Two Posts You Should Read by Dan Bouchelle & Ben Witherington

The first is by Dan Bouchelle about ministers and how they “Willingly Walk into a World of Pain“. The stories he tells are honest, touching and will give you a whole new appreciation for your minister.

The second is by Ben Witheringon, “Family First – Not a Biblical Viewpoint“. I wrestled with this post. I have so much respect for Dr. Witherington and I can’t help but agree with his general point that there is a higher calling than our families (namely, loving God with all of our hearts). At the same time, this post swung the pendulum a little too far for me. I am curious what your thoughts are on the matter, especially at a time where family is getting so much focus in our churches.


Why Mormonism is Not Christianity – Ben Witherington

Have a read – Why Mormonism is Not Christianity

It is a really good read but if you don’t have the time the thumbnail sketch. It all boils down to trinity of “ologies”: theology, Christology, and soteriology. According to Dr. Witherington, the differences are significant enough to question whether we would consider them Christians as defined by the New Testament.

Ben Witherington on Hermeneutics

While looking back at Witherington’s Pagan Christianity material I ran across a really well written piece on hermeneutics. Any preacher, Bible class teacher, elder, or Christian in general could learn a lot from this.

Hermeneutics – What is it and why do Bible readers need it.

Hermeneutics is the art of biblical interpretation. Reading requires interpreting and that interpreting needs to be done as accurately as possible. A couple of additional resources to consider adding to your shelf would include:

  1. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by Blomberg
  2. Exegetical Fallacies by Carson
  3. Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation by Cottrell & Turner
  4. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by Klein, Blomberg & Hubbard
  5. Handbook of Biblical Criticism by Soulen
  6. Elements of Biblical Exegesis by Gorman

Ben Witherington’s Review of Pagan Christianity

It has been almost 9 years since the first edition of Viola and Barna’s book Pagan Christianity hit the shelves so I know I am behind the ball here. I had heard of this book but hadn’t really had a look at it until this year. I ran across Ben Witherington’s five part review over on his blog and asked him if I could compile it into a single pdf file and upload it. He was gracious enough to grant the permission to do that so here it is.

Ben Witherington’s Review of Pagan Christianity

John Zens wrote a response to Dr. Witherington’s review. You can read that here.

The reason I even mention this is because I think a lot of the sentiment in that book is becoming increasingly relevant. Our young adults today are willing to question any and everything. That is healthy and often necessary. It is important that we know why we do what we do and can differentiate which things are based on scripture and which things are tradition and be 100% up front and honest about both.

The New Testament Scholar Two Step

Line dancing…something they can all agree on! I tossed Piper in the mix. Maybe I should do one with all the trendy young ministers. Can you imagine Driscoll and Bell dancing hip hop together?

Elf Yourself – New Testament Scholar Edition

Starting a Class on Revelation – Any Suggestions

So I have finally bit the bullet and just started a class on Revelation last week. Since this is my first time teaching this book I thought maybe a few of you who have might have some words of wisdom or perspective to offer. Here are my reference books:

Am I missing anything you think critical to understanding the book? And don’t toss the Left Behind Series at me 🙂

Ben Witherington On Christians Celebrating Halloween

I have had several people ask me the question lately of whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween. Why not get an answer from someone who knows what he is talking about? Here is an excerpt:

Conservative Protestants might well object to the practice of Halloween on the grounds that it offers up a theology of the afterlife they do not agree with (i.e. they do not believe in purgatory or limbo), but it would be well if they evaluated the practice on the proper historical grounds, and not make the mistake of thinking the practice originally had purely pagan much less demonic origins, which is not in fact true.  Some churches today in fact have used the occasion to teach children about the saints in heaven and how they got there, especially focusing on the martyrs and the book of Revelation.

Read more…

Ben Witherington’s Blog Moving to Belief Net

Here comes the massive link update around the Christian blog world. The new URL for BWIII’s blog is

Ben Witherington’s Post on Redefining Marriage

BWIII just put up a thought provoking post on redefining marriage and looking at it from a Christian perspective. Very informative and thought provoking. Here is the link. Here are some excerpts:

“What should Christians think of this matter? Well, in the first place not only is marriage defined in the Bible as an act between a man and a woman, it is said that God initiated such an act in the first place. God brought the man and the woman together (read Gen. 1-2). The result of that marriage was a ‘one flesh union’, something which, if we understand it and exegete the phrase properly, is not possible for two men or two women to have with each other. Male and female were created in such a way that they, and they alone, can produce a one flesh union. This is not to say that other sorts of sexual activity could not create bonds of intimacy between two persons. This of course is the nature of intimate sharing in sex. The point is that these other sorts of unions are not what the Bible means by a ‘one flesh union’ (see e.g. Ephes. 5.21ff.).

The result of a proper marriage is not merely that the two become one, but that one of them, the male, becomes a husband and the other the female becomes a wife. It is no more possible for a female to become a husband than it is possible to have a female uncle or a male aunt (I’m am talking here about the issue of identity, not roles that one or another person might be able to play in some fashion).”

Ben Witherington on Salvation and Eternal Security

I don’t like removing a quote entirely from its context and slapping on a heading that doesn’t quite fit but I hope that the above heading does justice to what Ben Witherington was writing in his Romans commentary regarding Romans 1:16-18.

“One can say, ‘I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved,’ but not ‘I am saved,’ if by that one means that the process of salvation is already complete. There is always the working out of salvation with fear and trembling to be done while one lives in the flesh (Phil. 2:12), and there is also the matter of deliverance from final judgment or through Christ’s judgment in the future. One is not eternally secure until one is securely in eternity, not until one has passed through all three stages of salvation.” (Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, 51).