Apr 29 2012

The Family Plan

Hollywood movies often carry this disclaimer as the credits roll by: “All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” The same disclaimer applies to the three families I have profiled below. In this fictional world, all the parents are Christians, all the marriages are intact, and all are members of the same congregation. And yet, how could they be so different?

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Apr 16 2010

Ecumenism Without the Church

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Plugged In, Tuned Out

“He’s there every time the door is open.” This often serves as a passing grade for “faithful” in many of our congregations today. Americans are passionate about productivity and this bleeds over into the management of the local church. Weekly headcounts and participation levels become proxy measures for spiritual growth and maturity.

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May 18 2009

This Ferocious Doctrine



“The predestination of saints,” Augustine of Hippo wrote, refers to the “foreknowledge and the preparation of God’s kindnesses, whereby they are most certainly delivered, whoever they are that are delivered.”[1] The unpalatable corollary is that those who are not so chosen remain in their sin and are eternally lost. This “ferocious doctrine,” as Bertrand Russell called it, would form the basis for Calvin’s decrees of divine election and rejection.

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Sep 3 2008

The Inspiration of the Old Testament

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The Text

As we sat down to study Plato’s Republic, the professor raised no questions about our text’s essential reliability and integrity. Alternate translations were mentioned, but briefly. There was never any doubt as to the book’s unity or authorship. We were never offered any grand theories on where the “real” writers of the book obtained their source materials, or what agenda they might have been pushing. Plato and his work were never belittled. The editor of our English edition praised the Republic as a “great work.” Our task as students was clear: we were there to explore the authentic writings of a real historical figure who lived in Athens over 2,300 years ago.
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Sep 9 2003

Locked into Locke?

Critics allege that the traditional, “mainstream” Church of Christ relies too heavily on a system of interpretation inspired by John Locke (1632-1704). This love of the great English thinker goes all the way back to Thomas and Alexander Campbell and the early days of the Restoration Movement. Although contemporary Christians may not be aware of these philosophical underpinnings, the Campbells’ enthusiasm for Locke is supposed to have had both a profound and negative effect on how we interpret Scripture today.
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