In a recent blog post on SharperIron, Kevin Bauder defended Bob Jones University against a criticism of the university’s low salaries for their faculty and staff. I have not seen it, but apparently someone posted a comparison chart showing the salaries of various universities with Bob Jones being ranked lowest. Also — apparently — there was no comment. Nonetheless, Kevin Bauder felt compelled to use that particular criticism as an opportunity to defend the university and, by extension, the low salaries of many fundamentalist institutions. (more…)
Both secular professors and conservative theologians agree that Genesis 1 -3 was intended by the author to be understood literally. The only difference is that the secularists don’t believe it. It is Theistic Creationists that bend normal hermeneutics to accommodate atheistic science. James Barr was no friend of conservative evangelicals but consider this: (more…)
Recently someone interviewed me for a class project. I thought I’d share the questions and the short answers with my friends who read this.
What is your view of the biblical role of the pastor?
The over-arching metaphor in the Bible that is seen from Genesis to Revelation is that of shepherding. Amazingly, though the metaphor is thousands of years old it is still easily understood even by those who do not live in agrarian pastoral societies. A shepherd primarily concerns himself with feeding, guiding, and protecting his flock. The pastor must concern himself with the proper feeding of his people, helpful guidance in the way of individual counsel and corporate vision, and in the protection of his flock from error, bad teaching, and harmful divisive people.
What is the most important aspect of pastoral ministry?
I think that the most important aspect of pastoral ministry may be feeding, but I don’t know if it can really be separated from the protecting and guiding aspects of shepherding. Thus, I would say “spiritual shepherding,” which I realize is very much like saying, “The most important aspect of pastoring is pastoring.” Helpful, I know.
Then Eve was also called from her retreat.
‘Woman, what hast thou done?’ th’Almighty said;
‘Lord,’ answered she, ‘the serpent me betrayed
And I did eat.’ Thus did they both confess
Their guilt, and vainly sought to make it less
By such extenuations as, well weighed,
The sin, so circumstanced, more sinful made:
A course which still half-softened sinners use:
Transferring blame their own faults to excuse,
They care not how, nor where, and oftentimes
On God himself obliquely charge their crimes,
Expostulating in their discontent
As if he caused what he did not prevent;
Which Adam wickedly implies, when he
Cries, ”Twas the woman that thou gavest me’;
Oft-times make that the Devil’s guilt alone,
Which was as well and equally their own.
His lies could never have prevailed on Eve,
But that she wished them truth, and did believe
A forgery that suited her desire,
Whose haughty heart was prone enough to’aspire.
The tempting and urging was his ill,
But the compliance was her own will.
And herein truly lies the difference
Of natural and gracious penitence:
The first transferreth and extenuates
The guilt, which the other owns and aggravates.
While sin is but regarded slight and small
It makes the value of rich mercy fall,
But as our crimes seem greater in our eyes,
So doth our grateful sense of pardon rise.
From Order and Disorder, Canto 5 by Lucy Hutchinson
I am alway amused by the “cutting edge” of liberal scholars and/or contemporary emerging church type scholars. If a person reads a little more than the average American homo sapien he will see that the top scholars of today are really johnny-come-lately in their discoveries.
Here’s a classic example: Compare something that N.T. Wright has said with a statement by the great theologian B.B. Warfield.
N.T. Wright: For my part, I believe it was a great gain in the 1950s and 1960s that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were recognized as theologians, not mere chroniclers.
Just take that statement at face value and ignore the Jesus Seminar issues and the implicit higher criticism. The average person reading Wright would assume that everyone prior to the 1950s and 1960s had either the classic liberal perspective of the synoptics or a stereotypical uncritical fundamentalist belief that viewed the Gospels as an inspired collection of stories about Jesus.
But here is B.B. Warfield (d. 1921): The incidents which the narrators record, again, are not recorded with a biographical intent, and are not selected for their biographical significance, or ordered so as to present a biographical result: in the case of each Evangelist they serve a particular purpose which may employ biographical details, but is not itself a biographical end. In other words, the Gospels are not formal biographies, but biographical arguments – a circumstance which does not affect the historicity of the incidents they select for record, but does affect the selection and ordering of these incidents.
Warfield was defending the inspiration of the Gospel against the attacks of the higher critics who simplistically mocked Bible believers who insisted the synoptic gospels were inspired even though there were apparent inconsistencies and differing arrangement of the events. Warfield simply responded with something that Wright thinks was discovered in the 1950s and 1960s: The Evangelists were theologians making theological arguments biographically.
But one wonders if N.T. Wright would be willing to admit that a fundamentalist like B.B. Warfield was so brillliant.
I think this illustrates Augustine’s famous dictum: Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
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