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For centuries Augustine's theory of free will has been used to explain why God is not the author of evil and humans are morally responsible for sin. Yet, when he embraced the doctrines of unconditional election and operative grace, Augustine began modifying his theory of free will. His final works claim his evolved notion of free will remained consistent with his early view, but this claim has provoked significant debate. Some scholars take him at his word, interpreting his teachings on free will in light of his later predestination teachings. Others reject his claim of continuity and warn of great inconsistencies between his early and later works. Few have undertaken a thorough study of Augustine's works to compare his early notion of free will with his later theory of predestination. 'Free To Say No?' is a detailed study of Augustine's work that presents clear evidence in Augustine's own words for a significant discontinuity between his early and later theories - especially the disappearance of the will's freedom to say No - and offers some fascinating insights as to why Augustine proposed such drastic changes.
Is God the eternal and immutable presence that Christianity has commonly proclaimed him to be - the Rock of Ages? John Butler offers a different perspective through a personal exploration of the changing images of God within the main streams of the Christian faith over a period of some four thousand years. Butler takes the reader on a kaleidoscopic odyssey that begins with the pantheon of deities in Bronze Age Canaan from which the God of the early Old Testament emerged and ends with the radical images of God that were surfacing in the late twentieth century. The story is told largely through the record of the Bible and the ideas of key writers and thinkers whose authority or persuasiveness have allowed their visions of God to become embedded in the major Christian traditions. The book concludes with a discussion of the central question raised by the analysis: why is it that people across the ages have claimed to have experienced so many different and sometimes contradictory faces of the Christian God? Written in an elegant and engaging style, this informative book will appeal to Christians, atheists, students, and those who are simply interested in the cultural and intellectual history of God. John Butler is Emeritus Professor at the University of Kent and a guide at Canterbury Cathedral. He is the author of the acclaimed 'Quest for Becket's Bones' and the prize-winning 'Red Dean of Canterbury'. 'This beautifully written book tells the fascinating story of the evolving portrait of the Christian God from Abraham to the present day. It is an illuminating read for those who feel the need to cross their fingers whenever they say the Nicene Creed - and for many who don't ' Richard Llewellin, former Bishop at Lambeth
The Grace Awakening called all Christians to wake up and reject living in such legalistic, performance-oriented bondage. The God of the universe has given us an amazing, revolutionary gift of grace and freedom. This freedom and grace set us apart from every other "religion" on the face of the earth.
Now, in this ground-breaking Workbook, filled with questions, exercises, journaling ideas, and scriptures to explore, Charles Swindoll teaches you how to start living a grace-filled life. Freedom and joy-not lists and demands and duties-await all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A composite book of essays from ten scholars, Divine Essence and Divine Energies provides a rich repository of diverse opinion about the essence-energy distinction in Orthodox Christianity - a doctrine which lies at the heart of the often-fraught fault line between East and West, and which, in this book, inspires a lively dialogue between the contributors. The contents of the book revolve around several key questions: In what way were the Aristotelian concepts of ousia and energeia used by the Church Fathers, and to what extent were their meanings modified in the light of the Christological and Trinitarian doctrines? What theological function does the essence-energy distinction fulfil in Eastern Orthodoxy with respect to theology, anthropology, and the doctrine of creation? What are the differences and similarities between the notions of divine presence and participation in seminal Christian writings, and what is the relationship between the essence-energy distinction and Western ideas of divine presence?A valuable addition to the dialogue between Eastern and Western Christianity, this book will be of great interest to any reader seeking a rigorously academic insight into the wealth of scholarly opinion regarding the essence-energy distinction.
Although Soren Kierkegaard's death in the fall of 1855 foreshadowed a lasting split between conservative Christians and young contemporaries who saw him as a revolutionary thinker, it was not until the turn of the twentieth century and beyond the borders of his native Denmark that his lasting significance came to be felt. By transcending distinctions of genre, Kierkegaard brought traditionally separated disciplines to bear on deep human concerns and was able, through his profound self-insight, to uncover the strategies with which we try to deal with them. As a result, he is hailed today as no less than the father of modern psychology and existentialism.
While the majority of Kierkegaard's work leading up to The Concept of Anxiety dealt with the intersection of faith and knowledge, here the renowned Danish philosopher turns to the perennial question of sin and guilt. First published in 1844, this concise treatise identified long before Freud anxiety as a deep-seated human state, one that embodies the endless struggle with our own spiritual identities. Ably synthesizing human insights with Christian dogma, Kierkegaard's "psychological deliberation" suggests that our only hope in overcoming anxiety is not through powder and pills but by embracing it with open arms. Indeed, for Kierkegaard, it is only through our experiences with anxiety that we are able to become truly aware of ourselves and the freedoms and limitations of our own existence.
While Kierkegaard's Danish prose is surprisingly rich, previous translations the most recent in 1980 have tended either to deaden its impact by being excessively literal or to furnish it with a florid tone foreign to its original directness. In this new edition, Alastair Hannay re-creates its natural rhythm in a way that will finally allow this overlooked classic not only to become as celebrated as Fear and Trembling, The Sickness unto Death, and Either/Or but also to earn a place as the seminal work of existentialism and moral psychology that it is."
We all seek salvation, claims Blanco, because we all become prisoners of negativity. Humanity wants to be saved, we want to overcome the negativity that so often enslaves us. But, where is the saviour to be found, and where is the source of salvation? In 'Philosophy and Salvation' Blanco argues that salvation may only come from the infinite springs of the word. 'The word saves us: the word of science, the word manifested in art, the word of a society which promises something for itself ...Humanity understands itself through language: human beings use words in order to know each other and to cooperate in the edification of something that may transcend them. The word invites us, and in fact leads us to transcendence. This is salvation: to inaugurate a new world in which the former negativity may be overcome'. Blanco looks back over the history of philosophical and theological thought to bring his argument to life for all seeking salvation today.
Like the Hebrew prophets before him, the great American rabbi and civil rights leader reveals God's concern for this world and each of us. Abraham Joshua Heschel, descended from a long line of Orthodox rabbis, fled Europe to escape the Nazis. He made the insights of traditional Jewish spirituality come alive for American Jews while speaking out boldly against war and racial injustice. Heschel brought the fervor of the Hebrew prophets to his role as a public intellectual. He challenged the sensibilities of the modern West, which views science and human reason as sufficient. Only by rediscovering wonder and awe before mysteries that transcend knowledge can we hope to find God again. This God, Heschel says, is not distant but passionately concerned about our lives and human affairs, and asks something of us in return. This little book, which brings together Heschel's key insights on a range of topics, will reinvigorate readers of any faith who hunger for wonder and thirst for justice. Plough Spiritual Guides briefly introduce the writings of great spiritual voices of the past to new readers.
Early German Romanticism sought to respond to a comprehensive sense of spiritual crisis that characterised the late eighteenth century. The study demonstrates how the Romantics sought to bring together the new post-Kantian idealist philosophy with the inheritance of the realist Platonic-Christian tradition. With idealism they continued to champion the individual, while from Platonism they took the notion that all reality, including the self, participated in absolute being. This insight was expressed, not in the language of theology or philosophy, but through aesthetics, which recognised the potentiality of all creation, including artistic creation, to disclose the divine. In explicating the religious vision of Romanticism, this study offers a new historical appreciation of the movement, and furthermore demonstrates its importance for our understanding of religion today.
A Top Ten Book for Parish Ministry from the Academy of Parish Clergy Who-or what-is God? Is God like a person? Does God have a gender? Does God have a special relationship with the Jewish people? Does God intervene in our lives? Is God good-and, if yes, why does evil persist in the world? In investigating how Jewish thinkers have approached these and other questions, Rabbi Kari H. Tuling elucidates many compelling-and contrasting-ways of thinking about God in Jewish tradition. Thinking about God addresses the genuinely intertextual nature of evolving Jewish God concepts. Just as in Jewish thought the Bible and other historical texts are living documents, still present and relevant to the conversation unfolding now, and just as a Jewish theologian examining a core concept responds to the full tapestry of Jewish thought on the subject all at once, this book is organized topically, covers Jewish sources (including liturgy) from the biblical to the postmodern era, and highlights the interplay between texts over time, up through our own era. A highly accessible resource for introductory students, Thinking about God also makes important yet challenging theological texts understandable. By breaking down each selected text into its core components, Tuling helps the reader absorb it both on its own terms and in the context of essential theological questions of the ages. Readers of all backgrounds will discover new ways to contemplate God. Access a study guide.
This book addresses the problem of religious diversity for Christian exclusivism. In contemporary philosophy of religion, there has been heated debate about whether the diversity of mutually exclusive religious beliefs is a good reason to give up any form of religious exclusivism -Christian exclusivism for instance. On the one hand, Christian exclusivists defend the truth of Christian beliefs; on the other hand the opponents of Christian belief base their criticism upon religious diversity and disagreement. In this helpful work, Kim defends Christian belief and Alvin Plantinga's version of Reformed Epistemology. The latter is one of the most important and controversial movements in recent epistemology of religion, which has been criticized for failing to deal adequately with issues stemming from religious disagreement.
Paul L. Holmer (1916-2004) was one of the most significant American students of Kierkegaard of his generation. Although written in the 1950s and 1960s, Holmer's theological and philosophical engagement with Kierkegaard challenges much contemporary scholarly discussion. Unlike many, Holmer refuses reductionist readings that tie Kierkegaard to any particular "school." He likewise criticizes biographical readings of Kierkegaard, much in vogue recently, seeing Kierkegaard rather as an indirect communicator aiming at his reader's own ethical and religious capacities. Holmer also rejects popular existentialist readings of Kierkegaard, seeing him as an analyzer of concepts, while at the same time denying that he is a "crypto-analyst." In his important reading of Kierkegaard on "truth," Holmer pits Kierkegaard against those who see "truth" empirically, idealistically, or relativistically. His carefully textured account of Kierkegaard's conceptual grammar of "truth" in ethical and religious contexts addresses immediately current discussions of truth, meaning, reference, and realism versus antirealism, relativism, and hermeneutics. It will be of great interest to all interested in Kierkegaard and his importance for contemporary theology and philosophy.
Is a thoroughly Christian and biblically informed doctrine of creation compatible with widely held conclusions of modern science, especially biology? For Darrel R. Falk, this is not just an abstract question but one with which he has personally wrestled. A professor of biology, Falk brings together his biblically based understanding of creation and the most current research in biology. The result of his efforts to acknowledge the validity of science and the authority of Scripture is a new paradigm for relating the claims of science to the truths of Christianity. Written with the undergraduate student in mind, this book nonetheless will help anyone who is looking for a place to stand in the creation-evolution debate, fearful that they'll have to choose between intellectual integrity and the faith of the church. Calling for charitable discussions within the church, Falk shows how an original and ongoing interaction of God with creation is fully reconcilable with the kinds of development identified by current biological science.
An important milestone of 20th Century philosophy was the rise of personalism. After the crimes and atrocities against millions of human beings in two World Wars, especially the Second, some philosophers and other thinkers began to seek arguments showing the value of each human being, to expose and denounce the folly of political structures that violate the inalienable rights of the individual person. Karol Wojty?a appeals to the ancient concept of 'person' to emphasize the particular value of each human being. The person is unique because of their subjectivity by which they possesses an unrepeatable interior world in the history of humanity. Their rational nature grants them a special character among living beings, among which is the transcendence to the infinite. Wojty?a magisterially shows how each human being's personhood is rooted in a conscious and free subjectivity, which is marked also by personal and social responsibility. Wojty?a's original philosophical analysis takes for its starting point the human act, in which consciousness and experience consolidate voluntary choices, which are objectively efficacious. By their acts, the person determines their own personhood. This self-dominion manifests the person and enables them to live together in a community in which one's neighbor can be a companion on the voyage of life. This work provides a clear guide to Karol Wojty?a's principal philosophical work, Person and Act, rigorously analyzing the meaning that the author intended in his exposition. An important feature of the work is that the authors rely on the original Polish text, Osoba i czyn, as well as the best translations into Italian and Spanish, rather than on a flawed and sometimes misleading English edition of the work. Besides the analysis of Wojty?a's masterwork, this volume offers three chapters examining the impact of Wojty?a's anthropology on the relationship between faith and reason.
During the Age of the Enlightenment, developments in mass printing allowed for the dissemination of new scientific knowledge, enriching the capacity to learn. Instead of extracting truth from authoritative sources such as the Gospel, importance was now placed on discovery through observation, aiming to understand the universe. This new science introduced a notion of truth as certain, objective and precise, incompatible with the medieval concept of spiritual reality and the ambiguity of the teachings of Jesus. However, the modern idea of objectivity is no longer credible, with emphasis instead on subjectivity and the limits of human capacity to discover absolute truth. 'Jesus after Modernity' constructs a model of truth compatible with the nature of humanity and the spirituality of the teachings and actions of Jesus. Addressing the need for a realistic notion of truth, Danaher aims to bring insight into the integrity of Jesus's message within a twenty-first century context, which celebrates ambiguity and allows for both logic and contradiction. James P. Danaher is Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Philosophy Department at Nyack College. He is the author of 'Eyes that See, Ears that Hear: Perceiving Jesus in a Postmodern Context' (2006), and 'Postmodern Christianity and the Reconstruction of the Christian Mind' (2001). 'We in religion concentrate so much on what we know for certain, but there has always been too little self critique about 'How do we know what we think we know?' This clear and well-written book is both very honest and very helpful on the subject. No one will lose their faith here - perhaps many will find it for the first time I am happy someone has written this much-needed book, and I hope it is used in classrooms, by many seekers, and in the churches'. Richard Rohr OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation
Ramanuja and Schleiermacher argue in favour of the developing discipline of comparative theology as a powerful method for gaining critical insight into our inherited world views. The book compares two preeminent theologians, Sri Ramanuja of the Hindu tradition and Friedrich Schleiermacher of the Christian tradition. Each argues that God sustains the universe at every moment of its existence, but they work out the divine sustenance in very different ways. Can the comparison of two theologians vastly separated in space and time help contemporary theologians to think better? This book argues that it can. Each argues that God sustains the universe at every moment of its existence, but they work out the divine sustenance in very different ways. By comparing their description of God's continual preservation of the universe, this book asks original, unfamiliar questions of each. This method demonstrates the incisive power of comparative theology to generate critical tension and its creative power to resolve it.
For a world mired in catastrophe, nothing could be more urgent than the question of survival. In this theoretically and methodologically groundbreaking book, Adam Y. Stern calls for a critical reevaluation of survival as a contemporary regime of representation. In Survival, Stern asks what texts, what institutions, and what traditions have made survival a recognizable element of our current political vocabulary. The book begins by suggesting that the interpretive key lies in the discursive prominence of "Jewish survival." Yet the Jewish example, he argues, is less a marker of Jewish history than an index of Christianity's impact on the modern, secular, political imagination. With this inversion, the book repositions Jewish survival as the supplemental effect and mask of a more capacious political theology of Christian survival. The argument proceeds by taking major moments in twentieth-century philosophy, theology, and political theory as occasions for collecting the scattered elements of survival's theological-political archive. Through readings of canonical texts by secular and Jewish thinkers-Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Franz Rosenzweig, and Sigmund Freud-Stern shows that survival belongs to a history of debates about the sovereignty and subjection of Christ's body. Interrogating survival as a rhetorical formation, the book intervenes in discussions about biopolitics, secularism, political theology, and the philosophy of religion.
In this provocative work, J. L. Schellenberg addresses those who, influenced by science, take a negative view of religion, thinking of it as outmoded if not decadent. He promotes the view that transcendently oriented religion is developmentally immature, showing the consilience of scientific thinking about deep time with his view. From this unique perspective, he responds to a number of influential cultural factors commonly thought to spell ill for religion, showing the changes - changes favorable to religion - that are now called for in how we understand them and their proper impact. Finally, he provides a defense for a new and attractive religious humanism that benefits from, rather than being hindered by, religious immaturity. In Schellenberg's view, religion can and should become a human project as monumental as science.
WORLD Magazine's Best Books of 2016 Short List Christianity Today's 2017 Book of the Year Award of Merit - Apologetics/Evangelism Since we can't know with absolute certainty that God exists, each of us in a sense makes a bet. If we believe in God and are right, the benefits include eternal life. If we are wrong, the downside is limited. On the other hand, we might not believe in God. If we are right, then we will have lived in line with reality. If we are wrong, however, the consequences could be eternally disastrous. This was the challenge posed by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal over three hundred years ago. But Michael Rota contends that Pascal's argument is still compelling today. Since there is much to gain (for ourselves as well as for others) and relatively little to lose, the wise decision is to seek a relationship with God and live a Christian life. Rota considers Pascal's wager and the roles of uncertainty, evidence, and faith in making a commitment to God. By engaging with themes such as decision theory, the fine-tuning of the universe, divine hiddenness, the problem of evil, the historicity of the resurrection and the nature of miracles, he probes the many dynamics at work in embracing the Christian faith. In addition, Rota takes a turn not found in many books of philosophy. He looks at the actual effects of such a commitment in three recent, vivid, gripping examples-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jean Vanier and Immaculee Ilibagiza. Like Pascal, Rota leaves us with a question: What wager will we make?
The days when western Christians could ignore the influence of Islam are over. Today as never before, the world s second largest religion is shaping our culture, and words such as jihad, imam, Quran, and fatwa have entered our vocabulary. While all Muslims are no more alike than all Christians are alike, there are certain fundamental beliefs that all Muslims hold in common---some of which Christians would agree with, including belief in one true God. But is it the same God? How does the God of Muhammad differ from the God of Christianity? Written in a clear, passionate style that is conciliatory, balanced, and uncompromisingly biblical, this book describes and contrasts the distinctives of Christianity and Islam. Its author, a noted historian and theologian who has studied Islam for many years, writes with an eye on helping Christians better understand how to interact with Muslims. Beginning with an overview of Islam---what it is and how it arose---here are fascinating and relevant insights on . the Five Pillars of Islam . the role of religious violence from the Crusades onward . the doctrine of the Trinity and the character of God . Christian and Muslim views of Jesus Christ and salvation . what Christians can learn from Muslims . how Christians can share Christ with their Muslim neighbors . . . and more"
Best known for bringing Karl Barth to Canada, Walter Williamson Bryden predicted the fall of Idealism and liberal theology in Protestantism at the start of the twentieth-century. When that crisis hit the Canadian Protestant Churches he was ready with this book. The Christian's Knowledge of God is a re-examination of Reformation teachings with particular focus on the revelation of God, by God through Christ. Bryden challenges his readers to question their blind acceptance of Christian doctrine and reconsider what it means to have knowledge of the Divine and with it "the power to confront the world, no longer as those seeking, but as those having found God." Although the book ends "Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis" we have not changed so very much with the times as to make this book less relevant today than it was when first published. Indeed those seeking for knowledge of God today could do well to be reminded of Bryden's message.
Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.
Enlightening biography of an early feminist and religious entrepreneur who championed ""the innate spirituality of women."" Emma Curtis Hopkins led a life of extraordinary diversity and achievement. Here at last is a study that salutes her remarkable life as it explores the route by which she melded spiritual healing, metaphysical idealism, and exotic philosophies into multiple careers of unsurpassed dynamic. As a charismatic teacher, Hopkins instructed or ordained every prominent New Thought leader who founded a major denomination of the movement's churches. Her considerable talents as a mystic and noted author reached fruition with the publication of High Mysticism in 1923. Furthermore, her ideas on healing and prosperity took root in both secular and religious orgahizations, touching millions around the globe to this day. The long-forgotten Hopkins is now given her due in a book that allows her to triumph in the roles she so ably mastered in life: mentor and mystic, healer and feminist, missionary and biblical prophet, writer and editor.
This volume is the concluding chapter of a larger work, The Unauthorised Bible. It tackles the questions that have always faced all humans: evil, suffering, death and the afterlife, the purpose of existence, justice and mercy, fate and free-will and the nature of God. It also considers the primary issues which determine the theoretical basis of all religious systems: how to be a good person, how to be a good citizen and how do we see our relationship with the divine? Finally it attempts to square the circle between modern understandings of science, in particular molecular and evolutionary biology, behavioural science, astrophysics and quantum mechanics and the religious domain.
How you can experience the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit in your life. It also introduces readers to the work of the Holy Spirit in the world today.
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