Why one blog decided to cut off comments…what do you think?
With this article, I want to start a new series of articles looking at tools that we can use both as pastors and laypeople to defend conservative “evangelical” beliefs.
Our first article will start where the attacks usually do…with Scripture.
Michael Krueger has written two books on the topic of the canon of Scripture…both are invaluable in forming a theology of canon that can answer critics and skeptics.
The first (and they should be read in this order) is “Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books.”
The first book speaks to the actual formation of the New Testament, the second to liberal objections to the canon itself and both provide an excellent framework for understanding and articulating a conservative, biblical response.
In both books, Krueger engages both with liberal scholars and higher criticism, but he does so in a way that is understandable and accessible to all of us…all that is required is a desire to seriously engage the topic.
What tools have you found valuable in defending the veracity and authority of Scripture?
1. Since the death of Fred Phelps the hipsters have been out in force drawing parallels between Phelps hateful ideas and all of evangelicalism. Yes, if you believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God, believe in the existence of hell, believe in marriage between opposite sexes…you’re now as hateful and ignorant as Fred Phelps certainly was. That’s a lie from the pit of hell and that lie and endless variations of it need to be addressed. Believing that somethings are wrong and other things are right, believing in a sacred text and walking an ancient, sacred path does not equate to hate. Hate is ascribing wicked and evil motives to people who are neither wicked or evil in an attempt to diminish them, silence them, and pretend a higher moral ground.
2. We have a number of restaurants and cafes in our little town, among which is a new “vegan” eatery. I have no intention of ever eating there, as I like meat, I like meat every day, and I like meat at every meal. I wash my meat down with Mexican Coke, not the juices of exotic fruits.I do not particularly enjoy eating weeds and seeds, nor will I pay to do so. However, I have absolutely no objection the presence of that cafe, nor do I feel compelled to go in to that business and argue with them over the merits of pork chops vs. tofu. I am content to enjoy ginger beef across the street and let the weed eating patrons enjoy their meal as well. So it is with blogging…make your own application.
3. It’s taken me half a century to understand that “heartbroken” is God’s preferred state of the believer.
4. I taught on Mark 5 last night and the woman with the issue of blood. What a theological train wreck she was. She was unclean and outside the camp and evidently didn’t understand her place. She was acting out of a popular superstition that believed that the power of a healer was accessible through clothing and other items he might touch, not an understanding that she was encountering God. She was selfishly seeking the gift not the Giver and undoubtedly did so without a proper time of praise and worship before hand. She was theologically and spiritually immature and ignorant. Jesus healed her anyway and the angels did laugh and sing. Make your own application…
5. Pastor…if you think all there is to discipling people is teaching, buy everyone some books and shut down the church.
6. When the people wanted to make Jesus the king, He rebuked and redirected them. When the congregation wants to do so with the pastor, he …
7. Jesus was constantly making exceptions to His own rules for the sake of loving people and having mercy on them. The challenge I’m wrestling with is over how much those exceptions need to inform my own doctrine and practice…
8. You can laugh if you want to, but I believe God fixed my vacuum cleaner Friday night. It smoked, it broke, I couldn’t fix it, I prayed, it works. Sometimes, mercy begins with a trickle…
9. The best quarterback that will come out of the 2014 draft will be… Derek Carr. You will all be hailing my football acumen in a few years.
10. You can’t be offended by the Canaanite slaughter and the Flood unless you’re willing to be offended by the Cross as well. The greatest offense recorded in Scripture is the predestined murder of the Son of God. The real reason we struggle with any of the above is that we have lost a biblical understanding of sin…
who judges and delivers,
who calls by name and makes new.
This much we gladly confess in praise and thanksgiving.
This much we trust and affirm … only to ponder the chance that we are too glib, that we say more than we mean, that we say more than we can in fact risk.
We make our gingerly confession in a world filled with those who cynically acknowledge none but themselves .. . and we are their fellow travellers with those who in vulnerability have no chance but prayer to you … and we stand in solidarity with them.
Thus we ask, beyond our critical reservations, that you be your powerful, active, sovereign self.
Give us eyes to see your wonders around us;
Give us hearts to live into your risky miracles;
Give us tongues to praise you beyond our doubt.
For it is to you, only you, that we turn on behalf of the world that waits in its deathliness for your act of life.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 124). Kindle Edition.
From our friends at the Martyrs Project
In this microwave world we want things and we want them now…and things we have to patiently toil for are often discarded or ignored.
With the many concerns we all have, it’s easy to “grow weary in well doing”.
We have an opportunity in front of us to make a real difference in an ongoing tragedy…but we need to choose to act, and act in faith despite the length of the trial..
The Iranian government has a tradition of releasing some political prisoners as part of the celebration of the Iranian New Year called Nowruz.
We want to create another social media storm this Wednesday calling on anyone who can influence the Iranian government to release Pastor Saeed Abedini.
The last social media campaign was extremely effective in raising awareness and compelling our government to take real actions to procure his freedom.
This might be the one that wins it.
It won’t happen without your help.
These campaigns rely on each individual joining an ever growing choir to be effective.
It depends on you.
Saeeds favorite color is yellow…so we want to turn the internet yellow today.
Today, use these pre set lists to tweet and post your concerns on Twitter and Facebook.
If you haven’t “liked” the Free Saeed Facebook page do so now and invite your friends…we are now over 10,000 strong!
Pray…that this campaign will be successful and the Lord will use it along with all the other efforts that have gone before to Free Saeed.
Pass this new video about this weeks #SaveSaeed campaign around!
1. It is the custom of the Iranian government to sometimes grant freedom to political prisoners on the occasion of the Iranian New Year. It is our fervent hope that this year such clemency will be granted to Saeed Abedini. We are going to accompany that hope with actions…we will be conducting a social media campaign again this Wednesday to raise awareness and ask the Iranian government to release Pastor Saeed. Each one of you reading is vital to this effort…your voice is amplified when you join with others for this cause. We ask you to join the “10,000 as 1” on the Free Saeed Facebook page and ask others to do likewise. There will be a list of activities for Wednesday up soon!
2. The current hot topic in progressive theological circles online is to fight against “patriarchy”…the assumption being that much of the abuse in churches is the result of a complementarian view of gender roles, which needs to be replaced by an “egalitarian” view of the same. While there is some truth to this and abuses need to be addressed, sin has no respect for gender. Women in authority are as prone to being abusive as men are. It may be enjoyable to be on the other end of the stick, but it won’t solve the problem. Accountability and consequences for sin regardless of gender solves the problem..
3. Fred Phelps of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church is near death. I fear for his soul far more than those of the people he hated. Fred made a career of striking the rock…
4.“And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mark 3:25 ESV)
5. Happy St. Patricks Day!
6. One of the unspoken lies of the celebrity preacher culture is that only about a dozen guys in the world can really preach.
7. It is spiritually impossible for someone to be your pastor who doesn’t even know your name.
8. If someone talked about your spouse the way we talk about the bride of Christ…
9. Yellow is Saeed Abedini’s favorite color. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn your part of the internet yellow this week…
10.“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?””
Storm tossed friends, always remember one thing.
Jesus is in the boat with you.
Don’t panic until He does…
(Mark 4:35–41 ESV)
in the world and in the church,
propelled by anxiety and acted as brutality,
You have planted yourself in all your fidelity.
You have placed yourself among us in steadfastness and abiding care present in the day,
alert in the night, making us all safe and noticed and cared for.
So evidence your fidelity as to curb our anxiety,
as to restrain our brutality,
as to overcome our alienation.
By your fidelity,
Give us the safety to love you fully,
to love neighbor well,
in glad obedience.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 118). Kindle Edition.