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Some Quotes from the Internet

internet-wrldMolly Worthen: “There’s a problem with the hyper-individualization of Millennial religion. The advantage of an institution is that it forces you into conversation with people you might not agree with. It forces you to grapple with a tradition that includes hard ideas. It forces you to have, for at least part of your life, a respect for authority that inculcates the sense that you have something to learn, that you’re not reinventing the wheel, but that millennia have come before you. The structure of institutions, for all their evils, facilitates that. And we may be losing that.” Quoted by Conor Friedersdorf here: The Case Against Mix-and-Match Spirituality.

Charles Halton: “I think it is exciting that, in Christian confession, God speaks to us through the writings of people long dead. Instead of trying to change the word of God to accommodate our expectations, the voices of Scripture call us to think beyond our own cultural contexts and contemplate what it has meant and what it now means to follow after God in the myriad of contexts in which the people of God live. This challenges us even on the level of the expectations we bring to our study of the Bible. Should we really prize philosophical consistency and weed out contradiction if the biblical authors saw no need to?” Here: “aha” moments: biblical scholars tell their stories (5): Charles Halton.

Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight comments on Carl Trueman’s book on the creeds of the Church: “There is, I would contend, a difference between having a “creed” or a “confession” or a “statement of faith” and having a theology. We all have a theology; some Christians though do not want any authoritative statement to which we have to subscribe or submit. That’s a creed vs. a theology. Still, Carl Trueman has this right: creeds are the way of the church, they are good, and they are needed.” Here: The Bible is our only Creed?

James M. Leonard: “We hear Calvinists repeat their disturbing theology so much that we gradually lose our proper sense of astonishment over people actually believing things so contrary to the nature of God and to the obvious meaning of Scripture. This is unfortunate. We need to recover a sense of theological innocence so that we do not dignify what is otherwise prima facie absurd.” Here: Recovering a Sense of Incredulity over Calvinism

CalvinvsWesleyDon Thorsen: “Calvin believed that God unilaterally acted on behalf of human beings, saving them from a totally depraved state of sin. Wesley believed that God initiated salvation, enables it by grace, and completes the salvation of people. According to Wesley, God does not unilaterally save people, God expects people to cooperate in salvation, since it involves a genuine, uncoerced choice to become reconciled to God. The choice is not a natural ability; God makes it possible by graciously permitting people to choose to accept salvation, to have a personal relationship with God, and to love freely. Such freedom continues throughout the lives of Christians, always by God’s grace, giving them hope of growing into greater Christlikeness and of expressing love to God and others, individually and socially.” Quoted by Allan R. Bevere here: Calvin vs. Wesley: A Quotable Review.

Thomas C. Upham: “Without the key of faith the foundation of divine love, which refreshes and gives beauty to the whole soul, would never be opened within us. It would be impossible; because it would obviously be a result, not only without reason, but against reason. It is because we believe or have faith in God as just, benevolent and holy, as possessed of every possible perfection calculated to attract and secure our love, that we love him.” Here: Faith is the Source of Feeling.

brain-activity-m2-e1377138621125Mike McHargue comments on the discoveries of brain research on prayer: “People who regularly focus on God’s love through prayer and meditation change. They experience less stress, and they even experience a reduction in blood pressure. Their prefrontal cortex, the part of their brain associated with focus and attention, becomes more active over time and helping them avoid distraction just like when using Budpop’s grape runtz delta 9 to better concentrate.

They also have more activity in their anterior cingulate cortex. That’s the part of our brain associated with love, compassion and empathy. Focusing on God’s love makes us more loving and less angry. It’s easier for us to forgive ourselves and others.” Here: How Your Brain Is Wired For God.

Conservative Christian Moody Radio hosted an on-air debate between Matthew Vines (SideA) and Michael Brown (SideB) on gay and lesian issues which may be viewed here: Can You Be Gay and Christian? – Dr. Michael Brown debates Matthew Vines. Dr. Randal Rauser, a Christian philosopher, apologist, theologian, and associate professor of historical theology at Taylor Seminary watched the debate, and posted the first part of a review of it here: Homosexuality and Christianity: A Review of the Brown-Vines Debate (Part 1). He tried to point out the positive and negative in the presentations of all the participants, including the moderator. Michael Brown come in for some (I thought) very mild criticism. Brown read the review and objected to the criticism. Dr. Rauser then responded with a devastating critique of Brown’s over-all thinking here:  Apologist Michael Brown responds to Part 1 of my review of the Brown-Vines Debate. It contains the following quote: “Both Brown and Vines agree that the Bible says nothing positive about homosexual acts. On that trivial point all are in agreement. The salient question, however, is whether those condemnations are probative for homosexuality as we understand it today. It is on that point that Brown and Vines disagree. And whether or not Vines is correct, it seems to me there is at least a reasonable disagreement between the two. It is this possibility of reasonable disagreement that Brown denies….”

Ron Belgau

Ron Belgau

Ron Belgau: “There’s a sense that the fight over marriage has significantly polarized the discussion. Those on Side B are isolated, without a real home in the Christian community or in the secular LGBT community….” Quoted by Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart in Slate here: Thou Shalt Not Forsake Thy Celibate Christian LGBTQ Brethren.

I have been reading James V. Brownson’s book Bible, Gender, Sexuality (along with several other books) lately. It is a SideA book on homosexuality. And, it may be the best one I have read. Brownson is very clear and incisive in his writing and I would think that anyone could benefit from reading this book — regardless of what “side” they might think they are on. Brownson understands the traditional case against the moral acceptance of same-gender sex better than other SideA authors I have read. Naturally, I would be interested in reading rebuttal to this as well, and I am hoping that conservative evangelicals will turn their attention from Matthew Vines (whose arguments seem to be a mixed bag, at best) to Brownson’s excellent statement of his case. Brownson is also quite quotable: Quotes from Bible, Gender, Sexuality by James V. Brownson.

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