Saturday, August 01, 2020

A Tribute To Guy Playfair

(I'll be making reference to the Enfield tapes of Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair. I'll use "MG" to refer to Grosse's tapes and "GP" to refer to Playfair's. So, MG90B is Grosse's tape 90B, GP87A is Playfair's tape 87A, and so on.)

It was a September 11, 1977 program on BBC Radio that convinced Guy Playfair to get involved in the Enfield case. Part of what he heard on the program that convinced him was the exhaustion that was evident in Maurice Grosse's voice. Playfair would later write, "I knew what Grosse could expect at Enfield. Sleepless nights, a great deal of constant confusion, and at the end of it all the same feeling of utter bewilderment. I had helped research several cases in Brazil…'Let me know if you get really stuck,' I said to Grosse as we left the meeting room of Kensington Public Library. I cannot have sounded very sincere…[A few days later] I happened to hear the [BBC Radio] programme while eating my Sunday lunch. It was dramatic stuff, and Grosse, who had not had a proper night's sleep that week, sounded really worn out….I rang Maurice Grosse and asked if he needed some help. He did, he said. And so, on Monday 12 September 1977, I postponed (as I thought) my holiday plans, and went along to the 'house of strange happenings.'" (This House Is Haunted [United States: White Crow Books, 2011], 23, 30) That September 11 radio program is in Playfair's collection of Enfield tapes (GP36B). On the program, Grosse's weariness is obvious, and so is the significance of the case. Grosse later told Playfair, "Well, I mean, if you hadn't have come on the case, it would have been bloody awful for me, to say the least." (MG20Bi, 36:06)

Grosse made that comment in November of 1977, which probably was the most difficult month of the case, largely because of Janet Hodgson's trance states. But even before that, Grosse had been sick for a while, and the poltergeist's embodied voice was to begin the next month, in December, which involved a lot of additional work. So, Playfair's assistance was beneficial on many fronts from the start.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The metaphysics of race

I haven't had the time to read Reformed philosopher Jeremy Pierce's ongoing series on the metaphysics of race (yet). It looks quite interesting. Here's the first post:

"Metaphysics of Race: Introduction"

Helm on Packer

Paul Helm's tribute to J. I. Packer, whom Helm calls "the most talented man that I ever met".

Likewise Helm's older piece on 'Fundamentalism' and the Word of God is worth a read. By the way, 'Fundamentalism' and the Word of God is currently about $3 on Kindle.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Why Gospel Authors Would Have Been Named Early

- Christianity wasn't a philosophical system of ideas that were being promoted independently of authority figures. Rather, it was a system founded on the authority of named individuals, starting with Jesus and going on to the apostles and other individuals who were named (Matthew 10:1-3, Mark 3:13-19, Ephesians 2:20, etc.).

- Luke's gospel opens with a reference to the significance of eyewitnesses (1:2), a concept that requires distinguishing among sources (differentiating between those who were eyewitnesses and those who weren't), which would include distinguishing among the authors of written sources. While authors could be distinguished without naming them, the use of names is more efficient and more common. The burden of proof rests on those who maintain that the gospel authors were distinguished without being named early on.

Monday, July 27, 2020

AD Robles responds to 9Marks's Jonathan Leeman about John MacArthur

While recently I've mentioned how I believe MacArthur's position in March will be used against him now that his position in July is to resist the unconstitutional demands of California, I do want to make clear that MacArthur's current position is the correct one.  For that reason, I want to highlight a response to the rather weak post Jonathan Leeman wrote for 9Marks criticizing MacArthur's latest stand against Californian overreach.  AD Robles does a good job of going over the main issues here:

The only thing I would add that is not in the video is just how flimsy I found Leeman's article to be.  By that, I mean that Leeman seemed to be trying to please every side while simultaneously trying to take a position against MacArthur, so it ends up being a real mash of chaos in the end.  The basic gist of Leeman's point appears to be, "MacArthur shouldn't have done that, but, I mean, I guess it's private judgment if you want to do it--but you shouldn't want to--but if you do it's okay, except that it's not."

Also, while Robles did mention this, I want to echo one of the more problematic arenas of Leeman's post.  Leeman said: "I personally wonder if defying government orders for the sake of a pandemic is the most judicious opportunity to exercise those muscles. The politics of LGBT tells me our churches may have more occasions to defy government requirements in years to come. Do we want to spend down our capital on pandemics?"  Robles spent a good deal of time critiquing the aspect of "capital" that Leeman references, so I won't belabor that point here.  I would merely add: "The politics of evangelical churches tells me that most of our churches won't bother to defy government requirements regarding LGBT issues, should they arise, given how many churches are more than happy to capitulate to them now."

So to conclude, while I did disagree with MacArthur's views in March, his current position should be defended, even against the rather weak and mostly incoherent attack Leeman gave.