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May
12

Can We Trust the New Testament? — Bart Erhman critiqued by William Lane Craig

A friend of mine wrote to me yesterday to recommend a book by Bart Erhman, a man who speaks and writes on the texts of the Bible, and the quality of the New Testament manuscripts. Her letter caused me to reflect on Ehrman’s popularity, especially in academic circles, and I thought I should share a bit about him here. Mr. Erhman was a confessing Born-Again, Evangelical as a teenager, went to Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. It was while studying at Princeton University, as a student of  Bruce Metzger,  that he rejected orthodox Christianity and embraced Agnosticism and a Deconstructionist view of the Bible. His books question the reliability of the writings of the Paul and the other Apostles, the life and teachings of Jesus, and claim that the Bible is full of contradictions Here is a video clip where he shares his story about leaving the Christian faith and rejecting the authority of Scripture: Dr. William Lane Craig, who has debated Mr. Ehrman has a series of videos that I wanted to share with you so that you can familiarize yourself with his work, and hear why his scholarship is not to be trusted. Finally, just for fun, Stephen Colbert, grilling Bart Erhman on his liberal theological views:   The Colbert Report Tags: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video...
May
9

Narrative Theology — A Subtle Deception

Hi Israel, Our friends’ son (a homeschooled young man raised in a Christian home) now states that he is not a Christian, doesn’t believe that Jesus lived and the Bible, to him, is just another old book. Very sad but it was coming.. He had joined the emergent church several years ago.. Wonder if this is a common thing for those who move to the emergent church? (A concerned friend) A big part of Emergent Theology is a Narrative (story) approach to Hermeneutics (how we study and understand the Bible). Nearly every Evangelical scholar will readily admit that Narrative (story) is an important part of understanding the Bible. Jesus used Narrative quite often. The Mid-Eastern culture is deeply rooted in Narrative as a method for transmitting transcendent values from one generation to another. It is an important and vital part of Christian Homiletics (preaching style and methods of communicating the Gospel) and is a substantial part of the content of the Bible itself. What many Emergents mean by Narrative Theology though is that the Bible is MERELY that…a story. As Brian McLaren, the grand-daddy of the movement says (in his book, The Story We Find Ourselves In), the Bible is a collection of stories that Bedoin shepherds told themselves around campfires to help them learn the story they found themselves in. Today, we read those stories in an attempt to understand important truths that might help us understand the story we find ourselves in. So Narrative Theology is a deconstruction of the authority of Scripture, and most specifically what is called the “Perspicuity of Scripture“. That means that God wrote the Bible intending for it to be understood. He wanted it’s message to be clear and available for everyone. Emergents deny any claim someone makes that they understand what the Bible means. They would concede that you can know what it means FOR YOU, but not what it means objectively or what it means for someone else. Really this is just a carry-over from what the German Theologians did through Higher Criticism over a century ago. Everything cycles back around. Back then the Fundamentalists were battling Modernism. Now the Evangelicals are battling Postmodernism. At the root is the fight over the authority of Scripture, and yes, thousands of young adults are embracing Narrative Theology as a replacement for seeing the Bible as Objective Propositional Truth. May the Lord grant this young man humility, which opens access to grace (1...
Apr
29

The Kingdom of God is Within You – Leo Tolstoy (Review)

The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy, was written in 1894 and published in Germany, where liberal theology or “Higher Criticism” had already taken a foothold. Since Tolstoy used much of this book to lambaste the Russian government, I’m sure the Germans were all too happy to help the manuscript discover the light of day. Tolstoy seems to very anti-institutional in his overall worldview. In this theological treatise, he rails against the Orthodox, the Catholics, the Protestants (specifically the Lutherans) and even the Salvation Army. The main gist of his argument seems to be that religious institutions prey on the masses for their own financial gain and political power. He is rather heterodox in some of his theological views, such as denying the infallibility of the Old Testament, being skeptical of miracles, opposing the church creeds on their key points, declaring that modern science and the Bible are not compatible and even claiming that man is the son of God with the same essence of God himself, and this is what makes love for other human animals possible. It is clear why this book has not become a household favorite of conservative Evangelicals. However, as with most people who are frustrated with religion as it is currently held, many of his rebukes of the church are well-founded. Tolstoy’s view of Christianity is that it is the moral teachings of Jesus (found in the Sermon on the Mount) that have value to all humans. Rather than believing in the miraculous or the historical claims of the Bible, Tolstoy feels that Christianity has much to give to world in terms of loving neighbors, loving God and avoiding war and retaliation for wrongs. Overall, if I didn’t know better, I would assume that I were reading Doug Paggit, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Donald Miller or some other Emergent Church author who is decrying Modernity and the Modern church. Perhaps Tolstoy was ahead of his time. Or perhaps it is true that there is nothing new under the...

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© Israel Wayne.