Saturday, 17 December 2016

Foundations 71 (Autumn 2016)

Issue 71 of Foundations: An International Journal of Evangelical Theology, published by Affinity, is now available (here in its entirety as a pdf), with the following contributions. The article by Ted Turnau is the second part of a two-part discussion of cultural engagement. The plea by John James to remain non-dogmatic on the age of the earth feels significant given the theologically conservative provenance of this publication.

Ralph Cunnington

Ted Turnau
Dialogues Concerning Cultural Engagement (Part Two)
In this two-part essay, the author addresses the subject of Christian cultural engagement in a post-Christian context. In Part One (Foundations 70), the author establishes that cultures of the West can be characterised as post-Christian. He then explores the issue of engagement through a series of dialogues with different characters: 1) the Knight, who represents a political approach to cultural change, 2) the Gardener, who represents the Benedict Option espoused by conservative writer Rod Dreher, and 3) the Member of the Loyal Opposition, who represents the posture of “faithful presence” espoused by sociologist James Davison Hunter. Part Two (in Foundations 71) gathers the various characters for a round-table discussion. After pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each, the author lays out his own approach which focuses on imaginative cultural engagement using the arts and entertainment. He explores the issue of same-sex marriage as a case study, and the reconciliation between gay activist Shane Windemeyer and American Christian businessman Dan Cathy as an example of winsome engagement in which each discovered a common humanity in the other. Our goal is a cultural engagement that is an analogue to that kind of winsome reconciliation that creates space within which estranged parties can meet, or what the author calls “planting oases”. He then briefly considers two examples of this in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and U2’s Superbowl performance in February 2002.

David Green
A Theology of the Created World: Neglected Biblical Perspective
Both inside and outside Christian circles, “creation” is understood as a doctrine about origins. This has unhelpfully drawn attention away from the biblical emphasis on God’s “present continuous” activity in the world and the display of his glory in creation. The biblical doctrine of creation has wide-ranging implications for how we understand ourselves and how we live in this world, giving significance to what we call “everyday life”, encouraging a more integrated theological approach to life, and calling for greater engagement in the world in a distinctly Christian way. It also clarifies and enhances our self-understanding as human beings within the created order, and enriches the prospect of our place in a redeemed creation in the life to come.

John James
The Age of the Earth: A Plea for Geo-Chronological Non-Dogmatism
This paper considers authorial intent in relation to Genesis 1, and suggests that it is not the primary objective of the author to fix the age of the earth. When Scripture is understood as God’s accommodated word to us, to remain non-dogmatic on something the author is not choosing to speak on, in no way undermines the doctrine of inerrancy. The paper then considers the history of biblical interpretation in relation to the author’s intention in Genesis 1. It is noted that the rise of modern geology did little to change the predominant non-dogmatism, and that the forceful insistence on six literal solar days is a relatively recent phenomenon in response to the atheistic outworking of Darwinian evolution. The overall aim of the paper is to show that a dogmatic adherence to any particular age is not necessary in order to defend a high view of Scripture and picks the wrong fight against scientific naturalism.

Stephen Clark
Some Thoughts on the Relationship Between the Word of God and the Holy Spirit
Taking published material by Ralph Cunnington and Professor Robert Letham as a point of departure, this article considers the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Word of God and focuses upon certain particular aspects of this relationship. A historical survey analyses the teaching of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones with respect to the relationship of Word and Spirit in the areas of preaching and regeneration, before considering the concept of “immediate regeneration” in the context of the Pajonist controversy and in the teaching of Herman Bavinck. This historical survey of the doctrine of an immediate work of the Holy Spirit concludes with brief references to the teachings of the following: Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, Abraham Kuyper, Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield, and John Murray. Certain theological “axioms” concerning the ontological nature and status of the Holy Spirit and of Scripture undergird an analysis of the relationship of Word and Spirit, and this leads to the conclusion that while the Word and Spirit are distinct but related, in certain respects the Spirit is greater than, and separate from, the Word.

Bob Letham
A Reply to Stephen Clark

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