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.

Friday, 29 September 2006

Friend of Kuyper

We have friends of the earth, friend of emergent and now friends of Kuyper. Friend of Kuyper is a new blog by Bob Robinson devoted to all things kuyperian. Bob is Area Director for Northern Ohio with the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach). Bob is in hospital at the moment recovering from open-heart surgery, so he and his family would sure appreciate our prayers! See Bob's blog for details: here.

Monday, 25 September 2006

The Reading Room

I have just come across an offshoot of Theo Plantinga's website: The Reading Room.

There are a number of excelelnt articles here, including ones by William Harry Jellma, James Olthuis, EH. Evan Runner, Danie Strauss, Harry Van Dyke, Lambert Zuidervart and an MA thesis by Daniel Mullins.

Olthuis, Strauss and Zuidervaart all explore how close Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven were in their thinking.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Byron Borger on Pete Steen

This weeks' Comment has a piece by Byron Borger on Pete Steen.

Pete Steen was an itinerant philosopher and Christian worldview activist, a pioneer visionary in the cultural movement Comment serves. Many of the readers of Comment will have heard his name, even though he died nearly twenty-five years ago. It engenders now, as it did when the man was alive, a mixed array of reactions (sometimes within the same person). The tired old saying, "you either love him or hate him," doesn't really do Pete justice. Usually—if you knew him at all—you both loved and hated him. But mostly loved.

For more on Pete Steen see:
Perry Recker 'Peter Steen - A life in our times' Christian Renewal Sept 1984.
Steen Fest documents

Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin's article in Catapult 'Art, faith and Warhol' mentions Pete Steen. She ponders:

When doing my research and reading on Andy Warhol over the past weeks, the thought occasionally occurred to me, "What if Pete Steen would have met Andy Warhol as a student? What if the CCO would have been around when Andy Warhol went to the Carnegie Institute of Technology here in Pittsburgh? What if Pete Steen had discussed the interconnections between religion and art with the future 'pope of pop'?" It's an interesting thought, isn't it? What if they would have met?

Phrases Christians should avoid

  • Full-time Christian ministry: it implies that some are not involved in Christian ministry - we are all full-time for God!
  • Secular: what does this mean? All of life is religion - the only thing secular is sin.
  • Laity: it implies that there are some second-class Christians. The Scriptures know nothing of the distinction of clergy and laity - we are all saints and we are all priests.
  • Nature: it's not nature it's creation. Nature implies some autonomous entity that exists apart from God.
Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

All of Life Redeemed

There are two more additions to All of Life Redeemed:

Keith Sewell Review of Dooyeweerd's Roots of Western Culture [pdf format] Originally published in the Australian Newsletter: Foundation for Christian Studies 17 (1980): 8-12

C. Thomas McIntire Dooyeweerd in North America [pdf]
This article was published in D. F. Wells (ed.), Reformed Theology in America: A History of Its Modern Development (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985) and in Dutch Reformed Theology in America (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989)

I have also put up Keith's review on my Roots blog: here.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Philosophical arguments

One important issue in philosophy is to recognise arguments and contradictions. This may help:

Del Ratzsch: interview and book review

Del Ratzsch is interviewed here on science and design.

Below is a review I wrote for Science and Christian Belief 15 (1) (2003): 90-91 of Ratzsch's important book Nature, Design and Science.

Del Ratzsch

Nature, Design and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science
State University of New York Press, 2001, 220 + x pp. pb. $18.95/ £10.50
ISBN 0-7914-4894-0.

Del Ratzsch will be familiar to most readers as the author of The Battle of the Beginnings and the excellent introduction Philosophy of Science, which has now been revised and updated as: Science and its Limits. In fact Nature, Design and Science (NDS) is a book length version of one of the chapters from Science and its Limits.

NDS deals, from a philosophical perspective, with the status of design in science: it seeks to examine the question of whether of not design is legitimate in scientific contexts. It comes in four parts. The first deals with ‘Design basics’. Here Ratzch takes care to define and distinguish between important concepts such as design, pattern, order, counterflow and artifacuality. At times I found this a little hard going, but the distinctions are important and crucial to the book’s argument.

With the preliminaries out of the way, Part II deals with ‘Supernatural design’. Here Ratzsch looks at possible ways of identifying design in nature; he concludes: ‘design explanations of structures and phenomena in nature can be rationally legitimate’ (75).

The ‘Boundaries of scientific legitimacy’ come under scrutiny in part III. Here he ably undermines the notion that the empirical or what is ‘natural’ can provide a demarcation between legitimacy and illegitimacy in science.

In the final part ‘The permissibility question’ is examined. In Chapter 9 Ratzsch examines several reasons for adopting methodological naturalism, he finds them all wanting: ‘there are no completely compelling cases for an unnuanced policy of banning from science the ideas of design or of a supernatural activity in nature’ (127). Chapter 10 examines the ‘positive considerations in favor of permitting [design and supernatural] concepts in science’; he finds that they ‘can in principle be of scientific, empirical, explanatory relevance’ (136). He also concludes that there are ‘at least some positive payoffs from permitting discussion of design in science’ (147). Not only is design legitimate, it is also useful.

There is an Appendix, which has a critical evaluation of William Dembski’s The Design Inference. It also contains thirty-nine pages of notes, a seven- page bibliography and a five-page index .

Nature, Design and Science is an important book; it will need to be read by both proponents of, and objectors to, design in science. Proponents will find that it will help to refine their position; objectors will need to refute the arguments if the current methodological naturalism is to remain the consensus. Neutrals reading it will find it hard to remain neutral, as the arguments are persuasive!

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Christian Labour Unions

What's Christian about a union? There are two - at least - labo(u)r unions that are Christian: CLAC in Canada and CLA of the USA. According to the Christian Labor Association site:

Our name reflects our Christian principles of democracy, freedom, justice, responsibility, and respect for all. The Christian Labor Association is inclusive, not exclusive.

The CLA does not expect members to be Christians. Members are attracted to the CLA by its labor relations policies, its principles, its common-sense approach to workplace issues, and by the services it offers. The CLA does not discriminate, nor does it tolerate discrimination.

What else does the "Christian" in the CLA's name mean?
  • work is not just a job, not just a pay check, it should be a meaningful way for people to earn a living and contribute to society
  • respect for all persons in the workplace as human beings created in the image of God
  • justice in the workplace, whether it's about pay, benefits, work relations, or conflicts that arise, people expect and deserve to be treated fairly
The CLA also produce a newsletter that is available in pdf form here. [HT: OwlB]

Fundamentalism and environmentalism

Audubon magazine  has an e-correspondence between E. O. Wilson, Richard Cizik (an evangelical) and stuart Pimm.  They ask the question 'can religion and environmentalism find common ground in the 21st century?'

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Reformational publishing project

Kerry Hollingsworth has announced the The Reformational Publishing Project . Kerry writes:

The Project will parallel the work of the Dooyeweerd Translation Project  of the Dooyeweerd Centre by publishing a select number of key works of the colleagues and students of Dooyeweerd rather than the actual writings of Dooyeweerd himself. The criteria for selection of titles is that the work in question demonstrate a clear utilization of the systematics of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea.

Published works will bear the imprint of Paideia Press which the Reformational Publishing Project has reactivated. During its former active period, Paideia published 273 titles.

The first work to appear under the revived imprint will be Egbert Schuurman's Technology and The Future. This work will be followed by the Collected Writings of H. Evan Runner, and then four other works we are presently working on. They are also pulling together a number of thematic collections by some of the best Reformational systematic thinkers.
HT <thinknet>

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Roots of Western Culture

Having completed the first draft of a study guide to Dooyeweerd's In The Twilight of Western Thought I'm now embarking on one for his Roots of Western Culture. I plan to follow a similar format for the Twilight guide: a brief summary, review questions, discussion questions and furtehr resources. That's the plan anyway!

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Re/formation Institute

Calvin Fox, who blogs here, has just launced a new web site: Re/formation Institute. He has some interesting articles on epistemology, basic logic, philosophy of math[s] and philosophy of science. He describes his 'conversion' to neocalvinism:

My entrance into Neocalvinism (also known as Kuyperism) has comethrough my personal study of the Reformed Faith, especially the Doctrines of God, the Sovereignty of God, the Kingdom of God, the Book of Revelation, the Book of Genesis and the subjects of "Powers", World Views and Cornelius Van Til's Presuppositionalism and papers coming out of the ICS back in the 70's. In other words, many streams have led into this river. Most of all, I have been driven for years to find a way to see all of life redeemed and lived under the Authority of Christ. That turns out to also be the driving vision of Neocalvinism. I discovered some of the writers I read, such as Evan Runner, Al Wolters and Hans Rookmaaker, do or did, have connections with the Dutch Heritage and Reformational Movement. Probably, the earliest influence along these lines was none other than Francis Schaeffer (who was not Dutch).