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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The House That Pragmatism Built

While getting ready today, I was checking out Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News and happened to catch the interview with Walter Hallam, pastor of Abundant Life Christian Center (note: center not church) in La Marque, Texas, who will be giving away a $120,000 house on New Year's Eve as a means of promoting church attendance and growth. In previous years, they have proudly added that they have given away car, motorcyle, and furniture. Here's what is supposed to happen: During Saturday's service, 20 names will be selected at random and placed with 100 others chosen from services throughout the year. Twelve finalists -- symbolizing the 12 apostles -- will be selected. Each of the finalists will receive a key, which they will try in a door on stage. The person whose key unlocks the door wins the home. Lightning, music, indoor fireworks and balloon drops will also be part of the festivities. I happened to be at my computer when the interview took place and attempted to type ver batum what was said (transcripts should be availabe tomorrow on the Cavuto website). Here's a part of the interview: Host: "Is this not just a game-show gimmick trying to manipulate people to come to church." Hallam: "Well, we see it as a unique opportunity." Host: "But it's a game show!" Hallam: "Well, it's a lot of fun. It's going to be great!" Hallam (continuing): "It just a little incentive to encourage people to come to church. We want them to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ." Host: "It's just hard for me to square this idea with a house of worship. Have you found people to be criticizing this?" Hallam: "People have mostly been positive." Hallam (continuing): "Who wouldn't take a home with only taxes to pay?" Hallam (concluding): "What a way to start the new year!" (END OF INTERVIEW) Now, I was not able to type the entire interview, and a few words may have been paraphrased (from the host but not from Hallam), but you get the idea. Friends, this is pragmatism in action. I wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind he said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. In America, however, and in many churches, pragmatism and the euphoria of the church growth movement have prevailed against the Church. Whatever it takes to get people to church is also what it is going to take to keep them there. What next I wonder in the great giveaway? In America, we live in the Disneyland of the world, and the Church here has become the playhouse of many Mickey Mouse ministers. Did you hear Hallam? "Well, it's a lot of fun! It's going to be great!" Sounds more like a plug for an amusement park than the house of God. Nevermind the holiness of God. Nevermind that judgment begins with the household of God. Let's just prostitute the church for the sake of Baal. We have fertilized our strategies with our own dung, and the stinch is making its way into the nostrils of a jealous God. It is not interesting that the host of the T.V. show on business had more conviction about the Church than did the minister? What he called a "game show gimmick" the pastor called "a unique opportunity." And you wonder what's wrong with churches in America! Pastors are using American prosperity and the toys of Disneyland (i.e. houses, cars, motorcycles) to get people into church. Churches have capitulated to capitalism and buying into the "whatever works" mentality all the while sleeping with the enemy. I guess our treasures are really not in heaven. It will be a great day in America when the Church seperates herself from American consumerism and worldly manipulations. Rather than be concerned with feeding the poor or ministering the needy in our community, we are putting a message of health and wealth prosperity which is nothing short of heresy. When people come to Christ, they do not get a three bedroom/two bath house in suburban white America. They get a Savior who will take them unto the least of these and call them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. By the way, foxes had holes, and birds of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. Maybe some of the Apostles should have built him house. But wait a minute, I forgot that this is not our home. And by the way, this is not the way to start a new year nor a new day. It is the way to start the handwriting on the wall which says, "ICHABOD." To read more, see: Slice of Laodicea: House Give-Away Church a Complete Disgrace and Church: The Price is Right! Paul Proctor: Whatever Works AP News Article (in LA Times) Abundant Life Press Release

Submitting Some of My Homework: Emerging Church and Postmodernism

It has been said that I needed to do some homework on the Emerging Church and postmodernism, so I have attempted to get started. Below is my bibliography thus far (no articles as of yet). In the future, I hope to provide some internet resources as well. Let me explain some of the colors: Bold Faced = Primary Sources (IMO) Red = Postmodernism Orange = Emerging Church Movement Green = Evangelicalism Blue = Not Yet Published (i.e. 2006 publication date) Right now, this bibliography includes 219 books. Although this is a lengthy list, the bibliography is in no way meant to be comprehensive. My homework is just beginning . . . So here you go. ******************************** ******************************** Alston, Renee N, Ivy Beckwith, and Spencer Burke. Stumbling Toward Faith: My Longing to Heal from the Evil That God Allowed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. Atkinson, Gordon. ReaLivePreacher.com. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. Barrett, Lois Y. Treasure in Clay Jars: Patterns in Missional Faithfulness. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. Bell, Rob. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Bloesch, Donald G. The Future of Evangelical Christianity: A Call for Unity Amid Diversity. New York: Doubleday, 1983. Borg, Marcus J. and N.T. Wright. Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000. Burke, John. No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come as Your Are Culture in the Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Burke, Spencer, Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. Making Sense of Church: Eavesdropping on Emerging Conversations about God, Community, and Culture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Driscoll, Mark. The Radical Reformisson: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. Campbell, Jonathan, Jennifer Campbell, and Brian D. McLaren. The Way of Jesus: A Journey for Pilgrims and Wanderers. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Carson, D.A. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. _________, ed. Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. _________. The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. Carpenter, Joel A. Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Christensen, Michael, and Leonard Sweet. Equipping the Saints: Mobilizing Laity for Ministry. Nashville: Abington Press, 2000. Clapp, Rodney. Border Crossings: Christian Trespasses on Popular Culture and Public Affairs. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. _________. “How Firm a Foundation: Can Evangelicals Be Nonfoundationalists?” in Border Crossings: Christian Trespasses on Popular Culture and Public Affairs. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. Clark, David K. and John S. Feinberg. To Know and Love God: Method for Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003. Coffey, Ian and Eddie Gibbs. Church Next. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001. Cole, Neil, and Leonard Sweet. Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Conder, Tim, Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. The Church in Transition: The Journey of Existing Churches Into the Emerging Culture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006. Dayton, Donald W. Discovering an Evangelical Heritage. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. Dockery, David S., ed. The Challenge of Postmodernism: An Evangelical Engagement. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001. Dorrien, Gary. The Remaking of Evangelical Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1998. Erickson, Millard J. Postmodernizing the Faith: Evangelical Responses to the Challenge of Postmodernism. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998. _________. The Evangelical Left: Encountering Postconservative Evangelical Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997. _________. The New Evangelical Theology. Westwood, NJ: Revell, 1968. _________. The Postmodern World: Discerning the Times and the Spirit of Our Age. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002. _________. Truth or Consequences: The Promise & Perils of Postmodernism. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001. Erickson, Millard J., Paul Kjoss Helseth, and Justin Taylor. Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004. Franke, John R. “Postmodern Evangelical Theology: A Nonfoundationalist Approach to the Christian Faith” in Alister E. McGrath and Evangelical Theology. ed. Sung Wook Chung. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003. _________. “Scripture, Tradition, and Authority: Reconstructing the Evangelical Conception of Sola Scriptura” in Evangelicals and Scripture: Tradition, Authority, and Hermeneutics. eds. Dennis L. Okholm, et al. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004. _________. The Character of Theology: An Introduction to Its Nature, Task, and Purpose. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005. Frazee, Randy, and Dallas Willard. The Connecting Church: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. Frei, Hans. The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974. Geisler, Norman L., ed. Inerrancy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980. Gibbs, Eddie and Ryan Bolger. Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005. Goldman, Alvin I. Knowledge in a Social World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Gordon, Graham. What If You Got Involved? Taking a Stand Against Social Injustice. Waynesboro, GA: Gabriel Resources, 2004. Grenz, Stanley J. A Primer on Postmodernism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996. _________. “Articulating the Christian Belief-Mosaic” in Evangelical Futures: A Conversation on Theological Method. ed. Stackhouse, John G., Jr. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. _________. “Nurturing the Soul, Informing the Mind: The Genesis of the Evangelical Scripture Principle” in Evangelicals and Scripture: Tradition, Authority, and Hermeneutics.. eds. Dennis L. Okholm, et al. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004. _________. Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. _________. Renewing the Center: Evangelical Theology in a Post-Theological Era. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. _________. Revising Evangelical Theology: A Fresh Agenda for the 21st Century. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993. _________. The Millennial Maze: Sorting Out Evangelical Options. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992. _________. The Moral Quest: Foundations of Christian Ethics. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000. _________. The Named God and the Question of Being: A Trinitarian Theo-Ontology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005. _________. The Social God and the Relational Self: A Trinitarian Theology of the Imago Dei. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001. _________. Theology and the Community of God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. _________. What Christians Really Believe and Why. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1998. Grenz, Stanley J., and Leighton Ford. Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998. Grenz, Stanley J., and Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996. _________. 20th-Century Theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993. Grenz, Stanley J., and John R. Franke. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2000. Groothuis, Douglas. Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000. Guder, Darrell, L. The Continuing Conversion of the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000. Guder, Darrell L. and Lois Barrett, eds. Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. Hart, D.G. Deconstructing Evangelicalism: Conservative Protestantism in the Age of Billy Graham. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004. _________. Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1994. Hauerwas, Stanley M. A Better Hope: Resources for a Church Confronting Capitalism, Democracy, and Postmodernity. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2000. _________. A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. _________. After Christendom? Nashville: Abingdon, 1991. _________. Against the Nations: War and Survival in a Liberal Society. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992. _________. Christian Existence Today: Essays on Church, World, and Living Between. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2001. _________. Dispatches from the Front: Theological Engagements with the Secular. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995. _________. The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984. _________. Wilderness Wanderings. Jackson, TN: Westview Press, 1998. Hauerwas, Stanley M. and Charles Pinches. Christian Among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. Hauerwas, Stanley M. and William H. Willimon. Resident Aliens. Nashville: Abingdon, 1989. _________. The Truth about God. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999. _________. Where Resident Aliens Live: Exercises for Christian Practice. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996. Henderson, Jim, and Brian D. McLaren. A.K.A. Lost: Discovering Ways to Connect with the People Jesus Misses Most. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2005. Henry, Carl F.H. and Richard J. Mouw. The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. 1947 reprint. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. Hicks, Peter. Evangelicals and Truth: A Creative Proposal for a Postmodern Age. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998. Horton, Michael S., ed. A Confessing Theology for Postmodern Times. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000. _________. “Yale Postliberalism: Back to the Bible?” in A Confessing Theology for Postmodern Times. ed. Michael S. Horton. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000. Hunter, George G. The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West . . . Again. Nashville: Abingdon, 2000. Jenkins, Philip. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Jones, Peter. Capture the Pagan Mind: Paul’s Blueprint for Thinking and Living in the New Global Culture. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003. Jones, Tony. Postmodern Youth Ministry: Exploring Cultural Shift, Creating Holistic Connections, Cultivating Authentic Community. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. _________. Read, Think, Pray, Live. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003. Jones, Tony, and Phyllis Tickle. The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Kallenberg, Brad J. Live to Tell: Evangelism for a Postmodern Age. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2002. Kenneson, Philip. “There Is No Such Thing as Objective Truth, and It’s a Good Thing, Too,” in Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World. ed. Timothy Phillips and Dennis Okholm. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1995. Kimball, Dan A., Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. Emerging Worship: Creating New Worship Gatherings for Emerging Generations. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. _________. The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Kirk, J. Andrew and Kevin J. Vanhoozer. To Stake a Claim: Mission and the Western Crisis of Knowledge. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999. Kirkham, Richard L. Theories of Truth: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997. Knight, Henry H. III. A Future for Truth: Evangelical Theology in a Postmodern World. Nashville: Abingdon, 1997. Koukl, Greg and Francis Beckwith. Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. Lewis, Robert and Rob Wilkins. The Church of Irresistible Influence. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Lindbeck, George A. The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1984. Lindbeck, George A., and James J. Buckley. The Church in a Postliberal Age. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. Lints, Richard. The Fabric of Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. Long, Jimmy. Emerging Hope: A Strategy for Reaching Postmodern Generations. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004. Lundin, Roger. The Culture of Interpretation: The Christian Faith and the Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. Machen, J. Gresham. Christianity and Liberalism. 1923 reprint. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990. Marsden, George M. Evangelicalism in Modern America. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984. _________. Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of the Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism 1870-1925. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. McCallum Dennis, ed. The Death of Truth. Minneapolis: Bethany, 1996. McKinley, Rick. Jesus in the Margins: Finding God in the Places We Ignore. Sisters, OR: Multmomah, 2005. McKnight, Scot. Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us. Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005. _________. Praying with the Church: Developing a Daily Rhythm for Spiritual Formation. Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2006. _________. The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others. Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2004. _________. The Story of the Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006. _________. Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002. McKnight, Scot, and Grant R. Osborne. The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004. McLaren, Brian D. A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2001. _________. Finding Faith: A Self-Discovery Guide for Your Spiritual Quest. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. _________. More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. _________. The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. _________. The Last Word and the Word After That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity. Jossey-Bass, 2005. _________. “The Method, the Message, and the Ongoing Story,” in The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives. ed. Leonard Sweet. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. _________. The Story We Find Ourselves In: Further Adventures of a New Kind of Christian. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2003. McLaren, Brian D., Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poet, Biblical, Charismatic/Conte. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. McLaren, Brian D., Tony Campolo, and Donald Clarke. Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. McManus, Erwin Raphael. An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2001. _________. Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2006. _________. Seizing Your Divine Moment: Dare to Live a Life of Adventure. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2002. _________. The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2005. _________. Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2003. Middleton, J. Richard and Brian J. Walsh. Truth Is Stranger than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1995. Miller, Donald. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2003. _________. Searching for God Knows What. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2004. _________. Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2005. Minatrea, Milfred. Shaped by God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2004. Mohler, Albert R., Jr. “Reformist Evangelicalism: A Center Without a Circumference?” in A Confessing Theology for Postmodern Times. ed. Michael S. Horton. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000. Moreland, J.P. and William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003. Murphy, Nancey. Anglo-American Postmodernity: Philosophical Perspectives on Science, Religion, and Ethics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997. _________. Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism: How Modern and PostModern Philosophy Set the Theological Agenda. Harrisburg, VA: Trinity Press International, 1996. _________. Reconciling Theology and Science: A Radical Reformation Perspective. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora, 1997. _________. “Textual Relativism, Philosophy of Language, and the Baptist Vision,” in Theology Without Foundations: Religious Practice and the Future of Theological Truth. eds. Stanley Hauerwas, Nancey Murphy, and Mark Nation. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994. Myers, Joseph R. Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006. Myers, Joseph R., Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Noll, Mark A. Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America. San Franscisco: Harper & Row, 1986. _________. “The Princeton Theology,” in Reformed Theology in America: A History of Its Modern Development. ed. David F. Wells. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997. Olson, Roger E. “Postconservative Evangelical Theology and the Theological Pilgrimage of Clark Pinnock,” in Semper Reformandum: Studies in Honour of Clark H. Pinnock. eds. Stanley E. Porter and Anthony R. Cross. Carlisle, England: Paternoster, 2003. _________. “Reforming Evangelical Theology” in Evangelical Futures: A Conversation on Theological Method. ed. John G. Stackhouse, Jr. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. _________. The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999. Ortberg, John. Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. _________. If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. Pagitt, Doug. Church Re-Imagined: The Spiritual Formation of People in Communities of Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Pagitt, Doug, Kathryn Prill, and Colleen Shealer Olson. Bodyprayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2005. Pagitt, Doug, Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. Preaching Re-Imagined: The Role of Sermon in Communities of Faith. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. _________. Systematic Theology. Vol 2. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994. _________. Systematic Theology. Vol 3. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Pannenberg, Wolfhart, Duane A. Priebe, and Lewis L. Wilkins. Jesus—God and Man. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1983. Penner, Marv, ed. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn: Six Views. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005. Penning, James M. and Corwin E. Smidt. Evangelicalism: The Next Generation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002. Phillips, Timothy R., and Dennis Okholm, eds. Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World. Downer’s Grove, IL; InterVaristy, 1995. _________, eds. The Nature of Confession: Evangelicals and Liberals in Conversation. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996. Pinnock, Clark H. Tracking the Maze: Finding Our Way Through Modern Theology from an Evangelical Perspective. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990. Plantinga, Alvin. “Reason and Belief in God,” in Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. eds. Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983. _________. Warranted Christian Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Plantinga, Alvin and Nicholas Wolterstorff, eds. Reason and Belief in God. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983. Rabey, Steve. In Search of Authentic Faith: How Emerging Generations Are Transforming the Church. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2001. Rorty, Richard. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. _________. Objectivity, Relativism and Truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Roxburgh, Alan J. Reaching a New Generation: Strategies for Tomorrow’s Church. Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2003. Russinger, Greg, Alex Field, and Erwin Raphael McManus. Practitioners: Voices Within the Emerging Church. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2005. Sandras, Eric. Buck-Naked Faith: A Brutally Honest Look at Stunted Christianity. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004. Schults, F. Leon. Reforming Theological Anthropology: After the Philosophical Turn to Rationality. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. Schults, F. Leon and Wolfhart Pannenberg. The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology: Wolfhart Pannenberg and the New Theological Rationality. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. Seay, Chris, Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. Faith of My Fathers: Conversations with Three Generations of Pastors about Church, Ministry, and Culture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Sjogren, Steve. 101 Ways to Reach Your Community. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001. Slaugher, Michael, and Warren Bird. Real Followers: Beyond Virtual Christianity. Nashville: Abington Press, 1999. Slaugher, Michael, Warren Bird, and Leonard Sweet. Unlearning Church: Just When You Thought You Had Leadership All Figured Out! Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2001. Smith, R. Scott. Truth and the New Kind of Christian: The Emerging Effects of Postmodernism in the Church. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005. _________. Virtue Ethics and Moral Knowledge: Philosophy of Language After McIntyre and Hauerwas. Burlington, VA: Ashgate, 2003. Stackhouse, John G., Jr. Evangelical Futures: A Conversation on Theological Method. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. Stetzer, Ed. Planting Churches in a Postmodern Age. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003. Stevick, Daniel B. Beyond Fundamentalism. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1964. Sweet, Leonard. Aquachurch: Essential Leadership Arts for Piloting Your Church In Today’s Culture. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 1999. _________. Carpe Manana: Is Your Church Ready to Seize Tomorrow? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. _________. Faithquakes. Nashville: Abington Press, 1995. _________. Jesus Drives Me Crazy! Lose Your Mind, Find Your Soul. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. _________. Out of the Question . . .Into the Mystery: Getting Lost in the Godlife Relationship. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2004. _________. Postmodern Pilgrims: First Century Passion for the 21st Century Church. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2000. _________. Soultsunami: Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. _________, ed. The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003. _________. Three Hardest Words: in the Word to Get Right. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2006. Sweet, Leonard, Jerry Haselmayer, and Brian D. McLaren. A Is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Tomlinson, Dave, and Dallas Willard. The Post-Evangelical. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Turner, Matthew Paul. The Coffeehouse Gospel: Sharing Your Faith in Everyday Conversation. Orlando: Relevant Books, 2004. Van Huyssteen, J. Wentzel. Essays in Postfoundationalist Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. _________. Theology and the Justification of Belief: Constructing Theories in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989. Vanhoozer, Kevin J. Is There Meaning in the Text? The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998. _________. The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005. _________. “The Semantics of Biblical Literature: Truth and Scripture’s Diverse Literary Forms,” in Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. eds. D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986. _________. “The Voice and the Actor: A Dramatic Proposal About the Ministry and Minstrelsy of Theology,” in Evangelical Futures: A Conversation on Theological Method. ed. John G. Stackhouse, Jr. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. Veith, Gene Edward, Jr. Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994. Webber, Robert E. Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999. _________. The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002. Webber, Robert E. and Donald G. Bloesch, eds. The Orthodox Evangelicals: Who They Are and What They Are Saying. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1978. Wells, David F. Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. _________. God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. _________. Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. _________. No Place for Truth: Or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994. _________. “On Being Evangelical: Some Theological Differences and Similarities,” in Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles, and Beyond, 1700-1990. eds. Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, and George A. Rawlyk. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Wells, David F. and John D. Woodbridge, eds. The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Who They Are, Where They Are Changing. Nashville: Abingdon, 1975. Willard, Dallas. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999. _________. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002. _________. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998. _________. The Great Omission: Rediscovering Jesus’ Essential Teachings on Discipleship. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006. Willard, Dallas, and Don Simpson. Revolution of Character: Discovering Christ’s Pattern for Spiritual Transformation. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Reason Within the Bounds of Religion. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976. Wright, N.T. Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. _________. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1994. _________. The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999. _________. The Contemporary Quest for Jesus. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2002. _________. The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture. New York: HaperSanFrancisco, 2006. _________. The New Testament and the People of God. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992. _________. The Resurrection and the Son of God. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2003. _________. What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. _________. Who Was Jesus? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. Yaconelli, Michael, Renee N. Alston, and Ivy Beckwith. Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. ******************************** ******************************** Sorry about the italics not being in the titles - they left when I copied and pasted this post! Too much to redo!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mockingbird, McLaren, and Miller

I must say that I have always been a fan of Caedman's Call and Derek Webb. I have rarely missed an opportunity to hear either/both of them in concert. Their lyrics in the past and present have fueled many sustained meditations and provoked me to honest introspection and examination of my Christian life. Today, I picked up the new CD by Derek Webb entitled Mockingbird. I have heard much about this CD (including the interviews by Tim Challies - One and Two) and have waited with great expectation to listen to it. I will hold my commentary on the CD until a later time. However, what I will comment on is Webb's advertisement which I received via email. Here's what the email said: I love Derek Webb's CD, Mockingbird - everything about it. The lyrics, content, song structures - the instrumentation (those horns are amazing), chording (some juicy stuff there!), mix, and musicianship. It's rich and tasteful from beginning to end. A lot of us have been waiting for a "someday" and "someone" - when a committed Christian musician would start to lead in the areas of social justice and peace and break ranks with the domesticated muzak that so often passes for "Christian music." Derek is exactly the kind of artist we've been waiting for. -- Brian McLaren, author/activist (anewkindofchristian.com) +++++ "In general, I hate Christian rock music. But now I have heard the songs of Derek Webb. Webb's songs are free of the pietistic sentimentality that usually characterizes popular Christian music. His music, like the Gospel, is at once hard, edgy, and beautiful." -- Stanley Hauerwas, author, educator, Duke Divinity School +++++ "Humanity has a new prophet/poet to add to the beautiful fury of Dylan, Lennon, and Cash. Mockingbird is a forceable entry into the comfortable living room conscience. It is both an invitation to risk and hope for a kingdom not yet come, and also an artful provocation to be the knights of the kingdom that is already present. Derek Webb takes his role as an artist as seriously as he takes his role as a man living out his bond to grace and this record is proof." --Dan Haseltine, jarsofclay +++++ "Derek Webb is one of the most important artists of our time and Mockingbird is his most important record to date. He is becoming our Woody Guthrie." --Donald Miller, author Now, let me say clearly that I am all about the call for social concern and action among Christians (for instance, please see my link on the "taking care of business" sidebar). I believe that pure and undefiled religion is visiting the widow and orphan. I believe that God chose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. I believe that if we do it "unto the least of these" we do it unto Him. I believe that we should work to liberate the oppressed, defend the defenseless, embrace the outcast, love our enemies, etc. . . . But what I am concerned about is Webb's marketing tactic with plugs by the Emergent Leader McLaren and pop-leader Miller. It is clear who the target audience is. Now, I do not want to read more into what a simple advertisement offers (as again I have not listened to the CD), but I would really like to know if Webb subscribes to McLaren's theology. I would like to know if he is using the names of these guys as a marketing ploy, or has he really bought into the wholesale endorsement of the EC. I think there are other Christians who are keenly aware of the need to be a part of ministering to a broken world with a broken heart for the lost who do it without compromising central teachings of Scripture and accomodating to the postmodern culture. I know that in the days ahead there will be plenty of discussion as to the nature of the relationship between Webb and McLaren and the like, and maybe the best thing that could come of this is to engage more Christians in caring for welfare of their fellow man both physically and spiritually. >>To read more takes, check out: Tim Challies' Response to A Critical, Judgmental, Deconstruction of Derek Webb's Life, Faith, and Ministry Jeff Wright's Et Tu Derek? CenturiOn's More on Challies' Interview of Derek Webb Ochuk's Derek Webb Not a Poster Boy Grassroots Music Article

Monday, December 26, 2005

Random Stuff for the Week of 12/23-12/30

* It has just recently been announced that James White will be debating Bishop John Shelby Spong on the issue of homosexuality. For more information, check out SovereignCruises here. The three hour debate will take place on November 3, 2006 at the Hotel Royal Plaza in Lake Buena Vista, FL. * Many of you are already aware of this, but for those of you who maybe not be, Victoria Osteen (wife of Joel Osteen) was asked to leave the plane after she failed to comply with a flight attendant's instructions. One must wonder if when people "arrive" at Christian star status if they have entitlements and special privileges. Whatever happened to the towel and bucket? Justin Taylor (Between Two Worlds) offers additional info from a CT article about Joel's prior issue with an attendant in which he plugs "the favor of God." Steve McCoy (Reformissionary) offers a great photo and additional links as well. * Steve Hays (Triablogue) and Michael Spencer (iMonk) have been having it out over the language issues at BHT (Boar's Head Tavern). I find this dialogue somewhat comical. Some of the posts include "Spaghetti Soup," "c.t. & imonkery," "Circular excuses," "Liar! Liar!," "Them Bleepity-bleep Tavernistas,"Boar's head revisited," and finally "Of the devil's party without knowing it." Spencer replies back with "The Tyranny of the Offended," and "Thoughts on Ephesians 4:29,5:4." * Nikon has just come out with its newest DSLR - the D200. It is a replacement for the old D100. From the raving reviews and new features, the D200 has already become a hot seller. If are looking at going into the DSLR range of digital photography, you might want to check out this body - which sells for a reasonable price of $1700. Here is the Digital Photography Reviews analysis. * A while back Ochuk posting an article called "Stunning - A Reaction to the "Blog War" on the community blog at Challies.com. What Ochuk writes is important for any blogger who frequently writes about controversial issues to read. **** Blog of the Week **** Slice of Laodicea Slice of Laodicea (often referred to as Slice) is a website dedicated to news and commentary on the contemporary church. They one a select few blogs out there that is addressing the shortcomings of the megachurch and emerging church movements. The blog template is very readable and clean, and the categories make it easy to peruse back into their archives. It is fair to say that this blog has brought a slice of sanity for those who wish to address the contemporary trends of ecclesiology with a sound hermeneutic and serious cultural engagement. Hope everyone had a wonderful and Merry Christmas! Thank you for visiting P&P, and I hope you have an exciting New Year! - t.n.b.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

One in a Million . . .

It has been a discipline for me to publish a daily blogpost, but this week has been quite different. Since this is the week before Christmas, life at UPS Next Day Air headquarters is a little intense. In the past four hours, we shipped over 1.2 million packages in the next day air hub, with boxes still waiting to be shipped! Therefore, I have decided for this week to do a little overtime and double shift some. In just about an hour or so, I am going back for another eight hours of fun in hopes that UPS won't be the grinch to steal your Christmas presents from Santa's on-time delivery. In the meantime, here's a few things off the top of my head or that I am working on: * I have several blogposts in draft mode which I hope to publish once work slows down. Am I the only one who organizes their blogposts ahead of time? * In case you didn't know, I am leaving on Jan. 2, 2006 for a two week exploration/mission trip to Ecuador with the school. I am pumped about this as I will also be able to do a little photo journalism. I have preparing myself for this great opportunity afforded to me and pray that Ecuadorians will come to treasure Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! * Since I have been submerged in the emerging church, I have attempted to read up on some recent scholarship. The books in my book bag right now are Grenz's Beyond Foundationalism and Renewing the Center, Carson's Gagging of God and Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, Reclaiming the Center (multiple authors), Steton's The Truth About Tolerance, Lindbeck's The Nature of Doctrine, and Smith's The Truth About a New Kind of Christian. * I hope to produce another bibliography for you bibliophiles which will be on the Emerging Church Movement. It will not be complete as it will not have any journal articles or secondary book references, but it will give you an idea on what's out (and what will be coming out next year). * Yesterday, I had the opportunity to partake in another photo shoot of a couple with whom I work with at UPS. They were exceedingly fun, and I hope to post some of their pics on my flickr page one I have converted and edited the images. * Two particular issues that have interested me in recent days is the various positions on the Incarnation as well as the Kingdom of God. I hope to spend some time during the break to explore these issues. If you would like to discuss these (or any other for that matter), please chime in. * Finally, I have started to catalog some of my library books on LibraryThing as you can see on the sidebar (scroll down). I hope to have the majority of my library cataloged before I leave for Ecuador in January. Also, there are many books I am looking to sell if anyone is interested. Regular postings hopefully will resume shortly. Right now, I am going to get about an hour of sleep before I strap on the boots again for another exciting day at work. Back soon . . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy 30th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Mom and Dad, originally uploaded by Sola Lumina Captura.

30 years ago to this day my mother and father entered into a covenant relationship for life. My brother and I have been the wonderful recipients of an incredible couple. For our entire lives, we have been given front row seats in the love-affair of these two wonderful people. None of us get to pick the family we are born into (and parents for that matter); but were I given the choice, without a doubt I would choose my own two parents. They are simply the best. So mom and dad, I am honored to have you as my parents, role models, and friends. Your Christ-like love for one another has overflowed into my life and now my marriage. May the Lord give you many more years together to cherish one another and treasure Jesus Christ! And may love and joy this day abound more in your hearts than the first day when you said "I Do!"

Monday, December 19, 2005

Please Pray for Dr. Donald Whitney

I was on the phone today with a fellow SBTS student who notified me that Dr. Donald Whitney has recently been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his colon. Tomorrow (Tuesday, December 20, 2005) he will be having surgery. I went over to his website to read an update (click here) on his health condition. It looks like the doctors might have to remove a part of his colon (depending upon what they find). If you would like to contact him or send him an email, his contact information is here. You can also email him at his SBTS email located here. Dr. Whitney has written several books which I have read and reread time and again. You may know him best as the author of Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life. May the Lord, the God of all comfort, bring he and his family peace and rest in his sovereignty. Church, let us pray!

Josh Harris Apologizes - Shows Humility

The headlines across the blogdom of God for the past several weeks has been the controversy of churches closing their doors on Christmas Day which falls on a Sunday this year. Most of these churches are mega-churches who have expressed their rationale as simply that of the seeker-driven model. In a nutshell, they say, "If the seekers won't come, then why have church?" There is much to say here, but I will refrain. Rather, I would like to share what Tim Challies reports on his blog today. Josh Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church, had initially planned on not having church services Christmas Day. After reconsideration, he apologized to his church and to the public on his blog. Here is a snippet of what he said in what he simply and candidly called "The Wrong Decision": I shared the following comments with my church this morning. Sometimes you learn the hard way, but I'm grateful for a patient congregation and the faithful wounds of friends. "This year because Christmas morning falls on a Sunday I made the decision to replace our normal Sunday meeting with two Christmas Eve services. Since then I've come to believe that this was the wrong decision, informed by the wrong priorities.I made my decision primarily out of a desire to release the staff and volunteers from their normal service on teams like the parking crew and children's ministry. What I failed to see is that next Sunday morning is an opportunity for us as a church to reaffirm the priority of gathering to worship as the people of God on the Lord's day. It's chance to state to ourselves and our families and our community that the worthiness of our God, not the convenience of the calendar dictates our worship. All that to say, that we've decided to hold a Christmas morning meeting next Sunday. We're going to have one meeting at 11am that will be an hour long. This is going to be a very simple morning. We're doing Sunday differently so that we can release our army of volunteers. There won't be any children's ministry, but feel free to come worship as a family. I apologize for my misjudgment and any inconvenience it causes you. And I thank you for your patience." I concur with Challies that Harris displays genuine humility in his public statements here. What should be noticed too, is that Harris had other reasons for not holding church services on Sunday than the seeker-service mega-churches. I have even more appreciation and respect for Harris as he has down integrity and humility in his transparent confession and correction of "the wrong decision." It should be stated that the central issue is not so much of defending Christmas Day but Sunday - and the priority of the Church over individual comforts and preferences. To read about a pastor who is the polar opposite of Harris, click here. To read CT's defense of the mega-churches, click here.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Shadow of Him

A Shadow of Him, originally uploaded by Sola Lumina Captura.

"If but I could be a shadow of what my grandfather has been to my family . . ." I am posting a new series of photos remembering my grandfather as well as some family pics during the time I was back at home. Throughout the rest of this week, I will be sharing through photos some of the memories and family time we had together. As many of you already know, my grandfather had tremednous impact on my life, and I would like to conclude my experience back at home with reflection through some photos.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The "Emergence" of the Social Gospel?

Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries was written an article called "Emerging with the Social Gospel" in which he expresses some of the same concerns I have (see here , here, and here)about the EC Movement's articulation of orthopraxis. Kilva centers his article chiefly on Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. While I will not provide you with the entire text, let me share some of the comments I think are important: "The Emergent Church however, is downplaying–if not completely obscuring–the essential work done by Christ in the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement on the Cross, which then leads to a huge misconception concerning the primary mission our Lord has given to His ambassadors to seek and save the lost (see–John 20:21)." "The gross misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God which is taught by Emergent leaders does not take into account that this Kingdom of Heaven is only still here on earth in the Church–the Body of Christ–that is made up of regenerated men and women who are the called out ones that assemble to worship God in Christ." "It’s important for you to understand that “the gospel” in their theological system has been “repainted”/redefined back into the old Social Gospel of what Dr. Walter Martin referred to as “the Cult of Liberal Theology.” This secular humanistic distortion of Christ’s true Gospel, which at its core assumes that mankind is basically good, was originally taught by Walter Rauschenbusch and is more about making the world a better place than it is preaching the need for a new birth and a new nature." "First of all, while in Velvet Elvis Bell does acknowledge that “the image of God is deeply scarred in each of us” (p.150), and that “Jesus can repair” (p.151) this problem, the distorted view of man that is inherent in this counterfeit Christian Emergent Church movement becomes clear when he writes “exactly as I am, I am totally accepted, forgiven, and there is nothing I could ever do to lose this acceptance” (ibid.) This is why in the initial selection I highlighted Bell changed the actual quote from Christ Jesus from “repent” to “return.” You see, the Emergent Church has in its view that because people are still basically good then men of all religions can work together for the advancement of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and if somewhere along the way you decide to become a “follower of Jesus” (as they deem themselves) then this is perhaps better. If you are familiar with Brian McLaren’s book A Generous Orthodoxy you’ll know that there are those who in the Emergent Church who feel we shouldn’t necessarily try to convert people to Christianity, but instead we should “seek to encourage the growth of good wheat in all religions including our own, leaving it for God to sort it all out as only God can do” (p.255)." There is much more to this article which deserves reading and demands interaction by those who are both for and against the EC Movement. One thing is for sure, the Church of Jesus Christ does not need another made-up version of the social gospel, and I hope that the EC Movement will be careful not to fall into this false gospel.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Random Stuff for the Week of 12/16-12-22

* Marc Heinrich (Purgatorio) pieced together what could be the post of the year. It is called "Help! I'm Going Hyper!" Simply stellar. Also, for another masterfully crafted post, check out "You Might Be Emerging If . . . ". Purgatorio's spice to the blogosphere is quite nice! * Have you been tested lately to see what kind of theologian you are? If not, here you go. Now, I must say that the conclusive evidence might not be totally accurate, but it is fun to take nonetheless! If you choose to take it, comment back and share the results if you like. * InstaVerse is a little browser plugin that will let you instantly see the actual Bible text for scripture references. Just point your mouse at a Scripture reference and the text pops up in your preferred translation! The KJV is free and the ESV is $9.95. If you happen to reference the Bible online or read others who do, this tool might be nifty for you. * Steve Camp has given some perspective on C.S. Lewis and some of the troublesome theology he espoused. Also, Camp provides a hard-hitting review of the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. * Finally, Paul Lamey (Lameworldview) has given us the real reason why mega-churches are closing on Christmas Day (Sunday). **** Blog of the Week **** Reformata (Sola Gratia Ministries) Reformata is an excellent Reformed blog which has great contributors such as Paul Helm, C. Ryan Jenkins, Sebastian Heck, Camden Bucey, and Frank "Centurion" Turk. This theologically and apologetically centered blog addresses some of the foundational and essential issues of the Christian today both with Christianity and with culture. I have particularly enjoyed the meticulous detail and astute study given to each post which prove to be a healthy dose of daily gravitas in the blogdom. There have been several posts which I have found profitable but would like to recommend to series which are ongoing for your consideration: 1. Post-modern Epistemology (Descartes, Kant, Summary of Modernism, Kierkegaard) 2. Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom (Part One, Part Two) Now that the Fall Semester is finally over, I have a little bit of time to play. That means I will be studying a couple of things in the next two weeks - that being the Emerging Church Movement and the doctrine of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. In the upcoming days/weeks, I hope to share some of the fruits of my research. In the meantime, I will work to complete the final five reasons of the "10 Reasons" why every SBCer should read Ready for Reformation? as well as any other extemporaneous or immediate thoughts along the way. Have a great weekend! - t.n.b.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

O Emergent, Who Art Thou?

Been reading around the blogosphere and familiarizing myself with the Emergent Movement, and I have come up with two preliminary conclusions: 1. Those who are Emergent don't want to be labeled as such. Labels are bad. They also make semantical distinctions between being "emergent" and "emerging." I am told that the EC is a very broad movement encompassing a plethora of positions. 2. While that is the case, those who are Emergent have shown themselves to be very predictable. Last Saturday, I began to spend a little time when I can to see what is being said. While it has been argued that they are not monolithic, I am not seeing evidence of that. It has been quite easy to know who they read, who the leading theologians are, what they are against, but little of what they are for. So, I am confused. O Emergent brother who art thou? I would like to understand who you are, but every attempt is being made to not clearly define who are. How can you defend who you are if you first don't define who you are? I really would like to be in the "conversation" but right now I spending a whole lot of time trying decode the "Emergent Code" and put the hints you are giving me together. I must admit, it has been fun to play the "Hide and Go Seek" game, but it would be nice to be able to have a conversation where I would not hear, "I know you are, but what am I?" (my favorite 1st grade phrase). Finally, I wonder what will emerge from the Emerging Church. For instance, I am wondering . . . Is there anyone who has emerged from the Emerging Church? Is there anyone who is post post-modern, post post evangelical, post post-liberal, post post-conservative, post post-foundational, post post-Christian? Any attempt for clarification, definition, or description would greatly be appreciated. Also, one consequence of not clearly defining who you are is the inevitability of having others define who you are (which will more than likely be inaccurate). So you would do yourselves and others a true service to present yourselves beyond the smoke-and-mirrors in the clear light of day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Vatican Embraces Inclusivism

Pope Benedict is making Karl Rahner, Hans Kung, and Jacques Dupuis proud. James White gives a caption from the Vatican press release dated November 30, 2005. "In elucidating the psalm, the Pope also referred to a meditation on the subject by St. Augustine in which, he said, "the great Father of the Church introduces a surprising note: he knows that even among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people committed to peace and goodness, though without sharing the biblical faith. In the end, then, God will lead those people to the heavenly Jerusalem, rewarding them for their pure consciences." Vatican II was a watershed moment in Catholic history. The Roman Catholic Church rejected its traditional approach to the religions in the classic Cyprian phrase Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus ("Outside the Church there is no salvation.") Rahner pioneered this idea with his concept of the "Anonymous Christian" which was also coupled with another idea called "baptism of desire." The Vatican II coined the term "inculpable belief" in this quote: “Those also can attain to everlasting salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or his church, yet sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of their conscience.” - Walter Abbott, ed. The Documents of the Vatican II (New York: American Press, 1966), 35. The idea of "implicit faith" or the "faith principle" was applied to those who, through sincerity and proper response to general revelation (creation and conscience), "attained to everlasting salvation." There are several problems with this theology which should be mentioned. First, the Bible makes it clear that people become Christians through "explicit saving faith" not "implicit faith." This faith is NOT as A.H. Strong said, "The patriarchs, though they had not knowledge of a personal Christ, were saved by believing in God so far as God had revealed himself to them; and whoever among the heathen are saved, must in like manner be saved by casting themselves as helpless sinners upon God’s plan of mercy, dimly shadowed forth in nature and providence. But such faith, even among the patriarchs and heathen, is implicitly a faith in Christ, and would become explicit and conscious trust and submission, whenever Christ were made known to them." - A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1947), 842. Rather, faith is founded in God and disposed to those with whom he wills (Rom. 12:3). For a discussion of "saving faith," see Phillip H. Hook's article called "A Biblical Definition of Saving Faith" in Bibliotheca Sacra 121 (April-June 1964): 133-40. Also, for an inclusivist argument against explicit saving faith, see John Sanders' article called “Is Belief in Christ Necessary for Salvation?” in Evangelical Quarterly 60 (July 1988): 241-59. Secondly, the Bible declares the man outside of Christ as having a hard heart, a darkened understanding, a mind of futility, and ignorant of grace. There are not "pure consciences" inherent in man. Man is morally depraved and wholly wicked. The heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. In sin, we were conceived. There is no one is who is good, who seeks God . . . If God does not take the initiative to make Himself known through His Son, we will only continue in our idolatry and making our own hearts callous. The natural man without the Spirit of God cannot know God, or the thoughts of God, and he must be made spiritual. If he doesn't be will remain in unbelief, and as Jesus said, "whoever does not believe is condemned already" (John 3:18). Thirdly, God does not reward anyone with salvation because of their good works. The only good works God rewards is the perfect righteousness of His Son in whom He was well-pleased. The only works God will accept is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God's own Son. This is why Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent" (John 5:29). The works-based salvation purported by Roman Catholicism is offering false hope in thinking that one's own sincerity and devotedness will be accepted in the end ("baptism by desire"). The kingdom of God does have a lot to do with rewards. Yet these rewards are spoken in reference to those who have already entered the kingdom by faith in Jesus Christ. No one will be able to boast before God in that great day. No desire. No "pure consciences." No "people committed to peace and goodness." Only those who have had their guilty stains washed in the fountain of Calvary's Tree. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins, and without the free and unmerited grace of God, there is no salvation for the sinner. This is what we must preach. I am sorry, Mr. Benedict, but you failed to present Scripture as true and Jesus Christ as glorious. And the consequences of that is many will perish in the hopes of one day attaining to that pure conscience. May God grant them faith to believe and eyes to see the glory of a sinner's Savior who gave his life that we might believe in his work which is good and brings us peace.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Comments, Comments, Comments

Since I had posted the Emergent Embraces Ecumenism post, I have decided to comment a little bit. Some of you may not be aware of the situation, but much of it has to do with how one defines and describes the kingdom of God. It also has do with the relationship between Christianity and other religions (how we relate, dialogue, "learn," etc.) I have attemped to address the issue from different angles and looks like I have upset a few people. On one blog, I have been charged with "anti-semitic" language. Interestingly enough, my comment was nothing but a quote from Jesus. Go figure. I must admit that I do not comment much on people's blogs, but in the last couple of days I felt important enough to do so. If you would like to read or join in the issue, check out Steve McCoy's post here.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Random Stuff for the Week of 12/9-12/15

* Over @ Reformissionary (Steve McCoy) there was quite a bit of discussion concerning Dr. Russ Moore's article called "McKnight, McLaren, and McAuthenticity" which was in response to Scot McKnight's review of Walk the Line - the recent movie about Johnny Cash. McNight later responded to Moore's article. Front and center is Moore's dubbing Brian McClaren as a "false teacher" and the idea that the EC movement is a fad. * Ian Clary (Ruminations by the Lake) has recently organized a meeting in the Greater Toronto Area called "Toronto Evangelical Bloggers Brunch." I think that this is a great idea, and something like this should be done in the Louisville area. It looks like Toronto has some great bloggers in their area! * Clifton Baptist Church (Tom Schreiner/Bruce Ware) has some MP3's of some sermons preached in the last couple of years. Although I am not a member of Clifton, I have great affinity to the teaching/preaching ministry there. * BoxOfficeMojo is an online box office database where you can keep up on the popularity/success of such movies as The Chronicles of Narnia. Also, it can provide for some interesting trivia in the "All Time" page. * For a truly great laugh, watch this! * And finally, for that stocking stuffer for the politically informed, there is the new parody album by Paul Shanklin called Mama Told Me Not To Run. You can listen to a sampling on his site. Shanklin has some of the best political parodies I have ever heard. **** Blog of the Week **** Historica Ecclesiastica (Michael A.G. Haykin) Dr. Michael Anthony George Haykin is currently the Principal of The Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto, Ontario, where he also teaches Church History, Historical Theology and Spirituality. He is also Visiting Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Senior Fellow of The Jonathan Edwards Centre for Reformed Spirituality, which operates under the auspices of The Toronto Baptist Seminary in Toronto.Dr. Haykin has a wealth of knowledge to share with us all, and his blog has been a great blessing from the short time I have been reading it. Almost daily updated, Dr. Haykin always brings something fresh and insightful to the blogosphere. For the link to his writing page (Fontes), click here. Still trying to make up for missing finals/papers for this past semester. I should be done by early next week. Hope you have a great week! - t.n.b.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Emergent Embraces Ecumenism - UPDATED

Tim Challies posted on his "A La Carte" the link to D.R. Brooker's blog (Running Well) where he reveals that Brian McLaren and Tony Jones have forged ahead to the first ever "Emergent Christian, Jewish Leaders" meeting. I don't think the implications of this meeting and motivation can be understated. What is at stake for Christianity in attempts to deny the exclusivity of Jesus Christ and the gospel is the very identity, distinctives, and contours of the Christian faith. Instead of looking for a Generous Orthodoxy, we should contend for genuine orthodoxy, and that, my friend, is where we have arrived. Over the past couple of days, I have been thinking about the theological lineage of the Emergent Movement, and I am preparing to make the case that the Emergent Movement has its roots in the same family tree as religious pluralism. I know that this charge carries a high level of "provocativeness," but I believe it to be true. While there are, of course, many differences, the similaries are striking to say the least. Quote by Tony Jones in the press release: "As emerging Christian leaders have been pushing through the polarities of left and right in an effort to find a new, third way, we've been desperate to find partners for that quest," he said. "It's with great joy and promise that we partner with the leaders of S3K to talk about the future and God's Kingdom." What Others Are Saying: Emergent - us "Emergent Christian, Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Meeting" Emergent What? "EmergentVillage Meets with Jewish Leaders" Xphiles "Inter-Religious Emergers?" Doug Pagitt "Emergent Christian/Jewish Leaders Meeting" J. Shawn Landres "Emergent Christian, Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Meeting" Leighton Tebay "Growing Concern with Emergent" Jeff Wright "Just In Time for Christmas: Attacks on the Exclusivity of Christ" Darryl Dash "Emergent Christian/Jewish Leaders Meeting" Adam Cleaveland "Emergent Christian/Jewish Leaders Meeting: UPDATE" Steve McCoy "Emergent, Jews, and Justice" Mike Noakes "S3K and Emergent" Joe Kennedy "Emergent and Kingdom Work" Organizations: Synagogue 3000 and Emergent Village Key Issues: * Level One Issues on Mohler's Theological Triage) Uniqueness of Jesus Christ The Doctrine of Salvation (locus/particularity/atonement) Exclusivity of the Christian Faith The Kingdom of God Revelation of God (General/Specific) Message (content) of the Gospel (truth claims) Interfaith Movement (Ecumenism) Intra-religious Dialogue (Syncretism) Covenant (Continuity/Discontinuity) Epistemological, Ecclesiological, and Escatological Implications Questions being asked: "Are Christians the only ones who can advance the Kingdom of God? How do you define it?" "Can Christianity learn from other religions?" "Can people be saved without ever knowing or believing in Jesus Christ?" "Can people unknowingly be doing "Kingdom things?" Or "Can one be a part of the Kingdom of God without personally knowing the King?" "Does the message of Christianity lie in social context ("love your neighbor" and "unto the lease of these" or propositional truth or both?" "Are other world religions 'vehicles' of salvation?" "Is explicit saving faith necessary for one to be saved?" "Is there only one way/method (evangelism) for the Kingdom of God to be advanced? Is the Kingdom of God contingent upon human effort?" "Has God really rejected the Jews or is He still in covenant with them?" I wish I had the space to copy and paste some of my favorite comments. I might just have to do that if I have some spare time (scratch that - too busy!)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas Controversy and Commentaries

I have been reading around the blogosphere, and it seems that everyone is writing about the deal with Christmas. Most of the commentary that I have read I agree--statements that generally state that Christmas is more than just one day, that there is no biblical precedent to a yearly observance of the birth of Jesus, that Christians are show once again their superficial commitments and ignoring the more important matters, etc. I must confess that I have not spent a whole lot of time thinking about Christmas this year and the whole "war" deal. I have been thinking about my grandfather, family, finals, and pluralism. I am thankful for the commentary others have brought forth which have reoriented me away from hearing the secularist agenda of defending Christmas and the politicizing of a tradition which, if not observed, would not destroy Christianity. But one thing I have not heard very much is the theological significance of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Most of the commentary has been culture-centered or addressing the controversy over whether or not America should be legislating "Merry Christmas." It is my contention that the underlying issue is not so much adherence to a nonbiblical tradition but rather the confession of the Christian which says, "I believe in Jesus Christ, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary . . .". Church history shows that the nature of Jesus Christ being both fully God fully man have been center stage for orthodoxy versus heresy (Arianism, Doceticism, Apollinarianism, Modalism, etc.). The battle for orthodoxy rages on today with the attempt of religious pluralism to do away with the literal understanding of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. What is worse than saying "Happy Holidays" is the underhanded tactics of pluralists to reconstruct the doctrine of the Incarnation as a myth which has only metaphorical meaning. I think that we may find ourselves engaged in peripheral issues which are only substantive because of they are consequential or emanating from the heart of the matter - that is, our world wants to do away with Jesus Christ of Nazareth as a historical figure and the Christian belief that he is literally God Incarnate. I am not saying that the commentary dealing with peripheral issues is not beneficial, for the staging ground of much debate and dialogue in our culture is found here. However, the undercurrent behind these waves of controversy is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as a belief that is historically grounded and literally true. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to continue doing some research and provide some quotes from scholars and authors who are the real Grinchs'. They don't care whether or not you call your tree a "Christmas tree." What they want is to systematically present a new kind of Christianity without Christ, without the Incarnation, without Biblical authority, and have you to buy into it. Statistics shows that the majority of Americans already have (although 3/4 of Americans call themselves Christian). Maybe the real battle is not political or cultural but spiritual. Let us be "destroying arguments and every lofty opinion which raised against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ . . ." (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Being from Alabama, I get a little giddy when it comes to the chances of getting a good snow. It looks like that tomorrow night might be the first snowfall with accumulation (3-6 inches expected). Here's the weather alert: URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGENATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOUISVILLE KY1228 PM EST WED DEC 7 2005 A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNINGTHROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT.SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP LATE THURSDAY MORNING...AND CONTINUETHROUGH EARLY FRIDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES. TOTALSNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS NORTHERNKENTUCKY AND SOUTHERN INDIANA.A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANTSNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS. Last year when it snowed a foot around Christmas, I was digging out my car with my bare hands. I learned my lesson and bought a shovel. Unfortunately, UPS does not close for snow. The city can shut down and roads all closed, but UPS will be open. Don't worry, you will get your packages. I will be one of the several thousand wondering what in the world we are doing loading boxes when we should be building snow men! Oh well, I will still be singing, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Thanks Jeff and Ashley!

Jeff and Ashley B/W 6, originally uploaded by Sola Lumina Captura.

A couple of weekends ago (when Alabama dreadfully lost to that other team), I had the opportunity to take some fall photos for Jeff and Ashley. Initially they just wanted a photo for a Christmas card, but I pulled their legs to let me take a few more. I have posted around 30 on my Flickr page and have also added a set album for the images. For the past couple of months, I have mostly shot nature and fall colors. It was quite nice to actually get to shoot people. Thanks Jeff and Ashley for giving me the opportunity to take some pictures of you guys! If these weathermen are right, we are to get close to half a foot of snow in the next couple of days. Hopefully, that will make for some nifty pics.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Merry Christmas" and Religious Pluralism

There are a large number of people both in print and in the press speaking about the "War on Christmas." It seems as if every major town is having to decide whether to call their tree the "Holiday Tree" or "Christmas Tree." Kids in their elementary schools are no longer allowed to sing traditional Christmas songs like "Silent Night," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Now it is only songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Nativity scenes have been removed from parks and other public squares. Department stores are instructing their employees to say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." It is though the world and culture think that they would be better if Jesus Christ had never been born. This "war" is at the heart of religious pluralism. Pluralists argue that no religion can have a monopoly on holidays, no religion can be superior, no truth can be absolute, and no savior is unique. Foundational to the pluralist argument against Christianity is to discredit the historicity of the Christian faith by arguing that the New Testament documents are unreliable and fictional, and that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a "myth" and should be understood in a metaphorical sense. If the New Testament can be found as false and fictitious and the Incarnation of Jesus be reinterpreted as a myth, then Christianity is not "true" "absolute" "unique" and "superior." It is morally repulsive in our post-modern society that say that there is only one Savior, only one way to salvation, only truth to embrace. They would argue that religious tolerance is the only true path to peace with the integration of everyone's beliefs and values as one world theology united under the same God which every religion is oriented (a la John Hick and "theocentrism"). Yet it ironic to see that the only people who pluralists don't tolerate are Christians (the intolerant ones). If they are to be true to their virtues of tolerance, then why don't they tolerate Christians and whoever wants to say "Merry Christmas?" It is also doubly ironic to see that those leading the pluralist push to relativize religions are so-called Christians themselves. It is as though they are ashamed to profess Jesus as Lord, as "the way, the truth, and the life." They don't want to believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man, born of a virgin, and conceived by the Holy Spirit. To do so would to ground Christianity into history and make Christianity ontologically unique and epistemologically superior to all other religions. So next time you say "Merry Christmas," know that you are spreading more than holiday cheer. You are doing more than just fighting a "war" about trees, slogans, or school programs. You are declaring that Jesus Christ is Lord--that Jesus is the great I AM, the one who was, and is, and is to come. Truly, he is the "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace." Merry Christmas to all of you--especially the pluralists and pundits.

The Nicene Creed (AD 325)
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Some articles of interest: Neutering Santa by Kenneth L. Woodward (Newsweek) When Did 'Merry Christmas' Become An Insult? by Joe Bell (@ Opinion Editorials.com) Christmas Wars & Conspiracies: Conflicts over the Meaning of Christmas Season (@ atheism.about.com) And a 'Merry Pluralism' to All (@ Free Repulic) What Good Is Christmas? by Mal Fletcher (@ Australian Christian Channel) Christmas: Political Correctness and Truth by Anthony Urti (@ Center for Reclaiming America) Faith in Film: Why Not? by Michael Medved (@ USA Today) War On --Mas? by Matthew Hall

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