Here is a great interview by Jonathan Merritt with Rob Bell on his latest book, on the Bible.
I have just finished reading Rob Bell’s latest book, titled What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything. I really loved it and I think every evangelical should read it. The book does not say anything new, nor does the author claim to do so. It merely presents at a popular level what theologians and Bible scholars have said about it in the last hundred years.
You may ask, what is then so important about it? Here is my answer.Read More »
Here is a little bit of (early) historical theology. In case you are interested.
Professor Bart D. Ehrman met with Australian theologian and New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird at the 2016 Greer-Heard Point Counter Point Forum on February 12-13, 2016 for a two part debate. The event was held at 7:00 p.m. and Part 2 the next day at 2:00 p.m. in the Leavell College Chapel at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. An attendee question and answer session followed the debate. The subject of the debate was “How Jesus Became God.” Read More »
Prelegere sustinuta de Prof. Max Turner, in 7 iunie 2017, la Centrul Areopagus din Timisoara.
Daca-mi pot permite un comentariu, observ si de data aceasta cit de speculativa, reductionista si deformatoare devine teologia biblica atunci cind, ca in cazul teologului penticostal Robert Menzies, analizat aici de Prof. Turner, ignora implicatiile dogmatice ale concluziilor la care ajunge. In acest caz, ideea lui Menzies ca cineva poate avea parte de darul mintuirii fara a a se bucura de darul Duhului Sfint apare ca absolut aberanta, in lumina dogmei Sfintei Treimi si a actiunii perihoretice, de nedespartit, ale celor trei persoane ale Treimii.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . . —John 20:1a
Nobody knew how long Saturday would last. Nobody knew if Saturday would ever end. So it is now as well. Nobody knows how long Saturday will last or if it will ever end. Saturday is that in-between day of stillness and doubt and despair when time stands still in lethal flatness. The old Saturday was about abandonment and disappointment at the far edge of the crucifixion. And then came all the Saturdays of fear and abusiveness, of the Crusades and the ovens and genocides in too many places. And then came our particular Saturdays of Katrina and 9/11 and economic collapse, Saturdays of overwhelming failure with no adequate resources.Read More »
“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” —John 13:14–15
The disciples watched with indignation and astonishment, this Lord become a servant. As they watched, their anxiety ebbed some. And he said to them: “Do you know what I have done to you?”
The disciples are always concrete operational. They said, “Yes, you washed our feet.”
More than that, he said. “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” Read More »
Ken Bailey illustrates brilliantly here how important it is for us to understand the original cultural context in order to understand the Bible.
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.