A blessed Christmas to all. See you in 2016…if the Lord wills!
My recent talk at Wheaton College:
If you are following the news, you are well aware of the Wheaton professor who has been put on leave pending a review of her theological position. I won’t comment on the controversy directly as some details are still forthcoming. What I will offer are quotes (both made long before the present controversy) by two theologians followed by my own reflections.
Miroslav Volf: “…all Christians don’t worship the same God, and all Muslims don’t worship the same God. But I think that Muslims and Christians who embrace the normative traditions of their faith refer to the same object, to the same Being, when they pray, when they worship, when they talk about God. The referent is the same. The description of God is partly different.”
Timothy George: “Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? The answer is surely Yes and No. Yes, in the sense that the Father of Jesus is the only God there is. … Christians and Muslims can together affirm many important truths about this great God—his oneness, eternity, power, majesty. … But the answer is also No, for Muslim theology rejects the divinity of Christ and the personhood of the Holy Spirit—both essential components of the Christian understanding of God. … Apart from the Incarnation and the Trinity, it is possible to know that God is, but not who God is.”
My thoughts: Trinitarianism doesn’t make God “partly different” contra Miroslav Volf. Timothy George’s statement is irenic and clarifies the seminal issue. Yes, we are called to love. Jesus made that eminently clear. But a call to love is not a call to blur crucial theological realities. Volf likes to use the description of “sufficiently similar” when it comes to Christian and Muslim’s view of God. This strikes me as special pleading.
See my interview with art historian on an earlier form of the selfie:
I heard a sermon this past summer which had many good things in it, but the preacher made some sweeping speculative comments in the application which could raise a number of unnecessary problems for those listening. Specifically, he seemed to be articulating a “higher life” vision of Christian growth. That is, once you are truly broken, you kind of enter a new reality where struggle considerably dissipates.
I don’t entirely disagree as there is literature throughout church history which has themes moving in that direction. I have also experienced a bit of it myself. The problem was that this preacher did not balance it with alerting us to the continued struggle. Since many listening pretty much assume the preacher is correct on all counts, I was a bit concerned by the lack of clarification in his comments.
My friend, Tim Taylor, sent this my way. Well done!
So Rand is correct that there are two options: caring what other folks think or not. Her “how not to care about other people’s view of you” is very different than the Bible’s, but she gets that there is a true dichotomy.
I was teaching at Wheaton College this past Thursday. During my time, I stopped by a bookstore owned by Richard Owen Roberts. It houses some 300,000 books. Mr. Roberts told me that he has 2,500 volumes on the book of Revelation. He keeps those in the basement. He told me that he laughs when he goes down there. Those books contradict one another and they remind Mr. Roberts of man’s presumption. “Amen,” Mr. Roberts!
We have to include a blog on history. My go to site is The Way of Improvement Leads Home. Strong on history, especially American history.