January 27, 2012

Friday in the wild: January 27, 2012

It's Friday! Here's a compendium of bloggy goodness from the past week.

Scott Adams describes how both Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich set off his "non-believerdar":

It's starting to look as if Newt Gingrich will be the Republican nominee. If so, this might be the first time two non-believers ran against each other for President of the United States.

What?

Oh, that's right: You still think Gingrich and Obama believe what's written in the Christian Bible. I understand why you think that. After all, both men say they believe in god, and they do churchy things. The trouble is that Gingrich and Obama both set off my non-believerdar. (That's like gaydar for non-believers.)

[Read Non-Believerdar]

Adams then goes on to say that he doesn't really believe in "non-believerdar" (or gaydar, or any other -dar)—it's just his feeling that both candidates profess some sort of Christian belief for its utilitarian value in getting votes. And you know what? He might be right. Though I'd probably concede that Gingrich, as a convert to Roman Catholicism, actually believes it to some extent: squishy evangelicalism would play just as well, if not better, in the Bible Belt.

Last week, Alan Shlemon asked on the Stand to Reason blog whether Jesus' apparent silence on homosexuality actually meant anything. This week, he continues the series, asking whether homosexuality really is the worst sin imaginable:

Christians don't just think homosexuality is the worst sin. We act like it too. Christians who rarely cite scripture suddenly invoke Bible verses when the topic comes up. We get uneasy when gay men come to church, but we gladly welcome post-abortive women. We’ll move a lesbian who sits next to other females at youth group, but we won’t separate girls who gossip.

It's no wonder the culture thinks Christians hate homosexuals. We give their behavior a unique status: the worst sin of all. And because homosexuals are committing the supreme evil, we treat them like pariahs.

[Read Is Homosexuality the Worst Sin of All?]

I'll just add that Jesus said there was a sin that was unforgivable (Matt. 12:31), but it's not the sin of which Paul said to the Corinthian church, "such were some of you. But you were washed" (1 Cor. 6:11).

Chris Rosebrough attended the Elephant Room conference this week. Rather, he tried to—but upon arrival was informed that he was no longer welcome and would be arrested if he didn't leave. Nonetheless, he posted on the theological weaselliness1 of "Bishop" T. D. Jakes:

Jakes' full answer was this:

One God—Three Persons. One God—Three Persons, and here is why . . . there . . . I am not crazy about the word persons this is . . . most people who follow me know that that is really. My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word. . . .

Driscoll completes Jakes' sentence by filling in that "one word" and its [sic] the word "Manifestations."

[Read Theological Sleightof Hand at the Elephant Room]

"Manifestations" is, of course, the usual way that Oneness advocates try to avoid the traditional Trinitarian language of one God in three distinct Persons. Jakes is trying to play to his audience and sound properly Trinitarian, but he can't get away from his own sect's jargon. As Rosebrough adds: "See what a difference just one word can make?"

On Twitter, James White posed one good question that would settle Jakes' view of the nature of God unambiguously: "Did the Son, as a divine person, distinguishable from the Father, exist as a divine Person prior to the birth in Bethlehem?" I'm not holding my breath.

Credo provided a good reminder that two valuable resources are available for free for the download: an audiobook of J. I. Packer's Knowing God from ChristianAudio, and Timothy George's lectures on the theology of the Reformers. The Packer book, at least, is only available for the remainder of January. Grab it while you can: it tops the list of extrabiblical, Christian books that I recommend to friends.

Desiring God Blog pointed to an article by Richard Pratt on the Ligionier Web site, about how proverbs are not promises:

Now, we need to be clear here. The proverbs commend certain paths to family members because they reflect the ways God ordinarily distributes His blessings. But ordinarily does not mean necessarily. Excellent wives have good reason to expect honor from their husbands and children. Fathers with integrity often enjoy seeing God’s blessings on their children. Parents who train their children in the fear of the Lord follow the path that frequently brings children to saving faith. But excellent wives, faithful husbands, and conscientious parents often endure terrible hardship in their homes because proverbs are not promises. They are adages that direct us toward general principles that must be applied carefully in a fallen world where life is always somewhat out of kilter. As the books of Job and Ecclesiastes illustrate so vividly, we misconstrue the Word of God when we treat proverbs as if they were divine promises.

[Read Broken Homes in the Bible]

And so, until next week, I bid you adieu. Enjoy.

Footnote

1 I have my doubts weaselliness is a word. But, dang it, it should be.