Author Archives: Tim Archer

So what do we do with The Message?

I’ve been taking a closer look at The Message after some awkward moments in Bible class the last few Sundays. In each case, someone read from The Message, and what was read led the class away from what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount (our subject material).

I’ve been looking more closely and like less and less of what I see. The Message is a version of the Bible produced by Christian author Eugene Peterson. Peterson is a masterful author that I’ve enjoyed for years. The Message is his attempt to produce a Bible in the “street language” (his term) of the late 20th century.

Colloquial speech Bibles have been around for a long time. J.B. Phillips’ New Testament is a joy to read; I love gaining new insights into biblical passages from reading Phillips’ interpretation. Take Romans 8:19 for example:

The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the songs of God coming into their own.

Yet, I think we need some awareness when reading such texts. Clarence Jordan, who wrote the intriguing Cotton Patch Version, stated:

obviously the ‘cotton patch’ version must not be used as a historical text. The Revised Standard Version and the New English Bible are excellent for this purpose.

I personally wish Peterson had put a similar warning somewhere in The Message. I’ll spend some time next week looking at some of the things that trouble me about this version of the Bible. But I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences. How do you see The Message?

Links To Go (March 23, 2017)

How much does science knowledge influence people’s views on climate change and energy issues?

Similarly, Democrats with high levels of knowledge about science, based on a nine-item index, almost all agree that climate change is mostly due to human activity (93%). By contrast, 49% of Democrats with low science knowledge think this is the case.
But among Republicans, there are no significant differences by science knowledge about the causes of climate change. Put another way, Republicans with high levels of science knowledge are no more likely than those with lower levels of knowledge to think climate change is mostly due to human activity.


Princeton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller

In recent weeks, some Princeton alumni voiced concerns that, as a PCA pastor and complementarian, Keller’s beliefs conflict with the seminary’s embrace of “full inclusion for ordained leadership of the church.” A Christian Century post described his belief in male headship as “baptized abuse” and “toxic theology.” Barnes’ letter rescinding the prize referenced this critique.


N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 82 (He Foreknew)

In short,

  • Knowing the future does not make the future happen. God and Jesus did not lose their free will just because they knew what was going to happen.
  • God’s foreknowledge may be much more particular, but the emphasis in scripture is on covenantal foreknowledge. That is, God knew where his actions would take him — to the cross — going back to the beginning. The cross wasn’t plan B or C. It was always the only plan — and it always included Israel and always included the Gentiles coming into Israel by means of God in the flesh dying on the cross.
  • To Paul, this is a big deal. It’s the reason for his career as a missionary! It’s the whole of his life! It’s the reason he met with Jesus on the road to Damascus. It’s the reason he suffered beatings, stonings, shipwrecks etc. to share the gospel with the Gentiles. He was part of the unfolding of God’s plan, a plan that predates the Creation.

Book Review: Food – A Love Story

I tend to overload my reading with theology and devotional books. Occasionally I read through a fiction book. After reading Jim Gaffigan’s FOOD: A LOVE STORY I’m going to have to try to read more humor books.


The NBA’s secret addiction

“Man, I could go for a PB&J,” the player said.
And then Garnett, in an act with historical reverberations, uttered the now-fabled words: “Yeah, let’s get on that.”
Garnett had not, to that point, made the PB&J a part of his pregame routine. But on that night in Boston, as Doo recalls, Garnett partook, then played … and played well. Afterward, from his perch as the Celtics’ fiery leader, Garnett issued the following commandment: “We’re going to need PB&J in here every game now.”
And so a sandwich revolution was born.


8-Year-Old Boy With Rare Skin Disease Meets Dog Across the Country With The Same Condition

A boy with vitiligo is now proud of his skin markings after meeting a dog across the country that shares the same condition, and the same spots.


Links to Go (March 22, 2017)

Preparing Our People for Witness

Engaging our neighbors and sharing the gospel with them requires relationships, apologetics, and more. Our first step needs to be a genuine interest in people and a commonality in culture that gives us sufficient authority to speak on matters of life, faith, eternity, truth, and church.
It’s going to take longer to reach people effectively, and it’s going to take relationships. And it starts with good leadership in church plants that elevate people to reach their full potential in gospel witnessing.


Immigration: My Final Word

But, as T.R. Robertson pointed out in his post this month, too many Christians are displaying bigoted fear against whole races or religions. And too many of us seek political solutions to spiritual problems.


A Statement of Confession and Commitment

A large portion of our communities is weeping. The fear of deportation is real. The anxiety of being assaulted is real. The fear of being forgotten or mistreated is real. Many people of color, women, and other marginalized groups feel increasingly alienated not only in the current national context but in much of the white evangelical culture as well. Acknowledging that pain and woundedness may take many forms, we humbly entreat Christian communities to seek healing, reconciliation, and justice.


Thoughts to Consider

10. You have a God to glorify.
9. You have a Savior to imitate.
8. You have a Soul to protect (save).
7. You have a body to “put to death”.
6. You have Virtue to acquire.
5. You have Heaven to seek.
4. You have Eternity on which to meditate.
3. You have Temptation to resist.
2. You have the World to guard against.
1. Perhaps today you have Death to meet or perhaps the Lord will return.


Five Fascinating Lessons from a “Secret” Guest in Church Worship Services

There are four points of first impression before the guests ever enter the church’s building. They are, in order, social media, mobile site, website, and the parking lot. How much attention is your church giving to these four areas? How many potential guests never show up because of the first three?


Boston Public Schools Are Adopting a More Accurate World Map

German filmmaker and journalist Arno Peters was one of the first notable figures to rail against the Mercator map. He claimed that it provides an inaccurate and Eurocentric view of the globe. The Northern Hemisphere is distorted to look larger, giving the false impression, for example, that Greenland and Africa are roughly the same size (while in reality, Greenland could fit inside Africa 14 times). In 1973, Peters released a map that compressed the upper half to depict the area of all the Earth’s continents more fairly.


Scientists Find How Using ‘Satnav’ Switches off Parts of Brain

Scientists studying what satnavs do to the brain have found that people using them effectively switch off parts of the brain that would otherwise be utilized to simulate different routes and boost navigational skills.


‘My life was ruined by a typo’

In May 2011, officers at South Yorkshire Police were informed by colleagues in Hertfordshire that they had identified an IP address from which more than 100 indecent images of children had been shared in April that year.
The IP address passed on corresponded to an internet account held by Nigel’s partner. But it had been typed incorrectly, with an extra digit added by mistake.


Links To Go (March 21, 2017)

(As always, no agreement nor endorsement implied; these articles are shared to make you think or make you laugh)

Information Avoidance: How People Select Their Own Reality

Even when people cannot outright ignore information, they often have substantial latitude in how to interpret it. Questionable evidence is often treated as credible when it confirms what someone wants to believe — as is the case of discredited research linking vaccines to autism. And evidence that meets the rigorous demands of science is often discounted if it goes against what people want to believe, as illustrated by widespread dismissal of scientific evidence of climate change.


Don’t Just Start a Church; Establish a Family

Operate as a family, not an orphanage. An orphanage is home to undernourished children and overworked caregivers. The kids do not share responsibility. Instead, the caregivers are responsible for the needs of everyone. On the contrary, in a family, every member contributes. A family is driven by responsibility. Family is a community that is responsible for one another and should be characterized by love and the fruit of the Spirit.


Why I Struggle With “Inerrancy”

I’d rather view the Scriptures, scripturally. How funny it is that we who want to restore New Testament Christianity often criticize those who use terms and words as a part of their traditions while we in using inerrancy do the same thing.


My Father’s Anger

But here’s an important distinction. Though I felt Dad’s anger, I always knew what kind of anger it was. It was the anger of, “You, my son, have done something wrong, and I am angry that wrong has been done.” But there’s another kind of fatherly anger that I never felt. It’s the anger that says, “You have done something wrong, and I am angry to have such a son who would do this kind of thing.” The first kind of anger came and left. Even minutes after discipline I knew I was welcomed into the love of my father.
But the second kind of anger sticks with you. It never really dissipates. The emotions will calm, and deed will be forgotten, but there’s just something about feeling the weight of that anger–anger directed, even for just a moment, at the father-son relationship itself–that darkens the heart. I’ve heard from many friends whose fathers were angry in this kind of way. Healing is possible, but the scarring is there.


Five Things the Traditional Church Is Doing Well

  1. The members have a deep love and concern for one another.
  2. They are loyal to the institution.
  3. They are passionate about giving to missions.
  4. They offer stability to the congregation.
  5. The members have a historical perspective that can be healthy for the church.

All Winning Is Not Winning

How do I approach somebody with whom I disagree on religious matters? Am I more concerned with making a point or making a disciple? Am I more concerned about defeating error (as important at that is) or promoting truth? Am I more concerned with people thinking that I am a really great guy or with people submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
Am I more concerned with winning an argument or winning a soul?


Police: Robber breaks leg, calls for help, gets arrested

A robber in Virginia ruined his own getaway — first by breaking his leg in a jump off a balcony, and then by calling the authorities to help him.


Condemnable things

I was thinking about some of the things that the church has demonized over the years, things that we have said were “condemned” or would condemn us. Here’s some I came up with off the top of my head:

  • Movies
  • Dancing
  • “Spot” cards (with Rook cards being okay)
  • Dominoes
  • Mixed bathing (otherwise known as swimming)
  • Alcohol
  • Tattoos
  • Piercings
  • Jazz
  • Rock and roll music
  • Rap music
  • Tobacco
  • Pants on women
  • Short hair on women
  • Long hair on men

We could go on and on. And we probably will.

But I think we need to add one big taboo to the very top of that list:

  • Making laws that God hasn’t made

I daresay that’s far more dangerous than any of the other things on that list.