Open Mic Thread 12


The open mic thread is where you have the floor and can raise or discuss issues of your choice. There is no such thing as off-topic here. The comments of this thread are free for you to:

  • Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
  • Share interesting links
  • Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
  • Ask questions
  • Put forward a position for more general discussion
  • Tell us about yourself and your interests
  • Publicize your blog, book, conference, etc.
  • Draw our intention to worthy thinkers, charities, ministries, books, and events
  • Post reviews
  • Suggest topics for future posts
  • Use as a bulletin board
  • Etc.

Over to you!

Earlier open mic threads: 123456, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

As I am taking a break from regular blogging, I don’t plan to comment here (I will be commenting again from the next open mic thread). However, I will be reading any thoughts left below.

Some comments of mine in recent online discussions:

1. Does Genesis 2 teach that the whole world is sacred garden space? (No)
2. ‘Wrestling’ with the killing of the Canaanites. Derek discussed some of Enns’ statements recently here.

Leave your own thoughts in the comments!

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.
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61 Responses to Open Mic Thread 12

  1. Alex says:

    Do our souls go directly to heaven after we die if we’re in Jesus?

  2. whitefrozen says:

    In other news, P. Enns new book is infatuating people left and right with its challenging, profound message of, ‘God didn’t do all those nasty things in the OT’:

    • Indeed. I noticed that you commented. I commented here and here. I am surprised that more people don’t appreciate that, far from being a brave move, challenging the biblical text to uphold a vision of God who exemplifies effete liberal values is a very far cry from genuine courage.

      • And it is definitely not just allowing the text to speak on its own terms.

      • whitefrozen says:

        Yeah, I just left another comment. I’m getting sucked in man…

        I mean, honestly, I do really try and think the best of these various theological thinkers, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of understanding where they come from. But Enns appears to be one of those liberal protestants who gazed into a well and mistook his reflection for Jesus, to paraphrase that quote since I don’t remember it exactly.

      • The well quote is Schweitzer, I think, isn’t it?

        And, yes, I have far more intellectual respect for positions that just reject the Scriptures’ witness, as opposed to those who twist and contort it to conform to their preconceptions of God.

      • whitefrozen says:

        George Tyrrell, actually:

        I’m pretty reluctant to throw out charges of heresy, but I can’t really think of way that Enn’s position doesn’t end up being Marcionite or semi-marcionite.

      • Interesting! One learns something new every day. 🙂

      • Also, after a while of watching progressive evangelicals, one realizes that whatever ‘wrestling’ they are doing, they must be losing, because contemporary liberal values always seem to come out on top.

        Your challenge of the claim of ‘enlightenment based sensibilities’ was spot on too. That expression, which I suspect was picked up from people like Wright, seems to be a ‘boo, hiss!’ term deployed relatively unthinkingly—and with a dash of chronological snobbery—to stigmatize anything that seems fundamentalist. I highly doubt that most people who use it have actually have much of a first hand acquaintance with enlightenment philosophy or have given serious thought to the dynamics of its values. It isn’t hard to draw a fairly straight line from various enlightenment sensibilities to a number of the positions being advanced in these conversations.

      • whitefrozen says:

        Yeah, it’s definitely one of those things thats invoked more than questioned. Kind of like terms like ‘christ centered, christocentric’ etc. I’m waiting for that to be invoked, actually. But it might actually be a disservice on Wright’s part to have made invoking ‘enlightenment’ a legitimate response to these kinds of questions and issues.

      • One of these days I am going to write something very lengthy on the problems with thinking that christocentrism is, by itself, an answer to anything.

      • whitefrozen says:

        What a gatekeeper thing to do:)

        I was thinking about what you said regarding draw a line from enlightenment ideas to current liberal positions, and it strikes me that a position such as Enns’ isn’t far at all from the very real Enlightenment idea that we are free from the past and must progress past it. Interesting stuff.

      • One could also argue that Enns et al are directly in line with the Enlightenment ideal of universal reason. Revelation conditioned by historical particularity is instantly exposed to suspicion because it doesn’t attain to this ideal. The historical and cultural particularity revealed in the Scriptures is cause for distrust for those of us who have attained to the regime of liberal universal reason. We must free Scripture from its cultural shackles and discover the timeless and universal truth that it was straining towards within its problematic cultural embeddedness.

      • whitefrozen says:

        Yeah, that’s an important point. Oi. I might do a bit of writing myself on this topic.

        On a somewhat related note, you’ll enjoy this twitter thread:

        tl;dr, I’m not a Christian because I don’t interpret Christ’s ethical/moral teachings in a deontological, Kantian sense.

      • Lol! As I’ve argued here, I reject the popular idea that Jesus universalized the concept of the neighbour.

      • whitefrozen says:

        I’ll read that and reply at some point – I do think he universalized the ‘neighbor’ but I don’t think that in any way negates the fact that the use of force can be justified.

      • I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. I just don’t think that the universalizing of the neighbour reading makes the most exegetical sense.

      • Also, you may or may not have seen that I left another comment.

      • whitefrozen says:

        I’m actually somewhat pleasantly surprised by some of the interaction in that comments section. I originally was going to just troll (yes, I still troll from time to time – I got banned from commenting on TGC facebook pages because of it), but then I saw that the reaction my/your comments wasn’t too terrible.

      • I am not sure how much substantial progress has been made, but the character of the conversation has been pleasantly surprising, as you say.

  3. Pingback: Some Scattered Thoughts on Peter Enns Ideas on Scripture, the Enlightenment and God « Theologians, Inc.

  4. quinnjones2 says:

    Hi Alastair and Joshua!
    It’s good to read your conversation.
    I think Christian debates are evidence of our dependency on God in Christ Jesus and of our continued need to study the scriptures, to research meditate and pray, to seek the counsel of others, and to listen question and challenge.
    Thank you again.

  5. brentwhite says:

    “Also, after a while of watching progressive evangelicals, one realizes that whatever ‘wrestling’ they are doing, they must be losing, because contemporary liberal values always seem to come out on top.”

    A thousand times yes!

  6. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Invariably, when I expressed concern over these issues, well-meaning apologists would refer me to Gleason Arche’s massive Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, a heavy volume that seeks to provide the reader with sound explanations for every conceivable puzzle found within the Bible—from whether God approved of Rahab’s lie, to where Cain got his wife. But encountering a 500-page book listing hundreds of apparent biblical contradictions, half of which I didn’t even know existed before, did not have the desired affect and in fact only made things worse.

    I have to admit I laughed at this. I too was introduced to these issues through a very conservative Biblical commentary.

  7. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    From a comment at Whitefrozen’s blog:

    The difference is that the old mainline scholars did not have a passionately biblicist audience at hand, as Evans and Enns have.

    I’d dispute this. Much modern Biblical scholarship, from its beginning in the 1800s, has been aimed at people who wanted to reconcile a passion for the Bible with modernist leanings. The ex-fundamentalist has always been the big market for this kind of thing. Enns and Evans have showed up at the end of a very long party.

  8. Pingback: “The troubling and untamed God that encounters us in Scripture” | Rev. Brent L. White

  9. quinnjones2 says:

    This is not really a comment – it’s more about me flipping my lid, I think. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, too – but I do think it’s also about me flipping my lid.
    My younger daughter and her young man got engaged a couple of weeks ago and they are getting married in January or February next year – they are waiting for the church leader to confirm the date. This isn’t why I’m flipping my lid – I am delighted with the news and with all the wedding plans.
    The thing is, during the course of conversation, my daughter told me that a distant family member had got married. From my lips came the question, ‘Did he marry a woman or a man?’ At first, my daughter and her fiance looked blankly at me. Then their faces became wreathed in smiles and soon we were all helpless with mirth because… well, my question seemed to be such a crazy question and yet we also realised that ‘in this day and age’ it was actually a legitimate question.
    I’ve read somewhere that the essence of humour is incongruity and I think that probably explains our mirth -the incongruity of my question. How could I possibly ask it? Yet ‘in this day and age’, why not ask it?
    This brings me back to my belief that I may be flipping my lid. After all the agonising about SSM and about the difficulties of LGBTI people, after all the anguished prayers and meditating on the scriptures, I’m now beginning to find it almost beyond belief that UK Bishops were in Market Bosworth recently and having conversations about same-sex attraction and agreeing to disagree agreeably about the possibility of SSM being regarded by the church as viable and acceptable.On Saturday we drove past Market Bosworth on our return from a Derbyshire Bridal Centre . I thought about the Bishops and wondered if I was going crazy or if the world was going crazy… or both.
    So there it is.
    Alastair, I know I can find sanity on your blog page and I don’t really think I’m going crazy but I do think I need to stop suppressing my complete bewilderment that the church is even considering making SSM part of the ‘norm.’ I think it’s vital for us to love and welcome gay people. But same-sex marriage?!

  10. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Alastair, you might be interested in Malcolm Guite’s lecture on Lancelot Andrewes.

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