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Five Reasons Progressive Christians Secretly Love Mark Driscoll

Christian Piatt is refreshingly honest about this:

  1. He helps us define who we are.
  2. He distracts us from working on ourselves.
  3. He gives us causes to rally around.
  4. He serves as a common enemy.
  5. His shortcomings are obvious.

See also a few words of evangelical commentary from Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk.


Oxford City Council, You’re a Bunch of Idiots

Get this:

Through centuries and across countries, it has remained a staple of traditional Easter celebrations. 

But that rich history, it seems, has been rather lost on one council bureaucrat – who forced a church to cancel its Passion play because he apparently thought it was a sex show.

The performance, telling the story of the crucifixion of Christ, had been planned for Good Friday by St Stephen’s House Theological College and Saints Mary and John Church in Oxford.

That was until an official at the local Labour council refused to rubber-stamp the event, forcing the church to scrap it at short notice. 

Oxford City Council banned the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ…wrongly believing the play was a sex show and could cause ‘grave offence’

Actors had planned to walk through the streets of Oxford on Friday to re-enact the lead up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has they had done previously in 2012.

The worker in question apparently did not know that a Passion play was a religious affair – and thought it was an obscene production.

Last night ministers, MPs and religious groups criticised the ‘unbelievable’ actions of Oxford City Council, saying it showed Christians were becoming increasingly marginalised in society.

A Passion play is a dramatic performance of the Passion of Christ, depicting the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus. The name comes from the Latin verb ‘pati’, meaning ‘to suffer’.

The Oxford performance was previously held in 2012, without a licence, when an audience of some 200 watched Mischa Richards, playing Jesus, haul a wooden cross from Cowley Road Methodist church to Saints Mary and John. 

This year, the organisers decided to stage a repeat, but were told they must apply for a council licence – and were astonished when they were turned down.

A church source told MailOnline: ‘A council official didn’t read the paperwork properly and didn’t realise it was a religious play, so told us we needed an events licence when we didn’t.

‘If they’d told us 24 hours earlier, we would have had time to apply for and get one, but we ran out of time. It’s frustrating because we didn’t need one in any case – they just hadn’t read what the play was about.’

SS Mary and John vicar, Adam Romanis, said: ‘It’s very upsetting because so many people were looking forward to it.

‘Someone said to me: “You can’t hold a crucifixion these days without a licence”.’

I’m Suddenly Interested in What Mike Licona May Have to Say

He is a Christian apologist who has incurred the wrath of Al Mohler by suggesting that we actually read the Bible as it is and not try to shoehorn it into a modernistic philosophical straitjacket.

Interviewed by Baptist Press, Licona expressed what every New Testament scholar in the world knows: that the Gospels sometimes take the same sorts of liberties in telling the story of Jesus that other ancient Greek biographies take in telling the stories of their subjects. In other words, these differences of presentation—some may rise to the level of “contradiction”—are within the expected tolerances for the sort of literature they are.

Of course, saying out loud what reputable experts know is a serious no-no in some provinces of Baptistland. Chaplain Mike of Internet Monk hits the nail on the head:

Ironically, in the interview Licona was actually trying to increase Christians’ trust in the reliability of the New Testament by pointing out that what we might consider “contradictions” according to our post-Enlightenment standards of historical veracity were simply characteristic of the way historians wrote then. He also affirmed that these “contradictions” were all written with regard to peripheral details in the accounts and not major points. In addition, he suggested that what we are really talking about here in the vast majority of cases are “differences” and that there is only a handful of stubborn differences that might rise to the level of actual contradictions — and again, even if they did, these relate only to peripheral details.

This, however, was not good enough for Al Mohler, who was involved in another dispute involving Licona’s understanding of Scripture in 2011. In that case, even though Licona wrote a book which strongly defended the literal resurrection, his handling of one pericope (Matthew 27:51-53) as a “poetic device” fell short in Mohler’s eyes and “ “handed the enemies of the resurrection of Jesus Christ a powerful weapon.”

With regard to the dispute we are considering today, Dr. Mohler  has commented, “It would be nonsense to affirm real contradictions in the Bible and then to affirm inerrancy.” He was not satisfied with Licona’s suggestion that certain forms of inerrancy might be ruled out by his approach. “What you lose is inerrancy itself,” Mohler asserted.

Whatever. Personally, I much prefer to deal with the Bible as it truly is rather than what I might wish it to be.

Does Your Christian Bookstore Have the Latest from Guilderoy Lockhart?

Jeff Dunn nails it:

Gilderoy Lockhart is the author of these and many other books detailing his adventures dealing with “dark creatures” such as hags, banshees and the like. They made for fascinating reading and earned Lockhart an army of adoring fans, fans who couldn’t wait for his next book. There were just two problems. Lockhart never actually had the experiences he claimed to have had. And his readers still believed him.

Thus Lockhart arrived at Hogwarts to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, a subject he knew nothing about, yet a subject that would be crucial for students entering the real world who had to deal with real evil. While he appeared to be just a vain, arrogant self-boaster, he turned out to be quite dangerous.

Gilderoy Lockhart is a familiar face in Christian publishing. Oh sure, we have the obvious Gilderoys in Mike Warnke, Todd Bentley and others who told tales not even remotely close to the truth. Those are easy to spot. I’m talking about Gilderoy Lockhart who writes books your neighbor in the pew this coming Sunday is reading. Books written by a smiling man—or woman—who seems to have all the answers. Who knows THE way out of your financial mess. Who knows THE way to turn your rebellious kids into angels. The Gilderoy Lockhart who shares seven principles to, well, to anything you want.

My solution? Threefold. First, stop trading in bookstores that sell books by Gilderoy Lockhart. Tell the manager or owner that until they get some grown-up books for you to look at you won’t be back.

April 12 Is Apparently “Bizarre Historical Claims Day”

… as declared by Jim Davila. If we could get everyone to comply, maybe we could concentrate all the bizarreness on one day every year and get it out of our systems. Although the day I would have picked is a little bit earlier this month.

Film claims discovery of nails from Jesus’s cross

British Museum hopes to clean up with the ‘Holy towel of Jesus’

Fall of Roman Empire caused by ‘contagion of homosexuality’

Secrets within Great Pyramid of Giza Point to One True God

I’m Tempted to Call It “The Scofield Paradox”

David Heddle explains it. Scofield also found feminine imagery for God in Genesis 17:1. Fortunately, the Revised Scofield Reference Bible corrected this obvious mistake. 😉

Textual Criticism and KJV Only Conspiracy Theories

Daniel B. Wallace explains that newer New Testament translations differ from the King James Version because of the textual evidence, not because of any kind of godless conspiracy. But I bet you already knew that. (H/T: Evangelical Textual Criticism)

How the Prosperity Gospel Should Work

Scott Bailey has a very valid point.

The Seven Rules of Church Fonts

Seen ’em all. By the grace of God, guilty of none.

Everybody’s a (Biblical) Critic

Steve Wiggins addresses the fact that it seems everybody these days considers him or herself to be a Bible expert. (H/T: James McGrath) What this usually boils down to, however, is that everybody has opinions or beliefs about the Bible—whether they’ve actually read much (or any) of it or not. He illustrates this with reference to the use of (a highly expanded fictionalized version of) Ezekiel 25:17 in the film Pulp Fiction.

Politicians, rap artists, physicians, movie directors, and janitors are all experts on the Bible; why do we need those of us who’ve made it a life’s work? The answer, I believe, is that knowledge of the Bible is at an all-time low. Many venerate the Bible without understanding what it is. Until society gets a grasp on what it means to have so many experts on the Bible, everyone should ponder the meaning of the passage that reads…

For the record, Ezekiel 25:17 actually says,

I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful punishments. Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I lay my vengeance on them.