Friday, May 20, 2011

Party at the End of the World

So, this has been knocking around in my head for a little while now, and I figured I'd better go ahead and write it before it became another one of those posts I didn't get around to writing until the occasion for it had past (there are literally DOZENS of these; I'm such a horrible blogger it isn't even funny).

So, as you may or may not have heard, there is a small group of Christians, led by one Harold Camping, who believe that tomorrow, Saturday, the 21st of May 2011, is the end of the world. More precisely, the Rapture (wherein God takes all the faithful to heaven prior to the Tribulation) is tomorrow; I gather the final end won't be until sometime in October.

Pretty much everybody on the internet - at least, all the bloggers I read - has drawn attention to several significant weak points in Mr. Camping's theology. That's not really what I'm interested in. Leaving aside the question of whether a Rapture of the sort expected by Dispensationalist theology is actually Biblical (I'm convinced it isn't), leaving aside the fact that the New Testament explicitly and repeatedly warns against attempts to know the timing of the Second Coming, leaving aside that every single prediction of said Second Coming has been wrong, and leaving aside the fact that Mr. Camping himself made such a prediction in 1994 that was, of course, wrong; leaving all that aside, there is one aspect of Biblical teaching that Mr. Camping has ignored, but that really ought to keep him up nights. The Bible - Old and New Testaments - has strong words of caution for those who would teach, and harsh words for those who teach falsely. God, from what the Bible tells us, is highly concerned that those who lead His people lead them rightly, and gets particularly angry with those who lead them wrongly.

In Deuteronomy 18 the people are warned to look out for prophets whose prophecy does not come true. If such a person appears in their midst - someone who claims to speak for God but whose prophecies do not come true - that person is to be put to death, because he has tried to lead God's people astray. Jesus in Matthew 23 speaks harshly to those whom he calls "blind guides" - teachers who claim to lead God's people yet teach wrongly. James 3 opens with an admonition that "Not many of you ought to become teachers," because "we will receive greater judgment."

Now, I'm not suggesting that we stone Mr. Camping (tempting as it may be) for claiming to speak for God when he really doesn't and for claiming to know what the Bible explicitly says is unknowable. The point is that in addition to being, frankly, a fool, he also plainly cannot take his position as a teacher of God's people seriously, else he would be far more cautious about spreading this nonsense.

Frankly, I find the whole thing rather depressing. I feel bad for the people who follow him. Some of these people have left everything to follow him and spread his silliness, and they're headed for a potentially catastrophic disappointment. How many of them will have their faith irreparably damaged? How many of their children will grow up to scorn Christianity? Should they (the adults, at least) know better? Yeah, they should. But there are always people who will follow any ridiculous path set for them. The fact that Mr. Camping has found them and fooled them so thoroughly is his fault, far more than theirs. What will be really interesting to me is what he says on Sunday morning. Will he repent and recant, as he should, or will he come up with some ridiculous explanation as to why he wasn't really wrong? My money's on the latter.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Quick Review: OtterBox Defender for iPad

Over the weekend I discovered that AT&T was selling certain iPad cases (first generation iPad only) for $5. So I bought three (and with a coupon code from DealsPlus, got them for $3.75 each). The first to arrive was the OtterBox Defender.

I've had OtterBox cases on two different iPhones now, but but they've both been the mid-level Commuter line. I love the Commuters, but The Defender series is much thicker and more robust, and has always seemed a bit much for a phone, I thought.

The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the iPad case was the weight. The thing is heavy. Since the first gen iPad is a bit weighty, too, this makes a pretty significant difference. Conversely, it's also extremely sturdy. The install was easy, though it took several steps. Now that it's on, though, I feel a lot better about how safe my iPad is than I did when all I had on it was the Apple-manufactured folio case.

Pros: I'm pretty sure my iPad is bullet proof now.

Cons: I'm also pretty sure you could tie it to somebody's leg and throw them in the river, and they'd drown. Also, it only props up at one angle, which is great for watching a video, but not for typing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Inability to understand a phenomenon or a concept is not necessarily a criterion of its truthfulness."
-Richard Carlson & Tremper Longman, Science, Creation, and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Creation.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Sign of Authority

So, I'm currently reading an interesting little book by Craig Keener (who'll be coming to Asbury to teach this summer; very exciting), Paul, Women & Wives, in which he discusses various passages relating to gender roles within the church. In chapter 1 he works through 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, which discusses women wearing head coverings in the church. Several times in the discussion he makes reference to verse 10 demonstrating that a woman has authority over what she wears on her head. This is a fairly striking claim if you read, well, pretty much any translation of this passage ever, because they all say something along the lines of "therefore a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head" (NASB). So, being a good little Bible student, I flipped open my Greek New Testament. It turns out that there is nothing in the Greek text corresponding to "sign" or "symbol." The translations all get "symbol/sign of authority" from the word εξουσια [exousia]

The weird thing about that is that, unless I am very much mistaken, εξουσια never means "symbol of authority." Rather it just means "authority." So far as I am aware, if it means "symbol of authority" here, this is the only place in all of Greek literature where it has that meaning. So, as Keener points out, the most natural reading of the Greek in this verse is "a woman ought to have authority over her own head."

Now, I'm not the type to just assume that I'm right and those responsible for every English translation (and one French!) I was able to lay hands on are all wrong. But. The way I read the Greek text, the "symbol of authority" translation is awfully difficult to defend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad