Theology

Does Ecclesiastes Teach Epicureanism?

Does Ecclesiastes teach Epicureanism? In a word, no. Despite certain passages in Ecclesiastes that “sound” Epicurean, if we take the message of Solomon as a whole and the message of Epicurus as a whole, we discover that the two views of life under the sun are quite at odds with one another. The philosopher known for “vanity of vanities,” in the final analysis, is life-affirming, and the philosopher known for “eat, drink, and be merry” actually sucks the joy out of life.

I would like first to correct what is probably a popular misconception of Epicureanism. Then I would like to lay out four contrasting points between the two views: their views of God (or the gods), of death, of humanity and human desire, and of the summum bonum–that is, the greatest good.

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What Does Worldly Look Like?

(See Part 2, Part 3)

In fundamentalist parlance, the word worldly nearly always refers to matters of fashion and entertainment. It involves how a person dresses; what sort of places he goes; and the things he reads, views, or listens to. Consequently, many feel that if they just stay away from certain things, they are safe from worldliness.

In some cases, the attitude goes a step further. “As long as I have the proper appearance, never go to the proscribed places, or take in the proscribed materials, I am not only free of worldliness but also basically a good Christian.” Externals-focused preaching and institutional rules [1] reinforce the attitude, and plain human laziness gives it a cozy home. For many fundamentalists, avoiding the “worldly fashions and entertainments” list is easy. They grew up with the list, have never lived any other way, and never spend time with anyone who lives differently.

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A Critique of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse's "The Geocentric Cosmology of Genesis 1:1-19"

A few people have asked me what I thought about Dr. Thomas M. Strouse’s paper, “The Geocentric Cosmology of Genesis 1:1–19.” After I read the paper, I thought it would be helpful to provide a brief critique of Strouse’s paper. His paper caught my attention because he claimed to examine Genesis 1:1–19. If anyone is interested about how I have treated the biblical material related to young Earth creationism, I have two articles in our seminary journal: “A Defense of Literal Days in the Creation,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 5 (Fall 2000): 97–123; and “A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Account (Part 1 of 2),” DBSJ 10 (2005): 19–67. The first one can be downloaded from our website: www.dbts.edu. The second one can be purchased from the seminary. This may also be obtained from our website. As I evaluated Strouse’s paper, I have found some problems with it. Because of the number of these, I will confine my remarks to four areas. But before I offer my criticisms, let me note one point with which I do agree.

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A Primer on Presuppositional Apologetics

Christian apologetics is the discipline or practice of defending and commending Christianity. Christianity as a worldview competes with a host of other worldviews to accurately represent things as they are. Imagine with me a Christian engaging a non-Christian in apologetics. By what criteria will he judge the arguments? Ah, but here is the kicker: The debate is about the criteria themselves.

How so? When a Christian engages a non-Christian, each makes a claim about ultimate reality—the way things really are. Now the way things really are affects the way people can know things. (Philosophy says that your ontology [philosophy of what is] has implications for your epistemology [philosophy of how we know what is].) The Christian derives his ontology and epistemology from biblical and systematic theology; the non-Christian derives his from somewhere else—if an atheist, perhaps from his own experience filtered through his own reason. The Christian and the non-Christian, because they have different ontologies and epistemologies, hold very different ideas about what is scientifically possible, morally just, or rationally plausible. (For instance, the vicarious atonement is morally repugnant to unbelievers, cf. 1 Cor. 1:18–24.) Worldviews clash over ultimate issues, including what categories best sort data and what criteria best judge arguments. Christianity tells us that even more is at stake—namely, how we may be right with God.

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"The Bible never teaches that the earth moves around the sun..."

Christianity, and fundamentalism within, has embraced, for the most part, a fallacious cosmology...Dr. Thomas Strouse is the Dean and Professor Emeritus at Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary (Newington, CT), a self-proclaimed fundamentalist Baptist seminary. He has written an article arguing that the earth is the center of the universe–he believes the sun rotates around the earth as do all other heavenly bodies. His concluding paragraph of his article is below:

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Shall We Cast Lots?

Pitfalls in the Pursuit of Biblical Patterns


In Scripture, casting lots is routine. Some might even say it’s the normal way to decide a difficult question.

The OT 1 contains 24 references to “cast lots,” “casting lots,” and “the lot fell.” Two of these are in Proverbs where lot-casting is highly recommended.

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord (Prov. 16:33).
Casting lots causes contentions to cease, and keeps the mighty apart (Prov. 18:18).

In addition, the Urim and Thummim (probably a form of lot-casting) have a prominent place in Mosaic Law. All in all, the OT is very pro-lot.

The NT seems to be in favor of it as well. The practice is mentioned eight times, and one of those places refers to the selection of an apostle to replace Judas (Acts 1:26).

So if we have frequent favorable references to lot-casting across both Old and New Testaments, do we have a “biblical pattern”? Should we be casting lots in our churches rather than voting? After all, the Bible contains no direct command to vote on anything (some might argue that voting is the brainchild of humanistic philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his ilk).

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