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Four Views on the Historical Adam, Matthew Barrett and Ardel B. Caneday, general editors. Stanley N. Gundry, series editor. Zondervan, 2013.

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts concerned with Christian questions about evolution. One of the biggest questions is what to do about Adam and Eve. In my last post I said the Bible teaches that God reveals himself to man in two ways. One is through Scripture (the Bible) and the other is through what we observe in nature (using science). I then compared the stories of the creation of mankind in the two books. While there are apparent differences between the two stories, there must be a way of reconciling these differences since they both come from God.

Reconciling the two stories

The two stories raise several types of questions.

  1. The origin of humans. Was this due to special creation by God or was it due to God guided evolution. If evolution, then in what sense is mankind set apart from the rest of creation and in what sense are humans created in the image of God?
  2. Adam and Eve. Were they real people and was Adam the father of all humankind?
  3. The doctrine of the Fall. Are Adam and Eve essential to the Bible’s central storyline of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation? Is Paul’s teaching about the representative roles of Adam and Jesus essential to the understanding of the origin of sin and the redemption from sin? Does the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and their fall communicate real history or does it simply communicate timeless truths?
  4. The relationship between God’s two books of revelation. Does one have primacy over the other or is it possible to settle the apparent conflict in a way that respects both sources of revelation?

The way that I want to address these questions is through the review of a book entitled Four Views of the Historical Adam (Zondervan, 2013). There are a spectrum of views among Evangelical Christians about how to reconcile the story from Scripture with the story from nature. This book presents essays from four Biblical scholars who represent the four major Evangelical positions. Continue Reading…

Book Review: A Praying Life

Bob Trube —  April 15, 2014 — 1 Comment

Nearly every Christian I know, and perhaps those of other faiths as well, feel they are rank beginners in this matter of prayer. It is not only the making of time and space for prayer in our lives, but also confronting the distractions we face when we pray, the struggle to figure out what we ought say, and wondering whether we will be heard–is anyone there?

I cannot say A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World was the best book on prayer I’ve read. I would give pride of place to Ole Hallesby’s Prayer and John White’s Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer. However this is a very practical guide to prayer that many will find helpful because of how open and vulnerable the author is about his own prayer journey.

One of the big issues Miller deals with in this book is our prevailing cynicism about prayer that prevents us from trusting God with the most basic details of our lives. Does God really care? Can God really do anything? His most powerful example of overcoming this is describing his prayer journey in praying for his daughter Kim, who suffers from a developmental disability. Continue Reading…

Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Qur’an and Bible Study Guide by Barbara Hampton (Dialogue to Witness Press, 2014).

While scholars and pundits debate whether in fact we are facing a “Clash of Civilizations” (in Samuel Huntington’s words) between the West and Islam, there is a different kind of encounter that is possible in universities in many parts of the world. Christians and Muslims attend classes together, form friendships, compete on intramural teams, and stay up late together sometimes, talking about the deepest questions. While such conversations can’t resolve the violent clashes occurring elsewhere, no one knows what might happen where conversations of respect and mutual understanding across religious differences occur.

Barbara Hampton has given us a wonderful resource to foster such conversations in her study guide, Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Bible and Qur’an Study Guide. . . . — From Review: Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Bible and Qur’an Study Guide by Bob Trube (Bob on Books, 2/18/2014).

Inspired by Bob’s review I contacted Barbara J. Hampton to learn more about the story behind and the content in her new publication. What a privilege to share this interview with the Emerging Scholars Network.

Tom: Why did you write Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Qur’an and Bible Study Guide? What is the story behind its publication?

Barbara: In 2000, as an adjunct at the College of Wooster (Ohio) where my husband was in the math department and we were faculty advisors to Wooster Christian Fellowship, I was teaching a First Year Seminar (FYS) with the theme of “Voices of Conscience in the 20th Century.” One of the speakers at our public lecture series connected to FYS was the president of Planned Parenthood. I couldn’t teach that topic without voicing my own conscience and so planned a silent prayer vigil of protest. This generated a lot of anxiety and discussion on campus (a story in its own right), but an unexpected outcome of that was a Pakistani alumna reading about it in the student newspaper. She emailed me and suggested that I would make a good Muslim since I was pro-life and would I like to convert! I answered that I would be delighted to learn about Islam if I could share about Christianity. And so began our email “dialogue.” From there, with much study along the way, I designed a set of lessons for my church’s adult Sunday school focusing in on several primary doctrines of Christianity and Islam. Continue Reading…