Friday, September 29, 2006

McKnight on "Calminians"

Scot McKnight has been doing an interesting series of posts over at Jesus Creed on Calvinism and Arminianism. Though he is no Calvinist, the posts are excellent and needed; especially if you're a "Hiper" Calvinist (yes logan, that's intentionally spelled wrong - I'm referring here not to those who forbid freely preaching the Gospel to all, but to calvinisits who are hiper about it [you know, of the Adam Thomas variety]). Since I include myself in this category and many who read this blog are also, I've linked to one of the posts here. I love the last sentence because it's soooo true and most attempting to straddle the fence won't admit it. Nevertheless, he brings a very good balance (even though I hate that word :-)

Akeelah and the B.S.

Since one of the express purposes of this blog is to interact with cultural issues, I thought I'd post some thoughts on a movie we recently enjoyed. Yes, I did say "enjoyed" regardless of what you may be presupposing based on the post title. Akeelah and the Bee is a very wholesome movie that also very enjoyable; it's both positive and uplifting, as far as entertainment goes. However, it was the philosophical proposition that undergirded the movie that I would suggest is metaphysically bankrupt - hence the title of the post.

Receited a number of times, at crucial moments throughout the film, the thematic proposition was not exactly subtle. At length it goes:

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

While some have attributed this quote to Nelson Mandela, a bit of brief research on the internet inclines me to believe that he likely said it in a speech, but was citing Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles.

There are two lines in the quote that I agree with: 1) [If] You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. 2) We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. However, the context of both of these sentences obviously invalidates them (unless I apply a post-modern hermeneutic, which may just be culturally acceptable). Yet, even here, my aim is not heavy theological analysis. It's the opening two sentences that really rub me the wrong way, primarily because they defy common sense and experience. Furthermore, they were the lines that stuck out the most in both the movie and its promotion. What I dont' understand is who in the world could fall for such nonsense? Show me ONE person in the world who does not fear that they are inadequate in some capacity. This is the essence of all insecurity. Besides that, what is there to fear in being omnipotent (if indeed one considered this a genuine trait of all human beings)? Are you starting to see where the title of the post comes from?

Anyway, that's my rant. No epistemologically rigorous worldview analysis here, no theological sparring, just a rant. Don't misunderstand me, if you haven't seen it, I'd encourage you to rent it. Wholesome, feelgood movies are few and far between. Just be aware that it is put out by Starbucks Entertainment. Thus, it's kind of like Starbucks: tastes great, but philosophically less filling. In other words, I love their coffee and atmosphere, but I reject much of their worldview. So it is with Akeelah and the Bee.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Link Added

I just checked out the website Apollos for the first time and was so impressed I wanted to add it to my links immediately. If you haven't seen it yet, spend a few minutes exploring the articles they have won't be sorry!

(HT: Mike Bird)

Interview with Ehrman

For those who havn't seen it yet, there's an intersting interview with Bart Ehrman over at Evangelical Textual Criticism done by Pete Williams. I just skimmed it, but it looks good. Pete is an excellent evangelical scholar (and a young guy at that) and just about everybody knows who Ehrman is nowadays. Kinda like ying and yang...

Boanerges Gets a New Look

I was just as surprised as you may have been when I saw the new template on my blog this morning; it didn't look like that when I went to bed last night! I was messing around with other templates, but it kept throwing my sidebar down to the bottom, so I gave up before I saved anything...or so I thought. However, it appears the new template stuck. I'm not sure what I think, I just wanted to try a change and this was one of the few templates I hadn't seen used a lot that I thought looked decent. Let me know what you think in the comment section. Which looks better, the old look or the new?

Following the Word

I'm still plowing my way through Kevin Vanhoozer's First Theology and am enjoying it immensely. Though it may not be an easy read, Vanhoozer is consistently insightful and remarkably quotable. His observations below on what it means to understand the text are worth quoting at length:

"What, then, is it to understand the Bible? As the Yale school has pointed out, there are many 'spirits' of understanding--historical, literary, sociological. The Christian understanding, however, is the one that follows the Word. 'Following' has at least two senses. We can follow an argument, or an explanation , or directions, or a story. But the other sense of following is the kind Jesus wanted when he said, 'Follow me.' The difference is, I think, the same as between explanation and application. The meaning of the Bible's promises, warnings, commands and so forth 'lies plain before their eyes,' but the are suppressed in unrighteousness. The most profound kind of understanding, however, has to do with cultivation of the ability to follow the Word of God, not just in our reading but in personal response to what we have read. 'One who understands a text will be able to make use of the text in ways that demonstrate--and in some sense constitute--understanding.'* Understanding is our ability to follow the Word."

-First Theology p. 228

* Wood, Formation of Christian Understanding, p. 17

Saturday, September 16, 2006

On the Nature of Doctrine

I came across an incissive quote by Alister McGrath on the nature of doctrine that I think certainly fosters humility in theological pursuit and thought I would pass it on. He asserts that we must remember that doctrines are:

"...perceptions, not total descriptions, pointing beyond themselves toward the greater mystery of God Himself."*

This does not imply that they are not accurate or adequate; rather only that they are not exhaustive in their articulation. After all, this is really nothing more than a corollary of the hermeneutical spiral (you could even say a necessary corollary, but that's a whole nuther issue). Perhaps a greater appreciation for this observation would foster greater unity in the body.

* From Genesis of Doctrine, p. 17 as cited by Kevin Vanhoozer in First Theology p. 148.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Upcoming Conference

The sister school of my alma mater (I still don't think I spelled that right...I guess I should just stick to Greek and English) is hosting a 50th aniversary conference. Some of the lecture titles look interesting but there's two that stand out in my mind: 1) Rolland McCune: What happened to the New Generation, and Why? I'm hoping this isn't a talk on former interns (I say that in complete jest!!!). The second is Charles A. Hauser: Does Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology Hold to a Different Gospel? This one SCARES me (I say that in complete seriousness and sobriety). First, the answer had better come out as no, but then why do a lecture on the topic. I don't know Dr. Hauser though, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Second, if the answer is yes, then I'm really scared of the implications for dispensationalists. Depending on the outcome, A.T. may have a new ax to grind :-)

Post Grad Studies in American Universities

Since doctoral studies are looming on the not so distant horizon for me and a number of my peers, I thought some might find this article at the online version of First Things to be informative and interesting. In the spirit of US News and World Report's recent ranking of universities and colleges, Reno has ranked doctoral programs in states. Strangely enough, this seems to be a frequent topic of discussion in the blogosphere in recent days. A number of my friends (at least three of them) will be pleased to see that TEDS is the only evangelical seminary named, and primarily because of Vanhoozer at that. Interesting food for thought, but I still say cross the pond!

(HT: BW3)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Active Obedience as the Thematic Structure of Matthew's Gospel

If that title arouses your attention the way it did mine, the opening line on the short essay by that title here will probably also crack you up. This is an appetite whetting piece by Doug Wilson (prof at WTS I believe) that intrigued me. It's a short read and well worth the time. The imputation of active obedience has been frequently undercut in recent days on the grounds that there is no scriptural support that can withstand exegetical scrutiny; in other words it's an improper logical inference. Either way, Wilson proposes a more holistic presentation that's...well at the risk of repetition...intriguing.

(HsO: Justin Taylor)

* Since there was a hat tip to Taylor on the last post and it seems terribly lazy blogging to generate two consecutive posts that are recapitulations of someone elses link, I put an HsO. The link was just too good not to post and I DEFINATELY wasn't going to just link to Wilson as if I had stumbled across it randomly online. HsO you ask? If HT is a hat tip, then HsO is hat's off to Taylor for his recomendation on this one :-)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Encountering Theological Drift on the Internet?

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association drifting towards Calvinism? Maybe not but it's a great way to get a FREE BOOK BY JOHN PIPER. If you don't already own Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper PLEASE click on this matter who you are. It's absolutely free and it's excellent!

On the other hand...the SBC drifts towards fundamentalism? Maybe so. If the position on alcohol didn't convince you, check out this story.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Crossing the Rubicon

As usual the title to my post is probably a bit of an overstatement; nevertheless, I've come to a moment of truth. We are finally introducing a family blog. Though I love publicly journaling my musings on and exploits with Baby Noah, I''ve found it more than a little depressing to embrace the fact that the posts that get the most hits and comments are those that have pictures of the little man. Not that that's depressing in and of itself, but when a blog is supposed to be devoted to wrangling about cultural and theological issues and more of my friends' wives are reading it for updates about Noah than my friends are for theological banter, then I know it's time to cross the Rubicon. I've been hesitant to introduce a family blog...but the time has come.

Okay, so most of the above paragraph was dramatic overstatement dripping with sarcasm as well. In fact, I think a family blog will be kind of fun and I know the grandparents are thrilled :-) It's actually a blog that I've been using for the last several months strictly for posting pictures for use online. Then it kind of morphed into a storage site for pictures of the baby so that family could see the lastest shots (it's actually easier/more efficient to blog them than it is to email them). That may help explain the web address as well as why the archives go back so far when he's only six weeks old today. I decided to just transpose it into a family blog by cleaning it up a bit and giving it a name. In fact, family blog may be a bit of an overstatement, since most if it will be devoted to stories about and pictures of the little stud. Anyway, I'm putting a link in the margin with the other blogs, but if you're interested you can check it out here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Long Overdue

It has been suggested on several occaisions that I may be guilty of a sort of blogo-snobbery in my neglect to link to Dave Wetzel's blog :-) Perhaps the real reason is the name: Boan-head-erges - Sons of Blunder. I'm not sure if I should feel flattered or mocked - probably a combination of both :-) Either way, I admit it has been long overdue, though not for any of the above reasons; rather because I'm lazy and other than updating my link to Euangelion, I haven't modified my links since I started this blog. Anyway, you'll notice Dave's blog in the links on the left margin and get some genuine enjoyment out of his posts if you check it out. Wetzel, to make up for the wait, I have dedicated this entire post to your blog :-) Cheers!