March 27, 2017

Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Tony Campolo & Bart Campolo (Book Review)

Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Tony Campolo & Bart Campolo (Book Review)

Tony Campolo is one of the most gracious and well-spoken voices that I know of within Evangelicalism. For years, he has focussed his ministry on living out the “red letters” of Jesus. And for years, his son, Bart Campolo, took part in this ministry with him. But that all changed when Bart realized he no longer believed in God.

In Why I Left, Why I Stayed, Tony and Bart discuss their diverging journeys, their now-differing beliefs, and their still-shared convictions. I can hardly imagine two people better qualified to have this conversation in a way that is mutually dignifying, while still probing into the difficult questions that must be asked. And their book does not disappoint.

March 12, 2017

Why Evolution May Be More Important to the Church Than I Once Believed

Why Evolution May Be More Important to the Church Than I Once Believed

My background is steeped in Young Earth Creationism (YEC). I heard it taught as gospel truth by my parents, my high school, my college, and every church I attended for a long time. I was trained to believe that churches which didn’t teach YEC were “liberal” or “apostate” or at least “compromisers.” And I personally spent five years working for Answers in Genesis (the ministry of Ken Ham), where I vigorously defended the YEC message myself.

According to YEC, Darwinian evolution is a lie, and it’s a dangerous lie at that. YEC teaches (and I used to agree) that even allowing for the possibility of evolution would result in all manner of evils in society. The church has to get this right, I believed, or everything else would all go downhill.

March 6, 2017

Mirror Bible by Francois du Toit (Book Review)

Mirror Bible by Francois du Toit (Book Review)

I’m a total geek for English translations of the Bible. And if I’m honest, my favorite versions are almost always those translated by a single woman or man. They carry so much personality in them. I love seeing the theological viewpoints that come through, and discovering how the translator perceives a given passage. Few things make me more excited than discovering a new translation I didn’t know existed.

So I was quite excited indeed, while reading C. Baxter Kruger’s Patmos, to find a reference to something called the Mirror Bible by Francois du Toit. I did a little more digging and found it endorsed by an impressive array of theologians, including Desmond Tutu, Steve McVey, Andre Rabe, and John Crowder, among others. I contacted Francois, and he graciously agreed to send me a copy to review.

February 27, 2017

“Arrival” to “The Silent Planet” (C.S. Lewis)

“Arrival” to “The Silent Planet” (C.S. Lewis)

I recently watched the movie Arrival, and I think it’s one of the best science-fiction films to come out in years. I loved everything about it. This is the kind of story that keeps you thinking long after the credits roll.

But as I continued processing, I began to realize that I had seen a good bit of it before. Or more accurately, I had read a good bit of it before. Quite a few details are shared with one of my favorite books from C.S. Lewis—the first of his Space Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet.

I don’t mean to imply that Arrival is a copy or adaptation of Lewis’ work, and I’m far from suggesting any kind of plagiarism. Based on Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life,” Arrival has an original plot, and very much stands on its own. But just for fun, I thought I’d put together all the parallels I could find. I can’t help but think that Lewis must have been at least a little bit of an influence for Chiang.

January 25, 2017

An Open Letter to Jesus: Find Common Ground

An Open Letter to Jesus: Find Common Ground

Dear Jesus,

Let me start by saying how much I appreciate the majority of what you stand for. Your message of love and unity is exactly what the world needs right now. And I’m thankful to see your stance toward oppressed peoples on the margins of society. They deserve to have more good men like you standing with them.

So understand that my criticism is coming from a place of general agreement with you. I just feel that your platform would be a lot more effective if you toned it down a little bit.

January 23, 2017

12 Famous Quotes These Christian Leaders Never Said

12 Famous Quotes These Christian Leaders Never Said

I frequently see these quotes make the rounds on social media. They’re mostly great sentiments, but they don’t come from the people they’re usually attributed to. I’ve been guilty of sharing about half of these myself before learning they were fake. So let’s set the record straight, and then let’s be more careful to fact check before sharing.

January 11, 2017

No Marriage in the Resurrection? Here’s What Jesus Really Said

No Marriage in the Resurrection? Here’s What Jesus Really Said

A certain discussion between Jesus and the Sadducees has led to a widespread belief among Christians that there will be no marriage in the resurrection.1 But is that really what Jesus taught?

The account is nearly identical in all three Synoptic Gospels, so we’ll follow the passage in Mark, being most likely the earliest version.

There came to him Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection. They asked him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote to us, ‘If a man’s brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother.’ There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring. The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise; and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife.”