Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Proper Use of Proof Texts

Lately I've given a little thought to the idea of proof texting (i.e. citing only a few Bible verses to support a doctrine or point). My slightly PoMo/Emergent side (hey, I scored pretty high on the survey!) has always been slightly suspicious of proof texts. However, I've come to the conclusion that they have their purposes, which I'll try to outline.

Biblical proof texts derive a great deal of their meaning from the larger context (or "metanarrative"...5 more Emergent points for me!) of the entire Bible. The larger narrative (the story of God's redemption of human kind, for example) provides the context in which to understand a single verse. However, because this larger narrative is composed of individual verses, each verse (potentially) contains a point of truth for the whole narrative, and thus (potentially) a single verse can be cited as stating one particular truth. So the value of proof texting is that it can concisely point out one particular detail of the overall narrative. The danger with proof texting is that it is not terribly valuable in apologetics or polemics, where someone is likely to reject your understanding of the narrative, since often the over-arching narrative is important for interpreting the proof text in question. Unless both parties are operating within the same narrative, it seems likely that they can completely disagree as to the point of a proof text.

To use an example, when the Westminster Confession says "Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized," and cites Genesis 17:8 in support ("And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee"), this verse is only going to provide support for infant baptism to someone who accepts the "narrative" of covenant theology. A dispensationalist can affirm the truth of this verse, but disagree about its impact on baptism within the church. If someone's over-arching narrative differs from yours, and they can twist any verse to fit within their own understanding of the narrative, the proof text will be useless in proving your point.

All this to say that I think proof texting should be used when working with someone with whom you share the same understanding or "metanarrative", and polemical debates are better resolved by presenting the big-picture, metanarrative to the opposing party rather than proof texts.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

First, Merry Christmas to everyone who might be reading this! I think that I have been much more mindful of the fact that this season is about the incarnation of our Savior than I have in many years--it has been wonderful.

In reading an article about what sort of things college football bowls were giving to the players for playing (the Alamo Bowl, in which the Huskers and Michigan will play in a few days, gave the players XBox 360s), I found this interesting about the Peach Bowl:

It’s not always about the money. The Peach Bowl gift list included the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. The book’s message, as quoted from the inside dust jacket, is every man must have “a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and an adventure to live.”

S. Truett Cathy, founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain (which sponsors the Peach Bowl), selected the book for the players. He operates his restaurants with strong moral and spiritual guidelines, said Matt Garvey, Peach Bowl director of communications.

“It’s just his way of impacting the players’ lives in a positive way,” Garvey said. “Who knows if anybody will read them? But he wasn’t going to let an opportunity like this pass him by.”

For most players, a book probably won’t make as heavy an impact as a video entertainment system.

I am personally not sure that I am thrilled with every aspect of Wild at Heart, but I don't know of any book that would be better to give a big group of football players. I guess I hope that Miami and LSU football players can get something out of it. I imagine some (*cough*Lindsey*cough*) might disagree, though.

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Here's a fun Christmas Break project for you bibliophiles; LibraryThing is like Audioscrobbler for books. You enter your book collection and then it networks you with other people who have similar collections. It also allows for tags (a la flickr), reviews, ratings, comments, and more. A free account will let you enter up to 200 books, so I suggest checking it out.

Of course, if you see that I'm lacking something in my collection, feel free to give it to me. :)

My Profile
My Catalogue


Friday, December 23, 2005

Accomplished Today...

Here is what I did today:
  1. Read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  2. Watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

All in all, a pretty good day.

(FYI: I also updated my reading list for the first time in about three months.)

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

"I want my God and I want my family!"

I'm not sure how I missed this when it was big a month ago, but if you haven't seen The God Warrior from Fox's Trading Spouses, you really should.

Funny/scary stuff.

"Gargoyles, pslycics!"
"Everything is ungodly!"


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious

You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're droppin' Hamiltons.

I laughed.

[Note: My sans graphics card iBook had trouble keeping the video synched with the audio. Maybe you'll have better luck...]


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another reason to praise the Lord

From an article in this week's US News and World Report:
Every passing week brings news for latte lovers, and the latest on coffee is the best buzz yet. It turns out that a cup of joe--or a carafe--may chase away the blues; turn you into a better athlete; and protect against diabetes, Parkinson's disease, gallstones, and some cancers...."If its benefits continue to mount, coffee may come to be viewed as a health food," says Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Amen to that.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I can't explain / The state that I'm in

Sufjan Stevens' "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us" is heart-rendingly beautiful.

Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door
Oh, I am not quite sleeping. Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom, creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstreteched

Illinois is far and away my pick for the best album of 2005.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Persecuted Church

One of the most exciting mission agencies I know of is one called Gospel for Asia, which works to create and sponsor missionaries in Asian countries out of those countries' inhabitants--native missionaries. This concept not only saves lots of money (an Indian missionary in India, for example, can live for tons less than an American living in the same place, because Indian missionaries wouldn't be used to as many comforts as an American would need), but the native missionary concept greatly cuts down on cultural barriers. I strongly encourage you to check them out.

The real reason I am writing about them now, though, is because I got an e-mail about a Hindu extremist group who has taken over a church in India and is threatening to do a massive, village-by-village, forceful conversion of any Christians back to Hinduism. You can read about it here, but it would be even better if we prayed for our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ.

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.
--3 John 1:5-8


Letter to the DN

I would have stayed out of the whole "Corpus Christi" debate (a bunch of Christians protested the UNL production of a play that portrays Jesus as a homosexual) within the DN over the last few weeks, but when the DN satirized Narnia ("Christians angered over portrayal of Jesus as a lion in 'Chronicles of Narnia.'"), I thought I should write in.

So, this was published today. (Mine is the last letter on the page.)


Friday, December 09, 2005


I don't really think I need to say much about this.

Children's Letters to Christopher Walken


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Emergents Among Us

Alright, all you Reformed people out there--check here to see where your real loyalties lie.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Intelligent Design

About the nebula...


Friday, December 02, 2005

As if!

An excerpt from this Daily Nebraska article yesterday, which was about the fact that the ASUN meeting on Wednesday night did not have a quorum (a minimum number of people necessary for a meeting to transact business legally):
"We're like one short of quorum," said ASUN Parliamentarian Jacob Gerber.
I'm like so totally happy that the DN, you know, got like absolutely every word I said in their like article. Totally!