What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? As usual, here’s a few which have been on our mind. Let us know your thoughts on any/all of them. If you have items you’d like us to consider for the top five, add them in the comments or send them to Tom or Mike.
1. The Jesus We’ll Never Know: Why scholarly attempts to discover the ‘real’ Jesus have failed. And why that’s a good thing (Scot McKnight, Christianity Today, 4/9/2010). Responses: N. T. Wright: We Do Need History, Craig Keener: Jesus Studies Matter, and Darrell Bock: We Need Context.
This is what I said to myself: As a historian I think I can prove that Jesus died and that he thought his death was atoning. I think I can establish that the tomb was empty and that resurrection is the best explanation for the empty tomb. But one thing the historical method cannot prove is that Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification. At some point, historical methods run out of steam and energy. Historical Jesus studies cannot get us to the point where the Holy Spirit and the church can take us. I know that once I was blind and that I can now see. I know that historical methods did not give me sight. They can’t. Faith cannot be completely based on what the historian can prove. The quest for the real Jesus, through long and painful paths, has proven that much — Scot McKnight.
2. Reporting on the Oral Arguments of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (UC-Hastings): After Media Weighs In, Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in ‘CLS v. Martinez’ (William Creeley, FIRE, 4/19/2010), Court Weighs Rights Of Campus Religious Groups (Nina Totenberg, NPR, 4/19/2010), Supreme Court considers California law school’s discrimination policy (Robert Barnes, Washington Post, 4/20/2010). For transcripts of the oral arguments and more background on the case visit the Christian Legal Society (CLS) resource page.
3. Need more N. T. Wright in your life? The 2010 Wheaton Theology Conference — Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright — took place last weekend, featuring N. T. Wright, Richard Hays, Edith Humphrey, Jeremy Begbie, Kevin Vanhoozer, and others. Download audio and video from the conference website.
4. If you came to Following Christ 2008, you might remember the powerful interview with Harvard Law professor William J. Stuntz — delivered by video because Professor Stuntz is dying of cancer. Read this Weekly Standard’s report of a recent tribute to this “gentleman-scholar” at Harvard, including a toast from someone who might soon be a Supreme Court Justice:
At the dinner for speakers on the first day of the event, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, former dean of Harvard Law School, ended her toast to Stuntz by saying, “Bill, I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time,” a reference to his standard modest farewell to a colleague with whom he has initiated a conversation. When contacted for this article, Stuntz responded in character: “I am a little embarrassed because I don’t believe my work merits this much attention, but I took a lot of pleasure in it as it allowed me to see and interact with old friends.”
5. If you are anywhere near Orange County, CA, set aside May 2 for Dallas Willard’s lecture “The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge” at UC-Irvine. Here’s a brief description:
Moral knowledge deals with “the thoughts and intents of the heart,” with a person’s character, and with good and evil. But can the moral life really be a subject of knowledge, or only of tradition, sentiment, and opinion or “faith”? This talk will draw upon themes from Professor Willard’s forthcoming book, The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge.
Sounds like a great event. (HT: Joseff via Facebook)
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!