I’m pretty excited to offer you, dear readers, another round of Really Recommended Posts this week. These should give you some nice diverse topics to explore! As usual, be sure to let me know your thoughts on the links, and let the authors of the posts know themselves!
A Short Defense of Sola Scriptura– Here is some insight into the defense of the doctrine of sola scriptura against those who would allege that there needs to be some authenticating authority for the books that make up Scripture. What do you think of this argument?
“I can’t help you” – What Should Never Be Heard at Church– The way we invite (or don’t) others into the life of the church matters. What ways might we best provide an environment that welcomes others into our community? Here’s an example of how not to do it.
Beware of Prayer–New Apostles and Prophets on the National Day of Prayer– Some insight into the documents that are being passed around by leadership for the National Day of Prayer. I think this is pretty unfortunate. However, I don’t think this needs to interrupt your own participation in said day. For some insight into spiritual warfare (including the view of “warfare prayer” and the like), see my review of Understanding Spiritual Warfare: 4 Views (and the book itself, of course!).
5 Changes Elementary Sunday Schools Need to Make ASAP– How might we better equip our children to engage with the challenges they will face against Christianity? Here are 5 important points for changing Sunday School to set children up for success.
LOL Interwebz: Putin the Memes Away– Here’s a challenging post on the use of memes, what they do for us (and to us) and the relation of free speech and Christianity.
Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Charismata and the Authority of Scripture
I have been reading through Jon Mark Ruthven’s On the Cessation of the Charismata, a book that is arguing against the position of cessationism. Cessationism is the notion that at least some spiritual gifts–things like healing, prophecy, etc.–mentioned in the New Testament did not continue beyond the New Testament era of the formative church [read more on the various views of spiritual gifts here]. One of the most controversial topics in this debate is the issue of authority. Ruthven is fairly blunt when he considers B.B. Warfield’s rejection of the spiritual gifts. The rejection was based, in part, on:
the implicit attack on the sufficiency of scriptural authority made by those claiming miracles and extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit… Such claims [of spiritual gifts]… represented a direct challenge to Protestant religious authority in that it was specifically based upon a closed canon of Scripture. (32, cited below)
Now I have not finished the book, so I’m not sure whether Ruthven would affirm this point. Indeed, he calls this a “polemical” argument against spiritual gifts, so I suspect he’s going to argue that the “continuationist” position–that which affirms spiritual gifts moving into the modern era–does not need to deny the closedness of the canon or affirm a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. I’m looking forward to seeing how his argument proceeds, and whether he will indeed argue against this or affirm the openness of the canon.
What do you think? Do charismata–spiritual gifts–entail this position? If so, how problematic is it? What is your position? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.
“Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?”- A look at four views in Christian Theology– I provide a look at four positions on miraculous/spiritual gifts in contemporary theology.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Jon Mark Ruthven, On the Cessation of the Charismata (Tulsa, OK: Word & Spirit Press, 2011).
I have to admit, I think this is one of the most engaging “Really Recommended Posts” I’ve put together. There are multiple views presented on two of these posts, and the others give some good food for thought. Check out opposing views on charismatic/miraculous gifts; delve into the notion of concordism from different sides. Leave comments to share your own thoughts on these issues. Then, archaeology, abortion, the Noah movie, and Hume round out the discussion. I hope you’ll drop some comments to let me know your thoughts.
Debate: Have the New Testament Charismatic Gifts Ceased?– The “Strange Fire” book and conference have caused a huge amount of discussion to arise within evangelical circles regarding miraculous/charismatic gifts. Do these gifts continue past the New Testament times? Here, Michael Brown debates Sam Waldron on this topic. I have also written presenting four major views on this topic should you like to explore the topic more deeply. Which side do you think is correct? Why? Leave a comment!
Defending Concordism: Response to The Lost World of Genesis One– Concordism is the view that science will line up with biblical teaching about origins and other scientific aspects of reality. One major challenge to the position is the notion that the Bible simply doesn’t address such things. Here, Reasons to Believe, a major concordist group, answers several objections posed against concordism. William Lane Craig has recently answered a question about concordism himself, in which he raises a few objections to the position and explains why he is not a concordist. What are your thoughts on this debate? Leave a comment!
A Brief Sample of Old Testament Archaeological Corroboration– The Old Testament clearly makes a number of claims about the actual historical events of the Bible. Here, J. Warner Wallace addresses some of these claims and notes how we have archaeological research to back them up.
How the ADF kept nurses who wouldn’t perform abortions from being fired– The ADF–Alliance Defending Freedom–successfully reached a settlement regarding a hospital that was going to force nurses with moral objections to abortion to perform them. I find this a particularly stunning case, because so often the pro-choice side says things like “Don’t want an abortion, don’t get one!” But this is shown to be mere lip service, because now the attempt is being made to force even those with moral objections not to get abortions, but to actually carry them out. I am very pleased to see that sound reasoning prevailed and the nurses were not forced to do this or lose their jobs. It remains troubling to me that anyone would even think this could be okay. Check out the post.
How Should Christians Respond to Noah the Movie?– Greg West over at The Poached Egg (an amazing site you should follow if you don’t already!) found this gem of a post regarding the “Noah” movie. Check out my own thoughts on the trailer and upcoming film.
David Hume’s Genuine Theism– A provocative title, to be sure! In this brief post, the author argues that one of Hume’s aims was to restore “genuine theism” over and against rationalistic deism. It’s a quick read, but very thought-provoking.