Augustine scholar Phillip Cary retrieves and reargues that the meaning of Protestant theology is Christ offered for us. He explains, “The Gospel, Protestant theology has taught ever since Luther, is God’s way of giving us nothing less than his own beloved son” (2-3). Overall, he succeeds in communicating his main thesis but I am wary about some of his conclusions. [Read more…] about What Martin Luther Can Teach Us about the Gospel (Review of The Meaning of Protestant Theology)
Does The Son Eternally Submit to the Father (A Review of Eternal Submission by Jonathan Routley)
Does the Son eternally submit to the Father? Jonathan Routley thinks so. Actually, Routley argues that he has a moral obligation to define God in terms of submission and authority. He explains, “Scripture teaches that the Son eternally submits to the Father willingly, voluntarily, and lovingly” and affirms his “moral obligation to speak up for that conviction” (xii).
Yet his moral obligation to understand God rightly means that he wants to persuade those who no longer speak about the doctrine eternal submission to reaffirm their beliefs: “I am hopeful that this volume might challenge some who have formerly supported the doctrine of eternal submission and have more recently taken a position of silence to regain their voice and reaffirm their support” (xii-xii).
Should the silent speak up? Should we all affirm the eternal submission of the Son to the Father? In answer to that question, we need to see if Routley’s thesis accurately interprets Scripture and uses theological reasoning. My conclusion will be that Routley does not successfully prove his case either scripturally or theologically. [Read more…] about Does The Son Eternally Submit to the Father (A Review of Eternal Submission by Jonathan Routley)
Review of Reformed Ethics (Vol 1) by Herman Bavinck
Baker Academic has published the first English translation of a nearly forgotten book. For 100 years (since 1921), Herman Bavinck’s 1,100-page manuscript remained at the Bavinck Archives (Vrije Universiteit) until Dirk van Keulen rediscovered it in 2008.
As John Bolt records, “Readers of this volume are, therefore, among the privileged first group to gain access to Bavinck’s systematic reflection on theological ethics since his own students who heard the lectures in the last two decades of the nineteenth century” (ix).
As the historical level, reading Reformed Ethics represents something of a privilege to read. In terms of editing, John Bolt has done an excellent job formatting and providing explanatory footnotes throughout the work. And lastly, when it comes to the argument, Bavinck’s Reformed Ethics ably sketches out a consistent Reformed view of, as the subtitle suggests, created, fallen, and converted humanity. [Read more…] about Review of Reformed Ethics (Vol 1) by Herman Bavinck
Review of Five Proofs of the Existence of God by Edward Feser
Edward Feser does not waste words. Here is a 330-page book dedicated to arguing line-by-line for the existence of God. At the level of clear logic and argumentation, Feser successfully conveys with persuasiveness five arguments for God; he also answers an ocean of objections. What makes this latter point so powerful is that Feser cites and refers to a wide range of scholarship that argues against him. In short, he is not afraid to engage with the best of those with whom he disagrees.
Feser’s success here also reveals a potential weakness. While Five Proofs can be read by an average reader, it will likely tax almost anyone who reads it. He does not hold the reader’s hands. He does not ease into arguments through stories or long illustrations. He argues. He illustrates. He rebuffs. As noted, he does not waste words.
As a reviewer, I am thus somewhat restrained when it comes “to whom” I would recommend this book. It is excellent. But some may find it difficult to read. I should note: I do not mean difficult because one cannot understand or follow Feser’s arguments. Far from it. I mean difficult in that Feser expects a lot from readers, and he gives a lot too.
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Review of Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics by J. Budziszewski
Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant biblical exegete whose theological writings work outward from the Sacred Text. In Thomas’ Summa Theologiae, we find a comprehensive summation of biblical theology. Unfortunately, Thomas’ biblical commentaries have gathered dust while his Summa has become a primary textbook. This oversight not only prevents one from appreciating Thomas, but it also would shock the Angelic Doctor since his primary textbook was the Bible. [Read more…] about Review of Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics by J. Budziszewski
Review of Ending Overcriminalization and Mass Incarceration by Anthony B. Bradley
The United States has an overcriminalization problem. On this much, Americans agree. In 2014 one in 163 Americans served time in prisons (23). When we account for all supervised persons as well (parole and probation), then the numbers become even more acute: “one in thirty-five Americans” serve within the USA correctional system (23).
While many agree on the problem of overcriminalization, the solution to this obstacle does not enjoy the same kind of consensus. Hence, Anthony Bradley has written Ending Overcriminalization and Mass Incarceration to define the problem and to provide solutions.
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