Justin’s #55 – The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism, D.A. Carson, 640 pages

October 22, 2015 // 0 Comments

Well. It took me a couple of months to get through this book, so I’m very proud of that accomplishment. This is a THICK book, both in literal and figurative terms. It reminded me a lot of the David F. Wells series I finished (which, if you haven’t checked out, you should). It’s also one of those books that as soon as I finished, I knew I would have to read it again. There are just too many important things that I felt I missed going through it. A gag is something that prevents someone from speaking. Therefore, the gagging of God is literally man’s attempts to silence the word of God. How this is accomplished is through the re-interpretation of scripture, making what God has revealed to us worthless. The main proponents of this gagging are what are called “pluralists.” What is pluralism ? Pluralism can mean many things: on the one hand, in Evangelical theology, pluralism is synonymous with universalism: no matter what happens or what you believe, all people will eventually be “spiritual” enough to go to heaven, or whatever conception of “heaven” pluralists concoct (think Nirvana in terms of Buddhism). Other definitions of pluralism include philosophical […]

Justin’s #33 – How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, Francis Schaeffer, 288 pages

July 26, 2015 // 1 Comment

I read Nancy Pearcey’s book, “Total Truth” last year. Pearcey became a Christian when she visited the L’Abri house in Switzerland which Schaeffer founded. This was my first introduction to Schaeffer. A couple of months ago, I was referred to this book and I am not disappointed to say that I’ve read it; just disappointed that I didn’t read it sooner! I think “How Should”, published in 1976, could be considered one of Schaeffer’s most lasting achievement before he died 10 years later. It traces human thought through three veins: the theological, the philosophical, and the scientific. He examines these three categories in detail through various stages of human development in the West. He starts in Greece and Rome, moves to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance,  the Reformation (he spends two chapters here),the enlightenment, the rise of modern science, the breakdown in philosophy and science (19th century), and the present. In each period, he closely looks at the reigning philosophical system and demonstrates how this influenced not only those who went after them, but how theology was changed because of it. Philosophy is moving forward where each system builds on top of the system before it. To discover how we […]

Mark’s #14 – 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help by Benjamin Wiker

May 4, 2015 // 1 Comment

10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help If ideas have consequences, it follows that very bad ideas have very bad consequences.  These ideas and their consequences spread and spawn new ideas and consequences. The cultural air we breath has been so polluted by these ideas for so long, that most of the time we have no idea of their worldview shaping effects on society. It is almost universally agreed that Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a book with some very bad ideas, which resulted in some very bad consequences (the book is still banned in Germany since WWII).  However, what one must realize, and what Benjamin Wiker (A Roman Catholic with a Ph.D. In ethics from Vanderbilt University) tries to demonstrate, is that Hitler’s bad ideas were not merely the ramblings of a mad man, but that they sprang up from other bad philosophies that had grown over the centuries. With each of the books Wiker shows that their authors each first needed to replace the Judeo Christian account of our origins with one that rejects the notion of a holy God and replace it with a story to fit their particular desires and wishes.  After all, […]

Ron’s #34: Candide by Voltaire

December 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

I reread this novel before teaching it again in my 10th grade class. I love this unit, as it allows for discussions on the problem of evil and the nature of God. Here’s my past review. In a satire against the optimism of Leibniz, Candide has its young philosopher traveling the world searching for his love and attempting to see if his tutor Pangloss is correct in that this world is the best of all possible worlds that God could have created. The story begins as Candide is expelled from the Edenic castle in Westphalia for his scandalous kiss to the baroness, the fair Cunegonde. He travels across continents meeting a variety of common people and royalty; priests and sinners; wealthy and poor. Candide continues to struggle with the question of whether Pangloss (and ultimately Leibniz) is correct that this world, the one filled with greed and murder and hypocrisy and cruelty, is the best possible one out of the mind of God. He fights with what he believes and what he sees, and cannot justify the two. Candide is left to “cultivate his garden” rather than waste any more time thinking through these issues. For the Christian, this book […]

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