The FV discussion continues on unabated. Matt Colvin has some very good thoughts on the debate here (makes sure that you read the comments). Lane Keister suggests that ego is the main thing standing in the way of FV people repenting of their errors. The huge number of comments that follow his post make interesting reading. Meanwhile, the Presbyteer posts an overheard comment.
***Mark Goodacre and Dr Jim West continue to discuss the value of Wikipedia.
***Richard Mouw writes on Calvinism and sewage [HT: Prosthesis].
***Paul Duggan (who really needs to sort out his permalinks) puts forward the following statements for discussion:

1. Some Christians, because of their great faith or piety, are more effective than other Christians in begging God’s favors, say for healing the sick.

2. Since some Christians are of that sort, it is a good idea to ask them, in particular, to pray for you, say, if you are sick.

3. It is ok to think, in the back of your mind, “that man is righteous: his prayer will be partciularly effective for my sickness”

4. Doing so is not blasphemous, nor does it impinge upon the complete salvation we have in Christ.

***Mererdith Kline’s works online [HT: Ros Clarke].
***R.C. Sproul reviews N.T. Wright’s recent book, Evil and the Justice of God.
***The good bishop is also in the news again, responding to a BBC Radio 4 show with the ‘controversial cleric’ Jeffrey John, who claims that the doctrine of penal substitution “is repulsive as well as nonsensical” and “makes God sound like a psychopath.” The Sunday Telegraph reports:

Mr John argues that too many Christians go through their lives failing to realise that God is about “love and truth”, not “wrath and punishment”. He offers an alternative interpretation, suggesting that Christ was crucified so he could “share in the worst of grief and suffering that life can throw at us”.

Church figures have expressed dismay at his comments, which they condemn as a “deliberate perversion of the Bible”. The Rt Rev Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, accused Mr John of attacking the fundamental message of the Gospel.

“He is denying the way in which we understand Christ’s sacrifice. It is right to stress that he is a God of love but he is ignoring that this means he must also be angry at everything that distorts human life,” he said.

Bishop Wright criticised the BBC for allowing such a prominent slot to be given to such a provocative argument. “I’m fed up with the BBC for choosing to give privilege to these unfortunate views in Holy Week,” he said.

***From Vern Poythress’s ‘The Church as a Family’, which I had occasion to read a few days ago:

[M]any evangelical churches today are seen primarily as lecture halls or preaching stations. People identify the church with its building, in contrast to the Biblical emphasis that those united to Christ are the real church. Moreover, the building is viewed merely as a place for hearing a sermon or enjoying religious entertainment. Such a view impoverishes our communal life as Christians. Certainly monologue sermons are important, since they are one means of bringing God’s Word to bear on the church. But God intends the church to be much more…

But in too many evangelical churches, people have little experience of the Biblical practice of common family life. There may also be no regard for the necessity of church discipline. The church leaders are nothing more than gifted speakers or counselors (paid ministers), or else managers of church property and/or programs (whether these people are called trustees or elders or deacons). Such “leaders” are just people whose useful gifts have brought them into prominence. In such situations, it is understandable that some people may fail to see why appropriately qualified women may not exercise the key functions they associate with leadership. In fact, Christians will not fully understand the logic leading to male overseers until they come to grips with what the church should really be as God’s household.

***Steven Harris posts a Palm Sunday confession.
***Byron Smith on the chocolate Jesus controversy.
***The Pirate comments on the erotic character of much contemporary worship:

Let’s point out the obvious: replace the buxom blonde babes with stout matrons in their late 50’s, and the worship experience just plain doesn’t happen. Hire an older fellow that walks with a cane as your worship pastor instead of that handsome, young, energetic Cedarville graduate, and Sunday morning just won’t “work.” That should indicate something is wrong. This kind of “worship” isn’t anything new. Maybe fog machines, synthesizers, and colored lights are new, but sensuality and eroticism in worship aren’t. It’s just that in the olden-tymie days, you had to go to a pagan temple to get that. They [presumably the Church — Al] did a remarkably bad job of incorporating the pagan culture into their worship. A few things changed with the imperialization of the Church, but the damage had already been done. Christian worship was doomed to centuries of reverence, formality, seriousness, regularity, and deliberation until the 20th century brought Aphrodite back to her rightful place as the orchestrator of our worship.

***Doug Wilson posts 21 questions for a prospective wife. And, if you are reading Dad, I still do not intend to need to use these myself anytime in the foreseeable future…
***John blogs on slinkies.
***Louis Theroux meets the Phelpses.
***How to paint the Mona Lisa with MS Paint:

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in In the News, N.T. Wright, On the web, Quotations, The Blogosphere, Theological, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Links

  1. Byron says:

    Thanks for the link – and all the rest here too!

  2. Pingback: Pseudo-Polymath » Blog Archive » Morning Highlights

  3. Barb says:

    I’ve always taken NTW’s more “risky” expressions to be dramatic flourish. He’s narrating the story from a human perspective. I don’t believe he intends to call into question God’s sovereignty.

    Alastair, what do you think?

  4. Al says:

    I am not so sure. Wright has not addressed the issue in any great detail to my knowledge, but from what he has said, it seems clear to me that he certainly doesn’t hold a ‘vanilla’ Reformed doctrine of divine sovereignty and Sproul is right to raise questions. The following quote is taken from New Tasks for a Renewed Church, p.46:

    The creator God desired to work within his own world in order to heal it. No solution imposed from a great height would have done. That would have resulted only in the obliteration of the world by a sweeping declaration of justice, or a totally unjustifiable and immoral wiping of the slate clean in a display of sentimental mercy, with God declaring that humanity’s wrong choices didn’t really matter, human freedom wasn’t really significant, and that all along these human creatures had been puppets, whose strings he could pick up and tweak back into obedience any time he chose. He was therefore bound to work the salvation of the world from within; and that meant operating within tension and ambiguity.

    Note, I do not say that only Israel, God’s people, had to live with ambiguity. It seems to me clear that God himself had to do so. This, indeed, is one of the things that the New Testament writers wrestle with, following the example of Jesus himself. If you commit yourself to helping someone out of a bog in which they are stuck, you can shout good advice from the dry land, but the only way you’re actually going to do any good is by going in yourself, getting wet and muddy, and indeed risking getting stuck yourself. Those who think God shouldn’t take such risks have a certain logic on their side, but it’s a logic which makes nonsense of the Bible, the gospel, Jesus and the Spirit. We may become accustomed to thinking of faith as a risk that we have to take. What we don’t so easily realise is that it was a risk for God himself – just as much a risk, in fact, as his making a world that was other than himself to begin with.

    And that shows us what we’re dealing with in the Old Testament: we are observing the results of there being such a God, such a creator, whose very nature is love of such a powerful and creative calibre that it cannot but give itself, pour itself out, into ever new moulds and forms. In the beginning God said ‘Let there be.’, and there was. When humans rebelled, he didn’t shut up shop, call in the accounts, and start to play it safe, preferring a logical but loveless existence to the risky
    enterprise of creation. He took the risk of new creation. And the means of this new creation was Israel, herself part of the creation that had rebelled.

  5. Peter says:

    How many full pages of the Bible can you read without realising that sin has to be paid for?
    It really makes you wonder.

  6. Barb says:

    Well, I still don’t see a compromise of the ultimate truth of God’s sovereignty. It boils down to hard questions about how much Jesus knew, and whether or not he was truly tempted, I think.

  7. Al says:

    I’m not sure it is quite so easily accounted for. I would like to see Wright himself address some questions on this issue sometime. As things stand, I think that it is clear that Wright approaches the question of divine sovereignty from a different perspective than that of classic Reformed thought. I do not believe that this means that Wright is necessarily denying the Reformed teaching, but I do think that Sproul is right to raise questions on this issue. This is an area where clarification really is needed.

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