Random Thoughts

Yeah, I'm still alive. Just insanely busy over the last couple of weeks, although this week has calmed down again. To get the blog going again, here's a few random thoughts.

I've started reading Herman Ridderbos' The Coming of the Kingdom, and am freshly convinced that Brian McLaren's attempts to get at the "secret" message of Jesus and the kingdom is not much more than a warmed over social gospel that focuses on the ethical demands of Jesus to the neglect of the real contours of his essential teaching about the kingdom of God.

I'm also dipping into Piper's What Jesus Demands from the World, which attempts to "hold together the meaning and motivation of Jesus' commands, the greatness of his work, and the glory of his person" (p. 23), grounding the teaching of Jesus in who he is and what he has accomplished. Good stuff.

Check out Ben Witherington's incisive critique of George Barna and Frank Viola's Pagan Christianity. Witherington is a top shelf NT scholar whose blog and books are worth exploring. He points out some of the historical blunders behind Barna and Viola's anti-institutionalism. If you are an iconoclast who doesn't like church buildings, ordained leadership, and formal liturgy in worship, and think these derive from pagan roots rather than early Christian practice, scan a couple of Witherington's posts.

My friend Ben over at Unbreakable Joy is giving away a great book by Tozer. Sign up for your chance to win.

Steve McCoy is doing a great series of posts collecting people's "Big 5" book recommendations in various categories. These include books on marriage, parenting, prayer, preaching, writing, evangelism, leadership, systematic theology, etc. It's a good way to discover good books you haven't read yet, so check it out.


cgl said...

I have been enjoying Witherington's blog lately. He has been touring asia minor and has had some interesting posts to go with it. The latest book report has been quite interesting. His books always make me think outside my comfort zone.

mwh said...

Have you read anything by McLaren where he responds to the critique of having a social gospel?

I too have found Witherington's works insightful and helpful.

Brian G. Hedges said...

I don't recall reading anything by McLaren responding to this charge. Have you?

Any particular books by Witherington you've found especially good?

mwh said...

I've not read anything by or (really) about McLaren. I was just curious if he had chosen to respond to his critics, if he felt like they misrepresented or misunderstood him, etc...

I've not read any of Witherington's full length works. Most of my interaction with him has been through his blog, audio, or reviews of his works by others--and all that only relatively recently.

cgl said...

I had started reading some of his book about Evangelical theology (I beleive he comments on Weslyanism, Calvinism and Dispensationalism) but didn't have time to get very far. (he doesen't care for Calvinism very much). I have been waiting on the library for his book "Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper." So we shall see. Theologically I don't think we see very eye to eye but like I said he makes one ponder an awful lot.