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.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Artman's The Miracle Lady

The Miracle Lady
Kathryn Kuhlman and the Transformation of Charismatic Christianity
Amy Collier Artman
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans
Pbk; 248pp; £21.57
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7670-6

Publisher's page:

Kathryn Kuhlman (1907–1976) was a person of paradoxes. She was a woman leader in patriarchal evangelicalism. She was a TV evangelist that didn't tout for money. She was a 'healer' who didn't claim any healing ability - she always placed the focus on God as the healer. Her ministry marked a distinction between Pentecostalism and Charismaticism. She lived the life of a liberated single (divorced) woman while opposing women's liberation.

Kuhlman belonged to the facilitator type of healing ministry. As Artman observes:

'Facilitating healing emerged out of a renewal of interest in healing in the more mainstream evangelical Christianity of the time. It represented a movement away from the more volatile and dramatic ministries of “heroic healers of incipient Pentecostalism” such as Maria Woodworth-Etter and John Alexander Dowie.'

Facilitating healing was characterised by Charles Price and A. B. Simpson. Price's 'teacher' was Aime Semple McPherson. Yet, as Artman reveals Kuhlman sought to both distance herself from and yet affirm McPherson.

Artman ably and expertly traces the contours of Kuhlman's life and career. Artman has trawled through hours upon hours of the TV programmes that Kuhlman produced as well as photographic and documentary evidence to provide a perspective, as objective as possible, on Kuhlman and her times.

The book is more than a biography of Kuhlman it shows how Pentecostalism moved from the fringes of evangelical Christianity to the centre. It was renamed and rebranded as charismatic Christianity in an attempt to make it more acceptable. This process Artman terms gentrification. It was a process with Kuhlman at the centre. Kuhlman's TV programmes provided an easy way into this movement without having to go to a revival meeting. It was a safe, accessible and private way in. As Artman has it:

'Kuhlman’s life provides an orienting narrative, a road map for studying the gentrification of charismatic Christianity.'
Kuhlman taught that healing was in the atonement of Christ; it contained a ransom from both sin and sickness. She held Arminian views - that salvation was open to all who respond. She also held to a strong premillennial eschatology. As this is a historical study rather than a theological one these Artman identifies these points but doesn't discuss them further.

This book provides a fascinating insight into Kulhman and the transition of Pentecostalism into the charismatic movement.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Richard Gunton: The Story of the Pluralistic Evaluation Framework

Richard Gunton writes:

The pluralistic evaluation framework is a new tool for policymakers that has gradually taken shape during the last 12 months of my CECAN fellowship. It is now ready to be presented at a webinar on 20 November, where I will be explaining the rationale in the space of 45 minutes. Here I want to share a little of the journey that it has been on, building on what I wrote here last January and June
Full details here

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Philip Sampson Animal Ethics - a review

Animal Ethics and the Nonconformist Conscience
Philip J. Sampson
Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 978-3-319-96405-8
Hbk, xi + 160 pp; £54.99
Ebook ISBN 978-3-319-96406-5

Sampson is an iconoclast. In a previous book, Six Modern Myths, he exposed the fictions surrounding Copernicus, Galileo, Christian missionary oppression and the burning of witches. Here he examines the misconception that Christianity is responsible  for the ill treatment of animals. He traces this misbelief from Bill Oddie, to Henry Salt via Lynn White Jr.

The prevalent consensus is that the Enlightenment and Darwinian ideology, social and economic changes together with shifts in ethical and philosophical worldviews, undermined the Christian notion of dominion thought, derived from Gen 1:26-28, to provide a kinder, more humane approach to animal welfare. Sampson ably and expertly demolishes this false notion.

He goes on to correct the consensus view and shows how it ignored and neglected the contributions of Christian animal advocacy. He does so utilising the ground-motive of creation, fall and redemption. He shows that 'religious ideas played a fundamental role in the emergence of environmentalism'.

Although the title of the book is Nonconformist conscience, evangelical Anglicans are also dealt with notably, the Clapham Sect, William Wilberforce, Hannah More and Lord Shaftesbury. Others discussed include: Joseph Alleine, Richard Baxter, the Bonars, Calvin, Stephen Charnock, Mathew Henry, Thomas Manton, Samuel Rutherford, Spurgeon, Thomas Watson, Isaac Watts and many more besides.

This book is an essential read for any who are concerned with animal welfare and for those who want to see how Christianity has shaped a compassionate approach to animal welfare.

1 Speaking of Animals 1
2 Animals, Language and Ethics 13
3 A Modern Story of Animal Advocacy 27
4 Innovation and Religious Discourses 45
5 Creation: What on Earth Are Animals for? 63
6 Fall: Animal Suffering and Human Agency 85
7 Redemption: Hope, Love and Restoration 103
8 A Persistent Language 121
9 Nonconformist Bricolage 133

Monday, 5 November 2018

Brent Himes on Kuyper's "Service of the Word"

I've been reading Brant Himes's book For a Better Worldliness - it is very good.

Full details of the book are here

One of the highlights so far is his discussion of Kuyper's, as yet untranslated, book Dienst des Woord (Service of the Word). It is essentially a training manual for pastors.

Below is a concept map of Himes' analysis of the book:

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Jae-Eun Park Driven by God: Concept map of Ch 7 God's Sovereignty in salvation in Abraham Kuyper

Chapter 7 of Jae-Eun Park's Driven by God looks at God's sovereignty in salvation in Kuyper. This is a concept map summary of it:

Friday, 2 November 2018

Driven by God by Jae-Eun Park - concept map summary

A revised version Jae-Eun Park's PhD thesis, supervised by John Bolt, has recently been published by as Driven by God: Active Justification and Definitive Sanctification in the Soteriology of Bavinck, Comrie, Witsius, and Kuyper by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Full details are here

In it he examines and defends the notion of active justification and definitive sanctification. To do so he draws upon four Dutch theologians: Bavinck, Comrie, Witsius and Kuyper. Bavinck supports the idea of the inseparability of the two concepts; Comrie is used to show the nature of objective and decisive salvation; Witsius, the Christ-centredness; and Kuyper the relationship with God's sovereignty.

The following concept map provides a summary of the book (click on the image for a larger size).