An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Bernard Zylstra Lectures



Presents the annual

BERNARD ZYLSTRA LECTURES
Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Authority and the Image of God


Dr. David T. Koyzis
Professor of Political Science
Redeemer University College

Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation

Chapel address
11:00 am - 12:00 noon, Auditorium
"Living as Image-Bearers"

Afternoon Panel Discussion
3:00 pm, Executive Dining Room
"What Now? Taking Stock of the Provincial Election Results"

Evening Public Lecture
7:00 pm, Room 213
"Can I? May I? The Reduction of Authority to Power"



Invitation is open and admission is free

For more information please contact

Marlene Raddatz
(905)648-2131 x 4414
mraddatz[at]redeemer[dot]ca

A Reformational Wiki

I have recently set up a reformational wiki:

If you want to get involved in adding and editing material let me know.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Knowing with the Heart


Roy Clouser's book Knowing with the Heart is now available from Wipf and Stock details here.

Monday, 22 October 2007

B J van der Walt pages


I have now added the Bennie van der Walt pages to All of life redeemed.

There are two of his papers online:

1983. The consistent problem-historical method of philosophical historiography. Anakainosis 5 (2 and 3): 1-23 [pdf]

2000. 'Culture, worldview and religion' Cultures and Christianity AD 2000: International Symposium of the Association for Reformational Philosophy Aug 2000. [pdf]



Sunday, 14 October 2007

Rowan Wiliams on Dawkins

The Telegraph has a piece on Rowan Williams' take on Dawkins:

Dr Rowan Williams responded to critics of religion by arguing that atheists had missed the point and failed to understand what Christians really believe in.
In a fierce attack on the Oxford professor and other leading atheists, he said: "There are specific areas of mismatch between what Richard Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing."

He added: "There are few things more annoying than people saying 'I know what you mean'." Dr Williams described Prof Dawkins as a "lively and attractive writer" but said his arguments were not fully engaging with religion.

He suggested that Prof Dawkins, the author of the best-selling The God Delusion and a leading Darwinist, was a good scientist but a poor philosopher.


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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Friday, 12 October 2007

Evangelical Quarterly articles

Rob Bradshaw at biblicalstudies.org.uk and at theologicalstudies.org.uk is putting online many biblical and thological articles. He has put up two of my articles from the Evangelical Quarterly:

Steve Bishop, "Protestant Missionary Education in British India," The Evangelical Quarterly 69.3 (1997): 245-266.

Steve Bishop, "A Typology for Science and Religion," The Evangelical Quarterly 74.1 (2002): 35-56.

Arminian grace

This at The ransomed made me smile:

Arminian Grace

(to the tune of “Amazing Grace”)

v1
Arminian “grace!”
How strange the sound,
Salvation hinged on me.
I once was lost then turned around,
Was blind then chose to see.

v2
What “grace” is it that calls for choice,
Made from some good within?
That part that wills to heed God’s voice,
Proved stronger than my sin.

v3
Thru many ardent gospel pleas,
I sat with heart of stone.
But then some hidden good in me,
Propelled me toward my home.

v4
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Because of what we’ve done,
We’ve no less days to sing our praise,
Than when we first begun.

Herman Bavinck website


Ron Gleason maintains a website dedicated to Herman Bavinck, the great Dutch theologian and successor to Abraham Kuyper at the VU. [HT Exiled preacher] Gleason interviewed here says of Bavinck:
Bavinck’s works are “timeless” because he always wrote in concert with Scripture. This is not to suggest that Bavinck was infallible, but he was a man thoroughly conversant with the Word of God and his writings reflect a solid acquaintance with the Bible. It should come as no surprise that many of the theological situations of Bavinck’s day (Moralism, Existentialism, Relativism, Mysticism, Subjectivism) are alive and well today. In each paragraph Bavinck provides his reader with an historical examination of the subject, thorough biblical exegesis, and a plain exposition of the matter under discussion. Many theologians today fail to recognize old heresies in their new garb. Therefore, mastery of the contents of Scripture, thoroughly acquaintance with a number of Reformed/Presbyterian confessions, and reading such a rock solid man as Herman Bavinck can only serve to benefit the Christian.
The site has numerous articles by Bavinck, photos, quotes, a bibliography and a brief biography.

Good stewards

Usually, the mention of stewardship in most churches provokes the idea of money and tithing. Fortunatley, this website has a larger view of stewardship:

Serve God and save the planet

The website of Mathew Sleeth - the author of Serve God and Save the Planet and new director of A Rocha USA - it is replete with some excellent suggestions to live more lightly on the earth.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Vollenhoven newsletter

The third Vollenhoven Newsletter is now available here. Contents include:

  • Guest lectures of Vollenhoven on DVDs and CDs; K.A. Bril
  • H.G. Stoker’s correspondence with Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven; E.A. de Boer
  • A seminar at the ICS in Toronto; J.H. Kok
  • The Vollenhoven Archives; K.A. Bril
A list of Vollenhoven's papers in the VU archives is available here.
  • Vollenhoven as I remember him; A. Tol
  • Appendix: Books and articles related to Vollenhoven

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Creation Regained study questions

Before starting to read Al Wolters' Creation Regained write down what you understand by the following terms: creation, fall, redemption, law, dualism, worldview.

CHAPTER 1 What is a worldview?

1. How does Wolters define worldview? What are the four main components of a worldview?
2. How do scripture and a worldview interrelate?
3. Describe the reformational worldview. How does it differ from other Christian worldviews?

CHAPTER 2 Creation

Pages 12-24
1. What are the two (double) aspects of creation?
2. What does Wolters mean by law?
3. In what ways does God impose his laws upon the cosmos?
4. What is the distinction between "norms" and "laws of nature"
5. What is the distinction between general and particular creation law?
6 What does Wolters mean by "word"?

Page 24-35
7. How can the law of creation impart knowledge?
8. What does Wolters mean by "wisdom"?

Page 35-43
9. What does it mean to develop creation?

CHAPTER 3 Fall

1. What are the effects of the fall on society, culture, humanity ,...
2. What does Wolters mean when he says "Sin is alien in creation"?
3. Explain the meaning of structure and direction (cf also p 9)
4. What three meanings are given to the word "world" in the scriptures?

CHAPTER 4 Redemption

1. What synonyms are there for the word "redemption"; how do these crystallise its meaning?
2. Why is it that nothing in creation is neutral?
3. What is meant by the kingdom of God?
4 What are the misconceptions associated with the kingdom?

CHAPTER 5 Discerning structure and direction
(cf also pp 9, 49 ff)

1. How do the terms structure and direction summarise the biblical themes of creation, fall and redemption?
2. What two connotations of "reform" are present in the term reformational?
3. What is a "dualistic worldview"?
4. What does Wolters mean by "We are always in danger of rejecting the creational in the name of the fall, and of accepting the fallen in the name of creation".


Look back at the meanings you gave to the terms creation, fall, redemption, law, dualism, worldview. How has reading Creation Regained helped you to clarify/ change the meaning you gave to them? In what ways has your thinking changed (or remained unchanged)?

John Hedley Brooke on Science and secularisation

As part of Science Week Guardian UK has an interview with John Hedley Brooke; listen to it here.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Reviews of Roy Clouser's Myth of Religious Neutrality

Here is my review from Science and Christian Belief 19 (1) (2007) pp 93-94 of Roy's excellent Myth book:

Roy Clouser
The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories
Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005. 397 pp. pb.
£19.95 ISBN 0-268-02366-2

Every so often along comes a book that is paradigm shaking – this is one such book. Not least it challenges the idea that science and religion are independent. Roy Clouser, professor emeritus of philosophy and religion at The College of New Jersey, Trenton, has produced, to use a cliché, “an important and seminal work”; in Clouser’s case this is not an over exaggeration. He shows the relationship of religious beliefs to theories. This book is a revised and updated version of his 1991 book.

Clouser’s main thesis is that theories are controlled by religious beliefs. Religious beliefs guide and direct the use of reason in all of life. After a brief introduction (ch 1), Part I looks at “Religion”. In chapter 2 he examines ‘What is religion?’

He then identifies (Ch 3) the main types of religious belief and concentrates on three main types: pagan, pantheistic and biblical. For the pagan, the divine is some part, aspect, or force or principle in creation; for the pantheistic, the non-divine is a subdivision of the divine; and the biblical denies that there is one continuous reality: the creator is distinct from the creation.

Part II puts “Theories” under the scalpel. After looking at “What is a theory?” (Ch4), he looks at the relationship between religion and theories. He identifies three basic alternatives: religious irrationalism, religious rationalism and the biblical (Ch 5).

The first sees religion and reason as two distinct realms: the two ‘have nothing to do with one another’… so ‘neither is capable of passing any judgment on the other” (p 89). The second, religious rationalism, accepts the neutrality of reason, reason is the final court of appeal being able to decide on all matters; consequently, religious beliefs are optional and a logical conclusion of reason. Reason shapes religious beliefs. The biblical position reverses this: religious belief shapes reason. Religious beliefs guide and direct the use of reason; hence, reason is not neutral; it is controlled by religious beliefs.

It is this biblical position that Clouser defends and advocates. Part III is a “casebook” of illustrations. By examining the role of theories in mathematics (Ch 7), psychology (Ch 8) and physics (Ch 9), he shows that religious core beliefs not only influence theories by acting as presuppositions, but also that they are basic presuppositions ... religious core beliefs act as guiding presuppositions to theorizing (pp 127-8). This part culminates in chapter 10: ‘The need for a new beginning’. This is perhaps the most controversial and closely argued chapter. Clouser examines the problems in the Augustinian, Anselmian and Aquinasian view of God (the AAA view). He demonstrates that this view is inconsistent, illogical, it means that humans would have to be (partly) divine – as they share some of the attributes of God, such as goodness and justice – and it requires the cosmos to be understood reductionistically. The AAA view of God’s attributes in need of an overhaul. In its place Clouser looks to the Cappodocians and the Reformers’ (the C/R view) view of God. This view provides a much stronger basis on which to build a non-reductionist theory of reality.

Part IV attempts a reconstruction and develops non-reductionistic theories of reality (ch 11), society (ch 12) and the state (ch 13). Here Clouser develops and expounds the ideas and theories of the much neglected and misunderstood – particularly in the UK – Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Dooyeweerd’s own writing can be extremely opaque, fortunately Clouser has provided an excellent, clear and readable introduction to them.

This revised edition is more nuanced than the original – the typeface is also smaller, but much clearer and it has 33% more pages. There are 49 pages of end notes and an improved 17-page index. Even if you have the first edition, it is well worth investing in this one.

It should be required reading for all those involved in any academic disciplines but especially for those involved in the biological and physical sciences – to paraphrase Luke22:36: “if you don’t have a Clouser, sell your cloak and buy one.”



Reviews can also be found here:

by Kenn Hermann (from Christian Scholar's Review) also here

In my judgment, this edition will stand as the best, most complete, introduction to Herman Dooyeweerd’s thought in the English language for many years to come.
by James Skillen All theory is grounded

There is also a review by Michael De Moor in Religious Studies Review 33 (1) (Jan 2007) 50–51

Here's a comparison of the table of contents of the first and second edition.

Reviews of the first edition:
by Peter Bryne Religious Studies 31 (1) (March 1995) 142


This book argues for the conclusion that explaining and understanding the world is inevitably determined by our fundamental religious commitments. There is no religion-neutral way of understanding reality. Christian thinkers should return to what is claimed to be the Biblical view that religious belief should underlie and direct all knowledge and they should thus produce theories of reality, society and so on that reflect the underlying faith commitment that all things are created by God.

Chapters 1-6 offer arguments about the character of religion, explanation and theories which support the general claim that no explanation and understanding can be religiously neutral. The author defines the religious in terms of belief about what is ontologically fundamental. A view of reality rests on a religious commitment, has a view about what is divine, in so far as it affirms that something exists independently of other things and supports the existence of other things. A materialist on this account has a religious belief in which matter is given the status of the divine. These chapters contend that differences about what is ontologically ultimate radically infect all modes of enquiry. They therefore criticise those theological outlooks (called here 'Scholastic') which have tried to preserve an area of the 'natural' which is the object of shared, neutral understanding by those with differing religious views. Chapters 7 to 9 offer case studies of the way in which understanding in mathematics, physics and psychology has been dependent on views about the ontologically fundamental. This is alleged to support the general claim that religious commitments cannot be set aside in theorising about matters of substance. Chapters 10 to 13 close the argument by showing what a radically Biblical (that is, 'pancreationist') understanding of the material and human world would look like.

The general thrust of these reflections appears to be to establish the basis for a kind of 'Christian philosophy', Calvinist style. The arguments throughout are presented in a crystal clear fashion and with considerable vigour. Despite going over some very abstruse territory (for example, 176-80 argues that God creates all cognitive objects, including abstract entities and necessary truths), the book remains readable throughout.

Leaving aside the somewhat stipulative definition of religion, critical questions should begin by querying Clouser's 'top-down' approach to human enquiry. The book tells us that we must have the right account of the fundamentally real (that is, the divine on his definition) otherwise understanding the world goes astray. But it seems to be a feature of much, very successful, human understanding that it begins from what is more easily understood and moves upward to guesses about what is less so. Frequently this move is from particulars up towards, with luck, first principles. Folk who hold different hunches about first principles and the character of ultimate reality, or with no hunches at all, seem able to join minds in the search for understanding. It appears to me to be a very great mistake in epistemology to claim that unless we get our metaphysics of ultimate reality clear, then we cannot gain understanding of the world. Rather, are we not very frequently in a position in many forms of enquiry of testing different claims about first principles and ultimates by reference to how far they fit in with what knowledge' of particulars has established?

This is to argue that Clouser has not appreciated the full force of a counter to his claims based in a fallibilist, agnostic epistemology. It is a measure perhaps of his lack of awareness of the possibilities of alternative approaches to understanding the nature of reason and enquiry that he appears supremely confident that we know where to get the religious recipe for putting together a right theory of things. Throughout he refers to 'Scripture' as the source for this, as if we could be certain: (a) what is included under this heading; (b) that it has a unified meaning; (c) that its meaning is clear; and (d) that someone can tell us authoritatively what that clear meaning is. Even granted the point that he is speaking to a 'Judaeo-Christian' audience, even an exclusively Christian one, this stance seems problematic.

If Clouser is right in saying that we need to know who/what is the right God to theorise about the world, one response would be 'Heaven help us!'

Despite these criticisms, this book can be warmly commended. It treats of important issues in a clear and energetic way and it is a genuine attempt to break some new ground in the philosophy of religion.

PETER BYRNE King's College London



by Montague Brown The Review of Metaphysics 46 (2) (Dec 1992)

Clouser claims that every theory is based on a religious presupposition, that is, on an idea of what is self-existent (divine). Since all such ultimate presuppositions are unjustifiable in principle, those who presuppose the biblical faith in God as creator are equally respectable intellectually as are those who presuppose any other theory of reality. In fact, the presupposition of a creating God results in superior interpretations of reality in all its many facets. This thesis is laid out in four parts: (1) "Religion," (2) "Theories," (3) "A Casebook," and (4) "Radically Biblical Theories."

In the first part Clouser defines religion: "A religious belief is any belief in something or other as divine. 'Divine' means having the status of not depending on anything else" (pp.21-2). In other words, religious belief is one's assumption about what is independent and self-existent, and on which all else depends.

In Part 2 he defines what he means by a theory and shows that every theory presupposes a religious belief. A theory is a hypothesis based upon an abstraction of an aspect of reality (p. 59). Behind every theory, whether of mathematics, physics, psychology, or ethics, there lies an unproven (indeed unprovable) religious presupposition which guides one's choices about what to emphasize and what to downplay. Thus, one's assumption about what is self-existent (for example, matter, mind, God) will affect how one accounts for the order in the world or the status of mathematical entities or the nature of human agency.

In the third part Clouser presents a case book of theories, focusing on various theories of mathematics, physics, and psychology, and showing how these theories differ in proportion to the difference of their assumptions of what is divine (that is, what has independent status).

In Part 4 Clouser presents a biblical theory of reality, and then applies it to theories about society and the state. Throughout this part of the book Clouser draws heavily on the work of Herman Dooyeweerd, especially his New Critique, and grounds his theory on passages from Scripture with support from the writings of John Calvin. Clouser rejects what he calls pagan theories of reality (any theory which makes part of creation self-existent) because they are reductionist, and he rejects traditional Christian explanations of reality (for example, those of Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas) because they make extensive use of these noncreationist pagan theories. Only by presupposing the biblical position of God as creator can an undistorted interpretation of reality be achieved. Such a position Clouser calls the "law framework theory," and it is guided by four principles: (1) the "principle of pancreation," which means that "everything other than God is his creation and nothing in creation, about creation, or true of creation is self-existent" (p. 202); (2) the "principle of irreducibility," which means that "no aspect of creation is to be regarded as either the only genuine aspect or as making the existence of any other possible" (p.202); (3) the "principle of aspectual universality," which means that "every aspect is an aspect of all creatures, since all creation exists and functions under all the aspectual laws simultaneously" (p.215); and (4) the "principle of aspectual inseparability," which means that "aspects cannot be isolated from one another; their very intelligibility depends on their connectedness" (p.217). An explication of the theory is quite complex and would require definitions of many technical terms for which there is no space here.

The book is very well written. It is clear and informative. There is excellent work on recognizing deficient theories in terms of logical inconsistency, self-referential incoherence, self-assumptive incoherence, and self-performative incoherence (pp. 68-73). His case studies point out clearly the unproven presuppositions behind many so-called "rationalist" theories about various aspects of reality. In addition, the "law framework theory" is impressive in its complexity and subtlety and well worth serious study.

I have two general comments. First, treatment of Aristotle and Aquinas is rather weak. Perhaps Clouser is influenced by late Scholasticism's interpretation of their theories--the kinds of things Calvin would have known. Aristotle's notion of substance is far subtler than it is characterized here. Also, Thomas Aquinas's doctrine of creation is very bit as strong as the pancreationism recommended by Clouser, with this difference: Aquinas thought creation was not just a matter of belief, but could be established by natural reason. This brings me to my second point. It does not seem to me that all ideas about what is self-existent (what I would call metaphysical rather than religious principles) are equally unjustifiable, and this for the very reasons Clouser mentions. The reductionist positions which he criticizes all lead to incoherence, whether self-referential, self-assumptive, or selfperformative. Only a view of reality which lets reality speak in all its many aspects can avoid these incoherences. When reality is allowed to speak this way, it shows itself to absolutely dependent on God the creator.

--Montague Brown, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, N.H.

Creation Regained review in RRT

Reviews in Religion & Theology 14 (1) (Jan 2007) pp 142-144 contains this review:

Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview – Albert M. Wolters

Jason A. Fout
Selwyn College, University of Cambridge

Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview
, 2nd edition, Albert M. Wolters, Eerdmans Press, 2005 (ISBN 0-8028-2969-4), xi + 143 pp., pb $12.00/£6.99

What does it mean to be a Christian in the world today? In Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview, now in its second edition, Albert Wolters addresses this question through an exposition of a framework for understanding and living obediently to scripture. Along with others in the Reformed tradition, he calls this framework a 'worldview' (from the German Weltanschauung), meaning a structure of beliefs which act as a guide to life. Wolters sets forth what he sees as the elements of such a worldview informed by the Protestant Reformation and shaped by the Bible.

In the bulk of the book, the author expounds a framework for understanding the teaching of scripture through three key concepts: creation, fall, and redemption. He stresses the goodness of God's creation, the thoroughness of humanity's fall (which impinges on all of creation), and the equally thorough scope of redemption through Christ, which restores creation. Wolters emphasizes this last point, insisting that God's grace is not supra-creational or anti-creational, but restorative of the original goodness and intention of creation. Because of the expansive scope of God's redeeming work, Christians are called to participate in this work in all parts of the world (not merely the 'religious'). In this way, Wolters stresses that redemption is about all of life, and not merely the afterlife.

To expand his account, Wolters introduces two terms to explain the relationship of the three concepts of creation, fall, and redemption: structure and direction. Structure, he states, 'refers to the order of creation', the unchangeable and basic reality created by God, akin to the philosophical notions of 'substance' or 'nature' (p. 59). Direction, on the other hand, deals with the evil in the world (the fall) and its cure (redemption). Structure and direction together make up 'worldview', which differs from philosophy and theology by being pre-theoretical (p. 10). These two terms allow him to talk about how something might be given in the order of creation (structure), and then used for or against the reign of God (direction).

There is much here that is good, but the book left me with serious questions. Wolters spends a fair bit of time unpacking the idea of creation, which he specifies as 'the correlation of the sovereign activity of the Creator and the created order' (p. 14). He then explores the notion of God's acts constituting and upholding creation, searching for a term to designate these acts, eventually arriving at 'law'. 'Law' not only stands 'for the totality of God's ordaining acts toward the cosmos' (p. 15), but also focuses 'attention on God as sovereign, as absolute Lord and King' (ibid. italics original). For two reasons, though, I wonder if 'law' is really the best term he might have used. First, people's experience of 'law' is generally something faceless and impersonal, whether it is natural or statutory law, or the sorts of norms Wolters envisions as present in social reality. Laws in nature generally tend to involve brute, blind force; laws in society may protect the strong or promote injustice, rather than protecting the weak and promoting justice; norms in society are notoriously labile. Given that Wolters earlier quibbles with using the term 'creation' itself to designate God's acts toward the cosmos because of the drawbacks associated with its usage, I wonder why he did not similarly reject 'law' in favor of another less problematic term? Second, I wonder why Wolters here wishes to focus attention only on God as 'absolute Lord and King'. The narrative arc of the Christian story – particularly in Jesus Christ – reveals a much richer notion of who this God is than only 'Lord and King', full stop. Does not the love, service, and self-sacrifice seen in Jesus Christ elaborate on such sovereignty in crucial ways? How might a richer, more Trinitarian notion of God have led to a different account of God's relation to creation, not denying but importantly expanding on God as 'Lord and King'? It seems that this would substantially recast later sections of the book.

Also, Wolters wants to get beyond a certain kind of dualism which divides the world into 'religious' and 'secular' realms, and which relegates scripture and faith to 'private' concerns, away from 'public' affairs such as art, politics, science, or scholarship (p. 8). This is an admirable goal, but one which the author executes unevenly, and even undermines at points.

For example, Wolters focuses on the cognitive aspect of humanity as the means by which we come to live faithfully, hence the focus on 'worldview'. The implication seems to be that if we can rearrange or replace our mental furniture to more faithfully embody scripture, then our lives will reflect our minds and be renewed. Thus is revealed a one-way subordinate relationship between beliefs and practices, in which practices always follow on from beliefs. In this, a dualism lurks: a dualism of inner (beliefs) and outer (practices).

This becomes even clearer in his discussion of consecration versus sanctification (pp. 89–95). Here, he stresses the importance of renewal from the inside out (which he terms sanctification), instead of external, 'superficial' renewal (consecration). So on Wolters's account, we are first properly renewed within, including but not limited to working through the basic structures of our beliefs (worldview). What results from this internal work is a reorientation of our lives and practices in the world, including our reforming work in the various pursuits – labor, teaching, science, and so forth – which make up our lives. The problem is that this seems far too neat, and neglects how practices form people as much as beliefs form people. Moreover, as many of those versed in virtue ethics would point out, such 'external' formation can be genuine and legitimate, leading to a good life. It might be observed that people become who they are as much from the outside in as the inside out, and to neglect or deny these external factors and the roles they might play risks yielding a truncated or artificial account. Although Wolters attempts to get beyond a private–public dichotomy, by limiting renewal to an inner aspect of human life – and resisting any concept of external renewal which might be prior to or simultaneous with that inner renewal – he undermines his attempt finally to get beyond this binary distinction.

But alongside these concerns, there is much to appreciate here, as Wolters expounds what a Reformed Christian worldview looks like. Among his most helpful points must be noted his clear sense that a biblical worldview does not provide answers, especially of the ready-made variety, but rather provides a framework by which we might shape our questions.

This book was originally intended to serve as an introduction to a biblical, Reformed worldview, used for a particular class that Wolters taught at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. More specifically, Wolters meant for it to be an introduction to the Reformed philosophy of D. H. T. Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd (although as the present work stands, there is little explicit exposition of the work of these thinkers – indeed, there are few footnotes or [extra-biblical] references of any kind). In this new edition, along with a slight revision of the text itself, Mike Goheen, a former colleague of Wolters, coauthors a postscript which relates narrative and mission to worldview and draws on the work of Lesslie Newbigin, N. T. Wright, and others.

Creation Regained is an introductory-level work. It makes some demands of its readers, but resists highly technical discussions and thus remains generally accessible. The author seems to envision an audience of introductory-level undergraduates, particularly of evangelical and Reformed sympathies (for example, his discussion of the permissibility of dance, while not without merit, will be a nonstarter for many Christians of different stripes). Nevertheless, most general, nonspecialist readers might make good use of the work. Although those outside of evangelical or Reformed circles might not find the specific points set forth here to be entirely convincing, Wolters challenges his readers to consider what difference being a Christian makes to living in the world today: a laudable and worthwhile project.



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Monday, 1 October 2007

Paul Helm on William Young

Reformed Academic Press is to publish a collection of selected writings of William Young. Young wrote a couple of pieces on Dooyeweerd; including this one. He was also one of the translators of Dooyeweerd's NCTT Vol 1 and author of Towards a Reformed Philosophy.

Paul Helm's Introduction is available here.