Archive E.J. Hutchinson Ecclesiastical Polity Nota Bene Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

The Catholic Retreat To Commitment

In the 1950 encyclical Humani Generis, Pius XII, relying on Pius IX, makes a rather startling claim about the duty of theologians in the church: It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching […]

Archive Steven Wedgeworth

What is Reformed Irenicism?

Over the years we have said a number of things about what it means to be a “Reformed Irenic” thinker. In one of our very first essays, Peter Escalante laid out some guiding principles. A bit later we applied this to eccesiological matters. A little later we also examined the way in which one can […]

Andrew Fulford Archive Authors East Asia Nota Bene Philosophy

Retreat to Commitment in Buddhism

Robert H. Sharf writes about the retreat phenomena (with different terms) in varieties of Buddhism. Substitute “private spiritual experience” with liberal Schleiermacherian “immediate feeling of dependence upon the infinite” or conservative Barthian “encounter with the Word” and you get the same basic strategy for dealing with the same underlying problem: The urge to reduce the […]

Andrew Fulford Archive Authors Nota Bene

Karl Barth’s Failure

Matthew Rose writes a perceptive piece at First Things on the failure of Karl Barth’s project, in ways that echo concerns TCI has expressed on numerous occasions (e.g.) with modern theology’s “retreat to commitment”.

Archive Nota Bene W. Bradford Littlejohn

The Anticipation of Persuasion

One of the things that we talk about a lot here at TCI is building a culture of persuasion, and one of our favorite bogeymen is the retreat to commitment.  These things are of course connected: against the retreat to commitment, we insist that it is in the nature of truth claims to be public truth claims; but neither […]

Archive Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

Alexander Schmemann on Ecclesiastical Counter-Utopia

Writing about a certain form of theological role-playing that we have encountered many times, the great Alexander Schmemann states: Now as a strange counterpart to that [more conventional Utopianism], we have the second fundamental tendency of our time; that is Escape, a kind of counter-Utopia. Our world today is not only the world of those […]

Archive Natural Law Peter Escalante Philosophy

Helping David Bentley Hart Find His Nature

David Bentley Hart has responded somewhat coyly to Dr Feser here. Dr Feser had pointed out the peculiarly Humean tone of Hart’s remarks about natural law, which suggested that there is no bridge from the is to the ought; of course Hart is not actually a Humean, but more a Romantic, which means, one who allows […]

Archive Peter Escalante Philosophy Responsa Steven Wedgeworth

Responsum: Defining First Principles

Pastor Benjamin Miller from Long Island, NY, asks: Can you define and distinguish: (1) W.W. Bartley III’s notion of “ultimate commitment” (which he regards as voluntaristic and finally arbitrary); (1) is something that is simply chosen or asserted: “I want to believe in X, or I have various reasons to believe in X, but it really doesn’t […]