Looking Back on 2012: Oct-Dec

Since it’s the last day of 2012, I have to cover three months in this final post of looking back so I’m going to give myself 12 posts from the past three months instead of just 10. This fall, we experienced two alternatives for responding to an election season: preachers endorsing political candidates from the pulpit or Christians coming together across the political spectrum to celebrate communion. Jerry Sandusky got convicted for his crimes, so I asked what would need to happen for him to enter into God’s kingdom and feast at the heavenly banquet with the boys he molested. I watched with anguish and tried to be fair in what I wrote as Israel and Gaza went to war. And Rachel Held Evans became this year’s Rob Bell after her Year of Biblical Womanhood drew a furious reaction from the evangelical establishment. So here are 12 from October to December.

1) Biblical Womanhood: What Kathy Keller Missed
This was a review of Rachel Held Evans’ book in which she explored what it would be like to follow certain aspects of what the Bible tells women to do literally for a year. It was also a response to the angry reaction by Calvinist megachurch pastor Tim Keller’s wife Kathy.

2) An Email Exchange With Wayne Grudem Over Election Day Communion
When I saw that Wayne Grudem had made a public endorsement of Pulpit Freedom Sunday in the Christian Post, I wrote him an email and asked him to consider supporting Election Day Communion, an event in which Christians across the political spectrum would put aside their differences and reaffirm our unity as the body of Christ. Grudem’s grad assistant sent a very cheeky response to which I responded cheekily in turn.

3) How can Jerry Sandusky get into heaven?
Jerry Sandusky said his sinner’s prayer and did all that he was supposed to do to go to heaven long before he molested any boys. The evangelical explanation of salvation fails to provide the resources for what Sandusky can do now after performing these terrible deeds that he continues to deny.

4) Biblical Literalism + Magisterial Inertia = Sacramental Pelagianism?
The reason that Augustine argued that unbaptized babies go to hell is because he took literally Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus that nobody can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit. So when Biblical inerrantists make fun of the “hocus pocus” of thinking that baptism magically confers regeneration, they are making fun of the Biblical literalism of a different generation.

5) Six Things I Can Say About Gaza
I wrote several posts about Gaza. In some of them, I tried to provide a counterbalance to the almost unanimously pro-Israel slant in the media, but this post sought to be as fair and neutral as possible.

6) Why Al Mohler Doesn’t Get Rachel Held Evans
This post was in response to some comments Al Mohler made about Rachel Held Evans’ book that showed a cluelessness about the way people in Rachel’s and my generation think.

7) Theology of Capitalism: Entrepreneurs vs. Money-changers
Jesus praises entrepreneurs and whips money-changers; our problem in American capitalism is that we pretend our money-changers are entrepreneurs, which is why money stays on Wall Street and wealth creation has been divorced from job creation.

8) Pleasantville Christianity vs. Kingdom Christianity
This is a sermon I preached drawing from the movie Pleasantville to contrast the religion I would call suburbianity with kingdom Christianity.

9) Communion or Correctness: The Underlying Question
Is God more concerned with our reconciliation or our perfection? How we answer that question determines how we understand Jesus’ mission and ours.

10) Reformation Day & Augustine’s Hermeneutical Standard of Love
October 31st in addition to being Halloween is also Reformation Day, so in celebration of Reformation Day, I wrote this piece about the way that Augustine says every scripture we take prescriptively must concern either love of God or love of neighbor (which of course flies in the face of the Biblical hermeneutics of many who celebrate Reformation Day).

11) God’s Wrath as a Cosmic Spiritual Immune System
This piece was part of an ongoing journey I have had this year in wrestling with the concept of God’s wrath. I see it as having a constructive purpose. The problem is that we talk about it as though it is completely abstracted from God’s love and only concerns our imperfection as opposed to God’s response to the wounds suffered by His people.

12) Who Does God Weed Out?
This was a blog I wrote as a follow-up to a sermon I preached on the parable of the weeds in Mathew 13. How Jesus describes what gets weeded out of the kingdom of God is very helpful to consider.

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