Friday, November 24, 2017

Janet Mefferd Today Interview

My interview with Janet Mefferd was broadcast today on "Janet Mefferd Today."  I've done a handful of radio and video interviews on our recently-released An Introduction to Christian Worldview (IVP Academic) - Janet's was (thus far) the best-informed and most productive.  I encourage you to check it out - link is here, the November 20 listing (you should see my name).  My sincere thanks to Janet for a very stimulating and rewarding conversation!

Also, please check out (i.e., purchase!) An Introduction to Christian Worldview, co-authored by myself (Tawa J. Anderson), David K. Naugle, and W. Michael Clark - Amazon link.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Worldview Matters II - Experiential Accommodation

Why Does Worldview Matter? The Impact of Worldview II – Experiential Accommodation


Worldview is the conceptual lens through which we see, understand, and interpret the world and our place within it. Worldview develops in and flows through the heart, the center of the human person, and necessarily involves answers (propositional or narrative) to four questions: What is our nature? What is our world? What is our problem? What is our end? Every person possesses a worldview that provides an answer or set of answers to these core worldview questions, but these individual worldviews can be compiled under broad categories.

But why does worldview matter? How does worldview affect us? Why bother learning about it as a concept, and one’s own worldview specifically? What does it have to do with life? Simply put, worldview matters because one’s worldview affects everything that one thinks and does, through confirmation bias, experiential accommodation, the pool of live options, and life motivation. Last week, I considered confirmation bias – today I want to take a look at experiential accommodation.

Worldview and experiential accommodation.

Worldview influences us by driving us to interpret new data or arguments in a manner that affirms or fits within our existing worldview. Whenever possible, we interpret new data in a worldview-affirming manner.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Finalist in IVP's Reader's Choice Awards!!!

Excited.  Honored.  Pumped.  I struggle with the right words - but it's pretty neat to see that our co-authored worldview text has been nominated as a finalist for InterVarsity Press's annual "Reader's Choice Awards." 


Please support the book!  Vote via web or mobile app.  And, of course, feel free to support the book by purchasing a copy - Amazon link   Readers' Choice Awards voting is open until December 3.

Tawa J. Anderson, W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. IVP Academic, October 2017. 384 pp. 

Worldview Matters: Confirmation Bias

Why Does Worldview Matter? The Impact of Worldview I – Confirmation Bias


Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about ‘worldview’? Why care about what your worldview is, or someone else’s worldview is? What is the big deal about worldview studies, or worldview awareness? I hope to address the importance of worldview awareness and analysis in a series of posts, drawing on insights worked out more fully in our recently-released text, An Introduction to Christian Worldview (IVP Academic).

Worldview is the conceptual lens through which we see, understand, and interpret the world and our place within it. Worldview develops in and flows through the heart, the center of the human person, and necessarily involves answers (propositional or narrative) to four questions: What is our nature? What is our world? What is our problem? What is our end? Every person possesses a worldview that provides an answer or set of answers to these core worldview questions, but these individual worldviews can be compiled under broad categories.

The Impact of Worldview


I greatly enjoy mysteries and detective stories, from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot, Law & Order to NCIS. When cops or crown attorneys have a working thesis concerning a particular crime, their approach to evidence is affected by how that evidence relates to their governing thesis. For example, if they suspect someone of committing a particular crime, tiny bits of evidence will strengthen their position.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Untying the Trinity: Understanding God's Tri-Unity

Untying The Trinity: Understanding and Worshiping our Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit 


First Baptist Church, McLoud OK 
Sunday, November 12, 2017

I had the privilege of preaching at First Baptist Church in McLoud, Oklahoma this past Sunday - filling the pulpit for my good friend Pastor Matt Halsted, who had returned from the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum in New Orleans VERY late the night before (2AM).  I am grateful for the opportunity to preach.  What follows is a relatively-accurate transcript of my sermon from Sunday.  

The heart of my message was: a) Christian Trinitarian belief is unique among the world's religions; b) God's Triunity is required by the biblical evidence; c) Christians cannot willingly embrace logically incoherent (impossible) beliefs; d) the Trinity is not logically incoherent; e) while we cannot fully comprehend God's Tri-unity, we can begin to rationally grasp it.  I hope it is helpful!

Throughout human history, virtually every living human being has believed in God.  Even in our current highly skeptical and secular age, around 80% of Westerners (Europeans, Americans, Canadians) believe in some divine Being.  If you survey the world at large, and especially if you investigate human history, you find that an overwhelming majority of human beings affirm the existence of God. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

What's In A Worldview? Part III - The Universality and Diversity of Worldview

What’s In A Worldview? Part III – The Universality and Diversity of Worldview


Tawa J. Anderson, W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. IVP Academic, October 2017. 384 pp. Amazon link

Worldview is the conceptual lens through which we see, understand, and interpret the world and our place within it. Worldview develops in and flows through the heart, the center of the human person, and necessarily involves answers (propositional or narrative) to four sets of questions: What is our nature? What is our world? What is our problem? What is our end? Furthermore, a worldview is a person-specific matrixa perception of reality, a filter through which everything flows as we seek to make sense of external data. The answers, conscious or unconscious, consistent or inconsistent, to the four governing questions constitute ones fundamental worldview. Each person has an answer to the four sets of questions, even if the person has never formed them into intelligible propositions or coherent narratives. Whether one looks at worldview as a set of beliefs about the structure of the world, an internal framework, or a set of glasses through which we look at reality, the bottom line is that every person possesses a worldview. We may not like it; we might deny it. We might insist that worldview is not even a rational concept. But that does not change the fact that each of us has a worldview and that ones worldview strongly affects the way that one lives.

Because everybody has a worldview, there are literally countless worldviews held by people across the globe. Each worldview is unique to its owner. No two people have precisely identical worldviews.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

An Introduction to Christian Worldview - Book Launch!

Tawa J. Anderson, W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. IVP Academic, 2017. Amazon link

Formal Book Launch - Friday, November 3 @ Oklahoma Baptist University

Over the past few months, I have written a series of blog posts about our newly-published worldview textbook.  On Friday, OBU will host the official book launch for An Introduction to Christian Worldview.  The book launch will be hosted by Heath Thomas, Dean of the College of Theology & Ministry at OBU.  Three distinguished visiting scholars will deliver critical engagements with the book - Jim Baird (Oklahoma Christian University), Mark Coppenger (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), and Robert Stewart (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary).  After their presentations and responses, there will be a panel discussion about the book, featuring the three guests, myself, and Louima Lilite, Professor of Music at OBU and one of the co-originators of the worldview textbook.

Please check out the linked (below) article on OBU's website - I'm pumped about the conversations that we'll be able to have on Friday!   Book Launch Article

Monday, October 30, 2017

What's In A Worldview? Star Wars and the 4 Worldview Questions


What’s In a Worldview? Part II – Star Wars and the 4 Worldview Questions

Tawa J. Anderson, W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. IVP Academic, 2017. Amazon link


Contemporary Cultural Worldview Meditation

 

In my last few posts, I have been talking about the nature of worldview – what is a worldview, and what all is a worldview comprised of? I have suggested that worldview is the conceptual lens through which we see, understand, and interpret the world and our place within it. Our worldview is generally formed pre-theoretically – that is, without our conscious thought and consideration. Worldview takes root based on our experiences and the influences exerted upon us by friends, family, education, and culture.

Each person’s worldview answer four fundamental sets of questions about life, the universe, and everything: What is our nature? What is our world? What is our problem? And What is our end?

It is interesting, then, to consider the worldviews displayed by people around us, including the worldviews displayed in popular culture. So today – consider a brief jaunt into the worldview of the Star Wars world …

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What's In A Worldview? The Questions We All Must Face

What's In A Worldview? Part I - Questions all Worldviews Answer

Tawa J. Anderson, W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. IVP Academic, October 2017. 384 pp. Purchase via Amazon

Philosophers, educators, sociologists, missiologists, and anthropologists alike can agree that worldview is an important concept to understand and apply. Furthermore, scholars in each discipline agree that there is an identifiable set of common components to worldview.  Some
scholars propose categories of thought or belief as the common components to worldview. Other scholars suggest that all worldviews address a set of unavoidable common questions.

I contend that it is best to approach universal worldview components with four core questions in mind: What is our nature? What is our world? What is our problem? What is our end? On one hand, asking such questions helps to bring worldview commitments to the surface in a way that categories or classifications may not; the route of questioning embodies the still-valuable Socratic method of philosophical inquiry. Furthermore, approaching worldviews via questions is more attuned to the predominantly storied or narrative structure of worldview. Thus, we believe that our worldviewconscious or not, consistent or notanswers four fundamental questions (actually, four sets of questions) about life, the universe, and everything. Each question (or set of questions) has multiple possible answers that can be given in the form of stories or propositions; together, the answers compose a comprehensive view of reality. The questions posed for and answered by every worldview have been asked by thinking persons for millennia.

Friday, October 20, 2017

What Is Worldview? Part III - Engaging James Sire

What Is Worldview: James Sire, Dean of Worldview Thought


James Sire is arguably the most influential evangelical worldview proponent over the past two generations. Given my interest in worldview studies (as exemplified in our recently-published An Introduction to Christian Worldview, with IVP Academic), I think it is healthy and important to understand what Sire has written on worldview over the past 40 years, and to build upon his wisdom. His classic text, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, first published in 1976, is currently in its fifth edition. The first three editions focused on worldview as primarily a set of basic concepts or intellectual presuppositions. After rethinking his approach, Sire thoroughly revised his understanding and explanation of worldview. Sire no longer understands or explains worldview in terms of philosophical propositions alone. Instead, he provides a comprehensive and holistic definition:

A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being. [James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015), 13.]

Sire’s definition is helpful on several levels and deserves to be unpacked.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Worldview, Empathy, and Expectations


I don't normally do this, but I'm going to share some off-the-cuff remarks on the impact that worldview exerts on our expectations, particularly with regards to our assessment of empathy.  My thoughts are sparked by a great gathering that we hosted here at Oklahoma Baptist University over the weekend - the regional meeting of Phi Theta Kappa, the Arkansas-Oklahoma Honors society for 2-year colleges.  There were about 100 students and various sponsors and faculty members in attendance, and I had the privilege of eating dinner with some of them, and then serving as the moderator for a panel discussion on Friday evening.

The topic of our panel discussion was "The University: Unity in Diversity - Cultivating Global Scholars."  The aim was to talk about how cultural and disciplinary diversity among faculty members and students contributes to a healthy campus environment, but need not prevent a university's strong unity in purpose and direction.  As a college builds unity amid diversity, we are then better able to cultivate global scholars, graduates who are confident and competent to engage a diverse world and (in our OBU context) integrate their faith with all areas of knowledge while living a life worthy of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In the Q&A after the panel discussion, a couple of interesting things transpired. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Today's the Day!!!

Anderson, Tawa J., W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017.

After five long years of collaboration, writing, revising, re-writing, editing, and indexing, our co-authored Worldview textbook is officially released today (October 10) by IVP Academic.  A hearty shout out to Dan Reid, our chief editor at InterVarsity Press, along with the editing and artistic team, for a truly beautiful product (inside and out!).  The book is casebound, hard-cover, 384 pages, with beautiful cover art; some charts, figures, and illustrations in the main text; well laid-out (and interesting) sidebars and scenic byways engaging worldview in pop culture; with a helpful (and painstakingly-produced) index.  I'm biased, of course, but it's a fantastic product both in its content and its presentation.

The promotional blurb from IVP (also on Amazon): Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is the lens through which we interpret the cosmos and our lives in it. A worldview answers the big questions of life: What is our nature? What is our world? What is our problem? What is our End? As Anderson, Clark, and Naugle point out, our worldview cannot simply be reduced to a series of rational beliefs. We are creatures of story, and the kinds of stories we tell reveal important things about our worldview. Part of being a thoughtful Christian means being able to understand and express the Christian worldview as well as developing an awareness of the variety of worldviews. An Introduction to Christian Worldview takes you further into answering questions such as
  • Why do worldviews matter?
  • What characterizes a Christian worldview?
  • How can we analyze and describe a worldview?
  • What are the most common secular and religious worldviews?
Well organized, clearly written, and featuring aids for learning, An Introduction to Christian Worldview is the essential text for either the classroom or for self-study.

How can you get a copy?  ...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What Is A Worldview? Part 2

What Is A Worldview? Origins & Definitions


Excerpted from Anderson, Clark, and Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview (IVP Academic, 2017), 9-13. (To be released October 12, 2017.)

The English term worldview is derived from the German Weltanschauung, a compound word (Welt = world + Anschauung = view or outlook) first used by Immanuel Kant to describe an individual’s sensory perception of the world. The term spread quickly in German idealist philosophy “to refer to an intellectual conception of the universe from the perspective of a human knower.” In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, German philosophers used Weltanschauung increasingly for the concept of answering pivotal questions regarding life,
the universe, and everything.

A worldview can be helpfully defined as “the conceptual lens through which we see, understand, and interpret the world and our place within it.” There is, however, a multitude of ways to define and explain worldview.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What Is a Worldview? Part 1

What Is a Worldview? Stories & A Definition

Excerpted from Anderson, Clark, and Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview (IVP Academic, 2017), 8-9. (To be released October 12, 2017.)

Three friends once went to a nature preserve in the African Serengeti and experienced the majestic beauty and diversity of native African wildlife—zebra, elephant, gazelle, lion, and rhinoceros. Each was awestruck by the diversity of creatures observed.

The first friend, John Luther, commented boldly: “The Lord God has definitely created an amazing array of creatures that sing his praises and declare his glory to the ends of the earth, has he not?”

The second friend, Charles Dawkins, immediately responded: “An amazing array of creatures, to be sure. But you err, my good man, in ascribing their existence to a Creator. No, these incredible animals are the result of the unguided, purposeless combination of random mutation and natural selection. We too are the product of a natural evolutionary process. Indeed, we are no different from the creatures that we see.”

The third friend, Shirley Chopra, serenely replied: “I pray you both would be enlightened to the full reality disclosed by our brothers and sisters on the nature preserve. For they too bear the same spark of divinity that lies within you and me. Do you not sense them calling to you, seeking to communicate with your spirit? We are all potential gods and goddesses; we just need to awaken to our heightened state and take hold of the possibilities that lie before us.”

The three friends see the same animals within the same nature preserve. Thus, they experience the same objective truth. Nevertheless, due to their vastly different perspectives, the three friends see different things.

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's Almost Here!!!

"It's time!  It's time!  Did he just say it's time?!"

Over five years ago, Michael Clark, Louima Lilite, and I conceived of a textbook project.  We had just finished co-teaching a J-Term (three weeks at the start of January, between fall semester and spring semester) class at Oklahoma Baptist University entitled "Christian Worldview," and geared for first-time freshmen.  The goals of the 1-credit-hour course were to introduce students to the concept of worldview, the importance of worldview thought, the contours of a Christian worldview, and some elementary worldview comparison and analysis. 

We used James Sire's excellent text, The Universe Next Door (5th edition) as our only textbook for Christian Worldview.  Sire does a phenomenal job of laying out worldview questions, and how 8 different worldviews compare with one another on those questions.  His text is rightly a classic in the field.  But we wanted, in our course, to do more in two areas: (1) consideration of what worldview is and how it affects us; and (2) outlining and analyzing the contours of a robust Christian worldview.  There are, of course, other books that accomplish those tasks admirably.  For (1), David Naugle's Worldview: The History of a Concept is outstanding; James Sire's somewhat-shorter Naming the Elephant (recently released in a 2nd edition) is also very helpful.  For (2), Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew's Living at the Crossroads and Brian Walsh and Richard Middleton's The Transforming Vision also do a competent job.  (Both also do a bit of work on the first aspect, too.)

But no matter how we searched, we could not find a one-stop text that accomplished the three purposes that we had articulated for our J-Term Christian Worldview course: (1) Worldview as a concept; (2) Contours of Christian worldview; (3) Comparison and analysis of other worldviews.  Given that we had three weeks to work with in J-Term, we naturally wanted to allocate one week to each of our three purposes, and desired to have course materials that reflected those goals and the desired balance.

We came up empty on our book search.  And so the three of us thought it might be a good idea to write our own materials.  In 2012, we spent the calendar year sketching, outlining, and then writing the book, which we used in January 2013 with our freshman worldview course.  The first go-around was a bit rough around the edges, but the material was helpful and solid.  At that point, it seemed like the project was worthwhile, not just for our use internally, but for a broader public as well. 

So in Spring 2013 we pitched the course text as a book project to InterVarsity Press, in my estimation the top publisher in academic Christian philosophy and apologetics.  Andy LePeau, a senior editor with IVP Academic, adopted the project, and we began working with IVP to revise our materials.  Over the subsequent three years, various events intervened: Michael left OBU to pursue a second doctoral degree (in law); Louima withdrew from the textbook project (but graciously left his outline, wisdom, and plans with the project) and was replaced by our good friend David Naugle (from Dallas Baptist University); Andy LePeau retired from IVP and was replaced by Dan Reid as editor for the project. 

It has been a roller-coaster of a project, seeing this Worldview textbook along the way.  But now, finally, after thousands of hours of research, collaboration, writing, revising, editing, footnoting, indexing, and proof-reading, the book is coming out in 18 days (not that I'm counting)!

Friday, September 8, 2017

An Introduction to "An Introduction to Christian Worldview"

Worldview Matters: An Introduction to Christian Worldview

Tawa J. Anderson, David K. Naugle, and W. Michael Clark, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017. ISBN: 978-0830851232

Christianity is a world and life view and not simply a series of unrelated doctrines. Christianity includes all of life. Every realm of knowledge, every aspect of life and every facet of the universe find their place and their answer within Christianity. It is a system of truth enveloping the entire world in its grasp. (Edwin Rian)
Worldview is a contentious term. Some philosophers complain that it has become an abused and misused term. Others complain that worldview is regretfully neglected and overlooked in philosophical and theological conversations. Others still insist that its use is on the rise, that it has not yet hit its heyday. Still others do not even know what the concept is all about. Finally, some assert that worldview is simply an unhelpful term that can be dispensed with altogether without any profound loss. I am convinced that worldview matters matter: thinking worldview-ishly is essential for responsible, intentional Christian discipleship.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John Dominic Crossan and Post-Modern Structuralism - Part II of II

Jon posted a very thoughtful comment and question in response to my article on John Dominic Crossan.

First, Jon's question .

Jon said...
"...Crossan believes that there is no history beyond language—history is not a concrete reality consisting of actual past events, but rather is constructed through language about past events."

Can you provide a quote from Crossan to support this? While I do not have a great familiarity with Crossan or structuralism, what little I have read seems very inconsistent with your argument here. That is, they do not deny that there is a reality and history independent of language, but that our understanding of history and reality are dependent upon and limited to the structure of our language(s).

Very well put, Jon.  
In my last post, I outlined Crossan's views on language, metaphor, history, and reality.  Now, I'd like to expand upon that, and consider how Crossan's structuralism impacts his historical Jesus research, particularly his study of Jesus's resurrection.  Again, this material is derived from my dissertation, which is accessible here.

Monday, July 24, 2017

John Dominic Crossan & Post-Modern Structuralism, Part I of II


Jon posted a very thoughtful comment and question in response to my article on John Dominic Crossan.  I'd like to take opportunity to expand on it - to bring his question out, and provide further discussion of Crossan's understanding of language, history, and reality, and to consider the implications of that understanding upon historical Jesus research.

First, Jon's question .


Jon said...
"...Crossan believes that there is no history beyond language—history is not a concrete reality consisting of actual past events, but rather is constructed through language about past events."

Can you provide a quote from Crossan to support this? While I do not have a great familiarity with Crossan or structuralism, what little I have read seems very inconsistent with your argument here. That is, they do not deny that there is a reality and history independent of language, but that our understanding of history and reality are dependent upon and limited to the structure of our language(s).

Very well put, Jon.  I'm thankful for thoughtful readers!
On that blog post, I responded with a brief citation from my dissertation (which can be found here.).  I mentioned that structuralism (like much of postmodernism) is essentially contested: there is wide disagreement among proponents and opponents alike as to what structuralism means and looks like.  Nonetheless, I am confident that I represented Crossan's views fairly.  

Here, I'd like to include a longer section of my dissertation - I think this is a fascinating subject, and I hope these thoughts are instructional and illuminating.  I'll include two sections, in two different posts.  First, this post will outline Crossan's views; tomorrow, I'll post a consideration of how these views impact historical Jesus research and the resurrection particularly.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

John Dominic Crossan Synopsis, Part III - Response to Crossan's Scholarly Claims

Engaging Crossan's Ideas:


To finish off this mini-series on the lovable Irish scholar, John Dominic Crossan, today we will interact with his scholarly arguments and conclusions (outlined in Monday's blog post).


CHRISTIAN RESPONSE

Structuralism / Metaphor:
Crossan’s embrace of structuralism (the belief that language constructs reality) is self-referentially absurd.  As many philosophers have noted, if structuralism were accurate, it would mean that we could cure HIV by simply ceasing to talk about it—no language of HIV = no infected patients = no further deaths from AIDS.  Indeed, we could also conveniently do away with unpleasant historical realities like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Black Plague, American slavery, and the Holocaust.  As nearly everyone is aware, there is a real physical world beyond us, that exists and has objective properties that hold regardless of my particular beliefs.  Words may have significant power and influence, but they do not change historical reality—they might alter the way people understand history, but that is not the same thing as constructing reality.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

John Dominic Crossan Profile, Part II - Major Claims

The Works and Claims of John Dominic Crossan


Last week, I introduced a three-part blog series on John Dominic Crossan, one of my favorite skeptical New Testament scholars.  Crossan is delightfully witty, with a tremendous gift for language and communication - even his heterodox arguments about Jesus are couched in beautiful prose.  I talked briefly through the life and times of Crossan in my previous post - in this post I'd like to cover his non-traditional (and, quite frankly, anti-Christian) scholarly positions on Jesus of Nazareth.  Later this week I will interact with those claims, suggesting corrective responses.

MAJOR CLAIMS
John Dominic Crossan publishes widely, and his scholarly arguments include numerous controversial and heterodox conclusions.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

John Dominic Crossan Synopsis, Part I - Biography and Major Works

Who Is John Dominic Crossan?


In my Ph.D. studies, I had the privilege of studying the worldview and scholarship of John Dominic Crossan as the focal point of my doctoral dissertation ("The Myth of the Metaphorical Resurrection").  Much more recently, I completed a short synopsis and interaction with Crossan for Watchman Fellowship.  I'd like to take this opportunity to share the brief article I completed, in three separate posts.  First, today, sharing a short biography of Crossan, along with a list of his major published works.  Next, I'll outline some of Crossan's scholarly conclusions and assertions, focusing particularly on heterodox claims he makes.  Finally, I will analyze and interact with those scholarly claims.  Perhaps this short series will whet your appetite to find my dissertation (available online free full-text here) and digest it!  Either way, I hope it's helpful.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Imagining the Kingdom, with James K. A. Smith

James K. A. Smith.  Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. Cultural Liturgies: Volume 2.  Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 198 pp.  $22.99, ISBN: 978-0-8010-3578-4.

James Smith’s 2009 Desiring the Kingdom was the first of a three-part series on envisioning ‘Cultural Liturgies’ to enrich Christian spiritual and education formation.  Imagining the Kingdom continues the narrative and exhortation, insisting that imagination must lie at the center of Christian formation.  Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom is arranged in two major Parts (Incarnate Significance; Sanctified Perception) of two chapters each that follow a lengthy but necessary introduction.  In my estimation, there is considerable rich material to mine throughout Imagining the Kingdom, certainly too much to cover in this review.  Instead, I will give a brief outline of Smith’s arguments, insights, and suggestions, and engage a few essential elements of the book. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Impact of Worldview

Yesterday, I received "Sample Pages" of the first chapter of our soon-to-be-published Christian Worldview textbook (aptly titled An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World) from our editor.  It is truly exciting to see the project coming together, and I was motivated to share a few thoughts that are in the textbook, in a different format.  What follows is a slightly revised version of an article originally published in The Baptist Messenger, a weekly publication of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, in May 2012.

The Importance and Impact of Worldview

Three friends went on safari in the Serengeti, and observed the majestic beauty and diversity of the African wild.  The first friend, John Luther, commented boldly: “Is not our God truly amazing?!  The Lord has created an amazing array of creatures and landscapes that sing His praises and declare His glory.” 
The second friend, Charles Dawkins, immediately responded: “An amazing array of creatures, to be sure.  But you err, my good man, in ascribing their existence to a Creator.  No, these animals are the result of unguided, purposeless random mutation and natural selection.  We too are the product of a godless evolutionary process.”
The third friend, Shirley Chopra, serenely replied: “I pray you both would be enlightened to the full reality disclosed by our animal brothers and sisters.  For they bear the same spark of divinity that lies within you and I.  Do you not sense them calling out to you, seeking to communicate with your spirit?”
The same animals, the same nature preserve – the same objective truth.  Yet three friends have different perspectives as to what those animals represent.  Why?  Simply put, John, Charles, and Shirley are experiencing a clash of worldviews.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God - Books at a Glance


Keller, Timothy. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical. New York: Viking, 2016. 327 pp. $27.00 (hardcover).


One of my favorite contemporary Christian authors is Timothy Keller.  I frequently refer to Keller as a modern day C. S. Lewis - a widely-read, intelligent, articulate scholar who has an uncanny ability to both understand and communicate with people across the theological and social spectrum.

I recently read and reviewed Keller's Making Sense of God - and my review was just posted up on Books-at-a-Glance, an excellent website that gives concise but thoughtful reviews of a broad swath of Christian scholarship.  Follow the link, and enjoy!


Books-at-a-Glance


Blessings,
Tawa

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Chronicles of Keimathea, Part IV - The Banquet Table of the King

The Keimathea Chronicles - a Christian Worldview parable - Part IV

Redemption - Glorification: The Banquet Table of the King


The question, at the end of the evening, is what we will do in the midst of the suffering and evil in our lives.  The citizens of Keimathea faced the same question—how would they respond to King Ma’alekei’s invitation in the corrupted kingdom they experienced?
One day, the good and wise king entered a small village on the fringes of the realm—far from the palace, and very close to the outer darkness.  Three young women—Alyssa, Karin, and Maya—emerged and talked with the king.  Ma’alekei gave them food, money, clothing, and some extravagant silk fabrics out of his royal bounty.  He re-affirmed his eternal love for the three girls, and invited them to come and join the banquet at the castle in the heart of the kingdom.  The three women, awe-struck, listened silently as the King talked. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Chronicles of Keimathea, Part III - Hints of Redemption

The Keimathea Chronicles - A Christian Worldview Parable

Part 3 - After the Fall, Hints of Redemption


We return to the Korrupted Kingdom of Keimathea – once a realm of undisturbed peace and prosperity, protected from darkness and harm by the sovereign rule of King Ma’alekei the wise.  After Joronae’s treacherous theft of the royal diadem, however, all was no longer well in Keimathea.  Ma’alekei continued to shower his blessings upon the people, freely bestowing upon them all that they could need and want—food, shelter, music, books, entertainment—even NHL hockey.  But, just as Joronae had coveted the king’s crown, so too now his fellow Keimatheans began to focus, not on the Great King who had blessed them, nor the good things with which he had blessed them—no, instead, the citizens of the Kingdom were no longer content with what they had.  They each and all noticed the good things that others had, and began to desire and seek those good things in addition to their rightful gifts.  The desire for others’ good things led to theft, violence, even murder, as Keimatheans opposed and hated one another in their pursuit of what they thought would complete their lives. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chronicles of Keimathea - a Christian Worldview Parable - Part II: Joronae's Fall

The Keimathea Chronicles, Part II

King Ma’alekei continued to rule his realm with wisdom, and the people continued to enjoy prosperity and peace.  During one of the King’s nightly banquets at the palace, a young man joined in the festivities for the first time of his life.  Joronae was exceptionally handsome, his mind razor-sharp.  He was well-loved by his fellow Keimatheans, and King Ma’alekei inwardly held Joronae to be the pinnacle of his kingly work.  Ma’alekei had personally taught and guided the young man for years, instructing him in botany, alchemy, architecture, zoology, astronomy, and law.  Joronae had come, at a tender young age, to understand the intricacies of royal law, and had a very bright future before him serving in Ma’alekei’s court.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Chronicles of Keimathea - A Christian Worldview Parable - Part I: Wise King, Good Kingdom

Chronicles of Keimathea I - Wise King, Good Kingdom

Over Easter weekend, I had the privilege and joy of teaching a D-Now (Discipleship-Now) event at our home church (Temple Baptist Church, Shawnee OK).  We walked through various aspects of the problem of evil, working within the narrative framework of a Christian worldview: Creation - Fall - Redemption - Glorification.  As part of the teaching materials, I told a series of stories about the Kingdom of Keimathea.  I hope you enjoy them.  Each installment is relatively short, and there will be five altogether.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Worldview Matters!

Why Worldview Study Matters!

In the past few years, I have had the privilege of co-authoring a textbook on Christian worldview with Michael Clark and David Naugle.  As I shared recently, we are excited to announce that the book is now available for pre-order via Amazon, and will be released by IVP Academic on October 28, 2017.  Worldview Textbook - Amazon link  

Last week we finished the "copy-editing" process, the last major round of revisions and additions.  All that remains now is type-setting, indexing, and proof-reading.  In honor of completing the next major portion of the project, I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding the importance of the project - so over the next few weeks we will look at why Worldview is important, and why you ought to engage in some intentional worldview examination and consideration.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Keller, The Reason for God, Part III of III

Keller, Timothy.  The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.  New York: Dutton, 2008. 293 pp.

In introducing the positive apologetic of the second half of the book (“Intermission”), Keller notes that he will be seeking to establish a ‘mere Christianity,’ a faith which affirms the major ecumenical creeds of the early centuries (117).  The reasons he will lay out do not serve as epistemologically compelling proof, a goal which is impossible and cannot even live up to its own standards (118-20).  Rather, he seeks to establish rational arguments that will persuade most rational people (120).  Finally, he suggests that the Christian worldview “makes the most sense of the world,” and invites the reader to put on Christian lenses to see the world through (123).

Keller, The Reason for God, Part II of III

Keller, Timothy.  The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.  New York: Dutton, 2008. 293 pp.

I noted in my last blog post that I consider Timothy Keller to be, potentially, a C. S. Lewis of our age – an apologist who has the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and literary gifts to communicate the truths and truthfulness of the Christian faith effectively to a broad audience.  I have embarked on a six-part series interacting with Keller’s two most prominent apologetic works, The Reason for God (2008) and Making Sense of God (2016).  Last time, I noted that The Reason for God is split into two major sections – the first half of the book dealing with ‘negative apologetics’ – that is, responding to typical objections against the Christian faith; the second half dealing with ‘positive apologetics’ – that is, setting forth reasons to believe that Christianity is true.  I previously summarized and evaluated the first half of the first half of The Reason for God, analyzing Keller’s responses to charges of religious intolerance (Chapter 1), the problem of evil (Chapter 2), and the inhibition of freedom in Christianity (Chapter 3).  In this post, we will cover the last half of part one, and in my final post on The Reason for God we will look at his positive arguments for Christian faith.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God - Part I of III

Keller, Timothy.  The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.  New York: Dutton, 2008. 293 pp.


I am, in many ways, an apologetics junkie.  I love the various aspects, topics, issues, styles, methods, approaches, insights, and personalities of Christian apologetics.  Like anyone, I have my favorite apologists.  The Apostle Paul is certainly one; St. Augustine another.  Thomas Aquinas is high up on my list, as is Thomas Sherlocke.  In the 20th century, James Warwick Montgomery, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Gary Habermas, and William Lane Craig have been apologetic heroes.  But my absolute favorite 20th-century apologist is indubitably C. S. Lewis – not because I agree with him about everything, but because he is a masterful communicator, and because his basic approaches to apologetic questions is both sound and winsome.  Lewis was a genius at grasping complex theological truths and communicating them in terms that everyone could comprehend.  Lewis was a master wordsmith who took pride in the craft of creating beautiful prose, even in argumentative form.  Lewis also understood the mind and heart of the non-Christian, and engaged them in their terms on their turf – very effectively at that.
In all of those ways, I tend to hold up Timothy Keller as a 21st-century C. S. Lewis.  Like Lewis, Keller is a broad reader, with deep understanding of the theological truths of the faith as well as the mind of the non-Christian.  Like Lewis, Keller loves learning and language, and crafts lovely literature.  In this next series of blog posts, I intend to interact with two of Keller’s most prominent apologetic works: his 2008 The Reason for God, and his 2016 Making Sense of God.  I will have three blog posts on each book: this post covers the first half of the first half (yes, the repetition was deliberate) of The Reason for God.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Postmodernism & Truth

Truth Considered & Applied: Examining Postmodernism, History, and Christian Faith. By Stewart E. Kelly. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011, 376 pp., $29.99 paper.


Stewart Kelly, professor of philosophy at Minot State University (North Dakota), has written a helpful treatise on historical knowledge and truth in a postmodern age.  Kelly divides Truth Considered & Applied into three parts, corresponding to three major questions.  (1) What is postmodernism?  (2) Given postmodernism, is genuine historical knowledge still possible?  (3) How should we think about truth?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Our Christian Worldview Textbook is Coming!!!!


Very exciting to see this come up on Amazon for the first time.  My co-authored textbook, with Michael Clark and David Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God's Perspective in a Pluralistic World, is now listed on Amazon and available for pre-order, with a release date of October 28, 2017 (just in time for my birthday!).

Amazon Worldview book page!

There's still lots of work to do to shepherd the book to the finish line, but it's pretty cool to know that our book, nearly 5 years in the making, is just about complete and published.  I'll be sharing more on An Introduction to Christian Worldview as the months move along.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

EPS Dialogue: Ehrman's Resurrection Historiography

So, this past weekend I was in Louisville, Kentucky for the Southeast Regional meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  Great conference!  I presented a paper I wrote, as a Socratic dialogue featuring Bart Ehrman and his interlocutor, Professor Dart Bearmahn, interrogating Ehrman's historical methodology concerning the post-mortem fate of Jesus of Nazareth.  One of my old professors, Dr. Mark Coppenger, honored me by reading the paper with me - and, I have to say, it was the most fun I have ever had presenting an academic paper!  A new friend, Keith Buhler (currently finishing his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Kentucky) was kind enough to take a bootleg copy of the presentation.  Below, I provide the abstract of the paper, and a link to Keith's Youtube video.  Hope you enjoy it!

Dart Bearmahn: “Why Leah Never Won the Lottery, The Red Sox Didn’t Win the 2004 World Series, Man is Not Descended from Apes, and Jesus Never Died on the Cross.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Need for Apologetics luncheon talk

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend my lunch hour with a business in Oklahoma City; they invited me to come and talk about the need for apologetics in our contemporary context.  The company recorded the talk, and I figured it would be worth posting up here.  Enjoy!


Jasco Apologetics Talk


Thank you once again to Jasco Products for their eagerness to have good conversation about important contemporary theological topics.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The End of Apologetics, Part II - Critical Analysis

Penner, Myron Bradley. The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 180 pp. $19.99.
                       
In my last blog post, I summarized the primary arguments of Myron Penner’s The End of Apologetics, a polemic diatribe opposing the modern apologetic enterprise.  Penner’s overarching thesis is that in our postmodern context, apologetic endeavors mired in the concerns and paradigms of Enlightenment modernity are doomed to failure.  Having outlined the contours of his book, I would like, in this post, to engage in a spirited critique of his thought, method, and means.
The End of Apologetics is among the most challenging, perplexing, and frustrating books that I have read in recent memory.  While there are helpful elements to Penner’s treatise (e.g., the emphasis on person-relative sensitivity in apologetic conversation; the importance of how, not just what, we believe, share, and proclaim), the positives are greatly outweighed by the negatives. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The End of Apologetics, Part I - Summary

Penner, Myron Bradley. The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. 180 pp. $19.99.
                       
In this brief two-part series, I will interact extensively with Myron B. Penner’s The End of Apologetics, published in 2013 by Baker Academic.  The primary content of these blog posts has previously been published in Philosophia Christi 17.1 (2015): 241-47.  In this initial blog essay, I will summarize the primary thrust and arguments in Penner’s book, and in my follow-up I will engage in a spirited critique of his work.
Myron Penner earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees at Liberty University before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh.  He has served on faculty at Prairie Bible College (Three Hills, Alberta, Canada), and as an Anglican priest in my hometown, Edmonton, Alberta.  Penner currently is pastor of Trinity International Church in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.  The End of Apologetics is Penner’s polemic diatribe opposing the modern apologetic enterprise, exemplified (for Penner) most clearly by William Lane Craig.  Penner’s overarching thesis is that in our postmodern context, apologetic endeavors mired in the concerns and paradigms of Enlightenment modernity are doomed to failure—indeed, they are a “curse,” and the one who utilizes them “is a second Judas who betrays the Christ.” (9)  To replace Craig’s modern apologetics, Penner advocates a post-modern Christian witness that edifies by adhering to an ethic of belief and witness. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Licona's Resurrection Masterpiece, Part IV - Concluding Critique

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.  By Michael R. Licona.  Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2010, 718 pp., $40.00. 

Michael R. Licona’s The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2011), represents a substantive scholarly contribution to the wealth of academic literature on the resurrection.  In this series of 4 blog essays, I am providing an in-depth interaction with Licona’s careful work.  In the first three essays I summarized and interacted with the main chapters.  Now it is time to dive into some constructive criticism.

Critique and Concluding Thoughts

Licona’s New Historiographical Approach to the resurrection of Jesus truly is unique and valuable.  He makes a significant addition to the conversation about a central issue in Christian doctrine and history.  He provides an unparalleled discussion of historiographical concerns, including a rational and persuasive summons to all historical Jesus scholars to bracket their own horizons when approaching their subject-material.  Nonetheless, no scholar is perfect, and there are a couple of critiques I would like to close with.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Licona's Resurrection Masterpiece, Part III - Weighing Competing Historical Hypotheses of Jesus' Post-Mortem Fate

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.  By Michael R. Licona.  Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2010, 718 pp., $40.00. 

Michael R. Licona’s The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2011), represents a substantive scholarly contribution to the wealth of academic literature on the resurrection.  In this series of 4 blog essays, I am providing an in-depth interaction with Licona’s careful work.  In the first two essays I covered the book’s overall structure and Licona’s significant historical work on historiography, miracle-claims, historical Jesus sources, and bedrock data concerning Jesus’s fate.  In this post, I want to engage Licona’s assessment of various historical hypotheses that seek to account for the historical bedrock.  Next week, we will critically analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and contributions of the overall work.

Chapter 5 – Weighing Hypotheses

Having discussed historical methodology, the possibility of investigating historical miracle-claims, the relevant historical sources, and the historical bedrock pertaining to Jesus’ post-mortem fate, Licona finally turns to the crux of the matter—determining what actually happened to Jesus after his crucifixion. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Licona's Resurrection Masterpiece, Part II - Historical Sources & Bedrock

The Resurrection of Jesus: Miracles, Sources, & Bedrock

Michael R. Licona’s The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2011), represents a substantive scholarly contribution to the wealth of academic literature on the resurrection.  In this series of 4 blog essays, I am providing an in-depth interaction with Licona’s careful work.  In the first essay (February 16) I covered the book’s overall structure and the first section (on Philosophy of History).  In this post, I will historical inquiry & miracle-claims (Chapter 2), source-material pertaining to the post-mortem fate of Jesus (Chapter 3), and historical bedrock data that historical hypotheses regarding Jesus’ fate must account for (Chapter 4).

Chapter 2 – The Historian and Miracles

Licona’s purpose in discussing horizons is to encourage historical Jesus scholars not to a priori reject certain hypotheses or possibilities due to their worldview presuppositions. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Licona's Resurrection Masterpiece, Part I - Philosophy of History

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.  By Michael R. Licona.  Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2010, 718 pp., $40.00. 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ stands at the center of the historic Christian faith, making it a focus of scholarly theological focus.  The Apostle Paul declares that if Christ has not been raised, then Christian faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15).  The resurrection is also the key historical miracle-claim in Christianity, making it a focus of scholarly historical investigation.  Given that the resurrection is a riveting topic of theological and historical investigation, it is no surprise that scholarly articles and books focusing on the resurrection continue to proliferate.  By Gary Habmeras’ count, there were approximately 3400 journals and books written in English, German, and French, on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection between 1975 and 2002 (see particularly his 2005 article on the topic in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 3.2).
Michael R. Licona’s The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2011), represents a substantive scholarly contribution to the wealth of academic literature on the resurrection.  Licona serves as Research Professor at Houston Baptist University, and is a popular apologetic speaker and well-known debater, having engaged (among others) Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, Shabir Ally, and Richard Carrier.  Licona’s Resurrection is an excellent addition to the corpus of literature on the historical core of Christianity, an absolute must-read for resurrection buffs, and a necessary resource for historical Jesus scholars.  In this series of 4 blog essays, I intend to engage in an in-depth examination of Licona’s book.  I will provide a brief summary of the broad structure of Licona’s work.  I will lay out key sections of his dissertation more thoroughly in order to highlight unique contributions he makes to the scholarly discussion.  I will then critically engage key sections of his argument.
Licona’s research began with the observation that studies of Jesus’ resurrection are marked by a lack of consensus,

Monday, February 13, 2017

Imaginative Apologetics VIII - Engaging Contemporary Culture

Apologetics, Imagination, and Imaginative Apologetics


In earlier posts, I set the framework for the core material in Imaginative Apologetics, seeking to provide the lay of the land in contemporary apologetics and the faculty of imagination.  Now we are engaging the individual articles in Andrew Davison’s edited volume, Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition.[1]  In this final post, I look at the 4th and final major section of the work, and make some general comments on the book as a whole.  As a reminder, you can find my full treatment in Trinity Journal.[2]

Situating Christian Apologetics

The fourth and final section of Imaginative Apologetics (“Situating Christian Apologetics”) contains three chapters attempting to place contemporary apologetics in cultural and historical context.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Imaginative Apologetics VII - Being Imaginative about Christian Apologetics

Apologetics, Imagination, and Imaginative Apologetics


In earlier posts, I set the framework for the core material in Imaginative Apologetics, seeking to provide the lay of the land in contemporary apologetics and the faculty of imagination.  Now we are engaging the individual articles in Andrew Davison’s edited volume, Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition.[1]  In the last two posts, we examined the relationship between faith and reason, and apologetics & human imagination.  In this post, on to the third of four major sections of the work.  As a reminder, you can find my full treatment in Trinity Journal.[2]

Being Imaginative about Christian Apologetics

Section three (“Being Imaginative about Christian Apologetics”) of Imaginative Apologetics begins with, in my opinion, the strongest essay of the compilation.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Imaginative Apologetics VI - Christian Apologetics and the Human Imagination

Apologetics, Imagination, and Imaginative Apologetics


In earlier posts, I set the framework for the core material in Imaginative Apologetics, seeking to provide the lay of the land in contemporary apologetics and the faculty of imagination.  Now we are engaging the individual articles in Andrew Davison’s edited volume, Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition.[1]  Last post, I gave in-depth consideration of the two articles considering the relationship between faith and reason.  In this post, on to the second of four major sections of the work.  As a reminder, you can find my full treatment in Trinity Journal.[2]

Christian Apologetics and the Human Imagination

Section two of Imaginative Apologetics (“Christian Apologetics and the Human Imagination”) comprises three strong articles noting the importance of imagination and literature in Christian apologetics.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Imaginative Apologetics V - Faith & Reason Reconsidered

Apologetics, Imagination, and Imaginative Apologetics


In my past 4 posts, I have been setting the framework for the core material in Imaginative Apologetics, an excellent compilation of essays edited by Andrew Davison arguing for the centrality of the faculty of imagination in the apologetic enterprise.  I have laid out the historical and contemporary scene of Christian apologetics, and considered Vanhoozer’s and Smith’s contributions to an understanding of imagination.  It is time now for the meat: interaction with the individual articles in Imaginative Apologetics.  This material is derived from my article in Trinity Journal.[1]

Engaging Imaginative Apologetics

Andrew Davison compiles ten articles (plus a robust foreword and introduction) to promote a return to apologetic imagination. The contributors are broadly-catholic British scholars (the one exception is Craig Hovey, from Ashland University, Ohio), although each author admirably avoids sectarianism and denominational polemics. As with all edited collections, the chapters vary in perspective and strength. In this case, the authors also differ in their understanding and exposition of the two key terms of the book’s title: imagination and apologetics.
Davison’s introduction lays out the overarching vision and purpose of the work. The ten individual chapters are broken into four broad sections: (1) Faith and Reason Reconsidered; (2) Christian Apologetics and the Human Imagination; (3) Being Imaginative about Christian Apologetics; and (4) Situating Christian Apologetics.  I will post blog essays engaging with the articles in (respectively) each of the 4 major sections of the anthology, usually offering concise summaries of the content, strengths, and weaknesses of each chapter. A few chapters will receive more in-depth treatment than others, mostly marking areas of my own particular interest and expertise.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Imaginative Apologetics Part IV - Smith, Vanhoozer, and The Place of Apologetic Imagination

Apologetics, Imagination, and Imaginative Apologetics

            This is the 4th in a series of blog posts covering a review article I wrote for Trinity Journal,[1] a lengthy interaction with Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition, edited by Andrew Davison.[2]
Previously in this series of posts, I surveyed the terrain of historical and contemporary Christian apologetics, and began a consideration of the place of imagination in apologetics. I want to continue that examination with a focus upon the insights of Kevin Vanhoozer and Jamie Smith. In subsequent posts, I will interact with the various articles in Imaginative Apologetics.
Situating Imagination
In the view of Andrew Davison, editor of and contributor to Imaginative Apologetics, too many current apologetic works are marked by a paucity of imagination. Many apologetic works focus so strongly on rational arguments and proofs that they become “cold or arid.” Thus, the goal of Imaginative Apologetics is to make apologetics “a matter of wonder and desire,” a presentation of a Christian truth “that is supremely attractive and engaging.”[3] Davison and his contributors find some similarly-concerned company in the contemporary scene of Christian philosophy and apologetics.