When Team Secularism gets envious of Team Christian

Ross Douthat has an insightful blog today about “Pagans and Christians” that you should read. Among other things, he argues that America isn’t really a “pagan” nation yet. So much of its middle-class spirituality is still deeply informed by the judeo-christian tradition. He is certainly right about that.

He also argues that secularists don’t know what to do when Christians outshine them in acts of mercy and charity. Case in point: the overwhelmingly Christian identity of western doctors on the ground in Liberia right now. They are missionaries, they are there to heal, and they are there to proselytize. Everyone likes the healing part. But secularists get really uncomfortable about the preaching part. Douthat says that Christians ought to relish the tension that this creates in our secularist friends and neighbors:

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An iconoclastic approach to Daniel

Jim Hamilton has given us an iconoclastic rendering of the theology of Daniel in his latest book With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology (InterVarsity, 2014). This latest addition to the New Studies in Biblical Theology series takes some hard shots at the critical orthodoxies concerning a late date for Daniel. In addition, it presents Daniel’s message in line with the overall story of the Bible. It’s the kind of canonical approach that tends to irritate the myopic vision of some Old Testament scholarship. That is why D. A. Carson says,

“Dr Hamilton’s work is also an implicit call to engage in similar work on other biblical books, in self-conscious determination to reverse two centuries or more of atomistic approaches to Scripture” (p. 14).

I couldn’t agree more.

Hamilton was kind enough to answer some questions from me about this work. My questions and his responses are below. Continue Reading →

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How to read the New Testament in Greek

Dr. Rob Plummer has put together an outstanding resource to help beginning Greek students read the Greek New Testament. It’s a website called “Daily Dose of Greek,” and it provides a schedule for reading and daily explanations of Greek syntax and grammar on the day’s reading. If you want help from a Southern Seminary master-teacher on the elements of Greek, you really should check out this site: Daily Dose of Greek.

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Coercing a Christian couple to host a gay wedding

The story in the video above is not a new one. Still, you need to see this. Here’s the story in a nutshell.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford are Christians who own a family farm near Albany, New York. They regularly rent their property for special events, parties, weddings, etc. In 2012, a lesbian couple attempted to rent the facilities for their lesbian wedding, and the owners declined. Why? Because the Giffords are Christians and believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. They simply did not wish to use their property to host an event that contradicts their deeply held religious beliefs. Continue Reading →

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Why I Am a Baptist — Two Key Resources for Me

The main reason that I am a Baptist Christian is because that is what my parents raised me to be. The faith that they passed on to me involved (among other things) a conviction that baptism is for believers alone and that the church’s polity is congregational. The Bible honors this kind of inheritance, and I am happy to own it (2 Tim. 3:14).

It was only after I entered seminary that I really began to press into other ecclesiological perspectives and to wrestle with their interpretations of scripture. Elder-rule polity and paedobaptist paradigms were particularly challenging to my congregational and credobaptist upbringing. More than anything, I wanted to be faithful to scripture. But I had to face the possibility that maybe I had understood the Bible’s teaching incorrectly on these issues.

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The video of Lecrae on Jimmy Fallon

In case you missed it (I’m not sure you could have!), Lecrae was on Jimmy Fallon last night. Lecrae has the number one record on Billboard right now, so there you have it. A gospel hip-hop dude shows up on late night. It’s a real anomaly. The video above is a web exclusive with Lecrae explaining “How I Wrote That Song.” Below is a link to the full episode. Lecrae sits in with The Roots and performs during intro and outros.

FULL EPISODE of “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON”

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A brief biblical case for the wisdom of free markets

David Kotter makes a biblical case for the wisdom of free markets over at The Center for Gospel and Culture. He writes,

The Bible does not endorse American-style Capitalism, nor did the early church practice Communist central planning in the early chapters of Acts. You will not find Adam Smith prophetically foretold in the Scriptures, nor any allusion to Karl Marx. Republican Party economics is not a required part of Christianity.

Yet, the Bible contains clear economic principles and the early church grew in an environment of buying, selling, borrowing, and hiring. In essence, an economy of free markets and entrepreneurship follows from the commands given by God, though sin has marred the business practices that we experience today. Free markets only require recognition of property rights and the freedom to trade with other people.

Read the rest here

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Should we celebrate killing to cover up an affair?

I’ve often been struck by the way Matthew’s genealogy highlights King David’s infamy: “to Jesse was born David the king. And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6). Bathsheba’s entire identity is swallowed up by David’s sin. Unlike the other three women in the list, her name is not even mentioned. She is called “the wife of Uriah”—as if Matthew wishes to invoke all the horror of David’s murderous cover-up that led to his marriage to Uriah’s wife. It is a sadness in the account, not a celebration. Continue Reading →

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Rob Bell’s new egalitarian book on marriage

Rob Bell and his wife Kristen are set to release a book on marriage next month. The work is already being touted as an egalitarian alternative to Mark and Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage. The title is The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. Zimzum is a doctrine that comes from Kabbalah—a kind of new age Jewish mysticism. The Bells are accessing the teaching as a paradigm for understanding marriage. From the publisher’s description,

In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners, in which each person contracts to allow the other to flourish. Mastering this field, this give and take of energy, is the secret to what makes marriage flourish.

Bell will be touring with Oprah Winfrey this Fall.

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