Thinking Out Loud

June 18, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday Link List 2

It’s summertime and you don’t need an Angler’s License to fish for Christian news and opinion pieces on the net.  You’ll also need to first click anything below to PARSE, the blog of Leadership Journal, and then click the item you wish to see.

Paul Wilkinson blogs at Thinking Out Loud, though his Christianity 201 readership appears to be growing about three times faster than T.O.L. this week. He has never been a messenger at an SBC conference, but he once delivered newspapers.

 

Typically, my youngest son includes his youth pastor as a reference on job applications; but for this summer job there is the terse admonition, “You may omit names of ministers of religion.”

Typically, my youngest son includes his youth pastor as a reference on job applications; but for this summer job there is the terse admonition, “You may omit names of ministers of religion.”

August 6, 2012

Alleged Scandal at High Profile U.S. Baptist Church

I was going to save this for the link list on Wednesday, but this is a developing news story that is worthy of some attention now.

Normally, I don’t re-blog news events reported at Stuff Fundies Like, which is a site/blog devoted to people who grew up in ultra conservative Evangelical churches or more strict Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches, mostly because they usually involve people only known in that milieu, and while sexual scandals do occur — as they do in mainstream Evangelicalism and mainline Protestantism, too — they often take place in obscure churches in relatively backwater locations.

But Jack Schaap is a superstar in that movement, and First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (south of Chicago) is the church pastored for many years by Schaap’s father-in-law, Jack Hyles. (As a child, I actually attended a service there once with my parents; and remembered the massivefleet of buses and assembly-line-styled baptisms.) On Wednesday night, CBS News in Chicago reported, “The longtime pastor of a northwest Indiana church has been dismissed due to an ‘improper relationship with a young woman.’Dr. Jack Schaap, who has been pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond for 11 years, was removed Tuesday, according to a church spokesman.”

While Darrell has done an amazing job with a handful of posts over the past few days at Stuff Fundies Like, those of you unfamiliar with Schaap or fundamentalism in general, might want to start with this summary at BDBO.

Note: At SFL there’s are highlights of an audio feed [Note: Mature Content] of a sermon that Schaap did on teen sexuality. While hindsight is always 20/20, I’d like to observe here that if your pastor is obsessed about sex, or extremely explicit about sex in his sermons –whether it’s Ed Young or Mark Driscoll — that might be a red flag. 

Also at SFL today there is a video of a talk that Lynda Hyles Murphy did after media reports — which she affirms — that FBC Hammond was a cult. The similarity between this and the audio feed of the interview with the granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch is uncanny.

February 29, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Welcome to Wednesday Link List Leap Day Edition, or as we prefer to call it, WLLLDE.

Here’s my social media observation for the day: Pinterest is to Facebook what Tumblr is to WordPress.  (Five years from now they’ll be quoting that in business textbooks.)

CT Stories

  • There may be some changes afoot at Christianity Today as to who can access articles online, so we’ll do these while we can.  First, in one we missed in January, T. D. Jakes revealed he’s now regarded as heretic by both mainstream Evangelicals and one-ness Pentecostals.
  • A brief rare interview Rob Bell did with CT earlier in the month. Doesn’t let the cat out of the bag as to what he’s currently working on, though. (But if you’re really into Bellmania, flash back to this piece Tony Jones did exactly one year ago, which remains in his all time top five.)
  • “A century ago, a novel called In His Steps convinced generations of Christians that Jesus would, among other things, oppose the sport of prizefighting. That novel became the ninth best-selling book of all time, and the book’s thesis found new life in the ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ movement.” So begins a look at the ethics of cage fighting with three viewpoints.
  • “Here’s what you can do in a New York City public school after hours: You may gather people together once a week (or more often). You can start off with praise choruses and Bible reading. Someone can stand up and teach that Jesus is Lord, that he rose from the dead to save us from sin, and that he is coming again. Then you can break bread and pray together.  Here’s what you can’t do in a New York City public school after hours: Hold a ‘religious worship service.'” Another look at the strange situation in NYC.

Les autres links

  • With just weeks to go before release, Donald Miller and Steve Taylor sit down to discuss how Blue Like Jazz, the collection of short stories, ended up as Blue Like Jazz: The Movie, with a more cohesive storyline. 
  • Signs of the Times: There is now actually a blog with the name Church and Synagogue Security News. Tagline: Covering security and safety at places of worship and religious institutions worldwide.
  • Sarah Bolme reviews Peace Child by Don Richardson; an absolute classic missions story that many of you have never heard of. “In the book, there is a quote from a missionary talking to Don before Don embarks on the mission field. This gentleman says, “You must be prepared in the strength of the Lord, to do battle with the prince of darkness, who, having held these hundreds of tribes captive these many thousand years, is not about to give them up without a fight.” Sarah says Christian authors today face similar obstacles.
  • Zac Hicks looks deeply into the sometimes thorny issue of church membership. He offers five compelling arguments for moving from adherent to member. Which type of weekend service attender are you?
  • Who to date.
    Where to go to college.
    Who to marry.
    Where to move.
    What job to take.  — Steven Furtick thinks that knowing God’s will for your life isn’t the main point.
  • Mark Buchanan is blogging sample chapters of his forthcoming book, Your Church is Too Safe. Check out chapter five and chapter thirteen, a most interesting consideration of the types of spirits that showed up when Jesus ministered, some of which show up in our churches today.
  • In other Zondervan book news, one of my favorites from last year is being released in a teen/youth edition; look for the bright red cover for Not a Fan Teen Edition by Kyle Idleman (no link).
  • How do you get KJV-only teens revved up for the next youth conference? How about a Marine Corps themed promo video with the bold proclamation “In 1611 God forged a sword.”  Apparently before 1611 God was a little deficient in terms of a means to save the world.
  • Donation request: Tony Jones (aka Tall Skinny Kiwi) needs about $5,000 US to ship his truck from Turkey to New Zealand, where it will serve as an operations base. Funds are needed rather soon.
  • If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried at least once to learn Biblical Greek. Tyler Blanski thinks the key is learning to love parts of speech that aren’t so important in English.
  • People Department: I always look forward to Brad Lomenick’s monthly Young Influencers List; here’s the one for February.
  • I’m always interested when slightly more insider church references make it into the comics pages.  Wikipedia notes that Pluggers “…runs in 60 newspapers, mostly in the Southern, Mid-West, Plains, and Rocky Mountain states… In the context of this strip, ‘pluggers’ are defined as blue-collar workers who live a typical working-class American lifestyle, accompanied by a mentality characteristic of the veteran and Baby Boomer generations. In the comic, pluggers are portrayed in the form of anthropomorphic animals, most often a plump bear, dog, chicken, or rhinoceros…”

August 25, 2011

I Cor. 13 in a Fundamentalist World

From Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like.  I mean, where else would I get this?

1 Corinthians 13 (Annotated)

1 Corinthians 13 as found in the greater annotated Saved, Separated, And Soul-Winning Study Bible

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels (not that those gifts are still for today you understand), and have not charity(which is such a much better word that “love” don’t you think?) , I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (only we don’t use cymbals unless it’s to play John Phillips Sousa).

And though I have the gift of prophecy (Since I’m the pastor you know I do!), and understand all mysteries (I’m the pastor that’s a given!), and all knowledge (have you seen the diplomas on my wall??); and though I have all faith (which I pretty much do), so that I could remove mountains (or at least remove people from the membership rolls that I don’t like), and have not charity(that word is really hard to understand we’ll get back to this later), I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor (not that we actually go in for that kind of thing around here) , and though I give my body to be burned (probably by Roman Catholics), and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long (oh, how I suffer! I haven’t had a new car in months!), and is kind (to those who deserve it and aren’t liberals); charity envieth not (no problem here, I’m already the best at everything); charity vaunteth not itself (whoops. go back and scratch out that last note), is not puffed up (Again this is confusing. I’m assuming this is a reference to being gay), Doth not behave itself unseemly (no rock music or britches on women), seeketh not her own (eh?), is not easily provoked(unless of course it’s holy anger which all of mine is), thinketh no evil(no bad shows on TV, amen?); Rejoiceth not in iniquity(Doesn’t vote Democrat), but rejoiceth in the truth(Votes Republican); Beareth all things(it doesn’t say “bareth” amen? so you women keep yourselves covered), believeth all things(at least the things I tell you to believe), hopeth all things(I hope I get a better bonus this year), endureth all things(like me putting up with you more sinful folk).

Charity never faileth. (at least as long as you stay on my good side.)

And all God’s people said?

June 17, 2011

Southern Baptists Reject New NIV Translation

SBC shindig in Phoenix, four days ago

“We’ll get Mikey to try it, he hates everything”
classic Life cereal commercial line

At their annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona, “messengers” of the Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly “not to commend” the newly revised edition of the New International Version translation of the Bible, aka NIV 2011.

Their unstated reason is simple: They don’t like it.

Specifically, they don’t like it when passages that traditionally referred to males — using words like he, him, his, man, men, etc. — get changed to gender neutral pronouns.

But gender neutral is usually how the original texts read.  In the book, How To Choose A Bible Translation for All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss, the latter talks about working on the translation committee for the TNIV.  He notes that the Greek “anthropos” — from which we no doubt get the word anthropology, the study of human civilization — refers to  ‘person’ or ‘persons.’  You could say, tongue in cheek, that “in anthropos there is neither male nor female.” 

But he goes on to explain that forms like “Son of Man” cannot be jettisoned so easily, since they are both a poetic form and a doctrinal statement.  In other words, God is not a ‘she’ in either the TNIV or the NIV-2011, though this is how some hot-headed people would have you believe it reads.   It’s the end of doctrinal purity as we know it.

Consider this verse which we’ve been discussing here on this blog and at Christianity 201 recently:

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

What possible major doctrinal violation takes place when I paraphrase that as:

If anyone would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

[The so-called "singular to plural" crisis is, in this case, solved by the antecedent use of "one."]

The answer is: Nothing.  It’s a much closer rendering of what Jesus is saying here, unless, of course, he is extending the invitation of discipleship entirely to males.

The Southern Baptists simply don’t like the change.  And they don’t like it with the same venom that characterizes King James Version Only people.  (And yes, I said King James Version only, which KJ-Onlyites hate because it concedes there are in fact other versions.) 

You can read the wording of their resolution here.

Furthermore, when you read it, you’ll note this interesting clause:

RESOLVED, That we respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores;

Ah yes, the power of an economic boycott.  The SBC controls the LifeWay chain of bookstores and websites; an organism about which I’ve already expressed a certain degree of contempt here.  This is the group that believes women should not teach men, but rakes in huge piles of cash daily from the sales of books by Beth Moore.  This is the same mentality that caused a group of 800 male pastors to turn their chairs so that their backs were to the podium during an address being given by Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz; a story referred to in a chapter of J. Lee Grady’s book Ten Lies The Church Tells Men, that was referred to here a few days ago.

What is Zondervan to do about all this?  The remaining editions of the NIV-1984 version in the Thinline and Church Bible (formerly Pew Bible) style — the two most popular formats — have already been discontinued and remaining copies donated to mission agencies.  The devotional, teen and study Bibles are not in reprint awaiting the fall release of the rest of the NIV-2011 product line.

Zondervan made an “all-in” commitment to the new translation, and is now met with this slap in the face from North America’s largest Protestant denomination.

But largest for how long?  As we reported here on Wednesday, USAToday’s religion page states that baptism statistics for the SBC are at a virtual all-time low for the past two generations, dropping to 1950s levels.  The denomination is going the way of many mainline Protestant ones; losing relevancy and losing younger families.

As for the translation issue:  C’mon guys (which implies both male and female here).  Look at the example above from Luke 9 and tell me that some element of the Christian faith is being compromised by the paraphrase I offered. 

If not, then suck it up. 

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  Our faith is based on unchanging truth.

But the English language is changing, and male-dominated, patriarchal language simply doesn’t mean what you think it means anymore; it isn’t heard that way, and simply doesn’t cut it.

~Paul Wilkinson

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