Before condemning or affirming someone, we should listen to the source (I am looking at myself here!). In light of that, I listened to the sermon in which Andy Stanley speaks of unhitching the Old Testament from our faith. here are a few thoughts.
One of the trickiest challenges for Christians is how to read the Old Testament. In particular, the stories of the Old Testament challenge believers. Sometimes we read Old Testament stories as inspirational tales. But these narratives often present rather unsavoury elements such as David’s affair with Bathsheba. So the desire to “be like David” comes to a full stop. At other times, we read the Old Testament as fascinating records of history but with little practical value to today. After all, do we really need to build a parapet on the roof as Deuteronomy commands?
So let’s take a moment to look at how the earliest Christian writer (that we know of) read the Old Testament and applied it to his life. And that writer is the apostle Paul. [Read more…] about How to Read Old Testament Narratives
The Old Testament chronicles God’s dealing with the patriarchs and with his chosen nation Israel. So much so that entire law codes for Israel appear in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Here’s an example of instruction in the book of Deuteronomy: “When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof” (Deut 22:8).
Based on this text, here’s a question. Where’s your parapet? Or does the Old Testament’s historical context mean that it does not apply directly to you?
Far from it! On the contrary, the whole Old Testament wholly and completely applies to you and me. [Read more…] about The Entire Old Testament Is for Christians Today
Most of us read the Bible like this: a few times a week, we pick up the Bible and find a verse or three and read it. Then we put the Bible down, and we are done. At other times, we only read the Bible on Sunday morning when it appears on the projector screen behind the pastor.
But if our Bible reading looks like reading short snippets of passages or only reading during a Sunday sermon, then we are missing out on a key way that we can grow in our faith and come to know God. So here are three steps to help you read and understand the Bible. [Read more…] about Three Steps to Help You Read And Understand the Bible
Allegorical interpretations of the Bible have been rightly downplayed since the Reformation. The idea that all of Scripture says one thing but that you can derive a deeper spiritual meaning may come from a place of piety. But often times allegorical interpretation clouds the meaning of the Bible. And it’s unnecessary to understand spiritual truth because the historical meaning of the Bible is spiritual.
But, while we rightly downplay allegorical interpretation, let’s not shy away from reading passages in the Bible which are allegorical.
There is a difference between an allegorical interpretation (the way you read the Bible) and the genre of allegory. [Read more…] about Allegory and Allegorical Interpretation
In the mid to late twentieth century, Christians sought to establish the young earth creationist (YEC) view against what they perceived as an unbiblical intrusion of modern science. Evangelical Christians galvanized many around YEC, but in recent times YEC’s influence has begun to wane: “For some time now,” Tim Challies wrote, “the weight of conviction within the Evangelical world has swung toward views that demand an old earth.”
The Age of the Earth in Academics
The doctrine of YEC has today become a third-tier doctrine while 50 years it might been a second or maybe even a first-tier doctrine for certain groups. Evidence of this is the recent debate at Trinity International University. The title of the event was Genesis and the Age of the Earth and Drs. Albert Mohler (YEC) and John Collins (Old Age Creationist / OEC) discussed the issue.
Mohler opened his talk by clarifying how the age of the earth is not a central issue to the faith (watch the talk here). He objected to the term “debate” in that setting because he felt the issue did not merit winning an argument at all costs. Mohler was simply discussing an important issue among friends. There seems to be widespread agreement that the age of the earth is tertiary or non-central point of doctrine among Christians. The impulse to press the doctrine of YEC in the 1950s-1980s has become gentle hum, with Answers in Genesis being an exception to the rule.