[Common Places] Reading Notes: Heavenly-Mindedness
One feature that will appear regularly this year will be a monthly series entitled Reading Notes. In these posts, editors and contributors will lead readers to significant literature related thematically to our other ongoing series. This month Michael Allen introduces classical and contemporary literature related to heavenly-mindedness and formation as a fitting complement to our ongoing engagement of James K. A. Smith’s Cultural Liturgies project (see here).
Admittedly heaven isn’t a particularly big place in contemporary culture. But heaven features widely in the Scriptures of Israel and the early church, and heavenly-mindedness has marked Christian theology through the centuries. Theologians ranging from the patristic to the Puritan eras have sought to reflect on Christian discipleship and formation, on ethics and morality, and…
Extracurricular Activities 5.23.15 — NT Hymns, The Nones, & Locating Heaven
As illustrated in the recent articles I’ve reported on in earlier postings, scholars continue to approach the question of “hymns/odes” in the NT in what I regard as a curious fashion. They often first turn to “pagan” examples of hymns and formulate characteristics of Greek “pagan” hymns and poetry as a basis then for assessing putative hymnic material in the NT. This I find open to questions for a few reasons, and I’d think a more inductive approach more sensible.
I spent the first half of last week at a seminar at an Ivy League divinity school, where a friend and I gave a presentation on ministry and media. I had resolved before speaking that I would refer…
Extracurricular Activities 1.24.15 —The Afterlife, the Mark Mummy Mask, What Would Kuyper Do?
Alex Malarkey, who co-authored The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, publicly confessed his story is malarkey. He and his mother had been saying so for some time, but few noticed until last week.
His admission left me wondering why heavenly tourism gets so much attention. Christians might be less obsessed with heaven if we better grasped four things
Here is a collection of Jewish texts from the 2d Temple period that show that Judaism knew a spectrum: from an annihilationism to eternal conscious punishment. Into this kind of diversity Jesus and the apostles stepped and spoke of judgment. There is support here for both sides of this debate.
What is the minimum it takes to get into heaven? – A Guest Post from Bill Mounce
Life is a journey. Life is a hike from our City of Destruction to the Celestial City. But no matter how the journey unfolds along the path, it has a beginning point. In Jesus’ imagery, the journey begins at the gate. In my imagery, the hike begins at the trailhead.
Everyone’s trailhead is a little different. For some, we started the journey on our mother’s knee at a young age. For others it starts after a difficult time in the teenage years, and perhaps in the midst of those difficult times you met a friend who started to walk with you. For others the trailhead is much later, after you have sampled life and found it lacking. Our trailheads can often look quite different.
However all of our trailheads have many things in common, and today I want to talk about what we all have in common. As you start your journey as a follower of Jesus, or if you are just thinking about it, or if you are walking with a new traveler, it is important that we have the same understanding of what the trailhead looks like; otherwise it will become confusing on down the path.
One of the defining moments in my life was when I was in graduate school. I was waiting for the bus, and a young coed asked if I was one of those “Divinity” students. (That’s what it is called in Scotland.) I said yes, and she asked if I were a Christian. I said yes, and she responded, “What is a Christian?” Much to my shame, I had never thought through a quick and decisive answer. I was working on a Ph.D. but had not thought through this most important of all questions. The bus came in two minutes and she got on.
I didn’t go to the office that day. I went back to the dorm and started reading and praying, working on an answer I could give in two minutes. I spent much of the next day looking for her on campus but never found her.
Scot McKnight on Heaven and Hell
"I believe in heaven. I believe in heaven because Jesus did and I hope to believe in heaven as Jesus did. I believe in heaven because I believe in justice, in peace, and in love. I believe in heaven, in part, because of the apostles and the saints and the Reformers and Harriet Beecher Stowe and C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers and Mother Teresa and the children in Rwanda.
I don’t, however, believe “heaven” is forever and ever. I believe that what is forever and ever is called the New Heavens and the New Earth, the time and place where heaven comes down to earth. The New Heavens and New Earth will be the fullness of flourishing.
But belief in the New…
Wednesday Giveaway (Thanksgiving Edition) – Keller and Wright DVDs
This week we have something of a special giveaway. Two of our more recent products are a pair of DVD sessions based on The Reason for God by Tim Keller and Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright, and as we head into Thanksgiving our two winners will receive both the DVD series of their choice and the accompanying participants guide.
In The Reason for God pastor and author Timothy Keller meets with a group of people over six sessions to address their doubts and objections to Christianity. Using literature, philosophy, real-life experiences, and the Bible, Keller and the…