Saturday, November 22, 2008

Genesis 2008

If the book of Genesis was a Facebook page.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"If you are a visitor with this week, this is NOT normal"

I leave for the weekend. Jim's in charge... everything is fine, right?

I text him Sunday afternoon and ask him how the worship times went... how did Saturday go?

Here is the email I get on my iphone:


last night was ok. only about 35 people though. the service seems to be shrinking. not sure why.

this morning was . . . uhmm . . . interesting. first service was fine.

second service we had a "minor disruption." i had to call the police.

seriously. probably a nice weekend to be gone and miss out on the "fun!"

talk to you soon,



Hummm... do I call him and find out what is going on? What do you think I did?

It's not a Central worship service until someone calls the police.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I'm sorry, I have no idea if this is for real.... but I just find it hilarious. For the whole story, go here

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Goodbye Fall

I always miss it when you go.

More on Flickr

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Anti Christ

Hey, this is from Ken Schenck. I said this during my Revelation series, but this guy says it MUCH better than me! (And he was my Greek professor in seminary, so he also says it with more authority as well.)

I have NO IDEA why I'm posting this, I just thought it was interesting.


The Anti-Christ

There's so much talk of Obama being the Antichrist, that I thought I might throw a couple posts that direction.

Some background:

First, this whole idea of an Antichrist comes directly from a set of pre-modern interpretations of several different passages ingeniously woven together in a pre-modern way. By pre-modern, I mean an unreflective reading that is unaware of the difference between how the text is being read and what the text originally meant.

The whole Darby-Hal Lindsey-Tim LaHaye end times scenario weaves together Scriptures from Daniel, Ezekiel, Mark 13/Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2, 1 John, and Revelation ingeniously without

1. ... recognizing that these are different books addressing different situations that use words differently from each other and refer to different times...

2. ... or that these books to a large extent were not addressing today but their own times and situations. We want to leave open the door that some of their material might be addressing today. But our default expectation is that they were actually relevant to the people for whom they were actually written.

I want to reiterate my hermeneutic. To varying degrees, the NT generally does not read the OT in context. Paul can take the story of Sarah and Hagar and say that Sarah allegorically represents the Jerusalem above and Hagar the earthly Jerusalem--when this story is located some 800 years before Jerusalem even existed as an Israelite city. Matthew can see Jesus growing up in Nazareth as a prophetic triangulation of Scriptures like "Samson will be called a Nazirite" and "A branch [nazir] will come from the stump of Jesse."

In short, a Christian hermeneutic should probably allow for strange Spiritual "reader-response" variations like LaHaye. Maybe L & Friends are right and prophetically inspired. At the same time, what I want to point out in this post and a couple more is that 1) their interpretation is vastly unaware of what these texts originally meant and 2) their interpretation is not the long standing interpretation of Christendom. For my three-fold understanding of Christian hermeneutics, see this post.

The title "Antichrist"
This morning I want to start by pointing out that there is nowhere in the Bible where a figure is called the Antichrist. The word comes from 1 John (2:18, 22; 4:3). In 1 John, the term does not refer to a solitary figure who is coming at the end of time:

2:18: "Children, it is the last hour, and even as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come."

2:22: "Who is the liar if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son."

4:3: "And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus [is the Christ] is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, that you have heard is coming and is already now in the world."

The first rule of contextual (original meaning) interpretation is not to see more meaning in a verse than its original context requires. This distinguishes it from "theological interpretation" where one brings a Christian (reader-response) context to bear on the words beyond the original contexts. In this case, neither approach yields the Darbian interpretation.

So we should immediately recognize that 1 John has no teaching about a single figure in the end times who will set himself up in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem as God during a seven year tribulation. It is legitimate to ask whether the "you have heard" element of this passage maps to 2 Thessalonians 2's "man of lawlessness" or Revelation 13 and 17's "beast." But from the standpoint of contextual interpretation, we cannot just assume they are all the same figure.

So what do we notice about these passages in 1 John?

1. The likely antichrists of 1 John have to do with its situation, which we can sketch from comments scattered throughout this homily of sorts. The church in question has undergone a split in the late first century AD. A group of early Gnostics, probably Docetists (who believed Jesus only seemed to be human) have left the church. The references to antichrists more than likely refer directly to them, to people who have been dead for 1900 years.

2. The first reference, "antichrist is coming" does not have the word "the" in front, despite the as usual horribly inadequate NIV. "You have heard that antichrist is coming." The reference is not to one individual but to a type of individual, as the next sentence indicates, "Many antichrists have come."

3. Who is such an antichrist: "the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ." It would thus seem that there are a lot of antichrists in the world today. 1 John knows nothing, though, about a single Antichrist.

So ironically, the only place where the actual word "Antichrist" is used in the Bible has nothing to do with any solitary end times figure.

I might add in closing today as well that the "last hour" John is talking about was 1900 years ago. Of course a last hour can last 2000 years. In which case there have been many antichrists these last few minutes.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Does this scare anyone else?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Not just in the US

I'm glad to know that other worlds are in this battle too.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Remember: "Paul for President!"

Last minute incentive!

Lydia just told me that she would be my running mate!

She will now type her name:


Remember, vote early, vote often!

Final Reminder

No matter who you vote for today... um...just go vote for me. Remember: Paul Risler for President!

Even if you have a lapse of judgement and vote for someone other than me... just go vote. I have installed a device on my blog that will not let you read it unless you vote. It will also call you "stupid!" when you go to my homepage. Just make sure your volume is turned up.

And for those who already voted, I thank you for your support.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Okay, this is funny.