Here’s a weekly round-up of articles and information that are gathered and introduced for your edification.
Andreas Kostenberger, professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, gives a ‘fair and balanced’ treatment of Bill O’Reilly’s latest Killing book. Kostenberger was more positive than I would have expected, but reminds us that a purely historical reading of Jesus life, death, and resurrection cannot account for who Jesus the Christ is. As C. S. Lewis said years ago, whom Kostenberger cites:
“You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Here’s my take: Unless someone is pressing you to read the book for the sake of evangelistic conversation, use your time and money to read a book about Jesus by someone who knows the Bible and theology better than Bill O’Reilly. D. A. Carson’s Jesus, the Son of God would be a good start. Or if you wanted something with a little more historical background, check out Darrell Bock’s Jesus According to Scripture.
Darrell Bock and a few other faculty members at Dallas Theological Seminary have an informative discussion about homosexuality, the Bible, and the first century culture. Here’s an outline of the discussion.
- 00:13 Homosexuality in the larger Greco-Roman culture
- 03:50 Paul’s transcultural message in Romans 1
- 10:07 Is there any doubt about what Paul describes in Romans 1:27?
- 12:03 The phrase “natural sexual relations” in Romans 1:26
- 17:20 Jewish, Greco-Roman and contemporary views of homosexuality
- 23:06 Active and passive terms for homosexual partners in1 Corinthians 6:9
- 33:18 Paul’s message of hope in 1 Corinthians 6
- 34:11 What is the significance of 1 Timothy 1:10 in this discussion?
- 37:29 Does Jude 7 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?
- Bioethics: A Subject We Need to Know
Indeed, we need to grasp the ‘bio’ and the ‘ethics,’ and Joe Carter’s article gives “five reasons why Christians should care about bioethics.” He added a second article on bioethics this week that gives a helpful set of conceptual tools to consider bioethics: “How Christians should think about bioethics.”
Concerning this same area of bioethics, new research shows that pornography (which ensnares 40 million Americans every year) is a more addictive drug that crack cocaine or heroine (which combine for less than 4 million uses each year). John Piper writes about this new study saying,
None of this takes God by surprise. He designed the interplay between the brain and the soul. Discoveries of physical dimensions to spiritual reality do not nullify spiritual reality.
When Jesus said, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28), he saw with crystal clarity — the way a designer sees his invention — that the physical eye had profound effects on the spiritual “heart.”
And when the Old Testament wise man said in Proverbs 23:7, literally, “As he thinks in his soul, so is he,” he saw with similar clarity that soul acts create being. Thinking in the soul corresponds to “is.” And this “is” includes the body.
The study’s information should not come as a surprise, but its reality should stress just how lethal the fight is to be pure and holy. Sexuality is a wonderful gift when it is enjoyed in its proper context—in the liberating confines of a covenant union between a man and his wife. When it is experienced any place else, in any other way, the results can be deadly and even addictive.
God’s design on sexuality is for our protection and our pleasure.
For your edification, dss