Peter Enns – The Hardest Thing for Me about What I Do

The confession below is about sincerity and integrity. I share it here because I feel exactly the same way. For a ‘social animal’ like me, loosing friends is never easy. Yet, I am not ready to sacrifice my conscience even in order to keep a friendship. I may be wrong on what I believe – I have been proven wrong before. 😦 That is why, some day I am going to write something titled ‘How I Changed My Mind’).

Yet, until I have enough evidence to change my mind, I have to be true to what I believe. And, of course, I will express those convictions in imperfect ways, in line with my temperament, my level of (im)maturity and my ethnic makeup. I hope my friends can live with that. But if they cannot, I can’t do anything about it.

As Scripture says, let us walk together in the things we think alike, and may the Holy Spirit enlighten us in the rest. I can live with that. Can you?
And now, here is what Pete Enns has to say about it.

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OK, this is going to be a little personal, but you don’t have to read it.

In case you haven’t noticed, I write about the Bible and Christian faith now and then. And if you’ve noticed that, you’ve probably also noticed that some of what I write about could be considered a bit edgy—for some, at least.

And that’s OK. When you write about God, Jesus, and the Bible, you’re going to be controversial for somebody. And, if several thousand years of recorded history are any indication, some people are probably going to be very, very, very angry with you for uttering thoughts about ultimate reality that they don’t like. They might even hate you (in Jesus’ name and for the glory of God).

But that doesn’t bother me terribly. Sure, I don’t love it, but it’s part of the job. Plus, my keyboard has delete button.

Over-the-top negativity isn’t the hard part. What’s hard is losing friends, a community, a sense of belonging, a shared narrative.

It’s not so much about friends becoming enemies, but the more subtle disorientation of not really fitting anywhere.

The insider becomes the outsider. Nothing unravels a social fabric quicker. I get it. No one likes their social fabric unraveled. It keeps us warm and safe. No offense taken.
I keep writing because I believe in being true to myself, and genuine faith cannot exist for me if I hold back and refuse to “take door number 3.” I’m not particularly brave. I don’t wake up in the morning mustering courage so I can go into battle to slay dragons. I just don’t know what else to do with myself.

I don’t know how not to turn things around in my head and look for a different angle that produces some new insights, even if that means leaving behind familiar things. I just can’t imagine not trying to work all this out—for my own benefit, and, if all goes well, for others, too.

I’m not whining. I’m not a martyr. It is what it is. I’m just saying the loss of community, of a shared narrative, is the hardest part for me. Not fitting. Not knowing where you fit, or if such a place even exists. And maybe this is how it will always be.

And I know a lot of others feel the same way.

(Source, HERE)

A Brief but Deep Thought on Defending the Christian Faith (or not) – Pete Enns

Source: A Brief but Deep Thought on Defending the Christian Faith (or not) – Pete Enns

I just love Peeter Enns and I fully agree with him o his view of apologetics.

We are the apologetic, and that is much harder than crafting arguments.’ I could not say that better. Thanks, Peter Enns.

A Blog Post in which I Get Belligerent about Theological Belligerence – Pete Enns

Source: A Blog Post in which I Get Belligerent about Theological Belligerence – Pete Enns

Something worth pondering. I am sure you are not guity of this, but I am, so this is promarily for me.

Rob Bell – What Is 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. Continue reading “Rob Bell – What Is the Bible?”

Brian Zahnd – Christian Certitude: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

enns-sin-of-certainly

Do you love your faith so little that you have never battled a single fear lest your faith should not be true? Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth.

– George MacDonald

In my spiritual memoir, Water To Wine, part of the story I tell involves my own journey away from cheap certitude toward an authentic faith. It is a phenomenon of modernity that certitude (mental assent toward something as an absolute empirical fact) has become confused with faith (an orientation of the soul toward God in the form of deep trust).

That this phenomenon is prevalent among certain streams of Christians is strangely ironic since this involves genuflecting at the altar of empiricism and privileging knowledge over faith. Privileging empiricism above faith as the final arbiter of truth is a hallmark of modernity, but it is also antithetical to Christianity.

Certitude is a poor substitute for authentic faith. But certitude is popular; it’s popular because it’s easy. No wrestling with doubt, no dark night of the soul, no costly agonizing over the matter, no testing yourself with hard questions. Just accept a secondhand assumption or a majority opinion or a popular sentiment as the final word and settle into certainty.

Certitude is easy…until it’s impossible. And, that’s why certitude is so often a disaster waiting to happen. The empty slogan “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” is cheap certitude, not genuine faith. Continue reading “Brian Zahnd – Christian Certitude: A Disaster Waiting to Happen”

inerrancy and the recent non-apocalyptic discussion at the annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting in Baltimore

inerrancy and the recent non-apocalyptic discussion at the annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting in Baltimore.

This is a very important discussion in the context of the blatant biblicism that dominates evangelicalism in general, and this ecclesial tradition in Romania, in particular.

James Barr on Evangelical Fundamentalism

James Barr (1924–2006)

In one of his recent posts on his blog, Peter Enns quotes James Barr, who in the second edition (1981)of his book Fundamentalism tries to respond to objections he received to his charge of fundamentalism addressed to evangelical biblical scholarship in general in the first edition of his book (1978).

Here is his response to these charges, which Enns suggests, and I agree to a large extent, are still valid for a considerable amount on evangelical biblical scholarship. But you do not have to believe it. Judge for yourselves. Here is the quote from Barr, borrowed from Enns:

But are things much better now? The suggestion that they are in fact much better now, and that conservative evangelicalism today is quite different, free from the stains of the older fundamentalism, is one of the most interesting responses that my book has evoked. Conservative propaganda has, it seems, convinced some that this improvement has taken place. Undoubtedly the total evangelical scene in recent years has come to display some excellent features of openness, freedom and variety. But the very success and numerical strength of evangelicalism has through the same process greatly intensified the obscurantists, backward-looking and extremist aspects in which the core of fundamentalism resides. Continue reading “James Barr on Evangelical Fundamentalism”

On Creation and Killing Canaanites: One Simple, Hardly Worth Mentioning (but I feel that I should) Thought

On Creation and Killing Canaanites: One Simple, Hardly Worth Mentioning (but I feel that I should) Thought.

This is serious discussion by Peter Enns of basic hermeneutical principles for dealing with some of the controversial texts in the Bible, like those of creation or those about God commanding the extermination of the Canaanites.

NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

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Can Evangelical Colleges and Seminaries Be Truly Academic Institutions?

Can Evangelical Colleges and Seminaries Be Truly Academic Institutions?.

Peter Enns dares to ask a tough question. Here it is in a more developed form:

Can an institution claim to be fundamentally academic while at the same time centered on defending certain positions that are largely, if not wholly, out of sync with generations of academic discourse outside of evangelical boundaries?

Peter Enns on Jesus and the Sea

Peter Enns is an evangelical Christian scholar and author of several books and commentaries, including the popular Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, which looks at three questions raised by biblical scholars that seem to threaten traditional views of Scripture. Enns graduated with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Messiah College in Grantham, Penn., in 1982, and a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1989. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard University in 1993 and 1994. Enns was formerly a professor of Old Testament and hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Penn., and has taught courses at Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard University, and Biblical Theological Seminary. He is also a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Institute for Biblical Research.

In the following article he deals with the complicated issue of miracles in Scripture, from the perspective of the theologian and the scientist.

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In the Gospels, there are two incidents where Jesus shows his power over the sea. He calms a raging storm of wind and waves (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:36-41, Luke 8:22-25) and he walks on sea in the midst of a storm (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-51, John 6:15-21). These are not just simply a “display of power.” Like all of the miracles, these two draw upon some aspect of Yahweh’s activity in the Old Testament and Israel’s messianic expectation.. These two Gospel stories tie into an Old Testament and ancient Near Eastern theme we looked at together a few weeks ago: Yahweh tames the watery chaos. Keeping that theme in mind will help us appreciate more the theological depth of Jesus’ acts that might otherwise be missed. Continue reading “Peter Enns on Jesus and the Sea”

Have Evangelicals Made the Bible Impossible? (a sociologist says “yes”)

a time to tear down | A Time to Build Up » Have Evangelicals Made the Bible Impossible? (a sociologist says “yes”).

You absolutely have to read this if you are an Evangelical.

Peter Enns on the Benefits of Doubt for the Life of Faith


Source of picture, HERE.

My friend Ady Popa pointed me today to a very interesting article on faith and doubt by Peter Enns, a Protestant professor who studied theology at Harvard. Please find below a few quotes, to wet your appetite.

Warning: this is not for the faint hearted or the naive who are still entertaining the illusions of modernity. Continue reading “Peter Enns on the Benefits of Doubt for the Life of Faith”