I haven’t done one of these in a while. Primarily because I don’t read near as many blogs as I used to. I simply don’t have the time anymore. But I did find some of these posts interesting.
Peter Liethart calls for the End of Protestantism. He writes, “Protestantism ought to give way to Reformational catholicism. Like a Protestant, a Reformational catholic rejects papal claims, refuses to venerate the Host, and doesn’t pray to Mary or the saints; he insists that salvation is a sheer gift of God received by faith and confesses that all tradition must be judged by Scripture, the Spirit’s voice in the conversation that is the Church.”
Roger Olson weighed in on John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” conference. He notes with stinging irony: “MacArthur talks about the danger of offending the Holy Spirit with ‘counterfeit worship.’ I agree that there is that danger. However, I wonder if MacArthur and others (like R. C. Sproul) who spoke at his conference have considered the danger of offending the Holy Spirit by opposing a worldwide renewal movement that, for all its flaws, has brought millions of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? And by attributing the Holy Spirit’s gifts to unholy passions and imagination (if not to Satan)?”
Along these same lines Terrance Tiessen asks “What is a Charismatic?” He says, “. . . I’m wondering if my own definition of ‘charismatic’ is accurate these days. I see a spectrum of four positions: Pentecostal – charismatic – continuationist – cessationist. Pentecostals identify baptism by Christ with the Spirit as a distinct (and usually subsequent) experience of the baptism by the Spirit into Christ. Tongues is the sign that one has received that “second blessing” of baptism with the Spirit, it is a repetition of the original Pentecost event in that person’s life.”
Tim Challies did a two-part interview with John MacArthur where he responds to his critics regarding the Strange Fire conference and book. See part one here and part two here.
Canadian journalist and TV host Michael Coheen has an interesting post of the future of Catholicism. I had to laugh at this paragraph:
“The Future of Catholicism was commissioned specifically to respond to the hysteria that greeted the election of Pope Francis. The moment the conclave ended, numerous journalists approached me for interviews – desperately so, since there are so few Catholics in media in Canada. The questions repeated themselves with a dulling predictability: will the new pope change Church teaching on same-sex marriage; will he ordain women; will he allow abortion and birth control? After the fourth or fifth such interview I responded with, ‘Yes, and he’s going to become a Muslim too!’ A bit of advice: Don’t use satire or sarcasm on a journalist.”
My coworker Dean has started a blog called Re(-)petitions. Dean is a lover of philosophy in general and Kierkegaard in particular. To sample the fomer see his post on “Philosophy, huh? So…like…what do you do with philosophy?” and for the later you can begin with his series on Kierkegaard. Part one, here, is a short bio. I read a little of Kierkegaard while in seminary. I never could quite understand him. Dean has done a lot to help me understand him a little better.
I’ve found that most people who tell me that fiction is a waste of time are folks who seem to hold to a kind of sola cerebra vision of the Christian life that just doesn’t square with the Bible. The Bible doesn’t simply address man as a cognitive process but as a complex image-bearer who recognizes truth not only through categorizing syllogisms but through imagination, beauty, wonder, awe. Fiction helps to shape and hone what Russell Kirk called the moral imagination.
To put it bluntly, the Vatican is not rich. It has an annual operating budget of $260 million, which would not place it on any top 500 list of social institutions. To draw a comparison to the nonprofit sector, Harvard University has an annual operating budget of a little over $1.3 billion, which means it could run the equivalent of five Vaticans.
Ronald Knox on Bible translation: “If you translate, say the Summa of St. Thomas, you expect to be cross-examined by people who understand philosophy and by people who know Latin; no one else. If you translate the Bible, you are liable to be cross-examined by anybody, because everybody thinks he already knows what the Bible means.” (HT: Catholic Bibles)
” . . . very notable Calvinist theologians have spoken in terms that are synergistic, and I confess that I was misled by their language. For about 20 years, I taught that justification is monergistic but sanctification is synergistic.”
Here’s just a few items of interest I’ve run across.
While John Walton was here last week he visited Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Mike Wittmer offers his reflections on Walton’s views. As always Mike has some interesting insights.
The new Archbishop of Cantebury, Justin Welby was installed. This was an important event for the 80 million Anglicans around the globe.
Roger Olson asks “What’s Wrong with Calvinism?” (Long post.) He says, “Let me repeat. The most basic issue is not providence or predestination or the sovereignty of God. The most basic issue is God’s character.” Dr. Olson has never pulled any punches in his critique of Calvinism. Conisder this: “If strong, five-point Calvinism is true, then God is monstrous and barely distinguishable from the devil. The only difference in character is that the devil wants everyone to go to hell and God only wants some, many, to go to hell.”
The Scripture Zealot offers an excellent quote from C.S. Lewis on devotionals. It reads,
“For my own part,” wrote Lewis, “I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that `nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.”
If you’d like to see more check out Koinonia’s “Extra-Curricular Activities.” Mason does a nice job of putting together some interesting posts.
At the top of my list, for obvious reasons, is Ben Witherington’s fine post on “The Death of the Bookstore.” The whole post is very good but I loved this part:
“Knowledge may be getting cheaper in the Internet and digital age, but it is also being cheapened in the process.
What I mean by that last sentence is, that I have to regularly tell students that you cannot trust a great deal of the stuff that is free on the Internet. Some of it you can, but you have to be able to critically evaluate which is which. And most students are not capable without help of doing so. There is usually a good reason why a book is free on the Internet somewhere: 1) it is out of print; 2) it is so old it is in the public domain anyway; 3) it is crap. What you will not get for free on the Internet in 98% of the cases is cutting edge good critical up to date scholarship on some subject.”
“In terms of method, then, Jesus Calling is a “something more” book. At the very least, I believe that it encourages believers to see God’s Word as hum-drum and to ascend into the heavens or descend to the depths to discover a word that will make Jesus more present in our daily lives. According to the Reformation stream of evangelicalism, God speaks to us in his Word (the arrow pointing down from God to us) and we speak to him in prayer (the arrow directed up to God). However, Jesus Calling confuses the direction of these arrows, blurring the distinction between God’s speech and our response.”
Jeff from the Scripture Zealot has a interesting quote from John Gill. His post is entitled “Studying Will Wear You Out.” Here’s part of it:
“and much study is a weariness of the flesh; the study of languages, and of each of the arts and sciences, and of various subjects in philosophy and divinity, particularly in writing books on any of these subjects; which study is as fatiguing to the body, and brings as much weariness on it, as any manual and mechanic operation; it dries up the moisture of the body, consumes the spirits, and gradually and insensibly impairs health, and brings on weakness, as well as weariness.”
Kevin Vanhoozer addresses the issue of inerrancy. He writes,
“What then does the doctrine of biblical inerrancy explicitly articulate? We can refine our provisional definition of inerrancy in terms of truthfulness as follows: The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture, in the original manuscripts and when interpreted according to the intended sense, speaks truly in all that it affirms. These specifications, by identifying the conditions under which Scripture speaks truly, do not hasten the death of inerrancy by qualification; they rather acknowledge two crucial limitations that enable believers to keep the doctrine in its proper perspective. Let us examine these two qualifications in more detail.”
Eerdmans interviews Mark Goodacre on his new book Thomas and the Gospels. Take a look at some of these stellar endorsements:
Craig A. Evans — Payzant Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada Mark Goodacre’s Thomas and the Gospels contributes significantly to the ongoing, sometimes vexatious debate about the relationship of the mysterious Gospel of Thomas and the well known New Testament Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Goodacre takes a whole new approach, carefully examining the Synoptic Gospels, as well as Thomas, asking important questions about how they developed and how they may have influenced one another. The author has given all of us a lot to think about, whatever position we may prefer.
Larry W. Hurtado — University of Edinburgh “With firm and vigorous (but never shrill) argumentation, incisive critique of other views, and full and clearheaded handling of the data, Mark Goodacre mounts a cogent, persuasive case that the Gospel of Thomas reflects acquaintance with the Synoptic Gospels. This is not a rehash of earlier arguments but a creative treatment that introduces new analysis of this important early Christian text.”
Dale C. Allison Jr. — Pittsburgh Theological Seminary “Meticulous, adroit, and closely reasoned, this work will immediately become the definitive presentation of the case that Thomas draws on the Synoptics. Those who take the contrary position truly have their work cut out for them.”
Simon Gathercole — Cambridge University “Written with both verve and calm intelligence, this book is head and shoulders above most of the rest of scholarship on Thomas and the Synoptics. It grapples skilfully with both the nitty-gritty of the Greek and Coptic texts and the various scholarly minefields. Read it!”
Klyne Snodgrass — North Park Theological Seminary “Goodacre engages the secondary literature carefully, challenges exaggerated claims and unjust assumptions, and offers valuable insight. . . . Anyone who cares at all about the Gospel of Thomas cannot afford to neglect this book.”
Nicola Denzey Lewis — Brown University “This book is quietly revolutionary, turning on its head sixty years of scholarship. . . . Those on both sides of the divide have much to learn from Goodacre’s meticulous scholarship.”
John S. Kloppenborg — University of Toronto “Among those works that argue for Thomas’s dependence on the Synoptic Gospels, this one by Mark Goodacre is rare for taking Thomas seriously as a literary work rather than merely dismissing it as a secondary compilation. Though not an exhaustive or definitive treatment of Thomas, this book merits serious consideration. Goodacre’s arguments, always incisive and well considered, invite an equally serious response.”