Wow. It's been a week since my last post. I need to get back on the horse! To make up for the recent absence, here's a longer edition of "Thus & Such."
1. While I greatly appreciate the works and ideas of Charles Spurgeon, as has been noted on this blog several times in the past, I have sometimes felt that he takes significant liberties in the ways he reads and applies scriptures. Many of his sermons (which are quite long) are based on a single verse, or even a portion of a verse. How does he glean all of that insight from just a few words? Is he ignoring the context of the verse? It doesn't seem to me that he can be exegeting and applying the text rightly in such a narrow view. Here's an interesting article that talks about this trend. Apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed this.
2. Several months ago, a Facebook friend and I engaged in a conversation on abortion. He sent me an article to read and then respond to - one that he thought would stimey me. At the time, I responded to the article by saying that dependency didn't determine whether a being is human or not. After all, someone dependent upon medical equipment or medicine is no less a person because of that dependency, and neither is a baby in the womb who is totally and completely dependent on the mother. While this is true, I like Scott Klusendorf's response to the argument better. The argument for abortion espoused by the author of the article is "The Violinist" argument, which is probably the best argument for abortion out there. Take a look at the (long) "Violinist" article, and then Klusendorf's response.
3. Looking for a good Advent devotional? Here's one for you to check out.
4. When we read the Bible, we are reading a translation. This presents all kinds of interpretive issues, and the translation we read matters. In Bible translations, there are two general categories: formal equivalence, and dynamic equivalence. A formal translation is more literal (like the NASB or ESV), and a dynamic translation is less word for word and makes more of an attempt to communicate concepts and ideas. It has been my experience that those in academia are moving more toward dynamic equivalent translations, for reasons that I don't understand. In this article, Bill Mounce makes a brief argument for using what he calls a "natural language" translation, which to me, sounds a lot like a dynamic equivalent translation. As much as I respect and appreciate Bill Mounce, I can't agree with him on this. In fact, I don't see how what he says has any effect on the translation of scripture.
5. Despite early cooling from La Nina, 2012 is on track to become one of the top 10 hottest years on record..." Hmm. That's an interesting sentence, especially considering that the "record" is only about 130 years old. Sound like a lot? Not when compared to the supposed age of the earth, allegedly more than 4 billion years old. That means we have observable, scientific data for .0000000325% of the earth's history. Do we really think this is enough data to come to scientific conclusions about global warming? Apparently the United Nations does. I don't.
6. Here's an interesting back and forth between a supposed poetic interviewer and the Apostle Paul. I'm not a big fan of poetry, but this is pretty cool.
7. What's wrong with the church? Here's a good example. It turns out that people only come to church to hear "inspiring" sermons, and if the pastor doesn't deliver, the people will leave. In my opinion, don't let the door hit you on the way out. This article is chock full of thoughts and ideas that clearly reveals what is wrong with the church in America, primarily that the people in the churches aren't actually Christians, and would therefore rather have their ears tickled than be convicted by biblical truth.