Updates, Interlocutions, and a Hiatus

As of today, I will be taking off for a couple weeks for some long-awaited time with friends and family in London, Wales, Yorkshire, and sundry places, and blogging should be quite limited during this period—though I do hope to finally put up a review of John Perry’s excellent book Pretenses of Loyalty (thanks to Davey Henreckson at Reforming Virtue for putting me onto it).

Meanwhile, though, there are a number of exciting things to which I can direct your attention.  First (and perhaps not quite so exciting), I have made long-overdue updates to the other pages here at the S&P—About Me, What is the S&P?, Projects, and Writings.  The most significant changes: I have tried to bring the “What is the S&P?” description more into line with what I actually write about here these days, and I have mercilessly purged excess projects from the Projects page, reflecting my real-life purge as I try to focus more of my attentions and energies on my thesis and related work.

Second, and rather more exciting, the Two Kingdoms debates go on.  Oh yes—and on, and on, and on, no doubt.  Matt Tuininga, not content with one rebuttal to my original post, posted five (here, here, here, here, and here), with which I interacted in a few comments, though whether any clarification was thereby achieved, I leave it to you to judge.  This impending trip has not left me leisure for a full-blown response, chock full of big bloc quotes and footnotes, but fortunately, Peter and Steven at The Calvinist International have happily stepped in to provide such a response, which will be forthcoming any day now—I recommend you check in on TCI every ten minutes or so this weekend. 😉

As if Tuininga’s responses were not enough, Darryl Hart has now kindly jumped into the fray with a post at Old Life, “Speaking of Ecclesiastical Authority.”  Although Hart displays again his odd obsession with trying to somehow link everything he disagrees with to Moscow, ID, I am grateful to him for highlighting in his post what I think is the key issue in this whole two-kingdoms debate—namely, the Protestant doctrine of Christian liberty and its occlusion by ecclesiastical legalism.  Hart insists that the modern R2K view is “an effort to recover Christian liberty from the pious intentions and historical circumstances of some in the Reformed world eager to assert the Lordship of Christ without sufficient qualification.”  The problem, of course, from my perspective, is that the modern R2K view achieves this liberty in its civil kingdom at the cost of banishing it from the Church, ruled as it is with a strictly enforced biblical absolutism.  Hart asks, “how the church as a temporal authority, ruled by an earthly monarch, is going to be any less tyrannical, even if its reach only goes to externals,” which is, one might say, just the question my thesis aims to address.  I hope, therefore, to have the opportunity for a full engagement with this line of challenge after my traveling hiatus is finished; we shall see.

Done Cathedraling

Dear readers,

I have now at last returned from the longest sabbatical I’ve taken from this blog, having witnessed some of the most incredible architectural tributes to the glory of God ever created, and enjoyed some wonderful time with my family.  In a departure from my usual topics, over the next couple weeks I will be posting some photos of the cathedrals and other religious sites we visited, compliments of my wife’s fine new camera.  (I had hoped to post some of these while I was traveling, but unfortunately, I didn’t have high enough bandwidth to upload the pictures.)

You can also hope to soon see those promised posts on creation/evolution by my friend Brad Belschner (although they proved not to be ready in time for the recent sabbatical), as well as the usual suspects that pop up around here with regularity–Richard Hooker, David VanDrunen, economics, etc.

Gone Cathedraling

Dear readers,

It has been a wonderful summer of writing, engaging, arguing, linking, and of course, occasionally venting here at the Sword and the Ploughshare, but at last I am off for a much-needed retreat (yes, I know, normally people return from vacations at the end of the summer, rather than embarking on them–guess I’m just eccentric).  Although there are many fascinating things I’ve been hoping to share here, such as finishing my review of Schneider’s Good of Affluence, interacting further with VanDrunen’s Living in God’s Two Kingdoms and Hart’s A Secular Faith, and sharing some of the nuggets from the phenomenal set of papers just delivered at the Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference, most of these will likely have to wait.  I will be busy cathedraling, you see–returning to pay homage to the glories of Salisbury and Winchester, and discovering for the first time the wonders of Ely, Exeter, Wells, and Gloucester, not to mention the phenomenal fan-vaulting of King’s College Chapel and Bath Abbey.  


In the meantime, I hope that this blog might not be entirely transformed into a ghost town.  Feel free to continue to argue with each other (or me) in the comments section, but I may not be able to moderate much.  And, more significantly, keep an eye out for a series of guest posts by my friend Bradley Belschner, who has been preparing a series of essays on the theological and scientific arguments for young-earth creation.  He would dearly love to make a debate of it, so if he’s able to put these posts up, and you think he’s full of hot air, then have at him.