Not Many Wise Here

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Fair or not, I have decided that the northern wintertime inhabitants dotting the landscape of Central and South Florida (otherwise known as “snowbirds”) must have bought into the whole “Me Generation” shtick of the ’60s. I was brought up to respect my elders, and (as the saying goes) “Some of my best friends are old”; so when I see that the behavior of other people’s grandparents around town ranges from inconsiderate to selfish (or downright hostile), I’m shocked. I’m looking advice.jpgfor wisdom from people I’ve mistaken for the “Greatest Generation,” and instead I get dissed by someone who used to drive a psychedelic VW to sit-ins.
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Islamic View of Jesus

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Note: See other articles in the Islam series: Islamic Paradise, Islamic Ideology and Islamic Infrastructure.

The typical Muslim estimation of Jesus of Nazareth is similar to the view of liberals or other nonbelievers generally but is also distinctive from most others. Mohammed could neither read nor write and probably had no direct contact with either the Old or the New Testament, only oral desert traditions. Yeshua is the Arabic name for Jesus; Isa is the name used in the727207_islam_temple_13.jpg Koran.

According to Islam, Jesus is listed as one of Allah’s special prophets. The most important prophets are Moses, David, Jesus, and Mohammed, for each was given a holy book to correct departure [1] from Allah: Moses the Pentateuch, David the Psalms, and Jesus the Gospels. The followers of Jesus corrupted the book Allah gave Him. Muslims consider Jesus to be a great prophet (Sura 2:253) but inferior to the other three for two reasons: (1) earlier prophets and Mohammed all had wives and children designated by Allah, and (2) His public ministry lasted only three years (Sura 13:38). Allah also sent many prophets to all the various nations, “And verily we have raised in every nation a messenger [proclaiming], Serve Allah, and shun false gods” (Sura 16:36). There have been no prophets or revelations since Mohammed. Of the prophets prior to Mohammed, “no difference do we make between them” (Sura 2:125-136).
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Christian Law Association—The SharperIron Interview | Part 4—Terri Schiavo

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gibbs.jpgI recently had the privilege of interviewing David Gibbs III, attorney for the Christian Law Association (Seminole, FL). I conducted four interviews with Dr. Gibbs and Matt Davis, another attorney for the Gibbs Law Firm (Seminole, FL).

In this final broadcast, we continue to discuss Dr. Gibbs’ work on the Terri Schiavo case. This month marks the two-year anniversary of her death. I believe that it is helpful to understand the true nature of this case as it speaks to the issue of life, one of our most basic rights.

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Jason Janz

Listen to the interview (38:07 min., 34.89 MB).

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All You Really Need Is "Heart"? Part 3

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Read Part 1 and Part 2.


Many Christians see the intellect and intellectual activity as second rate at best. To them, the non-rational features of our being are more trustworthy, more receptive to spiritual things, and more alive.
book_heart.jpgWhen it comes to church life, these believers tend to feel that it’s more important to have our hearts stirred than to have our thinking challenged. When making decisions, they tend to rely on having a sense of peace, feeling a “burden,” or discovering a verse at just the right time.

When preparing for ministry or evaluating the readiness of others for ministry, they tend to view knowledge and skill as relatively unimportant as long as one’s heart is right. In their view, the quality of a person’s or ministry’s work pales in significance compared to the heart behind it. Sometimes “sincere but sloppy” is acceptable.

When they see someone profess faith in Christ but later fizzle, they view the problem as a matter of “head knowledge” rather than “heart knowledge.”

They also tend to feel that God is only at work when the unexplainable happens.
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Paul at Athens: Observations for Apologetics

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Within the Book of Acts is an anthology of apostolic preaching. Among those sermons is Paul’s address to the pagans and philosophers of Athens, what has been called his Areopagitica. [1] Here Paul proclaimed the gospel, not to parthenon.jpgbiblically informed, monotheistic Jews, but to pagans and philosophers of thoroughly unbiblical presuppositions. Here if anywhere we would expect to find insights on how to do apologetics today among secularists with their various isms or among modern pagans. Should apologetics be presuppositional, classical, evidential, cumulative case? Where is the point of contact between belief and unbelief? How should the argument be structured?

Before we attempt a full textbook on apologetics from this single passage, a few preliminary observations are in order. First, the passage obviously summarizes Paul’s message; it does not elaborate on his outline. Second, this preaching like all preaching suits a particular occasion, and some of Paul’s statements may be rhetoric based on details that the passage does not disclose (e.g., audience reactions during the sermon). Third, the message is not so much an argument or back-and-forth debate as a proclamation, Paul answering their question, “What’s this Jesus and resurrection deal all about?” For these reasons and for the basic hermeneutical caution not to make any narrative absolutely normative for today, we should be careful not to decide in favor of any one apologetic methodology based on this one passage alone.

Nevertheless, having been convinced of presuppositional apologetics based on the study of the rest of Scripture, I find Paul’s preaching here entirely consistent with what Scripture says elsewhere; that is, in my estimation, entirely consistent with presuppositionalism.
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The Use of Scripture in Theology

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In The Nick of TimeAll good theology is based upon exegesis. It grows out of the careful handling of Scripture. Doctrinal propositions are merely human opinions until they are grounded firmly in the text of the Bible.

Most Christian theologians recognize the importance of Scripture for theology, and most aim to be biblical. Yet they disagree with each other frequently, sometimes about important questions. If all agree that good theology grows from the Scriptures, then how can they disagree so conspicuously?

One explanation is human finiteness. Each theologian approaches the text of Scripture with certain prejudices already in place. Given the smallness of human understanding (not to mention the influence of human depravity), each has a tendency to read the Scriptures so as to justify these preconceptions.

Some (Roman Catholics, for example) have suggested that the only way to avoid this problem is to have some official, divinely sanctioned interpretation of the Scriptures. Even if such an interpretation were available, however, it would not remove the problem. The interpretation itself would have to be interpreted by the theologian, who would have to perform that task with all of the deficiencies that already affect the interpretation of Scripture. Therefore, each interpretation would require its own divinely sanctioned interpretation, ad infinitum. At the end of the day, Scripture and the whole history of interpretation would have to be taken to mean whatever the last official interpretation says it means—until the next official interpretation comes along.
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Peeled and Healed

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I set the lady straight via e-mail—no punches pulled. Just the facts, ma’am. Others were gossiping online about her alleged unethical actions, and I thought she should know about it (after all, I would want to know). I didn’t bother with the whole tact thing. Just typed and hit “send”—grim righteousness without love, clouds without rain, surgery without anesthesia.
keyboardThe false security of my computer screen vanished as the recipient went ballistic, and the e-mail went public. No use to protest, “But she didn’t ask my permission to publish it online.” The feathers have exited the pillow, Elvis has left the building, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put the nail back onto the horse’s shoe. My kingdom for a horse … or a bird. “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6).

I had to apologize to an online group of over 200 people, some of whom I have known (online and/or in person) for five years. If only I had prayed first, taken a few beats (and a few drafts), and then given it a go. Maybe my words would have been more like “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25:11) rather than like the “piercings of a sword” (Prov. 12:18).

I have been right most of my life. At first, it was the “natural” arrogance of a firstborn; and then with practice (class officer, hall leader, lead counselor, teacher, and parent), it became a habit, a hobby. Eventually I had a full-time unpaid job in looking down at others from my “Us four, no more. Amen” vantage point. Friendships could not stand before my righteousness—why should they? I had a clear view, and I was in the right. So obvious.
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