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Monthly Archives: December 2008

b l o g • s h o t ::_-_::-_-::_-_::5

1. Scott McKnight exposes fundamentalism within the political Left.  

2. Speaking of fundamentalism … What to make of this Greek Orthodox leader saying all non-Orthodox people are anathema?  

3. I’ve contributed to a series on Racial Unity that my friend Celucien L. Joseph started at Christ, My Righteousness.  Stay in tune over the next few weeks as contributors speak about Racial Unity. 

4. Travis is an atheist (you can read his story here), but he has a cool blog and his response to the question “What is your favorite color?” is very interesting.  It’s the epitome of a philosopher’s answer.   

5. Might as well get used to Tony Jones promoting the inclusion of “our GLBT sisters and brothers” [GLBT: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender]

6. The Atheist Revolution author Vjack informs us that the Atheist blog world is divided over Obama’s choice of Rick Warren.  Vjack casually refers to Rick Warren as the “Christian extremist pastor,” then grounds his dislike of Rick on the ghost claim that Rick hates gays, muslims, and even moderate Christians.

7.  A Pastor accused of murder claims innocence.  His lawyer says evidence was suppressed, but the judge didn’t find any wrongdoing in the case.

8. Mike Fox making a plea not to look at evangelicals through President Bush and making a plea to change the name of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Ted Haggard’s Re-emergence ::: Tony Jones

Tony Jones laments Ted Haggard’s re-emergence.   

The AP’s fine religion reporter, Erik Gorski, this weekend dropped a story about the re-emergence of Ted Haggard, once-powerful president of the National Association of Evangelicals, now struggling insurance salesman.  Much to the chagrin of his former church, Haggard, his wife, and five children have moved back to Colorado Springs, and Haggard has taken back to the spotlight to promote an Alexandra Pelosi documentary on him, to air next month on HBO.

It’s hard to know just what to make of Haggard, who also says in the piece that he’s never claimed to be heterosexual.  And that he bought the meth but never used it.

Some people you just wish would step away from the public eye to heal.  And never return.  I wish this for Haggard, but I’m afraid it’s a vain wish.

___—-___—-_-_-_-HT: Belief.net

Christian Pastor Accused of Schizophrenia ::: An Atheist Perspective

My favorite Atheist blog, The Atheist Revolution, recently wrote a lament post entitled “Wake Up, Indeed,” in which he laments the “schizophrenia” of an opinion piece written by a Christian from a Christian perspective.  Below is a lengthy excerpt, and carries the spirit of his critique.    

The good pastor is convinced that his religion is being attacked by people who have little understanding of it.

Christian teaching and beliefs are being attacked all over. Here are some recent examples: the lighting of the “non-denominational holiday shrub in Boston”; the “atheist creed being placed by the nativity scene in the Washington State capital”; the attack of “Prop 8 proponents in California in regards to those who supported the defeat of the gay marriage amendment.”

With the possible exception of the atheist sign in Washington, how can any of these examples be construed as attacks on anything but intolerance?

But Panzer’s inconsistency kicks into high gear when it comes to his bible. His words will likely do little but confuse already confused believers. After appearing to proudly accept the fundamentalist mantle, he immediately reverses himself by implying that his bible is open to correction.

So, call me John the Baptist if you will. I believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God written for our teaching, rebuking, and correcting. I believe that it’s just as valid and certain today as it was back then. Its purpose is to point us to Christ for our redemption, life and salvation. So, call me Patrick Henry too. I believe in the blood of the soldiers who have given us this great country with so many freedoms, including the freedom of capitalism. I believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, that they are just as valid and certain for us today as they were back then.

If his particular bible is “the inspired, inerrant Word of God,” how can it have been “written for our…rebuking, and correcting?” Does Pastor Panzer not know what “inerrant” means? Who is he to rebuke or correct the word of his god?

Two things that stick out to me about Vjack’s interaction.  

1. Vjack asks, “…how can any of these examples be construed as attacks on anything but intolerance?”  I have to wonder whether this is a real question, or just an expression of displeasure at a different point of view.  It’s not hard to understand how those of strong religious persuasions might understand attacks against those who support Prop. 8 as attacks on something other than mere “intolerance.”  Worldview makes the difference.  Given the right worldview, a person can come to construe reality in ways that are very counter-cultural and may seem to others as invalid perspectives.  This question, then, makes Vjack look intolerant himself, and ignorant also.  All it takes is a little serious dialogue with such people to get a handle on how they see the world, even if in the end, one might strongly disagree with them.  

2.  Christians would immediately notice what is wrong with his criticism of schizophrenia.  It’s founded on the accusation that the Christian pastor was saying that he believed the Bible to be God’s inerrant word, yet that we should correct and rebuke God’s word.  Well … if he was saying that, he definitely might be liable to Vjack’s accusation.  But, of course, that’s not at all what the man was saying.  The verse this pastor was referring to was 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness ...”  (Vjack actually admits later in an “update” on his post, his criticism of schizophrenia was based on a misunderstanding of the pastor’s point.)  

Disliking the viewpoint of the Christian author, and being unfamiliar with the Bible, Vjack has attacked him on false accounts.  What’s ironic is this: The opinion piece written by the Christian pastor stressed how people are attacking Christianity but have little understanding of it.  As it turns out, Vjack ends up (by accident) proving the point of the Christian who wrote the opinion piece by providing a documented case of this very thing in his post.  

___——___——_-_-_-HT: Atheist Revolution 

thy kingdom come ON EARTH ::: N.T. Wright on Faith & Politics

__-__–_-__G O D is D E A D

“God is dead.” -Nietzsche

[ … a hundred years later …]

“Nietzsche is dead.” -God

 

———*———*————-*—————Vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum!

s i m p l e • g o s p e l ::: Martin Luther’s Gospel

From Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1954), xv. 

But the Holy Ghost is not given except in, with, and by faith in Jesus Christ, as he says in the introduction; and faith does not come, save only through God’s Word or Gospel, which preaches Christ, that He is God’s Son and a man, has died and risen again for our sakes, as he says in chapters 3, 4, and 10 [of Romans]. [italics added]. 

Theologians will tell you that if you don’t understand that “for our sakes” in their particular traditions nuanced sense, you’re not really believing the true gospel.  I say she who repents and has faith in a Christ (i.e. messiah) who is God incarnate and died for us, and is risen, believes the basic gospel and is saved.  That simple.  Theologians tend to complicate the gospel.

____–__-_-The Gospel of Hip Hop

Thanks to Celucien L. Joseph for finding this gospel presentation by Shai Linne.  Spread it around.

____-_-___—_-_-_HT: Christ, My Righteousness

Doubt, Prayer, Economic Crisis, and Government ::: Rick Warren

Belief.net has interviewed Rick warren on several topics.  Below are some excerpts that were of interest to me.

On Doubt … 

I think when a lot of times we say, “God why don’t you do something about all the suffering in the world” and he’s saying “I’m asking you the same question. Why aren’t you doing something about it? You think I put you on earth just to live for yourself? Do you think I put you on earth just to be a fat cat?

For a long time, I thought I had to figure out every answer to every question before I stepped across the line and said, I’d like to develop a relationship with God. Well, now I’ve been a pastor for 30years. I’ve been walking with Jesus Christ for over 40 years. And I still have doubts.

On Prayer … 

That’s another question I have to ask [God] – about how does prayer work, because I don’t really know. The truth is I don’t really know how prayer works. 

On the Economic Crisis 

The reason why we’re in the economic crisis we’re in right now is that we’ve walked away from the Biblical world view of economics. The Biblical worldview of economics is taught all through the Old Testament, particularly in theBook of Proverbs, which teaches thriftiness, teaches not living beyond your means, teaches the value of saving and investing.

On Government 

… if I believed you could change people’s hearts through laws I’d be a politician. But I don’t believe that. I believe only God can change a heart, and I believe that change can only take place in a spiritual conversion inside. And you can’t legislate people to, for instance, drop their prejudice against another race or drop their war mongering. So I’m not looking to any government.

Politics is always downstream from culture. By the time you make a law about it, it’s already in the water. So these people trying to make laws either for or against gay marriage – well I’m sorry, that started 25 years ago. If you want to change culture, you start with music, art, sports entertainment. 

___—__–_—-_–__-_-__-_-_–_–_-HT: Belief.net

False Security :::: Shark vs. Cage

Apparently, people think they are safe behind those cages. They give a false sense of security.

Video 1: Raw Footage

Video 2: National Geographic Explorer

Richard Dawkins FAIL ::: The God Debates

Pay particular attention to the question, and how it’s never answered.  Is he saying that modern animals are no longer evolving?  

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