Vos Group #49 — The Conception of a Prophet: Names and Etymologies

We continue our #VosGroup series in pages 191–194 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider the biblical conception of prophetism. Vos beings by considering critical theories of prophetism based on the term “prophet.” Vos instructs us that all quests for seeking the conception of the prophet in etymology, rather in the teaching of the text, the meaning and function of Nabi (the Hebrew word for prophet) in the biblical text, are fraught with uncertainty and speculation. (more…)

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Entering God’s Rest

Ken Golden speaks about the Lord’s Day throughout redemptive-history and what it means to seek our heavenly rest in Christ. In his book, Entering God’s Rest: The Sabbath from Genesis to Revelation (Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 2018), Rev. Golden seeks to move beyond a checklist of do’s and don’ts to consider the deeper significance of finding our joy in the Lord.



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The Beatific Vision and the Eucharist in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas

Dr. Lawrence Feingold brings us a Catholic’s perspective on Thomas Aquinas and the important connection between his doctrines of the Eucharist and the Beatific Vision. Dr. Feingold is Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He is the author of The Eucharist: Mystery of Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion and The Natural Desire to See God According to St. Thomas and His Interpreters.

Dr. Feingold expresses the deep congruence between Thomas’s metaphysic and doctrines of the Beatific Vision and Eucharist. Rather than treating different loci of his theology and philosophy as disparate elements, it is much better and more appropriate to embrace Thomas as a monumental thinker developing an organic whole.

While we have deep differences with the Roman Catholic tradition, we found this conversation to be utterly stimulating and instructive. Our understanding of Thomas and Catholicism was sharpened, and we trust listeners and viewers will benefit from careful consideration of Dr. Feingold’s teaching.

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Previewing Karl Barth and Thomas Aquinas on Analogy

Jim Cassidy previews his address at the 2018 Reformed Forum conference by speaking about Barth on the analogy of being and the analogy of faith and how his views relate to the theology of Thomas Aquinas.

Jim and Camden also speak about Barth’s views of natural theology and how they relate to the views of Cornelius Van Til. This is in response to recent remarks from Dr. Michael Allen on the Credo Magazine podcast (around minute 37). If you’d like to jump directly to that portion of our discussion, you can watch it on YouTube.



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Petrus van Mastricht’s Polemic against Balthasar Bekker

Dan Ragusa introduces us to the theological method of Petrus Van Mastricht, Dutch Reformed theologian, who maintained consistent Reformed orthodoxy against Cartesian influences. Van Mastricht wrote a polemic against Balthasar Bekker, a critic of paganism but a proponent of Cartesianism. In his polemic, Van Mastricht addresses the issue of Scriptural authority, theological method, and the proper end toward which all theologians and philosophers must be directed: worship of the one, true, and living God.

Dan Ragusa is a PhD student at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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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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The Deeper Protestant Conception

We discuss how a return to sola scriptura through confessional Reformed theology spares us from the errors of Roman Catholicism and modernism.

Reformed covenant theology, broadly considered, is facing a crisis regarding what constitutes “reformed” theology. The situation currently is one of chaos and confusion. Some claim that the way forward is by way of retrieving the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor of the Roman Catholic church, in the service of a so-called “Reformed” apologetic. The line of this argument is that if you follow the Roman Catholic theology and method of Aquinas, you will arrive at Protestant conclusions. Others enlist Aquinas in conversation with the likes of John Webster and Karl Barth, in the interest of retrieving “catholic” tradition in the development of a reformed theological identity. Still others, outside of our reformed circles, are engaged in ecumenical dialogue between Thomas and Barth (Bruce McCormack and Thomas Joseph White’s Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth: An Unofficial Dialogue, or Keith Johnson’s Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis, which helpfully to my mind points out the significant points of convergence between the two theologians).

It is very much worth pointing out that Van Til virtually predicted this in advance in his sadly neglected but highly important work Confession of 1967, where he says, “If now we live in a dialogical age and if only the church as ecumenical can meet the needs of such an age, then surely the Roman Catholic too must learn to see this fact. As Martin Marty says, “If Protestants and Roman Catholics wish to make possible a creative coexistence, to enrich our pluralistic society, and to profit from each other’s separate histories, they will have to participate in dialogue.…” And what does such “dialogue” look like? Again, Van Til says, “It was Hans Urs von Balthasar who, more than anyone else, has helped Barth to see that Roman Catholicism also begins its theology from the Christ-Event. Roman Catholicism, says von Balthasar, does not believe in direct revelation any more than does Barth. To be sure, Rome does speak of “faith and works,” of “nature and grace,” of “reason and revelation.” But this “and” is not, as Barth thinks, fatal to the idea of the primacy of Christ and of faith in Christ. The whole discussion between Barth and the Roman Catholic position may therefore start from the idea that revelation is revelation in hiddenness. ”The difference between Barth and Roman Catholicism will therefore be not of principle but of degree” (Confession, 119).



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Still Protesting

Darryl G. Hart, Distinguished Associate Professor of History at Hillsdale College, joins us to speak about his book, Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Matters (Reformation Heritage Books). This book addresses the divide between Protestants and Roman Catholics, considering some of the reasons that prompted the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. It emerges particularly from the context of the increasing number of Protestants who convert to Roman Catholicism, and Hart’s aim is to address some of the most frequent reasons given for abandoning Protestantism.

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Vos Group #48 — The Word as the Instrument of Prophetism

We continue our #VosGroup series in pages 187–190 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider the word of God and prophetism. Prophetism is restricted to the word as its instrument. The prophetic ministry was a declarative, spiritual authority of one who speaks and writes in the words of Jehovah himself. There is the closest possible connection, then, between the prophetic office and the declaration of the Word of the Lord, as that Word is given by the superintending agency of the Spirit, who breathes out the prophetic Scriptures (cf. 1 Pet. 1:10–11; 2 Tim. 3:16). The effect of being restricted to the ministry of the Word of God was a heightening of the “spiritualizing” relation between Jehovah and Israel.



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Effectual Calling and Regeneration

Theologians often speak of regeneration, the work of the Holy Spirit to bring someone to the new birth. But the Westminster Standards speak of effectual calling as the work of the Spirit to give people new hearts, enlightening their minds and renewing their wills. Are effectual calling and regeneration the same thing? If not, how do they relate? In this episode, we discuss the relationship between these two aspects of the ordo salutis.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

1. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

2. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.



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