Posts tagged ‘orthodoxy’

July 31st, 2013

Q&A 30: Does Ken Ham Preach Heresy?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Max:

My final e-mail about YE matters:

I wrote the following to the elders I correspond with at [a church]*. They replied that heresy was probably too strong a word to apply to Ken Ham. I’m not sure I’m persuaded.

May 18th, 2013

Getting to Know Friedrich Schleiermacher

by Max Andrews

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834)

Schleiermacher saw Christianity as “despised” because it was misunderstood in the following ways.

  • Christianity is misunderstood as assent to orthodox dogma
  • It is misunderstood as rationalism or natural theology
    • i.e. Getting to God by pure reason alone

Schleiermachers key concept of religion was “feeling of Absolute Dependence.”  Examine those feelings.  What do they tell you about God? “Oh, they tell me God is good and kind.” He’d say, “Good! Write that down.” Therefore, the nature of religion is not thinking.  The scientific approach was eliminated by Immanuel Kant.  Here Schleiermacher is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science.  Also, the religious nature is not ethics either.  Rather, it is feeling which works its way out in absolute dependence.

Schleiermacher believed the individual’s life consists of three primary parts.  The first is the sense of perception.  This includes Newtonian physics and scientific knowledge.  The second is activity, which is the realm of ethics.  Lastly, and perhaps the most important, there is feeling, which is the realm of religion, human feeling, and the affective domain.  “God is the whence [source] of my absolute dependence, or God is the idea that clarifies my absolute dependence, and human absolute dependence on the infinite shows God.”

May 17th, 2013

The Argument that Jesus Came Too Late in Human History

by Max Andrews

I just saw one of the comments by Jim in a previous post (Face the Facts–There are Gaps in Biblical Genealogies) and I thought I’d briefly add some thought to it.

Max. Thank you. Excellent post as usual. Hitchens also used the 250,000 number frequently in his debates so as to make the point “look at your horrendous God – willing to allow all those generations to perish before he sent a savior…” He had no idea that Scripture clearly affirms a retroactive efficaciousness to the Atonement.

I’ve seen this objection made against Christianity several times and it’s a rather horrendous objection (bolded). I’ve never researched the numbers on how many people have existed before the coming of Jesus and I don’t know how many people have existed since Jesus. I don’t think the numbers really matter that much, to be honest.

I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is such a horrendous concept. Obviously, this is an internal issue particular to Christianity. Christian doctrine never makes the claim that salvation was impossible prior to the resurrection of Jesus. I think it’s quite clear that the New Testament (well, OT too!) teaches that the atonement applied to those who came before Christ as well as those succeeding Christ. So what’s the problem?

January 28th, 2013

Q&A 8: The Logical Coherence of the Trinity

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Max,

Do you know of any viable philosophical-theological conceptualizations of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity which capture the fullness of the doctrine whilst not lapsing into the heresies of either Modalism, Tritheism or, of course, any form of Unitarianism? Thank you for all you do.

- B. P. Burnett.

Answer:

Brendan,

Thanks for your question! I chose this one for this week because I happen to use the Trinity as an example in my philosophy class when teaching logic, which I’m currently teaching. So, this is rather good timing!

To give a recollection for those who may not be familiar with the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and important heresies I’ve provided a simple chart:

June 28th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Friedrich Schleiermacher Part 2

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834) on his theological method

More on his theology: Schleiermacher’s theological method was to examine those feelings (see his concept of religion for a greater context). This made the nature of religion to be a non-thinking endeavor (scientific approach was eliminated by Immanuel Kant).  Here he is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science.  Also, the religious nature is not ethics (acting morally) either; rather, it is feeling which works its way out in the absolute dependence.  The absolute dependence is the a priori form of the self-conciousness that then works its way out from feelings.

Friedrich Schleiermacher’s theological method is based upon human religious experience. According to Schleiermacher, all human beings are subject to a feeling of dependency upon Someone or Something Greater. This feeling of absolute dependency is universal among all mankind, and is the essence of true religion. For Schleiermacher, religion is rooted in our experience as human beings, in how we feel about God, in our individual emotive response to God.

June 21st, 2012

Theology Thursday: Friedrich Schleiermacher Part 1

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834) on his concept of religion

More on his theology: Schleiermacher saw Christianity as “despised” because it was misunderstood in the following ways.

  • Christianity is misunderstood as assent to orthodox dogma
  • It is misunderstood as rationalism or natural theology
    • i.e. Getting to God by pure reason alone

Schleiermachers key concept of religion was “feeling of Absolute Dependence.”  Examine those feelings.  What do they tell you about God? “Oh, they tell me God is good and kind.” He’d say, “Good! Write that down.” Therefore, the nature of religion is not thinking.  The scientific approach was eliminated by Immanuel Kant.  Here Schleiermacher is attacking the historic Christian position that theology is a science.  Also, the religious nature is not ethics either.  Rather, it is feeling which works its way out in absolute dependence.

April 19th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Reinhold Niebuhr

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

General summary of his theology: Like Emil Brunner and Karl Barth’s protestation of Christian liberalism Niebuhr following with his own emphatic theology.  Niebuhr was very interested in the practical implications of Christianity to the modern world.  He rejected that God is personal or that he has acted in history.  He emphasized “proximate justice” because he concluded that perfection was an impossible goal.  Mankind has the image of God with its possibilities, but is limited by being finite.  Faith is recognizing our dependence on God, sin is either denying our freedom or asserting our independence.

March 29th, 2012

The Geisler Directory

by Max Andrews

I’ve decided to keep all my posts and responses to Norman Geisler in one location for ease of access and reference.

My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona

It has been a long time coming but I wanted to publicly support Dr. Mike Licona amidst recent accusations of him denying inerrancy over Matthew 27.51-54 (the resurrection of the saints at the time of the crucifixion) in his most recent book The Resurrection of Jesus:  A Historiographical Approach.  Licona takes the position that this passage is apocalyptic imagery and is not literal.  To be clear from the beginning, Licona has not denied inerrancy.  He has been quite clear about that (even though he lost his job as the Apologetics Coordinator with the North American Mission Board over this… unfortunate).  Dr. Al Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has openly condemned Licona for his position…

Continue reading…

February 29th, 2012

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

by Max Andrews

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

GROUP

TIME

HUMAN NATURE

DIVINE NATURE

CHURCH COUNCIL

Docetism

1st Century

Denied—only an appearance of humanity

Affirmed

Ebionism

2nd Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was natural son of Joseph and Mary

Arianism

4th Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was not eternal; similar to, but not same as God Condemned by Nicea, 325

Apollinarianism

4th Century

Divine Logos replaced human spirit

Affirmed

Condemned by Constantinople, 680

Nestorianism

5th Century

Christ was two Persons

Condemned by Ephesus, 431
read more »

January 27th, 2012

Flannelgraph Christianity

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest blog post by John Quin.  John, a 40-year-old electronics engineer working for the Australian Government. He was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, a fundamentalist Christian denomination that teaches elaborate narratives beyond what even scripture can reasonably support. It has only been in the last few years that John has simultaneously discovered the flaws with fundamentalism and strength of philosophical based Christian apologetics. John hopes to be able to share his new perspective on Christianity with as many people as God places in his path.

__________

The field of interaction between science and religion is quite vast and in this blog entry I will concentrate on a couple of issues that concern the impact science has had on Abrahamic monotheism/Christianity.

For many people who were raised as a Christian and then went on to study Science at University the religion they had once believed with childlike certainty seems to have been totally and utterly falsified. For them believing in Christianity has become completely unthinkable. But what exactly has been falsified, God’s existence, a Divine genesis, or perhaps the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ? I would like to propose the hypothesis that the Christianity that has been falsified for many of these people is what I’ll refer to as “Flannelgraph Christianity”.