Benefit of the Doubt

benefit of the doubt by Greg BoydI just finished reading Greg Boyd’s latest book Benefit of the Doubt. Like his others, this one does not disappoint. I so appreciate Greg’s honesty in approaching faith and humbly looking for truth, despite the often uncomfortable areas where it takes us.

As you might imagine, Greg does a great job challenging the supposed value of certainty in our faith (much like Daniel Taylor’s latest book that I recently reviewed).

But I’ve always wondered, why would God place a premium on one’s ability to convince oneself that something is true? What is particularly virtuous about one’s ability to push doubt aside and make oneself feel certain?

It’s much easier to remain certain of your beliefs when you are not in personal contact with people who believe differently.

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Misquoted Verses of the Bible (Jer. 29:11)

Bumper-sticker Christianity quickly falls apart. By that I mean those verses and quotes that pass around the rear end of a car or fit nicely atop someone’s Facebook wall. We say them, they make us feel good, and everyone is the better for it, right?

Some may argue that this is harmless.

If I’m honest, this has always bothered me. I love the Bible. I love studying it and I love watching God come alive all around me as I understand Him more each day. I’m not sure if it’s that, or my contrarian personality, which causes me to cringe when I watch well-intentioned Christians quote Scripture out of context. I’m confident this isn’t done with any ill intent. But it happens often. Let me give you one of the big ones that gets used.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

Who wouldn’t love that verse? The only problem is that we use that verse as a blanket description of God’s intent for our lives today. So why is that a problem? Because God said it to a specific group of Israelites at a very specific time in history. We know this because chapter twenty-nine begins with this setup:

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Top 20 Quotes from Catalyst

Catalyst East 2013

I had previously attended the Catalyst One Day and the Catalyst West Coast events. This week, I experienced the big boy of Catalyst in Atlanta.

Like I’ve done for the last three years of the Leadership Summit, I grouped the ideas that most stood out to me. Below I’ve selected twenty of my favorite quotes from the event (which turned out to be VERY difficult to narrow down). Each of these quotes is my best representation in writing of what they said verbally or a summary thereof. Any errors in wording are my own.

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September with C.S. Lewis

Year with C.S. LewisThis post is part of my series through A Year with C.S. Lewis.

Here are my favorite quotes from the assorted C.S. Lewis books that are covered in the month of September in the book. First, a quote to give perspective:

Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.

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Worship Night

We had our first worship night at Central on Sunday. Since this was our first one we really had no idea what to expect or how many people would show up. Needless to say we were all thrilled when more than 900 people filled the room at our Gilbert campus. It was a great time to sing together, to let loose, and to encourage our body to worship God more intentionally. Here is a message I gave on the theology of worship.

Jesus Is by Judah Smith

Jesus Is - Judah SmithOur life group is finishing a discussion on Judah Smith’s recent book Jesus Is ________. It is a great introduction to the incredibly engaging Jesus we find in the Bible. I’ve posted about a sermon of Judah’s before and mentioned how much I admire his unique delivery and style. While different from me in a number of ways, I enjoy his outlook on faith and his understanding of Jesus.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. What I can’t capture is how well Judah’s humor seeps through the content.

In reality, for many people, the greatest hindrance to receiving the grace of God is not their scandalous sins—it’s their empty good deeds.

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