If people have been singing a song for a few hundred years, chances are your edit isn’t going to make it better.
Read my professor/pastor/mentor/friend Mike Kruger’s review of the latest book from the predictable-but-always-available-for-an-NPR-interview Bart Ehrman.
Ehrman is chair of the Religious Studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill, and in odd-numbered years he tends to put out a book basically alleging that everything orthodox Christians believe is wrong. This year it’s Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them).
UPDATE: More than one intelligent person hasn’t picked up on it, so I need to point out that I’m being sarcastic/ironic/less than serious in the following.
(Incidentally, In the process of making sure I got Ehrman’s title right for this post, I noticed this:
Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.
This is the most confusing thing I’ve ever seen. Which is it? Is he a Distinguished Professor, or is he the department chair? Or is he head of Graduate Studies? We’re obviously looking at a conglomeration of at least 3 original sources, all of which had differing– and mutually exclusive– views of Ehrman’s job. Someone doesn’t want us to know the truth.
Moreover, if Ehrman can’t even get his own story straight, why are we supposed to trust that whatever he says about the Bible is right?)
In July I preached on Romans 15:14-33 at our home church, Uptown Church in Charlotte. I got this text because we were in a series on Romans, but it turned out to be a great missionary passage. Right click & “save as” to download:
Far from a mere formality, this worship service involved me taking vows that bind me for life– not unlike those I made almost seven years ago before God to Melissa. I plan to reread them often to remind myself of my calling from God, my obligation to keep my word, and my accountability to my brothers in the Lord. Following are the vows I took, with a couple of explanatory comments.
Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice? Since our denomination has a confession, it’s important to show that Scripture, not the Confession, is our ultimate standard.
Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow? This one makes a couple of points:
- I agree that the Westminster Confession of Faith contains the system of doctrine taught in Scripture. Again, the authority is Scripture, not the Confession. Incidentally, this is why it matters when a Presbyterian minister teaches something out of accord with WCF: not because WCF has the same authority as Scripture, but because the minister has taken an oath affirming WCF as an accurate summary of Scripture.
- If my view changes (acknowledging that it could, as I’m bound by Scripture), I have the responsibility to report that to my presbytery so they can determine what the change means for my continued ministry. This applies only to the fundamentals of that system of doctrine.
Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of Biblical polity? I like this one because it doesn’t claim that the PCA has the only legit form of church government, only that I approve of it, and that it’s in line with the general principles of Biblical polity.
Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord? This is because Presbyterian government is based on the plurality of elders. Each individual is accountable to the body as a whole.
Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a sincere desire to promote His glory in the Gospel of His Son? This one is a big deal. I thought about it a lot.
Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace and unity of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account? Also a big deal. I now have a sworn responsibility, as a Christian and as a pastor, to preach the Word faithfully no matter what happens.
Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as a Christian and a minister of the Gospel, whether personal or relational, private or public; and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before the flock of which God shall make you overseer?
Do you now undertake the work of an evangelist, and do you promise, in reliance on God for strength, to be faithful in the discharge of all the duties incumbent on you as a minister of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? PCA trivia: Being ordained as an evangelist means that I’m not taking a charge at a particular PCA church, but am being sent outside the bounds of the presbytery (all the elders in a given geographic region) as a missionary. Otherwise question 8 would bind me to take charge of a specific church and keep the terms of the call they had offered me. As it is, it’s more broad, since the circumstances vary pretty widely for missionaries.
The sermon I preached at Uptown Church last week is available for download (right-click & “save as”): “Where No Man Has Gone Before: Paul’s Missionary Vision (Rom 15:14-33)”.
Last week I preached at Overbrook Pres in Gaffney, SC, where my college/seminary friend David Weber is the pastor. You can listen to or download the sermon at their web site.
(It’s the same sermon I preached in Atlanta in January, so if you downloaded that one I wouldn’t bother with this one. Unless you just enjoy the sultry sound of my voice. Which would be weird.)
Things that have happened since my last post:
- We spent 3 weeks at a missions training center in Colorado. It was awesome.
- We had our 20-week ultrasound, where we could have found out the gender. We chose not to.
- I told Sam he couldn’t do something. He said “Why?” and I answered “Because I said so.”
- I realized that reading about news and politics makes me angry, so maybe I shouldn’t do it as much.
- I unsubscribed to about half the blogs in my reader.
- I didn’t miss my own blog any more than I did the others.
But I’m going back at it, I think. We’ll see.
OK, the truths and lies are in. Now it’s time for the vote. (I put a lot of cutting-and-pasting work into this, so I hope you people are appreciative.)
On each of the below except your own (if applicable), vote for the one you think is a lie. Then I’ll get answers from all respondents and we’ll see if the voting public was right.
It’s a virtual icebreaker. In the comments section, tell us two things that are true about yourself and one that isn’t. Don’t tell us which is which.
When the comments have slowed down, I’ll update the post with some sort of guessing apparatus, and we’ll see how good we are. (Lots of us don’t even know each other, so it could be really fun.)
- Melissa and I fought for weeks over where in the shower I should put my soap.
- I performed with the UGA Concert Choir.
- I have seen the Black Crowes 3 times.
Favorites Monday actually falls on a Friday this week, which is interesting.
This week’s question: who are your heroes? Three categories (you don’t have to use them all): Historical, Present-Day, and Personal (i.e. someone you know).
Heroes is a very broad category, so interpretations will vary. My general definition is “people I want to be like.” Don’t be put off by the fact that all mine are pastor/scholars– it’s only because that’s what I want to be. Put Shakira on there if you want. Or whatever. I don’t know.
- Historical: John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards
- Present-Day: John Piper
- Personal: Tom Hawkes, Mike Kruger