Thursday, August 31, 2006

"The Academy"

Does the antithesis cut through "the academy," or to one side of it? To hear many conservative theologians talk, I must be tainted or think certain things because I'm part of the academy. Just a few weeks ago a visiting minister in our church launched into an adult Sunday school class aligning ideas of multi-authorship of the Pentateuch with liberal thinking and the academy. To me this is a classic case of confusing structure with direction.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Church

In the midst of what I consider very compelling definitions of the Bible, Seerveld comments on the church:
That scholarly discovery in the Bible sparked a new-old idea of "church." Church is not the clergy, the administrative clerics, or the popes in charge because they are the only one single, true apostolic authority succeeding from Simon Peter. The "church" is the communion of ordinary, sinful saints who have repented! It is faithful people (ho laos, the laity) of God, the believers sealed in the baptism of Jesus Christ and stamped, anointed by the Holy Spirit, ordained to live out and mediate the gospel to others.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What is the Bible? (IV)

And finally Seerveld writes,

"The Bible [is] God-speaking literature with its true story of the Lord creating the whole world, of our historical fall into sin, and of Jesus Christ's making redemption graciously available for those who respond by faith to discipleship as they live in love, sorrow, and hope for the completion of Christ's kingdom Rule a-coming."

Tomorrow, the church . . .

Monday, August 28, 2006

What is the Bible? (III)

And then Seerveld writes

The Bible is a Holy Spirit-packed script to be spoken which works faith in people's hearts and generates human life in community, a coumminity of people who thankfully congregate to search the Scriptures together for wisdom to be obedient to God in whatever they are gifted to do on earth (II Timothy 3:16-17, Proverbs 1:1-7, Romans 12:3-9, I Corinthians 12, Acts 17:10-12)."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What is the Bible? (II)

Next Seerveld writes:

"The Bible is God's Word booked telling us the magnalia Dei with a Holy Spirited power that can convict us as hearers to repent of our sin, drive us to plead for adoption by the sovereign Lord into Jesus Christ's body, and teach us to carry steadfastly our neighbors' burdens (Romans 8:14-17 and 10:14-17, Galatians 6:1-3)."

Friday, August 25, 2006

What is the Bible? (I)

I recently reread Cal Seerveld's "Reformational Christian Philosophy and Christian College Education" (Pro Rege, March 2002, 1-16). One section is title "What is the Bible?" And and elsewhere in the essay he offers us what I consider exquisite descriptions of the Bible. I plan to offer one a day for awhile.

Today's: "The holy Scriptures are God-speaking literature given to us historically for our learning by faith the one true story of the Lord's Rule a-coming and the contours of what our obedient response should be."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Structure the same, direction different

Well, I started this blog as a vehicle to disseminate reformational thinking and resources, and to generate discussion on things reformational. I never really intended to blog as a matter of regular practice. However, I've made a change. Steve Bishop (An Accidental Blog and All of Life Redeemed) does all I had hoped to do in such dissemination work. There is no need for me to replicate his work. So now the blog is dedicated to my occasional thoughts. Now isn't that special. We'll see how occasional they are and how thoughtful as well.

Here's a reformational question for you: Does the title of today's post accurately describe the change I've just announced? (Hint: What are structures, really?)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I've been tagged . . .

Steve Bishop tagged me. I didn’t even know I was playing!

Before I answer the questions (see below), I’ll offer the disclaimer that the Bible fits almost every category (and I’m not a pietist!): it changed my life; I’ve read it more than once (or I’m trying to); I’d want it on a dessert island (but I like to pose the question, what five books of the Bible would you pick if you had to?); it makes me laugh; it makes me cry; while I can’t wish it had been written, I often wish it included more; sometimes I wish it hadn’t been written because of the demands it places on me (ignorance is bliss, they say); I’m currently reading it (currently in the Psalms); and, yes, I’ve read and am reading the Bible, but I so often find myself ignorant of much of the wisdom, mystery, and knowledge of the Scriptures that I share the sentiment that we sometimes have about books we’ve been meaning to read.

One more disclaimer: I may call this site the Reformational Blogger, but if you expect a litany of “reformational” books, you’ll be disappointed. (I believe that that fact makes me particularly representative of how a reformational thinker should think!)

1. One book that changed your life: American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund Morgan—reading it was my epiphany in becoming a historian.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: My own, The Dutch-Munsee Encounter, but I don’t suppose that’s the intention of the question and I can’t say I enjoyed it much the second, third, fourth . . . ad nauseam . . . time through.

I’m currently rereading Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: My favorite book, East of Eden by John Steinbeck (hope it doesn’t wear thin—I’d hate to hate it!).

4. One book that made you laugh: A Prayer for Owen Meany, but a close second might be Straight Man: A Novel by Richard Russo. This is a great cathartic for those dealing with the nonsense of academia.

5. One book that made you cry: I generally cry at movies, not when I read books, but I probably cried when I read Jane Eyre as a teenager. Slave narratives tend to get to me (or anything else that reveals injustice).

6. One book that you wish had been written: Calvinism and the American Founding (a detailed, careful, and nuanced study by a professional historian which exams the relative influence of Calvinism on the founding of the United States).

7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall or any book which simplistically and blithely connects the American founding with Calvinism or makes the United States out to be God’s chosen nation as though God is still in the business of choosing nations the same way he chose Israel.

8. One book you’re currently reading: The History and Character of Calvinism by John T. McNeill (in preparing to teach a course on the “History and Doctrine of Calvinism”).

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: There are many--in history, philosophy, theology, as well as literature--but this past year my thoughts keep turning to Bavink’s Reformed Dogmatics.

10. Now tag five people: Nathan Otto and Dave Hegeman. That’s only two, but Steve tagged one too many, and I’m not sure who else to tag at this moment.


I'll tag legion if I can contact him . . .

And, Arnold Sikkema!