Throughout the last century or so of church history, there have been continual debates about various issues to textual criticism and whether or not a few passages (namely John 7:53-8:11 and Mark 16:9-20) have been rightly included in English translations of the Bible. For all the ink that’s been spilled on the issue, there’s still no resolution in sight. People disagree about the facts (though most simply don’t know and don’t really care) and therefore also disagree wildly about the right understanding of the facts. Beyond that, most people lack the skill set to evaluate the arguments so they either have no opinion or arbitrarily choose an expert and trust them (hoping for the best).
The reason this is important is because of the nature and implications of the two passages in question. For example, some folks take 16:17 as suggesting that all believers should speak in tongues and cast out demons. If that’s supposed to be a normative part of Christian experience, that seems rather significant. Some take 16:18 as saying the same thing about drinking poison and handling snakes. Again, the same thing can be said, though it may seem rather dumb to some folks. Still, the longer ending of mark is also important to people who aren’t in any danger of handling snakes. Did you ever notice the verse that is in a rather well-known logo? Continue reading
I was just working on updating my last post to go onto the Cripplegate when I saw today’s analytics. I’m all of a sudden getting more traffic from Sweden than from Canada. I regularly get a few dozen hits every day from South Africa, Australia, the UK, etc. but my main source of traffic is the United States and then Canada (by a lot).
Not so today. I’m getting swamped by people from Sweden.
Don’t know why.
Can’t see what they’re reading.
So, välkommen to all you dear Swedes! I’m so glad that you’re here!
If there’s anything I can do for you, or a subject that you’d like me to address, please feel free to drop a comment in this thread.
Also, if you’d like to tell me what has brought you to this little corner of the web, I’d love to know!
Finally, my Swedish visitors might be surprised to know that this is my current desktop background: Continue reading
It seems like everyone and their dog is hearing “the voice of God” these days. “Hearing the voice of God” used to be the mark of a prophet of God, but over the last century or so, it’s slowly become the mark of a mature believer. These days, once “conservative” folk like Beth Moore think that God speaks to them…not in audible voices, but propositional statements (and ultimately the audible/inaudible distinction is meaningless). The issue of “hearing the voice of God” is probably the most significant infiltration of bad Charismatic theology into non-Charismatic circles. It’s a train-load of insanity and heresy steaming through Evangelicalism, and it seems like there’s no stopping it; part of the danger of this idea is that it’s seemingly immune to both scripture and logic. As illustration of that, I recently was doing some historical research into the foundation of Assemblies of God. In 1906-1915, the “God told me” train was running like mad all over North America. It was quite revealing to see how quickly the “God told me” train derailed when everyone and their dog was getting divine revelations.
I’m neck deep in reading to prepare for my upcoming conference sessions in April. As I’ve been going berserk in searching through old papers, archives, and innumerable books, I’ve run across plenty of enjoyable tidbits and quotes. Today, I was looking at the archives of Word & Witness, an early newsletter from the initial years of the Pentecostal movement. In Hot Springs Arkansas, there was a conference on April 2-12, 1914. In that conference, five distinct “Pentecostal” (for lack of a better term) groups came together and the Assemblies of God was formed. In the May issue of Word & Witness, the newly established Assemblies of God denomination was articulating their statement of beliefs for their new denominational members. It’s in that statement that the following quote appears: Continue reading
I recently uncovered a little buried treasure tonight that I had to share!
For a long time, I’ve utilized a simple argument with Mormons that I’ve found quite effective. When we talk about Mormonism and they start talking about the restoration of Christianity (or the book of Mormon), the idea that Joseph Smith was a prophet frequently comes up. Instead of arguing about whether or not he was a prophet, I direct the conversation to how a person know whether or not anyone is a prophet.
I use the following simple line of reasoning:
1. If Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, I must listen to him.
2. God has established specific criteria for determining prophecy.
3. If Joseph Smith meets that criteria, then he’s a prophet and I must listen to what he has to say. Continue reading