Pooping Elephants

BART EHRMAN

Bart Ehrman on opening day of class at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Okay, hands up…
How many of you believe the Bible is the Word of God? 
Many hands go up
How many of you believe God actually wrote a book?
Still many hands go up
How many of you have read the Bible from beginning to end?
Most hands go down
I’m not telling you the Bible is the Word of God.  You are, so don’t you think you ought to be reading it if you think it is the Word of God!

WHY IT IS HARD TO SHARE THE GOSPEL

Some of my reflections on why sharing the gospel is so difficult today:

The combination of globalism and connectivity via media makes this generation much more perplexed, even immobilized to know how or whether to share the gospel. Sharing the gospel seems more scandalous than ever.  We are more proximate to other religions and have a growing difficulty in believing we are right and everyone else is wrong.

NOT BEING AN IDOLATER…A BIG DEAL WITH GOD

In I Kings 9:4 God says how Solomon will be blessed if he follows his father David’s example.  You mean, the adulterer and murderer?  Yes, says God.  He had integrity.  Huh?!  The clue seems to be in I Kings 9, verses 6 and 9 in that David was never an idolater.  Job makes much of not being an idolater as well (see Job 6:10). That carries lots of weight with God!

NOTES ON THE TRINITY

A few years back, I listened to theologian Miroslav Volf’s talk at Wheaton.  Many things struck/troubled me, but here are a few:

*It seems his theology has collapsed into ethics.

*I would love to hear his exegesis of John 8.

*He says rightly that Muslims reject a conception of the trinity that is not the one of orthodox Christianity.  He says the reason Muslims have done this is because most Christians can’t articulate the orthodox doctrine of the trinity.  That is also correct in a way, but Volf makes no mention that Muhammad was reacting to the worship of many tribal deities not the trinity.  I found this amazing.

TELLING A BETTER STORY

The best compliment I can pay this book is that it joins my list of favorite dead and living authors for better engagement with our culture.

For the former, there are Augustine, Pascal, Chesterton, Lewis and Newbigin. For the later there are Dan Taylor, James K.A. Smith, Tim Keller, Charles Taylor, and James Davison Hunter.

BRILLIANCE ON STEROIDS!

Thomas Sowell dropped out of Stuyvesant High School and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He later became an economist and social theorist who is currently a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

1. People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

2. If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.

3. Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them.

4. Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.

5. The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.

6. The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.

7. The real minimum wage is zero.

8. What multiculturalism boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture—and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.

9. In liberal logic, if life is unfair then the answer is to turn more tax money over to politicians, to spend in ways that will increase their chances of getting reelected.

10. People who have time on their hands will inevitably waste the time of people who have work to do.

11. Elections should be held on April 16th—the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.

HT: George Grant

THE TEMPLE AND THE TABERNACLE

The Temple and the Tabernacle is one of those books I can recommend with gusto.

The text of the book is gorgeously accented with loads of pictures. Baker has done a truly stellar job with the production of this book.

Hays is a careful reader of Scripture. He does not make wild claims, yet there are many wonderful insights throughout his book.

I learned much from this book. It is accessible, but loaded with insight.

My safe guess is that it will help you make better sense of the tabernacle and the temple.

A CATHOLIC INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT

As a Protestant with small c catholic sensibilities, there is much to like about this book. I made over 400 notes in the margins.

The writing is clear, the scholarship is impressive, and the various charts and graphs add a lot to the text. 

It is ecumenical in the best sense of that word as it interacts with much scholarship outside the Roman Catholic.

There are certainly areas of disagreement like the immaculate conception and whether Rom. 3:1,2 about the Jews being entrusted with the oracles of God is significant for the extent of the Old Testament canon. I think it is whereas Pitre and Bergsma do not.

All in all, it is a remarkable achievement and one I will be recommending.