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the archives near Emmaus

a biblioblog from 2009-2014

About

This is the biblioblog of Brian LePort and JohnDave Medina. Brian is a ThM student at Western Seminary in Portland, OR. In addition to this he writes for the Examiner-Portland for the Religion and Spirituality section on issues related to evangelical culture (see articles here). You can visit his personal blog at le portland or connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
JohnDave Medina is a MA student at George Fox University. You can read his personal blog here or connect with him on Facebook here.

This was the theo/biblioblog of Brian LePort, JohnDave Media, Joshua Smith, Robert Jimenez, Ishta Kutesa, Mark Stevens, T.C. Robinson, Daniel James Levy, Joshua Paul Smith, Michael Strachan, Kate Hanch, and Jeremy Cushman from April 9, 2009, until June 20th, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 6.57.57 PMThe theme of this blog was derived from the Gospel of Luke 24:13-35 where two disciples encounter the resurrected Jesus who interprets the Scriptures for them in order to help them understand that the Scriptures point to the person and work of the Messiah.

We hope that over the years our collective blogging has inspired readers to re-engage and reimagine Scripture and the Christian Tradition. If you’d like to search by topic use either (a) the Search option, (b) the drop-down Categories menu, or (c) the drop-down Archives menu on the right hand side. The Search option will select posts by keyword(s). The Categories menu will give you a broad umbrella topic from which to choose relevant posts.  The Archives menu will allow you to browse month-by-month.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 6.35.32 AM

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82 thoughts on “About

  1. This is an enjoyable blog ! Good job.
    Hey, if you have any time, I would love a short list of the top 20 seminaries (Protestant) and where they fall on a spectrum from Conservative to Progressive on the Evangelical scale.

  2. Honestly, I am not sure how I would compile such a list! Maybe something like Claremont in Los Angeles @ most liberal and Westminster in Philadelphia @ most conservative. The middle ground would have maybe Fuller @ 11 toward Claremont and Gordon-Conwell at 9 toward Westminster.

    JohnDave, any suggestions?

  3. Wow, we get so many comments it’s hard to keep up with them all (I haven’t subscribed to the comments feed so that might be one solution)! Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about where seminaries fall on the scale. Some would label George Fox Evangelical Seminary as progressive (toward 14-15) but others would say it’s moderate (maybe around 9-11). I’m not sure which one it would be. Would divinity schools count toward this? I’m sure there are a few that one could definitely say are progressive.

  4. Okay, my opinion would be that #1 (most conservative) would be Dallas Theological Seminary, TX, and #20 (most progressive) would be Union Theological Seminary, NY. Everything else falls in between somewhere. 🙂

  5. I’m finishing at DTS, and, while there are fundamentalist pockets to be sure, the OT and NT departments are quite progressive. They are still conservative (at least way more conservative than me!), but folks like Darrell Bock and Dan Wallace (along with the rest of the NT department) embrace a great deal of flexibility on the part of the gospel writers (e.g. Jesus’ cry from the cross in John was more John’s pen than Jesus’ voice). That would move DTS past, say Gordon-Conwell in my book.

    Just thought I’d weight in as someone on the ground in Dallas. DTS is changing (for the better) slowly but surely. They are not all a bunch of fundies anymore.

  6. Michael,

    Thank for providing a voice for DTS and updating its image for those less informed, like me. 🙂

    JohnDave

  7. It’s funny that you mentioned this because I was just thinking about disabling it the other night. I just didn’t get around to it. 🙂

  8. Hey, thanks for adding the continuationism.com and my personal blog to your site. I do appreciate it. Just to note that Continuationism got spelled wrong on the widget bar on the side. 😉

  9. Hi Brian,

    I hope you are well. I wanted to email you but couldn’t find an address.

    I came across one of your article about you leaving a Pentacostal Oneness theology. I became a “simultaneous modalist” a few years ago because I just could not resolve multiple persons as God (in one being or otherwise) and my Church’s responses and the trinitarian apologetics I read did not satisfy. I mostly uncovered this modalism on my own naive lay-interpretation of scripture (usually a foolish thing to do I know) and have otherwise had nothing to do with Oneness Christianity. The problem is (despite a probably erroneous theology), is that I’m still currently convinced of modalism and I really, really don’t want to be. It’s such a divisive doctrine in my Baptist church that I desperately want to turn from it in order to limit any potential conflict and better serve my church. I already differ enough with my Mennonite-ishness.

    I know that some commenters of your articles mentioned some articles, but I was wondering if you knew of any single definitive text that deals with Oneness-modalism and trinitarianism properly and thoroughly?

    Thank you and God bless

  10. Andrew,

    I do not know of any such text but the Society of Pentecostal Studies (SPS) did a Oneness-Trinitarian dialog a few years ago. I am sure those articles would be available if you contact SPS.

  11. I read that the Battle of Emmaus in 1 Maccabees occurred ‘near Emmaus’. Co-incidence, or does this blog have an appreciation for the apocryphal scripture of the ‘silent years’?

  12. Our intent was to capture the moment when the disciples were in the presence of Jesus but they hadn’t seen him as he really is, so he began to show himself to them in the Scriptures. Lk 24.

  13. To Brian,

    I don’t care what you’re excuse is, I don’t see how your doctrine lines up at all!
    As I see it in the Holy Scriptures, there is no Trinity, and those people like you who profess to worship Jesus in the Trinity, are merely covering up what is idolatry. Let’s call it for what it is!
    You have made Jesus 1/3 of God. You are sick.

  14. @Joses: That was a finely crafted argument with amazing insight. You have overthrown centuries of Christian thought on the Trinity in just a few sentences. I applaud you. 😉

  15. @ Brian…That comment was so defining that I imagine you are having serious thoughts about either changing the format of your blog, or shutting it down completely while you go through a serious time of reflection and perhaps a crisis of faith of some form or other…… …..

    Hang on; I believe you had one of those already….. 😉 Keep up the good work.

  16. @Joses Wow, what was that all about? Wait, it was directed to Brian.
    @Brian, what did you do now? One of these days you’ll learn. ;-).

  17. Brian, it would seem his disgruntlement towards you is that you crossed the Tiber…. There is something to be said about Trinitarian theology that focuses on mutual love….

  18. @ JD; yes… that was priceless. His final comment is true though…. my sons often use the term “sick” to describe something that is great….. something tells me though that my contextual understanding in translating his meaning is a little off base though…

  19. @Brian: Can gay or bi people go to heaven as long as they are Christians (e.g., Episcopal Church)?

  20. @ModernThinker: There is no way for me to know the answer to this. Each individual stands before our Master, Jesus. Jesus is Lord and Judge, not me.

    That being said, we are to urge each other toward good works and right behavior, so I would never encourage a Christian to simply accept being active in such living. I think if someone is a Christian they should seek the Spirit’s work to overcome this. I know I say this from a perspective of “easier said than done” since this has never been my struggle. I pray God’s grace be on all who wrestle with this as it is on me in regards to areas of sin where I struggle.

  21. Enjoying the blog guys. As mentioned in a different post, I have been a silent observer for a while and just decided to stop being anonymous. Quick question for you Portland people: do you recommend any specific area over others? Any specific rental properties you know of that you would recommend? My wife is flying out in two weeks to find a place to live and we are clueless as to where to look and not look, or if there are better properties to be at over others. Also, if you know of any good rental homes…that would be cool too. Let me know if you recommend anything…thanks!

  22. @Ryan: Although I have lived here a year and a half I am not totally sure. I live in the Russellville Commons in SE Portland and I like it, but I know very little about PDX real estate, rentals, and neighborhood demographics.

  23. Dear Editors

    Please read below about a new book on Revelation that should be of interest to your readers.
    I would be happy to send you a gratis copy if you’d like to consider it for a book review, feature story, or interview with the author.
    Note: We will only be sending review copies on request.

    Best wishes.
    Bob
    http://www.bobtoddpublicity.com
    For Lee Harmon, author of Revelation: The Way It Happened

    __________________________

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact: Bob Todd
    BT@BobToddPublicity.com

    “Finally someone has detected a plausible historical fit and this represents a superb achievement.”
    —Barrie Wilson, Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, York University, Toronto, author of How Jesus Became Christian

    Revelation: The Way It Happened
    Minneapolis (May 30, 2011) – What was John thinking when he penned the book of Revelation? Two millennia later, many still revere this famous apocalypse literally while others discard it as the ravings of a madman.
    In the newly-released Revelation: The Way It Happened, author Lee Harmon strikes a perfect balance as he maneuvers in story form through the first-century drama of what John was really writing about. This is a serious look at the earliest Christians, presented in an entertaining way.

    Harmon leads, verse by verse, through the events of Revelation, adroitly explaining the relevance of these scriptures while seamlessly weaving in a father-and-son discussion of the Apostle John’s frightful letter.
    • Meet Samuel and thirteen-year-old Matthew, two Jews living in Ephesus fifty years after the death of Christ, and share in their astonishment and horror as the prophecies of John’s colorful vision are played out around them in the Roman Empire.
    • Bare your teeth at the original beast of Revelation, his double the antichrist, and John’s nemesis, the false prophet.
    • Relive the gruesome Jerusalem war of 70 AD, the fire-and-brimstone tragedy of Mount Vesuvius, the expectation of horrible massacre looming on the horizon and, finally, the Christian dream of escaping all this to live with God in a new Eden-like Jerusalem after it floats down from heaven and settles atop the war-torn rubble of mount Zion.
    In Revelation: The Way It Happened, Harmon excels at capturing the essence of that time even as he addresses our modern-day perceptions and misconceptions of this ancient tome. Delve into this fascinating and intriguing book and you may never read the Bible in the same way again.
    ”Revelation is revealed to be neither a book of crazy mystical nonsense nor an uncanny prediction of events in the distant future, but an immediate and touching response to issues of the day for early Christians.”
    —Rabbi Stephen M. Wylen, author of The Jews in the Time of Jesus

    ”Harmon makes the interesting argument that much of the bizarre imagery in Revelation symbolizes not future catastrophes yet to be experienced but rather past calamities known to John of Patmos and that Revelation signified his belief that the final days were imminent.”
    —Gary Greenberg, author of 101 Myths of the Bible

    “The book of Revelation causes a rift with some Biblical scholars. Revelation: The Way it Happened is a novel on the writings of the John of Revelation, writing in the first century AD, looking to provide insight into the lives of the earliest Christians and what mattered to them in a world that shunned them and the principles that Christians most held dear. Drawing on history and Revelation alike, Revelation is a well researched and thoughtful read that definitely should not be overlooked.”
    —Midwest Book Review
    Lee Harmon is a historical Jesus scholar and book reviewer living in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

    Revelation: The Way It Happened
    By Lee Harmon
    Paperback: 346 pages, 8.9″ x 6″
    Publisher: Langdon Street Press (a division of Hillcrest Publishing Group, Inc.) (December 13, 2010)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1936183625
    ISBN-13: 978-1936183623
    Price: $16.95

    Revelation: The Way It Happened is available at http://www.amazon.com, http://www.the-revelation-story.com, http://www.thewayithappened.com, and at local bookstores.

    To receive a media kit with further information about the book and a review copy (for media) please contact BT@BobToddPublicity.com
    ###

  24. big question that i know you may have a good answer to. how would you guide a young person who is working his way through ‘new atheism’ literature–hitchens, dawkins, etc. we would like them to hear/read a Christian perspective that can speak to modern scientific-oriented generation y (or is it z now?) there are a lot of them out there, it feels like an age that has forsaken God nearly entirely. thanks!

  25. bob

    I am not well-read regarding the new atheism, but I have shared the question on Facebook directing people to come here to leave a comment if they have an answer for you.

  26. @bob – show him the natural consequence of atheism (the logical conclusion) is nihilism and thus supremely without hope. Also, show him that atheism trends towards a world view that is completely contrary to our natural experience ( consider for example our natural ‘sense’ of right and wrong against atheism which cannot provide a foundation for such things )

    Street apologists such as Cliffe Knechtle ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIkfXM6aJ1s ) and others, are very good at providing examples of dealing with this type of apologetic ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXQUm9WNTdc&feature=related ).

    Good luck (and prays for your efforts)

  27. Hi Daniel, JohnDave and Brian! Mike Morrell and I really appreciate your blog, and think you’d be excellent candidates for our Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info

    You’re not on any contact lists, I promise; if you don’t respond, that’s it, and the invitation is open as long as you’re actively blogging. Hope you join us!

  28. Philip

    I receive emails from Mike regarding books so I thought I was part of his network already. It has been a while since I have seen one I wanted to review, but I do think I’m on the list…unless he has more than one list.

  29. Brian LePort says:
    January 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm
    @Joses: That was a finely crafted argument with amazing insight. You have overthrown centuries of Christian thought on the Trinity in just a few sentences. I applaud you.

    Brian
    As I understand you are a convert from oneness to trinitarin which I applaud you for not because I believe in the trinity doctrine is biblical but atleast you are moving forward from the most nonsensical doctrine. I am a strict unitarian who believes the Creator (Elyon) is a single being and is totally the power behind all creation. Nothing was created without him first sanctioning it. Now unlike most unitarians I am not monotheistic because i do believe in the person of The Holy Spirit who was the Elyon’s first creation is also known as The Wisdom and is the only Creation that the Elyon created alone. I believe the Us in Gen relates to them both as the Elohim. Where i really differ from your doctrine is I dont see the Son as a person , I see it as an office that is filled by a chosen person. I will not get into who has held that office but will tell you for a fact that Yahshua The Anointed was promised that office after he was chosen at his baptism and currently has secured and filled this office after he acended after his resurrection.So the only thing that I find totally unbiblical about the trinity is the belief that somehow a creation is equal to The Creator.
    One day you will stand before the Elyon (Thanks to Yahshua for restoring what Adam lost) and be shown the truth and as long as your ego dont cause you to deny it you will receive life and entrance into the New Heaven and Earth. No doctrine will give you that , there will also be many that will enter that never heard the gospel or was distanced from it by doctrines of men.All mankind from Adam to the last will shown the real truth and will have the opportunity to accept it.

  30. Hello,
    I just did a google search for” theologically conservative, politically liberal” or something really close and I got a blog post of yours from 2007! I am in desperate need of a different perspective as I feel the mainstream Christian perspective is awash with intellectually dishonest individuals who are not open to a discussion outside of homosexuality and abortion. And when I say desperate, I mean it. All of my Christian role models hold to a different political view than me, and sometimes I feel as if the logical connections in my brain were really planted there by a cruel benefactor (i know oxymoron) that will not allow me to let go of robust intellectual insights in favor of popular consensus. I am burdened by my way of thinking and need an intellectual reprieve. Am I crazy?!?

    Is there really a way to live and abide in this tension which says that Jesus is the only begotten of God, and faith is a gift from the Father, but when it comes to politics abortion is not a deal breaker for me and who cares about the so called “sanctity” of marriage when Christians mirror the world in divorce rates (so much for truly valuing marriage)? In a word… HELP!

    Peterson Onyeukwu

  31. Peterson, perhaps you step outside of your political pool. It sounds like you relate to them as Christian’s but not as voters. If so speaking with some non-American’s might show you different mixes you may not have seen. Think . o (Hey this guy/gal confuses me – something of a Democrepublican, not quite either, not quite both).

    As an outsider, US politics is too tidy, the labels too entrenched, with too much baggage. Who says a Republican cannot be pro-choice or a Democrat critical of homosexual unions?

  32. Peterson:

    A lot of comes down to whether or not (1) you accept the labels used in American politics as accurate and (2) whether or not you think your personal beliefs about something must equate one to one with how you vote regarding public policy. For example, I think drunkenness is a sin, but I do not think a drunk should be imprisoned or that someone should be put in jail for being drunk. Yet I would say being drunk while operating a vehicle should result in jail time because of its social consequences (i.e., it impacts others).

    Eventually you will want to ask questions like:

    (1) What are my theological views about homosexuality? Do those views mean that I have to vote for public policy to reflect them? Can I accept the idea of the state’s vision of marriage not having to be the same as the church’s if other factors (e.g., inheritance, shared property, hospital visitation rights) come into play?

    (2) When do I think an embryo becomes a “human,” and do I think abortion is the same as murdering someone outside the womb? If so, why? If not, why not? How does that impact my view of the legality of the act? If Roe v. Wade was overturned what punishment would be appropriate? Do I think women should serve prison terms for having an abortion? Do I think prison terms help our society when many women who have abortions are already facing marginalization and oppression in our country which prevents them from being in the place socially and economically where they feel they have the ability and resources to raise a child? And so forth and so on…

    In other words: It is never easy, but I do think it is lazy to equate one’s theological presuppositions with the platform of a single political party. For example, if one is so-called “pro-life” are they pro-life for both those in the womb and outside the womb? Sadly, in our country, one party seems to be pretty anti-war therefore pro-life outside the womb and the other is favorable toward war, but quite pro-life for those in the womb. As you can see, it gets complicated.

  33. @Brian Leport
    I am sure your comment is where my heart lies. Yes, refining your political positions as it relates to scripture is incredibly difficult. But doesn’t the whole Christian life mirror this tension? Aren’t we always striving to understand the scriptures more clearly as it relates to a whole host of questions?

    Our faith doesn’t lead directly to any political perspective. At best our flavor of political persuasion represents a balance between our own personal preferences. But the Christian faith lies in the deliberate thoughtful process of applying scriptural truths to area of life.

    My despair comes when discussion is closed off and there is no room for debate. Good honest debate where people’s salvation is hanging on the lines.

    I think you all are correct, I need a different perspective. But where can I go???

  34. Some bloggers that frequently focus on politics and faith include:

    – Rodney Thomas @ http://politicaljesus.com/

    – Ben Howard @ http://www.onpoptheology.com/

    – Greg Boyd @ http://www.reknew.com

    – Bruce Reyes-Chow @ http://www.patheos.com/blogs/breyeschow

    – Cynthia Nielsen @ http://percaritatem.com/

    – J. Kameron Carter @ http://jkameroncarter.com/

    – Various @ http://www.womenintheology.org

    And I’m sure from there posts and blogrolls you can find more resources.

  35. Thank you. I have a lot of reading to do!

    Do you feel that any of these writers have that theologically conservative, politically liberal point of view?

  36. I guess that depends on how one defines “theologically conservative!” If you mean they hold to the basic tenants of Christianity, e.g., Trinity, incarnation, Apostle’s Creed type stuff then I think all of them qualify.

  37. brian, you and a lot of other people may be taking the lazy way out when you state things like
    ‘in our country, one party seems to be pretty anti-war therefore pro-life outside the womb and the other is favorable toward war,’ Is that really true? in my experience, and i’ve lived through many, many wars, including vietnam (entered into by the ‘non-war’ party?), and i’ve seen that most politicians respond to war in the same way (excepting iraq, that was a singularly different event from most). i voted for obama (D) because he promised to get out us out of afghanistan. we ‘left’ (we’re still kind of there) afghanistan two weeks before the agreement that bush (R) signed said we would leave. two weeks. i wanted more than two weeks when i cast that vote. and this anti-war president seems to have forgotten the guantanimo prisoners altogether. do not assume they are all that different, just because they are marketed that way. our allegiance has to be to Christ and his kingdom, never to one party or another.

  38. Thanks for making such an enjoyable theology blog – and an aesthetically pleasing one at that! I started reading because it was a joy to read a blog that doesn’t carry all the code and clutter of Patheos and has solid font sensibilities. 🙂 I stayed because your engagement of biblical studies from a theologically moderate-to-progressive place is an absolute blast. Most Bible and theology bloggers out there seem cartoonishly conservative or are overly provocative with their progressiveness. Y’all take the left/right stuff in stride. Well done.

    Also, it’s nice to see some fellow Portlanders getting their blog on. I’m down in Lents, and am wrapping up my D.Min at George Fox.

    Keep up the good work!

  39. Brandon

    Thank you for the wonderful compliments! I must credit WordPress for making it possible to have an aesthetically pleasing blog. Also, I should confess that I proposed this blog to Patheos, but I was ignored, so I guess I won’t be going that direction!

    We do aim to maintain an honest balance here and I hope that continues. If not, let me know we’ve gone off track!

  40. Hi saw your blog mentioned on a different blog and was intrigued since i live “near Emmaus” – in the city of Modiin. While I am very interested in (mostly Old Testament) biblical studies I am not sure this blog will be for me nevertheless I did some quick googling to try and understand the title. From a comment on this “about” posting I gather you are trying to capture a feeling more than something geographical. In any case I wish you all a happy new year.

  41. Aharon

    Indeed, this blog is not about geography, per se, but rather it is named in honor of the narrative in Luke 24 where Christ is revealing his identity through the Scriptures. I hope you find the content engaging!

  42. Hey Brian,

    Why are you an MLitt. student prior to the PhD student status? Are you telling me that an MA and ThM is not enough to jump you right into the PhD status?

  43. Bobby:

    Its a standard precaution. Once I have done the first six months or so of work, which includes things like beginning a chapter, providing the outline, etc., the M.Litt part is lifted for full Ph.D. Until then one is theoretically both/and.

  44. Brian,

    I understand. I looked into this of course, and it would be MPhil status for me as well, which would be connected to the PhD. Cool. Hope your studies are going well! Do you have an idea of what your topic is going to be for your diss?

  45. So far, so good, though I’ve been at it for only a few weeks now. My proposed dissertation is an examination of how and why the early Church presented Jesus as the one who baptizes with Spirit it texts where there is an apparent juxtaposition between Jesus and John the Baptist. Mostly pneumatology, messianism, and an attempt to reconstruct the community of John that seems to have remained for some time after his death (e.g., Acts 18-19; John 1).

  46. Brian,

    1) Do you post somewhere what led you to end the blogging?

    2) Are you blogging anywhere else currently? Or do you have plans to do so?

    3) My blog had linked to a number of your posts, and they are now showing up as broken links. Is there a standard change to your URL syntax that would allow me to repair the links, presuming you have only moved and not deleted the original content?

  47. Mike:

    (1) Yes, I did here: https://nearemmaus.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/the-end-of-this-blog-is-near/

    (2) I do have a lesser used blog at brianleport.com and I will be contributing occasionally to Bible Study and the Christian Life: http://biblestudyandthechristianlife.com

    (3) The links are broken because we lost the URL nearemmaus.com (lost story, but briefly explained here: https://nearemmaus.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/nearemmaus-com-nearemmausblog-com/) The only way to fix them would be to find the post under their nearemmaus.wordpress.com URL by date.

  48. Thanks for all the explanations, Brian. They’re helpful.

    Thanks for the blog, too. I always loved the name because I love that passage of Luke. And I was often edified by things you posted here. I especially appreciate that you will maintain this archive even though you’ll no longer be adding to it.

    in and for the name of Christ,

    Mike

  49. Brian,
    Thank you for your kind comments.
    I enjoyed your embellishments regarding zombies. Yikes! I never saw that one coming!
    What are your research interests? Are you currently in an academic program?
    For the record, I am a charismatic pilgrim, but not a Pentecostal one.
    Great grace,
    Kevin Spawn

  50. Kevin,

    I hope it my zombie analogy didn’t offend. I was just trying to use an extreme example of how we tend to use the principle of analogy. Currently I am doing a Ph.D. through the University of Bristol (Trinity College, Bristol) remotely from San Antonio, TX, in NT. My primary research interest at the moment are early pneumatology, Christology, and historical Jesus and John the Baptist studies. Thanks for the clarification about your ecclesial identity.

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