Friday, July 29, 2011

Faith no more

A list of (prominent) people explaining why they are an atheist: New Statesman - Faith no more

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rebel Catholic priest Peter Kennedy still believes in God, but not in Jesus

At least he got sacked: Rebel Catholic priest Peter Kennedy still believes in God, but not in Jesus |
SACKED Catholic priest Peter Kennedy says he hasn't given up on God and prayer, but no longer believes in Jesus.

Father Kennedy, dismissed by the church for unorthodox practices, says he now considers Jesus 'a fable'.

Play the Man

Turns out I must be out of the evangelical blogging sphere as I missed all this (and Driscoll isn't my "friend" on facebook): Play the Man – Kevin DeYoung:
Some of you have probably been following Effemigate—the latest controversy to follow Seattle Pastor Mark Driscoll. The timeline looks like this: a couple weeks ago Driscoll posted something on Facebook about effeminate worship leaders. Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans called Driscoll a bully. Over at the World blog, Anthony Bradley criticized Evans’ comments as libel. Even Brian McLaren added his two cents with a predictable morality tale about two kinds of “evangelicals.” In a subsequent post Driscoll called his Facebook line “a flippant comment.” He reports that his executive elders sat him down and challenged him “to do better by hitting real issues with real content in a real context.” This is wise counsel. Driscoll’s Facebook comment was bound to create more heat than light. It was an unwise way to talk about a serious issue.

Monday, July 25, 2011

First Person: The Bible as a Source of Testable Hypotheses

You can't use the bible in archaeology. First Person: The Bible as a Source of Testable Hypotheses | Biblical Archaeology Review | Bible History Articles:
I would have thought that Eilat would have been praised for proceeding quite scientifically—according to the vaunted scientific method that has produced so much for our civilization. As I understand it, you formulate a hypothesis and then you proceed to test it, either proving or disproving it. Eilat had a hypothesis and she wanted to test it by digging.

But you can’t do that in the case of the Bible, according to Ronny.

Religion and Intelligence

...the level of atheism could range from 18 percent up to 42 percent, with the average IQ at 100. Maybe it’s time to turn that unicycle into a plant stand.

There is no consistent relationship between religion and IQ.
Religion and Intelligence | Jesus Creed

Christianity & Human Relationships: Jesus’ Family in the Jesus’ Movement

An interesting article on the traditions of Jesus' family: Christianity & Human Relationships: Jesus’ Family in the Jesus’ Movement:
To take a starring example, Jesus’ own relatives played a key role in early Christianity.

Friday, July 22, 2011

So you think you understand the cosmological argument?

Quite a good article debunking popular ideas on a classical proof for God: Edward Feser: So you think you understand the cosmological argument?:
I will deal here with some of the non-serious objections, though. In particular, what follows is intended to clear away some of the intellectual rubbish that prevents many people from giving the argument a fair hearing. To get to the point(s), then:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How much Scripture to preach on?

Is it really expository if you are going slowly through a book, or is it really thematic? How much Scripture to preach on? « Shored Fragments:
The reason for this is rather simple: there is an recent British tradition of ‘expository’ (meaning of scare quotes will become obvious) preaching, traceable back to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, although not much further, and presently reinforced by currently-popular neo-Reformed writings, that measures commitment to Scripture by, roughly, how slowly you preach through it. The practice of spending several years preaching through Romans or Philippians verse by verse-fragment demonstrates, it is held, a high view of Scripture because it is being taken seriously, mined slowly for all of its meaning.

I confess to being profoundly unimpressed by this argument

My thoughts on the CJ fiasco

Another summary of the C.J. situation. Some guy didn't like how the church handled his case, so he leak 600 emails online to convince anyone that he was wronged. My thoughts on the CJ fiasco | The Cripplegate:
The main accuser, Brent Detwiler, put out over 600 pages of emails interspersed with his own commentary to make those points. I have read much of those 600 pages, and let me save you some time by telling you this: 1. Don’t waste your time. These things have been downloaded 55,000 times, and I feel sorry for anyone who has read more than 10 pages of them; 2. There is no smoking gun. Strip away all of the commentary and whining, and you are left with a picture of a pastor who is running an organization, and some associates who feel slighted.

Pastoral questions about the Mahaney situation

I don't know enough (and maybe I shouldn't) about C.J stepping down for a bit to comment, but this raises some good questions: Pastoral questions about the Mahaney situation « Expository Thoughts:
The best advice I can give a younger pastor is to stay away from controversies that are not impacting your particular church. Keep your head down, preach the Word, love the people, stay out of politics. Generally speaking, this should serve you well.The opposite of this is currently being played out on the internet and in the circles of the restless-reformed crowd. Here are a few questions that come to mind:

Faith On Trial – Kevin DeYoung

A good forward by DeYoung on a book by Lloyd-Jones: Faith On Trial – Kevin DeYoung:
I suppose a foreword is kind of like a big endorsement, a really long one that gets put at the front of the book instead of the back. The prospective reader is meant to think, “Hey, would you look at that—someone I know really likes this book written by someone I’ve never heard of.” The foreword grabs your attention and makes you say, “I’ll give this book a try.”

Herein lies my dilemma with the book in your hands: I should not be writing a foreword for Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I mean, he never even asked for one!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not Your Typical Surprise Party

a retelling of a story by Campolo: Not Your Typical Surprise Party | The Resurgence:
Wouldn’t we all? Wouldn’t we all love to join a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning?... But anybody who reads the New Testament will discover a Jesus who loved to party with prostitutes and with all kinds of left-out people. The tax collectors and 'sinners' loved him because he partied with them. The lepers of society found in him someone who would eat and drink with them. And while the solemnly pious people could not relate to what he was about, those lonely people who usually didn’t get invited to parties took to him with excitement.

The Issue Under a Lot of Issues

Driscoll is going to start a new blog on gender issues sometime latter this year: The Issue Under a Lot of Issues | The Resurgence:
Not only do the debates rage about gender in the church, but increasingly, the least likely person to be found in church is a twenty-or-thirty-something single male. So, it’s important to ponder, how can believers speak to the gender issue, which is the issue under many issues raging in the church and culture? How can the church compel men to rise up without pushing women down? And, does the Bible have wisdom for us today about such things as women and men dressing and acting in ways that are specific to their gender, as Paul tells the Corinthians, or is that culturally-outdated misogyny that inhibits the progress of our spirituality as we purchase clothes at American Apparel?

Biblical Authority in an Age of Uncertainty

A good discussion with Keller, Piper and Carson on certainty in the bible: Biblical Authority in an Age of Uncertainty – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
Does drawing lines and making clear connections from the Bible make you arrogant?

No Fault Today, No Marriage Tomorrow

Does marriage improve the standing of a relationship? Articles | No Fault Today, No Marriage Tomorrow | Phillip Jensen:
Here then is a great paradox. At this time when the community has, by simplifying divorce, so redefined marriage as to say that it is of no real value (“only a piece of paper”), some people feel their relationship will only gain value if it is recognized as a marriage.

Predestination and Some of Its Implications

Interesting take on limited atonement: Predestination and Some of Its Implications:
...but the Bible actually puts it in slightly different terminology. It says that the sins of the whole world are forgiven because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. However, this does not mean that everyone is saved. Forgiveness simply covers over sins and wipes the slate clean, but it doesn’t then automatically produce a relationship with God. In other words atonement pays off all our debts, but it doesn’t put us straight into credit. Rather, forgiveness simply gets us all ready for a relationship with God. The way we actually do get a relationship with God is when God grants his Holy Spirit to us that moves us to put our faith in Jesus and unites us to him (again, note how this is God’s initiative) so that we then receive the credit for his righteousness (Rom 3.22). What this does is bring a forgivenperson into full communion with God the Father through Christ by the Spirit.

Richard Dawkins Torn Limb From Limb - By Atheists

Skepchick vs Dawkins. I know Christians also turn on each other, but at least don't swear as much: Richard Dawkins Torn Limb From Limb - By Atheists:
It's enough to make you wonder if anybody knows what the hell rationality's all about. Not incidentally, this isn't the first time skeptics have become so uselessly derailed. This is the movement that almost boarded up shop for a week last year while it tried to figure out if the 'Skepticon' gathering had too many atheists on its speaker roster, and oughtn't therefore be called 'Atheistcon.' This is the movement in which a respected leader not long ago gave a talk entitled 'Don't Be a Dick,' and the suggestion was so novel that nobody shut up about it for weeks.

That's skeptics. Rational about everything except themselves, self-preservation, and manners.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Should Churches Spend Money on Nice Buildings?

Also, for the first 300 years the church didn't have an official building: Should Churches Spend Money on Nice Buildings? – The Gospel Coalition Blog:
“What’s so wrong with constructing church buildings? Nowhere does the New Testament say we shouldn’t construct church buildings.”

But that’s just it. There’s also nothing in the NT that says we should construct church buildings. So why is it that, whenever we plant a church or whenever a church starts to grow, the first thing we think is, We need to spend masses of our resources on a building? Why would we spend an inordinate amount of our resources on something that is never prescribed or even encouraged in the NT? Why would we not instead use those resources on that which is explicitly promoted in the NT, such as sharing the gospel with the lost or helping the poor in the church? As I write this, more than 700 million people around the world live in slums. Many of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Should we really be prioritizing bigger buildings for ourselves?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Room Is the Debate In?

Interesting point about infant baptism: What Room Is the Debate In?:
'The modern debate over infant baptism frequently shows how far removed we are from the debates of the first century. Our debates center around a question like this: 'Do you mean to say that you think the Gentiles in the first century baptized their infants? Where do you get that?' In the first century the question was more like this: 'Do you mean to say that the Gentiles don't have to circumcise their infants?' It was a foregone conclusion in the first century that something must be done with the infants -- after all, if at least one parent was a believer, the children were holy (1 Cor. 7:14)' (To a Thousand Generations, p. 79).

Those Ranting Atheists

What religion and politics have in common is the humanity behind them. Religion doesn’t kill people, people kill people. Trying to stop humanity being religious has as much hope as stopping us from being political.

Those Ranting Atheists | Jesus Creed

Monday, July 4, 2011

Veracity of Clergy

How much does the UK trust the clergy: British Religion in Numbers: news:
Clergy and priests are the sixth most trustworthy group in society, according to an Ipsos MORI poll for the British Medical Association and published on 27 June. Fieldwork was conducted on 10-16 June 2011 among 1,026 adults aged 15 and over throughout the United Kingdom.

Things Your Lutheran Pastor Totally Loves: Your Awesome Evangelism Ideas (Ep. 8)‬‏

A good jab at a church running a MMA fight. Also what's with Driscoll been pro UFC? YouTube - ‪Things Your Lutheran Pastor Totally Loves: Your Awesome Evangelism Ideas (Ep. 8)‬‏:
Your Lutheran pastor totally loves doing something to proclaim the Gospel to people. But does he love doing ANYTHING to proclaim the Gospel?

Response to John Dickson

Tamas Pataki responds to an article the Dickson wrote about him: Response to John Dickson - ABC Religion & Ethics - Opinion:
In conclusion, it seems that (i) not a single point of Dickson's critique of my article is sound; and (ii) most of Dickson's historical and philosophical contentions are untenable, to put it mildly.

Video: Big Buts

A great video worth watching: Video: Big Buts | Communicate Jesus:
We’ve all got buts. We need to make sure our ‘buts’ aren’t bigger than out ‘whys’.

New Testament Textual Criticism: Free Audio and Video

More free NT content on iTunesU. This might encourage me to install the thing again on my PC... maybe... New Testament Textual Criticism: Free Audio and Video – Justin Taylor:
Today the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) announces that it is now available on iTunes U, a dedicated area of the iTunes Store ( that offers free audio and video content from leading educational institutions.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Uncut Android-[Update] – XDA, Freedom of Speech & htcclay

A user on a phone site I visit got a talking to for saying Jesus is his Lord in his forum signature, pardon the language in the article: Uncut Android-[Update] – XDA, Freedom of Speech & htcclay » Uncut Android:
XDA-Developers have requested that developer htcclay (Twitter @htcclay) to remove his signature from his account. His signature simply states

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior

Friday, July 1, 2011

Who’s in your tribe?

McKnight questions the Periodic Table of Atheists and suggests at least six shouldn't be there: Who’s in your tribe? | Jesus Creed:
There are three more people on Ungodly News’ periodic table who, in the interests of historical accuracy, I have to say don’t belong there either: Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley and Bill Gates. All three are (or were) agnostics, not atheists, and as I’ll argue below, while these thinkers all reject the claims of revealed religion, none of them deserves to be called an anti-theist. It is an undeniable historical fact, however, that the ideas disseminated by Darwin and Huxley have caused many people to lose their faith in God.

Bell on Hell: Did We Get Gamed?

Reflections on Love Wins. It is worth reading the (quite good) article Taylor is responding to by Challies: Bell on Hell: Did We Get Gamed? – Justin Taylor:
Scot McKnight was one of the first to pull together the themes, some of which continue to stick. In an interview with Christianity Today on the same day as my post, he (1) predicted the controversy would be here today and gone tomorrow (“in a week it will all be gone”); (2) he said that I would owe Rob Bell “a huge apology” if I was wrong; (3) he suggested the book’s pre-pub publicity “worked perfectly” and that I and many of my readers “bit” on it; (4) and he said that John Piper’s infamous tweet (“Farewell, Rob Bell”) was a “flippant dismissal of Rob Bell” and “unworthy of someone of Piper’s stature,” and that a phone call or private letter to Bell would have been better.

I still disagree with all four of these suggestions.

Conference Audio - A Fresh Look at Mission

Nice, 20-30min talks from a conference in Sydney that just happened. I like free stuff: Conference Audio - A Fresh Look at Mission:
Here are all the talks and Q&A sessions from the one-day conference held on June 17, 2011.