Thursday, June 30, 2011
Over the course of the past decade I have noticed the rise and decline of churches that resist identifying their doctrines, history, or affiliations. I understand the temptation. In a world so divided as ours, a church can benefit from not being labeled. In one sense, I see the benefit. All denominational names and most theological identifications bring baggage. Some things might seem better left unsaid. But are they? Let's consider this...
Sally Christian comes to your church. She doesn't know what the church's doctrinal beliefs are but attends for 6 months, during which time she develops friendships and invites some of her other friends. One Sunday morning you give a sermon that reveals a belief that deeply concerns Sally. Now she is torn: Does she value the relationships she has made or her heartfelt conviction? Now she has to choose.
When a church doesn't identify its doctrine up front it can lead to two negative ends: 1) Confusion - no one really knows what is and what is not important to believe; and 2) attenders learn that relationships are more important than core beliefs. Unfortunately there are churches that propagate both of the above, but I think most churches without doctrinal statements simply don't think through all of the implications.
We must ask ourselves... what does our lack of clarification teach people? Is it worth it just to buck tradition and be seen as innovative? If your church is reacting you WILL attract reactive people. A sturdy house cannot be built on such a foundation. Let our houses of worship be houses of truth. As such, we can give direction to those who are disillusioned and burned. The blind cannot lead the blind.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I bought mine on a whim at the tail-end of my first year of college. I had become disillusioned with the freshman year party scene at Valparaiso University and Kansas’ lyrics were a fresh breath of truth, honesty, and need that resonated with me. After a week of listening to the CD, I was inspired to reread the New Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew, I was born again.
Because the album was instrumental in my salvation, I felt a deep connection with its artist, Jennifer Knapp. She became part of my story—a sister in Christ I deeply admired.
Then she came out.
It’s old news for most Christians. For me it has remained a fresh hurt. My “older sister” went her own way—I can no longer look up to her.
A few nights ago I was reading in 2 Samuel, where Samuel the prophet told Saul that [Saul’s] sin had caused the Lord to reject him as king. A portion of verse 35, chapter 15 reads, “Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul…” Immediately following, in verse 16 the Lord says to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul seeing that I have rejected Him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
I had to wonder about the pain that Samuel experienced watching the spiritual demise of his leader and king. It was enough to cause him to mourn long enough that God had to tell him to stop.
Jennifer Knapp is the Saul I have mourned for too long. Honestly, I think most Christians have mourned someone beyond the appropriate time. Often it’s the pastor who hurt them or the Christian who let them down. Sometimes it’s the disappointment of never finding a spiritual mentor to help them through the struggles and trials of life.
But I’ve decided for me, I can’t dwell on that anymore. It’s the young girls God’s brought into my life over the last year that have convinced me. There are already too many 30-somethings lamenting the loss or absence of a spiritual mentor, oblivious to the young eyes turned towards them in desperate need of the same thing.
So who’s your Saul?
Maybe more important: Will you become a Saul to someone else? If that’s the case, maybe the Lord is telling you as He did to Samuel, that it’s time to move on. Fill your horn with oil, and go.
Monday, June 27, 2011
2) The assumption that Matthew and Luke used Mark extensively as a source. ( I agree with this one, but keep my seat belt on)
3) The assumption that it took decades for Matthew and Luke to do this.
While there are scholars who date Matthew and Luke earlier, they are few. I find this to be disappointing on a number of levels, the greatest being that it doesn't seem smarter to me. While I would agree it is likely that Luke and Matthew both utilized Mark (as well as eyewitnesses and other written and oral sources) it is not necessary (or to me probable) that it would take 30 to 40 years for Matthew and Luke to do this (Most scholars would date Mark to the late 50s or early 60's AD). This assumption is often based on a theory that Matthew and Luke were written by communities rather than individuals (a theory that we have NO evidence outside of theory to support). I would agree with Martin Hengel, R.T. France, D.A Carson and others who would assert a more realistic relationship between the Gospels.
Regarding Jesus' prophetic teaching in Matthew 22: 7; 24:1-4, I am reminded of my post on naturalism from last week. If a scholar is a believing Christian, why would it be difficult to believe that Jesus spoke a prophecy that came to pass. Why would we attribute this statement to Matthew's apologetic, without the historical evidence to substantiate such a hermeneutic (some believing scholars have made concessions like this one so that unbelieving scholars could in good faith affirm their exegetical skills). I, for one, cannot reconcile such a naturalistic worldview with my faith or my mind.
Now, I'm not saying that Matthew and Luke could not have been written after the destruction of the temple, nor am I trying to marginalize friends who would disagree with me, but I do want to challenge students of the Bible to think for themselves and to not be afraid of challenging the long-held assumptions of the guild. This is how we progress. Fresh minds and new insights keep us all honest.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Here are the links
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
If the complexity of our human genome requires 10,000 original persons, how many persons does it take to pay for the sins of billions?
Why are Christians even tempted to be naturalists?
Is it possible to be a naturalist and a Christian?
Here is the tough question. If God was not able to birth humanity from an original couple made in His image, than is He able to save us by sending his Son to die on a cross? If believing in Adam and Eve is foolish, than belief that God came to the earth, lived as a man, died for our sins, and rose from the dead is far more foolish.
If you are a Christian, than you're faith and salvation are based upon some things that human beings will never be able to test,verify, or explain.
Believe me, I am not an advocate for ignoring new research. Christians need to deal with science's reasonable conclusions, but I am not willing to doubt the Genesis account because it is unreasonable. The very nature of miracles is that they do not make sense. If we don't serve a supernatural God, than we are fooling ourselves if we think that faith in God has any value at all.
Just my thoughts what are yours.?
Also, don't forget to read Tim Keller's article below.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Answer: Belief in evolution can be compatible with a belief in a historical fall and a literal Adam and Eve. There are many unanswered questions around this issue.
Before I share my concerns with this view, let me make a clarification. One of my favorite Christian writers (that’s putting it mildly), C. S.Lewis, did not believe in a literal Adam and Eve, and I do not think the lack of such belief means he cannot be saved. But my concern is for the church corporately and for its growth and vitality over time. Will the loss of a belief in the historical fall weaken some of our historical, doctrinal commitments at certain crucial points? Here are two points where that could happen."
Monday, June 13, 2011
The remark was that many Christians spend so much time discussing being born again, when the expression is only used once by Jesus. Jesus, he went on, talked about knowing God, following him, and taking the message of the knowing God to the world. Now the second half of this remark is correct."
Read the rest here...
Friday, June 10, 2011
Check it out the article and leave your thoughts for further discussion.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
"It is approximately the year 2790. The most powerful nation on earth occupies a large territory in Central Africa, and its citizens speak Swahili. The United States and other English-speaking countries have long ceased to exist, and much of the literature prior to 2012 (the year of the Great Conflagration) is not extant. Some archaeologists digging in the western regions of North America discover a short but well-preserved text that can confidently be dated to the last quarter of the twentieth century. It reads thus"
Read the rest here...
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
A helpful review from a solid NT evangelical scholar. Bock tackles each chapter individually, considers the textual and external evidence, and leads the reader to a more academically honest conclusion.
"...what is crucial to note is that the case is weakest where it is the most important, in the canonical books. Here Ehrman has “framed” the biblical materials. He sets up the biblical materials for a fall by saying look how often this was done later and by many both orthodox and not so orthodox, so it was a common practice. To get here in the canonical books, Ehrman dismisses external tradition, contradicts his own arguments about imminent expectation and the church’s self understanding about being in the last days, minimizes the influence of hymnic or traditional materials in these sources as well as any role for a secretary, constructs a portrait of conflict and diversity in the early church that the early sources do not support, and ignores evidence of the church having more structure early to set up supposed contradictions between biblical authors. This list of problematic factors is so long and Ehrman makes these moves so effortlessly that it is easy to see why an unsuspecting reader might think Ehrman has made a good case. My hope is that this review in multiple installments has caused one to pause and see that the case for forgery in the Bible is not at all as likely as Ehrman has contended. Contrary to Ehrman’s opinion, case, and hyped book cover, it is quite likely that after all the Bible’s authors actually are who we think they are. "
Read all the installments here...