Archive for the 'quote' Category
An earnest young university student sat across the desk from me (Roger), sputtering protests against my critical evaluation of his theology essay. “I worked hard on this and studied the Bible in more detail on this subject than anyone has! In fact, I’ve been studying what the Bible says about this for several years–ever since an evangelist preached on it at camp when I was in high school. How can you cut down my paper like this?”
I had given him a passing grade–but not the one he had hoped for and expected. While I keenly felt his disappointment and sympathized with him, I could not help feeling frustrated at his lack of understanding of theology at the end of two semesters in my courses.
The student, like many Christians, believed that all theology consists of (or should consist of) is detailed study of the Bible, comparing and contrasting passages in a sort of commonsense way. His paper was a twenty-page magnum opus on his favorite subject–the apostle Paul’s understanding of human nature. Terms like body, soul, spirit, heart and flesh were his bread and butter. But unfortunately he had consciously rejected my pleas and urgings to study these terms using commentaries, books of word studies that would explain the subtle nuances of their meanings in the original languages, and sources that would elucidate the cultural and religious background against which Paul used these terms. Instead the student had simply relied on individual intuition as he read the English translation his home church favored. He was almost totally unaware of the deeply ingrained presuppositions that he brought to the texts as he studied them, and he rejected any notion that these terms might not mean what they seemed on the surface to mean–to him.
Frankly, the paper was a mess. Ignoring hundreds of years of careful study of Paul’s theology, it attempted to jump directly over all of that right back into Paul’s head (or the Holy Spirit’s mind!), using intuition and a poor English translation of Paul’s Greek writings. The result was an account of Paul’s anthropology that was nearly completely wrong. Like many who attempt to interpret Paul’s terms without any scholarly help, the student equated “body” and “flesh” and thus ended up with an anthropology nearly identical to that of Paul’s opponents in the early church!
Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God by Stanley J. Grenz & Roger E. Olson. Pp. 22-23.
I have just finished listening to a sermon that Bell preached last year on April 4. This is exactly the second sermon of his I have ever listened to the entire way through, and I have to say it was absolutely riveting. I know that won’t matter to many, but I must say this was one of the best sermons I have ever heard concerning the Resurrection. Here’s one line that caught my attention:
“Some of us are so habituated to the old order of things that we do not know how to function in a new creation.”
In context, he is talking about the new order of things established by Jesus due to the fact of his resurrection.
“I am thoroughly convinced that God will let everyone into heaven who, in his considered opinion, can stand it. But standing it may prove to be a more difficult matter than those who take their view of heaven from popular movies or popular preaching may think. The fires in heaven may be hotter than those in the other place.”
Dallas Willard, from The Divine Conspiracy
So far I have found three different publishing companies that will send me free books. All I have to do is write an unbiased review of the book and post it around the internet so other people can get a preview of what is being written. (By the way, we have an extension of this blog at Book Review Thoughts.)
Soooo…..one of my recent discoveries, Booksneeze, sent me a book by Scot McKnight simply called Fasting*. The book is part of a series of books written on the so-called Ancient Practices Series published by Thomas Nelson and somehow or other associated with Phyllis Tickle (she might be the series editor or something like that). I started reading Fasting last night and, frankly, for as much grief as some people give Phyllis Tickle, I’m surprised she’d want to be associated with something so orthodox**. Anyhow, here’s an appetizer from the book:
I have come to this conclusion about fasting: when the grievous sacred moment is neglected and instead we focus on the results, fasting becomes a manipulative device instead of a genuine, Christian spiritual discipline. Far too much of the conversation today about fasting is about what we can get and not enough about the serious and severe sacred moments that prompt fasting. (xxi)
If an author can jolt me out of complacency in the introduction, he has done a pretty good job and I think I can expect to be similarly jolted later on in the book. I am looking forward to more challenging thoughts as I continue on through this book.
*This is not my official review of the book.
**I was especially amused at the cunning and crafty way McKnight placed John Piper’s name between that of Dallas Willard (known protestant heretic) and Thomas Ryan (apostate Roman Catholic) in order to demonstrate that we are not so different after all as long as Jesus is who binds us together. (See pages xvii-xviii)
Twelve Galilean guys spent three focused years with Jesus himself and still didn’t show up for the prayer meeting on the most important night in history. – Heather Zempel, The Reason Your Discipleship Process Is Frustrating