Monthly Archives: March 2007

More on McGrath Vs. Atkins

I took an opportunity to listen to the debate between Alister McGrath and Peter Atkins on Christianity/Atheism that I posted about previously. All in all, it was abysmal. I say this because Peter Atkins turned out to be an a-one jerk who offered no argumentation in favour of atheism and proceeded to belittle McGrath and make fun of him. For an Oxford professor of Atkins’ stature, this whole thing was a lesson in ridiculousness (if that’s a word). To say that I was frustrated last night is an understatement – I was borderline angry. If I had been in attendance that night, I would have been quite disturbed at having wasted my time.
Another aspect that I found unsatisfying with the debate was McGrath’s failure to really press the point home that Atkins’ view not only provides as with no meaning to life, but that when Atkins assumes meaning to anything (including taking part in the debate that night!) he is assuming the veracity of the Christian faith. It would be great if McGrath took a page from his friend Joe Boot, who is a disciple of Van Til. McGrath is brilliant, and if his apologetic method was more precise and biblical, he would be a devestating opponent. After listening to this debate, I have become even more convinced that evidentiary arguments in apologetics are efforts in futility.
I had to listen to some Bahnsen after listening to that debate, otherwise I would not have been able to sleep for frustration.
Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

McGrath vs. Atkins

In a previous post I mentioned that Alister McGrath of Oxford University is going to give a lecture on Richard Dawkins’ latest book The God Delusion. That will be on May 14, 2007 at 7:30pm and is through Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.
Now, McGrath’s debate on the existence of God with Peter Atkins is available online, you can check it out at AtheistDebate.org. I haven’t watched it, so I can’t comment. Although I will say that I think McGrath is very good, although some of his views and apologetic method I don’t agree with. I’m a tried and true presuppositionalist and McGrath is a little more evidential.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Free Books

That title ought to get your attention, if you’re like me that is. But no, sadly, Amazon.com is not giving away free books. Rather, there is a helpful website I wanted to bring to your attention. It doesn’t mail you free books (how great would that be?), but allows you to download pdf’s of good books. Of course, your friendly theonomist, Gary North, runs the site. It’s a treasure trove of good stuff (with the odd bad). I was chatting with my friend Scott about it, and thought I’d post, just so he wouldn’t forget.
I personally enjoyed the following books from this site (not that I endorse everything about the site or their books!):
Marx’s Religion of Revolution – Gary North. An excellent, excellent study of the life and thought of Karl Marx. A must read if you’re interested in that kinda thing.
Introduction to Christian Economics – Gary North. I think that North is at his strongest on economic issues, as he is a trained economist. A very helpful book.
Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators – a critique of Ron Sider. This is a classic.
Trial and Error – George Grant. Against the ACLU – you gotta love that.
Killer Angel – George Grant. A biography of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.
By This Standard – Greg Bahnsen. While I am not a theonomist, I do have sympathies. I don’t agree with everything in this book, but I do find it very helpful in many ways.
Bringin in the Sheaves – George Grant. A book on the Christian response to poverty. Very thought provoking.
An absolutely horrific book (and introduction) on this site, whose spirit I definitely don’t endorse, even though I’m not a Keynesian is Hodge’s Baptised Inflation. They take Doug Vickers to task on his economic theory. It is a disgusting book that drags Vickers through the mud. It should not have been written by Christians. Sad.
Also available are a number of different newsletters and periodicals done by North, et. al.
To be able to view the documents, you have to first download DjVu, a link is provided on the site. In all honesty, it’s been a while since I’ve downloaded anything from here, so I can’t guarantee that all of the links work. It’s a trial and error thing I guess.

Leave a comment

Filed under apologetics, books, capitalism, dispensationalism, economics, gary north, libertarianism, presuppositionalism

Amillennial and Reformed

The church that I was converted into was your common, evangelical Baptist church. Although it was conservative and generally had a high view of God, it was not Reformed. Through various circumstances, that I won’t get into here, I came to the doctrines of grace. As a result, I switched churches to one that was Calvinistic. This latter church strongly preached the five points of Calvinism and the five Sola’s of the Reformation – so much so that I started to begin to think that maybe that was the only theology they knew, but that’s another story (can one be too Calvinistic? Maybe not Calvinistic enough!). Not only did they hammer the five points, they were also very strong on dispensational premillennialism.
For quite some time I considered myself to be a dispensationalist. Essentially, this was a default position because I had really not studied the issues thoroughly. It was therefore no problem for me when the church I attended and worked for taught this version of eschatology.
At this time, one radio program that I listened to fairly regularly was The Bible Answer Man, hosted by Hank Hannegraaf (sp?). One day, as I was driving in my car, I heard ole Hank interview a guy named Gary DeMar on the issue of the Left Behind novels. I was quite taken aback by what transpired. Without going into all of the details, they essentially put a question mark on much of what I believed about the end times. I was quite surprised and was thankful that the show played again the same night and I had the opportunity to listen to it another time.
About a week or so after hearing this, and discussing it with some friends, I happened upon DeMar’s book End Times Fiction, as well as Anthony Hoekema’s The Bible and the Future and Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism. The local Christian bookstore normally didn’t have much in the way of theology, so I was extremely excited to find these books. I bought all of them and began to read.
I started with Hoekema first because he taught at Calvin Seminary, so I figured it would be pretty Reformed. Admittedly, I didn’t understand much of what he was talking about. I was still in the earlier stages of my theological education, and all of the terminology was hard to keep track of. So I read DeMar to much profit. Yet, as I read DeMar, I had the nagging question in the back of my mind: “Okay, if Left Behind is nonsense, what do I believe now?” I found that DeMar didn’t answer my questions. He tore down my dispensationalism, but didn’t build up a better theology. That is when I turned to Riddlebarger.
I must say, Kim Riddlebarger’s book is one of the best Christian books that I have ever read. Not only did he confirm my problems with dispensationalism, he provided a clear alternative: amillennialism. He wrote fairly with an irenic spirit, making sure to treat all views fairly. He gave excellent exposition to key passages, and set the eschatological positions in their historical places. I came away from this book quite convinced.
While I was going through this shift, some friends of mine and I started a study on eschatology. We bought three copies from the Counterpoints series. One on the millennium, one on the rapture and one on Revelation. We met weekly, on Monday’s to look into the subject. By this point, I was pretty much amillennial – and this study sought to cement it in my mind. The others slowly came along. What this meant was that in a dispensationalist church, two members of the staff were now amillennial. Without going into details, we all ended up leaving the church (no, not because of eschatology).
So, here I am today. A convinced amillennialist, a convinced Calvinist, a convinced Baptist and (and!!!) a convinced Covenant Theologian. Ooh. Forgot to mention that.
This post is not to say that I don’t like dispensationalists. Quite on the contrary, I think dispensationalists are grande, even though I disagree with them. In light of John MacArthur’s recent statements, I still love the man, and love to listen to his preaching. But I think he is wrong when he claims that to be truly Reformed we should all be dispensationalists.
I would recommend to you readers out there an awesome post by Riddlebarger listing resources on Reformed amillennialism. Very, very helpful indeed. Sadly, Riddlebarger posted an article by the absolutely amazing historical theologian Richard A. Muller on why you have to be amillennial to be Reformed. Although I am amillennial, I think the claim is just as bad as MacArthur’s. He’s at his worst when he claims that to be truly Reformed, you must be a paedo-baptist. Hopefully, I will post more specific thoughts on this later. But don’t discount Riddlebarger for posting the Muller piece – in fact, don’t discount Muller either, both men are excellent theologians. Just read and listen to everything with an open, but critical mind.

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Secret

One of the new publishing “wonders” of today is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I say new, but the ideas behind The Secret are anything but new; and quite frankly, it’s not much of a secret either. Just ask Norman Vincent Peale who made a killing from his The Power of Positive Thinking or any other new age guru who has told us we are all divine (ala, Shirley Maclaine).
I know a number of people who have and bought into this. Of course with Oprah Winfrey’s imprimatur, why wouldn’t they? She’s one of the most powerful people in the western world and people listen to her – even when she is dead wrong. As in the case of The Secret a number of errors and outright lies are manifest. The Secret is essentially a new age version of the “health and wealth” gospel of men like Benny Hinn (which is an interesting commentary on Hinn as well).
I don’t have the time to go through it all, as I’ve only read chunks of the book (you could likely read it one sitting, it’s rather shallow). But I will refer you to a two part series by Russ Wise on it.
See also James White’s thoughts on The Secret.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Documentary – Great Global Warming Swindle

Here is a link to a documentary making the rounds in Britain called The Great Global Warming Swindle. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, so I can’t comment on its veracity (Y Safle???). But I do hope to get to it soon(ish).

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

New Bahnsen Book

Well, this worked at Christmas when I blogged about getting a “Cornelius Van Til is my Homeboy” T-shirt (thank you Keith and mom). So I figure I’ll try ‘er again.

American Vision is publishing another book by the late Greg Bahnsen on apologetics. This one is called Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg Bahnsen, and it looks awesome. I hope it is better than Always Ready (which I enjoy, but have issues with). Order up!

[HT: AOMin]

2 Comments

Filed under apologetics, books, cornelius van til, greg bahnsen, presuppositionalism

Introducing…

…my pastor!!!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Windsor Liberty Seminar – March 24, 2007


Sadly, I won’t be able to make it down for the upcoming Windsor Liberty Seminar. I wasn’t even sure if they were doing it this year, so I didn’t set the time aside this month for it. If it is anything like last year’s event, it is sure to be great.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Black Holes or Global Warming

Jeremy Smith, the assistant editor of Reformation 21, has a piece there on global warming in part of his ongoing column Spinning the Windows of Understanding. The article is entitled “The Attraction of Global Warming.” He makes the interesting point that popular science is in a hand-wringing state of worry over global warming, yet nobody makes a peep about the devestating result of Hawking’s theories of black hole information loss. It’s an interesting article to say the least.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized