Theology Land Excursions – #1

Posted on April 20, 2014

theologyDear Blog Readers:

When I read blogs, they almost always have one of three topics: Writing, counseling or Theology. I have decided for the foreseeable future, to give you links and summaries of the best I find each week. I will put these up each Sunday.

You’ll notice a lot of my favorite writers show up on these lists, but that should make sense if you think about it. So here are the best theological reflections from the week:

Best Holy Spirit Explanation: Roger Olson has an intriguing article about the Filling of the Holy Spirit. He makes the bold statement that this is something both he and John Piper agree upon. Here is a juicy excerpt from that article:

Appealing to experience, but connecting it with the pattern of Acts, I believe in subsequence of receiving the Holy Spirit in a new and special way–call it what you will. I observe that many, many evangelical Christians struggle to live Christian lives without joy, liberty, or power. Their attitude betrays that being a follower of Jesus Christ is a duty rather than a pleasure. Then I have often observed (and experienced) a quantum leap beyond that into passionate, joyful, inwardly committed, powerful Christian life following a special, personal outpouring of the Spirit–usually upon laying on of hands by Christians who live in that higher or deeper life of the Spirit…John Piper clearly believes in what I am describing here. See his 1990 sermon “You Will Be Baptized with the Holy Spirit”–easily found on the internet using a search engine.

The rest is well-written and worth studying.

Best Look at Phony Baloney: Sarah Bessey, one of my favorite female teachers and bloggers, has this article about a town that did a good job of PR and a bad job at actually living. Read it here:

The Best Apologetic of the Resurrection: As you would expect, a lot of bloggers took time to look at the resurrection of Jesus and craft a defense of the faith. Greg Boyd does an excellent job of this by penning “8 Arguments for the Reality of the Resurrection.” Greg is a deep thinker and a good writer, so this should stir your juices. Here is the link.

Best Look at Humanity: Though this came out about a month ago, I never got around to reading it until this week (today actually). This gives a great description of the uniqueness of humans in the world in which God created us to stand out. Here is where to read it.

Best Bible Study Help: Actually, my title for this is misleading. In this article, John Frye tells us how Jesus is teaching him how to study and exegete properly–but he’s not referring to the Bible. Read his article here to see what he is referring to.

Best Non-theological Theological Reflection: No one says things that get more response (positive and negative) than Rachel Held Evans. I personally like reading her posts even when I don’t agree with her. She is intellectually and emotionally honest and a good writer. That is a rare combination. Two weeks ago, she told the world why she is done with trying to sit at the table with other evangelicals. But then a couple of days later, she had this reflective moment:

That said, this has been a painful few weeks, and I think I’ve felt some (self-inflicted) pressure to speak from that pain rather than listen to it. 

So I find myself second-guessing the “leaving evangelicalism” language, not because it’s an inaccurate representation of what I’m experiencing, but because Idon’t want anyone to think for a moment that this means walking away from the many, many people who identify as evangelical whom I love and respect very much. I have no interest in breaking fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, be they Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite progressive or evangelical. After all, we share the most important “label”— the one God gave us—as beloved children of God. (I’m beginning to think any other label might do more harm than good.)

As I said, she is painfully honest with herself and others. Read the full article here.