Author Archives: Eric Fehr

Can Christians use human language to speak about God?

Can Christians use human language to speak about God?

Dr. Archie Spencer seeks to answer this question in his recent book: The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakability. (Available for Kindle and print from Amazon, Chapters, and IVP Press). Paul T. Nimmo from the University of Aberdeen says “This is a rigorous and generative Christian dogmatics of an impressive order and deserves to be widely attended.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Spencer on his book for Northwest News.

What is your book about?

Archie Book coverThe book is about the function of language in theology. In turn, the book is a defence of the normal use of our language to express our theological statements. How we use language is an important idea because today people question the truthfulness of language to express the being of God.

What were some challenges for you when writing this book?

Staying ahead of the flood of literature for the past ten years has been one of the biggest challenges I faced.  The amount of interaction I had with classical Greek and Medieval literature was another major challenge. The last main challenge I faced was the exegetical part of my research. Getting a grasp where Scripture affirms and supports the possibility of language to speak about God was a challenge. Needless to say, there is lots of biblical exegesis to support the book.

Why write this book?

I wrote this book in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The core motive for me was to reaffirm the basic Protestant commitments to theology. Particularly, the principles of Sola scriptura, Sola fide, and Solus Christus.

What are your hopes for this book?

It is difficult to publish with a semi-popular press as an academic writer. So having IVP publish this book is like getting a monkey off my back. A door has opened in front of me to consider writing more populist theology, and there is interest by publishers in this area. I also needed to establish myself and my method and now I can move forward.

Any parting words for aspiring theologians?

Theology is a nose-to-the-grindstone task. So the church needs good pastor/theologians. But pastor/theologians need to be willing to make the time and commitment to become good theologians. My encouragement is: Every pastor a theologian and every theologian a pastor.

 

Theology Boot Camps for Christian Growth

As summertime approaches, many people look forward to camping, fishing trips, and hiking excursions. These retreats into the great outdoors can be enjoyable if you have the proper equipment and training. A simple overnight camping trip can turn into a nightmare if you forget the tent (or the coffee for some). Likewise, if your ‘theological gear’ is a little rusty, or you would rather stay indoors, consider coming to an Instructional Seminar. Northwest Baptist Seminary and Fellowship Pacific offer four instructional seminars per year. Each seminar includes two-days of learning, practical teaching, and group interaction. “You get to hear from the best on certain topics” remarks Glory Destura from Burnett Fellowship. Another benefit is the level “of interaction with students and the presenters,” says Wes Parker from Dunbar Heights.

Going on a canoe trip around Bowron Lake is more physically challenging than sitting in class, but don’t let the lack of a physical challenge fool you. These seminars are challenges for the mind and spirit. They are like theological boot camps for Christian growth. Chris Goodall from Sardis Fellowship is “impressed with the depth of knowledge that each of the professors has shown while teaching us. They listen, correct, encourage, and expand on our attempts at answering questions. I have never been made to feel inadequate no matter how long it takes for the light to go on.” Prepare yourself for a journey into the theology of the Trinity (often spoken of, but rarely explored). Embark on an expedition into the world of prophetic literature. Journey to ancient Israel and learn from their wisdom literature.

To register for an upcoming instructional seminar, go to www.nbseminary.ca/grow. Each seminar is $95 or $295 for a four seminar package. Twelve seminars on various topics are offered on a three-year cycle. The next 4 seminars are listed in the poster below.

Learning theology and its application are significant pieces of gear for the journey of life. “Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives,” says J.I. Packer. He aptly notes, “disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you” (from the book Knowing God). So take your ‘gear’ (flashlight optional) and embark on a two-day theological boot camp and prepare yourself for ministry and personal growth. You will undoubtedly leave a changed person.