Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

WHY ARE "GOOD" CHARACTERS IN LITERATURE SO OFTEN "DULL"??

WHY  ARE  "GOOD"  CHARACTERS  IN  LITERATURE

SO  OFTEN  "DULL"  ??

Have you ever wondered about this??  I belong to a C. S. Lewis email discussion group where I just now read an answer to this given by a member named Dimigtry Zarechnak in a post he sent to the group yesterday, April 3.  I have a hunch he may be right.  What do you think??  Here is his post:


From a letter from Lewis to A.K. Hamilton Jenkin of Jan. 22, 1939:

"I have a theory why the "good" characters in literature are so often dull. To make an interesting character you have to see him from the inside, all agree. Now to imagine from within a person morally inferior to yourself you don't need to do anything, you only need to stop doing something -- to take the brake off and give all your usually suppressed vanity, or greed, or cruelty, or envy a delightful holiday. But how to make one better than yourself? Well, you can make him a little better by making him actually do what you only try to do, or do often what you only do seldom. That is, you can give him the sort of virtue in full which you have in some degree yourself. But for anything beyond that you simply don't have the material. Not only do you not actually behave as a hero would, you don't even know what he feels like. Hence in most literature ideally good characters have to be made 'from outside' and accordingly look like puppets."

Posted by: Dimitry Zarechnak   [SpareOom] Creating "good" characters

This is one of the most thought-provoking ideas on this subject I have ever seen.

Please mull this over and tell me what you think.

Sincerely,

Forrest

Friday, March 31, 2017

Aaron Jagt Fantasy Based on Thought of Van Til & Rushdoony

Aaron Jagt Fantasy Based on Thought of Van Til & Rushdoony 

Please  See My  Review  Below

Forrest


NEW SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY REVIEWS
Reviews Of Recently Published Science Fiction And Fantasy Books
Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258

March 31, 2017

Aaron Jagt Fantasy Heavy In Story, Motif, And Philososphy

A Review of

Aaron Jagt The Sleeping Princess of Nulland (Robinson Books, 2016)
                    393 pp   $17.95   ISBN: 1-59087-275-4

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     This is one of the heaviest books for its size I have ever come across, which is appropriate because its story and motif and underlying philosophy are all heavy.  As the Acknowledgments section states, the philosophy is provided by such heavyweights as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Cornelius Van Til, and R. J. Rushdoony.  This philosophy is the basis for the solid rock Biblical Creation & Salvation Motif expressed in the strong story in this heavy book.  Since "motif" means dominant theme, it is a more appropriate term to use for what is usually called "the moral of the story", a discussion of which is found in the Epilogue (on page 388).  

     The story itself consists of classical fantasy elements reconstructed to fulfill the motif.  For instance, the "sleeping" Princess Priscilla is awakened not by a Prince (as per Sleeping Beauty), but by a Steward in Nulland.  And, unlike the classical magic pen whose writings always come to pass, Priscilla's pen ceases to function in this way after a while.  And the dragons in Nulland are atypical, but fit well into its story.

     And the book has one of the most beautiful front covers I have ever seen, and the back cover consists solely of Augustine's most beautiful and poignant saying:  "Our hearts are restless untll they rest in Thee".

     I commend this story and am pleased to announce that, using my fantasy vision, I saw its tale welcomed into the Mythosphere.
  



Monday, March 27, 2017

A. W. TOZER'S FINAL ESSAY: THE WANING AUTHORITY OF CHRIST IN THE CHURCHES






The waning authority of Christ in the churches



This was Tozer’s final essay, published only a few days after he died in 1963. It could have been written this week and rings as true today as ever.
To start with, Tozer confesses:
What I write here is not the sour ferment of a mind agitated by contentions with my fellow Christians. There have been no such contentions. I have not been abused, mistreated or attacked by anyone. Nor have these observations grown out of any unpleasant experiences that I have had in my association with others. My relations with my own church as well as with Christians of other denominations have been friendly, courteous and pleasant. My grief is simply the result of a condition which I believe to be almost universally prevalent among the churches.
I think also that I should acknowledge that I am myself very much involved in the situation I here deplore. As Ezra in his mighty prayer of intercession included himself among the wrongdoers, so do I. “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” Any hard word spoken here against others must in simple honesty return upon my own head. I too have been guilty. This is written with the hope that we all may turn unto the Lord our God and sin no more against Him.
So, now to the point:
Let me state the cause of my burden. It is this: Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name. By these I mean not the Roman Catholics nor the liberals, nor the various quasi-Christian cults. I do mean Protestant churches generally, and I include those that protest the loudest that they are in spiritual descent from our Lord and His apostles, namely, the evangelicals. . . .
The present position of Christ in the gospel churches may be likened to that of a king in a limited, constitutional monarchy. The king (sometimes depersonalized by the term “the Crown”) is in such a country no more than a traditional rallying point, a pleasant symbol of unity and loyalty much like a flag or a national anthem. He is lauded, feted and supported, but his real authority is small. Nominally he is head over all, but in every crisis someone else makes the decisions. On formal occasions he appears in his royal attire to deliver the tame, colorless speech put into his mouth by the real rulers of the country. The whole thing may be no more than good-natured make-believe, but it is rooted in antiquity, it is a lot of fun and no one wants to give it up.
Among the gospel churches Christ is now in fact little more than a beloved symbol. “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is the church’s national anthem and the cross is her official flag, but in the week-by-week services of the church and the day-by-day conduct of her members someone else, not Christ, makes the decisions. Under proper circumstances Christ is allowed to say “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden” or “Let not your heart be troubled,” but when the speech is finished someone else takes over. Those in actual authority decide the moral standards of the church, as well as all objectives and all methods employed to achieve them. Because of long and meticulous organization it is now possible for the youngest pastor just out of seminary to have more actual authority in a church than Jesus Christ has.
Not only does Christ have little or no authority; His influence also is becoming less and less. I would not say that He has none, only that it is small and diminishing. A fair parallel would be the influence of Abraham Lincoln over the American people. Honest Abe is still the idol of the country. The likeness of his kind, rugged face, so homely that it is beautiful, appears everywhere. It is easy to grow misty-eyed over him. Children are brought up on stories of his love, his honesty and his humility.
But after we have gotten control over our tender emotions what have we left? No more than a good example which, as it recedes into the past, becomes more and more unreal and exercises less and less real influence. Every scoundrel is ready to wrap Lincoln’s long black coat around him. In the cold light of political facts in the United States the constant appeal to Lincoln by the politicians is a cynical joke.
The Lordship of Jesus is not quite forgotten among Christians, but it has been relegated to the hymnal where all responsibility toward it may be comfortably discharged in a glow of pleasant religious emotion. Or if it is taught as a theory in the classroom it is rarely applied to practical living. The idea that the Man Christ Jesus has absolute and final authority over the whole church and over all of its members in every detail of their lives is simply not now accepted as true by the rank and file of evangelical Christians.
What we do is this: We accept the Christianity of our group as being identical with that of Christ and His apostles. The beliefs, the practices, the ethics, the activities of our group are equated with the Christianity of the New Testament. Whatever the group thinks or says or does is scriptural, no questions asked. It is assumed that all our Lord expects of us is that we busy ourselves with the activities of the group. In so doing we are keeping the commandments of Christ. . . .
But I suppose I should offer some concrete proof to support my charge that Christ has little or no authority today among the churches. Well, let me put a few questions and let the answers be the evidence.
What church board consults our Lord’s words to decide matters under discussion? Let anyone reading this who has had experience on a church board try to recall the times or time when any board member read from the Scriptures to make a point, or when any chairman suggested that the brethren should see what instructions the Lord had for them on a particular question. Board meetings are habitually opened with a formal prayer or “a season of prayer”; after that the Head of the Church is respectfully silent while the real rulers take over. Let anyone who denies this bring forth evidence to refute it. I for one will be glad to hear it.
What Sunday school committee goes to the Word for directions? Do not the members invariably assume that they already know what they are supposed to do and that their only problem is to find effective means to get it done? Plans, rules, “operations” and new methodological techniques absorb all their time and attention. The prayer before the meeting is for divine help to carry out their plans. Apparently the idea that the Lord might have some instructions for them never so much as enters their heads.
Who remembers when a conference chairman brought his Bible to the table with him for the purpose of using it? Minutes, regulations, rules of order, yes. The sacred commandments of the Lord, no. An absolute dichotomy exists between the devotional period and the business session. The first has no relation to the second.
What foreign mission board actually seeks to follow the guidance of the Lord as provided by His Word and His Spirit? They all think they do, but what they do in fact is to assume the scripturalness of their ends and then ask for help to find ways to achieve them. They may pray all night for God to give success to their enterprises, but Christ is desired as their helper, not as their Lord. Human means are devised to achieve ends assumed to be divine. These harden into policy, and thereafter the Lord doesn’t even have a vote.
In the conduct of our public worship where is the authority of Christ to be found? The truth is that today the Lord rarely controls a service, and the influence He exerts is very small. We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way, as have the other churches in our group.
What Christian when faced with a moral problem goes straight to the Sermon on the Mount or other New Testament Scripture for the authoritative answer? Who lets the words of Christ be final on giving, birth control, the bringing up of a family, personal habits, tithing, entertainment, buying, selling and other such important matters?
What theological school, from the lowly Bible institute up, could continue to operate if it were to make Christ Lord of its every policy? There may be some, and I hope there are, but I believe I am right when I say that most such schools” to stay in business are forced to adopt procedures which find no justification in the Bible they profess to teach. So we have this strange anomaly: the authority of Christ is ignored in order to maintain a school to teach among other things the authority of Christ.
The causes back of the decline in our Lord’s authority are many. I name only two.
One is the power of custom, precedent and tradition within the older religious groups. These like gravitation affect every particle of religious practice within the group, exerting a steady and constant pressure in one direction. Of course that direction is toward conformity to the status quo. Not Christ but custom is lord in this situation. And the same thing has passed over (possibly to a slightly lesser degree) into the other groups such as the full gospel tabernacles, the holiness churches, the pentecostal and fundamental churches and the many independent and undenominational churches found everywhere throughout the North American continent.
The second cause is the revival of intellectualism among the evangelicals. This, if I sense the situation correctly, is not so much a thirst for learning as a desire for a reputation of being learned. Because of it good men who ought to know better are being put in the position of collaborating with the enemy. I’ll explain.
Our evangelical faith (which I believe to be the true faith of Christ and His apostles) is being attacked these days from many different directions. In the Western world the enemy has forsworn violence. He comes against us no more with sword and fagot; he now comes smiling, bearing gifts. He raises his eyes to heaven and swears that he too believes in the faith of our fathers, but his real purpose is to destroy that faith, or at least to modify it to such an extent that it is no longer the supernatural thing it once was. He comes in the name of philosophy or psychology or anthropology, and with sweet reasonableness urges us to rethink our historic position, to be less rigid, more tolerant, more broadly understanding.
He speaks in the sacred jargon of the schools, and many of our half-educated evangelicals run to fawn on him. He tosses academic degrees to the scrambling sons of the prophets as Rockefeller used to toss dimes to the children of the peasants. The evangelicals who, with some justification, have been accused of lacking true scholarship, now grab for these status symbols with shining eyes, and when they get them they are scarcely able to believe their eyes. They walk about in a kind of ecstatic unbelief, much as the soloist of the neighborhood church choir might were she to be invited to sing at La Scala.
For the true Christian the one supreme test for the present soundness and ultimate worth of everything religious must be the place our Lord occupies in it. Is He Lord or symbol? Is He in charge of the project or merely one of the crew? Does He decide things or only help to carry out the plans of others? All religious activities, from the simplest act of an individual Christian to the ponderous and expensive operations of a whole denomination, may be proved by the answer to the question, Is Jesus Christ Lord in this act? Whether our works prove to be wood, hay and stubble or gold and silver and precious stones in that great day will depend upon the right answer to that question.
What, then, are we to do? Each one of us must decide, and there are at least three possible choices. One is to rise up in shocked indignation and accuse me of irresponsible reporting. Another is to nod general agreement with what is written here but take comfort in the fact that there are exceptions and we are among the exceptions. The other is to go down in meek humility and confess that we have grieved the Spirit and dishonored our Lord in failing to give Him the place His Father has given Him as Head and Lord of the Church.
Either the first or the second will but confirm the wrong. The third if carried out to its conclusion can remove the curse. The decision lies with us.
Amen.

I  WISH  TO  THANK  JOEL MCDURMON  FOR  POSTING  THIS  IN  HIS  AMERICAN  VISION  COLUMN.
Sincerely,
Forrest

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

TRUMP SENDING TWEETS NOT NEW: JULIUS CAESAR DID IT A LONG TIME AGO !!

TRUMP  SENDING  TWEETS  NOT  NEW!!

JULIUS  CAESAR  DID  IT  LONG  AGO!!


Trump's use of Twitter being regarded as quite innovative for a head of State.

Hey, nothing new about that.  Ever hear about how Julius Caesar informed the Senate of one of his military victories??  He did it in only THREE  WORDS!!! :

Veni,  Vidi,  Vici -- three words in LATIN that is, in English it is six words:

I CAME    I  SAW    I  CONQUERED

This is how a certain historical scholar put it::



To inform his friends back in Rome of his victory, Caesar succinctly wrote, "Veni, vidi, vici," or "I came, I saw, I conquered." Even back then, people were impressed with the way Caesar summarized his triumph: Plutarch writes that "In Latin, however, the words have the same inflectional ending, and so a brevity which is most impressive."



Posted by Me, Forrest Schultz,  on  March 8,  2017 A.D.

I do not care that much for Caesar but I really like his Tweet!!  Don't you love it??!!  Very refreshing, esp. after having to read so much bureaucratic stuff!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The "Fault" Of The Coming Quake -- Review of Karen Van Til Gushta's "How Can America Survive?"

THE  "FAULT"  OF  THE  COMING  QUAKE


A  Review  of:

Karen Van Til Gushta How Can America Survive? (Truth in Action Ministries, 2012)
                                    255 pp   $   ISBN: 978-1-929626-09-0

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     I still remember how I used to jokingly reply to the news of a California earthquake by proclaiming:  "Don't blame me; it was Sandreas Fault!".  I had fun doing that, but there is nothing funny about the horrendous economic earthquake which the author predicts unless Americans rapidly begin to take drastic steps to avert it.  Her analysis of the problem is quite extensive as well as intensive which results in her recommendations which are quite drastic.  The diagnosis as well as the cure are too complex to summarize here, but what is simple about them is their ultimate basis, which involves a radical repentance of our sins and a return to the radical faith in and obedience to God, which are taught in the Bible, not only to insure our eternal destiny but also to provide great blessings in all areas of life here and now.

     Gushta's uncompromising stance here is not surprising because she is thereby following in the footsteps of her Great Uncle, Prof. Cornelius Van Til, which is where her middle name comes from.


March 7, 2017

Monday, March 06, 2017

"THE LATEST ED WAR" -- Review of Karen Van Til Gushta's Common Core

Here is my review of Karen Van Til Gusta's latest book.

Forrest




THE  LATEST  ED  WAR

A Review of

Karen Van Til Gushta Common Core (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2015)
                                     $15.00   144 pp   ISBN: 978-1-929626-63-2

Reviewer:  Forrest Wayne Schultz

     In this very important and well-written book Dr. Karen Van Til Gushta explains what Common Core is, who favors it and who opposes it, why it is harmful, and how it fits into the contemporary trend in American education in which ever more power is being wielded by the federal government, and in which the conduct of education is becoming ever more bureaucratic and ever more anti-Christian.  I highly recommend this book as I did the author's earlier book The War On Children -- in fact, this book can be regarded as the latest battle in the war against children! Oh --  and in case you are wondering about the author's middle name, Cornelius Van Til is her great uncle, and, as the saying goes she is following in his steps!!  


March 6, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

EXCELLENT BIOGRAPHY OF GORDON CLARK PUBLISHED -- Review of Douglas Douma's "The Presbyterian Philosopher: Bio of Gordon Clark"

EXCELLENT  BIOGRAPHY  OF  GORDON  CLARK  PUBLISHED

A review of

Douglas J. Douma  The Presbyterian Philosopher:
                                 The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf, 2017)
                                 292 pp   $37.00   ISBN: 978-1-4326-0724-0

Foreward By Clark’s Daughters:   Lois Zeller and Betsy Clark George

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     This biography is so well written and carefully documented that it has received three pages (i, ii, iii) of highly laudatory plaudits from some of the most prominent leaders in the contemporary Reformed community.  Perhaps the most noteworthy and impressive of these plaudits is the one by John Frame, who for the past five decades has been regarded as the leading authority on the thought of Cornelius Van Til, which has usually been deemed to be antithetical to the philosophy of Gordon Clark.  And, I am pleased to say that Doug Douma has dealt with the Clark vs. Van Til controversy in a professional and irenic fashion.

     Douma has also refrained from expressions of wrath in his portrayal of the very sad defections (from Clark’s high view of Scripture) by his former students (at Wheaton College) Drs. Edward J. Carnell and Paul K. Jewett into the false notion that errors are present in Scripture – a belief for which they became notorious while they were professors at Fuller Seminary.

     On the lighter side, Douma had a lot of fun reporting the reactions of two of Clark’s  other students at Wheaton:  Ruth Bell and Billy Graham.  Ruth said she welcomed the hard facts; but Billy rebuked Clark for being “cold”.  Douma’s portrayal of Billy’s rebuke of Clark is reminiscent to that of Dr. McCoy’s reaction to the cold logic of Mr. Spock on Star Trek!

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     It is not surprising that a large portion of Douma’s book is devoted to the well-known, but poorly understood, “Clark case” in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which never conducted a Clark vs. Van Til debate, but instead handled the matter in a very bureaucratic way, which many sarcastically regard as typical of Presbyterianism!  Douma discusses, at different places in his book, the various elements in the Clark vs. Van Til dispute, which discussions are too lengthy and complex to summarize here.  I encourage you to read and ponder them and also to consult the extensive bibliography provided in the back of the book.  One of these books which I highly recommend (which is not discussed by Douma) is the late Robert L. Reymond’s The Justification of Knowledge, which sets forth my own view – I am a Reymondite Van Tillian.

     Douma concludes his story with a happy ending, relating how in their old age Clark and Van Til not only were reconciled but became friends.  Such a reconciliation is rare, BUT it is not to be unexpected because of a little known fact about Westminster Theological Seminary:  its campus is located on a former estate populated by rare trees, thus serving as a fitting environment for a rare reconciliation.  This is very meaningful to me because those rare trees also served as a fitting environment for me many moons ago when I was a Th.M. student at WTS writing my thesis on what then was a rare topic, the Biblical view of ecology.


     Information on the author is available at www.discoversola.com


     Posts by the reviewer are found at http://vantiltool.blogspot.com

February 21, 2017


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