Archive | Theology/Bible

Get fired in the interview

When I was in college and aspiring to ministry, I was greatly influenced by a pastor in Denton, Texas. His name is Tommy Nelson, and he is preaching in the chapel of Southern Seminary this morning. Among the many nuggets of wisdom that I gleaned from him in those days was this: “Get fired in the interview.”

What was he talking about? He was telling all of us young aspiring preachers exactly what we should be doing when candidating for a pastorate. It was sage advice for me then, and I reckon it is sage advice for any aspiring pastor who may be reading this now. When the pastor-search committee interviews you, don’t hold anything back in terms of your beliefs or philosophy of ministry. If there’s a deal-breaker between you and the church, it’s better for that to come out in the interview stage than after they’ve already hired you. Lay all your cards out on the table, and let the chips fall where they may. Continue Reading →

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Tough review of N. T. Wright’s 2-volume work on Paul

John Barclay has written a hard-hitting review of N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. If you know anything about the interactions between Barclay and Wright over the last several years, you will not be surprised that Barclay comes down pretty hard on Wright. Barclay concludes:

The stimulus offered by this book will be lessened, and perhaps cancelled, by its persistently shrill and overheated rhetoric.

Ouch. Like I said; it’s a tough review. Read the rest here. Continue Reading →

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President Obama’s cynical lie about gay marriage

In his new book, David Axelrod admits that President Obama lied about his views on gay marriage in order to get elected in 2008. In particular, he wished to deceive black voters, whom he knew were largely opposed to gay marriage. Here’s the report from TIME Magazine:

Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons, his former political strategist David Axelrod writes in a new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

“I’m just not very good at bulls—-ing,” Obama told Axelrod, after an event where he stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, according to the book.
Continue Reading →

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The Girl in the Tuxedo

Jean Lloyd shares a little bit of her story today at The Public Discourse about how she grew confused about her gender and sexuality in her teenage years. She compares her experience back in 1985 to what a child with the same struggles might experience in 2015. The differences are stark and tragic. The pathways to wholeness that were available to her in 1985 have largely been cut-off to today’s adolescents.

If you don’t read anything else today on the internet, read this. The consequences of the sexual revolution are massive, and they have an impact on the lives of children. Be sure to read this one all the way through. There’s a little twist at the end.

“The Girl in the Tuxedo: Two Variations on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” – by Jean Lloyd

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Is God a cosmic fan in the sky or disinterested observer? Or neither?

A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute says that many Americans believe God plays a role in who wins and loses NFL football games. From the poll:

Majorities of Americans (53%) and sports fans (56%) say that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success; more than 4-in-10 of Americans (45%) and sports fans (42%) disagree…

About 1-in-4 (26%) Americans and 27% of self-described sports fans say that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event. About 7-in-10 Americans (71%) and sports fans (69%) disagree.

Continue Reading →

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An “evangelical” church in Nashville embraces gay marriage

A couple weeks ago, I noted Elizabeth Diaz’s feature-length article in Time magazine arguing that evangelicals are changing their mind about gay marriage. Today she has a follow-up piece about Nashville, Tennessee’s GracePointe Community Church which has become “one of the first evangelical megachurches in the country to openly stand for full equality and inclusion of the LGBTQ community.” The church’s pastor, Stan Mitchell, made the announcement at the end of a sermon a few weeks ago. You can watch it above beginning at 44:00. Continue Reading →

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No one can really redefine marriage

Last week I read a report about philosophy professors who believe the debate about marriage is over. For many (perhaps most) of them, the question has been settled. There is no rational basis to privilege the union of one man and one woman in our laws and culture. To do so is the equivalent of bigotry. Or so these professors believe. And that is why many of them are no longer treating it as a matter up for debate. Conversation over.

It struck me that while many people in our culture will evade this discussion in a similar way, that doesn’t close the issue. Why? Because an ostrich with his head in the dirt doesn’t actually make the sun disappear. The sun shines as ever, no matter how much one closes his eyes to it. Likewise, marriage really is the covenanted union of one man and one woman with a unique connection to procreation and child-rearing. That truth about marriage remains the truth, no matter how much people try to pretend that it is not. The evidence of that truth will persist and will explain—perhaps better than anything else—the pain of brokenness of those who deny it. Continue Reading →

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Douglas Moo’s essay on the NIV and Bible Translation

At last November’s ETS meeting in San Diego, I attended a dinner hosted by Zondervan celebrating the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the New International Version (NIV). Doug Moo is the head of the committee that oversees that translation, and he gave an extended address on the NIV in particular and on Bible translation in general. Zondervan has made a PDF of that address available for free. You can download the booklet at right or at the link below.

Douglas J. Moo, We Still Don’t Get It: Evangelicals and Bible Translation Fifty Years After James Barr, Presentation from the 2014 ETS Annual Meeting (Zondervan, 2014).

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Possible first-century copy of Mark’s Gospel discovered

In 2012, Dan Wallace dropped a bombshell during a debate with Bart Ehrman. Ehrman had pointed out that our earliest copy of Mark’s Gospel is dated 140 years after the gospel was first written. It’s a point often made by critics to show the unreliability of the New Testament. Wallace then revealed that he had knowledge that a first century copy of Mark’s Gospel had been discovered. He also revealed that the document would be published in a forthcoming volume by E. J. Brill.

It was all very cryptic at the time, and Ehrman later complained that Wallace should not have brought it up in the debate. Ehrman argued that bringing up this alleged discovery without providing any evidence for it was dirty pool. I disagree. It seems reasonable to mention forthcoming scholarly work with the understanding that independent verification can only come after publication of the find. In that sense, it’s only dirty pool if you are making outlandish claims. But a report out today says that a group of scholars are indeed planning to publish what they believe to be a first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel. Continue Reading →

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Michael Kruger’s Christmas Eve take-down of Newsweek’s preposterous cover story attacking the Bible

Three cheers for Michael Kruger for exposing the outlandish Newsweek cover story attacking the integrity of the Bible. Released just two days before Christmas, the Newsweek article is riddled with basic historical errors and the author’s own prejudice against Christianity. I don’t know how this tendentious rubbish got into Newsweek, but there it is. Thanks to Kruger for taking time on Christmas Eve to expose this farce for what it is. He writes:

Of course, this is not the first media article critiquing the Bible that has been short on the facts. However, what is stunning about this particular article is that Kurt Eichenwald begins by scolding evangelical Christians for being unaware of the facts about the Bible, and the[n] proceeds to demonstrate a jaw-dropping ignorance of the fact[s] about the Bible.

Being ignorant of biblical facts is one thing. But being ignorant of biblical facts after chiding one’s opponent for that very thing is a serious breach of journalistic integrity. Saying Eichenwald’s article is an instance of “the pot calling the kettle black” just doesn’t seem to do it justice.

Again, the errors in the Newsweek piece are not just a little bit off. They are epically wrong. And yet the author appears oblivious to the fact that some of his assertions come right out of internet rumor mills and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code novel. And yet somehow Newsweek thought it was a worthy cover story. It really is quite preposterous.

Paul once warned Timothy about the way that some false teachers operate: “They do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions” (1 Timothy 1:7). That is Newsweek’s cover story in a nutshell, and I am grateful to Kruger for pointing it out. If you need your spine-stiffened for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3), then you should read the rest of Kruger’s take-down. It’s worth your time.

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