Theology for the Long Haul

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Hermeneutic of Practical Obedience

One can use many interpretive practices and strategies when approaching the texts of Sacred Scripture. There are literally dozens of commentaries readily available on the internet and hundreds more in print and in bible software programs. Each of these commentaries is informed by its own distinct worldview and theological commitments. Some of these are even written by the founders of broader Christian movements (e.g., Luther, Calvin, Wesley).

The image we have of studying the bible may be of a great stack of books close by. Frequently books are consulted, frequently notes are taken on a pad of paper or written in the margins of the bible. This is an in-depth process leading to the acquisition of much knowledge.

This was my model for understanding scriptural study until recently when I picked up a copy of Todd Hunter’s Giving Church Another Chance and began reading. Throughout his book, time and again, Todd returns to the idea of practical obedience to Jesus as a pattern for life. For Todd, if knowing the teachings of Jesus is important, then living them out is even more so. At one point he challenges the reader to consider spending as much time planning how to live out a scriptural passage after reading it as consulting resources to understand it.

I like Todd’s challenge because I see the truth in it. As the common saying goes: “the Christian life is not just about information, but also transformation.” Belief and action are required for a holistic practice of the faith. How can this insight renew out personal bible study? Can a hermeneutic of practical obedience (i.e., reading the bible with attention to acting on its truths in daily life), lead to greater discovery of the abundant life that God has for us? I think that it can. Perhaps this is a new way to invite God into our lives and to offer up our time and energy as worship to Him.

Posted by Jacob, who regularly blogs at Inter Christianos.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Each year I look forward to Thanksgiving Day- spending time with family, shopping, and eating so much food that I can no longer sit comfortably in any position. Sure traffic’s bad but that’s just another opportunity to show my wife my Jason Bourne-style driving skills. Yup, I love Thanksgiving.

This year God reminded me of something especially great to be thankful for. .. His return. My family is busy with preparations for Corrie, our boys, and my visit. I can tell that the preparations haven’t been easy; They cleaned out the guest room, set up two beds, bought a mattress, and installed a TV (so the boys can watch Toy Story 3). Doubtless, the preparations haven’t been easy but I’m certain if you asked my parents, they would tell you it was nothing. Why? Because for them it was an act of love. This act of love from my parents to my family made me think of John 14:1-3

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

In this passage Jesus expressed what was on His mind as His death and departure approached. He understood (unlike his disciples) that He was leaving soon, and was already contemplating the day when they would be with Him in His heavenly paradise. So what has Jesus been doing since that day? He has been preparing a place for us. The imagery here is that of a first century Jewish groom-to-be who is building a room onto is Father’s house for He, his bride, and his family to live in. In the same way, Jesus is building a room for us, and when He is finished He will return to take us there.

This Thanksgiving as you gather with family and friends, remember that you have a Father in heaven; and as you feast with your loved ones, remember the feast to come and those who will be there. Remember, above all, that you are deeply and passionately loved by a Savior who is joyfully and expectantly preparing a place for you. He hasn’t left you to the vices and pains of this life. When the time has come, He will come for you and take you to be with Him. Thank You Jesus. Come Lord Jesus!

Corrie asks you to pray that my driving this weekend doesn’t make that time come early for our family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Justification Debate Long Overdue

A great synopsis of the Justification presentations at this years Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) meeting. Essays were presented by N.T. Wright, Tom Schreiner, and Frank Thielman. Check them out and leave your thoughts. What is your take on the Justification debate?

A Justification Debate Long Overdue

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some Reviews of the NIV 2011

Here are some (UPDATED) links to a few scholarly reviews of the new NIV. Please let me know of any posted reviews that I haven't included so I can add them.

Read the new NIV, the translator's notes, and relevant discussion posts here.

An interview with Doug Moo (translation committee chair)

A Radio interview with Denny Burk

Trevin Wax's blog

Craig Blomberg's blog

Review by The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood

Ben Witherington's Review

Kevin DeYoung's blog

SBC Voices Review (Southern Baptist Convention)

Some great info graphic (including the one below)

A Better Inforgraphic - The Bible is Very Consistent

A Better Inforgraphic - The Bible is Very Consistent

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why Fast Company & Sam Harris Need To Do Their Homework

"The claim that the Bible is full of contradictions is ignorant, at best, of Christian theologies of scripture. But it seems more like an intentional misrepresentation, which is prejudiced propaganda, of what Christians actually believe about the Bible. This claim by Project Reason is intellectually disingenuous..."

Matt Perman (the What's Next Best Blog)also chimed in on this one...

The Future of Justification

Here is the link to a FREE PDF copy of John Piper's newest book on Justification (written in response to N.T. Wright). For me, I think both have good things to say. While Piper gives a solid reinforcement of the traditional (and I think Biblical) view of Justification, Wright adds valuable insights that challenege the church to recognize some of the broader implications.

The Future of Justification: "The Future of Justification on"

Here also is a link to some essays on Justification by N.T. Wright

Why Sound Doctrine Leads to Effective Action for Good

Why Sound Doctrine Leads to Effective Action for Good: "Why Sound Doctrine Leads to Effective Action for Good from the Desiring God blog."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

With God, It Gets Much Better

An inspiring testimony about how the love of Christ changes things and brings about lasting peace.

With God, It Gets Much Better

Check out these comments by Scot McKnight in his post "Choosing Celibacy"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Updated NIV on 1 Tim. 2:12

This is an interesting article from Prof. Denny Burk (complementarian). Be sure to read Doug Moo's comment.

No Pass from Theological Responsibility — The BioLogos Conundrum

An seasoned response to Biologos from Albert Mohler. I like his point (below)about our need to authenticate "evidence of the Spirit." Whether you believe in an old or a young earth, I think we can all see the problem with this assertion from Mark Sprinkle.

"In his article, Dr. Sprinkle uses the account of Peter and Cornelius from Acts 10 to argue that “our theology is descriptive, not prescriptive; it is our collective and halting attempt to describe in coherent terms what we know of God by what we have seen of His acts and what we have read in His Word—and, above all else, by what we have seen in the acts of the Word, Jesus.” That argument points very clearly in the direction of minimizing theology and doctrine, but it is also false. Unless a church forfeits all doctrinal responsibility, at least some theology is always prescriptive.

But theology, he argues, “is put to the test not just by our logic, but by the witness of what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others around the world.” He then states this: “Evidence of the Spirit at work is the only true measure we have of our theology; all other measures, including whether it fits our carefully-reasoned arguments of who is in and who is out, are vanity.”

That is an interesting statement, but it is nonsensical unless there is some means of evaluating what is and is not authentic evidence of the Spirit at work. And that, of course, would mean some kind of biblical and theological test. The effort to escape theology gets us nowhere."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Should Pastors Get PhDs?

I thought this video was thought provoking, even if it is a little reductionistic.I didn't know John Piper had a research degree, but evidently he has one in Theology/New Testament from the University of Munich. According to his curriculum vitae He was also an Assoc. Prof of Biblical Studies at Bethal College in St.Paul, Minn. before he entered the pastorate.

Check out the video, than leave your thoughts.

Should pastors get PhDs?: "Should pastors get PhDs? on Desiring God"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Which Kingdom Are You Living For, Really?

"The Good News is packaged and marketed (using, uncritically, all techniques of modern advertising) as a religious product: offering "peace of mind," "how to get to heaven," "health and prosperity," "inner healing," "the answer to all your problems," etc. What is promoted as "faith in God" often tums out to be a means for obtaining emotional security or material blessing in this life and an insurance policy in the next. This kind of preaching leaves the status quo untouched. It does not raise fundamental and disturbing questions about the assumptions upon which people build their lives. It does not threaten the false gods in whose name the creation of God has been taken over; indeed it actually reinforces their hold on their worshippers..."

The Costume Kingdom: "The Costume Kingdom from the Desiring God blog."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When Life Begins

"The ultimate battle in this is who's a person and who's not a person. If you can divide people out of being a person, you can do anything you want to them. At the beginning of life and at the end of the life..."

When Life Begins | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

How Can We Vote to the Glory of God?

How Can We Vote to the Glory of God?