Tag Archives: evangelical theological society

ETS/EPS 2017

I’m heading to Providence, Rhode Island for my first ETS/EPS Annual Meeting.


I will be presenting a paper titled: “Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Account of Petitionary Prayer: A Reformation Alternative to Contemporary Two-Way Contingency Accounts.” Basically I present a view of petitionary prayer which bucks contemporary trends and is faithful to classical theism and Reformed theology. You can see me present it on Thursday, 11am at the Omni as a part of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

On another note here are a few sessions I’m looking forward to:

  1. Jonathan Rutledge -Wesleyan Sanctification and Purgatory: Solutions from the Philosophy of Time
  2. Joshua Farris – This is My Beloved Son Whom I Hate, A Critique of Penal Substitution
  3. William Lane Craig – Eleonore Stump’s of Reformation Penal Substitution Atonement Theories
  4. C. Stephen Evans – Why Reformation Christians Should Be catholic Christians
  5. Trinitarian Theology Panel – Sanders, McCall, Stamps,
  6. Engaging Diverse Views of the Church’s Mission – Sexton, Leithart, Leeman, Wright, Frank
  7. Analytic Theology: Prayer – Wessling, McCall, McMartin, Inman

If you are there and want to connect at some point, contact me through Twitter: @CWoznicki



A Storm is Brewing…

For those of you who aren’t privileged to be member of ETS, you may have not heard but there is a storm brewing on the horizon about gender and sexuality in relation to the society’s “Doctrinal Basis/Statement of Purpose.”

Below is the abstract to Stan Gundry’s open letter to members of ETS:

In the last business session of the 2015 national Meeting of ETS a set of four resolutions was moved and passed that affirmed human dignity and worth, marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman, sexual intimacy as reserved for such marriages, and an affirmation of distinct traits of manhood and womanhood as an unchangeable gift that constitutes personal identity. In the aftermath some ETS members expressed dismay that any ETS member would vote against passage of the resolutions. Others, I among them, were shocked that resolutions of this nature would be proposed and passed by a substantial majority. In this open letter to ETS members, I explain the problems with the resolutions and the real issue at stake: Will ETS be true to is Doctrinal Basis and its Statement of Purpose? Hence, my open letter to ETS members, Whence and Whither ETS.

You can read the whole thing here.

With this and the Trinity debate looks like ETS is going to be a lot of fun this year!

My Forthcoming JETS Paper (Edwards, Trinity, Violence, Covenants, and Feminists)

A few days ago I got word that a paper I wrote on Jonathan Edwards, the Trinity, and violence is going to be published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological society. Honestly I was quite surprised, I thought the paper was a longshot, but I figured that I might as well turn it in and see what happens – expecting a rejection letter in the mail. I sort of have the tendency to think that everything I write is crap. I guess not though.

Anyway in this paper I talk a bit about how due to his hellfire and brimstone sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Jonathan Edwards has gained a reputation for portraying God as angry and violent. In recent literature there has been a flury of accusations against evangelicals as portraying God as a violent God. Most accusations of these accusations about divine violence have been leveled against penal substitution, these accusations could also be made against what Edwards calls “The Covenant of Redemption.”

In this paper examine these accusations and answer the question: “Is the Covenant of Redemption in Jonathan Edwards’s Trinitarian theology a form of violence by the Father against the Son?” I argue that the Covenant of Redemption does not meet the necessary and sufficient conditions for a violent act (I take a look at definitions of violence in the work of several theologians and philosophers), thus accusations of divine violence cannot be leveled against Edwards’ conception of the Covenant of Redemption.

I set out the necessary and sufficient conditions for a violent act, namely coercion and harm, and put these into conversation with feminist theology which has been one of the most outspoken opponents about violence in Christian theology. Then I turn to Edwards’s primary treatise on the Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption: “Observations Concerning the Scripture Economy of the Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption.” By examining Edwards’s understanding of 1) the ontological relations between the persons of the Trinity, 2) the economy of the immanent Trinity, and 3) the economy of the Trinity in the Covenant of Redemption it becomes clear that this covenant does not meet the necessary and sufficient conditions for violence. Thus I prove that Edwards is not guilty of placing the son in the hands of a violent God.

Chicago Here I Come!

I’m off to Chicago! I will be presenting my paper: Bad Books and The Glorious Trinity: Jonathan Edwards on the Sexual Holiness of the Church
at the 2015 Midwest Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. I’m excited to go to a city I have never been to and to present some important theological and practical findings out of Jonathan Edwards’s trinitarian theology.

The conference’s theme is pretty interesting: The Sexual Holiness of the Church. There will be plenty of presentations on sexual ethics, same sex attraction, and pornography – all from a theological perspective. I hope to add my two cents by taking a look at how Jonathan Edwards handled a sexual scandal in his church back in the day.

If you are interested in what will be presented click here.

(P.S. I will be blogging about the conference and about the Chicago food scene when I get back!)

Jonathan Edwards Week – Sex & God’s Glory

Earlier this week we saw that Edwards believed that “God is a communicative being.” This significance of this is that God is all about his glory – specifically God is all about communicating his own glory ad intra (within the Trinity) and ad extra (to sentient beings he has created). Then we asked the question:

How do sentient beings, participate in the glorification of God? What is these beings role (whether humans or angels) in glorifying God? Two answer this other question we need to look at two other axiom’s Edwards’ Trinitarian theology… but we’ll save that for later.

Today we get to those two points and what it means for our sexuality.

Two Axioms

Axiom 1 – In the beauty of spiritual community the glory of God becomes visible.

Axiom 2 – The church glorifies God when it knows and delights in Him.

It is clear that for Edwards God’s self-glorification was fundamental to his theology. To put it quite simply, Edwards believed that God is all about his self-glorification. God is glorified when the beauty of the spiritual community becomes visible and when this same community knows and delights in him.

So What Does This Mean for the Church’s Sexuality?

First, we must take seriously the fact that sexual sin within the church is not merely a private matter, it affects the whole community and it is a violation of the love that ought to be seen within the church.[1] Second, we must oppose sexual morality done simply for the sake of being moral, rather we must encourage sexual morality by encouraging people to find delight in God. As people’s knowledge of and delight in God grow, their desire for sexual sin will begin to diminish. If the church would begin to do these simple things, the church would certainly bring much glory to God.

Do you want to know more about this these two axioms or Edwards understanding of sexuality in the church? Then come to ETS MidWest 2015, April 10 & 11 – I will be presenting a paper titled:

Bad Books and The Glorious Trinity:
Jonathan Edwards on the Sexual Holiness of the Church


[1] Paul picks up on this in his letter to the Thessalonians: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 ESV)

Patcum Salutis and Social Contract Theory

Yesterday I went to ETS Far West 2014 and heard several really good papers. Unlike ETS the last few times, there were some really good post discussion conversations. One of my favorite conversations happened after a paper on the Pactum Salutis (covenant of redemption) and subordinationism.

A student from Westminster Seminary (California) presented a paper with the thesis that, the pactum saulutis provides a solution for verses which might be taken to imply subordination within the Trinity.

Covenant of Redemption: The pre-temporal covenant between the Father and the Son in which the son agrees to suffer and die in exchange for a reward – namely, the Church.

Subordinationism: The idea that the Son is inferior to the Father. All agree that saying that the Son is ontologically subordinate to the Father is heretical. Some want to argue that the Son can be (and is) subordinate to the Father in role or function. i.e. Grudem and Ware.

The paper the student presented was a pretty good explanation of the Pactum Salutis within reformed thought. However as we discussed after the paper presentation, Kelly Kapic pointed out the fact that the student overlooked and failed to engage with those who deny the Pactum Salutis – among those, Karl Barth.

Barth rejects the Pactum Salutis because it is too “scholastic” and unbiblical – the covenant is mythological. Barth, being a good reformed theologian, wants to reject this sort of speculative theology. Rightly so.

As we discussed objections to the Pactum Salutis Kelly Kapic pointed out that the Covenant of Redemption makes law a part of inner-Trinitarian Life. He also pointed out the fact that this covenant has been portrayed, especially among Puritans as a covenant between an Angry Father and a Merciful Son. In which the Son has to rescue his brothers and sisters from his Father’s wrath. In other words, the Pactum Salutis can be explained in a violent way, bringing violence into the heart of God.

I brought to the presenter’s attention some work that Amy Plantinga Pauw has done on Jonathan Edwards and the Pactum Salutis. Pauw points out that this covenant is highly speculative, and more importantly that the covenant is guilty of anthropomorphizing the life of the immanent trinity. This covenant portrays God as an human being engaged in discussion of which contracts he should or should not engage in. Its an interesting historical fact that the Covenant of Redemption flourished during the early modern period – right when social contract theories were all the buzz. In my opinion the Covenant of Redemption (Pactum Salutis) resembles social contract theory a little too much. That isn’t to say that the Pactum Salutis isn’t true. After all, I don’t want to be guilty of committing the genetic fallacy. However, it is curious to me that the development of this supposedly timeless doctrine is so embedded in its cultural context.

ETS Far West 2014 is Tomorrow!

So tomorrow is the gathering of the Evangelical Theological Society’s Far Western Region. I will be presenting a paper titled:

“The Son in the Hands of a Violent God?” Assesing Trinitarian Violence in Jonathan Edwards’s Covenant of Redemption.

As you can probably tell by the title of my paper, this year’s theme is Trinitarian theology. Fun stuff!

I am not the only one presenting a paper on Trinitarian theology though. Here are a few other papers that you can can look forward to hearing, if you attend, tomorrow. These are all papers by bloggers (they do other stuff too, like teach or work on their PhD) that I highly recommend.

  1. Fred Sanders, who blogs over at The Scriptorium Daily, is the keynote speaker. He will be presenting a paper titled: “The Trinity as a Biblical Doctrine: Developments in the Oldest Conversation.”
  2. Matthew Emerson, who blogs over at Secundum Scripturas, is presenting a paper titled: “Hermeneutics and the Eternal Generation of the Son.”
  3. Jason Sexton, who helps the Theological Engagement with California’s Culture Project, will be presenting a paper titled: “What’s Scripture Got to Do With It? Trinitarian Theology for the Future of Evangelicalism.”
  4. Gavin Ortlund, a former classmate of mine who blogs over at Soliloquium, will be presenting a paper titled: “Sonship and the Imago Dei in Genesis 5:3 and Luke 3:38.”

Those are just a few of the awesome papers you can look forward to hearing tomorrow at ETSFarWest2014. You can get the whole list of papers as well as the location and schedule here.