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Posts Tagged ‘Apologetics’

Who’re YOUR best teachers?

I was just in a discussion (online, of course… I rarely get out of the house) in which I asked a brother his major influences in the areas of theology, eschatology, ethics and apologetics. He gave me an excellent response, and then he asked me mine. So, here they are:

Theology: John Calvin – aside from my parents and pastors, Calvin’s been the greatest influence on my views of most things, especially theology proper. Augustine’s De trinitate and Thomas Aquinas have also left deep marks. R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner have also been very influential for me.

Eschatology: Kenneth Gentry’s He Shall Have Dominion rocked my entire world and brought many of the loose ends together. J. Marcellus Kik’s An Eschatology of Victory was a big one (on Mt 24 and Rev 20). Greg Bahnsen’s Victory in Jesus and the preaching of Douglas Wilson helped me out, too. I didn’t know much about eschatology until I went to seminary. My seminary profs were historic premil, my pastor was amil, but I went postmil! Preterism is very important (see Kik’s work for this) to fit the pieces together.

Ethics: The Westminster Standards (esp. the Larger Catechism) were very influential on me, as was the Heidelberg Catechism. The whole Reformed tradition is very heavy into God’s Law, and that’s the heart of ethics; the details are in application. The Reconstructionists (R.J. Rushdoony, Gary North, et al) helped me see the enduring validity of God’s Law. Greg Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics cemented that the details of divine law are both important and still applicable.

Apologetics: In college, I flirted with both Classical Apologetics and Evidentialism (think Josh McDowell). In seminary, however, I found that Cornelius Van Til gave me a thoroughly biblical and Christian context into which both the Classical arguments and all the evidences fit. Greg Bahnsen and John Frame have both helped me sharpen my understanding.

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This will be short and bitter… well, bitter-sweet. I’ve been listening to Greg Bahnsen’s debate with Gordon Stein. I heard it a few years back, but I found it on this blog. Here are some fun recollections of that debate from Dr. Frame, who was present. You can also hear it on YouTube.

One thing that blew me away in Dr. Stein’s opening statement was his treatment of some of the classical “proofs” of God’s existence. Okay, according to Bellevue Christian School’s transcript of the debate, here’s how Dr. Stein summarizes a couple of these classical arguments. First, the Cosmological Argument:

Everything must have a cause, therefore the universe must have a cause, and that cause was God. God was the first or uncaused cause.

Wow. Nothing about “every effect must have an antecedent cause” and nothing about it impossibility of “infinite regress,” but just that quick and inaccurate summary. Here’s a clear and concise statement of this argument. By comparison, anyone can see how wildly deficient Stein’s articulation is. (more…)

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This is how I distinguish dreaming and waking. When I am awake I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. The dragon that pursued me last night can be fitted into my waking world. I know that there are such things as dreams; I know that I had eaten an indigestible dinner; I know that a man of my reading might be expected to dream of dragons. But while in the nightmare I could not have fitted in my waking experience. The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world; the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific points of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

That sounds a lot like Psalm 36:9 to me: In Thy light we see light.

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