The road that led me here…

So, given my current predelictions, how did I get here, especially given my hard-line Calvinist heritage? There’s a lot of answers to that; I suppose the best one is my readings in apologetics got me thinking on different lines.

I came from the Bahnsen-Van Til school of thought. While I felt comfortable in defending the faith, I also knew that the more familiar I was with the history of philosophy, the better I would do in apologetics (yes, I know–the Holy Spirit gives the victory et al, but it is not for nothing that people keep studying regardless of that).

So I started reading up on Medieval Philosophy. This led me to the “Radical Orthodoxy” group. I have some posts from my old blog on Radical Orthodoxy, both their strengths and weaknesses. They showed me the late-medieval philosophical presuppositions in Reformed hermeneutics (or to be more precise, modern Reformed hermeneutics).

Fast forward a few months (this is late 2007). I listened to some lectures by David Bentley Hart along the same lines. It’s not that he refuted Calvinism–he simply relativized its truth claims in light of the larger story. At this point, where do I go from here? I supposed Calvinism could still work, but I was no longer convinced (I hadn’t refuted it–I just wasn’t convinced).

Roman Catholicism was always out of the question. But, like essentially every other Protestant American, I knew next to nothing about Eastern Orthodoxy (e.g., they were Catholics with awesome beards, and had spent the last 7 centuries resisting Muslim slavery). So I started reading up on EO. I thought it was awesome and their writers were a lot better than the Calvinists I had been reading, but I never considered converting (this is the summer 2008).

Well, I realized that I needed to get straight on the doctrine of God. That’s the ultimate issue. Soteriology, liturgy, icons, beards–that’s wonderful but the doctrine of God is the real dealbreaker. That’s where I am now. I did skip a bit in this for time–stuff I might come back to later.

15 comments on “The road that led me here…

  1. The question that weighs heavily on my mind these days is where will I go if not East? I have accepted too many presuppositions to comfortably turn back, I fear. As well as our mutual friend’s Anabaptist Orthodoxy seems to work for him (and I don’t begrudge him it one ounce), but — at the risk of sounding individualistic — I just don’t think it could work for me.

  2. The question that weighs heavily on my mind these days is where will I go if not East? I have accepted too many presuppositions to comfortably turn back, I fear. As well as our mutual friend's Anabaptist Orthodoxy seems to work for him (and I don't begrudge him it one ounce), but — at the risk of sounding individualistic — I just don't think it could work for me.

  3. danielj says:

    I hope you do come back to this topic in technical and philsophical fashion. I’m working through “Van Til’s Apologetic” right now and I’m trying to remain open to the possibility of Eastern Orthodoxy even as I’m joining a OPC. I don’t even see an EO “theology” let alone how it could be defensible.In my heart, I feel like the Calvinist system and the EO system are two sides of the same coin that could be reconciled. The Catholics…. Well, they’re a different breed.

  4. danielj says:

    I hope you do come back to this topic in technical and philsophical fashion. I'm working through "Van Til's Apologetic" right now and I'm trying to remain open to the possibility of Eastern Orthodoxy even as I'm joining a OPC. I don't even see an EO "theology" let alone how it could be defensible.In my heart, I feel like the Calvinist system and the EO system are two sides of the same coin that could be reconciled. The Catholics…. Well, they're a different breed.

  5. danielj says:

    I know they say that EO is a “negative” theology, or apophatic, but I find the tradition unjustifiable in light of Scritpure. Additionally, philosophy is negative theology and thus, incapable of producing or generating salvation since it is essentially mind without revelation.Then again… I’m a high school dropout and a newbie.

  6. danielj says:

    I know they say that EO is a "negative" theology, or apophatic, but I find the tradition unjustifiable in light of Scritpure. Additionally, philosophy is negative theology and thus, incapable of producing or generating salvation since it is essentially mind without revelation.Then again… I'm a high school dropout and a newbie.

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  8. Strange to think that, four years later, we now stand in opposite positions. I was moving East and you were the critic. Now you move and I have become suspicious. Such are these ecclesial times…I also have to say I only meant to change one word in my comment, but now it looks like I wrote something I didn’t want to say.

  9. Strange to think that, four years later, we now stand in opposite positions. I was moving East and you were the critic. Now you move and I have become suspicious. Such are these ecclesial times…I also have to say I only meant to change one word in my comment, but now it looks like I wrote something I didn't want to say.

  10. Blogger was supposd to forward these comments to my email. Sorry for the delayed response:1) Regarding apophatic/cataphatic theology: it will surprise some but EO is not purely “negative” theology; in many ways, it employs a quite presuppositional in its outlook. 2) As to where I am: I can’t “unsee” what I’ve seen. I have way too many philosophical issues with much of the Reformation tradition. I wanted to go “historic Anglican,” but given that communion’s failure to enforce traditional Christian morality regarding its priests, such is not an option. Shame, too, because I would have gone. Rome’s not an option; too many philosophical problems (ADS) and historical problems. Yeah, it’s a tough question where to go. Chris, I hope we are not too suspicious of one another. I think it is understood we have very significant issues with the other’s theology. Fair enough.

  11. Blogger was supposd to forward these comments to my email. Sorry for the delayed response:1) Regarding apophatic/cataphatic theology: it will surprise some but EO is not purely "negative" theology; in many ways, it employs a quite presuppositional in its outlook. 2) As to where I am: I can't "unsee" what I've seen. I have way too many philosophical issues with much of the Reformation tradition. I wanted to go "historic Anglican," but given that communion's failure to enforce traditional Christian morality regarding its priests, such is not an option. Shame, too, because I would have gone. Rome's not an option; too many philosophical problems (ADS) and historical problems. Yeah, it's a tough question where to go. Chris, I hope we are not too suspicious of one another. I think it is understood we have very significant issues with the other's theology. Fair enough.

  12. Lvka says:

    Roman Catholicism was always out of the question.Why? Don’t judge without (truly) listening to all sides involved: it’s not logical.

  13. Lvka says:

    Roman Catholicism was always out of the question.Why? Don't judge without (truly) listening to all sides involved: it's not logical.

  14. Lvka,I’m afraid you are entering late in the conversation. That’s underestandable. You don’t know my background. Let me assure you, I am not rejecting Rome arbitrarily a priori. I’ve read close to 1,000 pages of Aquinas, close to 2,000 of St Augustine (plus their top interpreters: Coplestone, Gilson, Kerr, Milbank, Kreeft, Pelikan), 400 pages of Anselm.Yeah, I’m familiar with the issues.

  15. Lvka,I'm afraid you are entering late in the conversation. That's underestandable. You don't know my background. Let me assure you, I am not rejecting Rome arbitrarily a priori. I've read close to 1,000 pages of Aquinas, close to 2,000 of St Augustine (plus their top interpreters: Coplestone, Gilson, Kerr, Milbank, Kreeft, Pelikan), 400 pages of Anselm.Yeah, I'm familiar with the issues.

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