A truly gratifying number of “hits” on the website for the Global Journal leaves us in no doubt that our online publication is filling a genuine need. But electronic numbers remind one of the sad case of the statistician who drowned whilst wading across a river with an average depth of three feet. More helpful are the e-mail messages we receive, such as:
“I have kept an eye on the journal and am pleased to see that its second issue is out. I thought the Guenther Haas article was particularly good and have passed it on to several people either through ‘snail mail’ or via link through e-mail.” (From a Ph.D., who, it will be noted, was careful to write Guenther [with umlaut], not Gunther; otherwise, we would certainly not have published his comment.)
I was directed “to your excellent new Journal on the Web. I received immediate benefit from Ed Martin’s piece on Theodicy. It provided me the grist for an examination (in light of Scripture) that I am conducting with my Sunday School class this morning on the dreadful events of this past week in Littleton, CO.” (From the Senior Director of Research and Development, Product Architecture, at Ericsson Datacomm.)
We trust that the present issue will be as helpful and relevant.
The lead article, by Dr William Dembski (Ph.D. in mathematics; second Ph.D. in philosophy; prolific author), is an archetypal model of how science and theology can and should be interrelated. It was presented at an annual European conference which aims to achieve such integrations: the Millstatt Forum, organised each summer by Dr Oliver Wilder-Smith, a medical specialist and son of the late, great creationist A. E. Wilder-Smith. (The Forum’s e-mail address is: OHWS@thenet.ch) Dr Dembski delivered his paper at the August, 1998, Forum, which took place in Strasbourg, France, following upon the two-week session of our annual International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism & Human Rights (www.apologeticsacademy.eu); on the same programme were your editor and law professor Phillip E. Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial. My first contact with Dr Dembski occurred more years ago than I want to admit (just before the Great Flood of Noah?) when he was a participant in one of our summer Strasbourg institutes. Now he is a member of a distinguished Christian think-tank in Seattle, WA: The Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture of the Discovery Institute. Their aim: “The Center seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.” (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.discovery.org)
Stephen Toulmin has been a potent force in bringing traditional metaphysicians and their ilk to a recognition of the importance of verification; in his The Uses of Argument, deeply influenced by the Analytical Philosophy movement, he argued that philosophers (and, by extension, theologians) would do well to employ jurisprudential models of reasoning. In this issue of the Global Journal, Donald T. Williams, a pastor with a Ph.D. in Mediaeval and Renaissance literature, critiques Toulmin’s Place of Reason in Ethics and argues for the objectivity of moral values. (Surely a worthwhile endeavour, particularly in the wake of the Clinton impeachment?)
No-one has done more than the late Jacques Ellul to highlight the need to apply theology to the problems of contemporary society. But his way of doing this has suffered from a weak Bibliology, an over-reliance on Barthian neo-Orthodoxy, and an annihilationist eschatology. Brian Lindsay Connell gives us an impressive analysis of Ellul’s endeavour to make theology relevant to late 20th-century secularism.
And, to be sure, we provide several reviews–not always in a complimentary vein. Our philosophy is that if a review offends no-one, it probably isn’t worth reading!
John Warwick Montgomery