Conservative Theology

December 19, 2008

General / Proselytizing


A friend of mine pointed to a great video about proselytizing.  The short form of it is that if you believe that salvation is in Jesus, and you don't proselytize, how much must you hate someone?

I have problems proselytizing.  In fact, most of the big issues that I care most deeply about I don't wind up following through with (faith in Christ and abortion to be two big ones).  I'm not quite sure why that is.  The way I justify it to myself (rightly or wrongly) is that the problems are usually bigger than a short-and-quick interaction will be able to solve, and that the surface solutions to those problems (i.e. proselytizing and political campaigning or picketing) aren't necessarily long-term solutions to the problem.  Especially in the case of proselytizing, since ours is a culture that knows about Jesus already, I'm always unsure whether my particular contribution in the form of proselytizing will be helpful rather than hurtful.

So, with regards to the big issues, I often feel, well, stuck.  Everybody knows what Christianity is, and everyone knows the arguments against abortion.  And yet, the world (at least the US) seems to be going a different direction.  With proselytizing, I feel like I'll just be one more added to the "crazies" category as a reason for people not to be a Christian. 

The way I've handled it to this point is to simply be a Christian and try to follow Jesus, and not hesitate to make Christ the center of my decision-making (this doesn't always happen, but indeed it is a goal), and so hopefully Christ will speak through me to people for whom actually talking might be less than helpful.  In addition, it is my hope that with this blog (among other things) I might help bring the Church back to its foundations, so that we can all live as a public witness to this world again.

Should I be proselytizing?  Probably.  But I just feel stuck.

December 16, 2008

General / Theology Around the Web


A Few interesting conversations going on:

Emergent Village argues against Sola Scriptura

Here is an excellent post on the argument between the "faith of Christ" vs. "faith in Christ" question.  The argument is that πιστεως χριστου is a larger, more-encompassing term than either of those translations.  Instead, "the Christ Faith" should be preferred (perhaps, to use a slight anachronism, "Christianity" is a proper translation).

Art has led me into covetousness.

Here is an interesting interview with an Evolutionary Creationist.  As is often the case, I just didn't the feeling that he "got" what either Intelligent Design or Creationism were all about.  In the first case, he criticized Intelligent Design for not having a theory of origins.  Of course, the reason for that is because Intelligent Design is a theory of causation, not origins!  He then criticized Creationism, but failed to engage in its cornerstone - flood geology and its relationship to Genesis 6-9.  Now, the real interesting thing is that Young-Earth Creationism was actually one of the things which caused him to be saved!  As I said, it's a very interesting interview, well worth your time. 

Here is a very interesting review of the Creation Museum.  Based on who it is who is reviewing the museum, I'll count it as extremely positive.  I ran across this when it first came out, but then never could find it again.  Basically, the reviewer was expecting to find the Creation Museum to be put together by people who didn't know science.  He found out that he was wrong - they knew the science better than he did, and their explanations of their reasoning was based on modern postmodern philosophy.  He didn't convert or anything, but you can see how, despite his extreme annoyance with YEC, the beginnings of some respect start to show through.

This looks like a great conference, but its on the wrong side of the pond.

How someone's life was torn apart because of a $100 donation.

Ancient Hebrew Poetry has a whole slew of interesting posts on translation issues.  I accidentally linked that back-to-front, so start reading with the last link and work backwards :)

Also a great post about the Judeo-Christian historical metanarrative.


December 04, 2008

General / The Emergence of Evangelicalism from Fundamentalism


I have just submitted a paper for my Christianity in the United States class on the emergence of two groups from early 20th century fundamentalism, which I classify as the Evangelical Middle and the Evangelical Right.  I give a short review of their historical and intellectual developments.  I have also added an addendum for my friends and blog readers in which I give the reasons why I consider myself part of the Evangelical Right and not the Evangelical Middle.

The paper is in PDF format - download it here.  Let me know if you have problems downloading it.  If I get time, I might post some summaries of different parts of the paper.