Archive | Christianity

Eugene Peterson and Bono talk about the Psalms

From the YouTube description:

This short film documents the friendship between Bono (lead musician of the band U2) and Eugene Peterson (author of contemporary-language Bible translation The Message) revolving around their common interest in the Psalms. Based on interviews conducted by Fuller Seminary faculty member David Taylor and produced in association with Fourth Line Films, the film highlights in particular a conversation on the Psalms that took place between Bono, Peterson, and Taylor at Peterson’s Montana home. Continue Reading →


Some reflections on a church that has recently embraced egalitarianism

Last night I watched Pastor Pete Briscoe give his rationale for leading his church to welcome female elders to their leadership structure (see above). Briscoe pastors Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, a large congregation in the metro area of Dallas, Texas. His sermon amounts to a recitation of long-standing egalitarian readings of scripture. I admire that Briscoe and the elders made a public presentation of the decision and their justification for it. They have laid their cards on the table, and that is a good thing. But I still think their reasoning is flawed on many points. I am not going to give a point-by-point rebuttal. That would go beyond what is feasible in a single blog post. I would simply highlight three concerns that I think are salient in this particular case. Continue Reading →


Bono and Eugene Peterson Team-up in Short Film

Apparently, Bono is a big fan of The Message, Eugene Peterson’s idiomatic English translation of the Bible. Bono has been known to quote from it during his concerts. He has even read to his dying father from Peterson’s rendering of the New Testament.

Now Bono and Peterson have teamed up for a conversation about the Psalms. The teaser trailer is above. It is produced by Fuller Seminary, and here’s the description from the teaser’s YouTube page:

What happens when the lead singer of U2 and the writer of The Message meet to discuss the Psalms?

Find out in a new short film on Bono and Eugene Peterson premiering exclusively on FULLER studio, Fuller’s new online resource for a deeply informed spiritual life: Our stories. Our theology. Our voice: launching April 26.

Worlds collide. Who’s not going to watch this one?


Following-up about porn-use among young men

Last Monday, I wrote at length about the TIME magazine cover story concerning porn-use among young men. The response to it over the last week has been overwhelming. I thought there were several items worth mentioning here.

The author of the TIME cover story is Belinda Luscombe, and she took issue with my characterization of her reporting. In the comments section, she writes:
Continue Reading →

Bart Ehrman debates Richard Bauckham about the Gospels


Attention, fellow Bible nerds. The audio above features two big-hitters debating the authorship of the Gospels. Bart Ehrman, a well-known skeptic, squares-off against Richard Bauckham. I think Bauckham powerfully and decisively refutes Ehrman in this one. Here’s a description of the show from the “Unbelievable” website:

Bart Ehrman’s new book “Jesus Before the Gospels” makes the case that the stories about Jesus would have changed and evolved before they were written down as the Gospels.

Richard Bauckham, author of “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, defends the view that the Gospels were written by those with access to eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ first followers. They debate who wrote Mark, whether the Gospels came from anonymous traditions and how they received their titles.

You can listen to the audio above or download it here.

Speaking the truth about the “Dragon Lady” and sex-reassignment surgery

This strange story has to be seen to be believed. Here is the report from The Daily Mail:

A transgender former banker claims to be the first and only person to have both ears cosmetically removed as part of her ongoing quest to become a ‘dragon’.

Born Richard Hernandez in Maricopa County, Arizona, the 55-year-old has undergone a number of painful procedures over the past few years including nose modification, tooth extraction and eye colouring.

She also has a forked tongue and a full-face tattoo as part of her transformation into a ‘mythical beast’.

Most people reading this would probably agree that something has gone deeply awry with any person who would do this to themselves. Many people would probably also agree that something is deeply wrong with a medical profession that would allow surgeons to take part in this. Continue Reading →

The Darkness of Porn and the Hope of the Gospel

TIME magazine has published one of the saddest, most horrifying cover stories I have ever read. It is not horrifying like the carnage of war. It’s horrifying like the carnage of a culture that is committing slow-motion suicide. The essay documents a civilization-wide calamity on a scale that we have not seen before.

The title of the article is “Porn and the Threat to Virility” by Belinda Luscombe. I am not linking to the article here simply because the cover art for the magazine and at least one of the images within the article are too explicit to share. Indeed, the article is itself fairly explicit and definitely NSFW. Having said that, the article reads as a coolly rational look at modern porn use among males, even though it seems unaware that it is narrating a civilizational crisis.

At the heart of the article is the contention that there is a backlash against internet pornography among young men who have been heavy users throughout adolescence and adulthood. Luscombe writes: Continue Reading →

Jesus Christ, the perfect “has been”

The strangest thing about the Christian faith is not our views on sexuality or politics. Those things are not even our most controversial of claims. The strangest thing about us is what the apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:

3 that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

To be sure, that Jesus died is not the controversial part. Even unbelieving pagans agree with the death of Jesus as an historical fact. They don’t, however, agree with the meaning of his death—that it was a vicarious sacrifice “for our sins” to reconcile us to God. But they do agree that he was dead and buried. No great dispute there.

The controversial part is the second half, “he has been raised.” Why is it strange? Because dead bodies don’t come back to life. It just doesn’t happen. But eye-witnesses like Paul say that it did in fact happen in Jesus’ case. Jesus was dead. Really dead. Violenty dead. Indisputably dead. And yet he was “raised.”

The blood that had stopped flowing through his veins began flowing again. The heart that had stopped beating for days started beating again. The brain that had ceased all functioning except for the coagulation of decaying blood began working again. The smell of rotting flesh became the smell of new and incorruptible life.

But perhaps the strangest thing about what we believe is contained in the words “has been.” The wording here is crucial. There are four verbs in these verses, all of which are simple past tense except for one, “he has been raised.” Whereas Jesus’ death, burial, and appearances happened once upon a time, it is not so with his resurrection. He “has been” raised—the perfect tense—which indicates past time with ongoing results.

Think about what this means. It is not merely that Jesus came back to life 2,000 years ago. It is that Jesus is alive in a physical body right now. To say that Jesus “has been raised” is to say that the blood is flowing through Jesus’ veins right now, that his heart is beating right now, that his mind and thinking are at work right now. At the heart of our confession is the belief that a formerly dead Jew is alive in a body right now and seated at the right hand of his father right now.

And one day, this formerly dead Jew will return to reclaim what is his. And the same power that brought him back to life will bring his people back to life as well. And we will live—resurrected, incorruptible, immortal, and whole. Jesus is the “firstborn” from the dead, and that means that he will bring us forth as well (Col. 1:18).

So, yes. The strangest thing about us is this. Jesus Christ has been risen from the dead. He is alive now and will appear again to reassert his rule over his broken world. And when he does, all the sad things will come untrue. He will wipe every tear from every eye (Rev. 21:4). This is the best news in the world, and it is for anyone who will have it. You just have to believe right now.

Death, Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Poem: “Death, Be Not Proud” (Holy Sonnet 10), by John Donne
Music Credit: Audrey Assad, “Death, Be Not Proud”

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