Links and Notes for April 13 2012

Martin Lloyd Jones Sermons

The sermons of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones are going to be available on mp3 online.

NT Wright and Calvin College

James KA Smith shares a kvetch about NT Wright’s perceived agenda in one of his latest books. NT Wright responds in the comment section, in the process saying some nice things about the tradition that Smith and I share.

It reminds me of the fact that communication and perception are subtle and complex. I find that often in debate or discussion different people may be talking about something but a separate concern is bleeding into, or even governing the conversation. NT Wright is addressing an audience, Smith feels a bit slighted. I find it happening all the time.

Wright was a Calvin recently and to the Chimes, the student newspaper said a number of gracious things about my alma mater.

This is not your first time at Calvin, and here we pride ourselves in not being escapist, that kind of thing and we think we’re pretty moderate. But what do we need to hear?
One of the reasons I like coming to Calvin is precisely because of what you just said. There you are, very much from where I sit, in the North American Evangelical world, but you don’t suffer from many of the diseases that many other North American Evangelicals do. I suppose when you react against the dualism of Platonism, the dualism of dispensationalism, all of that, the danger always is then simply to be very positive about culture, and simply to be very affirming. Historically, the danger then is that you slide off into some sort of pantheism. I very much doubt that happens at Calvin.
But I think learning how to critique without dualism is hugely important, and it’s important not least in the political sphere. When people critique, and it happens in my country, if you say I disagree with this policy that our government is saying, people will say you’re being anti-American or anti-Israeli or anti-British. Actually, I believe in the goodness of good government, but part of that is that the church’s role is to hold the government to account. The media think it’s their role. In fact, I’ve actually seen that carved in stone in a radio building in Chicago, “The role of the media is to hold the powers that be to account.” Actually, that used to be the church’s job, and we have backed off from it.
So to learn how to critique positively, but when necessarily to include within that positive critique a sharp [message], saying: the government wants to do X, but that is clearly the wrong policy and here’s why, or it is refusing to do this, but actually we should. And in America at the moment, you are such a polarized society — I feel it every time I come — and the culture wars have got worse. It would be lovely to think that people in the robust intellectual tradition that Calvin represents could be among those who manage to transcend that and say, “yes, but,” “no, but” or whatever. But that’s tough, because there are people out there watching. 

Other Stuff

My friend Rod Hugen’s church gets a nice write-up in the Banner.

A review of the Blue Like Jazz movie.

Holly Rollers, Christian Card counters

New Podcast

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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