C.S. Lewis Got it Wrong on Violence & War

Several months back I reread C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I was struck at how many things he said with a tone of being new or controversial, while in todays Christian worldview they were commonplace. I can only assume that in that important work of Christian literature he established a new normal within Christianity, and for the most part I’m thankful for that. I love Lewis, he’s brilliant, he loved the Lord. I also think he was wrong about some things. For all the ways that he ignored culture and had a vision for the world as God saw it, in many ways he was also a product of his time.

While I think Lewis would shutter to know how readily many Christians rush to support war and violence today. He was far from a pacifist, and he left no doubt with this passage…

…the Christian in arms for the defense of a good cause – is one of the great Christian ideas.  War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken.

I say all of this because I want to borrow (steal?) Lewis’s rhetoric and turn it on it’s head, because it’s the exact (opposite) way I feel about the issue.

I can respect the honest violence-apologist, but only after they’ve ready closely the words of Jesus and how Christians have interpreted those words throughout history, especially before Constantine ushered in the idea of Christian military power.

More to the point if you’ve honestly read the Sermon on the Mount with a fresh ear, and read Christian literature on non-violence and still don’t see Jesus’s call in scripture to it, then although I still disagree with you, you’ve certainly earned the right to believe that God allows violence. But more than not, those I hear beating the war drum in the name of Christ have no theology behind it other than some vague notion about violence in the Old Testament, and a feeling that ‘God is on our side’. It seems like when something as serious and sacred as a human life is on the line, we had better do our homework and make sure that what we believe is based on something substantial.

Seminary Dropout 72: Scot McKnight, Author of Kingdom Conspiracy

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Making his second appearance on Seminary Dropout is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, and author or editor of over 50 books, Scot McKnight.

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Scot’s latest book is ‘Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church’, and in it he makes some controversial claims that have been met with a fair share of criticism as well as considerable praise.

If you are in or near the Nashville, TN area then you may be interested in an upcoming event centered around Kingdom Conspiracy. The Hazelip School of Theology  at Lipscomb University and Missio Alliance are organizing a discussion of the Christian faith led by Scot. The questions asked in the book will be the same questions discussed at the event.

  • What is the purpose and role of the local church in kingdom work?
  • Should our concern be primarily on spiritual matters or on social justice issues?
  • Are social justice issues kingdom work even if the name of Jesus is not involved?
  • Can kingdom work avoid social issues and still be authentically Christian? 

Find out more details about the event here.

Check out Scot’s blog here.


 

Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians. This week I recommend the short film Alyssa.

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Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern-day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 019: Scot McKnight (my first interview with Scot)

Seminary Dropout 54: Walter Brueggemann Talking – Reality, Grief, Hope


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

 

Seminary Dropout 71: Natasha Sistrunk Robinson on Jesus, Leadership, and Race

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Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is a leader, speaker, writer, and anti-human trafficking advocate.

Natasha has studied education in racial reconciliation, prayer and fasting, and biblical justice.

She love’s passionately serving God and his people, bringing Him glory, and pursuing His kingdom work by sharing and living as she puts it ‘in the redemptive power of the cross’. In addition to being a wife and the mother, she’s dedicated her adult life to equipping, nurturing, and empowering a generation of leaders, mentoring and teaching women; and promoting education while serving and uplifting her community.

In this episode we learn:

-about Natasha’s background and her relationship with Jesus when she was young.
-what inspired her to start writing a blog and what made her connect with god at that point.
-what’s the difference between leadership in church versus the secular environment.
-what does Natasha think about church adopting leadership models from business world.
-what perspective on leadership Natasha has as a women of color.
-how Natasha got involved in the cause of anti-human trafficking.
-what role mentoring plays in her life.
-about her new book.
-what is it about her that has struck a cord with people.

Natasha will be a presenter at the upcoming Missio Alliance event Being Truly Human: Re-imagining the Resurrectional Life.


Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians.

deidox

Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 34: Eddie Byun

Seminary Dropout 35: Brian Fikkert


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

Win Donald Miller’s Newest Book ‘Scary Close’!

It totally slipped my mind in last weeks Seminary Dropout episode with Donald Miller that I was given an extra copy and I want to give it away to you!

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There are 2 easy steps to enter:

1. Simply subscribe to Seminary Dropout in iTunes.

2. Leave a comment, any comment, in the comments section below.

That’s it!

If you’re already subscribed to Seminary Dropout then you only need to complete step 2.

You must live in the continental US to win. Sorry, Hawaii, Alaska, and all other countries. I like you, but postage is just too much.

Seminary Dropout 70: Donald Miller

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Odds are if you identify yourself any kind of follower of Christ and your around my age, you’ve read at least one book by Donald Miller. In 2003 Don released Blue Like Jazz, and it quickly became a modern classic. Even though Don is around 10 years older than me, I remember thinking it was the first book I read that felt like it was written by someone from my generation. He spoke our language. Several of Don’s books have been released since then and there’s not a bad one in the bunch.

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Scary Close is Don’s first book in five years, and I can testify that it was worth the wait. In the book Don tackles some inner demons after realizing that if he wants to have a healthy marriage after years of unhealthy hot and cold relationships, he’ll have to be real with himself and others.

In todays episode we will learn:
-How Don´s new book was inspired by unhealthy relationships with women.
-How he leaned to be closer to people in a healthy & positive way.
-How marriage lets us be vulnerable in a safe way and get us closer to our partner.
-Why it’s hard to be vulnerable in todays day of age with the dominance of social media.
-Donald experience with emotional rehab (Onsite).
-How are experiences in out childhood can effect our adult life.
-How we use humor to mask our vulnerability and feeling of inadequacy.
-How can honesty about our flaws help us raise happy and healthy children.


 

I’d like to welcome the first ever Seminary Dropout sponsor, Deidox Films. This is a huge step for the podcast. A step that means a more sustainable and robust Seminary Dropout. So if you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians. 

deidox

Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern day disciples.


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 1: Tony Kriz, Author of Neighbors & Wise Men

Seminary Dropout 45: Kerry Weber, Author of ‘Mercy in the City’


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

Seminary Dropout 69: Mike Bird, Co-Author of ‘How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature’

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My guest today is Mike Bird. Dr. Bird is Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, and author of ‘The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus’, and more recently was a contributing author of the book we’ll be discussing, ‘How God Became Jesus’.

In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith— that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself.

The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later. -From the Publisher.


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 59: John Stackhouse, Author of ‘Need to Know’

Seminary Dropout 53: Jason Boyett on The Apocolypse, & Salvation


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

How Should Christians Feel About Muslims?

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We hear of  a new terrorist attack in the news seemingly every week. Isis, Al-Qaeda, mass killings, beheadings; it’s enough to make us scared.

I remember when the Sandy Hook school shootings happened and parents across the country were struggling to find ways to tell their kids that it was safe for them to go to school. The problem was that children don’t have a good grasp on the vast remoteness of something similar happening to them; the idea that yes, something horrible happened but, there are over a hundred thousand primary schools in the country and all but a minute number of them have had a very peaceful existence, is lost on a 6-year-old who’s scared.

By now maybe you’ve gathered where I’m going with this.

Many adults, Christian adults, also have a problem conceptualizing that the frequent reporting of Muslim terrorist attacks in the news in no way portrays a picture of  the minutia of Muslim terrorists in a sea of 1.57 billion Muslims world-wide.

So to be clear, to portray Islam as a religion of hate/war/death/etc., based on those Muslims involved in terrorists attacks is first, factually inaccurate, and facts should matter for Christians, we’re called to be truth tellers and seekers. We tend to act like there’s no one who calls themselves a Christian who embarrasses us. How would you feel if you were lumped in with Woodsboro Baptist Church as they protest funerals of members of the military, or the actions of Christians in the Crusades where the death toll is somewhere between 1 and 3 million? 

Second, and maybe more importantly, it’s no way to show love to Muslims in our community. I say ‘more importantly’ because it wouldn’t really matter if 100% of Muslims were terrorists or extremists, our call to from the mouth of Jesus himself to love our enemies does not change, and although many have tried, it takes an enormous suspension of disbelief to conclude that literal violence or even speaking hatefully is loving.

Don’t misunderstand me! This is not an ‘all religions lead to the same God’ post. I find it intellectually impossible to follow the Jesus of scriptures and also believe in that type of Unitarianism. In fact it’s this belief in the exclusivity of Jesus as Lord and Savior that compels me to share his radical love and not disparaging generalizations with everyone.

 

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred. -C.S. Lewis

Seminary Dropout 68: Jordan Seng, Author of ‘Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries

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Joining me on the show today is Jordan Seng. Jordan is pastor of Bluewater Mission in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a speaker on issues related to healing & prophetic ministry, church planting and missions, worship, and small groups.

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Jordan’s book is ‘Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries.

From the interview:

  • How did you come to experience supernatural ministries in your life?
    It happened frequently in college. The real story is this. I grew up as a believer not in a believing family, not in a church going family. I actually had some babysitter introduce me to Lord, when I was quite small and my family moved around a ton when I was a kid. We were actually running from the law and hiding under assumed names which is another story. But one thing was I didn’t get much church community and church acculturation. My view of collective Christianity came just from reading bible stories. So when Jesus called his followers, as I saw his helpers to do ministry, it always had a huge supernatural component preaching that the kingdom of God is here. In other words they should make stuff happen, and then heal the sick, heal the blind, cast out demons. I just thought that was the way it worked. So, I was open to supernatural experiences from a very young age, and had some from a very young age. I also assumed God speaks directly to his followers, and so I began having dreams and listening in my little prayers. And then, when I got to college that was the first time I really got the privilege of having fellowship in any way. I eventually stumbled into church that was doing some supernatural ministry.

 

  • Why is it not that we can’t YouTube miracles and see somebody genuinely healed or start walking or something like that? Why don’t we see it where we are today?
    Christian history so thoroughly peppered with miracle stories. So that was a tension for me. It doesn’t seem that the people around me are doing this stuff, but everything I read tells me how important it is. So what’s the deal? Why miracles are seen plentiful in history and but not plentiful in places that I frequent. That was actually an important question for me when I started learning about supernatural ministries. What I discovered and is my take on it, is that supernatural ministry is hard to deal with. It takes sacrifice, it takes commitment in a way natural ministries do not. So what we see in church history breakout and miracle seasons or sometime you see as revivals and then fade out. Miracles have never been absent from the church. But they have never been universal among churches either and has always been a little bit here, a little then, a little now and my explanation of the variability has to do with the effort required not only just to get into supernatural ministry but to sustain it over time. I call it miracle work because it turns out the miracles actually take work. But you want people to invest sacrificially and tell them to be supernatural people, which is really unpopular today. What we like is very reasonable spirituality that is not too humiliating. Miracles have never been absent and I think a person is dedicated to searching out supernatural Christians, will always find them. And in fact if you google, YouTube miracles you can find videos of people getting healed. Somebody send me a YouTube link from ministers that I trust and they are to be trust worthy.

 

  • If you Wikipedia ‘Ouija Board’ those things have been tested out in scientific laboratories. Why has the scientific community not investigated prayer and healing?
    What I find is that a scientific community occasionally investigates but not very well. The example a lot people know about is has to do with efficacy of prayer for hospital patients. There is a new study. Which uses a double blind study, where a hospital patients are selected to be prayed for. And you have prayer groups that pray for them anonymously. The scientific investigators investigate outcomes if prayers has improved human health, and actually the result of the studies are very impressive to neutral. My gripe with those studies is that they are not actually measuring supernatural study as Jesus demonstrated or taught. There is no quality control on people trained. The law of faith plays the large part in the success of miracles, we see that in Jesus stories. Faith moments count.

 

  • What does participating in supernatural ministries do in the life of a believer?
    Sometime people who chase super natural experience can get wrapped up in emotionalism but people who do super natural ministry they try to use supernatural power to help other people, to heal people, to free people from other demonic depression. 
    Supernatural Christians are world changers and if you don’t teach people and demonstrate they can do the impossible they will be hesitant.

 

  • “Faith makes miracles more likely. Faith is environmental. Testimony is great way to increase faith and built the sense of expectation and to change the impossible into the possible. Faith is extremely powerful. “

 

  • “One of the thing we need to recognize about the universe is that God partners with us to get things done. This is just a key principle of reality in kingdom of God, and we understand that about all ministries we consider normal.”

 

  • “To do supernatural ministry is other worldly. We have to come up against a lot of friction to do it, we become very odd people. Supernatural power within us tends to be sacrificial and it also requires a lot from our life to do it powerfully and to sustain it for a long period of time.”

 

  • If someones doesn’t have a background doing supernatural ministry where can they start?
    There are so many resources available. Tons of online resources. What I would encourage you do to more than anything is to TRY. One practical bit of advice to churches to groups of people, I will encourage you start small until you get testimonies. So you have a small group that does healing ministry. And once they get healing stories then you can do a congregational service. Start small, get a few stories and then go big.

 


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 027: Greg Boyd on Doubt, Anti-Intellectualism & Open Theism

Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued


 

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Seminary Dropout 67: Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine & Podcast

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If you’ve read Relevant Magazine you’ve probably read something written by Jesse Carey and if you’ve listened to the Relevant Podcast you’ve laughed out loud at something he’s said.

Jesse joins me to talk about said magazine and podcast, also journalism, and being star struck when he met Lebowski himself, Jeff Bridges.

 


If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 017: Jamie Wright

Seminary Dropout 49: Michael Leary talking Mad Men & the Psalms


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

Top 3 Posts of 2014

austin fischer3.) Seminary Dropout 029: Austin Fischer… Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed

Podcast episodes generally don’t attract as much views as a blog post (mostly because they are generally consumed directly from iTunes, Stitcher, etc.), so it’s big feat for one to become the 3rd most viewed post. Obviously the Calvinist/Arminian topic is still a hot one, and Austin adds a wonderful contribution to that conversation.

 

 

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2.) 5 Lessons Learned through Foster Care to Adoption

It doesn’t hurt my feelings a bit that the second most popular post in 2014 was a guest post. It’s well deserved. My friend and fellow blogger Kenneth Camp shares what he’s learned in his experience of foster care and adoption.

 

1.) 5 Ways To Be Unsatisfied With Your Church

This was actually posted in 2013 but some other publications picked it up and it’s become by far my most read post. I’m curious what your thoughts are on what’s happening in churches that made this the top post – was it anger, agreement, or something else?