Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Bible under Attack - Again: Christians Need to Take Action

The mainstream media in the form of Newsweek magazine has given us a little Christmas present, albeit a re-gifted one. It’s the annual tirade against the Bible. The title of the article is “The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin,” written by pseudo-scholar of the Bible Kurt Eichenwald.

I say it’s re-gifted because, well, we hear this virtually every year and there is really nothing new in the contents. It’s becoming an annual media right-of-passage. Some secular publication feels the urge and obligation to excoriate the Bible and/or Christianity
If you want to read this festering garbage-heap of an article you can go here although I suggest it should only be consumed by full-blooded believers. Those who have no true relationship with Christ won’t need to waste your time because you’ve been fed all of this refuse your entire life.
I’ll leave the refutation to scholars who are a lot more versed in this material than I am. Here’s three you should digest well.
  1. You can find an excellent rebuttal from NT scholar Daniel Wallace at this link.
  2. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a pointed refutation on his blog.
  3. Michael J. Kruger takes on the task of disproving Eichenwald’s claims quite well at canon fodder. It’s says “Part 1” so there is obviously more to come.
But I also want to give some credit to Mr. Eichenwald for throwing the gauntlet at Christians. Perhaps it will wake them up to what’s going on in the world outside of their church or parachurch walls. Eichenwald’s piece should be a clarion call to defend the faith with vigor.
No more Mr. Nice Guy; no more “convictional kindness.” Christians need to step forward with the gloves on an be ready to do battle. The kind of poppycock that Eichenwald puts forth is what Christians face every day in the marketplace. We need to be ready to give an answer instead of conducting another fellowship feast.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review - Preaching by Ear

Preaching by Ear: Speaking God’s Truth from the Inside Out

Well, here’s another book on the how-to’s of preaching. But before you dismiss this book (or review), hear this out. This book has a completely unique approach from virtually all other preaching improvement volumes. This is not a technical volume on the form of preaching. It’s not the usual three points, stay to the text and don’t force something onto the text.

Rather, author Dave McClellan takes us on a journey of two parts. In Part 1, Preparing the Preacher, he appeals to the oratory skills of Augustine and Quintilian encouraging us to present sermons that are not so technically perfect but are delivered from the heart. In Part 2, Developing an orally Based Model of Preaching, he leads us through the development of a sermon that comes from within the preacher. His emphasis throughout the book is for all preachers to preach to communicate; pastors should deliver sermons prepared for listeners.

McClellan is a long time pastor and professor. He also holds a PhD in Rhetoric and Communication. Obviously he is well qualified to tackle the subject.

The book does get a bit “heavy” at times with discussions of rhetoric, but these are necessary for McClellan to establish his point. Don’t let them throw you. Enjoy the discussion at it moves along.

Every preacher should benefit from the reading of the book if for no other reason than it presents a distinctive challenge, a challenge for every person that delivers a sermon of teaches a class. It is a book not just to read, but more beneficially to be studied.

This book was provided to me by the Weaver Book Company for review with no anticipated pretense.