That time when Abraham and God ate a non-kosher lunch


Genesis 18, James Tabor writes, "has to be one of the most mysterious chapters in the entire Hebrew Bible."I remember this story, but I don't remember it standing out as particularly mysterious. If you'd asked me to list a bunch of weird or mysterious passages from the Hebrew Bible, this wouldn't have been on my list.Until now. Because Tabor wins me over here with his discussion of the baffling strangeness of this chapter, "An Eating, Drinking, Walking, Talking 'Jehovah.'" Abraham … [Read more...]

The Apocalypse of St. Peter (Garrett)


"Bible prophecy" teaches gullible Christians to mangle the words of the Bible. So I guess it's not surprising that those poor folks would turn around and¬†apply the same interpretive method to the songs of Midnight Oil and of 1980s hair band Europe.For those who can't watch the video, it's an earnest word of "prophecy" from a man who has apparently bought the deluxe package of bamboozling BS from the "Bible prophecy scholars." He's sure that the Rapture will occur this year, in 2013, … [Read more...]

‘Strange Fire’ fight exposes charade of biblical ‘inerrancy’


John McArthur is a very big fish in the sizable pond of white Reformed American evangelicalism. He's the long-time pastor of a California megachurch and the author of scores of books, including a best-selling study Bible. He's influential -- he's not just somebody who has thousands of followers, but somebody who has lots of followers who themselves have thousands of followers.MacArthur's latest book revisits one of his long-time "concerns" (cue the stock expression of saintly … [Read more...]

Affirmative action

Acts 6:1-7 Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.Therefore, friends,¬†select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint … [Read more...]

If you believe in ‘inerrancy’ you have to pretend that all the other people who believe in ‘inerrancy’ do not exist

"That other guy is lying. I alone have the one, true, inerrant Word of God."

"Complementarians" do not like Rachel Held Evans -- mainly because complementarians do not like other complementarians.They have to attack Rachel because she listens to all of them, and tries to respond to all of them. And they can't bear that, because that exposes the one thing they can't survive acknowledging: the wide diversity of "complementarian" views.That word refers to the idea that men and women have "complementary" roles, with men divinely ordained as leaders. It's basically a … [Read more...]

Hell and soteriology Part 1: Bill O’Reilly’s accidental insight


Chris Skinner, a biblical scholar who blogs at Peje Iesous, got a good laugh at watching Fox News host Bill O'Reilly getting schooled by Notre Dame New Testament prof Candida Moss -- "Scholar v. Blowhard on Jesus (Or: Candida Moss Shows How Schockingly Ignorant Bill O'Reilly Actually Is)."Skinner piles on, deservedly, highlighting and underscoring several of the ways this brief interview exposes O'Reilly's utter incomprehension of what he's talking about.Skinner is right about the … [Read more...]

The parable of the shrewd Goodwill cashier


This is a story from last week: Collier County (Fla.) deputies say 19-year-old Andrew Anderson was an employee at a Goodwill store in East Naples -- he was arrested for giving out discounts.... The 19-year-old was an employee at Goodwill Retail and Donation Center in East Naples -- giving out discounts to customers he thought were in need."People would come in on bicycles -- wearing all of the clothes they had, coming in with $2, $3 max," Anderson said.Not thinking anything of it, … [Read more...]

Today’s TV show, tomorrow’s ‘everybody knows’

Katrina Van Tassel might have had second thoughts if this were Ichabod Crane.

The Headless Horseman, according to the new Fox television show Sleepy Hollow, is none other than the first of the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" from the book of Revelation.That premise calls for an indefensible exegesis both of John's Apocalypse and of the short story by Washington Irving -- two of the many texts enlisted and reinvented to serve the show's convoluted premise. The Wikipedia entry linked to above refers to the show as "a modern-day retelling" of Irving's story. Nonsense. … [Read more...]