Quoting the Non-Quotes of Scripture

CNN ran on article titled “Actually, that’s not in the Bible” on their Belief Blog on June 5.  The blog talks about how the Bible is “the most revered book in America” but is also the most misquoted. The blog is on target–except when the writer quotes Kevin Dunn (Tufts University) and Sidnie White Crawford, one of my former professors at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Regarding the popular thought that “Satan in the guise of a serpent tempts Eve to pick the forbidden apple from the Tree of Life,” Dunn says, “Genesis mentions nothing but a serpent…Not only does the text not mention Satan, the … Continue reading Quoting the Non-Quotes of Scripture

A Few More Verses on Hell

These verses (from the Gospel of Matthew alone) show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus preached an eternal, conscious, fiery torment awaits those who do not receive and believe in Jesus as the only way to God. Throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:42) Throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:50) Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there … Continue reading A Few More Verses on Hell

America, Christians, Glenn Beck, and the Gospel

Russell Moore writes about Christianity and American politics on his blog.  The problem isn’t the politicians or entertainers (like Glenn Beck, who inspired this post) or their banter.  The problem is Christian churches in the United States and how they respond.  Here’s a taste of Moore’s article: Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the … Continue reading America, Christians, Glenn Beck, and the Gospel

God is a Strong Tower

When I was younger and heard or read, “God is a strong tower,” my mind immediately went to an image like the one above.  What you are looking at is your run-of-the-mill state park viewing tower.  It’s actually not very strong.  It’s not very powerful.  It can’t actually protect you.  And it’s not very threatening, unless you fall on the steps and get cut by those nasty steel holes. Psalm 61:3 says, “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”  When Scripture says that God is a “strong tower” it means that he is more like a … Continue reading God is a Strong Tower

Some of My Thoughts About Hell

In the previous post, I posted on a sermon from my church.  As I’m blogging through my church’s sermons, I should make a note that I don’t necessarily agree with everything that the speaker says.  In this week’s sermon, there were a few things that I took issue with.  I have no doubt that preacher was sincere and loving in his intentions and I am in no way questioning his study or integrity.  He said nothing heretical by any means, and of course, you can only say so much in a 35-minute sermon.  I hope to be gracious to him, … Continue reading Some of My Thoughts About Hell

Confessions of a 9 Year-Old Theologian

Theological perplexities are not supposed to happen to a 9 year-old.  At that age, you are meant to play with Legos, watch Saturday morning cartoons, and get excited about shoes that light up on the heels.  I had the latter in abundance.  But at times, the former showed up during long sleepless nights. In 1993, I didn’t have a blog to confess to the world my problematic theology.  But I’m telling you now.  Let’s call it social networking transparency. Deep breath, James.  Okay.  Here goes nothing. There were times when I stayed awake for hours, desperately praying to God that … Continue reading Confessions of a 9 Year-Old Theologian