Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thoughts on the Scriptorium Daily

Evening all!

Eric awhile back recommended the Scriptorium Daily as a good blog, and one related to Biola. So I have looked at it occasionally. There are some good articles, interesting thoughts. I wanted to react to two articles briefly. First, by John Mark Reynolds regarding J. K. Rowlings revelation that Dumbledor in the Harry Potter books was gay.

The first comment I would make was my surprise about how Christian he felt like the books are in overall structure and theme. I have not read the books, but know people who have. And the ending of the seventh book especially has some strong Christian parallels. It's just that, after hearing the books so demonized, to have him say that was surprising. I do not necessarily disagree, and this is in no way a protest. I am just saying I was surprised.

However, another comment he made was about the relationship between J. K. Rowling and her books at the present time caught my attention. Reynolds said this:
"No offense to an excellent author, but Dumbledore no longer belongs only to Rowling. He also belongs to her readers who have been given a series of books in which Rowling was free to say what she wanted to say. She wrote about Christianity openly by Book Seven, but if Dumbledore was gay, she decided to hide it. She hid it so well that there is no evidence of it."
Reynolds goes on to talk briefly about the obvious implications for Scriptural interpretation and authorial intent, but I don't think he addresses fully the problems that he is creating. To simply say that because there is no explicit evidence of Dumbledore's homosexuality in the books, therefore it doesn't matter what the author now says, to me overlooks the inherent ambiguity in many texts. It is simply a fact that some texts can be read from two very different perspectives, and in fact it is only the clearly expressed authorial intent that can settle it. For instance, we don't know against whom Paul was writing in his letters to the Romans, the Colossians, or in the Pastorals. There are verses where a better understanding of the enemy could better inform us as to his meaning and emphasis. I feel like the lack of clear evidence in a text one way or the other leaves options open rather than closing them. And authorial intent leaves them certain. I say that books still belong to Rowling, just like Paul's still belong to him. And yes, I am against homosexuality.

Now, the second article I wanted to comment on is the article called "Faith is Nothing," by Matt Jenson. I disagree. I think faith is something. I see his argument as a futile philosophical reduction that ignores both the Biblical text (see all of Romans 4, not just the beginning) and the theology of what the goal of salvation actually is. I think faith is something, and that it's being something is no way a threat to God's work, sovereignty or anything else. And I think that Luther, Calvin and Edwards (not to mention Paul) would agree with me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shrouded in Methodology

If you've read the articles I sent out by Gary Habermas and the Basingers regarding the Shroud of Turin, you now know that their discussion isn't about the general authenticity of the Shroud, as I had hoped. Rather, their discussion is about how certain we can be the that the Shroud is the actual Shroud of Jesus — or whether it belongs to some other beaten, crowned with thorns, forced to carry his cross, crucified and stabbed first-century guy who escaped from the cloth without it being unwrapped or torn away from his bloody skin and who left a light/heat imprint of his face on it — and whether it should make any difference in our resurrection apologetic. Nonetheless, we'll talk in depth about who's made the better case on Thursday, October 18, 7:00 PM, at the Oldenburg apartment. Hopefully, Jason will provide us with a video on the Shroud that can provide some controversy and intruigue.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from our combatants:

"When the scientific shroud evidence is combined with the previously and independently validated gospels, the result is more than the probable identification of Jesus with the man of the shroud."
-Gary R. Habermas

"Scientific evidence is relevant to Christian belief, but the move from scientific evidence to significant religious conslusions is more difficult than Habermas seems to recognize."
-Randall and David Basinger

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monty Python - International Philosophy

Some of us in our studies are needing to wrestle with philosophy. I don't feel like we have plumbed the depths of the philosophical issues, however. Take a look at this contest between German and Greek philosophy. It certainly deepened my understanding of the ontology of football. Enjoy!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered ...

We had a small group on Thursday (just Jason and I) but that doesn't mean we didn't enjoy ourselves. For one thing, it meant that we were able to consume all that we desired of my wife's delicious baked goods , still having some left over to enjoy the next day. It would have been nice to have more people but, I don't think we would have covered as much theological ground if there were more. We talked about the creation/evolution controversy, Paul's theology of mission, why so many bad books get translated into Russian when there are so many great ones yet to be translated, and more. We also had plenty of time to share personal stories that may or may not have had much to do with the above themes. So, for all who couldn't make it, we think you missed out on a good time and hope that you can join us for our October meeting. Let's get back on the 3rd Thursday of the month schedule and meet on the 19th. I'll try to get something out to y'all soon. Maybe I'll follow up on Mark's post regarding atonement theory. Or feel free to email me if you have a burning issue to discuss and we can make that top priority. Have a great month!