Some will move mountains with their faith, others will step over rain puddles.
Thursday, March 28
This is NO LONGER my WEB ADDRESS.
My New address is: jeremy.wayneolson.com
This site has MOVED to
jeremy.wayneolson.comPlease make the necessary adjustments because Geocities is dropping us freeloaders by March 31st.
Wednesday, March 6
I'm happy to annouce that Kate and I finally (after much hard work on Kate's part) have secured a wedding chapel for our marriage. We will be wedding in a beautiful chapel overlooking Orange County, on the campus of Concordia University at 3pm, December 27th.
I'm working on a webpage just for the wedding, and I'll soon have a link to that page up and running.
The web address for this site will soon be changing as well: I will be moving to Wayne's provider since he has so graciously offered me the space. In all things praise God.
Monday, February 25
Notes from Underground
Just last night, instead of studying as I ought, I had the pleasure and privilege to complete another Dostoyevsky masterpiece, Notes from Underground. Here's a story in which a man (and mankind) is portrayed in all his egoistic, petulant concupisance; a man mired in self-awareness of his utter wickedness, yet simultaneously this man is shown to so deeply understand, and even to a point to desire those things which man truly reflects the character of God. This man, in one existence, wallows in debauched self-destruction, yet poignantly, and all too directly is able to point out exactly what is wrong with his action, what he actually ought to be doing, and just how self-destructive his debauchery is. This man is at once a man to pity, a man to loathe, and a man to envy.
Indeed, are these multifactions of his character not descriptive of humanity from the time of Adam? Is man not so pitiable, yet blessed beyond full knowing? Man is so base, yet so able to reflect God's righteousness. These two seeming contradictions are presented in glaring, and resonant clarity in Notes, and I urge all those who read to avail themselves of the insight. For reading the Author's works are one of those pleasures most desirable: biting at your own heals with indictment, yet showing you the hope of true righteousness.
Wednesday, February 20
I posted this quote for my kids as their "Quote of the Week" and I thought I'd share it here-- I really like it.
Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.
Thursday, February 14
On the brink
I turn 27 today. Yikes. When is all that wisdom of adulthood supposed to show up?
Anywayz (as my kids would say)
I realize that my posting regularity is anything but regular, and as things now stand, it seems I'm on the "monthly blog" program. I would like to write more, but having started school a couple weeks ago, time has become tighter. In addition most of my "free" time is devoted to reading about the Orthodox faith, or church history in general, and I don't often enough take the time to post my thoughts concerning my readings. I ought to though; I'm sure it would help solidify some of the ideas in my mind.
Mr. Garver writes in a comment below:
The Orthodox don't share the same scholastic distinctions as Catholics, so this whole discussion is not nearly as pressing an issue for them.He couldn't be more correct. The more I read of Eastern Theology the more I see that the Orthodox are much less dogmatic than I had imagined them. First off, aside from the Councils, they have no written systematic theology; Christianity for the Orthodox is much less "true belief" than it is living out faith in Christ. Put another way, the Orthodox, beyond the Trinity, Sin, and Grace, are not much concerned with the dogmatic, intellectual aspect of the faith that Protestants (especially Reformed Protestants) seem to emphasize, that the Protestants seem to find comfort in (at least I see this in practice: I think most Reformers would deny it as an ideal). I cannot claim that this difference between the Orthodox "experiential" core, and the Reformed core of the intellect is easy for me to swallow. Being a part of the Reformed church, and being at one time an avid reader and defender of Reformed Systematic Theology (the likes of Berkhof and Hodge), and being one so convinced of Calvinistic Predestination, Rushdoonian Theonomy, Bahnsenistic Postmillennialism (mixed with Gentry Preterism), I am left surprised, not dissatisfied mind you, just somewhat shocked, that the Orthodox do not "lay down the law" on many aspects of Christianity as I had supposed they would.
I seemed to expect this from the Orthodox, in part, on account of my first contact with Roman Catholicism. The Romanists certainly after Trent come across very dogmatic: the infallibility of the Pope, the infallibility of the Teaching Magisteriam, the stringently argued transubstantiation of the Lord's supper, the Petrine leadership/authority over the Apostolic church, Vatican II, and so forth. From Rome, one gets the idea that Christianity amounts to true belief and practice in these well worked out dogmas of the church.
In Eastern Orthodoxy there's a direct contrast to Roman dogmatism. For in the East there is no infallible Pope, the counsels themselves are not viewed as infallible, there is no inerrant teaching magisterium, there is no official dogma of how the bread and wine literally are the body and blood of Christ, and in contrast to Reformed dogmatics there is also not any strict view of eschatology (other than Christ shall return. I do understand that there is not one "Reformed eschatology," but there are at least a few thoroughly worked out eschatological systems-- the East has nothing of the sort). In short, the Eastern Church gives a lot of room for pious opinion and personal conviction outside of what one might call "the essentials" of the Christian faith.
And here is where the newness, the novelty of it all rubs me difficultly--there's still that big part of me that craves someone to give me "the whole enchilada." I seem to want, and still to a degree do want someone to have all the answers in one nice, neat, little package: call it Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Nestorianism, or Protestantism. But it seems the God I worship is far too awesome for that. It seems that Faith, as Thomas learned, always has an aspect of pure (blind?) assent. Plantinga calls it "a leap of faith," Augustine put it another way, "first you believe... then you know."
Perhaps that leap of faith, that "blind" trust is the most compelling aspect of Eastern Orthodoxy after all: Orthodoxy requires the most faith, and has you rely not on your intellect, but on your trust in God, and in the protection of His church. Then again, that might be Orthodoxy's Achilles' tendon. For how is it that "The Church" can be preserved without a claim to the infallible interpretation of Scripture?
Wednesday, January 30
Sola Scriptura I take it is the view that the Bible (The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the only infallible and authoritative source for matters of faith and practice.
Here are just four of the difficulties I see facing Sola Scriptura.
1. Nowhere within written Scripture does it contain a list of those books which are to be included in the Canon, nor which are to be excluded. In other words, at the very outset, it seems the Sola Scriptura Christian has to adopt an extra-biblical principle as dogma: namely, "only the 66 books are the Bible."
Where is the justification for adopting such a principle? Reason? Scholarly ability? Implicit in Scripture?
2. Scripture must be interpreted. The problem for the Sola Scriptura Christian seems to be finding the "true/proper/best" interpretation, for it seems to me that each denomination, non-denomination, sect, and para-church organization under the Sola Scriptura umbrella claims to have THE best, and truest interpretation of Scripture. Each group claims to have the best historical, hermeneutical, contextual "evidence" for their position.
The result seems to be that the Christian himself must come to certain "convictions" from his reading of Scripture. Granted these convictions may or may not be based on sound reasoning from Scripture, exhaustive historical study, comprehensive original language exegesis, consistent hermeneutics, and so on, but ultimately it comes down to, let's call him Joe, Joe's interpretation of Scripture being the arbiter for all of his decisions.
Put again, Joe has convictions X, Y, and Z from Scripture alone. Joe will then, of course, find the church denomination that agrees with HIS interpretation (Church W who holds to X, Y, and Z), convinced all the way that he, Joe, is in the TRUE/BEST church (because it matches up at least for the most part with his convictions). Further, Joe will deftly denounce all those persons, churches, patriarchs, documents, etc. that do not conform to his interpretation.
The problem is that Joe's interpretation is fallible. Joe's interpretation is subject to error, folly, bias, ignorance, and much more. Joe must rely on his reasoning abilities to secure him the truth, but his reasoning abilities are by nature imperfect. So how does Joe really know that he is in the true church, and that his convictions are true biblical convictions? Faith? The number of conservative scholars he can list who agree with him? The Holy Spirit? Burning in the Bosom? He just knows it?
3. I'm convinced that not until the Reformation did any significant portion of Christendom hold to a view akin to Sola Scriptura. In fact, it was only a heretical school, Arianism, that wanted to restrict the debate with Athanasius to scripture alone. Evidently, the Arians had amassed, what in their minds was, a heap of Scriptural "evidence" for their interpretation of Christ's personhood, and as a result the Arians wanted to be refuted on scriptural terms alone.
4. Tied to number one. The very councils that gave Christendom the Official Canon, the very councils that defined for Christendom the nature of Christ's divinity (the Homousios), the very councils that decreed as heresy sects that rallied against Christendom, those councils that taught so many truths, well... those very councils ALSO taught other things that the Sola Scriptura Christian will deny. In other words, the Sola Scriptura Christian claims the councils were correct in some things, e.g., the Canon, but wrong in other things, e.g., Mary is the Theotokos. How do the Sola Scriptura Protestants justify what I call "picking and choosing"? This canon is correct, this one's wrong, this one's right, this one's not... All based on their individual convictions from Scripture (tied to number 2).
There are more arguments to be made against Sola Scriptura and better minds to articulate them, but on five hours of sleep it is the best I can offer right now, and it does represent my general difficulties with the Sola Scriptura position as it stands in modern day Protestantism, even if roughly written.
Tuesday, January 29
Time to blog?
My leisure time has dwindled down to near nothing.
1. Employment: teaching little rascals how to read and write.
On a side note, I'm starting to think that games are just not my strongest point. I've lost three straight times in Monopoly, three times in chess, Wayne oh and Marco schooled me in Grand Taresmo III (sp?), and I always get killed on the basketball court. Star Wars trivia anyone?