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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trinity Fest--Day 2

The second day's seminars were exceptional. Dr. Peter Lillback opened with an empirical analysis of the works that influenced the American founders. As it turns out, the book with the largest number of citations by the founders is...the Bible. Huh. Moreover, most of the other authors cited had a fairly Calvistic view of the nature of man, with Locke being the notable exception.

Dr. Lillback went on to describe how Washington has been portrayed as a Deist who rarely cited scripture. When he looked into it for himself, he found all sorts of biblical allusions. This inspired him to write a 1200 page book about Washington's christianity. I look forward to reading it. I'm sure there will be an audio version for those with lower back problems.

Steve Wilkins used his last talk to describe the reaction against revivalism by John Williamson Nevin. Nevin was burned by revivalism and went on to argue for a very high view of the Church.

Nevin and Philip Schaff worked together on what came to be known as Mercersberg Theology. Wilkins argued that they were not trying to develop a systematic theology, but were trying to find solutions to problems they saw in the church. He thought it analogous to a certain current theology, but was too modest to say which one.

I'm going to reserve judgement on this one until I get some time to read Nevin for myself. Wilkins definitely challenged my thinking about the Church. We will need to deal with our individualistic conception of the christian life at some point, but I still have a fear of pointy hats.

The last talk of the day was Dr. Lillback's biography of John Witherspoon. Rather than give the whole spiel, here's a gem from the notes:

John Witherspoon's Students:
  • James Madison
  • Aaron Burr
  • 12 members of the Continental Congress
  • 5 Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
  • 49 U.S. Representatives
  • 28 U.S. Senators
  • 3 Supreme Court Justices
  • 8 U.S. District Judges
  • 26 State Judges
  • 1 Secretary of State
  • 3 Attorney Generals
  • 2 Foreign Ministers
  • 114 Ministers


His school? The College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton. Some of the newspapers in England called the Revolutionary War "The Presbyterian Rebellion." If none of this sounds impressive, imagine a new form of governance, rooted in biblical principles, birthed by graduates of Azusa Pacific University. Don't laugh, Wheaton, I could have used you.

Dave amused himself by wearing Frank Turk's "Grab his Baptism" shirt. I wanted to get a picture of him with Doug Wilson, but I didn't have the camera with me. I was despondent, but after some reflection I realized that God would use this for Frank's sanctification.


Category: Theoblogia

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