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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene

The Threefold Foundation of Natural Theology: Alsted on Natural Theology (VIII)

It has been a while since my last post on Alsted, so those of you who may be unfamiliar with this series can find the earlier posts here. In this series, I have been translating and offering brief commentary on Johann Heinrich Alsted and his book Theologia naturalis, the full title of which (when translated) […]

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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

The Ladder of Truth and the Sweetness of Grace: Alsted on Natural Theology (VII)

In this our seventh installment on Johann Heinrich Alsted’s Theologia naturalis we see Alsted utilize the metaphor of a “ladder” of truth to describe the relationship between nature and grace, and he argues that God intends for man to study the truths of nature in order to make grace sweeter: IV. Natura & Gratia non pugnant […]

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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

Listen to Cicero as to a Frog: Alsted on Natural Theology (VI)

In the third theorem of his Theologia naturalis Alsted discusses the issue of non-Christian authors and commends their use even for public preaching, though with certain caveats: III. Præclara ethnicorum dicta Theologica ab eis tanquam iniustis possessoribus, in usum nostrum transferenda sunt. Hoc theorema totidem ferme verbis occurrit apud Augustinum lib. 3. de doctrina Christ. […]

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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

Natural Theology as Preparation for Grace: Alsted on Natural Theology (V)

As I mentioned in this post last week, the idea of “preparations” for grace or justification was not completely rejected by the Reformers. Rather, they insisted that God uses certain preparations as his instruments to bring the unbeliever to self-knowledge, particularly the condemnation of the Law – this causes one to reflect on one’s own […]

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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

Is Natural Theology an Exercise in Neutrality? Alsted on Natural Theology (IV)

Alsted does not directly address the issue of “neutrality” in apologetics, that is, the question of whether one may or should use rational principles in an effort to neither promote nor refute the truth claims of religion, thus establishing a sort of “public space” in which to debate the importance of religion on non-religious grounds. […]

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Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

A Language Known To All Peoples: Alsted on Natural Theology (III)

Alsted’s final argument in the preface to his Theologia naturalis concerns the proper heading of natural theology. Is natural theology truly different than philosophy? Is natural theology not a part (or locus) of revealed theology? As is evident from the text, Alsted addresses these questions to those who have brought accusation against his Præcognitorum theologicorum (1614). Alsted’s Præcognitorum is […]

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Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene

Alsted on Natural Theology (II): On the use of the natural sciences

In the first installment of this series I left the reader with a few questions that Johann Heinrich Alsted proposes to himself in anticipation of his readers’ objections to his proposal of natural theology as a discipline. The first question has to do with the similarities and differences between natural theology and natural philosophy, or […]

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Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Philosophy

Johann Heinrich Alsted: Natural Theology in the Reformed Tradition

The works of Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638) have recently been the subject of research into the nature of theology and philosophy in the Early Modern period, specifically regarding the reception of Ramist and Lullist logic (cf. Howard Hotson’s work for example). Descartes read Alsted’s Encyclopaedia and, though he thought it was a rather curious work, commended the […]

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Archive Natural Law Peter Escalante Reformed Irenicism Steven Wedgeworth

The Blessing of Japheth: A Response to James B. Jordan

As our readers know, our task from the beginning has been a return to, and a critical retrieval of, the classic Protestant tradition.  As we say, it arose out of recent ferment in the Reformed world; our goal was to make the “Reformed catholicity” movement both really Reformed and really catholic. Our position from the […]

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Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

Self-Knowledge as “Foundation” and “Preparation” for Grace?

Although Martin Luther rejected the Roman Catholic notion of “preparatory works” for justification he did not reject the language of preparation altogether. Rather, he writes of the torments of the Law which “shows sin, terrifies, and humbles; thus it prepares us for justification and drives us to Christ” (Luther’s Works, 26:126). For Luther, it is […]