Thanks for taking time to visit my blog, Continually Sharpening. This name comes from Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (NIV).
As an evangelical Protestant theologian, my goal is that as I study, teach, and progress in my academic theological career, I will have my theological views continually sharpened and refined. I don't claim to have everything figured out perfectly, and I never will in this life, but I hope that my views will be progressively sharpened and become more and more Biblical and in alignment with the truth.
And hopefully along the way, I can help sharpen others' ideas about Christian theology as well (yet in a way which is gentle, humble, and not at all sharp). I care very much about teaching people to think for themselves, to examine their beliefs critically, and to not just believe something because someone said it, but to think through claims and weigh them carefully in light of Scripture, reason, experience, and tradition.
This blog is where I post interesting insights that I come across in my studies which are relevant to my areas of theological interest, or that I have found personally helpful in my spiritual development, with the aim of further helping me refine my views, and to help others be theologically sharpened by reflecting on these ideas also.
You can use RSS reader software to follow my blog. I do not have a newsletter or subscription service at this time.
For those who are interested in a short biographical sketch, here's the main points about me that you'll find are relevant.
Let's begin with my academic details:
- I am currently in the PhD program at Toronto School of Theology, Wycliffe College, in Toronto, Canada, studying in the field of systematic theology. However, my views expressed on this blog are my own.
- I hope eventually to teach Christian theology in a seminary or university, write some books, and do whatever else God calls me to do along the way.
- My current major research interest is on the 18th century American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards, and his views of predestination. I am attempting to discover the reasons why he held to the typical Calvinistic views on predestination (e.g. that God eternally predestines people to heaven and hell before any consideration or foreknowledge of their personal choices) when I believe it is fundamentally inconsistent with other major areas of Edwards's philosophy and theology.
- My broader areas of theological interest include theodicy, theories of providence and predestination, eschatology, Biblical inspiration, theological methodology, Biblical prophecy, creationism, and Christian apologetics. Also, Biblical interpretation as far as it is necessary for accurate theological claims related to the above areas.
- My first theological degree was a Master of Theological Studies from Tyndale University College and Seminary, located in Toronto, Canada. My thesis was titled "An Analysis of Clark Pinnock's Open Theism as a Potential Solution to Theodicy", completed in August 2015. You can download a free .pdf of this here.
- Before studying theology, I achieved a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. I worked in the aircraft simulation industry for five years before feeling the call to switch careers into theology.
- If you're interested in my professional academic achievements, here is a downloadable .pdf of my teaching philosophy and my CV.
Since it's always helpful to know the influences on a person's Christian beliefs when considering what they say, here's some details about my theological background:
- I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, where my parents felt the conviction to raise me in Christianity from birth, for which I am truly thankful and blessed.
- I have attended churches in a variety of denominations over the years, including Nazarene, Vineyard, Mennonite, Wesleyan, Associated Gospel Churches of Canada, and currently, Baptist (Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec). I am not overly committed to one particular denomination, although I do find Baptist to be a good fit for me right now.
- I am a broadly evangelical Protestant Christian, and currently I would label myself as part of the "Free Grace" movement.
- I do hold to Biblical inerrancy, in the terms defined by the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. When doing theology I always strive to put Scripture first, above reason, experience, and tradition, although I recognize these others always inevitably play a role in theology, as no one can interpret Scripture independently of these things. If there is a conflict between what God has revealed to us in Scripture and what philosophy, science, or history claim, then I will always side with Scripture, and will wait for human knowledge to catch up to it.
- When it comes to questions of providence and predestination, I am at least in agreement with Arminianism, but very interested in Open Theism.
- I hold to the first six Ecumenical Councils and the creeds they produced, such as the Nicene Creed, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Chalcedonian Definition of Faith.
Publications and Presentations
Here are some of my recent publications and presentations:
- My presentation at the 2016 Wesleyan-Pentecostal Symposium held at Tyndale University College & Seminary in Toronto, ON. Titled "Comparing Arminianism and Open Theism on Theodicy: An example of How Experience Affects our Preferences for Theological Systems". You can download a free .pdf here or listen to the free audio recording here.
- Zeeb, Janelle. "Open Theism and the Problem of Theodicy." Churchman 130, no. 4 (Winter 2016): 299-317. See the Churchman Journal page here.