Saturday, April 14, 2012

Geerhardus Vos, Ridderbos & Tom Wright

Tom Wright comments on a blogpost on his book 'How God Became King' by saying:
"The entire book is saying, not that ‘the secret’ is found outside the canon, but that ‘the secret’ is precisely what the canon itself has all along been saying but which most western traditions (except of course for that represented by Vos, Ridderbos and Rich Mouw) have managed to ignore. My problem, rather, is, yes, with the assumption that either ‘the tradition’ or ‘the rule of faith’ can tell us what the canon is saying. "
Tom Wright is mentioned in a comment on Geerhardus Vos's book 'Pauline Eschatology' by Jacob Aitken who writes about 'Pauline Eschatology':
"He (rightly) avoids the temptation to read Paul as a Professor in Reformed Dogmatics at the local seminary. Vos realizes that Paul's use of the Adam-Christ typology necessarily commits him to a narratival reading of Paul. Vos isn't always consistent in this, but it is a welcome move. "

I was intrigued by Vos's assertion that soteriology and eschatology are intimately connected. I think he is on to something big. Richard Gaffin does a good job fleshing this out in *Resurrection and Redemption.*

Michael Horton writes on Tom Wright and Geerhardus Vos:

"In one conversation in Oxford, Tom Wright concurred that although he had not read the older covenant theologians closely, he too was deeply influenced by Vos and Ridderbos"
Michael Horton writes a very critical evaluation of Tom Wright's book 'Justification'.

Linking Geerhardus Vos to Ridderbos and Tom Wright has become a favorite hobby among scolars it seems:
"Kirk, recently appointed as assistant professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, claims sympathies not only with the scholarship of E. P. Sanders and N. T. Wright, but also with the biblical-theological projects of Geerhardus Vos, Herman Ridderbos, and Richard B. Gaffin. Kirk applies this attempted synthesis of the NPP and conservative Reformed biblical theology to the question of the role of the resurrection in Romans. What's more, Kirk is concerned to apply the results of his research to the life of the contemporary American evangelical church."
Richard Mouw spent seventeen years as professor of philosophy at Calvin College and mentions the following 'outstanding' people in an interview with the Atlantic: 
"Wolterstorff, Volf, and Stout at Yale; Plantinga, Marsden, and Hatch at Notre Dame; Wuthnow at Princeton; the outstanding faculties at Wheaton and Calvin."
He published essays in the line of Abraham Kuyper' in 2012 Richard Mouw seems deeply involved in the Dooyeweerd school of philosophy. Bas Hengstmengel's master thesis illustrates to me how Alvin Plantinga confirms Buswell's evaluation of Dooyeweerd's philosophy:
'Dooyeweerd, by trying to avoid the Scylla of giving finite reality too much self-sufficiency and power, which threatens God's uniqueness and sovereignty, comes close to Charybdis of altogether divesting creation of distinctness and 'over-againstness' with respect to God, because 'the very attempt to emphasize God's transcendent uniqueness and sovereignty may end by making him the author of evil in a very intimate sense and by denying an ontological distinction between Creator and creation altogether.'
Bas Hengstmengel concludes at the end of his paper: 'it's clear Dooyeweerd's philosophy is heavily influenced by neo-Kantian thought'
Alvin Plantinga's speech in 1958 in the presence of Herman Dooyeweerd focuses on the issue that Buswell raised:
"Traditional Christian doctrine has held that God's creation of the world consisted in producing finite beings where there had been (if temporal language is appropriate) only an Infinite Being. After creation there were two kinds of being; and the being of creation, though finite and contingent, was nevertheless thought to be genuine being and genuinely distinct from God. Something like this, I take it, has been the root of Christian opposition to the various forms of pantheism constantly cropping up in the history of philosophy."
Buswell's influence in this debate has been largely overlooked but appears to have been substantial.
Mouw apparently is a 'presuppositionalist'.  I tend to think Francis Schaeffer is much more in Buswell's camp then some people want to see. Timothy I. Mc Connell has written an excellent article on the influence of idealism on the apologetics of Cornelius van Til september 2005. William Dennison writes an article on Dutch neocalvinism and the French revolution.

Also interesting is Veenhof's essay on Nature & Grace in Herman Bavinck:
Bavinck's critique of Roman Catholicism's Neoplatonic "grace supplements nature" thesis. As he points out, Scripture teaches that grace is God's answer to sin rather than an answer to a substantial insufficiency in the nature he originally declared "good."
Paul Helm is critical of Herman Bavinck's views . What is interesting is how Paul Helm compares Warfield to Kuyper in a recent blogpost 'Warfield and the Dutch':

"Yet despite their accord over the noetic effects of sin on the mind, (hereafter NS) Warfield and the Dutch were somewhat at odds in the area of apologetics, and perhaps our renewed appreciation of their agreement on NS makes this harder to understand than if Warfield had believed that reason was unaffected by sin, or less affected, as Van Til thought that he did, and how dozens of our contemporaries do, who believe that the entire tribe of the Princetonians were significantly influenced by what they call ‘Enlightenment rationalism’."
Which again confirms my appreciation of Buswell's arguments as mainly based on his covenant non-speculative theological positions which remind me of Klaas Schilder's.

Paul Helm will continue to explore this hot topic in the near future. He is mentioned in a recent heated debate on 'Bavinck vs. Nevin'.

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