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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2159-8088
Published by Liberty University [2 journals]
- Book Reviews
Authors: Various Authors
PubDate: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:36:32 PST
- An Incongruent Amalgamation: John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism on
Authors: Jeffrey M. Robinson
Abstract: John Stuart Mill's utilitarian principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, often surfaces in cultural debates in the contemporary West over the extent and foundations of moral duties. Given the drift from its historical Judeo-Christian moorings, naturalism now provides much of the epistemic grounding in Western culture in relation to moral duties. The amalgamation of Mill’s utilitarianism and naturalism has resulted in a cultural and epistemic disconnect. Naturalism is hard-pressed to provide consistent epistemic support for Mill’s utilitarian principle. This essay provides a number of suggestions as to why Mill’s utilitarianism may be inconsistent on naturalism.
PubDate: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:36:30 PST
- Unique History, Unique Opportunity: Evangelicalism in Austria since 1945
Authors: John D. Doss M.Div.
Abstract: The article deals with the history of evangelicalism in Austria, a subject on which there is hardly any scholarly research. In focus is the development of the newly recognized baptist, charismatic, mainline evangelical, mennonite and pentecostal denominations since 1945. The role of immigration in the growth of evangelicalism is examined, especially during two periods: the decade after WWII (1945-55) as well as the massive immigration from Eastern Europe (particularly from Romania) after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The article also presents examples of indigenous church movements among the Austrian people themselves, especially during the 1970's and 1980's. Although the story of its growth is remarkable, less than 0.3% of the population are members of evangelical churches. Conclusions are made as to how Austria's evangelicals can learn from their past in order to more effectively shape their future.
PubDate: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:36:28 PST
- A Critical Analysis of Neural Buddhism's Explanation of Moral
Authors: Jeffrey R. Dickson
Abstract: As non-theistic arguments for morality become increasingly sophisticated and complex, they are harder to criticize without first admiring their skillful design and near-artistry. One such argument involves a relatively new innovation that is the child of naturalism and eastern philosophy—Neural Buddhism. Like two world-renowned designers collaborating on a new garment, Naturalism and Buddhism have come together in this distinct program to offer something inventive, especially in its explanation of moral transformation. However, this critical analysis will ultimately reveal that Neural Buddhism’s explanation of moral transformation is incapable of providing good answers to several compelling criticisms.
PubDate: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:36:26 PST
- Letter from the Editor
Authors: Managing Editor
PubDate: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:36:24 PST
- Book Reviews
Authors: Various Authors
Abstract: Review by Timothy N. Mitchell of Inside Roman Libraries: Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity. By George W. Houston. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014, 327 pp., $59.95. Review by Timothy N. Mitchell of Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christian Contexts: Reconsidering the Bauer Thesis. Edited by Paul A. Hartog. Eugene: Pickwick, 2015, 276 pp., $25.60. Review by Nicholas Dodson of Oral Tradition and the New Testament: A Guide for the Perplexed. Rafael Rodriguez. New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015, 184 pp., $27.95.
PubDate: Fri, 22 May 2015 07:45:14 PDT
- Defeating Naturalism: Defending and Reformulating Plantinga's EAAN
Authors: Tyler D. McNabb
Abstract: : During the past two decades, Alvin Plantinga has formulated an argument against naturalism that focuses on naturalism’s acceptance of contemporary evolutionary theory. Plantinga argues that given naturalism and evolution, our cognitive faculties have been developed to produce beliefs that meet the Darwinian requirement of survival and reproduction. Plantinga argues that accepting this will lead a naturalist to have a defeater for all of their beliefs, including their belief in naturalism. In this paper, I survey and respond to two types of objections that have been given as a response to Plantinga’s argument. The first objection that I interact with is an objection given by Michael Bergmann. Bergmann argues that a naturalist can continue to hold on to both their naturalism and their belief that their faculties are reliable, even if the probability of their faculties being reliable is low. The second objection that I interact with is an objection that can be seen in the work of Jerry Fodor and Stephen Law. This objection argues that beliefs that enable survival and reproduction will likely be truth conducive and thus, the chance of having reliable faculties is high. I respond to this argument by first reiterating Plantinga’s traditional response to this objection. After I clarify and defend this traditional response, I then reformulate Plantinga’s argument to specifically address metaphysical beliefs. Not only does this give the non-naturalist two different responses to this objection, but I take it that the reformulation could be seen as even more persuasive than the traditional formulation.
PubDate: Fri, 22 May 2015 07:45:12 PDT
- Redeeming Rhetoric: Augustine's Use of Rhetoric in His Preaching
Authors: John A. Sypert
Abstract: The art and practice of rhetoric occupied a fundamental place in the ancient Roman world. It is thus not surprising that Augustine (354-430 AD) was deeply committed to the art of speaking well. He spent his youth mastering the theory of rhetoric, putting into practice what he had learned during a preaching career of almost forty years. This essay examines elements of rhetoric in Augustine’s preaching, arguing that he purposely appropriated common rhetorical elements in his preaching for the purpose of making Scripture both plain and compelling to his audience. Augustine’s training in rhetoric is summarized, followed by an overview of the context, Scriptural basis, and style of his preaching. His thoughts on the use of rhetoric in preaching are discussed, primarily by summarizing his arguments from Book Four of his treatise On Christian Doctrine. The essay concludes by offering several examples of rhetorical devices used by Augustine in his preaching.
PubDate: Fri, 22 May 2015 07:45:10 PDT
- Jesus and Tiberius: An Examination of Source Reliability
Authors: Timothy B. Chrisman
Abstract: Since the introduction to the critical method of studying the Old and New Testament in the nineteenth century, doubt has been thrown on the historical reliability of the biblical narrative accounts, especially the four Gospels. Yet, far less scrutiny and denigration have been applied to historical sources written during the time of the Roman Empire. A comparison, then, is proposed. It would be beneficial to compare the sources that detailed the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the four sources which chronicled the life of Tiberius, emperor of the Roman Empire during the Ministry of Jesus. How do the sources compare as to their composition in proximity to their subject? Do the sources agree with one another? Is there a level of objectivity in the sources that allowed them to present the correct details of their subject? These questions will determine the reliability of the documents in question and whether the four Gospels measure up to critical examination.
PubDate: Fri, 22 May 2015 07:45:08 PDT
- Letter from the Editor
PubDate: Fri, 22 May 2015 07:45:07 PDT
- Book Review - Introducing Romans, Richard Longenecker
Authors: Mark Moore
Abstract: Review of Richard Longenecker's Introducing Romans.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:45:59 PST
- Epistemological Realism and Onto-Relations
Authors: Max Lewis Edward Andrews
Abstract: The traditional concept of knowledge is a justified true belief. The bulk of contemporary epistemology has focused primarily on that task of justification. Truth seems to be a quite obvious criterion—does the belief in question correspond to reality? My contention is that the aspect of ontology is far too separated from epistemology. This onto-relationship of between reality and beliefs require the epistemic method of epistemological realism. This is not to diminish the task of justification. I will then discuss the role of inference from the onto-relationships of free invention and discovery and whether it is best suited for a foundationalist or coherentist model within a theistic context.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:45:57 PST
- The Eternal Progression Argument against Mormonism
Authors: Jonathan R. Pruitt
Abstract: This paper argues that Mormon cosmology plus the Mormon view of the origin of human persons results in an undercutting defeater for Mormonism. The approach is modeled after Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. The first step is to show that Mormon cosmology is relevantly like naturalism. The second step is to show that the origin of human persons ins relevantly similar to naturalistic evolution so that it faces the same kind of defeaters as the conjunction of naturalism and naturalistic evolution.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:45:55 PST
- Codex Sinaiticus as a Window into Early Christian Worship
Authors: Timothy N. Mitchell
Abstract: Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest and most complete New Testament in Greek known to exist. Its two colophons at the end of 2 Esdras and Esther indicate a possible connection with Pamphilus’ famous library at Caesarea in Palestine. Origen was head of a school for catechumens during his days in Alexandria in Egypt and later began a similar school in Caesarea. Pamphilus was Origen’s star pupil and later directed his school in Caesarea. These colophons may connect Sinaiticus with an ancient tradition of early Christian worship and instruction of new converts, possibly exhibited in particular scribal features. These scribal features are primarily located at “two-ways” lists of “virtue and vice” in the New Testament, which were popular methods of instructing the essentials of the faith and are found throughout early Christian literature. These areas in the New Testament (and in the epistle of Barnabas) were emphasized through paragraph ‘lists’ by the scribes of Sinaiticus. These ‘lists’ were most likely recited by the ancient reader in a distinctive way for the audience. It is possible that the audience interacted with the reader as the text was recited. This paper surveys the ancient practice of the public reading of scripture during Christian gatherings and the use of punctuation and lectional marking in manuscripts to aid readers in their task. A possible connection with earlier manuscripts is explored by a cursory examination of a similarity in formatting between Sinaiticus and P46, a second century copy of Paul’s epistles. When taken collectively, though sparse and fragmentary, the evidence suggests that Sinaiticus preserves an ancient practice of Christian instruction located in the unique paragraph ‘lists’ of the “two-ways” theme.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:45:53 PST
- Letter from the Editor
PubDate: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:45:52 PST
- Book Reviews
Abstract: Book reviews from various authors.
PubDate: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 15:50:35 PDT
- Apocalyptic Beauty
Authors: Brian T. Scalise
Abstract: A potent and formative text for a theological aesthetics faithful to the God revealed in the Scriptures is the Apocalypse of John (Revelation). An apocalyptic viewpoint is beautiful inasmuch as it observes the whole from within the part of time/space and inasmuch as the apocalyptic vision provides considerable unity of diverse theological themes with various expansions and enhancements, hence mimicking the very function of theological beauty to communicate the whole (God) in the part (here, in space-time). This essay traces major themes throughout Scripture, utilizing inter-textual interpretation en route, and seeks to clarify the Book of Revelation's role in recapitulation, consummation, and consolation (i.e. beauty). Commenting on how the Apocalypse meets the criteria for being theologically beautiful, this essay then seeks to show how this role of beauty--and in particular, consolation--attracted the early Christian devotees visiting/dwelling-in the catacombs (A.D. 150-500) to make the Apocalypse of John one of the major contributors to their artwork.
PubDate: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 15:50:34 PDT
- Contemplating Procession: Thomas Aquinas’ Analogy of the Procession of
the Word in the Immanent Divine Life
Authors: Josh Waltman
Abstract: Thomas Aquinas’ Trinitarian theology has been criticized as proposing an abstract notion of God that is divorced from salvation history and that is supported by tedious and ultimately incomprehensible explication. By showing the goals and limitations of Thomas’ approach and by analyzing one element of his theology, it will be shown that these criticisms are unfounded. Specifically, this article will attempt to analyze Aquinas’ view of the procession of the Word, or act of “generation,” in the divine immanent life. It can be seen that Aquinas actually provides a metaphysical analogy for contemplating generation that avoids heresy and that absolutely integrates the economic and immanent lives of the Trinity.
PubDate: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 15:50:32 PDT
- Ever Learning, Ever Loving: Augustine on Teaching as Ministry
Authors: Ronnie P. Campbell Jr.
Abstract: While most remember Augustine (354-430 AD) as theologian, exegete, and philosopher, the purpose of this essay is to consider Augustine’s legacy and ministry as teacher. After his conversion (386 AD), Augustine’s views on teaching took a turn. His theological convictions thus set the course for his views on teaching throughout the rest of his life. It is to such views on teaching that this essay seeks to examine. Therefore this essay will wrestle through Augustine’s views on the role of the teacher and the learner and the link between the two, his theological basis for teaching, and some of the methods he used in teaching. Having established these crucial points, it will be argued that Augustine’s views on the role of teacher have significant implications for Christian educators today.
PubDate: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 15:50:31 PDT
- Slavery and Manumission in the Pre-Constantine Church
Authors: Joseph Francis Super
Abstract: This paper looks at the church’s handling of the issue of slavery in the period before Constantine and the official recognition of Christianity. The time period is important because Christians had no political authority to end slavery, assuming they wanted to do so. Thus, the aim of the paper is discover how the Church as an institution alleviated the conditions of the slaves and how slaves were treated in the church and examine the relationship of slave to master in the church. This will be accomplished by examining certain doctrines of the faith church leaders applied to these problems as well as ancient understandings of what Paul had written and how it fit into their world and social context, which was the social context of the Bible itself. More specifically, by examining Paul’s letter to Philemon, Ignatius’ Epistle to Polycarp, and the Didache, the paper argues that the early church, using a Scriptural model, worked within its circumstances to ameliorate slaves’ material conditions, to bring all classes of people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to ensure that, within the church, all people were treated as equals.
PubDate: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 15:50:29 PDT