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.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Just deserts

Help me to be humble
Even as you are humble

Didn't you deserve a mansion not a stable
Didn't you deserve a stallion not a donkey
Didn't you deserve loyalty rather then betrayal
Didn't you deserve a king-sized bed rather than a stone to put your head

And yet you chose to be one of us
To laugh and feast,
To weep and wait
To live and die, to rise again

Not a deserved life but a served one.

Help me to live like you
Help me to serve as you deserve

Susie Bishop April '09

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Dooyeweerd on film

If only I could understand Dutch!

After Worldview Part I

My copy of After Worldview arrived this morning. I've read part I so far - so here are a few thoughts.

Part I: a historical overview of worldview comprises a paper by David Naugle, 'Worldview: history, theology, implication', and a response by Michael Stephens.

Naugle opens and closes with a quote from G K Chesterton: 'that the most practical and important thing about a person is still his view of the universe'. Naugle concurs and shows why he thinks it is the case. He draws upon his excellent book on Worldviews, but is not limited to that material.

He has some great one-liners:
Philosophy is the only unavoidable occupation (p. 12 - a view he attributes to Francis Schaeffer)

Any view of worldview, therefore, is worldview dependent. (p 14)

I submit that the notion of worldview is a valuable piece of '"Egyptian Gold." (p. 15)

Life proceeds "kardioptically," out of "a vision of the heart". (p. 16)

What a person deems to be rational or irrational appears to be a function of the reasoner's worldview (p. 22)

The great strength of this chapter is that he places the notion of worldview within the human heart: 'the biblical teaching about the heart in human life is a key to defining the notion of worldview.' It is this that sets apart the neo-calvinist approach from the misapproriation of worldview as a theoretical concept by many evangelicals. Worldview is a pre-throertical cosntruct. He has coined the term kardioptic to emphasis this point. He goes on to stress, correctly in my view the implication of worldview for rationality, understanding and epistemology. All are worldview-dependent activities.

Michael Stephens appreciates Naugle's paper and raises some important issues in his two-page response:
  • How efficacious can our baptism of worldview be?
  • Where does the philosophical enterprise enter in?
  • Is worldview formation a task of kardia and maybe psuche but not of nous?
My response to this is that worldview is pre-theoretical - or in Naugle's terms kardioptic - it does require a transforming of the mind to think Christianly but it starts with the heart. I wonder if Stephens is making worldview into something more theoretical?

Monday, 20 April 2009

When neo isn't new (again)

A little while ago I looked at the confusion between neo-calvinism and new calvinism: here.

Refwrite has also been doing the same:

I have been an adherent of a 150 years-old Protestant movement, self-understood as neo-calvinism, for much of my life. The difference between "old Calvinism" and "neo-Calvinism" is dependent upon a prior distinction between "old old Calvinism" and "old Calvinism." It turns out that both varieties are predestinationist; they believe in predestination, and prioritize that doctrine as the heart of Christianity. Old old Calvinism was rather solidly cessationist; they believed in the cessation of the gifts of the Spirit after the Apostolic Age. The newer old Calvinists are said to be continuationist in regard to the gifts today.

Neo-calvinists, on the other hand, are sometimes predestinationists, sometimes not; sometimes cessationist, sometimes continuist, sometimes neither. What distinguished the world-historical transformative vision of neo-calvinism was its onward spur by Abraham Kuyper's study of "the ethical-theology." He created the reformational movement to welcome in the reign of Shalom in every sphere of life.

He was best at inspiring a largely poor community that received his discipline in order to equip themselves for upward mobility toward making their own contributions to the society, starting with their neighbours, all this their Christian calling, their cultural mandate. Neo-Calvinism generates institutions sovereignly disciplined to the distinct societal place and task of each: academics, industrial relations and representation, vocations, entrepreneurship, intimate life in marriage, friendship, psychotherapeutic clinics, church life, all of life.

Bob Robinson at Vanguard Church has started a helpful set of posts on the difference - see here, here and here.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

After Worldview

After Worldview the collected essays from the Sept 2004 After Worldview conference are now available.

It contains papers by Calvin Seerveld, Jim Olthuis, David Naugle and Al Wolters among others.

Edited by J Matthew Bonzo and Michael Stevens
$13.00 paperback
Dordt College Press, 2009.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Bernard Zylstra pages on AoLR

I'm pleased to announce the launch of the Bernie Zylstra pages on allofliferedeemed. Bernie was the principal of the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto. He studied at the VU University under Herman Dooyeweerd. In 1968 he began lecturing at the ICS and beacme its principal in 1983. He edited Dooyeweerd's Roots of Western Culture and Kalsbeek's Contours of Christian Philosophy.

Articles available on-line are:

1956. Who was Groen Stromata (Nov): 7-8

1970. The Christian teacher and history: can history be approached normatively?

1970. The place of christianity in our times. International Reformed Bulletin 41 (Spring) pp 24-28.

1972. Do Christians have a political future? [Part 1 and Part 2] Vanguard March/ April and August/ September.
(Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA)

1972. 'The Individual gospel: sources and shortcomings' The Guide (April/ May)
(Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA and in Inside, July 1972).

1972. 'The Bible, justice and the state' International Reformed Bulletin (Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA; and in Confessing Christ and Doing Politics ed James W Skillen washington, DC: APJ pp 39-53.)

1976. 'Voeglin on Unbelief and revolution.' In Een Staatsman Ter Navoling ed W F Gaay Fortman et al. The Hague: ARP. pp 155-165.

1977. Modernity and the American empire. International Reformed Bulletin 20 pp 3-19

1979. The power of nuclear arms. Vanguard March/ April pp. 14-16. 1979.

1981. Three kinds of rights. Vanguard Jan/ Feb

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The "one anothers" and the "each others"

How we should treat one another:

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Rom. 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Rom. 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Rom. 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Rom. 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Rom. 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Rom. 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Rom. 16:16 (1Cor. 16:20; 2Cor. 13:12; 1Pet. 5:14 ) Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1Cor. 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Gal. 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Eph. 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Eph. 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Eph. 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Eph. 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Col. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

1Th. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Heb. 3:13 But encourage one anotherdaily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Heb. 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Heb. 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

James 4:11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

1Pet. 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1Pet. 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

1Pet. 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1Pet. 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

1John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

2John 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another

1John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

1John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

2John 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

The "each others":

Mark 9:50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

John 15:17 This is my command: Love each other.

1Cor. 7:5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1Cor. 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.

1Cor. 12:25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

Gal. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Eph. 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Col. 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Col. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

1Th. 3:12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

1Th. 4:9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

1Th. 4:18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

1Th. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1Th. 5:13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

1Th. 5:15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

Heb. 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers.

James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

1Pet. 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

(All verses are from the NIV)

Another neo-calvinist jazz enthusiast

I've just come across a new(ish) blog by another neo-calvinist jazz enthusiast, Christopher Zodrow. He has recently been blogging about Christian philosophy. It's a blog well worth checking out and adding to google reader.

I particularly like the way he has organised his categories. He also has all of life redeemed as one of his links, so he is obviously a person of good taste and discernment!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Spykman on the kingdom

'Nothing matters but the kingdom. ...
... But because of the kingdom, everything matters.'

Gordon Spykman cited in Goheen and Bartholomew Living at the Crossroads Baker, 2008, p. 156.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Living at the Crossroads Conference

Dave Beldman, Jon Swales, Jon Taylor and Lee Barnes are to be congratulated for organising this excellent conference. I hope it will be the first of many to come. Trinity College is a superb place for a conference and as Richard Russll commented it even has parking!

Mike Gohen kicked the conference off with a look at Gospel, Mission and Worldview. He noted that the term worldview wasn't used 100 years ago and despite the fact it has many pagan significances it has been well incoporated in the Christian vocabulary. He looked at some of the reasons for this. The Gospel is public truth and yet many evangelicals have viewed the gospel as doctrines and ideas and not as an event - the kingdom of God being accomplished. The gospel isn't like a play a world we inhabit for a few hours and then leave to go into the real world; the gospel is the real world. Everything has to fit in with the story of the gospel. If the gospel is true (and it is) then we need to ask, how will it be communicated to all people. Mission comes with the gospel. Jesus didn't write a book he formed a community and entrusted to them the message. Our call is to live in this story and make it known. Mission is not another thing to do, it is who we are. The church is a picture and a preview of the kingdom. We are not sent to do evangelism but to show that Christ is lord of all. We need to ask what would science and art look like on the new earth? This all comes under the mission of God's people.

One problem is that the gosple has become compromised by the idols of western culture. Can worldview help in this liberation? The origin of worldview is in German idealism, but it was taken on board by James Orr and Abraham Kuyper. Both of them had a deep need to protect Christianity form the hostile worldview of modernism and they saw that worldview could help this. Orr was concerned with defending Christian theology, but Kuyper was concerend with the cultural and public life all of life was to be lived under the lordship of Christ.

The issue is can worldview provide a tool to get our understanding of the gospel straight and to get our understanding of mission straight? If it can great, if not then we need to find other ways.

The second session Mark Roques help us to think about mission , stories and subversive questions. In his own inimitable way Mark helped us to think about the ways in which Christians are mugged. Many 'celebrities', including Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Edwards and Derren Brown had a Christian background and now have had their faith taken in a mugging. Materialsim is an effective mugger. We need to understand these worldviews that are attempting to mug Christians and once we have understood them we need to subvert them. One way is to ask subversive questions. Questions such as: Boffins think that we are no batter than bacteria, what do you think?' or "Boffins think that Hilter wasn't evil, what do you think?'. Mark's list of questions to ask an atheist is here. By tellings tories and asking questions we can get people thinking in a way that is not embarrasing.

Lunch was followed by two parallel sessions. The first was a choice between worldview and church planting by New Frontiers pastor Simon Walker and worldviews and youth culture by Frontier Trust's Dave Wiles. The session on worldview and church planting was focused on church planting rather than worldviews. Simon was 'mugged' in the session - in the best possible way - and he was only able to get part way through his notes, most of the time was devoted to questions and observations.

The second set of seminars was a choice between Rocky on stories and Trinity College's Andrew Goddard on sexual ethics. Here in small groups we were challenged to think of the secular worldviews that lie behind sexual ethics and then to look at how sexual ethics could be viewed through creation, fall and redemption.

Mike Goheen's second session asked the question Why worldview is important for the local congregation?'. And here is the rub. Worldview has become popular in Christian academia, but what about the local congregation. Goheen is perhaps unique in that he is both a pastor and church planter and an academic. He is well placed to speak to this issue. He looked at comments and needs of some trypical Christian in a local congregation. How does worldview affect them? The key question every pastor needs to ask and address is: How can I equip congregations for their callings? Where are the resources to enable pastors to do this? Goheen uses two toolboxes: worldview tradition (Abrahm Kuyper) and missiology (in particular Lesslie Newbigin). Both share a commitment to the scope of the gospel and to the church's mission. The kuyperian traition is wider, but the missionary tradition is a whole lot deeper. Newbigin nce said of the kuyperian tradition in the UK that is was unknown but it needed to be a powerful voice. We need these resurces to see the biblical story as public truth, to be able to analyse culture and to be the dynamic of being in the world.

There is a need for a theological education that equips leaders and a need for pastors to understand worldview isssues.

The final session was a Q&A, which unfortunately had to be curtailed due to time constraints.

Check out the conference blog as mp3s of the main session may appear shortly.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Bloom piece 09040222

This is a piece composed on the ipod touch using Bloom created Eno and Chilvers for the ipodtouch [HT jonnybaker].
Bloom is bloomin' marvellous and well worth every penny of the £2.39 it cost. I've always wanted to play an instrument - and now I can! Now I can also be a composer - this is my first piece unpretentiously called bloom piece 09040222.

Watch out for my first CD!
For more details on bloom see here and here.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Salvation: a wide open space

Salvation comes from the word to save. To save has the meaning of to be roomy, to have space, to not be closed in, to have a broad and wide open space to live in. It’s the very opposite of being confined and constricted, or being oppressed.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Reasons not to wash

1. I was forced to as a child.

2. People who make soap are only after your money.

3. I wash on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.

4. People who wash are hypocrites - they think they are cleaner than everyone else.

5. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can't decide which one is best.

6. I used to wash, but it got boring so I stopped.

7. None of my friends wash.

8. The bathroom is never warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer.

9. I'll start washing when I get older and dirtier.

10. I can't spare the time

[HT Si Jones]