March 2011

I picked up the N.T. Wright study guide; Paul for Everyone Romans a few weeks ago in anticipation of going through this Epistle with a study group that I have attended for the better part of a year now.  I had high expectations that Tom would present his ideas in a clear and compelling way and his book has lived up to my expectations.  The book comes in two volumes with chapters 1-8 and 9-16 separate.

Not only does Bishop Wright interpret the text for us, but he also provides his own translation of the text that is consistent with his interpretation.  I think this is key since part of the problem of Romans is that the language has changed so much and is so embedded in the culture of the day that a word for word translation is not adequate.  Here is an example from Romans 1:

I am under obligation to barbarians as well as to Greeks, you see; both to the wise and to the foolish. That’s why I’m eager to announce the good news to you, too, in Rome.  I’m not ashamed of the good news; it’s God’s power, bringing salvation to everyone who believes – to the Jew first, and also, equally; to the Greek.  This is because God’s covenant justice is unveiled in it, from faithfulness to faithfulness.  As it says in the Bible, “the just shall live by faith”.

This can be compared with the NIV 2011 translation:

Post continued, click here…

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Al Mohler Wants Hell

by Dave on March 16, 2011

in General, Theology

Anyone who knows me will attest of my preoccupation with Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Big Al is a tried and true Calvinist who feels that it is important for all of us to shun anyone who feels the primary message of Jesus is Love, and most particularly to shun the likes of Rob Bell for writing a book released yesterday, Love Wins.

I have not read Rob’s book yet, but in Al Mohler’s blog, he comes down on the side that Rob Bell being a heretic with this book as proof of his slide into liberalism.  Oh my, liberalism.

If you have time, tomorrow March 17, please tune in to hear Al Mohler and his buddies try to show that Love does not win, instead hell and hate do.

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This is Not a Rehearsal

by Dave on March 12, 2011

in General

In an editorial article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Keith Mitchell talks about being nicer to each other and living the kingdom dream in general.  But there is a problem.

I agree and support what Keith is trying to do here, and agree with nearly everything he says.  Here is how he sets it up:

Has the time I have spent regularly reading through the Bible and praying affected not only how I think, but also how I act out in the world each day? Have I made the right choices? Am I doing what God wants me to do?

We should all definitely take the time to understand what it is that God wants us to do and then do it.  Keith goes on to give good examples of how he needed to improve on his relationships with other people.  A want to give a big Kudos to Keith for taking the lead and talking about this.

But then Keith says:

I believe that the reasons for those occurrences can be summed up this way: As we live out our lives through our faith — mine as a Christian by way of a born-again experience — we are participants in a rehearsal preparing us for the main performance that lies ahead.

Here is where I have a disagreement.

A rehearsal is something that really does not have a lasting impact, it is practice.  But that is not the case in our lives and the world.  Instead we are called to make this life, this One.Life in the words of Scot McKnight (I highly recommend this book), into the kingdom dream of Jesus by following him every day.

While I do understand that Keith is trying to convey that there is a follow on life after we are resurrected, we must not think of this one life as something that does not matter, it matters the most.  It is what we do in this life that says whether we get to the the main production in the end.  This is not something we can mess up and then still perform in the show, we need to get on the right path now.

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Going Vegan – Part 1

by Dave on March 8, 2011

in General

I am going to document my pursuit of the vegan lifestyle.  For those who know me and my family personally, you will immediately realize that this is a very big deal for me.  Both of my sons and my wife are now vegetarian (well, pescitarian) but I am quite the lover of meat and all things good and tasty with meat and the love of…….I digress.

If you click on the pictures you will get a higher resolution version, and I recommend doing that.

I have bought the book, The China Study which outlines the benefits of going vegan.  Dad is the one who turned me on to the book though he was not even vegetarian at the time.  Now he is giving it the practical (eat non-meat when there are no meat left overs) approach and is having success.  My kids and my wife are quite successful and their endeavor has made me feel that I should do it too.  But I LOVE meat.

I also bought The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Cooking since I need to make sure that I can cook up a good meal for the majority of folks in the house outside of me going down the vegan path.  I must admit, having the financial commitment and the books staring me in the face on my desk has made the desire increase….and become real.

Yesterday was my first try at the vegan lifestyle.  I did OK considering I made it until about 7 pm before I steamed up a pound of shrimp and ate the whole thing with my own cocktail sauce.  Is that really all that bad?  At least that is the worst I did and I consider that a rousing success!

Today I made it until 8:30 at night, at which point I got a piece of processed American Cheeze Product from the fridge and sinfully sat at my desk and enjoyed every blissfully fatted piece of that wonderful…….ah, it was OK :)

I will write some more in the future about this.  I have a lot of experience to share including an old high school buddy who has written a book on the subject, and the obvious ups and downs of meat eaters and vegans sharing a house.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

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Rob Bell and Universalism

by Dave on March 2, 2011

in General, Theology

I am a bit late to the party since the blow up happened last weekend and I am just getting caught up today, but the debate is not going to be a short term phenomenon.  Rob Bell, Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church (not to be confused with Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church) released a video talking about his new book.  Take a look:

That video has caused commotion in the internet world and this subject is destined to be the single biggest evangelical topic for 2011.

Christianity Today published this article about the goings on with Rob Bell and how people are reacting to it.  John Piper issued a short tweet saying goodbye to Rob Bell (it is linked in the CT article).  So what is the big deal?

The big deal is whether everyone can or will be saved.  That’s it.

I can’t wait for Rob’s book to come out and we let the Christian community get involved in the discussion.  This is going to be good.  As far as me, I currently believe that all people have salvation through Jesus and it is not predicated on knowing him.


Update 1 – Wow, check out this article from ABC. (Is that the same ABC we have in the states?)  It gives you an idea of the magnitude of Rob’s announcement and impact.  Please read it.

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