NFL Scandals and Hero-Worship

By on Sep 22, 2014

I love sports-always have and always will. But here are a few, brief thoughts regarding the recent NFL ethical “scandals”. ——————————- Over the past month, the NFL has faced a number of scandals involving abuse. And as I’ve listened to the endless volley of opinion responding to these scandals, there is an unspoken assumption I find puzzling; namely, that the NFL has to punish athletes severely because they set an example for the rest of society.   And so without commenting on what did or didn’t happen in the cases involving Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson and what their punishment should or shouldn’t be, I’d just like to point out the absurdity of the notion that the NFL should be setting an ethical example for the rest of society. Really? The NFL (or NBA, MLB, etc, etc, etc) is where we look to learn what it...

Dirt, Ladders, Feet

By on Jul 24, 2014

This is a keynote address I gave at the National Association of Baptist Enrollment Professionals Conference at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor this past week. Hope it’s helpful! Intro So you’re here at this conference for a number of reasons: to learn from others, to grow as a team, to network, to develop, because your boss said so. All good reasons to be here. And yet as our theme suggests, the reason for being here behind all those other reasons for being here is that you hope to be, in some sense, refreshed. It’s been a long year for you. Some of you have done lots of traveling—lots of living out of a suitcase, lots of nights alone in a hotel, lots of time spent in front of a booth talking to sometimes pleasant but often clueless and obnoxious high-schoolers. Some of you have done lots of campus tours. Some of you have made lots of phone calls. And some of you have done...

The Fickle Security of Eternal Security

By on Jun 23, 2014

Once Saved, Always? / Function, Not Validity Once saved, always saved—so the adage goes. Depending on your theological persuasion, there are other ways to say it: eternal security, perseverance of the saints, or more straight to the point—you can’t lose your salvation. It’s an interesting doctrine because it has wiggled its way into the theological bedrock of many theological systems, some of which differ fundamentally on other matters.   But rather than examining its validity as a biblical doctrine (for a good case against see Scot McKnight’s short book, A Long Faithfulness…for a good case for see chapter 6 in Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones’ PROOF), I’d like to examine its function because I’m not convinced the doctrine of eternal security provides as much security as some think. So as to function, what kind of security does the doctrine of eternal security really...

Review: A Farewell to Mars

By on Jun 12, 2014

A Farewell to Mars (by Brian Zahnd) is a difficult book to read.   The writing is crisp, the arguments sound, the imagery vivid, but it is nevertheless a difficult read because it forces us to confront some of our ugliest demons—violence as a means to justice, our (supposed) inalienable right to self-preservation, scapegoating, and most of all, our systematic attempt to make the Bible say things about violence that it simply doesn’t say.   Brian’s argument stands (or at least seems to me) on three legs. 1.) The clear teachings of Jesus against violence and retaliation (Matthew 5). 2.) The crucifixion of Jesus as paradigmatic for Christian interaction with “enemies” and the deepest peek into the heart of God. 3.) The belief that Jesus is right now ruling and judging the world (the kingdom of God is in our midst).   It’s pretty hard to argue against the first leg, so the...

My Review of Kevin’s Review

By on May 16, 2014

Here’s my review of what I thought, generally speaking, was a fair review of my book by Kevin DeYoung. I’ll focus in on a few key critiques and offer some responses.   #1…Really Reformed?   It’s worth noting the chronology in Fischer’s journey. He became a Calvinist in high school (p.8) and started rethinking his Calvinism already as a freshman in college (p.19), which is not a lot of time to explore the depths of the Reformed tradition. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t sincerely Reformed and couldn’t understand the basic contours of election and reprobation, but it does put his “deconversion” story in context…What it does mean is that this is not the journey of a lifelong Calvinist or a deeply entrenched Reformed thinker who threw in the towel, as much as it is the story of ana earnest young Christian who didn’t grow up Reformed,...

Global Dreams and Local Things

By on Mar 26, 2014

More I have a problem. A couple of months ago, my first book was published and that meant some changes for me. Mainly, it meant more—more Twitter followers and mentions, more emails in my inbox each morning, more status, more praise, more criticism, more requests, more hits when you make the amateur mistake of googling your name. More. And yet while the “more” piled, there were two things I didn’t get any more of: time and energy.   Across the Pond! A few weeks back, someone at my church asked if they could come and meet with me. I got in front of my calendar on Monday and saw that my week was slammed. I told him I couldn’t meet that week. A few days later, I was doing a radio interview about the book with a show based in London. I couldn’t help but take a little pride in it—talking about my book to someone “across the pond”! I finished with the interview and all I could think...

Dear John Piper

By on Mar 7, 2014

So I wake up this morning to find John Piper has posted a video with some thoughts on my book. [Full disclosure: if you’ve read the book, you know Piper had a huge impact on my life and I still have immense respect for him. So hearing him talk about the book was surreal.] Even though I was sure the book would convert him :)…go figure, it didn’t, and he had some sharp things to say. He was particularly miffed because he felt I had misrepresented Jonathan Edwards, claiming Edwards thought and taught God was a black hole that needs human worship. A few thoughts…     This is a tricky subject, but I feel the way Piper handled it misrepresented me more than I may or may not have represented Edwards. The nub of the issue is this: I don’t think Edwards or Piper think God is a black hole that needs human worship (a vacuum cleaner, as Piper says)—period, honest to God, cross my heart,...

Conversations with the Damned

By on Feb 24, 2014

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be responding, directly and indirectly, to some questions and thoughts surrounding the book. In the next couple of posts, I’ll address the (insinuated criticism) that I rejected Calvinism because I didn’t really understand it. I think I rejected Calvinism because I did understand it and I think more young evangelicals would reject it if they did too. I’ll trace this out more in later posts, but here’s a good starting point. Conversations with the Damned “The decree is dreadful, I confess.” –Calvin, Institutes 3.3.7, 955 My journey out of Calvinism started when I heard whimpering in the basement.   I loved the theological home Calvinism had given me. Smooth, clean lines. Lots of history and detailed architecture. Everything has a place. It put me in my place and God in his place—at the center of the universe. I pictured...