2009 Apologetics Symposium & 2010 Mockingbird Conference

New Reformation Press (NRP) has made available two free lectures from the 2009 Apologetics Symposium.  The speakers, Craig Parton and Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, speak about Christian apologetics from a Lutheran context (LC-MS).  Parton, a Lutheran convert from evangelicalism, says apologetics used to be an academic discipline in the training of Lutheran pastors.  Apologetics is not new to evangelicals and orthodox Reformed but is now a long lost discipline in Lutheran seminaries.    Converts to Lutheranism like myself, find apologetics vital in witness and evangelism.

(Hat Tip: NRP) The 2010 Mockingbird Conference is also available. Rod Rosenbladt and C. FitzSimons were the speakers at this conference attended mostly be Reformed and Lutherans.  If you love the core traditional beliefs of the Reformation, you will enjoy listening to this.

P.S.  One of the greatest Christian apologists of the past century is Dr. John Warwick Montgomery. His audio recordings and books at available at the Canadian Institute of Law, Theology and Public Policy.

Independent news: a real source of news

Earlier, police reportedly exhumed eight bodies from shallow graves in a predominantly Christian village near Jos. The discovery of the bodies brought to 15 the number of corpses found in three days in an area fraught with Muslim aggression that has left hundreds of Christians dead.  read on…

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians are still being persecuted and killed by Muslims in countries like Nigeria.  Real news like this from today is real but it seems to be continually ignored by the mainstream news media.  News like this don’t seem to make their headlines, however, the killing and stone throwing by young kids in Palestine do.  Why? Self-interest and sensationalism?

Our trust in mainstream media like newspapers and television have been constantly declining and seem to be a less than trustworthy source of news for our younger generations today.  Many are turning to the less mainstream sources for news because there is a growing distrust of mainstream media.  News blogs from various types of organization: non-profit and for-profit and other independent new sources, such as bloggers, try to make this news available to the public.  This is where some of the real news seem to be coming from these days.

Just bought some new books to read

I already have a bookshelf full of unread books.  I don’t know why, but tonight, I went to browse around the bookstore and was driven to pick up a few more to add to my collection of unread books.  I hope I can justify my purchase.  Here’s what I bought and why I got them:

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible by Bart Ehrman (HarperOne, 2009)

  • I’ve been listening to some of Ehrman’s debates he’s had with evangelical scholars.  He does make an interesting case for the gospel’s discrepancies. I’ve heard from some that reading this book may cause you to lose your grip on the inerrancy of the bible. My New Testament text in seminary was written by Ehrman so I’m prepared to test the deeper waters of critical scholarship a little further to see if I fall off the deep-end. (Already in my collection of unread books are titles written by Spong, Pagels, and Crossan). I may need to carry a life-preserver before I jump into this one. 😉

The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity by Soong-Chan Rah (IVP, 2009)

  • I’ve read a little of The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins and really liked it.  I suspect this book’s thrust is along similar lines so I anticipate this book to challenge traditional perspectives of western Christianity.

Life After Church: God’s Call to Disillusioned Christians by Brian Sanders (IVP, 2007)

  • This book was completely unknown to me but I want to begin reaching out to the disenfranchised generations of unchurched people and I’m not sure how and where to begin.  Understanding their cultural worldview, and why they’ve been turned off by church and/or Christians is crucial to doing effective ministry in our postmodern age.

On a search for continuing education

Continuing education is important for pastors.  As a pastor, within my letter of call, I am allowed two weeks each year in order to take some time out for continuing education classes.  If I could do this within the next 5-6 years, part-time, while I continue my work in parish ministry, that would be a dream come true.  I have been surfing the internet looking through the plethora of programs that are available–D.Min., Th.D. Doing a Th.D/Ph.D. requires a commitment of lots of time and money–neither of which I have an abundance of.  The D.Min. route seems to be the easier but I won’t rule out doing a Th.D. either.  I feel kind of lost in the forest of  programs that are available.

RIP Michael Spencer (1956-2010), the Internet Monk

I have just learned that Christian blogger, Michael Spencer (1956-2010), who blogged at Internet Monk, has just gone on to be with the Lord.  He had a 4-month struggle with cancer but that struggle has just come to an end.  He had been a long-time blogger (about ten years), and his blog was very well-read. He always had something intriguing or interesting to say and reflect upon. The Christian blogosphere will never be the same without the Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk.

May Michael Spencer rest in peace.

Was Jesus’ persecution extraordinary?

Dr. Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University (Nova Scotia, Canada).  Dr. Evans believes that Jesus’ punishment at the hands of the Roman soldiers who mockingly ridiculed him as a “king of the Jews” was actually nothing out of the ordinary.  In his opinion, in those days, political insurrectionist whose aim was to usurp the power of its territorial rules were routinely tried and convicted in court by regional governors, such as Pilate.  Jesus was only one of many rebels across the expanse of the Empire who was found guilty of this type of crime against the State.

If anyone was found guilty of causing political insurrection and unrest, they would be handed over to the Roman soldiers who would in turn have their way with them. In a display of homage and jest, they would poke fun at them, dawn upon them a purple robe, construct them a crown of thorns, bow down to them, and hail them as a king of the Jews. Well, if this treatment of Jesus as a political insurrectionist was merely routine for Roman soldiers, then why do we pay so much attention to his punishment and crucifixion on the cross, especially during this time of Easter? Are we putting too much emphasis on Jesus’ suffering?

Dr. Evan’s most recent works include: Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (By Craig A. Evans and N.T. Wright. Louisville: WKJ Press, 2009). Mark 1:1-8:26 (WBC volume 34a; Nashville: Thomas Nelson) is in preparation.