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16 Responses

  1. Josh the Baptist says:

    On the Primacy of Scripture is a mcommentary about Donald Bloesch’s Evangelical Theology. It is very good. Two volumes, worth a read for sure.

  2. Josh the Baptist says:

    The Enns article (about PHDs) is funny. He is just saying “I don’t need anymore competition!”. It is a justice issue, he says. Good grief. Well, Pete, get out of the business to make some room for these poor phd’s.

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    OK…

    “Grave Sucking”…

    It isn’t what your first inkling thinks it is.

    Doesn’t matter…silly practice anyways.

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So when someone like the Jesus Creed write of The Death of the Church – do we declare them apostate unbelievers? Jesus said the church would not die and these folks say it will. What is wrong with this picture.

    One note, they say 59% of millennials have dropped out of church – I wonder at the same age what percentage of baby boomers were dropping out before the Jesus Movement?

    They say church attendance has dropped 38% in the past ‘several’ decades. Is it possible that since WWII we have had great immigration influxes from non Christian countries in Asia, the Middle East and India that it has diluted the overall percentages that would go to a Christian church. (example a town of 1,000 people and 500 go to church. Now through immigration etc the town is now 1,500 people and 600 people go to church. You can see at 1,000 people 50% went to church and now at 1,500 and an increase of 100 more people going to church we are at 40% going to church.)

    I never know what to make of these kinds of articles.

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    #2 Josh

    Unfortunately, most of what Enns writes is true. I’ve watched it happen. The vast majority of conferences these days are “meat markets” with people looking for jobs… any jobs! It used to be “publish or perish”, now it is “publish and perish”. Things not mentioned in the article are that numerous seminaries have closed or downsized and few tenure track positions are offered. Many post-grad institutions make use of large numbers of adjunct faculty – set price for teaching a course and no benefits – simple economics. People emerge from a PhD program, deeply in debt from student loans and if… repeat, if they find a job, it is at a remarkably low salary.

    All that being said… next month I’m starting on a second doctorate. Excuse me now as I go out and bang my head against a brick wall. It feels better when you stop 🙂

  6. Corbachev says:

    MLD – “So when someone like the Jesus Creed write of The Death of the Church – do we declare them apostate unbelievers? Jesus said the church would not die and these folks say it will. What is wrong with this picture”

    No we don’t and nothing is wrong with the picture because the author plainly states “in America.” The author isn’t suggesting the church in its entirety. In fact he says the church globally is doing way better than in the US.

    I skimmed both parts and I agree at least with the bits that stood out in the skimming, particularly with the bit in part 2 about sprawl.
    “We work ten miles away with people who live twenty miles beyond that, buy food grown a thousand miles away from grocery clerks who live in a different subdivision, date people from the other side of town, and worship with people who live an hour’s drive from another…we serve soup to the poor folks on the other side of the tracks, but we don’t know the person on the other side of the fence.”

    Around my area this is true regardless of church size. People will drive 30-45 minutes to attend the 50 member baptist church on one end of town from where they are regardless that there is another church of the same tradition 10 blocks away.

    Your observation about the population and stats regarding attendance is interesting. Particularly when you specify, “percentages that would go to a Christian church.” On the one hand I get what you are saying. Cultural Christians are on the decline. People who would otherwise go to church would do so because that’s what their families and culture did here in the US. That is absolutely on the decline. In fact, I’m one of them. Since departing my last ministry job just over two years ago now, my wife and I have been to four churches. In three out of the four cases, we couldn’t connect because the church had the emPHAsis on the wrong syllABle. We are currently without a church home and honestly don’t know if that’s a bad thing at this point. But I digress.

    Some would argue, not me, but some, that if the church (locally, regionally, nationally) is healthy that the percentage of attendance would always be going up regardless of immigration from non-Christian cultures, because of the power of the gospel.

    I think what the author is saying, at least in part, is that the gospel isn’t any less effective, but what we in the US are doing with the institution or the organization (or whatever you want to call it) of church has less and less to do with the power of the gospel to save sinner and more and more to do with keeping people, regardless of spiritual maturity, in the seats.

    I don’t have a source on this, but my son just set this to me. “reading an article about snoop dogg’s gospel album, people are calling him out for taking advantage of the industry and criticizing him for sticking with “rap,” he fires back saying the church should accept sinners and help them set things right instead of stoning them. ironic how snoop dog has to tell the church how to be accepting, lol”

    My point isn’t to promote or defend snoop, but that snoop identified a large part of a bigger problem. The gospel is about salvation demonstrated in transformation. The author of the articles linked above is saying that fewer and fewer churches are accomplishing this. Consequently they will cease to exist, or the will exist in the same way that a community theater does; because people like the cast and the show and keep coming back for more.

    I think I should stop there. 😉

  7. bob1 says:

    I liked the “primacy of Scripture” article.

    The idea is that there’s a human and divine side to divine inspiration. Dual authorship.

    The way I understand it, an orthodox view of Scripture doesn’t mean the writers
    were mechanically inspired. Their humanity, I believe, is intact.

  8. Josh the Baptist says:

    @5 – No doubt it is true, the tone is more what I find funny. But every school I’ve looked into over the last few years tells you the same thing up front. They aren’t selling pie in the sky, at least not the ones I’ve seen. Of course, these are all evangelical schools, which he says shouldn’t be doing Phd’s. Just craziness. Look, I’m paying thousands a year for schooling, and will probably start a Phd program next year. All this, and I’ve already told you guys I expect to be a bi-vocational minister for the rest of my life. Sometimes you are driven by something else, that you can’t really explain.

  9. Josh the Baptist says:

    bob1 – Exactly. Even within the very conservative doctrine of inerrancy, it is acknowledged that the authors use their own viewpoints and personalities.

  10. Mud Man says:

    “Bottom line, I think PhD granting institutions that are graduating under or unemployed men and women need to take a look at what they are doing, communicate that honestly and effectively, and if need be consider closing down the program. This is a moral and justice issue.”

    Pete Enns, PhD and Professor

    Bottom line is I think there is a general misunderstanding of the purposes of advanced education and earned degrees, especially in biblical and theological knowledge.

    Yes, if schools are touting/selling their programs to keep the flow of $$ going then maybe he is correct. And if one of the prime reasons motivating a candidate to spend their time and money becoming an “expert” in a very narrow field of study (a very short description of what an academic PhD is) to be called “Doctor” or something similar, then maybe they too have missed it.

    I for one am a huge believer that education is never a mistake, especially the advanced kind (recognized formally or not). But it is also my experience there is rarely a $$ payout for such work, let alone any recognition from those around us.

    So why do it at all?

    Look at Everest.

  11. bob1 says:

    A couple of quotes from John R.W. Stott, in his usual lucid manner:

    “When God spoke, He did not shout to people out of a clear blue sky, audibly…Divine inspiration was not a mechanical process…(it was) a personal process, in which the human authors were usually in full possession of their faculties…the truth of the double authorship of the Bible is the Bible’s own account of itself.”

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    Well said, Mud man.

  13. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    That education has become a debt engine and that American academia has become something of a prestige racket is something that Enns may be observing but as these sorts of pieces go he’s late to the party. Biblioblogger Jim West wrote years ago that universities shouldn’t offer more PhDs than they have open positions for and that going beyond this is just greed. Now I’ve heard one reason to get more advance degrees is because in teaching positions your salary can be informed by how much you have by way of credentials. One of my friends about twelve years back pursued grad school because her salary had plateaued for her formal educational level. So I get why advanced degrees are valuable in education.

    But that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen a few passionately argued cases that American academics has become too expensive and is too much a prestige racket.

    Twenty years ago I would have said that any continuing education would be a great idea. That was when I had just gotten out of college. Now I think a whole lot of people should reconsider the necessity of college. Getting a journalism degree was mostly ineffectual on the job market but I was guessing that if I’d gone into the other even less practical fields of study I’d have an even harder time lining up any work.

    I mean, yeah, I put the journalism degree to good use but it was not a monetarily useful use. 🙂

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    #8, #10, #13

    I think the bottom line is, if you have a passion to pursue a PhD or any other advanced degree, well and good… but it is no longer an automatic ticket to teaching in an institution. It is, however, still considered a “union card” in academia. So, there are conflicting issues.

    All that being said, if a person has a passion and the ability, it still can be fulfilling and, most importantly, add to the base of knowledge and research, which is laudable in and of itself.

  15. Steve says:

    I think every pastor should read the article “Should pastors “get things done”?

  16. JoelG says:

    “The gospel is about salvation demonstrated in transformation.”

    Hmmm… I see the gospel as forgiveness for sinners. Perhaps if evangelical churches would emphasize this rather than endlessly pounding transformation on their members,

    Matthew 11:28-30

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