Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23, 2009

Wow! Has it really been 6 weeks since my last update? I guess you could say we have been busy lately. If you haven’t caught it on the news (those of you not in the ATL), the metro Atlanta area was hit hard by heavy rains a few days ago causing major flooding and generally wreaking havoc across the area. Many families have been flooded out and sadly there have been a number of lives lost as well. Thankfully, our area was spared the worst of the storms and we certainly realize how blessed we are!

Fall is in the air, leaves are beginning to change colors, and we are all looking forward to the next several months! The kids are on their “Fall Break” this week and are enjoying themselves in Mississippi with Melisa’s parents. It has been a welcome break in their now familiar routine. That has allowed us to spend some quality time together this week that we both needed. It has also allowed me to spend a bit more time on my studies. With the holiday season looming large, the entire family will be quite busy as 2009 winds down. Both Hannah and Joshua are participating in the children’s musical at our church and I will again be a part of our annual Christmas Cantata. It should be a lot of fun as we plan our first holiday season in our new home!

Joshua and Hannah are both playing fall baseball for the first time this year! It is so cool to see them excited about playing. They are working hard on the basics of baseball and seem to enjoy it. In her first game, Hannah was 3 for 3 and batted in 4 RBI’s! Very cool. Of, and speaking of baseball, I recently took Joshua to his first Braves game…just the two of us! We enjoyed the night out together tremendously. Weather threatened the game but it cleared up and the Braves went on to win. Great first game for Joshua!

After a mediocre performance in my last class, I have managed a return to my normal study habits and clearly see the difference in the results so far in my current class. I have never received a “C” in a college class before but my last class saw me earn just that. Far too many distractions insisted on my attention when I should have been studying! Melisa has been so encouraging and that has certainly helped as well! My current class (Systematic Theology I) is going much better and I expect to see a much better grade at the conclusion of this class. I have another book review due soon which I will happily post here once the grade has been returned. My recent review of C. S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms actually received a favorable anonymous comment on this blog much to my surprise! Of course comments are always welcome, it is rare here so it was encouraging. Perhaps someone benefits from my ramblings…anyway, I appreciated the fact that someone took the time! I have one more class scheduled for 2009 (Systematic Theology II) but have not yet considered what I will enroll in next. I have to get my degree plan out and see. So far though, I am happy with the progress I have made and continue to feel lead in this direction.

With all of the lively discussion about healthcare in recent weeks and months, many have forgotten about the proposed “Cap and Trade” approach to addressing so-called “Global Warming”. I have stated recently on Facebook that this is certainly not the time to be increasing taxes on the American people. Regardless of what the current administration says, the current bills circulating in Congress do include increases in taxes (yes…on the middle class too!) and are also wrongheaded. The nonpartisan tax research group The Tax Foundation released a new study ( covering the amount families pay in taxes versus the benefits they receive from the federal government. Check it out!

Monday, September 07, 2009

JOURNAL ARTICLE CRITIQUE: Why Truth Matters Most: An Apologetic for Truth-Seeking in Postmodern Times

Groothuis, Douglas R. “Why Truth Matters Most: An Apologetic for Truth-Seeking in Postmodern Times.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 47 no 3 (September 2004): 441-454.

Dr. Douglas Groothuis[i] boldly explores why objective truth matters and encourages his readers to be truth-seekers in the postmodern times in which we now live.

Groothuis begins his apologetic with a thorough discussion about the relationship between truth, self-deception, and personal virtue. He then ably moves on to discuss humility and how it is related to the quest for truth, intellectual apathy, and truth-avoiding diversions. Dr. Groothuis concludes with a brief discussion of the truth attracting possibilities of silence where he challenges the truth-denier to become a truth-seeker.

Approaching his topic from the perspective of a conservative Christian and veteran educator, Groothuis uses philosophical arguments to point out the flaws of the postmodern view of objective truth. Not only does Groothuis argue against the views expressed by previous generations such as Fredrich Nietzsche[ii], he also directly confronts contemporaries such as John Stackhouse[iii] and Jonathon Rauch[iv] head on. The strength in Groothuis’ arguments lie in the fact that he uses the language and very views of the postmodernist to his advantage in refuting the thoughts set forth by their authors.

If there be any weakness in Groothuis’ arguments, one may find them in the slightly confrontational nature of the approach. As an apologetic, the arguments are solid and easily provide a voice for those in the Christian academic community who are pushing back against the constant onslaught of postmodernism in American society. For the layperson, the headiness of the references and philosophical constructs may be a bit much to comprehend though I do not imagine scholarly journals are the topic of discussion in Sunday School classes.

With a writing style that is very readable and easy to follow, Groothuis effectively provides balance to what is commonly a lopsided discussion. Perhaps a follow up will be authored that unpacks the notion of casting oneself on the mercies of whatever truth may exist.

[i] Douglas R. Groothuis, PhD. (University of Oregon, philosophy, 1993) is professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, P.O. Box 100,000, Denver, CO 80250-0100.

[ii] Groothuis cites Fredrich Nietzsche’s revulsion at the horrible thought of a Holy and all-knowing God looking upon the sin of humanity in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra in The Portable Nietzsche (ed. Walter Kaufmann; New York: Viking, 1979) 379.

[iii] Providing five reasons why John Stackhouse’ assertion in his book Humble Apologetics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 111 & 150 is flawed, Groothuis systematically refutes those assertions using Biblical references, common sense, and the postmodernist’s own logic.

[iv] Jonathan Rauch coined the term “apatheism” in a recent article, “Let It Be”, The Atlantic Monthly (May 2003) 34. Groothuis confronts Rauch’s advocacy of apathy and lauding it as a virtue called tolerance, even when disagreements arise over things that matter most, by pointing out that such a view is antithetical to the teaching of all religions, not just Christianity.