Monday, September 27, 2010

Looking around

In this essay, the inimitable Frank Turk laments that when he moved to Little Rock he was unable to find a Southern Baptist church that looked, well, like a church in 2 years of looking. This is at once what I want to say and convicting to me with respect to my own behavior.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Liberation theology of the right

Todd Wilken:

You have written that there is a liberation theology of the left and there’s also a liberation theology of the right. Of course a criticism of many of those who were supporting Glen Beck and his Restoring Honor rally was that President Barack Obama is a “liberation theologian.” What do you mean by a liberation theology on the right?

Russell Moore:

Well I think liberation theology is any kind of theology that seeks to bypass the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and the empty tomb in order to get to some temporal value.

And so I think on the left you’ve got a liberation theology that says what we’re looking for is freeing the oppressed and we’re looking for all these — which may be good and right in and of themselves, but when you get to them apart from the Gospel you’re getting something other than the Gospel.

The same thing happens on the right, where you can take values that can be good in and of themselves and can be commendable, but you seek to get to them some other way than through the Gospel.

That’s essentially exactly what is happening in the third temptation of the Lord Jesus. Satan says to him, “You can have all of the kingdoms of the world if you just bow down and worship me.” Jesus refuses to do this even though Jesus ruling over the kingdoms of the world is obviously a good thing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

John 6:29

This evening as part of my personal study in John's Gospel, I read John 6:29: “Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ ”

I very nearly couldn't believe what I read: If I believe, it's God's work.

I consulted about 20 translations (via All the translations that simply deliver the words from the original language into English had translated this verse very nearly as it's quoted above (from the ESV); the translations that do more interpretive hand holding of the text provide something similar to the Good News Bible: “Jesus answered, ‘What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.’ ”

Perhaps the latter gives the correct sense of the words. But the words say that my belief is God's work.

John's Gospel is filled with stuff like this:

  • Nicodemus said, “We know you are a teacher sent by God;” Jesus replied, “You must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.” Why did Jesus’ reply seem to have nothing to do with what Nicky asked?
  • The woman at the well said, “Give me this [living] water so I won't have to come back to the well;” Jesus replied, “Go fetch your husband.” Was Jesus answering her question or not?

Am I all wet? Do you have more examples of this kind of response by Jesus, especially from John's Gospel? Is this irrelevant?