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Jan
18
2013

Honor Dr. King by Not Making Him an Idol

Empire and Idolatry

When you consider that during the height of the Civil Rights movement, the federal government was extremely suspicious of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., having him surveilled around the clock for anti-government activity, it might strike a person as odd that he today has a national holiday and a memorial in Washington D.C. in his honor. This, however, is actually to be expected. When we human beings follow the pattern of this world (set by Satan and the fallen powers) we seek power over any movement that threatens our self-centered way of life. We tend to resist radical change until we have no other appealing alternatives. So we tune out much of Dr. King's radical message, informed by his Christian faith, because it cuts directly to the heart of our self-centered ways. 
 
So, how can the federal government acknowledge this great leader and the movement he led without actually putting into practice the way of life he preached? Easy: They give him a holiday and a statue.

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Jan
16
2013

Abusing the Bible: Why Jesus Hates Oaths of Office

Presidents since the birth of the United States republic have been sworn into office on a Bible. (Not all presidents, but many.) George Washington is said to have kissed the Bible after reciting his oath. Also, many presidents have added to the end of the oath "So help me God."

Is this the proper usage of the Bible, according to the Bible? What are the implications of this practice? And most importantly, What does Jesus have to say about oaths that his disciples should know so they can follow his Way?

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Jan
14
2013

"The Bible" Mini-series on History Channel

The History Channel will air a 10-hour mini-series called "The Bible" produced by Survivor and The Voice producer Mark Burnett. Below is the official trailer:

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Jan
13
2013

A New Year—A New Name: Theological Graffiti

Back in 2007, I started blogging at Blogger and titled my blog "Theological Graffiti". When I left Blogger in 2010 to start my own independently-hosted blog, I changed the name to "Being TC". Now, I'm returning to my roots and changing the name back to Theological Graffiti at:

TheologicalGraffiti.com (TheoGraff.com)

Thanks for reading!

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Jan
13
2013

Responding to T. C. Robinson Re: "Big God" Theology

T. C. Robinson is a pastor, blogger, and black Calvinist. He recently read and posted a response to my post entitled "The 'Big God' Lie and Why It's Dangerously Wrong"

Before I respond to his response, I want to say that I have no beef with TCR, in fact, I could not since I don't know him. But besides that, so far, I find him to be a quite irenic dialogue partner. Many Calvinists of lesser character have picked up on things I've written against their view and have thrown temper tantrums. By contrast, TCR's comments are mild and at least somewhat charitable. I appreciate the general respect he's extended to me, and seek to extend as much, if not more, in return. So, with that said, I'd like to respond to TCR's response to my initial post:

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Jan
12
2013

The "Big God" Lie and Why It's Dangerously Wrong

Being black and Reformed is hot right now. If you're a black Christian male in the U.S. and you want to be cool and sound smart, all you have to do is talk about the "doctrines of grace," God's glory, and Penal Substitution. It's not just for Christian rappers anymore! Now, there's even a black version of the Gospel Coalition.
 
Some black Calvinists now want to spread their gospel of predestination to the laypeople of black churches. But the problem they immediately run into is: How do we make it seem like the theology of dead, sixteenth-century, white and European men is relevant to black U.S. Americans in the 21st century—when it obviously isn't? 
 
One entrepreneurial black Calvinist thinks he has the answer: Marketing! See, if you have an illogical idea, that really is quite counter-intuitive to the people you want to adopt it, all you have to do is come up with a slick way to package your idea so that it sounds normal and good. Jemar Tisby, a black male student at Reformed Theological Seminary, has figured out just such a solution for delivering Calvinism to black church-goers. He's calling it "Big God theology."
 
Now, I know what you're thinking: That's incredibly patronizing. Yes, yes it is. But Tisby is convinced the ends justify the means (by double imputation no doubt). He's convinced black parishioners need to intellectually affirm the meticulous providence of an all-controlling deity to have biblical theology. So he's come up with this way of presenting Calvinism to make it sound normal and good. Papa Piper would be so proud!
 
But not only is Tisby wrong, Tisby is dangerously wrong. In what follows, I'll show that being "big" has never been a priority for God, and why exalting 'big-ness' can backfire and lead to destructive Christian practice Jesus wouldn't recognize.

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Jan
10
2013

The Worst Book on Racial Reconciliation Ever?—A Critical Review of One New Man by Jarvis J. Williams

One New Man: The Cross and Racial Reconciliation in Pauline Theology

Author: Jarvis J. Williams
Paperback: 142 pages
Publisher: B&H Publishing 2010
Language: English

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B&H

Ephesians 2.11-22 is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. It's one of the passages that most inspires me to pursue the unique and beautiful Kingdom of God that transforms the world. It's also one of the clearest passages in the Bible regarding racial reconciliation—a subject about which I am very passionate. So, naturally, when I saw the title of Jarvis J. Williams' book, I was excited to read it. I was also interested because I deduced from the book's endorsements and Williams' online faculty bio that he is a Neo-Calvinist. As a highly critical opponent of that movement, I hoped that Williams could break my stereotypes and surprise me with thinking on racial reconciliation that doesn't toe the party line. Unfortunately, my hopes were thoroughly dashed and I was deeply disappointed. In this critical review, I will attempt to relate all the ways One New Man did not live up to its billing, nor adequately address the subject of racial reconciliation. An exhaustive recounting may very well be beyond the scope of this review, but I will nevertheless endeavor to highlight the most important ways this book fails.

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Jan
09
2013

OPEN 2013 - Open Theology & the Church

For those of you who have an interest in Open theology ("Open theism," "Openness," or "the Open view"), you may want to attend the First Ever Open theology conference for ministers and laypeople devoted to exploring the intersections of the Open view and ministry.

Headlining the conference as keynote speakers will be Greg Boyd, John Sanders, and Thomas Jay Oord. But there will also be time set aside for group discussion.

The dates of the conference are April 4th—6th and it will be held in St. Paul, MN at Woodland Hills Church.

Eventbrite - OPEN 2013 - Open Theology Conference

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Jan
03
2013

Building a Boyd of Straw with Sound Bite Scholarship

1. Historical Setting:

 The Openness of God was published in 19941 and made significant waves in evangelical theological scholarship circles. The view detailed in that book wasn't new; it had been held by many Christian theologians throughout Church history2, but what made the book so significant is that the evangelical theological landscape in the United States had shifted and a new regime was in power: Neo-Calvinists3. These conservative evangelical scholars viewed Open theology as a threat to their new found hegemony, so they sought to discredit and marginalize Open theists. Two of the clearest examples of this were the attempt in 2000 by John Piper to have Greg Boyd ousted from the faculty of Bethel Seminary, the denominational seminary of the Baptist General Conference (now "Converge"), and the 2002 attempt to expel John Sanders and Clark Pinnock from the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).4 In both cases the complaints were brought by Neo-Calvinists. Another casualty of these Neo-Calvinist inquisitions was Roger Olson, a classical Arminian scholar. He has written candidly about the dishonest and dishonorable ways he was treated by Neo-Calvinists simply for suggesting Open theists were not heretics and that Open theism deserves to be consider a legitimate evangelical position.5 In 2010, Dr. Olson had this to say,
"The controversy has largely died down now.  But there are many stories yet to be told about it.  I believe much of the controversy over open theism among evangelicals was fueled by misinformation, misrepresentation and down right demagoguery.  In many places and at many times open theism and open theists did not receive a fair hearing.  And I know of cases in which evangelical critics knowingly misrepresented open theism in order to create fear of it among the untutored (i.e., people who would never pick up and read a book by an open theist).
 
As I look back on that decade long controversy now, my heart is heavy for evangelicalism.  I was profoundly disillusioned by the dishonesty and lack of sincerity of many evangelical luminaries who I know read books by open theists and often talked with open theists about their views and nevertheless went public with blatant misrepresentations.  I was also profoundly disillusioned by the heat of the controversy in which some evangelical scholars and leaders hurled accusations and charges against open theists that were completely out of proportion to the amount of time and effort they had spent in dialogue with their fellow evangelicals who either were open theists or sympathized with them."6
The beginning of the decade Olson describes is the setting in which an author with whom I am unfamiliar, named Paul Kjoss Helseth, wrote a critique of Greg Boyd's Open theism for the Journal of the ETS (the very group that would vote to investigate Pinnock and Sanders a year later). There is no doubt Helseth's work helped to fuel the flames of discord that led to the 2002 ETS witch hunt. The claim of the article is that Boyd's Open theism describes and promotes an arbitrary and malevolent conception of God over and against all his own claims to the contrary. The article is titled, "ON DIVINE AMBIVALENCE: OPEN THEISM AND THE PROBLEM OF PARTICULAR EVILS".7 As Dr. Olson so poignantly put it, Helseth's article is filled with "misinformation, misrepresentation and down right demagoguery." In this brief refutation, I will address many of the caricatures and fallacies contained in the article, though an exhaustive reckoning is far beyond the scope of this piece. I'm certain a book-length treatment would scarcely provide space. Instead, I must limit myself to exposing only a portion of the many Man of Straw arguments, logical fallacies, and dirty scholarship tricks this article includes. To start, I will detail many of the foundational errors this article makes.
 

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Dec
29
2012

The Future of Christian Theology in the US—A Review of Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction

Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction 

Editors: Brint Montgomery, Thomas Jay Oord, and Karen Winslow
Paperback: 115 pages
Publisher: Point Loma Press (Wipf & Stock) - 2012
Language: English

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Wipf & Stock

(Special thanks to Thomas Jay Oord for a copy of this book!)

 

Relational Theology: A Contemporary Introduction (hereafter RT) is a collection of very brief essays written by a sizable group of diverse scholars on a wide variety of subjects related to "Relational Theology." As Thomas Jay Oord, one of the book's editors, explains in the introduction, Relational Theology is an umbrella term that covers a broad spectrum of theologies that are all related to one another by their common values of relationship, freedom, and love. Examples of Relational theologies include, but are not limited to:

  • missional theologies
  • feminist and/or womanist theologies
  • Pentecostal and/or charismatic theologies
  • liberation and/or postcolonial theologies
  • Wesleyan theology
  • process theology
  • open theology
  • Arminian and/or holiness theologies
  • trinitarian theologies

I must admit, in addition to the table of contents, this list made me very excited to begin reading this book. Much of the most courageous Christian scholarship being produced today falls into one or more of these categories.

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Welcome to TheologicalGraffiti.com

T. C. and Tyson Moore

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, urban minister, sometimes designer, writer, preacher, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

Shalom,
T. C.

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