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5 Affirmations on Inerrancy

inerrancy-197x300Inerrancy continues to be one of those hot-button theological issues that frustrates some and fascinates others. In some contexts, denying inerrancy will get you fired, labeled a heretic, or possibly both. In other contexts, affirming inerrancy will get you disregarded, labeled a fundamentalist, or almost certainly both. And many of the books on inerrancy slide annoyingly toward one extreme or the other. So I’ve been looking forward to reading Zondervan’s Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy since it came out last Fall, hoping that it would offer a more nuanced exchange of perspectives on such an important issue. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Since quite a few reviews of the book have already been written (see esp. Gavin Ortlund’s review), I thought I’d do something a little different. As I was reading through the book, I was struck by the fact that each of the five essays offered something important to the discussion about inerrancy, even the ones that were most critical of the concept. So I’d like to focus on five affirmations that we can and should make about inerrancy, drawing from each of the five essays.

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A Prayer for Sunday (John Wesley)

john wesleyA famous Anglican ministry in his day and ours, John Wesley‘s ministry, the accompanying revivals, and the subsequent rise of Methodism all combined to reshape the church in the English speaking world. For that alone Wesley would be worth remembering. But when you add in his impressive theological contributions and social efforts, his life becomes even more notable.

John Wesley died on March 2, 1791, fifty-three years after the famous Aldersgate experience that shaped his approach to Christian life and ministry. In honor of his amazing life and impact, today’s prayer comes from him.

Forgive them all, O Lord:
our sins of omission and our sins of commission;
the sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;
the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;
our secret and our more open sins;
our sins of ignorance and surprise,
…..and our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;
the sins we have done to please others;
the sins we know and remember,
…..and the sins we have forgotten;
the sins we have striven to hide from others
…..and the sins by which we have made others offend;

forgive them, O Lord,
forgive them all for his sake,
…..who died for our sins and rose for our justification,
…..and now stands at thy right hand to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday Morning Fun…14 Highly Intellectual Jokes You Probably Won’t Understand

Check out the original post from Mashable to see all 14, but these are my favorites. And just in case you read through these and are tempted to think about how smart you are compared to all those “stupid people,” make sure you read the bonus cartoon at the bottom from http://xkcd.com/1386/.

extrapolate

fish

gigs

oedipus

And here’s your bonus cartoon.

people_are_stupid

 

 

 

Flotsam and jetsam on vacation

Travel PosterFlotsam and jetsam will be going on hiatus for a couple of weeks while I spend some time with my family on the West Coast. We’re currently in Northern California (Monterey) for a family birthday celebration, and then we’re heading up to Portland for a week so I can teach a class on the Greek Fathers for Western Seminary’s ThM program. Very much looking forward to being back in the great NW for the first time since we left last summer, and how can you complain about spending a week discussing theologians like Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus the Confessor with some terrific ThM students? Should be great fun.

I have some other posts scheduled while I’m gone, so the blog won’t go completely silent. But since there’s no way to schedule Flotsam and Jetsam posts in advance, those will need to shut down in the interim. They should start up again later in July.

Have a great summer!

The World Cup of Everything Else

World FootballThe World Cup is well under way with quite a few teams having already qualified for the next round. But if you’re curious about how the countries participating in this years’ World Cup stack up in other areas, here’s a great interactive chart comparing all 32 countries across a range of measures: The World Cup of Everything Else.

You’ll have the peruse the chart yourself to see all the data, but here are some of the results I found most interesting.

  • The US pops up in quite a few places, of course, but some of the more ignominious include highest obesity rate, most McDonalds per capita (as well as the most Starbucks per capita), and most CO2 emissions.
  • Some of the other expected results included France having the most total tourists, Russia being the biggest drinkers, and Honduras having the highest murder rate.
  • Ghana spends the most on education as a percentage of GDP.
  • Algeria has the highest military spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Japan has the most forest as a percentage of total land.
  • The highest percentage of internet users lives in the Netherlands, which also the most water as a percentage of total land.
  • Iran gets both the highest inflation rate and the highest traffic death rate.
  • The team with the most Twitter followers is Mexico.
  • Costa Rica has the highest percentage of women in government.

There’s more, but you can read it for yourself.

Flotsam and jetsam

England fan

England fan

Good Reads

  • Their Blood Cries Out: Rupert Shortt and John Allen want readers to wake up. In books chock full of details—names, dates, places, circumstances—they document violence against Christian believers that in various forms has been building steadily in many parts of the world. (Mark Noll)
  • When Words Mean What They Don’t Mean:  As I like to say: “language is the stringing of one ambiguity after another.” There is so much more to communication than merely words….Our words create pictures, and those images communicate and fill in the blanks (and at times straighten out the absurdities of the words we use). (Bill Mounce)
  • Understanding Millennials: 3 Pillars of the Millennial Generation:  As you can imagine, there is a LOT of diversity within the Millennial generation, which is the case with any generation to be sure, but it could be argued that diversity defines Millennials. In fact, because of the widespread diversity in the Millennial generation, the predominance of diversity is one of the only definitives of this people group. (Millennial Evangelical)
  • Putting Religion in its Place: The Secular State and Human Flourishing – A Debate:  Few topics are as contentious today as the role of religion in political debate and public deliberation. Rival positions rely on differing accounts of history, conceptions of “religion” and convictions about the role of the state. Russell Blackford (University of Newcastle) and William Cavanaugh (DePaul University) have both written extensively on this topic, and thus their wide-ranging exchange represents an uncommonly sophisticated treatment of the issues at stake and why they matter. (Religion and Ethics)

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6 Reasons Pastors Need Learning Communities

Most pastors understand the importance of learning continually. There’s just so much you have to know to be an effective pastor, and the rapid pace of change in the modern world has only made that more difficult. So the pastors I’ve known all push themselves to keep learning and growing. Excellent.

The problem is with their approach.

Focused student reading book

With just a few exceptions, most of the pastors I know take a self-directed, independent approach to their continuing education. They stay sharp by reading books, listening to sermons, and preparing to teach others. They’re constantly learning, but mostly on their own.

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with independent learning. Most of the greatest minds in history did the bulk of their learning on their own. I do the same.

Interestingly though, few pastors would advise the average Christian to do the bulk of their studying/learning alone. That’s why we encourage people to join small groups, Bible studies, Sunday school classes, and more. But as pastors, we seem to think that we’re above all that, skilled enough to do it on our own. Sure we’ll throw in the occasional pastors conference, but that’s about it.

And although there’s tremendous value to independent learning, there are some inherent dangers as well. Dangers which suggest that we should supplement our independent learning with some good, old-fashioned group learning. In other words, pastors need learning communities too.

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Maternity Leave Policies Around the World

Mom’s apple pie may be one of the things America cherishes the most, but mom herself? Not so much.

maternity leave

 

via The Atlantic

Flotsam and jetsam (6/23)

adults on board

Good Reads

  • The Dead White Poet You Need in Your Life:  Why all this interest in Herbert, and why now? I believe it’s because Herbert writes with unblinking candor about both the joy of faith and the ongoing pain of our remaining weakness. We need his words today, to remind us that the Christian life is one that invites hope, but makes room for struggle as well. (Christianity Today)
  • The Last Crusade: The First World War and the Birth of Modern Islam:  How to live without a Caliph? Later Muslim movements sought various ways of living in such a puzzling and barren world, and the solutions they found were very diverse: neo-orthodoxy and neo-fundamentalism, liberal modernization and nationalism, charismatic leadership and millenarianism. All modern Islamist movements stem from these debates. (Religion & Ethics)

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Saturday Morning Fun…Do You Want to Kill Some Rebels?

You probably don’t need another spoof of Frozen‘s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” but this one is worth it. And a little Star Wars humor on a Saturday morning is always a good idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eJeCM60awo

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