Christianity Today’s Grappling with the God of Two Testaments

I subscribe to Christianity Today and recently my subscription arrived in the mail. I was immediately taken with the cover consisting of an intermixing of 1 Samuel 15:2-3 (Old Testament) and Luke 6:27-31 (New Testament):
This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘But I tell you who hear me: love your enemies,” I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel do good to those who hate you, when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Bless those who curse you, now go, attack the Amalekites pray for those who mistreat you. And totally destroy everything that belongs to them. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. Do not spare them; if someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Put to death men and women, children and infants, give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

A powerful and visual contrast of the apparently conflicting messages of the Old and New Testaments. Christianity Today endeavors to provide an explanation and reconciliation of the profound differences apparent in the OT and NT article in this edition (July / August 2013).

Their endeavor consists of a brief and honest note from CT editor Mark Galli. This is followed by Mark Buchanan’s pastoral response entitled “Can We Trust the God of Genocide?” Then Phillip Cary argues “Gentiles in the Hands of a Genocidal God” and Christopher J. H. Wright’s article “Learning to Love Leviticus” and sidebar “Sex in Leviticus.”

I was saddened that CT didn’t take the opportunity to cover this topic even more extensively – I would have loved to see the entire magazine dedicated to the subject for this issue. Still, the articles are fairly interesting.

Mark Galli’s Editorial

I appreciate Galli’s honesty in acknowledging that there are really difficult passages that trouble Christians. He also provides us with several titles for further research on the topic including Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster?, David T. Lamb’s God Behaving Badly, and Eric A. Seibert’s The Violence of Scripture.

Can We Trust the God of Genocide?

Massacre of the Innocents painted by Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1610-1612.
Massacre of the Innocents painted by Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1610-1612.

Mark Buchanan offers a ‘pastoral’ response to the troubling texts involving genocide in the Old Testament. A ‘pastoral’ perspective as I commonly understand it is one which spends more time expressing empathy for the emotional components present in individuals’ difficulties with Scripture rather than a more intellectual/philosophical approach (at least, that is what I mean when I attempt to explain something in a ‘pastoral’ manner).

He aptly notes the difficulty we face, “What’s not easy is explaining what appear to be deliberate acts of divine cruelty. God’s virulent rage. His hair-trigger vindictiveness. His apoplectic jealousy. Why would God make women and children pay for the sins of despots or the apostasy of priests? God’s behavior at times appears to the skeptic, and even to the devout, as mere rancor, raw spite. There are passages in Scripture that make God look like a cosmic bully throwing a colossal tantrum.”

He suggests this raises the question “Can the Bible be trusted?” Which is really a more personal question, “Can the God of the Bible be trusted?” And finally, the real heart of the question, “Jesus, is that really you?”[1]

Buchanan provides an interesting analysis of Hosea 13:16 and its relation to John and James desiring to call fire down from heaven – and this along with his explanation of the problem are probably the strongest portions of the article.

From here on, I found the article less satisfying. Buchanan argues that, “But he’s the same God. Indeed, here’s a surprise: The road is even steeper now, the judgment of God sterner, and the cost of refusal greater…Jesus opens a new way to the same God. But Jesus, rather than lessening the stakes, heightens them. His blood speaks a better word than Abel’s, or any other’s, but his message is only an intensified version of what God has always said: Do not refuse me when I am talking to you.”

Buchanan does find the key to our interpretive paradox, “My pastoral instinct is that this all resolves at the Cross. All talk of God must filter there. All views of God must refract there. All theology must converge there. At the Cross, God’s own wrath falls on God. The God of the Old Covenant meets himself in the Christ of the New Covenant, and in a way superior to everything that has come before, he enacts a deep and lasting reconciliation.”

But he then suggests, “But here’s the strangeness of it: The Cross is mostly God’s defiance of himself. God erects a nail house against his own wrath. What the Cross defies, what the Cross defeats, what the Cross pushes back, is as much the wrath of heaven as it is the power of hell.”

I found the nail house to be a distracting illustration – but more importantly, I find this picture of the meaning of the cross as God’s defiance of himself as inadequate. It is perhaps a natural corollary of  penal-substitutionary atonement, which I believe in but also believe is inadequate to describe the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice (thus why the NT writers use so many different analogies and terms to describe what Christ accomplished).

I’ve written somewhat of a pastoral/personal reflection which focuses on the cross here.

Gentiles in the Hands of a Genocidal God

Of all the articles present in CT on this topic, I was most disappointed by Phillip Cary’s article. While it provides a good explanation of herem (the Hebrew term for genocide) and hesed (a Hebrew term for lovingkindness). Cary’s article might be summed in this statement, “How then shall we read the Canaanite genocide? I would say: as Canaanites, prone to lead Israel astray, yet blessed by the faith of Abraham. This is a faith shared by Rahab in her lovingkindness toward Israel, and offered to Gentiles in Jesus Christ who is, as his genealogy attests, the son of Rahab as well as the son of David (Matt. 1:5–6).”

In my humble opinion, Cary punts the ball. He argues that the genocidal commands of God should result in us being thankful we have been spared rather than upset that God would command such genocide. But I’m not sure (okay, I’m certain) that being the recipient of a genocidal command in any way changes the morality of the genocide.

I understand what Cary is saying, I just wish he had taken us a little farther down the road.

Learning to Love Leviticus

The article and sidebar (“Sex in Leviticus”) by Christopher J. H. Wright are my favorites on this topic. Wright provides an interesting, reasonable, and understandable explanation of how the OT applies to our lives now. Statements such as this are representative of his sentiment, “To imagine that ‘living biblically’ means trying to keep as many ancient rules as possible just because they are in the Bible misses the point of the law in the first place. Old Testament law was not just about rules but also about relationship with God, founded on God’s grace and redemption, and motivated by the mission of living as the people of God in the world, so that the world should come to know the living God.”

Wright’s explanation of why we no longer follow the sacrificial and dietary laws of the OT are especially helpful. He concludes with a series of questions we can utilize when trying to connect the ancient laws of Israel with our current context which are insightful and extremely practical.

Overall, his article reminds me of Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton’s Old Testament Today: A Journey from original Meaning to Contemporary Significance – which I’d highly recommend as being a more extensive guide to understanding the OT.

Wright’s sidebar on love (hetero/homo) is interesting, controversial, and far too short. He takes the traditional position on homosexuality (it is sinful) based on Genesis 2:24 but qualifies by noting, “that the Bible has far more to say about all forms of disordered heterosexual sexual activity, including nonmarital and extramarital, than its prohibition of same-sex intercourse.”

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, CT provided a good introduction to the topic. I think there are a few things CT could have done to strengthen their coverage of the topic besides those noted above, specifically:

  1. Where was the historical perspective from Mark Noll? This could have provided an overview of other understandings of the atonement (ransom theory, Christus Victor, moral influence, satisfaction, and penal substitution) as well as traditional understandings of the cohesiveness between the OT and NT (for example, some inkling of the allegorical understandings of the early church fathers).
  2. Where was the more liberal perspective? If not providing it from a liberal author, at least a summary of this perspective would have been helpful (John Shelby Spong as an example).
  3. While the articles regularly mention that there are difficult passages in the NT on a similar level to those in the OT, there could have been article specifically dedicated to this topic. I’d especially like to see something looking at Jesus as portrayed in Revelation in contrast to Jesus in the Gospel and in comparison to the OT difficulty passages.
  1. [1]Which reminds me of Malcolm Boyd’s Are You Running with Me, Jesus? Whether this allusion is intentional on Buchanan’s part, I don’t know.

Singularity: The New Religion.

Introduction

The Singularity may be defined in different ways depending upon whom you are talking to. In this article, I’m particularly interested in discussing the utopian vision posited by Ray Kurzweil and supported by Singularity University. In this sense, ‘the singularity’ is a point of technological innovation to be pursued that will result in a fundamental disconnect from reality as we now experience it. This culmination of technological process will continue to escalate and result in beyond-humans or perfected-humans.

I Am An IT Geek

Ray Kurzweil at Stanford Singularity Summit.
Ray Kurzweil at Stanford Singularity Summit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m an IT Geek. I spent the last six years working full-time in the IT world and spent most of my self-aware life before that immersing myself in technology. So, I’m interested in the singularity and I am especially interested in the ways in which technology can be utilized to improve the world we live in, for example:

  • Reducing healthcare costs while improving outcomes.
  • Advanced warning systems for earthquakes and tsunamis.
  • Automated Cars that can drive themselves and eliminate the tens of thousands of deaths each year in accidents.
  • Improved political processes through public awareness made possible via the internet and mobile device networking.
  • Innovations in “green” technologies that allow for a healthier environment.
  • Innovations in food production and distribution which could eliminate starvation.

I get really passionate about the ways that technology can change our lives. My smartphone has changed my life – just ask my wife. I am now a more responsible version of me b/c I have a “brain enhancement” in my smartphone that alerts me to upcoming meetings and ensures I don’t miss them.

I am an early adopter when it comes to using technology to improve health – I bought a Zeo, want a Withings, use Noom, and so on.

I Am A Christian Pastor

At the same time, I am also a Christian. I went to Cairn University for Pastoral Studies, have spent nine years as a youth minister, the last two to three years pastoring, and now am full-time as a pastor. I am passionate about Jesus in an evangelical way. I believe that Jesus has changed my life and continues to do so – and I believe He can change yours as well. Yeah, I know, I know – you may not like that – but I’m just being honest.

I believe that God has intervened in history (through Jesus) and will bring history to its ultimate consummation at some junction in the future. I believe I will become a beyond-human or perfected-human and that I have that life in seed already within me.

In other words, I believe in a Christian singularity, but I also am fascinated by a technological singularity…and I think the greatest challenge to Christian belief in the future will not be from another traditional religion (e.g. Buddhism or Islam) but from The Singularity.

Singularity vs. Christianity?

“But the Singularity isn’t a religion.” In one sense it is not, but in another sense it is. It is the “higher power” to which men call out in hope of a better future. It is the way many are looking for ‘salvation’ to be realized.

“Singularity is more of a philosophy.” The fields of philosophy and religion overlap. Both are inherently a worldview which represents how one lives and acts in the world. But I digress, I don’t need to convince anyone it is a religion to suggest that it could replace religion.

I don’t want to spread FUD[1] and encourage Christians to be afraid of the singularity or to think those spearheading it are evil. I believe people who are pursuing the singularity are well-intentioned – desiring to see a better world. I do want to encourage Christians to interact more intentionally with the concept of the singularity and to talk more deeply about how it interacts with Christian theology.

Theoretically – what would keep us from “saving ourselves” via technology? The traditional answer is that we will keep ourselves from saving ourselves. But is this a legitimate answer? And if it is not, then what role should the Christian take in pursuing the singularity? Should the Christian be opposed to the singularity?

I pursue technological innovation, I pursue medical innovation, I advocate for better lives lived now – yet I also believe in Christ and His sole ability to reconcile us to Himself and one another. How do I (we) balance our belief in technological/natural progress with the belief in the necessity of divine progress?

I know this will skirt on the fringes of heresy [2] – but I think it is an important question for us to interact with: “Could God use the singularity as the means of bringing about His intended reconciliation?”

In the Singularity we are facing a variant of humanism, but perhaps it should have a different name – technologyism. We recognize our inherent flaws, but believe we can rectify them through technology (see for example, Peter Kramer’s[3] excellent book Against Depression which discusses the disease processes behind depression and how we may soon be able to “cure” these problems).

Obviously, for premillennial[4] Christians there are significant issues with a divinely guided singularity redemption, but for postmillennials or amillennials perhaps there is not such a dilemma?

Conclusion

At this juncture, I am positing that while it is theoretically possible that a technological singularity could “redeem” mankind, that it is practically impossible. That is, that humankind’s interactions with nature[5] and each other will ultimately sabotage such an effort. That while life exists on earth there is always the “hope” that man could “save himself” through technology, but that in reality this cannot occur. That is, in all possible universes that God could have created while retaining humanity with the freedom and design He has given us, there is no universe in which humanity would embrace technological salvation, thus the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice.

This is a variation on the Law. That is, just as the Law could theoretically result in a beyond-human/perfect-human yet it never will,[6] so a singularity could result in the same, but it never will. If it was possible, Christ would not have needed to die and rise again.

On the other hand, I am willing to contemplate the possibility that God would divinely utilize a singularity to bring about the perfection of His people. This tastes bitter to my tongue and rough to the touch of my hands – I cannot (barely) imagine it as such – but if we as Christians believe that humans[7] could be so wrong about the Messianic prophecies – is it possible we could be wrong about the end-of-the-world prophecies? Could the conquering hero come as suffering servant? Inconceivable! I cannot imagine it! But could He? I will not limit Him, I lay the matter in His hands, while embracing what seems the clearer teaching of Scripture.

Questions

  • Do you believe in a coming technological singularity? If so, what are your thoughts on religion, Christianity, etc.?
  • Is anyone aware of materials written by Christians interacting other than from a FUD perspective with the concept of the singularity?
  • What about more generally the role of technological progress and supernatural salvation and our relative dependence/investment in either?

Postscript

“Boy, Dave, this rant came out of left-field.” Well, not exactly. It was inspired by Steve Aoki, Angger Dimas, and My Name is Kay’s music video “Singularity.” (HT: Tom Olstead/Mashable) I’ve embedded it below. Note, it is quite disturbing – it doesn’t contain offensive language or sexual content but it does portray a disturbing reality including some disconcerting forms of becoming beyond-human.

  1. [1]Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
  2. [2]I am not advocating such a position, but I think it must be discussed. We cannot simply close our eyes to the implications of singularity philosophy upon the future of the world.
  3. [3]I do not know if Kramer is even familiar with The Singularity, I am not suggesting he is an advocate of it, only that his work demonstrates how technology could cure significant ‘human problems’ – and if it can be used for this – could it not be used to restrain people from violence, etc.?
  4. [4]Those who, generally speaking, believe in a eschatology in some form similar to the Left Behind series. Though even here, there is significant freedom in fictional work and many who would hold to a premillennial eschatology would not hold to a pretribulational rapture as is represented in the Left Behind series.
  5. [5]I hypothesize, based on chaos theory, that all natural disasters, etc. are the result of humanity’s sins. Not that those who are destroyed by such disasters are the sinners – but the conglomeration of our sins causes the disasters. Even to say that sins in America might result in a natural disaster somewhere on the other side of the world would be a vast oversimplification of the matter. It is more that all humanity’s negative actions past and present have resulted in those disasters.
  6. [6]Perhaps it could have if God had created a different universe, but perhaps such a universe could not have had humans such as us in it.
  7. [7]I say humans rather than Jews b/c I believe that the Jews of Jesus’ time were not more stubborn or wicked or etc. than we, but are representative of us – their stubbornness and wickedness, their rejection of Christ is our rejection. There is no grounds for anti-semitisim within the Christian faith.

The Problem of Evil

Introduction

I’ve experienced my fair share of heartache and suffering in this world…but I do not consider myself to have suffered anywhere near what others have suffered and I feel disoriented, sick, and weak when I even think of some of the ways in which individuals suffer. I think of a small child being taken into a dark room by a parent and there forced to engage in painful, strange, and disturbing acts. This occurs not just once – but repeatedly. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Or I think of the children who are sold into sexual slavery. Prostituted from infancy on – pushed into the arms of sick individuals who hurt them and use them over and over and over again. A constant stream of faces that do things that are practically unspeakable.

The fundamental questions that arises in the midst of all this evil is, “Where is God?” If God exists, if God is good, if God is powerful – why does He not intervene?

I’ve heard and read many of the logical and philosophical answers offered by Christians to explain the existence of evil, but I have none to be satisfactory. There have been times when I have nearly abandoned my faith. Not because I stopped believing in God, but because I didn’t know how I could believe that He was good.

I do not think that we can provide a satisfactory philosophical answer to the question of evil. No equation can stand against the realities of evil in our world. Yet, I still believe in a good, even more, a perfect God. How? For what it is worth I want to share how I believe.

Before I do, let me note that it is not that I do not struggle with the problem of evil. Sometimes I am a man in the midst of an ocean of evil and pain and I am drowning. I can’t see my way out and no logical explanation will suffice. But I have found that this answer – at least for me – is enough to keep me from drowning. It does not dry up the ocean and I still slip below the surface with frequency, but it is something to hold onto – with bloody finger nails that scrape into hope with all their might.

So, here it goes…

Life Raft

God the Father 05
God the Father 05 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

When evil, pain, and suffering overwhelm me. When I find myself drowning, hopeless and lost I center my mind upon the cross. I transport in my mind’s eye back to that day as Christ hung upon the cross. I look upon his blood drenched and naked body. I sit at the feet of the cross and let his blood splash onto my head and face and as I sit there on that horrible, horrific day, I experience something – love and joint experience.

I can’t explain why we suffer. I can’t even explain why Jesus had to suffer. Yes, yes, I know all the proper theological answers – but there is an experiential aspect, a fogginess to it all, that leaves me feeling as if my understanding is only partial. That God has yet to unveil to me the depths of His mind on this matter.

What I do know is that as I sit at the foot of the cross with my agony and with the agony of the world bearing down upon my mind and shoulders, His blood drips onto me and I know. Jesus is God. God is suffering. God has chosen to enter into suffering with me.

While I have been tempted at times to think that God was a sadist – enjoying inflicting pain on others, I have never been tempted to think that God is a masochist – receiving pleasure from suffering Himself. So, here is God and He is suffering with me. He does not explain to me why suffering is necessary, why evil must run rampant, but He also is willing to enter into that suffering and allow that evil to ravage His mind and body as it does ours.

This in and of itself could be enough. That God chose to suffer as we suffered, but I do not see God suffering only during the cross, nor only during His earthly life – I see God suffering today, yesterday, and forever – until evil has been stomped into the ground, never to arise again.

Sometimes I feel despair for those I love. I ask God to heal them, to save them, to help them and they remain in the midst of their suffering. Then the reality comes to me, “I love them more than you do.” I don’t understand why He allows them to suffer – but I know that His heart aches more deeply and thoroughly than mine ever can.

What does all this mean? That God, from the beginning of time till the end, has chosen to suffer. He suffers not only my pain and your pain, but each of the billions of humans on this earth’s pain – and I think, the pain of the animals and of everything that has life and breath.

So What?

This belief allows me to be actively pursuing the good for myself and others. I know that God desires the good for us, yet at the same time I do not feel responsible when I cannot make the good happen. I know that God is in control and that whatever suffering we must face as a result will be suffered with Him. That the tears on my face, on your face  – are matched by the tears of the Father.

I’m Afraid

I’m still afraid at times. I know when the evil comes it throws me against the wall, tears my heart out, rips my intestines and ties them in knots, squeezes my heart till it bleeds, crushes my brain till is splatters. I see others suffering and I am thrown into desperation. I want so badly to make a real difference. I want so badly to help. Yet so often I am incapable. And I always know that as I am in the midst of the ocean my bloody fingers are only holding onto that old wooden cross – the symbol of a God that suffers – with the barest of strength.

Sometimes I lose my grip and begin to drown…and when I am not in that moment, I know, I know, that the Savior will come for me. That He will catch me and bring me back. He loves me more than I love myself. He loves you more than you love yourself.

Notes

Book Review: Man and His Symbols (Author: Carl G. Jung, et al.)

English: Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung
English: Hand-colored photograph of Carl Jung in USA, published in 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been fascinated for some time for Carl G. Jung. I am not sure where I was first introduced to him – but he has been a person who has repeatedly “popped up” unexpected and unsought in various diverse areas of my studies. When I saw a copy of the book Man and His Symbols at a thrift store I decided to purchase it. The book consists of chapters on Jungian (analytical) psychology not only by C.G. Jung but also by some of his followers – M.-L. von Franz, Joseph L. Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, and Aniela Jaffe.

The volume was at turns fascinating and ridiculous, intriguing and uncharacteristically verbose and dry. Understandable and foreign. I have just finished the volume – all nearly 400 pages – and I am unsure what to say or think about it. There are some ideas which clearly make sense to me, but overall I find the volume hard to believe – the interpretations of signs and dreams seeming too subjective and random. Yet at the same time I hesitate to write the book off, how is it that Jung who seems in many ways so strange and mystical has so deeply affected contemporary thought? Am I simply missing the depth?

I’ve attempted to purchase a biography of Jung twice off of Amazon and both times was sent the wrong book…I feel it may be necessary for me to try yet again, as I have not yet drawn full conclusions on Jung’s thoughts.

I would note that whatever the work may be it has numerous “jumping off” points for further research at it discusses frequently ancient mythology, literature spanning the ages, science, and the arts – mentioning repeatedly names which ring faint bells within my head, those individuals and concepts which I have said, “Someday, I will read more about x.”

What do you think of C.G. Jung? His writings? His followers? Analytical psychology? What works would you recommend reading by him? Was he crazy? A genius? Psychologist or occultist?

[I’ve decided to add below a brief explanation of Jung’s psychology after reading Man and His Symbols below. I welcome comments or corrections on my perception.]

Jung was originally a follower of Freud, but eventually branched off with his own innovations in psychology. Particularly, he did not see almost everything going back to sexual impulses as Freud did. Rather, he suggested that our minds consisted of the conscious and the unconscious – and that the unconscious, while in many sense primal was also in many senses healthier than the conscious modern mind.

Jung did not advocate a return to the primal, but rather the intertwining and interfunctioning of the conscious and the unconscious. Either by themselves was dangerous and would not allow man to function correctly and holistically – but in appropriate balance together they resulted in a whole person.

Jung believed that our dreams where our unconscious’ way of communicating to us important truths that we needed to know. Thus, the analytical psychology which resulted looked for meaning within dreams. This opposed the then common understanding that dreams were simply the random reactions of the brain – without meaning.

For me, it seems logical that dreams may carry meaning with them. As someone who works in IT and sometimes performing application development I have experienced numerous instances in which I will face an “unfixable” problem which after a night’s sleep suddenly has new solutions in my mind. It seems to me that something productive is occurring within my mind during sleep – and I don’t see any reason to believe that similar productivity might occur via the actual dream content themselves.

I know that when I can remember my dreams (not very frequently) they oftentimes relate to real crises within my life. For example, I frequently experience dreams in which I am placed against an implacable (real or imagined) foe. No matter how many times and how many ways in which I oppose the foe (e.g. violence, logic, escape, etc.) the foe always reappears. This connects significantly with multiple situations in my life in which my health (e.g. OCD) or relationships seem to be permanently and unalterably broken. No matter the methods I use to rectify the issues, they remain broken…even if I seem to “overcome” the issue temporarily.

That said, I have several problems with Jung’s psychology. First, I find his use of archetypes unconvincing. I do not doubt that Jung may have actually helped those who came to him overcome their issues in many cases…but I ponder whether his interpretation of their dreams which helped these individuals process and grow was not based upon his own intuitions about their personality and needs which he then imposed upon the dreams. Jung notes that for each individual the content of the dreams has different meaning – that one cannot expect the archetypes to carry the same meaning in different individuals dreams. If this is the case, then how is Jung determining the meaning of the dreams? It seems, imho, that he is interpreting the dreams based on an analysis of the individual…thus the dreams “mean” the solution Jung believes to the problem the individual is struggling with.

Further, I find Jung and his followers use of archetypes and various literary sources loose and disconcerting. It reminds me in many ways of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. As a Christian there were several times within Man and His Symbols that I knew that Jung or his followers weren’t playing fair with Christianity – that is, they were undermining the actual meaning for their own meaning…

It seems to me that the archetypes exist to the extent and depth they do across cultures and religions b/c Jung forced them to exist as such. The connections between some of the archetypes were far too tenuous.

To summarize: I think it is reasonable that our dreams are productive and informative in some sense, but I think Jung’s psychology over-emphasizes the importance of the dream and warps the meaning of things by undermining the explicit truths for perceived underlying truths.

Opinion: Is Philadelphia Biblical University Dancing with Satan?

The Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Updated 5/1/12: Added to references section blog articles by Thom Turner and Jamie Gleason on the name change.

Introduction

In 2001 I left my home in Westerlo (New York) and took up residence in Souder Dormitory at Philadelphia College of Bible (PCB). The next year the name would change to Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU). In 2005 I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies[1]. In 2008 I returned to PBU as an employee in the Technology Services (aka Information Technology) Department and continue to work there till the present time.

Yesterday word was officially released that PBU has proposed a name change[2] and this has, rightly, caused consternation within the alumni community specifically, but also within the evangelical community generally. My title is a bit hyperbolic, but the underlying question is valid – “What is happening at PBU? Are they abandoning the Christian faith?”

I’d like to take the opportunity to answer these questions from my perspective as an alumni, a local church leader, and an employee of PBU.

Not a Fan

I’d like to start by qualifying that this isn’t a puff piece for PBU. I’m not a huge advocate of the name change. When I was made aware the name change was coming down the pike I wrote Dr. Williams and suggested against it. I didn’t know the name at the time and when I learned the name I wasn’t particularly happy with it either. So, I’m not in love with the idea or the name.
On the other hand, I am not opposed to the name change nor do I think it is indicative of PBU losing its way. I hope you will take the time to hear me out as I explain why…

Sidebar on Leadership:

I don’t always agree with the decisions Dr. Williams (or administration) makes regarding PBU…but working with a church for several years now I also realize that no one always agrees with the decisions of leadership. Part of a leader’s job is to make hard decisions folks won’t agree with…and both action and inaction will result in criticism and praise. As such, when I don’t disagree with an action by administration I try to make my opinion known to appropriate individuals and discuss it as given the opportunity but when the decision is made, I support it – even if it was not the decision I would have made.[3]

They Got Rid of the Bible Major!

Before we talk about the proposed name change, lets talk about PBU’s decision to drop the requirement to major in Bible. For years and years the distinctive of PBU was that we required every student to graduate with a degree in biblical studies. You might major in social work, education, counseling, or so on and you would receive a degree in that major – but you also had to graduate with a biblical studies degree.

Recently this all changed. There is no longer a biblical studies degree requirement – but this doesn’t mean that students no longer study the Bible. Prior to dropping the degree requirement students all took 36 credits in biblical studies to earn their degree – now they take 30.

The fear of many is that PBU is losing its distinctiveness and its biblical foundation. There are many liberal arts Christian colleges which offer a Christian education that includes 6-12 credits in biblical studies. But this is not what PBU is doing – it is still requiring a significant load of biblical studies credits for each student, but without the degree requirement.

So why the change? Why not just leave the extra two courses in there and make everyone get a bible degree? It is so close! The answer is found in the way Pennsylvania requires higher education to divvy up courses for double majors.

If a student goes for a single major they need 120 credits. If they go for a dual-major they need 150 credits.[4] It doesn’t matter if the student needs only 130 credits to fulfill the actual requirements for the dual degree – the state still requires them to take a minimum of 150 credits. By removing the degree requirement this allows PBU to reduce the number of courses the PBU student needs to graduate while still providing them with a very significant biblical education. This means a student may take less “filler” credits before graduation – which for some students can be a significant reprieve (in time and finances).

All that said – let me explain the reason why I am actually a big fan of the dropping of the bible degree requirement: balance. As a student at PCB/PBU and as someone who has worked with many PBU students in various capacities I know how much work goes into being a student at PBU…and it is a lot. I believe that removing the dual degree requirement increases the ability of students to manage and grow in their whole lives. Knowledge acquisition is not the end-all of education – character formation is also essential. Unfortunately, the academic load at PBU has at times facilitated knowledge acquisition without all of the necessary character formation – or even pushing students in the wrong direction in formation (e.g. workaholism).

Students will still need to grasp the opportunity – but the removal of the dual degree requirement will open up opportunities to develop deeper friendships, to spend time eating healthier, sleeping better, and perhaps spending some time in one-on-one counseling to work through personal issues[5]…and finally, and for me most exciting, there is a larger opportunity for PBU students to be involved in local churches – not just in service but also in relationship.

Ohh, and one more thing…the bible degree isn’t gone. Any student can choose to get a dual degree and anyone who is studying a ministry specific area (e.g. pastoral, youth min.) must still get a bible degree. Only students who are primarily seeking an education in a non-biblical area don’t have to dual major but they still have to take a significant courseload of biblical studies courses.

From Biblical to Cairn?

If I was President of the United States…ohh wait, I don’t want that job, it is absolutely impossible to please everybody or even a majority of people most of the time. If I was President of Philadelphia Biblical University[6] I wouldn’t have proposed a name change…Well, two things about that right off the bat:

  1. Without being in Todd’s shoes I can’t tell you if I’d have proposed a name change. I assume I wouldn’t have at this time, but I haven’t been part of the discussions, prayers, or decisions which have led us to this point.
  2. I’m not the President, and when it comes down to it there has to be one and then there has to be a bunch of followers, who are hopefully listened to, but in the end are still followers. A President should listen to his followers, his team, his comrades…but his team needs to follow when he leads.

Still, unity does not mean uniformity. So let me share with you my hesitations about the name change:

  1. We just made a big change (dropping the bible degree requirement) which caused us bad press and is still misunderstood. Making another big change will cause more bad press at a rough-ish time (e.g. the economy still ain’t great folks!).
  2. I understand folks don’t understand all that PBU entails, but I think we can change how people perceive us without changing our name…I want to spend more time on web marketing.[7]
  3. A name change is expensive in both finances and employee man hours. While most folks probably aren’t thinking, “Wow, it is going to be a lot of work for IT to see the name change through.” Let me tell you – it is going to be a MEGA MEGA MEGA load of work. Yes, I have nightmares. Yes, TS is currently understaffed and yes, this summer was already looking insanely busy – so no, I don’t want to do a name change right now.
  4. A name change may divert attention from deeper issues (e.g. interdepartmental relationships, financial stewardship, student care, technological improvements, employee care, and so on). I think the University has made some great strides over the years in areas every institution struggles in – but I fear that the emphasis on the name change may redirect our attention off of more substantial opportunities for positive change.
  5. I think Cairn is unfamiliar and difficult to spell. When I first heard it I thought, “Karen University?” Then I was wondering, “How do I spell it?” “Kairn.” “Caern.” “Karyn.” It isn’t all that intuitive. This brings up some significant concerns regarding our web presence. “Yes sir, please go to www.cairn.edu…No, not caern.edu, cairn. No, not karen.edu, cairn.edu.” And so on.

I’ll admit – the name has been growing on me. I’d heard the name some days before the announcement by Todd to faculty and staff on Tuesday (4/17/12) and really hadn’t liked it…but Todd did a good job of selling it at the faculty/staff meeting and while I’m still not a huge fan of the name, I’m not going to fight it. Especially since the Hebrew word for the same idea is “Hoth” and while I had thought maybe using the Hebrew could be a better idea – “Hoth” is like a planet from Star Wars or something…[8]

Now, I know most folks have probably stopped reading by this point…but let me briefly add on why changing the University’s name is potentially positive:

  • We aren’t in Philadelphia and when articles such as “Philadelphia Closes 2011 with Highest Per-Capita Murder Rate in the U.S.” it may not be the most beneficial association when trying to convince parents that PBU is a safe and hospitable environment for their dearest beloved child(ren).
  • We are a biblical university that offers educational opportunities to folks entering vocational ministry as well as those entering the mainstream workforce…but the term biblical university is widely associated with an institution that educates only vocational ministers. This is problematic b/c our distinctive is in large part that an individual can get an excellent education in a mainstream profession while also getting a deep foundation in the Scriptures. We are a place for students who want to be pastors, missionaries, and other christian vocational leaders – but we are also a place for students who are Christians but aren’t interested in vocational ministry – e.g. many social workers, educators, scientists, counselors, and so on.[9]
  • There are other reasons, but I don’t care about them that much, so I’ll skip them…

Conclusion

It is important for Christians to evaluate what their institutions are doing. Questioning the decision to drop the bible major requirement and to change the name are mature and thoughtful questions and should be asked. I have thought about these items for some time and discussed these topics with a number of individuals – including alumni and members of the evangelical community. I hope that my processing and thoughts on these matters can help you in your journey of processing this as well.

I would also note that, to me, there are more fundamental areas to look at for the integrity of an institution – whether that be a higher education, parachurch, or church institution. Look at any institutions constituency and you will find its true quality. Is there gossip amongst the constituency? Is there lying? Immorality? Ineptitude? Or is there integrity? Honesty? Love? Commitment? Look for the fruits of the Spirit in the lives of the constituency – or the absence thereof. This is the best thermometer we have for any institutions health.

I don’t think dropping the bible degree requirement or changing the University’s name indicate PBU is going apostate…but these changes also don’t mean it isn’t. The duty of the employees, of the students, of the alumni, and of the larger evangelical community is to walk well by the power of the Spirit and question deeply the weaknesses which appear within us.[10]

P.S.

Yeah, I wrote this beginning around 3 a.m. on 4/19…definitely not reviewed or approved by PBU. =)

Additional Resources

I have compiled a list of additional resources which may be helpful to folks desiring to learn more about what is happening at PBU. Please let me know if you are aware of additional resources which may be of use. Note: I tend to curate and aggregate resources, I’m not one for filtering – unless the article is of poor quality. The presence of articles here does not indicate that I endorse the contents of the articles, but simply that they provide substantial content for thought, discussion, and perhaps ranting.

  1. Dr. Todd Williams. “What Will and Will Not Change.” – April 19th, 2012. – Dr. Williams, President of PBU, has posted a video and article explaining the proposed name change.
  2. J.R. Hughes. “Petition: To leave the name of the school as Philadelphia Biblical University.” – A petition that is open to all to sign who oppose the proposed name change.
  3. Steve Weir. “I’m Changing My Name.” – April 18th, 2012. – Steve Weir, a PBU alumnus, former employee, and now Communications Director for Grace Point Church writes his thoughts on the name change.
  4. Davey Ermold. “on…cairn?…university…” – April 19th, 2012. – Davey Ermold, another PBU alumnus, provides his thoughts on the proposed name change…Davey has experienced a shift from support of the PBU direction to increasingly questioning the direction – brought to a culmination in this decision.
  5. Ricky Ragone. “_______________ ____________________ University?” – Ricky Ragone is yet another PBU alumnus, who also happens to be from my hometown in NY! Some good thoughts here as Ricky wrestled over time with the announcement of the name change.
  6. Dr. Todd Williams. “Centered on Christ and His Word.” – Thanks to Ricky for mentioning this article in his post above. This is a solid article by Dr. Williams discussing the decision to drop the bible degree requirement.
  7. Rev. William Smith. “What’s In a Name?” – April 19th, 2012 – Bill Smith, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Bristol and an alumnus of PBU shares his thoughts on the proposed name change.
  8. Zak Fixler. “What is Queen?” – A thoughtful post by Zak, a current PBU student on the proposed PBU name change.
  9. Carrie Givens. “We None of Us Deserve Forgiveness.” – April 19th, 2012. – Carrie was a classmate while I was at PBU and now is my co-worker (though in different departments). In addition to her work for the Communciations / Marketing Department she also teaches classes. She offers some thoughtful insider reflections on the proposed name change.
  10. Thom Turner. “Being an Alumnus 101.”  – Thom, who overlapped several years as a student during my undergraduate studies offers a somewhat scathing critique of criticism of the University for the name change.
  11. Jamie Gleason. “My (Not So Fetal) Position.” – Jamie is a graduate of PBU then returned as an employee working first in Resident Life (now Student Life), then Admissions, and currently Alumni Relations. He provides his thoughts on the name change from the perspectives of different University constituents.
  1. [1]My emphasis was Pastoral Studies.
  2. [2]The name change has not yet occurred. It is a proposed name which must face several additional hurtles before becoming official, if it does become so.
  3. [3]And it is possible for folks to disagree without either side being wrong or stupid. Look at the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas found in Acts.
  4. [4]Don’t quote me on that…I wasn’t able to look up the exact number that is required for a dual degree, the point is it is significant more than for a single degree.
  5. [5]PBU offers free counseling to its students through the Oasis Counseling Center. Oasis was instrumental in assisting me in my life as an undergraduate student. It is also available to the public at $25/hr.
  6. [6]No, I’m not vying for that position either, no worries Todd…I’m not gunning for your seat.
  7. [7]I’ve been knee deep in this for the last year or so…and want to do so much more.
  8. [8]Though Cairn is also an obscure telepathic race in Star Trek…
  9. [9]The goal, thus, is not to flee from being biblical but rather to emphasize that we are not only vocationally biblical…and also that biblical knowledge is only for the vocational. Biblical knowledge is an asset to every person, and thus PBU (or maybe Cairn) provides a unique opportunity to anyone seeking a college degree – a solid education in many academic areas coupled with knowledge and character formation from the Scriptures.
  10. [10]The day we find no area in need of improvement should be the day we die and are glorified…not a moment before.

O.C. Supertones – Little Man (Song)

It has been a few years now since ska was on the scene…longer for those who are younger than I, shorter for those who surpass me in years. In any case, today I was thinking about the Supertones song “Little Man.” I’d preached a sermon on Galatians 3 which reminds us of the greatness of God and the smallness of ourselves…so I came home this evening and stumbled upon the music video…thought I’d share.

Study Bibles.

Introduction

This post is a review of the currently available study bibles. These are English translations of the Old and New Testaments found in the Christian Bible that include notes, maps, cross-references, and other features that delineate them as a “study” bible. At the time I performed this aggregation (1/16/12) there were 1,127 results for study bibles on Christian Book Distributor’s website.[1] I have attempted to compile almost all of them below – excluding study bible’s which differ only by translation or are foreign language. I’ve also excluded a number of others which I include at the bottom in a list for anyone interested in performing further research.

Options

Bible: Versions: Notes: Visuals:(1) Cross-Refs: Concordance: Book Intros: Published:
MacArthur Study Bible NKJV, NASB, ESV 25,000 140+ 80,000 Yes Yes 1997
ESV Study Bible ESV 20,000 440+ 80,000 2009
Zondervan Study Bible NASB, NIV 20,000 80 100,000 Yes Yes 1999
Life Application Study Bible NIV, NLT, NKJV, NASB
Archaeological Study Bible NIV, KJV
NLT Study Bible NLT
Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible
NASB New Inductive Study Bible NASB
Scofield Study Bible (Original) KJV
Scofield Study Bible (Revised)
Scofield Study Bible (III) NIV
NRSV New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV
C.S. Lewis Bible NRSV 2010
ESV Reformation Study Bible ESV
Transformation Study Bible NLT
The Orthodox Study Bible
HCSB Study Bible
Serendipity Bible
Ryrie Study Bible NASB, KJV
The Jewish Study Bible 2011
The Literary Study Bible
NET Bible
The New Interpreter’s Study Bible NRSV 2003
The Wesley Study Bible
The Harper Collins Study Bible NRSV
The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible

Other Notes About Versions

  • MacArthur Study Bible – Written by Rev. John MacArthur. MacArthur is well-known for his evangelical commentaries and controversial position on lordship salvation. This study bible takes a premillennial eschatological position and a limited atonement interpretation.
  • ESV Study Bible – Includes 50 articles.
  • Zondervan Study Bible – Includes articles.

Other Options

The following for various subjective reasons where not included in this list…if you believe these offer some distinctive feature which should be included please let me know and I will reconsider…

The Chronological Study Bible KJV Study Bible The New Defender’s Study Bible New Spirit Filled Life Bible (aka FIRE Bible) The Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible
Rainbow Study Bible Life in the Spirit Study Bible The American Patriot’s Bible HCSB Apologetics Study Bible The Geneva Bible.
Quest Study Bible Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible Thompson Chain Reference Bible The Evidence Bible Prophecy Study Bible.
Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible Cambridge Study Bible Lutheran Study Bible African Heritage Study Bible. The King James Study Bible, 400th Anniversary Edition (Thomas Nelson, 2010).
Faith in Action Study Bible. The Matthew Henry Bible. HCSB Life Essentials Study Bible. The Case for Christ Study Bible. The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
The Master Study Bible. The Revival Study Bible. Living Water Bible. NRSV Access Bible. Life Lessons Study Bible.
The New American Catholic Study Bible. Mission of God Study Bible Harper Study Bible. Stewardship Study Bible. Blackaby Study Bible
Comparative Study Bible. Andrews Study Bible. Full Life Study Bible. Life for Today. Praise and Worship Study Bible.
Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible. The Inspirational Study Bible. The Journey. Little Rock Catholic Study Bible. Faith in Action Study Bible.
Reflecting God Study Bible. Discover God Study Bible. The Everyday Study Bible. Disciple’s Study Bible. The Discipleship Study Bible.
The People’s Study Bible. The Life Plan Study Bible. Prophecy Study Bible. The Legacy Study Bible. The Henry Morris Study Bible.
The Experiencing God Study Bible. The Discover Study Bible. The Living Insights Study Bible. The Expositor’s Study Bible. Cambridge Annotated Study Bible.
The Message Study Bible. The A.W. Tozer Bible. Concordia Self-Study Bible.

Amplifications

  • The Expanded Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2011).
  • Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible (Kregel Publications, 1994).

Bibliography:

  1. [1]I also utilized Amazon’s site. A search for “study bible” on the same day filtered down to include only books returned 10,309 results. I reviewed 528 of these results, after which time I was fairly confident I had located most of the major study bibles and a few of the smaller ones.

Why I Talk About My Mental Health Publicly.

Darkness Explained…

Tropical Depression One-C
A tropical depression, somewhat similar in feeling to our internal emotions at times. Image via Wikipedia

I speak and post on a somewhat regular basis about my mental health in public forums. On Dec. 15th I wrote a status update on Facebook, “see it now with its foul stench, oozing black skin, rapacious talons. depression, a dark and vicious wraith, pulls down upon my soul…”

I don’t make these sort of dark and pained posts a daily habit, but you will see them occasionally as my status updates, read blurbs about them in my emails, and even hear me speak of them from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.

I’d like to take a few moments to explain why I have chosen to share these struggles so publicly…

It Isn’t Easy…

It isn’t because it is easier to share my struggles. In fact, the older I grow and the more responsibilities I assume – at work, at church, in the community – the less I want to be open about my struggles with others. I know there are people who judge me weak for my struggles – and that when I share them they question my ability to work or to lead. It would be easier to just clam up and pretend I wasn’t struggling – to keep my struggles silent.

For the Weak…

Yet I recognize that there are many who are weak and struggling who need permission to acknowledge their own weakness.[1] There are many with deep inner turmoils who feel hopeless, lost, isolated, and judged…and unless someone stands up and says, “I will not be ruled by anyone’s  judgments of my spirituality and ability” they will remain quiet.[2]

For the Judgmental…

At the same time, I also know that many of those who bring the harshest judgments and incur the most guilt and disdain upon the weak and suffering are those who are most weak and suffering themselves. Oftentimes they are not even cognizant of their own weakness. Everyone else can see the flaws in their character, the weaknesses in their constitution – but they themselves are blinded, unwilling to see weakness within, choosing to highlight that which is without.[3]

So, it is necessary to stand against them. Not against them, but against this idea – this floating conception which we all partake in, this ballroom masquerade[4] We must stop pretending we are superhuman and instead acknowledge and wrestle with our humanity.

In the Moment…

At times I have thought about moving to a past tense form of sharing. It is true I have struggled with x, y, and z in the past and I can share with you my victory over them…but this is only a half-truth. Surely, I have learned much about conquering and resisting and coping with my weaknesses over the years and I have had many victories and many defeats.

Yet, the truth is, I still struggle. Some days are good and some days are bad. Sure, I can act as if everything is okay and you won’t know. Us OCD folks are renowned for that – our ability to perform rituals for hours each day, to suffer extreme internal mental anguish, and yet to go on functioning as if life is normal – with no one knowing any better.

I was not weak in the past – I am weak now. So, I continue to share that I am weak now…and I assume when you hear me preach you know that I speak the truth as best as I am able while recognizing that every truth I am also wrestling to make true in my own life.

[Note: I have written a second page as well which contains a few caveats and delves into some important miscellany. Look below the footnotes below for the link to page 2.]

  1. [1]I call these weak b/c I am weak. I would suggest we are all weak…and if we don’t recognize it, perhaps we have some self-reflection to do. :)
  2. [2]At the same time, I do not want to portray myself as some hero. I know the difference it made in my life that others spoke openly about their struggles – and so I imitate them. On the other hand, I know also that revelation of my own struggles sometimes secure me understanding and wiggle room that would not be given if I simply kept these struggles internalized. Admitting our weakness provides a certain freedom to fail which can become pathological. I struggle to maintain a balance, to share my weakness for the right reasons, and to recognize when I have walked down the wrong path.
  3. [3]And if you agree with me on this statement, then you must examine your own heart – as I am examining mine – for the truth is as we say these truth we may fall into the same hypocrisy and judgment that we disdain in others.
  4. [4]Thank you Thousand Foot Krutch.

Patriotism and the Church.

Memorial Day Poster
Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

[This article is currently in process, but I wanted to share what I’ve gathered thus far…]

Each year we have three holidays which are oftentimes celebrated within the church and which focus on national pride (patriotism) – Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. For some these holidays mesh together, so lets break out the idea behind each holiday:

  • Memorial Day – A day to remember and honor those who have died in combat.
  • Independence Day – Celebration of the American Colonies declaration of independence from Britain.
  • Veterans Day – A day to honor those who have served in the armed forces.

One contentious issue within the church is patriotism. What role should patriotism play within the church, if any? The answer usually depends on the demographics. If we are talking to folks under thirty, patriotism has no place within the church service, but if we are talking to folks over sixty the idea of separating patriotism from our church services may be akin to heresy!

At Calvary (where I attend and am an elder) we traditionally celebrate each of these holidays in our service. One can scrape away the vestiges of patriotism from Memorial Day and Veterans Day – but there is no way to get around the patriotism associated with Independence Day. So, what should we do?

As I write this I don’t have an answer, nor am I convinced in my heart one way or the other…but as is my habit, when I am studying a topic and believe that my research could be of interest and user to others who may desire to ponder this topic I create a post providing the resources and thoughts I have, so here it is…

Articles About Patriotism and the Church

We’ll start with a survey of some of the better materials I’ve found delineating positions within the church on patriotism. Each of these is a thought provoking read and I have curated out the worthless articles so this should be a best-of-breed list. Please let me know if I’ve missed any important discussions on this matter and I’ll add them as appropriate.

  • Colson, Charles W. “On Waving Flags and Washing Feet.” Jubilee, June 1986. – Colson provides a thoughtful and balanced consideration of the role of patriotism in a Christian’s life admitting his own struggles with the seeming tension and the decisions he personally arrived at.
  • Reed, Frank L. (article) and Harold S. Martin (editorial). “Patriotism: An Anabaptist Perspective.BRF Witness, May/June 2003, Vol. 38, No. 3. – Martin comes from a strong traditional Anabaptist position on the topic of patriotism – in other words, Christians should have no part in it. The article provides several good Scriptural references though the arguments are not detailed enough to be convincing, it is a good jumping off place for further research. Most helpfully, Martin notes that this controversy has been the topic of debate between James Dobson and D. James Kennedy (pro-patriotism) and Cal Thomas and Jerry Falwell – all of whom are well respected within the evangelical community.
  • DeYoung, Kevin. “Thinking Theologically About Memorial Day.The Gospel Coalition. May 26, 2011. – DeYoung attempts to provide a moderate position on the patriotism debate, suggesting that patriotism is not evil but should not be part of worship services. Randy Alcorn agrees with DeYoung’s stance.
  • Gushee, David P. “What’s Right About Patriotism.” Christianity Today. 7/01/06. – Gushee provides a philosophical argument for Christians to participate in patriotism.
  • Is Patriotism in the USA Dead?Christianity Today. Originally 1969, reposted 6/29/10. – An old article reposted on the CT website, argues strongly for American patriotism but on an emotional level.
  • Tennant, Christy. “Patriotism and the House of Worship.Conversant Life. 4/4/10. – Tennant offers a heart-felt moderate conversation about patriotism in worship. She reflects on personal qualms about patriotism in the church but at the same time stops short of calling it wrong.
  • Jeter, Jill. “Church and Patriotism.Jill’s Blog. 4/5/10. – Jeter comes from a much more conservative background and is shocked when her Presbyterian church quavers at the thought of singing God Bless America within the service. Provides a good feel for how those who believe patriotism should be part of the service feel when it is not included.

Secondary Articles:

These articles are either on secondary topics or of secondary value in the discussion of patriotism in the church, yet they deserve mentioning.

Some Impressive Steals from CBD…

I found the following books on Christian Book Distributors at really great discounts and figured I’d pass off the list for anyone else who may be interested. I’ve noted ones I’m particularly interested in with an *. I actually have a bunch more, but I’ll post them in another post to come sometime in the near future. Enjoy!

Non-Fiction

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

Fiction: