If you’re wondering what you should read next and you’d like to improve your street cred as a true hipster, this flowchart from Goodreads is for you.
- Why Smug Atheists Should Read More Science Fiction: there’s…a long tradition in science fiction of transcendence, and encounters with something huge and unknowable. A lot of the best science fiction also features the realization that for all our knowledge, there are still things in the universe we don’t yet fully understand.
- Fatigue Is Your Enemy: Sustainable capacity — meaning sufficient fuel in the tank — is what makes it possible to bring one’s skill and talent to life. Not even the most talented and motivated employees can run on empty.
- The Limitations of Contextualization: Identifying the culture of any group and contextualizing to that culture is a helpful process as long as two important truths are born in mind.
- Seven Historical Events That Prepared the Way for the Reformation: the Great Reformation of the 16th century was ripe for bringing about extraordinary reform and rediscovery of the fullness of the Gospel. Here are seven historical events which we believe facilitated the change.
The alarm clock beeps incessantly. Morning again. Reaching over, he fumbles with it a little before finding the snooze button. A few more minutes won’t hurt. A few more minutes to rest.
But he can’t sleep. His mind already swirls with thoughts of the day ahead. So much to do. Little details, big projects, meetings. It’s going to be a busy day.
And, when it’s done, what does he have to look forward to? Doing it all over again. Tomorrow will be exactly the same. Hit the snooze button a few times, get out of bed, and face the same job, the same tasks, the same routine. He feels like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, endlessly living the same day over and over again, constantly confronted with the pointlessness of it all.
But hey, at least it’s a paycheck. He’s got bills to pay and groceries to buy. After all, if he didn’t have this job, his family wouldn’t be able to enjoy the good things in life either. Living for the weekends, as they say.
So he rolls out of bed, stumbles into the bathroom, and starts his own personal Groundhog Day all over again.
And along the way, he messes up the gospel.
When someone asks me what I believe, I generally expect them to take my word for it. After all, they’re my beliefs. So who would know them better than me?
Every now and then, though, people find themselves in the odd position of disagreeing with someone about their own beliefs. They’ve told you that they believe X, but for some reason, you’re just not sure that it’s true. They may say that they don’t believe in Santa, but the cookies are still on the table. So you wonder.
That’s the position we find ourselves in with Karl Barth and universalism. If you want to know whether Barth was a universalist, just ask him:
“I am not a universalist.”
That was easy.
But some still wonder. He says he doesn’t believe in universalism, but looking closely at his theology, it sure looks like he’s left a lot of cookies on the table.
After the first verse of Genesis 1, the Spirit disappears. He hovered over the face of the waters and then vanished.
Or did he?
In the last post, I argued that even though the Bible doesn’t specifically mention the Spirit in the rest of Genesis 1-2, he’s there. And missing the Spirit in those chapters means missing something crucial about understanding God’s creation.
The same holds true in chapter three. Unless we see what’s happening with the Spirit during the Fall, we’ll struggle to understand why the coming of the Spirit in the New Testament is such amazingly good news.
- Neuroscience: Under Attack: The problem isn’t solely that self-appointed scientists often jump to faulty conclusions about neuroscience. It’s also that they are part of a larger cultural tendency, in which neuroscientific explanations eclipse historical, political, economic, literary and journalistic interpretations of experience.
- Slow Down! A Different Perspective on Christ in the Old Testament: Are we at The Gospel Coalition a little too excited—misguided, even—about Christ in the Old Testament? Do we tend to champion typological readings at the cost of exegetical care?
- Scientists See Promise in Deep-Learning Programs: Using an artificial intelligence technique inspired by theories about how the brain recognizes patterns, technology companies are reporting startling gains in fields as diverse as computer vision, speech recognition and the identification of promising new molecules for designing drugs.
- The Church, the Gospel, and Violence against Women: Justin Taylor has an excellent roundup of posts recognizing yesterday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Widely considered to be the first of the apostolic fathers, Clement of Rome was a Christian leader in the late first century. We know unfortunately little about the details of his life, and he is famous largely because of his two epistles 1 Clement and 2 Clement (though his authorship of the second has come into question recently) and because early lists identify him as one of the first bishops of Rome, where he was consecrated by Peter himself.
Although we do not know when Clement died, he is commemorated in the last week of November by churches in the east and west. So, in his memory, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.
How you respond to the title of this post says a lot about what kind of evangelical you are. Setting aside for a moment what you think about an evangelical walking into a bar with anyone, there’s the question of whether you think that evangelicals and universalists should really be hanging out together like this.
Traditionally, evangelicals have not responded positively to universalism in any of its various forms. At the very least, evangelicals tend to see universalism as undermining such central evangelical convictions as the radical sinfulness of the human person and the doctrine of justification by faith alone; the importance of personal conversion expressed through ongoing discipleship and holiness; and the vital necessity of evangelism, missions, and social action. And, of course, the primary evangelical concern about universalism is the Bible itself. As Daniel Strange declares,
any serious evangelical theologian whose ultimate authority is Scripture, cannot ignore the clear passages which refer to the reality of judgement and hell and the prophetic element which declares that some will never come to repentance.”
So, if you allow universalism, pretty soon you’ll have complacent Christianity, rampant relativism, antinomian anarchy, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria.
- 10 Thoughts for turning an Academic Work into a Public Talk: I offer this in the hope that it might encourage academic folk–whether students or professors or otherwise–to craft public talks that demonstrate care for the audiences which God has entrusted to them in any given case. (Read: please don’t be tediously abstruse or intellectually pretentious.)
- The I’s Have It: We are becoming a conceited nitwit society, pushy and self-aggrandizing. No one is ashamed to brag now. And show off. They think it heightens them. They think it’s good for business.
- Why Go to Seminary: So before the first seminary class was offered in America, Dwight sought to answer the question, Why go to seminary? His answers may be 204 years old, but they can still help us today.
- Department of Deportment: The End-All, Be-All Guide to Using Your Phone at the Table: the use of phones at the table should be a matter of etiquette, not law, so here is the definitive road map to using your phone at the table.