Of Flying Spiders and Theologians

Jonathan_EdwardsWhile flying spiders may sound like something gamers would blast in the latest Xbox game, one young man saw in them the wisdom of God.

The technical term for how spiders seem to fly across a distance is ballooning. That observer noted of their flight “the exuberant goodness of the Creator, who hath not only provided for the necessities, but also for the pleasure and recreation of all sorts of creatures, even the insects.”

Those eyes self-trained to see the extraordinary hiding amid the ordinary belonged to Jonathan Edwards. His first published work, in 1723, examined the curious aerial habits of field spiders, a lowly creature ignored by the less discerning.

Looking for enlightenment in what others missed marked Edwards. Following his conversion at 17, he applied scientific observation to the study of both natural and spiritual realms. When the Holy Spirit fell upon his congregation in the early days of the Great Awakening, Edwards called on his understanding of science and the Spirit to observe and record the happenings. Later, that synergy helped Edwards make sense of this great move of God.

The great take risks, both in science and in the Christian life. For Edwards, detailing the workings of God in the lives of men and women put him at odds with established religious thought. Even the congregation he served for 20 years failed to grasp what Edwards understood of the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The man who many today consider America’s greatest theologian was dismissed in 1750.

Edwards tested the limits of physical science, too, occasionally offering himself as test subject. As an example to the Native Americans he loved and to whom he preached, Edwards embraced the relatively new science of inoculations to prevent disease. Risk is no respecter of persons, however. On March 22, 1758, a botched smallpox inoculation delivered the 54-year-old Jonathan Edwards into the arms of the Lord.

It’s not just field spiders people pass by without notice. Life in the Spirit goes unexamined by most.

“No man is more relevant to the present condition of Christianity than Jonathan Edwards,” wrote D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Indeed, the greatest need in the church today may be for the spiritual “scientist” who observes, tests, and comprehends the signs of the times.

Jonathan Edwards saw. And he understood.

Be the Edwards of today through the spiritual observations of the Edwards of yesteryear. Find that
wisdom in The Works of Jonathan Edwards.

Because the spiritual wisdom of the past unlocks the gateway to the future.

Today’s guest post is by Dan Edelen. Dan writes from his farm in southwest Ohio, where he lives with his wife and son. Since 2003, his blog, Cerulean Sanctum, has been challenging believers to question the status quo. Yet for all Dan’s online gravitas, people who meet him in person are more likely to comment on his NFL linebacker size, his fixation with board games, and his love of laughter.

The Theological Consequences of Kant

When it comes to philosophy, nearly everyone’s heard of Immanuel Kant—and for good reason. Kant resolved a century-long gridlock between the rationalists and the empiricists by proposing a new way of thinking about how we come to know anything at all. Kant is also famous for inspiring competing interpretations. In his wake, two fascinating thinkers proposed different ways of understanding Kant’s theological consequences: Friedrich Schleiermacher and Georg Wilhelm Hegel.

Kant’s revolution

The rationalists argued that knowledge results from the proper use of reason, whereas the empiricists claimed that knowledge derives from sense experience alone. Kant redefined the terms of the debate by asserting a more fundamental claim: we don’t conform to the objects of our perception; rather, they conform to us. We don’t perceive objects in and of themselves; instead, our mind shapes how we perceive objects and the world.

In doing so, Kant made the knower, not the known, the primary object of philosophical inquiry. By extension, we can only know things as they appear to us, not as they are in themselves. This turn toward the subject not only moved the conversation beyond the rationalists and empiricists—it revolutionized the direction of Western philosophy.

Schleiermacher

Since we don’t directly perceive God, Kant’s turn toward the subject undermined the claims of orthodox Christian belief. Friedrich Schleiermacher negotiated Kant’s critique by redefining religion as feeling—the capacity to sense the infinite—believing this to be the best way to preserve the possibility of Christian theology. Neither a creed requiring our assent, nor a moral code that must be followed, religion is consciousness of our absolute dependence on the infinite.

Schleiermacher considered it his responsibility to awaken and cultivate this consciousness in others. He attempts to do so in On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers, arguing that religion’s dogmatic claims—which, after Kant, cannot be established as knowledge—are not religion at all. True religion lies in that which inspired theologians to first speak about God at all: the feeling of absolute dependence on the infinite.

Hegel

Unlike Schleiermacher, Hegel criticized Kant’s critique. He maintained that there is no meaningful way to distinguish between things-in-themselves and our perception of them. He did away with things-in-themselves, asserting that our thoughts about the world are synonymous with the way the world actually is. He also considered the fundamental category of reality to be Mind or Spirit, of which we are simply a part.

Hegel understood the development of human history as coterminous with Spirit’s coming to know itself. His Phenomenology of Mind outlines this dynamic, evolving process in terms of dialectic. In works containing his lectures, Hegel articulates how the evolution of history and religion also reflect this process. For Hegel, Christianity represents the culmination of all religious forms—the one that most accurately reflects Spirit’s understanding of itself.

Understand Kant’s influence on German theological thought

Together, the Friedrich Schleiermacher Collection and the Works of Hegel give you the central texts of these important German thinkers. Discover how they wrestled with Kant’s thought and developed theological proposals that continue to influence Christian theology today. Both collections are on Community Pricing for 80% off! With more bids, the price could drop even further.

Bring these core texts into your library—place your bid now!

Then keep reading—what if only perceptions existed, not objects?

Save $100 on the Paul’s Letters Collection

Paul's LettersTo celebrate shipping Lexham Bible Guides: Colossians, the latest installment of the Paul’s Letters Collection, we’re giving you $100 off the collection’s regular price. Paul’s letters are full of rich theological material and practical advice—and perhaps that’s why these beloved parts of Scripture can be so difficult to comprehend. Even Peter recognized this, when he said, “There are some things in them that are hard to understand” (2 Pet. 3:15–16).

Grasp these difficult but important portions of the Bible

Each chapter of the Lexham Bible Guides includes six sections. The “Overview” and “Structure” sections introduce you to a specific passage by briefly summarizing and providing an outline. The “Place within the Book” section explains the immediate literary context and shows how the passage fits into Paul’s argument as a whole. The “Place within the Canon” section goes further by illustrating how Paul’s words fit into the broader context of biblical theology.

“Issues at a Glance” provides you with a quick guide to the major issues in Paul’s letters. It includes a summary of the varying points of view for each issue, along with an annotated list describing which views are held by the top commentaries or other resources. This list includes a summary of the arguments made by each individual author, providing you with the scholarly opinions you may not otherwise have access to. It also provides links to each of the resources discussed, so you can jump right to the relevant section of any Logos resources you own.

Learn relevant cultural context

In addition to the summary of major issues, the “Issues at a Glance” section also includes studies of key Greek words and background studies explaining relevant historical and cultural information. Finally, the “Application Overview” offers you a way to relate the passage to your life or the lives of those you are teaching.

Lexham Bible Guides: Paul’s Letters Collection gives you the tools you need to understand the key issues in Paul’s letters. By summarizing research and presenting it in a clear and concise manner, the collection serves as a quick and easy-to-use guide to these important books. Lexham Bible Guides help you go deeper in the Word without spending countless hours on research.

When you purchase this collection, the volumes on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon will download immediately, and the remaining volumes will be released as they become available.

Order the Lexham Bible Guides: Paul’s Letters Collection by April 4 using the coupon code LBGPLC, and you’ll receive $100 off the regular price.

How to Memorize Scripture with Logos

When Jesus was asked, “Which commandment is the most important of all?,” he answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:28–30).

One of God’s deepest desires is that we love him, but how can we continually grow in our love for God if we don’t know his Word? If our knowledge of God is shallow, how can our love be deep? His greatest command is for us to love him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind—and memorizing Scripture is a great way to keep our love for God and his Word at the forefront of our minds.

Many of us want to be memorizing Scripture, but can’t seem to find the time. And even when we do find time, we aren’t quite sure where or how to begin.

Logos 5 makes memorizing Scripture easier than ever.

 

Strengthen your knowledge of the Bible with Logos’ Scripture Memory Tool, and be sure to check out all of Logos 5’s new features.

Make a commitment to memorizing the Word—get Logos 5 today.

Save 40% on John MacArthur, J. I. Packer, John Calvin, and Others!

The votes have been counted—only eight authors remain as contenders for the Logos March Madness championship. Whose work would you like to see discounted by 75%? Vote now!

Then save 40% on:

Need help sifting through over 500 items on sale? Here are a few of the best-selling authors so far.

Round 1 authors:

Round 2 authors:

Don’t forget to vote this round. Only four will move on, and their works will be discounted 50%!

Who do you want to see win? Vote early, and share who you voted for on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the forums!

Last Chance: Free Book on Community Pricing!

F. W. Farrar’s The Messages of the Book has been on Community Pricing for a of couple weeks. To help people get acquainted with how Community Pricing works, we’re giving it to everyone who places a successful bid. The book will only be available until the end of March, so time is running out!

Frederic William Farrar (1831–1903) was an Anglican minister who wrote both fiction and nonfiction. Farrar’s The Messages of the Books is a wonderful look at New Testament origins, the relationship between the Synoptic Gospels, and much more.

Don’t miss your chance to own this classic volume! If your bid is successful, when this becomes available for download, you’ll get it for free. Bid today!

How Does Community Pricing Work?

Check out this helpful video to learn how Community Pricing works. Then try it out for yourself!

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Logos 5: Labels for the “Prefer These Resources” List

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

In Logos, we have a lot of books, but among those books we have our favorites. For example, we have a lot of Bibles, but we have our favorite Bibles. We designate our preferred books under the link “Prioritize”:

  • Open the Library.
  • Click Prioritize.
  • Drag books from the display area on the left to the Prefer these resources list on the right.

I encourage you to prioritize these types of books:

  • Bibles
  • Commentaries
  • Bible dictionaries
  • Hebrew dictionaries
  • Greek dictionaries
  • Daily devotionals
  • Lectionaries

Now, when Logos needs to list or open default books, it will use this list.

After prioritizing resources, you’ll discover a long list of books, one that may be challenging to read or edit. Regarding this, I’ve been asked numerous times if we can add labels or headers in the list to more quickly locate our Bibles or devotionals. Unfortunately, we can’t.

However, a friend of mine, Pastor Jeff Brown, recently shared this helpful work-around at Camp Logos Oklahoma City:

  • Create empty Personal Books (A) with titles for each type of book you want to prioritize. I suggest capitalizing the titles (B) and perhaps putting symbols in front of them (C) so they’ll stand out in the prioritized list
    • >>BIBLES
    • >>COMMENTARIES
    • >>BIBLE DICTIONARIES
    • >>HEBREW DICTIONARIES
    • >>GREEK DICTIONARIES
    • >>DAILY DEVOTIONALS
    • >>LECTIONARIES

  • Prioritize these Personal Books (D) so the titles actually become labels or headers in the preferred list of resources (E)
  • Place your actual prioritized books under the appropriate headings (F)

A big shout-out to Jeff Brown for this idea!

4 Ways Textual Criticism Can Aid Bible Study

Have you ever wondered why various versions of the Bible read differently? For example, why does Romans 8:1 in the King James Version include a phrase that’s not in the New American Standard Bible or the New International Version? Did it get added to one or left out of the others? You may look to the footnotes of your Bible to learn a little about these differences, but what you find is not enough to answer your real questions: Why are there differences? How do we know which choice is best?

A new book by Logos Bible Software answers these questions and helps you learn the basics of textual criticism, the process of analyzing and evaluating differences in the text of the Bible. Textual Criticism is the first volume in the Lexham Method Series, and there are four ways it can help your Bible study. You will:

  1. Make sense of the textual footnotes in your Bibles. Many English Bibles include footnotes that say things like, “Some manuscripts do not include . . .” or “Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Masoretic Text ‘And it shall be.’” Textual Criticism will teach you how to decode and understand the significance of these notes.
  2. Understand the difficulty of producing a Bible translation. A new English translation of the Bible seems to come out every few years, and you might wonder how there can be so many translations of the same book. Textual Criticism will help you understand the decisions made by translation teams, and how these decisions affect the final product.
  3. Interact more intelligently with commentaries when they discuss textual issues. When you use commentaries in your Bible study, you encounter discussions about ways a particular text can be translated and why one reading is better than another. Commentators talk about Codex Vaticanus, the Peshitta, and the Dead Sea Scrolls—more language that needs decoding. Textual Criticism will teach you to understand the differences between the various manuscripts and decide when to trust one source over another.
  4. Learn to use your Logos software to do basic textual criticism on your own. In chapters 3 and 4 of Textual Criticism, you’ll work step by step through several passages in the Old and New Testaments that have textual issues. The examples will walk you through the process of textual criticism and show you how to use your Logos software to understand the significance of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles.

The Bible we have today has come to us through a long process that is unfamiliar to most Bible students. Textual Criticism helps you understand the basics of that process and navigate difficulties in the text. If you’re a serious student of the Bible, you need these tools to make the most of your study. The Lexham Methods Series is on currently on Pre-Pub. Pre-order now to receive a $50 discount from the regular price.

Pop Culture, Church History, and St. Patrick

st.patricksday

While St. Patrick’s Day is rooted in religion, today’s pop culture has surrounded the holiday with drinking, luck, and Irish patriotism. This attempted marriage of religion and culture shows up most clearly in the contradictory definitions of St. Patrick’s Day’s most popular symbol: the shamrock.

On one extreme, the four-leaf clover has been commercialized to simply represent good luck. On the other extreme, however, many scholars argue that St. Patrick himself deemed the four-leaf clover a religious symbol, with the three leaves representing the Holy Trinity (one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit) and the final leaf representing God’s grace. Between these two extremes lies a murky middle ground, where some argue that each leaf stands for a separate idea: one leaf for hope, one for faith, one for love, and the fourth for luck.

With this strange union of pop culture and religious history, the impact of St. Patrick on church history is often neglected—even on the day that was established because of the saint and his work.

So Logos is offering up to 40% off resources to help you delve deeper into church history and the work of St. Patrick. These resources will examine questions such as: Is St. Patrick responsible for single-handedly converting Ireland to Christianity? Was he the only true apostle of an embattled, crumbling empire? In short, these resources will help you learn why St. Patrick’s Day exists at all.

The Logos St. Patrick’s Day Sale will run from March 15 through March 17 only.

Save today on church history works:

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland (2 vols.)

Regularly: $34.95

With coupon code STPAT1, it’s only $19.95

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland presents two volumes on the life and works of St. Patrick: The Confession of St. Patrick and The Life and Writings of St. Patrick. These valuable volumes will especially interest students, professors, and those wanting to know more about St. Patrick and the history of Christianity in Ireland.

Christianity in the British Isles Collection (6 vols.)

Regularly: $119.95

Get it for only $79.95 with coupon code STPAT2

The Christianity in the British Isles Collection offers a comprehensive look at Christianity’s relationship with Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England. The six volumes cover a variety of fascinating topics, including the history of Anglicanism, the little-known Free Church of England, the parallel Reformation experiences of the British Isles, and the outlook for the Church of England in a modern United Kingdom of many faiths.

The Reformation in Britain and Ireland: An Introduction

Regularly: $39.95

Just $29.95 with coupon code STPAT3

The Reformation in Britain and Ireland is a new and wide-ranging introduction to the Reformation throughout the British Isles. Full treatment is given to the fascinating and often very different but interrelated experiences in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Christian History & Biography Magazine (issues 1–99)

Regularly: $149.95

Yours for only $109.95 with coupon code STPAT4

Since 1982, this quarterly magazine has examined the events and personalities that laid the foundations of modern Christianity, covering subjects ranging from Martin Luther to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from the Crusades to modern Christian-Muslim relations. In this massive collection of every issue of Christian History & Biography since 1982, nearly 2,000 articles by hundreds of authors cover every aspect of church history from the early church to the present day.

Lion Histories Series (10 vols.)

Regularly: $89.99

Get it now for $79.95 with coupon code STPAT5

Lion Histories is a major new series aimed at those seeking accessible introductions to key periods, people and themes in Christian history. These histories are excellent resources for pastors, students, Bible-study leaders and Sunday school teachers to gain an understanding of these important events and people in Christian history. This series covers the world of Jesus and Paul, and shows how Christianity expanded throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, rev. ed.

Regularly: $150

Now $109.95 with coupon code STPAT6

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, since its first appearance in 1957, has established itself as the indispensable one-volume reference work on the church’s every aspect. This revised edition, published in 2005, builds on the unrivalled reputation of the previous editions. Revised and updated, it reflects changes in academic opinion and church organization.

Exploring Church History

Regularly: $11.99

Use coupon code STPAT7, and get it for only $7.95

James Eckman walks you through the church’s past from Pentecost to the present. This basic, chronological, introduction emphasizes the development of the church and how it came to a consensus on what the Scriptures taught. Through it all, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and richness of your faith and its splendid heritage.

Additionally, St. Patrick: The Man and His Work is now available on Pre-Pub and Classic Studies on St. Patrick is now available on Community Pricing.

Save on Hundreds of Titles—Round 3 Begins

March MadnessLogos March Madness began with 64 authors, and we’re now down to just 16. Voting for Round 3 is now open—vote now!

Over 400 titles are now on sale! Here’s a quick breakdown:

Round 1 features works from 32 authors at a 30% discount. Featured authors include:

  • R. T. Kendall
  • J. C. Ryle
  • June Hunt
  • C. K. Barrett

Get Round 1 deals!

Round 2 features works from 16 authors at a 35% discount. Featured authors include:

  • Warren Wiersbe
  • Craig Blomberg
  • J. B. Lightfoot
  • Dwight Lyman Moody

Get Round 2 deals!

By voting for your favorite author, you’re moving their works closer to a 75% discount!

Ways to help your favorite author win:

Each author from this round is guaranteed a 40% discount on a selection of their works—but if they advance, that discount increases to 45%. Vote now!