Open Mic Thread 35


The open mic thread is where you have the floor and can raise or discuss issues of your choice. There is no such thing as off-topic here. The comments of this thread are free for you to:

  • Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
  • Share interesting links
  • Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
  • Ask questions
  • Put forward a position for more general discussion
  • Tell us about yourself and your interests
  • Publicize your blog, book, conference, etc.
  • Draw our intention to worthy thinkers, charities, ministries, books, and events
  • Post reviews
  • Suggest topics for future posts
  • Use as a bulletin board
  • Etc.

Over to you!

Sorry this particular thread is a few days delayed. I’ve had a lot on and entirely forgot.

Earlier open mic threads: 123456, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,2122,23,24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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30 Responses to Open Mic Thread 35

  1. whitefrozen says:

    This came out a little while ago, but rereading this article by Fred Sanders on John Websters location of creation within Christian dogmatics has been very stimulating:

    • I missed this when it came out. Really good stuff.

    • Cal says:

      Having read this article, I had this thought:

      If we start with the very gratuitous nature of Creation (as Webster and Aquinas duly note), then why must we so stridently separate the Story of Salvation from the Story of Creation?

      In other words, let’s use other words: maybe ‘salvation’ needs to take a back-seat to ‘redemption’, or even ‘recreation’. If what Christ accomplishes is completing the original liveliness of Creation, then we can’t separate them.

      It’s in the division that we can’t deeply moving and evangelical discussions of the Passion, the Resurrection, etc., and yet, when pushed, very contrived, compromised, or incoherent accounts of creation (i.e. Schliermacher basically saying God made man sinful, a Darwinian account of Evolution* (survival of fittest) defining the existence of Creation).

      If Salvation is understood as the continued purposes and story of Creation, and it properly that, then it might force those who want to write theology to be honest and not sneak Darwin* in through the backdoor.

      What do you think?

      *I’m not disregarding evolution understood as ‘descent with modification’. What I question is the Darwinian account which includes struggle, strong-crushing-weak, ‘red-in-tooth-and-claw’ anthropomorphisms. Whoever endeavors to write on the doctrine of creation ought to engage in retelling this story!

  2. Andrew says:

    I’m reading Michael Heiser’s new book. Not sure so far.

  3. whitefrozen says:

    Don’t know why I can’t reply to Alastairs last comment to me.

    Webster, in that article I linked, more or less sketches some of the problems with Barth;s mapping of dogmatics, and Sonderegger, by starting not with election or christology but with the reality of God, manages to avoid them. So I think that’s a helpful corrective, given the trends in theology of pushing a Barthian concept of election (I should say a revisionist-concept) to the fore and thus reducing God solely to God-for-us. No doubt this volume will come under fire by said revisionists for its insistence upon the intrinsic ability of language to refer to God, its use of ‘classical’ categories like ‘substance metaphysics’, its talk of God as He is in Himself, etc. I love it.

    I also love the fact that while she is very much conscious of the problems that, say, Descartes or Kant were working with, she is also very much conscious of the fact that their problems don’t determine the scope and validity of our theology. This is especially refreshing to me in the case of Kant, who is seen by a lot of theology folk to be the ultimate challenge to theology. Sonderegger is fully prepared to resource, say, Kant, without letting herself be taken to court and questioned by him. I love that.

    I uber recommend it.

  4. Alex says:

    Do you enjoy Doug Wilson?

    • Occasionally. I often find him rather frustrating.

      • davidrlar says:

        What about him do you find frustrating?

      • Various things. His strident and unnecessarily polarizing manner of engaging certain debates. Some of the battles that he chooses to fight. The inaccurate positions that he has voiced on issues such as Southern slavery. His tendency to let his rhetorical gift of pungent clarity overwhelm areas where delicacy and nuance are required. Etc.

        All of this said, I regard Doug Wilson as a tremendously gifted man, who has been greatly used by God. Even as I find him frustrating, I respect him as a Christian pastor and leader and am thankful for much about him.

  5. Alex says:

    I’m wrestling with what God’s love for his children looks like and how much the analogy of our imperfect love for our kids holds up.

    For instance, sometimes my kids impress me. And when I’m in a good zone, I hang on every word they say- they fascinate me. Does God feel like that about us, where he is eager to hear our every thought?

    Also, sometimes my kids annoy me. That’s my sin. Do we ever annoy God?

  6. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Alex,
    I am not sure if God is eager to hear our every thought – I believe that He already knows our thoughts before we even know them ourselves (Psalm 139). But I think that he loves to hear us confess out thoughts to Him in prayer.
    I think that God gets more than annoyed with us at times – I believe in the wrath of God (e.g. as in Romans 1:18) . As for us being annoyed ( or angry) with our kids ( or with anyone else for that matter), I usually think of this: ‘Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.’ (Ephesians 4:26)
    You wrote: ‘That’s my sin.’ I don’t think that feeling annoyed ( or angry) is necessarily sinful – some anger is righteous anger. The trouble starts when we allow our anger to spawn sinful thoughts and deeds.
    I’m pleased that you are delighting in your kids, and I’m not at all surprised that you get annoyed with them at times – I’ve yet to meet a parent who doesn’t get annoyed with his/her kids on occasions!

  7. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Alastair,
    Just an afterthought about ‘victim-power’ – it reminded me of what someone described as ‘his majesty, the baby’! I know that babies are not victims, but they are very needy and dependent and they unwittingly rule the roost in households for a while. But authorities who treat grown adults as though they were needy infants are causing havoc. (‘causing havoc’ is not the best way of describing it, but it is the expression that comes to mind just now!)

  8. mnpetersen37 says:

    I wish Rosenstock-Huessy were able to respond to the Oliver O’Donovan piece (or there were someone who could put the two “in conversation”). ERH would, I think, say that time <b<is the primary dimension of reality, and while he wouldn’t want to dispose of moral reasoning, he wouldn’t want to give it the emphasis O’Donovan seems to. On the other hand, I think ERH would object to the same things O’Donovan is in the article, but would see in them a false understanding of time–a preference for Chronos over Kairos, that is, the future = past + present, rather than the present being derived from the pull of the future and the past.

    Indeed, ERH may see O’Donovan’s “we must frame it in our minds” and “we must conceive it as an act of a certain kind which can have, in a given context, a certain practical rationality…We need to know “what we are doing.” And for that we need moral concepts.” as claims that we should step outside time before we act, and however provisionally, judge a known future; rather than submitting to the unknowableness of the future, and responding to imperatives that pull us into the future. (And so, would perhaps–and I emphasize the “perhaps”–see these points in O’Donovan’s essay as of a species with the errors O’Donovan critiques.)

  9. davidrlar says:

    I am fairly new to reading the blog, so I will take this as an opportunity to introduce myself. I’m David, I’m 20 years old, and I was homeschooled through high school. I recently graduated with an Associates Degree in Music Performance from a community college and I work now as a piano teacher. I’m taking a year off from school before going out west to Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon, where I’ll be double majoring in Bible & Theology and Music Ministry. I like to read, practice the piano, and spend time with my family and friends. I have no formal theological training, but I enjoy books, articles, and podcasts related to theology.

    I’m glad to be here and hope to take some time in the ensuing months to work through portions of the back-catalogue of posts on this blog.

    I will also take this opportunity to introduce something for discussion. When I read the Gospels, as well as some other books in the Old and New Testament, I’m struck by how often prayer (particularly prayers of blessing or healing) and physical contact are connected. Jesus, for instance, didn’t simply heal entire entire crowds from afar; He associated with them, and is often represented as touching those He healed. Another example of something similar is in James 5:14, which pairs a prayer for healing with an anointing of oil. I also think of my own experience: instances where I’ve been the beneficiary of prayer in the context of “the laying on of hands” have more vividly stood out in my memory than instances where the prayer was simply verbal. Does anyone have some thoughts on the relationship between prayers for healing/blessing and physical contact?

    • Thanks for the comment, David, and for the introduction!

      I think your point about prayer could be expanded to the issue of prayer and physicality more generally. Prayer is frequently mentioned in the context of bodily posture in Scripture. While we often tend to think purely in terms of ordering our minds towards God, Scripture also calls us to order our bodies: to kneel, or to stand and lift holy hands, etc. I suspect that the physical dimensions of prayers for healing that you mention are a pronounced extension of this more general principle.

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