Bad Theology Found On tumblr: RE: C.S. Lewis & Angelicanism

Okay so today, I found this goodie on tumblr: Liam Neeson and Aslan.

Now, I am not gonna say that Aslan isn’t an allegory for Christ. But I have many problems with that Liam’s statement AND the author’s “CONCERNS.” First of all, Aslan can be Buddha? Okay, really? Really? I guess Liam hasn’t read the Narnia series or doesn’t remember the politics in them. Look Aslan is a type of Jesus, and he’s also a right wing authoritarian figure. Prince Caspian is basically a story about how democracy is bad, Aslan is “good but dangerous” hint hint hint. If you read any C.S. Lewis, especially his Space Trilogy, the guy leans heavily pro-war and conservative. Does the Buddha represent any of these values? Um no, because not every religious founder is viewed by their religion the same way. It’s like Liam is taking what he has learned from Christianity, and applying it to another religion, rather than seeing it, speaking of it on its own terms. Narnia is clearly a theistic story; Buddhism is a non-theist religion.

On the concern, and the argument that C.S. Lewis is an “intolerant” Anglican. Look, really? That’s dumb. Have you even read the newspaper headlines with Anglicans and Episcopalians? (please read the links if you don’t know what’s up) While Lewis was politically conservative, he was theologically liberal. He is what we call a universalist, that Jesus died for everyone, and that while Jesus is savior, if you worship Tash or practice another religion, you are saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection. This is the conclusion of several of Lewis’ own writings, including The Last Battle. Whether we disagree with Anglicans is a different issue, but to make claims about Anglican theology and history, without any familiarity, well, is just bad theology!

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Bad Theology: Tumblr Theology That Makes Me Facepalm: Zombie Jesus

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Jim West has a meme going Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh. Tumblr is also a place where you can find lots of bad theology, from wannabe atheist thinkers and Christians alike.

On tumblr there’s a meme for Zombie Jesus, I know sooooo original. What these amateurs don’t know is that the black people who first wrote zombie stories, were Catholic Christians, living in the Carribbean. Enjoy being polemical tools!

For Bibliobloggers and Theobloggers, a Proposal: Dialogues via Vlog or Video

So I was talking to Joel today over the phone, and it hit me. One of the things that annoyed me about my own alma mater is that it was all lectures and “conversations” and exactly zero debates. The other day, Rob Kashow annouced the Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace debate, and it reminded me of a post I did a while back. Last March, there was all of this talk about the so called death of the Black Church. And at one point, there was a diavlog between two professors.

Youtube makes it pretty easy to have videos that respond to each other and converse. I was wondering about the possibility of setting of, considering everyone’s schedules, perhaps a quarterly, every 3-4 months, a diavlog or a series of conversations between two bibliobloggers with a opposing view points.

As for rules, that would be up to the 2 bloggers, unless Steve Caruso and company or any other bibliobloggers who want to make any suggestions.

What say you? Would the diavlogs/ debates via video be worth it?

Atonement & Pacifism

Blue Collar Todd’s (through the IRD) polemic attempts at trying to critique Christian Pacifists and their theologies of atonement just do not add up.

first, the Institution for Religious Democracy has had several articles aimed at mindlessly accusing pacifists for being unpatriotic, unChristian, and liberal. All of which are falsehoods to be sure in order to energize their neo-conservative base, but I’ll digress.

Anyhow, for anyone who knows anything about theories of atonement, atonement is just a shortened version of the old english word: AT-ONE-MENT. Meaning, the Cross is God’s miracle to sinners that God is reconciled with us and creation, and wishes humanity to be reconciled with each other. No reading of the apostle Paul can ignore this. The fact is that the “historic, universal church teachings about God’s role for the state and that the state” are multiple. John Calvin and his French followers the Huguenots had different visions for the state. For Calvin, the citizen was to submit to the state on the basis of Romans 13, for the Huguenots, they used Revelation 13 to justify revolution. The American revolution is based on the latter while US American contemporary Evangelicals choose calvin over the Huguenots. I won’t even get into all of the bad theology and history that the IRD and like minded conservative Christians do, but I will say this:

The cross is an act of non-violence. Jesus, the son of the Lord of Hosts did not ask Michael and company to come down and strike the Romans dead. He could have, but in an act of subjective obedience, Jesus gave his life so that we may know how to live, and not just live eternally. Jesus came to give us life, and have it more abundantly. This is not prosperity gospel. In light of the cross, it is concretely anti-prosperity gospel. The Crucified God reigns in suffering; this is what Revelation points to, when it talks about the Lamb who had been slain since eternity (God suffering in creation through God’s Word).

The only Christians who fear anabaptist and neoanabaptist movements are the protestant and catholic descendents who killed their forebears all those years ago. Not only did the first anabaptists (barring those crazy 2 or 3 who tried to take over a german village) affirm inerrancy, the Trinity, Christ’s divinity (and i have sufficient resources in case you need reading),they practiced non-violence as an orthodox way of life. God the Father & Spirit resurrecting Jesus is not only the beginning of the new creation, but it is also the divine approval of Jesus’ non-violent life. As I mentioned in my series on this blog, The God of Peace (so far), that the Hebrew Bible can be used as a pacifist text, for it is God who fights our battles, time and again, and God gets the praise and honor, rather than politicians leading the Israelites: see here.

Christian pacifism and atonement go hand and hand. Because God desires person to person/community to community reconciliation (think Galatians 3, and the like), Christian pacifists have little choice but to keep up the possibility of reconciliation, even with the worst of their enemies, and yes, that does mean Muslims. What Blue Collar Todd and IRD do not understand is this: their hope is in revenge, in the murdering of murderers, the law. Pacifists hope is in Grace, who came in the fullness thereof.

A CALL FOR WOMEN BLOGGERS: The Bibliobloggers

{ORIGINALLY POSTED AT UNSETTLED CHRISTIANITY]

Cuz It’s A Man’s World…………

I would like to say a word about sex, and in particular, the gender disparity in the Biblioblog Top 50 that JK Gayle has been blogging about.  I cannot speak for all bibliobloggers but there are a few of us who care about the lives of the rest of the %50 of humanity’s population that goes unnoticed in the blogosphere when it comes to theological and biblical studies.  Now, I remember when this issue came up in 2009, April DeConick was labelled a man-hating angry feminist as some of us just dismissed all too easy her request to even change how the stats take place (another day, another time).

So, I am starting an online campaign. It was the best I could come up with. This post will appear on three separate blogs.  Perhaps women in seminaries or PhD students or famous authors of books that are popular will choose to join the Bibliobloggers. I hope they do.  So here it is:

AN OPEN LETTER TO WOMEN WHO BLOG, WHO ARE IN SEMINARY/GRAD SCHOOL OR WHO JUST CARE ABOUT RELIGION,

To whom it may concern,

If you are a woman and are interested in theology, the Bible, religious studies, or anything related, no matter what the religious background, I invite you to consider joining the Biblioblogger community.  It is quite easy to join us; all you have to do is:

“If you have a biblical studies or related blog which you wish to be added to the list, please email the URL, blog name, and blogger’s name to ntwrong[at]gmail.com.”

The Biblioblog rankings are just for fun, and there is no monetary prize, only bragging rights and noteriety, but here is how they are measured:

“The Biblioblog Top 50 records the top 50 biblical studies blogs (“biblioblogs”) each month, according to the rankings provided by Alexa. The rankings, like all site statistics, are not exact, but provide a reasonable indication of relative popularity among biblioblogs. Alexa only provides rankings for stand-alone blogs, or blogs hosted on the main providers (e.g. wordpress, blogspot, etc). The Biblioblog Top 50 is administered by Jeremy Thompson.

A second measure of top biblioblogs, the Bibliobloggers Top 10 is based on votes received from bibliobloggers. Bibliobloggers may email their personal ranking of the top 10 biblioblogs (or top 1, 2, 3, etc.) to bibliobloggerstop10[at]yahoo.com. Please include in your email a link to your blog. Each vote for 1st place will earn that blog 10 points. 2nd place earns 9 points, and on to 1 point for 10th place. The Bibliobloggers Top 10 is administered by Daniel O. McClellan.”

For more information, please visit the BIBLIOBLOG TOP 50 WEBSITE.

There are a couple of bloggers that I know who are interested in having women as contributors and authors.

Joel Watts is searching for a regular contributor at UNSETTLED CHRISTIANITY; CURRENTLY, all of his writers are male.  He would like that to change, and I know this through our email and text message exchanges.

Craig Falvo has an excellent blog here at Simul Justus Et Peccator: Musings of a Lutheran In Exile.  Craig is a progressive ECLA minister and wouldn’t it be just grand to have a moderate Reformed blog to counter the people who will go unnamed. ;-)

You do not have to be a professional biblical scholar, a pastor, or grad student to start a bible blog.  Not every post has to be on the bible or religion at all. James McGrath, for example, talks about Science fiction a lot, and there are bibliobloggers that post on their families, their day at church, or just anything random that comes to mind.

If you have any more questions, just let me know in the comment section here or Political Jesus, where I co-blog with Chad and Amanda

After Japan: How Can Christians Defend God’s Goodness?

I have been wondering inside for awhile where have all the defenses of divine omnibenevolence gone. It seems that these voices are long gone, and those who believe in a god who loves to look in the mirror at HIMself and say, look at me, look at me, like Vanity the Smurf (Piper’s calvinianism) suppress any traditional understandings of God’s goodness. That is because their guilt-ridden religion leads them to proclaim a faulty view of God’s justice. If God throw temper tantrums 80% of the time, then when exactly was God’s wrath actually satisfied? It don’t need no satisfaction? Ala penal substitution?

“The Good News of Jesus Christ is that God has been born into the world, in the flesh, dwelt among us as a man, opposed Satan, healed the sick, raised the dead, inaugurated the reign of God in this world, was himself murdered, then rose from the dead by the power of the Spirit. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for sin redeeming us, ransoming us, rescuing us. Jesus paid it all!

The American author who wrote the post on Japan’s disasters holds a very different view of the cross: that God poured out all his wrath against sin on Jesus that we deserved. For the American author, the cross “satisfies” the wrath of God like the proverbial virgin “satisfies” the volcano. However, this is directly at odds with the implication that Japan’s earthquake is an outflow of God’s wrath against sin. That implication would suggest that Jesus’ death on the cross only partially satisfied God’s wrath. Or that God’s wrath is greater than God’s grace.

If the Japanese earthquake is a result of sin and God’s wrath, as this author implies, then Jesus may not have paid our debt in full—because we’re still paying interest.”

For more, read T.C. Moore’s A Black Sun Has Not Set On Japan: Challenging So-Called Answers For The Japanese Disaster.

The God Of Peace, Part 3- Reconciliation: A Guest Post By Rod

Reading the New Testament as a Continuation of the Hebrew Bible

Previous posts in this series-

God of Peace, Part 1: Groundrules

And

God of Peace, Part 2: Revelation

In order for me to argue that the New Testament is not that new in the sense of Jewish moral theology, allow me to review my counter-arguments to uninformed claims that advocates of Christian non-violence avoid the Old Testament.

On the contrary, it is several Old Testament theological claims that remain at the root of Christian pacifism and Christian peace-making efforts.

1. The Decalogue: The Second and Fifth Commandments read together are calls to reject violence.  By knowing the name of God, we avoid linguistic violence towards God and are able to have inner peace that manifests itself outwardly in a peaceful relationship with our neighbors.  The negative command to avoid killing is a logical conclusion from the directive to love God.

2. The Imago Dei: If one understands the doctrine of being made in the image of God as where humanity’s worth is seen as immeasurable in the eyes of the Triune God, then it follows forth that all of human life is sacred because of the Creator, and second, only God has the right to take away life.

3. Blood as Sacred: Various legislation in the Torah informs readers that the blood of every creature is sacred, for the blood of the creature is its life.

4. The Wars of the Holy One: Rejecting the Holy wars in favor of the far more accurate term, Wars of the Holy One, one can see that theologically the God of Israel, the YHWH Armies is the lone sources of military victory.  Any prideful attempt on the part of the Israelites to take away God’s glory is to be rejected, as was with prophets such as Elisha’s rebuke of the king of Israel (1st Kings 6).

5. Diaspora Judaism: The Maccabee’s violent revolution was rejected, even excluded from the canon at one point.  Nehemiah and Ezra’s noble yet ethnically exclusive experiment should be viewed as a failure, and falling short of God’s command to “seek the peace of the city,” according to Jeremiah 29:5-7.

How Jesus and the Apostles Passed Down the Non-violent Jewish Ethic

Jesus embodies the entirety of the nonviolent morality as it relates to Judaism. It is in his life, death, and resurrect that he creates a new covenant, a better testament (Hebrews 8:6) through his obedience.  The New Covenant is a better one, not because of any principles are laws but simply because the Covenant has been made available to all nations for it was first to the Jew, but now to Jew and Gentile (John 4:22; Romans 1:16). The healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2) is part of the mission of God as well as the healing of the soul.  The incarnation and mission of the Logos points toward reconciliation God with humanity, as well as making possible a greater human fellowship.

1. Jesus as the Logos, or Word of God in many of the early Christians thinking was the Ten Words made Flesh or the Law Incarnate. Their understanding of John 1:1-18 was that God’s teaching had to take on a human body in order for God to teach human being holiness.  What the Patristics understood is that Jesus as revelation cannot be separated from understanding God disclosing God’s Will in the Decalogue.  When New Testament passages allude to the reality that all persons will confess Christ as Lord while every knee will bow, it does so because there is no other name by which human beings receive the gift of salvation (Philippians 2:10).  If one knows Jesus, one will know the God of peace, thus continuing the promise of the 2nd Commandment.  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew as well as his Sermon on the Hill in Luke are the re-iteration of the Ten Commandments as well as their Jubilee interpretations in Leviticus. These laws are not for a chosen few (ala Reinhold Niebuhr) but for everyone who wishes to follow the Lord Jesus.

2. Jesus as the Image of God is the norming norm for human behavior (Colossians 1:15). As fully God and fully human, Christ is what it means to be a person. As Yoder articulates quite well,

“When Paul spoke of Jesus as image, or when the author of Hebrews , or the signers of the hymn cited in Phillipians 2 used similar expressions, they were practicing the opposite of freewheeling image making.  They were affirming the abiding normativeness  of the work and owrds of the man Jesus as revelatory of God’s being and will.”

(1)

3. The Sacred Blood of Jesus: The author of 2nd Peter makes the death of Christ Jesus the reason for our righteousness, and because Jesus’s blood is sacred, we are called to a new life (much like Abel’s blood cried out for justice). Note that 2nd Peter 2:24 says that the two-fold reason for the death of the God-man is for human beings to turn from sin and live in cruciform holiness– both substitutionary atonement and moral exemplar. It is not an either/or when it comes to divine reconciliation. Jesus was victorious in his obedience, representing humanity and taking the punishment what we deserve; our act of worship should be the life of sacrifice, of self-giving, of living in humility, residing in solidarity with the crucified peoples of this world. In Romans 3 & 12, as well as Ephesians 5, the Pauline/pseudo-pauline theology stakes Christ’s atonement as the way of life for the believer. This includes the love of the enemy, mutual submission between husband and wife as well as employer and employee, and statesman and citizen.

4. Wars of the Holy One in the New Testament, i.e., Exorcisms: When one recognizes that it is not broken human beings who we are not struggling with, but what the Pauline/pseudo-pauline letter of Ephesians calls ‘the powers of this dark world” and evil from the heavenly realm, one must understand the testimony of the Gospels as they tell us of Jesus healing persons such as Legion [Mark 5; Luke 8] as well as other daemon-possessed persons as going to war. In fact, at the cross, Christ himself alludes to YHWH his Father as the YHWH Armies (Matthew 26:53). How God reigns is on the cross, and through suffering throughout creation. Christ fights our battles for us, and he has already conquered at his death and resurrection; God does not have a social strategy outside of these two events. Yoder puts it this way, “The church does not attack the powers; this Christ has done. […] By existing, the church demonstrates that their rebellion has been vanquished.” (2) The Johannine literature, such as the Apocalypse (the revealing), purposefully depicts Jesus as a warrior king. Specifically, it is the crucified Christ whose very words function as the sword that conquers the rebellious powers (Rev 19:21. Waiting upon the Lord, trusting in Christ’s teaching (Rev 13:10) is the key to victory, and not any human tradition.

5. Diasporic Jewish Christianity: The New Testament authors understand Christian existence as one being in exile, foreign to the surrounding nations in which followers of the Way resided in. Paul places Christian citizenship in the realm of God (Phillipians 3:20). In the midst of living in the violent and oppressive “Pax” Romana, the NT writers wanted to emphasize that we are in the world, but not of it, and our actions should show likewise. Even Jesus said that the non-believers lover their friends and relatives, but He calls his disciples to love their enemies. The Cross, as the pinnacle of of God’s love for God’s enemies, is the model for Christians living among the nations. The Way of the Cross alienates Christians from the world. Sinful desires wage war against the exiled believer (1st Peter 2:11). It is within this mission while in exile ’til the New Creation comes that the Church is called to seek the peace of the city (Jeremiah 29:5-7).

For part 4 of this series, I will turn to the Just War theory and its use [or lack thereof ;-)].

(1) John Howard Yoder. The War Of The Lamb: The Ethics of Nonviolence And Peacemaking. Editted by Glenn Stassen, Mark Thiessen Nation, and Matt Hamsher. Brazos Press, Grand Rapids Michigan, 2009, 168

(2) John Howard Yoder. The Politics of Jesus : Vicit Agnus Noster. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.Carlisle, U.K.: Eerdmans ; Paternoster Press, 1994, 150.

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