Thursday, January 02, 2014

My Top 7 for 2013

The Welfare State We're in - 
Bartholomew, James

Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the 
West Lost the World - 
Buchanan, Patrick J.
A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church
Stapert, Calvin R.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith
Butterfield, Rosaria Champagne
G. K. Chesterton: A Biography
Ker, Ian T.

Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
Wilson, N.D. *
Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings
Payton, James R.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Books of 2013

The Welfare State We're in
Bartholomew, James
Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World
Buchanan, Patrick J.
Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert
Drury, John
The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography
Jacobs, Alan
The Fall of Arthur
Tolkien, J.R.R.
A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church
Stapert, Calvin R.
C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
McGrath, Alister E.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith
Butterfield, Rosaria Champagne
The Intellectual World of C. S. Lewis
McGrath, Alister E.
G. K. Chesterton: A Biography
Ker, Ian T.
Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
Wilson, N.D. *
Robinson, Marilynne
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
Jacobs, Alan
Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings
Payton, James R.
1 & 2 Kings
Leithart, Peter J.
The Legend of Sigurd and GudrĂșn
Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Diversity Illusion: What We Got Wrong About Immigration How to Set it Right
West, Ed
Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet
Scruton, Roger
The Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation
Ryken, Leland
Culture Counts
Scruton, Roger
The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die
Ferguson, Niall
The Re-enchantment of Nature
McGrath, Alister E.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Cain, Susan *
Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry
Boersma, Hans

Saturday, January 05, 2013

My Top 10(ish) Books of 2012

Jonah Goldberg, Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas

Garry Wills Augustine's Confessions: A Biography
and Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine, and the Mystery of Baptism.

Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon

Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to Our House

Barbara Reynolds, The Passionate Intellect: Dorothy L. Sayers' Encounter with Dante

Niall Ferguson, Civilization: The West and the Rest

Douglas Wilson, Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families
The Temple: The Poetry of George Herbert

Mitch Stokes, A Shot Of Faith (To The Head): Be A Confident Believer In An Age Of Cranky Atheists

Ian A. Hewitson, Trust And Obey,

James Delingpole, Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors,

Ferdinand Mount,  Mind the Gap: Class in Britain Now 

George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards

David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong 

Stephen Mansfield, Where Has Oprah Taken Us?: The Religious Influence of the World's Most Famous Woman, 

Carol Delaney, Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem,

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human OriginsThe Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins by Peter Enns
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was quite atrocious. Essentially it is an "inerrantist" argument for the non-existence of a historical Adam!

The reigning assumption underlying the book is that "evolution is true" and that the descent of humans form lower primates is so certain, that we now need to revise our reading of Genesis 1-11 and Romans 5 to "make room" for this newer understanding. There is a lot one could say about this, but suffice to note that there is the threat of an "infinite regression" here.  Why stop at Genesis 11? What if science proves some other "facts" that relates to the rest of the OT? Are we heading for concessions to modern scholarship "hand over fist"?

Anyway, these quotes summarise the main  problems with the book, and sadly there is very little in the book to commend it. The problems are systemic.

"The Pentateuch was not authored out of a whole cloth by a second-millennium Moses but is the end product of a complex literary process - written, oral or both - that did not come to a close until the postexilic period." (23)

"Together Genesis 1 and the flood story in chapters 6-9 present not a picture of history but a picture of how Israel sees itself as God's people amid a surrounding world. This point is essentially self-evident and so shapes our expectations of what Genesis is prepared to deliver to those who read it today. These early chapters are the Word of God, but they are not history in the normally accepted sense of the word today.  And they are most certainly not science. They speak another language altogether"(50)

[NB. they are not history, they didn't happen, they are myth. But they are revelation on the terms of old Babylonian Myth, that introduces the true God into their story and shows his supremacy - got it?

Why can't it work like this?

1. God sends the flood.
2. Everyone alive is descended from Adam through Noah and therefore is
descended from an eye witness.
3. Therefore, people produce myths that explain how the flood is related to the gods whom they worship.
4. When God enters history to deal with his chosen people, he reveals the truth in parallel to Moses.
5. hence there are creation and flood stories across the world.

Answer: because no one would take you seriously in the academy.]

"While "Adam" is a dominant theological motif in the Old Testament, what is missing from the Old Testament is any indication  that Adam's disobedience is the cause of universal sin, death and condemnation, as Paul seems to argue." [ SH - except Gen 3?]

"In making the case, Paul does not begin with Adam and move to Christ. Rather, the reality of the risen Christ drives Paul to mine Scripture for ways of explicating the wholly unexpected in-breaking of the age to come in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God.  Adam read as "the first human", supports Paul's argument about the universal plight and remedy of humanity, but it is not a necessary component of that argument. In other words, attributing the cause of universal sin and death to a historical Adam is not necessary for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be the fully historical solution to that problem."(82)

"Paul invests Adam with capital he does not have either in the Genesis story, the Old Testament as a whole, or the interpretation of contemporary Jews. His reading of the Old Testament in general is creative, driven by hermeneutical conventions of the time and - most importantly - by his experience of the risen Christ."(135)

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

"All the misery of the Presbyterian churches is owing to their striving to consider the Reformation as completed, and to allow no further development of what has been begun by the labor of the Reformers … Calvinism wishes no cessation of progress and promotes multi-formity. It feels the impulse to penetrate ever more deeply into the mysteries of salvation and in feeling this honors every gift and calling of the Churches. It does not demand for itself the same development in America and England which it has found in Holland. This only must be insisted upon, that in each country and in every Reformed Church it should develop itself in accordance with its own nature and should not permit itself to be supplanted or corrupted by foreign ideas." 

Herman Bavinck from Wyclif Blog

Monday, January 09, 2012

More of Jonathan Edwards Resolutions

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.
24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.
27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is
perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.
32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.
33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.
34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.
35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.
36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.
37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.
38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.
39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.
41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.
42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.
43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.
44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.
45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.
46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.
47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peace able, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.
48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.
49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.
50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.
51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.
52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.
54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.
55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.
56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.
58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.
59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.
60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.
61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.
62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.
63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14′ and July ’3′ 1723.
64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.
66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.
67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.
68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.
70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Aug. 17, 1723

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year's Resolutions  - Jonathan Edwards


Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’ s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.
3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.
12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.
15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.
21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.