On National Symbols

51dv9fvigil-_uy250_“Christians are citizens of two kingdoms. Our ultimate loyalty is to the God of the nations, not to any particular nation. We are most patriotic when we love our country so much that we refuse to allow it to become absolute in our lives. Wed accept its guilt and failures as our own, but we refuse to accept things which are wrong and unjust. We are prepared to be ostracised by society for the sake of society. Our loyalty to the God of the nations makes us deeply concerned that our country should exhibit that righteousness which alone exhalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34). In seeking to be true patriots, Christians have seldom been popular. Like Jeremiah the prophet they have even been called traitors (see especially Jeremiah chaps. 28 and 37). Continue reading

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How Did Judas Die?

My sister recently asked: I’m reading Acts 1:18 and it says that Judas bought the Field of Blood and burst open with his entrails. I thought he hung himself!

She gave me permission to share my answer… Continue reading

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Links: 14 September 2016

My sister, Rebekah M. Devine, has an essay in this forthcoming edited volume published by Brill: Authoritative Texts and Reception History.

In other (less important) news:

Georgetown plans to apologize for its role in slavery – The Washington Post.

Michael Cannon: Privatize the VA. “The VA provides life, disability and health benefits to certain veterans. But Congress does not fund those benefits until they come due, and the cost of those benefits typically peaks decades after Congress incurs them by sending troops to war. This lag enables members of Congress to ignore one of the largest financial costs of war. The VA lets Congress wage war on the cheap.”

Life at the Nowhere Office | New Republic. “Today’s workplace design asks us to be permanently on call—and demands that we vanish at a moment’s notice.”

Why Ireland Doesn’t Want Apple’s $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes – Bloomberg.

#CocksNotGlocks & Gun-Control Activists’ Idiotic Logic | National Review.

 

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Evangelical Pope(s)

"As Nathan Hatch and Mark Noll have pointed out, one of the peculiarities of American evangelicalism is that its theological disputes are often settled in the court of popular opinion. Whereas evangelicals appeal to the ‘Bible alone’ for authority, they lack adequate mechanisms for settling differences on how the Bible is to be understood. Typically having weak views on the church or of central ecclesiastical authority, they cannot depend on synods or councils to adjudicate their disagreements. Nor is there any clear principle for establishing the authority of the expert theologians. The authority of anyone in most of evangelicalism thus depends on winning popular support. Losers and disputes among theologians, or among competitors for theological influence, can always go to the court of popular opinion…. Popular opinion has thus functioned as the evangelical pope, the ultimate court of appeal. Vox populi vox papae. Or perhaps popular opinion has more often provided, as in the late Middle Ages, multiple popes, each denouncing the others."

George Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 291.

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Was Samuel a “Nazirite”?

In MT 1 Sam 1:11, Hannah vows to YHWH that a razor would never touch her son’s head (should YHWH give her a son). But the LXX (1 Kgdms 1:11) contains a plus: that her son would never drink wine or strong drink. Continue reading

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By Royal Mail from the UK Today…

Available October 20. Pre-order your copy now!

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Source Criticism as Interpretive Crutch

“The point is not whether 1 Sam 31 and 2 Sam 1 originate from one source or two, but that this line of inquiry does not help us to understand the story. For regardless of its origin, the material has been reworked into an integrated narrative–one that must be understood as it stands now. To unravel it into its (hypothetical) original sources is to destroy it. Continue reading

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Striving with Humans Forever

My sister has been posting chapters from her book, A Wandering God Was My Father. Check out her site, and share with friends if you enjoy it! Here’s a brilliant excerpt from her latest chapter:

As the god watched Hagar trembling by the spring, he felt spasms in his own fingers and legs, and his gut began to match the tumult in Hagar’s pregnant belly. This was his lot now, ever since the humans he had made from dirt and wind had turned their faces from him. The moment his breath had filled their clay lungs and turned them into flesh, a thread between their organic bodies and his own pneumatic being formed. He felt every pulse, each tremor riddling the human body. When he’d cursed humans with toil and pain in childbearing, he had known that every day after, he would be sweating and writhing and toiling along with them, his spirit striving with humans forever.

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Links: 23 August 2016

The One Speech That Could Turn Donald Trump From Villain To Hero.

The Aetna Mugging – WSJ. “As ObamaCare implodes, Democrats blame insurers, the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.”

Get Out of Gun Control, Apple – The New York Times. A fascinating look at politics, semeiotics, and squirt guns.

Intellectuals are Freaks | The Smart Set.

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OK, Everyone, Time to Pull Up Your Tithing App…

I was at a birthday party for one of my son’s friends last week, and got into an interesting conversation about tithing. One of the moms explained that her church has provided a giving page on its website for tithing, and also provided a direct-deposit option for recurring giving. She also described a church in a more hip area that appeals to “the younger folks” by inviting folks to whip out their phones and give via app during the service while the traditional pass-the-plate offering is being held. Continue reading

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