05 December 2014

Some here, some there — December 5, 2014

by Dan Phillips

On with the array:
  • Louis Markos offers a readable and read-worthy review of Craig Blomberg's recent book Can We Still Believe the Bible?  I appreciate his push-back against Blomberg's apparent defense of the indefensible practice of "gender-norming" in translation. However, when Markos pities Bart Ehrman because "the kind of fundamentalism in which the Christian believer turned biblical debunker was raised did not prepare him for the challenges he would face in college," I recall that Phil Johnson, a classmate of Ehrman's at Moody, has noted otherwise.
  • (That's the only one I'll feature, but it's a funny hashtag.)
  • A very interesting note on the overall structure of the Biblical canon from Michael Kruger shows a textual indicator of completeness.
  • There probably still are people who have not seen the video Frank Turk made when Phil announced his retirement from Teh Intarwebz. If you haven't, you need to. Hys ter i cal.
  • Reader Robert Sakovich found evidence for what we pretty much suspected: the cost of discipleship has gone down a good bit.
  • The Post-"Farewell"-Bell continues on the same sad but predictable trajectory.
  • When Boswell told Samuel Johnson of seeing a woman preach in a Quaker meeting, famously replied: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." Which I cite because...
  • I feel that way when President Obama tries to use Scripture to prop up his agenda — as he did when explaining why lawless home invasion is a good thing, when done on a national scale. And D. G. Hart lodges an objection. It's nice that someone is bothered when the Bible is "so used and abused."
  • Some readers will only be thinking of
  • Well, now.  This is new. I've sent you to Doug Wilson in the past when his writing and sharp thinking shine. And now...this!

Dan Phillips's signature


Kirby said...

that "Phil has retired from the Internet" is so crazy funny. Still funny at 2 years. Almost Pentacostally Prophetically creepy with the Driscoll reference near the end.

Robert said...

Sad that atheists can't see that they have no basis for worrying or complaining about people going to church. They basically just want people to affirm their foolishness and join them in hating God.

Would be nice for somebody to actually call out Obama for taking Scripture out of context and actually explain what the context of these passages from the OT. Surely the response from the evangelical side can handle that...

"Hold your peace, rebellious pot,
The Lord is God and you are not." Awesome...I loved that. I loved the backstory, too. Thanks for sharing!

I'm with Kevin Stilley on this one. Slow to speak, quick to listen, is very appropriate in these cases. And the evangelicals should not be copying the common foolishness of the world in our response. Hands up, don't shoot resonates well if you only believe one narrative instead of looking at the comprehensive evidence.

Busenitz is great at parsing out history and bringing the bare bones of any issue to light. He even put a link in the comments regarding the Christian roots for the Christmas tree. I remember hearing him speak at the Shepherd's Conference about how the early Catholic Church leaders believed in salvation by grace alone (he had a massive volume of quotes). That was quite eye-opening for me, as I was saved out of Catholicism as it exists today.

Tighe's article digs even deeper and lists out a lot of names and history...very good read.

And of course, I thoroughly enjoyed your article on the subject of Christmas as well. I am reminded of how my son's classmates in kindergarten had no idea what he was talking about when he spoke of sin.

The "O, Holy Night" story is an old favorite of mine. I like to go through the history and backstory of hymns with my family so that we have a better appreciation of what the songs mean...and also to show when people incorrectly revise the lyrics.

Not sure if I would totally reverse the order of Murray's words, but would shift faith to the first one. I think faith should be the driver, then focus is needed before adding force into doing the work involved.

The Wal-Mart photo list is hilarious. Somebody had a good time putting that together.

Love Cogan's two main points about hymns. I think there is a lack of appreciation for these ideas in our culture today. I have a hard time thinking that people who have so much luxury and convenience at their fingertips truly have as deep of an appreciation for God's work in their lives as those who struggled with even basic things on an everyday basis. Not that it is impossible, but just not very likely.

DJP said...

Thanks, Robert!

Robert said...

My pleasure...thank you for a great start to my birthday. More filling than any cake I've had!

Doug Hibbard said...

Thanks especially for the link on Christmas origins.

And the rest is great, as always. That pic of Bonhoeffer's book is from a Lifeway, so that tells you that we Southern Baptists have set the Cost of Discipleship. Of course, that's $16.99 American. It's considerably more in Canada.

Benjamin said...

Y'know, the first time I read your post about O Holy Night a few years ago, it totally ruined that song for me -- which matched an unfortunate uptick in that song's popularity, especially as sung at my church 'round this time of year. Thanks for the reminder of my curmudgeonliness.

Maybe I'll just memorize the French lyrics and sing those. I strongly dislike the English lyrics, but I also dislike just standing there during worship.

Solameanie said...

As I've often noted, "O Holy Night" is my favorite carol for the music if nothing else. And yes, the particular stanza you flagged always did raise a "hmmm." The backstory you told is amazing, and I love the more biblical lyrics you brought to our attention.

On a separate but similar note, we had a chuckle in church the other day when one of our elders was teaching, and the subject of Bill Gaither's "The King is Coming" came up. He half-jokingly said "but that's amillennial, so we'll throw that one out." Everyone laughed, but I got to thinking about it. (And to be clear - I know that eschatology is not discussed very much here intentionally, and that is not the point of my comment. Here's the point of my comment).

I've sung that song before, but the deeper theological implications of it never occurred to me for some reason. I find that curious, because for someone who loves apologetics I'm normally pretty eagle-eyed for that stuff. It is amazing how a love of music can fog vision. I have to wonder how many popular hymns, carols, and choruses would fail a Biblely test if examined in that light. I suspect many an unsuspecting believer would be shocked.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including the link to the post by my friend, Dan Cogan. Amazing journey.

Michael Coughlin said...

BEST Some here, some there ever. I can't pinpoint why exactly.

I bookmarked your Christmas history/letter to Virginia link to read this weekend.

Blessings to you!

And Robert - great job commenting on nearly EVERY point in the post. ;-)

Jason Dohm said...

I'm with commenter #1, Kirby - the "Phil has retired from the Internet" video is beyond classic. Vote non-pastor Turk for Prophet! Almost everything said has come true.

For a light-hearted Christmas laugh, "Did Santa Really Slap a Jehovah's Witness at Nicea?"


The internal link to "Slappy Christmas" should be read on an empty bladder.

JackW said...

O’ Holy Night lyrics received a rewrite on the latest release by Sovereign Grace Music, Prepare Him Room. Read about it here: http://www.worshipmatters.com/2014/11/03/o-holy-night-revisited/
Good Christmas album and the sheet music can be downloaded for free.

Michael said...

Why do you hate that abolitionist lyric? Because it added a political or social agenda to a lyric which was originally Gospel centered? Or because it presumed the Lord's will was for African slaves to be free?

DJP said...

Since I explain my problems with the English version in the linked post, I assume you're asking Benjamin.


Michael said...

Thanks Dan.
I read the post but I'm dim. I understand singing the ungospelly lyrics of an unbeliever would be problematic in church (or anywhere for that matter if you care about proper theology). But do you hate it for also presuming the Lord to be the one to free African slaves via human means? You mention the writer's being an abolitionist at the same time you mention the changed lyrics. I'm trying to get at a distinction between any changing of the lyrics away from the gospel and the actual content of the new lyrics. Are both at the heart of your beef?

Christina said...

Thank you for linking to the Kevin Stilley article. I hope Mr. Moore (and others) take time to consider his points.

Lowell Van Ness said...

I don't think there was an implication that abolition was somehow not in God's will.
Rather, the mention of the translator's abolitionism was to point out why he mistranslated the lyrics as he did.

Michael said...

Lowell, I appreciate your addressing my question. Dan posted your comment without any further clarification of his own so I'll assume your explanation is correct.

yankeegospelgirl said...

I'm no great fan of Russell Moore, and I agree that he and other evangelical pundits have been singularly unhelpful in their commentary on these racially charged statements. In this specific instance, I also agree that Moore's statement was misleadingly worded by saying that the man was choked "for stealing cigarettes," and I also agree that it's off-topic to insert race into the situation.

However. I don't entirely agree with Stilley either. I actually do think this is a pretty disturbing case of police violence, and I'm not at all certain I agree that the police ideally shouldn't have been indicted. Whether the particular officer in question should have been indicted is its own tedious legal question (which ended up revolving around long back-and-forths on the kind of hold he used). I would argue that ALL the officers should have been indicted, and I would probably aim the most blame at a different officer, the one who was slamming Garner's head into the ground. I think a good argument could be made that he actually made the single greatest contribution to Garner's accidental death.

And even if the officers weren't indicted, what they did was a real abuse of force and power. It's misleading for Stilley to wave it all away by saying that Garner was "resisting arrest." I would reserve that phrase for someone who had a weapon, someone who was violent, attacking an officer, etc. All Garner did, that I could see, was mouth off a bit and then twitch/shrug with his hands and shoulders when the police first approached him. Yes, I'm aware that he weighed 400 pounds, but four officers should have been able to get handcuffs on him and take him into custody without pinning him to the ground and smushing his face into the cement. And to the people who might say "Look, he's still resisting even after he's on the ground," I would say, "If by 'resisting' you mean 'resisting the policemen's attempts to suffocate him' then, um, yeah?" Whatever "protocol" they were following in, bottom line is said protocol needs to change.

Secondly, there's another aspect to this situation that Stilley doesn't even mention, or seem to be aware of, namely that there was a very long stretch of time after Garner was initially made unconscious where officers were standing around doing NOTHING for him and telling people to back off. Even when the EMT comes, she just checks his pulse and begins talking to him (like he's in a state to answer questions!) and doesn't do anything else for him. The entire attitude of the officers and other personnel seems incredibly impersonal. One gets the impression that they view this man's life differently simply because he's a criminal.

I think the police, and by extension conservatives, can get so frustrated with how lenient the criminal justice system can be that they and we run the risk of becoming callous. I think it's unfortunate that the Garner incident happens to have occurred at the same time as the Ferguson riots, because the two incidents are entirely separate, and the whole racial outcry is just distracting from the really serious concerns it raises about how the police interact with American citizens. We shouldn't be celebrating this as a triumph for true justice. What happened to Garner is not the real American way.

yankeegospelgirl said...

Oops, I have a misprint in my first sentence. That should have read "these racially charged cases."

Michael said...

Yankeegospelgirl deserves an ovation and a hug.

Jeri Tanner said...

On Dan Cogan's journey away from contemporary worship music: I appreciate what he's come to see hugely, and he's on the right track. I do hate to hear the position for exclusive Psalmody marginalized as an extreme or far-fetched position, as it is not. The Psalms were the songbook of the NT church for most of its first 1800 years, and were the songbook of God's people Israel before that. A very well-reasoned, sharply logical, and best of all biblical case can be and is made that these are the songs of praise Christ desires to sing with his congregation. The Psalms-all of them- speak of the work of Christ and the Person of Christ. They are entirely up-to-date and relevant, revealing to us the mind of God from eternity past until Christ comes again. Bad theology and loose history on the subject has made us believe a lot of things that simply are not true (including that the apostles wrote or quoted from non-canonical hymns). Thanks Dan, for Some Here Some There. I need to comment more often and not just on this topic. I often feel like a one-note (ha!) commenter, as this is the issue that often compels me to do so. It's because my time and ability are so limited, but I believe the issue of the singing together of the church to be of such great import. I appreciate everything you post though, and often send articles to people or point them to something you've posted.