February 9, 2011

THE DUALITY PERSONALITY TEST You learn a lot about yourself when you are forced to make choices, and there are only two choices.  The following test is meant to be a non-scientific diagnostic test with a pop culture and Christian orientation.   You should be playing in your head the ‘You can give me this, or you can give me that, but please give me this, for this is where’s it at— do da dippity’ Kia commercial, whilst taking this test.  … Read more

February 9, 2011

In Chapter 15 Johnson turns to evidence for Religiousness D in 2nd and 3rd century Christianity,  an approach to religion that sees it as a world stabilizing force.   The concern here is for the role of religion in society.  In some ways it is odd to address this subject when one is talking about the pre-Constantinian church.  After all, Christianity was still not a religio licita,  it did not contribute to stabilizing the Roman empire, nor even to stabilizing… Read more

February 8, 2011

My next book in my little Kingdom Perspectives series for Eerdmans is my book succinctly titled WORK,  and it has just come out this week.  Here below is a little sample for you to tease your mind into active thought.     If you wonder what you are looking for,  you will find the cover below as well.    Yes, it’s available on Kindle (though I hate that format)  and yes its inexpensive—- $12.00 or thereabouts.  You shouldn’t have to do much work… Read more

February 8, 2011

In his discussion of Gnosticism in Chapter 14,  there is not much to quibble with in terms of the actual analysis of Gnostic thought and, to the degree we can tell anything about it,  Gnostic praxis. Johnson is right that “however diverse the respective Gnostic systems are in detail, they are remarkably consistent with regard to their basic soteriology.” (p. 215).   One is saved by what one knows, not who one believes in.  The key to salvation is revelatory knowledge,… Read more

February 7, 2011

On the Colbert Show, Bill O’Reilly provides us with irrefutable proof of the existence of God!   Check it out about 3:38 seconds into this Colbert Monologue at the following link. http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=373367 Read more

February 7, 2011

In various ways, what the church became after the NT era is of less importance, than what its foundational NT documents say it should be. There has always been a gap between Christianity on the ground, and the beliefs and behavior and praxis called for in Scripture.  No one, I think, would debate this.  Nor do I think there is much debate that Christianity became increasingly more like other established religions as time went on.  It began to have buildings,… Read more

February 6, 2011

Let us say from the outset of this post that Luke Johnson is right about a wide variety of things.  For instance, there can be no doubt at all that many Gentiles who became Christians under the aegis of Paul or others brought with them into their Christian communities certain Greco-Roman ways of being religious.  You can see this for example in the reference to proxy baptism for the dead in 1 Cor. 15.  Their approach to Christian initiation rites… Read more

February 5, 2011

In his seminal discussion of the relationship between Judaism and Hellenism (two volumes with that very title)  Martin Hengel showed a very long time ago that the only sort of Judaism that really existed in Jesus’ day was Hellenized Judaism,a Judaism enough indebted to the Greek language and culture that it had even translated its sacred texts into Greek.  There was of course a sliding scale between more and less Hellenized forms of Judaism, but one would be hard pressed… Read more

February 4, 2011

In a very real sense, where one starts in an intellectual inquiry will determine where one ends up.  If you pursue a particular line of logic and discourse, there are only so many places such a pursuit can lead.   Luke Johnson in this important book, tired of the analysis of the polemics of early Christian writers bent on demonizing paganism, tries to come up with a paradigm or modus operandi that allows one to compare and contrast Christianity, Judaism and ancient Greco-Roman religion… Read more

February 3, 2011

There have been many Christians, sadly, who have violated the basic Christian rule of ‘in all things charity’  when it comes to evaluating the Christian faith of our President.   It continues to be questioned,  unfairly, again and again, perhaps because of his name, perhaps because of his race, perhaps because of who his father was.  Whatever the reason,  any person who self-identifies persistently as a Christian,  and at personal cost to him with various audiences (there were actually protests against… Read more

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