Monday, March 19, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The best apologetics is good systematics

Now, apologetics is not a distinct genre of religious thinking. There are no apologetic reasons and arguments that do not belong in the ordered exposition of Christian belief traditionally known as “doctrine.” The only satisfactory reason to believe is the reason of belief. If I could think out for myself a total and rationally coherent account of all my beliefs, I would have found all the reasons I knew for anyone else to believe as I believed. If I were then to urge some other reasons for believing, it would have to be a pseudo-reason that I did not myself believe, and I would be a charlatan.

Apologetics is, on the other hand, a distinct genre of exposition. For dialogue’s sake I may organize my account of my beliefs in relation to somebody else’s doubts or counter-arguments. The rational equilibrium always remains the same: a reason for an unbeliever not to be swayed by an argument against belief is at the same time a reason for a believer not to be swayed by it. Yet different trains of theological thought may acquire greater or lesser apologetic weight circumstantially, as the crises or doubts of the culture may dictate at any moment.
 From The Ways of Judgment (xiii) from O’Donovan, as cited by Dereck Rishmawy

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

There are still places where, if church members found themselves sitting around a kitchen table, the discussion of correct doctrine, of who knows and understands it, would be carried on with great enthusiasm. However, if spiritual matters that pertain to the passion of the soul were to be suddenly interjected, such as the closeness to God in prayer, the stirring of mercy and compassion, etc., the conversation would be met with a measure of embarrassment.

From JohninAwe at Experimental Cosmology comment box

Friday, January 12, 2018


Before I ask a minister whom I don’t know what theologians he reads, I ask him what novels he has read. If he reads novels, I go on to poetry. If he doesn’t read novels, I lose interest in the conversation. Then, for my nightly devotions, I pray for those who listen to his sermons and experience his pastoral care.
From Kim Frabricus

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Luter: wrecker or reformer?

My random notes on comments from the Fisher House talk/conversation with Prof Rober A. W. Rex from Cambrige.

Two key points:
 -  psychologically he needs absolute certainty of his salvation
 1 -  absolute certainty 
 2 -  his salvation (Jesus died pro me, not so much pro nobis) - this fits modern egocentrism 

1- Absolute Certainty

This requires that my salvation doesn’t depend on me, otherwise I can’t be certain of it.
We can’t trust in ourselves because “all men are liars”.
As faith is needed for salvation it can’t depend on me, not even my decision of believing.

The following tatement summarises the issue:
the act of faith is an act of the human person in which the human person is entirely passive.  Or as Prof Preus wrote : faith 'is an activity of man in which man is not active'. Robert Preus, Justification and Rome (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia, 1997), p. 137.

The problem is that this statement is a contradiction in terms. If the faith should be my faith I have to concur in a way, by cooperating with the grace of God, otherwise it is not *my* faith in any meaningful sense.

Finally,  seeking absolute certainty we reach a sort of vicious circle: to be saved you have to believe with certainty that people have to believe with certainly to be saved. Basically I believe if a) I am sure I go to heaven b) I am sure that only people who are sure to go to heaven are saved.

2 -  Jesus died pro me:

Jesus died for me, not for us as community. Radical egocentrism/individualism that fits well with modernity.
The consequence is that Luter has no ecclesiology. This individualism undermines the church.

Luter wants to establish his doctrine of absolute certainty with absolute certainty, therefore he can’t rely on the church, as it is relying on men, so he have to rely only on the bible. Again, every men is a liar.

Obviously disagreement soon appears, but there is no way to deal with it.

3 - Comparison to Calvin

Luter believed in the real presence.
Calvin brings ecclesiology into Luter’s theology (not sure how)
Calvin believes in double predestination
Calvin imposes no images because they are idolatry  (and as corolary real presence as idolatry).


Why didn’t Protestanism  spread to some places and not others?

The spread of Luter ideas was a matter of German Language.
He was an absolute brilliant writer who by himself fixed the German modern language. He was spread by the press. The south of Europe read other books apart from Luter, that is why it didn’t spread there. 

[ All mistakes are mine, good thing I learn from others]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, November 22, 2016