A Christian publishing company has called criticism from conservative voices over its decision to publish Matthew Vines' controversial book God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships a "distraction," arguing that the author has been successful in his goal to start a cultural conversation on the issue.
"The conversation on who published God and the Gay Christian serves as a distraction to the real issue the book addresses. Now that the book has hit the marketplace, it looks as if the discourse has turned towards the conclusions set forth by its author Matthew Vines. The author's goal was to start a cultural conversation, and it seems that he has," Stephen W. Cobb, chief publishing executive for WaterBrook Press, Multnomah Books, Convergent Books and Image Books, told The Christian Post in an email Thursday.
A number of conservative commentators had spoken out strongly against Convergent Books' decision to publish Vines' God and the Gay Christian. The publisher (the sister imprint to WaterBrook Multnomah) says the book, which was released on Tuesday, will "radically change the conversation about being gay in the church." more >>
Bart Ehrman, prolific author, New Testament scholar and former evangelical Christian, says it took him eight years to research and complete his new book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. Yet, a group of fellow scholars responded in their book, How God Became Jesus, by claiming that the Christian-turned-agnostic's "sloppy" scholarship on Jesus' divinity leaves much to be desired.
Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, says his research reveals that Jesus, a first century Galilean, never claimed to be God, and that it was his followers who elevated him to a deity after his death.
"What I argue in the book is that during his lifetime, Jesus himself didn't call himself God, didn't consider himself God and that none of his disciples had any inkling at all that he was God," Ehrman has said. more >>
My dear friend Michelle Cox has written a novel that every parent in America needs to read. It's called, Just 18 Summers. She reminds us that we have just 18 summers before our children leave home. Just 18 Summers.
"I hope parents will realize how quickly those summers will fly by," she told me. "Take it from a mama whose sons are all grown now, someday you'd give a million dollars to walk down the hall one more time and tuck your children into bed, to kneel down and pray with them, to hear their footsteps and the sound of their laughter filling the house."
In addition to being a delightful author, Michelle is a fabulous Southern cook. She shares her weekly recipes on my website – and has written several amazing cookbooks! more >>
Bart Ehrman is at it again, popularizing the ideas that agnostics and atheists want so desperately to believe about Jesus and Christianity—namely, traditional teaching about Jesus doesn't match up with the historical reality of Jesus. The Bible can't really be trusted, but the public can trust scholarship to uncover the evolution of belief its writers represent. When I learned that this book would be coming out, I teamed up with Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling to write How God Became Jesus (Zondervan). We were granted access to an advance copy of Ehrman's book and mobilized in our fields of expertise to write a response, released the same day as Ehrman's book.
Lest we forget, let me note that Ehrman gets some things very right, things even Christians can be thankful he is bringing to the fore in this latest study. For example, he believes Jesus did exist and his life can be studied. (Let's not take that for granted.) Also, he points out that in the Gospel records we have, Jesus does not go around saying, "I am the second person of the Trinity and you must call me God and worship me." Ehrman is right that there was a progression of understanding and belief about who Jesus was and what he did and was doing. The Bible certainly does represent Jesus' followers' written reports that try to make sense of this for their audiences. In short, Ehrman is asking good questions.
But even granting these things (and giving him the benefit of the doubt that he really is attempting to do religiously neutral historical scholarship) Erhman's research, according to many scholars including those who wrote the book with me, leaves much to be desired in places. How God Became Jesus urges the consideration of (among others) the following lines of evidence. more >>
The soul, the only aspect of a human being the Bible says is eternal, is like a car, according to megachurch pastor and award-winning author John Ortberg. "If you want to care for your car, you kind of have to know what the parts do, what the carburetor does, what the fan belt does — somebody's gotta know that if they want to care for it."
And the car — that is, the soul — has nine needs that must be met in order to function at optimal efficiency, or in this case, to experience God's shalom, Ortberg suggests in his new book Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You.
"The soul is a little like the king on a chessboard," he explains in Soul Keeping. "The king is the most limited of chess pieces; it can only move one square at a time. But if you lose the king, game over. Your soul is vulnerable because it is needy. If you meet those needs with the wrong things, game over. Or at least game not going well." more >>
With the release of Matthew Vines' God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, conservative Evangelicals are responding with warnings that the book should not cause confusion regarding Scripture's teaching on homosexuality.
The book, Andrew Walker – director of Policy Studies for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission – says, "is the first step in a larger effort to fundamentally recast long-held, universally acknowledged norms pertaining to sexual ethics."
In his review, Walker notes that not only does Vines identify himself as a conservative evangelical and claim to uphold the authority of the Bible, but his book also comes at a strategic time for the gay rights movement as it was likely written to introduce confusion among Evangelicals – "one of the last remaining constituencies in America that has not embraced homosexuality with gusto." more >>