Archives for February 2012

Why I like the Amish

Last evening I watched a three hour documentary on the Amish on Public Television. For the most part it was excellent, although it felt a little like voyeurism. The Amish don't like to be photographed and they obviously were being filmed--often from a great distance. (Some apparently didn't mind appearing on camera. They're not all alike in what they allow.)When I watch something like that I always look for the theological aspects and how well they are represented in the documentary. Too … [Read more...]

Regarding Old Testament “Texts of Terror”

Regarding the Old Testament and Its “Texts of Terror”Recently I reported and commented on a conversation with a Ph.D. student (not of the institution where I teach) who confronted me about “inclusivism” and the fact that he would not bother to risk his life in missions if he thought God had provided any other way by which people could come to know his grace and mercy unto salvation than hearing and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ (restrictivism). My point in reporting and commenting on t … [Read more...]

My “litmus test” for “true Christianity”

Of course, I don't have an infallible litmus test; only God does. Only God knows a person's heart. So I gladly reserve to God the final say about whether someone has genuinely experienced his love and received the Holy Spirit in regeneration.However, occasionally I have to pull out this admittedly fallible litmus test and use it to evaluate the authenticity of someone's Christian faith.But it only works in certain situations. I'm amazed, however, how often that situation arises. I've … [Read more...]

Thoughts about “Renewalism”

I spent Tuesday of this week (February 21) at Regent University in Virginia and learned a new word--"Renewalism" (and phrases like "Renewal Studies" and "Renewalist"). Of course, the term "Renewal" isn't new to me. In fact, I read a paper there on Pietism and Pentecostalism the thesis of which was that the two are cousins. I put them together under the category of Renewal movements."Renewalism," however seems to be emerging as a technical category both sociological and theological. Its … [Read more...]

Rick Santorum, Barak Obama and theology

According to news reports, presidential candidate Rick Santorum is not bringing theology into the presidential campaign. (Of course, it has already come up with regard to Mitt Romney's LDS membership.) Apparently, Santorum has said that Obama's theology is wrong because it favors the earth more than humanity.Two questions come to mind. First, is introducing theology into a political campaign appropriate? CNN raised that question and asked a Harvard religion professor. His answer was … [Read more...]

Some Lenten meditations for baptists

I grew up Pentecostal and became Baptist. I tell Baptists attracted to high church worship that "Baptist is as high church as I can go."I composed this little axiom to explain much of what goes on in American Christianity: Pentecostals want to be Baptists or Methodists; Baptists and Methodists want to be Presbyterians or Episcopalians; Presbyterians and Episcopalians want to be Catholics; Catholics want to be Pentecostal.Over the years I've observed what I call (I didn't coin this … [Read more...]

Who Is (or Might Be) an Arminian?

Who Is (or Might Be) An Arminian?One of my favorite visitors and frequent commenters here has challenged me to say what I think is necessary to believe in order to qualify as an Arminian. I hesitate to do that because I want as many people as possible to qualify! I fear excluding anyone who genuinely believes he or she is an Arminian and even comes close to qualifying.So, the approach I’ll take is threefold. First, characteristics I think are minimally necessary to qualify as an A … [Read more...]