Tag Archives: douglas wilson

Does Hebrews Teach Apostasy?

Many are they who will argue that Hebrews 10:26-31 is not a passage teaching apostasy. They believe in OSAS (once saved always saved), the eternal security of the believer, and the perseverance of the saints. They will argue that the author is either a) warning those who aren’t true believers, or b) issuing a warning that God will use as a means to perseverance for the saints. The favorite verse used to prove such a view is Hebrews 10:39, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

What intrigues me is the lengths we will go to to make our pre-existing paradigm work. The author is addressing Jewish Christians, he refers to them as those who have “received the knowledge of the truth” (v. 26) and were “sanctified” (v. 29).

It seems to me that they are Christians who can fall away. It seems to me that the author is not pitting genuine Christians against ingenuous Christians, but those “who shrink back” against those who “have faith and preserve their souls” (v. 39). In other words, he is pitting those genuine Christians who will fall away against those who will persevere.

To counter by saying that he is addressing believers and he is giving them a warning that God will use as a means for their perseverance–in other words, he is warning them against something that can’t happen, but for the sake of it encouraging them to persevere, which they will do anyway–is as silly as a traveler coming across a “Beware of Cliff” sign in Kansas. This is the analogy Douglas Wilson uses, and it is a poignant one.

The statement the author makes in verse 39 is not to undermine his entire argument made in verses 26-31, but to encourage them in the hope that they are in fact faithful believers who preserve their souls. And how do we do this? By looking to Jesus, not by morbid introspection, not by worrying about whether we are elect or not, not by questioning our salvation, but by trusting Jesus.

C.S. Lewis on Identifying Christians Objectively

In the preface to Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis defines the word Christian. He objects to an overly subjective, spiritual use of the term, rather promoting the objective use of the term.

A Christian, therefore, is one who “accepted the teaching of the apostles.” Lewis admits that there will be those who accept the teaching of the apostles yet live unworthily of it. Them, he calls bad Christians rather than non-Christians. Using similar arguments, Douglas Wilson has compared the term Christian to husband. One is a husband by virtue of his having a wife, even if he doesn’t live up to the demands of his marriage vows. The one who doesn’t, Wilson–like us–calls a bad husband, but still a husband.

Apparently, sixty years before us, Lewis saw the importance and necessity of using the term Christian objectively. In doing so, he put forth mere Christianity.

Review: Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis

Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis
Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished this book having read it as part of my vacation in Narnia. I read through the entire Chronicles of Narnia septet in seven days, followed by a few days for Douglas Wilson’s What I Learned in Narnia, then this.

This book took my a couple of weeks to read. It was much more scholarly than I expected. I understand that author Michael Ward has another version of the book, Narnia Code, that is intended to be more accessible popularly. I probably should have read that book.

I really did enjoy the book, though. I think he makes a compelling case for the idea that Lewis incarnated the seven heavens into each of the seven Chronicles. The seven heavens are the seven planets of the pre-Copernican revolution, the seven planets that revolved around the earth: Jupiter, Mars, Sol (the Sun), Luna (the Moon), Mercury, Venus, and Saturn–corresponding to the seven Chronicles in their original order.

He presents his argument by identifying the medieval characteristics of each of the heavens, and by revealing Lewis’s thoughts on the planets first from his scholarship and poetry, then from the Ransom Trilogy. Finally, he exposes those characteristics in each of the seven books.

The Chronicles need to have been read once through (at least) before undertaking a reading of this book, and probably of his other book on the subject, Narnia Code. I also found it helpful that I had read the Ransom Trilogy. It would probably be helpful to have read some of Lewis’s poetry, especially The Discarded Image and The Planets, but I had not read them…yet.

Having read Planet Narnia, I now want to re-read the Chronicles (which I just read a couple of weeks ago) and the Ransom Trilogy and his poetry. If you love Lewis, and especially the Chronicles of Narnia, you should read this book, or the Narnia Code. You will likely find it as eye-opening as I did.

I must admit, however, that I had been recommended this book by a friend who spoke very positively of it. So I read it open to his arguments. If you are skeptical going into the book, you might not find it (and rightly so? I don’t know) as convincing as I did.

It is also worth mentioning that I read it after having read Wilson’s book on Narnia, in which he mentions Ward’s book approvingly–further preparing me to read it acceptingly, acceptingly–not necessarily without criticism.

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Another Trail to Blaze

I work in the classical Christian education business, but this isn’t just a job for me. It is more like a dream job: I had already been interested in the topic long before I started working in it, and had been using it to home school my children.

The Trivium is the easier to grasp of the classical Christian education concepts. Folks like Douglas Wilson, the Detweilers, and Leigh Bortins have been trailblazing for home schoolers and Christian educators alike. It is easy to see how to classically educate my children after all of the work these folks have done.

What is difficult is what comes next. The Trivium is supposed to lead into the Quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. But what university or college out there teaches like that? None that I’m aware of. There are some great books schools, to be sure, but what about Quadrivium-teaching schools? Well, the sad truth is that there haven’t been any serious trailblazers in that area.

And that is why I am so excited about this upcoming event in northern Virginia! Leigh Bortins and Nancy Pearcey are going to be talking about science and the Quadrivium at an event called Toward the Quadrivium. Doug Wilson has recently blogged on the need to do work in this area. Leigh Bortins has blogged about the need for it. And this event looks like a first step in that direction. Further, it appears that it will be the first in a series of events called Toward the Quadrivium.

I’ll be there to witness the blazing trail, will you?

To Steal Money with a Backhoe

“Men stand for office because they want to get into a position that would enable them to begin stealing money with a backhoe. This is affected in our nation somewhat by our very fine two-party system, which means that we have fierce debates about what color the backhoe should be. Only God, supreme above all, is immune from such corruptions.”

-Douglas Wilson, Joy at the End of the Tether

On Being Gradually Revealed

So the New Jerusalem is the Christian Church, being gradually manifested through the course of history, gradually revealed in all her glory. -Douglas Wilson

Being gradually revealed as Daniel’s stone is one that gradually grows into a mountain that fills the earth. As the kingdom parables’ yeast gradually overcomes the flower, and as the mustard seed gradually grows into a tree filling the sky and covering the earth. And, as Paul says, is gradually revealed as the head of satan is gradually crushed under our feet.

And, she is gradually revealed in all her glory only to reveal the glory of God.