Announcing The Calvinist International

It is with immense pleasure that I can announce the launch of The Calvinist International, “A Forum for Reformed Irenicism.”  Created and piloted by my friends Steven Wedgeworth and Peter Escalante promises to provide a much-needed bridge between the world of academic theology and the ordinary educated Reformed Christian, while avoiding the chaotic and ill-informed polemics that so often characterize Reformed blogdom.  It aims to be robustly Reformed, academically rigorous, and authentically irenic, a job description for which I can think of few people better suited than Steven and Peter.  

Their vision is ambitious and exciting:

Consistent with the original wisdom of the Reformers and their best heirs, the irenic way we follow here is wholeheartedly biblical and evangelical in theology, rigorously perennial in philosophy, catholic in scope, and pacific in spirit.
In this manner, we will consider the first things of religion, politics, philosophy, learning, and the arts.  In a time of crisis and confusion in commonwealth, churches, and academy, we aim to reexamine and renew for our day the archai, the first foundational elements, of the discarded image of Christendom.
Not only will we get to hear their own contributions on a regular basis, but they hope to provide a hub to help network the contributions of like-minded folks around the web.  So head on over there, subscribe to their feed, and start checking in regularly.  Their first post outlines the theological method and approach they intend to follow, one in which they seek to follow in the footsteps of great Reformed irenicists of previous centuries, and they have also posted, as their first in-depth essay, “A Compound Person,” a fantastic defense of the orthodoxy of Reformed Christology, against Bruce McCormack and other less responsible detractors.


Some Natural Law Goodies

I’m finally back and ready to start revving up my blogging engines for a summer full of many words, tags, and comments; but if I may be excused for the moment in indulging in what may look like another cop-out, I’ll use this post to point to some other interesting blog-posts that have just been written, which offer a good sketch of what the attempt to recover of a Reformational natural-law concept looks like, and suggest that Moscow, despite undeniable tensions and ambiguities, might not be too far off from it after all.  

See first Peter Leithart’s post, “Augustine and Saeculum.

Then see a thoughtful interaction by Steven Wedgeworth, “Secular? Private? It All Depends What You Mean” (valuable especially for the comments section, where Wedgeworth seeks to clarify the traditional idea of natural law in defence against the knee-jerk antipathy to it that many of us have inherited).

And then Doug Wilson offers a helpful take on the idea of natural law with his typical gift for down-to-earth illustrations: “Natural Law and the Brownies.”


I hope to offer my own take on all of this at some point soon (or this summer at any rate), so consider this for now just a bookmark.  

Sacramentalizing and Secularizing

As this blog has been in something of a slump lately (not from lack of things to write, mind you, but merely from lack of time to write them), I thought I would resort to a tried and true blogger’s trick and refer you instead to a blog where the action is happening–Wedgewords.  

Steven Wedgeworth is back at his old game of identifying both sides of the political-theological spectrum–the secularizing Reformed two-kingdoms types and the sacramentalizing RO/neo-Calvinist types–as two sides of the same coin: antagonism between nature and grace.  This is a much more casual, in-a-nutshell version of some of the big posts he and Peter Escalante had going on last summer, but it has summoned forth the inevitable combative interaction from Darryl Hart, leading to some interesting discussion in the comments section.

After my Hookerian transformation, I am much more sympathetic to and persuaded by the general point Steven is making here than I would’ve been a year or even six months ago, though I still have some questions as to whether the relation between nature and grace cannot be conceived in more dynamic terms, if we cannot have a full affirmation of nature while still maintaining that “grace perfects nature.”  Steven says in the comments that he is sympathetic to the idea of “maturation,” as long as it’s “one of an heir growing up into inheritance rather than a larva becoming a butterfly.”  And if we allow for maturation, I ask whether certain RO-ish or, for lack of a better word, Leithartian paradigms need be all that far off from what Wedgeworth and Co. want.  

But, that’s a conversation for another day–this summer, Peter E and I are hoping to restart last fall’s scintillating multi-blog natural law/two kingdoms debate.  Stay tuned.