Mark Nenadov, who blogs at All Things Expounded, asked me and some other people ten questions about literature and reading habits. You can see my answers here: Christians and Literature – 10 Questions for Ian Clary.
Category Archives: interviews
I have tremendous respect for Prof. Alister McGrath. He is surely one of Christianity’s foremost apologists, and is a brilliant scholar of the Reformation. A couple of years ago I had the privilege of driving him to and from a conference and enjoyed the short time spent together. He has PhD’s in both the sciences and theology from Oxford and taught there for a long while, before going to London. He has authored a large number of scholarly books on the Reformation, the history of atheism, theology, spirituality and the sciences. He has also debated famous atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
In this video (yes, that’s spittle dribbling down my chin–look at that library!!), Dr. McGrath discusses the significance of Adam and Eve for theology and takes a more Barthian approach to seeing Adam as theologically significant, but not necessarily historical. This isn’t surprising as Dr. McGrath also holds to theistic evolution, and is an admirer of Thomas Torrance, a well-known Barthian who wrote much on science and theology.
Without wanting to sound presumptuous–who am I to take issue with Alister McGrath???–it strikes me that when he draws the parallel between Adam and Christ there is an incongruity. If Christ is an historical person, as McGrath would affirm, and he undoes the work of Adam, as McGrath said, how can it be that Adam didn’t exist? Everything in the story of redemption is historical but Adam, which hardly seems to make sense. John Piper, at the end of this video, makes the same point. An historical Christ, an historical redemption, requires an historical Adam and an historical Fall.
For a more thorough exegetical treatment that supports Piper’s view, see Don Carson’s essay “Adam in the Epistles of Paul.”
Tyler Horton runs the Me and Brooks blog, dedicated to things Puritan (generally) and Thomas Brooks (specifically). Tyler is wont to interview various he’s-and-she’s about Puritan-related topics, and I got held up with four questions dealing with how to define Puritanism; the subject of an essay I published in Puritan Reformed Journal. I’m thankful to Tyler for asking good questions and for posting my mediocre responses. The questions are:
1) I absolutely have always held “the notion that Puritanism was a monolithic movement distinguished by its piety, Calvinism, and anti-Anglican posture.” What parts of that definition are misleading?
2) What is the danger in holding that previously mentioned definition of Puritanism?
3) Calling the Puritans “hot Protestants” or the “hotter sort of Protestant” appears to be a comment not just about their passion but also quality. Were the Puritans simply the best Protestants of their day? Are they the ‘hottest Protestants’ in Church history?
4) Can you break down your lengthy definition of a “Puritan” from the article into its essential elements? What are the essential distinguishing features that need to be included in a good definition of the term?
You’ll have to click here to read my answers.
In earlier posts on the issue of James MacDonald inviting T. D. Jakes to be on his show The Elephant Room I had expressed hope that The Gospel Coalition would act appropriately about the whole matter. From what Carl Trueman says in an interview on No Compromise Radio, some Coalition worker contacted him trying to shut him up. This is very disconcerting. What will this spell for the Coalition?
John MacArthur was interviewed by Christianity.com about his views on the Reformed revival of the last fifteen years; what is often called the Young, Restless and Reformed movement (YRR). He has some strong misgivings about a number of things that he’s seen and predicts that there will be a reversal of the movement in the future. He has a number of good points, the foremost being his stress on ecclesiology. His concern is that many YRR have a shallow ecclesiology; all style, no substance. He is right, if Calvinists think that because they’ve got their soteriology down that they get a hall-pass on everything else, the YRR will implode. Any gospel-oriented movement, like the Reformation of the sixteenth century, must be deeply grounded in the church. Otherwise, it is floating on air and will go wherever the wind blows.
If I may, respectfully (that’s not a mere sentiment), interject a request: I would like to ask Dr. MacArthur to be more specific in his critique. I know that he has had some strong criticisms of Mark Driscoll in the past, and I suspect that it is Driscoll and Acts 29 that MacArthur is thinking of especially. But, at least in my understanding, based on those covered in Collin Hansen’s Young, Restless, and Reformed book, the YRR movement is much larger than Acts 29 and the emerging church blend of Reformed theology. When MacArthur uses the term, does he include other young Reformed leaders like Kevin DeYoung, Tim Challies, Owen Strachan, Denny Burk, the Reformed Forum guys or Justin Taylor? It strikes me that these guys are catalysts for this movement, but all have a fuller orbed understanding of theology than just soteriology. And what of some of the older men who have worked so closely with YRR that, aside from age, they are virtually indistinguishable from it like Don Carson, Tim Keller, James White, Ligon Duncan, R. C. Sproul, John Piper (though he gets a critical nod), Mark Dever, Carl Trueman, Russ Moore, Mike Horton, Doug Wilson and even John MacArthur. This latter group are a huge reason for YRR and share some of the same cultural sentiments as the movement, some even drink. Are they also included in the terminology?
It would be great if MacArthur could be clearer. I think it would help those of us who have been unnecessarily lumped in with what he sees as a theologically immature crowd. Maybe we could come up with a name to distinguish them from us. If it is just Acts 29/Driscoll, maybe it would be better just to deal with them specifically. I definitely don’t feel as though MacArthur describes me, my theology or my practice in his critiques. I agree with his warning (though the tone is off-putting) and would hope that I don’t fall into the trap he sees awaiting YRR. If he named names, so that those of us watching could have specific examples of problem areas, and those who are named would know that it was them that had the problem, all of us involved would have greater clarity on how to move forward. These generalities aren’t as helpful.
I look forward to the second part of this interview.
This is a very sweet video of the late John Stott answering the question: “When do you feel most alive?” His multi-faceted answer is brilliant (it involves worship, friendship and bird-watching).
In my previous post I mentioned that Whitefield’s glaring flaw was his purchase of slaves to work his orphanage. The Noll quote I provided shows that his take on slavery was more pragmatic–which is no excuse–and less of a principled view of African Americans as lesser valued. However, many evangelicals did hold to that pernicious view that whites were a superior race and thus slavery was justified along racial terms. Probably the worst example of this out-and-out racism is the Southern Presbyterian Robert Lewis Dabney. He wrote “A Defence of Virginia” which is almost impossible to get through because it is so racially driven. I have his book on sacred rhetoric, but I’ve only skimmed it. Because of his views, as good as a theologian he may have been, I cannot read him with a good conscience.
If you want to learn more about Dabney, read Sean Michael Lucas’ biography of him. I haven’t read it, though I plan to. Lucas was recently interviewed by the Reformed Forum on this book which is worth listening to. Lucas is right to argue that Dabney, or any historical figure, shouldn’t be approached flatly or simplistically. His life and thought is complex and needs to be dealt with carefully and in context. However, the racism displayed in “A Defence of Virginia” is so gross that it can only, at the very basic level, be chalked up to sin. There has to be a willful misreading of the bible to be so horrifically wrong about the question of human dignity. While Whitefield and other great figures in history, including Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers, have to be dealt with properly on the blight of slavery, to me Dabney has been pushed into another category that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I recently picked up James Leo Garrett Jr.’s tome (I use the word intentionally) Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study (Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2009). Thus far I’ve only skimmed its over seven hundred pages, but it looks to be a treasure-trove of historical-theological material that runs the full course of Baptist history–there’s even a section on Don Carson. Founders Ministries Podcast interviewed Dr. Garrett about the book last April here.
In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the bible Crossway is publishing a book by Leland Ryken called The Legacy of the King James Bible. Here Dr. Ryken is interviewed by Justin Taylor:
One online radio program that I listen to fairly regularly is the Reformed Forum, hosted by Camden Bucey. It is dedicated to intelligent discussions of contemporary Reformed theology and consistently has excellent topic choices and guests who are experts in their field. Today’s show deals with the issue of black liberation theology, especially as it has been viewed by Anthony Bradley‘s book Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America. Bradley teaches at the King’s College in New York and blogs at The Institute. The book is a re-working of his doctoral dissertation that he completed at Westminster Theological Seminary. The interview is very informative. What struck me most about it was Bradley’s comment that black liberation theology is fundamentally not pastoral and that is it’s biggest problem. He explains that when someone has cancer, or their kid is on crack, black liberation theology has no answers.
Imbi and Bill Kinnon recently interviewed Christopher J. H. Wright while he was in Toronto, speaking at Tyndale. He was in Toronto fresh off the Lausanne Conference of which he is a key leader. The Kinnon’s have posted a snippet of the interview from a segment dealing with idols and disciple-making. You can check the segment here.
My buddy and fellow church-goer Matt Fenn is a former Jehovah’s Witness. He’s now a one-stop resource for all things Watchtower. Not too long ago he was interviewed at apologetics.com about his testimony and his thoughts on his former religion. If you know someone who is a Jehovah’s Witness, or are just interested in the subject, this is a good interview to listen to.
For more, you can check out Matt’s blog at Pondering Christ where he has some very useful posts on a broad range of theological issues that I’d recommend checking out.
Interview with Peter Hitchens about his return to Christianity, his relationship with his brother Christopher, his work as an international journalist and his book, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith (Zondervan).
A neat feature that the folk at Canon Wired have been doing for a while now is “Ask Doug.” This is where people can email Doug Wilson and ask him questions on any subject related to theology or culture and he responds on video. Each response is short and to the point and very useful. I’ve profited from these greatly. The subjects are wide and various including pastoral issues, literature, philosophy, education, economics and systematic theology. Below are some of my favourites thus far.
In this one Doug is asked the question about whether people of different theological backgrounds should get married. I find his answer to be very careful and balanced, and I completely agree with him:
Ronnie attends New City Baptist and was recently interviewed about it:
This is the interview that John Bell did speaking about New City Baptist Church and his role with it:
This is an interview that I did last week speaking about New City Baptist Church and my role with it:
John Piper discusses the upcoming film Collision with Douglas Wilson. The film is a documentary directed by Darren Doane that follows Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens as they did a series of debates on the west coast last year. Check it out here.
My friend Darryl Dash has posted an interview that he just did with Douglas Moo on the new 2011 NIV that is to be published by Zondervan and the discontinuation of the TNIV – something I must say that I’m quite disappointed about. Our church plant uses the TNIV and we really like it.
Check out the interview and the related links that Darryl has posted, it’s all quite good.
An old friend of mine, Gavin Booth (he actually filmed my proposal to Vicky) is doing a video project called How Many Days? It’s his mission to meet the Hollywood personalities who have been an influence on him – Gavin is a movie director, writer, nut… In the following, Gavin goes onto Much on Demand here in Toronto and actually meets Quentin Tarantino! I must say, of all of the people Gavin’s met so far, this is the one I’m actually jealous of! Check it out on YouTube: