My nine-year-old daughter just finished showing me the rather complex log house that she built on our family room floor. Halfway through the description, she tells me that one of the rooms is the jail that she built for the “bad people.” Somewhat surprised, I ask, “Why do you need a jail for bad people in your house?” Her answer: “To mock them.”
- Denny Burk points out that Al Mohler’s convocation address at Southern Seminary is available online. In the address titled “Which Way to the Future? Southern Baptists, Southern Seminary, and the Future of the Evangelical Movement in America” (audio here) Mohler calls on Southern Baptists to lead a conservative resurgence in evangelicalism similar to the one the SBC itself went through in the 80s and 90s.
- Brian follows up on his post about the reference to Quirinius in Luke 2:2 with a resounding “Hmmm, that’s a tough one.” (Actually, he gives a nice summary of key arguments on both sides.)
- Nick links to a lecture by Simon Gathercole on Christ’s pre-existence and several other resources on the topic.
- James McGrath offers a resource for assessing the credibility of a source.
- Kaplan is giving away free ebook study guides for tests like the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, and MCAT to anyone who uses an iPad, iPhone, or iPod.
- A woman suspected of throwing away a live cat has been placed under police protection because of threats to her life after a video of her dastardly deed was posted on YouTube. If only people would be so outraged when we abuse one another.
- The “Old Spice Guy” has now landed himself an Emmy, along with guest spots in two movies and an upcoming episode of Chuck. Many, I wish I smelled like Old Spice Guy.
I wonder what happens if you run over one of the power ups with your car?
I’m off to a faculty retreat this morning, so just some quick links today.
- iMonk continues its discussion of the new evangelical coalition, with a post on Robert Webber, the ‘father’ of the ancient-future stream. There’s also a good discussion of John Armstrong’s appreciation of Tradition.
- Justin Taylor offers a really nice summary of comments and resources on Martin Luther that Carl Trueman has recently made available.
- Jason Goroncy reflects on the cost and grace of parish ministry.
- Brian LePort wrestles with the question of whether the reference to Quirinius in Luke 2:2 is an error. He’s gotten some good suggestions for resources and I hope he’ll post his conclusions when he’s done.
- The Catholic Mass will be undergoing its most significant revisions in 40 years.
- If you need to waste some time this morning (dont’ we all?), here’s a quiz to see how well you know your Crayola colors.
- And, apparently the world is running out of helium. Is that bad?
For some reason, I seem to have two copies of Douglas Moo’s The Epistle to the Romans from the NICNT series. At just over 1,000 pages, I can’t figure out how I managed to end up with two of them. But I did. And, being the cheapskate wise steward that I am, I was going to sell the extra copy. Then I realized that there might be some interest out there in a book like this and that it would be good for me to spread the wealth instead. So, I’m going to give it away. (But don’t tell God that I’m doing it publicly. I want to score some rewards in heaven for my generosity while I’m at it.)
As usual, the rules are simple. If you’d like a chance to win the book, here’s what you do (UPDATE – you only need to do one of the following, though you can do more if you choose):
- Blog about it and link to this post
- Link to the post from Twitter and let me know in the comments
- Link to the post from Facebook and let me know in the comments
- Comment on this post and indicate that you want the book
- Make a video of yourself on a busy street, dressed like a Roman citizen, explaining to random pedestrians why the book of Romans is important. Post the video on YouTube and leave a comment here.
You can enter as many different ways as you’d like (bonus points for the YouTube video) and increase your odds of winning. I’ll accept entries through September 15, and then randomly select a winner.
According to Roger Olson, the reaction of many conservative evangelicals to open theism “was fueled by misinformation, misrepresentation and down right demagoguery.” He’s particularly irked that these critics routinely associated open theism with process theology and accused them doing things of limiting God, diminishing God’s glory, and undermining the atonement. He contends that open theism does none of these things, and that these conservative evangelical critics should have known better. And, this response demonstrates that “many conservative evangelicals are not really evangelicals in the post-fundamentalist, post-WW2 sense but really fundamentalists (which might be unfair to many fundamentalists!).”
Instead, Olson suggests that open theism should be viewed as “a legitimate evangelical option,” and states that he’s willing to stand alongside his open theist friends “over against the neo-fundamentalists who seem to be largely controlling the evangelical establishment today.”
On the one hand, I think Olson’s right. I thought at the time that many of the criticisms being leveled against open theism were not entirely fair. The argument that open theism is basically process theology in disguise was particularly pernicious – tarring open theism with a whole raft of positions that they all explicitly denied. (I don’t think they helped their case, though, by spending as much time as they did discussing process theology. Of course, their point was to demonstrate that they were not process theologians. But, the unintended consequence was to demonstrate to everyone that they were quite familiar with process theology. It was a short step from there to the implication that they were in fact influenced by process theology.)
On the other hand, though, we should recognize that the rhetoric flew strongly in both directions. As with many arguments, the intense heat of the debate led proponents of both positions to be less than fair to the opposite side. I well remember the frustration of reading and listening to the open theists’ blatant caricatures of classical theism, neglecting the best that this tradition has to offer, and focusing instead on its weakest aspects. (Note well, when critiquing another position, do not pit your strongest arguments against their weakest ones. If that’s the only way you can win, give up now.) So, focusing only on the missteps of the evangelical “establishment” is not entirely fair either.
I’d also be curious to hear more from Olson on what he thinks qualifies as real “evangelicalism” vs. “neo-fundamentalism.” Presumably he wouldn’t object to someone engaging in heated theological discourse (he does it all the time). And, I don’t think rhetorical “fairness” is really the issue, despite his focus on that problem in this essay, since we see those problems on both sides. I think it actually has more to do with drawing “boundaries.” At the end of his essay, he states that he sees both open theists and 5-point Calvinists as both being “within the evangelical movement” (despite the fact that he really does not like 5-point Calvinism). His real problem with these conservative evangelical critics, then, is their attempt to exclude, to draw the boundaries of evangelicalism such that open theists are declared nonevangelical. And, I think this boundary-drawing is Olson’s real concern; that’s what harkens back to the separatism of the fundamentalists.
But, of course, if we’re not supposed to be drawing boundaries, how does Olson explain his claim that these critics are “not really evangelicals”? That sounds a lot like a boundary to me. Maybe Olson has some fundamentalist leanings of his own.