A parable (not an allegory)

A Parable (Not an Allegory) Once upon a time there was a small country involved in a civil war; a coalition of freedom fighters was trying to oust the evil dictator who had ruled the country with an iron fist for decades. The dictator was a ruthless autocrat who arbitrarily used his secret police to arrest people in the middle of the night; most them simply disappeared and nobody ever saw them again.  The purpose seemed to be to create terror among the population to keep them from rising up … [Read more...]

What I mean that “I would not worship that god”

Apparently my honest statement (in answer to a student's honest question) that, if somehow it were revealed to me that God is as TULIP Calvinism says and as its good and necessary consequences imply, I would not worship that god, has stirred some people up to the point of questioning my salvation (and calling my religion humanistic). I don't know if this will help at all, but I will clarify my statement this way: IF it were revealed to me that God is as TULIP Calvinism says AND as he must … [Read more...]

Our “founding fathers”–Christians or what?

Recently I've been delving once again into deism, or what is more appropriately called natural religion.  (Deism has come to have connotations of belief in a distant, uninvolved and even uncaring God.  That wasn't true of all who are lumped together as deists and the real sine qua non of "deism" was belief in natural religion, not a doctrine of God.)  I've been re-reading Locke (a precursor), Toland and Tindal (among others).  These men thought they were Christians.  Well, there's some … [Read more...]

Kant, thinking for oneself, etc. (continued)

If you haven't yet read the first part of this post, plesae go back and read it.  This won't make much sense without that. So, my thesis is that not only SHOULD mature people, including Christians, think for themselves; they DO--whether they admit it or not.  Nobody thinks for someone else--as much as they might try to influence their thinking.  At the very least the choice whether to believe what another person is saying is one's own and cannot be made for him or her. Before I get to … [Read more...]

Some thoughts about Kant’s “What Is Enlightenment?”

Lately I've been re-reading and studying Immanuel Kant's 1784 essay Was Ist Aufklarung? (What Is Enlightnment?)  It's available all over the internet, just google it if you're interested. I grew up in a church and denomination where it was Verboten to think for yourself--unless you were the great spiritual man of God du jour.  Even then, of course, nobody thought he or she (as in Aimee Semple MacPherson) thought for themselves; they received it right from God. I found Kant's essay … [Read more...]

And now…kudos to J. I. Packer for this brilliant article

Lest anyone think I hate Packer or disdain everything he's written, I want to applaud him for one of the best basic theology articles I have ever read.  It's so good I copied it and have kept it in my files for years (since 1986!).  The article is "What do you mean when you say 'God'?"  (Remember article titles are assigned by editors and not by authors; that may not have been Packer's preferred title.)  It was published in Christianity Today in (I think) September, 1986.  (My copy does not … [Read more...]

J. I. Packer and Arminianism

Today I received an e-mail from a reader who asked why I didn't mention J. I. Packer in either Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities or Against Calvinism.  That's a good question. I didn't, so now I will. To the best of my knowledge, the only lengthy, detailed treatment of Arminianism in print by Packer was his Introduction to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ in A Quest for Godliness.  It may be found at this web address: … [Read more...]


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