My Treason Against the Lord Jesus

So it seems that Southern Baptist Denny Burk has accused me of “high-handed treason against the Lord Jesus” based on my Not All Like That Christians Project video:

Despite their confident assertions to the contrary, Christianity is incompatible with homosexual behavior. The Bible is clear about this, and I won’t rehearse all the arguments here. But I do encourage readers to check out the key texts for themselves: Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:10. They are unambiguous. That is why so many of the voices in these videos have to set aside biblical authority before they endorse homosexual practice. Tony Jones, for instance, says that the Bible is a “theological document,” not an historic document or a science book or a rule book. In so many words, he’s telling you, “Yes, yes, I know what the Bible says, but you don’t have to believe that in order to be a Christian.” This is high-handed treason against the Lord Jesus. via Dan Savage launches “Not All Like That” | Denny Burk.

As I’ve warned my conservative brothers and sisters in Christ before, Denny had better beware of committing the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. If God’s Spirit is doing a new thing, but they claim it’s the devil, well, let’s just say that the stakes are high.

Top Ten Religion News Stories of 2012

Catholic bishops testify against Obamacare

According to the Religion Newswriters Association, the top religion news story of the year was the way that religious leaders responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. But they’d already voted on their Top 10 prior to that. So, here are the Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year, from the RNA:

1. U.S. Catholic bishops lead opposition to Obamacare requirement that insurance coverage for contraception be provided for employees. The government backs down a bit, but not enough to satisfy the opposition.

2. A Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey shows that “nones” is the fastest-growing religious group in the United States, rising to 19.6 percent of the population.

3. The circulation of an anti-Islam film trailer, “Innocence of Muslims,” causes unrest in several countries, leading to claims that it inspired the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. President Obama, at the U.N., calls for toleration tolerance of blasphemy, and respect as a two-way street.

4. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith turns out to be a virtual non-issue for white evangelical voters, who support him more strongly than they did John McCain, in the U.S. presidential race.

5. Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia becomes the first senior Catholic official in the U.S. to be found guilty of covering up priestly child abuse; later Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., becomes the first bishop to be found guilty of it

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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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Do Theology Before — Not After — Your Decision

Todd Littleton thinks. That’s right, he thinks.

One of the things that most bugs me about the way that my coreligionists talk about the activity of God is that they almost alway see that activity ex post facto. That is, they make a decision, or something happens to them, and then they say something like, “The Lord’s hand was really in that.”

Todd Littleton pretty much calls bullshit on that in a great post about thinking theologically before and in the midst of decisions, not just after. He uses his family’s choices of where to live as the example that drives the post. Here’s a snippet:

Theology done in prospect takes Divine possibility into account first, not last. For instance, it did not specifically occur to us when we turned down Tyler a house might possibly await.

In the course of God-talk, theology in prospect calls attention to what God might do, the way God might act. Our church owns a bit of property. We have batted around the idea of selling a small parcel. During a recent discussion, Cary contended that from his perspective we might be putting an end to possibility if we sell. Who knows what growth might occur, what ministry might make use of the land, or other act where we might consider the Spirit leading.

Imagine these two sorts of conversations occurring around the same event. We Evangelicals tend to be schooled in both. We know when to employ retrospect. And, we know when to suggest prospect. It is when these two collide that we face the interpretive battle. Whose interpretation? Whose meaning? And, how could God-talk divide us.

What we need is a good dose of deconstruction. But, too many immediately consider this destruction. Religious pundits spout accusations of relativizing the truth. They spend much more time assessing the cultural implications often associated with postmodernism than the deeper philosophical turn that helps through the maze created when well meaning people face God-talk over the same event requiring a decision as retrospect or prospect.

He goes on to write that this kind of consideration of God-talk inevitably leads to ambiguity, paradox, and even conflict. But, he argues, that’s inherent to being a Christian.

Read the rest of Todd’s post: God-talk In Conflict or, When Retrospect and Prospect Collide | The Edge of the Inside.


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