Friday, February 28, 2014

Friendship and Truth

I was reading in St. Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics this morning on the
 subjects of truth and friendship. Aristotle wrote: "However, it seems indeed better, and in fact especially obligatory on philosophers, to sacrifice even the rights of friendship for the sake of truth. While it is commendable to have love for both, we ought to honor truth as sacred above our friend." I assume Aristotle is speaking of Plato, his mentor. Though he loved Plato, he loved truth more. Aquinas comments, "That truth should be preferred to friends he proves in this way. He is the greater friend for whom we ought to have the greater consideration. Although we should have friendship for both truth and our fellow man, we ought rather to love truth because we should love our fellow man especially on account of truth and virtue. . . Now truth is a most excellent friend of the sort to whom the homage of honor is due. Besides, truth is a divine thing, for it is found first and chiefly in God. He concludes, therefore, that it is virtuous to honor truth above friends." I think St. Augustine also wrote on this subject somewhere. He spoke how truth is divine and even secular intellectuals value it of utmost importance. Here we see that Christianity and the life of the mind interconnects.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Against Calvinism by Roger E. Olson

Olson, Roger E. Against Calvinism. Zondervan, 2011. ISBN 978-0-310-32467-6

Against Calvinism is a companion book to Michael Horton's For Calvinism. Roger E. Olson is professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is a respected Evangelical theologian and has published numerous books. Some of these books are: Arminian Theology: Myths and Reality, The Mosaic of Christian Belief, and The Story of Christian Theology.

Michael Horton says in the forewood to the book: "Roger Olson, book Against Calvinism represents a contemporary presentation and defense of evangelical Arminianism that not only merits but requires careful and sympathetic reading by non-Arminians as well" (9). One can tell from reading this book that he is well acquainted with Calvinist authors of today and in the past. He does not set up straw-men but deals honestly and faithfully with the views held by Calvinist authors. He also accepts them as their brothers and sisters in Christ. He just does not agree with their theology. His dispute is not with all Reformed thinkers, but only those that espouse what he calls 'high Calvinism" or Tulip theology. His book is organized around the Tulip theology. He acknowledges that not all Reformed theologians accept the "Tulip schema." It is interesting that on the cover of the book there is a picture that shows a wilted tulip.

Against Calvinism is divided into eight chapters and contains 207 pages. In chapter two he shows that the Reformed faith contains great diversity. For example, the World Communion of Reformed Churches is made up of Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed and even Remonstrants, "the oldest Arminian church in the world." He notes that missing from the list are any Baptist churches who make up a large part of the "young, restless, Reformed leaders" of today. In chapter three he states that Calvinism and Reformed theology or not necessarily synonymous. The Reformed faith is made up of more leaders than John Calvin. In addition Jacob Arminius and his followers were part of the Reformed faith. He notes that many Calvinists identify themselves by the Tulip acronym. So in this book he debates the Tulip theology. In chapter two he defines Tulip theology: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance. Like Jacob Arminius his biggest problem is with the three middle points: U,L,I. It does not match up with a God of love. Olson notes: "I am going to unpack my claim that high Calvinism, the Calvinism that affirms most or all of the TULIP, directly contradicts that God is love" (61).

Each of the chapters that debate the Tulip theology argues against high Calvinism and argues for an alternative view. In chapter four, he says "yes to God's sovereignty and no to divine determinism" (70). Olson argues in this chapter that unconditional election is divine determinism. He believes that the "Calvinist account of God's sovereignty . . . inevitably makes God the author of sin, evil, and innocent suffering" (84). Olson also states that "two other problems arise out of high Calvinism's account of God's sovereignty. Not only is God's reputation as good impugned, but also God's freedom in relation to creation and human responsibility for evil are cast into doubt" (92). He reasons this way because God "needs the world to be as it is, including sin, evil, innocent suffering, redemption, and reprobation (hell), in order to manifest His attributes and therefore glorify Himself" (93). The last part of the chapter provides alternatives to divine determinism. God limits his sovereignty to allow for real human choice. God did not create puppets.

In chapter five, Olson says "yes to election; no to double predestination." In this chapter he refutes unconditional election. He argues that unconditional election is double predestination. He does not think single predestination is consistent since only those who are elect will be saved. The only way it would work is universalism and the high Calvinists do not believe in it nor does Olson. How can a God of love predestine people to hell before they were born? In the last part of the chapter he provides Reform theologians who witness against double predestination. Two of these authors are G. C. Berouwer and James Daane, Oson notes, "In his book Divine Election, Berkouwer expresses great discomfort with any form of divine determinism and especially any fore-ordination of individuals to eternal damnation" (122). Daane thinks election is a call to service. He thinks election to salvation is not about individuals, but "about the people of God."

In chapter six, Olson says "yes to atonement; no to limited atonement/particular redemption. He says that many scholars doubt that John Calvin believed in limited atonement. However, many Calvinists do not believe in it. He thinks that limited atonement cannot be supported by scripture of "the Great Tradition of Christian belief." He also thinks that it "contradicts the love of God." He even asserts that many of the writers of the Westminster Confession did not believe in it.

In chapter seven, Olson says "yes to grace; no to irresistible grace/monergism." He disputes the Calvinist claim that Arminianism is a works-righteousness. He asserts that Classical Arminianism affirms that salvation is all of grace. Human response to grace is not a work. He states that monergism "injures God's reputation." One problem he sees with monergism is that human relationships require "mutuality." Monergists sees that salvation is completely caused by God. Human response and choice do not even enter the picture. He thinks that for salvation to be regarded "not as a mere causal condition but also, and even more, as a personal relationship...the idea that it can be founded on both grace and human will is compelling" (168).

Olson shows he is fully familiar with the leading Calvinist authors of the past and our day. He use their own words to present their key ideas. He presents effective argument against these ideas. He also shows that Arminianism does not believe in a works-righteousness. He shows how it is difficult to square tulip theology with a God of love. He also shows how the idea of a relationship with God is difficult to understand without mutuality.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Reading Macbeth a Second Time

I read Macbeth a few months ago. I think this was the first time I have ever read it. When I finished reading it, I was a little disappointed. I thought there would be more to it. I have been reading Shakespeare plays off and on for several years. I think one cannot go wrong having Shakespeare as a regular part of the reading diet. If I could only take ten books with me to a desert Island, I would take the works of Shakespeare.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to give Macbeth a second try and I was quite surprised. There seemed to be a lot more to it on the second reading. There is Macbeth who is an ambitious man. He is tempted by a prophecy that he would be king. His wife assists him in evil actions. There is betrayal of people who trust him. There is guilt from wrong doing. In other words, there is a lot more to Macbeth than I saw in my first reading.

The question can be asked, why didn't I see this on a first reading. I know many people who never read a book more than once. This is probably sufficient for plot-driven books. However, authors like Shakespeare require repeated readings. My first reading of Macbeth showed me the lay of the land. I became familiar with the plot. On the second reading I was prepared to see beyond the plot.

Some of my favorite Shakespeare plays are King Lear, Othello, The Tempest, The Mid-Summer's Night Dream, Hamlet, and others. This might be a good time to read Shakespeare again if you have not read him in a long time. If you never have read Shakespeare before, it might be the time begin.

Once a year I lead a discussion of a Shakespeare play for a homeschooling group. It has been a great experience. I had a professor who would get together with his friends once a year and read through one of Shakespeare's plays with drinks.

I always like to watch a film version of Shakespeare's play after reading it. I enjoy seeing it performed live too. I find you can read and watch Shakespeare again and again with much enjoyment and great profit.

Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet in 1937. This was just six years after his conversion to Christianity. C.S. Lewis enjoyed reading science fiction, so he decided to write one himself. Like most of Lewis' writings, Christian themes are evident in the work. Some of the themes in this book suggested by Lewis scholars are:  "A Platonic-Christian universe," "Spiritual imagination," scientism, "true vision and right perception," personal choice, myth, and others (Teaching C.S. Lewis by Richard Hill and Lyle Smith).

The story's three main characters are Weston, Devine, and Ransom. Weston and Devine kidnaps Ransom and brings him to Mars. They intend to offer him as a sacrifice to the leaders of Mars. Ransom manages to escape from Weston and Devine. Read the book if you want to know more.

The character of Ransom has similarities with the character of both Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Ransom is between 35-40 years old and dresses shabbily. He is a philologist like Tolkien. Ransom enjoys walking tours, whiskey, and tobacco. He served in the army and is a Christian.

A thought-provoking part of the book is Weston's philosophy. He thinks that the ends justifies the means. He thinks that "anything which is done to individual people now is justified if it serves to perpetuate the human race." I was reading an essay about G. K. Chesterton this morning. Chesterton stated that each am's individual happiness is an end. Lewis strongly disagrees with Weston's philosophy. It even thought that an individual person is more important than civilizations because each individual is eternal.

Lewis does a good job in creating a new world that is quite believable. There is a sense of beauty in his description of Malacandra (Mars). Sin has not effected this world. Ransom soon finds out that he come from the silent Planet made up of bent people. He means by bent a fallen race. They are the silent planet because they live under the domain of a fallen angel.

 The character of Ransom develops through the book. He learns to see through the eyes of the Malacandrians. He grows in knowledge and wisdom during his stay on Malacandra. He is also grows in the moral virtues, like courage. He also begins to see his world from the perspective of the Malacandrians.

All these things are applicable to the pursuit of education. We must have something to stand on. WE need to have a viewpoint where we can critique other viewpoints. We must also be able to critically evaluate our own viewpoint. In addition, we must be able to learn from others. God is infinite; we are not. God is all-knowing; our knowledge is limited and fragmentary. We must have the humility to listen to the views of others.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has Rome to do with Christians? What has pagan thought to do with Christian thought?

The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on what it means to be an Educated Human Being, edited by Richard M. Gamble. Wilmington, Del. : ISI books, 2009.

I became a Christian when I was eighteen years old. I was not raised in a church or on Christian teaching. I was not familiar with the Bible. As a teenager I became involved with the wrong crowd and would eventually drop out of school in ninth grade. I grew up in a single parent home and was often alone. When I was eighteen my mother remarried and moved to Kentwood, Louisiana. My family decided to attend the First Baptist Church in Kentwood. It would be the only time my whole family would attend the church for a long time. However, I would return the next Sunday  and receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Not long after making this commitment to Jesus Christ I would begin college. Early on I experienced a conflict in what I was learning in Church and what I was learning in the university. They seemed to be opposed to each other. When in church I had to wear the hat of faith; while in the university I had to wear the hat of faith. I seemed to be a double-minded man unstable in all his ways. I spent many years reading and studying how to bring these two worlds together. It is interesting that after many years I was able to integrate these two worlds. It was not till years later I came upon two sources that would have been helpful in this journey. The first one was C. S. Lewis' essay "Learning in War-time." The other source is this book: The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on what it Means to be an Educated Human Being. What this book shows through primary sources is that Christians have been integrating their Christian faith with learning for two thousand years. It also shows the common themes in Christian education and Greek and Roman societies.

The Great Tradition excerpts works from many of the greatest authors of the Western Tradition: Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, Plutarch, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Erasmus, John Milton, C. S. Lewis and many others. One finds many common themes in these works: the importance of both developing the intellect and character. It also emphasizes a liberal arts education. The Christian authors find much good in the works of pagan authors. Much that can be integrated with a Christian world-view.

I was quite amazed by this anthology of readings of how many Christians have successfully integrated pagan thought with their Christian faith. They believed that all truth came from God. They also believed faith and reason were compatible. In addition, they believed virtues must be developed to be properly educated. They also taught that education was a life-long pursuit.

Gamble says about this anthology: "More than two hundred years ago, the utilitarians disconnected themselves from liberal education and the Great Tradition, redefining and redirecting the 'useful' away from that which forms the 'complete man,' and toward that which primarily promotes man's material well being. . . . The Great Tradition, in contrast, anchored in the classical and Christian humanism of liberal education, has taken the broader view that what is useful is that which helps men and women to flourish in nonmaterial ways as well--in other words, that which helps them to be happy. Indeed, what the Great Tradition has meant by the words 'humanism,' 'liberal,' and 'education' will emerge from the full context--spanning a breathtaking twenty-four centuries--of the remarkably intelligible, unified, and coherent conversation that unfolds in these pages" xvi-xvii). I can think of no better guide to show us what it means to be an educated human being.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

G. I. Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith : For Study Classes. 2nd Ed. P&R Publishing, 2004.

It is interesting that this book was originally published in 1964. Why a second edition in 2004. Maybe, the author thinks that there is a need to remember our roots. The author says in the preface to the second edition: "I believe today, more than ever before, that the doctrines set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith are true and therefore do not need to be changed. They are not, of course, infallibly stated. Only the Bible is infallible. But even today--after some 350 years--the amazing thing is that the Westminster Assembly got it so right that little needs to be changed" (ix).

I am sorry to say after thirty years of being a Southern Baptist, none of the churches I have been a member of studied any of the major reformation confessions: Heidelberg, Westminster, and others. WE did study the Baptist Faith and Message for which I am thankful. It is only over the past year I have been the studying the reformation confessions on my own and have been profited by them. I agree with Williamson that today it is even more urgent to study the great confessions and creeds of the Christian faith since doctrine and theology is largely absent from many churches.

The Westminster Confession of faith was originally created in 1646 by the Westminster Assembly to be the standard confession of the Church of England. It is considered an essential document of the Reformed faith. It provides a Christian theology for faith and practice. The creators of this document believed that doctrine was to be lived. They believed we Christians were to live for the glory of God and to "enjoy Him forever."

The confession covers many topics. Some of them are: the Bible, creation, providence, fall of humankind, free will, regeneration, justification, sanctification, religious worship, marriage, liberty, church and state, and many more topics.

In this book, the reader has the complete text of the Westminster Confession of Faith with Williamson's excellent commentary. He does a good job in explaining what the text means. At the end of each section are questions that can be discussed by a group. The book is set up to be used in study classes are by groups, but it can be used individually as I have done. I did not necessarily agree with all of the author's interpretations, but I did agree with the majority of them. Even when I disagreed, he helped me to understand the text.

For those who want the meat of the word, this is a good place to go. Your faith will grow as you wrestle with the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. This book is highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Re-thinking the Origins Debate

Jonathan Hill wrote an article claiming that most Americans and Christians "do not fall neatly into creationist or evolutionist camps." See the link below.

I would concur with this claim. Many Evangelicals probably struggle where they should stand in this debate. On the one hand, you do not want to deny science. Truly, science is a gift from God. You also do not want to discourage young people from pursuing careers as scientists. On the other hand, you want to be faithful to the witness of the Bible. It teaches that God is the creator.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Journal of Faith and the Academy Conference February 7, 2014

I attended the Journal of Faith and the Academy Conference at Faulkner University on February 7, 2014. It was the fourth Journal of Faith and the Academy conference I have attended. I always come away from the conference inspired and stimulated to think on the relationship of faith and learning. The main speaker was Gary Selby, Director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University. In his first talk he introduced how he came to be involved with faith and learning. The second talk concentrated on how we can relate our faith to our learning, especially how teachers can do this in the classroom.

The second talk was entitled: "Practical Matters: Identity, content, & Pedagogy." The point of this lecture was to look for points of connection between faith and learning. The first stage is at the pre-disciplinary stage. This has to do with the particular presuppositions of the particular discipline. For example, what are the "epistemology--and limits of historical research" ? The second stage is "mid-stream." At this stage you are looking for things that you are teaching and how they connect to the faith. For example, how does leadership connect with the Christian faith? The third stage is "post-discipline." How does our faith help us to live our commitments? How does my faith influence the way I practice my discipline?

Selby gave a list of books that can help us integrate our faith with our discipline.

Astin, Alexander W., Helen S. Astin, and Jennifer A. Lindholm. Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students' Inner Lives. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.
B., Van Duzer Jeffrey. Why Business Matters to God: (and What Still Needs to Be Fixed). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. Print.
Hughes, Richard T., and Richard T. Hughes. The Vocation of the Christian Scholar: How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2005. Print.
Jacobsen, Douglas G., Rhonda Hustedt. Jacobsen, and Rodney Sawatsky. Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.
Marsden, George M. The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. New York: Oxford UP, 1997. Print.
Noll, Mark A. Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011. Print.
Palmer, Parker J. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2007. Print.
Ream, Todd C., Jerry A. Pattengale, and David L. Riggs. Beyond Integration: Inter/disciplinary Possibilities for the Future of Christian Higher Education. Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian UP, 2012. Print.
Smith, David, and James K. A. Smith. Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011. Print.
Smith, James K. A. Desiring the Kingdom Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. Grand Rapids: Baker Group, 2009. Print.
Tippens, Darryl L., Jeanne Murray. Walker, and Stephen Weathers. Shadow & LIght: Literature and the Life of Faith, 2013.

Earnings Disparity between Degree and Non-Degree Young Adults

"Earnings Disparity Grows Between Young Workers With and Without Degrees."

An article in the Chronicle of Higher education says there is a growing disparity between young adults "with and without degrees." (See link above.) This is based on a study by the Pew Research Center. It uses census data from the age group, 25 to 32. It also claims that college educated young people are more able to live independently of their parents.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Pieper, Josef. Leisure: the Basis of Culture. New Translation by Gerald Malsbary; introduction by Roger Scruton. South Bend, IN: ST. Augustine's Press, 1998. ISBN: 1-890318-35-3.

There are a certain group of authors that I read their work repeatedly. Some of these authors are Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, ST. Augustine, James V. Schall, C.S. Lewis, and Peter Kreeft. Another one of these authors is Josef Pieper. I never tire of reading Pieper and being benefited by reading him.

Leisure: the Basis of Culture may be Pieper's best book. This book includes two essays: Leisure: the basis of Culture and the Philosophical Act. These essays might be more relevant today than when they were first published. At the beginning of his essay on leisure, Pieper includes two quotes: one from Plato, and the other one from the Bible. The one Plato talks about the gods providing leisure to man as "a means of refreshment from their fatique." The one from the Scripture is Cease striving, or Be still, or as translated in this book, "Be at leisure--and know that I am God. Pieper in this essay explains what leisure is. It is not what many people think it is. It is not resting from work to go back to work. We must be at leisure to know all that exists. Our being calls to know all that exists.

This essay on leisure is a rebuttal of a total work society. The idea that we are only a cog in the machine. It argues for the importance of the liberal arts and the need for leisure to know the truth of things. Pieper argues that the "original meaning of the concept of leisure has practically been forgotten in today's leisure-less culture of total-work" (4). Technical education or career education, or training provides workers with the skills to perform specific functions in this work-world. They do not cultivate the abilities to be at leisure and to know all that exists.

Pieper disagrees with Kant that "the human act of knowing is exclusively 'discursive'" (10). In contrast, "the medievals distinguished between the intellect as ratio and the intellect as intellectus" (11). Ratio is the "power of discursive thought;" intellectus "refers to the ability of 'simply looking' to which the truth presents itself as a landscape presents to the eye" (11). Like Pieper I prefer this more broader view of the act of human knowing. Pieper thinks "all knowing includes both." Intellectus is not work; it is seeing what is there. It requires leisure to be able to see what is there. This is the reason Pieper disagrees with the concept of the "intellectual worker."

This then leads Pieper to compare and contrast the liberal arts with the servile arts. The liberal arts are for the free-man. Thomas Aquinas says, "Every art is called liberal which is ordered to knowing; those which are ordered to some utility to be attained through action are called servile arts" (21). In other words, a liberal art is an end in itself. There are two types of knowledge: theoretical and practical. In the last two parts Pieper argues that we must reserve a place for knowing all that exists and the cause of all things. We must be at leisure to know God and all His truth.

The second essay is on the philosophical act. It is preceded by a quote from Thomas Aquinas: "The reason why the philosopher can be compared to the poet is that both are concerned with wonder..." This seems strange. Both the philosopher and the poet are identified together. This must be some mistake. However, Aristotle said that philosophy begins in wonder. Pieper argues that it not only begins in wonder; it never leaves wonder. Ancient philosophy practiced by Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle is a love of wisdom. This wisdom is open to theology and mystery. To know all that exists is to dwell in mystery. Pieper shows in this latter essay that revelation and philosophy needs each other. Together they are more fruitful, than apart. In addition, true lovers of wisdom will be open to wisdom wherever it is found. Pieper even argues that ancient philosophy was even preceded by theology as evidenced in the works of Plato.

Leisure the basis of culture requires repeated readings. Pieper has a genius for making difficult subjects plain. This edition of the book contains many of the reviews of the book when it was first published. It also includes an introduction by Roger Scruton. He says, "Pieper's book is also a feast. With astonishing brevity, he extracts from the idea of leisure not only a theory of culture and its significance, not only a natural theology for our disenchanted times, but also a philosophy of philosophy..."

Calvinism vs. Arminianism

Peterson, Robert A. and Michael D. Williams. Why I am not an Arminian. Downers Grove, IL.:InterVarsity Press, 2004.

I must confess my own bias before previewing this book. I do not believe God predestines individuals before they are born to either heaven or hell. On the other hand, I do not believe that God predestines individuals based on foreknowledge if they will accept him or not. Both of these positions I do not accept. I can see the arguments for both Calvinism and Arminianism, but I am not really in either camp.

Calvinism is often represented by the Tulip acronym:

T- Total Depravity
U- Unlimited Election
L- Limited Atonement
I- Irresistible Grace
P- Perseverance of the Saints

Many Calvinists identify themselves with this acronym.  The authors of this book do not seem to argue for this acronym. I do not remember them even mentioning it. It is just not a part of this book. Peterson and Williams seem to be fair to the Arminian side in presenting their arguments. I do not know if anyone will be converted to the other side by reading books like this. In many ways, this book is engaging in a conversation with Arminians. As far as I can tell, they are respectful to the other side. The authors even affirm where Calvinists and Arminians agree with each other, and they do not assert that Arminianism is heretical. I think one could actually begin affirming  Arminian beliefs while reading this book.

One thing that is strange is that James Arminius was in the Reformed camp. He had other Reformed pastors that supported his teaching. It seems that even today James Arminius is closer to the Reformed camp than he is to his Arminian descendants.

Why I am not an Arminian is divided into nine chapters, including an introduction. In the introduction, Peterson and Williams assert that both Calvinists and Arminians "are brothers in Christ" (13). They affirm the idea that Christians can disagree doctrinally "yet affirm one another as fellow believers' (14). The authors of this text believe that Calvinist beliefs are more biblical than Arminian beliefs.

Chapter one of the book compares Augustine and Pelagius. They do a good job in comparing their theological beliefs. Unlike some Calvinists, these authors do not identify Arminians with Pelagius. Other chapters discuss predestination, perseverance, free will, irresistible grace or overcoming grace, and the atonement. There is also a chapter on "Arminius and the Synod of Dort."

The authors argue that salvation is all of Grace. That God is completely responsible for our salvation. That even faith is a gift of God. They disagree with the Arminians that individuals have an autonomous will. There is only one sovereign, and He is God. They argue for a compatibilist free will.

Why I am not an Arminian makes a strong case for the Calvinist position. It also deals respectfully with the contrary arguments of Arminians. He also fairly exegetes scriptures on different interpretations by Arminians and Calvinists. This book is recommended for those interested in these issues. Peterson and Williams are good models on handling doctrinal issues that divide us.

The Science Guy vs. Ken Ham Debate

Bill Nye debated Ken Ham last night over Creation vs. Evolution. See below for an article from USA and a link to the debate.

Do debates like this change the viewer's mind? I think each side sees their own side as winning. Is a debate the best way to evaluate the evidence? There are more than two sides to the Creationism vs. Evolution Debate. Many scientists accept both evolution and creationism. For example, Alvin Plantinga says in his book, Where the Conflict Lies says the real conflict of science/religion is not theism and evolution, but naturalism and evolution.