Tag Archives: Philosophy

Christian Metaphysics

This is taken from Jamin Hubner’s blog: http://www.realapologetics.org/blog/

This is an excellent summary of metaphysics from a biblical perspective. Hubner shows how theology should always interpret philosophy and not the other way around.

The study of metaphysics seeks the ultimate causes or explanations for the nature and existence of things in the world as they exist. “Metaphysics” is often interchangeable with “ontology,” the study of being. A few features of a Christian metaphysic (which is the only true metaphysic) includes:

1.       God is God, unique and one, and has created all things, and all things depend on Him.

a.       “There is one God, the Father, by whom are all things…and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things.” (I Cor. 8:6)

b.      “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and For him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:15)

c.       “For in him we live and move and exist.” (Acts 17:28)

2.       God declares what is and what isn’t. He can speak things into existence (i.e. Gen. 1), and through his Word declares accurately and sufficiently how things are.

3.       God also makes things differ from each other (I. Cor. 4:7; Ex. 11:7; Rom 9:21; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 15:38-41).

4.       God exists on an entire different level than creation. He “who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (I Tim 6:16). He is transcendent because He is above and beyond creation. God is not the highest being on a continuum or a spectrum, his being cannot be measured like ours at all. It’s not as if God is standing at the top of a staircase, human beings are in the middle, animals are below us a few steps, and dirt is at the bottom. He stands not at the top of the staircase, but outside of the entire house, above the earth looking down. God exists as self-sufficient and self-contained (“a se”), the Great “I AM,” while we exist as God’s images, created and dependent.

a.       “…when we say that God exists, on the one hand, and we exist, on the other, we should understand two very different modes of existence, each applied to the objects of existence in different ways, according to the nature of those objects. God’s existence is a se, it is Eimi; our existence is eikonic, it is an image, dependent, limited, finite, and (since the fall) marred by sin. There is not one existence exemplified in two different ways; there are, rather, two different existences – God’s and creation’s. Given God’s revelation to us, therefore, we should see that those things which pertain to God and to us – goodness, for example – presuppose a relationship to God and to us – goodness, for example – presuppose a relationship to God as ‘I AM,’ in the first place, and then a relationship to things created after that. In that sense, they should be seen as two essentially different properties, yet connected by God’s condescending revelation to us.” Oliphint,Reasons for Faith, 262.


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R.C. Sproul influences a younger generation of conservatives

This is a column I found on the Orlando Sentinel website, which speaks about R.C. Sproul’s influence on New Calvinism and Reformed Evangelicalism as a whole. It is filled with insightful information about Dr. Sproul, which, if you are a fan of his (As I am), you will aprreciate. The hyper-link I inserted will direct you to watch a short video of Dr. Sproul speaking of his new Bible College. Dr. Sproul has influenced my theology greatly, as I believe he has to anyone that has heard him teach or read his books.

The pulpit of Saint Andrew’s Chapel isn’t off to one side in deference to the altar, as it is in a Catholic church. It isn’t a lectern wheeled onto the stage after the Christian rock band sits down, as it is in many nondenominational megachurches.

The pulpit that conservative evangelist R.C. Sproul ascends every Sunday is a large, imposing wooden centerpiece in a church designed to embody his throwback theology. Opened a year ago, Saint Andrew’s Chapel is modeled after the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, just as Sproul’s preaching is a return to the days of John Calvin and Martin Luther.

At 71, Sproul is one of the old guard in what’s known as the “New Calvinism” movement, which Time magazine identified in 2009 as one of the “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” Sproul has influenced a generation of younger conservative evangelists and this month announced the creation of a Bible college on his Sanford compound that could extend his influence for generations.

Sproul’s Reformed theology is a return to Scripture-based worship. It is the opposite of church made to feel more like a music concert than a religious service.

“Church is not supposed to be a pep rally. It’s meant to be a worship service,” said Chris Larson, vice president of Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries. “What you are seeing in the American church today is an entertainment mind-set driven by the cultural revolutions of the past 40 years that take church practice more from popular culture than from Scripture.”

Sproul has no tolerance for the liberal tilt of a secular society, religion influenced by culture or a government that tries to take religion out of the schools. He is equally dismissive of ministers who preach the “prosperity gospel” and churches that have “traditional” services for older members and “contemporary” services for younger people.

The launching of the college, which will offer bachelor’s and associate degrees in biblical and theological studies, comes as Sproul’s old-school brand of religion is catching on with young people. A generation raised in the come-as-you-are philosophy of religion is returning to the Sunday-best religion of its grandparents.

Mike Milton, president of the Reformed Theology Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., said Sproul was a leader in the Reformed movement when it began in the 1970s and has been rediscovered by young people as it has picked up steam and converts in recent years.

“He was a best-selling author in the ’70s and ’80s, and he’s back in vogue,” Milton said. “R.C. Sproul is cool again.”

Thomas Holcombe, 35, said he and his wife joined Saint Andrew’s two years ago because the traditional hymns, the emphasis on Scripture and the formality of the service seemed more spiritually fulfilling than the more contemporary churches they attended before.

“A lot of churches try to cater to everyone. Here, it’s because we worship God,” Holcombe said.

Because of his emphasis on old-style worship, R.C. Sproul has never been as high-profile as Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren or Joel Hunter. But his serious study of theology has made him, in many ways, just as influential.

Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said among his students, R.C. Sproul is regarded as a rock star. Sproul’s appeal, Mohler said, is his ability to think deeply about complex theological issues, providing young evangelicals with an alternative to the “theology lite” of many popular preachers.

“His books have become some of the most influential among evangelicals precisely because they represent serious theological engagement,” said Mohler, another leader in the New Calvinism movement.

Sproul, who would not be interviewed for this story, is well-known for his daily radio program, “Renewing Your Mind,” and his books on theology such as “The Holiness of God” and “Chosen by God.” His decision to move his Ligonier Ministries from his native Pennsylvania to Central Florida in 1984 led the way for a dozen other international ministries, evangelical organizations and seminaries that have turned Orlando into a religious center for conservative Christians, said Steve Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine in Lake Mary.

Sproul’s sermons take the congregation through the Scripture, line by line, providing insight, context and understanding to what the Bible says. His growing popularity is based in part on his ability to translate his scholarly theology into terms the common man can comprehend, said Robert C. Cannada Jr., chancellor of the Reformed Theological Seminary.

Some of that ability to speak the same language from his elevated pulpit as the folks sitting in the pews comes from Sproul’s own background. The son of an accountant, he grew up in Ligonier Valley in the western Pennsylvania of coal mines and steel mills. He is a longtime, die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Until slowed by a stroke in 2003, he was an ardent golfer. He plays jazz piano, enjoys oil painting and has been taking violin lessons for 10 years.

His son, R.C. Sproul Jr., said his father was always encouraging his two children. The father showed the same full-bore enthusiasm for whatever interest the son expressed as he did for his own pursuits.

“Whatever cockamamie idea I came up with — ‘I want to be a rodeo clown’ — he’d say, ‘Oh, great; let’s get you all the books about rodeo clowns,’ ” said Sproul Jr., 45, who eventually followed his father into the ministry.

The creation of the Bible college is a sign to his supporters that R.C. Sproul remains energetic, enthusiastic and relevant.

“At this season of his life, he established a church and started the Bible college,” Mohler said. “I think it represents a maturation of his ministry and signifies that it is making a very clear commitment to the future.”

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Calvinism & Arminianism

 

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To keep on with our Mark Driscoll Theme, watch as Mark Driscoll gives a great teaching on Calvinism & Arminianism.

Leave a comment with your thoughts on his teachings or your thoughts on Calvinism/Arminianism.

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New Calvinism: 5 Points, 4 ways, No Foolin’

Five hundred years after John Calvin, his rock-ribbed theology is finding new converts as worshipers look for an alternative to Jesus-is-your-buddy evangelicalism. Calvinism generally refers to five doctrinal points – Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints (or TULIP). The doctrines explain the most basic questions any theology or philosophy can ask:

•Why are people the way they are? Total depravity – you’re fully corrupted by sin.

•How can people ever change? Unconditional election – God chose some people to be saved without regard to their behavior or character.

•Who benefits from this change? Limited atonement – only God’s chosen.

•How does this change happen? Irresistible grace – you can’t thwart God’s effort to save you.

•What guarantees the change lasts? Perseverance of the saints – once saved, you’ll continue in faith.

Mark Driscoll gives his thoughts on New Calvinism vs. Old Clavinism:

Four Ways ‘New Calvinism’ is So Powerful

  • Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
  • Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
  • Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.
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    The Dilemma of New Atheism

     

    Humanity in the 21st century is particularly bent on bettering society and revolutionizing the world. Political correctness and the embrace of universal indifference has discernibly infiltrated the mindsets of people and brought awareness for self empowerment; thus causing an exclusion of any religious concept, especially Biblical Christianity. Apart from lack of faith in God, most refuse to be subject to a higher power; let alone a mandated lifestyle and the thought of restraint or submission is unbearable. Today, unbelief and lack of acknowledgment towards God is no longer an individual reserved personal thought, but rather a strongly outspoken view that longs to disprove and annihilate faith in God.

     As active atheist Richard Dawkins puts it in The God Delusion, “I do everything in my power to warn people against faith itself.” Others attacking the thought of special creation, Atheist Stephen Jay Gould claims “we are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because comets struck the earth a whipped out dinosaurs, thereby giving mammals a chance not otherwise available…” Atheist Carl Sagan believed that extraterrestrials would be able to explain to humanity and justify the billions of dollars spent on listening in on outer space waiting for some contact. Philosopher Betrand Russell claims the universe is “just there,” but holds to no scientific explanation. Francis Crick, the co discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule who believes life came about “probably because a spaceship from another planet brought spores to seed the Earth.”

    It seems that these men of renowned intellect cannot give a remotely intelligible answer for creation and it would be safe to say that these answers are rife with ignorance. What is confusing about New Atheism is that these individuals are militantly seeking to destroy faith and God, but the question the author has is thus, if God does not exist why argue? This militant approach New Atheists are taking to destroy faith and religion is not any different than accusations they raise against organized religion being responsible for hate. Is not what they are promoting in effect the same thing? New Atheists have one thing in mind, world domination. They desire a world that has their worldview only and will not stop until that comes to fruition. Their first objective, eliminate Christianity in the western world. Evidently, these New Atheists are not historians. Christianity has faced a myriad of attacks throughout its history: Valerius Diocletian persecuted Christians and tried to destroy every bible. Then 25 years later, the Roman emperor Constantine ordered that 50 perfect copies of the Bible be made at the governments’ expense. The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible lives on. The irony of history is that 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles. These attacks have only made Christianity stronger, as it adds to its numbers daily with new converts.

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