Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Over at Trevin Wax's Blog . . .

. . . I have an article on 4 reasons why the cross is central to Christianity. I will expand on the article here in the coming days. Here are the four points:

1. At the cross, we see God’s clearest revelation of Himself.
2. The cross personifies God’s love.
3. The cross is the means by which God saves sinners.
4. The cross is the standard of what it means to be a Christian
.

Click here to read the rest.


The Great Theologians: An Interview with Gerald McDermott

While shopping at a local used bookstore recently I came across a book that caught my eye, The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide by Gerald McDermott. The book offered a survey of the top eleven theologians (as the author sees it) in church history. The eleven theologians are as follows:
  1. Origen: The Greatest Teacher After the Apostles
  2. Athanasius: The Black Monk Who Saved the Faith
  3. Augustine: The Most Influential Theologian Ever
  4. Thomas Aquinas: The Teacher of the Catholic Church 
  5. Martin Luther: The Monk Who Rose Up Against Heaven and Earth 
  6. John Calvin: The Greatest Theologian of the Reformed Tradition
  7. Jonathan Edwards: America's Theologian 
  8. Friedrich Schleiermacher: Father of Liberal Theology 
  9. John Henry Newman: Anglican Theologian Who swam the Tiber
  10. Karl Barth: Most Influential Twentieth-Century Theologian 
  11. Hans Urs von Balthasar: Stellar Catholic Theologian of the Twentieth Century

Monday I published my review of McDermott's book (read it here) and he was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about theology in general and the book in particular. Dr. Gerald McDermott earned his Ph.D in religion at the University of Iowa and is an Anglican priest who serves as the teaching pastor at St. John Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Roanoke, VA. He is also the Jordan-Trexler professor of religion at Roanoke College and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. He blogs at Northampton Seminar

In the short interview below, I seek to ask questions that the author was not asked in his interview with Trevin Wax (Who Are the Great Theologians? A Conversation with Gerald McDermott) and I encourage you to read that interview as well.


1. If you were to write a second volume of The Great Theologians, who would be the next 5 or so?

How about nine? Hah! Here they are: Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa or Basil the Great, Anselm, Teresa of Avila, John Wesley, Charles Hodge, CS Lewis, Simone Weil, Benedict XVI.


2. Of these eleven theologians, you have written the most on Jonathan Edwards. Why? What separates him from the other theologians in history?

He did more with God's beauty than anyone else in the history of Christian thought. That is particularly attractive in a postmodern era. It is also extremely helpful for both apologetics and personal piety.


3. Several modern theologians, such as Drs. Millard Erickson (in his book Christian Theology, 65) and Roger Olson (Where have all the [theological] giants gone?) have lamented the lack of theological giants in our day. Do you agree with that and if so where have all the theological giants gone?

I disagree. There is one--Benedict XVI. Now before evangelicals scream, let me tell them that the very first sentence in his recent The Faith is, "The most important thing in life is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." Benedict knew Luther's critique of later medieval Catholic theology and basically agreed with it. He is a master of not only biblical scholarship but also historical theology and even the world religions. I would recommend to your readers his 3-volume Jesus of Nazareth.


4. The majority of the readers of this blog are Protestant and many of them are of the Reformed tradition. If you were to write a book called The Great Theologians of the Reformation, outside of Martin Luther and John Calvin, which five theologians of the 16th century would you include in your book?

The same ones Timothy George masterfully portrayed in his Theology of the Reformers: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Menno Simons.


For more:
"The Great Theologians" by Gerald McDermott: A Review
Theologians I Have Been Influenced By - The Dead Theologians I Have Been Influenced By - The Living


All Around the Web - July 31, 2013

John Stonestreet - You're Not My Daddy |

A court in Alberta, Canada has just ruled the estranged partner of a gay man who conceived a child with a lesbian woman via artificial insemination plus surrogacy is the legal father of the girl-even though he has no relation her. This follows the decisions to scrap the legal categories of illegitimacy and presumed parentage within marriage, in favor of so-called "parentage based on intent." Now children will be shot back and forth like ping-pong balls in heated legal battles between groups of lovers and donors as the government is forced to involve itself in the layers of relational dramas demanded by so-called sexual freedom. So the rights to children trump the rights of children.


LifeNews - MSNBC Host: Life Begins When Parents Say it Does, Not Based on Science | Click the link for the video.

Now, Harris Perry is at it again — this time telling viewers that human life doesn’t begin at conception. Instead, it begins, the MSNBC host contends, when the parents think it begins — not when science says it does.

“When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science,” Harris-Perry said on her show Sunday. “The problem is that many of our policymakers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings.”


Owen Strachan - When Is a Royal Baby a Fetus? |

This week, as the U.K.’s Prince William and Kate Middleton were expecting their child at any moment, the impending birth received a galaxy’s worth of media coverage. That the child would be heir to the throne was a motivating factor in all this attention, to be sure. I was interested not only for this reason but for a less-noticed one: Countless media reports bore news about the “royal baby.”

Why was this noteworthy? Because this term, to get exegetical for a moment, was not used to describe the future state of the child—once born and outside of the womb, that is. No, the American media used this phrase “royal baby” to describe the pre-born infant. It’s not strange for leading pro-life thinkers like Eric Metaxas and Denny Burk to refer to a fetus as a “baby.” It is strange, though, for outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and the Boston Globe (to cite just a very, very few) to each use this seemingly explosive phrase without so much as a qualification. 

I am a Christian who believes deeply in the sanctity of life, so for me, this is the molehill that is actually a mountain. The two most common arguments made today by thoughtful pro-choicers  are as follows: a) the being in the womb has no distinct personhood when in the mother’s body, as it is only a fetus and not yet a person (as seen in this ruling of a 2004 Houston court), or b) the fetus has some hard-to-define measure of personhood, yes, but a sufficient degree less personhood than the mother such that the mother may conscionably, though sometimes painfully terminate it (as in this New York Times essay). The linchpin of both of these arguments is location, closely related to dependence. If the fetus is born, it is outside the womb and relatively independent of the mother. If the fetus is unborn, it is inside the womb, part of the mother’s body, and therefore dependent on the mother and subject to her decisions.


Marvin Olasky - Communion on the Moon |

Pardon me, please, if you’re familiar with this terrific story, but I never knew it: Former astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin celebrated the Lord’s Supper on the moon 44 years ago, on July 20.
Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church near Houston. According to London’s Daily Mail, a Presbyterian General Assembly gave Aldrin permission to administer communion to himself on the moon, using a small plastic container of wine and some bread. 

Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon, but he did not want to participate. Aldrin, who followed Armstrong out of the lunar module, poured the wine into a chalice, saying later, “It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.” 

Aldrin wanted to give people on Earth something to think about. He was planning to broadcast his Lord’s Supper, but skittish NASA worried that atheist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair would sue it for hurting not only the legendary separation of church and state but the definitely real separation of Earth and moon.


CBS DC - Poll: Majority Of Americans Believe God Played Role In Human Evolution |

A new poll finds that a majority of Americans believe that God played a part in the evolution of humans.

YouGov survey shows that 62 percent of Americans believe God helped create humans. Thirty-seven percent of those believe God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years while 25 percent believe human beings evolved from lesser life forms over millions of years but God guided the process. Only 21 percent believe that God did not play a part in human evolution.

Seventeen percent of those polled were not sure if God played a part in the existence of humans.


Fox News - O’Reilly’s discussion with Imus | Another addition to the ongoing Pundits Should Stick to Punditry series.




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 2

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
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 5
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Hamartiology 9

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

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 2


If you were to list ancient or old heresies that remain popular today, there is no doubt that the 16th century heresy of Socianism would be at the top of it. In his systematic theology, Dr. Millard Erickson rightly equates Socianism with modern day Unitarians but much of what Faustus Socinus and his followers articulated are prevalent in (post)modern theology. Erickson raises the Socinian heresy in the context of surveying various theories of the atonement. His broader argument is that one's view of the atonement is a reflection and culmination of one's broader theology and on that point Socinus is a good example. Erickson writes:

Several conceptions feed into the Socinian understanding of the atonement. One is the Pelagian view of the human condition as spiritually and morally capable of fulfilling God’s expectations. Another is the conception that God is not a God of retributive justice, and therefore he does not demand some form of satisfaction from or on behalf of those who sin against him. Finally, there is the conception of Jesus as merely human. His death was simply that of an ordinary human being in a fallen and sinful world. It is important, not in some supernatural way, but as the ultimate extension of his role as the great teacher of righteousness. His death was simply that of an ordinary human being in a fallen and sinful world. It is important, not in some supernatural way, but as the ultimate extension of his role as the great teacher of righteousness. (801)

I think Erickson is right in his broader point. Whatever theory you consider to be the main purpose of the atonement reflects and influences your other theological convictions. There is no room for an angry God in Abelard's Moral Influence Theory, for example. This is why Christianity theology is more than just about Jesus, creation, salvation, the church, or the cross. All of them inform the others and they all have their climax in the atonement.


For more:
John Knox on the Threefold Office of Christ
John Knox on the Importance of the Ascension
Alumni Academy Christology Lectures From Dr. Bruce Ware
"The Jesus We Missed" by Patrick Henry Reardon
"Blood Work" by Anthony Carter: A Review
"The Cross of Christ" by John Stott: A Review
"In My Place, Condemned He Stood"
"It is Well"
"Precious Blood": A Review 
"Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll 
Its Not Just a Theory: Stott on Penal Substitution
John Stott on the The Human Enigma
Theology Thursday | Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution: A Review of the Evidence
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
God as Butcher: McLaren on Penal Substitution  
The Postmodern Social Gospel:  Brian McLaren Proves My Point  
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution:  A Look at the Evidence
Allison: A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement
"Salvation Brings Imitation": Piper on Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 1 - Introduction
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 2 - Christus Exemplar and the doctrine of sin and depravity
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 3 - The History of Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 4 - Christus Exemplar and Humility
Sanctification Demands It: The Necessity of the Atonement

All Around the Web - July 30, 2013

The Gospel Coalition - From Mad Marxist to Compassionate Conservative | A great article on Marvin Olasky.

Marvin Olasky bicycled across the United States and took a freighter to the Soviet Union before he found Jesus. He was a registered member of the Communist Party who believed religion is the opiate of the masses, but he couldn't outrun the "hound of heaven."

Today Olasky is the editor in chief of WORLD magazine, a Christian news magazine founded in 1986 that now has about 400,000 readers. Olasky has worked in academia and served as an occasional adviser to former President George W. Bush. The New York Times referred to Olasky as the "godfather" of the "compassionate conservatism" concept that formed a central plank in Bush's campaign platform and his presidency.

Olasky was born in 1950 just outside of Boston, to Russian Jewish parents of modest means. He celebrated his bar mitzvah at 13 and informed his parents that he was an atheist at 14. The atheist went to Yale University (just as George W. Bush was graduating), where he eventually discovered and embraced Marxism.

Olasky put his worldview into action. He started a "worker-student alliance," naming a college janitor as an honorary Yale fellow. He sat for five days outside the Yale administration building fasting, in solidarity with a strike among the cafeteria workers. During this time Olasky also had his first foray into journalism. When he graduated in 1971, The Boston Globe offered him a full-time job, but he declined in favor of bicycling across the country with only a tent, sleeping bag, and one change of clothes
.


ESPN - Hunter Mahan leaves to be with wife | Bravo Mr. Mahan. Congratulations on the birth of your child.





The Gospel Coalition - Can Life Have Meaning Without God? |

"But I'm an atheist and my life is very meaningful!"
This is the retort I've encountered most often when I've offered arguments like those above. (It's usually followed by a list of worthy activities and valuable relationships enjoyed by that person.) My reply is simple: "I don't deny for a moment that your life is very meaningful. But that's true in spite of your atheism, not because of it!"

Atheists certainly do have meaningful lives, yet that's only because their atheistic beliefs are false. A person can deny the existence of God and still have a meaningful life. But this fact no more proves that life can have meaning without God than a person who denies the existence of oxygen and still enjoys good health would prove that you can be healthy without oxygen. It only proves that people can hold beliefs at odds with reality—as if we didn't already know that.

So here are some closing words to any atheists who happen to read this article. If you believe that your life has meaning—if you sense that it must have meaning—you're absolutely right. But that meaning cannot come from within you, nor could it come from a universe outside you that lacks any ultimate purpose or value. It can only come from a transcendent personal Creator who made you, and the universe around you, for the most spectacular end: his eternal glory and the eternal joy of his people (Isaiah 43:6-7; Romans 11:36; Psalm 16:11; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:1-4).

My concern is not that you're mistaken in thinking you have a meaningful life. No, my concern is that you don't realize just how meaningful a life you have. So I pray that you would embrace the One who authored your life and who freely offers life in all its fullness (Acts 3:17; John 10:10; John 20:30-31).


Engaging Church Blog - 9 Struggles of Being a Pastor’s Wife |

1. Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations
2. Struggling with Loneliness
3. Overlooked, Yet Looked Over
4. Learning to Handle Criticism
5. A Demanding Schedule
6. Confidentiality Matters
7. You Don't Have to Be a Theological Giant
8. Avoid the Stereotypes
9. Fight the Spiritual Battles


The Blaze - Archaeologists Uncover King David and Solomon-Era Inscription — the Oldest Text Ever Found in Jerusalem |




Guardian - Down's syndrome cells 'fixed' in first step towards chromosome therapy | At least the 10% of Down Syndrome pregnancies that don't end in abortion will benefit.

Scientists have corrected the genetic fault that causes Down's syndrome – albeit in isolated cells – raising the prospect of a radical therapy for the disorder.

In an elegant series of experiments, US researchers took cells from people with DS and silenced the extra chromosome that causes the condition. A treatment based on the work remains a distant hope, but scientists in the field said the feat was the first major step towards a "chromosome therapy" for Down's syndrome.

"This is a real technical breakthrough. It opens up whole new avenues of research," said Elizabeth Fisher, professor of neurogenetics at UCL, who was not involved in the study. "This is really the first sniff we've had of anything to do with gene therapy for Down's syndrome."


The time we have in jellybeans.




HT: Everyday Theology

Monday, July 29, 2013

"The Great Theologians" by Gerald McDermott: A Review

Who are the eleven greatest theologians of church history and what makes them so great? Such a debate is worth while and in his book The Great Theologians: A Brief Guide, Gerald McDermott offers biographical sketches along with their contributions to theology and why they still matter today. Here is his list of theological greats along with his description of them:

  1. Origen: The Greatest Teacher After the Apostles
  2. Athanasius: The Black Monk Who Saved the Faith
  3. Augustine: The Most Influential Theologian Ever
  4. Thomas Aquinas: The Teacher of the Catholic Church 
  5. Martin Luther: The Monk Who Rose Up Against Heaven and Earth 
  6. John Calvin: The Greatest Theologian of the Reformed Tradition
  7. Jonathan Edwards: America's Theologian 
  8. Friedrich Schleiermacher: Father of Liberal Theology 
  9. John Henry Newman: Anglican Theologian Who swam the Tiber
  10. Karl Barth: Most Influential Twentieth-Century Theologian 
  11. Hans Urs von Balthasar: Stellar Catholic Theologian of the Twentieth Century
Immediately, a number of things stick out. First, the clear giants of theology are present: Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and Barth. Others are logical inclusions even if their theology might be problematic. Both Origen and Schleiermacher fit that list. Then there are some lesser known names that are a bit surprising. These include Newman and Balthasar. Admittedly, I knew very little about these latter names and was surprised to see them included. My immediate thought was how can McDermott include these men and leave off John Wesley, Anselm, or the Cappodocian Fathers?

Such a debate is inevitable with any book like this. But McDermott's criteria is to include all theologians of church history including Protestant, Catholic, and even Liberal. With that said, one must admit that McDermott has a logical list he defends throughout.

Nonetheless, the book is pretty straightfoward. After a brief introduction, the author dedicates a chapter to each great theologian and offers a brief biography, a discussion of his major works and contribution to theology, and why he matters. For me personally, I found his chapters on Origen and Athanasius most helpful. Regarding Origen, the author clarifies some common misnomers regarding the early Christian, what he actually believed, and how he continues to contribute to theology. His chapter on Athanasius offered a very helpful discussion of his articulation of what we now call orthodox Christology. Of all the men in the book, McDermott gave me a renewed appreciation of Athanasius, making me want to read more of him.

Overall, this is an excellent book I highly recommend. It is an excellent resource for those new to theology and new to historic theology. It also serves as a helpful review for more experienced and knowledgeable readers. Even those who are familiar with these names will likely gain new insight. McDermott packs a lot in each chapter and this is one book every pastor and student of theology will want on their shelf.


For more:
Theologians I Have Been Influenced By - The Dead Theologians I Have Been Influenced By - The Living

All Around the Web - July 29, 2013



HT: 22 Words


The Gospel Coalition - Ministry Means War: 10 Lessons Seminary Never Taught Me |

1. Ministry is war.
2. My fictional church was a fictional church.
3. Theological knowledge does not equal pastoral maturity.
4. Love surpasses knowledge.
5. If I will become an effective instrument in God's hand, I must suffer.
6. Because my Western default definition of success is worldly, it will bother me when attendance is low or they don't respond well to my teaching.
7. I will often exhibit an acute fear of man.
8. Many people in my church will not like me, no matter how much I love them or treat them with kindness.
9. I will often be mystified and frustrated that my ministerial labors do not yield "product."
10. My theological heroes didn't have it easy either.


WORLD Magazine - Statistics debunk abortion safety myths |

Last week The New York Times published an article scrutinizing legislation outlawing abortion and quoting the former chief of abortion surveillance for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying, “Having an abortion is safer than an injection of penicillin.”  

The article leads with the story about a young woman who was brutally mistreated in 2010 during an illegal, late-term procedure at a facility run by abortionist Stephen Brigham. The 18-year-old woman arrived at John Hopkins Hospital in critical condition with a pierced uterus and bowel. Brigham started the abortion in New Jersey and ended at an unmarked, unregulated facility in Elkton, Maryland. Because of that case, Maryland adopted tighter licensing and inspection regulations for abortion facilities, restrictions that came into full effect this year.  

The writer of the NYT article used Brigham’s story to make the point that though “illegal or haphazard methods” are wrong, abortion as a whole is safe and should not be made inaccessible. Besides, if only 10 women out of 1.2 million that had the procedure in 2010 died, then what’s the problem


Denny Burk - The damning euphemism called “selective reduction” |




Eric Metaxas - Three Generations of Eugenics |

For those of us familiar with the history of forced sterilization, both in the U.S. and abroad, it’s déjà vu all over again. This violation of human dignity may have lacked the brutality of the Nazis’ attempts at so-called “racial hygiene,” but then again, what Chuck Colson once called America’s “apple pie eugenics” was just as efficient in its war against the weak as the Nazi efforts it inspired.

That’s right, inspired. As Edwin Black documented in his book, “The War Against the Weak,” American “corporate philanthropies helped found and fund the Nazi eugenics of Hitler and Mengele.”

And despite the horrors of Nazi “racial hygiene,” “forced sterilizations of prisoners, the mentally ill and the poor were commonplace in California” and other states until the 1970s, when the practice was finally declared illegal.

Illegal, but apparently not eliminated. It could hardly be otherwise, because the same demonic worldview that fueled earlier efforts remains with us: one that views human dignity as a product of personal productivity. Throw in the anti-natalism, which views children as a burden, not a gift, and the stage is set for what happened in California’s prisons.

It’s the Church’s job to wage war on the demonic worldviews that make outrages like this possible. Three generations of eugenics is three too many.



The Heritage Foundation - The Origins of the Modern American Conservative Movement |

It is a striking historical coincidence that both the People's Republic of China and the modern American conservative movement were born a little over 50 years ago, the PRC in 1949 with the coming to power of Mao Zedung and modern conservatism in 1953 with the publication of Russell Kirk's masterwork, The Conservative Mind.
 
Chairman Mao famously declared that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. While that may be true for certain regimes in certain circumstances, such political power cannot be sustained permanently, for it requires ever larger barrels and ever more guns. Political power that depends exclusively for its survival upon force inevitably degenerates into military power and leads to an authoritarian and usually a totalitarian state. Chairman Mao's aphorism in fact denies the reality that lasting political power grows not out of a gun, but out of an idea.

The central idea of The Conservative Mind, upon which American conservatism is essentially based, is ordered liberty. It is a blending of the sometimes contending requirements of the community and the individual, of individual freedom and individual responsibility, of limited government and unlimited markets.

Kirk described six basic "canons" or principles of conservatism:
  • A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society;
  • Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity;
  • Civilized society requires orders and classes;
  • Property and freedom are inseparably connected;
  • Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason; and
  • Society must alter slowly.








HT: 22 Words

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked" Documentary

I grew up reading comic books and watching the cartoons every Saturday. Here is a good documentary on the history of Super heroes and the comic book industry from the History Channel.


























All Around the Web - July 27, 2013

The Gospel Coalition - The Biggest Mistakes Young Preachers Make |




The Gospel Coalition - 5 Things You Should Never Say or Do at a Funeral |

1. Do not refer to the departed saint only in the past tense.
2. Do not forget God's perspective.
3. Do not ignore the lost.
4. Do not say or imply the deceased was perfect.
5. Do not leave out the reality of heaven - expound on it.


Conan O'Brien - Skillet "Rise" 07/11/13 | I have followed Skillet since they first came out. Its exciting to see them finally take off.




WORLD Magazine - Hobby Lobby Breathes Again |

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United decision in 2010, providing First Amendment protections for corporations’ political speech, religious business owners didn’t know how useful that ruling would become three years later in challenges to Obamacare. 

At the end of June the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the first to rule that corporations with religious business owners could be entitled to constitutional religious freedom protections. The 165-page decision based its argument in part on the Citizens United decision. The question of whether corporations have religious freedom protections is largely new to courts.


The Blaze - 5 Phones That Are Baby, Toilet, Pool, Coffee and ‘Whatever-Proof’ | My phone didn't make the list and I have two kids under 5.

1. Xperia Z
2. Galaxy S4 Active
3. Defy XT
4. Android Razr
5. Kyocera Torque



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Friday, July 26, 2013

My New Book: "The Death of Death" Now Available

Some very exciting news. I have finally finished and published another book, this one called The Death of Death: Engaging the Culture of Death With the Gospel of Christ.  The book, similar to my first, Logizomai, is a series of articles originating on this blog turned into chapters. As the title suggests, however, the book limits itself to the topic of the culture of death. In it, I write about abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, bioethics, global warming, and a host of other issues. My primary goal is not to simply say, "this is bad," but rather to show what the gospel says and what the gospel does in light of the many challenges. It isn't enough to be against something. As Christians, we are called to love sinners and be light in the world.


Here is the books descrption:
How should Christians think and engage the culture of death we now live in? Every day new challenges regarding abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, eugenics, and biotechnology force Christians to consider the conclusions of Christian theology and how to minister to those who are hurting. Typically, Christians articulate what they are against, but rarely show how the gospel offers a better way. This book seeks not only to help the average believer understand the many challenges of the culture of death, but also to show how the gospel informs our Christian worldview and how it offers hope even in a culture of blood like ours. Being a pro-life Christian means more than just voting for pro-life candidates and supporting pro-life causes. A pro-life Christian must also show the world the power of the gospel, the love of the Father, the peace of Christ, and the beauty of the local church. Christians must not just condemn the culture, but offer the grace of Christ that touches the lives of those in the culture. It is a call to understand the challenges of the culture of death and, at the same time, a call for Christians to actively seek the end of this culture that is consumed with blood.
Here are the chapters:

Introduction
1. Welcome to Plan B: Abortion as Contraception
2. Criminal Parents & Aborted Children: Is Rape and Incest Moral Reasons to Abort
3. Safe, Legal, & Abundant: The Shocking Truth of a Common Abortion Slogan
4. Are Ultrasounds Enough?: The Limits of Technology in the Abortion Debate
5. The Economics of Abortion: The Fiscal Problem of Aborting 55 Million Citizens
6. The Wall Doesn’t Exist: What the Contraceptive Mandate Reveals the Separation of State & Church
7. Frozen Embryos & the Gospel of Christ: Is It Time to Consider Embryo Adoption?
8. Eugenics in the Present Tense: The Reality of Eugenics in America Today
9. The Dark Reality of Secular Eschatology: Saving the Planet With One Child at a Time
10. The Kingdom of God is at Hand!: Sermon Preached on Sanctity of Life Sunday 2013
Conclusion
Appendix: “Great Forgiveness For Great Sin”: A Sermon Preached By Charles Hadden Spurgeon on December 31, 1876


The final two chapters, the conclusion and appendix, are just as important as the rest of the book. In the conclusion, I call out the church, both ministers and members, to reevaluate how they are reaching the culture of death. It isn't enough to stand on the soap box, we must also comfort, serve, love, and reach those hurt by the culture of death. The gospel is greater than all our sin. It is for this reason that I include the appendix. In his sermon, the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, walks the reader through the hope of the gospel.


The book is available online and can be bought at the following links.

Amazon - Full price $9.99
Createspace - Full price $9.99


The book started as a digital/Kindle book. I have since updated it and expanded it publishing it now in print. I will publish it as a Kindle book soon and make the link available. As I did with the Kindle book, I will continue to occasionally interact with the book following the Death of Death tag. I will also post other resources associated with the book including chapters that did not make it into the book.


For more on Death of Death:
"The Death of Death and the Death of Christ: Engaging the Culture of Death With the Gospel of Christ" Available Now
"Great Forgiveness For Great Sin": A Sermon Preached by CH Spurgeon - Part 1
"Great Forgiveness For Great Sin": A Sermon Preached by CH Spurgeon - Part 2
"Great Forgiveness For Great Sin": A Sermon Preached by CH Spurgeon - Part 3   
The Ancient Church & the Roman Culture of Death
"The Death of Death" Coming Soon and Other Resources
A Must Read: 9 Things You Should Know About Planned Parenthood
The Battle Rages On: Metaxas on Abortion at 40
A Must Read: "We Need Death Panels"
There Will Be Blood: Is Genetic Engineering a Moral Obligation?
We Need More Than Conversation: McLaren on Abortion & the Bible
Can One Be Pro-Life and Support Abortion?: A Serious Argument is Foolishly Proposed


For more on Logizomai:  
Logizomai Book Now Available
"Logizomai" Radio Interview - 4/15/11 
"A Mixture of Fool and Knave": CS Lewis on Theological Liberalism
My Genes Made Me Do It: Why Genetics Is Not a Basis For Morality
Politics is Thicker Thank Promises: Lessons Learned From Obama and the Gay Community
Repost Friday - Heteronormativity: Another Word for Heterophobia
Repost Friday - The Stipulation that Paralyzes: Tony Jones and the Limit of the Emergent Worldview

All Around the Web - July 26, 2013



Yahoo! News - Bush 41 Shaves Head in Solidarity With 2-Year-Old Leukemia Patient


Mark Coppenger - God Is Agape; Allah Is Not | You need to read the entire article.

Muslims speak of the “99 names of God,” which include references to his kindness—expressed, for instance, as “exceeding beneficence” (Ar-Rahman), “exceeding mercy” (Ar-Rahim), and “generosity” (Al-Karim). But these are the virtues of a potentate who has plenty of resources to spare without injury to himself. In contrast, the God of the Bible exhibits a costly love, not just in terms of how big a splash His generosity makes on the recipients, but also in terms of the pain it causes Him in the giving. Consider Romans 5:8, which teaches that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ [God’s Son; God Incarnate] died for us.”

While the Koran’s Allah shares the Christian God’s capacity to “avenge” (Al-Muntaqim) and “afflict” (Ad-Darr), he does not provide a self-sacrificial way of escape. The Muslim Jesus (Issa) is only a prophet, and his suffering no more injures God than, say, the death of John the Baptist.

Not surprisingly, this plays out in contrasting Christian and Muslim ethics. Consider the Christian, Paul, who wrote, regarding his fellow Jews, who were missing salvation, “. . . I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3). Notice Paul was not saying that he was willing to martyr himself for entry to paradise, but rather to forego paradise if necessary.


Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (PBS) - Religious Reaction to Same-Sex Marriage Decisions |




New York Times - Exalting the Sacred, Wooing the Secular | I've been a Skillet fan from the beginning.

Only three rock bands had albums that sold more than one million last year — the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and a hard-rock outfit from Wisconsin with far less name recognition: Skillet. 

What makes Skillet unusual is not just that its sales numbers rival two of the biggest rock acts on the American charts, but also that this quartet is an unabashedly Christian band that has won over mainstream rock aficionados without alienating its religious fans. 

“That is a little bit of a trick,” said John Cooper, the 38-year-old frontman, bassist and songwriter. “I tend to write songs I believe in, that get my message across in the best way possible and leave it as nonthreatening as possible.”


Patheos - One Man Argues Against Restricting Abortion: “Casual Sex Will Become More Difficult to Come By” |

Honestly, I thought this was a joke. But it seems he’s serious.
This is what Texas pro-choicers are arguing for?  Seriously?
Snip, from author Ben Sherman:

For those of us guys who like girls — you know, like them like them — and want to have relationships with them that may last anywhere from a few minutes to many years, we need to think about how this bill, by curtailing the bodily autonomy and sexual freedom of women, hurts us, too. We need to stand with women in their fight to control their own bodies. . . . 

Your sex life is at stake.  Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.

It’s clear: if the Legislature basically takes away a Texas woman’s right to choose, having sex becomes a much, much riskier proposition for women and men.

Justin Taylor - Is God Anti-Gay? |




Christianity Today - Is Interfaith Marriage Always Wrong, Given that the Bible Teaches Us Not to Be 'Unequally Yoked'? |  Dr. Russell Moore's answer:

The intimacy in a marriage is more than a contract. In a mysterious sense, the two become one—not only physically but spiritually as well. The apostles also affirm the marriage bond when they maintain a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever is still a marriage. That's why Paul and Peter command believers to stay with their unbelieving spouses. This hardly commends initiating such marriages in the first place. Indeed, the word of the church, through the apostles, to these situations is itself a demonstration of why a Christian-unbeliever marriage is an "unequal yoke." In the New Testament, the marriages of God's people are the business of the new covenant assembly.


Marriage is not a merely social or biological construct, but an icon of the union between Christ and the church. Both husband and wife are held accountable to the community for the marriage itself.


But in a marriage of a believer to an unbeliever, the church has authority and discipling capacity over only one party. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit and the reign of Christ through his Word, only one party is able to live out explicitly the picture of the gospel embedded in the marriage.


Grace to You - John MacArthur’s Primary Concern About the Charismatic Movement |



Thursday, July 25, 2013

John Knox on the Threefold Office of Christ

The three offices of Christ - Prophet, Priest, and King - runs through Scripture. In his book Scottish Theology, T. F. Torrance quotes John Knox's confession about these offices which serve as a good summary of them:

The name Jesus, which signifies a Savior, was given unto him by the Angel, to assure us that it is he alone that saves his people from their sins. He is called Christ, that is to say, Anointed, by reason of the offices given unto him by God his Father; to whit, that he alone is appointed King, Priest, and Prophet.

King, in that all power is given unto him in heaven and earth; so that there is none other but he in heaven or earth, that has just authority and power to make laws to bind the consciousness of men; neither yet is there any other that may defend our souls from the bondage of sin, nor yet our bodies and the tyranny of man. And this he does by the power of his Word, by which he draws us out of the bondage and slavery of Satan, and makes us to reign over sin, while we live and serve our God in righteousness and holiness of our life.

A Priest, and that perpetual and everlasting, we confess him by reason that by the sacrifice of his own body, which he wants offered up upon the cross, he has fully satisfied the justice of his Father in our behalf; so that whosoever seeks any means besides his death and passion, in heaven or in earth, to reconcile them into God's favor, they do not only blaspheme, but also, so far as in them is, renounced the fruit and efficacy of that his only sacrifice.

We confess him to be the only Prophet, and has revealed unto us, the whole will of his Father in all things pertaining to our salvation
. (25, paragraph breaks added by me)










For more:
"Scottish Theology" by T. F. Torrance: A Review
A Nestorian Heresy?: John Knox & His Rejection of Particular Redemption
"John Knox: An Introduction to His Life and Works" - A Review
"The Mighty Weakness of John Knox" by Douglas Bond: A Review
"John Knox & the Reformation" by M. Lloyd-Jones & Iain Murray: A Review
"John Knox" by Rosalind K. Marshall
Douglas Bond on the Legacy of John Knox
"The School of Faith" by Thomas F. Torrance: A Review

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 1

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 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 - Creation/Providence 1
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"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
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 1
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"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Work of Christ 1


In his opening chapter on the doctrine of the Work of Christ, Dr. Millard Erickson discusses the helpful three-fold offices of Christ: prophet, priest, and king. He begins by noting that though such language has been common throughout the history of the church, John Calvin in his Institutes is the one credited with really developing this theme. Christ works in and through these three offices.

If your like me, the office of Christ as priest and king are simple enough. One cannot read the book of Hebrews without understanding what is meant by Christ as the Great, Final, and Eternal High Priest. Likewise, Matthew's Gospel as well as Revelation seem to especially highlight Jesus' kingly role. But how do we understand what is meant by Jesus as prophet? Does it merely mean he preaches, teaches, etc.?

Erickson provides a helpful way to look at these offices which summarize what is meant by them. Instead of simply saying prophet, priest, and king, Erickson adds Jesus' work of revealing, ruling, and reconciling. Therefore, we understand Jesus doing the work of the prophet by revealing, his work as king by ruling, and his work as priest as reconciling. This, I find, to be a helpful approach to this topic.

Regarding his work as a revealer/prophet, Erickson notes that Jesus and those around Him identified Him as one (see Matthew 13:57; 21:11, 46; Luke 24:19; John 6:14; 7:40, 52). In addition, Jesus as revealer/prophet is itself a fulfillment of prophecy (see most notably Deuteronomy 18:15 which is quoted in Acts 3:22). And certainly Jesus' prophetic ministry was like that of the other prophets in that he was sent from God (782). Yet what set Him apart, obviously was His pre-existence and divine nature. However, his ministry and teaching is similar to the prophets of old. This includes warnings of judgment, proclamation of good news and salvation (783), etc.

Yet His work as revealer goes beyond merely speaking. He is, after all, the divine Logos. Therefore his incarnation is itself as act of revelation. In addition, He is the risen Lord and continues His ministry of revelation through His church.

Regarding His ruling/kingly work, Erickson makes it clear that as Jesus' work of revealing is past, present, and future, so is his work as Ruler. Most think of his ruling as future. When He returns He will finally reign, yet that his not true. Not only do we see present language in the Kingdom of God/Heaven language of the New Testament, there is evidence that Christ is ruling today. Erickson notes that right now the natural universe obeys him. Since Christ is the one through whom all things came into being (John 1:3) and through whom all things continue (Col. 1:17), he is in control of the natural universe (786).  Furthermore, Christ is the head of the church. When he was on earth, his kingdom was present in his disciples' hearts. And wherever believers today are following the lordship of Christ, the Savior is exercising his ruling or kingly function (786-787).

Finally, regarding the reconciling/priestly work of Jesus Erickson notes that this office dominates this section of his systematic theology thus he only adds a basic introduction. Consider, however, the following helpful paragraph:

What is the focus of this intercession? On the one hand, it is justificatory. Jesus presents his righteousness to the Father for our justification. He also pleads the cause of hi righteousness for believer who, while previously justified, continue to sin. And finally, it appears, particularly from the instances during his earthly ministry, that Christ beseeches the Father that believers might be sanctified and kept from the power of the evil tempter. (787)

I find this discussion from Erickson really helpful and clear. Jesus is prophet, priest, and king. "Hallelujah" the hymn writer wrote, "What a Savior."


For more:
John Knox on the Threefold Office of Christ
John Knox on the Importance of the Ascension
Alumni Academy Christology Lectures From Dr. Bruce Ware
"The Jesus We Missed" by Patrick Henry Reardon
"Blood Work" by Anthony Carter: A Review
"The Cross of Christ" by John Stott: A Review
"In My Place, Condemned He Stood"
"It is Well"
"Precious Blood": A Review 
"Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll 
Its Not Just a Theory: Stott on Penal Substitution
John Stott on the The Human Enigma
Theology Thursday | Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution: A Review of the Evidence
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
God as Butcher: McLaren on Penal Substitution  
The Postmodern Social Gospel:  Brian McLaren Proves My Point  
Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology:  From Cultural Accommodation to the Social Gospel
Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution:  A Look at the Evidence
Allison: A History of the Doctrine of the Atonement
"Salvation Brings Imitation": Piper on Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 1 - Introduction
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 2 - Christus Exemplar and the doctrine of sin and depravity
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 3 - The History of Christus Exemplar
Where Theology and Life Intersect: A Theological Case for Christus Exemplar and Why It is Necessary - Part 4 - Christus Exemplar and Humility
Sanctification Demands It: The Necessity of the Atonement