Implications for not celebrating Halloween

If celebrating Halloween is evil because of its connotations with pagan deities (i.e., demons), then I have to ask:

  1. Does that mean that demonic warfare exists today?

If it does, then what does that make of the claim that “the miraculous spiritual gifts have ceased?”  Surely we don’t want to say that the children and practitioners of Satan have more power than the children of the light?  I agree with the critic of Halloween:  we should not commune with evil.   But that begs the question: is evil really a danger today?  If it is, and we must say it is, then we need to rethink our views on warfare against the powers.

If it isn’t, then who cares?

Continuationism and proving Van Til right on evidence

Whenever I doubt the truth of presuppositional apologetics, I read discussions where TRs doubt that God’s power gifts continue today.  Now, I have no problem with someone coming up with a logical argument that the Spirit’s power isn’t active today.  Fair enough.  I just think a lot of the conversations are funny.

A note on prophesy:  this is one of the most debated terms in the Bible. The problem is that the NT really doesn’t give a neat usage of the term.  Older Puritan writers often equated it with Preaching, in which case the gift obviously continues today.   Most people, cessationist or otherwise, see that usage won’t stand up to five minutes of Scrutiny.  Even worse, some say it is the Spirit applying the truths (timeless, of course; not messy historical contingencies) to day-to-day situations.  In that case, everyone of God’s children should prophesy.  But that seems inadequate and ignores almost all of the NT texts.

A quick rejoinder:  But prophesy doesn’t always mean telling the future.  Sure.  But that did happen.

But God’s word meant the death penalty if your prophesy didn’t come true.   Okay, I’ll grant that for the moment (though I think you can find examples in the OT where godly men were less than 100% accurate and they didn’t die).  But even with that terrifying injunction, you really don’t see NT believers afraid to prophesy.  That’s just the plain truth of the matter.  In fact–and it’s funny that the most rabid anti-theonomists become theonomists on this point–Paul urges all to prophesy.   I doubt the conversation went like this:

Paul:  Pursue all gifts, especially that you may prophesy, but be careful because if you are less than 100% accurate I am going to kill you.

Anyway, to the conversation.

Cessationist:  Show me one example of a Reformed Christian believing continuation of gifts continue.

Continuationist:  (insert example of Richard Cameron and Donald Cargill prophesying/speaking the truth)

Cessationist:  Yeah, well that doesn’t count.

Translation:  you have your facts and I have my theory.  Too bad for your facts.

Why continue the conversation?

ePistemologian’s Progress

Courtesy to Bunyan,

This list was taken from Craig and Moreland (2003): 627-639.  It’s a specialized list of technical works in philosophy and theology.  The theology section was kind of soft, so I didn’t spend too much time transmitting those titles.  I only listed works that a) are in LC’s library or b) I otherwise must have, assuming they weren’t in LC’s library.

I hope to have this finished by 2020.

This list doesn’t include a lot of previously read philosophy (Coplestone, Gilson, Bahnsen, Van Til et al)

Books that have an (*) by them are books I’ve added to Moreland’s list.

Chapter 1: General Philosophy; History of Philosophy; basic issues

*Coplestone, Fr. History of Philosophy (about four volumes). (read)

*Russell, Bertrand.  A History of Western Philosophy (read).

Chapter 4: The Problem of Skepticism

Slote, Michael.  Reason and Scepticism (1970).

Chapter 5: The Structure of Justification

Audi, Robert.  Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction (1998).

Chapter 6: Theories of truth and postmodernism

Groothuis, Douglas.  Truth Decay.  (Have read); mostly fantastic, but DG has since rejected the presuppositional outlook in this book.

Willard, Dallas.  “How Concepts Relate the Mind to its Objects: The God’s Eye View Vindicated?” Philosophia Christi, 2nd ser., vol 1, no.2 (1999): 5-20.

*Stackhouse, John.  Humble Apologetics.

Chapter 7: Religious Epistemology

Alston, William.  Perceiving God (1991).

Plantinga, Alvin.  “The Foundations of Theism: A Reply.”  Faith and Philosophy 3 (1986): 298-313.

——————.  Warrant: The Current Debate.

——————.  Warrant and Proper Function (currently reading).

——————.  Warranted Christian Belief (have read).

Plantinga, Alvin, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.  Faith and rationality (have read).

*Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  Reason within the Limits of Religion. (read)

Chapter 8: What is Metaphysics?

Chisholm, Roderick.  On Metaphysics (1989).

*Hasker, William.  Metaphysics (1983) (read)

Plantinga, Alvin.  The Nature of Necessity (1974).

van Inwagen, Peter.  Metaphysics (1993).

Chapter 9: General Ontology: Existence, Identity and Reductionism

Craig, William Lane, and J. P. Moreland, eds. Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (2000).

Suarez, Francis. On the various kinds of distinctions.

Chapter 10: General Ontology: Two categories–property and substance

Chapters 11 and 12: The Mind-Body Problem

Kim, Jaegwon.  Mind in a Physical World (1998).

Moreland, J. P.  and Scott Rae.  Body and Soul: Human Nature and the crisis in ethics.

Chapter 13: Free Will and Determinism

Fischer, John.  The Metaphysics of Free Will. (1994).

Kane, Robert.  A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (2005).

Rowe, William.  Thomas Reid on Freedom and Morality (1991).

Chapter 14: Personal Identity and Life After Death

Hick, John.  Death and Eternal Life (1976).

Chapter 15: Scientific Methodology

Moreland, J. P.  Christianity and the Nature of Science (1989).

Chapter 16: The Realism-Antirealism Debate

Chapter 17: Philosophy and the Integration of Science

Chapter 18: Philosophy of Time and Space

Craig, William Lane.  God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II.

———————–.  Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time.

Einstein, Albert.  Relativity: General and Special Theories.

Chapters 19-22: Issues in Ethics

Geisler, Norman.  Christian Ethics: Issues and Options.

*Feinberg, John and Paul. Ethics for a Brave New World (2010) (have read)

*Holmes, Arthur.  Ethics.

Pojman, Louis.  Ethics: Discovering Right from Wrong.

Chapters 23-24: The Existence of God

Barrow, John.  The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.

Beck, David.  “The Cosmological Argument: A Current Bibliographical Appraisal.”

Craig, William Lane.  The Kalaam Cosmological Argument.

Craig, WIlliam Lane and Quentin Smith.  Theism, Atheism, and Big-Bang Cosmology.

Denton, Michael. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

Ganssle, Gregory.  “Necessary Moral Truths and the Need for an Explanation.”

Hackett, Stuart.  Resurrection of theism.

Hume, David.  Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Martin, Michael.  Atheism: A Philosophical Justification.

Plantinga, Alvin.  The Nature of Necessity.

—————–.  The Ontological Argument.

Rowe, William.  “Circular Explanations, Cosmological Arguments and Sufficient Reason.”

Vallicella, William. “On an Insufficient Argument Against Sufficient Reason.”

Chapters 25-26: The Coherence of Theism.

Adams, Robert.  “Divine Necessity”

Craig, William Lane.  God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II.

Creel, Richard. Divine Impassibility.

Hasker, William. The Emergent Self.

Helm, Paul.  Divine Commands and Morality.

Leftow, Brian.  “God and Abstract Entities.”

Molina, Luis de. On Divine Foreknowledge

Nielsen, Kai.  Ethics without God.

Plantinga, Alvin.  Does God Have a Nature?  (read)

————–.  “How to be an Anti-Realist.”

—————.  The Nature of Necessity.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  “Divine Simplicity.”

* ——————–.  Divine Discourse (1993) (read)

Chapter 27: The Problem of Evil

Hick, John.  Evil and the God of Love

Plantinga, Alvin.  God, Freedom, and Evil.

—————–.  The Nature of Necessity.

Rowe, William.  “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.”

Chapter 28: Creation, Providence, and Miracle

Craig, William Lane.  “Creation and Conservation Once More.”

Freddoso, Alfred.  “The Necessity of Nature.”

Helm, Paul. The Providence of God.

Hume, David. “Of Miracles.”

Morris, Thomas.  Divine and Human Action.

*Strobel, Lee. ed. The Case for a Creator.

Suarez, Francisco.  On Creation, Conservation, and Concurrence.

Chapter 29: Christian Doctrines (I): The Trinity

(see other sources)

Chapter 30: Christian Doctrines (II): The Incarnation

Bayne, Tim. “The Inclusion Model of the Incarnation: Problems and Prospects.”

Freddoso, Alfred. “Human Nature, Potency and the Incarnation.”

Morris, Thomas.  The Logic of God Incarnate.

Chapter 31: Christian Doctrines (III): Christian Particularism

Internalism and Warrant

Some notes in Reformed Epistemology.   Helps to know these ahead of time before reading Plantinga. Parenthetical citations are from Plantinga’s Warrant and Proper Function.

Internalism in epistemology sees warrant as justification.

    • justification is necessary for warrant.
      • satisfaction of epistemic duty.
      • Descartes: epistemic deontologism.
        formation of belief; hence, internal
      • involves a view of cognitive accessibility (36).

Warrant: Objections and Refinements

  • Gettier:  knowledge cannot be just justified, true belief.  A fourth condition is necessary.  Internalist accounts of warrant are fundamentally wanting, thus the continuing epicycles added to the Gettier problem (32).
    • an externalist account of warrant would also take in the “epistemic credentials the proposition you believe has from the person whom you acquired it” (34).
    • credulity is valid when it operates under certain conditions:
  • Gettier’s problems show that even if internalism meets all of its conditions for knowledge, it can still fail to give knowledge.  If my internal cognitive faculties are working, and they arrive at a belief, there are still a number of counters- (ala Gettier) that show it can’t reach knowledge (36-37).  As Plantinga notes, “Justification is insufficient for warrant” (36).

The Solzhenitsyn Files: Intro

A few years ago in a book store in Missouri I picked up Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago I-II.  Being a Russophile at the time, I had to pick it up.  I got about 80 pages into it before the rest of life happened.  It sat on my book shelf for a few years.   I picked it back up yesterday.

It’s standard criticism to say Obama is a tyrant.  Of course he is.  The more astute will point out that FEMA is a soft version of the GULAG (a prototype?).  An even deeper analysis will see Obama’s private armies analogous to the Cheka (yes, I am aware of the factchecker’s response. All FactChecker does is say that it isn’t meant to be the Gestapo.  Obama’s own words say security force).  What is not talked about, not in depth anyway, is the nature of “shock” engineering on society to create these desired effects.   Solzhenitsyn saw it clearly, even if he didn’t call it by that.

A Russian Prophecy for America?

Yesterday I offered an olive branch to the Orthodox.  They have many astute social thinkers who have not bowed the knee to the Regime.  Seraphim Rose is one.

fr-seraphim-rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must quote Fr Damascene’s account in full detail.

In 1978 Fr. Seraphim contemplated the possibility of such a global system…Never has there been more talk of ‘peace and security’ than today. One of the chief organs of the United Nations is the Security Council and organizations for world peace are everywhere. If men do achieve finally a semblance of peace and security, it would seem to contemporary man to be a state like heaven on earth…The practical way to do this is to unite all governments under one. For the first time in world history such an idea becomes a possible goal in practical politics–a world ruler is conceivable now. For the first time, the Antichrist becomes an historical possibility” (Damascene, 697).

What Fr Seraphim is saying is nothing new. People used to laugh at those who said, “You know, world leaders really do want power. These guys really are corrupt. Maybe they do want world government.” People would laugh and say, “Oh that could never happen. What are you, a kook? World leaders do not really want that.”

Except that when you ask the elitists what they want, they say exactly that:

Admiral Charles Ward, former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, “The most powerful cliques in these elitist groups have an objective in common–they want to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty and the national independence of the United States .  A second clique of international members in the CFR…comprises the Wall Street International bankers and their key agents. Primarily, they want the world banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government” (Rear Admiral Chester Ward, Review of the News, April 9, 1980, pp37-38, quoted in Fr Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, 697-698).

Fr Damascene goes on to mention,

With the establishment of the European Union, the creation of the Euro currency, the control of former Eastern-bloc countries by Western financial interests, the advances towards a cashless society, the formation of an international criminal tribunal by the United Nations and NATO, we see what appear to be the forerunners of such a one-world system. Some of these developments are not necessarily evil by themselves. Taken together, however, they help to set up a global apparatus which can make way for the rising religion of the future. Such was the expectation of Alice Bailey, who in 1940 wrote, The expressed aims and efforts of the United Nations will be eventually brought to fruition, and a new church of God, gathered out of all religions and spiritual groups, will unitedly bring an end to the great heresy of separatedness’ (cf. Alice Bailey, The Destiny of the Nations, p.52, quoted in Fr Seraphim Rose, 698). Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, expressed the same belief on the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations in 1995: ‘At the beginning the United Nations was only a hope. Today it is a political reality. Tomorrow it will be the world’s religion’ (Fr Seraphim Rose, 698).

It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that.  Further, I am not yet quoting the remarks by David Rockefeller who is quite open on the need for a supranational body.  While this is the domain of conspiracy-theorist kooks, there is nothing secret about it.  These remarks have been in the open for almost half a century, and have been actively pursued for about a generation on the political level.

Back to Solzhenitsyn

Damascene writes,

When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago came out in 1974, Seraphim not only read it, he studied it as a textbook…he [Rose] wrote…Communism as such is incidental to the terrible events described in this book; the villains of this book do not act the way they do because they are Communists, but because they are victims of an ideology far deeper and more deadly than Communism” (Damascene 651).

Rose identifies the ideology as nihilism.  I’ll take it a step further:  Luciferianism.  In any case, it’s important not to reduce it to Communism.  Communism is a Satanic evil.  One we must hate with all of our being, but by reducing all of the problems to Communism we implicitly excuse the current Regime from culpability, since they can legitimately claim they are not communists (yet).

Well, if Communism is so evil, does this mean the West or Hitler was right to oppose it?  The question is misplaced.  Rose gives an insightful answer:

The actions of those temporarily opposed to Bolshevism temporarily out of envy (Hitler) or hypocrisy (the Western Allies) are only historical episodes [of the Spirit of Revolution]” (652).

An Olive branch to the Orthodox?

Maybe.  While I criticize the weaker and more beggarly arguments against Reformed Protestantism, I fear that might mean I don’t see anything good in Orthodoxy.  I want to put that misconception to rest.

To Those Orthodox Who Fight the New World Order

My hat is off to you.   You have seen the occultic underpinnings of modern society.  You know that the Regime wants (and pursues) a war to the death with any kind of principled Christianity.  You have refused to compromise with Freemasonry and the power elites. The mainstream Orthodox do not love you, yet you truly know St Cyril of Jerusalem’s statement, “In the last days believers will fight with antichrist in the flesh.”

If some Reformed guy came up to me and said, “I think I might convert to Orthodoxy because, you know, liturgy and apostolic succession and the are ‘the only True Church (TM)’ and stuff,” well, that is not intellectually justifiable or warranted.

But if someone came up to me and said, “I’ve really wrestled with what Fr Raphael Johnson has been saying and I think he has a point…I think I might become ‘true’ Orthodox.”  Well, I will disagree with you, but as long as you know the hardship ahead of you, I can respect that.  And I can join you in our fight against Antichrist.

But now comes the dialectic.  Now comes the antithesis.  What of Orthodoxy in America today?

Will They Become Liberal Hipsterdox?

Maybe.  It will be worth watching. While I have problems with the former Metr. Jonah’s semi-Pelagianism, he was removed in areas for which he probably took biblical stands.   I hope American Orthodox can resist the Lavender Mafia.   Until two years ago, my money would have been on OCA that they could.  I am not so sure anymore.  The Greek church, while conservative in conciliar theology, is liberal in social issues.

A healthy plea to theonomists

Imagine a scenario.  You and the pastor disagree on one point.  What are your options?  Split the church and have a martyr-complex, obviously.  Attack him.

Or maybe not.

I am trying to let theonomists know that it’s okay to disagree with someone and let that disagreement be just that.  What does “acting like a theonomist” in the church actually mean?  No one has given a clear answer to that.   People say, “Accepting the Word of God.”  Yeah, that means nothing.   Quakers claim they do that.  I kept asking theonomists for clear, concrete details on what this actually looks like.  I haven’t gotten any.

As I’ve told theonomists,

Bahnsen was irenic. Bahnsen was a good churchman. Unlike another prominent Reconstructionist, Bahnsen didn’t sever himself from the church for 8 years and serve himself communion. That’s because Bahnsen knew that theonomy is theonomy *in* Christian ethics, not as. That means one can disagree on theonomy and the gospel, the Reformed, witness, and Confessionalism is not threatened. Bahnsen knew that.