Who Are You Following?

As I mowed the lawn this evening a trio of children traipsed behind me in varying degrees of imitation. Ethan, our second child, with a toy lawn mower, our third child with a hockey stick—clearly an imitation weed whacker—and our youngest with a scarf around her neck—the logic of which escapes me, but must have been clear to her two-year-old mind.

At one point as they jockeyed for the position closest to me I heard someone say,

I’m the leader!

This struck me as an interesting perspective given that they were all following me up one row and down the next. I wonder if this is what we sometimes do to our Lord? There is often precisely this kind of discussion happening in blogs and blog comments, as “followers” vie for the veracity of their pet teacher.

…For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:3-11 ESV)

Summary Rebuttal of Viola’s Pagan Christianity

Ben Witherington has written a lengthy series of rebuttals to Frank Viola’s re-release of his 2002 book Pagan Christianity, this time in conjunction with George Barna and Tyndale House. 

I’m not joking when I said “lengthy”, the entire series of reviews actually comprises 14 blog posts (and covers more than just the book Pagan Christianity), but for those of you looking for a brief summary, I found an excellent paragraph by Witherington in the comments on his last post specific to PC. He does an excellent job of summarizing the basic problem with Viola’s views.

I do understand their [Viola,  Barna, Zens] frustration with some forms of the institutional church. What they do not seem to grasp is that what they are suggesting is certainly not any more Biblical in various regards. It becomes clearer and clearer that if 1 Corinthians wasn’t in our canon, they would have no basis for much of the way that they envision church happening. And they are prepared to ignore the evidence of Jesus teaching his disciples not only things like a particular prayer to repeat, or a particular model of leadership which not only allows for ministerial support, but in fact says quite specifically the minister is worthy of such support, they are guilty of over-exegeting their key texts so that it would appear that spontaneity is what God most wants in worship, and hierarchial leadership was forbidden. This certainly was not the apostle Paul’s view not least because he was the hierarchial leader who was telling them how to conduct their worship and fellowship gatherings– and he expected to be obeyed!