Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
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Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
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Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 16
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 17
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 18
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 19
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 20

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 4
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 6
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 11
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 16

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 6

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 2
 "Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 4 "Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 5


So what is the source of sin? After surveying and exploring five different inadequate views, Erickson offers a number of points, gleaned from the text of Scripture, that help us answer this question. We must first affirm, Erickson says, that sin is not caused by God(613). James is particularly clear in James 1:13 where the writer argues that God does not tempt for there is nothing in Him.

From there, the author lays out some sources of sin from Scripture. They come from (1) The desire to enjoy things (614); (2) The desire to obtain things (615); and (3)The desire to do things, to achieve (615). Though this list is a bit inadequate and does not directly answer the question, it is helpful. Erickson does not answer the root of sin, where did sin come from, but why do we sin and where does that desire or act come from.

One good thing that this list shows is that sin, most of sin, is rooted in good desires. Desires for food and sex are not inherently wrong, but can be used for evil. The glutton and the womanizer are abusing God's good gifts. We must here take Mark Driscoll's words to heart. We must be careful not to turn something into either a god or make it gross, but instead see them as gift. This includes money, power, sex, influence, income, an education, etc.

But perhaps the best part of this chapter is the conclusion. He ends with this paragraph:

From the evangelical perspective, the problem lies in the fact that human beings are sinful by nature and live in a world in which powerful forces seek to induce them to sin. The cure for sin will come through a supernaturally produced alteration of one's human nature and also through divine help in countering the power of temptation. it is individual conversion and regeneration that will alter the person and bring him or her into a relationship with God that will make successful Christian living possible. (617)


For more:
Does the Calvinistic Doctrine of God's Providence Make God Responsible For Sin?: Grudem's Answer
When the Bad Do Bad: David Brooks & the Secular Question of Depravity
The Transcendence of Greed:  What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel
Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World
Lewis on the Why of Democracy
The Utopian Myth: Pandora and the Avatar Blues
"Fall: God Judges" by Mark Discoll
"Its a Human Problem": What the History of Slavery Can Teach About Ourselves
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Politics
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Morality

All Around the Web - January 31, 2013

Reformation Theology - Semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism or Grace Alone | This article is very insightful into an important inconsistency with grace alone and prevenient grace.

What most Arminians really mean by "grace alone is "faith alone" which is a related concept, but not the same. The problem here is that they rightly affirm the biblical doctrine of salvation "through FAITH alone", but they do not differentiate this concept enough from the biblical doctrine of "GRACE alone", at least in any historical way the Bible or the Reformation speak of this issue. The phrase "grace alone" has always historically signified that Jesus or His grace is not merely necessary for our salvation, but sufficient to save us to the uttermost. Jesus provides everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. In Arminian prevenient grace, on the other hand, Jesus provides no such thing, even by their own reckoning. It claims to lift the natural man out of his depravity, but that man remains unregenerate (has no new heart). In other words it places man (against his will) in some kind of semi-regenerate state, (which the Bible, of course, never speaks of). And then makes the sinner himself the ultimate determining factor in his salvation, which means he ascribes his repenting and believing to his own wisdom or humility and not to Christ alone.



John MacArthur - The Local Church and Why It Matters

I love the church. It’s the center of my life and has been since childhood. My father was the pastor of a church when I was born, and I grew up in the church. It’s the place where I was led to the knowledge of God, where I learned about the Person and work of Christ, and where I gained the knowledge of saving and sanctifying truth. It’s where I learned how to pray, how to sing, how to worship, how to love, and how to serve. And it was in the church that I experienced the leading of the Spirit of God directing me to a life of ministry.

I met my wife in the church. We raised our children in the church, and now our grandchildren, too. It’s where I’ve made lifelong friends and partners in ministry. The church touches every part of my life—in fact you could say it is my life
.


BreakPoint (John Stonestreet) - Has the Time Come? | For civil disobedience?

As we’ve previously described on Breakpoint, the HHS mandate forces employers to fully subsidize services for their employees that, for many, violate deeply held convictions. Although the media has chosen to focus exclusively on the contraception side of the mandate, under the regulations, employers must also provide coverage for sterilization and abortifacients, such as Plan B, the “morning-after pill,” and Ella, the so-called “week after pill.”

Paying for these abortion-inducing drugs is what Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family, object to. They’ve endeavored to run their business on Christian principles, including Sunday closures, treating employees fairly, and honoring the sanctity of life. Paying for abortifacients definitely violates those principles.

So they filed a lawsuit against HHS but, unlike plaintiffs in ten other cases, including other businesses, they were denied an injunction. While appealing the denial, they had to choose between complying with the law or refusing to comply and accepting the consequences.  To their credit, they’ve chosen the latter.

But what do we need to know in light of this? Well, given the trajectory of our culture, the kind of choice the Green family was forced to make is inevitable for the rest of us too, regardless of who occupies the White House or controls Congress. This was spelled out in the Manhattan Declaration. When it spoke of the “decline in respect for religious values” in the law, it anticipated that non-compliance may be required of those of us who claim Christ.

For Hobby Lobby, that time has come. It may be the first Christian-run institution to choose non-compliance with the HHS mandate, but barring a change in the law, it won’t be the last. . . .

This has made choosing between God and Caesar unnecessary, unless, as the struggles of the Civil Rights movement showed, you were African-American.

One of the consequences of this close identification was that, for many American Christians, our sense of identity was more shaped by our nation than by our place in the body of Christ. We conceived of ourselves as Christian Americans instead of American Christians.

Now this is in the process of changing. It’s challenging, even painful. And let me be clear: We’re not to give up on America by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve heard far too much despair from Christians since November, as if the Kingdom of God was dependent on the American ballot box.


Randy Alcorn - How Significant is Our National Debt, and What Are Its Implications? |

I have pointed out before that one thing Republican and Democratic administrations have in common is their apparent unwillingness to do what it takes to balance our budget. . . .




WORLD Magazine - Philly high schools get condom dispensers |
 
Students in 22 Philadelphia schools now have even more options to choose from. 


During Christmas break, the district installed free condom dispensers at its high schools with the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports

The condoms are available to all students, as long as their parents don’t sign a form opting them out of the program. But the dispensers will not be closely monitored. Though the location of the clear wall dispensers seems guarded—just inside the doorway of the school nurse’s office—Philadelphia School District officials told nurses in an email that they were not responsible for managing access, according to The Inquirer.


Doug Wilson - Eleven Theses on Natural Law | Wilson is smarter than me.

4. The God who speaks through nature speaks in Scripture, and the God who speaks in Scripture was born of a virgin in Bethlehem.

5. Those who accept natural law in this sense do not believe that natural law operates independently of what God has told us more specifically in the Scriptures. Special revelation is consistent with natural revelation, but it also trumps it. Moses outranks the natural order, and Jesus outranks Moses.

6. Every form of natural law that tries to evade the exhaustive authority of Jesus Christ over every last molecule in the cosmos is to be rejected. But it is also true that every rejection of natural law that tries to evade the exhaustive authority of Jesus Christ over every last molecule in the cosmos is to be rejected.

7. If a man rejects natural law in all its formulations, but insists that special revelation is authoritative over the public square, whether it has been baptized or not, his error is a trivial one. But if he insists on the "Bible only," and then restricts its authority to those who have voluntarily submitted themselves to it, he is guilty of a serious error.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hump Day Humor: Man vs. Winter

Its cold out there. Perfect for the age of the Internet.

All Around the Web - January 30, 2012

Thom Rainer - Ten Things Church Members Desire in a Pastor

  1. Love of congregation. “If we know that our pastor loves us, everything else falls in place. If he doesn’t, nothing else matters.”
  2. Effective preaching. “I don’t have any expectation that my preacher be one of the best in the world, I just want to know that he has spent time in the Word each week to teach us effectively and consistently.”
  3. Strong character. “No pastor is perfect, but I do want a pastor whose character is above reproach on moral, family, and financial issues.”
  4. Good work ethic. “I don’t want either a workaholic pastor or a lazy pastor.  Unfortunately, our last two pastors have been obviously lazy.”
  5. Casts a vision. “Our church has so much possibility; I want to hear what we will do to make a difference in our community and the world.”
  6. Demonstrates healthy leadership. “Most of the pastors in my church have demonstrated a good balance; they have been strong leaders but not dictators.”
  7. Joyous. “Our current pastor is a man of joy. His joy and enthusiasm are contagious. I love him for that!”
  8. Does not yield to critics. “I know that every pastor serving today has his critics. And I know it’s tough to deal with them. I just want these pastors to know that we supporters are in the majority. Please don’t let the minority critics dictate how you lead and serve.”
  9. Transparent. “Every pastor that I have had has been open and transparent about the church and the direction we are headed. It sure has made our church healthier.”
  10. Models evangelism. “Our pastor is passionate about sharing the gospel. His heart and attitude are contagious.”

Tim Challies - 50 Shades of Porn |

There is much that can be said about the 50 Shades of Grey series of books; what is beyond dispute is that the books—there are currently 65 million in print—shocked the publishing world by revealing the existence of a previously untapped market. The secret is out: There are millions of women who will read pornography even if they have little interest in watching it. Publishers, both mainstream and pornographic, are taking note. They are studying the 50 Shades phenomenon to see how they can duplicate it, or at least cash in on its success. Like any industry, they have surveys and focus groups and statistics and endless amounts of data that first measure and then transform behavior. 

A recent article at CNBC explains that traditional pornography was created by men, for men. This pornography tends to eschew anything more than the most rudimentary plot in favor of the blatant display of extreme fantasies. It is pure carnality and women tend not to find it particularly alluring. In fact, many find it downright repulsive, especially if they think that their husbands want them to act out some of these things. But 50 Shades and other recent products are proving, to the surprise of many, that women, too, are sexual. Where pornographers once thought that most women simply weren’t interested, now they are seeing that women may be very interested, but that it will take a different kind of product. The industry is branching out in an attempt to take advantage. They are now working hard to create pornography for women.

In contrast to the pornography so prevalent today, this new pornography has a story, a plot. The founder and president of one company says, “We’re not shooting hardcore positions or the more extreme elements of X-rated films. This is more making love than [vulgar term].” It focuses on issues that may resonate with women: falling in love for the first time or an exciting escape from a marriage that has lost its spark. It is essentially a romantic comedy, a lighthearted romance novel, but with the sexual content ramped up both in length and in explicitness. After all, what is 50 Shades of Grey but a romance with 60 or 70 pages of graphic, kinky sex? One female screenwriter and director of this kind of film is quoted at Slate saying, “We’ve done enough research on that demographic to know that a large percentage of women watching our stuff do not want to see [graphic, vulgar sex acts]. … They want connected sex and lots of foreplay. We find that older couples enjoy watching this because they’re of the age before the internet, and what we’re offering is something that’s so much more tame and built into the moment instead of just being right there in your face.”


Albert Mohler - Morally Straight? The Transformation of the Boy Scouts of America |

The comprehensive scope of the moral revolution America is currently experiencing is likely to surprise many Americans when they realize that the Boy Scouts are now swept up in the revolutionary tide.

Word came yesterday that the Boy Scouts of America is poised to change its policy preventing the participation of openly homosexual scouts and leaders. According to a spokesman for the Boy Scouts, the group may make the formal decision to end the policy as early as next week.

This announcement comes just six months after the B.S.A. board declared that it would not reconsider the policy. Deron Smith, B.S.A. national spokesman, said last July that a special committee established by the B.S.A. board had unanimously recommended keeping the policy. Smith said that the committee “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts
.”


22 Things - Goofy Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial features a Minnesotan Jamaican



Reclaiming the Mind - Misconceptions About the Crusades: #2 Crusaders Were Greedy Opportunists  |

One popular history textbook talks about the Crusades as exploits of crusaders of fortune: “The Crusades fused three characteristic medieval impulses: piety, pugnacity, and greed. All three were essential” (Warren Hollister, J. Sears McGee, and Gale Stokes, The West Transformed: A History of Western Civilization, vol. 1 [New York: Cengage/Wadsworth, 2000], 311).

The idea that the Crusades can be boiled down to the exploits of greedy opportunists is slanted, narrow, and held by the credulous. Of course, every military endeavour has its stories. There are always going to be those who engage in war with their passions motivated by personal and selfish gain. Therefore, there is no need to defend those who lost sight of the most noble objective (protection of the West and the capture of the Holy Land)
.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 4

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
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Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 16
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 17
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 18
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 19
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 20

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 4
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 14
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 16

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 6

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 2
 "Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 4


How does liberation theology view sin? What is its source? Given that most don't care much about liberation theology, it remains popular in international theology and there are many pockets of it in America still today (Emergents flirted with some of the thinking here). Dr. Millard Erickson's discussion is quit insightful into understanding how liberation theology thinks and how it affects their theology and politics.

Liberation theology understands sin as arising from economic struggle. This is quite different from the conventional or orthodox view. If orthodoxy see Genesis 1-3 as the key to understanding sin, liberation theology might be thought of as understanding sin in the light of Exodus 1-3. We are here speaking of liberation theology in a rather broad fashion, including therein such movements as black theology and feminist theology.

A first step in understanding the position of liberation theology is to note its rejection of the privatization of sin. . . . Liberation theology . . . is much more concerned about the social and economic dimensions of sin. . . . A major dimension of sin, then is oppression and exploitation.* (608)

One ought to see, almost immediately, the similarity between Liberation Theology and Marxism and no doubt many liberation theologians flirt with various forms of Marxism (like socialisn, statism, etc.). Social Gospel theologian Walter Rauschenbusch, for example, was vehemetly against private property and held a number of economic and political beliefs that sounded, at best, socialistic. But in this regard, Erickson writes:

Whether or not one believes liberation theology to be influenced by Marxism, it is not difficult to recognize certain parallels between the two, in both the conception of human problems and the means advocated for overcoming the problems. in each case, the problems of society, whether termed evils or sins, are seen as resulting from inequitable distribution of power and wealth, and the solution lies in removing these inequities and the attending oppression.

The assumption of liberation theology, as of Marxism, is that it is the economic struggle, and particularly the inequities in power and property, which determine human behavior. Presumably, those who are promoting such inequities are great sinners, while those who fight injustices are not. in fact, certain liberation theologians will in some cases regard a particular action (e.g., killing) as sin if it is committed by an oppressor, but not if it is committed by the oppressed n the struggle to remove inequities. The removal of inequities is believed to result in the removal of the occasion of sin as well.

In reality, however, this theory seems not to have worked out quite this way. In the former Soviet Union, where the classless society was achieved, there were still notable power struggles among the leaders and repression, even involving the use of violence, of those outside the power structure, as millions of Hungarians, Czechoslovakians, and Poles could testify. it appears that possession of adequate resources for the supply of the basic necessities of life does not negate the tendency to seek one's own satisfaction, even at the expense of others. Redistribution of power and wealth does not eliminate "sin." (610)


* This sentence follows Erickson's quotation of Amos 5:11-12 as a key text for liberation theology.


For more:
Does the Calvinistic Doctrine of God's Providence Make God Responsible For Sin?: Grudem's Answer
When the Bad Do Bad: David Brooks & the Secular Question of Depravity
The Transcendence of Greed:  What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel
Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World
Lewis on the Why of Democracy
The Utopian Myth: Pandora and the Avatar Blues
"Fall: God Judges" by Mark Discoll
"Its a Human Problem": What the History of Slavery Can Teach About Ourselves
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Politics
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Morality

All Around the Web - January 29, 2013

Reclaiming the Mind - Four Misconceptions about the Crusades: #1 The Crusades Were Not Provoked

It is very popular to have a completely negative view of the Christian Crusades that took place between 1095 and 1291. In fact, I have often heard people apologize for them. Why? I am coming to believe that there is a significant amount of revisionist history going on that has poisoned the well. In fact, until recently, I also bought into this tainted way of looking at them.

Over a few blogs, I am going to briefly give four misconceptions about the Crusade that will hopefully add some perspective.


B&H Academic Blog - Gregory Thornbury on the exclusivity of the gospel |

What about the “man on the island” who has never heard the gospel? It would not be fair for God to send such a person to hell for not believing in Jesus. This argument from emotion is often heard and particularly dangerous. If it is true that God is obligated to save everyone who has not heard the gospel, then we might be better advised to recall all missionaries and stop proclaiming the gospel. Of course, the Bible does not countenance such a God-dishonoring approach. The “man on the island,” like all people, is in desperate need of the good news about the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.


The Gospel Coalition - 5 Factors in the Rise of Reformed Theology Among African Americans | And not just among African Americans |

1) Christian Hip-Hop
2) The Digital Age
3) Greater Access to Reformed Education
4) Hunger for Biblical Training
5) God is Sovereign


WORLD Magazine - States deliver 43 pro-life laws in 2012 |

As the United States approaches Roe v. Wade’s 40th anniversary, pro-life advocates have gained ground in restricting the number of abortions taking place every year. In 2012, 43 pro-life provisions went into effect in 19 states, the second highest number after states enacted 92 pro-life laws in 2011. 

 The numbers come from a report published by pro-abortion group Guttmacher Institute, which calculated the number of pro-life provisions rather than bills or laws, since bills often have multiple provisions.


Reuters - Louisiana Governor Jindal proposes ending state income tax |

Republican Governor Bobby Jindal said on Thursday he wants to eliminate all Louisiana personal and corporate income taxes to simplify the state's tax code and make it more friendly to business.

The governor did not release details of his proposal, but his office released a statement confirming that the taxes are targets of a broader tax reform plan.

"Our goal is to eliminate all personal income tax and all corporate income tax in a revenue neutral manner," Jindal said in the statement
.


Monday, January 28, 2013

"Flourishing Faith" by Chad Brand: A Review

. . . most Baptists, especially Baptist evangelicals, have strongly contended for the free market. (120)


On January 21, 2013, our nation re-inaugurated the most liberal, big government President of its history. His speech, reflecting both the 2012 campaign and his overall approach to government as an executive, was about more government, more spending, more entitlements, and more class warfare (not to mention moral warfare). It is in this context of an American celebration of such a President that I began to read Dr. Chad Owen Brand's book Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship.

The book is one of four volumes from various theological viewpoints that deal with the subject of work, faith, money, politics, economics, and stewardship. Dr. Brand, professor at Boyce College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes from the Baptist point of view (the other three in this series are Pentecostal, Wesleyan, and Reformed). The quote above is a basic summation of his conclusion. Rooted in Baptist doctrines like religious liberty, autonomy, priesthood of all believers, etc., Brand defends limited government and economic liberty (commonly referred to as Capitalism).

The book itself walks the reader through this argument. Brand, a theologian, goes into detail tracing what the Bible says and what Christians have argued throughout the centuries on work, economics, government, the state, and wealth. Brand offers a theology of work, a theology of wealth, and a political theology taken from Scripture and how Christians have thought about these issues throughout history. In other words, Brand approaches this topic of economics, wealth, and the governments role through the realm of theology - biblical, systematic, and historical theology.

I found this extremely helpful. Consider his chapter on work for example. There he begins with a biblical survey of the subject tracing it from Creation to Consummation. His basic argument is that work is good and reflects our image bearing status. We work and find dignity in work. But consider how this has been applied throughout history. Rome, Brand argues, contributed virtually nothing to the world of inventions and technology. The reason is because Rome was built on the back of slaves. The wealthy did not work. The philosophers argued that work was undignified. Thus the slave owner had no motivation to improve work conditions or utilize new tools and technologies to make work easier because they were not the ones in the field. Brand goes as far to say that Europeans in the year AD 500 used essentially the same kind of wagons, plows, ships harnesses, weapons, farming techniques, and blacksmithing that they had used a thousand years earlier. (14) The monastic movement, however, changed all of that. Seeing dignity and godliness in work, the monks updated technology and farming techniques.

Brand does the same thing throughout the book. He makes an argument based on an exposition of Scripture and then looks at how influential thinkers and leaders have thought about the issue throughout history. His concluding chapter looks at what the Bible and Christian theology has to say about economics in a political context. Brand looks at three options: socialism (as articulated by Karl Marx), the Keynesian Model (named after John Maynard Keyne), and Capitalism (as articulated by Adam Smith).

Brand begins by noting that the Bible does not explicitly lay out a theory of economics in a political context. But it does address issues of freedom, the use of resources such as money and time, justice, generosity, and governance (113-114). With that said, Brand rejects socialism on the basis that Scripture as it advocates a limited state and . . . it teaches that remedial justice, that is, the care of the genuinely poor, is primarily a function of the church and generous individuals who give of their own initiative to help others (114).

Regarding the Keynesian model, Brand too rejects it as it too grants government sweeping powers that have no biblical justification. The reason goes beyond this. The second half of the book criticizes the current administration and its Keynesian model of governance and economic policy. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama's stimulus passages are a reflection of the Keynesian model. As Brand shows clearly, this model simply does not work. This model assumes that the free market can be fixed with the right manager at its head. This Utopian dream, which sounds nice to the voter, is a just a dream especially from the Christian perspective and doctrine of depravity. Brand is no fan of President Obama's policies as the book makes clear. We are in real danger!

That leaves us with the free market approach. Brand prefers this model as it encourages citizens to work (a biblical concept), reflects a biblical view of depravity, and Adam Smith encouraged benevolence. This does not mean that there shouldn't be some safety net for those who desperate need it, but that our current nanny state is on the verge of taking money from a few who work and giving it to the many who refuse to. That is a recipe for disaster.

This third option is the Baptist approach to economics and I think he is right. From the beginning, whether it be the Anabaptist or the English Separatists, Baptists have argued for religious liberty. No marriage or close relationship between faith and politics is ever good as the state always becomes coercive and tyrannical. Freedom reflects Scripture better. This is true, not just in the realm of faith, but also in the realm of economics and wealth. In a fallen world, a system that promotes the dignity of work, generosity, and the rule of law is best though still imperfect.

Overall, this is a great book that is full of information, theology, and practical insights. I am barely scratching the surface here. As a pastor I really appreciated his final section on what minsters are to do with the information in this book. How do we preach this and take it to our congregation? I strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read it especially in light of what will likely take place the next four years. The state has grown immensely the past 12 years and shows no signs of slowing down. We should be concerned about that and Christian theology is not silent on these issues. So let's stop being silent.


For more:
Why Capitalism is More Progressive Than Progressive Socialism
"Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman
The Economic Value of Marriage
Poverty and the Breakdown of the Family: Santorum Raises an Important Point
Economic Freedom Is Better: A Video Worth Considering
The Gospel and the National Debt:  Why Only the Cross Can Save Us From Ourselves - Part 1 
The Gospel and the National Debt:  Why Only the Cross Can Save Us From Ourselves - Part 2 
The Economics of Greed:  What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel
Occupy Wal-Mart?: So This is What the Kingdom of Heaven Looks Like
"A Patriot's History of the United States"
"A Conflict of Visions"
Occupy Wal-Mart?: So This is What the Kingdom of Heaven Looks Like
Glenn Beck on Fabian Socialism
The Transcedence of Greed: What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel
World Magazine: Why Intellectuals Hate Capitalism

All Around the Web - January 28, 2013

Thabiti Anyabwhile - Steps Toward an “Evangelical Monasticism”? | This is insightful.

What do I mean by “evangelical monasticism”?
First, hints of “evangelical monasticism” can be seen in the continuing evangelical emphasis on a rather privatized faith. I don’t think that’s as strong as it used to be, but it’s still there in large measure. A fair amount of popular Christian teaching and preaching seems to boil “mature” life with Christ down to frequent “quiet times” of Bible reading and prayer. “Quiet times” is an interesting phrase suggestive of monks and nuns cloistered in small personal chambers for enforced periods of silence. In the monastic community, there are sanctions for breaking the community’s discipline in this regard. In the evangelical monasticism there is the conscience that batters the saint with guilt and despair for “missing a quiet time.” Piety becomes performance. Law and guilt enforce the community’s insistence that “good Christians” do this–usually at precisely the same time and in precisely the same way.


Kevin DeYoung - Why Pastors and Elders Need Your Prayers |

Your pastors and elders need your help to live out the calling of Acts 6:4: “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Because everything seems more important and seems more urgent than being in the word and prayer. Everything.
What happens if all the lights are burnt out and the heat doesn’t work and the pews are upside down and the sound is off? People will notice. People will say something. People will be upset.
But what if your elders didn’t pray more than five minutes at their meeting last month? Would you know? No on would, not right away. What if your pastor hasn’t prayed for weeks? What if the elders are not deep into the word? With almost everything else in the church someone will says, “What’s going on? Why didn’t you show up? What’s the problem? Why didn’t this get done?” But who knows when the pastors and the elders forget Acts 6:4?


Heildeblog - What Pastors Shouldn’t Tell Their Wives | This is the sort of conversation that more pastors need to be having. More than debates over the extent of the atonement.

1) Few things are as difficult in ministry as knowing what pastors (and elders) know.
2) It’s better for the pastor that his wife not know.
3) It’s not good for the pastor’s family to know everything that is going on.
4) Her view of the congregation isn’t trained or freighted or weighted down with the knowledge of what is happening in each family behind the pleasant facade.
5) It’s not good for the congregation.


Time Management Ninja - 7 Ways Social Media Can Make You More Productive |

  1. Seek Advice – Need advice on a topic? Social media can provide rapid tips, thoughts, and input. It is a great way to cast a large net, instead of just getting the singular opinion of the person in the cubicle next to you. Of course, depending on the matter, you have to know who you are listening to and trusting. Other times, it can be a great way to get a quick point in the right direction.
  2. Solve Problems – When you can’t solve a problem by yourself, ask the world. For example, a while back I was having a problem with a piece of software. I had googled and googled and couldn’t find a solution. I put the problem out on my social media channels. Within twenty minutes, a gentleman from Sweden (with whom I had never communicated previously) sent me a link to the answer. Simple, yet powerful stuff.
  3. Reach Companies – Companies that are social media savvy are serving their customers in new and efficient ways. Twitter is one of my favorite ways to reach companies that I deal with. Instead, of getting ont the phone and being on hold for endless minutes, I can send a tweet in seconds. Delta, Comcast, and SunTrust are great examples of companies that have solved problems for me via social media. A 5-second tweet can get me assistance on my upcoming flight. Anytime, anywhere.
  4. Get Feedback - Have an idea and need some input or feedback? Ask your social media audience. Often, you don’t even have to ask for feedback. Just put an idea out there and see how much response and sharing it gets.
  5. Find Ideas – Whether it is for your business, blog, or hobby, there has never been an easier time to find ideas. Want to know what people are thinking, talking about, or have passion for? You have a searchable stream of consciousness at your fingertips. A friend of mine determines his blog post topics by searching for keywords on Twitter and seeing what people are asking about.
  6. Communicate with a Broad Audience – Social media allows individuals greater power than ever to communicate with a large audience. It used to be you had to go through a publisher or big media company. Authors, speakers, experts, can now reach their audience directly, immediately, and in most cases for free.
  7. Quick Communication - There is something special about the brevity of social media. Take Twitter. There is magic in those 140 characters. If you tried that with your email, your recipients would think you were nuts. (Of course, email is for a slightly different purpose.)

How Original - Four Keys to Better Blogging |

Content
Connection
Consistency
Community



I am stuck on both sides. Laughing because its funny. Crying because its true.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Listen to & Download Trip Lee's "One Hundred Sixteens" For Free

Trip Lee is my favorite rapper and has just released a new mixtape of over 30 songs. You can listen and download the album below.





Track Listing:

  1. “Come Close” – Trip Lee feat. Flame and Sho Baraka (20/20)
  2. “Give You That Truth (Wade-O Old School Mash-Up)” – Trip Lee (If They Only New)
  3. “Superstar (Eyes Off Me)” – Trip Lee (20/20)
  4. “We Don’t Live for Hip Hop” – Trip Lee (20/20)
  5. “No Worries (One Sixteen Mash-Up)” – Trip Lee (Between Two Worlds)
  6. “One Sixteen” – Trip Lee (The Good Life)
  7. “One Sixteen (The Movement Remix)” – Trip Lee (The Good Life Book Downloads)
  8. “Hero (Look At Him Now Mash-Up)” – Trip Lee feat. Jai (Between Two Worlds)
  9. “I’m a Believer” – Tedashii feat. Trip Lee & Soye’ (Identity Crisis)
  10. “Jesus Muzik” – Lecrae feat. Trip Lee (After The Music Stops)
  11. “Heart Problem” – Trip Lee (The Good Life)
  12. “On My 116″ – DJ Official feat. Lecrae, Tedashii, Sho Baraka & Trip Lee (Entermission)
  13. “I’m Good” – Trip Lee feat. Lecrae (The Good Life)
  14. “Cash or Christ” – Trip Lee feat. Lecrae (If They Only Knew)
  15. “Checkin for My God Remix” – The Ambassador feat. Lecrae and Trip Lee (The Chop Chop: From Milk to Meat)
  16. “In Ya Hood Cypha” – Tedashii feat. Trip Lee, Thi’sl, JSon, Sho Baraka & Lecrae (Kingdom People)
  17. “Ridaz Remix” – J.R. feat. Da T.R.U.T.H., Trip Lee and Iz-Real (Life By Stereo)
  18. “The Last Cypha” – The Cross Movement feat. Trip Lee, R-Swift, Everyday Process & Da T.R.U.T.H. (HIStory)
  19. “Bear With You” – Trip Lee feat. Tedashii (Between Two Worlds)
  20. “Brag on My Lord” – Trip Lee feat Alex Medina (Brag on My Lord Single)
  21. “Invade (Bible in Da Air Mash-Up)” – Trip Lee feat. J. Paul (Between Two Worlds)
  22. “Transformers” – Tedashii feat. Lecrae and Trip Lee (Identity Crisis B-Sides)
  23. “To Live is Christ (Philippians)” – 116 Clique feat. Trip Lee (13 Letters)
  24. “Life 101″ – Trip Lee feat. Chris Lee Cobbins (Between Two Worlds)
  25. “Robot” – Trip Lee (The Good Life)
  26. “Robot (Remix)” – Trip Lee feat. Swoope & Andy Mineo (The Good Life Book Downloads)
  27. “Gotta Grow (We’ll Make It Mash-Up)” – Trip Lee (If They Only Knew)
  28. “I Love Music (Seasons Mash-Up)” – Trip Lee (Between Two Worlds)
  29. “We Don’t Freestyle (RIP DJ Primo)” – DJ Primo feat. Trip Lee (116 Chopped-N-Screwed)
  30. “Cling to You” – Trip Lee feat. shai linne (20/20)
  31. “Covenant Eyes” – Trip Lee feat. Derek Minor aka PRo (Between Two Worlds)
  32. “Fallin’” – Trip Lee (The Good Life)
  33. “The Invasion (Hero)” – Trip Lee feat. Jai (Between Two Worlds)
  34. “The Invasion (Hero) (Remix)” – Trip Lee feat. Jai, Tedashii, Mac the Doulous, Stephen the Levite, Brenden McPeek, J.R.(Between Two Worlds Remixes)

For more:
"The Good Life" by Trip Lee: A Review
Trip Lee - "War"
Listen To & Download Lecrae's "Church Clothes" For Free
Listen to & Download Propoganda's Album "Excellent"
"Be Present" by Propaganda  
"Lofty" by Propaganda, Beautiful Euology & Joel
A Beautiful Eulogy 
Flame- The Great Deception
FLAME - Power [with Rap-Along lyrics]
Shai Linne: Triune Praise   
The Gospel Illustrated 
Some of Their Best: DC Talk
"A Satisfied Mind" by Johnny Cash

"Magic & Bird - A Courtship of Rivals": A Documentary

For those who love basketball in general and Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in particular, you will love the following HBO documentary. In the end, the 90 minute documentary argues that this rivalry saved professional basketball and there is something to be said of that.

I have watched the documentary and enjoyed it immensely. I remember these two but from a different perspective. I didn't watch the rivarly in the late 70's and early 80's (I was born in 84), but I do remember Magic's announcement that he had HIV and the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics.

But before watching, remember that the following documentary was produced by HBO. There is strong language and racial slurs without any censorship.




For more:
UK vs. UofL: 2012 Final Four
Hump Day Humor: Michael Jordan
A Worship Experience Unlike Any Other: The Subtle Nature of Idolatry

All Around the Web - January 26, 2012

Breakpoint (John Stonestreet) - Inaugurating a New Era | This is a bit dated, but I really like the conclusion.

Pastor Giglio stepped aside to avoid any further controversy. He wrote to his church, “My greatest desire is that we not be distracted from the things we are focused on…seeing people in our city come to know Jesus, and speaking up for the last and least of these throughout the world.”
And there’s no doubt he’ll do just that. But part of me wishes he had not stepped away from the inaugural benediction.

Despite controversy or recriminations, Christians must stay in the arena, engaged in public life. Our posture in the midst of these divisive issues is important, but so is our presence.

It’s distracting, some say. The real task is to preach the Gospel. That’s missing a very important point, one that Owen Strachan states clearly: Christian teaching is not a barrier to the Christian gospel. The God who designed sexual wholeness is the same who designed redemption for all who find themselves broken, sexually or otherwise.


Mars Hill - Is Your Life a Testimony or  Biography

Who’s your hero? Have you read his or her biography? We love stories about heroes who accomplished amazing things, don’t we?
In every biography the hero rescues him- or herself—or someone else—from a terrible fate. As we read such tales of heroism, we look for sources of hope and examples of courage, dedication, sacrifice, and triumph. Biographies are great—but testimonies are even better.

Testimonies are very different from biographies. A testimony is about Jesus—his life, his accomplishments, and his determination in an individual’s life. In a testimony, Jesus is the hero who rescues us from the terrible fate of sin, death, hell, and the just wrath of God.


Christianity Today - Child Abuse Lawsuit Against Sovereign Grace Ministries Adds Names and Charges |

The pending child abuse lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) has been amended, adding five new plaintiffs, five defendants, and 28 charges.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, now alleges that some defendants engaged in abuse directly, in addition to its previous charges that defendants covered up abuse within SGM communities.

In response, SGM spokesman Tommy Hill released a statement on the church's website. "SGM has been carefully reviewing each allegation since the initial claims first surfaced last October. We consider any allegation of harm to a child extremely serious and we have been working diligently in an effort to learn the truth," he wrote. "We ask for patience as we continue to investigate these new allegations. Please continue to pray with us for all those affected by this lawsuit.”


Justin Taylor - Calvin on Christ in All of Scripture | You'll want to read the whole thing.

He [Christ] is Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice, but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death. 

He is Jacob the watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which he guards. 

He is the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in his glory was not ashamed to acknowledge his brothers, however lowly and abject their condition. 

He is the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal sacrifice once for all.


Slate - About that Overpopulation Problem | So apparently the world's population is slowing and will likely begin dropping soon. So can we now abandon the culture of death?

The world’s seemingly relentless march toward overpopulation achieved a notable milestone in 2012: Somewhere on the planet, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the 7 billionth living person came into existence.

Lucky No. 7,000,000,000 probably celebrated his or her birthday sometime in March and added to a population that’s already stressing the planet’s limited supplies of food, energy, and clean water. Should this trend continue, as the Los Angeles Times noted in a five-part series marking the occasion, by midcentury, “living conditions are likely to be bleak for much of humanity.”


Bad lip reading meets the NFL.




HT: 22 Words

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Raging Bonfire of Straw Men: Gerson on Obama's Second Inauguration

Here is a portion of Michael Gerson's column on the President's inaugural speech which continued the "us vs. them" rhetoric of the campaign. I am not sure when, since 2007, the President ever went off the campaign trail. I am not referring to his town halls and speeches he gives as President gathering support for his agenda, but how as an executive, his goal always seems to be to cut down any and all who oppose him. The health care bill is a good example of this as is his second inaugural address. The President always portrays his opponents as backwards and out of good ideas (unless of course they agree with him).

What can a presidential inaugural address do to oppose these centrifugal forces? Probably not much. Maybe admit some mutual fault and call for a new beginning. Maybe direct attention to unifying national values beyond current controversies. Maybe just assert the moral duties of kindness and civility we owe each other in a democracy.

This year, however, the influence of such a speech remains untested because it was not attempted. President Obama set an unobjectionable goal: “a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.” He asserted that this objective can only be achieved “together, as one nation, and one people.” But he proceeded to define an agenda, in some detail, that could have been taken from any campaign speech of the 2012 election. It involves the building of roads and research labs, promoting clean-energy technology, protecting entitlements from significant change, passing equal-pay legislation and immigration reform.

Those who oppose this agenda, in Obama’s view, are not a very admirable lot. They evidently don’t want our wives, mothers and daughters to “earn a living equal to their efforts.” They would cause some citizens “to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.” They mistake “absolutism for principle” and “substitute spectacle for politics” and “treat name-calling as reasoned debate.” They would have people’s “twilight years . . . spent in poverty” and ensure that the parents of disabled children have “nowhere to turn.” They would reserve freedom “for the lucky” and believe that Medicare and Social Security “sap our initiative,” and they see this as “a nation of takers.” They “deny the overwhelming judgment of science” on climate change, don’t want love to be “equal” and apparently contemplate “perpetual war.”

For Abraham Lincoln, even the gravest national crimes involved shared fault. For Obama, even the most commonplace policy disagreements indicate the bad faith of his opponents. In his first inaugural address, George Washington described the “sacred fire of liberty.” In his second, Obama constructed a raging bonfire of straw men.

Read the rest here.

All Around the Web - January 25, 2013



HT: Everyday Theology


Carl Truman - Adam and Eve and Pinch Me | Truman on Mohler, Keller, evolution, the New Calvinism, and complimentarianism.

Dr. Tim Keller, one of the two most senior TGC leaders, also sees the church's attitude to evolution as a watershed issue for the gospel. Unlike Dr. Mohler, however, he has made it clear over the last few years that he is not only committed to some form of theistic evolution (though maintaining an historical Adam, reconstructed in light of evolutionary theory) but also regards the church's failure to take evolution on board as potentially catastrophic.  His comments to this effect at a Biologos-sponsored colloquy were reported by Christianity Today here; and Mike Kruger offers an excellent response to that particular gathering here

Dr. Mohler and Dr. Keller are thoughtful, gracious, intelligent and influential church leaders.  Given their respective positions on evolution, the pressing question is: who is right?  Is the church facing a crisis because too few of her people and leaders have learned how to combine the Bible and evolution?  Or is she facing a crisis because too few of her leaders are prepared to take a stand for the Bible over against evolution?  Or, despite the claims of Dr. Mohler and Dr. Keller, does it actually not matter that much at all
?


BreakPoint (Eric Metaxas) - Don’t you Believe it | This is unfortunate. China has not abandoned its 1 child policy rule.

It sounds like the best news we could possibly hear: Media reports claim that China is going to phase out its One Child Policy and allow parents to have two children. Within eight years, the government will allow parents to have as many children as they want.

There's just one problem: It's not true. According to Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, China's communist government plans to keep tight control over how many children a family may have. . . .

But there’s reason to doubt that China's government will ever accept the think tank’s recommendations: China's National Population and Family Planning Commission has announced that it believes in the One Child Policy, celebrating it for “preventing” the birth of 400 million children
!


Ligonier - The Doctrine of the Trinity Brings Comfort |




The Washington Free Beacon - Iran May Hang Imprisoned U.S. Pastor |

An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities.


Kingdom People - 5 Ways of Understanding Biblical Theology

1. Biblical Theology as Historical Description
  • The task of BT1 is to affirm the exegetical or descriptive nature of biblical theology and deny the theological or normative nature of biblical theology. BT1 seeks a theology of the Bible in tis own terms and based on its own context(s). Rather than being tossed around by contemporary faith-related commitments that make normative judgments for the present day, BT1 remains committed to an authority of the Bible that seeks first and foremost its own message.”
  • Scholars: James Barr, Krister Stendahl
2. Biblical Theology as History of Redemption
  • The task of BT2 is to discern the historical progression of God’s work of redemption through an inductive analysis of key themes developing through both discrete corpora and the whole of Scripture. Major themes such as covenant or kingdom constitute the theological connecting fibers between the Old and New Testaments, and these themes necessarily run along a historical trajectory, given fundamental structure to the theology of the Bible.
  • Scholars: D. A. Carson, Graeme Goldsworthy, Roy Zuck, Geerhardus Vos
3. Biblical Theology as Worldview-Story
  • Using the category of narrative to broker a balance between history and theology, the task of BT3 directs readers to understand the individual episodes or passages of Scripture in light of its overarching story line. Instead of progressing from the smallest bits and pieces of the narrative to the larger whole, BT3 starts with the larger narrative portions of the text through which individual units are read.
  • Scholars: N. T. Wright, Richard Hays, Richard Bauckham, John Goldingay
4. Biblical Theology as Canonical Approach
  • The task of BT4 is to affirm the exegetical form and function of the canon for biblical theology, embracing both the descriptive (historical) and prescriptive (theological) nature of Scripture and its confessional community.
  • Scholars: Brevard S. Childs, James Sanders,
5. Biblical Theology as Theological Construction
  • The task of BT5 is to affirm the integrated nature of biblical theology as a theological, hermeneutical, and exegetical discipline with overriding theological concerns, incorporating biblical scholarship into the larger enterprise of Christian theology.
  • Scholars: Francis Watson, Daniel Treier, Stephen Fowl


On a date with a liberal Senator:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 3

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 16
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 17
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 18
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 19
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 20

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 16


"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 6

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 3


Where does sin come from? Or, as Erickson puts it, what is the source of sin? Why do we sin? To answer this question, Erickson offers a number of popular notions from the world. He begins by highlighting the naturalistic view, based on the theory of evolution, that we are merely animals. Sin, then, is a means of self-preservation. Evil, not a word that Erickson uses here necessarily, is evidence that evolution remains a continual process.

Let me briefly leave Erickson and raises an important point here. The animal argument may work in some sense to explain why humans do what they do, but evolution is not a basis for defining words like "sin," "righteousness," "godly," "wicked," "good," or "bad." If sin is defined as self-preservation then is sin ever wrong? We are not talking about a father who shoots a robber threatening his children, but a womanizer, a rapist, an extortioner, a thief, a robber, and an adulterer. Can it not be argued that the rapist is only seeking to preserve his own genes through offspring? Can the same not be said about the thief who is trying to feed his family (or himself)?

Consider the opposite. Morality, or doing what is moral, has always been considered to be the opposite of self-preservation. The man who risks his life to save a stranger from drowning is a hero - a moral man. A school teacher who would shield her students while a madman is on a shooting spree is a moral woman. Saying no to temptation, not indulging the flesh, crucifying idols have always been considered moral. Self-preservation cannot explain, nor defend, acts of charity or morality. Evolution fails in this regard.

This would mean, then, that self-preservation is not what we mean by sin, but by righteousness and vice versa. The moral thing to do is to engage in unprotected sex with whomever we can. Self-preservation is at stake. Taking something for ourselves to benefit only ourselves (and those like us) is not wrong, but moral in the name of self-preservation.

Therefore, self-preservation, and the theory of origins in which it now depends, is dangerous for it punishes true righteousness and rewards true sin. Self-preservation gives rise to both individualistic and communal evils. One could defend sexual abuse, racism, true sexism, and war mongering on self-preservation. Hitler wanted to preserve the Aryan race. The Klu Klux Klan wants to preserve the white race. Radical feminist want to preserve female empowerment. And the list could go on. But true righteousness defends the hurting, the suffering, the handicap, and the poor.

This is why theology matters. What we believe about origins and human nature, and in this case the nature and source of sin, determines the decisions we make and where we go as a nation. And when society believes that we are merely animals, it will begin to act like them.


For more:
Does the Calvinistic Doctrine of God's Providence Make God Responsible For Sin?: Grudem's Answer
When the Bad Do Bad: David Brooks & the Secular Question of Depravity
The Transcendence of Greed:  What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel
Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World
Lewis on the Why of Democracy
The Utopian Myth: Pandora and the Avatar Blues
"Fall: God Judges" by Mark Discoll
"Its a Human Problem": What the History of Slavery Can Teach About Ourselves
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Politics
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Morality