My name is Jason Foster, and I'm very pleased to be a 'contributor' to this blog (I put 'contributor' in quotes because the degree to which I contribute anything useful might prove debatable). As you'll discover, I can be aggravatingly long-winded at times because I try to exercise care in what I say and how I say it. But I'm gonna try and be relatively succinct in introducing myself to you and giving you a working knowledge of the perspective I bring to this blog:
1) I received an MDiv degree from RTS-Orlando in May 2006. I say this not to brag, but in fact, to do the opposite. My years at seminary really impressed upon me the truth that the more I know, the more I come to realize how much I don't know. This is both the joy and frustration of being a finite and sinful human being pursuing greater understanding of our infinite and sinless God. This means that I don't believe my seminary degree makes me anything special, nor do I think my seminary degree should be used as a weapon of smug superiority. My practical adherence to this concept is imperfect, but it is an idea I try to operate with at all times.
2) I have been married for over 10 years now, and my wife and I are currently pursuing an international adoption. For those who have been through this process, you know how torturous it can be to try and adopt internationally. Right or wrong, now is not a good time to be adopting internationally as an American. We are learning this the hard way, and the pain it creates never really goes away. So any and all prayers would be appreciated.
The above are some things I am. Let me also briefly tell what I am not (this is where I start getting unpopular):
1) I'm not a hack for Calvinism. RTS-Orlando prides itself on being 'Reformed, but not angry', and I share this view. This means I don't want my posts to be angry rants, nor do I want to engage in the kind of visceral back-and-forth that too often accompanies theological discussions. This doesn't mean there isn't a place for heated debate on theological matters. It just means that there's more to theology than argumentation. I subscribe fully to Reformed Theology, which is way more than TULIP and election. If John Frame is right that theology is nothing more than the application of Scripture to life, all of us (Reformed and otherwise) need to be mindful of how we engage the topic of theology and what this engagement says about our own application of Scripture to life. Reformed people, above all people, should be very aware of the human element in theology and be prepared to constantly look in the mirror and reform our engagement with theology as necessary. This is what I try to do, and I think I've seen real growth in my walk with Christ as a result. I came into seminary as a harsh debater and a partisan. I left seminary with a much better awareness of the sinful tendencies I bring to my study of theology and the need to be constantly open to the idea that theology should be shaping me, rather than the other way around.
2) Because of the above, I do not exempt other Reformed writers/scholars from (hopefully) respectful critique. It's not just non-Reformed folks who sometimes misunderstand Reformed Theology. Self-described Reformed people do as well, and I don't exempt myself from this. So while I adore people like Calvin, Machen, Murray, Van Til, Vos, Ridderbos, Kline, Carson, Piper and Frame, I don't worship any of them and don't consider them above critique. Because of the Reformed bent I operate with, the places where I part company with these folks are infrequent and often on the margins. But nonetheless, Semper Reformanda applies to them too.
3) Lastly, I don't hate Arminians or their theology. Obviously, I dissent from Arminian theology and believe a Reformed understanding of theology is more Biblically sound. However, I have joined hands with Arminians in ministry, have prayed with them, and have been edified by the perspective they bring to the faith, even when I disagree. My 34 year old brother just recently became a Christian after years of not only being distant from God but self-consciously spurning God. If his theology can be classified as anything, it is more Arminian than anything else. Do I wish it was different? Yes. But I can tell you that compared to the way things were, I'm thrilled he's where he's at. Having a friendly conversation with my Arminian brother about the freedom of the human will is a great problem to have compared with where things were 2 years ago. It puts things in perspective.
So there you have it. I adhere to Reformed Theology but try not to be overbearing about it. I am grateful for the Reformed tradition and rely on it heavily, but I'm not a strictly party-line guy. I am seminary educated, but know that there's tons I don't know. I leave it to interested readers here whether my addition to this blog is a good thing or not, and whether anything I might say here will provide value. I'm glad to be here.