don't do radio interviews very often, but for a mix of different reasons this week I was asked to do five. Two of them were about the Manhattan Declaration; the others dealt with the sovereignty of God, gambling, and the issue of biblical justice.
It's really not a good week to be logging so much radio time. I have two important (overdue) writing deadlines, and I'm leaving for London Sunday night. Plus, I still haven't written the blogpost I originally planned to post last Monday. So I'm going to try to make the most of my time this evening by blending a couple of items into one post.
First some excerpts from Thursday's interviews:
The Paul Edwards Program
Paul (one of the best commentators and interviewers in Christian radio) engaged me in conversation about the Manhattan Declaration on Facebook Wednesday night and invited me to continue that dialogue on his Detroit-based broadcast yesterday. Here's an archive copy of the entire broadcast. The segment where I participated starts about an hour and five minutes into the broadcast, and goes on for about half an hour.
Here are some sound bites:
- Let me be clear about my position.
- "Did I make a mistake?" "I think you did."
- "I live in a community of gospel deniers and belong to the homeowners' association."
- "I totally concur with that."
- Long term implications? I hope it will drive us back to preaching the gospel together.
In the wake of the Huckabee controversy, Todd Friel interviewed me yesterday morning for Wretched Radio on the question of pardons, clemency, and commuted sentences for violent criminals. Specifically, is it always a corruption of justice to pardon a violent criminal who exhibits good behavior in prison, or can showing mercy to a felon sometimes be a good thing? Don't people deserve mercy if they turn their lives around?
Here are my thoughts on that question.
Speaking of Justice . . .
The American Bible Society has published The Poverty & Justice Bibleon recycled paper (because, you know, that makes a statement against Global Warming, perhaps the greatest human "injustice" some of our liberal friends are capable of imagining). They've sent me four copies to give away to our blog readers, and they hoped I would review the publication at TeamPyro. Here's the most succinct review I can give you tonight:
The "Bible" aspect of this work is of course its best feature, though I'm not at all a fan of the watered-down, dumbed-down, gender-neutraled, politically-correct "Contemporary English Version" they have used. I can't see any scenario in which such a poor translation would be truly useful, and with the plethora of translations available today, this one certainly would not be my choice. Perhaps one example of this translation's deep-down badness will suffice for this short review. Here's the CEV rendering of Acts 9:22: "Saul preached with such power that he completely confused the Jewish people in Damascus, as he tried to show them that Jesus is the Messiah." (ESV: "But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.")
The worst feature of the book, however, is the way it treats "poverty & justice." The editors' and (most of the endorsers') notion of "justice" is clearly straight from the canons of political correctness. Not that they really have much of any substance to say about either poverty or justice. There's a thin section of United-Methodist-style devotional essays stitched into the center of the book and unwisely titled "The Core." Aside from that, the main clues about the editors' perspective on "poverty & justice" come from the verses they have selected to highlight (or not). The highlights are in burnt orange (another unfortunate choice). Ostensibly these are all the key Bible verses about poverty and justice.
So with that in mind, I thumbed through to check a few verses that I knew would pose a challenge to the currently-popular politically-correct perspectives on "poverty & justice." It was frankly not surprising to see that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ("If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat") didn't merit the editors' orange smear of approval. Neither did Deuteronomy 7:1-5, which spells out God's prescription for justice to the Canaanites, Perizzites, Amorites, and so on. Galatians 6:7 ("whatever one sows, that will he also reap") was ignored by the highlighter pen. Predictably, so was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and God's judicial abandonment of sinners to their sin in Romans 1.
In other words, the view of "justice" this Bible tries to promote is the same humanistic perspective we have heard nonstop from Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, Shane Claiborne, most of the Emergent/ing districts of the blogosphere, and Acorn.
Anyway, I have four copies of this book to give away, and here's the deal: I'll give them to the four commenters who post the best 1-paragraph critique of the postmodern/liberal concept of "justice." No need to be wordy; a pithy one-sentence comment could well be better than a 600-word "paragraph."
Let's make Monday noon the deadline for entries. I'll be in England next week. Frank and Dan can choose the four winners and collect mailing addresses. I'll mail out the books when I get home.