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Extracurricular Activities — March 8, 2014

Categories Extracurricular Activities

Searching for Sodom: Is It Time to Rewrite Old Testament Chronologies?

Sodom, the infamous Old Testament city destroyed in a hail of fire and brimstone, has been found.

At least, that's what archaeologist Steven Collins believes about Tall el-Hammam, a site he has been excavating in Jordan for eight years...

If he's right, then the Old Testament chronologies taught in Bible courses will have to be revised. But is he?

Tim Challies Shares the History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Riverside Church 

Built in the Neo-Gothic style, its spires reach 392 feet into the air, making it the tallest church in America. Riverside Church was the product of a collaboration between industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the controversial preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick [one of the 20th century's leading liberal preachers and theologians].

Because liberalism was, and remains, such a powerful force in Christianity, Riverside Church stands as a symbol of its enduring influence. It is the next of the twenty-five objects through which we are tracing the history of Christianity.

Joe Carter on The Bible in American Life

The Story: Surveys have found that nearly eight in ten Americans regard the Bible as either the literal word of God or as inspired by God. At the same time, other surveys have revealed—and recent books have analyzed—surprising gaps in Americans' biblical literacy. These discrepancies reveal American Christians' complex relationship to their Scripture, a subject that is widely acknowledged but rarely investigated. To understand that paradox, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture conducted the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life.

Peter Enns Comments on "Camelgate"

Camel bones and the Bible have made the news lately, as in this online article, which is pretty sober and worth reading.

The scholarly article that started all this recent hubbub can be found here, which sports the perfectly boring scholarly title “The Introduction of Domestic Camels into the Southern Levant: Evidence from the Aravah Valley.”

Some media outlets, however, have (surprise) gone for the jolt factor, claiming that this is a “new” discovery that reveals that the Bible is a pack of lies, God no longer exists, and portends various apocalyptic scenarios, like the Cubs winning the World Series this year.

Tom Rainer Outlines 8 of the Most Significant Struggles Pastors Face

In many ways, there are no surprises. Indeed, I doubt most of you will be surprised at my findings. If nothing else, it is a good reminder of how we can help our pastors, and how we can pray for them. Of course, you will quickly see that they are not mutually exclusive. They are listed in the order of frequency I noted.

  1. Criticism and conflict. 
  2. Family problems. 
  3. Stress. 
  4. Depression. 
  5. Burnout. 
  6. Sexual problems. 
  7. Financial problems. 
  8. Time management.

Bonus: A Lenten Poem by Ben Witherington, "RSVP"


To move from fast to feast,
From ashes to riding an ass,
From wilderness wandering
God’s willingness wondering
To follow the way of the cross
To find what was utterly lost
All this was Lent to us.

(Follow the link in header for the rest...)


Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.

If you have any comments on these stories, we welcome you to share them here. We hope you enjoy!

–The Editors of Koinonia Blog

My Advice to Students — Van Pelt Shares Solid Languages Advice He Got and Wished He Got
My Advice to Students — Van Pelt Shares Solid Languages Advice He Got and Wished He Got When it comes to advice for students trying to master, let alone study and grasp, the biblical languages there is no sma...
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