Saturday, February 22, 2014

Godwin's Law for the Church

In 1990 Mike Godwin made an internet observation that has become known by Godwin's Law.  He postulated:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
I believe there is an ecclesiastical equivalent to it.  Let me tweak it to read:
As an online Christian discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Pharisees or legalism approaches 1.
In other words, when Christians debate with each other online, eventually somebody is going to compare another person's views (or the person, himself) with Pharisaism or legalism and [on the wrong side of the argument because he is] in contrast to Jesus and grace.

Watch for it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bock, Wallace and Witherington on the Reliability of the Bible

Because you DON'T have to take Bart Ehrman's word for it.  I think it's great that you can get two outstanding Calvinistic Dispensationalists (Dallas Seminary's Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace) and one outstanding Wesleyan-Arminian (Asbury Seminary's Ben Witherington) together on the same stage saying the same thing.

It's just fun to listen to three really smart guys sitting around saying really smart things.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What Does the New Church of God (Anderson) Logo Mean?

General Director Jim Lyon gives us the answer in an Open Letter.  Part of it reads as follows:
Soon after I arrived on the job, Church of God Ministries began to review its logo. Introduced for the first time in 1980 (one hundred years after the Movement’s beginning), the familiar-to-some-but-not-to-others flame art posed a few challenges. Panned when it arrived on the scene as “sectarian,” bearing too much likeness to denominational imprints already then in play (e.g. the United Methodist Church), today it is even more similar to other, newer faith brands (see for instance the Metropolitan Community Church logo—a group with some emphases quite different from our own). The flame logo has never been embraced by the whole church (nor was it necessarily intended to be) and is unknown in many (if not most) of our congregations across the country. 
Furthermore, the flame does not communicate abroad what many of us take for granted in the United States and Canada. In western Christian culture historically, fire has been seen as an emblem of the Holy Spirit—and with good reason, found in the Bible (e.g., the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost in the form of visible tongues of fire, famously). In the Orient, though, this symbolism for the Holy Spirit has little traction. Fire can suggest many other themes (in Hindu India, e.g., fire often burns before the idol, inspiring worship) and rarely would lead an unbeliever to think about Jesus. Even in the Occident, traditional Christian emblematic representations are falling out of the common cultural core and do not speak as they once did. 
There is one symbol, however, which is recognized universally, in every place Jesus has been preached, as the mark of the Gospel and that is the Cross. If Jesus is the subject—and I believe He is—the beginning and the end, the Word become flesh, the Way, the Truth, and the Life—then the Cross is His signature. 
I listened to the graphic designer engaged in the development of the new logo present a very careful and reasoned case for the how and why of the new look, developed by his hand (after elaborate research and exploration of core ideas and themes, listening to Church of God people) and understood it. But, my assessment of the new look was much simpler and straightforward: (a) the logo places the Cross at the center—in the middle of everything; it makes Jesus the subject (the appearance of the Cross in the logo was strengthened, after initial response and review contended it was too faint), (b) whatever the pieces of my world might be, whatever the challenges, the relationships, the shapes and sizes of life, they all come together at the Cross—Jesus makes everything whole, (c) the circular form of the logo spoke to me clearly of wholeness, unity, holiness: something shattered and disparate coming together, again, drawn together by the Cross. It’s all about Jesus.
Of course, it’s a subjective exercise, discerning messages from art, ink stamps, logos, and the rest. And, like the flame introduced on letterhead in 1980, no church or agency or pastor or school is required to employ the brand. But, in a world of global exposure—when thousands can access our website from every continent every day—when correspondence I send reaches not just to Kokomo but Kolkata, the Cross-in-the-middle, pulling all things together in unity, is an imprint I believe will serve Church of God Ministries well. 
Some today have panned the Cross-in-the-middle logo as others did the three-colored flame in an earlier age. Some have readily grabbed it, praised it, and already employed it in their ministry publications and online presence. Whatever imprint our state and local ministries use, let’s focus our message on Jesus. Making Him the subject is our best hope for coming together and changing the world.
There ya' go.  Click on this link to visit an official page with downloadable versions of the new logo in various sizes and colors.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

MCHM Not Safe at Any Level?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Bill Nye and Ken Ham Debate

I just watched the creation/evolution debate by Ken Ham and Bill Nye. Outstanding. It remained civil and courteous the entire time. Both Nye and Ham are to be commended as gentlemen.  They were both articulate and thoughtful.  The moderator from CNN, Tom Foreman, was fair and the audience respectful. 

It was predictable with no fireworks, no smoking guns and no gotcha moments.  In the end, there is an irreconcilable difference between the two positions as was made clear. How one answers that question is the stuff of philosophy and theology. Even the Scripture admits the line of demarcation: 
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14 ESV)
I am proud of both Nye and Ham for this reasoned debate.  Nye questioned the wisdom in trusting the Bible over contemporary observation but he wasn't elitist or snarky.  Ham made no apologies for accepting the authority of the Bible but he wasn't patronizing.  Science is the better for this cordial exchange. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What Drives Bob Huggins Crazy

Since I've heard West Virginia University men's basketball coach, Bob Huggins (Huggs, Huggy Bear), speak through media a few times I think I can pinpoint some key areas where ballers cause him consternation.  I'll put it in the form of an Old Testament construction:

 Three things drive Bob Huggins crazy, even four:
1. Players who don't make shots.
2. Players who don't rebound.
3. Players who play sloppy and undisciplined.
4. Players who don't play hard for the full 40 minutes (can't close a game).