Top 5 heresies of 2016

Andy_stanley_2499 years after the Reformation, 1691 years after the Council of Nicaea, theological disputes and charges of heresy are still going strong.  Emily McFarlan Miller of the Religious News Service looks back on the Top 5 Heresies of 2016.

Could you list some more?  Are some brewing that will come to a head in 2017?

After the jump, I’ll list the five.  But go to the link for explanations and details. [Read more…]

Top 10 discoveries in Biblical archaeology for 2016

Roman_writing_tablet_022016 was a good year for Biblical archaeology, with numerous excavations and artifacts confirming Biblical history. Christianity Today announced its “Top 10 Discoveries of 2016.”

I give the list after the jump, but you’ll want to go to the link for descriptions of each of the finds.  The linked article itself has links that will take you to details and photographs. [Read more…]

“The darkness didn’t comprehend it”

2125915359_911d1354bd_zI do not agree with N. T. Wright on “the new perspective on Paul,” but he has a published a fascinating reflection on John 1.  He particularly focuses on this theme:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness didn’t comprehend it; the world was made through him and the world didn’t know him; he came to his own, and his own didn’t receive him.” (John 1:5, 10-11)

God gives His Word, but the world doesn’t understand it.  The Creator comes to the world that He made, but the world doesn’t recognize Him.  God comes to His people, but they reject Him.

In addition to reflecting on the paradoxes of unbelief, Wright gives some provocative thoughts about the Incarnation, culminating in an affirmation of the Lord’s Supper.

But notice his critique of liberal theology, relativism, and recent theological fads.  Notice too his shot against transgenderism!

After the jump, I get you started, but you have to follow the link to read it all, which is very much worth doing. [Read more…]

“The light shines in the darkness”

How fitting that we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ around the time of the Winter Solstice, when the day is at its shortest and the night is at its longest.  At this darkest time of the year, we celebrate Christ’s coming.  Just as He comes at the darkest points of our lives.  (This is also why lights at night are key Christmas symbols.)  As St. John says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

After the jump, the Christmas story according to the Gospel of John.   Mark begins with the start of Christ’s ministry.  Matthew begins with His birth to Mary and Joseph.  Luke begins with His conception by the Virgin Mary.  John begins where Genesis begins, “In the beginning.”

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A book on why we should trust the Bible

Trevor's book on the BibleThere are four more shopping days until Christmas, time (especially if you have Amazon Prime with free two-day shipping) to buy for someone who needs it Trevor Sutton’s new book Why Should I Trust the Bible?

Trevor is the author of another good book,  Being Lutheran.  He is a young pastor and an excellent, enjoyable-to-read writer.  (I’m going to be collaborating with him on a project–more on that later.) This book takes on the confusions, untruths, and half-truths that undermine confidence in the Scriptures.  It makes a strong positive case that the Bible is a unique book whose foundation is Jesus and which is utterly reliable.  This work of lively apologetics will connect with the young and the old, the faithful and the questioning.

I especially like the organization of the book, which breaks down the different issues (the charge that the Bible is myth, that it is full of errors and inconsistencies, that the canon was an imposition of power, that the translations are unreliable, etc.).  It deals with each objection thoroughly.  At the end of each chapter is an excursus that looks at the issue in terms of another work of literature (The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Gettysburg Address, Shakespeare’s history plays, etc.), showing how the Bible comes across better.

After the jump, more description from Amazon. [Read more…]

Mary and the divine inversion

256px-Fra_Angelico_046In discussing why the Virgin Birth of Christ is important, James A. Rogers (Texas A&M professor and LCMS member) cites Mary as an example of the “divine inversion.”  That is, the way God turns upside down what we would expect.  This theme, which Mary herself celebrates in the Magnificat, runs throughout the Bible, culminating in the Cross.  Here is how Prof. Rogers concludes his reflections:

The Virgin Birth, like the Cross itself, confounds what we think we know; it confounds our belief that power, whether human power or the brute force of nature, prevails in the world. . . .A virgin giving birth. A king—the King—lying in a manger. A dead God on a stick. These, along with the many other inversions in the Bible, both big and small, promise the possibility of a different world, a world in which God inverts the natural order of things, including the natural of the human world.

[Read more…]