Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

John Owen Centre Conference Day 02




It was good to hear the final three papers today at the John Owen Centre.

In a most interesting and thought provoking paper Dr Stephen Lloyd of Biblical Creation Ministries looked first at The New Testament and Creation focusing chiefly on agony and death but also on the flood and, very briefly, Adam, and pointing out the difficulties with the "bad stewarding view" that sees the groaning of creation not as death and the other effects of the fall (these being something that was part of the original creation) but the general malaise upon the world caused by sin.

Equally interesting though largely cautionary and negative was Professor Helm's paper, raising questions regarding the intelligent design argument and its prosecution. See here for the fine paper more or less as given. I particularly liked this
Apologetics, the business of offering apologiae for the Christian faith or for some part of it is, presumably, a part of the missionary and evangelistic calling of the Church. That strategy is set by the Great Commission. It is (where the words are understood in a comprehensive sense), 'the preaching of the Gospel'. The New Testament also indicates the manner of such preaching: 'I am among you as the one who serves', (Lk 22.27); 'The servant is not greater than his master', (Jn 13. 16); 'I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling', 'Not in plausible words of wisdom....' (I Cor 1.3-4 ); ' 'For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake' (2 Cor. 4.5); 'To the Jews became I as a Jew, in order to win Jews' (I Cor. 9.20). The New Testament is full of such expressions. The Church fulfils her mandate when her preachers preach Christ, in the manner in which Christ should be preached. Matter and manner together. That, in a nutshell, is the strategy.There is not, as part of that strategy, something in addition, a revealed apologetic system. I’d say, there is no more a revealed apologetic system than there is a revealed way of heating church buildings. But there is a revealed Gospel and a revealed way of spreading it. This way of spreading it is, naturally enough, often given to us in Scripture in the form of examples.If the preaching of Christ in the manner in which Christ ought to be preached is the Church's strategy, what, then, are the tactics? I’d say Apologiae, defences, is one type of tactic. In the case of tactics, there are no separate ends, but the means, the apologetic tactics, are justified by the ends. This, surely, is clear enough. Paul preaches, delivering his apologia for the Gospel, differently in Lystra and Athens than in Antioch and Thessalonica. So what is Paul doing? What are his tactics? They differ from place to place.

Finally the bow-tied Dr Jason Rampelt of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion addressed the subject of Authority: Bible and Science. Though very engaging and thoughtful the underlying assumptions which appeared to give more ground to the unbelieving scientist than is warranted left the more conservative members of the audience much more concerned than they were with Professor Helm's negativism. If you examine the Faraday site as against the BCM one you might gather how much more favourable to theistic evolution the former is. It was nevertheless good to hear what Dr Rampelt had to say.

1 comment:

Martin Hare said...

Having also heard Dr Ramports' paper I think you are being very mild in your comments. My scientific view necessarly sits inside my theological view, and is subject to it. The idea that we can compartmentalise our lives as proposed is an anathema. Rather than being comment on Gen 1 & 2 Dr Ramport was in Gen 3 "Hath God said?". You may agree with me that it was not a fitting end to what had otherwise been an excellent conference.