I completely disagree with my friend Art who says that Satan and evildoers (like liberals, popes, people who don’t believe in the rapture, et al.) are the cause of global warming. Although he does present some good evidence (click here to see his post), I have stumbled upon some counter-evidence that it’s actually God and not Satan.
Thank you very much for your prayers for the special meeting of the Board of Trustees that was held on March 26 to address the disunity of the faculty regarding the theological issues related to Dr. Peter Enns’ book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament. After a full day of deliberation, the Board of Trustees took the following action by decisive vote:
December of last year I was required to read a book by Gerhard Hasel called Old Testament Theology: Basic Issues in the Current Debate and I was its most vocal critic. Not of course for any substantial theological or philosophical reason, but because I just didn’t like the book. I thought it was dry, over-detailed and to be honest, I just wasn’t really interested in the topic.
However, when this semester rolled around I was required to read it again, something I was not at all interested in doing. But after my initial class with Pete I have really learned to love the deep contours of Old Testament Theology. I devoured Hasel after that in about 4 days and I loved every minute of it. For me it was a matter of perspective. Pete showed me how these issues really affected how I viewed my Scriptures and how important it was for me if I was going on in my studies to know them and know them well. It was very interesting for me how my attitude towards the book could change so quickly and dramatically, but I am glad it did.
So far this semester, this class has been by far my favorite (although also my most time-consuming).
The book itself is used most helpfully as a historical resource into basic theological history of OTT. Hasel does offer his own input on the situation but I didn’t find them that helpful. This book really is a great introduction into the ‘current issues’ in OTT.
My point is not to say these are bad things or that we shouldn’t be doing them on a regular basis, only that we’ve made them ends in themselves when they are only a means to an end. Scripture doesn’t give nearly the emphasis on these things that we do in American Christian sub-cultures. Meditating on the Scriptures and meeting regularly with believers are necessary conditions for spiritual growth but they are not sufficient conditions. What does this end up looking like? Well, to the world, it looks like we are smug in our traditionalism, we couldn’t care less what happens to the world as long as we are “saved” by reading our Bibles and going to Church.
It’s like me proclaiming myself to be an amazing cook, since of course, I have read all the best cookbooks. This is silly. No one will hire a chef because they have “studied and memorized the best cookbooks.” No, they have to have actually cooked before. For me, I am tired of “studying the Scriptures” as though that is an end in itself. I realize I know more recipes (read: Scriptural “understanding”) than most people but I haven’t even really began to cook. I know perfectly the recipe for an amazing dinner, lamb racks in garlic sauce, etc, but all I ever make is a PB&J sandwich.
As students of Scripture it’s easy to think that our knowledge of Scripture qua knowledge actually means something, but it is only meaningful in so far as it is the impetus to action.
Tonight I went to a church service, and it was good. There was one thing in particular that made me really think. At the end of the time of singing (sorry for the lack of a better word, I refuse to call it “worship”) the music leader prayed, “God, I wish there were words big enough to show our gratitude.” For whatever reason, it hit me. We kind of do have ‘words big enough to show our gratitude.’ They are called ‘actions.’ Of course the leader didn’t say this intentionally but I understood those words in my own life as giving lip service. It’s much easier for me to say, “I wish I had words big enough to show my gratitude” while I am missing enormous opportunities to show my gratitude by loving my neighbor as myself, by letting my neighbor borrow my lawn mower (even though I know I won’t see it again for 6 mos, or ever), by giving up on the lame excuse “I just don’t have time” so that I can volunteer at a homeless shelter, so that I can take time to pray for the less fortunate, by giving up my vacation time at work to go to help Katrina victims. That is gratitude. Now even those might not be gratitude enough, but I have to say it’s much better than cop-ing out with a “I wish I had words…”
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?”
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” [Matthew 25:37-40]