Christian Carnival LI

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The 51st Christian Carnival at Weapon of Mass Distraction is a New Years edition, as the first Christian Carnival of 2005. This blog is represented twice, with my Life Amidst Suffering: How Should We Now Live? and Wink's Critiquing Penal Substitution. Sam's Where Was God? also makes a cameo.

A Physicist's Perspective has an excellent discussion of antinomianism (or libertinism), the opposite extreme of legalism. I think the latter gets talked about more. David thinks the former is the bigger problem in the church today. That may be so. I do think each often arises as a response to the other, without any sense that there's a biblical mean between the two.

Viewpoint has a nice summary of some of the more common responses to the problem of evil. It's really only a beginning of a response, and some of the things I emphasize as most important when I teach the subject aren't there, but he also raises some points I haven't seen in most popular treatments.

Paul said, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Rom 12:15, NIV). The bloke in the outer seeks to apply this to the aftermath of the tsunami's destruction. I don't agree with everything he says (see my above-linked post for why), but he nicely brings out the importance of compassion and empathy in the Christian life with some provocative questions about common ways of responding when we're spared from something others aren't. I think the more empathic and inclusive thinking he's urging will have a huge on how we think about many things, not least politics.

Proverbial Wife raises some worries about the use of sexual metaphors, particularly when it comes to illicit sex, when discussing eating. She points out some ways it cheapens sex and reduces the sense of wrongness of such sexual activities.

21st Century Reformation raises some important questions about how to deal with the challenges raised by those calling themselves the emergent church or postmodern Christianity. This is something I'm not entirely sure what to say about. I strongly disagree with those who are dismissing them outright at heretics, but at the same time I don't agree with much of what the emergent crowd is saying. My brother tells me it's because I'm a modernist, but I genuinely disagree with much of the language the emergent movement uses, not in the sense of disagreeing with their claims, which I sometimes do, but in the sense that I think they're misusing terms and misstating the views of those who disagree with them or those they think they're responding to. One of these days I need to write the review of my brother's recommendations to InterVarsity staff members, which are online somewhere but not something I'll try to find at the moment. Even with all that, I think we have much to learn from people identifying in this group, and I think that many of them are not close to heresy and others believe the gospel alongside something that they don't realize conflicts with it, which doesn't amount to heresy unless they see that it conflicts with the gospel and still hold to it. Brad wants to figure out how to work through issues like these (though he would describe the issues very differently). The post is definitely worth mulling over, particularly if you stand clearly on either side of this growing divide.

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