Friday, February 26, 2010
First, justification is not in any sense a self-generated experience. The passive voice—”I have been crucified with Christ”—implies an external agent, a divinely initiated action. As Paul says in Gal 3:1-5, he “exhibited” Christ crucified, the Galatians received the Spirit, and they responded with “faith.” This can only mean that the Spirit somehow effected the Galatians' experience of co-crucifixion and co-resurrection. We cannot here solve the mystery of divine initiative and human response, but we must rule out any semi-Pelagian or Pelagian interpretation of faith (and specifically co-crucifixion and co-resurrection) as something that initates or effects one's own salvation.
Second, justification is not a private experience but a public and corporate one...
Third, justification is an experience of both death and resurrection, and both must be stressed. But the resurrection to new life it incorporates is a resurrection to an ongoing state of crucifixion: I “have been” crucified means I “still am” crucified. Therefore, justification by faith must be understood first and foremost as a participatory crucifixion that is, paradoxically, life-giving (cf. 2 Cor 4:7-15).——Inhabiting the Cruciform God, pp. 69-70
I really like this: "justification is not in any sense a self-generated experience." It is all God from beginning to end. I like to say that you can tell a lot about a person by whom they have as the subject of their sentences...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Are you starting to get the picture? Death to self = alive in Christ. Real life, vibrant life, real freedom, true freedom. All available to us here and now through Christ, as long as we are in Christ
But, where was God? He still didn't answer that until today when he—well, I'll let him tell it in his own words:
God often speaks through the contrarian voice, the voice questioning all our assumptions, challenging our most basic ideas, the ones we take for granted. Even as the sons of Eli defile the women of the sanctuary and despise the Lord’s offerings (1 Sam. 2:29) we, the readers, know that these two men had a death-warrant on them, straigh from God. I once practically emptied a room full of clergy by preaching a sermon on 1 Samuel 2:25b…”for the Lord was minded to slay them.” Two clergy whom God wanted to kill! Admittedly, presumptuous for a young man, but God had a strong opinion about these two, and when Eli failed miserably at confronting them, God brought the Mysterious Stranger to remind them that long ago, he had revealed his truth. God is often in the last voice we really want to hear, reminding us of truths we have never really found false, just been false to…
God is also present in the form of his call to a young man, Samuel. He lived at the epicenter of the corruption and degeneration of Israel. In a mongrelized sanctuary, in a messed up liturgy, among corrupt or indifferent priests, one young guy hears God’s voice. Eli has been awakened just enough to know in the voices coming to Samuel, God is at work. Eli at least remembers how one is supposed to answer when God calls. That much we can give old Eli. At least when confronted with the real thing (for the second time!) he knows how to tell the kid what to do.
And last…that captured ark, hauled off to Philistia…God is present in his ark! I love this. When the Israelites tried to manipulate the ark for their own purposes, it was just a funky box. But as soon as it arrives in Philistia, the ark declares war! You can read about it 1 Samuel 5-6. While the Israelites are moaning and groaning in defeat, the ark is cleaning out a Philistine temple, scoring two knock-downs and a KO against Dagan, the Philistine corn-king deity. Then the ark books itself a free trip back to Israel courtesy a couple of Philistine milk-cows! It’s almost comic.
A beat-down, hurting, praying woman; a cranky, contrary stranger saying all the inconvenient stuff; a kid swimming alone in a sea of corrupt mediocrity and outright evil, learning to say “Yes, Lord” for the first time; A sacred artifact that is more alive than anyone realized, that still serves God’s purposes (not his peoples!)…
God, it seems, is busier than we had realized. We just have to look in the right places.
We frequently are looking in the wrong direction—usually because "God is often in the last voice we really want to hear, reminding us of truths we have never really found false, just been false to…"
Good stuff to chew on...
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The first one is for the new gardener. If you have never gardened and are scared, this is the one for you. Personally, I think he is a little too full of himself, but his ideas are good:
All New Square Foot Gardening
If you have gardened for a while and want to increase the season a bit (like all year!), then this is the book for you:
Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables From Your Home Garden All Year Long
I read the earlier edition from the library and am now reading the newer edition. This book has so many good ideas that I had to either write almost the whole book on note cards, or buy it. I bought it :)
What about you? Have a favorite gardening book? Or, do you disagree with my choices?
I frequently say that people want to go from Romans 5—freely justified by faith—to Romans 8 without going through Romans 6—buried with Christ. We want the benefits, but we don't want to die. I think Gorman is correct here; without death, there can be no resurrection and new life. After all, if the old life is still living, why would you need a new one?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This is central to Gorman's thought. I think he is correct, but the last 200 years of cheap grace have dulled this concept for the majority of Western believers.
What do you think? Have you heard a sermon on death to self recently? I know I have heard occasionally about taking up your cross, but usually that just means you have to endure a bit of discomfort—which is not what the gospel writers had in mind. In the ancient world, the cross had but one purpose: death!
A History of Jews and Christians from the Babylonian Exile to the Advent of Islam
by Leo Dupree Sandgren
Hendrickson Publishers, 2010
xxiv + 835 pages, English
Paper, 6 x 9
List Price: $34.95
Your Price: $29.71
This is a monster of a book, size-wise, and it even includes a CD in the back with the text of the book in PDF format! At the price, how can anybody not pick this up if they are interested in the subject matter?
I have no idea when I will get around to reading this, but when I do, you will hear about it :)
Talking about size and good deals reminds me, this just arrived late last week:
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha:
Apocalypic Literature and Testaments
2 volume set
Edited by James H. Charlesworth
Hendrickson Publishers, 2010
1056 pages, English
Paper, 6 x 9.25 inches
List Price: $69.95
Your Price: $39.87
Another great deal! Sure beats the hardcover price...now all I need is the time to read them all!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Just like cheap credit, cheap grace is alluring. But, in the long run, again, just like cheap credit, it will eat you alive. It isn't real and, so, it can't save or transform.
You are supposed to press the cheese for 20 minutes at 20 pounds of pressure. If you have a fancy $250 + press, that is easy. My $5.00 one relies on me adding weight to the top. Well, I know that a gallon of water weighs about 7 pounds, so that means 3 gallons of water. I proceeded to balance 3 gallons of water on a 2 x 4 on top of a 10 x 12 frame on top of a 2 x 4 placed vertically. It worked! After that, you flip the cheese and increase the weight to 40 pounds. That was easy; I just put a 40 pound salt bag on top. Well, it didn't quite work out so nice; the bag tipped and one side of the cheese had more pressure than the other. After an hour, you flip again and add 50 pounds. That took some figuring, but I finally came up with a criss-cross of 2 x 4s that allowed me to put 7 gallons of water on it. But, it fell over after about an hour :( I finally put the 40 pound salt bag back on and just added 2 hours to the time. The cheese came out looking beautiful.
I put it on a mat to dry in my study. It needs to dry for a few days before waxing and then aging for about a month. About halfway through Sunday, my curiosity got the better of me so I cut it in half and sliced off a nice chunk to try. Hmmm, not bad. It tastes like colby, but milder. I think it might be OK after aging a bit.
On the mozzarella front, Jim and Shannon came over Saturday evening and we made another batch. Delicious, the best batch so far. I think mozzarella sticks are going to be a staple around here! So much fresher—and they even squeak as you eat them. That's the real test of freshness!
Friday, February 19, 2010
This is a much more robust, participatory, and costly understanding of justification than one often finds attributed to Paul. It does not, however, in any sense whatsoever reduce the need for, or meaning(s), of Christ's death as God's gracious salvific act on our behalf while we “still were sinners” (Rom 5:8) and were “dead through our trespasses” (Eph 2:5). Nor is justification by co-crucifixion a form of self-justification or justification by “works,” for it is only by grace and the work of God's Spirit that co-crucifixion is possible. What justification by co-crucifixion will imply, however, and not surprisingly, is that a theological rift between justification and sanctification is impossible, because the same Spirit effect both initial and ongoing co-crucifixion with Christ among believers, a lifelong experience of cruciformity, or, in light of chapter one, theoformity—theosis.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 40
I like this, "a theological rift between justification and sanctification is impossible, because the same Spirit effect both initial and ongoing co-crucifixion with Christ among believers." That sums up my view pretty well.
...amidst all our concern about attacks from Muslim terrorists, we have plenty of our own home grown murderers to be more concerned with. It wasn’t Muslims who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City. And Mr Stack doesn’t appear to have been a Muslim either.
America, perhaps it’s time to look at the cancer within and uncover its cause so it can be cured. Or to use a biblical image- perhaps we need to look at the beam in our own national eye before we try to clear out the speck in the eye of Islam.
Let's expand on that a bit...You can claim that the Muslim attackers are motivated by religion, and the one yesterday wasn't. But, wasn't it really religiously motivated? I submit that his god was money—and he didn't have as much as he wanted. Take a step back and think about it. Where were the 9/11 attacks aimed? At the real gods of the U.S.: Money and military might. They didn't waste their time on the Statue of Liberty or other symbols that we claim are important; no, they attacked the real gods in our culture. They saw more clearly than we do as to what is really important to us.
Don't you think it is time we repented?
I agree with the monk in Normandy who, in 1170, wrote that “A monastery without a library is like a castle without an armory. Our library is our armory.”
This means we should engage in building it, fortifying it, at every opportunity. When I was in graduate school, I recall one of my professors saying that we should have a line-item in our budget for books. That building a good library is one of the most important things we can do in ministry and for impact.
I tell my own graduate students the same thing - to invest in books. They are our tools. A mechanic has his set of wrenches; a doctor has his stethoscope; a chef has his cookware. Those of us in ministry, or scholarship (and ideally they are joined at the hip), have our books...
The great concern of George Orwell, as conveyed in his novel 1984, was of a day when there might be those who would ban books.
Aldous Huxley’s portrait of the future in Brave New World was more prescient; Huxley feared that there would be no reason to ban a book.
There would be no one who wanted to read one.
Interesting that the people in Brave New World substituted drugs and sex for reading. Or, how about Fahrenheit 451? They substituted entertainment for reading. Take your pick, either one describes our culture quite well, doesn't it?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
BookNews from Eisenbrauns
For the next 10 days, I am taking a risk: these books are
all Eisenbrauns titles that I have read from cover-to-cover
in the last 12 months, give or take a month or two. It doesn't
include any that I have read a chapter or two in, that list
would include most of our recent books.
Got a better list? Why not submit your own to me for a future
sale consideration? It has to be Eisenbrauns titles, and you
have to have read them from cover-to-cover, although it doesn't
have to have been in the last 12 months.
As always, all sales on this web sale are final; no returns
will be permitted. Offer is good only on orders placed at
www.eisenbrauns.com through February 28, 2010.
To go directly to the weekly sale, click on this link:
"Cult and Character: Purification Offerings,
Day of Atonement, and Theodicy"
by Roy E. Gane
Eisenbrauns, 2005. Cloth. English.
List Price: $49.50 Your Price: $34.65
"Critical Issues in Early Israelite History"
Edited by Richard S. Hess, Gerald A. Klingbeil, and Paul J. Ray Jr.
Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement - BBRSup 3
Eisenbrauns, 2008. Cloth. English.
List Price: $44.50 Your Price: $31.15
"War in the Bible and Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century"
Edited by Richard S. Hess and Elmer A. Martens
Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement - BBRSup 2
Eisenbrauns, 2008. Cloth. English.
List Price: $34.50 Your Price: $24.15
"Bridging the Gap: Ritual and Ritual Texts in the Bible"
by Gerald A. Klingbeil
Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement - BBRSup 1
Eisenbrauns, 2007. Cloth. English.
List Price: $39.50 Your Price: $23.70
"Chosen and Unchosen: Conceptions of Election in the
Pentateuch and Jewish-Christian Interpretation"
by Joel N. Lohr
Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures 2
Eisenbrauns, 2009. Cloth. English.
List Price: $39.50 Your Price: $27.65
"The Eden Narrative: A Literary and Religio-Historical
Study of Genesis 2-3"
by Tryggve N. D. Mettinger
Eisenbrauns, 2007. Cloth. English.
List Price: $29.50 Your Price: $17.70
"Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan:
The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context"
Edited by Ron E. Tappy and P. Kyle McCarter Jr.
Eisenbrauns, 2008. Cloth. English.
List Price: $37.50 Your Price: $22.50
"The Biblical Saga of King David"
by John Van Seters
Eisenbrauns, 2009. Cloth. English.
List Price: $49.50 Your Price: $34.65
It certainly is counter-intuitive; the mind can't really grasp it. But, to call it idolatrous? But, when you think about it, it is creating a different God than the biblical one. And that is definitely idolatry.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Although Messiah Jesus was in the form of God, a status people assume means the exercise of power, he acted in character—in a shockingly ungodlike manner according to normal but misguided human perceptions of divinity, contrary to what we would expect but, in fact, in accord with true divinity—he emptied himself and humbled himself.
In this reading, Christ exercised his deity. What is out of character for normal divinity in our misguided perception of the reality of the form of God is actually in character for this form of God. That is, although Christ was in the form of God, which leads us to certain expectations, he subverted and deconstructed those expectations when he emptied and humbled himself, which he did because he was the true form of God.—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 27
We just don't get it, do we? It is too radical, too incomprehensible to us. But, so like God!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Others may boast of themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into a deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or may have a legacy left to them, or may have luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.
I like that, conformatio Christi. And, we definitely can not be in Christ unless we are being transformed and conformed to Christ. I'm really liking this book...
Monday, February 15, 2010
In a careful analysis of the text to determine the validity of this theological interpretation, the question arises—answered affirmatively by a line of exegetes from C.F.D. Moule to N.T. Wright, Gerald Hawthorne, Markus Brockmuehl, and Stephen Fowler—whether the first words of thepoem should be translated “Because he was in the form of God” rather than “Although he was in the form of God.” This chapter, consisting of an exegetical explanation followed by theological reflection, contends that Phil. 2:6-11, as Paul's master story, is (in part) about the counterintuitive, essentially kenotic—or cruciform—character of God. More specifically, we will argue that the Greek phrase en morphe theou hyparchon in Phil. 2:6 (“being in the form of God”) has two levels of meaning, a surface structure and a deep structure (to borrow terms from transformational grammar), one concessive and one causative: “although he was in the form of God” and “because he was in the form of God.” These two translations, which, as we will see, are really two sides of the same coin, correspond to two aspects of Paul's understanding of the identity of the one true God (or “divine identity”) and manifested in this text: its counterintuitive character (“although”) and its cruciform character (“because”).—Inhabiting the Cruciform God, p. 10
This seems to fit well with I Corinthians 1: God's wisdom is foolishness to mankind. I like it, and all the more since it appears to be based on sound exegesis :)
Our judge and webmaster has made his final decisions; it's too late to bribe with chocolate, hot peppers, etc. The entries this year, as always, reflected a good deal of thought and talent. You can see the results here:
The results this year:
Houria Lauffenburger, with a cuneiform heart
B.C. Hodge with a dialog between Gerlab and Helomatt
(in Hebrew and Ugaritic, no less)
Third Prize and a $25.00 Eisenbrauns gift certificate:
Rosa Hunt with a Syriac poem
Second Prize and a $50.00 Eisenbrauns gift certificate:
Max Roglund with a Hebrew poem entitled "The Song of the Four Locusts"
complete with translator's footnote
And, finally, First Prize and a $75.00 Eisenbrauns gift certificate:
Olivier Lauffenburger with an Old Babylonian Love Poem
Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all who entered. Those of you who procrastinated now have a head start on next year. I know there are a lot of talented people out there; don't you want fame and glory (and an Eisenbrauns gift certificate)?
My favorite part was cutting the curd and watching what looked like a solid mass begin to lose its liquid and shrink by about 80%. Debbie's favorite part was stretching the mozzarella; it's sort of like pulling taffy. Fun stuff! But, time consuming...
Friday, February 12, 2010
Don't expect results on those others too soon, though; they have to age anywhere from 30 days to 6 months. So, maybe I'll have a nice aged cheddar for Christmas :)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I knew for certain hope was attainable, not by anything I could do, but I learned the priceless commodity of truth.
I knew there was healing in repentance.
I knew I would never be alone as long as I walked with God.
I also knew there was a force out there ready to perch on my shoulder and take me down. It happened every time I wasn't moving forward, learning from and depending on and trusting in the God who showed me mercy.
I think that about sums up the entire Christian life.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"One could, then, take the book of Ruth and the book of Job as case studies in how to, and how not to, come to the aid of friends and neighbors who have suffered one or another of life's calamities. The besetting temptation of religious folk — especially those who are concerned with right doctrine — is to offer an explanation of why the calamity has happened and what God is doing in it...The men and women in the book of Ruth engage in no theological explanations. They just set about helping Naomi and her daughter-in-law get back on their feet. In this way they are the counterpart of Job's brothers, sisters and kinfolk in Job 42:11."—At the Scent of Water, page 114
Interesting, the way he parallels the two stories of disaster, isn't it? I have to confess that far too often I am in the Job 3-26 group. What about you?
Monday, February 08, 2010
Get those styli ready! We're continuing our annual Valentine's Day contest. If you haven't started composing your sonnet yet, get going on it, this is the week:
The judging is extremely arbitrary, and the prizes are thus:
1st Place: $75 Eisenbrauns Gift Certificate
2nd Place: $50 Eisenbrauns Gift Certificate
3rd Place: $25 Eisenbrauns Gift Certificate
Honorable Mentions: Fame and glory.
Wow! Talk about hubris! We know more than God. We rarely put it that baldly, but that is exactly what we do—all the time. Whenever we whine or complain, we are basically telling God that he isn't doing it the right way, id est, my way.
Lord, forgive us and have us see things through your eyes, not ours!
Friday, February 05, 2010
Americans are consuming sports on an unprecedented scale. The ancient Romans, long considered the gold standard for how sports-crazed a culture could be, were dilettantes compared to the sports fans of this century. The Romans could squeeze 50,000 spectators into the Coliseum for gladiatorial contests—a quaint assemblage next to the 107,000 seats regularly sold for University of Michigan or Penn State home football games. In 2006, Americans spent over $17 billion on tickets to sports contests and $90 billion on sporting goods, over double what they spent on books ($42 billion).
America's true religion. Be sure to join the sacrifice this weekend, lest you offend the gods. As the article goes on to say:
None of this has been lost on evangelicals, who have been quick to harness sports to personal and institutional agendas. Less than a century ago, major segments of the evangelical community considered sports a cancer on the spiritual life; today their denominational progeny lead the parade to stadiums. The cozy coupling of sports and evangelicalism shows itself not only in the outsized athletic complexes that are common features of church architecture, but also in the ease with which sport and its symbols show up in the sanctuary. Pastors incorporate pithy sports metaphors into their sermons. Famous athletes are invited to pulpits to tell how their faith helps them compete. Some churches celebrate Super Bowl Sunday by canceling the evening service and assembling in the sanctuary to watch the game on large-screen TVs. "Faith nights" sponsored by local baseball teams draw entire congregations to the ballpark. Evangelistic organizations that center on the public's fascination with sports flourish.
Does anybody else see this as a problem???
Anyway, read the article, I know I will be finishing real soon—unless I throw up first from the way the church has sold its soul...
I can identify, being raised Methodist. Once I started reading Wesley, I wondered what had happened! But, on a larger scale, what he is saying is true; we need to identify the heroes from whatever tradition. We also need to confess the sins of our fathers in the faith. But, above all, we need to be true to Jesus.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Yes! The church is not a building; you can't go to church. Church is people, Christian people. Once you realize that, the size of a church is inversely proportional to how much it can truly be a church.
Why do scholarship anyhow? It sure isn’t for the money! Very few scholars make much money with their writing. The ones that do could make more moonlighting as refrigerator repairmen! And it’s not for the power either. That a few professors think you are cool because of some obscure article you wrote doesn’t get you free coffee, even in your own school! And believe it or not, people who go into scholarship thinking they can change it for the kingdom, make it a more friendly and positive place for faith, are often self-deceived. Scholarship is tribal, and those who think they can change the cynics, skeptics, relativists, and atheists with their brilliant arguments end up either giving up, or having their audience confined to those who already agree with them, whom they encourage and support...
So…why have I invested so much in restarting something for which there are not a lot of romantic, exciting reasons? It’s actually very important, and very simple.
In the classroom, we professors spout off our opinions and theories with a lot of authority. We typically persuade our students, who think we have a great “take” on this or that issue. But the simple fact is, very few students are equipped or inclined to offer serious resistance. They don’t know the biblical languages as well, they don’t know the cognate languages and literatures, they don’t know the history of research, in short, they just don’t know enough to be sure that what I or my colleagues is giving them is really worthwhile.
And popular publishing won’t help on that point. If I write an evangelical Christian book, published by an evangelical Christian publisher, sold in evangelical Christian bookstores…am I really putting my views before a critical, competent, potentially hostile audience for review?
I think he has a very good answer. And, I might add, this is a big reason that self-publishing is looked down on in the academic community...
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
For the short month of February, we are featuring a selection of
Van Gorcum titles. Van Gorcum sold their biblical studies section
to Brill a few years ago, but we still have some of the titles
available at the Van Gorcum prices, and we're discounting that
price 20%. You net savings over the new Brill prices is about 50%,
in some cases even more.
To easily access all the sale items, please visit:
"Delimitation Criticism: A New Tool in Biblical Scholarship"
Edited by Marjo C. A. Korpel and Josef Oesch
Pericope: Scripture as Written and Read in Antiquity - PERICOPE 1
Van Gorcum, 2001. Cloth. English and German.
List Price: $69.95 Your Price: $55.96
"Studies in Scriptural Unit Division"
Edited by Marjo C. A. Korpel and Josef Oesch
Pericope: Scripture as Written and Read in Antiquity - PERICOPE 3
Van Gorcum, 2002. Cloth. English.
List Price: $70.00 Your Price: $56.00
"A Parametric Model for Syntactic Studies of a Textual Corpus,
Demonstrated on the Hebrew of Deuteronomy 1-30"
by L. J. de Regt
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 24
Van Gorcum, 1988. Paper. English.
List Price: $32.00 Your Price: $25.60
"Tiberian Hebrew Phonology: Focusing on Consonant Clusters"
by A. W. Coetzee
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 38
Van Gorcum, 1999. Cloth. English.
List Price: $70.00 Your Price: $56.00
"Alleged Non-Past Uses of Qatal in Classical Hebrew"
by Max Rogland
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 44
Van Gorcum, 2003. Cloth. English.
List Price: $49.00 Your Price: $39.20
"An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler,
His Time, Place and Writing"
by Isaac Kalimi
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 46
Van Gorcum, 2005. Cloth. English.
List Price: $79.50 Your Price: $63.60
"Corpus Linguistics and Textual History: A Computer-Assisted
Interdisciplinary Approach to the Peshitta"
by P. S. F. van Keulen and W. T. van Peursen
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 48
Van Gorcum, 2006. Cloth. English.
List Price: $109.00 Your Price: $87.20
"Untersuchungen zur verbalen Valenz im biblischen Hebraisch"
by Michael Malessa
Studia Semitica Neerlandica - SSN 49
Van Gorcum, 2006. Cloth. German.
List Price: $85.00 Your Price: $68.00
"Religious Identity and the Invention of Tradition: Papers Read
at a NOSTER conference, Soesterberg, January 4-6, 1999"
Edited by J. Willem van Henten and A. Houtepen
Studies in Theology and Religion - STAR 3
Van Gorcum, 2001. Cloth. English.
List Price: $75.00 Your Price: $60.00
"Towards Religious Identity: An Exercise in Spiritual Guidance"
by Tjeu van Knippenberg
Studies in Theology and Religion - STAR 4
Van Gorcum, 2002. Cloth. English.
List Price: $42.75 Your Price: $34.20
""Welche unendliche Fulle offenbart sich da...": Die Wirkungs-
geschichte von Schleiermachers "Reden uber die Religion""
Edited by Nico F.M. Schreurs
Studies in Theology and Religion - STAR 7
Van Gorcum, 2003. Cloth. German.
List Price: $48.50 Your Price: $38.80
"Evangelienharmonien des Mittelalters"
Edited by Christoph Burger, August den Hollander, and U. B. Schmid
Studies in Theology and Religion - STAR 9
Van Gorcum, 2004. Cloth. German.
List Price: $45.00 Your Price: $36.00
"Religion and the Good Life"
Edited by Marcel Sarot and Wessel Stoker
Studies in Theology and Religion - STAR 10
Van Gorcum, 2004. Cloth. English.
List Price: $79.00 Your Price: $63.20
Would that his tribe would increase!
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
“Despite how it looks and feels, the daily routine does not have be be dull, and come to think about it, that is where most of life happens.”—Follow Me to Freedom: Leading As an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins
It is the daily obedience that allows one to respond appropriately in the crisis situations. It isn't glamorous, but as they said, it doesn't have to be dull. I don't find my daily life dull—how can I when every day there is a different sunrise and sunset? Or, like today, a beautiful new snow covering the ground and resting on the black tree limbs. I see every day as a gift from God, a chance to rejoice in his goodness to me and others. But, it is a decision to do so; I could ignore those things—some days I find that I didn't even notice what I was riding past until I am nearly at work. But, why would I chose death over life?
I think that ‘churches’ which cancel worship for a ball game aren’t worthy of the name church. Furthermore, I think that when entertainment becomes more important to Christians than worship, they should just throw in the towel and call themselves unitarian universalists, because they’ve ceased to be Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.
I remember one church we were a part of back in Minnesota. The Vikings had made it to either the Super Bowl, or the game just before it, I've forgotten which, but the music leaders all dressed in purple, and the pastor cut the sermon short in the third service, so that no one would miss the opening sacrifice—I mean kick-off.
What idolatry! I wrote a letter asking if they had thought about the message their actions sent. The response seemed to indicate that they hadn't. Cultural blindness is understandable in non-Christians, but in those who have the Holy Spirit opening their eyes?
Monday, February 01, 2010
...Christians get so excited about cockamamie pseudo-scientific explanations for Biblical miracles that it just makes us look really dumb. It’s not just that our science is bad, it’s that we’re leaning on science at all. Christianity in the last two centuries has never really escaped from its Napoleon Complex that started in the Enlightenment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-intellectual. But the same Judeo-Christian worldview that allowed a flourishing rationalism sent many Christian thinkers on a snipe hunt for scientific proof of the Bible’s claims.
At this stage you might accuse me of disrespect for the divine Scripture because I am insisting that you can’t prove the miracles and events of the Bible through scientific enquiry. But the truth is that those who read the Bible in a way it was not intended by its author do more violence to the spirit and intent of the Scriptures.
Yep! Where is faith? Why do we need it if we can walk by sight? Where is good exegesis? That's obviously gone :(
I once heard someone say that so-and-so must be an Evangelical, because they claimed to believe the Bible but then came up with all kinds of rational explanations for the plagues in Egypt! It makes me wonder if Evangelicals really believe in the supernatural...
In [Luke 10] verse 9 Jesus commands, 'heal those...who are sick' and say to them, 'the kingdom of God has come near to you.'
After my teaching on how to implement these two commands, a pastor stood, and took it upon himself to interpret Jesus words for us. He felt Jesus instructions needed to be clarified. What did Jesus actually mean by 'heal those who are sick'?
*First, these words were addressed to the 70, not to us today.
*Second, 'heal the sick' means heal their soul by preaching the Gospel to them.
*Third, why waste time healing, when they'll just get sick again?
Up to the time of that pastor's well-meaning intervention, people had been excited, motivated, and eager to get out and, in faith, implement Jesus words. After the pastor's explanation, people were staring at the floor, doubtful, and no one knew what to say.
When the microphone was given back to me, I responded, kindly, but firmly, "brother, the argument is not with me, but with Jesus. He is the one who instructed this command. If you have a disagreement with his telling us to heal the sick, please take your case and argue it out with Jesus."
I may not fully understand some of Jesus words, but to take clear, imperative instructions, and seek to reinterpret, negate, and dismiss them is simply bewildering to me.
Is it any wonder so many churches continue to struggle, seeing only a handful of new converts per year, and live powerless, sub-normal Christian lives?
Not only do we disobey, we don't even believe Jesus words!
Do we really think our ways are better than the Master's? Do we know better than Him? If our ways are so great, where is the harvest? Where are the results? Where's the beef? (as the old Wendy's commercial used to say.)
The point of all the above?
It almost seems as if we first come up with our theology, and then have to make Scripture fit that theology. When Jesus words do not align themselves our theology, we are forced to reinterpret and reword them until they do fit our theology.
What is your take on this? Does our theology too often get in the way of obeying what Jesus said for us to do?
Hmmm...wasn't that what I was talking about 2 weeks ago?
Of course, this is nothing new. Bonhoeffer was bemoaning the same thing in Discipleship over 70 years ago!