Saturday, November 13

A Collection of Links

Several things conspired together to rob me of serious blogging time this week, but I hope to return to something more substantial next week. I did find time to read some good things done by other bloggers.

First let me point you to my own other blog--the one really written by the missionary David Brainerd. Yesterday's entry on David Brainerd's blog is a letter he wrote to his younger brother Israel. It seems that Israel was left an orphan when he was still quite young. David writes to him:
You have no earthly parents to be the means of forming your youth to piety and virtue, by their pious examples, and seasonable counsels; let this then excite you with greater diligence and fervency to look up to the Father of mercies for grace and assistance against all the vanities of the world. And if you would glorify God, or answer his just expectations from you, and make your own soul happy in this and the coming world, observe these few directions; though not from a father, yet from a brother who is touched with a tender concern for your present and future happiness.
Read the rest.

Next, Jared of Mysterium Tremendum has some thoughts on "doing theology" in a piece called Theological Obsfucation. He asks these questions:
Shouldn't theology be somewhat coherent? It doesn't have to be short or basic or shallow. But isn't the goal of theology to explain the Word, to make sense of the logos of theos? If opposing parties can both use your work for support, if your work is so easily misunderstood by even the theological elite, perhaps there is a breakdown in communication involved.

Shouldn't theology illuminate the words of God? A theology that is so dense and complex and so easily misunderstood in itself would seem to me to be a distraction from that which it discusses.

Is the purpose of theology to be innovative or unique? I suppose there's nothing wrong per se with theology that is innovative or unique. Is it possible, though, that it has become dangerously easy to shift (perhaps unknowingly) from preaching the Word in new ways to just saying new things?
Read the whole piece and see what you think.

And last, Jollyblogger is doing an intro to the five points of Calvinism. The first installment is here, and the second here. From the second post, which deals with the use of lables to explain our theological position:
To engage in such debates we need words to engage the debate.There is a real sense in which terms like "Calvinist," and "Arminian" and "Reformed" can fall under the condemnation of I Corinthians 3 as a form of "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos." But there is another sense in which terms like "Calvinist," "Arminian" and other words become technical terms that function as a kind of theological shorthand for discussion.

For example, let's say I'm having a discussion with someone about the role of God's sovereignty in salvation. I could launch into a three hour point by point explanation of what I believe about all of the questions and nuances surrounding the discussion. Or, I could say that I am Calvinistic in my understanding of these matters. If I speak to someone who is familiar with theology and history my identification of myself as a Calvinist in this regard is actually a courtesy to him. This one word helps him pigeonhole me and know where I am coming from. It can actually help narrow the discussion to particular points of interest. In that case I'm not identifying myself as a Calvinist in order to be a follower of man the way I would be a follower of my favorite football team. I am identifying a theological perspective which I hold.
I look forward to reading the installments that follow.