The Engaging Culture of the Mind

by Kirk Spencer

00 TheEngagingCultureOfTheM“Engage” and “transform” are popular words in academic circles. They can take on many meanings. Taken together, they usually imply connecting (engaging) to make a difference (transform). In my opinion, this is not something that can be avoided. If we live together, we will connect and we will make a difference. So the main issue—whether individually or an institutionally—is “What kind of transformation are we going to make when our minds engage?” Continue reading

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The Goober Truth

by Kirk Spencer

00 TheGooberTruth ThisSideUpThe goober truth is when a liar tells the truth about lying which causes the truth-telling liar to be exposed as a liar… and so he then has to convincingly lie to cover up the fact that he told the truth about lying. I call it “goober truth” because the truth-telling liar must really believe that those who would believe him are goobers (peanut brains)—not only because they believe the liar who is, in fact, telling them the truth about when he lied (thus obviously untrustworthy), but because they continue to believe the lie the liar tells to cover up the truth he told about lying. Such blind trust of someone who is clearly untrustworthy—and we know they are untrustworthy because they are actually telling us (that they lied) and then show us (lying to cover up the truth about the lie)—such blind trust of the clearly untrustworthy is a strange phenomenon which takes place from time-to-time. However, it is something that rarely makes it into the news cycle—especially with the frequency it has recently. Continue reading

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Divine Singularity

by Kirk Spencer

00 DivineSingularity MeAndAIt was an amazing thing… holding something so fresh from heaven, only a few hours after her arrival—my first grandbaby—Aberdeen Alexandra. It was very different from holding my first child—the one who handed her to me, now all grown up. And, when I saw the fear on his face, I understood why holding this baby was different: With grandbabies you don’t bear the overwhelming primary responsibility of such a little life. No… with grandbabies you can be philosophical. Continue reading

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Joseph: A Worthy Model

by Joe Wooddell

josephChristmas reminds us of baby Jesus, of course, but we also think of his mother Mary. One character we sometimes forget, however, is Jesus’ earthly father Joseph, but we do so to our detriment. There is much we can learn from his example in Matthew 1 and 2.

In Matthew 1 we read how Joseph is both righteous and compassionate. He’s already engaged, and Mary turns up pregnant! What would you do if you knew the baby wasn’t yours? He’s righteous, so he can’t marry her and bring shame to himself, admitting guilt when he wasn’t really guilty. But he’s also compassionate – he doesn’t want to disgrace her and cause her more trouble than necessary. So he decides to “send her away secretly” (v.19; NASB). Doing so will protect his righteous name (Prov. 22:1, “a good name is more desirable than great riches”; NIV), but it will also give Mary a chance to live! Joseph, like his Son later in John 8, will not cast the first stone. Continue reading

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Criswell College: Engaging Minds. Transforming Culture.


by Dr. Barry Creamer, President & Professor of Humanities, Criswell College

Language is incredibly powerful, especially when it is ambiguous. Most of us learn that ambiguity is bad from an early age, but that’s because most of the people who influence us confuse it with vagueness. Poets cram expansive meaning into minuscule phrases through ambiguity. So do sloganeers.

A little while back key leaders from every part of Criswell College sat around a table and looked for a phrase to catch and communicate our deep-seated commitment to following Jesus, educating students, mentoring disciples, serving churches, and impacting the community and culture around us. After our goldilocks committee had tasted and rejected every too-long, too-hot, too-narrow, too-cold, and too-already-taken option set before us, we found one that works: “Engaging Minds. Transforming Culture.”

Being a relaxed (in my opinion) grammar maven, I suspect it is not obvious to everyone why this participially weighted slogan is just right for us. Participles provide one of the simplest ways to add ambiguity to a phrase. They have two meanings prima facie; that is, as adjectives and as verbs. (Of course, given the right context, a participial form might even be more; for instance, a gerund.) Having a lot to say and very little space to say it, as in a slogan, just begs for a participle with ambiguity. What does that mean for Criswell’s slogan? Glad you asked. Continue reading

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ENT Theology

by Kirk Spencer

00 ENT TheologyI recently found myself sitting at the “kid’s” table. Other than me, the ages ranged from 5 to 9. If you ever sat at the kid’s table, you will know if was all quite silly. However when the “conversation” wandered into theology, things began to get interesting.  Did you know that “we evolved from boogers sneezed from the nose of God and that Adam was the first man, except for the cavemen, because they don’t count.” Even at this impressionable age, we find attempts to mix the Word of God and the ideas of Man. The first single celled organisms may have looked like boogers and if God did the creating then it makes sense that they must have come from His nose. And if cavemen were older than Adam, then they would not count because the Bible is clear that Adam was first. (Theologians have also discussed the possibility of “preadamite man.”) Continue reading

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Sovereignty and Submission: Mary and the Christmas Story

by Joe Wooddell

mary and angelThe Christmas season is upon us, and there is so much we can learn from the various Scriptures that speak about the subject. In Luke 1:26-38 God’s power and Mary’s submission are clearly seen: “Nothing will be impossible with God,” and “Behold the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word” (vv.37-38, NASB). As the season flies by us, let us not forget these two important lessons: God is powerful, and we, like Mary, ought humbly to submit. Continue reading

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