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With the demise of Zhubert.com for copyright reasons, we desparately need a reliable version of the Greek New Testament that is available to all online with no unreasonable copyright restrictions.

Leave a comment here if you are interested in helping or are aware of efforts to create one already.

     

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Aslan Peels

Part 3 from The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place.  It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.

“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”

 

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Previous posts are here and here.

    

Geographers from Kansas State University have used certain statistical measurements to quantify the nation’s sins and come up with a national map claiming to show various degrees of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

The article that sets forth the statistics that were used is here:

By culling statistics from nationwide databanks of things like sexually transmitted disease infection rates (lust) or killings per capita (wrath), the researchers came up with a sin index. This is a precision party trick — rigorous mapping of ridiculous data.

Some of the logic behind the mapping seems rather dubious.  For example, “gluttony” was calculated by counting the number of fast food restaurants per capita.  How about mapping the per capita number of five star restaurants?

 

Hat tip: Alan Jacobs and Andrew Sullivan.

    

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Acts 2:42, NIV.

The early believers “devoted” themselves to several things.  What kind of devotion is involved here?  Here is the lexical entry for “proskartereo,” which will give you an idea of the semantic field (range of meaning) of the Greek word:

  • to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one
  • to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
  • to continue all the time in a place
  • to persevere and not to faint
  • to show one’s self courageous for
  • to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly
  • It is worth meditating on what this means for each of the things to which they devoted themselves.

    Does devotion to the apostles’ teaching mean simply listening to a sermon once a week?  How do we apply this today?  Could it include reading, study, meditation, memorization, discussion, dialogue, pondering, self-examination and application?  Does it mean going deep or staying shallow?

    Part 2 from The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

    But the lion told me I must undress first. . . . 

    I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins.  Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means.  So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

    But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this under skin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

    Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good. . . .

    This is the first part of my notes and thoughts on Tim Keller’s message The Sufficiency of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World.  Minute markers are in red. 

    Tim Keller
    The Sufficiency of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World

    0:00

    Intro by John Piper

    3:00 

    How do we do evangelism in a postmodern world?  The postmodern world presents a crisis to us.

    Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones talks about Mark 9.  Jesus sees the disciples who could not cast out a demon.  In vv 28-29 the disciples ask, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”  Answer:  “This kind only comes out by prayer.”

    The demon is in too deep.  You are business as usual.  Your ordinary way of doing things won’t work.

    The Doctor is allegorizing here.  The disciples are like the church.  The boy is like the contemporary world.

    6:00  In earlier days people were apathetic.  They needed to be roused from their slumber and apathy.  The spirit of this age is different.

    The western world is now a mission field.  It is a post-Christian mission field.  It is has been inoculated to Christian message.

    Lesslie Newbigin says the same thing.  Most Americans feel that they already know about Christianity, and they think it is bad. 

    What won’t work anymore is a campaign, a program, a gospel presentation.

    9:00  A great book, The Barbarian Conversion, by Richard Fletcher.  Looks at 500 to 1500 AD in Europe.  Most of the countryside was pagan.  It took a long time for people to get the full Christian worldview.  But after 1500, most Europeans had a Christian worldview, and programs and campaigns worked.

    Now we are back to the point at which the Christian worldview is no longer accepted.  Ordinary evangelism will not work.

    There are still sections of America where there are people who are what Flannery O’Conner would call “Christ-haunted” people.  They are traditional in their values.  They just need to be roused.

    14:00  Michael Wolf –  There is a fundamental schism in American life.  Urban-oriented, morally relativist, etc.  and the small town traditional,  etc.  Two nations.  There are fewer people who are Christ-haunted.

    Certain evangelistic magic bullets have died on the vine.  Billy Graham crusades- no one thinks that’s the future.  Evangelism Explosion worked well then, but not now. 

    16:40  1990’s used the seeker services.  Too early to say that’s over, but 20-somethings are turning away from the traditional church services.

    Alpha courses are the new best format.  They are right for our time.  But even this is not enough anymore.

    18:00  There is going to have to be a complete transformation of everything by the gospel.  The gospel has to recapture us, or nothing will work.  The demon is in too deep.

    Now in a postmodern setting, our traditional evangelism is even less effective, because you have 3 problems:
    1.  The truth problem – all truth claims are perceived as constraints and power plays.
    2.  The guilt problem – not everyone has the sense that they need to be good.
    3.  The meaning problem – there is a doubt that text and words can get meaning across.  Meanings are unstable.

     

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    My Comments:

    Interesting that Lloyd-Jones allegorizes from Mark 9 instead of using a text that directly supports the points.  eg 1 Pet 3:15, or becoming all things to all men.

    Not everyone has a postmodern worldview.  Many people have a jumbled mess of a worldview.  This is hitting on good points, but the approach has to be crafted to the woldview of the specific individual.  Also, we have to listen to people and understand them to know what approach is appropriate.

    Guilt problem- many have no guilt problem (they feel lots of guilt), or they feel the church is the guilt problem.  We need to break down stereotypes of the church.

         

    I recommend this mp3 download:

    Tim Keller:  The Sufficiency of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World

    I plan to blog through it over the next few days by providing an outline and comments.

    Tim Keller On Evolution

    This is from a Timothy Keller interview with First Things from February 2008:

     In The Reason for God, you make a very brief argument for the validity of evolution within a limited sphere. It would seem to me that apologists for the faith must address this issue at some point. But doing so can call into question the historicity of the Fall and the very need for a savior. How do you talk about evolution without confusing people?

    Over the years—it’s not bad, but I’ve gotten sort of hit from both sides.

    Oh, it’s a little confusing, but actually I’m just in the same place where the Catholics are, as far as I can tell. The Catholic Church has always been able to hold on to a belief in a historical Fall—it really happened, it’s not just representative of the fact that the human race has kind of gone bad in various ways.

     

    At the same time, if you say, “There is no God and everything happened by evolution,” naturalistic evolution—then you have “theistic evolution”: God just started things years ago and everything has come into being through the process of evolution. You have young-Earth six-day creationism, which is “God created everything in six 24-hour days.” To me, all three of those positions have perhaps insurmountable difficulties.

    The fact is, the one that most people consider the most conservative, which is the young-Earth, six-day creation, has all kinds of problems with the text, as we know. If it’s really true, then you have problems of contradictions between Genesis 1 and 2. I don’t like the JEPD theory. I don’t like the theory that these are two somewhat contradictory creation stories that some editor stuck together—some pretty stupid editor stuck together. I think therefore you’ve got a problem with how long are the days before the sun shows up in the fourth day. You have problems really reading the Bible in a straightforward way with a young-Earth, six 24-hour day theory. You’ve got some problems with the theistic evolution, because then you have to ask yourself, “Was there no Adam and Eve? Was there no Fall?” So here’s what I like—the messy approach, which is I think there was an Adam and Eve. I think there was a real Fall. I think that happened. I also think that there also was a very long process probably, you know, that the earth probably is very old, and there was some kind of process of natural selection that God guided and used, and maybe intervened in. And that’s just the messy part. I’m not a scientist. I’m not going to go beyond that.

    I do know that I say in the book, “This is an absolute red herring—to get mired in this before you look at the certainties of the faith. Because the fact is that real orthodox believers with a high view of Scripture are all over the map on this. I can line up ten really smart people in all those different buckets, which I’ll call “theistic evolution,” “young-Earth creationism,” and let’s call it “progressive creationism” or “semi-theistic evolution.” There are all these different views. And when you see a lot of smart people disagreeing on this stuff, well . . .

    How could there have been death before Adam and Eve fell? The answer is, I don’t know. But all I know is, didn’t animals eat bugs? Didn’t bugs eat plants? There must have been death. In other words, when you realize, “Oh wait, this is really complicated,” then you realize, “I don’t have to figure this out before I figure out is Jesus Christ raised from the dead.”