Friday, April 17, 2009

Work in progress

Aside from my regular pastoral and PTS work, I have a couple of side projects on the go. Evangelical Times has commissioned two articles for publication in the autumn. The first concerns the life and theology of Jacob Arminus. By a rather strange historical coincidence, Arminus shares a big anniversary with John Calvin, 2009 being the 400th anniversary of the former's death. The second piece will be on the Reformed response to the Arminius inspired teaching of the Remonstrants at the Synod of Dort. For research purposes, I'm currently reading God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy, by Richard A. Muller, Baker, 1991. Very enlightening it is too. Thanks to Paul Helm for lending me his copy of this hard to obtain title. But for the Grace of God, by Cornelis Venema is very helpful on the history and theology of the Synod of Dort (see here). I also plan to revisit Jim Packer's introductory essay to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Banner of Truth edition). Any other suggested reading?
Also I've been booked to speak to a Ministers' Fraternal in Dunstable, Bedfordshire in May on "Challenging Biblical Inerrancy – A response to A. T. B. McGowan’s proposals in The Divine Spiration of Scripture: Challenging evangelical perspectives". I spoke on this subject at our local fraternal back in January and published the text online (see here). The chairman of the Dunstable fraternal came across my paper and invited me to address the subject of biblical inerrancy. It seems that views similar to McGowan's are causing something of a stir up there. I want to revise and update the original paper a little, so I've recently finished Holy Scripture, A Dogmatic Sketch, by John Webster. The book was quoted approvingly by McGowan. Besides, I enjoyed Webster 's work on Holiness (see here) so I was interested to see what he had to say on the Bible. Watch this space for a review. To try to get to grips with the controversy surrounding Peter Enns' views on inerrancy in the States, I'm currently working my way through, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism, by Greg Beale, Crossway, 2008. Enns argues his point as an OT scholar rather than a systematic theologian like McGowan, so Beale's study helps to broaden the perspective a bit. Key reading for interacting with McGowan is Herman Bavink's treatment of Scripture in the context of God's-self revelation in Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1. The Scottish theologian claims a precedent in Bavinck for his proposal that evangelicals should reject inerrancy in favour of a reconfigured notion of infallibility. I hadn't quite got to the relevant point in Bavinck in January, as I'd not long taken delivery of the full set of RD. But I'm poised to start on Chapter 12, where the Dutch dogmatician begins to discuss the doctrine of Scripture in earnest. Lastly, Paul Helm highlights what looks like an excellent new book on Scripture, Words of Life, by Timothy Ward, IVP (see here). What did a certain Preacher say about the making of many books?


Matt Rees said...

Martin Downes spoke on this at the EMW TTC last year, he also has an article here:

Exiled Preacher said...

Yes, I've seen MD's piece. Very good it is too.