Reading Romans 8 at a funeral

Romans 8 contains both a passage of beautiful comfort that should always be read at funerals and a sorely abused passage that has been twisted into a cruelly glib slogan that should never, ever, be read at funerals. Please don’t get those two passages confused. [Read more…]

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Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 4)

The difference is justice. Justice is the necessary ingredient without which no worship, prayer, assembly, offering or other form of religious expression will be regarded as legitimate by God Almighty. Injustice delegitimizes all religion. It turns that which God has commanded into something that God detests. [Read more…]

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Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 3)

The problem for those attempting to argue that Douglass’ rhetoric was anti-Bible is that his supposedly anti-Bible rhetoric is taken directly from the Bible. It is — in both style and substance — explicitly and utterly biblical. He is imitating, emulating and directly quoting from the Bible itself. [Read more…]

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Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 2)

“This horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity. For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done!” [Read more…]

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Go and learn what this means — the bad-faith ‘biblical’ defense of injustice (part 1)

The faction defending the status quo is — correctly — portrayed as the “conservative” side. They’re fighting to prevent change. They embody the definition of conservatism by standing athwart history and yelling “Stop!” And thus, because they are in that sense conservative, they also tend to portray themselves and to be portrayed by others as being religiously conservative. Thus positioned as the representatives of religious conservatism, they are therefore also perceived as the defenders of true religion against the liberals and the anti-religious. Everyone else therefore has “a religion problem.” Everyone except them. [Read more…]

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‘Of Asher, Pagiel son of Ocran’

What had happened was that I’d made it all the way to Numbers. I was doing it — reading the whole Bible all the way through, start-to-finish, just as we’d been urged and encouraged and admonished to do. And I was reading it devotionally, a little bit every morning, prayerfully and with pen in hand, meditating on its meaning and application to my daily life and my daily walk and God’s Plan For My Life. Yet no matter how much I prayed or meditated, there just seemed to be a lot of days when I didn’t find anything that seemed terribly profitable for doctrine, or for reproof, or for correction, or for instruction in righteousness. [Read more…]

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Reading 66 books in one year

The start of a new year brings us a wide variety of read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plans. Some of these are more sophisticated than others, but ultimately all such checklist approaches boil down to basic arithmetic. Our Bibles have been conveniently chopped into 31,102 verses, divided by 365 days in a year. So then it’s just a matter of slicing it into little 85.2-verse chunks for daily consumption. This is a very strange, unhelpful way to read a book. [Read more…]

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Jesus never read ‘The Bible’

“How can we know the way?” Thomas asks.

“Read the Bible,” says the evangelical preacher down the block from me.

“Read the Bible as absolutely true and authoritative, in every word,” says Tim Keller.

But that’s not what Jesus said. Not at all. [Read more…]

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