Reading Van Til, Evangelicals & Catholicism, and African Ontology & Epistemology

In this episode, we answer questions from our listeners and discuss a few things we’ve been contemplating recently. We discuss a proposed reading list for the works of Cornelius Van Til, worshiping on Sunday, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and African worldview and theology. It’s a wide-ranging conversation and one we hope you enjoy.

Dissertations/Theses Mentioned

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Warfield and True Church Unity

Jeff Stivason joins us to speak about his article, “Benjamin B. Warfield and True Church Unity,” published in the Westminster Theological Journal 79 (2017): 327–43. He argues that Warfield developed a theology that requires the existence of denominations. Jeff is pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA) in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania and has joined us previously to speak about Warfield on the mode of inspiration.

Abstract

This article examines Benjamin B. Warfield’s view of church unity. Though the research explores the entire corpus of Warfield’s body of work, the primary exploration encompasses the exegesis of two articles that are almost identical and yet separated by fourteen years, “True Church Unity: What It Is,” and “Christian Unity and Church Union; Some Primary Principles.” The teaching of these writings substantiate the following claim: the progressive and constructive nature of Warfield’s understanding of theology requires the existence of denominations. The article proceeds in the following manner. First, the research focuses on Warfield’s understanding of what church unity was not according to the apostolic church. Second, having understood the unity in the negative, the article moves on to observe the ground and nature of ecclesiastical unity in the apostolic church as understood by Warfield. The third point explores the progressive and constructive nature of systematic theology and how it applies to Warfield’s understanding of ecclesiastical unity. In this point, the idea of unity and the legitimacy of denominational separation is explored and substantiated from Warfield’s perspective. The fourth and final point gives attention to the minimalism that has the power to eclipse the church’s visible unity. In particular, the failure to engage in theological inquiry grounded upon the Scriptures will hinder and even destroy the unity of the church.

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Hermeneutics in Light of Christ’s Relationship to His Body

Matthew Patton speaks about Augustine’s hermeneutical principle totus Christus, which recognizes an interpretive role for the Church in that the “whole Christ” (head and body) serves as the eschatological fulfillment of the Old Testament. Dr. Patton delivered a paper titled, “Totus Christus as Hermeneutical Key for a Christian Reading of Jeremiah,” at the 2017 National Convention of the Evangelical Theological Society. Rev. Dr. Patton is the pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Vandalia, Ohio. Dr. Patton is the author of Deuteronomy: A 12-Week Study in Crossway’s Knowing the Bible series.

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Jonathan Edwards on God’s Involvement in Creation

Jeff Waddington speaks about his chapter in the new festschrift for Vern Poythress, Redeeming the Life of the Mind (Crossway). Jeff’s chapter, titled, “Jonathan Edwards on God’s Involvement in Creation,” is an examination of “Miscellanies,” no. 1263. Jeff examines four theological and philosophical themes in Edwards’s doctrine: Trinitarian-theistic idealism, occasionalism, and continuous creation. A fourth element in Edwards’s understanding of God’s relation to creation is his apparent embrace of the analogia entis or chain of being.

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Van Til and Scholasticism

This episode was recorded just prior to our 2017 Theology Conference on The Reformation of Apologetics. We discuss the theological approach of scholasticism as it pertains to Thomas Aquinas, the Reformers, and Cornelius Van Til.

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Apologetics and the Five Solas

This episode was recorded live at our 2017 Theology Conference on The Reformation of Apologetics. In celebration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation and the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Cornelius Van Til, we consider the connection between Reformed apologetics and the five solas.

The solas summarize the theological principles of the Reformation, and while one may not consider apologetics to be a major discipline of the Reformation, we seek to show how the Reformation dictates a consistent apologetic method. We contend that to be a covenantal apologist, one must be a Reformed theologian. Moreover, to be a consistent Reformed theologian, one must be a covenantal apologist.

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