In the women’s Bible study at our church, our pastor has been teaching through a book about the biblical patriarchs. The discussions about creation, the fall, original sin, the flood, etc., have led to some interesting rabbit trail discussions that have more to do with philosophy and apologetics than perhaps most people would imagine from a group that consists a bunch of women who are mostly middle-class moms. The conversations have started to clear away some of the cobwebs in my head from my days in college when I took a “philosophical” class in Christian apologetics. (I say “philosophical” because the class my husband took in serminary dealt more with evangelism and outreach than with developing philosophical arguments.)
My class in apologetics, now lo, some 20 years ago is one of my favorite academic memories. I went to a Christian college rooted in anabaptist history. My professor for this class was Dr. Randall Basinger. He is quite the scholarly fellow, and he had written some very obviously arminian books and articles. Most of my classmates were also arminians. I had one friend in the class who was a Calvinist, and he and I were always the designated devil’s advocates in almost every discussion. I remember devouring the articles and books that we read for this class and then writing responses to them with great enthusiasm. Even though I disagreed with practically everything my professor said, I always appreciated him because he seemed to value my opinion.
I am thinking about all of this because this Bible study is reminding me of a time when I enjoyed reading thoughtful and somewhat complicated pieces. I also enjoyed interacting with them–picking them apart, trying to wrap my mind around the ideas of really good thinkers. It seems so long ago that I was this person. As time marched on after college, I was not called on to read anything very complex. I think I still would have enjoyed reading philosophy and apologetics, but I didn’t have anyone guiding me to things that would be worthwhile to read. Then, as more years passed, I got busy with marriage and kids, and the idea of reading something more challenging than Goodnight Moon had lost its appeal altogether.
So, now that all these ideas about “the problem of evil” and “God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill,” have come up in discussion, I find myself remembering words like “ontological,” “teleological,” and “supralapserian” and “fideism” (which, by the way,I just had to have Mark remind me how to spell).
So what’s the point of all this? I am not really sure. I am feeling like I might want to jump back into reading some deeper things. Yet I also know that I am busy and I will likely not find much time for such an endeavor. Perhaps I’ll look for a book about apologetics that is written at a more popular than academic level that I can read. Maybe I’ll find some other women who want to read it with me and talk about it. I know I can talk to Mark about anything I would read, but I think it would be more fun to have a group conversation and to hear what others are thinking about what they are reading.
I already have a book in mind–Apologetics to the Glory of God by John Frame. Has anyone read it? What are your thoughts? Will it meet my need to rekindle some of my old philosophical interest?
I guess I am also wondering if I am capable of really thinking again. Has my brain atrophied to the point of no return? I think I’ll work on making this group a reality some time in the near future just to test my brain and maybe learn something.