The Fun Quotient

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The Case for the Christian Sabbath— Part One

S.K. Tonstad, The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day, (Andrews U. Press, 2009), pp. xiv+575.   (This is the first of a seven part critique of Tonstad’s landmark and elegantly written book). It is the thesis of of S.K. Tonstad that the majority of Christendom needs to resurrect and recover the observance of the seventh day, the Sabbath.   His concern is however not just with the loss of a ‘day of rest’ or a particular ritual pattern to the Christian week,… Read more

The Truth Structure of Reality

Have you ever noticed that there is a truth structure to reality itself?  What do I mean by this?  Well consider what happens when you tell a lie.  Go ahead, admit it, you’ve done that before.   What happens when the lie is challenged?  Well then you are confronted again with the truth of the matter and you have a choice either to admit the lie, orrrrrr  you have to make up another lie.   ‘Oh what a subtle web we weave….’… Read more

THOUGHTS ON THEOPHILUS AND HIS ROLE IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

In an important study, Raymond Starr comments on the process by which manuscripts eventually became public property (if they ever did).  He stresses that an author tended to write only for his own circle of friends, and they would be the ones whom he would test out preliminary drafts of the work on,  through readings in his home over dinner.  The author would not hand out copies to the listeners, but he might indeed, before an in home reading, send… Read more

A Lecture on Lectors— Not Readers

The word of the Bible was in many many ways a very different world than our world, and one of the major differences was the way ancient texts worked and how exactly they were read.   A few basic facts first: 1) the literacy rate in the Greco-Roman world of the NT was anywhere from 10%-20% depending on where one was and what sub-culture we are talking about.  When I say literacy, I am not referring to the ability to read… Read more

Enough of the sword play—- Luke 22.38

In the recent brouhaha on this blog about Christians and weapons and violence, more than once Luke 22.38 came up as a supposed justification for disciples using swords.  This is in fact a bad misreading of this text, based in part on a bad mistranslation of it.   In the forthcoming commentary on Luke A.J. Levine and I are doing for Cambridge U. Press, here is what is said about this verse—— Vs. 38 is heavy laden with bitter irony in… Read more

Life…. as We Don't Know It

One of the more interesting aspects of the story of Jesus and his debate with the Sadducees as found in Luke 20 is the whole question of God as a living God.  What the Bible means by such an assertion is not merely that God is real or alive, but that God, as the beginning of Genesis makes clear, is the very source of life.  God not merely has life and is alive, God is so alive that it can be… Read more

The Ehrman Project

Several Evangelical scholars, including yours truly,  have been asked to contribute to a critique of the various claims of Bart Ehrman in his more popular level books  (e.g. Jesus Interrupted).  There is now a website up and running which brings together all these resources.   You will find it here— http://ehrmanproject.com/ Read more

Luke 18.1-14 and the Nature of Prayer

   For reasons not clear to me, Protestant Christians, whom I spend the most time with, seem to have some very funky notions about prayer, that are not well grounded in the Bible, or for that matter the early Jewish practice of prayer.  And some of them are based in a very bad exegesis of what Luke 18 says and implies about prayer.   Luke Johnson in his fine commentary on Luke (p. 274) has this to say about the matter:… Read more

Revival 2011 at Myers Park UMC

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