What I Read Online – 02/07/2013 (a.m.)

    • I’ve argued elsewhere that the New Atheists’ reasoning skills are seriously lacking, which Glass demonstrates over and over again. And given he demonstrates it with respect to virtually every major claim against Christianity they make, I think I can say this is the most thoroughly argued and devastating critique of the New Atheism I’ve encountered.
    • So, when you announce to a pastor in Africa’s rural or semi-rural areas that you will be coming to visit his church, he will tell his congregation who will in turn inform their friends and relatives. The result of this is that on the day of your visit, half the village will be at that church, with many hundreds failing to fit into the building. This is especially the case if you are a muzungu (a white man) or a bishop (or some such high title). The excitement and the singing are not at their usual pitch. They are heightened by the thrill that a special visitor is in their midst. So, you will go away with a totally wrong view of the numbers that normally attend that church and the spiritual ecstasy in that congregation. There is no conscious effort to deceive. This is a phenomenon that just happens.
    • So, next time you visit Africa with your camera and take pictures of a congregation in any of our African townships or villages, easily divide the attendance by a quarter in order to arrive at the regular attendance of that church. The other three-quarters were not gathered in order to deceive you but simply because you were the most important event in the area and the people did not want to miss out. You can be sure that as soon as you got into your car and left, the congregation melted faster than ice when put on a red-hot stove
    • The difference between the two models is not that theology is present in one but not the other. Theology is professed and believed in both. But in the one, theology is the reason for ministry, the basis for ministry; it provides the criteria by which success in ministry is measured. In the other, theology does none of these things; here the ministry provides its own rationale, its own criteria, its own techniques. The second model does not reject theology; it simply displaces it so that it no longer gives the profession of ministry its heart and fire.[1]

       

       

       
       

      [1] David F. Wells, No Place For Truth Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1993), 254-255.

       

       

       

    • We all know who “that guy” is in your seminary class. He’s the one who can’t resist the opportunity to ask a question or make a comment. He’s the one trying to show he knows more than the professor, and perhaps more than the apostle Paul himself. He’s the one who thinks that your class of 40 students is really just his personal independent study that everyone else is observing.
    • Is an unborn baby “a life worth sacrificing?” The question is horrifying, but the argument was all too real. In a recent article, Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com conceded what the pro-life movement has contended all along — that from the moment of conception the unborn child is undeniably a human life. And yet, Williams argues that this unborn human life must be terminated if a woman desires an abortion. The child is a life, but, in her grotesque view, “a life worth sacrificing.”
    • Do we make too much of suffering?  Is depression sinful?  Is it always the result of personal sin?  Or poor preaching?  Or defective theology an unbalanced homiletic emphases?  I am convinced that this is not so.   Once one moves in that direction, one is positing a tight and necessary connection between personal issues and specific suffering.   That is not biblical and is pastorally very dangerous.  Yes, suffering can sometimes be that way: the man who cheats on his wife and loses his family suffers as a direct result of his personal sin.  But is the depressed person necessarily suffering because of some specific sin?   The Bible, I believe, teaches that this is not so
    • If Robert Fyall’s exegesis is correct (and I believe it is) then Leviathan is Satan and only at this point does God offer any real help (as we might understand it) to Job, as he lifts the curtain and allows Job to grasp that his suffering is a function of a greater and more complicated universe than he can possibly imagine, and that, whatever the empirical facts, the Lord has ultimate and overall control
    • A pastoral theology which has not grappled with the whirlwind and the speeches of the last part of Job is sub-biblical; and preaching which does not take these things into account is not biblical preaching

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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