Theology

"While it may appear as though theological debate today is more polarized than ever, in fact it is perhaps as civil as it's ever been."

“What few of us realize is that when we press those ‘Publish,’ ‘Post,’ ‘Comment,’ and ‘Send’ buttons, we are making the shift away from merely ‘believing’ truth and stepping into the arena of publishing that belief. In doing so we are effectively assuming a position of leadership and teaching that prior to 2004 was not available to us.” Not Many of You Should Presume to be Bloggers

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An Evaluation of the "Open View" of God: A Response to Gregory A. Boyd's "God of the Possible" - Part 2

archive.jpgThis is the second half of an article by Dr. Myron Houghton which appeared at SharperIron (in four parts) in June of 2005. Part one ended with a look at the fifth of Gregory Boyd’s eight evidences that God changes His mind. Part two continues by addresessing the sixth.

e. God tests people to know their character.

Boyd states, “The fifth and strongest group of passages we’ve examined thus far that suggest the future is not exhaustively settled shows that God frequently tests his covenant partners to see if they will choose to follow him or not.”22

Response # 1: When evidence to the contrary from Scripture is presented against this point, Boyd’s response is less than satisfying. He explains:

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An Evaluation of the "Open View" of God: A Response to Gregory A. Boyd's "God of the Possible" - Part 1

archive.jpgThe error of Open Theism continues to be an important issue in our day. This article by Dr. Myron Houghton appeared at SharperIron (in four parts) in June of 2005 but didn’t make it back into the article database after the site crashed in 2006. Due to it’s length, we’ll be posting it two parts.

I. INTRODUCTION

The primary purpose of this paper is to present the major points of the open view of God as found in Dr. Gregory A. Boyd’s recent book, God of the Possible1 and to respond to those points with an exegesis of relevant biblical passages. While I am not impartial, I intend to be fair, both in the clarity with which the major points of the book are explained and in the manner in which I respond to its major ideas.

In order to introduce my response to Dr. Boyd’s book, both the traditional view and the open view of God will be briefly presented. This will be followed by a presentation of major ideas of the open view of God as found in Dr. Boyd’s book and my response to each of these ideas. Unless otherwise identified, all Scripture quotations will be from the New King James Version of the Bible.

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Review - We Believe in One Lord Jesus Christ (Ancient Christian Doctrine)

We Believe in One Lord Jesus Christ is the second volume in the Intervarsity Press series Ancient Christian Doctrine. The series of five volumes is a commentary on the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. The commentary in each volume is drawn from writings from the patristic period of church history: AD 95-750. In series volume 1, general editor Thomas Oden identifies nine purposes for the series. Most relevant of those for SI readers would be “demonstrating the authority of the Nicene Creed; furthering the new ecumenical movement; encouraging and expanding the readership of the fathers among ’ordinary believers’” (vii).
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"Peters raises several questions regarding the impact the confirmation of alien life will have on religion."

“Peters conducted a survey, titled ‘The Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey’ to determine the effects of a discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence on religion. More than 1,300 individuals worldwide from multiple religious traditions like Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, evangelicals, Orthodox Christians, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists and non-religious groups participated in the study.” The ET effect on religion

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Book Review - The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide

Image of The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide
by Gerald R. McDermott
IVP Academic 2010
Paperback 214

Author Gerald McDermott describes the purpose for The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide as follows:

I wanted to be able to provide a short and accessible introduction to some of the greatest theologians—so that any thinking Christian could get a ballpark idea of what is distinctive to each. And at a level they could understand. Challenging but not overwhelming. Provocative but not frustrating. An introduction that could inform and provide a gateway to deeper study if so desired. (p. 11)

While setting a very high bar for himself, McDermott largely succeeds in clearing the bar in this well written introduction to eleven theologians.

McDermott introduces us to Origen (AD 185-253), Athanasius (AD 296-373), Augustine (AD 354-430), Thomas Aquinas (AD 1225-74), Martin Luther (AD 1483-1546), John Calvin (AD 1509-64), Jonathon Edwards (AD 1703-58), Friedrich Schleiermacher (AD 1768-1834), John Henry Newman (AD 1801-90), Karl Barth (AD 1886-1968) and Hans Urs von Balthasar (AD 1905-88). As can be seen from the dates for each theologian, these eleven span nearly 1,800 years in the development of Christian theology.

McDermott freely admits that there are many names he could have added to the list, but these were the eleven he considered “to have had the most influence on the history of Christian thought” (p. 13). He explains further: “There were others who also had great influence, and a future list maker might prove one or more of my eleven were edged out by one or more with even greater influence” (p. 13). He clarifies by saying, “That doesn’t mean that the theology of every one has been good. In fact, some have done damage to Christian thinking. For example, Schleiermacher…. But I include him in this book because his influence has been enormous” (p. 14).

The author introduces each theologian with a brief biography, followed by an overview of the main themes of their work. He follows each overview with a more detailed explanation of one key theme that each is known for, then a discussion of what we can learn from the theologian. Finally the book includes a short excerpt from one of the theologian’s writings. To encourage further investigation, McDermott provides a list of both primary and secondary sources at the end of each chapter, along with discussion questions useful for groups or personal reflection.

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"The Fundamentals" Rebooted

A few weeks ago, Standpoint Conference began to actively promote our conference for 2011, entitled “The Fundamentals II.” There are actually a number of compelling reasons to “reboot” The Fundamentals,* re-analyzing good doctrine in light of certain attacks of our time.

Before listing those reasons, let’s allay any fears regarding this subject.

Some might fear that we are suggesting that major doctrinal formulations need to be changed or adjusted. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!” Or is it mirrors? The suspicious always imagine a conspiracy. We do not propose that orthodoxy needs any kind of re-definition or adjustment. But we believe that the doctrines so well defended in the past need to be more clearly defined in the light of modern challenges, not altered in keeping with the spirit of our age.

Some might cynically suggest that we may have difficulty finding the quality of scholarship among conservative theologians that was available for the original Fundamentals between 1910 and 1915. But we believe that the scholarship exists for another set of great works on doctrine. And we believe that this will be borne out in the next few years as we take on this important project.

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