Should faculty have academic freedom to speak and write on topics outside their so-called “fields of academic competence.” Some statements on academic freedom say ‘no’. I list a number of reasons for thinking this position is fundamentally in error.
In a recent talk at Ryerson University’s “God and the Multiverse” workshop, Timothy O’Connor presented a materialist account of the Incarnation, which, he claimed, was “free of demonstrable incoherence.” Here I’ll briefly lay out an argument for incoherence that can be assembled from various claims made in the talk, and then suggest that O’Connor’s proposed “way out” isn’t wholly attractive.
In a recent post, Bruxy Cavey comments:
Jesus-following is our identity as disciples of Christ. We are Christ-ians, not Bible-ians (Acts 11:26). This aligns with what Jesus himself said – “follow me” (Matthew 4:19). It seems to me that this should be Christianity 101 and not at all a controversial idea.
Can this really be Christianity 101?
Bruxy Cavey has affirmed this proposition from the Tyndale Seminary statement of faith: “the Bible is ‘the authoritative written Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, inerrant in all that it teaches’.” He is happy to align with it, he says. However, he also contends that there are manifest errors in the bible. How is that a proper alignment, you ask? Read on.
In his NDPR review (2018.06.06) of Klaas Kraay’s Does God Matter? (Routledge, 2018), David Johnson (Yeshiva University) remarks that the chapter Paul Franks and I co-wrote for the volume is a “nice example of a carefully argued paper in which everything seems to work except the main point.” Well, that doesn’t sound very good. What seems to be the problem?
According to a growing number of “progressive” Christians, it is unbiblical and hence sinful to "call out” a Christian colleague by name in a public forum (e.g., a book, article, blog post, or tweet). For Matthew 18:15 forbids us, they say, to publicly identify the mistakes of a "colleague" without first talking to them in private. In this post, I show how this use of Matthew 18:15 is nothing less than an abuse of the text (logically and contextually).
In the past few posts (see here, here, and here), we’ve looked at this idea that the Bible isn’t authoritative; only Jesus is. The Bible isn’t perfect and error-free; only our Saviour is. At first glance, these assertions have the ring of piety. Unfortunately, the least bit of probing exposes the painful fact that they are supported by demonstrably invalid arguments. That is, they aren't supported at all.
Some bible critics have claimed that defending the Bible's inerrancy "discredits Christ." It does this, we're told, "by taking qualities of Christ – his sinless perfection – and trying to attribute those to Scripture“ (Bruxy Cavey). Now of course any true Christian will affirm that Christ is sinless and perfect. Inerrantists go one step further; they "take" this property of sinless perfection and "give" it of the Bible. And this, the critic insists, is a problem. Well, how so?
The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians: “I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.” According to Bruxy Cavey, Paul lapses into error here, stating (on the one hand) that he didn’t baptize any of the Corinthians, but then (on the other) that he baptized two of them. I’m afraid, however, that this deduction from the text is logically invalid.
Paul says to Timothy that “All Scripture is God-breathed...and useful” (2 Tim 3:16). Recently, I've noticed some pastors and professors claiming that even if what God breathes out is flatly in error, that shouldn't deter us from using it. It comes from God and it contains errors. Nevertheless, says Bruxy Cavey, "You should use it, it's really useful! Try it sometime, really useful book!" (link). Scripture might be false (and no doubt is in many places), but it's useful all the same. Our question is: Is Bruxy right?
According to Dr. Mark Jones, the Arminian position on divine election (and foreknowledge) “bows to the god of human freedom and makes God the servant of humans.” Well, that certainly doesn’t sound like a good thing, and if true it would certainly be a strike against Arminianism. But is Mark correct? I don’t think so.
In Titus 1:12, the Apostle Paul quotes Epimenides: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” According to Paul, “This testimony is true.” According to Bruxy Cavey, Paul is "caught up in a logical paradox" here, or at least guilty of "overstatement." Paul gets "carried away," oversimplifies matters, and consequently lapses into error. So what about these charges? Do they, perhaps, oversimply things?
Craig Carter’s final salvo in our exchange on Calvinism purports to offer us “More on Davis' Arguments Against Calvinism." So far as I can see, however, we aren't really given “more” so much as “more of the same”—variations on the original theme but nothing substantially new. Let me explain.
I am grateful to my colleague, Prof. Craig Carter, for his thoughtful critique of my demonstration against Calvinism. I have learned much from reading his “In Defense of Calvinism” (The Bayview Review, December 16, 2011). Here are just a few points by way of reply.
In an article entitled “A Defense of Skepticism” (Relevant magazine, 8 Sept 2011), John Wilkinson proposes a “new take on apologetics,” one in which we can “be comfortable in our own irrational skin . . . Illogical . . . Unreasonable . . . Absurd.” Unfortunately, Wilkinson’s case for absurdity is itself absurd.
In a chapter entitled “Anti-Apologetics 101,” atheist philosopher Peter Boghossian claims that “[t]he best argument I’ve heard for the existence of God” goes like this: “An atheist...doesn’t just believe that man and woman came into being without a Creator, but that all of creation did...His faith is much greater than mine.” Boghossian needs to read more widely.
Post-structuralist thinker, Peter Rollins, describes himself as a “provocative writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker who has gained an international reputation for overturning traditional notions of religion and forming ‘churches’ that preach the Good News that we can’t be satisfied, that life is difficult, and that we don’t know the secret.” Is that really the good news though?