Monthly Archives: April 2006

Aslan and Gibson’s Passion

Today at church Christian made an interesting side-point in his sermon that I hadn’t really thought of before. Illustratively he mentioned how he had watched the recent Chronicles of Narnia movie. He was preaching about Christ’s willingness to die for sinners and how utterly amazing it is that He did that for us. Mentioning Aslan’s death, which C.S. Lewis quite blatantly allegorised as Christ’s, Christian contrasted it with the depiction of Christ’s death in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. In the former we see willingness, while in the latter we’re left wondering.
Gibson’s The Passion missed a crucial point to Christ’s death — namely the willingness of Christ to die out of love. Yet, this is clearly portrayed by Lewis whose Aslan character willfully dies for his people out of love. In The Passion there really isn’t an overwhelming understanding of why Jesus made the blood-filled walk to Golgotha.
The issue really between the two movies is one of context. One of the many problems with The Passion (for more on my problems with it see here) is that it rips the Passion-event right out of its context. Granting that Narnia is allegory, we still see a context to Aslan’s death — it was to save his people in a substitutionary way. I recognise that there are theological problems with Lewis’ understanding and portrayal of the atonement as well. But I don’t think his is as bad as Gibson’s. At least we have context, and at least Lewis’ is allegory.
Anyways, that was a point that I hadn’t thought of before and wanted to post about before I forgot.
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Hot Air

Here’s a really cool website. Particularly worthwhile is the sound-byte “Vent with Michelle Malkin,” like this one.

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Philosophy of Ludwig von Mises

This morning I had a conversation with a friend whom I haven’t seen in years. He asked me how my Greek exam went, I asked him how his PhD was going, etc. He had studied history and sociology in university so his background has always generated good conversation between us. When I was closer friends with him he was a committed evangelical, now he doesn’t even attend church.
We got onto the topic of capitalism. A while ago I had mentioned to him that I was reading Hayek; and somehow that crept into today’s conversation. He doesn’t like Hayek, his writings are “bullcrap.”
It was a good conversation in many ways. He kept assuring me that Christianity and capitalism are not compatible. Jesus Christ did not own private property and told everyone to give to the poor. Marxism (although my friend explained that he’s not a Marxist, per se) is much more compatible. The setting up of a welfare state to help those less fortunate is a better way, it inheres the Christian ethos of “doing good unto others.” If fact, capitalism, through globalisation, is the world’s greatest killer.
Having read of late the writings of Bastiat, Hazlitt, Mises, Hayek, North, Rose, Rothbard, Opitz, etc., I would likely differ with my friend not only on my economic ideals, but also with my understanding of economic history. Surely I’m only a novice when it comes to this plane in the history of thought, but I know what I’ve read.
Does capitalism, by definition, mean that there is no room for caring for others?
I’ve been reading some of
Victor Davis Hanson’s work lately and have been struck by the unique place in history that we find ourselves in. The capitalist machine of the United States has been going in to Middle Eastern “thugocracies” and removing the autocrats in power. Yet, instead of making Afghanistan or Iraq a part of U.S. dominion, the Americans are in fact helping to rebuild their societies, with their own people. We see no looting by American-led forces, as we might have in other countries, in other times. Rather we see Western soldiers seeking to respect the people they are liberating.
Compare this attitude with Mao Tse-Tung and his armies who decimated 70 million of his own people – in peace time. Or Stalin and the Soviet gulag that saw millions more killed than the holocaust. And of course the National Socialism of fascist (and communist, in my opinion) Germany.
I would argue that recent history has shown that capitalism does not by definition call for the destruction of those who find themselves in a lesser estate. Conversely, communism/Marxism/socialism does. At least that’s what history tells me.
But I do agree with my friend on one point (although I don’t think he was making it intentionally). That is that any system, whether it be capitalism, communism, socialism, imperialism, or whatever, will not work if it is not predicated on the Christian Scriptures. Libertarianism, if not held back by common grace, should lead to anarchism (can anyone give me a consistent reason why it shouldn’t?). Communism, if not held back by common grace, should lead to absolute totalitarianism. Only a worldview that is consistently grounded in the Bible can a) make sense of economic order and b) provide the moral grounding to make the system not only work, but work in a way that all in a society will benefit from it.
I’ve linked to an article from The Freeman that outlines the basic economic philosophy of Ludwig von Mises. To my knowledge, Mises was an atheist, albeit a great economist who levelled devestating and lasting critiques of socialism/communism/fascism. Interestingly the article is written by a Christian named Edmund Opitz who has appropriated Misesian thought within a Christian worldview, and I think has displayed that libertarian economics, based upon a Christian worldview, is the only system that will bring true freedom to all peoples. Primarily because it will be based upon the gospel of Christ that is a gospel of freedom – freedom from sin and death.
My friend has stopped going to church because Christians are all a bunch of capitalists who don’t care about social welfare. I pointed him to the historical facts of men like William Wilberforce who have wrought great social change through the gospel, who were capitalists. What about Christians of today, are we really not into social welfare? Do we not care about the underpriveleged? Do the inner-city missions of Tenth Presbyterian, Philadelphia, or Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis mean nothing? What about the work of Capitol Hill Baptist, Washington? Or the Samaritan’s Purse? Or Grace Community Church, Los Angeles? I would argue, based on older and recent history that Christians are the ones who have provided the best social services for the underpriveleged – and they’re the only ones who have reason to – because they have been regenerated by the Spirit and no longer live under the dominion of a sin-nature. Christians are the one’s with a moral point of reference – God’s revelation.
I was recommended to read the works of Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Zizek to see how a synthesis between socialist political thought and Christianity is possible. I’ll check them out, but I must admit that I am highly skeptical. If the Liberation Theology of Gustavo Gutierrez had anything to say, it was that socialism and Christianity do not mix well together. But I should at least give these writers a chance.
Any thoughts by beloved readers???

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Crawford on Haykin on Edwards on the Spirit

Crawford Gribben has posted a glowing review of Dr. Haykin’s recent book Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival at Anablepo. He says, “This year, if you buy only one book on church history, revival, Biblical spirituality or the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, this should be it.”

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Another Blog Recommendation – Denny Burk

Well, it seems I’m now officially on a roll in recommending blogs. I recently came across this one, and enjoyed it enough to make it a regular read. Denny Burk has a number of excellent posts varying from New Testament studies, politics and culture. He teaches as Criswell and is involved with the resurrection of the Criswell Theological Review – a journal that I think will soon become a must read.
I appreciate Denny’s conservative approach, yet not in a way that is irrelevant to the rest of culture. A refreshing read indeed.

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Jesus Isn’t Cool

Chris Ross, from The Conventicle, has started his own solo-blog (is that like when Mick Jagger left the Stones?). It’s entitled Jesus Isn’t Cool, and thus far looks to be a profitable read. Check it out.

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Discerning Reader

Everyone may well remember the old Discerning Reader and the multitude of problems it found for itself – I won’t get into my own unfortunate experiences with them.
Needless to say I’m quite thrilled to see the great URL brought back to life, with meaning. Tim Challies has resurrected the Discerning Reader, with nice graphics, lots of reviews and more. I hope that this site will be a going concern for all who want to know about good books.

[HT: Kerux]

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Amazing Grace – The Life of Wilberforce

Well, this is certainly a delightful surprise. Hollywood is making a worthwhile movie about the life of William Wilberforce, the great British Parliamentarian and Calvinist who successfully worked towards abolishing slavery in the Empire.
What’s just as delightfully surprising is that they have Ioann Gruffudd of Horatio Hornblower fame playing Wilberforce! Fancy that, a Welshman playing and Englishman. I’ll have to give my lovely Welsh wife a ribbing over that. But Hornblower wasn’t exactly Welsh either.
The wife of Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond is one of the producers. She has info on her site as well.
I hope that they don’t skimp out on Wilberforce’s Christian faith – it was the driving force behind his fight against slavery.

[HT: Justin at Ref21]

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Eusebeia Spring 2006


Well, I just sent the latest issue of Eusebeia: The Bulletin of The Jonathan Edwards Centre for Reformed Spirituality to the printers. It’s a really good issue:

Issue 6
Spring 2006

contents

From the editor
page 3

Who is the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16)?
Brian J. Vickers
page 5

Zeal in the Puritan piety of Thomas Wilson
Stephen Yuille
page 11

Thomas Manton and the spirituality of solitude
Crawford Gribben
page 21

Words of Peace or, Dr Mantons Last Sayings
Thomas Manton
page 25

The theological method of Andrew Fuller
Paul Brewster
page 31

“One face,…of intense brightness to behold”: The life and spirituality of James Brainerd Taylor
I. Francis Kyle III
page 61

The meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the history of the
Metropolitan Tabernacle
Sean A. White
page 77

Book reviews
page 91

Vintage Reading
page 102

Subscription info: $15 CDN (one year; two issues) $20 CDN outside of Canada. Email me at ianhughclary@Hotmail.com or call 416.925.3263 for more info.

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The "Real" Holocaust

Scary protests by Islamic “thinkers” in New York City. Some of the great quotes by these nutters include: “Israeli Zionists What do you say? The real Holocaust is on its way!”
Somebody needs to detain these crazies and send ’em on home to whever they came from.

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Church Sued Over Homosexuality

I just heard about this last night (two or three months too late!). Glenn’s a friend of mine and I know his father fairly well.
And Canadians didn’t think we’d be singled out.

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Seeger, Marx and the Puritan Protest

Carl Trueman has a good post at Reformation21 reflecting on the relationship between protest and the Christian faith. While speaking with a young Marx sympathiser, Trueman reflected on his own outrage at the world. His preference for expressing this outrage is found in the writings of the Puritans who, as Trueman says, “thumbed their nose at respectability…refused to parade around in clerical garb like those clergy who hoped to draw attention to themselves; they despised trendiness and fads in all their forms; and, when push came to shove, they chose to be unrespectable and spat upon by the establishment rather than sell out to the powers that be, financial, political, intellectual. Surely better to be treated like a worthless dog than to wear an absurd and self-important dog collar.”
And all this while relfecting on the Boss’ new album and Pete Seeger nearly pulling the plug on Dylan! I guess it is appropriate reading for me this morning. I’m listening to Dylan’s crooning (!) voice coming through my speaker…”Wallflower, wallflower, take a chance on me…”

(Oh yeah, this is a change to plug the conference we’re doing with Trueman on May 27, 2006 in Burlington. Email me for more!)

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Find Articles – Whoda Thunk It??

Perusing Michael Bird’s website, I came across a link called “Find Articles.” I clicked and a whole new world of research capabilities opened before me eyes (yes, that’s a British “me” meaning my).
Just try it, I dare you. Type “John Owen.” You know you wanna.
I came across this when I searched “Richard A Muller.”

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Clint’s Going Away

Here are some pictures taken yesterday after our last Greek class of the year. The students from first and second year Greek got together and bought our professor (and friend) Clint Humfrey a going away present. This is Clint’ last year at TBS as he’s applying to do doctoral studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The students all kicked in and bought him the first two volumes of Herman Bavinck’s recently translated dogmatics. Tom Gee also bought Clint a classy looking Greek New Testament. We also had a very tasty cake! All came as a surprise to Clint. The second year guys burst into our first year class with the cake and gift.

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Victor Davis Hanson

Quickly, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the website of a man who is fast becoming a favourite. Victor Davis Hanson is an author who combines historical prowess and contemporary critique into a formidable apologetic for Western ideals. For those of us who are truly concerned about culture and the events of today, Hanson is a voice we must listen to.
A little background on the man:
Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz; the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and was awarded his PhD in Classics from Standford University. Currently he teaches Classics at California State University, Fresno.
A prolific writer, Hanson’s work has appeared in such periodicals as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Heritage, National Review, The Washington Times and much more. He has authored numerous books such as The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day – How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny, Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power, An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism, Between War and Peace: Lessons from Afghanistan to Iraq, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, Why the West Has Won: Nine Landmark Battles in the Brutal History of Western Victory, and many others.
Hanson is also a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institute, Stanford University.
What I find interesting about him is that he has grown up and remained a farmer, a quality that I think greatly adds character to his writing. After receiving his PhD, he went and farmed for five years before pursuing academics. He and his family still live on a forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California where he was born!
Please check out his website as he posts many of his articles there. You will find them informative and very important in understanding the day we live in.
I picked up his book Between War and Peace yesterday and am enjoying it very much. It provides great insight into the state of Islam and the Arab world today and why they have such an irrational, yet burning hatred for the West.
As Donald Kagan said, “Victor Hanson is a national treasure…”
Many thanks to the Cowboy for introducing me to Hanson’s work!

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Chinese Sopranos? Never.


Here’s a sweet shot of some of the boys from Toronto Holy Word Church where Vicky and I attend.
Harry looks like he’s ready to kill! I think Ben is picking his nose with his cigar/egg roll.
Is Dave wearing hot lips???

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I’m James Orr??

You scored as James Orr. You are James Orr. You are not afraid of Scholarship, but you know that scholarship is not necessarily objective.

James Orr

85%

Thomas Boston

80%

James Denney

75%

John Knox

50%

Thomas Chalmers

50%

Which Scottish Theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Somehow I’m James Orr. I think he needs more Scots on there like the Bonar brothers and M’Cheyne. What about Samuel Rutherford??

[HT: Historia Ecclesiastica]

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Euangelion – Good Friday Thought: Penal Substitution

After hearing Brian McLaren a few weekends ago give a non-answer to the question of the atonement, and his recommendation of a book that denied penal substitution, Michael Bird’s post is well-timed. He provides an excellent illustration of penal substitution from a story he heard while in the Australian Defence Force. It is very poignant and carries the message of substitution well. I highly recommend reading it.
Another interesting point brought out in the post is something that Clint and I have been discussing since hearing McLaren. I’ll quote Bird: “But what is so amazing here is that the penal substitution model and the moral example theory go hand in hand together! Christ bore (anenegken, lit. carried away) our sins for the purpose that (Gk. hina) we might die to sin and live unto righteousness!”
The doctrine of penal substitution is full-orbed and encompasses so much regarding other theories of the atonement that have been posited. McLaren’s non-answer belies a disdain for this essential doctrine with the result of flattening out the atonement, by allowing one sub-theory or another dominate. If only the “moral influence” theory were true there would remain much to be desired and answered for. But penal substitution answers those questions biblically and personally, as Bird noted.
See also Mark Dever’s recent article in CT, also very well-timed.

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Rebecca Hagelin – So Much For Academic Freedom

Read this piece to find out why a Christian librarian at a United States university is in such hot water. Recommend a few good books and they throw the book at you – literally! Kudos to Scott Savage for having the guts to voice his opinions, in spite of the prevailing winds at Ohio State, Mansfield.

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Empire Remixed Brings N.T. Wright

My friend Billy Gekas whom I know from Crux Discount Theological Books has been telling me about this for months. I told him that as soon as he gets the website up, I’d link to it on my blog. He is part of a group called “Empire Remix” with Brian Walsh and some others. On May 9, 2006 starting at 8:30PM they will be hosting an evening with N.T. Wright who I recently posted on. Interestingly, if you check their site out you’ll see that I inadvertently used the same pic of the “Bish” (as they call him) that they did. Woops.
I’m not sure if this is an “emerging” gathering, but something tells me it is. It looks to be interesting none-the-less, and I’ll likely go. Anyone up for it??? Their site is here.

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