How Do Catholics and Protestants Disagree over Scripture & Tradition?

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

9780310527930In 1994, leading Catholic and Evangelical leaders signed the document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” affirming their common faith and common mission on the eve of the third millennium.

Five years later, mainline Lutherans and the Catholic Church similarly came together to bury the hatchet, as it were, in their “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.”

While such ecumenical endeavors are encouraging, do they belie the real differences that exist between Protestants and Catholics? If so, what are they, and why are they significant?

The Unfinished Reformation brings clarity to these questions by examining what unites and divides these two dominant Christian groups. Theologian Gregg Allison and pastor Chris Castaldo take a nuanced and thoughtful look at the doctrines and practices of…

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5 Things Russell Jeung Learned Among Ancestors & Refugees

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310527831From Syrian refugees to Latin American immigrants, Westerners are wrestling with complicated realities of exile in all of its forms.

What does it mean to be the Church for such people, and what can we learn from our refugee neighbors as we love them in the name of Jesus? Russell Jeung helps us wrestle with such questions.

In his spiritual memoir At Home in Exile, Jeung shares the joyful and occasionally harrowing stories of his life in East Oakland’s Murder Dubs neighborhood, and how those experiences with exile and relationships with refugees shaped his faith.

What I’ve learned from my family and gained from my refugee neighbors is a more precious gift. I have come to realize that both now and in the…

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Is Muhammad a Prophet of God? Muslims Give Three Positive Arguments

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

nogodbutone_newsletterThere is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.

Muhammad’s status as a prophetic messenger of God is the key identifying declaration and central pillar of Islam. It is announced multiple times a day before prayers and recited in the heart of every Muslim.

But is Muhammad a prophet of God?

Growing up, Muhammad’s prophethood was a given for former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi. But when he was challenged to investigate the evidence for Islam and Christianity, he explains in his new book No God but One what he discovered:

The three reasons most commonly given by Muslims to accept Muhammad as a prophet—his character, prophecies in the Bible, and miraculous scientific insights—are all very problematic. As a result, we are left…

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The “War on Christmas” and Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

near_christianityMy wife and I visited our local Costco this weekend to get a good deal on a vacuum, only to be greeted by rows of fake LED-lighted Christmas trees, a life-size nutcracker, and a giant wire reindeer. Apparently the Christmas season began October 1st this year! Which makes Anthony Le Donne’s new book especially timely.

In Near Christianity, Le Donne offers us an important primer on Jewish-Christian dialogue. He takes us to the borders of the faith to help us understand and sympathize with those who remain “near Christianity.” Perhaps there’s no better time to consider this nearness than the season from Black Friday to Christmas Day.

In a chapter highlighting the dynamics at work between Christians and religious minorities during Advent, Le Donne asks us to consider…

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5 Reasons to Ask “Is the Reformation Finished?”

Jeremy Bouma on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

Reformation: From the latin reformatio; “the enterprise of repairing an inadequate state of affairs by returning to an earlier expression of faith.” (18)

9780310527930Next year, on October 31, 2017, many will celebrate the monumental five-hundred-year anniversary of when an unsuspecting monk posted a list of grievances on the door of a nondescript church in Germany—launching what would become known as the Protestant Reformation.

But is such a repairing enterprise finished; is the Reformation over?

Theologian Gregg Allison and pastor Chris Castaldo have set out to answer that question in their new book The Unfinished Reformation. It is a brief, clear guide to the key points of unity and divergence between Protestants and Catholics today. They write to encourage fruitful conversation about the…

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Four Lessons Learned From Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago.

near_christianityIn his brilliant primer on the Christian faith, C.S. Lewis set out to distill the essence of Christianity down to its mereness. His celebrated apologetic, Mere Christianity, was an outsider’s guide to the inside of the faith.

But what about Christianity’s nearness? What does the Christian faith look like from the borders, near the periphery of the faith? That’s what Anthony Le Donne sets out to answer in his new book Near Christianity. It examine “ancient, storied, tragic, and often misunderstood borders—the complicated and shifting borders shared by Jews and Christians.” (17)

Le Donne maps a number of seemingly peripheral topics—the so-called “war on Christmas,” Christian complicity in violence,  anti-Judaism and philo-judaism—revealing how they are more central to Christianity than we may…

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Did Jesus Claim to Be God? Muslims Say “No”

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

ngb1In No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, Nabeel Qureshi investigates the evidence for Islam and Christianity as a former Muslim. One of the most important parts to his investigation is his engagement with the widest point of divergence between the two religions: the person of Jesus.

“At no point is the schism between Christian and Islamic theologies broader than on the person of Jesus” (213) Qureshi reveals.

Answering his question about not only Jesus’ divinity, but his claim to be God, was a crucial one for his journey from seeking Allah to finding Jesus. “All other differences between Muslims and Christians were secondary to me, far less important than this most significant matter.” (213)

Below we explore this surprising claim by Muslims, that Jesus never claimed to be God,…

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Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

ngb1Nearly every religion has their sacred text. But not every text is equal in nature, composition, transmission, and use. Nabeel Qureshi makes that incredibly clear in his highly anticipated book investigating the evidence for Islam and Christianity, No God but One: Allah or Jesus?.

In a thought-provoking, revealing comparison between the Quran and the Bible, Qureshi exposes seven important differences between these sacred texts. “Both scriptures are considered holy to their people, certainly, but their uses are different, their histories are different, and indeed, their very natures are understood differently.” (104)

1) The Quran Is the Jewel of Islam

In 2011, the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor incited violence, even though a few years prior the US Government incinerated a…

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How Do Islam and Christianity Define Our Problem and Solution?

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

ngb1Earlier this year my family moved to a diverse neighborhood in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The next day, we discovered we moved next to a Muslim family. Perhaps you would have done what I did: prayed for opportunities to show them Christ’s love; and wondered how to navigate a conversation about the differences of our faith if a door opened. Thankfully, we have a new book to guide those conversations.

In No God but One, the highly anticipated follow-up book to his New York Times bestselling spiritual memoir Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi addresses the most important questions at the interface of Islam and Christianity: How do the two religions differ? Can we be confident that either are true? And most important, is the truth worth dying for?

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Should Christians Defend Jesus’ Virgin Birth?

Jeremy Bouma on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310520924_image“The notion that Jesus was born to a young Galilean girl who was still a virgin has proven to be one of the most objectionable and mocked beliefs of the Christian faith” (99), Michael Bird contends in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe.

Even a Christian pastor once suggested that it should make no difference to our faith if archaeologists found definitive, biological, DNA proof that Jesus had an earthly father named Larry.

“And yet,” Bird continues, “there it is right in front of us, right there in the Apostles’ Creed, to be confessed by Christians as part of our holy faith.” (99)

What are we to make of this stanza from our creed: “[Jesus] was conceived by the power of the Holy…

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5 Things I Learned About Kierkegaard’s Work from Stephen Backhouse

Jeremy Bouma on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310520887_image“Whatever your take on modern life, there are two things that can be said about [Søren] Kierkegaard: his influence on our various modes of thought is widespread, and the exact nature of that influence is difficult to articulate.” (12)

Part of the task in Stephen Backhouse’s new biography on this enigmatic figure, Kierkegaard: A Single Life, is to make sense of this influence. He accomplishes this magically through a nearly-one-hundred page overview of his works. He also does so by chronicling his work through vivid portraits of his major life moments.

Through prose so compelling it often reads like a novel, I learned five things about the style and substance of Kierkegaard’s work and influence.

1) His Work Marinated

A striking aspect of Kierkegaard’s work is that much of it sat…

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5 Things I Learned About Kierkegaard’s Life from Stephen Backhouse

Jeremy Bouma on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310520887_imageI hate to admit it, but not only did I skimp on Kierkegaard during my ThM in historical theology, Robert Bretall’s anthology of Kierkegaard’s works about did me in. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my struggle to grasp and appreciate the man and his ideas.

In his new book Kierkegaard: A Single Life Stephen Backhouse says, “It is not just theologians who find the influence of Kierkegaard hovering behind much of their work, only to find the life and thought of the man himself hard to get to know” (11)

Backhouse was spurred to write this book after a learned friend said the Kierkegaard he met in a book on his life and thought “seemed dense, distant, and unappealing.” (11) So he wanted to introduce this towering cultural influence in prose so compelling…

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