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Showing posts from July, 2012

CONTINUING THE THINKING PROCESS: AUTHORITY IN CHURCH DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE

I have been writing some thoughts on Authority for Church Doctrine and Practice. Recently it crossed my mind that the Canon of scripture might be more important for the subject than I had previously thought. In other words, Protestants advance the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, but, the question must be asked, what counts as scripture? If the books, which Protestants refer to as Apocryphal, are indeed inspired scripture, then, perhaps, Protestants need to “return to the scriptures”. When we come to the question of the Canon there seems to be a difficulty for the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura, namely, without the canon, what is scripture? Prior to the establishment of the canon how did Christians know what was doctrinally right? I’ve already mentioned this problem in other posts. I have to say, at the outset, that I am not a huge fan of the way sola scriptura is commonly explained; it seems to be ignorant of the fact of interpretation (regardless of which books are canonical, insp…

The Thomistic View of the Divine Sovereignty and Human Free-will

Introduction
            In his article, “Divine Providence”, due to constraints of space, Flint equated the thomistic view with the Calvinistic view, as one of those Christian views which abandons the libertarian view of freedom. “…Some Christians have suggested that the problems arise from our assuming a misguided picture of freedom—that which is often called libertarianism. Abandon this picture…and our problems dissolve; human freedom, properly understood, is fully compatible with God’s complete control and universal foreknowledge.”[1] As we will soon see in detail, and as should already be evident from the definitions, Calvinism and Thomism are in two completely different camps on this issue. As most thomists will agree, attempting to explain the thomistic doctrine of sovereignty and free will in just a couple of pages is an almost hopeless endeavor, because Thomism is a system, and as such, its parts are intricately intertwined. However, with great caution, we will attempt to brie…

An Interesting Problem with Open Theism: Is Our Faith in God Well-Placed?

One of the main proponents of Open Theism is John Sanders who wrote the book, The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence.[1] In this book Sanders points out that his main worry, in his theological endeavor, is to preserve the relationship of true love between God and his creatures.[2] The Open Theist view depends upon placing God within time,[3] and claiming that God actually interacts with man exactly as the Bible portrays his interactions.[4] This means that God does not truly know the future, aside from certain events that He pre-ordained. He is, in fact, just as surprised as we are by each and every event of our lives.
Interestingly enough the proponents of Open Theism insist on a literal hermeneutic which interprets all descriptions of God, in the Bible, as literal descriptions of God. Therefore, when God, in the garden, called out to Adam and Eve, asking for their whereabouts, God really had no idea where they were.[5] Proponents of this view claim that it is not only fai…

Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge in "The Problems of Philosophy"

In his book The Problems of Philosophy,[1] Bertrand Russell defends a Representationalist view of epistemology, and the realist claim that there is a mind-independent reality. In this short paper we will briefly summarize Russell’s claims about how we know, followed by an analysis of his claims.
            In the opening paragraph Russell claims that philosophy is searching for certainty.[2] We assume, uncritically, according to Russell, the certainty of many things, “which, on a closer scrutiny, are found to be so full of apparent contradictions that only a great amount of thought enables us to know what it is we really may believe.”[3] The more we learn about the world, this reality in which we find ourselves, the more we realize that we know very little for sure. The more we learn, the less we are certain about what we thought we knew.
            We think, says Russell, that we should begin, in our search for certainty, “with our present experiences, and in some sense, …