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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Monday, February 26, 2007

Titanic Crew Discovers Jesus' DNA in Family Tomb?

Well apparently James Cameron, director of Titanic, has now directed a documentary on the alleged discovery of Jesus' Family Tomb. The whole thing is silly when you take a few minutes to look at their arguments and evidence (if you can call it that with a straight face.) I will make a few comments but mostly just need to direct you to much wiser and more scholarly men than myself who each discuss this issue from their respective fields of expertise.

See scholarly responses from Darrel Bock, Ben Witherington, and Scot McKnight. See Bock and Witherington who both quote the same statistician on how common the names were in Jesus family and found in the tomb, proving nothing more than alot of people had those names. It would be similar to me walking into any cemetary here in Texas and finding a tombstone that read Kim Smith or John Jones. I would be silly to think it was the Jones or Smith I knew.

See also Gene Edward Vieth, and his second comment and then Andy Rowell. While these men are both scholars they offer some comment but link to several other sources as well.

Here are my comments but remember I am just a youth pastor what I know is based only on the Bible, a sophmoric sense of humor, and copious notes taken watching several seasons of CSI. CSI:Las Vegas mind you, not the annoyingly mello-dramatic Miami version with David whats-his-name.

1. Location, Location, Location: Jesus would not have been "buried" away from his home town and family members. Everyone goes home to be buried. Unless you have some complex agenda that forces you to make sketchy arguments and illogical leaps to defend your bogus argument.

2. The DaVinci Code: Did we not just have this whole Jesus was never married argument about 6 months ago? Go rehash all those slam dunks just to remind you that not only did the Titanic sink but so did this whole Jesus got married schtick.

3. The DNA Evidence: Gil Grissom will tell you or anyone on his CSI team, or any 5th grader that has a lick of sense will tell you how absurd this is! Where did you get the 'original DNA sample' to compare the DNA found in this tomb. I guess thousands of years before we knew anything about DNA the Roman soldiers swabbed the inside of Jesus mouth to take a DNA sample just for posterities sake? I suppose that sample has just been siting in a Roman warehouse somewhere, filed away, waiting for the day and age we were caught up technologically to have something to compare it too. I am sorry it just takes much more 'blind faith' to be an atheist than it does to use common sense, historical accuracy, and Biblical authority and believe Christianity.

4. The Stolen Body Theory: Had Jesus been relocated to another tomb/burial site, the disciples would have been the ones who had to do it. They all were martyred/murdered for their belief that Jesus was resurrected and unwillingness to recant this account. Maybe one or two men might be willing to die for a lie they know to be false, but not eleven. There is no way all eleven men would have been willing to live a life of persecution and die a torturous death for a hoax they themselves knew to be false.

Just to let you know I of take the arguments and concerns of athiest, agnostics, and middle schoolers all equally serious. The case presented in this 'documentary' is can not be taken serious however and is a sad excuse for research and scholarship.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Baptist Bridge Builder

I want to quote to you below an article that blew me a way. It is good to know that their are men like this in leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention. I recently posted on the "controversy" created by the rants of a mad Missourian. This article by Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway, is a great testimony to the fact that many of the concerns of a younger generation of Southern Baptist's still can have much to hope for in regard to the future of the convention.

On Building Bridges

Written by Thom S. Rainer

NASHVILLE, Tenn., 2/19/07 -- When my three grown sons were small children, we would often play with a wooden train. Because they were so young, the boys would sometimes construct a track that ended up becoming two separate sections. The train could not continue to run because it would fall off the track. It was at that point that one of them would request with excitement: "Daddy, build me a bridge."

And so I would. The train could then run smoothly.

I am a part of a denomination that has many tracks but few bridges. And if we don’t start building some bridges quickly, God’s hand of blessing may move beyond us.

Let me share with you an example of recent days. I spoke last week at the Baptist Identity Conference at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. From an outsider’s perspective, one might conclude that the crowd was like-minded. After all, it was a gathering of mostly Southern Baptists.

But I knew better. Present were five-point Calvinists and others who would not affirm all five points. Also in attendance were cessationists and non-cessationists, people with differing views of women in ministry, bloggers, and print-media writers. There were some who thought leaving "Baptist" out of a church’s name was wrong; and there were others had already taken the denominational label out of their church’s name. The views on eschatology held by the attendees were many.

It was a diverse group of Southern Baptists indeed.

I spoke to many people before and after my formal presentation. One person commented to me, "Dr. Rainer, I better leave you before people start wondering why we are speaking with each other." Admittedly, his comment was meant to be humorous. But it did have a sting of truth in it. The labels had already been applied. The sides had been chosen. And you had better be careful about the side you chose or the people with whom you associated.

I reject that line of thinking.

As far as I knew, everyone at that conference was my brother or sister in Christ. As far as I knew, everyone was a Bible believer. I refuse to let labels keep me from building bridges.

My six years as a seminary student were difficult. Though I met many godly men and women and professors, I also witnessed firsthand much aberrant theology. I was and still am a firm supporter of the conservative resurgence. I knew we could not continue down the path we were headed.

But it seems as if we just can’t stop fighting even though the battle for the Bible is over and won.

I understand the risk I am taking by writing these words. But silence is not an option. I must be about building bridges.

Please understand that I have no illusion that my words will start a revolution or that many will listen. But I can only be held accountable before God for my own actions.

I choose to build bridges.

Though I am a fallible and sinful person, I will seek God’s power to stay true to the following:

1. I stand firm on the inerrant Word of God. I support without reservation the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

2. Though I may disagree with some on secondary and tertiary issues, I will not let those points of disagreement tear down bridges of relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ.

3. I will seek to join with those who will work together on the common causes of missions, evangelism and the health of the local church.

4. I will seek God’s will in prayer before I write or speak a word of disagreement against another brother or sister in Christ or even a non-Christian. I will seek to see the plank in my own eye before pointing out the splinter in another person’s eye. I will follow the truths of Matthew 18 when I feel that I need to confront a brother or sister in Christ.

5. I will spend more time rejoicing in the Lord (Phil 4:4).

6. I will seek God’s power to have a more gentle and Christlike spirit (Phil 4:5).

7. I will pray that the lost and the unchurched world will know me by my Christlike love.

Such is my commitment.

If God so leads, I invite you to join me in building bridges.

Thank you Dr. Rainer for giving credence to the view that there is room for theological diversity among Southern Baptists and we can still have fellowship and cooperation while disagreeing on the non-essentials. I will join you in building bridges. And I must confess and repent that sometimes in my youth and zeal and immaturity, instead of building, I am the one running with the match. Thank you for your words and example.

TwentySomthings (or actually 18-34 year olds)

Lifeway recently conducted a study of Twentysomethings and here are their conclusion as I summarize below. Go here for the full article.

Twenty Something care about:
1. Connection: Community with other young adults is extremely important in their lives.
(73% of church members and 47% of non-affiliated)

2. Authentic Answers: They desire to participate in Bible study that minimizes finding pat answers in the exploration of Scripture.

3. Social Action: A high-ranking priority is the opportunity to meet the needs of others on a regular basis. (66% of church members, 47% of non-affiliated)

For some awesome articles on reaching TwentySomethings check out the resources at Church Planting Village. They have 24 incredible articles on reaching 20somethings. Also check out several good articles on the changing landscape of ministry as this new generation shapes the look of the church at the North American Mission Board website.

And check out Barna's research from last fall on Twentysomethings. (On a personal note, Barna's polls tend to include only the East and West Coast population to the exclusion of Middle America. But in actuality take every study with a grain of salt.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SBC "Controversy" Over the Emerging Church

Ok, other bloggers are already on top of this so I will save my comments for later. For now I will just direct you to Marty Duren's post about Missouri Baptist Roger Doran. Roger Doran seems to be an alarmist with bad facts and broad brush strokes trying to stir up the convention with a statement presented to Lifeway via the SBC executive committee.

For specifics about who Doran is and to determine whether he has any credibility at all I suggest you read the "truth about Roger Doran." See Joe Thorns commentary on the guilt by association angle present in Doran's remarks.

What kills me about all this is as a Southern Baptist I know we have a powerful network of cooperation and incredible resources to proclaim the gospel and see people transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, yet consistently we find ourselves busy proclaiming what hairs to split instead. I do not believe (maybe too naively) that Roger Doran has much sway with anyone but what I do fear is that there are some in leadership of the SBC who will take up his torch who do have wield power.

I consider myself to be on the side of the conservative resurgence and would whole heartedly align myself as such. However, in recent years I have wanted to ask the leaders of the movement if they realize they won. They accomplished what they set out to accomplish yet it appears to me they still look for fights and act as if they are ever trying to find ways to narrow the theological framework to a stifling degree. This concerns me because while there are those out there that say this is not going to happen I still find convention leaders drawing lines in the sand on issues like alcohol, women in ministry, Calvinism, tongues, baptism, etc. that push more and more people to take sides on issues that should be able to coexist within the larger body of what it truly means to be Southern Baptist.

Is there a term for someone who is obsessed with being "the most conservative." I fear it is an almost intoxicating desire to be right on every issue across the board, when in reality some views are debatable. This syndrome drives people to believe you are not like Jesus if you are not like them in every way. I am not saying theology is not important. I am saying there should be room for debate, room for different positions with in the conference. At this time I believe their is this breathing room within the SBC but I also feel that their are those in leadership that are still trying to constrict the convention ever tighter.

From Around the Web

The Jolly Blogger summarizes some recent studies detailing the beliefs and lifestyles of 18-25 year olds. Or you can see the entire Pew Research Center findings in PDF.

Ben Witherington author of one of my favorite books from college wrote an article in CT about the passing of New Testament scholar and early manuscript expert Bruce Metzger. Then on top of that he blogs twice in one week about the infamous Rob Bell making an appearance at the University of Kentucky, first here and then here. Both great discussions of Bell's thoughts and theology.

Church Marketing Sucks mentions getting people out of the Christian Ghetto which I blogged about recently as well.

Great Audio finds of the week:
Alistair McGrath critiques athiest Richard Dawkins' arguments in the book "The God Delusion."
Ed Stetzer at the Baptist Identity Conference delivered the message "Towards a Missional Convention"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Orthodoxy Challenge

In response to the Blasphemy Challenge which I referred to in my last post I created a group at YouTube called The Orthodoxy Challenge. I encourage you to make a video of yourself profession faith in the God of the Bible. I encourage you to make it a Trinitarian confession to revel your position as a Christian in the historical orthodox tradition of the faith, and in direct response to the request of the proponents of the Blasphemy Challenge offering teenagers a free dvd to renounce the existence of the Holy Spirit based on the BC founders flawed and sophomoric interpretation of Mark 3:29, "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."

Display your orthodoxy well for the world to see. Here is my request I posted of anyone wishing to post a video or have their confessional statement added to the Orthodoxy Challenge group on Youtube:
This is a sight encouraging Christians to make a simple, short video statement professing their faith in the Triune God of the Bible. Profess you faith and belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a missional calling to simply show the world where you stand. Please keep it short simple and to the point. Don't preach just PROFESS.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is this Blasphemy Unpardonable?

The Blasphemy Challenge is a website created to entice their audience (mostly teenagers) to renounce the God of the Bible by denying the existence of the Holy Spirit based on their interpretation of the "unpardonable sin" in Mark 3:29, "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." For the first 1001 people willing to post their "blasphemy" video on youtube they would send them a DVD.

Watch the video which is an interview of the founder of the movement on Fox News. Then answer some questions and share your comments.

1.) Is this your interpretation of Mark 3:29?

2.) Have these teenagers truly condemned themselves to hell because of their one time statement?

3.) What happens if they want to recant later and profess faith in Christ?

4.) What would you say to them if you had a chance to talk to them one on one?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Online Bible Resource

The Linked Word Project is a new online Bible via Bob Jones University that allows you to click on words or phrases in scripture to see the pronunciation, origins, and definitions of the original Hebrew and Greek words. It is currently the KJV only.

Bush, Jacksonian Comparisons?

Here is a quote I found on Andrew Jackson, the 17th U.S. President, on Wikipedia.

Historian Robert Remini has summarized his standing:

Jackson was a much beloved and much hated figure during most of his adult life, and that reaction to him continues to the present day. During many reform periods in American history he has been seen as a hero, and Jacksonian democracy has been extolled as one of the most important advances in the development of popular government. But in the final decades of the twentieth century there has been a dramatic reversal of attitudes. Jacksonians have been tagged as "men on the make," out for their own economic and political advantage, beguiling the electorate with populist "claptrap." Jackson himself has been denounced as a fraud and opportunist who nearly wrecked the credit and currency facilities of this nation, a right-wing reactionary, a defender of slavery, and a vengeful murderer of Native Americans. While some or all of these negative opinions can be argued from a twentieth-century point of view, nevertheless Jackson remains one of the most important spokesmen for majoritarian rule in this country, a president who worried over the abuse of power by the central government and urged greater democracy through direct election for all government officers, and a president who brought into sharp focus the never-ending efforts of privileged elites who seek to use the government for their particular and selfish purposes and in the process endanger liberty and betray American democracy.
I was wondering if anyone else sees the similarities between the accusations listed in Remini's summary and current accusations used against George W.

Amazing Grace Review

Ben Witherington reviews the new film, Amazing Grace, which recounts the life and battle of William Wilberforce to abolish slavery in England.

And here I again I remind you that C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters is also beig made into a movie.

Embrace the Suck

That is military slang meaning "the situation is bad, but deal with it." Well this situation is bad but I don't want to deal with it. I have a friend, co-conspirator in ministry, and teacher who is suffering greatly with cancer. He has battled cancer for over 6 years and now has tumors in his brain, spine, and spinal fluid. I have never in my 32 years seen one persons health change so dramatically in literally one weeks time. As a minister I have been going over all the things I have thought to say to people when they have been in similar situtions. None of them are comforting. None of them are helpful. I know my presence was felt and hope that made a difference but I now see the futility in words at a time like this.

This is not a crisis of faith. I know God is in control. I know God is good. I know death is the consequnce of sin entering the human heart from the time of the Fall. I know everyone will face death and my friend Brick is even an example to me in this stage of his life. He can hardly speak, see, hear, or swollow but he still has his quick wit, sharp mind, fond memories, and nurturing spirit. He has impacted so many lives with his lifestyle of living out the Gospel in word and deed over the years. I hope you will pray for his wife and two daughters. Pray for our church family and his counseling clients.

This is a crisis in embracing the suck. It sucks that my friend is dying, it sucks that I can not do anything about it, and it sucks that I feel inadequate to help others through it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Three Recent Blog Postings To Read

Here is Alan Hirsh, missional author The Forgotten Ways, blogging about Christendom.

What is a missional author you ask? What is missional? Isn't just emerging, postmodern silly speak? Well I am glad you asked. Check out Bob Roberts blog for clarity on Missional.

And read a blog I posted on the MereMission.org about Thinking Outside the Box, meaning ministry and mission outside/beyond the church walls. Feedback here or there is welcome.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Meet New Dallas Cowboys Head Coach: Wade Phillips

Meet Wade Phillips (born June 21, 1947 in Orange, Texas) is reported by http://www.ESPN.com to be the current head coach for the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys. He is also a former head coach of the Denver Broncos, where his record was 16-16, and the Buffalo Bills, where he was 29-19 and led the Bills to the playoffs in 2 out of 3 seasons. His winning percentage as a head coach is 56.25. He is considered one of the great defensive minds in football, and served as defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers from 2004-2006. Wade is the son of former NFL coach Bum Phillips. (Source Wikipedia)

Its an early morning decision that I honestly was not prepared for. It is quite a shock, after looking at Wade Phillips early and not moving on him back them he had fallen off my radar. I fully was expecting Jerry Jones to go in another direction, like Ron Rivera or even Lovie Smith.

a must watch video in the ongoing emerging church conversation

Watch. Discuss. Digest. Dissect. Dissent. Deconstruct. Dialogue.

most of you will find something to disagree with but be constructive and like the 'Emergents' say "we are just having a conversation."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Another C.S. Lewis Movie in the Works!

No not the next installment of the Chronicles series.

The Screwtape Letters is being made into a movie.

Read the CT article all about it.

I am looking forward to this already.