Wayne Grudem’s Deplorable Argument for Trump

iurWayne Grudem is a very well known and highly respected theologian who has been at the center of attention for his support of Trump (July 28), then for his rejection of Trump (Oct. 9), and now for again supporting “Trump’s policies”(Oct. 19). Now, to begin, this is not a good look for Grudem. Did the tapes that led to his rejection of Trump really reveal anything new about Trump? Of course not. They simply confirmed what we already knew about him—his moral character is, let’s just say, not what we would hope for in a President. What new information came out about Trump between when the tapes were released and now? As far as I can tell, not much. So maybe writing this post is a waste of time since Grudem may very well write another post next week again retracting his support for “Trump’s policies.” Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on ‘Kitchener: Hero and Anti-Hero’

kitchenerA few weeks ago Tyndale University College held a book launch for three of my colleagues: Elizabeth Davey (A Persevering Witness), Natasha Duquette (Veiled Intent), and Brad Faught (Kitchener: Hero and Anti-Hero). I was asked by Professor Faught to say a few words about his new book at the launch and since I so thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I thought I’d share my (lightly edited) comments from the book launch here.

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Eric Metaxas on Donald Trump, Some Problems

metaxas1Eric Metaxas was recently interviewed by the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, about his new book If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. In the interview Metaxas argues for something that many Christians believe—that faith, freedom, and virtue are all connected. Given this, it was surprising to hear Metaxas go on to argue that those who agree with him, must vote for Donald Trump. In sum, Metaxas is opposed to Hillary Clinton. And when I say “opposed”, I mean something along the lines of, “would rather see just about anything else happen.” So, the obvious question is whether seeing Donald Trump elected President is included in that “just about anything else” preference. For Metaxas, the answer to that question is even more obvious, of course a Trump presidency would be better than another Clinton presidency. Since Trump would be better than Clinton, vote Trump!

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2015-2016 Year End Review

Cup of coffee, pen and notepad on wooden background. Top view

The Tyndale University College graduation is this weekend and I thought it would be a good time to post a summary of all the good things that have happened in our department this year. Many philosophy departments have seen a significant reduction in their number of majors, but thanks to God’s faithfulness we actually have seen our numbers grow! Not only are we seeing an increase in majors and minors, but those in our program are proving themselves to be truly outstanding. Here are just some of the highlights of what’s been going on at Tyndale Philosophy and of how God has continued to bless our program and students.

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Geisler, Howe, and the Importance of Formal Logic

This past summer I read through Norman Geisler’s book, If God, Why Evil? and noticed that in it he appears to commit the formal fallacy of denying the antecedent. I won’t bother with rehashing the details of that now; you can read that short post here.

Some time after that post appeared Richard Howe (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary) took the time to comment on my post and we were able to briefly chat about it at the national conference of Evangelical Philosophical Society in Atlanta last November. In his post Professor Howe notes “The critic [that’s me!] pointed out (I think correctly, taken in one way) that Geisler’s argument, when cast into predicate or quantificational logic this way, commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent.” I was glad to read this since I highly respect Geisler’s work and didn’t expect to see such a basic fallacy in one of his books. After publishing the post I half-expected to be informed that it was me that made such a basic mistake. But, it turns out, I was right. Well, kind of. Continue reading

Christian Philosophy and “Lame” Adjectives

President Thornbury“Christianity is the greatest of all nouns but the lamest of all adjectives.”

Is that true? Is ‘Christian’ a lame adjective? Well, according to Gregory Thornbury, President of The Kings College, it is. Is that right? Is it always a “lame” adjective?

President Thornbury is almost certainly right that ‘Christian’ can be a lame adjective. For example, labeling an artist “Christian” can sometimes serve as code for “it’s not very good, but cut him some slack because he’s one of us.” Here there are some striking parallels to how many in Canada use ‘Canadian’ to label their fellow actors, musicians, comedians, etc. Continue reading

How to Do Well at University (and not just get good grades)

Today is the start of the Fall term at Tyndale University College and I wanted to share some of the tips about doing well in university that I’ll discuss with my students during our first few days of the term. One of the first things I tell my students at the beginning of every semester is that there is a difference between doing well in a course and getting a good grade in a course. Most professors try their hardest to make sure that the two correspond with one another, but for various reasons that’s not always the case. For example, if a student only occasionaly comes to class, or comes often but is rarely attentive, then it’s unlikely that such a student will do well in the course. But that doesn’t mean this person won’t get a good grade on his transcript at the end of the term. Some students are good at tricking their professors into thinking they’ve learned the material when in reality all they’ve done is memorize it the night for the exam, regurgitate it on exam day, and then promptly forget everything they “studied.” These students will have received the high grade, but will not have done well.

On the other hand, some students will do their best to truly understand the material (and not simply memorize it), seek clarification from their professor when needed, and even incorporate it into their other studies. These students will likely remember the material long after their exams, even though there is no guarantee that their hard work will translate into a high grade. Maybe a student had a rough morning the same day as the final exam and didn’t perform as well as he would’ve otherwise, or perhaps the demands for some other course were so high he couldn’t put all his energy into completing the essay. Regardless of what the grade is on the transcript, if this student has truly learned the material, then he’ll have done well in the course.

In my experience, the two go hand-in-hand most of the time. When students complain to me about their low grade I ask them about their study habits and often will quickly learn why their grade is what it is. Making this distinction, however, can help keep you focused on what matters most. If you graduate from university and have a few bad grades on your transcript, but actually learned the material in those courses, then you’ll have still achieved what is most important. You don’t attend university to get a piece of a paper that has a lot of A’s on it, you attend university to get an education.

So, with all this in mind, I’d like to offer six tips for doing well in university. These are tips that I’ve been giving to students for years and I’ve yet to hear from a student who has followed each of them and not done well in their courses. Continue reading