Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Chicken Coop Theology
12/21/2009 - James White
I have had a growing awareness over the past number of years of the beauty and harmony of Christian truth as it is revealed in divine Scripture. God's truth is not expressed to us in modern, Western, text-book fashion, with an index in the back so you can skip past the stuff you don't care about, read a few paragraphs, and be good to go. Divine truth is a tapestry, woven in the mind of God, expressed over time through His dealings with His people, the Incarnation, the Cross, the building of Christ's Body. The echoes and reverberations of the great themes of Scripture are to be heard in even the most obscure corners of the Scriptural revelation, at least, for those with ears to hear.
Sometimes my own work in apologetics gets in the way of my hearing those divine echoes. Constant is the temptation to find "the" answer to every objection, "the" reply that will shut the mouth of the skeptic. But the fact is, there are elements of divine truth that are shut off from the haughty rebel. God does not grant entrance into the inner sanctum of His truth and fellowship to those who hate Him. And it is truly an example of casting pearls before swine to attempt to express the Spirit-borne confidence one has of divine truth to the railing atheist or the self-righteous religionist. While the task of giving a reason for the inward hope does lead one to see this beauty, it is more often in the quietness of contemplation of the truths you have learned in that defense that you are taken aback by the generation-spanning harmony and consistency of the Word.
Nowhere is it more important to see the harmony of the woven fabric of God's revelation than when speaking of the gospel. Modern Western minds, prone to analysis and separation of facts into disconnected categories, far too often misses the forest due to over-attention to the individual trees, or limbs, or even leaves. Seeing one's belief in God, the Trinity, the Church, the gospel, all in one panoramic view, is a rare experience for many in the West. Some find it very uncomfortable to have the various elements of their belief system brought into close proximity with one another, for the obvious reason that issues of inconsistency and contradiction are often seen as a result.
The gospel, while identifiable and definable, is likewise complex, in the sense that there are a number of divine acts that together comprise the gospel. The gospel, for example, is Triune, in that it finds its origin and source in the divine decree, love, and mercy of the Father, is accomplished in the perfect work of the Incarnate Son, and brought to fruition in the life of the elect believer by the Spirit. Likewise, the gospel brings into focus the moral law of God, His wrath against sin, the necessity of punishment. This leads to the categories of atonement, substitution, and forgiveness. Add to this regeneration, adoption, sanctification, glorification, and you can see how the gospel, while simple in its call for repentance and faith, is complex as well.
I am reflecting on this topic due to the recent Manhattan Declaration discussions. I am very concerned about the "Mere Christianity"/Least Common Denominator style of "Christianity" that has become so very prevalent amongst Evangelicals in our nation. The abandonment of the gospel as a definitional aspect of the faith is not just troubling, it is disastrous. But part of the reason for this move seems to be the chicken coop theology that plagues so many today. Let me explain....
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The Awesome Power of Unbiblical Philosophy
12/16/2009 - James WhiteThe more I have pondered William Lane Craig's presentation of and promotion of Molinism the more deeply grieved I have become at its grossly unbiblical nature. The presentation of God as a cosmic super-computer, running the numbers, examining the "possible worlds" presented to Him by His "middle knowledge" of what free creatures would do in any given circumstance, is so totally opposed to the free kingly authority of Yahweh to create as He sees fit for His Triune majesty that it cannot help but grieve any one who sees the damage this sub-biblical philosophy masquerading as theology does. But if I am grieved at the damage it does, I am truly amazed at the praise its opponents can heap upon it as a system. PB directed me to a comment recently posted by WLC that is relevant:
Once you grasp the concept of middle knowledge, Lucy, I think youíll find it astonishing in its subtlety and power. Indeed, Iíd venture to say that it is one of the most fruitful theological concepts ever conceived. Iíve applied it to the issues of Christian particularism, perseverance of the saints, and biblical inspiration; Tom Flint has used it to analyze papal infallibility and Christology, and Del Ratzsch has employed it profitably in evolutionary theory.
Isn't it great? You can apply it to anything! It is the best device ever devised by the mind of man to twist anything and everything in Scripture! Just run it through the Molinism filter and look at what comes out---philosophy created in the image of man! It's great!
Oh may God by His Spirit continue to drive men to their knees before His awesome sovereign power, and in so doing expose all the vain attempts men propose to draw a veil across His glory.