09 Aug 2021

From Metaphysics to Classification: The Epistemological Turn in the Seventeenth Century

In a previous post I noted that the classical understanding of metaphysics—by which I mean Aristotle and the subsequent and variegated peripatetic tradition—differs significantly from the Modern, analytical understanding. (Of course, such a note is admittedly a generalization which admits of many an exception.) Rather than thinking of metaphysics as a synthesizing and generalizing theory of all the various scientific fields of inquiry about our physical world and the human place and purpose within it,

Avatar photo 0
27 Jan 2021

A Dangerous Question

When I first arrived at my parish, we put up fresh banners to remind the local neighborhood of our ministry and presence. We thought our new signage needed a slogan, a tagline, so we chose “Open your heart; change your life.” It wasn’t a bad first try. Eventually, we decided upon something a little more humble, hopeful and descriptive of the kind of community we were trying to be. We changed our tagline to “Rooted

Avatar photo 7
13 Sep 2019

Whose Testament Is It Anyway? Hearing the Authentic Voice of the Old Testament

The emergence of the academic discipline of “biblical studies” is a post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment phenomenon that developed in opposition to dogmatic theology.  Within that discipline, emphasis on the historical-critical method has caused preoccupation with either proving the historical accuracy of the text, as seen in the biblical archaeology movement, or getting “behind” the text, as seen in the quests for the Historical Jesus or Paul within Judaism. While each approach does offer some valuable insights into

Avatar photo 3
05 Aug 2019

Philosophy and the Re-evangelization of the West: An Interview with Elmer Thiessen

I find it interesting that many popular contemporary Christian figures are philosophers or at least philosophically oriented thinkers: William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Bishop Robert Barron, and others. Last year I went to hear Zacharias speak and was fascinated by the huge crowd that gathered to hear him talk about a few philosophical questions. As I thought about the event afterward, it reminded me of the accounts of the masses that would gather to hear

Avatar photo 0
24 Sep 2018

Book Review: Puritanism and Natural Theology

Wallace Marshall, Puritanism and Natural Theology (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2016), 144pp. H.L. Mencken once famously defined Puritanism as that “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy!” Thanks to the work of Perry Miller and Leland Ryken, among others, the caricature of Puritans as “gloomy, obscurantist foes of science, merriment, progress, and learning” has been debunked (2). The popular-level image of Puritans always did owe more to Arthur Miller and Nathaniel Hawthorne than it

Avatar photo 2
25 Feb 2015

Waterfall Moments

They say a waterfall is created when the softer under-rock erodes faster than the upper layer. As the soft rock is swept away, the hard rock is left unsupported. Eventually, it falls under its own weight combined with the weight of the water, and the waterfall moves upstream. Once the harder rock is all broken away, there won’t be a waterfall anymore. Just rapids at first, then a swift-flowing stream, then a gentle river. I

Avatar photo 0