Vacation and study time

Shannon and I both love books.  We visit a wide variety of bookstores when we have time.  This vacation week was no exception.  The most interesting read that I had was a book by Anthony Flew entitiled, There is a God.  What made the book so interesting is that Anthony Flew has been one of the world’s most widely quoted athiests throughout all of the years that I have been in ministry.  It is a fact.  Anthony Flew now believes in a supreme being.  He is actually in touch with N. T. Wright who is the Bishop of Durham.  N. T. is a conservative, bible believing Anglican.  He is sharing with Anthony Flew and according to an appendix in the book has at least led Flew to greatly respect the Christian faith again.  Flew may put his trust in Jesus at some future point.  What a story that will be!   There is hardly any living student of atheism or agnosticism who has not quoted Flew or looked to Flew to help frame a philosophical basis for their unbelief.  Most of the current athiests such as Richard Dawkins are not nearly so schooled in philosophy and actually put forward very weak and unconvincing arguments in their presentations.  Even those who debated Flew in the past had to admit his prowess as one who could fashion an argument.  Flew often was obviously impressed with the rise of many intellectual Christian thinkers with whom he participated in debates.  I personally am inclined to think that each of them had some role in helping him process his own philosophy.  To his credit, Flew was intellectually honest enough to admit that he no longer could find a sound basis for rejecting the existence of God.  He still questions that God is interested in our daily lives.  He also is uncertain as to which, if any, religious expression of faith is accurate.  That is why it is so exciting that he respects N. T. Wright.  There is hardly a greater mind in Europe with whom he could dialogue.  N. T. Wright has written the most exhaustive scholarly treatment of the Resurrection of Christ to be found in the world.  He builds a strong basis for the idea of resurrection among the Jewish people and then expounds on the overwhelming body of evidence that underscores the bodily resurrection of Christ.  Wright is an Anglican, and represents a new kind of Anglican that may be emerging in the Christian world.  I am told that the Anglican Church in Africa also has some strong conservative voices.

   Finally, I should say that Anthony Flew grew up in the home of a Methodist minister.  Somewhere along the way his education undermined his understanding of God.  This need never happen.  When someone feels that they have outgrown God intellectually, they ususally have far too simplistic of an understanding of who God is in the first place.  Flew’s story is a reminder to be sure and intellectually engage our children as we teach them God’s word.  It is too bad that Flew’s parents could not have lived to see this day and to have read his new book.  Somehow I believe that God in His grace has allowed them to know what is going on with their very famous son.

Dan Wooldridge

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