Crumbs from the Reading Table highlights articles and essays for the interested reader. Hopefully, these short reads are encouraging and concise for those who have a busy schedule but want to learn. We nibble on some science, principles of worship, and health this time around.
Hydroplate-Theory: quenching a seeking mind’s thirst
Dr. Walter Brown is an interesting character in the science realm. He earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. On his website, Brown has an open invitation to a debate that only focuses on the scientific proof for the hydroplate-theory, and will not include theological topics. However, some have said that once a debate offer with him is accepted, he adds more requirements. For example, the moderator sits on his side, speaks first at the debate, etc. Regardless of his personality (proven or unproven), the work itself should be examined. I tentatively hold to the theory. The article summarizing the theory by Martin Selbrede is a must-read. The explanation for the separation of landmasses, worldwide flood, underground water pools, etc. cohere well with the Biblical worldview.
If you want to read the latest edition of Brown’s, In The Beginning, it’s free!
Schlissel on the Regulative Principle
In a large series, published in the Chalcedon Magazine back in the ’90s, Steve Schlissel slowly takes apart the standard definition of the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) among reformed Christians. He shows that many of their proof texts prove too much. Or, given the context of the verse, actually prove the opposite.
Regarding the temple and NT worship, he writes,
In saying that our model is the synagogue, we do not overlook temple-like features metaphorically ascribed to the church and/or its service. These are many. Yet these apply to, and are found ascribed to, individual Christians as well. But when we look for the organizational and liturgical antecedents of the church, we find them in the synagogue. (Looking to the Temple, especially for the latter, we remind you, is precisely the error of Rome.)
The very existence of the synagogue, however, undoes the regulativist’s position! For he knows that synagogues existed. And he knows that Christ and the apostles regularly worshipped at synagogues without so much as a breath of suggestion that they were institutionally or liturgically illegitimate. And he knows that he cannot find so much as a sliver of a divine commandment concerning what ought to be done in the synagogue. And, according to his principle, if God commanded naught concerning what ought to be done, then all was forbidden. And if all was forbidden then the whole of it — institution and liturgy — was a sinful abomination. But that brings him back to Christ’s attending upon the service of God there and Christ’s following its liturgy: did he sin by participating in an entire order of worship that was without express divine warrant? The thought is blasphemy!
But for us the synagogue presents no problem at all. We find that it is sacrificial worship only, from Deuteronomy 12 on, that is absolutely restricted in regard to place, performers and particulars. Such restrictions never governed common sacred assemblies.
The whole series helps to understand how the church gathered should be informed by Scripture in its worship. Hint, it isn’t by looking at the Tabernacle or Temple, but at the synagogue and its operation.
Of course, this attacks something near and dear to the hearts of many in the reformed camp. Here are some responses to the critiques from GI Williamson and Brian Schwertley. The fun just keeps coming with this delicious morsel of a crumb!
Guilt manipulation, missing the point, and vaccinations
Not too long ago, there was an article written by Joe Carter for The Gospel Coalition called The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About Vaccines. There were quite a few inaccuracies in this article. Sloppy research evaluating the arguments against vaccination, seemingly telling the church that it is okay to excommunicate for non-vaccination, etc.
Thankfully, Jordan Wilson wrote a well-researched series (introduction post found here) of articles in response to Joe Carter. Wilson focuses on critical issues that were glossed over by Carter. To get a taste, look at the titles of the articles in the series:
- Vaccines & Aborted Babies: Should Christians be Concerned?
- Are Vaccines What Saved Us from Epidemics of Infectious Disease?
- Is the US Vaccination Program Safe?
- What About Herd Immunity?
- Are Vaccine Skeptics Conspiracy Theorists?
If you are starting to ask questions about how the Bible should inform our opinions on vaccines, jurisprudence, government-mandated substances, etc. then check out the series. This series later led to a sermon preached by Jason Garwood on the subject and the creation of a website called No Deception.