Van Til Tool

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

DOROTHY SAYERS ON THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTIANITY

DOROTHY  SAYERS  ON  THE  TRUE  MEANING  OF  CHRISTIANITY

November 11, 2018

A Review of

The Gospel In Dorothy L. Sayers, Edited By Carole Vanderhoof (Plough Publishing, 2018)
                                                       $18.00   241 pages   ISBN: 978-0-87486-181-5

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     Although Dorothy Sayers was not a professional theologian, she understood Christian theology, and often in her writings she deplored the false notions many people had of Christianity.  One of her best known complaints was the widely held notion that Christianity was boring.  She loved excoriating such nonsense by showing that real Christianity is the most exciting drama ever!  Her slogan was:  "The Dogma Is The Drama!!".  For Sayers, Creation and Salvation are not just doctrines:  they are the motifs, i.e. the dominant themes, of history, which is God's drama in which we are the characters and in which the Earth is the stage upon which it is enacted!!  (pp. 55, 59, 113-119). 

     This and Sayers' other ideas about Christianity presented in this book are found, as its subtitle indicates, in various "selections from her novels, plays, letters and essays".  There is also an addendum written by C. S. Lewis titled "A Panegryic for Dorothy L. Sayers", which I also encourage you to read.


Thursday, November 01, 2018

The Lightness of Being in Stephen King's Elevation As A Reversal of Dorian Gray

The Lightness Of Being in Stephen King’s Elevation As A Reversal of Dorian Gray

In this, his latest, book King’s main character begins to lose weight, which can be measured by his scale, BUT there is no change whatever in the appearance of his body. This is the exact reversal of what happens in Dorian Gray, where his portrait changes its appearance as he degenerates but his body appears unaffected.

At the end of King’s book, the character finally gets down to total weightlessness and then ascends (probably to Heaven). In Dorian Gray’s case, however, he finally becomes so evil that he dies.

At first it looks like King’s book is in line with Christian theology because the loss of weight by the protagonist is caused by a repentance in his life. Now he does become a better person as a result, BUT the story makes it appear that matter is evil and spirit is good.

Well, read it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Forrest Schultz


Thursday, September 20, 2018

“The Coach of Christian Reconstruction” Remembering Buddy Hanson


My Preface to this important article.

One of the best sermons I have ever heard was delivered in a large Presbyterian Church in the Roxboro area of Philadelphia by a local athletic coach.  Although I heard it over 50 years ago I still remember it and my pleasant memory of it was brought back to me when I read the article below written by Martin Selbrede of the Chalcedon Foundation founded by R. J. Rushdoony.  I commend this article to you.

Forrest Wayne Schultz





Buddy Hanson made theology practical...
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“The Coach of Christian Reconstruction”
Remembering Buddy Hanson
December 19, 1941 – September 17, 2018
By Martin Selbrede
Those who knew Buddy Hanson realize exactly how much we all have lost by his departure to be with the Lord. Buddy was one of a very tiny handful of Christians who took the nuts and bolts of the faith so seriously that he was willing to dedicate his life to teaching them to others. In that regard, Buddy was the polar opposite of the ivory tower type of theologian. To extend that analogy, he forged tools to build exercise equipment he’d put in the weight room he designed for coaching his fellow Christians to become ever stronger in His service.
Pastors, preachers, and theologians have long exploited the scriptural allusions to athletic contests before, but nobody ever made them as relevant and practical as Buddy did. His heart for God’s people reflected a fierce intensity, a singular focus upon equipping them not merely for battle, but preparing them for victory. It’s no surprise that the closest he came to writing an extended commentary (Thy Will Be Done On Earth, a commentary on Isaiah) reveals his fingerprints so clearly in its subtitle: Heavenly Insights for Down-To-Earth Living. Of course, his commentary on the Ten Commandments (God’s Ten Words) cannot help but focus on where the rubber hits the road.
When P. Andrew Sandlin pointed out that we need to build a new kind of Christian, we find that Buddy Hanson has providently hauled the right blueprints and tools to the job site. He’s ready to show us, in methodical detail, how to put off the old man and put on the new (without a single pietistic, navel-gazing lapse anywhere to be detected). At every opportunity, Buddy made sure we had our senses exercised to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:14).
One Career Prepares for the Next
St. Paul’s prowess as a tentmaker didn’t have a direct impact on history, but it had an impact on Paul in preparing him for the Lord’s work. By the same token, Buddy Hanson’s involvement with professional sports in the first half of his life would shape his subsequent ministry in profound ways. His achievements in the sports world are noteworthy in themselves, but for the Lord’s work they served as a crucible for helping him see critical needs and meet them head-on. He had gained a perspective on the practical aspects of the faith that few had, and even fewer had acted upon.
Buddy described the nature of these issues to me on November 25, 2008:
You know my complaint about the Reformed community ... very good at describing the issues, but very weak at prescribing God’s solutions. If it weren’t for the fact that only 5 percent of American Christians have a Christian worldview, your articles would set the stage for them to begin conforming their lives to Biblical ethics.
However, since they are clueless in how to do that, I’m afraid that your articles will only serve to frustrate them because they can’t see a way out. This doesn't mean that they can’t present an airtight case for postmillennialism to an amil or premil, but as for their lifestyle, they will continue to live as incipient amils. (And they probably don’t even realize it!)
As Biblically accurate and well-written as these articles are, they will only lead our brothers and sisters to the water of how to live as a member of God’s family and Christ's Kingdom ... but 95 percent of them don’t know how to drink it!
Since you are one of the few heroes I have, and therefore only one of a few people who “gets it” about how to live as a Christian, I pray that you follow up each of these articles with a “This is how you and your family can begin to make a positive difference in this area” explanation.
Never forget, while the “how-to” may seem elementary to you, it is a foreign language to even our well-read Reformed friends, because all they do is read, discuss and debate and think that just because they are continuing to fine-tune their theology, that’s all God expects of them. In other words, they view Chalcedon’s excellent books as a non-Christian views nightly TV or a sporting event ... an escape from reality. For America to survive, if it can survive, we need to reduce our instruction time in half, and fill it with teaching.
As Buddy saw it, the work that we were doing at Chalcedon was necessary, but not sufficient:
The easy part is describing how different a Christian worldview and lifestyle should be from a non-Christian one. The challenge is to present these distinctive differences in a way that the typical 21st century Christian will appreciate and be convicted to repentance.
While Francis Schaeffer popularized the question, How Should We Then Live?, it was Buddy Hanson who labored to actually answer the question. So, he took up the mantle to stand in the gap.
Keep up the great work at Chalcedon. Y’all are Christianity’s intellectuals, and I'm merely a blue-collar worker bee who does the best God allows to assist in disseminating y’all’s message to the masses.
But he was far more than a promoter of the work of others (although he surely commended valuable resources when appropriate). On his own volition, he chose to grapple with Niccolò Machiavelli, simply because no serious Christian attempts to do so were, in Buddy’s view, remotely satisfying. Standing toe-to-toe against Machiavelli’s The Prince we now have Buddy Hanson’s The Christian Prince, a long-overdue answer to a festering, centuries-old broadside launched by humanism:
Of all the Chalcedon disciples, I don’t know why our Lord, Savior and King put a burden on my heart to provide the first refutation of Machiavelli’s work, but He did, and I pray that The Christian Prince gets wide distribution among not only our Christian brothers and sisters, who have political interests, but among CEOs (management by intimidation) and military leaders who assign Machiavelli’s tactics in their advanced leadership courses.
Christendom will become more robust when she learns to counter a Machiavellian argument with a well-reasoned Hansonian rebuttal...


Click to continue reading this article!




The Christian Prince Paperback – June 1, 2007



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The Christian Prince is the first Christian refutation of Machiavelli's The Prince in 500 years. The contrast between the non-Christian worldview of Machiavelli, and the Christian worldview presented in The Christian Prince should be of special interest to voters in the buildup to the 2008 Presidential election. The Christian Prince ? explains how we can put "civil" back into civil government, and how America can once again attract others-focused statesmen to serve as our representatives, instead of the self-centered politicians with whom we are so familiar. ? exposes and contrasts the failing ideas of man with the divinely guaranteed-to-succeed ideas of our Lord, Savior and King, Jesus Christ. ? contrasts each of 10 specific principles of Machiavelli's The Prince, with a boxed area entitled "Is It Machiavellian, or Christian?" These succinct and clear contrasts show that Machiavelli's principles limit personal liberty, while God's principles expand personal liberty. ? The "Legislative Building Blocks" page at the end of each chapter provides a quick review of specific biblical principles that civil rulers can incorporate into their decision-making process. ? The content is arranged under five headings: -- What is "Government?" -- The Citizens Role -- Living Large (with a Christian worldview) -- Can Culture Be Changed? -- Becoming The Change We Seek

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

JOHN STONESTREET SPEAKS OUT: No Safe Space at Christian Colleges


JOHN  STONESTREET  SPEAKS  OUT  ON  TODAY'S  CHRISTIAN  COLLEGES





The Point: No Safe Space at Christian Colleges


There’s no safe space, folks.
You’ve heard of “safe spaces” on college campuses, where delicate students can escape ideas that challenge their liberal beliefs?
Well, when Christian parents think of safe spaces for their students, they often think of Christian colleges. Places where their children won’t be exposed to the worst of the sexual revolution, trendy theology, etc.
Well folks, think again. More and more, as I speak at Christian colleges, I encounter students who tell me their professors are getting squishy—and some caving—on biblical morality. Especially on issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
It sounds shocking, but I’ve heard it from professors themselves. More and more, a fuzzy emphasis on “love” and personal experience is replacing biblical teaching and two millennia of Christian tradition.
So beware, parents. If your child is headed to a Christian college, do your homework. Find out where the college stands, where the faculty stands—whether with Scripture, or with the culture.





Thursday, July 26, 2018

Reminder of Warning Against Statism From R. J. Rushdoony

Reminder of Warning Against Statism From R. J. Rushdoony


R,. J. Rushdoony, one of the greatest wielders of the Van Til Tool, said this a long time ago:


"When men trust in civil government rather than in God, they will always get more statist power in their lives and less of God’s power."

Thanks to the Chalcedon Foundation, now run by his son, Mark Rushdoony, in today's email. titled "In God We Trust".

If you have never done so, check out the website at www.chalcedon.edu. 


Forrest 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Excellent Critique of Knox's Outrageous Sexist Pamphlet

This is one of the best articles I have ever read in re gender.  My thanks to American Vision for publishing it.

Forrest



John Knox’s blast of monstrous pagan chauvinism



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Recently, I have been amazed to see multiple men on Facebook stand up to defend and recommend John Knox’s infamous pamphlet The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. I am amazed, because some of these men clearly aspire to leadership in the church. I am amazed, because I have actually read the Monstrous Regiment, and know that it is completely indefensible.
Knox’s pamphlet was originally written in 1558 as a protest against two queens opposing the Reformation in the British Isles, Mary I Tudor of England and Mary Stuart of Scotland. Rather than oppose the two queens with a doctrinal defense of Protestantism, Knox chose to argue against their authority as female rulers. His First Blast was intended as just the first of three pamphlets that would prove women to be incapable of bearing godly rule.
Even at the time, the pamphlet was controversial. John Calvin disapproved of the First Blast, saying that by publishing it Knox was likely “to unsettle governments which are ordained by the peculiar providence of God.” ((Hastings Robinson (ed.), The Zurich Letters (Cambridge, 1846), pp 76-78.)) Within months, the pamphlet backfired on Knox when Mary Tudor died, leaving the English throne to her Protestant sister Elizabeth I. Elizabeth supported the Reformation, but was highly offended by Knox’s pamphlet and never allowed him to return to England to work for the cause of the Reformation there. Knox admitted that “my First Blast hath blown from me all my friends in England” and gave up writing the second and third pamphlets.
In other words, the Monstrous Regiment ultimately had to be abandoned by its own author, and anyone who supports it today is demonstrating less wisdom than Knox himself.
The main argument of the Monstrous Regiment begins with an appeal not to Scripture, but to natural law. For Knox, this means Greco-Roman pagan sources:
Aristotle, as before is touched, does plainly affirm, that wheresoever women bear dominion, there the people must needs be disordered, living and abounding in all intemperance, given to pride, excess, and vanity; and finally, in the end, they must needs come to confusion and ruin.1
This is illuminating, because it demonstrates where the true roots of Knox’s argument lie: in something other than Scripture. In fact, it would be difficult to find a view of women more antithetical to Scripture. Disproving Aristotle is easy: all we have to do is find Scriptural evidence of women bearing dominion to the furtherance of Christ’s kingdom.
First, the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:26 is given to men and women both jointly and severally: “let them have dominion over the fish of the sea. . . .” Second, in 1 Tim. 5:14, women are tasked with “keeping,” or more literally being despots of the home. In a Christian home, women are supposed to bear dominion. We see a vivid example of this dominion in Proverbs 31, where the virtuous wife is praised for her wisdom, capability, business sense, management of others, and productivity. Third, we have Deborah as an example of a woman bearing dominion as a judge in Israel. Under her leadership, Israel heard the voice of God. They did not come to confusion and ruin, but to victory and redemption.
Scripture makes it clear that women are capable of ruling wisely and well in their homes. It should go without saying that anyone who can rule a home wisely and well is equally capable of ruling herself wisely and well, or a business, or a school, or a church, or a state, for that matter.  She can be a businesswoman like Lydia, a judge like Deborah, a deaconess like Phoebe, or a landowner like the daughters of Zelophehad. According to Ecclesiastes 4:13, “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.” How much more true must his be for a godly woman?
Knox, however, does not take Scripture as a starting point. Instead, he begins with ancient paganism and then reads these pagan ideas into Scripture. He then goes on to appeal to church fathers like Tertullian and Augustine. He quotes Tertullian as speaking to women like this:
You are the port and gate of the devil. You are the first transgressor of God’s law. You did persuade and easily deceive him whom the devil durst not assault.
First of all, this contradicts 1 Timothy 2:14, where Paul says that Adam was not deceived by Eve. This is not a minor niggle, because it was in Adam’s sin, not Eve’s, that the entire world was cursed. The devil did use Eve to persuade Adam to sin, and Eve and her daughters were cursed because of it with pain in childbearing. Women were not cursed to become “the port and gate of the devil” any more than men were (instead, she was the port and gate of the coming seed who would destroy the devil!). In fact, Scripture shows us multiple examples of women like Sarah, Abigail, or Rebekah who opposed their husbands and were vindicated by the Holy Spirit and obedient men of God.
Knox then quotes Augustine, who is even worse:
“Woman,” says he, “compared to other creatures, is the image of God, for she bears dominion over them. But compared unto man, she may not be called the image of God, for she bears not rule and lordship over man, but ought to obey him.”
Augustine is one of my favorite theologians, but this dehumanization of women is inexcusable. Here, he is clearly under the influence of Greco-Roman patriarchalism and not of Scripture. Scripture teaches that men and women are made equally in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The metaphysical equality and equivalence of the sexes could not possibly be made clearer, and it’s restated in the New Testament, in Galatians 3:28: “there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is not to deny certain physical, mental, or emotional differences between male and female. But regarding the image of God, and the respective standing of men and women before God, it’s crystal clear.
But doesn’t the Bible teach women to obey men? No. Ephesians 5:22 directs wives to “submit” to “their own husbands.” Women as a class are not to submit to men as a class. Rather, they are supposed to submit to the specific authorities God has put in their lives. Scripture puts a great deal of limitation on authority: for example, Mark 9:35 insists that whoever wishes to be a leader must be the servant of all, and Acts 5:29 makes it clear that a Christian ought to obey God rather than man. Scripture even records a situation in which God himself directly ordered Abraham to obey his wife (Genesis 21:12). In that particular situation, Sarah had the godly authority.
Anyone who wants to can easily read the rest of the Monstrous Regiment online, and find more of the same kind of thing inside it, whether quotes from pagan patriarchalists or from Christian thinkers who uncritically accepted the same views. John Knox, whatever his strengths in other areas, clearly had an unbiblically low view of women as a sex. Speaking for himself, he says:
Where I affirm the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I mean not only that God, by the order of his creation, has spoiled [deprived] woman of authority and dominion, but also that man has seen, proved, and pronounced just causes why it should be. Man, I say, in many other cases, does in this behalf see very clearly. For the causes are so manifest, that they cannot be hid. For who can deny but it is repugnant to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to lead and conduct such as do see? That the weak, the sick, and impotent persons shall nourish and keep the whole and strong? And finally, that the foolish, mad, and frenetic shall govern the discreet, and give counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be all women, compared unto man in bearing of authority. For their sight in civil regiment is but blindness; their strength, weakness; their counsel, foolishness; and judgment, frenzy, if it be rightly considered.
To do him justice, Knox does spend time in the Monstrous Regiment attempting to defend his views from Scripture. To someone who has turned away from modern feminism, not everything he says may seem outrageous. The ideas may sound radical, but feminism is so prevalent in our culture that maybe the truth is going to sound radical. Maybe, you’re thinking, Knox has a point.
Don’t be deceived. There is something very wrong with Knox’s position here, and it’s actuallyexactly the same mistake which is made by modern feminism.
That mistake is to draw an invalid dividing-line between men and women, to maintain that the difference between good and evil is not defined according to the deeds of each person, but according to whether they are male or female. The mistake made by radical feminism is to argue that women are metaphysically more virtuous than men. The mistake made by radical patriarchalism is to argue that men are metaphysically more virtuous than women. Both buy into an unbiblical category of gender-based virtue.
According to Scripture, the only valid dividing-line for good and evil that can be drawn between one class of humanity and another is the dividing-line that runs between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. No other dividing line matters for this purpose, which is what Paul meant when he spoke of no more divisions between Jew and Gentile, between bond and free, between male and female.
Scripture pictures good women and bad women, wise women and foolish women, but it never denigrates women as a class. It never pictures women as bound by certain sins simply because of weak minds or lack of spiritual value. In fact, Scripture uses a woman as the personification of Wisdom—and not just any wisdom, but God’s divine, perfect, authoritative Wisdom (Prov. 8). Scripture pictures the church as a woman—the fearless warrior bride of Christ. Scripture pictures the good woman as wise, kind, disciplined, productive, and virtuous.
“Foolish, mad, and frenetic”? Not even close.
Faced with a wise and godly female ruler like Deborah, Knox can only explain that God must have “exempted Deborah from the common malediction given to women.” For Scripture, however, Deborah is not the exception to some “common malediction”; in her wisdom and sobriety, she is clearly the norm for Christian women.
Knox’s view is that women as a class are metaphysically defective as compared to men. This is exactly the same error as radical feminism, just with the genders swapped. By embracing a view of women as inferior by nature, Knox (together with Augustine, and Tertullian, and Dalrock, and other men’s rights activists) has ignored the clear teaching of Scripture in favor of pagan sexism.
I would plead with my brothers in Christ, especially those who claim to be Reformed. Think twice before you throw your support behind this document, which literally argues that women are subhuman, somewhere between men and animals on the Platonist chain of being. Men and women are both members of the church of God, one body in Christ. Let the word of God rebuke the foolish ravings of John Knox:
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Cothinians 12:21-26).
Scripture is totally opposed to both pagan feminism and patriarchalism, because Scripture evaluates people ethically-judicially. God judges people according to their deeds and onlyaccording to their deeds, not according to their gender. God entrusts women like Lydia with businesses, single women like Naomi with faithful covenant leadership of a family, and even women like Deborah in civil realms to judge and rule. These are not to deny differences or norms by any means, but if we follow Knox’s standards here, we are headed down a very wrong path.
There are no metaphysical defectives in God’s world. There are only the covenantally faithful and the covenantally unfaithful, whether men or women.
Notes:
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  1. This and the following quotations are excerpted from John Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558),http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/firblast.htm, accessed May 19, 2018.(↩)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Whole Lot Of All Kinds Of Stuff in Tenth Bell Mountain Book -- Review Of Lee Duigon's :The Silver Trumpet"

A  WHOLE  LOT  OF  ALL  KINDS  OF  STUFF  

IN  TENTH  BELL  MOUNTAIN  BOOK


A Review Of

Lee Duigon The Silver Trumpet [Bell Mountain #10] (Storehouse Press, 2018)
                      $18.00   289pp   ISBN: 978-1-891375-73-6

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     There are few books with plotlines as various and as numerous as this one!  These are examples:  brothers on a quest for their missing sister; a tribe on a quest for knowledge of God; a quest for the survivors of a shipwreck; a project to design a printing press; a plan to send a secret message into Obann; music being played by unseen trumpets; a boy king  in a forest coming out of hiding; a very bad guy who goes around wearing a mask pretending to be the long since dead Thunder King; a plethora of political intrigues; and – this is brand new – Jack and Ellayne are now old enough to consider getting married! 


     As in the previous books in this series, these episodes embody many spiritual principles which are true and important and interesting. I highly recommend it as I did the previous nine.



The Silver Trumpet (Bell Mountain Book 10) by [Duigon, Lee]