Blog Archives

Flotsam and jetsam (1/19)

I’ve noticed in the last few years a real bandwagon of anti-leadership sentiment in some circles. I think it started as a push-back to the “CEO” model/mentality in some, and as such, I’m sympathetic. But from there, it has progressed to where we now have many arguing that any concept of leadership in the church should be avoided.

I’ve noticed that people who do not read the original languages of the Bible sometimes think of those languages as somehow magical, as the key that can open any mystery and answer any question about the Bible. While reading the original languages is tremendously important and helpful and useful, such a reading by itself does not always magically result in clear and simple answers to controversial religious questions. There are limitations inherent in an appeal to an original language for determining the meaning of a text.

As the article indicates, countless PhD students spend years dedicated towards research that will perhaps never posit an actual job in their field. Supply is greater than demand as the article suggets. The future seems depressingly bleak then for doctoral students: They are treated as indentured servants by their superiors. They spend meaningful years that could have been put towards savings, retirement, and even more important—nurturing families.

  • Roger Olson and Michael Horton have had an interesting exchange on the nature of Arminianism (read the comments). In the process, Olson made a very good comment about fairly representing other perspectives:

I urge you, and all non-Arminians who describe our theology, to describe it as we describe it and then go on to explain why you disagree….Fairness is the issue here.

Flotsam and jetsam (12/28)

It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.

It is unfortunate that we divide action and contemplation. It is unfortunate that we sometimes suspect those who pursue a robust inner life.

In short, both Jewish and Christian traditions treat him as Herod the Terrible. The historian, however, is fully aware, despite Herod’s grave shortcomings, of his unparalleled political and cultural accomplishments….All in all, in view of these unquestionable achievements Herod deserves to be known as the one and only Herod the Great.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

  • Jason Goroncy offers a very helpful summary of 12 ways to prematurely write off Yoder. If you’re interested in John Howard Yoder, anabaptism, or “constantinianism”, you should check it out.

Flotsam and jetsam (8/11)

Remains of John the Baptist found – kind of

Bulgarian archeologists think they have found the remains of St. John the Baptist. Well, technically they only found fragments of a skull, a hand, and a tooth. And, technically they don’t know that they belonged to John the Baptist. The bone fragments were discovered in a reliquary inscribed with the date June 24, traditionally the date of John’s birth. And, though I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s relics, it does seem entirely legitimate to question whether we can simply assume that the bones inside a reliquary actually belonged to the saint in question. Right?

So, in breaking news, archeologists have discovered a really old box that may or may not have something to do with John the Baptist and that contains bones which may very well not have belonged to John in the first place. When you say it like that, though, it’s not as exciting.

Flotsam and jetsam (7/1)

Noah’s ark found…again

An explorer inside "Noah's Ark"

In case you haven’t heard yet, they found Noah’s ark again. I’m not sure how many times they’ve found it in the last fifty years ago, but they’re pretty excited about finding it this time. How do you respond to these kinds of developments? I have to be honest and say that I put on my skeptic hat pretty quickly. It’s not that I doubt whether Noah lived, but I have become rather jaded by prior “discoveries” that didn’t pan out.

I’m also not a big fan of the evidentiary apologetics that seems to drive archeological endeavors like this. What do we really think we’re going to prove? Do we think that if we can just find some irrefutable archeological evidence supporting a biblical story that  people will suddenly be convinced of the Bible’s truth? Or, are we trying to ease our own hidden fears that the Bible might be wrong by finding hard evidence to support our faith. If we are building our faith or the faith of the people around us on the reliability of the archeological evidence, we’re in a lot of trouble.

That doesn’t mean I think people have to stop looking for Noah’s ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, or Moses’ left sandal. It’s the motivation that troubles me. If we’re learning about the past to understand the history of God’s people and be better prepared to live faithfully in the present, outstanding. If we’re trying to accumulate evidence in favor of the Bible because we think that will give us or others a stronger faith, we’ve got problems.