists – “with Christ, on fire: burn them with the force of our belief. That is why they come; why else would they pay us? Anything else we can do or say anyone can do and say. They have doctors and lawyers for that. It’s all in the Book – a thief with faith is worth all the Pharisees. Make no mistake. Now I’m serious. Make no mistake. There is nothing but Christ for us. All the rest, all this decency and busyness, is nothing. It is Devil’s work.”

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  45. Greg says Keller has the moral discernment of a turnip. TGC blog is filled with anti-Christian cultural idolators

    1) hmm, Greg, really? Please. Reminder: James 1:26

    2) Anyway, I like this:
    Christian worldview – What is it?
    The term “worldview” is used to describe a core set of values and principles through which the world is understood. A worldview is a compilation of an individual’s perceptions of the world, essentially the way a person understands reality. A person’s worldview is very important, as it impacts virtually every decision in life. A specifically Christian worldview, then, would be viewing the world through a Christian/biblical lens. A Christian worldview is one in which the Bible is formative.

    A worldview must come to grips with the three following questions: (1) Where did we come from and why are we here? (2) Why is there something terribly wrong with the world? (3) Can what is wrong with the world be fixed? Different worldviews answer these three core questions very differently. Let’s contrast the Christian worldview with the naturalistic worldview on the three questions.

    A naturalistic worldview would answer the three questions as follows: (1) We are the result of purposeless acts of nature. (2) We are what is wrong with the world, as we do not respect nature. (3) The world can be saved through environmentalism, conservation, and us coming to terms with our true nature. Common philosophies that come from a naturalistic worldview are moral/cultural relativism, existentialism, nihilism, and utopianism.

    In contrast, a Christian worldview attempts to answer the three questions biblically: (1) God created humanity in His image so that we could have a meaningful relationship with Him and put us on the planet to rule over it (Genesis 1:27-29, 2:15). (2) We sinned against God, subjecting ourselves and the world to the curse of evil, decay, and death (Genesis 3; Romans 8:22). (3) God became a human being and sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty for sin and to one day restore creation to a perfect state (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Revelation 21–22). A Christian worldview should result in an adherence to moral absolutes and to belief in miracles, the value of human life, and the possibility of forgiveness/redemption.

    A worldview is comprehensive in its impact. Our worldview affects everything we do, whether we recognize it or not. Our worldview affects how we spend money, how we treat our spouses and children, who we vote for, how we treat nature, what we choose to do with our time. A true and complete Christian worldview is not something that can exist only at church on Sundays. There is no separating a Christian worldview from everyday life. Jesus Himself is to be our worldview (John 14:6). Forming our worldview on His life and teachings is the only way to navigate through this world. That is what a Christian worldview is all about.
    http://www.compellingtruth.org/Christian-worldview.html

    3) and re: ‘worldview’, I’m thankful things happened and were written down for us in that regard….so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. 1 Cor 10, Heb 3:19

    4) Speaking of Keller, TGC, and in 2) above: (1) God created humanity in His image so that we could have a meaningful relationship with Him have you seen the latest very short clip over there at TGC. Excellent.

    Tim Keller says:
    “One thing you should meditate on in order to enhance your friendship with God. – Meditate on Jesus’s death as an act of friendship. Derrick Kidner, my favorite commentator of the Psalms and the Proverbs, defines friendship as candor and constancy. Candor means vulnerability, openness, transparency. Constancy means commitment, sticking with you, there’s a friend that’s ticks with you closer than a brother. So, candor and constancy means:always lets you in, never lets you down; always has time for you, always an open heart but never let you down.”

    “Well, take a look at Jesus Christ on the cross. I don’t remember much from my college boxing class, but I do remember they said never have your hands out your side. Always, always, always have them close in front of you, never put your hands out your side. Jesus not only put His hands to His side, they were nailed there. How much more vulnerable can He be. He made Himself absolutely vulnerable to you. He let you all the way in, and of course, He didn’t let you down. He had all of hell coming down on Him and yet He said not My will but Thine be done.”

    “Charles Spurgeon said when Jesus Christ looked down from the cross and saw all the people denying Him and betraying Him and forsaking Him and mocking Him and rejecting Him in the greatest act of friendship in the history of the world…He stayed.”

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  46. Ali says: “A specifically Christian worldview, then, would be viewing the world through a Christian/biblical lens. A Christian worldview is one in which the Bible is formative.”
    Which Keller knows nothing about.

    Sorry Ali It pains me greatly, but it seems we are not as close as it appeared 😦 I have no use for Tim Keller and his unaccountable coalition of world lovers. Keller is a half orthodox weakling who surrounds himself with moral apostates. It is no violation of James 1:26 to recognize that.

    His hip n groovy wing of the castrated American church will be among the first to fall when the purifying persecution escalates in earnest.

    The long definition you give of “worldview” above is why I probably need to find another term. All of that is the result of one’s worldview and not the worldview itself. Or at least not what I’m talking about.

    I reject, utterly, Keller and company’s view of what they call “worldview” and what to do with it. It is everything that has reduced today’s American Christendom to the spiritually and hence morally harmless caricature of Christianity that it is,. They have been and are doing literally EVERYthing wrong. God does not cease making foolish the wisdom of the world just because it finds it’s way into his church. In fact, its’ far more offensive to him there.

    I really do hope this won’t make us enemies. I am genuinely grieved (I really am) to have to talk this way, but the hour is getting late. There are several decks and many many rooms on that sinking ship. Keller’s worldview owns one of the decks. And maybe the bridge. (maybe)

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  47. weelll, I hope we can at least agree on these Greg ….

    1) that you know a turnip has absolutely zero discernment, so your charge is significant and extraordinary since all believers, having the indwelling Spirit of the living God, have some amount of discernment. You must be saying, then, that he is not a believer. Serious charge.

    2) on offering this petition up to the perfect and pure discerner for all of us.
    And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; Phil1:9 -10

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  48. Christ and Him crucified, absolutely. But the way you get there may be different. Paul quoted pagan philosophers on Mars Hill. I doubt he did that in the synagogues.

    Robert, but pastors reference and quote Moses and Paul, not exactly guys from our time and place. And so I say again, contextualization is way over rated. When I’ve heard superior preaching it actually transcends the time and place of its context. It raises its hearers beyond their place and time and into the heavenlies. It could be preached anywhere and at any time to anybody.

    As I’ve thought about such things, I think you are on to something when you question a causal connection between worldview and every action. It doesn’t deal with the fact that people are inconsistent. Is it not the case, however, that as we grow in Christ, we ideally strive to conform our actions more and more to the teaching of the NT, which would be the Christian worldview?

    Instead of inconsistent, sinful. And if “even the holiest of men make but the smallest beginning in obedience,” then that ideal conforming in the rest of us slobs will be hardly impressive come the end of our allotted time on earth. In which case, it could be that the “Christian worldview” isn’t as sunny and inspirational as its proponents seem to suggest–it doesn’t produce better people (and let’s face it, that’s really the point), it produces people who are more and more aware of their sin and shortcomings.

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  49. You mustn’t take me quite so literally Ali. There are vast multitudes of people who’s salvation I would not want to call, but who I also would not trust to teach my family the bible either.

    I would encourage you to do a more thorough study of biblical love. Nothing I have said here is unloving by that standard.

    It’s also important to me that you believe that I’m not writing you off or considering you an enemy at all. Honest I’m not. That’s not the point.

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  50. Zrim says In which case, it could be that the “Christian worldview” isn’t as sunny and inspirational as its proponents seem to suggest–it doesn’t produce better people (and let’s face it, that’s really the point), it produces people who are more and more aware of their sin and shortcomings.

    Zrim. Please. Put on the mind of Christ – His word by the Spirit- ie the “Christian worldview” – and don’t call the Lord a liar.

    We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

    ps. still waiting for the analysis of cost per square inch of pizza, please. It’s important. 🙂

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  51. Greg The Terrible says: You mustn’t take me quite so literally Ali.

    Discernment Greg. The Lord does (takes you quite literally), and you are talking about one of His sons.

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  52. Walton – consider getting ahold of a copy of Marshall Boswell’s “John Updike’s Rabbit Tetralogy: Mastered Irony in Motion,” University of Missouri Press; (February 19, 2001). Boswell covers all four of the “Rabbit” novels with a detailed review of Updike’s w-w at the time each book was written, some of the underlying philosophies that motivate Rabbit and how Updike incorporate’s his own view of them into the novels’ main character, and some of the critiques hurled at the author from various directions over the four decades. You may not be able to find the book anyplace except for used copies through Amazon, though you should be able to get your hands on one easily enough via ILL. Boswell’s book makes an especially valuable companion reader to have on hand while reading the first half of “Rabbit, Run” since it’s loaded with references and underlying associations with people like Barth, Kierkegaard, etc. Happy reading!

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  53. Robert says As I’ve thought about such things, I think you are on to something when you question a causal connection between worldview and every action. It doesn’t deal with the fact that people are inconsistent.

    Zrim says Instead of inconsistent, sinful.

    Gotta go, but one more thing Zrim , A person does always acts in accordance with what they believe – when we sin – we believe we are sure the Lord is holding out on us, denying us something that is actually good for us (see Gen 3), so we proceed in the unbelief of that.

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  54. “Maybe it is one’s actions that reveal one’s true worldview no matter what their state beliefs are?”

    Robert,
    I agree that there is something to the idea that “revealed preferences” tell us something about what people believe as opposed to what they say. But there is a tension with what Paul says about knowing the right thing to do, wanting to do it, yet finding yourself sinning nonetheless. While I wouldn’t say that our theoretical views about morality, our philosophical views, or our theological views have no effect on our actions, I don’t think they are strictly determined either.

    “Is it not the case, however, that as we grow in Christ, we ideally strive to conform our actions more and more to the teaching of the NT, which would be the Christian worldview?”
    I agree with the first part, but not that this constitutes a worldview. The Bible does not address everything. There are lots of things about science, education, health care, hygiene, history, politics, etc… that the Bible doesn’t address. There are a variety of ways believers may address an issue like plagiarism based on the social conventions of the time and place. Was Shakespeare less formed by a Christian ww than Driscoll or those who properly cite their sources?

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  55. Again we remind people who have not sat through 30 hours minimum of due diligence on the Reformed faith in order to gain membership to a serious NAPARC congregation:

    1) There is a ton of theology to absorb and learn, A TON!!!, and if you haven’t climbed that ladder, then you have ZERO grounds for trying to teach anyone about it. Especially if that person has been ordained into office…

    2) This theology meshes very well with most forms of North American Evangelical theology. Where it doesn’t it really doesn’t. I don’t believe that a failure to know Reformed theology keeps one out of heaven. I do believe that people with a 3 digit IQ that are fed up with happy-clappy Sunday disasters can learn and know a lot more about God by embracing the study of Reformed theology. PLEASE try this before go rushing off to a really bad Christian alternative when you are fed up with happy-clappy.

    3) If you are not Reformed, you probably do not hold to a Covenant of Works. That’s okay. But those who are Reformed do, and you owe it as even a 1% basic common courtesy to know and respect this when you want to argue with us. Without a knowledge of the Covenant of Works, even if you don’t buy into it, you are totally offside on most chats about sin and regeneration and sanctification and works and righteousness with someone who has gained membership into a good Reformed church. Reread this note 3 please…

    4) There are thousands of ways to interpret passages of Scripture and remain within the bounds of good Protestant Christianity. To me the best commentaries state the leading ways that one can run with portions that plausibly have more than one interpretation. Eventually the commentary will give grounds for why they believe certain views are probably more intended for those in Protestant Christianity. This is a very good way to study on your own at home, but in a way that you want to learn, not come onto a website and start swinging a machete at people’s heads…

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  56. Greg, you and your chick publication tracts. But, who reads anymore? Talk about irrelevant and decontextualized. Why is it necessarily sin to be inconsistent? I’m thankful every day for people’s inconsistencies, have you heard what some people say they believe? Yeesh. I wish the jihadists were a lot more inconsistent, crazy people, fundamentalists, kellerites, wait they need to go the other way. Do what I say not what I do. Money is always a good tell, even Jesus said so. Genes, work stress, spouse, work requirements, children, immediate company, money, medications, health, dinner the night before, drink the night before, past behavior, lunar cycle, weather, etc… These are all better barometers of what I actually believe and do, than W-W.

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  57. Parents, birth order, early childhood trauma, PTSD, street drugs, scrips, violence, living in poverty, lack of work, disability, crazy girlfriends, multiple baby mamas, lack of shelter, lack of food, nutritional quality, lack of sleep……………..We really are a bunch of sheep. Check out what happens to your W-W consistency the next time you go without sleep or inadequate sleep for just 24 hours.

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  58. George, I really like it. I definitely catch some of the theological interplay. Also, it’s so hard to tell if Updike likes Rabbit or not. And same with the main pastor, Eccles (genius name!). Not exactly straightforward characters. Some people are not much for the whole “no clear-cut good guys” narrative, but it’s very realistic.

    I’ll definitely check out that companion reader. I’ve slowly been getting the whole Rabbit series at used book sales.

    And yes, DG, there are definitely some Wire-esque moments. But you forgot that books aren’t part of the current cultural idolatry, only your filthy TV and internets, duh. Content schmontent. It’s about the image. Reading books is intelligent and holy, but only the great Schaeffer was able to harness the foul medium of video for God’s glory.

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  59. Walton – though Updike was a difficult man to interview (ask NPR’s Terry Gross), he candidly admitted during one such session that he hated Rabbit, that the character was kind of his alter ego. Also, Boswell explains why the liberal pastor was named Eccles as well as the meaning behind many other names and places.

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  60. Dr. Hart quotes Sean, “I’m thankful every day for people’s inconsistencies”

    And then responds with

    ding

    For w-wers, that’s scary.

    You ARE gonna get this one day. “People’s inconsistencies” as described by Sean have nothing to do with at least what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about every man’s struggle through life. I’m talking about deliberately embraced unbiblical theological/philosophical/ethical inconsistencies in the name of an intentional imprecision that leaves us moral wiggle room to believe and do what we like.

    That’s the story of your life Darryl and you’re paying dearly for it. That’s a good thing. It means Jesus loves you 🙂 That’s a serious statement I just made btw.

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  61. CW, Rachael is very highly capable and very often right. Especially when talking about Wright. She’s right on Wright.

    That was a good synopsis she gave there of Keller as well. He will be responsible for multitudes of souls that he and his crew led into a disastrously false sense of eternal security. He is the quintessential head counting book cooker.

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  62. @cw, re: “Why would any presby snipe at Teflon Tim of Gotham City?”
    Outstanding question! You ask, and Paul answers:

    “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry…and preach Christ out of selfish ambition….but what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I , snipe rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to snipe rejoice.” Phil 1:15-18

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  63. @Petros
    Here’s the problem. Paul made that statement under the assumption that what was being preached was the same thing he preached, except the motives were wrong.

    I’m going to say that Keller preaches a false Christ per se, but the gospel he attaches to Christ is quote a bit different that Paul’s. Keller’s mindset gives itself to stats and numbers and the funding that those numbers draw.

    His bar is so low for what he considers a legit confession of Christ, that Nancy Pelosi and Tim Kaine probably qualify. His whole way of viewing God and the world make that an absolute necessity. .

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  64. sean says money is always a good tell, genes, work stress, spouse, work requirements, children, immediate company, money, medications, health, dinner the night before, drink the night before, past behavior, lunar cycle, weather, parents, birth order, early childhood trauma, PTSD, street drugs, scrips, violence, living in poverty, lack of work, disability, crazy girlfriends, multiple baby mamas, lack of shelter, lack of food, nutritional quality, lack of sleep, male, female, pregnant, not pregnant, old, young

    Well, the classic self justifications for sin are simple and best (below*) sean –spouse, God, the serpent (below) –
    never one’s own self, of course – why lay blame there when not necessary and there are so many other places to direct it – and your creative list is very impressive. Or were you not talking about sin but something else?

    *The man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Gen 312-13

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  65. @Ali
    You wrote, “A person does always acts in accordance with what they believe.”
    That doesn’t square at all with what Paul tells us in Romans,

    For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For d delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

    So the question is what to do about this. I hear the world viewers telling me that I need a different philosophy because if I *really* believed the right things, then I wouldn’t fall into the sins that so easily ensnare me. But I’m pretty sure that I don’t believe the sins I do are OK. So what hope does a poor rotten sinner like myself have if I already believe the right things and still sin. I just try to believe harder? It sounds like a recipe for despair, not the hope promised in the scriptures. But then I look to what Paul has to say to this conundrum

    Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Maybe it isn’t my ability to systemize my thought and derive proper behavior from first principles, but rather the Holy Spirit chipping away at indwelling sin that makes all the difference?

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  66. @gtt you wrote that a world view is a “…system of Theology, philosophy and ethics that governs one’s every thought word and deed. Whether they like it, or even recognize it, or not, everyone lives according to one of two and only two. God’s, and all the rest that reduce to versions of the same thing.”

    This seems quite clear and consistent what folks like Sire, Schaeffer, and other philosophical popularizers mean when they talk about worldview. But then you go and write,

    “People’s inconsistencies” as described by Sean have nothing to do with at least what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about every man’s struggle through life. I’m talking about deliberately embraced unbiblical theological/philosophical/ethical inconsistencies in the name of an intentional imprecision that leaves us moral wiggle room to believe and do what we like.

    So we have a worldview whether we like it (and there are only two) that governs one’s every thought word and deed. That’s pretty comprehensive. But you aren’t talking about every man’s struggle through life. Instead you are talking about deliberately embraced unbiblical inconsistencies that allows one to justify one’s sin. But if that is the case does that mean that this person’s worldview doesn’t govern every thought, word, and deed? And if it is true that a putative Christian can rebel against one’s worldview, why can’t the non-professor?

    Finally, if our worldview governs *everything*, why does Paul bother with Christian liberty? Everything is governed by our Christianity – how could there be room for difference about what eat, which days (if any) to treat special, or whether it is OK to eat meat sacrificed to idols? But scripture seems to make clear that not everything has a unique right answer for everyone that can be derived from our “worldview”.

    This is one reason that I recoil at the idea of a worldview: The Christian faith is not all encompassing. If you want to know the best way to grow strong, you could do a lot worse than listen to a pagan like Rippetoe. If you want to excel at physics, you should study Griffiths, Jackson, Goldstein, and Sakuri. If you really want to understand Paradise Lost, you could do much worse than Stanley Fish. None of these guys have consistent views about the ultimate nature of reality. When you think about weightlifting, eating, doing physics, or reading poetry, one needn’t have a singular view that encompasses all these activities.

    But if I take what you wrote at face value, then Rippetoe’s disbelief governs how he teaches people to squat. If I have an incommensurable worldview that governs everything too (and how to squat is something), then my view should be different (better). If it isn’t, does that mean I’m not *really* a believer? You see how this unfortunate introduction of ww thinking isn’t just philosophically problematic, but actually works against the assurance promised to us in the gospel. It is just another manifestation of legalism. A legalism that leads you to write, “Keller and company[]…have been and are doing literally EVERYthing wrong.” You qualify that by writing, “I’m NOT going to say that Keller preaches a false Christ per se, but the gospel he attaches to Christ is quote a bit different that Paul’s.”. But of course, Paul says that if any one teaches a different gospel from him that it is a false gospel. So it isn’t clear how this is really a modification of your claim that Keller gets literally everything wrong. Now Keller receives pretty harsh criticism here – much of which I think is fair. But it is curious to contrast your description of a man you don’t know with Paul’s description of those who preach the gospel with dishonest motives. Perhaps your worldview thinking has led you astray?

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  67. @sdb:
    I’ve answered almost all of this at one time or another before and I am indisposed at the moment, but I leave you with a few snippets from several years ago.(obviously these are my side of conversations btw)
    ============================================================
    It’s not that unbelievers do not advance true knowledge and hence contribute much good to the world. Of course they do, but they do it in spite of and not because of their own foundational beliefs. It’s only because my foundational beliefs are true that anything they do is possible. They hate that. They hate GOD. They are His enemies. Same as I was. That’s why Paul told us in Romans 1 that they “suppress” or as the Greek has it, they “hold under” the truth in their unrighteousness. Picture a beach ball in the water. They keep holding it down, while it keeps popping up and hitting them in the face. That’s how they attempt to hide from their true selves and the God who created them. Paul says they are without excuse. God has reveled Himself unavoidably everywhere and especially IN themselves as created in His very image fractured though it is in sin. There is His unmistakable signature staring them down in absolutely everyTHING everyWHERE, but nowhere as clearly as in their own mirror.
    ——————————————————————————————————
    God alone is absolutely free and HE alone is absolutely certain and through HIM alone is any truth actually true at all. 2+2=4 for absolutely everybody. Christians know why. Unbelievers CANNOT know why on their own autonomous sinful terms and are hence forced to settle for ultimate uncertainty even in the realm of 1st grade mathematics in order to live with at least the illusion of intellectually consistency.

    Non Calvinistic true Christians (and there are millions), live inconsistently with the philosophical (logical) foundation of their own faith. They have the same agnostic foundation the agnostic does. Ultimate cont4ingency. They want the certainty of God without the sovereignty of God. Unbelievers claiming certainty live inconsistently with the foundation of their faith as well. They want the certainty of God with no god at all. (Though they will vociferously deny that) Unbelieving agnostics live consistently with their professed foundation, but the foundation itself is unable to deliver on it’s promises, so they unavoidably function under the assumption of certainty on one hand, while denying it on the other. Being the finite critters that we are, every ultimate question and potential answer there is, must be encountered through faith because we are by definition unable to resolve the ultimate.

    Only the entirely uncontingent God I proclaim, Who was once the predominant God of this continent(and Europe as well actually), resolves EVERYTHING into His all wise, all knowing, all powerful intellect thus providing the basis for concluding ANYTHING with certainty. In other words ALL knowledge, including the vaunted law of non contradiction, depends ultimately upon the God of Christianity for it’s validity, for both believer and unbeliever alike whether anybody likes it or not.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    People everywhere simply meander through life making universal uninterrupted use of a set of intellectual rules without even once ever questioning either their origin or validity. They simply proceed as if it’s a preeminent given that logic governs their reality in such a way that not one coherent thought word or deed would be possible without it.

    My contention is… hang on… they’re right!!!! With one fatal flaw. By every “religious” definition there is, they worship logic itself instead of the super-logical God who has created us in is image and in so doing has lent us a finite derivative version of HIS logic. Only He has the full version. That’s why when someone asks “how can God decree evil and not be it’s author and thereby responsible for it?” or “How can God choose individuals to save and damn and those individuals still be free and responsible?” my profound, goose bump inducing answer is… “I dunno” LOL!!! I don’t even pretend to try n know.

    Seriously. I use the same logic everybody else does, except that by His grace I’m freed to operate it properly under His divine tutelage with Him defining it’s parameters to me and not the other way around. “Why that’s just a circular statement of blind faith” you say?. From our limited standpoint? Of course it is. I have flatly stated that myself.

    In myself, I do not and have never claimed to know everything, or anything for that matter, but I do KNOW that HE knows everything and that is where my certainty derives from. Once again. A child does not know what his father knows, but he knows that his father knows it. He has no idea how Daddy’s grown up world operates. He simply trusts that Daddy does. I do the same. Jesus Himself said that we must come to Him as little children.

    Is this what He meant? You better believe this is what He meant. I don’t understand MOST of the skull popping statements God makes about Himself in the bible, but I know He does. Let’s try just one. “And God said ‘let there be light’… and there was light”. WoohooHOOO!!!!! LOL!!!! Lemme know when yer thesis is done on that one LOL!!! (I’m not laughin at ya BTW). I’m sure you get my point.

    I don’t have a “problem of evil” for instance because intellectually speaking, evil is no problem for me. Why is there evil? Because almighty God decreed it to His own glory. He orders it so that He can display both His love, mercy and tenderness on one hand and His holiness, wrath and justice on the other.

    Couldn’t He have created so as to avoid all this suffering and accomplished the same thing? I don’t know that either. I just know that He didn’t and therefore this way is better for Him which by definition makes it better period because everyTHING and everyONE belongs to Him.

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  68. thanks sdb. yes. though nor is that scripture meant to publically, regularly invoke, by, for example, say a pastor, while one is willfully involved in adultery, for an example, though, and so deceive oneself/others right?
    And, I mean, look at sean’s list of self-justi, I mean, explanations, for having to respond the way one has to respond.

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  69. I Cor 2:11 “ For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man?”

    @dgh and @gtt, could you share the evidence you have for how it is that you know TKNY’s motives are false, or how it is that you know his mindset?

    In presby-land, if one has a substantive charge to make, you’re supposed to bring the issue up in your presbyteries and sessions. At least that’s what some presby’s used to tell me. But then I stepped on an OL rake, and learned that blog posts and comment sections have displaced the denominational hierarchy. Now I see the light.

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  70. Black, brown, white, Irish, english scum, scot, german, french, arab, jew, pinko commie, southerner, carpetbagger, Cajun, no cal, so cal, Mexican, Korean, Japonese, Chinese, dutch(how could I forget), bohunk, etc…. All better determiners of consequence than W-W. Has anybody figured out how to consistently take captive their dreams, yet? Big chunk of life spent sleeping.

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  71. Peter, I don’t claim to have Greg’s w-w divining rod. I do know when I see a Presbyterian or Roman Catholic act out of accord with his convictions.

    Maybe the rake was your going on line.

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  72. thanks sdb. yes. though nor is that scripture meant to publically, regularly invoke, by, for example, say a pastor, while one is willfully involved in adultery, for an example, though, and so deceive oneself/others right?

    I’m not sure I’m following you here. Are you saying that the reality of indwelling sin is not justification to go on sinning that grace may abound? If so I agree.

    And, I mean, look at sean’s list of self-justi, I mean, explanations, for having to respond the way one has to respond.

    Not sure I’m following this either. I read Sean to be saying that things like whether we are sleepy, hungry, young, old, or cultural conditioning are all better predictors of our behavior in any particular instance than one’s putative worldview. To be sure the work of the Holy Spirit works in the heart of the believer to weaken the power of indwelling sin. But our behavior is affected by a lot more than our theoretical beliefs. Not an excuse, just an explanation – tired believers get cranky too, poverty creates temptations for believers to steal, and wealth creates temptations for the rich to forget their dependence on God.

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  73. Thanks gtt – a lot to chew on. Just a few comments:
    1) Earlier you defined what you meant by a worldview as, “A system of Theology, philosophy and ethics that governs one’s every thought word and deed….everyone lives according to one of two and only two. God’s, and all the rest…” That was pretty clear and mostly in keeping with the gist of what guys like Sire and so forth have in mind. But then in your response to me, you write, “It’s not that unbelievers do not advance true knowledge and hence contribute much good to the world. Of course they do, but they do it in spite of and not because of their own foundational beliefs”. Do you see the incongruity? That’s fine – this is a commbox not a peer-reviewed, professionally published philosophy article. I get it, but maybe the reason that you remain misunderstood in these parts is because the thoughts you’ve expressed are incoherent.

    2) you write, “It’s only because my foundational beliefs are true that anything they do is possible.” See this is another place where your writing is ambiguous. I think what you mean to say is that because certain facts about reality are true (facts you happen to believe and find foundational) anything the unbeliever does is possible. This should be about ontology not epistemology. I agree with this sentiment – if God did not exist, then nothing would exist. But this isn’t what you wrote. What you wrote means that the possibility of what they do is contingent on what you believe to be true. If your foundational beliefs were false (say when you disbelieved in God), was what they did possible? I don’t mean to be a smart aleck, I’m just highlight this as an example where you confuse knowing and being in what you write.

    3) Then you make a rather striking statement, “God alone is absolutely free”. This is a pretty strong voluntarist position that is much more in keeping with strains of Islam than the mainstream of the Christian tradition. The scriptures teach that God can do all his holy will. He cannot lie, sin, etc… He is not “absolutely free”.

    4) “HE alone is absolutely certain and through HIM alone is any truth actually true at all.” These two phrases are very different. Certain is an epistemic word. One is either certain of God’s existence or not. If only God is absolutely certain, then that means that you are not absolutely certain. The second phrase is more difficult to disentangle. Are you saying that we only know that anything is true because of him? Or are you saying that the fact that there is anything for there to be something true about is because of him? Or do you have in mind something else? “2+2=4 for absolutely everybody. Christians know why. Unbelievers CANNOT know why on their own autonomous sinful terms and are hence forced to settle for ultimate uncertainty even in the realm of 1st grade mathematics in order to live with at least the illusion of intellectually consistency.” This that follows doesn’t clarify. Why is it that 2+2=4 is true? If you mean ultimately it is because God made it thus or that it is consistent with God’s character? Why can’t a theist who also believes these things also know it? Why can only Christians realize this fact about the world? Further getting from “God said so” to something more useful is not so simple, and it isn’t clear that believers have any corner on the market. If the question is, why are you having those pains in your chest – I could answer “because God”. I would be right in the same ultimate sense. But I suspect that you want a causal answer that is a bit more local to the issue at hand.

    5) “I use the same logic everybody else does, except that by His grace I’m freed to operate it properly under His divine tutelage with Him defining it’s parameters to me and not the other way around.” Are you sure it is that unmediated? Could it be that he uses teachers, books, and blog commenters to tutor you on the proper parameters of logic?

    6) finally you conclude with a meditation on how God’s ways are not our ways, and we can’t really understand all that God does and reveals through his word. I agree! But this doesn’t bear on the conversation about ww thinking at all. You claimed that everyone has a ww and everyone acts according to it. We point out that not everyone has a singular ww and people violate their purported ww all the time. Your response is that God is the creator and sustainer of everything…all believers agree. The question is whether knowledge of that truth is deterministic and available to Christians alone. WWs would say that it is deterministic, but I don’t think they would restrict that view to Christians (one can be a classical theist and not a Christian). Many of us disagree that it is deterministic in the first place and not directly irrelevant to our behavior in vast swaths of human experience anyway (think plumbers, accountants, and auto mechanics).

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  74. Jim Bratt: “The death that really strikes home for me is the moral nadir of Mr. Family Values, “Dr.” James Dobson. His endorsement of Donald Trump puts paid to any pretense that the ethics and politics he pushed, lo, these many years have come to anything but authoritarian nationalism with a particular macho strut.”

    Why do Christian leaders like Jim Dobson feel the need to endorse politicians? Dobson has written some helpful, practical stuff, but what good does he hope to accomplish in endorsing Trump (especially since such an endorsement will cause him to lose respect in the eyes of many, as in the case of Mr. Bratt)?

    I know that some Christians will vote for Trump as a “lesser of two evils” type of candidate, and for pragmatic reasons (for example, as a vote against Mrs. Clinton), all in good old 2k fashion. Fine. Others are principially opposed to voting for Trump no matter what, some basing their decision on the principle that “voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.” Again, fine. On such questionable matters where equally devoted believers may differ, let everyone be convinced in his own mind (as per Romans 14). Dobson and Christian leaders like him are free to vote for whomever they wish, and for whatever reason they wish. I only wish they would spare us their political endorsements and just stick with their own vocations and their own areas of expertise.

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  75. Sean says All better determiners of consequence than W-W.
    -Huh?

    sdb says: I’m not sure I’m following you here. Are you saying that the reality of indwelling sin is not justification to go on sinning that grace may abound? If so I agree.
    -glad you said it sdb ‘cause, if some other kind/type had, we might hear a resounding “You legalist!”

    Sdb says our behavior is affected by a lot more than our theoretical beliefs. Not an excuse, just an explanation – tired believers get cranky too, poverty creates temptations for believers to steal, and wealth creates temptations for the rich to forget their dependence on God.
    -sdb, not sure the resistance to acknowledge that the Lord says to take every thought captive, resistance to define it’s meaning, propensity to say essentially,’ oh, that, He didn’t mean anything by it,’
    Suggestion: If you oppose the actual word of God, you could dust off your beloved every-thought confessions and ask: WC Q1, then, THINK.

    Interesting link zrim. Appreciated the Christian worldview it contained: Scripture is a hammer. A fire. Scripture boxes us about our ears and we feel it. Scripture strips us of our vanity and convicts us of our rebellion, and we know it….he finds his vanity has led him to judge God harshly and to repudiate God’s truth…..eyes opened and learns his vanity and pride have led him to choose man over God
    .

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  76. Rich Mouw likes everybody, not only Mormons but also Tim Lahaye. Mouw just hates the haters, like people who teach the five points (instead of having them as “shelf-doctrines” and people who deny “common grace” in the name of providence and God’s judgments.
    http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/08/every-day-an-armageddon

    Mouw—As it turned out, I really liked Tim LaHaye—certainly much more than I expected to, given our serious political and theological disagreements. He was a gracious presence, genuinely open to engaging the rest of us in thoughtful discussion. The encounter forced me, then, to look beyond our disagreements to some deeper dynamics in LaHaye’s public leadership. It struck me that was there was something new going on in the combination of LaHaye’s theology of cultural pessimism and his forming of a coalition for active cultural engagement. The fact that he had partnered with Jerry Falwell to establish the Moral Majority signaled an important theological-spiritual shift. The dispensationalism to which the two of them subscribed had long served to reinforce a strong sense of cultural marginalization, viewing the truly faithful as a cognitive minority existing on the margins of the dominant culture, waiting for the Lord to “rapture” them out of the increasing cultural mess before things got drastically worse. Now, suddenly, folks holding to the underlying theology of that cultural posture were building a coalition that presented itself as a “moral majority”

    A comment that LaHaye made to me in a personal conversation– He really liked working, he said, with Mormon leaders—and then he added: “And some of them really love the Lord!”

    Mouw–“It is on the topic of eschatology that I most favorably incline these days to Tim LaHaye’s overall perspective. To be sure, I do not accept any straightforward version of his end-times scenario. But it does increasingly feel to me like we are entering into a cultural “tribulation period” of sorts. “

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  77. SDB: Are you saying that the reality of indwelling sin is not justification to go on sinning that grace may abound? If so I agree.

    Ali: -glad you said it sdb ‘cause, if some other kind/type had, we might hear a resounding “You legalist!”

    Common misunderstanding, in large part because of the polemic surrounding these issues.

    I would articulate the position like this:

    * Our salvation includes justification and sanctification (Rom 6-8). No person is justified without also being sanctified (Rom 8.9 – 11).
    * Our sanctification is the work of the indwelling Spirit, given to us through adoption (Gal 3-4).
    * Hence, our sanctification is logically dependent upon our justification, in the following ways
    — justification gives the right (or ability) to have the Spirit (Eph 1.13)
    — our justification guarantees the work of the Spirit (Eph 1.14).
    * The work of sanctification consists of a change of heart from slavery to sin to love for God and neighbor. It is an infusion of grace into us.
    * Because sanctification is a work of the Spirit, it is received by faith.

    Here’s where the confusion can come in. Also denied are the following:

    * Sanctification is NOT enhanced by law-keeping, but rather results in law-keeping from the heart.

    This denial takes aim at discipleship programs that teach law-keeping as a means of grace, by which we get stronger in our sanctification through obedience. This was (and is) a Catholic teaching that has crept into Reformed circles via the evangelical world (via Methodism, I suspect).

    *Sanctification is NOT an entirely distinct benefit of our union with Christ, but holds a particular logical relationship to justification

    This denial seeks to clarify that, yes, salvation comes through union with Christ; however, this does not place justification and sanctification as entirely distinct benefits.

    More nuance is clearly needed. Properly taught, the doctrine of union with Christ can be a powerful antidote to legalism; improperly taught, it can tend towards Osianderism in which God justifies us by first changing our hearts to have essential righteousness.

    Now, the reason this can get confusing is that many people — many, many people — have as a baseline assumption that law-keeping and “spiritual discipline” really are promoters of sanctification. That is, they have a quasi-naturalistic understanding of sanctification in which God does his part, we do our part, and it all works together towards growth in holiness.

    So when we deny that sanctification is enhanced by law-keeping, they hear “don’t worry about law-keeping.” That’s a complete misunderstanding!!! Yes, yes, yes: keep God’s law. Just don’t expect your heart to change as a result of the keeping of the law. Instead, trust the Spirit to change your heart.

    Bottom line: Sanctification is a supernatural work of God, not a natural work of man and not a quasi-natural work of man + God.

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  78. sdb says: I’m not sure I’m following you here. Are you saying that the reality of indwelling sin is not justification to go on sinning that grace may abound? If so I agree.
    -glad you said it sdb ‘cause, if some other kind/type had, we might hear a resounding “You legalist!”

    What Jeff said.

    -sdb, not sure the resistance to acknowledge that the Lord says to take every thought captive, resistance to define it’s meaning, propensity to say essentially,’ oh, that, He didn’t mean anything by it,’
    Suggestion: If you oppose the actual word of God, you could dust off your beloved every-thought confessions and ask: WC Q1, then, THINK.

    @Ali The topic is ww thinking. Greg stated that one’s ww governs everything you do. You said that when we sin, we show what we really believe, Sire & Schaeffer argue that one’s ww has a strong causal link to one’s behavior. As Sean and I have stated, insofar as it makes sense to talk about a singular w-w (and I dispute even this), lots of other things influence our behavior for good or ill.

    Your reference to Paul’s military metaphor in 2Cor10 is curious in this context. What makes you think I am resistant to acknowledge what Paul is writing to the Corinthians, resistant to define its meaning, or have a propensity to say essentially that Paul didn’t mean anything by it? I believe that Paul meant something very important by this metaphor and it has crucial application to the church (an application the church seems to forget as they turn to carnal weapons…the same mistake Israel made in looking to Egypt for salvation). What this text does not imply is that we all have a worldview that determines our actions or that when we sin, we are showing “what we really believe”. As far as your calumny that I oppose the actual word of God in favor of our confessions, you are doubling down on your mistake which is unfortunate. I’ve noted to you several times that I submit to the scriptures because they are the infallible Word of God and subscribe to the confessions because they are a good summary of God’s Word. Asserting that I “oppose the actual Word of God” is false. If you want to make an argument and present evidence to the contrary feel free, but otherwise this is just slander. You can do better.

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  79. Sdb says @Ali The topic is ww thinking.

    I know. And if you want to operate in life on something other than ‘the mind of Christ’, that is your prerogative. Go for it.And if you want to ‘circumstances’ to be the thing that determines your behavior and responses, again go ahead, and don’t forget to keep it a secret that believers are is in a completely different frame of mind/mindset than unbelievers in this regard. So forget it, and don’t even read His word (mind, thought) about things such as…

    No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.1 Cor 10:13
    or
    Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
    or
    Never take your own revenge, beloved, butleave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
    or
    In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”John 16:33

    …etc.etc, but I’ll stop there and never mind, because you are not reading, because you are too busy being interested in developing categories and reasons and justifications, along with sean, that ought be determinate of what you think, how you feel, how you respond.

    Sdb, YOU can do better :)

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  80. “Mind of Christ” (mandatory for Christians) is not “worldview” (a Kantian and Hegelian construct).

    That’s the point. As Christians, we have to be careful about importing aecular philosophy into our Biblical hermeneutic — and triply careful about requiring it of others!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view

    For my part, I am content to equate “Christian worldview” with systematic theology. In so doing, my Christian worldview is necessarily non-comprehensive.

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  81. and here you go sdb … a quick start for you…dusting off for you , your confession – noting the ‘every thought captive’ idea to the Lord’s thinking instruction

    Chapter I
    I. … for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world….

    II… All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

    VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture…

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  82. sdb says Your reference to Paul’s military metaphor in 2Cor10 is curious in this context.

    AND, sdb,you may like to completely rely on your own self, completely, alone, but I appreciate and rely on well-respected faithful scholars and teachers who have devoted their lives to the study of God’s word and therefore I appreciate study Bible notes:

    v4 stongholds. The metaphor would have been readily understandable to the Corinthians since Corinth. Like most ancient cities, had a fortress in which residents take refuge. The formidable spiritual strongholds manned by the forces of hell can be demolished only by spiritual weapons wielded by godly believers – singularly the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17), since only the truth of God’s word can defeat satanic falsehoods. This is the true spiritual warfare.

    V5. arguments. Thoughts, ideas, reasoning, philosophies, and false religions are the ideological forts in which men barricade themselves against God and the gospel

    V5. every loft thing. Emphasizes the total destruction of the fortresses of human and satanic wisdom and the rescuing of those inside form the damning lies that had enslaved them

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  83. ” I know. And if you want to operate in life on something other than ‘the mind of Christ’, that is your prerogative. Go for it.And if you want to ‘circumstances’ to be the thing that determines your behavior and responses, again go ahead, and don’t forget to keep it a secret that believers are is in a completely different frame of mind/mindset than unbelievers in this regard. So forget it, and don’t even read His word (mind, thought) about things such as…”
    None of which has anything to do with worldview. If you want to make a case that one’s view about fundamental reality determines everything you do, have at it. You haven’t done that, so all three of your latest posts are irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

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  84. @Jeff I’m curious why you equate Christian worldview with systematic theology. ST doesn’t really have the “world” in view, it tends not to be driven by philosophical first principles (as opposed to exegesis) when done well. Additionally, theology is underdetermined philosophically.

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  85. I don’t know Jeff, that I agree with your categories( and maybe I am misunderstanding), but a Christian can have a worldview. It just means we have special revelation which completes our view of realty. Christians utilize correct philosophy the same way people of other faiths and secular minds utilize correct philosophy and both should reject erroneous philosophies.. The key word here is “correct”.
    Since philosophy just means love of wisdom, there’s not a problem with being philosophical, in fact, that’s how we’re designed. So the human mind can learn things about God( becoming wise), but it can’t give us what we know only from special revelation.
    Some people’s worldview’s think there is a problem in using philosophy and that is a dangerous philosophy in and of itself; it’s called fideism.
    Here’s a great lecture.

    By the way, I hope you and your family are still having a fun summer!
    [audio src="http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/S5L06StJustinStClementOrigenGreekPhilosophy.mp3" /]

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  86. @Ali I watched the video. I think my criticism of the concept of ww here applies to what these guys said as well…I don’t see any significant gap between this piece and Sire’s work.

    It would help move the conversation forward if you engage what I write rather than impugn what you imagine my motives to be. For example, when you write, “sdb,you may like to completely rely on your own self, completely, alone” after I’ve already stated that “I’ve noted to you several times that I submit to the scriptures because they are the infallible Word of God and subscribe to the confessions because they are a good summary of God’s Word. Asserting that I “oppose the actual Word of God” is false.” If something I’ve said suggests otherwise, I would be grateful if you would point that out. Simply doubling down with accusations and assertions doesn’t accomplish much.

    The passages from the WCF and the text from 2Cor10 do not bear on ww which again is the view that one’s philosophical priors determine one’s actions. Pointing out that our appetites influence our behavior is not a statement that our appetites *should* guide our behaviors. Rather, it is an indicative statement and points to why we need God’s grace manifested in terms of governments (even believers need them) to restrain evil for example. Because of God’s merciful grace, our behavior is in fact not governed by a putative worldview – even unbelievers love their own.

    More problematic is the idea that there is one true answer to every question because it is governed by a deterministic worldview. Yet Paul explicitly points out that people have very different conviction on all sorts of things and that we should each be convinced in our mind. That doesn’t mean that *anything* goes, but it does imply that where scripture is silent (and there are lots of areas of life where scripture is indeed silent), the church should be also. The bible does not tell us whether the government should be run as a social democracy or by laissez faire principles. The bible does not tell us whether genetically engineered crops should be patented. It doesn’t tell us how intellectual property should be apportioned. It doesn’t tell us how to balance longterm environmental concerns with short-term human needs. It doesn’t tell us whether nature is fundamentally causal or local. It doesn’t tell us how to balance economic efficiency and equality. It doesn’t tell us whether wages should be subsidized or mandated. There are all sorts of questions scripture is silent on. W-wers by contrast believe that there is *a* Christian form of politics, a Christian economic system, a Christian theory of aesthetics, etc… The reason believers disagree over whether to vote for republicans or democrats is because we are sinners not thinking with a clear Christian ww. If we did, then we all agree on these political questions and share the same priorities.

    Now the fact that believers may have different priorities on issues where the Bible is silent, does not entail that the Bible should not guide any of our actions. It should! I don’t think any of here would dispute that. But taking every thought captive is not the same thing as saying that we must have the same view on everything (which is to say that there isn’t per se Christian view on everything). Furthermore, it is not clear that the Bible demands a consistent philosophical stance on all areas of life. As regards the working of science one might be an anti-realist constructive empiricist, but as it applies to biblical hermeneutics be a realist. I see no reason that these must be systematized. If you have an argument to that end, I’m all ears. But what I’ve heard from other advocates of ww-ism has not been particularly compelling.

    Now maybe these questions aren’t interesting to you and you want to talk about what it means to have the mind of Christ, the scope and cause of sanctification, the ordo salutis, etc… These are all potentially fruitful discussions, but they aren’t the topic on the table as it were.

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  87. @ Susan,

    Thanks. Yes, we’re having a pretty nice end to the summe vacation. How’s gardening?

    I agree that Christians can have a world view, and also that Christians can utilitze philosophy (I do).

    My point is that Christians need to be careful about two things.

    (1) “This is that” errors.

    Christian doctrine is universally binding and answers questions about faith and practice. If you meet Catholics from Belize and Sri Lanka, they will (in principle!) agree with you on matters of doctrine — assuming faithfulness to your confessions. The doctrine you share is held to be normative.

    By contrast, the three of you will have different worldviews because you come from different cultures, backgrounds, etc.

    Your worldview is not universally binding. You don’t expect the Sri Lankan to agree with you about food, democracy, or Justin Bieber.

    When Christians hear about worldview for the first or thirtieth time, they can wrongly assume that “this is that”, that “worldview” is the philosopher’s version of “doctrine”, and that the method of discovering doctrine (reading Scripture in the Reformed case) is the same method one uses to create a consistent worldview. Hence: “applying the Bible to all of life.” (See http://www.leaderu.com/philosophy/worldviewhistory.html for a defense of worldview).

    But in fact, it is not a given that worldview is the same as doctrine. In philosophy, “worldview” is multi-sourced and not usually fully explicitly known. By contrast, doctrine admits of only one source: Scripture (sorry), and is explictly taught.

    Further, worldview is comprehensively predictive. If you fully and correctly know someone’s worldview, you can predict their behavior and opinions to a high degree of accuracy. By contrast, doctrine is only predictive in a limited way. If I know that you are a confessional Presbyterian, I can predict your opinions on the Trinity and election. But I cannot predict your opinion on whether Hillary or Donald is the best least bad choice for President.

    Because of these differences, it will not do to say (per the link above) that the Christian faith is simply a Biblical worldview.

    (2) Binding the conscience where God has not spoken.

    When Christians start muddling their worldview with their doctrine, they can start to lose sight of which beliefs are normative and which are not. As a result, voting and schooling and taste in music become ethically charged issues in which the Bible is mined for subtle implications that are normative on all Christians. That’s no way to live.

    By making a clear distinction between “Christian doctrine” (normative, God hath said) and “worldview” (not normative, God has not said), we can avoid that error.

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  88. SDB: I’m curious why you equate Christian worldview with systematic theology.

    Hm. It’s somewhat smart-alecky way of wresting the term back to a proper category. Zrim doesn’t like it when I do that; my term “personal theonomy” causes him to break out in hives.

    Here’s the meat of it. If I am asked, “What is the comprehensive system of thought taught by the Bible?”, the correct answer is “Systematic Theology.”

    However, the questioner is usually intending to ask, “What is your Christian worldview?”

    So my point is to draw attention to the fact that the comprehensive system of thought taught in the Bible already has a name and a history — It is called “doctrine.”

    At the same time, the questioner will note (as you noted) that ST is not fully comprehensive: it doesn’t answer all questions about all of life. To which I reply: Exactly. The Bible was given for a purpose, and its system answers that purpose. If you want a distinctly Christian worldview, then you must accept that God does not give answers to economics or physics in the Bible.

    The alternative to equating Christian worldview with Christian doctrine is to simply deny that a Christian worldview exists, which is the approach DGH has taken. Both approaches have potential for confusion, so I’m not sold on my own snarkiness there.

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  89. @sdb: Of course understand that God’s freedom is constrained by His nature and that he cannot lie, or sin in any way or make a rock so big He can’t move it. I taught this in an anti Word of Faith polemics class 25 years ago. I assumed that common knowledge going in.

    You have a lot there too. Let’s try this. What question would most most efficiently move us forward in your view? Which of my above statements do you understand to be most erroneous?

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  90. “I’m not sold on my own snarkiness”
    That would make a great bumper sticker! More seriously, I see where you are coming from here. I guess I align more with DGH with a few caveats. It is a word that caries such strong connotations, that it is unlikely that we will ever be able to “redefine” it.

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  91. Hello Jeff:)

    I’m not finished with the changes in the yard. I stained a concrete patio installed terrace board, spread mulch, planted a tree and a few some star jasmine shrubs, heavenly bamboo plants and Texas Privet, and laid some pavers. To say that my body hurts is an understatement:)
    Glad to hear that you and your family are enjoying your summer wind down.

    I think we agree on a while lot. And I see what you mean by worldview, but I think that when people speak of worldview they usually mean things like knowing absoutes rather than being relativists and so forth. So cannablism is everywhere and at all times wrong, considering the dignity of the human person, but it would be more aggregous to murder another person in order to eat than to eat your dead grandfather in order to get his spirit or something.
    I don’t know, but this universe seems to be a hierarchical moral universe.
    Where scripture is unclear or at least unclear to us or not known to us, we do have natural law and perhaps that is, morally speaking, how our worldview is formed.
    Everyone knows to seek good and avoid evil and everyone knows to do into others as you would have others do into you. There may be more or less kinds of attention paid to doing so, but everyone knows this is how we are suppose to act, wouldn’t you agree?
    But, I agree with you about part of worldview makeup being things like vegetarianism, or wearing tops….

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  92. @gtt
    No worries! You can start with #4 and work your way down. I have the sneaking suspicion that by the end of conversation we will find that most of our differences on this topic are do to a lack of clarity rather than substantive differences. For example, that by your statement that God is absolutely free you didn’t mean to imply voluntarism as evidenced by a class you taught 26y ago was less than clear…kinda like this sentence. That is why, given the limitations of this medium, I prefer to go with mainstream understandings of various concepts like ww rather than my own idiosyncratic definition. It is much more efficient to say I disagree with Sire (and let you read him if you haven’t already) or point to a wiki than to spend 100’s of comments stating what I don’t mean.

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  93. sdb say It would help move the conversation forward if you engage what I write rather than impugn what you imagine my motives to be.

    sorry sdb, a ploy- I admit- jabs ala like-type comments (not by you necessarily, but sometimes you) about me/my ‘kind/type’ ever since I got here (though not as much anymore)

    To close on this, I think I’ll just say I agree with the video and with the final statement in the video:
    “ It is the truth of who God is and the trust that He is who He says He is and that His truth claims are really real. You can trust them with your very life and your very soul. And I am convinced that that is exactly what truly transforms people and you will find it to be one of the most glorious moments in your life”

    I see that as what brings God the most glory; I have experienced it’s truth; and I see the truth of it in several people populations with which iinteract; and given that I agree, I oppose when it seems others are saying the opposite because I see that as harmful, and love does no harm.

    Anyway, I always enjoy ‘talking’ with you, learning from you, and appreciate that you are generally respectful. I apologize if my humor-stabs were disrespectful to you, though I think it might be fair to say that I wish you believed God more.

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  94. Jeff, but can you really blame me for my hives? Wouldn’t “personal theonomy” suggest I may have to stone myself at some point? The Puritans spoke of committing adultery with one’s own wife (yes, the primacy of Christ over against even the highest of temporal attachments, but let’s not overstate things, fellows, to the point of incoherency). More often than not, these creative descriptions cause more confusion than clarity. I appreciate the smark-aleckyness, of course, but if we really want to wrest back the term then why not the old Christian faith and practice?

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  95. funny, cw, and, I know your love for the ‘regulative principle of worship’, but sometimes I say to myself, hmm, do some of them/those/kind/types think, having proudly accomplished that, believe the right has been earned to proceed out from Sunday, free… you know, to the ‘unregulative’ way of life for the week.

    Anyway, back at ya, speaking to one another in song, you send one you’ve been enjoying listening to and I’ll send one I’ve been enjoying https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6WexG9uAJI

    Have a great day cw, and remember…..#CWtweetspositivelyfor8hours 🙂

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  96. How about faith as a W-W? God is sovereign, directs and views everything from a top-down perspective and I’m always on the backside of providence trusting He’s directing all things, even though I don’t understand all the ins and outs. It has little predictive value(as far as revealing all the details along the way) except for an ultimate revelation of the eschaton, but it sure does seem to square with the human condition.

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  97. Sean, but if worldview is a synonym for philosophy then what to do with Paul?

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    Nah, faith is faith, not worldview.

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  98. Zrim, I’m just trying to hep yuu out. I just ignore the dutch, you’re trying to live among them. But, as per usual, no good deed goes unpunished. My charity is now exhausted for the day, protect yourself at all times.

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  99. Hey, there’s a W-W, “no good deed goes unpunished”. It’s biblical, “there’s a way which seems right unto a man but it’s end is death”. It has application from work, to church, to politics, to marriage, to children, the Olympics, tenants, police. It’s got universal abstract opportunity.

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  100. CW, how does it not apply. Just make sure they each got their own room and bathroom. And who thought adjoining backyards was a good idea? Talk about staying late at work at the bar every night.

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  101. @sdb: I am still not free enough to answer you properly.

    See HERE for now please. I will be thrilled to be wrong, but I must confess to some suspicion of this newfound cordial tone of yours. That’s not an accusation. Just an observation.

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  102. @gtt I just looked back at the thread you linked. It looks to me like we left the ball in your court (you didn’t have time to get back to my – overly long- responses there either).

    I don’t know what you mean by “new found” cordial tone. Looking back to the thread you linked, I thought I was pretty cordial. I certainly never intend to be anything other than cordial (though I realize that commboxes are easy places for wires to get crossed and gentle jabbing to get mixed up). I apologize if I’ve been rude, as that was never my intent. If my refusal to talk with you offline is what you have in mind, I’m afraid that you’ll just have to accept my aloofness. I value my privacy and I don’t know you. That’s just my hangup.

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  103. @sean you are correct. I will never stop beating my wife. I married a Texan – I’m pretty sure if I ever started, that would be the end of me.

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  104. @sdb My imagination then 🙂 (wouldn’t be the first time)
    I addressed one of your questions in that comment is why I linked it. (here it is copied from there) Your answers are not any longer than mine was. I’m not complaining I just want to know which direction is most useful to you. Your #4 above has several questions by itself.
    ======================================================================
    [There is] a foundational difference between epistemological knowledge and formal knowledge. At the formal level 1+1=2 for absolutely everybody. The form and formal function are identical because of the image of God present in all men, through which God’s common grace operates. At the epistemological level, the level of first principle and heart commitment, is where there exists an eternally radical antithesis. To those raised from rebellion and death in the first Adam to the life and mind of Christ in the last, 1+1=2 because of the ordered mind of the creator God whose image they bear and thoughts they think after him on a finite derivative scale.

    To the mind still dead in sin, 1+1=2 for literally any reason at all other than the truth of the ordered mind of God who created They will believe absolutely ANYthing else, not because that’s what they actually believe epistemologically, but to escape from believing what I believe epistemologically. Epistemologically, they KNOW where that knowledge comes from according to the first of Romans.

    So you see Sean, the unbeliever’s campaign of rebellion against his God, is financed with capital that has been borrowed, indeed stolen, from God’s own bank. What you call “confusion” on Van Til’s part is actually the very brilliance of his approach to fallen man, missed by a shallow and dismissive reading on your part. The saints have at once, fully everything and nothing in common with sinners
    ==============================================
    you ask:Why is it that 2+2=4 is true? If you mean ultimately it is because God made it thus or that it is consistent with God’s character? Why can’t a theist who also believes these things also know it? Why can only Christians realize this fact about the world?
    Because only Christians, and specifically Calvinists, have a non-contingent, meticulously deterministic God, who’s eternal triunity also answers the ancient problem of the one and the many. In that God alone (the ground of all being according to WCF II), are oneness and many-ness equally ultimate.

    A god who’s governance ultimately operates in response to his creation (arminian) is by definition contingent upon it. Not ontologically, but providentially, which is just as aftal where it counts most. Such a god cannot render a thing certain until he sees what his free creation does first.

    Any epistemology built on this god is as uncertain as man, but man does not, indeed CANNOT live with ultimate uncertainty, by the true God’s own design. Once we’ve agreed on the linguistic conventions by which we communicate mathematically. That is, once we agree in English (in this case) what two, plus, equals and four mean, 2+2 IS 4.

    Even the Chinese rice farmer who has never heard of a bible knows this by inescapable natural revelation. He cannot avoid the image of God which he bears, nor can he escape the order of the universe that that image males plain to and in him.

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  105. Yea, that’s rough. Can’t let up on that. Just like Trueman wants regional GAs, you have to have regional complementarianism. I did have a Dallas girl try to shame me one time, I was forced to double down on the offense. It was rough on me. Then there’s crazy dutch. Crazy dutch thinks you should move to another state just to date them. Those you just blow up before it ever gets going and watch the hate candle burn, burn, burn.

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  106. [There is] a foundational difference between epistemological knowledge and formal knowledge.

    I’ve never heard of epistemological knowledge. That doesn’t make sense. Do you mean experiential knowledge? For example, one might refer to the formal knowledge of how to ride a bike (because of conservation of angular momentum, when you are rolling it is easier to stay up. Keep pedaling to keep going, and pedal backwards and put you foot down to stop. To turn, lean a bit in the direction you want to turn) and contrast that with the experiential knowledge that comes from riding a bike (I got on the bike and rode it). One can have formal knowledge but not be able to ride or one can have experiential knowledge and have no idea how you did it (like the reason the best athletes make terrible coaches). I don’t think that is what you have in mind here, but it is confusing because this is a pretty standard way of referring to formal knowledge.

    At the formal level 1+1=2 for absolutely everybody. The form and formal function are identical because of the image of God present in all men, through which God’s common grace operates.

    I agree that 1+1=2 is true for everybody (assuming the right base, etc…). I also agree that all men bear the image of God and that all men are recipients of God’s common grace. But your reasoning here is faulty. That 1+1=2 is not true because the image of God is present in all men. If there were no men, it would still be true. It is true for angels who are not made in the image of God. It was true prior to the creation of man. One might say that we are capable of knowing that 1+1=2 because we are made in the image of God, and because of God’s common grace believer and unbeliever alike have access to that knowledge. But that isn’t what you said.

    At the epistemological level, the level of first principle and heart commitment, is where there exists an eternally radical antithesis.

    Here is another place where we diverge. Epistemology does not require a heart commitment.

    To those raised from rebellion and death in the first Adam to the life and mind of Christ in the last, 1+1=2 because of the ordered mind of the creator God whose image they bear and thoughts they think after him on a finite derivative scale.

    In an ultimate sense, you are right. But recognizing that the world is contingent on God does not give one knowledge of the particulars within the world. Here is where ww thinking enters and why I find it so unhelpful. You might know that the reason you have heart pains is ultimately because of the fall and that someday creation will be set right. But if you go to the dr and tell him that you are having chest pains and ask for a diagnosis, my guess is that you aren’t going to be so satisfied with this answer. What you want to know is what the proximate cause is, and the fact of the matter is that an unbeliever may have a superior answer to that question. Indeed, for most of our experience, these are the answers we need to get through the day. One’s world view does not bear on these proximate answers at all. This is why saying things like our worldview governs every single thing we do is so unhelpful. It may govern our ultimate understanding of reality, but it doesn’t have much bearing on our proximate questions.

    To the mind still dead in sin, 1+1=2 for literally any reason at all other than the truth of the ordered mind of God who created They will believe absolutely ANYthing else, not because that’s what they actually believe epistemologically, but to escape from believing what I believe epistemologically. Epistemologically, they KNOW where that knowledge comes from according to the first of Romans.

    And this is where that ww thinking goes off the rails and makes presuppositional apologetics so counterproductive. For the unbeliever, they do not believe that 1+1=2 for “literally any reason”. The unbelieving mathematician may have a much more sophisticated and complete understanding of why 1+1=2. Most unbelievers believe that 1+1=2 for the same reason that believers do – it jives with their lived experience. Further, lots of unbelievers do believe that God thinks mathematically (think Penrose or Tipler). This isn’t uncommon. God’s common grace being what it is, it shouldn’t surprise us that some unbelievers acknowledge certain true things about God. But as James warns us, even the demons believe in God, but tremble.

    Because only Christians, and specifically Calvinists, have a non-contingent, meticulously deterministic God, who’s eternal triunity also answers the ancient problem of the one and the many. In that God alone (the ground of all being according to WCF II), are oneness and many-ness equally ultimate.

    Well I fail to see why God’s eternal triunity has any bearing on why 2+2=4.

    A god who’s governance ultimately operates in response to his creation (arminian) is by definition contingent upon it. Not ontologically, but providentially, which is just as aftal where it counts most. Such a god cannot render a thing certain until he sees what his free creation does first.

    Perhaps, but the options aren’t Calvinism or Arminianism. Deists and certain strains of Islam reject contingency as well. You are missing ontologically (not too dissimilarly from how you misused epistemologically earlier) in the second sentence here.

    Any epistemology built on this god is as uncertain as man, but man does not, indeed CANNOT live with ultimate uncertainty, by the true God’s own design. Once we’ve agreed on the linguistic conventions by which we communicate mathematically. That is, once we agree in English (in this case) what two, plus, equals and four mean, 2+2 IS 4.

    Even the Chinese rice farmer who has never heard of a bible knows this by inescapable natural revelation. He cannot avoid the image of God which he bears, nor can he escape the order of the universe that that image males plain to and in him.

    But we do in fact live with uncertainty about a great many things. You and I are almost certainly fallible and we are finite. We don’t know when the Lord will return and we live with that uncertainty. We “know” that 2+2=4 even if we have never heard of Peano’s postulates because of convention. We make the string a tautology. But we don’t know why you are having those chest pains. It could mean you need a stent. It could also mean that you pulled something at the gym. Tough to say. We live with this uncertainty.

    Of course God is never uncertain. He is infinite, unable to lie, unable to fail, and omniscient. He is always certain. Our knowledge of him (and our certainty) can be rocked by all sorts of things – namely our sin.

    So while I agree that God is the creator and sustainer of all creation – all of it exists because of His will for his purposes, that knowledge does not tell us all sorts of proximate things that are revealed through the book of nature. It doesn’t tell us what the correct philosophical stance is on any number of issues, doesn’t tell us how to organize modern neoliberal nation-states, doesn’t tell us about physics. In fact on many of these questions, there isn’t one right answer that we would agree on if we all had the right fundamental beliefs about God. This is where Christian liberty must reign as Paul insists.

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  107. 2=2=4 is knowledge at the level of first axiomatic principle. Epistemology, and is certain for everybody. How many blades of grass are in the lawn, is an example of formal knowledge. The particular form, which varies with the vast array of the universes features and is certain for nobody except God. Chest pains are empirical (experiential) data, which is as varied as all the lives of anyone who ever who lived, though many common experiences do exist. though at least somewhat differently in each case. There is also some overlap between the latter 2.

    I do need to tune up my terminology. (I wish I had more time for this now, but I am trying)

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  108. “2+2=4 is knowledge at the level of first axiomatic principle. Epistemology, and is certain for everybody.”
    Not quite. 2+2=4 can be derived usung Peano’s postulates (wiki calls them.axioms for what it is worth). It is certain for everyone who has learned arithmetic, but as I have been reminded by my kids – it has to be learned.

    “How many blades of grass are in the lawn, is an example of formal knowledge. The particular form, which varies with the vast array of the universes features and is certain for nobody except God”
    Are you meaning to distinguish necessary truths from contingent truths? 2+2 has to equal 4. The blades of grass in a yard can vary. Of course not all agree that there are necessary truths – arithmetic depends on postulates we believe because they are consistent with facts about the world that must be discovered empirically.

    “Chest pains are empirical (experiential) data, which is as varied as all the lives of anyone who ever who lived, though many common experiences do exist. though at least somewhat differently in each case.”
    That’s right. The cause of my chest pain must be inferred.

    “There is also some overlap between the latter 2.”
    Not sure about this.

    “I do need to tune up my terminology. (I wish I had more time for this now, but I am trying)”
    No worries. Have you checked out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy? It is a great resource – particularly if you want to sharpen your language.

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  109. Zrim: Jeff, but can you really blame me for my hives?

    Yes and no. Point taken about unfortunate connotations, though “stoning oneself” is clearly not a serious possibility.

    Here’s the backstory that I’ve never shared with you. When I taught ethics in the late ’00s, we considered secular theories as well as Christian ones. One of the more interesting and in some ways under-rated is Kant’s ethical system, which has two interrelated centers: Autonomy and the Categorical Imperative.

    Kant complained that ethics tended to motivate doing good for the sake of its consequences, ranging from “greatest good for the greatest number” to simple fear of getting caught.

    By contrast, Kant believed that we should do what is right because it is right. That is, our response to a proper ought should be to be motivated by that obligation and not because of any external motivating circumstances that will result from fulfilling the obligation. We should be self-ruled, not externally ruled.

    Evaluating this from a Biblical point of view, Kant gets half-credit. Jesus certainly appeals to external motivators at times, so Kant is clearly over-reacting. However, it is also true that we are called in general to be motivated by love for God and neighbor.

    That is, the framing of ethics is not autonomy but theonomy (properly speaking) — being ruled by God. When Abraham picks up the knife to slay his son, he is motivated only by the desire to obey God and not by any external motivator.

    Likewise in the Christian life, we are to be motivated to obey by love for God and not for the things that we want God to do for us. That is, we receive His blessings by faith and not as a quid pro quo.

    So the point of the word theonomy is to simultaneously agree with Kant that our motivation is not external or consequential, but intrinsic, but to disagree with Kant in that we are not self-ruled but God-ruled.

    At the same time, we also talked about the covenantal change from the Old to the New, how God ruled in the theocracy by means of Law with punishments and blessings, and how that changes in the New to a rule by grace. So where in the Old Covenant, the rule by God, the theonomy, was heavily enforced by extrinsic motivators, in the New (and for believers in the Old as well), the theonomy is personal, coming not from fear but from love.

    To sum up: Personal theonomy means being ruled by God (obeying His law) not out of fear of punishment from the state, but out of love for God as a Person, by the ethical actor who is a person.

    (All of this assumes a previously established foundation of JFBA).

    The subject of Categorical Imperatives is fascinating, but not directly related, so…

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  110. Jeff, fair enough but still a pass on the term for the already stated reasons. But if we can change “Christian education” to “Christians doing education,” maybe I could get behind “personal theonomy.”

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  111. Given some of the poorly composed and even more poorly performed CW music going around nowadays, the Gettys stand out as some of the few really good modern hymn writers and performers. Not only do I enjoy singing their hymns at worship services regularly, but I’ve had the honor of seeing them perform live, as well.

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  112. Seriously George. I don’t know how it gets any better than that. Just about nobody does it like that any more. Absolutely captivating in both awesome meaty content and simple, powerful performance.

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  113. So, Greg, no qualms about the Getty’s being associated with SGM which has continuationist/third wave Pentecostal commitments? Would you have qualms with a Pentie in your pulpit? If so, why no qualms with its influence in your doxology? I would think a guy who finds all sorts of devils under all manner of doilies would have thought this one through a little better. Then again…

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  114. Steve,

    Please don’t use acronyms and abbreviations, and slang. I don’t know what you”re talking about.
    What is SGM?

    Btw, the music, voice and lyrics were lovely.

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  115. @z that’s a curious construction. Should pastors only use commentarys, translations, and other books written by people they agree with 100%? If not not total agreement, is the cut off 67% or just a bare majority? If some one writes a really good book on one topic and all there other stuff is insufferable, heretical, dreck should a pastor be discouraged from referencing that one book in a sermon? If that is ok, why would it be a problem to sing a song written by a group that wrote a lot of other junk if that song is good for worship?

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  116. I researched the Getty’s for an hour the other night. In an interview Keith talked about how he intentionally writes orthodox doctrinally rich lyrics in an age of frivolous goofiness and outright heresy. They denied the PCUSA’s request to use one of their hymns in their hymnal.

    Everything I could find showed a couple who were thoroughly committed to biblical truth. They do perform in some questionable circles. That’s fine. I write in questionable circles (like this one) all the time. There is nowhere I would not want to see glorious, majestic, heart rending performances like in that video. They can only make wherever they go better.

    The first time I saw that video, I was in tears. That girl is pouring herself out for Jesus. Like I said. THAT is what His gifts are for. I don’t know how it’s possible for a heart in which dwells the Spirit of the living of the God not to respond to that.

    I’ll take a church full of confused Arminian, KJV only, Dispensational fundamentalist baptists (the landlady’s’ church Sunday night) who live grateful, humble holy lives sold out to the Lord, and win souls, over a bunch of dead decomposing Presbyterians who are right about everything and live like pagans.

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  117. “They can only make wherever they go better.” — they would be better on stage at a church than good congregational psalm singing, with or without instruments? Are you sure about that? It’s hard to go a PCA church or meeting without hearing “In Christ Alone”. It’s a vocalist’s song — not one for serious congregational singing. Fine, I guess, if you want to hum along, sway with raised hands, and watch earnest young people (priest class?) worship for you. In your car…I guess it’s fine. I don’t care what you do in your car, but keep the Gettys off the Sunday order of worship.

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  118. ” That girl is pouring herself out for Jesus. Like I said. THAT is what His gifts are for.” — where does Paul include this sort of “talent” or showy emoting in his lift of spiritual gifts? Your revivalist slip is showing, bro.

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  119. C’mon, Greg. I watched that video. It’s a performance, worthy of a Billy Graham crusade or TBN. There is no biblical precedent — OT or NT — for anything like that being commended as an aid to worship and devotion.

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  120. By the way Darryl, that video was for you. Listen to her heart. Don’t you wish it could be yours?

    It can.
    ——————————————–
    Jesus draw me ever nearer
    As I labour through the storm.
    You have called me to this passage,
    And I’ll follow, though I’m worn.

    May this journey bring a blessing,
    May I rise on wings of faith;
    And at the end of my heart’s testing,
    With Your likeness let me wake.

    Jesus guide me through the tempest;
    Keep my spirit staid and sure.
    When the midnight meets the morning,
    Let me love You even more.

    Let the treasures of the trial
    Form within me as I go –
    And at the end of this long passage,
    Let me leave them at Your throne.

    May this journey bring a blessing,
    May I rise on wings of faith;
    And at the end of my heart’s testing,
    With Your likeness let me wake.

    ——————————————–
    I have come to really think the Lord has plans for you. I do. I really think that. If I’m right? You ARE going to learn to follow Him and treasure those trials my friend, and they WILL build His likeness in you. That’s how you know He loves you. This is not where you envisioned yourself at 60. All those years of work. Is it?

    It seems I usually have to do life the hard way too, so don’t take me as looking down on you. He always gets His way Dr. Hart. Always.

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  121. Every single God approved instance of music or poetry in the scriptures, is for the purpose fo the expressed worship of the LORD and or the edification of the saints.

    Chortles, I meant any questionable place they may go. If I were them, I would go ANYwhere I was asked, as long as I got to say and sing whatever I wanted.

    Lemme tell ya’ll this. You can snicker and sneer all you want. There are times of crushing repression and eventually actual persecution coming to this content that we think can only happen in places where somebody else lives. These “revivalists” and “pietists” that you think are so silly, will be the ones who withstand it. You oh so correct backsliders won’t make it 5 minutes.

    BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!! Yeah, I know. Just watch. You’ve been warned. Which is a big part of the problem. No biblically aware person should have to be warned about something so ridiculously obvious. When your instincts, intuitions and sensibilities are formed by the devil’s world instead of God’s word, this is what happens though.

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  122. Greg: These “revivalists” and “pietists” that you think are so silly, will be the ones who withstand it.

    Greg, no snickering here. But revivalists (2nd GA) and pietists historically did not withstand doctrinal deformation, but ushered it in.

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  123. CW: It’s hard to go a PCA church or meeting without hearing “In Christ Alone”. It’s a vocalist’s song — not one for serious congregational singing.

    Disagree on that.

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  124. Dings to Jeff — note that the concerns are not for your private worship, but how this sort of thing affects and warps the worship of the church. That video shows that evangelicals have fallen totally for entertainment culture, emotionalism, and radical individualism. Revivalism and pietism did nothing to stem modernity’s destruction. Serious, bible-regulated worship might.

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  125. I’m not talking about humanistic heretics like Charles Finney. Nor am I talking about doctrinal deformation Jeff. Though I challenge you to demonstrate such deformation in these people’s work.

    I’m talking about when it costs somebody a permanently life degrading (or maybe even ending) consequence to follow Jesus.

    You people love to call “pietism” on anybody who displays any actual devotion or passion for their Lord and savior so you don’t have to fee guilty about not having any yourselves.

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  126. Show me something like in the bible or P&R history. And “all of life worship” means that our weekday musical preferences inevitably influence Sunday worship. An underrated benefit of 2K is the wall between the Lord’s Day music and activities of those of the rest of the week. If you can really worship as well with Youtube (and sounds like your experience with this video girl is PRETTY AWESOME) do you really need the church on Sunday? Good day, my wild and wooly friend.

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  127. Talk about the legalistic imposition of man made law upon the consciences of men.

    You do nothing .You mean nothing and stand for nothing. You ARE nothing in today’s America where the salt and light of that magnificent reformed gospel is needed more urgently than ever,.

    People with the least excuse of all and best theologically armed to be a true fortress of light in the midst of this suffocating darkness and you’re nothing. Pathetic, powerless, harmless, nothing. You take up space in the visible church.

    Please. You have no gospel credibility whatsoever. You talk a lot. Plastic phony pharisees who look down theirs noses at anybody who dare actually live for the God they claim to represent,.

    He just may be preparing you Darryl. This will be a lot easier on those who’ve already lost most everything anyway. You might think about thanking Him that none of your plans worked out like you’d hoped.
    ————————————————————————
    I haven’t forgotten about you sdb. This was a sidetrack I didn’t plan either.

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  128. Susan, SGM is Sovereign Grace Music.

    sdb, it’s a point about the ministry of the Word. What we allow in our pulpits and put into the mouths of our pew should be properly vetted. If we don’t allow Penties in our pulpits (even if what may be particularly preached is sound) because it’s out of order, then why embrace non-vetted material for the use of laity in their doxology? It’s also an ecclesiastical point.

    Greg, get Getty’s work vetted by a denominational committee and put into our hymnal and maybe you have a point. But CW has your number–your process for evaluation is largely experiential and emotional. There’s that Pentie influence. I’m not a EPer (exclusive psalmist, Susan) but that sort of reasoning always makes it tempting.

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  129. Greg, more emotionalism. But, yes, I’m sure points about doing things in proper order are laughable to you. Silly Paul, wanting all things to be done decently and in order. What a legalist.

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  130. No, the fact that you think this is what that means is heartbreaking to me. The fact that you think Paul would call that soaring magnificent piece of worship and adoration for his Jesus, “out of order,” is a hideous tell of the state of your heart Zrim.

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  131. @zrim I wouldn’t want an RC priest in my pulpit, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem with a pastor referencing Pascal in his sermon. I agree that there is no place for “performances” in a worship service. Getty can sing and I’m sure she puts on a great show that can be really encouraging to a lot of believers. That’s great, but a worship service isn’t the place for a performance. The fact that an artist may err that way doesn’t necessarily mean that one shouldn’t use their music (assuming it is appropriate for congregational singing, etc…).

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  132. Greg, what can I say, I’m a heart breaker. But acting as Paul’s ventriloquist is ill-advised. You should re-think that practice.

    sdb, the point wouldn’t be to preclude a reference to Pascal in a sermon. Preaching Pascal is another question altogether…

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  133. I’m still bothered that she looks like a girl who tried to shame me, once. Combine that unpleasantness with this line from Greg, “I have come to really think the Lord has plans for you. I do. I really think that.” And I’m taken all the way back to a Calvary Chapel service in college where another girl told me the lord had spoken to her about she and I and our future together. I’m so glad we could spend this time together………………………………….Thank goodness there were no cell phones and texting and stalking apps.

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  134. @gtt As beautiful as her performance is (and as valuable as their hymns can be for congregational worship), I don’t think that such performances are appropriate for Sunday worship for the following reasons:

    1) The temptation to exalt the performer is very strong for a lot of people (not least of all the performer). Tempting people by putting performers on stage is unwise. This applies to musicians and preachers as well. We should be careful to never put the spotlight on people – our work at worship should be directed to the Lord.

    2) There are already strong cultural trends pushing churches to treat services as consumer goods (i.e., entertain us or we will go elsewhere). Visiting family not long ago, I attended a patriotic church service that was essentially a passive performance. The shift of worship service (where we do the work) to worship experience (where we watch the performance) is a real thing in a lot of churches and inevitably puts us in the judgment seat in a way that is very unhelpful.

    3) Most importantly, I think we have to grapple with the lack of biblical warrant for soloists performing for believers. We should certainly sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as part of Sunday worship, but we should be singing them not watching them sung.

    Music is a powerful tool for manipulating emotions. We should use it carefully – namely by following what the scriptures prescribe. Sometimes that means letting denominational committee comprised of persnickety sticks in the mud slog through a vetting process before introducing that material to churches to use in worship. Yes it goes against everything in our culture about being hip, up with the latest new thing, and being nimble respondents to the latest cultural trends. I for one think that is the path of wisdom if no efficiency.

    All that being said, I have no problem with Getty performing the way she does outside of Sunday worship. Concerts are great and I am sure she is godly woman spreading the gospel far and wide with her music. I don’t think she (or others) should be performing as such in Sunday worship. But we all have our flaws and blindspots (or so I hear), so her potential errors on this front notwithstanding, if her music is appropriate for congregational singing (by that I mean in addition to being theologically appropriate that a group of tone deaf, untrained schlubs like myself can fumble through the song without getting too lost), then by all means let’s have our congregations sing her songs or use her arrangements to sing our other hymns.

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  135. @zrim
    What’s the difference between reading a paragraph from Pascal to highlight a point in a sermon and singing a song that is doctrinally sound that was written by a pentecostal? If the guy who wrote the Gloria Patria was an Arian, would it make any difference? I don’t see that it should.

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  136. The point is, that this couple has been gifted in words and music. They use those gifts in a way that is consistent with the Bible’s precepts and precedents for those gifts of words and music.

    They write godly, solid, reverent material and deliver it in a godly, solid, reverent manner.

    Emotions make great servants, but tyrannical masters. There is nothing wrong and everything right with “FEELING” in a proper, reverent, godly manner. Only the dead feel nothing.

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  137. I don’t know if this was a Sunday worship service or not. Given my choice, I’d rather have it not be, but have something like this sung in one would be the least of most church’s problems nowadays.

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  138. sdb, the difference is oversight of the sheep. I’ve conceded that a Pentie (and plenty of others) could preach something sound, but that’s not the point. The point is oversight. A denominationally approved hymnal demonstrates care for what the sheep sing because doxology matters just as much as preaching (if we’re being consistent about the ministry of the Word which both are). That doesn’t mean the oversight is perfect, of course, but it beats a pastor introducing a SGM-Getty tune because it gives him chills. That’s not care.

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  139. I don’t know Greg, if you’re worried about capitulation to culture and modernism maybe you should start with worship instead of ending there. DG might make a case that revivalism helped create our vapid, celebrity culture and destabilized some of our important institutions..

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  140. Greg, this is what makes me weep (God has already woke me):

    Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
    Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

    And with the CRC’s gray Psalter-Hymnal close by, you can even sing it.

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  141. Greg, but you don’t seem to know what I’m talking about — which is, a piety that is different from yours, a confessional Protestant piety as opposed to a sentimental pietistic piety.

    You don’t know me. I’ve been fighting your sentiments for most of my adult life. Don’t put me into the box of “if-you-don’t-emote-like-me” you’re not devout.

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  142. None of that was actually the point at all Darryl. There’s only one kind of “piety.” People do have different personalities though.

    You’ve been fighting God most of your adult life, which has little to with any sentimental piety. Oh yes you have and you still are. These clowns who hang around here can crow to high heaven about this comment, but when you are alone with your own thoughts, there is no way you don’t know what I’m saying is true.

    You can say whatever you want here (I hear it coming), but your life is a a disaster and you know it. It doesn’t take much to read between those lines. Anybody who really pays attention knows you a lot better than you think.

    That is NOT a jab. At all. The Holy Spirit has worked me over too (you have no idea) and for some of the same reasons. I know what it looks like.

    Anyway. Gotta go for a while Yourself and the missus persist in our prayers. I’m easy to find. Never hesitate. Even if you just want to call me names. 😀 None of these guys will ever hear it from me.

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  143. “but when you are alone with your own thoughts, there is no way you don’t know what I’m saying is true.”
    Ok. This too is very close to crazy evanjellyfish stalker girl . It also sounds a bit like the fat man in Nawlins. You’re regressing, Greg. I’m worried for you. You’re not old enough, yet, to go weepy for weepy’s sake. Too much ephedrine in the stack today? Go 3000mg of tyrosine, give it thirty minutes and then get some food down.

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  144. “Greg, he was on two shows back, as well. R. Scott Clark will be on in the near future and maybe Chuck Finney, too.”

    That does sound interesting Chortles. I haven’t looked yet, but I assume there are email notifications. I will add it to my admittedly already tight rotation. Facebook is of course the best way to get the word out to a lot of people fast if you haven’t used it already.

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  145. Ok, so, presbycast, have we resolved the yankee, dutch, theonomy, presuppositional apologetics, engineer personaility issues should we be forced to abandon ship for the OPC? And I’ma have to take the dutch down about twenty pegs for this to work for me. And never mind the nice dutch girls bit, more like crazy dutch girls, that’s the shark to jump. Does Keller going away(very cryptic, guys) fix what ails the PCA? But, still, this isn’t an ideological thing, it’s a money thing. If the money dries up in the PCA, the PCA goes back to it’s core. What is the PCA’s core? Southern fundy conservative?

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  146. Did you hear DG say that the OPC invented the preacher with untucked shirt bit? Not on purpose, of course. There was no mention of pocket protectors, but he did mention that the OP guys might have held on to the double-knit plaid leisure suits just a tad longer than — say — all the rest of humanity?

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  147. Cw, you have to worry if they’re gonna run you out for citing Kline. What happens when you question Gaffin’s ambiguous conclusions? What happens if you’re sure union isn’t the hub of soteriological formulations? Did I mention crazy dutch girls? What happens when you disagree with Murray’s recasting of the covenant? What if you like West West better than West East? What about how good looking I am?

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  148. Pingback: The Limits of W-w
  149. D.G. Hart You get to write the feature story on GA.

    New Horizons
    2016 General Assembly: Nothing out of the Ordinary
    D. G. Hart
    Singing with Gusto
    “For all of the difficult questions commissioners tackled, Reformed Protestant piety was evident at every session. Before reconvening the Assembly after a break, meal, or overnight recess, commissioners opened the revised Trinity Hymnal to sing a hymn or psalm selected by the moderator. Reports on Roman Catholic synods rarely mention whether bishops sing hymns when they gather, but any account of an OPC General Assembly needs to mention not simply the phenomenon of singing but also the gusto with which commissioners sing. Indeed, one of the delights of the Assembly is the opportunity to sing often (at least five times a day) and to hear male voices united in song. If visitors to Muslim countries notice the odd-sounding songs that call Muslims to prayer, observers of the OPC General Assembly might also detect the frequency and vigor of the hymn singing in which Presbyterians engage, even as they review, debate, and vote on church business.”

    Gusto: vitality marked by an abundance of vigor and enthusiasm

    don’t worry cw; , even still, I’m sure there was compliance with the ‘underrated benefit of the 2K wall between the Lord’s Day music and activities of those of the rest of the week.”; did not display any wrong kind/type of emotion, nor ever was accompanied by any wrong kind/type of weeping

    :)

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  150. D. G. Hart says:Ali, now quote from this.

    wwweell, I might read it ‘cause one review says “. Hart is to be commended… for this transparency”….;
    but it turns out the transparency he is talking about is ”Hart attempts to baptize bifurcated Christian living as if it were obedience”
    “For Hart, Christian faith must be relegated to the private life and should not be “worn on the sleeve”. “Outside of formal worship settings and your home-made bunker, faith is dangerous.” “As Hart reasons: The love of God, tenacity about worship, defensiveness about sacred rites, aversion to false religion – all are parts of genuine faith that make it impractical if not damaging for public life. (pg 13)” “Hart fails to distinguish Church from faithful Christian witness as well.” [By the frenchman on July 9, 2013]

    so, maybe not…‘cause JESUS says (through Solomon’s life meandering and musing, ….the conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person for God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Eccl 12:13-14.

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  151. D. G. Hart says:Ali, so you read me for free but won’t cough up the coin. And wouldn’t Solomon’s instruction mean you should give up Old Life? Do you THINK?

    aw. ought you not chide the regular-reader-taker who gives you nothing back 🙂 cause Jesus said ‘The one who is taught is to share all good things with the one who teaches him’ and that likely is not primarily about money?

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  152. Ali, you don’t get it. You quoted a review that commented critically on my views, ones with which you disagree. Those were grounds (in part) for not reading the book whether you buy it or not.

    And yet, you are a regular (and pesty) reader at Old Life. If you won’t read the book, why do you read Old Life?

    You’re now calling Old Life “good things”?

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  153. Just to keep this moving:
    sdb says: “Are you meaning to distinguish necessary truths from contingent truths? 2+2 has to equal 4. The blades of grass in a yard can vary. Of course not all agree that there are necessary truths”

    Yes, maths and logic are necessarily (epistemologically) true. There is no comprehensible scenario wherein divine image bearing man can exist or function at all if they are not. This is because the God of WCF II has personally seen to it. Whether anybody agrees or not is entirely irrelevant. We are told in Romans 1 to expect him to suppress God’s truth in his unrighteousness in order to arrive at any conclusion whatsoever except that he is morally accountable to the God who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth.

    All moral truth is necessarily true because it is a reflection of the nature of the holy God who Himself IS the most necessary truth of all. However, some necessary truths, like maths and logic for instance, are morally neutral in their contingent (formal) uses and applications. A man does not sin by not being proficient at mathematics. He does sin by not glorifying God for the existence and operation of mathematics and the logic required to use it, when he attempts to account for them in any other way. Which he does by denying necessary truths for example. And anyone who says they believe in the God of WCF II, but not necessary truths, is either woefully ignorant, a moron, a liar or some combination therein.

    While all moral truth is necessarily (epistemologically) true, no contingent (formal) truth is morally absolute in itself. Being ignorant of how many blades of grass are in one’s lawn is not a sin. Believing that oneself, numbers, logic and grass are accounted for in any other way than the revealed Word of almighty God proclaims, is the very essence of self exalting sinful rebellion.

    Necessary (epistemological) and especially moral truth, cannot, by definition, be the object of the Christian’s liberty of conscience. Ever. It is necessarily the same for all men for all time and eternity for all the reasons I’ve given.

    All contingent (formal) truth IS, by God left to the liberty of the Christian’s conscience because it is in itself, by definition, morally indifferent. The utter refusal on the part of those who really should know better, to righteously discern these categories has given us the morally impotent state of American Presbyterianism today.

    i don’t like the word “necessary” because it requires a bunch of qualification to reclaim it from Aquinas, but I may have no choice. Van til got in trouble himself for using extant terminology in ways that differed from the long standing ones. (like “analogy” among others). There are only so many appropriate words for any application within a given language. All the English ones were taken long before I was born. I should have simply recognized that a long time ago. I know what I mean, but leave people trying to intellectually traverse a chasm between the terms I use and the not necessarily recognizable definitions I’ve given them.

    Overcoming that makes my job a whole lot harder. That’s’ probably why I didn’t want to face it. You guys are right though. My idiosyncratic use of terms has been a hindrance among those educated enough to already have established definitions for those terms. I know the Lord will give me wisdom though.

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  154. Dr. Hart:: “I’ve been fighting your sentiments for most of my adult life. Don’t put me into the box of “if-you-don’t-emote-like-me” you’re not devout.”

    To some degree this is just human nature Darryl, but a big part of the problem you’re having is that you very wrongly see this as all or nothing one way or the other. Any manifestation of passion for the Lord is eye rolling hyper charismatic, pietistic, sentimentalism to you.

    As I said above, people do have different personalities by God’s own design. Not everybody expresses their love for Him the same way and that’s the point. You think they must.

    i have no emotion quotient for gauging somebody’s devoutness. You do though. Any manifestation of passion for the Lord is eye rolling hyper charismatic, pietistic, sentimentalism.

    My problem is not your lack of showing emotion in your adoration for your savior. My problem is your self righteous, Pharisaical condemnation of anybody who does.

    In your case, I really think there’s more to it than this anyway. I have this suspicion (which COULD be wrong), that if you were where God wanted you to be, there might a bit more emotion (and “pietism” (rightly understood)) than you would like anybody to think. Which brings up my first point again. Contrary to what you believe, this would not necessitate your abandoning your quest for the “old life.” It would however, force you to adjust your definition of what the “old life” actually is.

    You cannot have the first 90 questions of the catechism without the ones that follow. Not only is this the gospel truth, but you already know it is. Don’t ya?

    That is my prayer for you, and all those whom the Lord would send you to influence. That you make that adjustment. Only the Holy Spirit can turn you into an “obedience boy” like the divines though Darryl.

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  155. Greg, “To some degree this is just human nature Darryl, but a big part of the problem you’re having is that you very wrongly see this as all or nothing one way or the other. Any manifestation of passion for the Lord is eye rolling hyper charismatic, pietistic, sentimentalism to you.”

    Au contraire.

    I think you are pious. I think I am pious (on good days). It is you Greg, who don’t think I am pious.

    I am actually arguing for diversity of piousity. You’re the one who says if I am devout the way I am, I am not devout.

    All or nothing? That’s you.

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  156. Darryl, no matter how much we butt heads, I am always honored when you respond to me. I do mean that. I’ll answer as soon as I can. Tied up probably the rest of the night. To hold you for now. This never gets old LOL!

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  157. Yes, maths and logic are necessarily (epistemologically) true.

    Two things here. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. It is not a synonym for necessary or true. Often we distinguish what we know (epistemology) and what is (ontology). That my knowledge of the speed of light may be highly uncertain or poorly justified does not entail anything about the speed of light. This is something you have confused in our discussion about our knowledge of God. You took my statement of my own epistemic limitations to mean that I was making an ontological claim about God.

    There is no comprehensible scenario wherein divine image bearing man can exist or function at all if they are not. This is because the God of WCF II has personally seen to it. Whether anybody agrees or not is entirely irrelevant.

    Except that there are alternative logical and mathematical systems indicating that such scenarios are comprehensible. Whether those maths apply to the real world is a question that must be answered empirically.

    We are told in Romans 1 to expect him to suppress God’s truth in his unrighteousness in order to arrive at any conclusion whatsoever except that he is morally accountable to the God who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth.

    I’m not sure that Paul had Peano’s postulates in mind when writing Romans.

    All moral truth is necessarily true because it is a reflection of the nature of the holy God who Himself IS the most necessary truth of all.

    Careful there! First of moral truths can be contingent. It was morally true that it was sinful to eat shrimp. It is not morally true any more. It is morally true that eating meat sacrificed to idols was sinful for some and not morally true for others. Now you might want to claim that there is a necessary truth underlying this. The question is which of God’s moral commands are necessary and which are contingent. Could they all be contingent?

    Second, As far as God being logically necessary, I think you’re going to have a hard time making your case. That isn’t to say God is not ontologically necessary, but I don’t think you are going to find that it is logically inconsistent – perhaps God reveals himself in such a way that you can’t find him by philosophical reasoning as you could if God was a necessary truth?

    He does sin…when he attempts to account for [mathematical truths]… by denying necessary truths for example.

    You are over reaching here.

    And anyone who says they believe in the God of WCF II, but not necessary truths, is either woefully ignorant, a moron, a liar or some combination therein.

    Perhaps. One other possibility is that there is a subtlety about this you don’t quite have full command of.

    While all moral truth is necessarily true

    I agree that all truths are true.

    , no contingent (formal) truth is morally absolute in itself.

    I’mnot sure I agree. Was God free to make polygamy moral? Is monogamy part of God’s design or is it a necessary consequence? If God had the freedom to choose to create the world such that monogamy was part of his design for humans, do you really want to conclude that it isn’t a moral absolute?

    Being ignorant of how many blades of grass are in one’s lawn is not a sin. Believing that oneself, numbers, logic and grass are accounted for in any other way than the revealed Word of almighty God proclaims, is the very essence of self exalting sinful rebellion.

    Another possibility is that the Belgic confession is right (and wcf for that matter) and not everything is accounted for by scripture. Rather some things are revealed in the book of creation (or light of nature). Further, as Packer notes in Knowing God, his fingerprints are not always on his providential actions. Perhaps I’m misreading you here and you mean that denying that God created and sustains all things is sinful. I agree! Connecting that fact to our description of nature is a different issue.

    Necessary (epistemological) and especially moral truth, cannot, by definition, be the object of the Christian’s liberty of conscience. Ever. It is necessarily the same for all men for all time and eternity for all the reasons I’ve given.

    Again moral truths can be contingent.

    All contingent (formal) truth IS, by God left to the liberty of the Christian’s conscience because it is in itself, by definition, morally indifferent.

    I disagree. Eating pork was an abomination for all in the OT. Didn’t matter where your conscience was.

    The utter refusal on the part of those who really should know better, to righteously discern these categories has given us the morally impotent state of American Presbyterianism today.

    I am skeptical that our philosophical perspective makes any difference. I’m curious though…was American Presbyterianism in better shape with Wilson and Pitchfork Tillman?

    i don’t like the word “necessary” because it requires a bunch of qualification to reclaim it from Aquinas, but I may have no choice. Van til got in trouble himself for using extant terminology in ways that differed from the long standing ones. (like “analogy” among others). There are only so many appropriate words for any application within a given language. All the English ones were taken long before I was born. I should have simply recognized that a long time ago. I know what I mean, but leave people trying to intellectually traverse a chasm between the terms I use and the not necessarily recognizable definitions I’ve given them.

    I hear ya. Clear communication is hard. It is really hard among those with different vocabularies. It is triplely hard when you put all that in a commbox. Not a bad reason to maintain epistemic humility and avoid charging others with pedaling an epistemology of unbelief.

    Overcoming that makes my job a whole lot harder. That’s’ probably why I didn’t want to face it. You guys are right though. My idiosyncratic use of terms has been a hindrance among those educated enough to already have established definitions for those terms. I know the Lord will give me wisdom though.

    Agreed. You might find the SEP a helpful resource.

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  158. Andrew doesn’t understand why I do this, but I do it because I want people to know I saw their comment and that I intend to answer them when possible. Just like I say.

    Yours is coming as soon as I can too sdb. Lotsa worthy stuff there again.

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