Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Todd Wood on evolution

Todd Wood has been a professor of biochemistry at Bryan College in the CORE (Center for Origins Research) since the year 2000. He has a blog on which he left an interesting post about evolution. Here is a quote from that post:

"Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

I say these things not because I'm crazy or because I've "converted" to evolution. I say these things because they are true. I'm motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)

Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn't make it ultimately true, and it doesn't mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God's creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don't be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don't idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe that's not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you."

Todd Wood is a young earth creationist who works at Bryan College in Dayton, Ohio. This is the town where the Scopes trial was and the school is of course named after William Jennings Bryan. Interesting perspective.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tony Campolo and the Birthday Party

This is probably one of my favorite stories Tony Campolo was at a diner at 3:30 in the morning and a bunch of prostitutes came in . . .

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hurricanes and Blessing

I was just wondering. A few years ago, we had a lot of hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast and many preachers and prophets told us it was a sign of God's judgment. Can we now take the fact that we have not had a single storm, not even a tropical disturbance, as a sign of God's approval?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The US as Christian Nation - Not

Here is a perennial favorite, but one that sort of bugs me. It seems to me that evangelical Christians make the status of the USA as a Christian nation too important. It is an unspoken plank in the core of many doctrinal statements. Below I give a quote from a post that was linked to a link where a comment was left. I think that is the way it goes. Anyway, I would be interested in comments on the quote.

"The fact that some parts of the Declaration and/or Constitution are not in conflict with verses in the Bible does not mean that the Bible was the source. This is especially important when -- as in the case of the Declaration and the Constitution -- the authors claim other sources, but do not claim the Bible as a source!

In a May 8, 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Jefferson identifies his sources for the Declaration's principles. He names as sources: Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and (Algernon) Sidney -- he does not mention the Bible. Then again, the terminology in the Declaration is not specifically Christian -- or even biblical, with the exception of "Creator." The term "providence" is never used of God in the Bible, nor are "nature's God" or "Supreme Judge of the world" ever used in the Bible.

In the hundreds of pages comprising Madison's notes on the constitutional convention (and those of the others who kept notes), there is no mention of biblical passages/verses in the debates/discussions on the various parts and principles of the Constitution. They mention Rome, Sparta, German confederacies, Montesquieu, and a number of other sources -- but no Scripture verses.

In The Federalist Papers, there is no mention of biblical sources for any of the Constitution's principles, either -- one would think they could squeeze them in among the 85 essays if they were, indeed, the sources; especially since the audience was common men who were familiar with, and had respect for, the Bible. The word "God" is used twice -- and one of those is a reference to the pagan gods of ancient Greece. "Almighty" is used twice and "providence" three times -- but neither is ever used in connection with any constitutional principle or influence. The Bible is not mentioned."

The link can be found here. By the way, apparently these comments come from an evangelical historian.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Already and Not Yet

The 'already / not yet' paradigm has been helpful, especially in the are of the theology of the kingdom. I wrote up the table above because I think it can be extended to salvation, and even to individual elements in soteriology. I would appreciate interaction on this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some Politics

Pardon this foray into politics, but to me this is an issue of clear thinking and the presentation of conservatives and Evangelicals in the public sphere. Before the election and now after, conservatives are sounding the alarms. We are coming across as fearful and angry.

One repeated accusation against Obama is that he is a socialist. I hear this often from conservatives still, having heard it during the campaign. In my view this is illegitimate hype. What is socialism? Obama's policies fall way short of socialism. Even the Socialist Party and other socialist types say that Obama is not a socialist. I am just saying we throw words around for rhetorical effect and it doesn't matter whether or not they are true. Well, as an evangelical, I think that truth ought to mean something to us.

Another big fear I hear is that basically Evangelical Christianity will be outlawed. Last January, the conservative news outlet Worldnet Daily published a "Letter from a Future Prisoner". This was set in November 2010 after Hilary's election to the presidency, coming from a Christian who had been arrested. It is pure drama and total hogwash. Obama was/is supposed to be worse than Hilary, so let's wait and see if there will be mass arrests of Christians in America in the next few years.

Could Obama's inauguration in any sense be called 'secular'? Real secularists, atheists, and members of other religions in America are baffled when Christians complain about their 'minority' status and how persecuted Christians in America are. Knowing what I know of persecution in history and around the world I am baffled as well.

We need to stay with the kingdom agenda and get off this whining, "I'm being repressed" mindset that is just ridiculous.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Question About Methodology

Last month, I finished John Walton's commentary on Genesis in the NIV Application Commentary series. It's an excellent piece of scholarship and his applications are extremely powerful. Having recently lost Andrei, Walton's words on God's charge to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac were deep and encouraging. He has many unique and fresh insights that help the reader look at the Genesis text in a much more meaningful way than is traditionally done.

This, in fact, leads to my question. One of our Thursday Night Theology members had Walton for a class in seminary and remembers him saying that if he didn't have something new or origianl to contribute, then he wouldn't write. I can testify that this is exactly what Walton did in just about the entirety of his Genesis commentary. Not only were original perspectives shared on some of Genesis' toughest issues, but even noncontroversial passages were given a new spin. Only a miniscule number of verses were free from Walton's "new interpretation rampage."

So, is this a good way to do theology? I'm not saying that Walton published ideas as though he believed them when, in fact, he didn't, simply so that he could say something new. But it sure seems like making a prior decision to only contribute something novel could restrict you from affirming some fundamentally sound and universally agreed upon theological conclusions. The truth needs to be restated regularly and such restatements can often be improved upon. This is hard enough to do without the burden of coming up with new interpretations for everything. For all of the value of Walton's insights — and don't misunderstand me, the value is enormous — there were plenty of times when I closed the book shaking my head over why he felt that such-and-such a passage needed another perspective. It seems like this methodology could lead you down a bad road quicky, sidestepping good, right and wise thoughts so that you can arrive at alternatives.

I'd like to hear your thoughts.