Saturday, 2 August 2008

Andrew McGowan visit

Andrew McGowan will be at PTC next week and it should be fun. He has been in Australia for a week or so now enjoying some R&R. Next week he will be teaching an MA intensive on Covenant Theology. He wrote his dissertation on Thomas Boston and I expect Boston and the Marrow controversy will get a good run as well as the Torrance critique of covenant theology (which I know Andrew rejects). I am hoping to sit at the back of the class for most of the week and listen  in.

Covenant Theology is a strange beast for many people in Sydney evangelical circles. In my undergraduate training I was never exposed to it in depth, but rather to "Biblical Theology" (à la Graeme Goldsworthy). I value that approach and make constant use of it. But I never had sufficient exposure to classic covenant theology to be able to compare the two and think about their relationship. It has taken me quite a few years of working on all this to start to put it together in my own mind in a way which gives me some satisfaction. I feel like I can explain it in class sufficiently now days, and I have tried writing some pieces (none have seen the light of day yet). What I'll be interested to see the week is how students interact with Andrew's presentation and what biblical questions they raise and how he deals with them.

On Wednesday night Andrew will give the annual Ferrie Lecture. He will be looking at Charles Spurgeon and asking what lessons we can learn from this great preacher and pastor. It should be an interesting evening. It is on at St James Presbyterian Church Burwood starting at 7:30pm.

There has been a fair bit of controversy about Andrew's recent book The Divine Spiration of Scripture. Ian was positive about it when he read it a few months ago but there have been plenty of negative reviews. Rowland Ward gave a balanced but critical review and Guy Davies has a more positive though still wary approach. Doctrine of Scripture is not going to be the focus of the week, but I expect that we will hear a bit about Andrew's motivation for writing and his reflections on the responses.

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