Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Something strange is beginning to happen in conservative Christian circles. Christians are beginning to wake up and see that Creation care isn't just something we should put up's actually part of the whole restoration project. You have to check out Ben Witherington's blog on this and let me know what you think. It's refreshing to see some voices starting to stand up on this issue that is clearly a Biblical correction to the misleading dualist idea of "Rapture theology."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

So, I went to see the Da Vinci Code this weekend with some friends and the verdict was alright as far as entertainment value. I believe that it did firmly prove that having Tom Hanks in your movie does not guarantee success. Even the great Tom Hanks needs lines that have sentences longer than 5 words. Some of the lines felt like they belonged in a Star Wars movie(newer ones). As far as the theology goes, I'm still not sure how some of the lines were pulled off with a straight face....but whatever. I had the opportunity to share the gospel this week in Panera Bread company with guy and the conversation started because of the book. I can't complain when a book (even a messed-up one) provides an opportunity for a spiritual conversation.

But, here's a question that does seem to keep coming up in one way or another and I'd love to hear what others have to say. I've been studying a document put out by some highly respected pastors/professors who want to draw a line on what the gospel is truly about. You can check out this document on and go to the 'about' section. I haven't had too many issues with it but I did have some questions on the very first one. Here is article 1:

Article I

We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.

We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or the effects of human sinfulness.

Now, that sounds pretty good and I have a very high view of the authority of Scripture but still, at the very least, have some questions on the implications that may or may not be found in this statement. For example, it claims the sole authority for the Church is the Bible (and maybe this is Semantics) but it this is true then we must take seriously, Matthew 28:18, And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
So, if we take this Scripture seriously, then Jesus has been given ALL authority over heaven and earth which include the church. Does he exercise this authority through Scripture? Absolutely, but it seems like an important nuance to me that isn't mentioned. Lest anyone think, I just took one verse to prove my point, one should also see Romans 13:1, John 19:11, as well as Philippians 2:9-11 to name a few. It seems like Sciptures makes the point very clear that all authority has been given to Jesus. (highly ironic, I think) Even John in the first chapter talks about the Word being there in the beginning and the Word was made flesh. Therefore the authority of Scripture should possibly be reworded as God's authority exercised through His inspired Word.

The only other issue which makes me just a little nervous is the denial part that no Scripture is marked by human error. I think I know what they are trying to say(and would agree with it) but people could see some insuations that maybe they shouldn't. For example, it doesn't mean that people's sinfulness could not hinder a translation of a proper reading of the text. Also, what do you do with simple things like in I Samuel where numbers are simply missing because we don't have them anymore. I know these are small issues but are still worth mentioning if we are talking about a total agreement with every statement in the declaration.

AGAIN, let me say that I deeply respect the guys that put this document together and I know I'm being a bit nitpicky. BUT, any time you draw a line in the sand, it's a pretty big deal- especially when you are talking about the Gospel. I'm open to pushback and debate. Bring it on!!! :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Okay, this story isn't true but the story is very funny. Most of you know I'm not a big supporter of the whole rapture theory so that makes it even funnier to me. No offense to all the rapturites:)

" A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car's sunroof during an incident best described as a 'mistaken rapture' by dozens of eye-witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty car pile-up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman, who was apparently convinced the rapture was occuring when she thought she saw twelve people floating into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she believed was Jesus. "She started screaming 'He's back! He's back!' and climbed out through the sun roof and jumped off the roof of the car." said Everet Williams, husband of 28 year-old Georgeann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. I was slowing down but she wouldn't wait until I stopped," Williams said. "She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky," he went on to say.

"This is the strangest thing I've seen since I have been on the force," said Paul Mason, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was on the way to a costume party, when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blow-up sex dolls filled with helium, which then floated into the sky. Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who has been told several times by his friends he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration saying 'Come back, come back,' just as the Williams car passed him. Mrs. Williams was sure it was Jesus lifting people up into heaven as they drove by Jenkins. When asked for comments about the twelve sex dolls, Jenkins replied 'This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.'"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

So, apparently, we have gotten all wrong. For all of these years, we have thought that Judas betrayed Jesus and now it turns out that he was not only innocent but was the hero of the story. Amazing! I know my belief system is thoroughly shaken.
Okay...pardon the sarcasm but after watching National Geographic's presentation of "The Gospel of Judas" I'm still a little 'put off.' I know it shouldn't upset me but I know that a lot of people will watch this special and assume that having 'Princeton' next to your name means that everything they say must be true. The fact of the matter is that this was an extremely slanted show with an obvious agenda tied to a multi-million dollar manuscript. I mean just look at who they interviewed (Elaine Pagels, Bart Erhman, etc) versus Robert Schuller on the other. If you saw it, you know exactly what I mean. Robert's rebuttal to the gospel of Judas was: "Well, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were good enough for me..." (at this point, I think I threw my remote control across the room)


What was lacking was a good Biblical scholar (like a Tom Wright) to put some of these issues to rest. But, then, I guess that would be counter-intuitive to a document that has a lot of money tied in to it. They gave the impression that Iranaeus laid out 30 gospels and he picked out Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and destroyed and suppressed the rest as if in a way to manipulate what people believed. The way they did this made it almost seem arbitrary. What they didn't say as much was how these other gospels came considerably later and imported ideas that would have been radical departures from first century Judaism. It doesn't take many sayings from this so-called gospel of Judas to see how foreign these ideas would have been to Palestinian Judaism. (Btw, the gospel of Judas is a great name for the document except for the fact that it's not a gospel (good news) and it wasn't by Judas, but other than that...)

Also, they were very deliberate in their attempts to try and show how the writers of the gospels changed their versions of history as they pleased. The big example given was how Judas was portrayed in each of the gospels. I'll grant that there are different pictures given of this character but that certainly doesn't mean that a writer was importing his own ideas into the story. Clearly, the writers of the gospels are working on different themes and issues and character developments will, of course, look different given how these ideas play out.

I could go on but I just needed to vent a little bit, especially since this is just the beginning of what will be an interesting year debating these issues. The Da Vinci Code will, no doubt, spark many conversations on these issues. I, for one, am actually looking forward to the opportunity to engage with people on these spiritual matters. I know that God can and will use these discussions to draw people to Himself!

Monday, March 20, 2006

To me, perhaps the most startling find in Scripture had dealt with these Biblical terms: "eternal life", "Kingdom of God", and "Kingdom of Heaven". To be honest, I really feel like I have missed some of the most beautiful truths in the New Testament by believing simply that these terms were talking about a place that you go when you die. It seems that no one respected in todays Biblical scholarship (even among conservatives) still believes that it is referring to life after death. Rather, there is this Jewish idea of living in harmony and peace (shalom) with God that is available to anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord. Have we really missed the boat on what Jesus' message is really all about?

I had always thought the message he brought was pretty much about how to get to heaven when you die. If these terms carry the connotations that they seem to, then it turns out that Jesus message was much more than just talking about where you go when you die (although it certainly included that). It seems that his message was much more about the people that claim Him as their King bringing the Kingdom of God wherever they go by serving the poor, reaching out the outcasts, preaching the good news, and inviting the worst of sinners into the Kingdom of God. You see if salavation is about getting out of this world to get to something better, then there really isn't a whole lot of hope for this world, is there? But, if Jesus message was about bringing heaven down to earth through his people than there is more hope for this world than we can ever imagine. This is one of the most profound and exciting ideas I have ever come across. To think that Jesus wants to transform His creation through His followers for His glory pumps me up. The implications from a practical standpoint are huge. It should change the way we think about social justice, the environment, war, evangelism, true Biblical discipleship, suffering, and pretty much everything else we can imagine!

What it is...

I am a strange hybrid when it comes to the emerging church and emerging theology. On the one hand, I have strong leanings towards reformed theology and their emphasis on the authority of Scripture and the Sovereignty of God. On the other hand, there has been so much good Biblical scholarship in the past 20 years that we can't assume that every reformed theologian knew everything that we knew today. So, my blog is going to be primarily looking at current theological issues and their practical implications for the church.

You will find yourself highly frustrated on this blog if you have a low regard for Scripture OR if you feel like we have already learned everything we can possibly learn from earlier theologians. This blog will ask questions with these ideas underlying the thoughts underneath them. Also, I am very interested in other people's thoughts and ideas on everything I put up even if it's the opposite of what I believe. Your thoughts and comments are welcome and appreciated. Let's not argue just for arguments sake but rather embrace a conversation that will lead us into deeper waters of Scripture and the character of God!