What Jesus might write in a Letter to the 21st Century Church

On Friday the SCOTUS, in a 5-4 decision, made same-sex marriage the law of the land expanding the right beyond the 36 states in which it was already legal (link). We should not be surprised. When a nation, governed as “we the people”, is comprised of a such a diverse group of people, not all of which are Christians, why should we expect it to adopt laws that model Christian ethics? Continue reading

Belief, Trust, and Truth


I recently found a great new blog – Every Thought Captive, authored by Professor Rich Davis and Professor Paul Franks of the Tyndale Philosophy Department.

Here is a mash-up of three great posts they recently published that deal with truth and beliefs. I recommend you hit their blog (links are provided), read them in their entirety, and then start following their blog.

People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive – Blaise Pascal

Peter Enns, noted for his rejection of a literal Adam, recently wrote a provocative post stating that he doesn’t believe in God but he trusts Him. For Enns belief is equated with “ideas about God”, “articles of faith”, or “an intellectual construction” that is “in our heads”, while trust is “doing it, risking it” and “is much harder”. If Enns is saying saving faith is much more than head knowledge and getting some facts right about God than I agree.

But Enns seems to be saying more than this. Prof Franks tackles the problem made by Enns implicit assertion – that one can trust God without worrying about what one believes about Him:

First, to “trust God” you must at least “believe that God exists.” If you say to someone, “I trust God at this particular moment” and he responds by saying, “Why are you bothering with trusting in something that doesn’t even exist?” how could you respond without advancing your beliefs about God? It’s not clear that you can. … That is, you’re going to have to respond by not only noting that you believe God exists, but also that you believe certain things about God—namely that he is trustworthy.

Rob Bell, author of Love Wins and a new book exploring God, also seems to expressing the same idea as Enns in a recent HarperOne broadcast. Prof Davis quotes the relevant portion of the broadcast and then captures the problem with Bell’s “a good view of God is one that makes me a better person”:

The strange thing about Bell’s process for dispelling doubt is that it doesn’t appear to be truth-oriented at all. There is no attempt, so far as I can tell, to acquire or assess any reasons for belief. His method for theological belief revision, by his own account, is entirely subjective, pragmatic, and non-truth-conducive …

The “measure of a good view of God” isn’t that there are reasons for thinking there is a God corresponding to that concept. It’s whether it works for you. … In the end, it seems very likely that Bell is operating with a dogma of his own: we should adopt those understandings of God we find most empowering to us personally.

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes – Judges

Which brings us to their post which pulls it all together by tackling the questions – what is objective truth? and does Jesus require us to believe objective truth claims about Himself?

To say that a proposition is objectively true is only to say that its truth obtains apart from what any of us thinks, feels, or believes; it obtains by virtue of the way the world is. …

You can’t rightly believe in (i.e., trust, put your faith in) someone unless you believe that they exist. You have to believe certain objective truths about Jesus; otherwise you can’t be his disciple. …  Indeed, it isn’t rational to give your life to someone who either isn’t really there (i.e., lacks objective existence) or is the product of your imagination (i.e., has subjective existence alone). Belief that (i.e., assent to objective truth) is a precondition for belief in.

Top Posts of 2011

Since I have published 33 posts this year (since late May), I thought listing the top 10 might be overkill. So instead I give you the top 3 posts of 2011 (not including the Home page (#2) or the About page (#3))

  1. The Gospel according to Love Wins
  2. Is Rob Bell a Universalist? (or what does Love Wins actually teach)
  3. What is Orthodox?

Since all three relate to Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, I thought I would include a link to his farewell letter to Mars Hill Church which was posted a couple of days ago. I will also share a couple of interesting observations from that letter. These observations are not about Mars Hill since I am not part of that community, but rather reflecting on my own ideas about church and community using the letter as a springboard. Continue reading