Bart Ehrman’s new book,  Forged   (Harper, 2011, 307 pages) has hit the bookstalls  and has been hovering in the 300s in the list of top sellers,  eclipsed by another Harper book that came out at about the same juncture—- Rob Bell’s  Love Wins which has been reviewed in detail already, chapter by chapter on this blog.   Ehrman’s new book will receive the same sort of chapter by chapter analysis. This book should not be confused with some of Bart’s previous… Read more

Seeing as how this blog is called the Bible and culture, sometimes we focus more on the culture side of things.  And with this recent ministry trip to Katy Texas we ran smack dab into all sorts of Texas culture, in particular its food culture, and if you haven’t sampled Texas food culture, then  you have lived a deprived existence,  I am sorry to say.   In particular, if you have not sampled Bluebell (named after the flower) ice cream or … Read more

[Note: To see the series so far, read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.] In some ways,  Chapter Five, which is brief (pp. 121-37) is the best chapter in the book thus far.   Here Rob reviews a variety of metaphors and ideas used to explain both the work of Christ on the cross and its benefits.  He stresses that Christ’s death meant the end of the sacrificial system in toto.  Jesus paid it all. I particularly like… Read more

There are always claims being made about the supposed latest amazing discovery of game changing and epic making archaeological objects.  One of the most recent are the initial claims being noised about in the news about some lead codices apparently found in northern Jordan by a Bedouin (who else?)  who now lives in Galilee.   Here is a link to an article by a BBC writer on the find—–         Sanity and caution are advised but Philip Davies emeritus professor… Read more

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In some ways, the premise of Rob’s question, raised in Chapter Four, is not entirely logically coherent.   If the answer to this question  (Does God always get what he wants?)  was yes, would we even have sin and evil in the world?   Would Adam and Eve have fallen in the first place?    Would there even be a need for salvation or Hell? If God is truly like the way Augustine depicted him, not merely almighty and all good, but always… Read more

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This sermon is also available streamed on Asbury S eminary’s website. THE MIND OF CHRIST—– Phil. 2.4-11 A man was thrust out into the Judean desert by God’s Spirit.  He says he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and that then he had a vision of Satan,  a vision that among other things involved being tempted to turn stones into bread.   One can understand why a man might be tempted to do that when he had not eaten in… Read more

In what may be the first of many such repercussions a United Methodist minister in my home conference (North Carolina) has been reassigned after having posted a blog post supporting the argument about Hell in Rob Bell’s Love Wins. The Rev. Chad Holtz, a student pastor finishing his degree at Duke Divinity School, was not fired or dismissed by  Bishop Gwinn, but he was asked to leave by the congregation of Morrow’s Chapel in Henderson N.C. after violating an agreement… Read more

Chapter three of Love Wins (pp. 63-93)  begins with a simple review of where the term Hell, Hades, Gehenna occurs in the New Testament.  There is nothing problematic with this in itself,  except  that the idea of Hell is much more profoundly found in the NT than the specific vocabulary terms for Hell.   For example, the idea is certainly there in  2 Thessalonians 1. 5-10, but the specific terminology is not.   In short,  you can’t whittle down the Hell idea… Read more

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