Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The groaning of the Church

I haven’t read N.T. Wright, but I came across a short interview with him in Newsweek ( which offers a nice explanation for all the disagreement among Christians (and people in general).

He cites the notion that ‘the creation is groaning, having been subjected to slavery’ from Romans, and says that the Church is also ‘groaning’ in this sense. There’s a subjection to fallen-ness that affects us all and leads to these internal and external squabbles.

I guess this is just a way of saying our problems are because of sin, but in all this ‘groaning,’ it’s helpful to me to be able to locate it in the story of redemption.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Here’s another quiz we might enjoy:

This quiz has the nuance of going beyond left vs. right, and adds a dimension of libertarian vs. authoritarian. Post your scores and we’ll see whose politics we’re most scared of.

My scores:

Economic Left/Right: -2.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.67

So, I'm slightly economically liberal, and slightly socially libertarian; which is disappointing because I'd rather have come out slightly conservative, slightly authoritarian. I guess I can always go back and change my answers...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chess, News

Anyone like chess? I’ve been playing at this site, and what’s cool about it is you can play games very slowly, like one move per three days (or whatever). This makes it so you can be involved in a chess game without committing an hour at a time to playing it:

If anyone signs up, let me know.


I’ve stopped listening to and reading the news. I don’t feel as if I’m missing much, and my mind definitely feels more peaceful, not because the news is upsetting, but just because the data overload had been getting to me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Everybody loves quizzes, especially if they’re about your Bible hermeneutic:

By the way, for any of you who may think otherwise based on my various posts, the quiz says I'm still a conservative!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

From my non-favorite quasi-creedal statement:

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

Article XII.

WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to
spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in
the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific
hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the
teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article XIII.

WE DENY that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to
standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose.
We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such
as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or


How is it coherent to distinguish "irregularities" in spelling and grammar from errors in history and science? In other words, the Chicago Statement will allow for a Bible writer to misspell a word, but not to misquote a fact of history. Are these categorically different types of error? I don’t see how.

(Someone I know is studying Greek and Hebrew in seminary and vaguely claimed there may be a good answer for this because of something to do with ancient grammar, but he did not sound very confident when he said it.)


(Sigh), the postmodernists on the left, the inerrantists on the right…

Also, you might wonder why I go on and on about these relatively obscure things. The reason is because I believe Prov. 23:7.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Emergent Church and the Impossibility of Objectivity

It seems to me that the Emergent Church has embraced a serious philosophical mistake. That mistake is the post-modern notion that there is no such thing as objectivity.

Here are some links that, at length, will connect these dots:

Here, an Emergent pastor I know is Durham argues that objectivity is impossible (you have to scroll down a ways):

Here, a relatively famous professor discusses the same issue:

And, here, Dallas Willard, refutes the idea that objectivity is impossible:

To read all this would probably take at least an hour, but you can skim and get the gist. Or just take my word for it.

I think many Emergent Christians have, in good faith, bought the argument that objectivity is impossible, and their ministries are good-faith attempts to be Christian having accepted that argument. Nevertheless, if the underlying argument is erroneous, it's important not to build anything around it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

"The Bush regime has been divisive — but not in Africa. I read it has been incompetent — but not in Africa. It has created bitterness — but not here in Africa. Here, his administration has saved millions of lives.",8599,1717934,00.html

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Faith and Science

It’s commonplace among intellectual Christians to assert that there’s no contradiction between faith and science; however, I’m not sure they actually believe this because there are still statements like the following from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:

“We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.”

To make a statement like this, you have to be worried that there are incompatibilities between faith and science, namely between science and the flood and creation accounts.

Because it appears to me that many Evangelicals actually do believe there is a conflict between faith and science, I want to take a fresh stab at why there is not.

The reason is that science by definition cannot address the central occurrences of Christianity. Science only addresses those things that are readily demonstrable. So let’s start with the sine qua non of Christianity: the resurrection of Christ.

Science cannot address the Resurrection because the Resurrection is a miracle. Miracles are not falsifiable in labs; by definition, a miracle is something that happens outside the natural order of things. Science only deals with the natural order of things. It’s a classic case of apples and oranges.

The same is true of the Virgin Birth.

But what about the Flood and Creation? Science seems to speak to those matters, even contradicting Scripture. However, the way in which there is a supposed contradiction between science and the creation and flood accounts depends on an interpretation of the Scripture which is probably false, namely an overly literal interpretation.

To me, whatever the case may be with the literalness of the flood and creation, if the Resurrection happened, then my faith is on like Donkey Kong, and I’m a born-again, hymn singing, tongue speaking, Bible beating Christian.

And that is why faith and science don’t contradict.
Too much input

I’ve decided to stop listening to news on my iPod. There’s just too much information out there, and I feel like it’s frying my brain to try to keep abreast of it all. So, what this means practically is that I’m traveling to and from work in relative quiet, and sometimes when I run I don’t listen to anything. Or, I listen to Scripture readings during those times. It adds up to probably 20 minutes a day difference, but my brain feels a little better already. I am still looking for a way to cut my computer usage.

It seems like all the media we have available is just making it possible to get wider and wider info and no deeper, if not shallower.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I’m really excited (you’ll probably think it’s funny what excites me) because I’ve found an evangelical statement on the nature of the Bible that I actually like:

"Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power."

Were we to distinguish our position from that of some of our brothers and sisters who perceive their view of Scriptures as more orthodox than ours, several points could be made: 1) we would stress the need to be aware of the historical and literary process by which God brought the Word to us; 2) we would emphasize the careful attention that must be given to the historical and cultural contexts in which the various authors lived and wrote, as well as to the purposes which each had in mind -convinced as we are that the Spirit of God used the human abilities and circumstances of the writers in such a way that the Word which results is truly divine; 3) we are convinced that this investigation of the context, purpose and literary genre is essential to a correct understanding of any portion of God's Word; 4) we would urge that the emphasis be placed where the Bible itself places it -on its message of salvation and its instruction for living, not on its details of geography or science, though we acknowledge the wonderful reliability of the Bible as a historical source book; 5) we would strive to develop our doctrine of Scripture by hearing all that the Bible says, rather than by imposing on the Bible a philosophical judgment of our own as to how God ought to have inspired the Word...

...(Inerrancy's) dangers, when improperly defined, are: 1) that it implies a precision alien to the minds of the Bible writers and their own use of the Scriptures; 2) that it diverts attention from the message of salvation and the instruction in righteousness which are the Bible's key themes; 3) that it may encourage glib and artificial harmonizations rather than serious wrestling with the implication of biblical statements which may seem to disagree; 4) that it leads those who think that there is one proven error in the Bible (however minor), to regard its whole teaching as subject to doubt; 5) that too often it has undermined our confidence in the Bible by a retreat for refuge to the original manuscripts (which we do not posses) whenever problems cannot otherwise be resolved; 6) that it prompts us to an inordinate defensiveness of Scripture which seems out of keeping with the bold confidence with which the prophets, the apostles and our Lord proclaimed it."