Sunday, February 24, 2008

Question on the dating of the NT

Wasn't the New Testament written hundreds of years after Christ?

My Answer:
None of the New Testament books have a date of publication written on them. It probably will not surprise anyone that those who attempt to figure out from linguistic and historical evidence the date a certain book of the New Testament was written come out with very different answers. The assumptions one brings to the evidence guides that interpretation. For instance D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris in their book "An Introduction to the New Testament" would date Galatians as being written A.D. 48. They would date the Book of Revelation as having been written A.D. 68-69. These two book are sometimes, not always, considered the first book and the last book written in the New Testament. I have taken Bible classes at both theologically conservative and theologically liberal schools. The more liberal schools would count those dates I just gave as hogwash. I think the more liberal scholars would place the last documents to be written about A.D. 150.

The oldest know copy of New Testament material is Papyrus 46 (P46). Some would date it as between A.D. 175-225. That would mean the originals would be before that time.

Count that the life of Christ was A.D. 3 or 4 and his death often considered to be about A.D. 33 or so, and all New Testament books being written after that point, then you don't really have hundreds of years, if you count the dates of P46 as valid.

However those of the more liberal theological camp would place those documents much later than their conservative brothers and sister in the other camp.

I'm not sure the assumptions you bring to the text to help you decide how you would date it. I'm also not sure of the assumption behind your question. However, I'm sure that I would not be able to convert someone to Christianity based on my dating system nor could I convince someone that it is wrong based on someone else's dating system. In this case, as in many others in life, we prove what we postulate.

"An Introduction to the New Testament" by Carson, Moo, Morris.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Excellent Explaination of the Spectrum of Belief

I would like to direct your attention to an article by Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. Basically the post is about the differences between fundamentalists, evangelicals, emerging, and emergent. The charts are instructive but I will let you go to the posting Comparing Fundamentalist, Evangelicals and Emergers to see the charts. The basic idea is two fold, what can you know and what is essential.

As a side note, I'm with Patton that I'm not ready to disassociate myself with the term evangelical. For that matter, I'm not ready to disassociate myself from the term fundamentalist. Even though evangelical or emerging would better describe my position.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Defining Emergent and Emerging

I wrote a paper about the Emerging Church for seminary several years ago. At the time, Emergent and Emerging were not used in the same distinction as they are now. I see them as different forms of the same root, but usage dictates meaning, not history or assignment of meaning. There is an excellent article about the Emergent and Emerging church at the blog Reclaiming the Mind Ministries called Would The Real Emerger Please Stand Up. It is not clear to me where the chart came from but I find it helpful. I'm including these charts from the post here.

This first chart shows the range of beliefs in Christianity. I would guess that the author would not be attempting to show that each grouping is as large or historically important as the next one, just the spectrum of belief conveniently boiled down to nice categories. Then he zooms into a section to further discuss the messiness of it all.

I'm not quite sure everyone would like their assigned categories, but of course that is one of the issues of the whole emergent/emerging church what is the validity and way to self define ourselves. Traditionally people were assigned class, gender, place in society with some people busting out of the assignment. Today post-moderns see that everything up for grabs, if one does not like his or her gender, change it. If you don't like your social class, create a new one. (This usually involve a fashion statement with an accompanying genre of music, as if clothes really do make the man.) It is my opinion that a lot of this talk is somewhat more about associations and less about theology, but of course not exclusively and not for all individuals.

A few years back when I wrote my paper on this topic the Wikipedia article on the Emerging church was somewhat less developed. The defining mark of the Emerging church was that they refused to be defined. However, that has been sorted through and captured quite well quite well by the volunteers writing the Wikipedia article Emerging church. You may want to surf over and get reacquainted with the movement.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Response to "The Problem with Christian Pop Music"

Below are some of my thoughts on "The Problem with Christian Pop Music".

I’m trying to figure out what pop music is. There was a time I knew exactly what it was. It was what was played on American Top 40 with “Casey” Kasem. Now it is so mixed and varied, that it is difficult to know what a kid who is 18 with an iPod will be listening to. My daughters are as tuned into the Beatles as they are any contemporary artist. (I’m not sure if U2 qualifies as a contemporary artist by the way. I think he hits my generation a little harder than the teens of the new millennium.) Alicia Keys sings some great music, but is she pop? My daughters having me buying the songs for them but I think the genre is R&B and/or Soul. If you asked them if it was R&B, they might know, but they don’t care. They just know what they like.

My point is that we are actually at a point in the music business that things are changing rapidly. It is an opportunity for Christians to have an influence instead of trying to create Christian versions of the record labels. Probably one of the best thing a church can do to take advantage of this is start an after school music school for children or an evening school of music for adults. Then create a community that writes, performs, learns about and cherishes music, whether sacred, classical, country or pick your favorite, authentic genre. Sponsor concerts. Then sponsor some more concerts.

Friday, February 08, 2008

McCain Song

There are a couple of versions of this song, depending on the political message one is trying to get across. I first heard it on Steve Brown's Comedy Bits and Pieces Blog so that is what I am linking to. McCain Song

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Strange game! Try it. Some call it the Air Force test. I tend to think of it as Pong, the advanced level.