Posts Tagged ‘James White’

OD Today: 21 January 2009 (early edition)

January 21, 2009

This morning’s update is almost but not quite entirely Obama-free.

  1. Mike Witter explains N. T. Wright‘s New Perspective on Paul: “Wright acknowledges at the end of the interview that Reformed theologians will think that he is “smuggling in works-righteousness” to salvation, but he replies that he is actually just being faithful to Paul’s teaching that Christians “really do ‘please God.’” … Catholic view.  Wright still holds to grace alone, but not faith alone, at least as articulated by Calvin and Luther.”
  2. Henry Neufield offers a post-mortem on the Bush Administration. “But having chosen to go to war, President Bush acted as though there was no need for continued support of the war. There are indications that many in his administration thought the war would be much easier. I have a hard time crediting that level of stupidity.”
  3. Church Relevance offers a list of sixty “top Church blogs.” That’s Church Universal, apparently, rather than local church. Stuff Christians Like celebrates coming in third. Several emergents, no ODMs.
  4. James White offers comment on the Williams/Ehrman debate (from Unbelievable?), as part of an episode of The Dividing Line. I have not yet heard this episode: I’m still about forty hours behind on various audio goodies that accumulated while I was away last week.
  5. Miriam Franklin calls Catholics and various groups represented by the World Council of Churches unbelievers.
  6. Miriam Franklin calls John Crowder demonic. See also Chris Rosebrough, which called Crowder’s behavior satanic.
  7. Dwayna Litz reminds us that Jesus did not come to bring world peace. “I just emailed my friend the following verses for the “New Testament Christian”, which prove that war is in fact part of God’s sovereign plan.”
  8. Kit offers three Zeitgeist (movie)-related posts, including an interview with Jordan Maxwell (1, 2, 3).
  9. Howard Fisher has been reading Michael Horton, and takes on the concept of “time alone with Jesus.” “For years I have interacted with Roman Catholics apologists, who mock the doctrine of Sola Scriptura due to their view of Protestantism, by making the charge that Protestants run to sit with Jesus under a tree all alone. This makes sense to me more now than in the past. When Protestants act as Gnostics in their search for truth (while decrying moral relativism), they feed our critics with much ammo.”
  10. Ergun Caner vs. James White, as recommended by Lane Chaplin (YouTube). Ninety-three minutes; I’m still looking for a free (as in costing $0.00) audio version.
  11. Brian D. offers a batch of links. There’s very little overlap what you’ll see here.
  12. Lane Chaplin/Reformata offers a link for a high-quality video of Paul Washer’s “10 indictments” sermon. This is a biggie, and somewhat to very popular among ODMs. I really should put together a bunch of notes and links for this, since it encapsulates a lot of the claims and rhetoric popular among ODMs.
  13. Boyd Miller offers a check list for deciding if you’re part of the Word of Faith movement. “4. Do you believe God has anointed certain people to collect money in his name?”
  14. Job at Jesus Christology quotes and highlights an editorial from NewsMax saying the now-former President betrayed conservatives. “It should be remembered that, sometime after the invasion, the raison d’etre of the war changed from removing Saddam from power and stopping his weapons of mass destruction program to a dreamy plan of creating a democracy in Iraq.
  15. Darryl Foster offers a video with Samuel Brown’s contrary (that is, positive) opinion regarding gay Christians. “We had a civil exchange but with stark disagreements, so I respect him for his civility in expressing his points. Brown says that he was raised in the COGIC but obviously disagrees with COGIC’s moral stance. What do you think about Samuel Brown’s theology on homosexuality? Is he right, wrong or just another really mixed up gay christian?” (YouTube)
  16. Scott Isebrand/Religious Right Watch/Chris Rodda offer an account of a soldier feeling pressured to applaud at the end of a particular prayer by someone named Rick Warren at a public event yesterday. “…soldiers pressured to conform to commanders’ religious beliefs.” Civil religion, anyone?
  17. Kris at SGM Survivors asks among other things why Sovereign Grace Ministries would want to plant a church in Colorado Springs, of all places. “I know you guys have redefined the word “gossip” to mean any and all sharing of information that you don’t want people to be discussing.  But is it really “gossip” to want to know if one’s senior pastor will soon be swapped out for another guy?  Is it somehow wrong to be concerned about who will be leading one’s “local” church?  Wouldn’t it demonstrate, actually, a strange lack of concern if people did NOT desire to know about these things?”
  18. The Westchester Institute announces a commentary addressing the question “Has the Pro-Life Movement Failed?”

I generally hesitate to be a trend-spotter and prognosticator, but I’m expecting more articles regarding George W. Bush saying, more or less “we’ve been had” now that he’s out of office and no longer the beneficiary of any Pauline commands to be subject to those in authority.

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OD Today: 7 January 2009 (very late edition)

January 7, 2009

Warning: if this weblog were a movie, it would be rated R due to repeated uses of the words “death” and “abortion” and occasional uses of the words “hell” and “kill.” We’ll try to keep the language tame, and warn on content when appropriate.

Most of tonight’s items are continuing stories; the exceptions are the “pathological antagonists” article and the news item about Ed Dobson.

  1. Chris Rosebrough calls out Jane Dratz again, this time for her Christian Post article on how to share your faith using a song by Leona Lewis.
  2. Chris Lyons shares an article from Frontline Fellowship that appears to be taken entirely from Guy Greenfield’s book The Wounded Minister (2002), regarding pathological antagonists. It’s a shame these pathological antagonists don’t seek out abusive pastors, and vice versa.
  3. But the reasons why Origen may have preferred one reading over another can be quite complex, to be sure. In any case, all we can glean from the references Ehrman himself provides is that Origen knew of the variant in the third century.”
  4. Ingrid Schlueter links to an article by Matt Trewhella regarding Ed Dobson (not James Dobson, but the former Moral Majority lieutenant) who said recently that he voted for Barack Obama. “I have seen this with other Christian leaders who have become leftist in their political views. They call upon Christians to have nothing to do with politics, and then they involve themselves with politics – leftist politics.” Both say Dobson is apostate: “When a Christian leader boasts about voting for Barack Obama he has apostatized. Christianity opposes the killing of the preborn and the legitimizing of sodomy. Always has.”
  5. Miriam Franklin comments on the return of Todd Bentley and Rick Joyner’s work in restoring Bentley. Bentley is apparently not returning to his wife.
  6. Dwayna Litz picks up on the popularity of the doctrine of soul sleep among some in the Hebrew Roots movement, calls out Lew White. Full article here.
  7. John Chishem continues with part three of his review of Jesus Wants to Save Christians, by Rob Bell and Don Golden. “From the reading of this book, and the reading of the narrative theology along with other books and videos and recordings, it is clear that Bell is teaching the Christian Universalist Heresy and wrapping it in the poetic language of the New Exodus. “
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OD Today: 7 January 2009 (late edition)

January 7, 2009

Some recurring stories here (virginity pledges, Jett Travolta, John Crowder, N. T. Wright, and of course Rick Warren) and some new stuff. Honestly: had you ever heard of E. A. Adeboye before today?

I was going to hang onto this for several more hours, but then the SGM story appeared again. See item 15 below.

  1. I realize ODMs took the press coverage at face value and moved on, but William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal dug into the “virginity pledge” stories and came away with several bullets. “virginity pledging teens were considerably more conservative in their overall sexual behaviors than teens in general — a fact that many media reports have missed cold.”
  2. The death of Jett Travolta is still a story.
  3. Chris Rosebrough interprets Jesus’s interpretation of Scripture. “Since Jesus proved His claim to being the One True God in human flesh by raising Himself from the dead, there is no greater authority, living or dead on the subject of the Bible than Him.
  4. Miriam Franklin digs into E. A. Adeboye’s theology. “When googling for information on Adeboye and RCCG, there is obviousy great affection and love for Daddy GO among his supporters. And there is nothing wrong with love or respect where it is due. But the type and also the level of this adoration is something else, and his elevation onto a pedestal seems very unhealthy indeed. And this idolatry seems to be widespread and not just the opinion of a few.”
  5. Ingrid Schlueter links to a Star Parker editorial. “I doubt that Billy Graham would see this in the spirit of his own calling to bring the gospel to all who would listen. Nor would I see the Rev. Graham signing onto the Evangelical Climate Initiative, as has Rick Warren.”
  6. Ingrid Schlueter reminds us who Neale Donald Walsch is, links to a story in which he “now says he made a mistake in believing the story was something that had actually come from his personal experience.”
  7. Defending Contending plugs Voddie Baucham’s book Family Driven Faith. “Voddie sounds the call for parents to take back their biblical responsibilities as the primary spiritual mentors and shepherds of their children. He also calls for the church to not only stop interfering and usurping parents’ authority, but to quit dividing and segregating the family.”
  8. Michael Davis on Salah Sultan: “There is freedom of religion in this country and Muslims are free to look forward to and hope that one day America will become a Muslim nation with sharia law. However, that would mean the destruction of America as we know it and actions toward such a cause may cross the line between freedom of religion and sedition.”
  9. Denise at Surph’s Side quotes Arthur Pink, applies his comments to Rick Warren.
  10. John Baker follows suit regarding John Crowder and the Sons of Thunder.
  11. La Shawn Barber quotes Heather McDonald regarding murder rates among black Americans. “Instead of sending “dissenting” e-mail to me or Heather Mac Donald, send it to the men doing the killing and the men and women dooming black babies to fatherless childhoods. They deserve your scorn. We don’t.”
  12. Frank Turk on essentials and inessentials, especially miracles. “It doesn’t seek to get them to first, for example, accept a 6-day creation before showing them that the Law says they are sinful people under condemnation.”
  13. David Reagan offers the second installment regarding the question of whether the Antichrist is a Muslim. “In his book, Goodman argues that the Antichrist will rise from the Eastern wing of the old Roman Empire, coming from the ancient Greek sphere of influence that was incorporated into that empire. Getting even more specific, he argues that the Antichrist will come from the Seleucid area of the Greek sphere — specifically, from Assyria, meaning either modern-day Syria or Iraq.”
  14. James White warns regarding N. T. Wright’s new book on justification. “It is vitally important to note that the Reformation doctrine of justification was forged out of the highest view of Scripture, while modern viewpoints come forth from a far more skeptical, man-centered perspective.”
  15. Christian Research Network links to both Sovereign Grace Ministries and SGM Survivors. I would encourage fair-minded readers not to decide who is right on the basis of doctrinal statements, but rather read through the Noel’s Story thread(s) (1, 2, 3). There is without doubt some plain-vanilla axe-grinding etc. in the comments, but having read the main story and the first 150 or so comments I would have to say that posters Noel and Grizzly present a coherent-to-convincing story alleging that church leadership in one Virginia (Fairfax?) SGM church knowingly allowed an admitted child molestor to work in their nursery. I haven’t read the other thousand or so comments, so I can’t comment on the rest of the thread, etc.
  16. Brian Thornton picks up the virginity pledges story. “Let’s be honest, though. Teens are going to have sex, in my opinion, almost regardless of what is presented to them, whether they are sex educated, gospel informed, or take a vow of virginity or not. Maybe the best prevention is to not allow them so much flexibility and free time away from home.” I’m not going to try to get his comments to mesh with the McGurn/WSJ analysis above.

OD Today: 7 January 2009 (early edition)

January 7, 2009

There may or may not be a late edition today; work is crazy busy and I may not have time for a second pass today.

There’s a lot of meat here, and I mean a lot. Only the John Crowder story is really new, but there’s barely a dud in the bunch today.

  1. Thomas Heringer is reading Francis Schaeffer’s book How Should We Then Live? and blames the current state of the United States on its cultural inheritance from Greece and Rome. “We refuse today to put the ten commandments into our schools and courts, because of the mistaken view that this would violate separation of church and state. Instead we rely on the word of man, which changes daily if not moment by moment. We have even gone so far as to put Christ on the back burner in our churches and have opted instead for man made programs, such as The Purpose Driven life.”
  2. John Baker links to this slideshow from Aish.com on the Arab-Israeli conflict. “The goal of the Arabs is the destruction of the Jews.”
  3. Henry Neufeld offers a post and links on evangelical Christianity and evangelism from an atheist perspective. “The trouble is, it’s often the behavior of the messenger much more than the honesty of the beliefs that often offends other people.”
  4. Watcher’s Lamp links to a column in the Salt Lake Tribune (originally from Bloomberg) by Paul Kennedy on global financial prospects for 2009. “The biggest question concerns the United States. My instinct tells me it will lose ground in 2009. I simply don’t see how the Treasury can print $1 trillion to cover deficit spending, offer those bills at very low interest rates, and expect foreigners (not Americans, because we don’t have the savings) to buy them, persuading the world to keep afloat its greatest debtor since Phillip II of Spain. … Yet if Asians decline to buy tens of billions of Treasuries each month in 2009, U.S. interest rates will have to go up again. “
  5. John Chishem continues his review of Jesus Wants To Save Christians, by Rob Bell and Don Golden. “Bell does not like government, specifically, Bell does not like government that does not function within his view of the purpose of government, which is a very liberal one, from my reading. … Clearly, Bell has a low view of the need of the military and the use of force to protect the gifts and the country, and those who are poor and oppressed, which God has entrusted to the rulers.”
  6. Dwayna Litz shares email in response to her earlier post regarding Gary Gilley’s review of Tim Keller’s book; the unnamed author is concerned about ecumenicism and syncreticism: “We used to pray for the nations through the book Operation World by Patrick Johnstone, but it was always disturbing to find him including Catholics, Orthodox, and other non-saved “Christians” within the statistical percentage of Christians in each country. We also observed the shift in missions from “conversion out of” to “adding Jesus within” other religions as missionaries would redefine pagan religious practice and teaching to “Christianize” them. “
  7. Thomas Ice discussses the history of the doctrine of the pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church prior to John Nelson Darby.
  8. Ingrid Schlueter calls out Glenview New Church of Glenview, Illinois for their Summary of Beliefs. “I have news for them. This isn’t Christianity at all but an apostate counterfeit.” This is a somewhat measured response from Schlueter given that Glenview New Church is universalist and Swedenborgian.
  9. Yet another emergent/emerging Christian expresses doubts about global warming.
  10. Dwayna Litz links to and excerpts Sidney Dyer regarding N. T. Wright, author of the New Perspective on Paul, Wright’s ecumenicism, and his new perspective on the Gospel. “A major problem with Wright is that, if he does hold to Christ’s vicarious atonement, he believes Christ died for and will save all men.”
  11. Jason Lisle calls atheism irrational. “In other words, if atheism were true, it would be impossible to prove anything!” I haven’t worked through the details, but I think I smell an excluded middle.
  12. Ken Silva recaps his positions on contemplative prayer, etc. and explains why he focuses only on points of disagreement with other writers. “Those familiar with AM know I’ve referred to that style of writing as the plus/minus approach. It’s by far the most common method, which no doubt you’ve seen many times. One begins by listing the 3-5 good things about a given subject, this is then followed by the 8-10 bad things, in order to reach the foregone conclusion that they can’t recommend said subject. And as I’ve said before it’s not wrong; however, I just chose to leave out the often patronizing step one is all.”
  13. Anton and/or Janet Hein-Hudson on John Crowder. “The essence of John Crowder’s ‘ministry’ appears to be this: experience over doctrine.” I didn’t note it at the time because it was a clip without comments, but Chris Rosebrough linked to this same video clip yesterday. It was also a major chunk of yesterday’s Fighting for the Faith podcast.
  14. Phil Perkins offers the second installment in his series regarding Online Discernment Ministries. “Nevertheless, there are some in the ODM world who aren’t even saved. The proof is in their lives. Part I dealt with two sins currently rampant. One is a general looseness in ethics. … The second sin is rooted in team spirit of a sorts.”
  15. James White pounds the table regarding Tim Staples and his “33,000 Protestant denominations” claim, and reviews an appearance by Bart Ehrman (audio).
  16. Chris Rosebrough calls out Pam Shepherd of First Congregational Church of Christ in Ashland, Oregon for refusing to marry heterosexual couples unless and until homosexual couples are able to marry too.
  17. Job at Jesus Christology asks whether Israel has a right to exist as a nation. “it is my proposal that Old Testament Israel’s right to exist as a unique sovereign political entity tied to the land that was formerly Canaan ended by virtue of their breaking the Sinai covenant….”
  18. Boyd Miller on tithing and bankruptcy; USA Today article here. There are some interesting numbers regarding tithing here, but the main story, about people who go into bankruptcy while still tithing, sounds anecdotal.
  19. Roderick Edwards, former preterist, gives an overview of preterism and distinguishes between preterism and hyper-preterism. “The present day versions of hyperpreterism all originated in the 1970s with a man named Max King. King was a “church of Christ” minister who wrote several hyperpreterist books in the 1970-1980s. Hyperpreterism before that was mainly manifested among Universalists.”
  20. Cindy Kunsman gives some background on the Shepherding movement. “All of the Shepherding/Discipleship groups observed this focus on submission and the “umbrella of protection” concept to varying degrees and continue to do so, despite the fact that shepherding was theoretically denounced and renounced by most Evangelical leaders and some of the leaders of shepherding themselves.”
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OD Today: 6 January 2009 (late edition)

January 6, 2009

This is a little early for a late edition, but I’ve got a lot to do this afternoon. More ReJesus, more Islam, and a cameo by Rick Warren. The best of the bunch is the second-least likely: one of the ODM detractors says global warming is done.

  1. Student of megachurchs Ed Stetzer repeats an article he wrote for the Nashville Tennessean on how to stop the decline of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Yet, such change will require an openness to other approaches to church and ministry from different cultures and generations. Openness will be difficult since preaching against other ways of doing church still gets the “big amen” at the SBC meeting– even though the “Amen Corner” is getting older and smaller every year. If we share a common theology, we need to hold out a chair and ask new generations and ethnicities to sit at the table of leadership. We need leadership change.”
  2. Ed Stetzer interviews Alan Hirsch, co-author of ReJesus. “Every time we attempt to image God, be it mental or metal, we limit him and thereby seek to control him. We must always allow Jesus to be beyond any stereotype that we might wish to make of him.”
  3. Dan Phillips on analysis paralysis. “It’s just that we’ve moved the focus from my obeying right, in faith and by grace (which is an explicitly Biblical focus), to my yielding right (which is not). And I still fail, because I have to strike the right mystical attitude to shift into “J” for Jesus-life. If I’m not there, there’s something more for me to do.” This would be so much more helpful if he would point out examples of people recommending “doing nothing to avoid doing something in the flesh” rather than setting up a straw man and pushing it over. He mentions but does not cite Andrew Murray.
  4. Bill at Defending Contending blames sin generally and divorce in particular for the current state of the American economy. “Capitalism must break down; it’s not designed for a completely unrighteous people. As America slips into paganism, our economy will become the economy of a pagan nation.”
  5. James White on offending atheists; Daniel at Puritan Reformed amens. I haven’t seen or heard this sixteen-minute clip yet, but the “it’s time to stop being polite” argument sounds familiar to anyone who has listened to Richard Dawkins recently.
  6. Daniel at Puritan Reformed offers a link to Brannon Howse interviewing Matt Smith; Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, attends Smith’s church. “Until and unless the people of the Middle East embrace Christ and surrender their hatred and their hearts to Him, there will be no peace in the region.”
  7. Chris Lyons talks about the end of the global warming debate. Like Lyons we typically avoid the Huffington Post here, too. No quote necessary, really.
  8. John Baker links to a Guardian (UK) article about the Richard Dawkins/New Atheist bus campaign. And with that color scheme I suspect Dunkin Donuts is involved somehow.
  9. Bill Wilson talks about Islam in America, touches on the protests in Ft Lauderdale on December 30th. I think I also linked to this article dealing with those protests a few days ago. “Throughout the Bible it is shown that nations perish when they allow false religion to gain a foothold.” Yeah, that article on Dominionism is starting to feel overdue.
  10. Speaking of which, Scott Isebrand at Religious Right Watch (not an ODM) tries “gays and lesbians are the new Jews” as a sound bite. “Fundamentalists the world over spread myths about gay people, sexual and reproductive health, and science, they do so hoping to leverage the fear they create into power and access for fundamentalist leaders and cultural influence for fundamentalism as a movement.” For the record, we here at ODT agree that some conservative Christians got way too cozy with Adolph Hitler and his ideas before and during World War II (but of course see also Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Are Christians (apart from maybe Fred Phelps?) recommending killing homosexuals?
  11. James Swan spotlights Catholic apologist Tim Staples’s interpretation of Romans 5:12 (mp3 at link).
  12. Paul Walker says the Southern Baptist Convention’s (offline?) Missions Mosaic magazine is recommending lectio divina and labrynth-walking. I can’t find original sources for any of this online.
  13. Henry Neufeld starts off talking about Rick Warren’s “try it for sixty days” quote, ends up telling Christians generally to “get over it.” “What can we Christians be thinking? We expect Christianity to be easy (try it for 60 days). We expect to be prosperous, and for some reason, certainly not derived from experience, tradition, scripture, or even from any reasonable thought process, we think we shouldn’t be attacked, criticized, or ridiculed.”
  14. David Reagan ponders the question of whether the Antichrist will be a Muslim. “I recently read four books that relate to this topic. One lays the biblical foundation without asserting that the Antichrist will actually be a Muslim. The other three use that foundation to make the assertion. Each of these books will be reviewed over the next couple of entries.”
  15. Denise at Surph’s Side links to Clifton Loucks, who dissects and rejects the Apostles’ Creed. “What do unbelievers think as they attend our assemblies and hear us say, “He [Jesus Christ] descended into Hell” after his death, and then try to explain away the obvious meaning of the words by saying that Christ really didn’t go to Hell? Why should they believe anything else they hear in our assemblies?”
  16. Chris Rosebrough: Book of Mormon “best used as toilet paper.” (~28:00).

Ehrman vs. Williams on Unbelievable?

January 6, 2009

I picked up the trail on this story via either James White or Justin Taylor. I don’t remember. These are my raw notes from an episode of Unbelievable? on Premier Christian Radio in the United Kingdom.

Bart Ehrman is the author of a book called Misquoting Jesus. He was born Episcopalian, then was born again; he attended Moody Bible Institute, then Wheaton, and finally Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was a student of Bruce Metzger. He first believed that the Bible was inerrant, with no problems or inconsistencies, completely correct in all matters scientific and historical. To him the original words matter, and as he lost his faith in this model of the Scriptures he lost his faith, period.

Peter Williams takes the position that the Scriptures are “inerrant with some problems, but still true in the normal sense.”

Ehrman’s opening argument:

  1. There are no original copies of the (New Testament) text available; the copies available were made much later than the originals. For example, the earliest complete collection of Paul’s writings dates to about 350AD, nearly three centuries after Paul’s death.
  2. The copies differ; this means that scribes changed the texts
  3. We have no clue how much; the changes are extensive: there are thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of changes across the body of available text
  4. Most are not material, but some are; some are doctrinal

Ehrman is advocating a model of scribal error that propagates and compounds errors, and furthermore the important errors were introduced intentionally.

Peter Williams starts here; he agrees on the facts regarding dates, but takes a “half-full rather than half-empty” view:

  1. The quality of Scriptural textual traditions is much better than for e.g. classical texts
  2. Agrees there are hundreds of thousands of errors across the total textual tradition
  3. Agrees most are of secondary importance
  4. Says the many texts imply a strong tradition, even with many errors, and claims that Ehrman suggests just the opposite: the more texts there are the weaker the textual tradition is.

The host asked offhand why God didn’t keep errors from creeping in, then deferrs the question for a later show.

Which changes matter:

Ehrman: Mark 1:41: the angry Jesus. Claims the minority tradition, where Jesus is angry (at the man who wants to be healed) is authoritative, vs. the majority tradition, where Jesus is compassionate. This fits Mark’s Jesus better.

Williams: Agrees it matters but not much in this case; questions that there’s any evidence of intent: the minority tradition is geographically concentrated.

Ehrman: gives a weak direct response, then appeals to Matthew/Luke: they both give this story, presumably from Mark, but neither portray Jesus’s emotional state.

Williams: Ehrman consistently prefers an “intelligent design” theory of textual problems, rather than a “random chance” theory. Suggests the spread of changes from Mark to Matthew/Luke suggests accidents, not intent.

Host introduces the story from John of the woman taken in adultery.

Ehrman: this story doesn’t belong in John; how did it get into the text? Williams agrees on the facts, differs on interpretation.

Host: next week Ehrman will be back debating Richard Swinburn and pushing his book God’s Problem, on the problem of evil.

Williams: We can reconstruct the original text from the available textual tradition. Translations improve over time due to 1) more texts and 2) better scholarship. Tradition regarding existing translations is a drag on progress; Bible translators are unwilling to jump whole-hog into modern translations because doing so would hurt sales.

Williams also distinguishes between textual traditions according to their moral value vs. their historical value, and suggests that the older witnesses (secondary sources) are more important than later extrabiblical witnesses.

Ehrman: picks up Hebrews 2:9: did Jesus die by the grace of God? Or did He die apart from God? One word separates these two traditions, and the words are spelled very similarly. Argues the latter/more difficult reading is more likely correct, and the change was a response to a 2nd Century argument with Gnostics, who claimed Jesus “had the Christ” rather than “was the Christ.” This sort of change is the most worrying, because it suggests that the text may have been changed to fit theology, rather than the other way around.

Williams: the preponderance of the evidence suggests chance/random changes.

Host: what does this imply for what/how people believe?

Ehrman: rejects that he has taken a “falsus in uno” position. Brings up the point of 1 John 5 regarding the Trinity. Says theologians don’t generally change their minds regardless of what the Scriptural text actually says, or in response to changes in the understanding of the history of the text.

Williams: Ehrman’s book overstates the problem/how much is really at stake. The overall significance/impact of the Bible is not touched by Ehrman’s argument.

Ehrman: these issues per se didn’t ruin his faith. Reasserts that there are hundreds of important changes.

Williams: early variant readings represent small disagreements. Scholarly agreement is not the central issue; it isn’t the foundation of the authority of Scripture. Appeals to the Old Testament story of Josiah: the Scriptures were completely unavailable, but that didn’t mean they weren’t authoritative.

Analysis: Ehrman is probably correct in that he was constrained by the format of the show: he presented two, maybe four cases, out of what he claims are hundred of important textual problems. Williams had better soundbites: his “glass half-full” and “intelligent design” bites were better than anything Ehrman had in response. Williams had the advantage that he was free to attack Ehrman’s book, while he had no corresponding book to defend.

Conclusion: each man presents and argues a model of scribal error inferring a model of textual variance. It’s difficult to argue conclusively back from the text, which is available, to the scribal process, which can’t be observed. Neither side really has a knockout punch: Ehrman would need say the minutes of a text-changing committee, Williams a cache of authentic texts from 120AD or so closely resembling what’s available today.

Unfortunately, the question they’re purporting to answer, regarding the importance of variations in textual traditions, don’t touch the question of whether the Bible is the Word of God. They both agree in essence that that’s still a matter of faith, and Williams has it, in some form, while Ehrman doesn’t.

OD Today: 5 January 2009 (early edition)

January 5, 2009

Not much new news overnight, and nothing on Gaza.

  1. Kit links to a 2006 article by Jack McNeil defending Paul the Apostle from charges by various unnamed accusers.
  2. Howard Fisher offers more quotes from Michael Horton’s book Christless Christianity.
  3. Darryl Foster makes good on his promise to give scriptural arguments for his “Top 15 lies” article. “In Matthew 19: when Jesus was asked about divorce, the answer he gave condemned all sexual activity outside the male-female marriage covenant.”
  4. Miriam Franklin promotes a comment regarding Cal Pierce to an article of its own. “I recently went to one of their services, and they had a cameo appearance from Cal who preached a brief sermon on the “removal of our minds” (instead of the “renewal of our minds”). He literally claimed that renewal meant removal.”
  5. Miriam Franklin on the free-spending (now-former) Episcopal priest, Gregory Malia.
  6. I’m Speaking Truth picks up the Phyllis Tickle/Sola Scriptura story. This article is mostly a quote and a collection of links.
  7. I’m Speaking Truth offers a long quote from Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, author of Brand Jesus. “don’t believe that all church marketing is evil and misguided, but this article is proof that we must be careful what we seek when marketing the Gospel message. Overall, this article is a good read.”
  8. John Baker picks up Timothy Paul Jones’s article on modesty.
  9. Mike Ratliff takes on the question of unpardonable sin. “I heard one preacher say that only first century Jews could commit this sin. Is that right?”
  10. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to part one of The God Makers. This is a 1982 anti-Mormon film; this appears to be available in various bit torrents, but I don’t see a stream for the full movie anywhere online.
  11. Lighthouse Trails offers a Paul Proctor article on Rick Warren and Barack Obama. “Come on – we’re talking about Huggy Bear Rick in Washington D.C – not Jonah at Nineveh.
  12. Boyd Miller takes on Obama/Warren, asks why nobody appeals to Matthew 6:5-6; “This unscriptural and hypocritical practice is so widely accepted in the public church (I am distinguishing between public and private church, which I won’t address here.) by people who boldly claim the inerrant nature of scripture and rigorously hold to Holy Scripture as the final authority in all matters, yet not a single word can I find on any of the ODM’s about this hypocrisy, nor have I ever heard this scripture taken seriously in the traditional church. Why is this ignored?”
  13. James Swan on Catholic apologists’ claims that there are 33,000 Protestant denominations. This is followup on an article by James White dissecting the 33,000 number.
  14. Dorothy Adams gives a quick overview of hyper-preterism.
  15. Phil Naessens links to a five-part series by Walter Martin on witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  16. Darryl Foster links to an article about a suit by Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster against the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, predicts dire consequences. “So now if atheists, polygamists and wiccans want to get married on the church’s property all they have to do is claim discrimination based on this precedent. Get ready, homosexual marriages are coming to a church near you, whether you want it or not.”
  17. Sharon Lindbloom offers comments from Christian ex-Mormon Katrina Marti on the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. “So, in the end, for me, I can see so clearly that there’s a wide, vast gap between us and them, and it’s not just in doctrine…”

OD Today: 3 January 2009 (early edition)

January 3, 2009

Because of the large number of links left from yesterday, and the fact that it’s probably difficult to read or even scan a list of thirty-plus links, I’m going to try breaking today’s posts into two or more pieces.

  1. Crosstalk America’s podcast is updating a couple of days at a time. Part of yesterday’s episode is Paris Reidhead‘s sermon “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” (SermonIndex.net). He contrasts 19th-century liberalism/humanism and Fundamentalism, and calls both selfishness and not Christianity. He also calls Fundamentalism “Utilitarian Christianity.” “If all you repented for was to stay out of hell, all you are is a Levite serving for ten shekels and a shirt.”
  2. Kit continue dealing with the movie Zeitgeist, links to an article from Always Be Ready that aggregates the responses from various theologians.
  3. David Hocking updates the Israel/Hamas conflict, including the death of Nizar Rayyan.
  4. La Shawn Barber talks about a draft bill in South Carolina that would give women seeking an abortion the option of seeing a free ultrasound first.
  5. Underdog Theology gives Donald Whitney’s definition of the term “evangelical.”
  6. Michael Davis notes the Gideons‘ 100th anniversary: “1.5 billion scriptures in 187 different countries and in 85 languages, including 76.8 million distributions last year alone.”
  7. Defending Contending links to a Wolf Blitzer/CNN interview with Charles Barkley; story with summary here. In this interview, from February 2008, Barkley says the Republican Party is full of “fake Christians.”
  8. Ken Silva presents the first in what he promises will be a series of responses to a letter to one of his readers from Margaret Manning (of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) regarding Henri Nouwen.
  9. Miriam Franklin opens a can of worms regarding what some people call “eternal security” and others “once saved, always saved.”
  10. Underdog Theology links to Donald Whitney’s paper on the boundaries of Evangelical Spirituality regarding spiritual disciplines.
  11. Chris Rosebrough calls Tadd Grandstaff (Pine Ridge Church)’s Christmas sermon the worst Christmas sermon of 2008. Be warned that the embedded video starts automatically.
  12. Brian Thornton says Rick Warren should plead for mercy on behalf of the nation during the Obama inaugural invocation. “IF the gospel is true, and faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, then the ONLY loving thing Rick Warren should do in his invocation is to plead with God to save Barack Obama and all others who have not been born again to a living hope.”
  13. Cindy Kunsman asks if spiritual abuse is biblical, gives two summaries, from Ron Henzel and David Henke.
  14. Miriam Franklin parses Rick Joyner‘s teaching that 2008 was the beginning of the Church of the Last Days.
  15. Orrin Judd links to an article by Roger Scruton on the New Atheists and the strength of their arguments. “But what exactly does modern science tell us, and just where does it conflict with the premises of religious belief?”
  16. Dwayna Litz comments on the death of Jett Travolta, and links to an older article on Scientology.
  17. The latest installment of Fighting For The Faith Radio is available; I haven’t heard it and can’t comment beyond what’s in the show notes.
  18. John Sexton says Newsweek has Bush Derangement Syndrome on the basis of a sidebar ad.
  19. The latest episode of The Dividing Line is available for download.
  20. James White shares a letter from a Mormon convert to Christianity. “Sometime after that, after I had determined that the LDS church was false, I had become saved through reading some Josh McDowell materials.” The author also has some kind words for White.
  21. John Kubicek shares a Henry Lamb column from World Net Daily regarding a United Nations sustainable development initiative called Agenda 21. “We don’ t have much time left, folks. Barack Obama will be going right along with Agenda 21, and I’m pretty sure he’ll get it started as soon as he can eliminate the 1st and 2nd Amendments.”
  22. Phil Naessens shares the video for the Brian McLaren appearance on the Bleeding Purple podcast, in which McLaren says the doctrine of hell flies in the face of the Gospel. Note: the video is just the podcast audio plus still photos.
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OD Today: 2 January 2009

January 1, 2009

Today the new year begins in earnest; let’s hope we’re done with recaps, resolutions, and top ten lists.

  1. Kat summarizes New Age perspectives on the Rapture.
  2. Wendy at Joyfully Growing in Grace takes on the question of interpreting Paul’s writings, particularly Romans 14, using the Torah within the Hebrew Roots Movement. “t’s become clear that the concept is not uncommon among several facets in the Law-keeping community, including but not limited to those in the Hebrew Roots Movement, “Messianics”, Seventh Day Adventism, and Church of God sects.”
  3. Kit shares a link to The Keith Green Story.
  4. Dwayna Litz connects the dots between the New Age group The Fellowship of Friends and contemplative prayer. She also links to an older article where she calls out J. P. Moreland for his endorsement of spiritual disciplines. “Isn’t it clear that ‘practicing the presence’ is for those who are not indwelt with the presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit? There is no need to ‘practice’ a ‘presence’ when the perfect God of the universe dwells within you in all of His perfection.” Her discussion of this issue is as clear and succinct in its elaboration of ODMs objections to contemplation as I’ve seen.
  5. Ken Silva calls out Focus on the Family for recommending The Message via its brio magazine.
  6. Dwayna Litz shares verses for confronting New Agers. “A typical “spiritual” seeker of “esoteric Christianity” would read what he or she likes and not read the verses that convict of sin and tell of the depravity of people apart from Jesus.”
  7. James Swan responds to Patrick Madrid (Catholic Answers Live)’s interpretation of the woman “clothed in the sun” in Revelation 12 as being Mary, the mother of Jesus. “This is a striking example of private interpretation. Rome’s apologists may claim to be part of a monolithic church in which all her devoted apologists are on the same page, but when one surveys their writings it becomes quite obvious such is not the case.”
  8. James White takes on the question of whether Mormonism is Christian; his primary thesis is that Mormonism is polytheistic and Christianity is monotheistic (YouTube).
  9. John Kubicek links to The Farahness Doctrine, Joseph Farah’s Christian Libertarian manifesto.
  10. John Kubicek picks up the story of Igor Panarin and his prediction of the breakup of the United States in 2010 (Wall Street Journal).
  11. John Kubicek picks up the story of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two Border Patrol agents George W. Bush has declined to pardon (World Net Daily).
  12. Dorothy Anderson asks what hyper-preterists do with the Devil. “The question is – who or what is/was Satan? Is he still active today? How do they define him/it?”
  13. Dorothy Anderson asks what creeds hyper-preterists can affirm. “What has happened in hyper-preterism is their eschatological (end times) position requires them to redefine, or at best reschedule the resurrection and after 25+ years, they still have no unified solution to offer.”
  14. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to an article about the difference between a recession and a depression, and the question of which describes the current economic climate (Economist).
  15. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to a couple of Gaza-related articles: one on dangers to Israeli nuclear plants, another on Hamas battle plans. With lots of links.
  16. Miriam Franklin summarizes the return of Todd Bentley.
  17. Michael Newnham asks, among other things, why conservative Christian supporters of Israel don’t demand Israel change its religious policies. “Do we deny a part of our faith by not demanding the freedom to proclaim Christ?”
  18. La Shawn Barber parses this news story, regarding a gang-rape. “Then it dawned on me. The races of the gang-raping thugs: three hispanic and one black. I’d venture a guess that the victim is white.”
  19. Cindy Kunsman offers a glossary regarding cults, cultism, and cultic groups.
  20. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to a story claiming Republican National Committee members are considering accusing the outgoing President of socialism.
  21. Mike Ratliff offers an article by Arthur Pink on Present-Day Evangelism.
  22. Watcher’s Lamp links to a document from the Vatican titled “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace,” comments: “Looks like America’s Pastor, Rick Warren, has been echoing the message from the Vatican…” and another article on the head of the Roman Catholic Church offering a prayer to Mary, the mother of Jesus, on behalf of the global economy.
  23. Ingrid Schlueter links to this Yahoo article on inaugural prayers, repeats that the Obama inauguration story is about abortion: “Will God be moved if Rick Warren mouths the name of Jesus while asking for the blessing on America’s radical, pro-death President? What a farce this is.”
  24. Ingrid Schlueter passes on a picture of a large pro-life billboard in San Francisco.
  25. James Hutchens on Israel, Hamas, and proportionate force.
  26. Christine at Talk Wisdom offers a long article by Susan Smith of Life in Israel – One Body. “Because I am convinced the one Church body and Israel are one and the same, spiritually speaking, I changed the name to “Life in Israel-One Body.”
  27. John Sexton parses a Newsweek article on recent relations between the United States and Iran. “I predict that within a year this same idiot will cheer Obama on when we give Israel the go-ahead for preemptive strikes on Iran’s nuke capability. Wait and see. The rules are different for Democrats.”
  28. Bill Wilson on media coverage of Israel/Hamas. “While the news media is clamoring about how Israel is targeting civilians, the story of why some homes are targeted is totally missed. Hamas and the Palestinians house their weapons, command centers and leaders in civilian communities for two reasons…”
  29. Joel Rosenberg on the range of Hamas missiles. “There were growing fears in Israel last night that Hamas missiles could threaten its top-secret nuclear facility at Dimona.”
  30. Ken Silva links to a two-part teaching from John MacArthur on the sufficiency of Scripture.
  31. Chris Lyons comments on recent focus in Online Discernment on Universalism/Christian Universalism.
  32. La Shawn Barber on the Word of Promise Next Generation audio New Testament: “I just find it…wild, weird, and smart!”
  33. James Thomas on Ted Haggard and true repentance. “If we Mis-Represent the work and power of God through true Repentance then we His Church on earth will become the cause of shipwrecking the faith of many of His people, and even worse, lead the lost into the deepest and darkest pit that we ourselves are destine to fall in as we ourselves temble in right beside them.”
  34. Kit offers a response to the Zeitgeist movie.

And finally, another post from Rod Dreher on Arab reactions and rhetoric in Florida to the situation in Gaza. “Thus does jihadism manifest itself (once again) in America, despite the denial of bien-pensants.”

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OD Today: 1 January 2009

January 1, 2009

A new year, the same old struggle in new forms. With new stories and new links!

  1. Michael Davis on an attempt by Michael Newdow and an unnamed coalition of atheist groups to remove any reference to God from the Obama inaugural. “A majority of the framers of the Constitution were alive at the time and many were present at the first inauguration. Not one of them objected to the Prayers or the references to God. Obviously their understanding of the ’separation of church and state’ was considerably different than Dr. Newdow’s et al.”
  2. Jonathan Dodson asks whether attempting to redeem the culture (as opposed to separating or embracing) is biblical. “I think so, but we must be careful not to call the creation of Christian sub-culture redemption of culture; that, of course, is often just bad culture creation and Andy Crouch recently has helped us out with that. I say, redeem, but redeem wisely!”
  3. Jean at The Virtuous Woman shares her testimony: “but God performed a supernatural work in my heart and raised dead bones to life, and behold 5 years later after I had an abortion, I was saved!”
  4. Ken Silva takes on Glenn Beck and Jesus as he his portrayed in Mormonism: “And since the Bible gives us eyewitness depositions aka Gospels from eyewitnesses, the Apostles Matthew and John, we must conclude from the extant evidence the Mormon “Jesus” is not the real Jesus.”
  5. Chris Rosebrough offers the worst moments of 2008 (audio/podcast). This installment of Fighting For The Faith is 112 minutes long, and I haven’t heard it yet.
  6. Jason Garwood offers thoughts on redemption in Scripture. “It is virtually impossible to approach Scripture without presuppositions, and if that is the case, we might as well have some good ones.”
  7. Dwayna Litz shares a couple of Stanley Monteith’s Radio Liberty episodes regarding Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family.
  8. Dwayna Litz accuses Campus Crusade of creeping Dominionism.
  9. Truth Matters relays a link to a section of Paul Washer’s sermon Ten Indictments; he says a firm grasp of the doctrine of regeneration is more important than being a Calvinist, etc. and calls himself a “five-point Spurgeonist.”
  10. James White shares a half-hour video from Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church titled “Christian Contentment in 2009.”
  11. Beaconlight/Peculiar Pilgrim shares part one of a series of book reviews from 2008.
  12. Phil Naessens calls for a day of prayer for Rick Warren on January 15, 2009.
  13. Dan Cella starts a series on what Christians need to know about the American economy in 2009. “Regardless of our political affiliation, we need to be praying specifically for the Obama Administration.”
  14. Defending Contending offers a link to a 1968 debate between Walter Martin and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
  15. John Kubicek links to a World Net Daily/Drew Zahn puff piece on Ann Coulter. 
  16. Aaron Shafovaloff offers a thought experiment in which a prominent Protestant and/or the head of the Roman Catholic Church switch positions on a controversial issue (e.g. homosexuality) and compares that to the pre-1978 Mormon ban on black priests. “So while you could conceivably hold me accountable for sticking around my local church while my local pastor was doing or saying horrible things, you can’t accuse me of being immoral for refusing to take responsibility for someone like Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Ted Haggard (let alone any dead guy), etc.”
  17. Frank Turk declares January 2009 Global Post-Scriptural Parable Month. He offers an example.
  18. Mollie Ziegler parses press coverage of the “virginity pledge” issue. “Here’s Fox News, for instance, saying that this very limited study actually proves that ‘Abstinence-only programs do not delay the onset of intercourse.’ This study didn’t even look at abstinence-only education programs. It looked at abstinence pledges, which may or may not be a part of abstinence-only education programs.”
  19. Orrin Judd comments very briefly on a Georgie Anne Geyer column at the Washington Times about the exit interviews the outgoing President and Vice President have been doing. “He governed Texas as a compassionate conservative, ran for president as a compassionate conservative, governed America as a compassionate conservative, and leaves office proud of his record of compassionate conservatism. What could be more mysterious to the sufferer of [Bush Derangement Syndrome]?”
  20. Orrin Judd excerpts a Larry Elder column giving the history of “Barack Obama as Magic Negro.” “Elections are all about narrative and Mr. Obama just happened to fit the contours of a stock character from our cultural tradition.” For the record, I consider the term “magic Negro” distasteful and hope the ODMs give the whole narrative a miss.
  21. Orrin Judd parses a Mirko Bagaric column about Hamas, Israel, and the targeting of civilians in Gaza and Israel: “In a clash between Hamas and Israel both sides are justified–Israel ought to be allowed to live in piece by neighboring peoples and Hamas ought to be allowed to govern the nation of Palestine–but neither will achieve its aim by fighting the other, so casualties are justified, but inappropriate.”
  22. Julio Severo shares a column he contributed to LifeSiteNews about “contraceptive culture and prophecies in Revelation:” “Sanger also had profound links to Nazism.”
  23. Dwayna Litz comments on the Hebrew Roots movement and links to another article by Wendy at Joyfully Growing in Grace Ministries. Her link is broken, but I think it’s supposed to go here. “these HR followers have been given the true and “hidden” meanings of Scripture, as opposed to what the mainstream church has been teaching down through the centuries, or they profess to be enlightening us to the true meanings of Scripture which have gotten “lost” since the time of Jesus and the first century after His death.” She also deals with Hebrew Roots in an older article here.
  24. Roger Oakland shares his top 25 issues of the year for 2008. Anyone looking for a good primer on ODMs would do well to start with this list and Oakland’s summary.
  25. John Baker links to an article on Eddie Long’s Obama inauguration party.
  26. Dwayna Litz links to two posts by Cindy Kunsman, one on the Council for National Policy and another on Geoffrey Botkin/the Shepherding movement.
  27. Cindy Kunsman discusses two models for cults.
  28. Ken Silva shares email from a contrary point of view and his response regarding Mormon doctrine.
  29. Darryl Foster gives a Top 15 gay christian lies and promises to give Scripture for each item in a later post.
  30. Truth Matters gives quotes from Michael Horton’s book Christless Christianity.
  31. Darryl Foster shares a video from Celebration Church.

What’s new today? The Michael Newdow/inauguration issue, the Hebrew Roots Movement, and that’s about it. I need to do a longer piece on Jeff Sharlet’s book, and another on Dominionism as it is viewed by different groups, but not yet.