• Theology/Bible

    The first to plead his case seems just…

    Proverbs 18:17, “The first to plead his case seems just, Until another comes and examines him.” “Hearers enthralled by a good speech in court can easily forget that they have heard only one side of the argument. More information is needed before a verdict can be reached. When the other party speaks in refutation, people realize they have heard only one side. The experience at court offers a lesson to all who make judgments about others. Truth appears gradually; one must listen to all sides. The old Latin axiom is relevant: audiatur et altera pars, ‘Let the other side be heard too.’ Protagoras in the fifth century B.C.E. said, ‘There…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    No Hedging. No Paternalism. Just obedience.

    Hannah Anderson has an essay at Christianity Today warning against “paternalism” among complementarians. She says that paternalism occurs among complementarians whenever “policies and practices” are put into place “that restrict both the freedom and the responsibilities of women who do not hold the authority associated with pastors and husbands.” In other words, it’s not men in authority per se that are the problem. It’s those who misuse their authority to limit women under their charge. She then says that “The challenge for complementarians, then, is to create policies and practices that don’t unnecessarily limit the freedom or the responsibilities of women as co-heirs of the gospel of life.” Anderson cites…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    How To Turn Complementarians into Egalitarians

    Mike Bird and Devi Abraham recently interviewed authors Kristin DuMez, Beth Allison Barr, and Aimee Byrd (see video below). All three of these authors have written books condemning complementarianism. Both DuMez and Barr are convinced egalitarians. While I have never heard Byrd own that label, she has said in her book that she is not a complementarian. In any case, it’s difficult to detect any daylight between Byrd’s position and that of the two egalitarians in this interview. They all three are very much opposed to complementarian theology, which is denigrated as abusive patriarchy in this interview. One thing that they all three seem to agree on is the need…

  • Christianity,  Culture,  Theology/Bible

    A Conversation with Aaron Renn

    It was a real pleasure to speak with Aaron Renn on his podcast last week. He titled the episode “Complementarianism and Its Discontents,” and it was a wide-ranging conversation from personal testimony to the current landscape of complementarianism. Aaron is a fascinating guy who writes really stimulating material on what it means to be male and female. In fact, one of the reasons he invited me on the show is due to my recent interaction with an essay he wrote for the Masculinist a couple years ago. He made the case that complementarianism is a Baby Boomer theology that is likely to fade as the Baby Boomers age out. I…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Burying the Gospel under Trash

    I love Spurgeon. No one says it like he does. I’ve been working on my sermon for Sunday and in preparation just finished reading Spurgeon’s sermon on 2 Cor. 5:14 titled “Under Constraint.” In one section, he confronts the indifference that some Christians display toward false teachers and their error. I think Spurgeon’s intensity reflects that of the apostle Paul. This is a relevant word today, and we need to hear this: He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God’s word or man’s, is himself unrenewed at heart. Oh, if some of you…

  • Theology/Bible

    Concealing the Path to Justice

    Early this morning, CBS News released a video featuring Ibram X. Kendi’s reflections on the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. You can watch the video at the bottom of this post or read the transcript below. Kendi says, With today’s conviction, we can now formally say that Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. A Minneapolis jury convicted a police officer who knelt on the neck of a handcuffed Black man in a prone position for more than 9 minutes. So now what? Chauvin is headed to jail, but is America headed for justice? Is justice convicting a police officer, or is justice convicting America? When tens of millions…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Do you know what happens to you after you die?

    Several years ago, I was guest-preaching in a church in another state. After I was done I had an interesting confrontation. I preached from 2 Corinthians 1 where Paul talks about his sufferings as an apostle and about how he constantly faced death because of the gospel. On numerous occasions during his ministry, Paul believed that he would surely die. Paul says that when the clouds began to gather and he felt he was about to perish, the thing that got him through was knowing that even if he died, God would raise him up. 2 Corinthians 1:9 “We had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Doubt Is a Sin, and Jesus Never Sinned

    The Roman Catholic theologian George Tyrell famously criticized the theological liberalism of Adolf Harnack with these words: “The Christ that Harnack sees… is only the reflection of a Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well.” Tyrell’s depiction of Harnack’s project stands as a warning against a temptation that we all face whether we realize it or not—the temptation to project our own values and ideals onto Jesus and then to use this man-made Jesus to support those values and ideals.1 In some ways this temptation is understandable. After all, the writer of Hebrews assures us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable…

  • Theology/Bible

    In the aftermath of Atlanta (and now Colorado), some thoughts…

    There has been another mass shooting, this time in Colorado and less than a week after the mass shooting in Atlanta. Perhaps reporters and other commenters might draw some lessons from last week about how to conduct themselves this week. To that end, just a handful of thoughts about last week. 1. The shootings in Atlanta last Tuesday were unspeakable. It was two days after the shooting before I read a detailed report of the events as they unfolded in real time. And that report was truly horrific. I can hardly imagine the terror of those moments and the grief and dismay of those left behind. Grieving the loss and…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    A Plan to Read through the Bible in 2021

    In years past, my customary mode for reading through the Bible every year involved starting in Genesis and reading right through to Revelation. I estimated that about four chapters per day would get me through in under a year’s time. The method worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t without its problems. Sometimes I would miss a day (or days) and get behind, and I had no way to keep up with my progress. I needed a schedule so that I could keep myself accountable for finishing in a year. In 2009, therefore, I did something I had never done before. I followed a Bible reading plan. I adopted Robert Murray…