A History of Defining Faith

A Remonstrant’s Ramblings has a list of quotes from Christian authors defining what Christian faith is and its connection to reason.

You can also check out David Marshall’s post on this in his blog.

I’ve written two posts on the view that Christians and the Bible teach that faith is believing something without good reasons.  One post on Hebrews 11:1 and one giving an argument against that kind of faith.

You can also check out chapter eleven of the new book, True Reason, Faith and Reason in Historical Perspective by Timothy McGrew and David Marshall.

Posted in Apologetics, Church History, Faith, Theology | 1 Comment

Patience and Bearing Fruit

Scott Rae, the chair of the philosophy department here at Talbot, gave a talk on vocation at the beginning of this semester.  Tim Pickavance, a philosophy professor, said something along the lines of “Your ministry right now is to be a student.  Don’t think of your ministry as something that you will do sometime in the future.  God may be using this time in your life to grow you so that you can bear fruit in the future.”

This reminds me of what I read in one of the High Quest booklets I read for the Men of Impact ministry at my old church.

Much of the process goes on unseen and unappreciated as God’s Spirit gently develops our inner life which will, at the proper time, reveal his work in fruitfulness.  You may be in a season of deepening roots rather than obvious fruit bearing, but be patient; God will produce the fruit if you abide in him.
His Calling (p. 130)

I often struggle because I don’t feel like I’m bearing the fruit that I ought to be bearing.  Christ said to make disciples of the nations (Matt. 28:19-20), but I don’t feel like I’ve done much of anything in the last six years that I’ve become a Christian.  Not only that, I don’t feel anywhere near competent enough to be in any way effective in ministry.  This can produce feelings of guilt.  That’s why it’s comforting to hear things like this.  There are times where we are bearing fruit and we don’t realize it and there are times that God uses to grow us and deepen our roots so that we bear fruit later on in life.  As Paul says, his sufficiency comes from God (2 Cor. 3:5).  This has helped me to be more gracious and patient with myself.

Posted in Personal, Spiritual Growth, Theology, Vocation | Leave a comment

Links of Interest

Yeah, yeah, I’m still not writing anything of my own.  Grad school and emotional issues do that.

Luckily there are plenty of other great things to read online.

Sam Harper at Philochristos wrote a five part response to William Lane Craig’s critique of Calvinism.  A very interesting read.

A Remonstrant’s Ramblings is writing a series of posts critiquing A Manuel for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian.

New York Times wrote an article on the partnership between the True/False Film Festival and the church I went to for five years, The Crossing.  Dave Cover, one of the main pastors at The Crossing, wrote a response to some of the mistakes here.


Posted in Apologetics, Atheism, Calvinism, Film, Foreknowledge and Free Will, Free Will, Philosophy, Theology | 8 Comments

An Article on Singleness

I haven’t been posting much lately.  Sorry about that.  In this post I’ll simply be sharing an article I just read on the Bible, marriage, and loneliness.  Enjoy.

In the rest of Scripture, God makes it clear that His remedy for human loneliness is fellowship, not (necessarily) marriage. Fellowship with the Father and the Son, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ, this is God’s remedy for loneliness. It is a remedy gloriously open to all, including all those for whom marriage is not a possibility—those too young for marriage, the widowed, the divorced, those struggling with homosexual temptation, those who cannot find a marriage partner.

Posted in Personal, Spiritual Growth, Theology | 2 Comments

Guest Posts

A couple of bloggers have kindly featured some of my writings on their blogs.

First, Prayson Daniel at With All I Am featured my post on J.L. Mackie’s metaethical theory.

Second, Randy Everist at Possible Worlds has featured my post on the arbitrariness horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma.

I thank them for those opportunities and I recommend checking out their blogs.

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Letham on the Trinity

In summary, the Father loves the Son, sends the Son, and glorifies the Son.  He also sends the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name, in response to his request, and is worshiped in the Son and in the Spirit.  He and the Son indwell one another.  He has life in himself and has given to the Son to have life in himself.  He is the judge and has committed judgment to his Son.

The Son was with God in the beginning, in the bosom of the Father, and was and is God.  He made all things.  He was sent by the Father, became flesh, and lived among men.  He obeys the Father, prays to the Father, and after his resurrection ascends to the Father.  He asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit, sends the Holy Spirit himself, and breathes out the Spirit on his disciples.  He and the Father indwell one another.  He receives from the Father life in himself and the right to judge.

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, is sent by the Father on the Day of Pentecost, in response to the Son’s request, and is also sent at that time by the Son.  He is breathed out by the Son.  He bears witness of the Son and brings glory to him.

The three work together in harmony.  Through the Holy Spirit, they come together to the disciples, who as a consequence live in the Father and in the Son. (1)

(1) Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004. 70-71. Print.

Posted in Church History, Spiritual Growth, Theology | Leave a comment

Book Recommendation: Philosophical Devices

If you are a beginner in philosophy (even as a grad student I still largely consider myself a beginner), then I highly recommend this book

Philosophical Devices: Proofs, Probabilities, Possibilities, and Sets by David Papineau

Philosophical Devices teaches you about many of the things you need to know when reading and doing philosophy.  Sets, possible worlds, de dicto and de re necessity, probability, analytic and synthetic truths, Bayes’ Theorem, and much, much more.  When taking philosophy classes it is common to come across reading and writing assignments that use terminology and concepts that the students are not familiar with.  The papers they read simply assume its readers know the material.  For students and others interested in philosophy who come across this material, it is up to them to find out what the terms and concepts mean so that they can continue.  This book can help you do just that.

First, the book is very readable.  I was able to digest much of the material very easily.  The author does not assume that the reader has prior knowledge of the concepts, terms, and logical symbols he discusses.  He teaches you what they mean and what they are in a highly readable way.

Second, this book is a challenge.  However, it is not challenging to the point of being an absolute misery to read through.  It is just challenging enough to be very rewarding to get through without slowing you down too much.  Admittedly how challenging it is will depend on how much exposure the reader has had to philosophy.  I did not have much trouble getting through the material, but this book still strikes a good balance between being very readable and being just challenging enough to be a rewarding experience to understand.

All in all, I recommend this book to people going into philosophy as a very good and readable introduction to many of the concepts in philosophical discussion.

Posted in Philosophy | 4 Comments