Sunday, July 31, 2005
Back in 1996, Pope John Paul II declared that 'evolution is 'more than a hypothesis'. Now, Schönborn, an Austrian cardinal who is also a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has written an essay which, he says,
aim is to clarify misinterpretations of John Paul's stance, and counter those who use Darwin to explain everything. "I believe in dogmas of faith but I don't believe in dogmas of science," he said.
Timothy George, in his article The Pattern of Biblical Truth argues that, despite the claims of various Christian college's to integrate faith and learning, it is really 'has become little more than a rhetorical gesture'. The way we use the Scriptures has led to Christians construing 'its authority as a kind of divine reference book, a sort of inspired manual, that can be understood quite apart from the Christian heritage of Bible-based theology and wisdom across the centuries.'
As Christians who accept the Church's regula fidei and who stand Sunday after Sunday to recite the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, we are not free to view the Bible as though we had it at our disposal, as though we ourselves were not claimed by its story, as though we had already mastered this ancient document and could now move on to other bodies of knowledge without the discernment we have learned from Scripture.
The answer to this is to truly understand the development and importance of Christian doctrine down through the centuries and, in particular, the response of the Church to heresy. Despite the negative connnotations that are associated with the term heresy,
... there is a positive side to heresy as wellin the sense that the history of heresy is the shadow side of the development of doctrine. In the light of its corruption, we can see, retrospectively, the splendor and beauty of the divine revelation embedded in Holy Scripture. In its confrontation with heresiarchs, the Church learned to read the Scriptures in a way that should still inform us today.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Intended for both scholar and layperson, this verse-by-verse commentary outlines the thematic architecture of the Apocalypse to illuminate the unified message of the book. Providing both scholarly notes and lay-oriented exposition, this landmark work recommends itself for personal study and as a college and seminary text.It is a landmark work, it is suitable for scholar and layperson, it is thematic in its approach, it does recommend itself for personal study as well as college and seminary study. Without a doubt, it would appear to be the best commentary on Revelation produced by a Seventh-day Adventist. Past works by Adventist authors have failed, overall, to produce a rigorous exegesis of the text. This is most definitely different and worthy of study by anyone interested in Revelation. Related Links
The Paradoxical Commandments
- People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centred. Love them anyway.
- If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
- If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
- The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
- Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
- The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
- People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
- What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
- People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
- Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
Some people don't like reading short, inspirational books with a deep message. Read it anyway!
There has been continual debate over the morality of the death penalty down through history. Joseph Bottum has written a thought-provoking article on Christians and the Death Penalty. Bottum tellingly critiques various Christian arguments in favour of the death penalty. One of the most important, perhaps, is the belief that Romans 13 legitimates governments to carry out some of the punishments that Israel were originally commanded by God to do. However, Bottum argues that
the one thing no modern state can claim is that it is anointed, and the things that require anointing it lacks authority to do: the imposition of a state religion, for example, and the exaction of the death penalty, for precisely the same reason. Christians would have to engage in a national idolatry to suppose that all the acts allowed in ancient Israel are permissible in Connecticut [some of Bottum's examples come from Connecticut].
Christian proponents of the death penalty need to think about the light that the death of Jesus sheds on the issue of the death penalty. Bottum writes:
If Jesus Christ sheds light on the meaning of life and the death of every human being, we can see in that light both how blood demands repayment and how Jesus has forever done the repaying with his death... Without constant pressure from the New Testaments revelation of Christs death and resurrection, the state always threatens to rise back up as an idol. And one sign of a governments overreaching is its claim of power to balance the books of the universeto repay blood with blood.
You can find the whole article here.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
be thankful for a technique which can prove so powerful in so many situations. Of itself, it is neither good nor bad. Many have found relief from problems through its use. Many have been able to draw nearer to God, to experience a deeper awareness of spirituality and to enrich their understanding of God's mercy. It is a tragedy that so many Christian people have been warned off hypnosis, when it has such great potential to provide benefit to body, mind, and spirit.Hypnosis Healing and the Christian is one of the most scholarly, carefully reasoned, balanced books on hypnosis from a Christian's point of view that I have read. It deals carefully with the potential dangers while promoting the practice as of benefit. It makes a change to read something from an expert in the field who is also a Christian. In the end, whether an individual chooses hypnosis as a therapeutic modality will be up to them. But this book would be worth reading before making that decision -- a decision which should be made with care.
Monday, July 11, 2005
No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own.... An intellect vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our planet with envious eyes.The invasion of earth by tripod fighting machines is played out from the point of view of Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) and his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin), who he is looking after for the weekend. Ray is a less-than-perfect father. Robbie is a beligerent teenager who obviously doesn't get on with Dad. And Rachel is a very aware and knowing little girl who responds with natural awe and terror to the events going on around her. The relationships between Ray and his kids is played out on the canvas of the invasion but is never developed with any depth. Watching the movie is a visceral experience. Spielberg knows how to make a "big" movie and the destruction wrought by the machines as they relentlessly consume everything before them seems very realistic and evokes a deep sense of dread. The sub-plots with the family dynamics are ok but ultimately comes to an unbelievable end that seems inconsistent with the events leading up to it. War of the Worlds is a fast-paced, action-packed, intense thriller which works on that level. Don't expect much more than that, though. My Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5) Best Review 'Working in the spirit of his predecessors but with the kind of uncanny special effects they could barely dream of, Spielberg has come up with an impressive production that is disturbing in the way only provocative science fiction can be.' - Kenneth Turan/Los Angeles Times Worst Review 'Extravagant in movie terms but stingy in emotional ones, it embodies all of Spielberg's bad impulses and almost none of his good ones: It's a grand display of how well he knows how to work us over, and yet the desperation with which he tries to get to us is repulsive.' - Stephanie Zacharek/Salon.com Related Links