I have finally fully entered the digital age by purchasing a digital camera. In the past I have not been one to take a lot of pictures, but that is hopefully going to change. Now that I have a digital camera I thought that I should probably sign up for a Flickr account to store my photos online. You can view always view my photos by going to http://flickr.com/photos/smerickson/ or by clicking on the Gallery link at the top of the page. Enjoy being able to see a little of my world.
Let’s play a game called “Know your false antitheses”! I’ll make a statement about two things and you tell me whether or not the statement accurately reflects the relationship between the two things. Ready? Let’s play!
- “Private piety and devotion is more important than political and social action”
- “The moral teaching of scripture is more important than whether or not it is literal history”
- “Academic knowledge is not as important as being ‘on fire for God’”
- “Preaching the word is more important than worship”
- “Relationships and community are more important than teaching doctrine”
- “Revelation is more important than experience”
- “The person of Christ, rather than the Bible, is the central focus of God’s self-revelation”
These questions were taken from an online quiz which has been floating around some blogs lately. The quiz asks, “What’s your theological worldview?” This is a very good question and one with which we should seek to come to terms. Yet, I found most of the questions on this quiz terribly difficult to understand. Reading them reminded me of something that I read recently. In his book Becoming Conversant With the Emerging Church, D.A. Carson writes about false antitheses; I agree very much with his plea.
So which shall we choose? Experience or truth? The left wing of an airplane, or the right? Love or integrity? Study or service? Evangelism or discipleship? The front wheels of a car, or the rear? Subjective knowledge or objective knowledge? Faith or obedience?
Damn all false antitheses to hell, for they generate false gods, they perpetuate idols, they twist and distort our souls, they launch the church into violent pendulum swings whose oscillations succeed only in diving brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’ve been reading Is there a meaning in this text? by Kevin J. Vanhoozer. It is a book about hermeneutics in light of postmodernism. Vanhoozer is a well respected theologian and so far the book has been a great read. Rest assured that Vanhoozer does not argue for some kind of new, postmodern Christianity, rather he simply hopes to fairly interact with current developments in philosophy and literary criticism.
A paragraph that I recently read addresses the question: “Do Christian ministers, teachers, and other students of the Bible really need to make the effort to understand deconstruction and other types of postmodern interpretation?” Vanhoozer responds,
I believe they do. Christians need to make the effort to engage the new masters of suspicion for three reasons. 1) We have an obligation to be intellectually honest, even charitable. Too many critics have written off deconstruction without taking it seriously, that is to say, without taking the time to understand it. Nothing is to be gained by burning straw men. 2) Postmodernity is an interdisciplinary phenomenon that has occasioned a crisis in culture and Christianity alike. It is difficult to minister the Word if one has little understanding of one’s cultural context. 3) Deconstruction and other types of postmodern interpretation have become more and more prevalent in the academy and, increasingly, in the church.
The other day I came across three lectures given by DA Carson at Reformed Theological Seminary on the New Perspectives on Paul. I found them to be pretty helpful. They are much different than the lectures given by Wilder which I posted a couple weeks ago and therefore serve as a good compliment. Here are the lectures:
(HT: A.B. Caneday
The other day I was listening to the lectures given by DA Carson on the New Perspectives
. In the second lecture he gives some wise counsel about how one ought to go about analyzing some one else’s position. The example that he used to show this he took from his work on the emerging church movement. I think that his comment is right on when it comes to both the New Perspectives and the emerging church. He said:
You can shape a discussion by framing it a certain way. If you stereotype another person’s position and show how it’s bad then you can say what you’re doing is good. But if the other position doesn’t really hold that and actually says a whole lot of things that you’re trying to say but puts them in a more believable framework then suddenly you’re the one who looks a little bit silly. And so the historical theological questions really are very important indeed. Let me take an analogy, right away from this one so it’s not freighted with so much weight. I have a book coming out this month on the emerging church movement. And there are lots of good things to be said about elements of the emerging church movement ?¢?Ç¨?Äú some pretty negative things as well. But one of the things that strikes me about the positive elements in the emerging church movement is that the most positive things that can be said about the emerging church movement (and there are quite a lot of them) you could also say about other segments of broader confessional Christianity without all the negatives that go with it. In other words, I could show you the strengths of the best parts of the emerging movement in a church like Tim Keller’s in Manhattan – without all the nasty stuff that you sometimes get in other parts of that movement. And so, if you can show, for example, that some of the great strengths of this new perspective theology are in fact already there in Luther and Calvin, then the stereotype of what’s bad with them and good with you gets twisted. And then you start asking, ‘Well what is it exactly that you’re introducing and are you saying something that is moving you away from Scripture or closer to Scripture?’ The whole frame of the debate gets changed. It is in that sense that knowledge of the deep historical theological categories becomes pretty important. Do not believe what most of these writers say Luther and Calvin believed. They far more often than not get it wrong rather than right. You’ve just got to read the primary sources before you make judgments of that sort.
On Sunday, May 22, 2005 Trinity Church
in New York City, held their regular service. But this day was unlike any other. The entire service was done in complete silence using only mime. The other noticable difference was the costumes of all those involved at the church. The entire service was done in clown outfits. Frankly, I don’t know what to think about this right now – I’m really speechless. There will be more to come after I’ve had some time to process this. For now you can see what it’s all about below. (HT: Doggie
Resources about the service
Photos from the service
A video of the entire service (Windows Media Streaming)