Friday, December 3, 2010

Zach Nielsen & Crossway Want to Give You Books!

In the midst of your Christmas shopping, check this out. Zach Nielsen's blog is giving away a stash of great books from Crossway this month. Click on over and sign up - they'd make great Christmas presents (to yourself or someone else)!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Theologian Am I?

I recently took this test (available here) to tell me which theologian I am most like. Apparently, I'm 87% Anselmian. If I'm going to be likened to a medieval theologian, I can't complain too much about this one.

But 53% Schleiermacher? Ouch! That's still too much for me. And I didn't know I was such a Barthian. Interesting... But at least I'm furthest from Tillich. This makes me happy :)

You Scored as Anselm. Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?'


Karl Barth

John Calvin

Jonathan Edwards

Friedrich Schleiermacher

Charles Finney

Martin Luther


J├╝rgen Moltmann

Paul Tillich


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pray for Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens is cutting his book tour short in order to begin chemotherapy for apparent esophageal cancer. Whatever you think of the man, his ideas, and his public persona, pray that the Lord would heal him and reveal Himself to him during this time.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Mark Noll on How His Mind Has Changed

From the Christian Century, Mark Noll provides an autobiographical retrospective of his faith journey. While today it's common to read "how my mind has changed" narratives in terms of leaving behind old dogmas, Noll writes beautifully about his journey deeper into the Gospel truths he has always believed:

To the best that I can discern, "how my mind has changed" goes something like this: the basic dogmas of Nicene Christianity have become more important—they now seem truer—than in the hour I first believed. From that hour I knew that Christianity was deep and that it was beautiful. Now I believe that the depth is unfathomable and the beauty supernal beyond telling.
In an age of "growth," "journey," and "theological pilgrimage" that often signify nothing more than trendy heterodox reinterpretation of The Faith, Noll's example points the way toward the kind of growth God calls us to.

HT: Trevin Wax

Friday, April 9, 2010

Scot McKnight on the Demise of the Quest for the Historical Jesus

In the latest issue of Christianity Today, Scot McKnight has an outstanding overview of the current state of historical Jesus research - pretty much dead. And to McKnight, that's a good thing. After reading McKnight, I think you'll concur.

A sample:
As a historian I think I can prove that Jesus died and that he thought his death was atoning. I think I can establish that the tomb was empty and that resurrection is the best explanation for the empty tomb. But one thing the historical method cannot prove is that Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification.

In the final analysis, argues McKnight, we must answer this question:

Whose Jesus will we trust? Will it be that of the evangelists and the apostles? Will it be that of the church—the creedal, orthodox Jesus? Will it be the latest proposal from a brilliant historian? Or will it be our own consensus based on modern-day historical scholarship? 

Indeed, whose Jesus will we trust? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Also, be sure to check out the rejoinders from N.T. Wright, Craig Keener, and Darrell Bock on the issue.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Don't Get the Hatred for Rick Warren

No need to elaborate. The title is all I have to say.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Exegesis, or "Extra Jesus"?

My wife once related to me a humorous story from her seminary days. It seems a certain young woman at her seminary, on fire for the Lord but new to the seminary environment and unfamiliar with theological vocabulary, overheard some students discussing their "exegesis" class. Only she didn't hear "exegesis" - she heard it as "extra-Jesus". The gall of those students!, she thought, Thinking they have extra Jesus just because they take this class!

The story is humorous, and yet it's tragic. It's tragic because I identify with it. I have a tendency to believe that engaging in spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible reading in some way earns me more of God's favor. Yes, I tend to believe that exegesis earns me extra Jesus. In the name of "discipline" or "passionate pursuit of God," we can become legalists, basing our acceptance with God on our ability to engage in rigorous spiritual activity. We can turn the means of grace into the basis of grace.

As a new husband and full-time graduate student, I simply don't have the free time I once had to pursue spiritual disciplines to the degree I would like. It's easy to spend hours a day studying Scripture when you're a single guy with few commitments in your life. Those in such situations can easily acquire an aura of spiritual superiority (What, brother?!? Thou only spent an hour in the Word today? Such sloth! I shall intercede for thee). But what of the graduate student cramming for finals? What of the single parent, working two jobs and raising kids? What do you do when real life intrudes on your bourgeois theological leisure time?

I'm not suggesting that time in the Word, in prayer, etc. is unimportant - in fact, the busier we are, the more important it is. But what I am suggesting is that we (I) must not let the necessity of these things become a legalistic burden. If, in the midst of studying for a midterm, I miss a meal, my stomach will let me know. But I don't condemn myself for missing a meal - rather, I run to the fridge, where the food is! In the same way, if in the midst of our busy lives, we find that we don't have all the time we would like for spiritual disciplines, rather than beating ourselves up, we should appreciate the hunger that we do feel. Hunger is good - it points us to food! If we miss a devotion, a prayer time, a Bible study, we'll feel a gnawing hunger. And that hunger isn't meant to drive us from the Bread of Life - it's meant to drive us to Him!

Yes, pursue spiritual growth. Yes, seek God with all your heart. Yes, become a student of the Word. But don't fall for the lie that exegesis equals "extra Jesus."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Theological Perfectionism and Translation Wars

Lee Irons, whose blog The Upper Register I've recently discovered, has the following to say in his post, "The Problems of Theological Perfectionism." The whole post is worth reading, but I'm particularly struck by his comments on Bible translation debates:

There are many other examples which show the problems with theological perfectionism.
English versions of the Bible. It's easy to nit-pick at a translation of a particular verse. It's fun to mock someone else's Bible. Some scholars have even written whole books against particular versions, as if to save people from the damaging effects of a bad translation. But would to God that more evangelicals did in fact read and study their TNIVs or their New Living Translations. It would do more good than all the self-help books being cranked out by the evangelical publishing companies. Just as the Spirit can bring people to saving faith through imperfect presentations of the gospel, so he can use flawed translations of the Bible to help us grow in spiritual maturity.
Would that all God's people read more of their "paraphrased" Messages and "wooden" NASBs and "archaic" KJVs and "liberal" NRSVs and "Calvinist" ESVs and "feminist" TNIVs!
God states, "Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" (Jer. 23:29). 
Would that God would break our rocky hearts of pride with the hammer of His Word (in whatever imperfect translation we read it)!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Save a Life - Chip Stam

For those of you who know or are familiar with Chip Stam, professor in the School of Church Worship and Music at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (and music minister at my wife's former church in Louisville, Clifton Baptist), he needs help. Click below to find out how you can help.

Save a Life

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