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Extracurricular Activities — January 11, 2014
Biblical Archaeology discoveries made in 2013 have given us new information about biblical events and people. This list is subjective, and based on news reports rather than peer-reviewed articles in scientific publications.
These discoveries illustrate the important work that goes on at excavations across Israel every year, and just scratch the surface of what has been found in 2013. Quite possibly a decade from now, with added perspective and more digging, the most important discoveries of 2013 may look different than this list.
Apparently, Bible reading is way down in churches [writes Peter Enns], and Biblica has dug into finding out why. Here’s what I learned at the conference I attended last week sponsored by Biblica...
Bible reading is down because people read it
- in fragments,
- in isolation...
If you are listening to the theological discussions today the magical term is no longer “deity” but “identity.” So I’m happy to see Mike Bird, in his Evangelical Theology, open up the [chapter] that talks about the deity of Christ [“The Story of Jesus and the Identity of God”], with these words:
The gospel preaching in the NT nowhere makes explicit that Jesus is a divine person, coequal with the Father in being from all eternity, sharing in one divine substance.
OK, that’s a rather bold statement but once you read it you have to say, “Of course, those terms aren’t used.” He goes on...
Justin Taylor Asks, "What Would Jonathan Edwards Say If a Teenage Girl Wrote to Him for Spiritual Advice?"
In early April of 1741, the pastor of the church in Suffield (then part of Massachusetts, now part of Connecticut) passed away. On April 14, Jonathan Edwards filled the pulpit, and the church experienced an awakening to the things of the gospel. (Just three months later he would preach his famous sermon on “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in neighboring Enfield, just 10 miles to the east across the Connecticut River.)
Six weeks after his return to Northampton from Suffield, he received a letter from 18-year-old Deborah Hatheway, who had been recently converted (perhaps under his preaching at her church) and wrote to him for spiritual counsel on how to live as a Christian. This letter (reprinted below from the Yale edition), was later published as Advice to Young Converts and became Edwards’s most famous printed work (after Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God), with hundred of thousands printed. It is an interesting window into Edwards’s gentle and pastoral tone with young people in particular.
Nestled on a remote hillside overlooking Axe Valley in Devonshire, England, is a small, nondescript church building. A few weatherworn gravestones surround it, many of them nearly toppled over. The roof has been thatched again and again, its walls have been repaired repeatedly through its many years. The Loughwood Meeting House has stood here since the late 1600’s and it represents one of the oldest surviving Baptist meeting houses in all the world. In this series which looks at The History of Christianity in 25 Objects, the Loughwood Meeting House points us to the existence and the rise of the earliest Baptists.
Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.
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