You’ll find attached a presentation I did many months ago for the local apologetic discussion group I am a member of. It refutes the argument from a local atheist, claiming that Judaism, and Christianity by extension had borrowed its eschatology and thanatology from Zoroastrianism. Universalists also make this kind of claim from time to time. I hope you find it helpful.
Sometime ago Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) conducted an interview with Hank Hanegraaff. Here I want to take some space to give readers the skinny along with some analysis of the interview and then say a few things about where things are likely to go.
I Hate It When I am Right
The first thing to note is that, unfortunately I was right about Hank’s apparent intentions. Hank is not apparently interested in quietly sitting down in church for the next few years to learn the Orthodox faith. Rather he has moved at light speed to promote himself and his private Protestant business (which CRI still is-see the CRI doctrinal statement Article 6) on just about every media platform that would host him. (He didn’t go on Catholic Answers radio out of some great love of Catholicism.) This includes the Orthodox Christian Network, which continues to help to sell his Protestant books to an Orthodox audience.
Below is a presentation I recently made at a local apologetics discussion group I am a member of. I’ve known about this issue for a long time. I thought it would eventually resolve itself, but it seems to have only gotten worse. I have noticed over the years that a few bloggers here and there have tackled this issue, but they have only done so piecemeal and they by and large really lacked the competence to represent Christian theology accurately and provide a proper diagnosis. Given this blog’s focus on the theology of St. Maximus the Confessor, I saw that I was well placed to address it more fully and adequately. So I have undertaken to address it as part of a wider project. I hope you find it profitable.
I. What is the Question?
“Christology is the doctrinal locus where Christianity has the greatest need for theological precision. To be wrong here is to be wrong everywhere.”[i]
Now that I have your undivided attention, I need to take some space to toss out the questions that I am not asking. This list will not be exhaustive but sufficient to narrow down the question to something workable.
- I am not asking if Craig is a recipient of divine grace. I am not asking if Craig is regenerate or “born again.” This is something neither I nor anyone else could know, maybe not even Craig.
- I am not asking if Craig thinks of himself as a Christian. A person may take themselves to be a Christian and may not in fact be one and likewise, one may be one and not know (e.g. Crucified thief)
- I am not asking if Craig is a nice person or a mean person. Nothing I write here implies or is meant to imply that Craig is malicious, intentionally deceptive or any other deliberate gross moral failure. Whether Craig secretly eats baby hamsters or some such thing is not something I know nor is it relevant to what I write here.
- I am not asking if Craig is the member of a or the Christian church. Whatever Craig’s ecclesial membership is (I simply do not know) is irrelevant to the question I am asking.
- I am not asking if Craig has done beneficial things to the furtherance of Christian belief in the world. Whatever good things Craig has done elsewhere or on other topics is irrelevant to whether what he professes in core areas of Christian doctrine count as Christian doctrines or not.
Sometime ago I wrote a short presentation on an objection to Sola Scriptura and the response given to it. I constructed that presentation to deliberately leave out specific questions and counter objections. And this was because it was meant for a discussion group. I left material out to create space for those questions and counter objections to come out in the course of discussion. I posted it because I thought the central insight would prove profitable for those thinking about the formal principle of the Reformation.
Posting such things is also a way to throw them out and see how they play. I’ve been hearing whispers here and there that various Reformed folks have been asked to address it. Recently Patrick Hines has chosen to engage it. Mr. Hines is apparently a Reformed pastor of sorts. In the interests of full disclosure, I had contacted privately because of his efforts to critique Hanagraaff. I inquired whether we might collaborate. After being met with denunciations of apostasy and calls for my immediate repentance to “believe the true Gospel” it became apparent that that was a no go. Having looked over Mr. Hines’ other material I didn’t think there was anything there worthwhile to engage. Too many egregious mistakes and not enough pay off to make a response worthwhile. Mr. Hines is so adept at creating strawmen that he should be rightly donned a wizard of said fallacy.
Here is a recent interview I did with Paul Vendredi, who was gracious enough to allow me to speak my mind. You may not like what I have to say here, but I only ask you to consider one question. Is what I say true?
Below is a short presentation I wrote this year for a discussion group I attend locally from time to time. I do not attempt to answer everything here or address objections. I specifically designed this piece to facilitate discussion so as to allow various objections to come out in due course. I did write it as part of a larger argument because I think it gets to the heart of the matter concerning Reformation disputes. That is, the argument is not over epistemological issues (how can we know the correct interpretation of scripture?) but rather normative issues (what interpretation of scripture is binding or obligatory?) So I think that framing the matter in this way helps to clear away much of the confusion over the Reformation’s formal distinctive that is left untouched by most discussions of this topic. I hope you find it profitable.