J. Oliver Buswell and Cornelius Van Til

David Owen Filson speaks about Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, theologian and former president of Wheaton College and Covenant College and Seminary. A fundamentalist involved with J. Gresham Machen in the founding of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Buswell joined the Bible Presbyterian Church when it split with the fledgling OPC over premilennialism and teetotalism. He continued to be an interlocutor with members of the OPC and faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, eventually locking heads with Cornelius Van Til over apologetic and theological method. David has recently researched the correspondence between the two men in the archives of Covenant and Westminster (PA) seminaries.

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Antinomianism and Reformed Theology

Dr. Mark Jones returns to Christ the Center to revive seventeenth-century wisdom about antinomianism from his forthcoming book Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?. Antinomian thinking is rooted in a weak view of the person of Christ and leads to reducing sanctification to justification. Dr. Jones addresses Martin Luther’s relationship to antinomianism, the relationship between theology and practice, and the necessity of good works for salvation.

Dr. Mark Jones is the minister of Faith Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is also Research Associate in the Faculty of Theology at University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Mark’s Ph.D. is from Leiden Universiteit (Oct. 2009) and his doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Why Heaven Kissed Earth: The Christology of the Puritan Reformed Orthodox theologian, Thomas Goodwin (1600–1680).” Dr. Jones has spoken on Christ the Center 249 and 218.

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Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat

Dr. James Bratt speaks about Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat (Eerdmans). Dr. Bratt places Kuyper in historical context and clarifies Kuyper’s thought and life for current reflection on theology and politics.

Dr. Bratt teaches history at Calvin College, blogs, and has edited and authored a number of books, including Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader and By the Vision of Another World: Worship in American History.

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What Is Believing in Christ?

Jonathan Edwards preached “What Is Believing in Christ?” to his congregation of three hundred Native Americans in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The sermon on Mark 16:15–16 is characteristic of Edwards’ pastoral sensitivity to his Stockbridge congregation. The sermon is divided into two parts, 1. What it means to believe in Jesus Christ, and 2. How believing in Jesus Christ will save you.

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Covenantal Apologetics

Dr. Scott Oliphint returns to Christ the Center to discuss his recent book, Covenantal Apologetics. Oliphint’s forthcoming book is an accessible treatment of Van Tilian presuppositional apologetics, the fruit of years of teaching apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. We discuss with Dr. Oliphint the significance of the book’s title, namely, that the covenantal theology of the Reformed confessions underlies a covenantal apologetic approach. Oliphint explains the “quicksand quotient,” the role of common grace in apologetics, and discusses the motivation behind the example apologetic conversations found in the book.

Other Books on Apologetics

This selection is taken from our suggested reading list. For more information on how to use this list as well as books in other disciplines, please look at our list.
Level 1

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The Nature and Use of Apologetic Evidences

Reformed theologians have approached the discipline of apologetics from several different vantage points. Proponents of presuppositional, classical, and evidential approaches differ with one another on several important apologetic questions. One primary subject is the nature and proper use of evidences. Should the apologist use historical arguments for the creation, the truthfulness of Scriptures, the resurrection? If so, what role do those evidences play in an apologetic exchange?

Dr. Scott Oliphint recently spoke about apologetics on the Unbelievable? program with Justin Brierley to dialogue with Kurt Jaros about apologetic methodology. The conversation touched upon several different apologetic topics, but perhaps the most interesting exchange focused on the use of evidences. It is often assumed that Van Tilian presuppositional apologists eschew the use of evidences. On this episode of Christ the Center, the panel addresses this common assumption. They demonstrate how a covenantal approach to apologetics not only allows the apologist to use evidence, but also provides the only proper context in which they may be used.

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Vatican II Inclusivism

How can Catholic theologians seemingly contradict the official teaching of the Catholic Church? Many commentators believe that, in a recent homily, Pope Francis did just that. While the Vatican has since “clarified” his remarks, the question remains for many other Catholic theologians, who seem to promote doctrinal views in sharp contrast to previous declarations of the Catholic Church. Many Catholics now affirm a view of salvation that is “inclusive,” that is, broad enough to include not only explicit Catholics, but also Muslims, Jews, agnostics, and atheists. Many critics cry foul, since this appears to be a blatant contradiction of traditional Catholic teaching.

In this episode, Camden Bucey leads a discussion that touches upon the changes in prolegomena that allow many Catholic theologians to affirm the church’s historic pronouncements while leaving room for new doctrinal formulations such as this contemporary inclusivism. The grand project of Vatican II was to update the Catholic church for a modern age, to open the windows and let in fresh air. To accomplish this overhaul, many theologians resorted to a Kantian-esque view of revelation and history. Listen as the panel discusses the workings of this type of “both-and” theologizing.

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