Monday, June 30, 2008

The Doctrine of Revelation and Scripture- a resource list

Here are some of the resources I would recommend to you in your study of the doctrine of revelation and scripture (following our two weeks on the topic for Theology 101). I'll rate them according to level of difficulty- super theologian (pretty technical, difficult and dense to work through), average theologian (heady stuff, but most can benefit greatly in working through it), erik (easy and helpful for the average layman).

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. His chapters on Scripture were very helpful and useful to me. (level: erik)

John Calvin, Institutes; Book 1:chs.6-13 Calvin is the great pastor theologian of the Reformed tradition, this theological tome should be on every Christian's bookshelf. I find it one of my constant devotional helps. (level: average theologian-erik)

B.B. Warfield, Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. A classic and the definitive work on the protestant reformed view of Scripture. (level: super theologian)

Geisler, ed. Inerrancy. A great compilation of crucial articles on Scripture. I benefited greatly from Bahnsen's chapter on Inerrancy in the autographs. (level: average theol. - erik)

John W. Montgomery, ed. God's Inerrant Word. Another classic compilation. Especially - John Frame, Scripture Speaks for Itself; Clark Pinnock, Inspiration of Scripture and the Authority of Jesus Christ. (level: average - erik)

Bruce Metzger, The Text of the N.T. - Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. A difficult read, but easier than The Text of the N.T. by Aland and Aland. Very helpful in understanding the task of text criticism, understanding transmission, and a great book to inspire confidence in the believer in the translations before us today. (level: super-average)

Peter Jensen, The Revelation of God. A great book, part of the Contours of Christian Theology series. I recommend this whole series to you- especially Helm's The Providence of God; and Ferguson's The Church. (level: super- average)

F.F. Bruce, The N.T. Documents: Are They Reliable? An easy, must read for all Christians. A great apologetic tool as well. (level: erik) Also, The Canon of Scripture by Bruce .

Expositor's Bible Commentary: Vol. I- Introductory Articles. This is a great commentary series for general bible study reference. This first volume has a great bunch of articles on the authority of Scripture; its transmission, the canon, the reliability of our translations; as well as more specific studies in Old and New Testament.

If you want some resources in the area of basic Bible introduction/overview, and general surveys and helps in bible study I recommend:

Gleason Archer, Old Testament Introduction
Carson, Moo, and Morris, New Testament Introduction
Fee and Stuart, Reading the Bible for All It's Worth
Tremper Longman, Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind
Kay Arthur, How to Study Your Bible

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

And, for that matter, our idolatrous evangelifish worship at the altar of self and affluence.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Broken Hallelujahs

My Dad, after much urging from all who know him has finally entered the blogosphere. I strongly commend you to his new site.

His latest post Word Up is a great follow up to my last sermon on revelation and scripture- a rather necessary addendum on the theological and philosophical implications of our convictions regarding God's Word. I will be preaching another sermon on Scripture in a couple weeks, and I am thankful to my Dad for giving me my material!

If you want to know more of God's Word, about God's Word, and about God- lurk often on Dad's blog and attend his class on Moses and the Modern Mind this fall at Four Oaks.


The Old Worn Out Drum

I'll continue to bang the old worn out drum for the cause of the unborn as THE singular moral, social, and political issue of our day.

John Piper on One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society :
No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office. For example, any candidate who endorsed bribery as a form of government efficiency would be disqualified, no matter what his party or platform was. Or a person who endorsed corporate fraud (say under $50 million) would be disqualified no matter what else he endorsed. Or a person who said that no black people could hold office—on that single issue alone he would be unfit for office. Or a person who said that rape is only a misdemeanor—that single issue would end his political career. These examples could go on and on. Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualify a candidate for

It's the same with marriage. No one quality makes a good wife or husband, but some qualities would make a person unacceptable. For example, back when I was thinking about getting married, not liking cats would not have disqualified a woman as my wife, but not liking people would. Drinking coffee would not, but drinking whiskey would. Kissing dogs wouldn't, but kissing the mailman would. And so on. Being a single-issue fiancé does not mean that only one issue matters.It means that some issues may matter enough to break off the relationship.

So it is with politics. You have to decide what those issues are for you. What do you think disqualifies a person from holding public office? I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It's simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery would disqualify him—except that child-killing is more serious than those.

Doug Groothuis on Recovering from Fetus Fatigue:

Evangelicals, for God's sake, please wake up. Remember the least, the last, and the lost: the millions of unborn human beings who hang in the balance (Matthew 25:31-46). No, this is not the only issue, but it is a titanic issue that cannot be ignored. Rouse yourself to recover from fetus fatigue. God is watching.

Gene Edward Veith says that what a candidate believes about abortion tells us how he will treat other issues.

Scott Klusendorf on why children should be free to smoke in pro-choice America.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Politics is Politics

An interesting, and frustrating, article on the so-called younger evangelicals over at the NY Times.

"They [our younger evangelicals] say they are tired of the culture wars. They say they do not want the test of their faith to be the fight against gay rights. They say they want to broaden the traditional evangelical anti-abortion agenda to include care for the poor, the environment, immigrants and people with H.I.V., according to experts on younger evangelicals and the young people themselves.

“Evangelicalism is becoming somewhat less coherent as a movement or as an identity,” said Christian Smith, a sociology professor at the University of Notre Dame. “Younger people don’t even want the label anymore. They don’t believe the main goal of the church is to be political.”
About 17 percent of the nation’s 55 million adult evangelicals are between the ages of 18 and 29, and many are troubled by the methods of the religious right and its close ties to the Republican Party.

Ok, now here is what I don't understand. In the first paragraph above we discover the desire of younger evangelicals to broaden and increase the political agenda to what are obviously more 'left wing' issues (environment, 'the poor', etc.). But, lo and behold, we discover in the very next paragraph that these same younger evangelicals don't believe the main goal of the church is to be political. So, which is it? More politics or less politics? You can't have your cake and eat it too, guys. It is plain that there is specific sort of politicking that the new, fresh, young evangelicals will allow. I wish at least we'd be honest on this point.

This sort of facile grandstanding regarding 'the methods of the religious right and its close ties to the Republican party' means nothing to me. In what way are these methods more troubling than the methods of Wallis' 'religious left'? Why are we not troubled by the close ties of the religious left to the Democratic Party?

And, I will continue to insist that the slaughter of innocent babies is an issue of primary importance for every candidate and a litmus test for justice, righteousness, and compassion for any party. It trumps all and is an issue of singular importance above all others. I simply cannot endorse or vote for any candidate who loves 'the poor' and yet endorses the right of its citizens to have their children (other citizens) dismembered, suctioned from the womb, and discarded as so much garbage. How in the world can we morally compare climate change politics with the abomination of state sanctioned homosexual marriage (and the collapse of the family which is the heart and soul of any nation)? Yes, put in flourescent bulbs, but let's be careful to have some moral perspective here.

For the most part, and forgive my cynicism, these emerging pastors are speaking to trends, appealling to the masses (at least the latte drinking hipster ones), and losing their prophetic voice in the process. You can't say that you are against abortion and believe homosexuality is a sin, but then refuse to address such sins as they are encroaching upon our lives and communities at every turn!

If we discovered tomorrow that John McCain was a card carrying member of the Klan (do they carry cards?) and an avowed racist, for the most part this country would quickly turn into a single issue nation. If Obama revealed that he did in fact support his former pastor's sentiments and politics, and made Farakhan his cheif political strategist- we would become a single issue country. Why are these issue of race more important than the issue of abortion? But the fact of the matter is, we have one party and one candidate that openly affirms and endorses the right of a nation to kill babies. The other candidate and party has fought against this travesty (though my affections for the Republican party and her poster boy are similar to Pastor Bayly's). These facts are plain. These are matters of morality, character, righteousness, and justice. For us to blithely put the issue of infanticide alongside issues of climate change and the minimum wage is, in my mind, pure foolishness (to say nothing of the double talk of our younger evangelicals on such religious politicking).

And, for the record- I am what you might call a 'younger evangelical'. Sadly no one has polled me as of yet.


Liberated Misogyny- Joe Carter on Sex and the City

I have often asked the question, "What has thirty years of feminist liberation really given us?" There is more misogyny, divorce, child abuse, sexual confusion, std's, domestic violence, and general unrest between the sexes than ever before. I'm no utilitarian, and I believe that the aims of gender feminism (and that odd bird we call evangelical feminism) can easily be dismissed on purely philosophical, theological, and biblical grounds. But we can at least say that pragmatically the movement is a bit of a wash.

Joe Carter over at the evangelical outpost provides us with a helpful examination of that towering pop cultural totem to liberated femininity called Sex and the City. Check it out.