Today we received this CD in the mail: “What’s So Dangerous About the Emerging Church?” Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur for a solid hour in layman language. (You can purchase it here as a CD for $6 or an MP3 for $3.) Jenni and I listened to it this evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you listen to it, keep in mind that his target audience is laymen—not scholars on epistemology. Overall, we found the interview to be refreshingly bold, even shockingly so. It’s definitely the same MacArthur you watch on Larry King. He is unashamedly outspoken for the truth.
I’m taking a Ph.D. seminar with Dr. Graham Cole at TEDS this semester: “Historical Theology: The Atonement.” (BTW, Dr. Cole is currently working on a book on the atonement that will be part of D. A. Carson‘s New Studies in Biblical Theology series; it probably won’t be finished until around 2010.) Consequently, I’m doing a fair bit of reading on the atonement. Last Thursday I enjoyed reading one of the latest contributions on the subject:
Beilby, James and Paul R. Eddy, eds. The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2006.
The four views defended are:
- Christus victor: Greg Boyd
- Penal substitution: Tom Schreiner
- Healing: Bruce Reichenbach
- Kaleidoscopic: Joel Green
The thesis of the first three essays is that their view is the primary facet of the atonement–not that it is the only facet. Green argues that no facet should be primary.
Bottom line: Schreiner cleans house. First class. Well done. Highly recommended.
Point of interest: Boyd’s response to Schreiner involves a five-page comparison and contrast of his view with Schreiner’s as it lines up with C. S. Lewis‘ depiction of Aslan’s death in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (pp. 100-105). Boyd lists two “profound” differences between Schreiner’s view and his/Lewis’ view.
- “First and most fundamentally, Lewis believes that self-sacrificial love is a ‘deeper magic’ than the law, while Schreiner, so far as I can see, does not” (p. 102).
- “Because of their differing views on ‘deep magic,’ Lewis and Schreiner provide very different answers to the question, Who demanded that the deep magic of the law be satisfied with ‘a kill’? For Schreiner, it is God. For Lewis (and most advocates of the Christus Victor view) it is the devil. Here is where the rubber meets the road in terms of the difference between these two views . . .” (p. 103).
For years I have been baffled by the number of people who have no problem with using Aslan’s death as an illustration (without qualification) of Christ’s atonement. Although it is wonderfully illustrative for some aspects of Christ’s atonement, it is fundamentally flawed by placing too much authority and initiative in the hands of Satan (i.e., the white witch).
For more on problems with the Christus Victor view (which often includes some form of the ransom-to-Satan theory), see explanations and refutations in standards systematic theologies. Wayne Grudem‘s Systematic Theology is a good place to start (p. 581 et al.).
Over the Christmas break, I had a one-week window to do some pleasure reading while in Greenville. One of the books I read was this one:
Bryan A. Follis, Truth with Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.
It was an enjoyable, edifying read, and it prompted me to spend about six hours watching Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? one morning/afternoon that week.
For more info, see the following:
- Crossway’s entry: You can search inside the book, view parts of it as a PDF, and read a description of its contents followed by endorsements by people such as D. A. Carson and J. I. Packer.
- A review of Follis’ book by Douglas Groothuis just published in Jan. 2007 in the Denver Journal
- A brief bio of Francis Schaefer
John Hannah was the 2007 Distinguished Scholars Series Lecturer at The Master’s Seminary. From January 8 to 13, he taught “Readings in the Life and Writings of Jonathan Edwards, America’s Premiere Christian Thinker.”
HT: Pulpit Magazine.
Bad news (for me): I just bought this book last week from amazon.com, and it’s too late to cancel the order. Oh well. At least in this case, the good news far outweighs the bad news!
One of the finest reading habits to cultivate is to look up words that you encounter along the way if you are unfamiliar with them.
Problem: In some circumstances following this ideal advice is unrealistic, especially if a dictionary is not conveniently at your disposal.
Solution: This is yet another reason that I prefer reading e-books with the Libronix Digital Library System, launched and owned by Logos Bible Software. (See my related post on Logos’ Scholar’s Library: Gold.) When I encounter an unfamiliar word, I simply right-click on it and instantly locate it in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.