October’s As It is Written: Forgiveness and Repentance

repentance-1Many Christians believe that because of Jesus’s death on the cross they are forgiven of their sins. Nothing could be further from the truth and this constitutes the subject of this month’s As It is Written column.

It is true that the Christian model of forgiveness was a radical departure from the prevailing Judaic model(s) of forgiveness. Because of┬áJesus’s death and resurrection, the early Church held that God no longer required a sinner to be punished or otherwise suffer for his/her sins. It was enough that the sinner turn away from sinful behavior and acknowledge and confess the sin.

Read the whole thing.

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Reading The Genesis Creation Stories

Orwell's Animal Farm: It's original title

Orwell’s Animal Farm: It’s original title

When I teach the Genesis creation stories, I always begin with the proposition that we ought to read these two narratives as symbolic, not literal. To be more specific, I draw a simile between the Genesis stories and George Orwell’s Animal Farm by claiming that to read the creation stories as historically true events is like reading Animal Farm as a factually accurate picture of what happens when animals take over a farm.

In the video below, N.T. Wright also expresses this same sentiment. When ┬áreading the Genesis creation stories as literary, largely symbolic works, a deeper, richer vision of God and His holy word emerges. It’s about 5 minutes long and worth your time if you’re serious about understanding this alternative to plumbing the depths of the Bible as God’s revealed word.

One of the advantages to reading the Genesis creation stories as N.T. Wright would recommend, (and as I believe they were originally intended to be understood) is that the truths of God’s revelation encounters no contradiction with scientific findings and therefore requires no reconciliation with scientific observations. The findings of science (how the universe works) and the revelations of Genesis (the purpose of the universe) seek to answer different questions. As allegories, the reader is invited to ponder the metaphysical truths being conveyed — the transcendence of God, the consequences of free will, and the human’s role as vice regent of God’s creation.

As for evangelical outreach, imagine not having to justify to a critical thinking non-believer that whether the universe was created in 7 days or 13.6 billion years is irrelevant to the truths God wishes to reveal.

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Lost In Translation


Courtesy of the http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/

My two latest column titled, “Lost in Translation I and Lost in Translation II” are now available. For previous articles you can look here.

As you read these, think about what you’ve learned about the seventh day of creation as the Sabbath day. You may be surprised to learn that there is a profoundly deeper meaning to the Sabbath that points the way for human flourishing.

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Is Male-Male Homosexuality Forbidden?

male-maleI’m in the process of moving a number posts and articles that appeared in a previous (local-hosted) version of this website. This paper (see link below) was written when I served on our synod’s committee studying the issue of gay marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals.

It presents what I would argue is the correct view of the Levitical texts cited as prohibiting homosexual behavior.


Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 have been interpreted as constituting a general prohibition against male homosexuality. I show in this paper that the prohibition is exquisitely specific in that it applies only to anal sex between two males.

The paper is technical, but an easy read if you care to trust my translation. If you find the going heavy, post a note in the comments section and I’ll try to explain it as best I can.

Male-Male Homosexual Intercourse

Now, go and study

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