Thomas’s and Dionysius’s Use of the Great Chain of Being

Jeff Waddington spoke at the fifth annual Reformed Forum Conference, which was held October 5–7, 2018 at Hope OPC in Grayslake, Illinois. The theme of the conference was “Seeing God: The Deeper Protestant Conception.” The speakers addressed important theological challenges and controversies facing the contemporary Reformed church by exploring the theologies of Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, and Geerhardus Vos on the beatific vision and glorification of man.

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A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pseudo-Dionysius

Jeff Waddington previews his address for the 2018 Theology Conference. He speaks about Pseudo-Dionysius, a key influence upon Thomas Aquinas. Dionysius attempted to integrate neoplatonism with Christianity. The result was a Christianization of the great chain of being. Register for the upcoming conference.

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Buswell and Van Til

David Owen Filson joins us to speak about Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, theologian and former president of Wheaton College and Covenant College and Seminary. Buswell was involved with the early modernist-fundamentalist controversy and the founding of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, though he joined the Bible Presbyterian Church when it split with the fledgling OPC over premillennialism and teetotalism. He continued to be an interlocutor with members of the OPC and faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Interestingly, he coined the term “presuppositionalism” while debating with Cornelius Van Til over apologetic and theological method. Dr. Filson is teaching pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He previously spoke on the subject in episode 316, January 17, 2014

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The Trinity, Language, and Human Behavior

Pierce Taylor Hibbs speaks about language and the Trinity. His book, The Trinity, Language, and Human Behavior: A Reformed Exposition of the Language Theory of Kenneth L. Pike is available in P&R Publishing’s Reformed Academic Dissertations series. Hibbs describes Kenneth Pike’s linguistic theory and compares it to the theology of Cornelius Van Til, demonstrating shared Trinitarian themes. Pierce Hibbs is the Assistant Director of the Theological English Department at Westminster Theological Seminary. He writes at wordsfortheologians.org.

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The Free Offer of the Gospel

In this episode, we speak about the free offer of the gospel. The real point in dispute in connection with the free offer of the gospel is whether it can properly be said that God desires the salvation of all men. This issue was related to several theological controversies of the 1940s and stemming back decades earlier. Much of this particular issue comes the split of 1924 within the Christian Reformed Church which led to the formation of the Protestant Reformed Church under the leadership of Herman Hoeksema. For some, the antithesis is so absolutized that there can be no real transition from wrath to grace and no free offer of the gospel. Cornelius Van Til spoke of the antithesis as an ethical rather than metaphysical antithesis. In a letter to Jesse de Boer, he indicated that it was merely another way to speak of total depravity. As we walk through a study committee report delivered to the 15th General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, we are confronted with the great mystery of God’s will and his infallible revelation to us in Scripture.

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The Theology of Ebenezer Erskine

We speak with Dr. Stephen G. Myers about Ebenezer Erskine and the important events of Presbyterian history with which he was involved.Dr. Myers is Professor of Historical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his book, Scottish Federalism and Covenantalism in Transition: The Theology of Ebenezer Erskine, he touches upon many significant issues, including the Marrow Controversy, the relationship of law and grace, covenant theology, and church-state relations. In learning about this era of Presbyterian history, we come to understand how Erskine also serves to refine modern understandings of still controversial theological issues.

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Pastoral Care During the Reformation

William VanDoodewaard speaks to us about Martin Bucer, John Knox, and the development of pastoral care during the Reformation. Dr. VanDoodewaard is professor of church history at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of 1 & 2 Peter: Feed My Sheep (Welwyn Commentary Series), The Quest for the Historical Adam, and The Marrow Controversy and Seceder Tradition.

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