Sometimes we take for granted the scriptures and the carefully formulated theological expressions of faith, the creeds. Dockery and Mullins offer some caution to those who diminish the value of either.
We can tell ourselves that we can survive without rooting ourselves in the ancient words of Scripture or the sturdy creeds and confessions that flow from God’s Word, but we would be only offering ourselves an empty consolation. As the great Baptist leader E. Y. Mullins once opined: “A creed is like a ladder. On it you may climb up to a lofty outlook, a purer spiritual atmosphere, or you may climb down to the low platform of a barren orthodoxy.”
Dockery, David S. (2012-04-09). Faith and Learning (p. 138). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.
You can’t miss with Jonathan Edwards. Part I in this blog is pretty good too.
Like Christians today, revivalist preacher Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) faced an intellectual climate that challenged biblical truth-claims. Edwards’ steadfast convictions and ability to integrate reason (the mind) and personal devotion (the heart) helped him remain unwavering in his dedication to the sovereign God revealed in creation and Scripture.
Part 1 of this two-part series summarizes Edwards’ life and theology. Here, in part 2, I conclude with a discussion of his philosophy and ministry.
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Looks like a good read, maybe IVP will send me a copy to review 🙂
The arts lift up our eyes, our hearts, and our minds to help us move beyond our mundane world and to see that there is something beyond the ordinary. It gives us a glimpse of the world that exists beyond the material universe. It totally distinguishes humans from all other species on the planet. Art grants us a special wonder at the universe that transcends the minutiae of materialistic empiricism.
Fant Jr, Gene C. (2012-05-07). The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition) (p. 83). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.
If science prevents us from being foolish, then the arts keep us from losing our humanity through over-attention to the mundane. Beauty reminds us that what is in front of our eyes is not the totality of the world.
Fant Jr, Gene C. (2012-05-07). The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition) (p. 82). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I came across this prayer by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) again the other day.
O creator past all telling,you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe. You we call the true fount of wisdom and the noble origin of all things. Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born, The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin. You make eloquent the tongues of children. Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness. Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember; make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak. Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth. You are true God and true man, and live for ever and ever.
(Oxford Book of Prayer, Prayer 282, pg 92.)
I just read Jackson Cuidon’s less than stellar review of the animated movie Turbo. His review follows others that expected more from Dreamworks Studios in their battle with Pixar for animated movie superiority. However Cuidon’s review remains isolated from the general entertainment pontifications in that he reviews TV and movies for Christianity Today. One would expect (or at least I did) an attempt to connect Christianity to culture (isn’t that what the title of the website/magazine implies?). Generally his review of the movie comforted parents about the content, while raising the perceived problem “that Turbo never earns anything he achieves.” He is referring the fact that the nitrous oxide ingested by Turbo, enabled him to “achieve” a victory he did not earn. This critique is fair from a western capitalist perspective, but weak from a gospel perspective. Cuidon completely missed a gospel inculturated opportunity. Instead of asserting that Turbo never earns anything he achieves, might we ask how can a snail do the impossible? Something outside of him and not part of him enabled him to do great things. Isn’t this a gospel moment? We are in many ways like Turbo. Apart from the enabling work of the gospel, we cannot attain anything. We can’t even get to the racetrack much less compete in the race. The gospel enlivens us and enables us to not only compete, but win. The work of the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit, enables us accomplish things thought not possible. Paul says, “Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure” (Phil 2:12b-13, The Message). This perspective of Turbo refreshes me even if it does not present the best plot line or contain the latest digital wow. It reminds me, even in the simple pleasures we enjoy with our children, that God enables us to achieve what we did not earn.