419 results for tag: blog


God said it, but that doesn’t settle it: Questioning the Bible – Derek Flood

I've been noticing a growing trend of people who are becoming increasingly troubled and unsatisfied with a literalistic approach to the Bible. The objection they have is a moral one: They observe that a "straight forward" and "plain" reading of Scripture inevitably leads people to do things that are against their conscience, against the most basic understandings of morality, and to justify doing these immoral things "because God said it, that settles it." In short, we've learned to read the Bible in a way that makes people immoral and proud of it. One example of this is corporal punishment of children. Many parents feel that it is wrong to hit ...

5 Signs You May Have a Wrong View of God – Jason L Clark

If the truth sets us free, then it's safe to say that a lie holds us back. What we believe about the nature of God is of infinite importance. We are either growing in freedom or we are becoming disenfranchised. There is one foundational truth about God’s nature by which every other aspect of His nature should be measured: God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus is the perfect expression of what love looks and sounds like, of what love does. He is perfect theology. A true view of God will free and empower sons and daughters to live like Jesus. We have been designed and created to know God as love and to be transformed in this truth. But slipping into a ...

Jesus Trumps Biblicism: A Tale of Sticks and Stones — by Brian Zahnd

Artwork by Lucie Beardwood This morning I was reading Scripture. From the Old Testament I was reading Numbers and in the New Testament I was reading John. In Numbers chapter 15 we find this story… An Israelite guy was gathering sticks on the Sabbath. This was forbidden. The guy got caught and was taken into custody. Moses inquired of Yahweh what should be done. Yahweh told Moses that the guy had to be killed. So the stick-gathering Sabbath-breaker was taken outside the camp and stoned to death by the congregation of Israel. Sticks and stones. (Number 15:32–36) Next I read from the Gospel of John chapter 5. This is what happens...

Knocking Down Our Idols – by Caleb Miller

It has been said that "In the beginning God made man in His image, and man has returned the favor ever since". What does this mean? It means that in nearly every area our "theology" (thoughts and words we say about God) has been shaped by how we view ourselves. The opposite is also true, how we view our God is largely shaped by how we view ourselves. If we abhor something, we naturally assume that our God abhors the same thing. We can't stand people of a different sexual preference, so we assume that God cannot. And so it goes. We continue shaping God, molding Him into our image. We do as Paul said in Romans 1:23 - "making the incorru...

Water to Wine (some of my story) – Brian Zahnd

Ten years later it’s time to tell some of my story… I was halfway to ninety, midway through life, and I’d reached a full-blown crisis. Call it a garden variety mid-life crisis if you want, but it was something more than that. You might say it was a theological crisis, though that makes it sound too cerebral. The unease I felt came from a deeper place than a mental file labeled “theology.” My life was like that U2 song stuck on repeat — I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. I was wrestling with an uneasy feeling that the kind of Christianity I had built my life around was somehow deficient. Not wrong, but lacking. It ...

I Thought It Was Good News — by Chris Falson

This is a demo recording but by popular demand I am making this available before the actual album is recorded later this year.  This song (hopefully) speaks for itself... and while many have felt rejected by Jesus or God... the rejection really comes from people who either should know better... or don't really know at all. Share the song around, listen or download it for free or if you want to help fund the revolution purchase the track at the price of your choosing. Cheers! I Thought it was Good News by Chris Falson I Thought it was Good News by Chris Falson (c) Leather Chair Songs 2014 There'll be no end to the holy wars while the one ...

How Does “Dying For Our Sins” Work? – Brian Zahnd

How Does “Dying For Our Sins” Work? Brian Zahnd When we say “Jesus died for our sins,” what does that mean? It’s undeniably an essential confession of Christian faith, but how does it work? This much I’m sure of, it’s not reducible to just one thing. I’ve just finished preaching eight sermons on “The Crucified God” and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of what the cross means. To try to reduce the death of Jesus to a single meaning is an impoverished approach to the mystery of the cross. I’m especially talking about those tidy explanations of the cross known as “atonement theories.” I find most of them ...

What does God without retribution look like? Ask Jesus — by Michael Hardin

Nothing irks some folks more than losing a God who is wrathful, angry, retributive and punishing. This is only because we want so much to believe that God takes sides, and that side is inevitably our side.  So much of Jesus’s teaching subverts this sacrificial way of thinking. One example is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector found in Luke 18:9-14, where what counts as righteousness is completely and totally turned on its head! If, in fact, as I argued in my last post, that Jesus begins his ministry by asking what God without retribution looks like (Luke 4), and if he acts this way in his ministry, and if he interprets his ...

Sympathy for the Devil…or Pilate by Brian Zahnd

Ecce Homo by Antonio Ciseri, 1871 Sympathy for the Devil…or PilateBrian Zahnd Please allow me to introduce myself I’m a man of wealth and taste I’ve been around for a long, long year Stole many a man’s soul and faith And I was ‘round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate Pleased to meet you Hope you guess my name But what’s puzzling you Is the nature of my game –The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil In his fascinating novel, The Master and Margarita, Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov creates an imaginary conversation between the ...

“God Lets His Children Tell the Story”: An Angle on God’s Violence in the Old Testament — by Peter Enns

My seminary Hebrew professor, former colleague, and friend, Al Groves, who is of blessed memory, was a wonderful, honest, and pastoral man. When dealing with the theological difficulties that arise in the course of reading the Bible, Al would say, “God lets his children tell the story.” That is a great way of putting it. The Bible is what happens when God allows his children to tell his story–which means the biblical writers told the story from their point of view, with their limitations, within the cultural context in which they wrote. When children tell the story of their father or mother, parents are typically delighted&...

Bread, Circuses, and Violence – by Brian Zahnd

On Sunday the Gospel reading was the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1–11). After church someone asked me if I thought the temptation of Jesus was literal. The questioner was struggling with what seemed to be a cartoonish contest between Jesus and the devil. This person was particularly perplexed by the idea that Jesus would actually be tempted to worship Satan. So when asked if I thought the temptation account was “literal,” what did I say? I said, yes and no. I certainly believe Jesus encountered Satan in the wilderness and was tempted. But I don’t think the devil showed up in a red suit sporting a tail and a pitchfork saying, “Hello, ...