Top 10 Books Christians Didn’t Write

(brief comic interlude)

Top 10 Books Christians Didn’t Write

1. Crazy Pug: Overwhelmed by a Relentless Dog -by Francis Chan

2. Jesus Calling and Texting: Enjoying the Piece of His Mind Quite a Bit -by Sarah Young

3. Outlive Your Wife: You Were Meant to Make a Different 2nd Marriage -by Max Lucado

4. Stuff Christians Hike: Christians meet Nature -by Jon Acuff

5. When Vaginas are Ineffable: How My Privates Became Public -by Rachel Held Evans

6. Heaven is for Reel: A Little Boy’s Lucrative Story of a Trip to Hollywood and Back -by Todd Burpo (Not far-fetched. Check this Sony Picture’s article.)

7. The Coming Economic Armageddon: When Doomsday Books Fail to Bring in My Income -David Jeremiah
8. Insurrection: To Hope in Cialis is Human, to Have it Work is Divine -by Pete Rollins
9. Velvet Pelvis: Slow Dancing with the King of Kings -by Rob Bell
10. The Prodigal Cod: Believing in the One That Got Away -by Tim Keller
Tomorrow is the big reveal–All 5 ebook volumes. See you then!

Were Adam and Eve Tripped?

That’s right I said Tripped, not Tricked.

ooo, maybe it’s both. Tripped for Treat…

Rachel Held Evans is hosting an interesting dialogue.

She invited Justin Taylor (author of Between Two Worlds blog) to field questions on the doctrine of Calvinism. Justin is a prominent leader in the contemporary Christian Reformed movement, and has many visitors on his popular blog.

The dialogue that ensues when you talk about predestination and free will can get heated; but more than anything, it seem this exchange at Rachel’s blog is more thoughtful and interesting, than negative or abusive. I do encourage you to read more there, and to whet your appetite…Here is an excerpt:

Question for Justin, from Don:
I do not see how Calvinism does not lead to a kind of fatalism, if what will be will be and cannot be changed, why try to change anything?  Just accept your fate.   When I read Calvinists it seems like they keep trying to explain why their faith is NOT like this, even though from an outsider’s perspective it really IS like this.  So any wisdom you can impart here would help me better understand.

From Justin:
Thanks for asking, Don.

The reason for the pushback you’re getting is that the Bible is opposed to “fatalism” (which makes our actions inconsequential for changing things and leads to resignation in the face of such powerlessness) but teaches and presupposes “compatiblism” (that God’s absolute sovereignty is compatible with genuine human freedom and responsibility).

D. A. Carson explains the biblical both/and:

1. God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions in such a way that human responsibility is curtailed, minimized, or mitigated.

2. Human beings are morally responsible creatures—they significantly choose, rebel, obey, believe, defy, make decisions, and so forth, and they are rightly held accountable for such actions; but this characteristic never functions so as to make God absolutely contingent.

I think we see this both/and approach on nearly every page of Scripture. Just a few examples: Gen. 50:19-20; Lev. 20:7-8; 1 Kings 8:46; Isa. 10:5; John 6:37-40; Acts 18:9-10; Phil. 2:12-13; Acts 4:23-31.

Or if you want just one example to examine, take a careful look at how things play out in this story of Paul being shipwrecked.

For more explanation of how genuine means and consequences function in a world of absolute sovereignty, this imaginary conversation may prove helpful.

I have wondered (until the ideas got so heady that it seemed pointless and too distracting from more important things–like Jesus), how the entrance of sin came into the world, if we are to take the Genesis Garden Story seriously. This idea of forbidden fruit and a human “Fall” (The primeval human couple and their disobedience in paradise that lead to a human sin nature for all their posterity (i.e. “us”), etc.) was really a Fall at all. If God planned for those two humans to Fall, wasn’t he then sort of tripping them?

It’s a bit to wrap one’s mind around, but I welcome your thoughts.

Capacitarianism: Final Gender Post in Series

Post IV
Capacitarianism” (Transcending the worn out terms “egalitarian” & “complementation”)

I’m drawing this proposal series on gender and the church to a final post. Well, final for now. (I’ll leave room for a sequel series, just in case…)

Plenty of other recognizable names will be shedding light on this topic in the weeks and months to come. Let’s hear if they have anything new to add.

Among all this discussion, I do realize not everybody will be encouraged to push toward a better understanding of gender as it relates to God’s plan of redemption. Plenty of times we talk, and we talk, but we don’t move our positions. We just dig in.

Though many times we learn too little, something much worse can happen too: Talk stays talk.

In the end, talk of men or of angels doesn’t about to anything but noise, if it cannot be a reality of love, enacted. Action, far more than arguments or dialogue is what transforms.

I have no doubts that these issues about equality, roles, church, gender, and what-have-you will be wrestled by laity, theologians, and debaters…ad nauseum. I hope it’s been clear that my point in these four posts was to cast the topic in a new light, and see if we could think bigger than our current terms afford us. Either way, like life, it is all fleeting…just as King Solomon proposed.

For now, I will leave you with these following 5 offerings below, (and I welcome your own additions, or other comments, in the comments section below).

The 5
As we encounter these gender-themed topics and the church; and as we continue dialogue here, or elsewhere, please take these 5 suggestions into consideration.

1. Don’t use the Bible as a weapon. A fine line will be crossed when we use Bible verses as “backing” for our position, and claim we are “being Biblical”, while at the same time cherry picking words and phrases that support what we’ve already been told, or are wont to personally believe.
The Brass Tacks are this: Interpretation of the Bible must well mirror the nature, attributes, and over plan of redemption that is God’s. One’s view on gender must articulate God’s Story.

…Some of you may say the Bible IS a weapon! Yes, the Bible is called the “Sword” of the Spirit, but first let that sharp thing pierce (convict) your own heart, or protect your heart from Evil. Please don’t go chopping away wildly and cut off ears, or other things…

2. Don’t assume or concede that just the two main positions are the only viable stances in contemporary times (i.e. egalitarian and complementation).

I, for one, will not be compliant to this tact, nor will I adopt either view fully as I dialogue, especially as a prerequisite to having a conversation on the topic. 

3. Admit the “answer/s” about gender, and church roles, and how this plays out in typical Kingdom living are hard to find, not cut and dry. I don’t think we can learn from each other, or from God, if we have it all figured out.

4. Don’t let old and worn out terms and ideas corner you, or make you give up on what God has called you to do. God seems to call us to do things that swim upstream, and go against convention or tradition. Make the love of God, and devotion to God your aim.

5. Find common ground. As others have wisely said in the comments sections that egalitarians, complementarians, and the rest of us, (usually) want to please God, live for him, respect the Bible, and enact grace. If we take time to find common ground, we will realize there is much more the same, especially in our intentions, than we first realized.

The Word of God encourages us to live in harmony with each other, and have unity in the bond of peace. This is far harder to dispute than any gender-related position! If you error, do it on the Love (not division) side of things.

Peace to you.

PS (To read the other 3 posts on this topic, start here or here.) Your contributions to the topic are quite welcome.

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