Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wrestling in Prayer

I hope all of you are having a good new year. I wish I could be there with you all, this Thursday, at least for the snacks. But I am not sure I would feel comfortable at a meeting that was openly discussing liberalism. Just doesn't seem right.

So I had a question that I genuinely am not sure of the answer to. I am wanting to better understand prayer, and would like to preach on it. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Colossians 4:12 says: "Epaphras . . . is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills."

My questions are: if we can boldly come before the throne of grace (Heb 4), why is he wrestling? Who or what is he wrestling against? What does wrestling mean in this context? Is he wrestling against God, himself, the devil, something else? Do they wrestle back? Why does he always do it?

Any insight you have on this would be greatly appreciated. I believe it is very important for our prayer lives, but am not sure how to understand it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Postliberalism, Here We Come!

Hello all!

We will be meeting next Thursday at the Oldenburg apartment to discuss postliberalism. Alister has been hard at work collecting materials to prepare us for the discussion. I will send an email with most of the materials attached, but he also had some commentary on some of the articles and some links to which I thought it would be helpful for all of us to have access. In any case, get reading and come ready to discuss.

First, a definition from the Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, by Grenz, Guretzki and Nordling, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

Postliberalism: The late-twentieth-century theological movement that refutes the reliance on human experience displayed by the older liberalism and restores the idea of a community's tradition as a controlling influence in theology. Postliberalism was initially associated with thinkers such as George Lindbeck, who rejected both the fundamentalist and liberal understandings of the nature of doctrine (as either objectively true propositions or expressions of subjective religious experience) in favor of the view that sees doctrine as the "ground rules" of a religious community.

Now I'll list the articles and links that I'll be sending by email with any of Alister's comments underneath.

1. "The Origins of Postliberalism" by Gary Dorrien

"read what you need to get a feel for what postliberalism is." -Alister

2. "Community & Relationships: A Theological Take" Interview with Stanley Grenz

3. "Discipleship as a Craft, Church as a Disciplined Community" by Stanley Hauerwas

4. "Re-Imagining the Princeton Mind: Postconservative Evangelicalism, Old Princeton, and the Rise of Neo-Fundamentalism" by Paul Kjoss Helseth

"I'm in two minds about whether or not to recommend this - On the one hand its long and may seem very narrowly focused and even perhaps to some irrelevant to the discussion, BUT on the other its probably the most likely to provoke discussion AND I think it goes right to the root of one of the reasons for the emergence of postliberalism/postconservative/narrative theology, all of which in one way or another would I think its fair to says define themselves to some extent against evangelicalism insofar as they would say it is infected by such things as 'modern' rationalism and allegiance to propositional truth. The consensus until recently amongst many has been that this rationalist bent in evangelicalism (as evidenced they would say by such doctrines as 'inerrancy') was inherited (via early 20th fundamentalism) from Old Princeton. The tack has usually been to say that Old Princeton and Reformed Scholasticism is characterised by philosophical rationalism and therefore not very Christian, hence we should get away from this and the doctrines inherited from it. This is where this article comes in - basically it argues that the thesis that Hodge/Warfield et al were so rationalistic just doesn't stand up. Hence..... postconservatism (which shares much in common with postliberalism) has been defining themselves against a position which didn't exist." -Alister

5. "Postliberalism and its Implications for Evangelical Theology" by David Arndt

"presents an open/pro position toward postliberalism" -Alister

6. "Is Propositional Theology Passé?" by Josué Pérez

a cautious/contra position" -Alister

Happy reading and we'll see you next Thursday at 7:00 PM!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is Post-modernism dying?

Hey, everyone. I appreciated the words on the Psalter. I have been doing my own explorations and was thrilled to see a canonical approach in the articles. I would love to have participated in that discussion.

Well, I tend to look at various blogs, many of them from atheists. I saw an article (check it out here) that I thought might be interesting because of the theme of post-modernism. He asks the question as to whether P-m may have run its course. Obviously he is speaking only in certain circles, such as some areas of academia. Just like with all philosophy, the trends in academia are not felt in society until much later. But it seems like an interesting possibility. At the very least it shows that not all non-believers are post-modernists.

I sincerely hope that you all enjoy the closeness of the Lord's presence and grace in the new year.