I continue to believe that the doctrine of Scripture and hermeneutics are the batttle grounds for the future of the soul of evangelicalism (if that battle is not already lost for good; which I am still not sure). It seems Benjamin Corey agrees.
Scot McKnight shares today this post on patriarchy by Rachel Elizabeth Asproth. Here is a summary:
1. Patriarchal History Questions the Importance of Women’s Existence
2. Patriarchal History Minimizes Women’s Contributions
3. Patriarchal History Pigeon-Holes Women
4. Patriarchal History Is Hyper-Focused on Female Sexuality
I am doing a series on the blog about why I became Anglican, and thefirst week I looked at the church calendar and last week at worship, and this week I want to dip into “worship,” by which I mean Sunday morning worship service. (I do not equate worship with Sunday morning worship, but Sunday morning worship is worship.) This week I look at the Lectionary.
I’m not a historian of the lectionary, and it is common property to a wide range of churches and that is why today it is called “The Revised Common Lectionary” and it is available online here.
In essence, the RCL is a 3-year cycle of Bible readings for Sunday worship (and daily readings as well). The lectionary is built on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, with John weaved in over the three years. The Bible readings in a lectionary-based worship service are ordered into an Old Testament lesson, a reading from the Psalms, a reading from an Epistle, and then “The Gospel.” As the church calendar is rooted in the life of Jesus (see the image above), so the lectionary readings from the Bible aim at the Gospel reading and prepare for it and enhance it. This squares the church on the Gospels as the gospel.
Read HERE the rest of this text
Biblical messages often proceed from historical incidents, but the actual message does not depend upon communicating those events with perfect factual accuracy. Any good writer knows that! Spiritual writers are not primarily journalists. Hebrew rabbis and scholars sometimes used an approach called midrash in which they reflected on a story to communicate all of its underlying message. Scripture can be understood on at least four levels: literal meaning, deep meaning, comparative meaning, and hidden meaning. Midrash allowed and encouraged each listener to grow with a text and not to settle for mere literalism, which of itself bears very little spiritual fruit. Some Christians do the same today with mature, reflective reading of Scripture (lectio divina), but Jesus and ancient Jewish teachers were much more honest and up front about this.
Whatever is received is received according to the manner of the receiver. This was drilled into me during my seminary education. People at different levels of development will interpret the same text (or homily) in different ways. There is no one right way to interpret sacred texts. Such a singular approach was a defensive posture that emerged more strongly after the fights of the Reformation and the attacks of the Enlightenment. How you see is what you see; the who that you bring to your reading of the Scriptures matters. Is it a defensive who? An offensive who? A power-hungry who? A righteous who? Surely, this is why we need to pray before reading a sacred text!Read More »
[The Errors of Inerrancy: A ten-part series on why Biblical Inerrancy censors the Scriptures and divides Evangelicals.] 6. Inerrancy obscures Jesus with the Bible John Calvin said that the Bible is similar to eyeglasses that allow us to see Jesus. If the Bible may be compared to eyeglasses, then Biblical Inerrancy may be compared to smudges and scratches on these eyeglasses, or eyeglasses with bad prescriptions. In other words, Inerrancy does not allow us to see Jesus better, instead it cripples our vision of Jesus, and prevents us from seeing Jesus rightly. These metaphorical scratches and smudges on our eyeglasses (to follow Calvin’s analogy) cause us to obsess over the imperfections in our eyeglasses and distract us from seeing Jesus through them. Therefore, the sixth Error of Inerrancy is that Biblical Inerrancy obscures Jesus with the Bible. Precisely how does Biblical Inerrancy obscure Jesus with the Bible? T.F. Torrance provides an excellent answer to “Protestant fundamentalism” in his book, Space, Time and Resurrection that answers this question. I’ve summarized and adapted T.F. Torrance’s answer in the following four points: #1. Biblical Inerrancy does not make a proper distinction between the Bible and Jesus. #2. Inerrancy denies that the Bible is a witness to the life of Jesus. #3. Inerrancy instead asserts that the Bible contains […]
The Errors of Inerrancy: #5 Inerrancy reduced the Biblical Authors into Ventriloquist Dummies
In this fourth installment in the Errors of Inerrancy, the dangers of denying the Bible contains scientific errors has been explained. The example of the Phoenix as an emblem of our resurrection, demonstrates how we may rightly interpret the Bible in the way it was intended to be interpreted. And, the threefold error of denying the Bible contains scientific errors demonstrates that it is impossible to understand the Bible when its true context is rejected a priori by our modern biases. This error is multiplied when scientific errors in the Bible are used to censor and correct modern science.
In this post, I will explore how the Bible may have a capacity for error that even extends to its theological and religious claims, and why it is an Error of Inerrancy to deny that the Bible has a capacity for error, and to explain how this Error of Biblical Inerrancy censors the Bible.
The hypothetical and so-called Inerrant Original Autographs are an unprovable tautology of Biblical Inerrancy, that do not inform of the historical nature of first sources of the Bible, but rather inform us what is the absolute minimum requirements that these first sources of the Bible must have been in order to affirm Biblical Inerrancy. So Inerrant Original Autographs are a result of Biblical Inerrancy, not a support for Biblical Inerrancy. And in the end, if the true sources of the Bible were absolutely dissimilar to Inerrant Biblical Autographs, then our Bibles would remain unchanged! So therefore as G.C. Berkouwer once said, the Inerrant Original Autographs are “foreign to the world of Scripture”, and may be safely disregarded in any orthodox doctrine of inspiration of the Bible.
The Errors of Inerrancy: A ten part series on why Biblical Inerrancy censors the Scriptures and divides Evangelicals
The latest discourse of Secretary of State John Kerry on the danger for peace in the Middle East represented by the constant extension of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian occupied territorries stirred again the debate on the lack of solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the obvious resistance of the Israeli right wing government to come to a peaceful two-state resolution of this conflict.
I am sure many of you, especially those who have been influenced by Zionist propaganda – whether Christian Jewish or secular, or by the suspect dispensationalist interpretations of the sacred text, wonder what is the big fusss with these seettlements.Read More »
I want to compare between the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the first and twenty first centuries. I am a Palestinian Israeli citizen. I live in Nazareth and continually commute to Bethlehem. In fact, this Christmas I am travelling with my family from Nazareth to Bethlehem. There are several roads that lead to Bethlehem. There are three major options: one in the east, one in the middle of the country, and one in the west next to the Mediterranean Sea. I shall call them: the eastern, central, and middle roads. Which road should I choose? My decision depends on the political situation, my identity, the cost of travel, time, and traffic jams. Jews don’t like to travel through Palestinian towns. Palestinians don’t like to travel through Jewish settlements. In addition, there are checkpoints on the way. These checkpoints are a potential delay depending on Identity, that is, Palestinians or Jewish. If Israeli soldiers at certain checkpoints discover that I am a Palestinian then I am a potential risk in their eyes. It means delay in my trip. In short, travelling is a political decision connected to my identity. As I reach Bethlehem, I usually come through a neighboring town called Beit-Jala. At the entrance of the town, there is a big sign saying: Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter this region by law. However, the checkpoint is not guarded by soldiers or monitored. Entering into Bethlehem is not only a political question it is also a legal question. In addition, it is a theological question. Should I break the law to enter Bethlehem?Read More »
Here are the recordings of the lectures given recently by NT Wright at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tx.
Jonathan Merritt, from Religion News, has produced another extremely interesting interview, this time with well-known pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, a very inspired, I think, contemporary paraphrase of the Bible. Here are a few quotes (the emphases are mine).
* * *
…I never really thought I’d be a pastor because I had so many pastors I didn’t respect. I just assumed I would be in academic work, so I started doing that—I went to seminary and graduate school to be a professor. And then I became a professor at the seminary in New York City where I graduated. But they didn’t pay me very much. Greek and Hebrew professors aren’t very high on the pay scale. So I got a part-time job in a church, because I had been ordained but just to be a professor. I’d never been around a pastor who was a man of God, to tell you the truth.
…pastoring is not a very glamorous job. It’s a very taking-out-the-laundry and changing-the-diapers kind of job. And I think I would try to disabuse them of any romantic ideas of what it is. As a pastor, you’ve got to be willing to take people as they are. And live with them where they are. And not impose your will on them. Because God has different ways of being with people, and you don’t always know what they are.Read More »
Today, we celebrate in Israel the day of atonement or Yom Kippur. It is a day of repentance, humiliation before God, and forgiveness. On this day, there is no eating, no bathing or washing, no anointing, and no marital relations. It is a day dedicated to seeking the forgiveness of God. It is a day in which God expects from those who follow Him to forgive the sins of others.
Can Jews forgive the sins of the nations who attacked and abused them? Can they reflect on their own sins that led our country to the current situation? Can Palestinians forgive the Jewish people? I pray that I will discover my own sins on this day and will seek to forgive and bless all of my neighbors. I also pray that my Jewish neighbors will seek true forgiveness that is much more than just ritual celebrations. Perhaps, the test of Yom Kippur is more than ritual! It is also an ethical one. Furthermore, it seems to me that Jewish ethics today cannot be divorced from the Palestinian question. The latter is the litmus test for the authenticity of celebrating Yom Kippur in Israel in the 21st century. Such forgiveness would change the hearts of the nation as well as its politics leading to the support of a politics of peace and reconciliation rather than war and further alienation. May God answer the desires of all the hearts that seek forgiveness and bless them with true atonement! As a Christian I found this atonement embodied in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross for my own sins. Read More »
Prin 1865, în urmă cu 150 de ani, Edward Millard (1822-1906), reprezentantul Societății Biblice Britanice la Viena, a făcut un tur extensiv prin Transilvania, pentru a-i mobiliza pe colaboratorii societății, precum și pentru a investiga oportunitatea deschiderii unui depozit de Biblii. A fost șocat că, după eforturi mari, abia la Timișoara a găsit o singură Biblie de vânzare, pentru care […]
Iata un nou text, extrem de interesant, al lui Mihai Ciuca, despre istoria evanghelicilor din Romania.
Scot McKnight on Jesus and orthodox faith in the 21st century
Source: No Creed but the Bible?
I fully agree with Scot McKnight, when he says: ‘…there is no such thing as a creed-less Christian. Everyone puts things together, and that putting together becomes “creedal” the moment it filters what we read in the Bible into a pattern of thinking about the Bible. Sorry folks there is only one option: affirm the creeds of the church or affirm your own creed. But either way you’ve got a creed.’
So, no Creed, no faith; and a useless Bible.
Publishing this, I am sure, will make lose even more points with those who already think I am suspect, as a Christian and evangelical, for more than one reason.
Yet, I have to do it, because I believe the author is absolutely right. Christians love their Christendom nostalgia (which, thanks be to God, is dead and burried). We love to pount the table and tell others how to live, the more so when we ourselves do not live at the level of our own expectations of others. Maybe, if we shout louder, we will not hear anymore the voice of our own conscience.
It’s time to shut up and look in the mirror. The louder we shout, the more suspect we become, of being mere religious hypocrites, which is the worst kind.
Philip Hunt is my first (and best ever) boss I had in World Vision. He is an Australian, and a man I respect deeply. He is a great Rene Girard fan, which shows clearly in everything he writes.
Thank you, Philip, for everything!
Here is some food for thought, though I doubt it may do much for those who share a different hermeneutical paradigm. Yet, even for them, it helps to understand that those who think differently are not fools, who try to detroy the word of God.
Scot McKnight on Jesus and orthodox faith in the 21st century
Source: No Evolution Allowed (RJS)
Here is the story of Tremper Longman’s ‘conversion’ to theistic evolution.
He stands in a long list of rmarcable people, of (more or less) Evangelical persuasion, who went on a similar pilgrimage of faith. Here is the list of those who share theiir testimonies in this book, along with the above mentioned biblical scholar: N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Francis Collins, Jennifer Wiseman, Denis Lamoureaux, James Stump, James K. A. Smith, Richard Mouw, John Ortberg, Daniel Harrell, Ken Fong.
And, for full disclosure, I have to say that I have personally followed the same track, mostly for reasons related to biblical hermeneutics.
This video features Prof. N.T Wright’s exposition of Romans 5:1-11. This is part of the course Paul and His Letter to the Romans offered by ntwrightonline.org. Part one of this course will be available at a discounted tuition through ntwrightonline.org.
It never fails. Every year, on the Monday after Mother’s Day I receive a flood of messages from women who spent yesterday morning grimacing through yet another Proverbs 31 sermon. The pastors usually mean well. They want to honor women on Mother’s Day, so they turn to the biblical passage most associated with femininity, the one that culminates with what may be the most cross-stitched Bible verse of all time: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” But for women like me who grew up thinking of the domestic super-heronie of Proverbs 31 as just another impossible standard by which to mark my shortcomings as a woman, the passage can come with some…baggage. That’s because, too often, we focus on the Proverbs 31 Woman’s roles as a way of reducing womanhood to marriage, motherhood, and domesticity, when really, this passage is about character that transcends both gender and circumstance. 3 Things You Might Not Know About Proverbs 31 Our confusion around Proverbs 31, like most misinterpreted Bible passages, centers around issues related to genre, audience, and language. With that in mind, here are three things you might not know: 1. Proverbs 31 is a poem. The subject of a twenty-two-line poem found in the last chapter of the book of Proverbs, the “woman of noble character” is meant to be a tangible expression of the book’s celebrated virtue of wisdom. The author is essentially showing us what wisdom looks like in action. (The astute reader will immediately make a connection between the Proverbs 31 Woman and “Woman Wisdom,” found in earlier chapters of Proverbs.) Packed with hyperbolic, militaristic imagery, the poem is an acrostic, so the first word of each verse begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet in succession. This communicates a sense of totality as the poet praises the everyday achievements of an upper-class Jewish wife, a woman who keeps her household functioning day and night by buying, trading, investing, planting, sewing, spindling, managing servants, extending charity, providing food for the family, and preparing for each season. Like any good poem, the purpose of this one is to draw attention to the often-overlooked glory of the everyday. As a poem, Proverbs 31 should not be interpreted prescriptively as a job description for all women. Its purpose is to celebrate wisdom-in-action, not to instruct women everywhere to get married, have children, and take up the loom. Good News: You don’t have to know how this works to be a Proverbs 31 Woman. 2. The “Target Audience” of Proverbs 31 is Men If you’ve read A Year of Biblical Womanhood, you’ll know I first learned this from my Jewish friend Ahava who told me that in her culture, it’s not the women who memorize Proverbs 31, but the men. (What I wouldn’t pay to see a Christian MEN’S conference in which the central text is Proverbs 31!) They memorize it, Ahava said, to sing it as a song of praise to the women in their lives—their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends. Ahava’s husband sings Proverbs 31 to her at every Sabbath meal. As I did more research, I learned that indeed the only instructive language in the poem is directed at the poem’s intended male audience: “Praise her for all her hands have done.” And yet many Christians interpret this passage prescriptively, as a command to women rather than an ode to women, with the home-based endeavors of the Proverbs 31 woman cast as the ideal lifestyle for all women of faith. An empire of books, conferences, products, and media has evolved from a subtle repositioning the poem’s intended audience from that of men to that of women. One of the more popular books is titled Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be: A 90 Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life. No longer presented as a song through which a man offers a woman praise, Proverbs 31 is presented as a task list through which a woman earns it. This, I believe, misses the point of the text entirely. 3. Proverbs 31 Celebrates Valor Ahava repeated a finding I’d discovered in my research, that the first line of the Proverbs 31 poem—“a virtuous woman who can find?”—is best translated, “a woman of valor who can find?” (The Hebrew is eshet chayil, “woman of valor”; the male equivalent is gibor chayil, “man of valor.”) To make this fact even more fun, Ahava explained to me that she and her friends cheer one another on with the blessing, celebrating everything from promotions, to pregnancies, to acts of mercy and justice, to battles with cancer with a hearty “eshet chayil”! (Think of it as something like the Jewish “you go girl.”) This discovery led me to declare “woman of valor!” when a good friend finished seminary, when my mom beat breast cancer, when my sister ran a half marathon. It also led u
Nu stiu citi dintre cei care citesc aceste rinduri isi aduc aminte de anii ’70, cind, spre deosebire de acum, in bisericile noastre existau foarte putine Biblii. Daca o familie avea o Biblie, se socotea bogata. In 1971 au avut insa loc inundatii de amploare in tara si, odata cu ajutoarele venite din strainatate pentru cei afectati de ape, au intrat in tara primele cantitati mai mari de Biblii.
Intr-una dintre aceste operatii, au fost introduse in Romania, cu un slep, pe Dunare, circa 100.000 de Biblii, in limbile romana si rusa. Unchiul meu, Costel Georgescu, a coordonat aceasta operatiune, cu numele de cod ‘Canal 81’ impreuna cu un prieten al lui, Klaus Wagner, curaj pentru care a platit cu un an de puscarie, asa cum au patit si altii care au facut parte din grupul lor. Ma bucur sa aud ca, in sfirsit, unchiul meu, pe care de mult incerc sa-l conving, s-a decis sa scrie despre acea experienta. Din cite stiu, istoricul Gheorghe Modoran, autorul cartii Biserica prin pustiul rosu. Rezistenta si compromis in adventismul din Romania in perioada comunista (despre care am scris AICI), face cercetari in arhive si intentioneaza sa scrie o carte despre aceste evenimente. Tocmai i-am scris, si sper sa aflu cit mai curind noutati despre stadiul cercetarii.
Nota: Domnul Modoran tocmai mi-a raspuns si mi-a spus ca aceasta operatiune este descrisa in cele doua volume din a doua parte a seriei sale de texte de istorie adventists sub comunism, care se ocupa de perioada 1965-1989, si care se afla deja in faza de corectura. Fiti pe faza. Aceasta parte a seriei promite sa fie si mai interesanta decit prima, care a stirnit deja numeroase reactii in mediul adventist, asa cum s-a intimplat si cu cartea lui Vasi Croitor, Rascumpararea memoriei.
Cu citeva zile in urma am primit, cu multumiri, prin amabilitatea domnului Vasile Gabrian, directorul Editurii Casa Cartii din Oradea, un exemplar din cartea Proiectul Margaritar (Operation Pearl) scrisa de Fratele David impreuna cu Paul Hattaway, unul dintre autorii care au facut o pasiune pentru biserica din China.
Cartea descrie o operatiune gigantica prin dimensiunile ei, prin care intr-o singura noapte au intrat in mod ilegal (deoarece Biblia era o carte interzisa in China comunista) 1.000.000 de Biblii. Read More »
As I shared earlier this year, the Bible is “a text in travail.” Sometimes the biblical writers catch a glimpse of God’s true character–love, mercy, and justice–and sometimes they lose sight of it. Old Testament scholar and theologian Walter Brueggemann traces the evolution of human consciousness through three sections of Hebrew Scriptures: the Torah (the five books of the Pentateuch), the Prophets, and the Wisdom literature (including Job, the Psalms, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes). Just as children must begin with structure and rules, religion starts with setting boundaries, rituals, and rules about who is in and who is out. It’s all about protecting the status quo, our tribal and egoic identity. But eventually we have to develop the capacity for self-criticism, as the prophets did, which is the necessary second stage. If we do both of these stages well, we will normally be catapulted toward wisdom and holiness.
Another way to look at this is a series of Order > Disorder > Reorder. Most conservatives get trapped in the first step and most liberals get stuck in the second. Healthy religion is all about getting you to the third, Reorder. There is no nonstop flight. You must learn the wisdom of both the first and second stages before moving on. Much of the chaos and instability of our time stems from many young and sophisticated people now beginning life in the second stage of Disorder and criticism, without first learning deeply from Order. It appears to be a disaster. The three stages must be in proper sequence for life to unfold somewhat naturally.Read More »
The Bible reveals the development of human consciousness and human readiness for a Divine Love Affair. The differences between earlier and later Scriptures clearly show an evolution of human capacity, comprehension, and depth of experience. Jesus, for me, represents the mature image of what God is doing in history. In Israel’s growth as a people we see the pattern of what happens to every individual and to every community that sets out on the journey of faith. Israel is the “womb of the Incarnation,” for it is in their history that the whole drama is set in motion. Jesus fully grows up inside that womb. And we must grow up too. Little by little, human consciousness is prepared to see how God loves and liberates us. But we will face plenty of resistance, revealed in the constant hostility to Jesus even and most especially from religious people, ending in the very “killing of God.”
There are many models of human and spiritual development. We could describe three stages as Simple Consciousness, Complex Consciousness (both “fight and flight”), and Non-Dual Consciousness (“the unitive way” or “third way”). More recently, I have been calling the developmental stages Order > Disorder > Reorder. In short, I see this pattern in the Bible and in human lives: Read More »
Această postare face parte din seria aventurilor lui Calimero, seminaristu’, care a ajuns seminarist luându-se după mine la școală, și de atunci mă tot sâcâie cu întrebări. Ultima, vine de la…
Eugen Matei este unul dintre putinii evanghelici romani care nu promoveaza ‘sfinta bataie’. Nici nu ar putea, caci nu marsaza la pseudo hermeneutica literalista aberanta pe care se bazeaza aceasta inradacinata traditie nesfinta.
In ce ma priveste, nu ma mira ca Piper, un neofundamentalist, dupa parerea mea, se deda (din nou) la siluirea fara scrupule a textului biblic, pentru a promova prejudecatile clasice legata de disciplinarea cu nuiaua.
Sermon preached by Rev. Daniel Manastireanu on January 17th 2016 – in Glasgow St Paul’s Church in Provanmill. Bible passage: Mark 4:1-20