Jeremy Jernigan Posts

How Should We Respond to Eugene Peterson?

How Should We Respond to Eugene Peterson?

***Update: Eugene Peterson has retracted his remark and clarified his stance on gay marriage (see: Actually, Eugene Peterson Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage).***

You may or may not be aware of the recent controversy about Eugene Peterson twirling faster than a fidget spinner among Christians in America this week. In case you are unsure of who that is, Peterson is the one who translated the Message version of the Bible (by himself). He’s the author of many books and a revered pastor for decades. And until this week, he would likely have been widely considered one of the most respected Christian leaders in America.

So what changed?

In an interview with Jonathan Merritt, Peterson briefly discusses his changed view on homosexuality and the Bible, even stating that he would perform a gay wedding (see: RNS blog). The interview is worth reading in its brief entirety. It feels less like Peterson takes a bold stand and more like he thinks we should downplay this topic. My reaction to this controversy has everything to do with Christians’ response to him and little to do with his answers. That doesn’t mean I’d answer the questions the way he did. But the far bigger problem in my view is how we handle the diversity of thought on non-essential issues like this (meaning these are not salvation-level views concerning our beliefs in Jesus).

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Cross Vision

Greg Boyd spent the last ten years working on a book that reconciles the violence of God in the Old Testament with Jesus in the New Testament. As you might imagine, that is no small challenge to tackle. Earlier this year he released a scholarly version called Crucifixion of the Warrior God. At nearly 1500 pages, you might want to consider whether you can afford to neglect your family and friends long enough to read through it. But I’ve got good news for you! Greg will soon be releasing a popular (and dramatically shorter) version of the book in August called Cross Vision (at just 260 pages).

Greg has been a personal mentor to me over the last few years, and I had the opportunity to read early copies of both books. I even had the privilege of writing an endorsement for the version coming out in August. Of my list of my twelve favorite theology books of all time, four of them are written by Greg (see: Top 12 Theology Books). If you’ve never read one of his books, you simply have no idea what you’re missing. Cross Vision will be one I buy for many people to read over the years. I literally cannot hype this book enough.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book to give you a feel for it. These are from the early manuscript I read so there may be some discrepancies from the final version.

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The Jernigans are Moving!

The Jernigans are Moving!

Back in March I wrote about our realization that God was calling my family to a new season of ministry (see: Big News for Our Family). You might recall that while I sensed God nudging us forward, I had no idea yet of where that might lead us. I’m beyond stoked to have that next detail to share now!

Beginning in August, I will serve as the Lead Pastor of Abundant Life Church. ALC has three campuses outside of Portland, Oregon. I have the incredible opportunity to become just the second Lead Pastor of the church in its three decades. Pastor George Powell and his wife Ann planted the church twenty-eight years ago and have sensed God leading them into a new season in their lives. God has given Michelle and me a great love and heart for Portland and we look forward to serving these communities with a new church family. One of the things that Pastor George shared recently describes how we have all felt through this process:

“What I’ve discovered in this process is what I have always felt would be true . . . that when the time came that Ann and I felt we should pass the baton of leadership, God would have been working way upstream of us preparing the couple that He has raised up for this ministry.”

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The Prophetic Imagination

Every now and then I come across a book that seems to speak the language of my soul. Where the words connect on a deeper level than normal and it feels like reading someone else’s profound articulations of thoughts you’ve felt emerging inside you. As should be expected, it is rare to find books like this. I was beyond excited to read Walter Brueggemann’s book, The Prophetic Imagination, originally written in the 1970s. It has since been revised and I easily rated this a five on my reading list this year.

Brueggemann explores the role of the prophetic voice throughout the scriptures and invites the church to continue living out this role in any culture today. He sets it up like this: “the essential question for the church is whether or not its prophetic voice has been co-opted into the culture of the day.” When we live out this role, we as the church “will be prophetic voices crying out in the wilderness of the dominant culture of our day.” While the book itself is not all that long, it is a deep dive into ideas which call us to question many accepted norms around us. This is a much-needed read for the American church. Below are a few of my favorite ideas from the book.

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Easter Reflections

Easter Reflections

I’ve always been a fan of words. The right words communicate subtle nuances in addition to the obvious message. But we can also arrive at misunderstandings through words as well. Consider a popular expression which Christians use at Easter (you’ll likely hear it this weekend if you attend a church service): “He is risen.” To which the reply is, “He is risen indeed.”

It’s worth noting the language the New Testament writers used when describing the resurrection. They often describe how Jesus was raised to life. Depending on the context, it might read as “be raised,” (Mt. 16:21, 20:19; Lk. 9:22, 24:7) “was raised,” (Jn. 2:22, 21:14)  “been raised” (Mt 17:9, 27:64), or specifically that “God raised” (Acts 2:24, 2:32, 3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 13:34, 13:37). Those are just the examples through the book of Acts.

The point is that Jesus didn’t do it Himself. We might imagine Jesus naturally rising from the dead on His own timing and power. Like it was the inevitable reaction to His dead body lying there for three days. “Oh look, He is risen!” Yet that’s not how the text reads. The Father raised Him to life through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s actually a beautiful picture of the Trinity. Consider a couple of passages that highlight this aspect:

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Top 20 Quotes from Catalyst West (2017)

Top 20 Quotes from Catalyst West (2017)

This is part of a series of posts on 20 quotes. Click here to see others.

I had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst West conference this week with some of the team from Central. I’ve had the chance to become friends with the President of Catalyst and that has made these experiences even more special. Catalyst is a great shot in the arm of encouragement and connection with other church leaders.

Below I’ve selected twenty of my favorite quotes from the event. Each of these quotes is my best representation in writing of what they said verbally or a summary thereof. Any errors in wording are my own.

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