Christianity: Doctrine and Ethics

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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How Do We Do Social Justice? (VIII)

An Example of How Government Welfare Doesn’t Work

My good friend Bob Boyd sent me a classic example of how perpetual welfare recipients know how to milk the system. In actuality, it was an article carried by the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. The article (“Welfare Ain’t What It Used to Be”) chronicles a woman named Sharon Jasper, who is convinced that she has been victimized; rabidly wronged. She endured hurricane Katrina, which, of course, was not only Bush’s fault, but he actually had his lieutenants pack C4 into the winds and rain to make the hurricane far worse than it naturally was. In other words, Katrina, was a government conspiracy. While the winds blew and the C4 exploded, Bush, Cheney, and Halliburton were siphoning off oil from Iraq instead of searching for bin Laden. No wonder Code Pink wants the Marines out of Berkeley; they were complicit as well. You just can’t trust the Marines. After all, what have they ever done for our country? This article is a snapshot of precisely what is wrong with our welfare system. I’m not suggesting that every recipient of welfare horrifically abuses the system, but this is part and parcel of the problem.

Before I get into the contents of the article, I want to make a few preliminary comments. It has been somewhat surprising to me that the media spent so little time on what the Democrat governor of Louisiana and Mayor of New Orleans didn’t do. Immediately, the focus went to the federal level and the state and local officials got a free pass. Such is the nature of the media these days. No bias there! Second, it also surprised me that so few pastors said anything about what happened. It seems that Amos 3:6 is no longer in Scripture or is no longer taken seriously (“Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?”). After all, if God is only a God of love, then how can we involve him in any natural disasters? It seems that Geico, State Farm, Allstate, and USAA are about the only ones still willing to speak of such events as “acts of God.” Evangelicals shy away from that type of thing. Nevertheless, Amos is worthy of our consideration, since it is part of the canon of the Bible.

But now to the point: Ms. Jasper’s particular problem has to do with being moved out of government housing, better known as Section 8. According to the article, she has spent 57 of her 58 years in Section 8 housing. Ms. Jasper has passed this “legacy” along to her children as well—the sins of the fathers and mothers. She worries that her kids might actually have to pay for their own utilities in government housing or even pony up something that looks like a deposit.

Does all this mean that Ms. Jasper has never worked? No, not quite. She took a one year hiatus from feeding at the trough and tried gainful employment. It was a painful experience. Here are the precise words from Ms. Jasper’s mouth: “I tried it for a year. You know, working and all. It’s not anything I would want to go through again, or wish on any one in my family, but I am d*** proud of that year.” Someone ought to have given her a plaque for commendable service. Imagine. One whole year. I mean, we’re not talking any shabby 6-8 month stint here, but one whole year, which, by the way, was sufficiently rigorous to convince Ms. Jasper that she wouldn’t wish that type of life on any of her children. One can only imagine that they wholeheartedly agree with mom.

The concept of victimhood was foisted upon Ms. Jasper by the same nanny-state government that provided her Section 8 housing—at U.S. taxpayer expense of course. Ms. Jasper lived in what was called the St. Bernard—it got the name because the government sent St. Bernards with casks of rum throughout the housing complex as a kind of welfare happy hour—that got wacked by the C4 in hurricane Katrina. The upshot was a horrible rant by Ms. Jasper because of the move. At a meeting about the proposed razing of the Section 8 rum factory, one young man suggested that the newer housing would be an improvement and that Ms. Jasper should be thankful that the U.S. taxpayer was footing the bill. She shot back at him, “Just because you pay for my house, my car, my big screen and my food, I will not be treated like a slave! Back up and shut up!” Ironically, Ms. Jasper didn’t realize that she already was a slave and had been for about 57 years.

Being the queen of the non sequitur, Ms. Jasper continued that many citizens of New Orleans had been displaced all over the United States due to the “Bush Hurricane Conspiracy” (my take on it!—RG) and that meant—and I am not making this up—“They are being forced to commit crimes in cities they are unfamiliar with. It is a very uncomfortable situation for them.” This must have been a very interesting meeting. It’s a tough life when you are forced to commit crimes in strange places. Forced? Who in the world is forcing them to be criminals? Well, we all know the answer to that one don’t we? It’s the super-rich who refuse to pay their fair share. Hmm. What might constitute a “fair share”? That’s a provocative question because currently the top 10% of taxpayers pay somewhere between 75-80% of the total tax bill. You can look it up for yourself. Over 50% of all United States taxpayers pay less than 20%. Folks like Ms. Jasper and her ilk pay very, very little (sales tax) or nothing.

But seriously, who is forcing people to commit crimes? There is always honest employment to pay bills. This, however, is the attitude among some. Ms. Jasper was also indignant about the quality of her new Section 8 housing. She stated that people shouldn’t be fooled by the nice hardwood floors. The government was only trying to do it on the cheap, which also explains her dismay at the lousy 60-inch HD TV in her Section 8 housing. Her comment: “It may look nice, but it is not a plasma.” Moreover, “Now they want me to pay a deposit on this dump.” It’s all very understandable, of course. Ms. Jasper has been treated shabbily in light of that one year of work. Sub-standard hardwood floors, a 60-inch HD TV that isn’t even plasma, and, to add insult to injury, they want a deposit for utilities.

Where does it all end? Ms. Jasper has a car, 60-inch HD TV, hardwood floors, food stamps, subsidized housing, welfare checks, and she has taught her children to be wards of the nanny state as well. The only thing we need to add to the list of goodies is universal health care, but Ms. Jasper is, no doubt, on subsidized health care as well. Out here in the Golden State we currently have a $14-20 billion deficit and the annual drain on the California taxpayer is $10 billion for all the illegal immigrants. All this manifests how out of touch our state and federal government is with mainstream Americans. The tax burden continues to rise precipitously and there is really nothing to show for it. The revenues are sufficient; it’s the expenditures that drain the budget and our elected representatives continue to spend, spend, spend.

Thankfully, not every recipient is like Ms. Jasper, but enough are. It is time for churches to step up to the plate with a comprehensive biblical plan to provide gainful employment in exchange for food or to train them to work for a living and not to stand at the trough waiting for a hardworking person to give them something for nothing.


Friday, May 09, 2008

How Do We Do Social Justice? (VII)

Which Jesus: The Revolutionary or the Reformer?

The title of David Wells’ new book puts our current dilemma within what historically has been called evangelicalism into perspective: The Courage to Be Protestant. That’s a provocative title in “our time” because it should require us to reflect—seriously—upon what it means to be a Protestant in the 21st century. The point to which modern day evangelicalism has devolved gives us a very accurate snapshot of what Protestantism isn’t in the 21st century. When the Evangelical Theological Society is welcoming open theists warmly, you know evangelicalism is in deep trouble. Personally, I’ve come to the point in my life where I no longer want to be called an evangelical. The term Christian will do, Presbyterian Christian is acceptable, or Reformed is adequate; anything except evangelical.

In our time, people like Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Rob Bell, and Jeremiah Wright would qualify for the moniker evangelical. You might as well add Paul Tillich and Rudolf Bultmann to the list. I tell you this because in a number of our latest issues we’ve been studying how the modern Church might be more effective in actually helping Christians find ways to alleviate poverty. In order to make our case, we have examined a number of biblical texts and concepts. What never ceases to amaze me is that as soon as you start down this biblical path there is the ubiquitous pomo (maybe even a Christian pomo) who wants to start a discussion about Iraq, Republicans, or the Christian Right. Excuse me? What is the topic again? Almost inevitably, whatever McLaren, Wallis, or Kristen Bell say or write is absolutely true—relatively speaking, of course—while the exegesis of others goes pretty much unnoticed. I’m not just talking about my exegesis of passages, but also those of our rich Christian heritage that have painstakingly and accurately laid out the text for us.

What is all the more ironic in these discussions is that emergent pomos even care. Why should they given their presuppositions? Why do they care? Why, for example, does Bri want us to care for the planet and to be concerned about poverty? In other words, from what inviolable standard are we to judge everything to be relative? Or, from which relative standard are we to judge McLaren’s musings to be inviolable? It is this ridiculous back-and-forth that is rapidly becoming incredibly tedious. In fact, David Wells’ words aptly describe McLaren, Wallis, Bell, Miller, Pagitt, and Anne Lamott: “They began as rebels and ended up as little-minded conformists. Postmoderns are not boring—at least not yet—but they are very trivial.”[1] Indeed. Tedious is their default setting.

That being the case, I’m convinced that the best way to proceed is to set forth the biblical case and let the pomo emergents rant. Don’t get me wrong: I am more than willing to discuss matters with them, but they ought not to expect me to answer in the frivolous, flippant, relativistic manner that they do. As Wells reminds us, “it is important to remember that culture does not give the church its agenda. All it gives the church is its context. The church’s belief and mission come from the Word of God…. It is not the culture that determines the church’s priorities. It is not the (post)modern culture that should be telling it what to think.”[2]

I mention this precisely because it is the trajectory—and has been from the outset—of McLaren’s theology—if you can actually call what he does theology. For example, his cutting-edge character, Neo, an ole Bri knockoff, keeps urging us towards a “new framework,”—which, by the way, is the recurrent theme in Bri’s new book—in which we ask, “not which religion is true, but which religion is good.”[3] This is one of the primary reasons that Bri disdains what he calls the conventional doctrine of hell. It’s conventional, you see; contextual, but certainly not biblical. His desire is for everyone in our postmodern culture to forge their private, subjective, contextualized understanding of Christ. For this and a host of other reasons, his book A Generous Orthodoxy is neither generous nor orthodox. It is anything but generous to traditional, historical Christianity and his musings do not qualify for what the Church has judged to be orthodoxy. “The author has apparently no respect for those who have gone before him and who contributed the classical understandings of Christian faith.”[4] When I read McLaren, Wallis, Bell, and other emergents I am left with the distinct impression that Christianity has very little to do with truth—except what they deem to be truth; to be for the greater good of mankind. Their works are about everything except truth. To coin Doug Groothuis’ words, they have “truth decay.”

Private and Social Ethics

Scripture speaks clearly about both what we are to do as individuals as well as socially. God does not give us two sets of universal standards or norms; one for the secularist and another for the Christian. All are held to the same standard. Sodom and Gomorrah were not judged by a different standard of righteousness by God, but rather by the one standard that God applies across the board—universally.

Therefore, whether we are “doing” individual ethics or social ethics, our source for such decisions is Scripture. A problem arises, however, because so many today are almost totally bereft of a biblical worldview. Moreover, “We the people” have capitulated and abdicated so much over such a long period of time that we are flummoxed when the government doesn’t step in and perform acts of mercy that truly belong to the domain of Christ’s Church.

To summarize what we’ve learned up to this point: We have been focusing on the biblical notion of “gleaning” from the Old Testament and we have derived that recipients of biblical charity were to be diligent workers. There was no place for the lazy or the sluggard. It is safe to say that those who were entirely or severely disabled were excluded from this arrangement.

Second, we took due note of the fact that with the exception of the Levitical disbursements for the needy, biblical charity was privately dispensed.

Third, we ended last week by stating that biblical charity was also discriminatory. That is to say, “Biblical charity knows nothing of promiscuous handouts to sluggards.”[5] This corresponds to what we are taught in 2 Thessalonians 3:10.[6] Grant continues and reminds us of this essential point: “In Acts 20, the Apostle Paul admonished the elders of the Ephesian church to exercise discriminatory oversight in their congregation.”[7] This leads me to ask this: how many of our postmodern churches and emergent conversationalists are taking the requisite time to train their Elders and Deacons so that they function as Scripture prescribes? It’s one thing to carp that what I’m writing won’t work; it’s quite another thing to train your Elders and Deacons and try it. I agree wholeheartedly, therefore, with Grant when he writes, “In this day of institutionalized guilt and federalized pity, we must make certain that we measure our conceptions of justice, mercy, and compassion against God’s standards in Scripture. Justice that does not discriminate between the worthy and unworthy is not true justice, no matter what the ACLU says. Mercy that does not discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving is not true mercy.”[8]

Proverbs 6:6-11 is particularly instructive in this regard. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” In Proverbs 19:15 we read, “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger,” and in 21:25-26 this wisdom is imparted to us: “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.” The spiritual lesson is this: “Willing to labor long and hard, the gleaner was the recipient of regular charity. Unwilling to lift a hand, the sluggard was not.”[9] These texts are not the Christian Right speaking, but rather the voice of God. Christians ought to say “amen” to these scriptures across the spectrum of Right or Left because they are God’s words.

This is a far cry from what our government welfare programs envision. Not only have they been failures in terms of actually solving the various problems associated with poverty, but in the process, they have created wards of the state, dependent on it for subsistence rather than producing free men and women and liberating them both from poverty as well as government handouts.

Our fourth point on how churches can begin to administer biblical aid to those in need is taken from Deuteronomy 23:24-25: “If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in your bag. If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ear with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.”

This text is highly instructive vis-à-vis modern congregational charity to those in true need. In the first place, we are not to be stingy with our aid for sustenance. If a family is in need of groceries, we should supply that to them out of the wealth of blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us. Giving a family a couple of packages of “ramin” soup just won’t cut it. Deacons and their congregations should ensure that the food pantries are well stocked for those who are in need.

Second, there is a caveat or disclaimer attached to the Deuteronomy text. Whoever ate the grapes was not allowed to stuff extra grapes in their pockets/bags. That is to say, you couldn’t eat your fill and then take some for the road. This doesn’t mean of course that if we give people food they have to eat it in our presence before they leave the church! This is a silly qualification to have to make, but remember: we are dealing with pomos and other Emergent church folks as I write this. They are very thin-skinned folk, ready to cry “Foul!” at the drop of a hat.

Third, you can’t harvest what isn’t yours. Don’t put the sickle to the standing grain. That is illegal. Beisner summarizes this way: “Gleaners were not to harvest a surplus above their own immediate needs that they might sell at profit; that would be theft.”[10] Beisner’s comments are worthy of reflection. What was to be gleaned was simply what was needed. It should not be the case that the farmer should raise his crops only to have a gleaner come along and take what he hadn’t worked to raise and sell it. That constituted theft.

These principles should be discussed among Elders, Deacons, and their respective congregations. Among our goals for Christian charity ought to be the presentation of the gospel, recognizing that regeneration is one of the greatest needs of those seeking charity. Moreover, another goal ought to be to teach those in need to support themselves and, later, their families and others. In other words, we should be striving to extricate them from the realm of poverty and make them independent when it comes to looking to others for aid. We should certainly be aiming at getting them “unhooked” from their dependence on state-controlled welfare.

What did people do when there was no governmental “safety net”? The short answer is they fended for themselves, family helped, and the church stepped in as well. Now, just about the only expectation is that “Government Man” will come to the rescue. Isn’t it time we got back to biblical thinking and acting? Isn’t it time that we got serious about having a biblical worldview for ourselves and passing it on to others?

[1] David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), p. 101.

[2] Ibid., 98.

[3] Ibid., 86. Italics mine.

[4] Ibid., 87.

[5] George Grant, Bringing in the Sheaves, (Atlanta: American Vision, 1985), p. 82.

[6] For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

[7] Grant, BITS, 83.

[8] Ibid., 84.

[9] Ibid., 85.

[10] E. Calvin Beisner, Prosperity and Poverty, (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001), p. 208.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Saving the Planet One Left Wing Position at a Time (XIII)

Which Jesus: The Revolutionary or the Reformer?

Old Brian McLaren wants us to follow what he and Jackson Browne call “The Rebel Jesus.” Given his penchant for those halcyon hippy days, it isn’t too much of a stretch for old Bri to think of Jesus as Che Guevara without the beret. To Bri’s mind, Jesus was a rebel; a revolutionary. It’s more than just a little ironic that these were the precise words used of Jesus; some of us lived through those days. Christianity had, to the minds of some pastors, fallen on hard times and something was needed to—pardon the pun—resurrect it. Equally ironically, a number of those concerned pastors, wearing their earth toned turtlenecks and suede shoes didn’t believe in a literal resurrection, but that is another story for another time.

Fast forward to the early 21st century and there’s old Bri, wearing his earth tones and Birkenstocks introducing us to Jesus the Revolutionary. You kind of halfway expect to see this rebel Jesus out in the streets of Berkeley demonstrating against the Marine Corps and carrying a sign that reads, “Draft beer, not men!” In fact, chapter 27 of his latest book is entitled “On the Side of the Rebel Jesus.” Cool. Hip. Bri is upset with “happy Christians” who are oblivious and who are out for little more in life than “The arrogant pursuit of wealth and the careless plundering of creation.”[1] Okay, we’re all opposed to the arrogant pursuit of wealth and the careless plundering of creation. Bri cites Jackson Browne, who “can’t help being cynical even about holiday charity. The seasonal giving of gifts among relatives contrasts with the locks and guns with which people guard their personal assets the rest of the year.”[2]

I think I get it: ole Bri and Jackson Browne are opposed to the Second Amendment. Key to Bri’s argument then is: Which Jesus?[3] When you’re striving to get the amahoro flowing, this is a crucial question. If you’re not certain what amahoro actually is, then clearly you’re not one of the thoughtful people that Bri hangs with.[4] In Bri’s world, you cannot simply ask the question: which Jesus? You must be in a packed room of young adults in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[5] You know intuitively that this is going to be something quite profound. Bri informs us that his is the Jesus pitted against the suicide machine—you no doubt remember this from the gospel accounts—drawn from the canonical gospels.[6] In other words, Bri is a strict biblicist. He continues, “Far from being an esoteric and speculative distraction, our beliefs about the end toward which things are moving profoundly and practically shape our present behavior. This is especially true in regard to violence and war, and is one of the reasons many of us have been increasingly critical in recent years of popular American eschatology in general, and conventional views of hell in particular. Simply put, if we believe that God will ultimately enforce his will by forceful domination, and will eternally torture all who resist that domination, then torture and domination become not only permissible but in some way godly.”[7]

Let’s pause here for a moment before we proceed in this discussion. First, it is noteworthy how certain Bri is that his position is correct and this from a member of the emergent chit-chat that constantly pounds the “uncertainty” drum. We cannot know; no meta-narratives—except the ones that suit my needs and purposes. Funny. Bri sounds like he really knows that what he’s saying is true. He is contradicting the heart of the postmodern rebellion. What is that? David Wells aptly puts it this way: “It turned away from meaning that is fixed and universal and turned toward meaning that is private and subjective. It shifted from absolute moral norms to those that are simply private.[8] Is the “conventional” view of hell wrong? Inaccurate? How do we know? Really, if meaning is private and subjective, why do we care? Is the conventional view of hell itself evil? Sinful?

I do want to point out the obvious: old Bri is a rank, lousy theologian. The man cannot differentiate between biblical sovereignty and “forceful domination.” A Bible Works word search using the ESV doesn’t show any results for the word “torture” in the Bible. This might wash with a packed room filled with young Buenos Aires adults trying not to step in the amahoro, but it doesn’t cut the mustard. There are several reasons why. First, as I have noted on more than one occasion, Bri loathes the word “sin.” In the first 200 pages of his latest book it is not found in his words. Finally, when he does use it, he is thoroughly apologetic.

Second, the Achilles’ heel of his latest book is that he falls into the postmodern trap of speaking of evil but not sin. This is an important distinction to understand. To Bri, the current status of the United States (suicide machine) is evil. Well, you might ask, why doesn’t he just say the United States is sinful or acting sinfully? According to this own pomo principles he realizes that he can’t. Why not? It’s all part and parcel of the “private-subjective-relative” scheme of things. Bri is leery of standards, even the Bible, although he talks about the Bible from time to time. Once we begin to parse his words and sentences more carefully than, say, a room full of pomos in Buenos Aires high on amahoro, we understand that since Bri has all but kicked sin out of the picture, he cannot reintroduce it arbitrarily. Sin, you see, is different from evil in many ways. Evil, in the pomo scheme of things, “has become purely privatized.”[9] That is to say, evil is what is “bad” for me. In Bri’s world, it is illegitimate to impose my private, subjective views on anyone else. So this begs the question: Why did Bri write his latest book—or any book for that matter—in such a rational, certain manner?

The problem, of course, is that if you deem something as evil (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot) there would need to be some standard of right and wrong that would act in an absolute fashion so that you could verify your statement. Again, Wells is very helpful here. He states, “Evil is badness at a deep level, one that we intuitively feel demands reparations and penalties because if offends against an inviolable norm. It is always wrong. It is not only wrong to me. It is wrong everywhere.”[10] Obviously, Bri and the emergents cannot and will not go there—explicitly. Just like the rest of mankind, however, they borrow capital from true Christianity when it’s convenient. So what is the decided difference between pomo evil and biblical sin? “Evil is simply badness. Sin, though, is altogether more serious because it sets up human badness in relation to God.”[11] This explanation is the “center” of traditional Christianity.

But have you noticed that postmodernism and the emergents love to talk about the lost “center” or, to use Rob and Kristen Bell’s way of putting it, the Bible is still the center, it’s just a different center. A cogent person might wait patiently for an explanation of what it means that the Bible is a different center. Don’t hold your breath, because Rob and his bride have had ample opportunity to explain what they mean and no explanation is forthcoming. Let the amahoro flow! Bri jettisoned the “center” long ago. What he and the emergent sillies fail to grasp is that “In the absence of a compelling external authority that enables us to draw the line confidently between right and wrong, true and false, we are left to fumble about with only our feelings to guide us.”[12] Consistency is not the long suit of the emergents, but their views trump everything and everybody. When it’s convenient for their purposes, they are as certain as the traditionalist or foundationalist they criticize. Otherwise, why would they attempt to convince us that their view is the correct one?

In a very real sense, Bri’s books are simply his worldview and in the emergent claptrap, worldviews are as different as the people who construct and hold them. By his own standards, Bri’s book must devolve to this: there can be no comprehensive purpose to life or any truth that is absolute and applicable to all in the same way—Buenos Aires notwithstanding.[13] Bri’s musings are ultimately no better, truer, or more helpful than any other so why bother to write; to attempt to convince? Besides, how can Bri’s Birkenstock and Starbucks world equate contextually with a bunch of young adults in Buenos Aires? He’s an old dude.

How can he know that the Jesus to whom he wants to introduce us is the real one? Is it simply because Bri claims that his Jesus is the Jesus of the gospels? Really? What is the (absolute) vantage point that Bri has from which he has the right to relativize all the absolute claims that centuries of theology prior to his birth legitimized? This is nothing more or less than the adage that absolute relativism can only exist if the relativists exempt themselves from their own razor, and that is what Bri, Wallis, and others have done. Isn’t it about time that people started realizing that and abandoning this silly, internally contradictory thing called the emergent conversation?

[1] Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), pp. 227.

[2] Ibid., 228.

[3] Ibid., 141ff.

[4] Just to cut to the chase, it means “peace.” Consider yourself enlightened.

[5] McLaren, EMC, 143.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 144.

[8] David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), p. 107. Italics mine.

[9] Ibid., 101.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., 109.

[13] Paraphrased from Well, TCBP, 110.