Thinking Christian

Thinking Christianity for church, home, and community


My Personal Opinion On This Passage Is…

Friday, August 7th, 2015

I got an email a while ago asking for help promoting a crowd-sourced study Bible called everyword. Maybe my mention of it here will count as promoting it, but that’s not my intention; rather I want to challenge the concept while exploring the worldview that seems partly to be motivating it.

(Here’s a PDF of the Kickstarter page in case the link goes dead someday.)


The project description includes,

By crowdsourcing Biblical commentary, everyword seeks to bring people of diverse faiths and …

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The Judgment Has Been Delivered. The Debate Is Settled.

Friday, June 26th, 2015

The Supreme Court has ruled on gay marriage in the U.S. Does this mean it’s all over? That the debate is settled?

Yes and no.

Yes, it’s settled. No, it’s not because the Supreme Court has ruled on the matter, and it’s not settled in the way the court ruled.

Court rulings are often overturned. This one should be. The justices have created for themselves the right to create rights. The circularity there should be obvious. It’s an invention out of vapor, an action based upon nothing. …


Was Jesus Wrong About the Time of His Return?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

This is just a short snippet out of a larger discussion, but I thought it might be worth including here anyway. In Luke 21:20-28, Jesus speaks of the end times. As I was reading it just now, it almost seemed in the first four of those verses as if Jesus was speaking of the fall of Jerusalem as the end of all things, “to fulfill all that is written.”

If that was what Jesus meant, he was centuries (at least!) wrong about the time of …

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Ehrman Errs on Jesus’ Authority To Forgive

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

I ran across this charming nugget from Bart Ehrman yesterday:

When Jesus forgives sins, he never says “I forgive you,” as God might say, but “your sins are forgiven,” which means that God has forgiven the sins. This prerogative for pronouncing sins forgiven was otherwise reserved for Jewish priests in honor of sacrifices that worshipers made at the temple.

Ehrman, Bart D. (2014-03-25). How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (p. 127). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

That’s right. Jesus merely says …


Responding to Dale Tuggy on Jesus and Faith

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Did Jesus Have Faith In God?

I got a bit of pushback from Dule Tuggy, professor of philosophy at SUNY Fredonia, on my posts about Jesus and faith. Dr. Tuggy’s series on my posts begins here. His view is that although Jesus is never spoken of as having faith, nevertheless he demonstrated faith:

I’ll stick to this point: the gospels don’t need to say that Jesus had faith in God, because they clearly portray Jesus’s …

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The Dogmatically Self-Assured Reza Aslan

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Book Review

I’ve been doing some work recently on the theory that Jesus Christ was a legendary figure, so I thought I should read Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Plenty of other people have been reading it. It’s a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and has been named one of the year’s best books by Good Housekeeping, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Bookish, according to its Amazon web page.

I’ll say this much for it: it’s a well-crafted tale. …


How Jesus’ Not Having Faith In God Affirms His Deity

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Did Jesus Have Faith In God?

I was looking over my bookshelf the other day when Fulton Oursler’s The Greatest Faith Ever Known caught my eye. I’ve never read it (like too many other books I own), but I know it’s about the apostle Paul. And it got me wondering: didn’t Jesus have the greatest faith ever known?

No, he didn’t, at least not according to the Gospels. Jesus uses the word “faith” 41 times in …

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Different Is Better

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Different Is Better:

“As Ruden says, ‘Paul was not a 20th-century feminist . . .  but [modern women are] the beneficiaries of a very long list of reforms. [And] Paul, I think, got all that started.’

To understand why that’s the case, it helps to remember that much of the sexual activity Michael Kruger refers to was far from-consensual. It was little more than ‘institutionalized violence,’ which included ‘the rape of slaves, prostitution, and violence against wives and children.’

Paul’s denunciation of …

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Is God Arrogant? (Reading Paul Copan Together)

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Reading Paul Copan

It’s time at last to kick off my promised series, reading through Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster together. Ignoring two chapters of background material that’s not germane to our purposes, the meat of the book starts off in chapter 3 with a relatively easy question: Is the Old Testament God arrogant? Is he guilty of sinful pride?

Nobody likes to hang around someone who’s haughty, arrogant, or overly …


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