exceptionnoted

Sometimes we take exception. Sometimes we make one.

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Thoughts of a Pastor-Historian

I recently presented a paper at an Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies mini-conference, “Religious Liberty and the Cross: 1662 and the Persecution of the Puritans.” The audio is now online on the conference page. I have posted the links to the audio files below.
Audio from previous AFCBS conferences can be accessed on the respective conference pages found here.
Registration will be opening soon for our sixth annual two-day conference. See the Schedule and Call for Parallel Session Papers.

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TerryIvy.com

The movie “Mississippi Burning” was a portrayal of the civil rights struggles in the deep south during the early 1960’s. It focused on the brutal murder of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Racism was the accepted norm during those times, and hatred against different ethnic groups was a stance publicly endorsed by politicians and churches alike. Though racism existed against various ethnicities, the dominent thrust was between ‘blacks and whites.’ While Caucasians had the power in society to broadcast their venom, African-Americans usually just had the pulpits to display theirs.

The integration of the schools, teachers, neighborhoods, political offices and the work place were hot beds of racial tension and hostility. I lived through this period as a young boy and grew up only 60 miles from Philadelphia. I saw racism up close and personal as

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TerryIvy.com

I’m finding a very sad pattern emerging. I have been blogging and tweeting fairly regularly since March of 2011. Since that time, I have friended and followed many leaders and pastors, including very young ones. Now, I love the excitement and exuberance brought into the church through these young visionaries and men called by God. However, in the midst of this energy, many of these young men seem to have ‘weak ears’ with the inability to hear hard sayings. When a post or tweet could press them into a deeper understanding of the heart of God, instead of considering and inquiring, they simply run off by un-friending or distancing themselves from those who may see things a little differently.

This got me to thinking, what kind of leaders are we creating from this young generation? Do those with an Arminian persuasion refuse to evaluate the verses which seem to support…

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Why Churches Should Stop Performing Marriages

Why Churches Should Stop Performing Marriages.

Top Ten Myths About Bullies

In which an effort is made to dispel the most egregious errors encountered by those forced to confront said villainous behavior and in which the author recounts, with understandable ambiguity, assorted personal trials and tribulations which, in anecdotal fashion, supply the modest verification of the theses set forth 

 It becomes necessary at the outset to define our term lest any reader be misled and wade through the arguments presented only to discover it is not a topic of interest  to them and thereby a waste of their time. To those remaining at the end of the article: no refund of time or energy will be given nor will there be any legal recourse available to you in protest of said policy.

 To be clear this essay is not about fish found in or around New Zealand, known as “bully” fish such as pakoko or titarakura – small freshwater fish of the genera Gobiomorphus and Philynodon.

 Neither is the discussion at hand concerned with the adjective “bully” i.e. dashing, jolly, my bully boy nor the interjection “bully” used as “bully for you, well done! bravo! 

And lastly, although this one offers etymological mysteries worth exploring, this essay makes no investigation of “bully” as used in the 1500’s: “sweetheart,” applied to either sex, from the Dutch boel“lover,brother.”

Oh, and one more disclaimer; this essay makes no further statement about “bully”  as  a desperate, freewheeling scramble for a Soccer ball by a number of players, usually in the goal area; nor about “bully” in Field Hockey –  a method of putting the ball into play in which two opponents, facing each other, tap their sticks on the ground near the ball and then make contact with each other’s sticks over the ball three times, after which each tries to gain possession of the ball. 

 Those readers who have persisted to this point are well advised and well equipped to understand the general purpose of this essay.  I trust both of you will leave a comment.

 

[LEGAL HAS ASKED ME TO INSERT HERE A DISCLAIMER TO THE EFFECT THAT NO WARRANTY, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, ATTENDS TO ANY IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREWITH.]

  Acceptable definitions of bully include; a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people; and similarly – a person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people.

 Through my lifetime – and I do not intend this to be my last will and testament (unless all of the sundry bullies I have encountered happen to read this, unite and form a coalition to …. well let’s not dwell on that thought) – through my lifetime I have read about, watched and heard about bullies; their number is legion (and perhaps their name, too.) I have read about historical figures who qualify; I have known many fictional and real bullies; the Bible has a veritable menagerie of them – for some reason King Ahab comes to mind, although the real villain of that story is Queen Jezebel – but I must ask the reader to stop interrupting my train of thought because – let’s see, where was I – oh yes! Bullies I have known.

 

I only mention all this to make the self-serving statement that I know about bullies. I have suffered at their devices, at times stood up to them, and on the rare occasion seen some of them handily defeated.  I only offer in this essay a list of the greatest and most dangerous myths about bullies.

 

Myth Number 10:  “If someone makes you cry or will not let you have your way, they are a bully.” 

 Not necessarily; in most cases it just means you are a crybaby, or selfish, or spoiled, or lazy or well, that’s the general idea.

 Myth Number 9: “Bullies only know how to use their brawn, not their brains.”

 Again, not necessarily.   Some bullies are very, very, smart.  This is a dangerous assumption and leads people to try and “out think” the bully when a better option might be to “out run” the bully. Looks cowardly but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. As Bret Maverick once said, “He who runs away lives to run away another day.”

 Myth Number 8: “If you stand up to A Bully, they will back down.”

 No. No. No! Sometimes that only brings you into range to have the living daylights beaten out of you.  I was told this myth as a child and implemented it unsuccessfully on a number of occasions. I have also made this mistake as an adult; some lessons are harder to learn than others.

 Myth Number 7: “No one likes a Bully.”

 Heard that one in the third grade.  Turns out many of the girls liked him a lot; some of the boys admired and followed him like ducklings imprinted on a Mama Duck and one of the teachers thought he was “made of sterner stuff” than the rest of us and the bully’s dad bragged that “he was a chip off the ole block.” Stand up to a bully in some crowds and the crowd will beat the living daylights out of you.  Trust me on this one. This is a true story.

 Myth Number 6: “Bullies will grow up and out of their bullydom.”

 Again, I have seen no statistical or even anecdotal evidence to verify this. What I have seen is bullies get older, bigger and meaner. Not all of them mind you; some of them get the living daylights beaten out of them along the way. Sad, but true.  As the little girl said, “I’ll cry all night” when that happens.

 Myth Number 5: “Bullies only use their physical advantage to get their way.”

 Now this is a slight variation of myth number 9 but it deserves emphasis.  I have seen bullies use every tool, every technique, and every trick imaginable.  I have seen rich bullies use money; I have seen poor bullies use poverty; I have seen sad people use grief, sick people use illness, officials use their office; friends use guilt, scholars use credentials, preachers use pulpits, reporters use microphones, fools use folly and whole groups of people use history – all in blatant efforts to bully others.

 

Myth Number 4: “Bullies get what’s coming to them.”

Not in this life – not on your life.  I know judgment is coming; but I recommend that you leave vengeance to God and to eternity. Don’t waste time and energy in the here and now watching or waiting or trying to get even or justice or satisfaction. 

 Myth Number 3: “Bullying is caused by _________.”

 Now, first a confession to my readers, or reader if that other fellow left early – I rather arbitrarily chose 10 for this list, knowing I could at any time change it to 11 or 7 or 5; writers seldom mention that but it is more common than most list makers would like you to know; however number 3 could be expanded to make this a list of 27 or 37 things about bullying that no one would ever read. My point is that you can fill in that blank with anything you can think of  – sports, business, religion, patriarchy,  matriarchy, fallen arches – or preface those with “the lack of: sports, business, religion, patriarchy, matriarchy, golden arches – you get the idea.  The fact is bullying occurs anywhere and everywhere; in church, out of church, in the best neighborhood, and in the worst. In the courtroom, in the cloakroom, in the boardroom, in the locker-room, in the bedroom, in the classroom, in the – well, everywhere. Bullying is just one more manifestation of sin that comes from the human heart. 

 Myth Number 2: “We should make bullying illegal.”

 I would draft this legislation, vote for this legislation, enforce this legislation – if it would work; but – and this is very controversial but still true – it will not work. At best, it is a futile gesture; at worst, it is another form of bullying; ironic, I know, but sadly true.  You may be happy to know that the conduct of bullies is often illegal and already punishable by fines, and/or incarceration; and the court of public opinion (usually) frowns upon it.  There is often a great deal of head-shaking, hand-wringing about it (with stern letters to follow) but that’s about it. The fact is it cannot be outlawed, proscribed or made void where prohibited. It’s rather like the cockroaches of which bullies often remind me. Ubiquitous, unstoppable and inescapable this side of the Great White Throne Judgment.

 Myth Number 1:

 And before I list this last myth, permit me a brief moment of self-congratulatory self-satisfaction about guessing right on the number of myths; I was mowing my lawn in between times and had to wait for it all to take shape in the grist forming in the mill of my mind… anyway

 Myth Number 1:  “Bullies ruin everything.”  

 Oddly, you might want to argue with me about this one; but hear me out.  In my final analysis, I do not think the bully ruins anything; don’t get me wrong – it’s not for lack of effort; there is much thrashing, and weeping and wailing, much sound and fury – but it signifies nothing. The bully causes my backbone to stiffen; he still causes me to step into the arena, he still makes me want to defend and protect the weak, to speak the truth, to stand for right – even if I stand alone. And when I lay my head on my pillow at night, when my conscience assesses my day, when I stand before my Judge – I will not be sorry that I did.

 

P.S. Christians will understand about the Others:

 

Hebrews 11:32-40 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Always worthwhile

TerryIvy.com

I grew up in the deep south. I’ve seen racism up close and personal. As a 60’s child I lived through the racial uprisings of the civil rights movement. I saw the ugliness, the hatred and the foolishness of racism from a front row seat.

When I became a Christian at the age of 18, I was equally appalled at the racism which existed, and still exists, in much of the Church. It was even uglier and more vile because those spouting it claimed to belong to Jesus Christ…however, their speech and actions betrayed their racist hearts and revealed their true colors. (no pun intended)

Racism is not just a Caucasian or African-American problem…it is a human problem. It exists in all communities and is aimed at those who are different from the personal norm. I am not one to mince words; I leave that for the crooked politicians and…

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Book Review

Book Review

 

 

Creation, Un-Creation, Re-Creation: A Discursive Commentary on Genesis 1-11.
By Joseph Blenkinsopp,  New York and London: T and T Clark International, 2011, xii + 214 pp., $100.00 paper.
 
 
 
Joseph Blenkinsopp, with a brilliant mind and admirable ability to write, is a Catholic scholar of considerable merit. He is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. His research is obviously familiar with rabbinic, patristic and medieval literature and he quotes with ease from the works of Homer, Hesiod, Plato, Shakespeare, Donne, Cowper, Nietzsche, and Barth.
 
The author adopts a format that assumes creation cannot be restricted to an event, nor to two versions of an event. He sees the biblical record as descriptive of an allegorical sequence: creation – uncreation – recreation. He utilizes speculative discussion rather than systematic exposition.  His view of Genesis is best summarized by his statement: “… the Biblical text is a relatively late Hebrew-language version of a literary mythic tradition of great antiquity” (page 132).  He relies heavily on the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis, also called the JEDP theory, in which: J=Jahwist, E=Elohist, D=Deuteronomistic  History, and P=Priestly Code. He sees these as the “sources” of the patchwork literary quilt of the Hebrew Bible.  Blenkinsopp never explains or defends this theory but simply assumes that his readers know it and accept it as foundational.
Blenkinsopp, then, assumes Genesis to be composed of fragmented myths about Creation, the Flood, early man, and Hebrew origins. He contends these legends were orally assembled, and redacted through the centuries after being adapted from Mesopotamian mythology.  He suggests the Pentateuch may have reached its final form as late as the Post-Exilic Period (538-432 B.C.).
 
 
The author is willing to allow for any interpretation of Genesis chapter one except “a straightforward chronological reading of the chapter” (page 20). He insists that the “ex nihilo” view of creation, though accepted by Judaism and New Testament Christianity, is not the preferred interpretation from a “linguistic and exegetical point of view” (page 30). The author finds it necessary to remind his readers that science assures us that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that the catastrophic extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago “led eventually to the emergence of mammals, including humans” (page 5).  There is not even the whisper of an acknowledgement that many Biblical scholars and competent scientists dispute this evolutionary tale; there is not in the bibliography a single entry that would indicate that Blenkinsopp has read any defense of a literal six-day creation; to be fair he does mention “creation science” (page131); nor would he be comfortable with a framework hypothesis for Genesis one and two. Such omission must be intentional considering the author’s acumen and ability.  Given Blenkinsopp’s view of God, which could be charitably described as open theism, it is probably inaccurate to describe his view as theistic evolution. 
 
Speculative discussion serves Blenkinsopp’s purpose better as he promotes Genesis 1 – 11 as mythology; his view is that the Bible has no more credibility or reliability than any other ancient Near Eastern (ANE) mythology.  He is clearly conversant and comfortable with a plethora of mythologies and indicates they all have a contribution to make in understanding human origins and specifically the question of evil.
 
Blenkinsopp includes a litany of speculative mythology including Adam’s “first” wife as Lilith or perhaps a serpent-goddess. He is certain that there is no connection between “Adam” and sin but finds perhaps an allegorical explanation of the nature of death. His ethical concerns consist of how humanity can deal with a damaged world “into which we, like the first parents, have been thrust” (page 19).
 
He also is very much exercised over the long-term detriment of the concept of original sin and how that has adversely affected the advance of feminism. Blenkinsopp leaves little doubt about his dismissal of original sin; he laments, “This unfortunate tradition of denigration, in which male fear of the female played, and continues to play, a significant part, was perpetuated in Early Christianity” (page 79). The “traditional” view of original sin offends “our modern sensitivities” (page 80).
 
The author concludes, that Genesis 1 – 11, while not inerrant nor infallible, can provide us with “often surprising resources for understanding our place in the world, opening up new perspectives, and suggesting fresh points of entry into a revelation and worldview that can free us to go beyond our mundane formulations and taken-for-granted assumptions” (page190).  What that revelation might be or what value that worldview might have, Blenkinsopp is perhaps reserving for another book.
 
There may be some value in such a book in a study of ANE mythology; its rambling format makes it less suitable for reference.  The book could be useful for graduate students to observe the clear incompatibility the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis with the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.
 
David Pitman
Ohio Mid+Western College, Cincinnati, OH

Juicy Ecumenism - The Institute on Religion & Democracy's Blog

An abortion rights advocate debated an anti-abortion campaigner at the March for Life in Washington on Jan. 23.

By Luke Moon

Are you a young evangelical who is tired of the “culture wars?” Are you the son of a famous Evangelical leader often associated with the Religious Right? Are you looking to write a article or blog about how “your generation” is abandoning partisanship and especially any connection to the Religious Right or the Republican Party?  Here is a simple Style Guide that will help you effectively make your case.

1.  Start your introductory paragraph stating how young Evangelicals are abandoning the partisan politics of the Religious Right. It is best to describe how the Religious Right has been largely unsuccessful and how it has hurt the image of the Christians in general. In no way can you allow your affinity for the Religious Left to be exposed. Therefore, always claim to be “Kingdom centered”.

2.  Explain how Evangelicals have finally moved beyond the bloody battles over abortion…

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Reiterations

Unquestionably, the children of light stand on solid ground when they fear a new wave of secularization in an age of television.  Almost all of the features on television are, when judged by strictly legalistic standards, quite unobjectionable.  Drunkenness, nudity, gambling, etc., are not the TV practice.  The raucous melodrama lies on the border, indeed.  But, legalistically, it also will pass.  Even the Hopalong Cassidy films have a commendable moral code for the kiddies.  Television’s error is infinitely more subtle than such overt corruption.  It does not wear its heresy on its sleeve.  Its sin is covert.  The trouble with TV, as with the rest of the entertainment world, is that its whole emphasis, its basic philosophy, makes no room for Jesus Christ.  All problems are happily solved without any serious reference to His cross.  Life can successfully be met without the slightest petition for grace.

From:Television: Servant or…

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