Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What is the Real Issue in Abortion?

There is hardly a more emotional issue out there than abortion.  In fact, many times it seems absolutely impossible to have a logical discussion with people about it.  Personally, I am opposed to abortion.  I don't need the Bible to tell me this.  It seems pretty logical that I cannot condone abortion without also condoning many other clearly unethical practices if I am to hold a consistent worldview.

I have written before about how the entire issue of rape and incest is really a red herring.  Even under those atrocious and appalling circumstances, people would not justify killing a living human being.  I often ask someone if they would condone killing a two year old child that was conceived via rape or incest.  Inevitably, nobody ever says "yes."  Instead, they try to make some other distinction between the two scenarios, usually that a two year old child is a living human being whereas an embryo is not.  And I would agree that IF an embryo is not a living human being, then there is nothing wrong with abortion.  It has no additional moral implications than removing an appendix.  But this illustration shows that for those who bring up rape and incest, their real objection has nothing to do with either one.  It has to do with life.  Is whatever is inside the womb a human life or not?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

External Evidence for Pauline Authorship of Ephesians

I was recently visiting a church on a beautiful Sunday morning when the pastor made an assertion in her sermon to which I felt I should respond.  She stated that Paul did not write the book of Ephesians.  In fact it allegedly was not written for 100 years or more after Jesus' death, at which time an unknown author attached Paul's name to the letter in a practice that this pastor urged the congregation was considered perfectly acceptable at that time.

She expressed herself in much the same way as I just outlined, as if the issue of the authorship of Ephesians was clearly resolved, with no mention of the abundance of scholarship that disagreed with her conclusion.  After listening to the sermon, her congregation would have no idea that a differing point of view even existed in scholarly circles, let alone realize that the perspective they were hearing from the pulpit had no advocates in its favor for at least 1,400 years after Jesus' time and was a minority view even today.

Being a guest, and having more than an ounce of decorum, I did not stand up mid-speech and interrupt in order to insert my two cents.  Rather, I sent an e-mail after the fact in an attempt to encourage this pastor to look beyond the oft refuted criticisms of the likes of Bart Ehrman and instead evaluate what I believe is the overwhelming external evidence of Pauline authorship of Ephesians.  What follows is the text of that e-mail.  In order to keep the focus of this post on the merits of my position rather than a critique of this individual pastor, I have excluded her name and the exact date of my visit.

By placing this information on the TMM blog, it is my hope to encourage others to look at the totality of the evidence and not believe everything they read in such narrowly focused works as Dr. Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" or his latest book, "Forged."  God bless.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Relatively Football

Football season was upon them and John along with his friend Evan were chomping at the bit for it to begin.  Feeling the need to break out the pigskin, John asked Evan if he’d like to go outside and throw the football around for a while.

“Sure,” said Evan.  “Do you want to try to get some people together for a pick-up game?”

“Nah,” replied John.  “Let’s just toss it for a while.  I’m not looking to get wrapped up in all the rules of a game.  I just want to stretch my arm out a bit.”

“Sounds good.”

So, the two of them went into John’s back yard and started throwing the ball back and forth.  After about five minutes, though, things started to get weird.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Our Knee-Jerk Prejudices

"We often hold our views prejudicially, that is without looking at the opposing arguments, and then we react in a knee-jerk kind of way to people who differ from us." Greg Koukl

Most people will read this quote and immediately react by saying, "Yes, that is exactly what my 'opponents' do all the time! I get so sick of that!" I can only encourage you to look in the mirror. In truth, the odds are that you too react in this way (as do I). It is a reality of humanity, although people are far more willing to see it in others than in themselves.