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Weekly Meanderings

posted by xscot mcknight

Too much snow this winter in the Land of Lincoln:’
Chicago will miss Wally Phillips, fondly called “Wally What’s His Name” by Bob Collins:
Earth Hour tonight at 8pm.
Really good story by Karen.
Day in and day out, Eugene Cho is one good blogger … and this little post about my pastor being a janitor is a(nother) good one.
Thoroughly modern do-gooders.
My son-in-law, Mark Barringer, is working on this Willow Project: Hunger 08.
For those of you who have Holy Saturday services, Fr. Rob Merola has a great meditation you can print out and adopt and adapt next year for yourself.
Ed Gilbreath collects some links about race and rage and prophets.
A postmodern remix of C. Michael Patton’s famous map … I hadn’t seen this map but it is funny.
Chris Ridgeway has put Mark Driscoll’s talk about emerging into a full script on pdf.
JR Woodward begins a new series on conversion — is it a 4-letter word?
My review of AC Thiselton, Hermeneutics of Doctrine, at Christianity Today online.
A piece I wrote for Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox.
David Fitch begins a two-part review of Brian McLaren’s Deep Shift project. Along this line, check out TSK’s interview of Brian McLaren about criticisms of EMC.
An excellent article on L’Abri (in Switzerland), and Greg Laughery, who often weighs in on this blog, is quoted a few times.
1. City-wide internet plans are taking big hits.
2. Bob Robinson on Obama and Jeremiah Wright and the RR’s rhetoric.
3. Growing length of life disparities between rich and poor.
4. 4000.
5. Homeless in Heathrow.
6. Two of my favorite pastors on funerals: Fr. Rob and Jim Martin.
7. John Frye’s giving the Westminster Confession some grief.
8. Ted’s got a good new post on listening.
9. If you’ve read this far, Mark Van Steenwyk’s piece on racism and the mountain of bones is a serious piece, but well worthy of serious pondering. Michael Cline’s follow-up is a concrete, Franciscan-Anabaptist perspective that I like.
10. At the bottom of my list this week is this sadness.
Just in case you are interested in self-employed and insurance struggles.
My new driver. This is my official warning to Mark Galli. Make way for Sumo 2.
Tiger had a bad Saturday but he put up a good run Sunday afternoon. Good for Geoff Ogilvie.
What in the world happened to David Duvall? And I feel bad that Davis Love II hasn’t been able to stay closer to the top in the last two years … one of the fine gentlemen of golf.
Baseball … it’s in the air.

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posted March 29, 2008 at 12:48 am

Hunger 08 looks great. My church participated with the same group: Feed My Starving Children 2-3 years ago. It was a really great week. I encourage all to get involved -even kid can volunteer. What a great teaching opportunity.

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posted March 29, 2008 at 1:26 am

I would like to make 2 comments:
First, I thought John Frye’s comments on the Westminster Confession were both hysterical and right on the mark. That statement he refers to is the most illogical, contradictory, absurd statement I possibly have ever heard. The sad thing is, many, many, many, people interpret Scripture through that lens and consider you a heretic or unorthodox if you don’t do the same. How in the world any student of the Bible can agree with that statement, much less defend it, teach it, and look at Scripture through it, absolutely bewilders me. There is some major heresy there, and I would just like to add that we need to redefine heresy and who we call a heretic in the modern day and throughout church history. Reason being because oftentimes the term “heretic” is used of an individual if he/she were not reformed in their theology…and I think we may just have that view in reverse!
The second comment is about Peter Enns. That is the most tragic, devastating, absurd, heartbreaking, and angering news I have heard in a while. WTS has absolutely no idea who they are getting rid of, and they are depriving their students, and thus the people they will serve in the future, of true scholarship that is biblical and healthy and not dogmatic and rigid. This is a joke and makes me want to vomit. Shame on the systematic theologians for being so rigid about matters of bibliology that they would make such a stir. I hope he comes to my institution, for I would sit at his feet all day long and learn from his wisdom. I wish him the best and pray that this will not make him bitter, but rather that he will embrace this and draw nearer to God in the process. I wish more scholars were like Peter Enns, and less seminaries were like WTS, but what would you expect of a seminary with such a theology and such a high respect for men who were dogmatic, rigid, mean, murderers, and further divided the boundaries between mission and academia. Amazing!

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posted March 29, 2008 at 5:32 am

Thanks Chris Ridgway, for transcribing Mark Driscoll’s talk into text. I–and I know others feel the same way too–really don’t like to watch video, podcast etc.
I also very much appreciated Karen and Eugene’s blogs.

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Ben Wheaton

posted March 29, 2008 at 7:15 am

But isn’t Peter Enns a heretic in your eyes? After all, he holds to the Westminster Confession…

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jeremy bouma

posted March 29, 2008 at 7:15 am

(this may be my third comment because it seems like there’s something wrong with the commenting system…)
nice review of Thiselton’s “Doctrine.” Thankfully I am schooling next door to Eerdman’s so I picked up a copy last fall, promptly cracked it open, and became discouraged over it’s meaty discourse. I hope to read through it this summer over my break between semesters.
What i did read though was fantastic! I loved his point about belief: that we really do not “believe” in something until we “nail our colors to the mast,” until we live it and incarnate that belief.
good stuff!

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posted March 29, 2008 at 7:52 am

Ah, now it is starting to make sense. After reading Luke???s comments I recognize that WTS is planning on becoming a part of the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) :)
Thanks for all the great links, I really enjoyed David Brook???s article on the ???modern do-gooders.??? I think there are some parallels with many of the younger pastors/church planters who long to see lives impacted but are sometimes hesitant to get intertwined with the bureaucracy of denominations.

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Bob Smallman

posted March 29, 2008 at 8:04 am

Sorry to hear about Wally Phillips — he was a true character (and a real pro), and I enjoyed listening to him while tooling around Chicago in my Pinto during my Trinity days.

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Craig Querfeld

posted March 29, 2008 at 8:42 am

Scot, or anybody else that may want to chime in,
I read Peter EnnĀ“s blog about WTS asking him to leave. Not being in the States and not following all the theological issues and nuances of certain areas of theology I feel out of the loop. So I was wondering if you or anyone else would have some time to explain the theological issues revolving around his position and why that may be the reason for his dismissal. My purpose in asking is purely academic. By no means do I want to bring disrepute or question the decision of a venerable seminary like Westminster who has a place in evangelical history in the United States.
Scot, feel free to polish my question. It may be a bit too large to be treated in this blog.

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John Frye

posted March 29, 2008 at 10:16 am

After reading about what’s happened to Peter Enns at WTS, it seems the radical Reformed segment of USAmerican evangelicalism is going to reduce itself down to a meaningless, missionless ghetto of theological thought. That is what is so sad.

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posted March 29, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Well the situation at WTS is no surprise at all. I long ago came to the conclusion that I would never and could not teach at a “conservative” Christian institution. Frankly I value intellectual integrity and the ability to wrestle with the Word of God and its meaning far more than I value the doctrinal statements, faith statements, and propositional dogmas of men.
I do think that Christian institutions are of significant value – but for me, the constriction would bring crisis of faith, not growing faith.

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posted March 29, 2008 at 12:26 pm

thanks for the kind words.
i also just wanted share my disappointment regarding WTS and peter enns. my frustration with the task of contemporary theology is that it has been deduced to processes that are confined by institutional structures that, in my opinion, have grown increasingly disconnected to the “real” world. orthodox theology in the scriptures and the early church – which is what contemporary theologians are supposedly contending for – was birthed through men and women that wrestled with their theologies not behind desks but through the engagement of christ, context, and culture.
isn’t this one of the reasons why we are so compelled by the likes of apostle paul, bonhoeffer, nouwen, mother teresa, etc?

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posted March 29, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Hasn’t the disconnect always been? I don’t really think that it is a problem with contemporary theology as much as an enduring church conflict. There must be some emphasis on “orthodoxy” because, quite frankly, people tend to stray, at times quite badly. On the other hand emphasis on “orthodoxy” by its very nature can slide down the slippery slope to unchristian rigid legalism. I am not one for slippery slope arguments in general, but insomuch as there is some truth in them they work both ways.

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posted March 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Good point. I was trying to make it clear the absurdity of believing that anyone who does not hold to the reformed traditions of the faith is a heretic. As I believe our reformed brothers and sisters should not believe (e.g.) an Arminian is a heretic, I don’t believe we should call them heretics either. I believe they teach some heretical things (don’t we all?), but I do not call them heretics. Therefore, no, I would by no means call Peter Enns a heretics b/c he holds to the Westminster Confession (and lets see how long he holds to it after leaving the institution).
My problem is with the rigid, dogmatic reformed people and scholars. I do not consider Pete to be like this one bit, and think this is partially a reason he is being let go. I look at a true scholar as one who will come to the text as an investigator, not a lawyer. Pete evaluates the evidence and takes it where it leads him, other theologians come to the text as a lawyer and already have their minds made up. They’re consumed with protecting systems, doctrines, and catechisms, but the biblical theologian goes where the evidence leads him. Pete is a true scholar that should be listened to and learned from by all peoples of all different traditions. This is why I really respect men like Greg Boyd and Clark Pinnock. They weigh the evidence and go where it leads them, even though their conclusions get people very stirred up. I don’t know if I agree with them, but I respect them for it nonetheless.
All that being said, Westminster is making a tragic mistake and it is very disturbing. Their institution just went from good to average, and I guarantee you that many of the professors and students are fired up about it. I can think of 1 or 2 professors at my institution who, if they were treated like WTS treated Pete, I would be out the door with them. I don’t want to go to a school who is not honest with true scholarship. That’s why I, like RJS, could never teach at a conservative institution, and never will.

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Ted M. Gossard

posted March 29, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Yes, I too struggle with what I understand about this. I’ve always hated the notion that to join a church (and by extension, be part of a Christian instition) you had to sign on the dotted line concerning matters outside the realm of the orthodox Christian faith, matters on which Christians are divided. This violates one of the highest principles of Jesus, namely that all of his followers would be one, as he and the Father are one, that they would be brought into that oneness.
That is why I enjoy being part of a church which is in the Evangelical Covenant Denomination. For whatever faults it has, and all do have them of course, you’re allowed to think for yourself there, along with others, with the touchstone of always going back to Scripture itself, and with respect to the tradition of the Church through the centuries.
And thanks, Scot, for the mention.

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posted March 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Scot McKnight’s weekly meanderings « Chris Kidd – applied youth ministry

[…] Scot McKnight’s weekly meanderings Posted on March 29, 2008 by Chris Scot McKnight? flag’s up a couple of interesting articles around the web this week: […]

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Julie Clawson

posted March 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm

I think the Peter Enns thing is crazy.
But I want to comment on the self-employed insurance link. Most pastors are classified as self-employed for tax purposes and also have to find their own insurance (even if they are given a stipend with which to do so). Insane amounts of their income go towards health insurance that is often quite poor. I personally because I was born missing an arm (pre-existing condition) could find only one company that would even consider cover me (with a ton of caveats). I just heard of another church planter with our denomination whose situation (work hard, trust God) was too insane to even cover insurance. they just had an extremely premature baby and are looking at months in an NICU (which could run them upwards of a million or more). They have no hope of ever getting out of debt. This is how the church treats its workers.

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posted March 30, 2008 at 9:26 am

I read both of your pieces – the one on Thiselton’s book and the one from Rick Warren’s site. Both have interesting insights. On the other hand I wonder if it wise to read too much of Thiselton? He seems to be contagious, with influence for the good and for prose falling “at the opposite end of the spectrum.”

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Scot McKnight

posted March 30, 2008 at 9:35 am

Thiselton’s big books are probably enough — in fact, I think New Horizons about says it all. But, what one reads impacts how one writes … and that is why social scientists write the way they do: they read too many jargon-filled social scientists.

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posted March 30, 2008 at 11:51 am

And we won’t even begin to touch on the writing of bona fide scientists. Some of us like to throw equations into the mix.
The health insurance issue is a big deal. My sister had heart problems at 32 and has a device implanted to shock her if her heart starts to misfire. They are church planters – and this has had an effect on choices. They must retain denominational support and infrastructure to remain reasonably insured.

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