February 16, 2011

I have worshiped in many different kinds of churches.  Here I’ll focus only on Protestant ones. I’ve noticed a puzzling pattern.  Conservative Protestant churches (especially evangelical ones) tend to worship creatively, experimentally, enthusiastically, using contemporary styles of music.  The sermons are often illustrated or partly acted out.  A lot of technology is used depending on the church’s resources.  Often there are drums and guitars and even saxaphones (!) accompanying the music.  Seldom is an organ used. There seems to be an… Read more

February 14, 2011

Thoughts on God changing the past So, here is where I have come to on this subject as a result of the discussion happening here (which I invited). MOST (not all) respondents agree that God cannot change the past because of the nature of the past. Those who said God would not change the past because he foreordained it missed my point. My question was not about “would” but “can.” The Calvinist philosopher I mentioned (who denied that God can… Read more

February 12, 2011

I like to use my blog at least occasionally to report on conferences I attended.  This week I attended a conference on the Bible and the holocaust at a leading evangelical seminary.  Consider this something like a book review only of a conference instead of a book. First, let me say this was a wonderful idea and worthwhile endeavor and I congratulate the seminary for hosting it and the organizers for planning it. Some of the papers I heard were… Read more

February 11, 2011

Several commenters responded to my question about whether God can change the past by saying we would not know it if he did.  True enough, I suppose, but that doesn’t answer the question which is ontological rather than epistemological. Also, several commenters responded by saying that God cannot change the past because he foreordained everything that happened according to his wisdom and therefore would be less than sovereign if he changed it.  However, that doesn’t take into account that, in… Read more

February 10, 2011

Sounds like “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” doesn’t it?  So, if you really hate speculative questions and discussions, maybe this one’s not for you! I listened to a well-known evangelical Calvinist philosopher criticize open theism as limiting God–especially God’s omniscience.  So, during the discussion time, I asked him if God can change the past.  He said no, God cannot change the past.  (My question wasn’t whether God would change the past but whether God… Read more

February 8, 2011

Three things about February annoy me: my birthday (who celebrates it after 50 except as a reminder you’re not dead yet?), weird weather (below freezing, ice and snow in central Texas!), and the annual Go Red for Women campaign by the American Heart Association. Don’t get me wrong; I care about women’s health and am supportive of Go Red for Women month.  My mother died of heart disease at age 32–when I was only 2.  So what’s my gripe about… Read more

February 6, 2011

I’ve only been on this earth less than six full decades, but I have noticed a very obvious trend among American Christians.  It isn’t Horton’s “Christless Christianity” so much as “crossless Christianity.”  The vast majority of even mega-churches touched by New Thought talk about “Christ.”  What’s increasingly absent is preaching, teaching and singing about the death of Jesus Christ–especially his bloody, sacrificial death on a Roman cross that offends our sophisticated sensibilities. When was the last time you heard a… Read more

February 3, 2011

If you have not read the recent discussion threat responding to my posting about Edwards’ and Piper’s views of the atonement, this might not make a lot of sense.  (Well, it might not anyway!) Apparently Piper is on a crusade to crush criticism of the penal substitution theory that portray it as divine child abuse and God as a blood thirsty tyrant demanding his pound of flesh. I agree with Piper that those are false portrayals of traditional penal substitution… Read more

February 1, 2011

I’ve been reading Jonathan Edwards and John Piper on the atonement lately.  Both (naturally because Piper emulates Edwards on most theological issues) highlight what has traditionally been called the “rectoral” dimension of the atonement.  That is, the atonement was primarily about preserving and demonstrating God’s moral governance of the world. Now, the irony is that this view of the atonement is traditionally associated with Arminianism.  (I have a chapter on that in my book Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities.)  In… Read more

January 30, 2011

Besides “community” there’s “love.”  I get so irritated by the ways in which the word is commonly used.  It is losing its meaning because of them. Here are a few examples from the town where I live.  Recently there’s been a trend of businesses putting up signs that say “We love our….”  A dry cleaner just two blocks from my house has a sign that says “We love our customers.”  Really?  Where’s the evidence of that?  They don’t even know… Read more




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