orthopraxis
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  • Reflections on Voting Decision Making

    I woke up this morning to a political thread on our church’s private FB group.

    **Danger, Will Robinson!**

    Thankfully our folks kept it fairly civil. Crisis averted.

    The thread reminded me of the need to help people think through the process of voting decision making. It isn’t my job as a pastor to tell you who to vote for but it is my job to aid the process with good lenses and questions to think through. I have the specific audience in mind of the local church with a particular desire to help our local navigate the murky waters of this presidential election cycle. The purpose of this post is to assist the voting decision making process by bringing up a few principles and asking a few questions.

    A Few Circumstantial Considerations

    Before we dive into some helpful principles and questions let us first examine some circumstantial considerations.

    I haven’t had many interactions where people are very excited about the Republican or Democratic nominee. I think this is a somewhat objective statement and I would back it up with what I call the ” yard sign test.” During the 2012 election cycle roughly 30-35% of the homes in my neighborhood had a presidential sign in their yard. During this cycle it is precisely 0.5%. That tells you something, people aren’t terribly excited about self-identifying with a particular candidate and putting up personal capital to say, “YES, this person very well represents me and my vision of our republic.”

    I haven’t seen the level of disgust with either main candidate in my lifetime. This should give us some measure of pause for feeling very strongly for this presidential election cycle in general. This should give us a measure of humility and empathetic listening as to why there are so many varying opinions even among people who often think quite similarly.

    While I am concerned with who you vote for, I am more concerned with the process of decision making than the decision itself.

     

    Caveats: I am trying to be patient, empathetic, humble, and understanding in how I think about these things but I am not perfect and have had to repent myself during this election cycle at several points. I am biased. I have my personal convictions and opinions and if you know me at all those aren’t difficult to discern. That said, I am more than happy to sit down and break bread together and listen to your perspective.

     

    A Few Questions

    What is my intended candidates vision for what is true, good, and beautiful?

    This question should be asked both in terms of political policy but also the sum of their life’s ambitions and experiences.

     

    How does Scripture inform my decision?

    To what extent is my hope for joy rooted in the New Heavens and the New Earth? How do the minor prophets and especially those exilic prophets inform how I think about the relationship of the church to the world? What does Peter have in mind when he calls us “sojourners” or “pilgrims” or “aliens?” How does the Sermon on the Mount inform how I think? How does Christ’s commandment to “love my neighbor” inform how I think?

     

    What is a vote?

    Is a vote merely a binary pragmatic choice between two flawed people OR is a vote something more than that? Some people vote with pure strategy in mind, others with pure conscience in mind, and others with some measure of nuance between strategy and conscience. In some elections there isn’t a pronounced dichotomy between strategy and conscience and others there are significant tensions. For conscience voters, a vote is a speech-act that is communicating that the candidate promotes a civic vision of the true, good, and beautiful. If you are a binary strategy voter, recognize that the conscience voter will not vote for a civic vision of the true, good, and beautiful unless they have peace with the totality of that vision.

     

    What are my heart motives for voting?

    Another way to ask the question is ‘what emotions are driving my vote?’ or ‘what do I want?’ What is the balance of positive emotions (care, concern, love) and negative emotions (fear, worry, anxiety, hysteria)? It isn’t that there should be all positive emotions and no negative ones but we should be concerned if our decision making is rooted in either complete captivation or utter fear and worry.

     

    Have I actively listened face-to-face with someone who disagrees with me?

    Am I letting anyone else influence, challenge, or shape how I am thinking about my vote? The inertia of life is to create echo chambers that reinforce our thoughts and actions. I choose what news I watch, what webpages I read, what RSS feeds I subscribe, what podcasts or radio programs I listen to… All that curation is not neutral and we should be self-aware and cognizant of that. Each of those mediums comes with attempts to influence, including this very sentence that you are reading. Be wary of the self-curated media echo chamber. If we are confident of the worldview that we hold then we should not be afraid of empathetic listening of those outside of our tribal affiliations and silos.

     

    Will I regret my decision later on?

    Close your eyes and picture the 2019 version of yourself, do you still feel good about your candidate choice? Imagine your granddaughter or daughter is 3 years older and asks who you voted for, do you have to wince or qualify your response? Do you feel comfortable having that same conversation with King Jesus some day?

     

    Do I need to have political power to feel safe or joyful?

     

    Is there anything my candidate could do that would give me pause to reconsider?

     

    What are your presuppositions with respect to two parties versus more than two parties?

    Are you open to the idea of a third party candidate in general? Are you open to a third party candidate if your main party candidate is polling poorly? Are you open to a third party candidate if that candidate more closely aligns with your civic vision for the true, good, and beautiful? Are you open to not placing blame on conscience-driven third party voters for your candidate’s inability garner the support they needed?

     

    What does my vote communicate to non-Christians about how I think about the America?

     

    What do I admire about my candidate?

     

    What policies am I aligned and misaligned?

     

    What is the fruit of the candidate’s life, character, and experiences?

     

    A Few Principles

    1. If you lean heavy on strategy or if you lean heavy on conscience be sensitive to the fact that others might not land as heavy on one or the other.
    2. Certain things in the Christian life are more certain than others. For example, I feel more certain affirming the Apostle’s Creed than I do about the certainty with parenting paradigms or alcohol consumption. Some election cycles might afford more clarity and/or uniformity than others but there should always be a spirit of deference in community in matters of non-essentials.
    3. America has had third-party Presidents before (ie. Abraham Lincoln won a 4 man race from the third party position). We have had all kinds of political parties in America’s short vapor-like existence: Federalists, Whigs, Democrats, Republicans, Democratic-Republican, National Union, and unaffiliated have all won the election in our short history.
    4. America has had the President determined before by the House of Representatives. In 1824, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams because none of the 4 candidates received the requisite number of electoral college votes. Adams was second (84 votes) in the electoral college to Andrew Jackson (99 votes). It is not outside the realm of possibility that Evan McMullin (former CIA and former Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference) could win the state of Utah or Gary Johnson (former Governor of New Mexico and libertarian party nominee) could win the state of New Mexico. If either of them won a state and neither Trump or Hillary received the requisite 270 electoral college votes then the election is decided by the House of Representatives. The House is then free to chose from candidates who have received electoral college votes. These are not probable scenarios but they have historical precedent.
    5. Don’t forget about “down ballet” matters. The legislature and matters of your own state often have significant bearing on everyday life. Spend time and energy getting to know the candidates and issues on the rest of the ballot.
    6. Our voting should be Biblically informed, structurally informed (how does our government function per its Constitution and amendments), and relationally informed (thinking through voting in community).

     

    The sky is not falling. King Jesus is still on his throne and isn’t the least bit surprised. Let’s together ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding.

     

     

    October 11, 2016 • Culture, Culture Wars, orthopraxis, Politics, Worldview • Views: 1012

  • Evangelicals: Now is Not the Time to Spike the Football

    David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO, David Green with Bible in warehouse, Culture Wars, Abortifacients, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act

    I was as happy as you were that the Supreme Court upheld the closely held corporation, Hobby Lobby’s, right to not provide coverage for the 4 abortifacients in the Affordable Care Act.  While in no way do I pretend to understand the field of law, the argumentation that closely held corporations appear, function, and act more like individuals than they do corporations made common sense to me – and hence, applying the Constitutional right to dissent to the mandatory coverage of the 4 abortifacients in Affordable Care Act seemed appropriate.

    All of that said, now is not the time to spike the football.  Evangelicals cannot rely on the Supreme Court, Congress, the Senate, nor the Executive branches to make America a “Christian nation” once again.  I am pretty confident that I love America as much as you do, but the reality is that we are a post-Christian nation that is growing increasingly undiscerning.  The people/culture(s) of America lack the worldview needed to understand the logical consequences of the breakdown of gender, marriage, and the family (the most fundamental unit of society).  The people/culture(s) of America have created a Swiss cheese patchwork quilt from a variety of different worldviews to piecemeal together sets of ideas that justify their behaviors, lifestyles, sin patterns, and addictions.

    In other words, we cannot rely on the federal government to be a positive agent of cultural change in America.  Cultural change happens at a wide variety of levels but politicians and bureaucrats are chameleons which change their skin color based on the popular opinion – this is why politics is more of a reflection of the culture(s) rather than the driver of the culture(s).   Evangelicals have a Herculean task ahead of them to engage the drifting, aimless, and anesthetized conglomeration of sub-cultures that comprise this thing we call the United States of America.

    Culture flows out of people’s wants and desires.  People’s wants and desires flow out of their hearts.  If you want cultural change then you have to see changed hearts.  If you want changed hearts then you must see the Holy Spirit remove the heart of stone and replace it with the heart of flesh.  If you want the Spirit to move then you must pray for Him to move and you must be faithful to share the Gospel winsomely, clearly, and boldly.  I am not saying don’t vote, or don’t engage politically; however, we cannot lobby or legislate people into the Kingdom of God.

     

  • An Attempt at How Cultural Orthodoxies (Dogmas) Form

    Cogs and Gears

    I’ve been pretty surprised at the rate at which new cultural orthodoxies have been formed over the course of my lifetime but particularly the last decade.  This post serves as an attempt at dissecting how cultural orthodoxies form and serves to appreciate the complexity of their genesis.  There is too much reductionistic thought out there about how cultural shifts occur and most of it centers on just one or two cultural factors and fails to take into account the massive web of multiple reciprocities that is this thing we call culture. Most of the current cultural commentary picks two or three sources as the root causes.  Typically the cited sources are institutional – the (liberal) media, corporations, the current political milieu, or highly organized elite power brokers.  I think these things have certainly played a role, even key roles, into the cultural shifts that we have seen.  That said, I think these views are pretty reductionistic and fail to understand the complexities the constitute culture.  As Justin Holcomb has said, “The most powerful aspect of culture is that which we do not think or reason about.” My main point in this piece is that the forces, elements, and ingredients that cause cultural change are very complicated and cannot be boiled down to just a few people, tribes, or institutions.

     First, we need to understand what elements of culture are at work, both conscious and unconscious:

     There is a constellation of at least 8 things that add to the formulation of cultural dogma – NOTE:  5 of these 8 are directly taken from a presentation delivered by Justin Holcomb and represent heavily thoughts from UVA’s department of Sociology (particularly that of James Davison Hunter) and also that of Christian Smith (Notre Dame)).

    1.  Artifacts:  iPhones, iPads, or other iDevices that unconsciously reorder how we interact with stimuli or information.  Artifacts can also be cultural icons such as the Cowboy, Bald Eagle, or Coca-Cola.  Artifacts unconsciously impact how we think and interact about our world.

    2.  Language:  Language is the carrier of culture… this is why terminology, accents, vocabularies, technical terms, pronunciations, and word meanings can very heavily geographically even within the same linguistic system.  The use of the various aspects of language heavily determines tribal identity.

    3.  Beliefs, Symbols, or Ideas:  these comprise some of the commonly held notions, brand identities, or thoughts of a people group or tribal faction.

    4.  Social Forces (aka Deep Structures) – Note the first 6 are from Justin Holcomb:

    • Individualism
    • The Therapeutic – the making of everything as not anyone’s own ultimate responsibility and the centrality of personal happiness of the goal of the individual
    • Consumerism – the commodification of things that should not be commodified
    • Pluralism – the acceptance of mutually exclusive systems of thought as being equally valued and/or true
    • Secularism – the intentional lessening of religious authority in a culture
    • Technology
    • Democritization of knowledge – consensus is king and if the consensus doesn’t agree with you, bludgeon them until they do
    • Post-Modern-Pragmatism – this is my own personal soap box on the mis-labeling of all things post-modern and what we really mean when we say the term “post-modernism”
    • Globalism/Mobility – this also relates closely to the rapid rise of urbanization, the velocity of ideas, the fluidity with which people change geographic location, and the role of the worldwide marketplace and supply chain

    5.  Institutions:  politics, education, economic, spiritual, media… etc.

    6.  Practices or Rituals:  these are the conscious (places of worship) or unconscious (shopping, sports, entertainment) liturgies of a culture – more on that here, and here.

    7.  Elites:  these can be media, political, athletic, celebrity, or other cultural curators and definers.  One could categorize these as being the heads of various institutions (#5 above), but elites are more individuals than groups and seem to transcend even the institutions that gave them their platforms.

    8.  The Marketplace:  dollars (or perceived dollars) can be the most significant voters of cultural change and this can happen on both the macro (Mozilla) and micro levels (Worldvision).

     Second, we need to understand what some of our cultural orthodoxies (dogmas) happen to be:

    (Note – I have in view here principally the West and specifically the American cultural context)

    -“The highest moral good lay[s] in personal self-fulfillment” – see George Marsden’s book, The Twilight of the American Enlightenment:  the 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal BeliefWSJ review here

    -Public conversation (or dialogue or discourse) is only to be about facts and not beliefs – in other words it is taboo to talk about God

    -Marriage is fundamentally about (romantic) love

    -Homosexual behavior is to be accepted at least as non-abnormal and in some instances as normative

    -What doesn’t hurt other people is morally permissible

    Authenticity to self and personal happiness are very important virtues and perhaps the highest of all the virtues

    -Personal happiness is ultimate

    -Sex is principally intended for pleasure

    -Be good (in your own eyes) in order to be self-actualized (happy)

    -The subjective individual self, in combination with the herd (read: democritization of knowledge), is the greatest interpreter, curator, and judge of what is true, good, and beautiful (over against history, data, or external authority)

    Third, we need to understand the interplay of the cultural elements with the culture, our tribal faction, and ourselves

    Velocity of ideas:  

    Before movable typeset, ideas and culture were principally only shared along trade routes.   Those trade routes which were often roads or nautical routes were the only means by which one culture (or tribe) might cross-polinate another group.  This made the velocity of ideas was much slower than in post-industrial and pre-internet age.  Another complexity to the transmission of ideas dealt with low levels of literacy and significant linguistic barriers that existed for millennia.  Oral traditions can travel remarkably quick yet must gain certain thresholds of cultural penetration in order to take route and multiple through generations.  The paradigm shifts in the transmission of ideas were principally the Gutenberg printing press, transportation advances (cars, planes… etc.), and communication revolutions (radio, television, satellite, internet, web 2.0).  These paradigm shifts in transmission of ideas has radically increased the velocity of ideas.  In the modern era, ideas can travel at nearly limitless speed, spread through thousands of seemingly disparate and unconnected networks or tribes, and reach saturation levels significant enough to change public opinion, shape political policy, or even to overthrow governments (ie. Twitter and the Arab Spring).

    Cultural Interaction is Determinative of Belief:

    Humans naturally gravitate toward like kind and like minded.  That said, there is significant interplay between what we believe and how you come up with what you believe.  Orthodoxy (right beliefs) affects orthopathos, (right emotions) affects orthopraxis (right practice), affect orthodoxy, affects orthopraxis, affects orthodoxy… ad infinitum.  So how we interact with culture – whether we engage it, critique it, or embrace it will impact consciously or unconsciously what we believe.  You can evidence this very clearly with radically undercontextualized and/or cultish groups like the FLDS or the Westboro Baptist folks.

    Unconscious Cultural Elements:

    The seven cultural elements listed above are constantly influencing our lives in good ways, bad ways, and every shade of grey in-between.  Most of this influence is unconscious, subconscious, selectively ignored, or down played as not playing a role in what we believe.  I have had several hundred conversations with people about what they believe.  In an overwhelming number of such instances, people believe the set of ideas that justify their wants, desires, and passions.  In these instances the horse was the wants, desires, and passions of the heart that drove the cart of the justifications, rationalizations, and knowledge of the head.  In other words, people seek evidence, truth, arguments, facts, and knowledge about their beliefs after those beliefs are formed by their belief system (secular, religious, philosophical, or other).  There are notable exceptions, but this seems to be more normative than not.  Most folks could not even name a single thinker, writer, philosopher, sacred text, or cultural element that was the genesis of their most central tenets, dogmas, orthodoxies, or beliefs.

    Conscious Elements:  

    That said, some of these cultural elements above are very conscious.  These elements are the ones that tend to get the most ink spilled about them.  It is usually institutions and elites that get the most attention and the usual scapegoats for when their is some rising cultural dogma that is contrary to our own tribal orthodoxy.  I do not wish to downplay the role of celebrity, elites, the marketplace, and institutions of all kinds in the formulation of new cultural dogmas.  The role of these conscious elements has been well noted in the sexual revolution, the rise of feminism, the rise of fundamentalism and evangelicalism, and have shaped the battle lines on other issues like abortion, gender, and sexuality.

    Concluding thoughts:  If you have bought into the idea that the contours of the cultural landscape are complex and inter-related, then I hope that you might be willing to think and interact on those contours with more deftness and in a manner than is more winsome.  I would hope that you would be able to identify more readily some of unconscious elements that comprise the invisible hand of culture.  Be patient with people who do not understand or do not care that they hold numerous mutually exclusive ideas in their worldview.  Have compassion on the culture for it is harassed and helpless:

    When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew 9:36

     

    For further reading:

    Culture Wars, James Davison Hunter

    Intellectuals, Paul Johnson

    Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey

    Pensees, Blaise Pascal

    The Twilight of the American Enlightenment:  the 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief, George Marsden

    Social and Cultural Dynamics, Pitirim Sorokin

    To Change the World, James Davison Hunter

    Desiring the Kingdom, James K. A. Smith

    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, John Frame

  • Best Links of the Week

    The Supreme Courts Back Alley Runs Through Philadelphia.”  A story on how Roe v. Wade makes regulating abortion clinics exceedingly difficult and opens the doors for the horrific squalor and infanticide of the clinic in Philadelphia.

    Summary of a really interesting survey of evangelicals in the UK.

    Billy Graham regrets not steering clear of politics and regrets not spending more time with family.

    Mark Sanchez picks his nose and wipes it on his backup QB, video here.  (HT:  Aaron)

    Consumer Watchdog and privacy group is raising concerns over close ties between Google, the NSA, and the present federal government.

    Christian Astronomy Professor successfully sues the University of Kentucky for religious discrimination against him.

    Iran has cleared a major hurdle in the uranium enrichment process.

    Solid WSJ report on their murdered reporter Daniel Pearl.

    U.S. Taxpayers have footed the $160 million legal bill for the executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Unbelievable and unconscionable.

    Government Unions are trying to court the TSA to join their ranks.

    Chuck DeGroat continues his series on dealing with difficult people with an excellent piece on dealing with the borderline (passive-aggressive).

    Bernanke’s Rally Runs into Headwinds

    A fairly thorough dossier on the American mafia.

    Check your Munis as a bunch of states are quietly looking at bankruptcy.

    Donald Trump has some harsh words on the pomp and show put on for the Chinese president.

    Two Italian scientists (with suspect pasts) claim they have successfully found cold fusion.  No offense to my Italian friends, but this is very doubtful.

    Double dip in the housing market.

    UPDATE:  The appalling story of the Philadelphia abortion doctor who was charged with eight counts of murder, who had squalid conditions and random baby parts in jars… women are coming forward saying that he left them sterile.  Also in this vein, Al Mohler had a good piece on the President’s comments on the Roe v. Wade anniversary speech.

    “People are Awesome”:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo0Cazxj_yc]

  • Best Links of the Week

    The Economist has an excellent article entitled “The Disposable Academic: Why Doing a PhD is a Waste of Time”

    Delightfully lengthy article in GQ about Mossad’s somewhat botched assassination of a Hamas leader in the city of Dubai. (HT:  Phill)

    Fascinating article that makes a compelling case that the Stuxnet worm that has disrupted Iran’s nuclear program originated ironically from China (and not the U.S., Britain, or Israel).

    50 cent makes $8,700,000.00 off one tweet.  As a corollary to this article, there is way more money in self-branding in the entertainment industry than there is in the entertainment industry.  I also think it is ridiculous where people will take investment advice from.

    I watched Ted Haggard’s little special on TLC last weekend.  I won’t delve into analyzing the state of his soul but Carl Trueman does a pretty decent job.

    When you hang your head in shame, the last thing you should be thinking about is whether the camera has caught your good side.

    The Lazy Slander of the Pro-Life Cause

    BBC article on the impact of the King James Bible on the English language.

    No other book, or indeed any piece of culture, seems to have influenced the English language as much as the King James Bible. Its turns of phrase have permeated the everyday language of English speakers, whether or not they’ve ever opened a copy.

    2010 Los Angeles County bill tab for illegal immigrants in public schools was $600,000,000.00.

    Utterly appalling story of abortion doctor in Philadelphia.  There had been no inspection of the clinic since 1993.

    Gosnell “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord,” Williams said.

    Patients were subjected to squalid and barbaric conditions at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society, where Gosnell performed dozens of abortions a day, prosecutors said. He mostly worked overnight hours after his untrained staff administered drugs to induce labor during the day, they said.

    12 Things that Will Cost Less in 2011

    Starbuck’s ‘trenta’ infographic

  • Best Links of the Week

    Eric Metaxas has a great longer piece that is really worthwhile entitled,  Cultural Elites:  The Next Unreached People Group.  I am curious for some of you who have reach Culture Making and To Change the World, how you might respond to Metaxas.

    The Eight Kinds of Friendship

    Excellent Photos from Iraq

    In a very sad story, a priest in Moldova drowned a baby during an infant baptism.

    Book Art

    Solid interview with Robert Duvall from Christianity Today.  Duvall has some good insight; he remarks that Hollywood does not merely have disdain for Christians, its’ main disdain is for the heartland of America.  Interesting thought.

    Michael Bell analyzes recent pew forum study along with a helpful info-graphic.  (HT:  Kevin DeYoung)

    Nine old Nintendo Games that can be played straight from the internet with no download required.

  • My Two Caveats for the Missional Church

    I recently attended the Advance 2010 conference on Contextualizing the Gospel in the New Urban South.  The content of the conference was excellent and the speakers were Gospel-centered and Christ-saturated.  In the interest of full self-disclosure, I would willfully self-identify as being a part of the missional church movement.  While steeping some of the teaching receieved, I am left with two potential pitfalls for the missional church movement.

    I think the obituaries have already been written and the eulogies given for both the church growth movement and the emergent church.  Hence, my first concern for the missional church movement is that it will just be another fad within evangelicalism.  I’ve chronicled before the very fickle fadish-ness nature of American evangelicalism.  We have the strong inclination to let our pendulums swing wildly, rarely finding any semblance of balance.  If history is any predictor of the future, the missional church movement will gain steam, others will jump on the bandwagon, then the movement dies because many identified with the movement not for its intrinsic principles, but rather for its pragmatic ends.  Nothing will kill a movement like the evil trinity of inauthenticity, superficiality, and pragmatism.

    My second concern for the missional church movement is actually legalism.  This may actually come as a surprise of anyone who saw/listened to any of the Advance 2010 material.  Rightly so, Tyler Jones, Tullian Tchvidjian, Ed Stetzer and others railed against the quaint moralism (or think of Michael Horton’s, moralistic therapeutic deism) of the South.  Here is how legalism could creep into the missional church movement… and it is really subtle and nasty.  In your call to missional movement and mindset, create an implicit caste system within your church.  In this caste system reward those who are ‘more on mission’ vs. those who are ‘less on mission.’  In this caste system the way to earn God’s favor is by doing the works of the mission of God.  I don’t know if this kind of legalism is better/worse than any other form of self-salvation.  Remember that legalism is one of those nasty sins like pride, that can literally manifest themselves in even the most counter-intuitive or even contradictory places (ie. one can be proud in one’s humility).  We must be careful to still remind ourselves and others that our standing with God is not changed by even our greatest Gospel efforts or lack thereof.

    In my view, we must guard the missional church movement from those who would see it as the next “it” way to grow your church (after shaving their soul patch and ceased showing movie clips).   We must also guard against guilting people into being on mission.  They must desire to be the church because of the Gospel not because it is the new way to rise in the legalistic caste system in your church.

    Your thoughts?

  • Nietzsche vs. Christianity: Part 5

    Lecture five consisted of a series of talking points.  Aside from Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism… this lecture explores what Christianity and Nietzsche have in common.  The content suggests that Nietzsche’s Dionysian thinking is not entirely incompatible with Christianity.  It is my contention that C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, and John Piper have carved out common ground between Christianity and Nietzschean Dionysianism.

    Audio of the lecture if available here.

  • Nietzsche vs. Christianity: Part 2

    This lecture is an explanation of the Protestant Christian worldview from Genesis to Revelation.  Audio is available here.

    I.  Creation

    A.  Ex Nihilo

    B.  Out of God’s pleasure

    C.  Creation was good

    D.  Man made in image of God: male and female

    E.  Cultural Mandate

    F.  The task given Adam was to make the whole Earth like Eden by:

    “numerically and geographically expand God’s image over the face of the

    entire Earth”

    1. Covenant of Works (Hosea 6:7)
      1. Adam is Federal Head (Rom. 5:12-21)
      2. Blessings for obedience; curses for disobedience

    a.  Blessing – Life

    b.  Curse – Death

    c.  Divine benevolence, Human loyalty

    II.  Fall

    1. Serpent tempts Eve, questions God’s goodness
    2. Adam was there and doesn’t say anything
    3. Curse:
      1. All humanity fell in the Fall because of Adam’s representative nature
      2. All creation fell and feels the frustrating affects of the fall
      3. Proto-Euangelion – Gen. 3:15-20
    4. Seed of the woman vs. Seed of the Serpent

    Abel                 Cain

    Seth

    Enoch               Enoch

    Lamech            Lamech

    Noah

    Shem/Japheth   Ham

    Abraham

    Isaac                Ishmael

    Jacob               Esau

    III. Redemption

    A.  Covenant of Grace

    1.  Noah – establishes stability on the Earth (Gen. 6, 9)

    -Baptism:  deliverance from waters of judgment

    2.  Abraham – establishes promised offspring who will bless all nations                  (Gen. 12:1-3; 15; 17), (Gal. 3:16)

    3.  Moses – establishes law and order above natural law (Ex. 19-24)

    -“I will be your God and you will be my people”

    4.  David – establishes eternal king/throne (Psalm 89)

    5.  Christ – fulfillment of the covenant of grace (Jer. 31; Ezek. 36/37)

    B.  Historical Summary

    Creation, Fall, Expulsion, Cain/Able, Flood, Babel, Shem

    Abraham moves, Abraham/Lot, Abraham/Melchizedek, Abraham Covenant, Abraham buys land in Canaan/Eden

    Isaac, Jacob/Esau, Jacob/Israel, 12 Sons, Joseph into Captivity, Famine

    400 Year Enslavement/Exile, Moses/Pharaoh, Passover, Egypt to Sinai

    Sinai, Law at Sinai – Tabernacle, Priesthood, Purification, Yom Kippur, Feasts:  (Sabbath, Passover, Sabbatical year/Jubilee, Weeks, Tabernacles)

    Wilderness Wanderings, Encampment at Canaan, Canaan Conquest/Joshua, Jericho vs. Ai, Land Divided

    Judges-Ruth – ‘Everyone did what was right in his own eyes’ (Judges 17:6)

    Eli, Samuel, Rejection of YHWH as king, Saul

    David – covenant – line/throne, unification, conquest (iron), Bathsheba

    Solomon – Temple, wealth/wisdom, Phoenicians, foreign wives/gods

    Divided Kingdom – Rehoboam (S – Judah), Jeroboam (N – Israel/Ephraim)

    North – Babsha, Omri, Jehu, Ahab/Jez/Baal vs. Elijah, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II, 3 kings –  Menaham, Pekahiah, Pehah, Hoshea… Assyria/exile

    South – Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Hezekiah, Manassah, Josiah – Amon/Jeremiah, Jerusalem Sacked – 586

    Cyrus’ Decree, Return from Exile, 2nd Temple/Wall (Ezra-Nehemiah),

    Late Pre-exilic

    -Nahum – God’s wrath on Nineveh

    -Zephaniah – The Day of the Lord

    -Habakkuk – Resolving questions about God’s justice

    -Joel – Day of the Lord is both near AND future

    -Lamentations – God as source of both good and hard providence

    -Obadiah – pride goes before a fall

    Exilic

    -Ezekiel – Judgment and restoration of Judah

    -Daniel – God’s rule and care for his people

    Post-Exilic

    -Haggai – setting priorities

    -Zechariah – God’s restoration of zion

    -Malachi – Honoring God

    400 years of silence

    C.  Prefigurations

    1.  Melchizedek

    2.  Angel

    3.  Manna

    4.  Rock

    5.  Tabernacle

    6.  3 fold office:  Prophet/Priest/King

    D.  Jesus

    1.  Virgin birth

    2.  Hypostatic Union – God/man

    3.  Prophet/Priest/King

    4.  Law – civil/ceremonial/civil

    5.  Penal Substitution – great exchange – my sin for his righteousness

    -New Record

    -New Heart

    -New World

    6.  Death/Resurrection

    7.  Ascension

    8.  Enthronement – Intercession

    IV.  Consummation

    1.  Redemption of all of creation

    2.  Redemption of the church

    3.  Inauguration/Continuation/Consummation

  • Nietzsche vs. Christianity: Introduction

    Earlier this spring, I taught a course with the Encore program at NC State University entitled Nietzsche vs. Christianity.  In case any of you who were in the course (or who weren’t) wanted the audio or lecture outlines…  I will post those here.

    The outline of the course is as follows:

    I.  Nietzschean Thought

    II.  Christian Thought

    III.  Nietzsche’s Objections to Christianity

    IV.  Christianities’ Response to Nietzschean Objections

    V.  A Potential Synthesis… and Talking Points

    VI.  Collision DVD

    April 12, 2010 • Atheism, Audio, Nietzsche, orthodoxy, orthopraxis, Philosophy, Theology, University, Worldview • Views: 264