blog: archive

Category: General Theology

September 25, 2013

General Theology, Pastoral Musings

Keepin’ It Real

by Tim Lien
Keepin’ It Real

Who said this? Who is the writer referencing?  What great man uttered these gems? What desert monk proclaimed these truths?

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Posted by Tim Lien at 9:55 a.m.
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September 24, 2013

General Theology, Pastoral Musings, Books

Rhymes with Wordy: God Done To Us

by Tim Lien

What if the first thing Christ does is put you to death, in his death?

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Posted by Tim Lien at 2:42 p.m.
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September 20, 2013

General Theology, Pastoral Musings

I Am Not A Motivator

by Tim Lien
I Am Not A Motivator

The Atlantic recently published a small excerpt from Tyler Cowen’s book,  Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.  His thesis: college professors should be more like preachers, because,” like, preachers motivate, and stuff…like, therapists and coaches.” (silly paraphrase mine)

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Posted by Tim Lien at 10:47 a.m.
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August 30, 2012

General Theology

God’s commandments reveal what you believe about His love

by Eric Venable

Indicators are really, really good things.  I was tired and eager to get home a few weeks ago when I crawled into my car around 10pm to go home after a long church meeting.  But I see the FUEL LEVEL LOW staring back at me straight ahead in the dash as I crank the car and know that I have to get gas before I finally get to make it home.  Indicators are all around us every day.  Batteries symbols in corners of ipods, stomachs that begin to rumble, babies that start to cry.  Every single day we are surrounded by things that are meant to communicate important things to us, things that need to grab our attention and make us respond in a particular way.  Indicators always tell me something very important, something that if ignored only leads me to another problem.

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Posted by Eric Venable at 3:34 p.m.
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May 20, 2012

General Theology

Feels So Bad, but Oh So Good

by Tim Lien

God is most gracious to me when he reveals to me my sin.” – Martin Luther.  This one is a puzzler for many.  Why would the exposure of sin be good? How can something that makes me feel so bad, be so good?  Wonderful, even?

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Posted by Tim Lien at 10:04 a.m.
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February 24, 2012

General Theology, Culture Wars, Faith and Science, Global Christianity, Bible Passage

Is Dawkins Cracking?

by Clay Staggs

Richard Dawkins, probably the world's most prominent atheist (at least til now?) seems to be hedging his bets a little.  Check out this report from the UK Telegraph from a debate between Dawkins and the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Hmmmmmm:

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 11:07 a.m.
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October 5, 2011

General Theology

Steve Jobs Wins the World

by Tim Lien

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

A visionary” and “A great man”

Well, let’s just hold on a minute.

If Steve Jobs’s soul has not be …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 7:39 p.m.
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September 22, 2011

General Theology

Jesus, Alcohol, and Riverwood

by Tim Lien

If you need a good articulation of what we think about alcohol for the unabashed Christ-follower-and-exalter, check out this link.

Two books that we have frequently put on our book table: God Gave Wine, Kenneth Gentry and Drinking with Calvin and Luther, Jim West

I recommend them both.

Two quotes …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 5:05 p.m.
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August 31, 2011

General Theology

Preaching the Gospel and the Cross (Without Smugness)

by Tim Lien

A proud Calvinist is an oxymoron.” rcrlogo425.jpg Steve Patridge found a great Q&A session from a ReSurgence event in Orlando, FL. Sitting around the table: R.C. Sproul, Tullian Tchividjian, Matt Chandler, and Mark Driscoll. (I couldn’t recognize another voice) There is a great exchange about how a true …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 1:53 p.m.
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August 25, 2010

General Theology

Three Bucks of Grace

by Tim Lien

3%20Dolla%20Bill.jpg

My wife regularly shoots me encouragements from IrishCalvinist (Erik Raymond) Just another guy who has happy-conniption fits over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, my kind of guy. He recently posted this little gem from D.A. Carson:

I would like to buy about three dollars worth of …
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Posted by Tim Lien at 2:58 p.m.
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May 4, 2010

General Theology

Homosexuality and Sola Scriptura

by Eric Venable

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the issue of homosexuality lately. I’ll explain. Even if one isn’t much of a “thinking” kind of person, you cannot ignore this issue. I’ve heard some say that this is the civil rights issue of our times …

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Posted by Eric Venable at 4:38 p.m.
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March 31, 2010

General Theology

The defining mark of true religion

by Eric Venable

If someone were to ask you, “What exactly do you Christians—particularly you people who use the r-word (Reformed) a lot— believe that makes you any different from the other thousands of religions on planet earth?,” what would you say? I came across this while reading Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on …

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Posted by Eric Venable at 11:13 a.m.
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September 10, 2009

General Theology

Is the resurgence of Calvinism in Evangelical America a good thing?

by Eric Venable

So I read some great words this week by Carl Trueman on reformation21.org. Trueman is talking about the resurgence of Reformed theology within evangelicalism in the last few years. This kind of thing has even been noted by secular sources such as an article from Time magazine back in …

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Posted by Eric Venable at 10:27 a.m.
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March 29, 2009

General Theology

Mormonism 101: You Know, for Kids

by Tim Lien

I ran across this video recently. It was made by a Christian group in the 1970’s. Informative, educational, yet, a little weird.

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Posted by Tim Lien at 8:46 p.m.
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March 28, 2009

General Theology

The Dogma Is the Drama

by Tim Lien

In Dorothy Sayer’s essay, “The Dogma is the Drama,” she writes up a theological exam and answers them in perfect parody of a truly ignorant Christian:

Q.: What does the Church think of God the Father?

A.: He is omnipotent and holy. He created the world and imposed on …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 12:02 p.m.
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March 9, 2009

General Theology

A Nation of Freelancers

by Tim Lien

Since the Census Bureau does not cover religious affiliation questions, the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) has attempted to identify the various religious rumblings of America. They release its newest findings today. It’s still a survey, but some of the general trends are a fascinating look at American faith …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 1:03 p.m.
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March 6, 2009

General Theology

The Spark That Lit Reform

by Tim Lien

Martin Luther was apalled.

But little has changed: TIME magazine covers the noveau hotness of indulgences in the year of St. Paul. “Now, for a limited time only….”

Tim Lien is aghast.

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Posted by Tim Lien at 8:40 a.m.
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February 11, 2009

General Theology

Educational *And* Fun: The Free Will Song

by Tim Lien

The Arminian Doctrine of Free Will as sung by the Joy Quartet.

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Posted by Tim Lien at 10:32 a.m.
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January 20, 2009

General Theology

Jakes v. Lien, or, Get Your Science Fiction Straight

by Clay Staggs

This past Sunday evening, Tim gave an excellent presentation on Christianity and Patriotism, as part of our continuing “What We Believe” series. For those who missed it, I think that I can summarize the central thesis of his presentation as follows: the USA (or any country, for that matter) is …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 10:33 a.m.
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December 8, 2008

General Theology

A Theology Lesson from Newsweek

by Clay Staggs

Newsweek - Newsweek! - has decided to give the great unwashed masses a lesson in what the Bible says about marriage - gay marriage in particular. Guess what? According to them, the Bible is actually supportive of gay marriage.

I am not making this up. It’s the cover story. Read it all …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 11:36 a.m.
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November 1, 2008

General Theology

95 Theses Rap

by Clay Staggs

I know, I’m a day late, but this is too good not to post.

HT: Herb Saunders

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 10:04 a.m.
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September 22, 2008

General Theology

Common Grounds Online

by Tim Lien

For the next 4 weeks (5 weeks, including last week, Sept. 15 - Oct. 17) Common Grounds Online will be hosting an online forum discussing the turmoil and theological trajectories in the PCA.

Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, John Frame, Reggie Kidd and sixteen other church leaders will be participating.

I am …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 10:55 a.m.
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September 21, 2008

General Theology

Dirty Words Doing Dirty Jobs For the Glory of God

by Tim Lien

This post is a convergence of several ideas:

1) John Piperâ??s Desiring God Ministry is hosting a conference September 26-28. This yearâ??s theme is â??The Power of Words and the Wonder of God.â? Among the scheduled speakers there are: Sinclair Ferguson, Mark Driscoll, Paul Tripp, and …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 5:21 p.m.
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June 2, 2008

General Theology

Sin Redefined

by Clay Staggs

First off, I should say that I agree wholeheartedly with Jimmy’s earlier thoughts on the meaning of being an “Evangelical” in politics today. It is true, however, that (for lack of a better term) orthodox Christians do tend to rather overwhelmingly support the Republicans. Much ink and many pixels …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 4:57 p.m.
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April 10, 2008

General Theology

Old Time Religion

by Matt Tootle

Please donâ??t ask me why, but I was flipping through AM radio stations the other day and I stumbled across a gospel radio station. At that particular point, a song by the Canton Spirituals was playing (no, I didnâ??t know that â?? I had to google it), and …

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Posted by Matt Tootle at 9:25 p.m.
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April 2, 2008

General Theology

Faith or Negligence?

by Tim Lien

In Wausau, Wisconsin last week, 3 siblings were removed from their parents after their 11 yr. old sister died of an undiagnosed (yet fully treatable ) form of diabetes. The parents believed that healing comes exclusively from God. The removal has only occured for the duration of the upcoming investigation. Officials …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 8:21 a.m.
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March 17, 2008

General Theology

Iconoclastic Fantastic

by Tim Lien

Recently, a church leader in Birmingham said that young PCA guys were a bunch of “iconoclasts”— always wanting to smash down all kinds of idols— be they traditionally venerated or obvious. Ok, I admit, I fit the description.

In reflection upon that this morning, I stumbled across this thought:

What …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 9:29 a.m.
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February 7, 2008

General Theology

Worth a Thousand Words

by Jimmy Hopper

Most of you have seen the “Motivational” posters that have “inspirational” pictures with an ironic meassage below them. For example, one I saw recently with a baton being passed in a race had the title BLAME, and the message, “Success is usually knowing who to blame.” The company that makes …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 10:45 a.m.
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January 15, 2008

General Theology

Chesterton Quote

by Jeff Miller

From Orthodoxy, ch 4.

…the proper form of thanks is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them.”

This is not a call for prohibition, nor even moderation in and of itself, but a call to enjoy …

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Posted by Jeff Miller at 4:31 p.m.
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January 8, 2008

General Theology

From A Secure, Undisclosed Location

by Tim Lien

Like Geraldo, I will make marks in the sand to let you know where I am for the pastor’s conference. I can put it in a way only Tuscaloosans can understand: Auburn Avenue and Monroe Louisiana. Both of those references sting a bit for the UA faithful. Here’s …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 10:07 p.m.
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November 8, 2007

General Theology

Really, really, really Fallen….

by Jimmy Hopper

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of giving the morning devotional to the Riverwood Classical School and, using the week’s Catechism question as a guide, talked about the Fall of man. Afterward, I was thinking about the Fall in light of a book I was reading the previous week …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 10:41 a.m.
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November 7, 2007

General Theology

But We Are Right, Right?

by Tim Lien

Quotation from Douglas Wilson:

But we do not demand that they trust in “living in this certain way” for their justification. We demand the opposite. We require them to not trust in what they are doing, and we also teach them not to trust in what they are saying. We …
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Posted by Tim Lien at 11 a.m.
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September 7, 2007

General Theology

Mutual Defenestration in the PCA

by Blake Johnson

Prof. Reggie Kidd of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando has some very helpful thoughts on the present state of theological discourse in the PCA.

Click here.

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Posted by Blake Johnson at 8:32 p.m.
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August 24, 2007

General Theology

Exporting Prosperity

by Tim Lien

Tim, why do preach pain so much? Tim, why do your sermons seem so heavy on suffering?”

An email has lingered in my inbox for quite some time, containing a link to John Piper preaching in Birmingham. How does the Reformed Gospel differ from Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 11:09 a.m.
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August 15, 2007

General Theology

Carrie Nation Defeated in Athens

by Clay Staggs

At the risk of seeming obsessed with this topic, I just had to post this, for two reasons, really. First, it’s a defeat for prohibitionism, which I say is a good thing. Second, it’s too shining an example of works theology to leave alone.

On Tuesday of this …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 5:18 p.m.
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August 3, 2007

General Theology

Deaths in our Family

by Jimmy Hopper

I have had our Pastor’s sermon last Sunday on death and resurrection for the Christian very much on my mind. I tend to think about death more (I am almost 70!) but I’m not sure that’s the real reason. Its inevitability is such a part of life …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 2:42 p.m.
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June 26, 2007

General Theology

What do you do with Jesus?”

by Clay Staggs

Anybody casually reading my writing on this blog might really think that I have it in for the Episcopal Church USA. I really don’t, but they do seem to be a perfect example of where liberal mainline Christianity is off the tracks. But today’s installment shows that they …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 9:20 a.m.
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June 22, 2007

General Theology

Church on the Cross

by Blake Johnson

The Cross intersects the past, present, and future. The finished work of Christ in the past is the basis for our present justification, anticipating Godâ??s ultimate verdict in the future that we are indeed righteous. In a similar way, the cross stretches us from the past to the present …

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Posted by Blake Johnson at 3:42 p.m.
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June 11, 2007

General Theology

Peace, Purity, and the PCA

by Blake Johnson

This week the PCA (our denomination) will meet for its annual General Assembly. Each year Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders from our churches congregate to discuss and deliberate various theological, cultural, and practical issues facing our denomination.

The PCA has enjoyed much growth in recent years while remaining faithful to …

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Posted by Blake Johnson at 2:15 p.m.
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June 7, 2007

General Theology

The Great God Debate

by Clay Staggs

Hugh Hewitt, whose blog I have plugged several times before, has a fantastic exchange on his site this morning. He hosts a radio show (which, unfortunately is not carried by any local station) and on yesterday’s program he hosted a debate which he called “The Great God Debate.”

On …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 9:20 a.m.
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June 5, 2007

General Theology

Has the Train Derailed or Just Taken an Unforeseen Track?

by Peggy Drinkard

Jeff Miller’s recent post was very helpful to me as I tried to figure the recent, troubling “book banning” thing out. In fact, this post originated as a response to Jeff, but became lengthy enough and enough of a rabbit trail to necessitate its own space. Because of respect …

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Posted by Peggy Drinkard at 1:50 p.m.
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June 3, 2007

General Theology

Joel Osteen and the Miracle of an Umbrella

by Matt Tootle

mirâ?¢aâ?¢cle (mÄ­r’É?-kÉ?l)
n.
An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

While in a hotel recently, I was flipping television channels and landed on the preaching of Joel …

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Posted by Matt Tootle at 11:07 p.m.
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May 3, 2007

General Theology

Rescue from the South

by Clay Staggs

I ran across two interesting comments on National Review‘s blog, The Corner. Here’s the first, by Mark Krikorian:

The head of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is complaining about Nigerian Anglican bishops coming to Virginia this weekend to formally install the head of the conservative breakaway …
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Posted by Clay Staggs at 2:48 p.m.
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April 10, 2007

General Theology

Hunger

by Jimmy Hopper

Holy Week is almost always the most moving and meaningful time at most churches but last week at Riverwood was especially so for me. First there was the service and sermon on Palm Sunday on the humility of Christ as He approached Jerusalem and His (wonderful!) mission. Then there was …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 12:21 p.m.
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February 1, 2007

General Theology

Open Thread

by Clay Staggs

A Baptist Church in Australia has posted a sign that says “Jesus Loves Osama.”

The full story is here. It has caused enough consternation that the PM of Australia has commented on it.

I have my own reaction to this, but I thought it might be more interesting to hear …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 2:07 p.m.
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January 29, 2007

General Theology

Mysterious Ways

by Clay Staggs

Every time that I think that the state of the church (the global church, I mean, not Riverwood) can’t get any worse, I read something like this.

It seems that a Church of England congregation in Lincoln, England will be hosting a “U2-charist,” which the article describes as “an …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 9:32 a.m.
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January 6, 2007

General Theology

On “God’s Chosen People,” an earlier version…

by Jimmy Hopper

I am a member of the cult that believes Patrick O’Brien’s series of novels about the Napleonic sea wars are the best historical novels ever written, so it was natural that I would be interested in Arthur Herman’s history of the British navy, To Rule the Waves …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 1:55 p.m.
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January 5, 2007

General Theology

Falls Church Fallout

by Clay Staggs

Here’s a great post by a blogger who takes on the Washington Post over its characterization of her church, the Falls Church, which happens to have recently split with the ECUSA. Note that the Post actually manages to call Episcopalians the “frozen chosen.”

I think I’m offended - that …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 12:45 p.m.
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December 12, 2006

General Theology

A Riff on Alcatraz

by Jimmy Hopper

Last week Riverwood published a poem in the Reflections page of the bulletin that has fascinated and even haunted me. The poet is Sharon Olds and it can be found in her book, The Gold Cell. Itâ??s title is Alcatraz and is printed below.

Alcatraz

When I was a …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 3:37 p.m.
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December 4, 2006

General Theology

Be Fruitful And Multiply, But Only If It Won’t Mean Taking More Than Your Share Of The Earth’s Resources

by Clay Staggs

I ran across this article by Mark Steyn, who I believe is one of the best opinion writers in the business. What I found fascinating about it was the quote from the newly installed presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, Katharine Jefferts Schori. The original is on the NYT …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 7:07 p.m.
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November 6, 2006

General Theology

Status

by Jimmy Hopper

This morning at 7 AM I was on the RiverWalk with two excited Shelties, walking northeast toward the morning directly beside the Warrior River. It was partly sunny, cool, and absolutely glorious; with the river running strongly to the southwest, the wind rippling it, and the trees in Fall colors …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 11:44 a.m.
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November 1, 2006

General Theology

From A Distance

by Clay Staggs

There’s a Bette Middler song by that title that suggests that God is merely watching what we’re doing down here on earth “from a distance.” (Bryan Bond, are you out there?)

Apparently, according to a recent Harris Poll, that’s the most prevalent belief among Americans about what …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 9:27 a.m.
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October 31, 2006

General Theology

The Center of Creation

by Jimmy Hopper

In the extraordinary Sunday School series now playing at Riverwood, Faith and Science, Bob Thornton and Allen Powers spoke of the time in which it was proven that the universe didn’t revolve around the earth, as the religious dogma of the day believed. In fact, science now speaks of …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 1:38 p.m.
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October 12, 2006

General Theology

A saint who’s gone ahead…

by Peggy Drinkard

For our last Air Force assignment before retirement God led us to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. In His grace, before the boys and I arrived, He led David to visit a tiny PCA church pastored by Dr. Richard L. Summers, Th. D. One visit and David was …

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Posted by Peggy Drinkard at 1:40 p.m.
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October 11, 2006

General Theology

Identity Crisis

by Clay Staggs

One of the frequent themes that I hear in the preaching at Riverwood is our identity as Christians. Refreshingly, yesterday, the pope even got in on the act, urging Christians not to give up their unique identity for the sake of dialogue with other religions, which Reuters obligingly reads as …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 10:14 p.m.
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September 13, 2006

General Theology

Point of the Sword

by Clay Staggs

I’ve been thinking for awhile about the Fox News Channel Reporter, Steve Centanni, and his cameraman, Olaf Wiig, who were captured in Gaza a few weeks ago. Thankfully, they were eventually released. What has been on my mind is the way that they were forced to convert to Islam …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 5:30 p.m.
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September 1, 2006

General Theology

The Sage of Omaha

by Clay Staggs

I saw an entry on the Drudge Report yesterday that Warren Buffett had married his “companion” of decades. Apparently, even though he separated from his wife back in the seventies, they remained married until she died a couple of years ago.

I thought this was an unconventional arrangement, and it …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 10:14 a.m.
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August 28, 2006

General Theology

Hearing Voices

by Clay Staggs

The New York Times this weekend published an article about women in the clergy and, more specifically, how few women lead large congregations. They call it the “stained glass ceiling.” The full text of the article is here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/26/us/26clergy.html?pagewanted=1 …

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Posted by Clay Staggs at 1:48 p.m.
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August 26, 2006

General Theology

Prayer for the sick….

by Jimmy Hopper

I have always thought that praying for healing of the sick was necessary but needed to be done in a particular way that addressed the omnipotence of God. What we see in the “healing” services on television and, I’m sure, in certain churches, is an emphasis on results based …

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Posted by Jimmy Hopper at 10:18 a.m.
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August 22, 2006

General Theology

Lost in Translation While Walking Through the ‘Hood of Death

by Tim Lien

Newsweek recently published an article about the power and new popularity of â??hip-hopâ? masses or â??hip-hop servicesâ? for youth and the urban sub-culture. (Newsweek, July 31, 2006, â??BeliefWatch: â??Wordâ??â?) One pastor even created the Hip Hop Prayer book, inspired by the Book of Common …

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Posted by Tim Lien at 9:10 a.m.
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June 9, 2006

General Theology

A. A. Hodge on the Lord’s Supper

by Steven Crawford

I purchased a few books from St. Matthews recently. Among them was Evangelical Theology by A. A. Hodge. I found this quote while reading a section on the Lord’s Supper:

Whosoever puts away true and real wine, or fermented grape juice, on moral grounds, from the Lord’s Supper …
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Posted by Steven Crawford at 10:55 p.m.
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July 29, 2005

General Theology

N.T. Wright quote from Following Jesus

by Steven Crawford

I have been reading N.T. Wright’s book Following Jesus recently, and I ran across this gem (there were plenty others):

The Church, ironically, has …
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Posted by Steven Crawford at 9:37 a.m.
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May 29, 2004

General Theology

Beeson Pastor’s School

by Steven Crawford

Beeson is having a “pastors school” July 19-23; here’s a PDF of the brochure. Roger Salter has a workshop titled John Donne: The St. Augustine of Anglicanism. Sounds interesting. I wish I could attend. I’m hoping to get a copy of the audio if nothing else.

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Posted by Steven Crawford at 12:19 p.m.
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December 19, 2003

General Theology

Calculating Christmas

by Steven Crawford

I ran across this interesting article regarding the church’s choice for the date we celebrate Christmas. The story is at Touchstone Magazine. I’ve read a few other interesting articles there.

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Posted by Steven Crawford at 7:25 a.m.
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