Archive for March, 2008

Old Navy, Benin, and Macedonia

He looked African to me, but it probably isn’t appropriate to go up to a black man in Milwaukee and say, “Are you from Africa?” Now there’s a recipe for evangelistic success! However, having been to Africa as a 13 year old, I usually can recognize a West-African when I see one. So, although my mind told me that approaching him on this basis alone would not be wise, I couldn’t let it go; I had to talk to him. I approached.

Please don’t take this wrong, sir, but you look like one of my best friends from Benin, West Africa.   

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Rob Bell and Marcus Borg…

Ken Sliva wrote this excellent piece this week.

In his book Velvet Elvis, Rob cites Borg at least twice in a positive fashion…if you are a Christian, this should trouble you!


Some Thoughts on Samson, part 3

  The first two thoughts focused on Samson as a weak leader and the children of Israel as weak followers. For the last post, however, I thought it wise to remind us all that God is at the center of every story — in this case, a most gracious God who acts for his glory and for the good of his people.

Samson suffered a humiliating capture after succumbing to his prostitute’s pleas and then giving over the secret of his strength. The Philistines bound him and took him back to Gaza, where he had previously displayed amazing strength when he ripped the city gate out of its place in the wall, carrying it well over 20 miles in sandy, rolling terrain. But now he stood bound in servitude to the grinding wheel of a prison, his eyes taken by his captors. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the creation account of Genesis a poem as Rob Bell claims?

The most recent in Rob Bell’s Nooma series has caused quite a stir. In the video (which I have seen), he refers to the “creation poem” and then starts explaining the Genesis 1 creation account.

Nathan Neighbor, an outspoken defender of all things emerging and a pupil of Erwin McManus, writes (you can see his entire statement here):

Lastly, anyone who has done any type of study on Genesis would know that it is written in ancient poetry form, closely resembling the literary style of early writings and oral tradition. If this statement negates the validity of the scriptures, then calling Psalms a song collection, or Ecclesiastes a framed wisdom autobiography would do the same. It is a far leap in logic to say that becasue Rob Bell bleives [sic] Genesis is written in poetry form, he denies the literal account of creation.

I probably have not done “any type of study on Genesis.” I do not want to get into issues of oral tradition and the authorship of the Pentateuch. However, I believe that with some basic guiding principles, a simple reading of the Genesis 1 creation account will reveal that in fact it is not of the poetic genre. Read the rest of this entry »


Some thoughts on Samson, part 2

Although Samson was uncommonly gifted, his lack of godly character was quite common among God’s people in those days.

Judges 13:1a And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD…

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Rob Bell on Turn the Other Cheek

Sound pretty good to you? Now compare this with the obvious context of Matthew 5:38-48:

 You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.     

 Yet another illustration of where extra-biblical, social research trumps the obvious meaning of the text. Good thing God preserved Rob’s sources as well as the Biblical text, or else the true meaning of the Sermon on the Mount would have died with its original time-period.