Saturday, April 26, 2014

All Around the Web - April 26, 2014

Joe Carter - China on Course to Become 'World's Most Christian Nation'
Why It Matters:  In his book The Rise of Christianity, sociologist Rodney Stark estimates that during the first 350 years of Christianity, the religion grew at a rate of 40 percent per decade. During the 61 year period from 1949 to 2010, Christianity grew at a rate of 78.7 percent per year.

Part of the reason for the exponential growth is attributable to the sheer size of the population of China. With 1.351 billion people in the country, Christians comprise only 5 percent of the country. If current trends hold, in 2030 Christians in China will make up almost 9 percent of the total population. While the ratio of Christians to population would still be small, the total numbers are astounding. By mid-century, China may have more citizens who identify as Christians than the United States has citizens.

Christians in America often find reasons to be pessimistic about our religion's waning influence on our country. But we should remember that our land is not the last bastion of hope for the faith. The remarkable growth in global Christianity -- particularly in Asia and Africa -- should give us reason to be optimistic. The Holy Spirit is changing hearts and minds around the globe in a way that has not been seen since the first century after Christ's Ascension. For this we should be eternally grateful.
Those of us in the West should continue to support our Chinese brothers and sisters with finances, missionaries, theological resources, and -- most importantly -- prayer. In the latter half of this century, assuming the Lord tarries, we may need them to do the same for the American church.

Bill Mounce -  Ransom and Redemption (Heb 9:15) - Mondays with Mounce 225
Steve asked me about the NIV’s use of “ransom” in Heb 9:15. He wrote, “I've always been confused by the ransom concept, because it leads to thinking God paid a ransom to Satan or some such craziness, which is obviously wrong.”

As far as the ransom of Satan theory, it is obviously wrong; check out Wayne Grudem’s discussion in his theology. The price paid was paid to God. But here is the NIV: “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom (θανάτου γενομένου εἰς πολτρωσιν) to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

I was not on the committee at this time, so I have to respond as an outsider. The textbook definition of πολτρωσις is “price paid for freedom secured.” The price was Jesus’ life; the freedom was freedom from sin. The trick in translation is to see whether the focus of the verse is on the price paid or the freedom secured. My guess is that in Heb 9:15, since the emphasis is so clearly on the price paid (θανάτου), the word “ransom” best fits the context.

πολτρωσις occurs ten times in the New Testament. The NIV uses “redemption” in 8, “ransom” in our verse, at “released” in Heb 11:35 (which emphasizes the second half of the meaning). In other words, the NIV’s default translation is “redemption,” but you can’t really say in English “died as a redemption.”

Thabiti Anyabwile - Spoken Word Monday: “Forever and Ever” by Miss Terious Janette… ikz

LA Times - Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged
Debbie Rohr lives with her husband and twin teenage sons in a well-tended three-bedroom home in Salinas.

The ranch-style house has a spacious kitchen that looks out on a yard filled with rosebushes. It's a modest but comfortable house, the type that Rohr, 52, pictured for herself at this stage of life.
She just never imagined that it would be her childhood home, a return to a bedroom where she once hung posters of Olivia Newton-John and curled up with her beloved Mrs. Beasley doll.

Driven by economic necessity — Rohr has been chronically unemployed and her husband lost his job last year — she moved her family back home with her 77-year-old mother.

Financial Times - From Noah to Moses, why the renewed interest in Bible films? | Albert Mohler discusses this article here.
As far back as I can remember, Easter weekend in my Toronto household has involved Mass, new white shoes for first my little sisters and now my little daughters, and a burnished, eyebrow-rippling Charlton Heston on our TV, solemnly hamming it up as Moses for hours on end. My wife, who grew up hundreds of miles away in Milwaukee, likewise remembers Mass, ham, and Bible movies as Eastertime staples. For the Bible has been a source for movies since the earliest days of cinema – adaptations of Christ’s passion, and of the stories of Salome and of the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter were made in the early 1900s, while the earliest movies about the Ten Commandments and the Great Flood came out in the 1920s.

This year, however, Hollywood seems unusually interested in the Bible, and is offering several biblical releases during 2014. Son of God, released in February in the US, won endorsements from evangelical Christians and negative reviews from most film critics. And Darren Aronofsky’s Noah made its debut last month as the number one movie in America, winning both at the box office and in the (non-religious-conservative) review pages.

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