#ThankATheologian

This post is not in character. Just in case there was any doubt. 

Sometimes we need a reminder to thank people. God puts all sorts of Christians in our lives to teach us things about the Bible and about Him. How often do we thank Him for the teaching those people give us? How often do we thank those people? That’s what this hashtag is all about: #ThankATheologian.

Each week on Sunday and Monday, I invite you to thank someone who has taught you something about God. Now, I hope that you have been blessed by so-called “big name” preachers and authors, but that’s not who this hashtag is aiming to thank. I’d like to hear you publicly thank local theologians who have helped you in your walk with God. Really, all Christians are theologians to some degree. You could thank your pastor, friend, family member: whomever. Be specific. If they have helped you with understanding sanctification, thank them specifically for that. The tweet could look something like this:

“I’d like to thank @PastorJohnDoe for helping me understand how to pray. #ThankATheologian.”

Late Sunday and Monday are typically the lowest points of the week for people in ministry. Let’s minister back to them by thanking them at those times. Hey, I may even retweet you. 😉

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Theology so easy a caveman could do it: Why Christian camps are evil.

I know, I know, you’ve probably been to at least one camp in your life. You probably look back and think of all the fun you had. You probably remember feeling “closer to God.” You probably established acquaintanceships there that developed into blossoming semi-frequent instant messenger exchanges. Maybe you even made a sweet action, performance-grade violin from twigs and rubber bands which you played for hours each day until “the cat” mysteriously broke it into small pieces and left it on the curb for the trash man. However, whatever your recollection may be, Christian camps are evil. Here are just a few of the reasons that you should never send your children to Christian camps.

First, camp evangelists preach their sermons at an “age-appropriate” level. You read that correctly. They don’t exposit the difference between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism. They don’t give cogent arguments definitively proclaiming who the author of Hebrews was. Most of them will never even read an entire chapter of Revelation directly from the Greek in their anecdotal introductions to their sermons. No, all these evangelists do is drone on about how the children need to be saved and how they should dedicate their lives to God. Sure, the gospel is important, but is it important enough to make your kids spend an entire week of their summer devoted to it? Do you really want to spend your hard-earned money sending your kids to hear this stuff?

Second, camps promote unity. Once I was at a camp where the counselor wouldn’t let me kick some punk named Colton out of the room because his feet smelled bad and he snored. If kids don’t learn to separate from other inferior Christians at a young age, when will they learn? I suppose you want them to be unprepared to kick out a church member who thinks it may be ok for Christians to dance or drink moderate amounts of alcohol. The next thing you’ll probably say is that you wouldn’t even schedule an intervention if you caught someone raising their hands in worship. Like parents like children.

Finally, camps encourage kids to have spiritual conversations with their parents. This is probably the point at which camps are their most dangerous. When kids get back from camp they want talk with their parents about all the cool things God has been been doing in and through them at camp. Suddenly, parents become the primary disciplers of their children instead of the ordained discipler that is the Youth Pastor. Parents, do you have a 4 year degree in youth ministry? I. Didn’t. Think. So. Your church’s youth pastor probably spent a whole hour thinking about what God would have your kid to do for their life. Don’t steal that from him with some lame argument about how you’ve been “praying for your child’s spiritual growth since before they were born.” Keep your kids at home where your pastors can keep an eye on them.

I hope you now see the folly in the idea of Christian camps. But hey, if you don’t, just leave a comment below so I know who to separate from pray for.

 

Latest Archeological Data Leads Theologians to Discovery of New Sub-genre.

By now you may have heard about a new archaeological discovery detailing when camels came into usage in the Southern Levant. Dr. Ben-Yosef noted that the camels were not domesticated in that area until centuries after the time of Abraham. Passages like Genesis 24:10-33 seem to disagree.

What should Christians do with this new data? Some of the extreme conservative theologians have reacted to this finding by denying the relevancy of this study on the specific possessions of Abraham. Others wish to dismiss the scientific discovery entirely and just depend on the Biblical text. However, are either of these approaches really the most logical? Several leading theologians have argued no.

One Old Testament professor, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that what we see in Genesis 24 is actually a highly specialized sub-genre that no one has noticed before. He calls it the “Prophetic Anachronistic Idiomatic Narrative” (abbreviated as PAIN). What the PAIN sub-genre does is use language or descriptions that will come into common use at a later time to convey a narrative to a future audience. In PAIN Abraham’s servant could have been using any type of animal. However, when the inspired author wrote the story, he used “camel” as a stand-in, since camels would make more sense to those who would read the story thousands of years after the author died. This approach allows the Bible to be authoritative even in cases where, on the surface, archaeology seems to disagree.

A few theologians have countered this claim insisting that the idea of PAIN was foreign to the Jewish Rabbis. While this may be true, we should recognize two things. First, several prophets did not understood the full ramifications of their prophecy. Thus, we should not predicate our interpretation of the Bible entirely on what the Jewish Rabbis thought of it. Second, our knowledge of Hebrew is more advanced than the Rabbi’s. Through the use of computers we have learned many things about Hebrew that the Israelites could never have dreamed of knowing. Keeping these two things in mind, it is entirely plausible that PAIN existed in Old Testament times.

How does this discovery impact your interpretation of the Old Testament?

How to Win Theological Arguments and Make Friends

Let’s face it: some Christians are wimps. Now I don’t simply mean that they can’t bench press twice their weight or lift a King James Bible with one hand. No, I mean that some Christians are theological wimps. Sure, maybe they have read every issue of “Our Daily Bread”  published in the last ten years, but can they properly define supralapsarianism in front of auditorium filled with doctoral candidates? What are we to do with such people? In my humble but vast experience I have developed a three-step technique to deal with these washouts. I present you with the acronym “WIN“: Wield Theology, Incite Panic, and Never Surrender.

W: Wield Theology

The first step in combating Christian wimps is to wield theology. For this step to work YOU MUST HAVE THEOLOGY. Generally speaking, theology is acquired through spending several years, and perhaps a golden calf, in a Christian Seminary. If you aren’t pursuing a seminary degree (and I’m not counting those 30-some credit MA’s), please stop reading here. No, I’m serious. YOU are the problem. If you are pursuing, or have completed, a seminary degree, you have no need for me to instruct you on how to wield theology, since that is why websites like TGC  exist. I will add one note, though: make sure you wield your theology in the most public manner possible.

I: Incite Panic

The second step in freeing Christianity from theological wimps is to incite panic. People need to realize that if they are not theological heavyweights, they are sinning. It isn’t even one of those small sins like homosexuality, embezzlement, or attending movie theaters. No, if a Christian cannot defend Biblical Christianity against the likes of Richard Dawkins or Joel Osteen, they might as well forget about being used by God in this life. Make sure you inform every Christian you meet that they MUST have the same theological positions as you on everything, or they risk having the wrath of God, or worse, your wrath, fall down upon them like brimstone on Sodom.

N: Never Surrender

Finally, you must under no circumstances ever even consider surrendering. All theological battles are a fight to the death. Now, I’m not saying you have to be the martyr; God may have use for them on the other side of the grave. Be sure to employ all arguments at your disposal in rapid succession whenever someone questions your theology. If necessary, you can even throw in some arguments with logical fallacies, since the common Christian probably won’t notice. Remember, the burden of proof is ALWAY on them: you aren’t the one who is questioning thousands of years of Orthodoxy.

That is my three-step plan for defending Christendom from theological wimps. You are probably wondering when I am going to address the second half of the title to this post. Ha! Like making friends is actually part of Biblical Christianity.