Bishop Al Mohler Strikes Again

Panel Discussion: Revisiting Inerrancy from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

Baptists don’t have bishops, right?

That’s what I thought, having been reared in the related denomination of Congregationalism. Growing up, I was taught that we — congregationalists and baptists and others whose polity is considered “congregational” — were vehemently anti-hierarchical. Our tradition started because Henry VIII and the Anglicans had not differentiated themselves enough from Rome. We were, from our founding, anti-papist, anti-bishop.

In congregational polity, nothing is more sacred than individual hermeneutical authority. That is, every believe has the freedom to interpret the Bible, the freedom to follow the dictates of her or his conscience, the freedom to worship with fellow believers.

So it always surprises me when congregationalists or baptists act like bishops. In my book, The New Christians, I wrote,

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The Conservative Allure of the Pseudo-Intellectual

Dinesh D’Souza: From saint to pariah

Until now, I haven’t blogged about the Dinesh D’Souza kerfluffle at King’s College because it seemed a little internecine, even for this blog. But I’ve been following it closely because I’ve known of D’Souza since 1986.

That Fall I arrived at Dartmouth College, and I was randomly assigned to a dorm room in South Massachusetts Hall. South Mass was the last all-male dorm on campus — that lasted only another year — and, as such, it was a haven for the ultra-conservative males at Dartmouth. These were the upperclassmen who’d torn down the shanties on the campus green — shanties built in protest of Apartheid — the previous Spring. They refused to acknowledge that the “Dartmouth Indian” mascot had been retired years earlier — they plied freshmen with free Indian tee-shirts and led Indian war chants at athletic events. And they wrote for the Dartmouth Review, where D’Souza got his start.

D’Souza graduated in the Spring of 1983, but when I arrived in the Fall of 1986, his shadow loomed large, and in South Mass, his name was spoken with reverence.

So I’ve been interested in watching his rise and, over the last month, his fall. No one has covered this story better than David Sessions (who is one of my favorite writers). You can find David’s reporting on the matter at The Daily Beast/Newsweek. But you can read his opinions on the matter at Patrol Magazine (along with another of my favorite writers, Jonathan Fitzgerald).

At Patrol, David goes beyond recounting what happened to King’s College and how they were duped into hiring D’Souza. He offers some advice to conservative institutions who are enamored more of FOX News appearances than they are of curriculum vitae. And I think he’s spot on: [Read more...]

Is God’s Goodness Arbitrary? [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

Time for another installment of Questions That Haunt Christianity. This week, our question comes from Lisa, whom you can find at her blog and on Twitter. In fact, she’s already taken a stab at answering her own question on her blog.

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Astrology Is Malarkey

When it comes to astrology, I’m with Fred: it’s hooey. When it comes to Patheos’s commitment to pluralism, and thus to an Astrology Channel, I’m also with Fred:

“The proposed mechanism is all out of proportion with the described effects,” vorjack says of astrology. And I agree.

The impetus for that post was the introduction of Patheos’ new Astrology channel.

I’m not a fan of astrology. I do not believe in it — do not believe it is true or helpful. As such I regard it with suspicion as a vehicle for hucksters.

But then I’m a Christian — an American evangelical Christian. So I’m not in any position to dismiss a belief system just because it may have been exploited by disingenuous hucksters over the years.

Plus I admire Patheos’ commitment to genuine, robust religious and spiritual pluralism. And that means celebrating such pluralism in the particular as well as in the abstract. More voices and more perspectives is a Good Thing, even when that means, by definition, more voices and more perspectives with which I disagree.

Read the rest at Slacktivist: Your fate is not written in the stars.