April 30, 2006

Today Eric Alexander preached on "P" in TULIP, and refered to the marks by which the saints who persevere can be identified. One mark was saving faith and he quoted Spurgeon to the effect that saving faith was the 'livery' by which the people of God were knowable.

(interesting echo of Wright on faith as a badge and fruit of salvation, rather than either ground or instrument).

Anyway, my googling didn't turn up that spurgeon quote, but rather this
This love is the common, everyday livery of the people of God. It is not the pre-rogative of a few. It is the possession of all. It is put before you not only as a thing greatly desirable, but absolutely needful; for if you excelled in every spiritual gift, yet if you had not this, all the rest would profit you nothing whatsoever. You must attain it, or you cannot enter into eternal life.

Would Wright rework WCF XI this way:

I. Those whom God effectually calls to receive the pardon of sin accomplished already on the cross, and who have found the accounting and accepting of their persons as righteous, for they have been drawn by the Spirit to be identified (through the alone instrument of faith) with Jesus Christ, the righteous one who offered obedience and satisfaction on their behalf, those he also justifies by the badge of faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone badge of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.

III. Since the transition from wrath to grace takes place in the effectual call, it cannot be said that faith is an instrumental cause of that transition, for then it would have to be present in one who has not yet been called, and would be looked upon as a substitute work.

(more discussion at barb and Josh S)

April 28, 2006

Reformation21 Ľ John Calvin's Ideas
After quoting Calvin's commentary on 2 Cor 5:19, Helm avers
So the truth about atonement, about reconciliation to God, has to be represented to us as if it implied a change in God, and so an inconsistency, an apparent contradiction, in his actions towards us. But in fact there is no change in God; he loves us from eternity. There is however, a change in us a change that occurs as by faith Christ's work is appropriated. The change is not from wrath to grace, but from our belief that we are under wrath to our belief that we are under grace (395).
That is, in order to avoid any idea that God's disposition toward the elect could change (since such an idea, for Helm, would mean that God is not immutable), Helm locates the notions of wrath and grace within our own doxastic structure, and not within the disposition of God. Helm defends his view, by an appeal to God's accommodation. 'God accommodates himself by appearing as wrathful until, by faith, the believer apprehends the merit of Christ and as a consequence comes to realize that God has eternally loved him. Before that, though it is true that God eternally loved him the believer has no good reason to think that he does, and plenty of reasons to think that he doesn't, because the wrath of God rests on the sinner' (397).
Eww. Oliphint makes a good point. Not just "most" about God is an 'accommodation'. All language about God is. We think of immutability and think of blocks of stone. We think of timelessness and think of the opposite of time. God is not our idea of transcendence plus our idea of immanence. He is "transcendence and immanence," which is beyond our ability to resolve.

April 27, 2006

April 26, 2006

Carl Trueman saith
Each and every Christian not only believes in the Incarnation; they also believe that the Incarnation connects positively in specific ways to other doctrinal issues, from salvation to sacraments to church. In other words, the universal Christian belief in Incarnation only ever actually exists in particular doctrinal systems or matrices. Whether one infers the person of Christ from his work, or his work from his person, belief in the Incarnation as a metaphysical idea (that God assumed human nature into the one person) cannot be isolated in reality from related beliefs in a whole host of other theological themes and commitments.
but K. Scott Oliphant says
postconservatives have adapted the postmodern emphasis of the situated-ness of all language, tribes, people and nations. In the words of one PCE, 'we do not inhabit the world-in-itself; instead we live in a linguistic world of our own making.' Such statements betray a naivete that, in most contexts, would not be taken seriously. But, since this kind of statement is so in touch with the spirit of the age, it gains some credibility, in spite of its self-referential incoherence. Notice, however, that in order to inhabit 'a world of our own making,' it must be the case that such a world has no meaning until we 'interpret' it (thus whatever is 'out there' is a brute fact) and that we are the one who make our own worlds (autonomy). Though this seems sufficient to make any Cartesian or Kantian modernist proud, PCEs nevertheless insist on their postmodern roots.

I see that the latest issue of The Confessional Presbyterian contains an article by R . Scott Clark entitled "Baptism and the
Benefits of Christ: The Double Mode of Communion in the Covenant of Grace". While I probably shouldn't speculate as to the contents of the article without reading it [that never stopped you before - ed], I'm struck with the use of the term 'mode' in the title.

I assume Clark is referring to that of which the MVP report accused the 'Federal Vision', of construing all covenant membership as being one type
Membership within the covenant is conceived in an undifferentiated manner: the distinction between a non-communicant and a communicant member of the church is either downplayed or eliminated.
Yet it strikes me that I've never really heard of different 'modes' of communion within the covenant. Clark has been criticized for his inconsistency of speech with regard to the covenant status of reprobate covenant members (see comments by user 'pascoe', et al. in the link cited). The use of the term 'mode' seems to allow for a lot of ambiguity, or, going by the relevant entries from the 1913 Websters unabridged, seems not to serve in the sense one would expect Clark to seek
1. Manner of doing or being; method; form; fashion; custom; way; style; as, the mode of speaking; the mode of dressing.
4. (Metaph.) Any combination of qualities or relations, considered apart from the substance to which they belong, and treated as entities; more generally, condition, or state of being; manner or form of arrangement or manifestation; form, as opposed to matter.
We usually speak of the "mode" of baptism, for instance, to talk about different ways of performing the physical action of baptism, while asserting that the 'substance' of baptism is invariant in each case. So if there are two 'modes' of covenant membership, wouldn't that rather imply that the substance enjoyed by the two covenant members is more alike than to be separated.

Yes, this sounds nitpicky. Yes, I think that's to be expected because I think a lot of the FV controversy is conditioned on very specific and rarefied assumptions about the allowable meaning of certain terms.

April 24, 2006

April 21, 2006

This sizable momma was living in the window well next to our basement.

I noticed her in the trashcans a few night ago, and figured she was a neighborhood animal. Turned out she was closer then we thought, when a neighbor lifted up the metal plate she was nesting under with her babies.

Fortunately Philadelphia taxes pay for animal control.

April 18, 2006

The law given in eden after Adam and Eve were created can't be the same as that given at Sinai.

God makes adam and eve. He gives them the moral law (invisibly and inaudibly, of course, because the text never mentions this, but we know it through theologizing), and signifies it to them with the test of the Tree. The covenant of works is thereby made.

THEN God sets apart the Sabbath day.

The sabbath is a creation ordinance, but its one that comes in AFTER the creation of Man in the imago dei and after the moral law covenant of works is established and represented by the probabtionary tree.

Though I guess if you're a Klinean who sees all kinds of irreconcilable tensions between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, then God could have established the sabbath in 100,000,000 BC on a Tuesday. And made man for the sabbath.

There is but one covenant, originally in God, into which Adam as Godís son was invited to live and charged to be covenantally faithful; Adam, however, failed and Christ came to do what Adam did not do, was covenantally faithful, paid for our sin, and, sins having been remitted, has put us back into a place where we are called to be, and given grace to be, covenantally faithful. This is the FV in a nutshell.
Really? I thought that was Witsius in a nutshell
Thus Witsius comprehended the original state of man in the prelapsarian state as involving a state of original righteousness, by which he is capable of complying with the prescriptions of God regarding the objective of the chief good, defined as the love and worship of God demonstrated in the patterning of his life after the holy nature of God. Herein Witsius made it clear that there is a connection between the imago dei and Adam's state of original righteousness, the later of which is defined as the repository of the revelation of God's holiness and nature over which man is, by virtue of the former, given responsibility as a caretaker. He wrote, "God gave to man the charge of this his image, as the most excellent deposit of heaven, and, if kept pure and inviolate, the earnest of a greater good; for that end he endued him with sufficient powers from his very formation, so as to stand in need of no other habitual grace." In this sense, then, it is the preservation of the imago dei which is the goal of Adam's striving. It is in this context which Witsius understood the statements of scripture regarding man as created in God's image and constituted in righteousness. He referred to such New Testament passages as Colossians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24, which mention the "new self", and locate the concept of the imago dei "in knowledge, Col. iii.10. in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24." Witsius was here arguing that man was created in a state of original righteousness as the image of God, a state to which God desired to renew fallen man through the Spirit. Of such passages as these that describe this restoration, Witsius wrote, "He so describes the image of God, which is renewed in us by the Spirit of grace, as at the same time to hint, that it is the same with which man was originally created: neither can there be different images of God. For as God cannot but be wise and holy, and as such, be a pattern to the rational creature, it follows, that a creature wise and holy, is, as such, the expression or resemblance of God."
Actually, this makes alot of sense. Witsius says that Adam's original righteousness allows him to comply with God's covenant. And he says that God restores our righteousness through the Spirit. So God having "renew[ed] their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good" man is restored to the place that we were called to be in Adam.

Norman Shepherd and Witsius agree. Or does Witsius really mean that we have a renewed image of God as Adam had, rather killing it with a thousand qualifications?

What am I missing here?

April 17, 2006

April 15, 2006

Pascal on the difference between the exile and the end of the old covenant:

"When Nebuchadnezzar carried away the people, for fear they should believe that the sceptre had departed from Judah, they were told beforehand that they would be there for a short time, and that they would be restored. They were always consoled by the prophets; and their kings continued. But the second destruction is without promise of restoration, without prophets, without kings, without consolation, without hope, because the sceptre is taken away for ever."

Some schweet miniature brushwork from the French. Way better than the americans (in this area).

April 14, 2006

Frame on Logic: "logicians have not yet systematized all forms of logical thinking under axioms, rules, and laws of thought. So there may be legitimate inferences (from Scripture or other texts) that cannot be justified by current logical theory."

I hadn't thought of that before.

Paul Helm on Enns.

I've become more suspicious of arguments like Helm's citation of Packer
Christians are bound to receive the Bible as God's Word written on the authority of Christ, not because they can prove it such by independent enquiry, but because as disciples they trust their divine Teacher.
because it raises the question of how Jews before Christ were bound to receive books like Daniel, or Zechariah, or Ruth, or Ecclesiastes, if there was no Christ yet to be a disciple of. Ok, we knoe we can trust Daniel becuase Christ, who is God, told us in no uncertain terms that Daniel is part of scripture and trustworthy. How did Daniel's contemporaries know? Were they not as much bound? Could *they* have asked questions and tried to solve problems they found in the text (Kugel says they certainly did)

April 13, 2006

W Gary Crampton writes of Frame on Van Til
In chapter 12, Frame concedes that Van Til believes that many of the doctrines of Scripture are 'apparently contradictory.' Further, they are not able to be resolved before the bar of human reason. Whereas the Bible claims that 'God is not the author of confusion' (1 Corinthians 14:33), and that there is nothing which is written in it that we 'cannot read or understand' (2 Corinthians 1:13),
that strikes me as a rather ludicrous prooftext. In context it says no such thing
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace. For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1. This is Paul limting himself to what he writes to the Corinthians.

2. The ESV translates the word "understand" as "acknowledge", which comports with Van Til. We can acknowledge something without first submitting it to 'the bar of human reason'

3. Paul is contrasting himself to teachers who wow people with erudition, and who wow people with reports of ecstatic visions. This says nothing of simply stated "apparent contraditions"

April 12, 2006

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society: INCORPORATED RIGHTEOUSNESS: A RESPONSE TO RECENT EVANGELICAL DISCUSSION CONCERNING THE IMPUTATION OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS IN JUSTIFICATION says that Seifrid says: "(2) An emphasis on imputation treats God's justifying verdict as an isolated gift without relating it to Paul's Christ-centered theology. Consequently, it reduces justification to an abstract event that occurs in the believer rather than seeing it as taking place in Christ. Seifrid states, 'It is better to say with Paul that our righteousness is found, not in us, but in Christ crucified and risen.'"

April 11, 2006

have titles?


Naming a baby? Use the Trendy Name Generator

Herman Witsius "referred to such New Testament passages as Colossians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24, which mention the "new self", and locate the concept of the imago dei "in knowledge", Col. iii.10. in "righteousness and true holiness", Eph. iv. 24. Witsius was here arguing that man was created in a state of original righteousness as the image of God, a state to which God desired to renew fallen man through the Spirit. "

Does Witsius ever do anything with Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 15 that we have borne the image of the early man, and that we will bear the image of the heavenly man?

I'm not certain that saying that we are restored to "original righteousness" is the most biblical. Since we are renewed, we are renewed into eschatological righteousness, which is different. Original righteousness would be measured by conformity to the paedogogical Law, eschatological righteousness would be measured by conformity to Christ.

April 10, 2006

A discussion of hats, 'gender', and people with enormous chips on their shoulders: The Park Slope Hat Spat.

Skim the whole thing.

April 09, 2006

Leithart writes
God does not intervene graciously into a world that operates by strict justice; His intervention for salvation is an intervention in a world where all - literally all - is already gift.
Josh S. says that that concept is expressed in Lutheran theology too
Of course, we have always acknowledged that the Incarnation of the Word was an act of pure grace, but we've typically balked at using the word "righteous" to describe this work of God. But I think it's consistent with our theology to do so; we frequently speak of the Law and judgment as "God's alien work" and redemption and grace as his "proper work" because of who he reveals himself to be in the person and work of Jesus.
though Leithart is down on dividing God's works that way
By the doctrime of simplicity, God's justice and Lordship cannot be anything but His goodness and graciousness. And so another deep level is theology proper: Is God essentially Lord, and only "accidentally," at a second moment, a gracious Lord? Or is God Lord precisely in His goodness and grace?

April 06, 2006

Maybe you read Christian comics as a young lad. Well, here's a comic that was specificly geared toward encouraging young people to avoid evil imaginations.

It used the Forbidden Planet movie as the basis for this theme. And it used scantily clad women in the art to help make the point.

There's a reason for that, which is made clear at the end.

April 03, 2006

My wife and I decided that joining Netflix would be a good idea, so in February we signed up.

Since then, we've rented the following:

Grizzly Man. This and several other movies on the list got added based on the recommendations of Brian Godawa's movie review blog. I'm not one to turn down watching a "train wreck" film, and this one certainly qualifies. It was quite a look at character who was way out of the mainstream, but still strangely understandable and sympathetic.

Kung Fu Hustle Fun cartoonish (literally) kung fu.

Just Like Heaven. Nice pro-life message, though weak in places.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Vol. 1 (7-Disc Series) One of my main impeti for joining netflix was the opportunity to watch anime series at a reasonable price over buying (why do I want to keep the thing?) or renting ($4 per disk for 7 disks = $28). A friend sent me Neon Genesis Evangelion, so this was next on the to-watch list. It has not disappointed. My favorite parts of this are the way the future cybernetic society is taken for granted (not a lot of exposition to remind you that everyone is expected to have implants, so hackers can hack people's vision and display logos over faces) and that the social effects of cybernetics seem to have been thoroughly thought out beyond the standard cliches.

My wife thinks I'm a wuss for crying at the story at the little girl and her dog in Episode 12

The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Not too scary, and had an interesting theme of scepticism vs. faith.

Lord of the Beans. For the kids, but the Sporks were cute.

The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection: Disc 1 (5-Disc Series). Kids thought these were way funny. Some of the earlier cartoons have 'adult' themes like drunkenness, thought. Any since I have a son who thinks being a prankster is a noble calling, I have to careful.

Undercover Brother. A friend has been glowingly praising this for a while, so I added it to the queue. Very amusing. Crude in places, but much less so than Austin Powers, and less cruel too.

This disk skipped out on me at the end, and I noticed some bad scratching. Netflix replaced the disk fairly quickly though, so I was glad they didn't make getting a working disk a big hassle.

Scooby-Doo Meets Batman. Two things my kids like, mashed up.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Vol. 2
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Vol. 3 Both of these continue to entertain.

Serenity is next on the list, which we saw in the theatre, so this is mostly for the commentary track.

De script shun




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