Every time I blog that thing – I blog


A Personal Word from Gary Shogren

Gary ShogrenIn addition to the articles that are cross published here at CMC I have been writing two theology blogs (Open My Eyes Lord and Razon de la esperanza) for the past three years, receiving a fair number of hits per month. In part I have my friend Mark S. to thank for this, since he convinced me that blogging was not necessarily, as I had thought, an exercise in narcissism.
In my day-to-day life, when a student asks me a question, I rarely blurt out a ready answer. I need to think, plus I’m a fanatic about presenting both sides of an issue and then demonstrating why I hold to an opinion.
Pound for pound, my blog posts are more direct, assured, and yes, dogmatic, compared with how I speak face to face. I trust that I am not one whose letters are weighty and strong, but whose presence is weak; rather, the blogging medium requires sharper argumentation.
Why the bolder style?
First, in my blogs I write only on themes which appeal to me for some reason, typically because I have a firm opinion on them or because no-one is saying what needs to be said. Why bother to write that “I’m 55%-45% on this issue” or just to chime in to say “I agree with so-and-so”?
Second, I have had plenty of time to think, write, and ask others for their thoughts before I publish. I maintain an “Ideas” file, so that the majority of my posts have been “simmering” on the back burner for months or even years. Some essays are adapted from books I have written.
Third, none of my posts in their current edition are the same as when they first went out. I usually update them as soon as I get feedback, typically to clarify a point here or to anticipate an objection there.
I love the joke, What do you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah’s Witness? Someone who knocks at your door for no reason. When people write a blog, they should have a better reason than just checking in.
~ Gary
Visit Dr Shogren’s blog to comment on his article.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://christmycovenant.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/cmc-gary-shogren-sm.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Copyright Gary Shogren.
Gary has a PhD in New Testament Exegesis. He serves as Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San Jose, Costa Rica[/author_info] [/author]
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Christ Crucified…

… A Counter-Cultural Concept

1 Corinthians 1:20-24 ESV
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men…

In 1 Cor 1:22 Paul summarizes what the people of his day were basically looking for in the realm of religion and philosophy.
According to Paul, the Jews as a whole were into miraculous signs.
They wanted God to do something spectacular, like what God had done to Pharaoh at the time of the exodus. They wanted God to act to save his people from the oppression of their enemies, and they understood that this required the exercise of powerful miracles.
The Greeks, on the other hand, were into philosophy.
They were lovers of wisdom. They had their schools of philosophy and rhetoric. They had their centers of learning and science.
But countering the Jewish desire for power and the Greek desire for wisdom, God deliberately did something incredible from the cultural perspective of both Jews and Greeks: God came into the world in human form as the Christ, only to be nailed to a cross. At the heart of the gospel stands Christ crucified. And this is the message that Paul and the apostles proclaimed: God incarnate was nailed to a Roman cross.
As an idea, this was literally incredible to most Jews and Greeks.
Messiah CrucifiedTo the Jews who wanted miraculous signs of God’s power to save, a crucified messiah was no better than a dead dog. A crucified messiah is both useless as well as scandalous. So scandalous in fact that the majority of the Jews of Paul’s day simply could not accept the idea. The idea of a crucified messiah was a stumbling block to them (1 Cor 1:23).
And to the Greeks who were into wisdom, the story of a god (who is supposed to be the one true God) dying on a cross was pure foolishness (1 Cor 1:23). Do you Christians really believe that stuff? Do you really believe that the one true God came into the world in order to be crucified? What an absurd philosophy!
But to those whom God has called, to those whose eyes God has opened to understand the truth, whether Jewish or Greek, or whatever nationality, Christ crucified is indeed God’s power and wisdom (1 Cor 1:24).
The Jews were looking for power; the Greeks for wisdom.
But they were looking for these things in all the wrong places. The cross is where they should have been looking, for Christ crucified is the answer. In Christ crucified, we have God’s power and God’s wisdom on display.
Readers are invited to comment on Steven’s post.

Steven Coxhead has served as a visiting lecturer in Hebrew and the Old Testament at the Sydney Missionary and Bible College since 2002. He also teaches Johannine Theology and the Old Testament at the Wesley Institute in Sydney. In addition he has worked as a part-time lecturer at the Presbyterian Theological Centre in Sydney from 2002–2010, teaching the Old Testament, Romans, John’s Gospel, Biblical Hebrew, and New Testament Greek. He has had experience teaching Old Testament, New Testament, and Systematic Theology in South-East Asia.