Resolving “Yanny” vs. “Laurel”

It seems like every so often, some perceptual illusion goes viral on the Internet.  A few years back, it was whether the dress was black with blue stripes or gold with white stripes.  Yesterday, I started encountering a recording which, when played, sounds either like “Yanny” or “Laurel”, depending on who you are.  I’m Team Laurel, by the way, which I suppose means that you hear “Laurel” if your three-year-old son ruined your hearing by repeatedly sneaking up behind you and screaming in your ear.  Thanks, Marky!

Such differences in perspective are trivial, but similar differences emerge in the critically important realm of understanding God’s word.  For instance, a week or two ago, I put up a sermon manuscript in which I argued that in the Exodus account, God began actively hardening Pharaoh’s heart sometime in Exodus 9.  However, I have some friends who are hardly Biblical lightweights who see things differently.  They think God began to harden Pharaoh’s heart from the very beginning of his encounters with Moses.  We’re reading the same text, we agree on what each verse says, but we disagree on what it means.

How do we handle that? Continue reading


More Bible or Better Hermeneutics?


As I noted yesterday, my recent claim that more Bible is the solution to the problems of the church attracted some disagreement.  The comments I fielded in that blog post were similar to each other, but this one makes a different kind of argument.  It reads, Continue reading

More Bible or More Virtue?

Last week, I wrote about the problem of the development of authoritative tradition within churches of Christ.  Though I don’t believe that either I or anyone else know the extent of this problem, I think few would dispute its existence.  I suggested that the cure for the disease was, simply, more Bible.  The more we are willing to return to the word and the word only, the more we are willing to follow wherever it leads, the more we will move away from human tradition.

As a rule, simple solutions to complicated problems are either elegant or (more commonly) simplistic.  Not surprisingly, I collected some thoughtful comments that suggested that I had fallen into the latter error.  With the commenters’ permission, I’m going to address two of them in this post.  They are as follows: Continue reading

Additional Bible Reading

Good Morning, Dear Brethren,

After doing my Bible reading for the week, I am reminded of how rich and important the book of Numbers is to understanding the difficulties the children of Israel faced as they made their way to the land of Canaan. In chapters 13 and 14, we see why God sentenced every Israelite (20 years and up) to wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and never reaching the Promised Land. An entire generation (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua), would die in the wilderness because they lacked faith and trust in God.

After reading Numbers 11-14 and 23 already this week, it occurred to me that many of the chapters in between contain critical information that we don’t need to overlook. When putting this schedule together, I tried to make it very doable and convenient for us all. Reading one chapter a day five days a week should not be very hard to do.

That being said, before you read Numbers 23 on Friday, I want to ask you to please read some additional chapters this week. This will take an additional few minutes to do each day, but I promise you, you won’t regret it. These additional chapters are critical to the story of Israel’s journey to Canaan. The additional chapters are as follows: Continue reading