David Westerfield

Theology. Culture. Technology.

Author: David Westerfield (Page 1 of 111)

Carrots and Sticks: The Underpinning of China’s Surveillance and Social Credit System

This is a fascinating article about the underpinning and foundation of China’s surveillance and social credit system and the systems engineering theories and methodologies that brought it about. I find it particularly interesting the author specifies the use of “carrots” (means of pleasure, getting at the desires and loves of the populace) and “sticks” (means of coercion, inflicting punishments on the populace for stepping out of line) to essentially control the masses. This has roots (though not one for one) in some things Aldous Huxley said in a lecture at Berkeley in the 1960’s about “scientific dictatorships” of the future. It’s worth listening to:

https://archive.org/details/AldousHuxley-TheUltimateRevolution

How Were You Saved? – Why the Five Solas (Still) Matter

There’s something about understanding your ancestral roots that gives foundation to understanding who you are and where you came from. Diving into your genealogical records and background can give you some form of a framework to knowing more about your identity, why you are the way you are in various ways.

The same can be said of understanding the nature of our salvation, or rather the nature of how we were saved.

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Five Solas of the Reformation: Southern Seminary

This was a theology conference put on by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on the Five Solas of the Reformation in 2015. Enjoy!

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Paul on Union with Christ – Sinclair Ferguson (Vimeo)

Sinclair Ferguson – Paul on Union With Christ (Main Session – Video) from Parkside Church on Vimeo.

The Means of Grace

I’ve had many people ask why I left the church that I did for a PCA church. Usually the question comes out of confusion as to why someone would leave such a great place. I grew up there and grew in my faith in incredible ways, served as a student leader, on the worship team, and men’s ministry, and what made it the most difficult to leave were the people. And I mean it has everything we needed: a church program for every stage, great, well-produced music (of which I was a part 😉 ), dynamic speakers, small groups, large groups, it’s like a picture of the larger church in the world! And most of all, the Bible is upheld as the sole, infallible, highest source for truth and life practice, and they preach the gospel from it. So why leave?

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Affectional Calvinism

Calvinism is natively experiential. Before it is a theological system, Calvinism is deeply affectional, God-centered, cross-magnifying religion. A man may loudly trumpet his adherence to the distinctive tenets of Calvinism, but if his life is not marked by delight in God and His gospel, his professed Calvinism is a sham. In other words, there is no such thing as “dead Calvinism.” Such is a theological oxymoron for one simple reason: Calvinism claims to be biblical religion, and biblical religion is not only profoundly theological, it is deeply experiential and engagingly affectional! Wherever men and women claim to be Calvinists, their lives and their ministries will pulse with life—the life of living, Spirit-inspired, Christ-glorifying, God-centered truth. – Ian Hamilton

Hosea: Judgment and Forgiveness

In studying Hosea this past spring at Trinity, it was hard for many of us. The constant language of judgment seems to take on a life of its own, and as gospel people, on this side of the cross and resurrection, we think, “What’s the point?”

I came across this passage in the scripture readings for Lent (found here): “My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.” Psalm 119:120.

The difficulty of the language around judgment in Hosea and other prophets lies for many not in the fact that it’s there, but in the continual, repetitive nature of it. “Okay, I get it,” we say. But that seems to be the point. The repetition is meant to drive into us a remembrance (because we so easily forget!), as it was Israel at the time, the nature of God’s holiness and the healthy level of fear this should invoke.

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SocialMedia’ing Ourselves to Death

“The average American teenager who uses a smart phone receives her first phone at age 10 and spends over 4.5 hours a day on it (excluding texting and talking). 78% of teens check their phones at least hourly and 50% report feeling ‘addicted’ to their phones. It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally. It is also no secret that social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are a primary gateway are usually designed to be as addictive and time-consuming as possible, as many of their original creators have publicly acknowledged.”

https://thefederalist.com/2018/01/10/apple-facebook-arent-going-save-us-smartphone-addiction/

Love Takes Practice

“While some of our habits are acquired by choosing to engage in certain practices (e.g., signing up for drivers’ ed. or registering for piano lessons), many are acquired without our knowing it. And this might happen especially when we are unaware of it. If we are inattentive to the formative role of practices, or if we treat some practices as thin when they are thick, then we will be inattentive to all the ways that such practices unwittingly and unintentionally become automated. We will fail to recognize that they are forming in us habits and desires, oriented to particular ends that function to draw us toward those ends at an affective, unconscious level such that we become certain kinds of people without even being aware of it.

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Covenant Versus Dispensational Theology

I recently had a good discussion with a friend about some of the reasons I left a Dispensational church for a Presbyterian church (PCA). I previously documented a number of reasons here in my journey, but I also wanted to look up resources that speak to the issue and found a few articles and sites that are worth perusing. It’s interesting to note that the major founders of Dispensationalism left Presbyterianism in particular.

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