Did Adam and Eve really exist? This is a question that's stimulating a lot of debate these days. Tim Keller writes:
[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority. If Adam doesn't exist, Paul's whole argument—that both sin and grace work 'covenantally'—falls apart. You can't say that 'Paul was a man of his time' but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don't believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul's teaching.
On the other hand, when asked if all humans descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a professor of biology at Trinity Western University, replied, “That would be against all the genomics evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all."
How can we make sense of this important and contentious issue?
Join us for the next Toronto Theology Pub. Stan Fowler, professor at Heritage Seminary, will be leading this discussion. The pub takes place next Monday, Novemer 28 at 7:00 p.m. at The Bishop and Belcher in downtown Toronto. More details here. Please email me to let me know you're coming.
I can't remember exactly when I started reading ChristianWeek. I think it was around 1989 when I was a student pastor at Runnymede Baptist Church. I do remember becoming a fan, and I've been reading ever since.
Almost six years ago I got a call from Doug Koop, the editor of ChristianWeek. He asked me if I'd consider writing a column for the paper. Here's what he wrote:
What are some of the key issues challenging effective and appropriate Christian witness in Canada today and down the road a bit? How can we respond most faithfully and constructively?
Part of the mandate of ChristianWeek is to highlight current indicators of effective ministry in our changing culture. In the end, we need to communicate our solid confidence that God is more than equal to the brokenness of our society. We are a people of hope regardless of external circumstances.
I'm grateful to Doug for taking a chance on me and allowing me to write for one of my favorite publications.
When I went on sabbatical last year, Doug was quick to allow me to learn from his own sabbatical experience.
I could go on. I'm a fan of Doug and his newspaper.
Doug announced yesterday that he's going to be leaving ChristianWeek. I want to pay tribute to a man who's poured a good deal of his life into something worthwhile, something that's been a huge help to me. I haven't thanked him enough. I know I'm going to miss him.
I'm grateful for Doug and for his all of his work at ChristianWeek these past 25 years.
Amazon announced today that they're doing for books what Apple has done for music. iTunes Match stores your entire collection of music in the cloud, including music you've ripped off CDs or purchased somewhere other than iTunes. Now Amazon is copying with something they call Kindle Match.
How does it work? It's simple. Buy a book of matches and burn your paper library. Buy the equivalent Kindle versions from Amazon and viola, you're entire library is now available in the cloud for use on your Kindle.
Early users have experienced some problems. "It's wise to make sure a Kindle version exists before you go and burn your paper copy," one said. Please also note that there's no way to transfer your notes and markings from your burned books to the electronic versions. The cost of this service will vary based on the size of your library.
Still, it's worth checking out. If you try this exciting new service, leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
Here are some tools that I'm finding helpful in my devotional life.
I try to read the entire Bible once every year. I generally try a different reading plan each time to keep things fresh.
I'm really excited about the Read the Bible for Life Initiative, and this chronological daily Bible is the one I'll be using in 2012.
Reading God's Story features two-color interior page layout and is organized into 52 weeks of readings (six readings per week). It presents Scripture in three main acts (God's Plan for All People; God's Covenant People; God's New Covenant People) and seventeen total scenes, providing an introduction for each act and scene to orient the reader to its importance in the grand story. Unlike other chronological Bibles, this arrangement is not date specific (e.g. "January 1"), so a person can begin using this edition at any point in the calendar year.
If you read Scotty Smith's blog, then you know what to expect from this book. Everyday Prayers is a daily injection of the gospel into your prayer life. Each day includes a prayer based on a portion of Scripture. I find that this book helps prime the pump for my own prayers. It's something that I'm using every day in my own prayer life.
Journaling isn't for everyone, according to D.A. Carson, and I agree. But I find journaling to be helpful. I record some of my thoughts and prayers in Moleskines like this. It's just the right size -- not too big to be intimidating, not too small to be constraining.
Challies put me on to this iPhone app. It organizes your prayer requests into categories, and cycles through the items in each category on a regular basis. I find myself adding items often. It sounds so geeky to pray using an app, but it's been a big help to me.
This free PDF is a prayer manual put together by my friend Tim Kerr. It contains over 1,600 verses you can use in your prayers. Tim writes, "Many years ago I discovered a precious truth regarding prayer: God loves to hear his own words prayed back to him!" This is a great resource for your prayer life.
What tools have you found useful?