Theology for the Long Haul

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rob Bell's Emotional "Push-back"

In the link below Bell talks to the Washington Post about being misunderstood. While my heart goes out to him in his pain and frustration, two points come to mind:

1. The way his book was advertised was asking for controversy. I think Bell didn't think so many people would disagree with him. We can all be guilty of assuming that most Christians think just like us.

2. He seems to caricature his opponents (even in the video) as those who do not love, and who have no fruit... this too is slander. Not all but many who have reviewed his book have done so professionally and out of genuine concern.

Anyone who has served in pastoral ministry knows how it feels to be the object of criticism (I've been there). My prayer is that Rob comes to see the error of his assertions (posing leading questions while making the other side seem unbelievable is the same thing as making an assertion) and is consequently recieved and encouraged by Christians who are now showing him tough love.

These are just some brief thoughts from watching the video. Watch it and leave some of your own.

For reviews of Love Wins see "Love Wins Reviewed" below.

Finally Someone Who Gets The World Right

O.K. I'm being a little bit antagonistic, but it is somewhat true. I have been a Radiohead fan for years, not because they lift my spirit, but because they speak of the Godless world in it's reality. One thing that Radiohead does well (besides write awesome music) is yank the "rose colored glasses" off those who think the world is a good place without God. I wouldn't stand behind everything they say, but I find them to be more honest than some Christians. Have you heard the new album? What do you think?

Here is an article from the Gospel Coalition web site...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Blog and C.S. Lewis on Marriage

I found this new blog today... it's worth checking out. Below is a snippit from the post on marriage...

"...we hear Jesus' remarks about how the two most important commands are to love God and others as ourselves and think "How can love be commanded?" "Isn't it something that must be genuinely felt and not forced on another person?" While it is true that it shouldn't be forced, Lewis argues that it can be commanded since it is a matter of the will. This flies in the face of our popular view of love as purely emotional. I either feel like I love you, or I don't. However, the type of love in a marriage covenant is unconditional. This view of marriage commands both partners to love their spouse at all times. Even times we don't feel like it. This brings to mind a concept that I have been ruminating on for some time. It is what I call "The Discipline of Love."

Read the rest here...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trevin Wax's Thoughts on Bart Ehrman's Newest

Author Trevin Wax posted an interesting (albeit brief) review of Forged.

"Why read a book by Bart Ehrman? Here’s a former evangelical who attended Moody and Princeton before becoming the apologist against the Christian faith in our day. Every book Ehrman writes is intended to diminish a Christian’s trust in the reliability of the New Testament documents. Forged is no exception. But surprisingly, there are aspects of this book that are helpful to conservative evangelicals."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

5 Ways To Make Your Kids Hate Church

In our culture we see it time and again...parents who thought making their kids go to church would automatically make them Christians. By now I think we (parents) have come to realize that God expects more from us. Thomas Weaver has put together a helpful short-list for parents and future parents.

"[First] make sure your faith is only something you live out in public

Go to church... at least most of the time. Make sure you agree with what you hear the preacher say, and affirm on the way home what was said especially when it has to do with your kids obeying, but let it stop there. Don’t read your bible at home. The pastor will say everything you need to hear on Sundays. Don’t engage your children in questions they have concerning Jesus and God. Live like you want to live during the week so that your kids can see that duplicity is ok."

Read the rest here...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Key Trait of Succesful Teachers: Humility

This is a great post for those who aspire to teach. It reminds me (a little) of Fernando Segovia's critique of "learned impartation and passive reception."

"[Proud teachers]... desire to be “the star of the show,” working to impress students with their expertise and knowledge, all the while instilling in students a sense of insecurity at their own informational deficit. Ultimately this constructs a hierarchy of subservience with the teacher on the top and the students on the bottom, a comprehensive contrast to the model of Christ but quite in line with that of Pharisees."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Review of - The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the BIble in Nazi Germany

Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).

Susannah Heschel’s The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany, is both a fascinating and difficult read. While Heschel’s writing captivates the reader, the subject of her thesis concerns one of the greatest human failures to ever plague reality. For most contemporary persons the Holocaust is pushed to the past and any theology or hermeneutics that might have justified it ridden from remembrance. On a quest to bring to light ignored historical realities, Heschel delves deep into the forgotten halls and damp closets of Christian academic yesteryear. Her aim is to compel Christian scholars, leaders, and historians to deal with the under assessed implications of Nazi era scholastic dereliction.

Heschel makes clear from the beginning of the book that as the daughter of renowned Nazi-era Jewish Bible Scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel, she has some personal vestment in her research. In her acknowledgments Heschel recalls: “My childhood was filled with German-Jewish refugee scholars who vividly illuminated for me the intellectual world that was destroyed. I was to thank my father for conveying to me a taste of the Germany he experienced in the 1920s and ‘30s, and for constantly reminding me, ‘Never despair’!” (xvi)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Love Wins" Reviewed (Updated)

Rob Bell's new book has been keeping bloggers up late. Here are some reviews of the book by people who have read it. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Tim Challies (Author, Book Editor)

Kevin DeYoung (Pastor, Author)

Trevin Wax (Author, Book Reviewer) - this one is more about the evangelical reaction

Greg Boyd (Theologian, Pastor)

Richard Mouw (President of Fuller Theological Seminary)

Ben Witherington (NT Scholar) (Witherington is writing a post for each chapter...this might be the most thorough review online. Be sure to read them all)
Darrel Bock (NT Scholar) (7 Part Series)

Christianity Today (Book Review: Rob Bell's Bridge Too Far)

CNN Talks about Zondervan's parting ways with Rob Bell

D.A. Carson (N.T. Scholar) (his thoughts from the Gospel Coalition Conference)
                               Click below for MP3

Mark Driscoll (Pastor, Author)
Scot McKnight's article in Relevant Magazine

John Byron (NT Scholar) (5 Part Series)

Al Mohler (President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) (2 Part Series)

Timothy Tennent (President of Asbury Theological Seminary)(4 Part Series)

Scot McKnight (NT Scholar) (9 Part Series)

Michael Horton (Theologian) (9 Part Series)

Micahel Bird (NT Scholar and Blogger) (5 part series so far)

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Review of "Love Wins" by Someone Who Read It

"Questions matter. They can help you to grow deeper in your knowledge of the truth and your love for God—especially when you’re dealing with the harder doctrines of the Christian faith. But questions can also be used to obscure the truth. They can be used to lead away just as easily as they can be used to lead toward. Ask Eve.Enter Rob Bell, a man who has spent much of the last seven years asking questions in his sometimes thought-provoking and often frustrating fashion. And when he’s done asking, no matter what answers he puts forward, it seems we’re only left with more questions. This trend continues in his new book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, where Bell poses what might be his most controversial question yet:
Does a loving God really send people to hell for all eternity?"

Read the rest here...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beware of Your Search for Perfect Peace

This is one of the best articles I've read in a while. Anyone who has been in vocational ministry knows that church unity is a tricky matter. What questions should be asked? What compromises should be made (or not made)? How much diversity is good and healthy? These are the questions Schrock asks. Take a few minutes and read this'll be glad you did.

"When Jesus prayed for his disciples on the night before his crucifixion, he also prayed for every believer who would ever receive their message. Among his poignant requests, Jesus petitioned the Father for his followers to be one, just as the Son and his Father are one and have always been one (John 17:5, 24).

Yet when we look at the church today—local and universal—one wonders if the prayer got lost in transmission. Scripture prevents us from doubting the efficacy of his prayer (Heb 5:7; 7:24), but sometimes the unity for which he prayed and the disunity that we can see leave us perplexed. How should we understand the unity for which Christ prayed? A few qualifications and gospel-centered reflections may be helpful.

First, church unity does not mean the absence of strife. While Christ prayed for unity, he also prayed for the sanctification of his church (John 17:17). The need for sanctification assumes the presence of sin, and sin’s presence promises disunity. Jesus knew this and did not pray naively. He prayed knowingly for immature churches, persecuted churches, proud churches, churches filled with sinful people—churches like the ones Paul addressed and Jesus rebuked in Revelation 1-3. His prayer is what glues sinners together, and it is by design that conflicting sinners would dwell together. Why? Because Jesus uses the nagging sins of others to expose our own sins, creating opportunities to forbear, forgive, and fulfill Jesus greatest ecclesial instruction: Love one another (John 13:34-35). In this way, strife in the church that naturally leads to disunity has the possibility of refining the church when the underlying sin is confronted, confessed, and the gospel of grace is applied (Matt 18:21-35)."

Read the rest here...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Westminster Catechism Rap featuring D.A. Carson

This is worth the listen...even if only to hear Carson say "Westside"

Westminster Catechism Rap

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tim Keller: The Importance of Hell

I think this article from Tim Keller (author of Prodigal God & Reason For God) is an important contribution to the contemporary discussion on hell. Here is a the link below for the rest

"In 2003 a research group discovered 64% of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die, but less than 1% think they might go to hell. Not only are there plenty of people today who don't believe in the Bible's teaching on everlasting punishment, even those who do find it an unreal and a remote concept. Nevertheless, it is a very important part of the Christian faith, for several reasons.

1. It is important because Jesus taught about it more than all other Biblical authors put together. Jesus speaks of "eternal fire and punishment" as the final abode of the angels and human beings who have rejected God (Matthew 25:41,46) He says that those who give into sin will be in danger of the "fire of hell" (Matthew 5:22; 18:8-9.) The word Jesus uses for 'hell' is Gehenna, a valley in which piles of garbage were daily burned as well as the corpses of those without families who could bury them. In Mark 9:43 Jesus speaks of a person going to "hell [gehenna], where 'their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' " Jesus is referring to the maggots that live in the corpses on the garbage heap. When all the flesh is consumed, the maggots die. Jesus is saying, however, that the spiritual decomposition of hell never ends, and that is why 'their worm does not die.'

In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, "Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." He is speaking to disciples, some of whom will eventually be tortured, sawn in half, flayed and burned alive. Yet, he says, that is a picnic compared to hell. Clearly, for Jesus hell was a real place, since he said that after judgment day people would experience it in their bodies. Hell is a place not only of physical but also of spiritual misery.

Jesus constantly depicted hell as painful fire and "outer darkness" (Matt 25:30; cf. Jude 6,7,13,) a place of unimaginably terrible misery and unhappiness. If Jesus, the Lord of Love and Author of Grace spoke about hell more often, and in a more vivid, blood-curdling manner than anyone else, it must be a crucial truth. But why was it so important to Jesus?"

Read the Rest here...