Friday 1 July 2016

Foundations 70 (Spring 2016)

Issue 70 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 essays by Ted Turnau and Andrew Latimer will be particularly significant for those interested in cultural engagement and the role of Christians in the contemporary world.

Ralph Cunnington

Benedict Bird
The Covenant of Redemption According to John Owen and Patrick Gillespie
John Owen and Patrick Gillespie made profound contributions to the Reformed understanding of the “Covenant of Redemption”, or pactum salutis. Owen discusses it in at least sixteen of his works  from  1645  onwards.  Gillespie’s work, The Ark of the Covenant Opened, 1677, has  been described as “the most elaborate work in the English language” on the subject. The importance of the doctrine, in Owen’s view, is apparent in the Preface that he wrote to Gillespie’s work. He says “the truth herein is the very centre wherein all the lines concerning the grace of God and our own  duty do meet, wherein the whole  of  religion  doth  consist.” Both  authors  regard  the doctrine as the intra-Trinitarian foundation of the Covenant of Grace apart from which no man is  saved.  Both  explain  that  God’s  salvation  plan was  the  result  of the  eternal  counsels  of  the persons of  the  Trinity,  such  counsels having  the features of  a  covenant  and  including Christ’s distinct personal concurrence. Other theologians have rejected the notion of an intra-Trinitarian covenant, on the basis that it contradicts the undisputed truth that God has one indivisible will, and have sought  instead  to explain  the plan  of  salvation  simply  in  terms  of  divine decree. Yet Owen  and  Gillespie  regard  the  “pure  decree”  explanation  as  an  inadequate account  of  the Scriptural data – and hence an inadequate account of the whole foundation of God’s covenantal dealings with his people which underpin the whole of theology. In their view, the Covenant of Redemption provides a more compelling and faithful account, and does so without dividing the indivisible Trinity. This essay explores the alignment of their thinking on this vital issue. 

Ted Turnau
Dialogues Concerning Cultural Engagement (Part One)
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. 

Andrew Latimer
Is the Adamic Work of Christ Shared with the Believer? A Critique of Van Drunen
One of the ongoing debates in Reformed theology is how Christians are to engage with the wider culture. David Van Drunen’s book “Living in God’s two Kingdoms” provides a clear presentation of a two kingdoms approach to cultural engagement and is written to challenge the “vision that the  redemptive  transformation  of  culture  is central  to  the  Christian  life”.  This  article  aims  to show how Van Drunen’s misreading of the covenant with Adam sets him on the wrong course, and  leads  to conclusions  which  are  at  odds  with  the  New  Testament’s  description  of  the Christian life. He fails to see that alongside an “exile paradigm” for believers in this age, the New Testament  also  describes  a  “conquest  paradigm”,  and  he  misses how  the  New  Testament teaches that in Christ believers share in Christ’s Adamic work.

Ben Rogers
Ryle and Evangelical Identity
This  article  examines  J.C.  Ryle’s  understanding  of  Evangelical  identity.  More specifically,  it examines his discovery, definition, and defence of Evangelical principles. He was convinced that Evangelical religion, which is characterised by five distinguishing principles, was the religion of the Scriptures, the Thirty-nine Articles, the English Reformers, the leading Pre-Laudian divines, and the leaders of the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century. This conviction was born out of his own conversion and reinforced by his study of the Bible and church history, and it led him  to  become  an  outspoken  advocate  of  Evangelical  principles  and  an apologist  for  the Evangelical cause.

Samuel Crossley
Recent Developments in the Definition of Evangelicalism
The  second  half  of  the  twentieth century  saw  a  spike  in discussions pertaining  to Evangelical identity. During these discussions the term “Evangelical” came to be used with greater intensity and was deployed in an increasingly technical manner. This phenomenon was in no small part due  to  the Evangelical  renaissance, where New and  Conservative Evangelicals  came  to  global prominence. This paper  examines the  two distinct  approaches  to defining  an Evangelical  that were used in this period, with particular reference to the propositional approach of John Stott and Martyn  Lloyd-Jones  and  the phenomenological  approach  of David Bebbington. The paper finishes by considering the merit of these two approaches in the present day. 

Book Reviews

Richard Simpkin
The Message of Worship (Risbridger)

Tim Ward
Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Scepticism

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