Theology for the Long Haul

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Support a Budding Scholar!

Hello friends of HMH! have atattched a link (to the right) to my new Amazon Wishlist. I have compiled this list with various books that will either help me with my thesis or will support my efforts on a more general scale. All contributions will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Very Funny:12 Ways to Make Arminianism Cool Again

I found this a couple of days ago and needed to share it!

1. Petition Microsoft to make Arminian an actual word so that bloggers ranting about the pros and cons of Armenians don’t sound like complete racists.

2. Create a Stuff Arminians Like blog. Entries could include: love, freedom, and “secretly wondering if we’re not elect.”

3. Three words: Driscoll. Boyd. Cagefight.

4. Instead of the “Gospel Coalition,” we’ll form the “Gospel Welcoming Committee.”

5. Get Roger Olson some thick-rimmed glasses and a pipe and send him to Catalyst.

6. The Calvinists have their own flower, so why shouldn’t Arminians? But instead of TULIP (“total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints”) we’ll adopt the DAISY (depravity of all, atonement for all, inclusion of all, salvation is a gift,you can accept or reject).

7. Start referring to Donald Miller as “Arminian Donald Miller.” (I don’t know if he’s actually an Arminian, but it’s worth a try.)

8. To counter the “young, restless, and Reformed” movement we’ll create the “middle-aged, Arminian, and not-in-the-mood-to-argue ” movement.

9. Start a “I bet we can find 1 million people who don’t want to be predestined to hell” Facebook group.

10. Launch an Arminianism Awareness Day to address some of the common misconceptions about Arminians—that we think grace is earned, that we have a “man-centered” theology, that we’re all dispensationalists, that just because we lost that one argument with our Calvinist roommate back in 2003 we’re always wrong.

11. Calvinists make T-shirts that say “Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy.” Arminians can make T-shirts that say “Arminius is my homeboy…but not in such a way that I uncritically accept everything he teaches” (because we’re nuanced like that).

12. Keep talking about how real love requires freedom while extending kindness and grace to those with whom we disagree…because living your theology is more important than arguing it.
I found this list on Michael Bird's blog who borrowed it from Rachel Held Evans. Picture Mine

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Travel Plaza Tuesday: Come and Hear About the God Who Saves

-The conclusion to last weeks post "I Don't Want to Sell my Soul for a Prius" will appear in next weeks Travel Plaza Tuesday.-

Years ago, before our children were born, Phil and I went camping in a Michigan State park with some friends. On our last night there, I woke in the middle of the night to the sounds of something in our camp. Whatever the animal was, it rustled around the cleared area, pawed at the ground and knocked over the Tupperware container that stored some pots and cleaning supplies.

Maybe it was the heightened anxiety that night brings, or the fact that I have a propensity towards drama. Earlier in the day we saw a group of park rangers leave the camp station to pursue a black bear spotted around the camp. I think this may have played a factor. Whatever the case, as I lay in my sleeping bag and listened to the heaving breath of the animal just a few feet from our tent, I was terrified. Too frightened to move or even say Phil’s name. Fear filled every pore of my body, and it felt like an ice-cold hand was squeezing my heart.

Without the slightest movement, I began to cry out to God for mercy. My mind was flooded with my own selfishness, need for control, and rebelliousness against Him. His presence flowed over me, and tears began to fall. I saw clearly how often I sinned against the God I loved. As I repented and pleaded with God, it seemed unfathomable that if He did save us and we lived through the night—if the animal did not rip through the thin nylon barrier that separated us like I feared it would—that I would ever go back to behaving that way. I would walk out of the camp changed.

The obvious fact is we did survive. The animal left the camp. Morning came and the sun appeared. We broke down our tents, packed up the jeep, and headed back to Indiana. The memory of that night faded into the past.

During a study of Psalm 66 this week, the Lord brought it back to my mind. In the psalm, the writer says, “Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doings towards the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot.” He goes on to remind the people of all the Lord had done in their midst. He recounts the works of the Lord and makes the appeal, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.”

To be honest, I don’t know if the Lord saved me from death that night in the woods. Maybe it was only a raccoon scuffling outside our tent. But I do know He has saved me from death through His son Jesus. And in the same way that I forgot so easily about that Michigan night, the danger is to forget that everything I have received from Christ is a mercy and grace. I begin to live as a person entitled. While I didn’t deserve to walk out of the woods that day alive, I certainly didn’t deserve for Christ to die in my place.

But He did. And now my life should cry out this verse-

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.”

Monday, April 25, 2011

Greek Geek: Discipleship Insights from I Thessalonians 2:17

Ἡμεῖς δέ, ἀδελφοί, ἀπορφανισθέντες ἀφʼ ὑμῶν πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας, προσώπῳ οὐ καρδίᾳ, περισσοτέρως ἐσπουδάσαμεν τὸ πρόσωπον ὑμῶν ἰδεῖν ἐν πολλῇ ἐπιθυμίᾳ.

 But we, brothers, having been torn away from you for a very short time, in person but not in heart, to a much greater degree we have made every effort, with much longing, to see you.

In these verses Paul (with Silas and Timothy) is writing to the Thessalonians, whom he was forced to abandon prematurely due to persecution from religious zealots and some loitering "wicked men"(Acts 17:5-10). Paul, who viewed the perseverance of his disciples as his confidence before the Lord (I Thess. 2:19-20), was forced to leave Thessaloniki before he was sure that they would be able to make it on their own. The word translated here "being torn away" stems from a verb most often used to describe children who have been abandoned by parents or parents who have been bereaved of children. While it is difficult to translate these words into English, "torn away" seems to be the scholarly concession.

So What?

In my years as a Christian, I have seen more than a few traveling evangelists come and go. Some of them took the time to invest in the people they led to Christ (even if only through post-conversion correspondence), while others seemed to glide from place to place, two inches off of the ground, and without touching anything or anyone. How important is discipleship? How much time and effort should we devote to it? Well, if we follow the example of Paul, we will feel bereaved if we leave too soon. I have felt this bereavement because I have not always been obedient. How about you?

Resources used for this post
BDAG and NIGTC (Wanamaker)

Adrian Warnock and Rob Bell debate on Premier Christian Radion

Download the MP3 here...

Friday, April 22, 2011

There is no such thing as a Cross-less Christ!

I read this post from Micahel Kelly this morning, and thought it communicated a relevant truth...check it out!

"There is an ongoing discussion regarding professional athletes and the hall of fame for their respective sports. The discussion enters debate when an athlete should clearly be included in history because of their performance on the field, but they have some glaring incident or character flaw that plagued them during or after their career. Can such a person be admitted?

Some say yes – that the hall of fame’s purpose is to memorialize exceptional performances on the field. Their personal life is insignificant.

Historians argue the same issue when evaluating presidential terms. Sure, he did wonderful things in the world and for the economy, but is his legacy tainted by accusations of sexual misconduct and explosive anger?

I’m not here to answer either question, but allow it to illustrate a question about Jesus this Holy Week. For there are many who dearly love the teachings of Jesus in all their rebellious love and extravagant grace and audacious freedom, and yet do not want to talk about the cross. It’s an unfortunate period to the story of this great teacher, and so we would do better to play up the teachings and play down the blood and the guts and the gore."

Read the rest here...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Honor of Don Carson for Proclaiming the Gospel Unashamed

D.A. Caron was just honored at the annual Gospel Coalition conference for his contribution to Biblical Studies and to the furtherance of the Gospel. During the event Dr. Carson was presented with a copy of a new book being published in his honor (link to pre-order a copy below).

Purchase the book here...

Read the full article here...

Travel Plaza Tuesdays: I Don't Want to Sell my Soul for a Prius"

Lately I’ve had the urge to get some Christian bumper stickers. One that says, “1 Son + 3 nails = 4 given” and “In case of rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned”. The later will serve double duty, because many Christians not only ridicule bumper stickers about faith, they also laugh at people who read the Left Behind Series and believe in the rapture. If you haven’t guessed, my bumper-sticker-buying urges are a little reactionary.

At a small group meeting a friend of ours made the remark, “I don’t have to drink, smoke cigars, and join the Acts 29 Network to be cool.” I loved both his ability to poke fun at himself, (our church is in the Acts 29 Network) and the heart behind his comment. It acknowledged the present pull to be culturally defined, and his refusal to succumb to it. That’s the heart of my bumper sticker-buying urges.

There is an overwhelming pressure among Christians to be as instep as possible. We recycle and hit up the farmer’s market. You won’t find any Christian music on our iPods. It’s like the ultimate goal is to convince people around us we are appropriately hip, so we can later slide in we are also Christians. If we can win them over to us, maybe we can convince them Jesus is alright too.

The danger is a temptation to build identity around the world, rather than the Lord Himself. I’ve seen some people head in this direction and noticed that it wasn’t long before they no longer felt the need to tack “Christ-follower” at the end of “organic gardener, sushi-lover, and city-dweller”. That’s when the phrase, “I don’t want to sell my soul for a Prius” began to knock around in my head.

In Mark 10, we see the story of a rich young ruler who comes to Jesus, asking how to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus first instructs him to follow the teachings of the commandments. When the man responds he already does, Jesus says to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (vs. 21). It says the man left sad, “for he had great possessions” (vs. 22).

I’m nothing close to wealthy, but Jesus gives me a similar challenge. He asks if I need the acceptance of the unbelieving world. He asks if I would walk away sad before I would lay down my ability to function well in the culture. He asks if the reason I spend so much time trying to identify with the people around me is because it’s the better way to witness, or if it’s actually because I cannot say along with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

In the next Travel Plaza Tuesday I’m going to explore a couple ways Christians (myself included) get off base in an attempt to be culturally astute. I’ve come to the conclusion it will bear more fruit to rid myself of these things than buying a bunch of bumper stickers will.

*Note: Already someone has said, "But Corrie, you recycle. You like sushi". It's true. I even have an iPod (but it's loaded with Adventures in Odyssey episodes). I didn't make it clear enough in the post- the problem is not culture, the problem is finding identity in the culture. Next weeks blog will bring more clarity.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review of "Naked Spirituality"

"Many have talked in depth about the emergent church movement, so I won’t address that here. But like many precursors with dubious biblical warrant, there is some element of truth in many emergent critiques. McLaren—speaker, social justice activist, and former pastor—is no different. McLaren seems to understand that we are sinful people in need of repentance and confession (100). This is not the main thrust of the book, but he does devote two chapters to the necessity for acknowledging sinfulness in order to grow spiritually. This is a good thing. However, his solution for the repentant sinner leaves much to be desired."

Click below to read the rest of this quality review of Brian McLaren's newest written by Courtney Reissig

Thursday, April 14, 2011

D.A. Carson on "Love Wins"

Here is a N.T. scholar's take on Rob's use of Scripture

Click below to listen to or download the MP3 from the Gospel Coalition Conference

For more information on the Gospel Coalition visit

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy is He Who Doesn’t Drive Like a Fool

If you don’t look too closely, my red Ford Ranger looks a little bit like that red Mini Cooper Jason Bourne drove down that flight of stairs in The Bourne Identity (at least I like to think so). You’re laughing now, but if you were riding in the passenger seat you would be holding that handle above the window and praying for divine intervention. I AM A BAD DRIVER! I can’t tell you how many times my wife has had to remind me that we have children in the car, or that I don’t have enough life insurance. OK, I’m exaggerating a little but I think you get my point.

Why can’t I be second when the light turns green? Why do I have to see how many cars I can get in front of before the 3rd lane runs out? Why do I get so mad when two trucks take up both lanes of the highway (going 55 with their regulators wide open and talking on their cell phones)? This stuff makes me grind my teeth and think thoughts I would be ashamed if Jesus knew (uh oh). 

The other day I went to the dentist and he told me that I have cracked, that’s right cracked, a few teeth from grinding them. What is the matter with me? Something I’m coming to realize is that “bad driving,” at least for me, is a symptom of a bigger problem. When I really pause to evaluate my thoughts throughout the day, I find that I am all too often ruminating on some past offense, some unhealthy interaction, that guy who cut me off, or just something I am worried about. Working hard to get A’s in seminary, looking for a job, being a husband and father of two energetic boys, sleeping 6 hours a night, and working to make ends meet; feels like a lot some times. I’m thankful that God has always helped me to find time to spend with him (even if it’s in my truck in between work and school), but I realize that my mind is ruminating the rest of the day on thoughts far less noble, like: being first, satisfying some desire (I think I’m possessed by the demon of Taco Bell), comparing myself to others, and so on.

What it really comes down to (I think) is trust. Do I really trust God? Is He faithful enough that I don’t have to worry? Does He love me enough that I don’t have to ”beat people off the line” to feel valuable? Isn’t this why I drive like a fool? Aren’t I afraid that the rest of the world thinks they’re better than me, and I need to show them they’re wrong? I wonder what Jesus would say about all of this…

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9 NIV)

So what’s more important, that I get to the light first, or that I have peace? I don’t think it’s possible (for me) to have both. It’s not just about a momentary decision; it’s about the condition of my heart. OK, I’m going to place my secret desire to be a clandestine operative/stunt driver on the altar… from now on I’m pledging to drive like a man who has the peace of Christ.

Lord, help me to truly believe that you love me and that you have my best interest at heart. Please, fill all of the empty places that I try to fill with selfish thinking and living, and make me mindful of your nearness to me… that will be enough.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Travel Plaza Tuesdays: His Look of Love

by Guest blogger Heather Crouch

Recently, my husband and I went to see The Thorn (a musical adaptation of the passion story). Although it was very flashy with its acrobatics and pyrotechnics, the passion message was simple and powerful.

At one point in the show, Jesus was strapped to a post and was about to be beaten with the cat o' nine tails by a nearby soldier. All of a sudden, everything was quiet. The narrator (Thomas, aka “Doubting Thomas”) pointed out that Jesus was looking at the soldier that was about to beat him with the same love as the narrator had seen Jesus give to a child that he had held in a happier time.

It finally hit me.

Jesus truly and unconditionally loves each of us, even this man who was about to brutally torture him! Although I always knew this in my head, I felt like I finally felt it with my heart.

Being a parent has somehow taught me what "unconditional love" really means. If Jesus really loves me that much, how special am I to him?! I feel like I understand John 3:16 more. God loved us so much that he gave his son to save us. Not only that, but Jesus loved us so much that he willingly chose to turn himself over to suffer a gruesome and terrible death for us.

This Easter, let’s remember what incredible love God has for us that He sacrificed and suffered soo much just to save us!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Problem with Christus Victor

A thought provoking article from Mark Galli published in Christianity Today.

"Universalism is not the only topic in Rob Bell's Love Wins that deserves comment, though given the buzz, you'd think that's all he discusses. Among other things, the book also attacks "toxic" forms of substitutionary atonement, and advocates the use of a plurality of atonement theories. In this, Mr. Bell is repeating decades-old arguments in our movement, arguments that seem to be winning the day. One atonement theory in particular has exploded in popularity, in fact. Hardly an atonement discussion goes by that I don't hear an evangelical say they doubt the usefulness of substitutionary atonement and now favor Christus Victor."

Here is the link to the rest...

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Desktop Background

My wife makes fun of how often I change my desktop background. I guess it has to do with how much time I have to spend on my laptop everyday... I just like a change of scenery. Anyway, I thought maybe I would share some with you. Here is the one I am using now... the Scripture passage has been helping me keep perspective. If you like it, click on it and save it to your computer.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Travel Plaza Tuesday: A Kid at the Table

The second Sunday my family visited the church we currently attend, a group of children ran into the meeting area after the service. Like a skulk of fox, they tore around the room. A boy in baggy pants missing one of his front teeth was their leader. He headed straight for the bread used earlier in communion (it had been cleared away) and began to dole it out like a Peter-Pan-style-priest. No one will be surprised I later learned he is the pastor’s son. Good thing someone had already put away the wine.

That day, as I watched the kids eat bread, I thought about how joyful and full of life they were. It occurred to me this mirrored what the Lord had revealed to my heart about communion. In the past, I always held the torn piece of bread and little cup, and reflected on Christ’s death, His broken body, His blood poured out. It was a meaningful remembrance. However, only recently, when I became part of a church that celebrates the Lord’s Table weekly, I realized communion is less to do with a past remembrance and more to do with a living reality.

There is a powerful portion of scripture that spoke this to me.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves: we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.” (I Corinthians 4:6-12, NASB, Italics added for emphasis)

Previously, I thought of communion merely as remembrance of Christ’s death and sacrifice. However, these verses reveal that we carry around in our bodies the physical death and resurrection of the Lord. Communion is not a remembrance of an event that occurred, but recognition of living reality that I walk in everyday. It’s like a newly engaged woman who has a sparkly bright diamond on her finger. She looks down at it incessantly. Is it to remember the moment that she became engaged? While she may think of that day and its preciousness, it is not the reason she can’t take her eyes off the ring. She looks at it because when she does, her heart is reminded again that she belongs to another. And their lives are now entwined unto death. Taking communion is not a memorial of the day Christ died, but an act that displays a spiritual reality: as a born-again child of God, He gave me His life, and now I live in it.

I have experienced the dying and resurrection of the Holy Son of God in me. I am the new bride. Communion overwhelms me now. The bread and the cup are the largest, most gleaming diamond put upon my finger. There is so much joy in it.

Some weeks, when the service is over, I feel so full of that joy, I want to run through the meeting room with the kids.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Coming Soon: Travel Plaza Tuesdays

High Mileage Hermeneutics is doing something different.
When I was a kid, a long car trip could quickly go from exciting and fun, to long, monotonous, and frustrating. I have found Biblical academics to be much the same- a necessary and beneficial journey but at times too devoid of the everyday life and conversation of simple Christian living. 

A travel plaza stop on those long trips as a kid meant a chance to get some fresh air, stretch the legs, eat an ice cream cone...Travel Plaza Tuesdays will be a "pit stop"each Tuesday from anything academic. Posts will be reflections, devotionals, stories, a scripture.

Hopefully it will have the same effect that pulling over at a travel plaza always did- a renewed excitement for the journey.

Richard Hays on Why Christians Need Eschatology

An interesting review of Richard Hays' article Why Do You Stand Looking Up Toward Heaven? from Michael Bird.

"The church needs apocalyptic eschatology for the gospel’s political critique of pagan culture. The biting edge to Christian eschatology is that Jesus is the Lord to whom every leader and government will one day bow (Phil 2:9-11). Christian apocalypticism reminds us that Caesar’s power (in whatever form it takes) might claim to be totalitarian, but in fact it is transient. Christian loyalty to the Lord means resistance to the power, politics, and pleasures of the world around us. If we train our eyes on the ultimate reversal of fortunes then we will never become accommodated or complacent with the status quo in an injust world."

Here is the link to the rest...