ScribblePreach Awards 12.10.2016

From the Pub: The Unconscious Dogma

“The special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it. It says, in mockery of old devotees, that they believed without knowing why the believed. But the moderns believe without knowing what they believe – and without even knowing that they do believe it. Their freedom consists in first freely assuming a creed, and then freely forgetting that they are assuming it. In short, they have always an unconscious dogma; and an unconscious dogma is the definition of a prejudice.” – G.K. CHESTERTON

Kindle Deal of the Week: Faker

Well, no surprise here. I’ve asked my publisher to reduce Faker’s kindle price to $2.99 in response to recent attention, and they’ve gladly agreed. If you’re getting it as a gift, grab it for yourself on the cheap so you can personally recommend it (and even read it alongside them!). 

Apologetics: The Doctrine of the Word of God

“Thinkers such as Karl Marx, Ludwig Feuerbach, and Sigmund Freud argued that religious belief is illegitimate because of its cause (for Marx, economic; for Feuerbach, projection; for Freud, wish-fulfillment). I reject these views of the origin of religious faith. But even if one or more of them are true, the causes of a belief never disprove the reasons for it. Frank may believe that the world is round because he has a pscyhological preference for circles. That preference could be described as a cause of his belief. But the existence of that cause does not disprove his belief that the world is round. Nor does it disprove the reasons he might offer for holding that belief. Applied to the religious case: even if Christians are motivated to believe in God by, say, wish-fulfillment, that doesn’t prove God doesn’t exist, nor does it disprove any reasons we may give for believing in God.” – JOHN FRAME 

Preaching: Spend Less Time Preparing

Actually what I mean by this is that we need to radically redefine what’s included in “sermon preparation”, and spend much more time in things that don’t characteristically make the list. 

Theology: Y’all – A Most Excellent Noun.

Since moving south, it turns out, I’ve been converted to all sorts of things. 

A Glimpse of Truth: Westworld and the Problem with Storytelling.

This may be the first major pop-culture critique I’ve read relativism and the “power of story”. Stories are powerful, yes. But they are radically limited, as the HBO series “Westworld” seems to be pointing out. 

Books and Lit: You Could Be Doing So Much 

Here’s a little piece I wrote that got some attention this week (thanks, Tim Challies!) 

Writing: Writers Read.

“Just as composers go to concerts and artists visit galleries, writers read. You will learn, in the most enjoyable way, more about style and language from reading good literature than you will ever acquire from workshops and how-to books.” – JUDITH BARRINGTON

Christians and Culture: Is Triumphalism Making Your Church Suffer?

I’m always keenly interested to hear evangelical voices from across the pond. Edmond brings that, and a research background, to bear on some studies of late correlating “conservative” churches and growth. 

Micro Book Review: The Doctrine of the Word of God

3 out of 5 stars. 

I’m going to try to get one of these out a week. 

This isn’t John Frame’s most compelling, though it’s impossible for me to find much that’s disagreeable, other than its length. Half the book is appendices, and I need to knock off a star for that – much of the copy is simply pasted from one source to another. Sloppy editing and unjustified length aside, the book is a very good treatment of the doctrine of God’s word, though those who’ve read Packer, Grudem, or others won’t much new ground, and those new to it probably won’t have the patience. 

Most illuminating, however, were Frame’s radical critiques of contemporary Christian intellectualism. I found these worth the price of the book, found especially in the appendices, but to cut to the chase, see: “In Defense of Something Close to Biblicism” and “Traditionalism”. 

The book will also be worth the price for those toying with Barth’s “transcendent” view of scriptures, which in my opinion Frame chops to liver.

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Nicholas McDonald is a blogger, pastor, and author of the book "Faker: How to Be Real When You're Tempted to Fake it." He studied creative writing and communication at Oxford University and Olivet Nazerene University, and received his M.Div from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Lexington, NC, with his wife and two boys, Caleb and Owen.