Monday, February 27, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Friday, February 24, 2006
This past week in Senior Seminar we had to present and discuss Angelology. Honestly, I wasn't terribly thrilled about the prospect, largely due to the fact that it is such a speculative endeavor. Why argue about things we ultimately can't substantiate anyway? James Varner presented his section on Satan and in his introduction brought out a fantastic quote from Erickson's Theology:
"We have noted the difficulty of the subject. One reason is that while there are abundant references to angels in the Bible, they are not very helpful for developing an understanding of angels. Every reference to angels is incidental to some other topic. They are not treated in themselves. When they are mentioned, it is always in order to inform us further about God, what he does and how he does it. Since details about angels are not significant for that purpose, they tend to be omitted.
- Millard Erickson, Systematic Theology (2nd ed.) pg 459
Now to be fair, Erickson still treats angelology and thinks that we are not "faithful students of the Bible" unless we "speak of these things." I'm inclined to disagree. If the scriptures omit details since they are not significant for informing us further about God, what are we trying to prove? I'm not implying that it is sin to study angelology, but making it one of the ten main topics germane to Systematic Theology? I mean, come on. Ultimately I came up with an 8 page single spaced outline (more than half of which was block quoted scripture); however, if I had come across this quote any earlier, I would have been inclined to cite Erickson and call it quits.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
What does this have to do with Bultmann you ask? I was recently page turning through his infamous essay "New Testament and Mythology" and discovered in his introductory brief synopisis of the Christian faith, He speaks in this wise "The risen Christ is exalted to the right hand of God in Heaven and made 'Lord' and 'King'" (Kerygma and Myth, pg 2). He footnotes phrases along the way providing scriptural support similar to the format of the WCF. To substantiate that Jesus is "King" he identifies one verse; you guessed it - 1 Corinthians 15:25. Are you starting to see the connection? Bultmann is the ONLY person I have read who rests as much weight on this verse as I do. Of course that is probably because I have not read more than half an essay on Progressive Dispensationalism (by Bock) and I have been assured by friends that others do indeed adress this verse. I am progressive not because of the progressives, but rather because of this verse (and a few others).
To me the irony (and humor) lies in the fact that I found such a substantial point of agreement with Bultmann (I say that tongue in cheek). I figured some of my buddies would appreciate this (if they read this). Obviously I am not suggesting Bultmann was a progressive dispensationalist; he would probably be quick to demythologize the very doctrinal statement he was articulating (I haven't finished the essay). However, due to the convenient hermeneutics of postmodernism, I revel in the irony of using Bultmann to "demythologize" dispensationalism. :-0
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
His definition of piety (1:41)
His thoughts on Christian Hedonism (yes, another anachronism; Ibid)
"Nay, unless [men] establish their complete happiness in Him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to Him."
The purpose of knowledge of God (Ibid)
"Rather, our knowledge should serve first to teach us fear and
reverence; secondly, with it as our guide and teacher, we should learn to seek every good from him, and having received it, to credit it to his account."
On understanding providence (1:21)
"Therefore no one will weigh God's providence properly and profitably but him who considers that his business is with his Maker and the Framer of the universe, and with becoming humility submits himself to fear and reverence."
Finally, my favorite among favorites - after almost thirty pages of argumentation and explanation of the doctrine of providence (sovereignty), his closing sentence reads as follows (1:225):
"In short, not to tarry any longer over this, if you pay attention, you will easily perceive that ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it."
He wrote all this in his late twenties. Is it any wonder the man's writings have lasted roughly 5 centuries?
On the devotional nature of his theological method (my subtitle):
"And here again we ought to observe that we are called to a knowledge of God: not that knowledge which, content with empty speculation, merely flits in the brain, but that which will be sound and fruitful if we duly perceive it, and if it takes root in the heart. For the Lord manifests himself by his powers the force of which we feel within ourselves and the benefits of which we enjoy...Consequently we know the most perfect way of seeking God, and the most suitable order, is not for us to attempt with bold curiosity to penetrate to the investigation of his essence, which we ought more to adore than meticulously to search out, but for us to contemplate him in his works whereby he renders himself near and familiar to us and in some manner communicates himself."
Is that sweet or what?
In the mean time I am continuing to plod forward, even if it's just a few pages at a time and I have found the the time I invest always repays the effort. My mind has been sharpened and my soul has been fed. Calvin is one of the most devotional theologians I've ever read; if you don't believe me just read his intro. In many ways Calvin reads like Piper. Now I know that's a glaring anachronism, but in my ordo salutis I became a Piperite prior to becoming a Calvinist (though this would be an inversion of the logical order, it was my experience, temporally speaking - I fell in love with Christian Hedonism before I new it was Calvinism, before I knew both were contextualized expressions of Biblical Christianity!). Anyway, my point is if you like Piper, you'll love Calvin -- not just because of the commonality of their theology, but also because of their way with language. Anyway, I digress....
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Monday, February 13, 2006
Sunday, February 12, 2006
"The courses posted on this Web site comprise Covenant Seminary's Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree. The course selection is designed to provide foundational knowledge of
church history, theology, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and practical theology."
- from the Website
The lectures on Apologetics (PoMo stuff), the Institutes and Reformation History look particularly interesting! Check out all the classes here (they're listed in the left margin in blue).