This is an extremely interesting lecture by Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart. Hart’s thesis is that the abandonment of the ancient Christian concept of God and good and evil within Christianity paved the way for the modern concept of freedom defined as the freedom to do what we would like without obstruction and hence, ultimately, nihilism. This is a most provocative and interesting thesis, and one worthy of consideration.
This is going to be a different kind of review. I do want to share some thoughts about David Seamands’ classic book, Healing for Damaged Emotions, but I also want to use this review as an occasion to address the larger question of reading and studying the works of ministers who have fallen.
Healing for Damaged Emotions was published in 1981. It has sold over one million copies. The book has been on my radar essentially since I began pastoring twenty years ago. Today I listened to my Kindle read the book to me on a long drive. I did so because of some recent counseling situations in which I felt that some of those I am counseling seem so deeply wounded by past traumatic experiences that they are haunted by them and stymied by them in the daily living of their lives.
Johan Huizinga’s Erasmus and the Age of Reformation (which can be had free for Kindle here) is a fascinating, well-researched, and engagingly-told tale of one of the most famed intellectuals ever to live. The 15th/16th century humanist Desiderius Erasmus, self-styled as Erasmus of Rotterdam, was the illegitimate son of a priest. He possessed a stunning mind, a sincere love of Christ, an independent spirit, and a desire to see Europe return ad fontes and usher in a return to classical learning, ordered society, a love of pure learning, and an appreciation of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. He was also, as Huizinga tells the story, arrogant, thin-skinned, probably a hypochondriac, overly-obsessed with cleanliness, unable to admit when he was wrong, quick to offend and quick to be offended, a person who lived so much in the via media on so many of the crucial theological and ecclesiological issues of the day that he was unable to take strong stands when such were needed, lacking in courage, and not above manipulating people for money.
For some time, and for various reasons, I have been thinking about changing the format of the sermon archives so that the sermons are listed by date preached instead of by biblical passage. I have begun that process and will be doing so along and along as I’m able. To get a sense of what that will look like, you can take a look at the archives pages for Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These are the only three books I have reorganized thus far. Check back for updates. I’ll be doing the New Testament archives first.
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
The Los Angeles Times ran a fascinating online article entitled “21 creepiest abandoned amusement parks.” The article consists of a brief introduction followed by numerous pictures of amusement parks that are no longer in operation.
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
A few years back articles began appearing in numerous news sources about a growing “depbaptism” movement, particularly in Europe. This is a movement in which people who were baptized as infants by their parents formally request to be debaptized, to have their baptisms rendered null and void. Here is one such article.
The esteemed and justly revered Dr. James Leo Garrett, Jr. shared with me recently that he believes this new book by Dr. Malcolm Yarnell of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary may be the best book on the Trinity ever written by a Baptist theologian. That, to put it mildly, does arrest one’s attention. That is not to say that the appearance of this monograph was not significant on its own merits without such a telling endorsement.