Sunday, October 30, 2005

Defining "Reformational"

My answer to my question:

Reformational refers to the philosophical system of thought stemming from the Reformation (usually from within Reformed churches) and the teaching of Abraham Kuyper, and originally developed and expressed by Herman Dooyeweerd and D.H.Th. Vollenhoven. It is both Reformed and Neo-Calvinist, but to be Reformed and Neo-Calvinist does not necessarily mean to be Reformational (see the Venn diagrams here, here, and here.

Along with many other Reformed and Reformational entries, Wikipedia has an entry here. A very good expression of Reformational thinking was made by Roy Clouser at Dordt College in 2002: Is There a Christian View of Everything? Also helpful is Al Wolters's What is to be done . . . toward a neocalvinist agenda.

I see the terms Reformed and Reformational used interchangeably at times by Reformed-minded people who don't necessarily know or understand the philosophical movement referenced above. Also, when I taught at Dordt College, there was some debate about Reformed vs Reformational. Clearly Reformational thinking has deeply influenced Dordt College--its guiding documents reflect it and it's probably not easy to find another institution with a greater concentration of faculty with Reformational leanings. But some saw Dordt as Reformed and only inclusively Reformational.

As you can see, I also capitalize all these terms--nouns, adjectives, and adverbs alike. I follow the principle that if the term stems from a proper noun (which is capitalized) then all derivatives are capitalized. This is less common among continentals and this reluctance to capitalize apparently catches on among Reformational types themselves. In this regard, consider me a dissenter in the ranks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What does "reformational" mean?

As I promised in my last post, I'm conducting a survey. And considering the fact that I may only have about two readers so far, this won't be a terribly scientific survey. But then again, I have my disinclination towards some of the assumptions of the modern scientific method. Still, if you are reading this and know anyone who would be willing to weigh in on these questions, I ask you to invite them to respond; I'm eager to hear as much feedback as possible on this question.

I have my own answer to both questions, but I've certainly heard some differences of opinion and I'd like to see how widely such opinions range.

Here's my survey:
1) What does "reformational" mean or to what does it refer? (And I invite you to consider it with reference to the terms "reformed" and "neo-calvinist.")
2) Should it (and the other two terms) be capitalized or not?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Who I am and Why I'm here

Paul Otto

I created this blog not with the primary intention of blogging (there are greater bloggers than I), but with the intention of providing a clearinghouse of information related to reformational thinking. At this point, the best sources for such information can be found at All of Life Redeemed which provides an overview of reformational thinking and links to many reformational sites and additional resources. For literature on reformational thought, reformational approaches to a variety of disciplines, and faith and learning resources more generally, see The Faith and Learning Network at the Institute for Christian Studies.

These are on the right track, but I would like to see an up-to-date online bibliography which includes all works which are influenced by or promote reformational thinking (and, why not, a list works critical of the reformational movement and reformational thinking), a list of all scholars who are influenced by or promote reformational thinking, and a list of all websites with the same criteria. And, while I am a strong supporter of the integration of faith and learning more generally, and strive to see that promoted as well, I would like to see such reformational resources exclusive of non-reformational thinking. This is necessary for those particularly interested in reformational thinking in order to help refine and promote the same.

This, by the way, begs an important question which I will ask in my next posting and await the response of all those lurking in the ether of the world wide web.