With all the recent events, there’s been a steady stream of tweets and posts about prayer (#prayforboston, #prayforwest). The Huffington Post had an article on Psalm 46- “Be still and know that I am God.” Stillness at this point seems like an unlikely response. Even if we affect an outward stillness, how can we still our inward being? Besides, the whole nation is in turmoil right now. To adopt a meditative repose and quietly trust in “God’s sovereignty” seems a little feigned, detached, and impersonal. God’s sovereignty shouldn’t be an excuse for inactivity or lukewarmness. In my mind, prayer, in all its intimacy, candor, and uncouthness, does more than stillness because it gets your being in motion toward God. Read the rest of this entry
Suffering makes it clear how essentially stationary is the history of mankind. -Hans Küng
The Boston Marathon bombing is a cruel reminder that despite all progress in our society, we are getting nowhere. School shootings and public bombings are perennial occurrences now. Beyond the grief, there’s a deep rooted, numbing familiarity; a growing accustomed to. The shock of the news is, incredulously, lessened now by the just slightly perceptible recognition of a pattern. That subtle lie may even start to work on us- “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue in this way from the beginning of creation (2 Pet. 3:4).”
“And when they heard of a resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; and others said, We will hear you yet again concerning this.” –Acts 17:32
The resurrection of Jesus poses a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to the natural mind. When Paul was announcing Jesus and the resurrection as the gospel in the philosophical milieu of ancient Athens, the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers dismissed him as a babbler. In Corinth, the Greek mind had infiltrated the church and produced devastating skepticism toward resurrection. Therefore, Paul devoted the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 to the matter, showing that resurrection is the life-pulse of God’s economy.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
David J Bosch (obviously) identifies this passage as THE paradigmatic text that embodies the Protestant Reformation. Read the rest of this entry
The Bible often juxtaposes dichotomous characters to convey a message. Cain and Abel, Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, David and Saul, the Pharisees and tax collectors, etc. Read the rest of this entry
Beyond the radical and unprecedented physical change involved in a growth spurt, there is the basic new awareness and crisis of identity. High school represents more than the threshold of bodily change and a new bedtime. A new understanding, mood, character, and outlook sweep over the soul. This inner change is necessary if one is to avoid becoming a modern Baby Huey- internal aptitude at odds with external developments.
I’ve just started reading Transforming Mission- Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission by David J Bosch and Paradigm Change in Theology by Hans Küng. The two books are somewhat reciprocal, although not directly. Paradigm Change is really a symposium to dig into the meaning and implications of paradigms applied to theology. It’s dense, esoteric, and technical. I plan to just hit the highlights in it. Transforming Mission starts out with Küng’s paradigm analysis of church history and then applies it specifically to the Christian understanding of mission. It is by far a more pleasant reading experience (because it is well written not because it’s simplistic) and is sweeping in its analysis.
Hans Küng on the fact that the kingdom of God cannot be made into a program of political and social action:
It has been observed that Che Guevara, the Cuban guerrilla, bore a remarkable facial resemblance to the conventional picture of Jesus. But, apart from this, is it so surprising that Jesus has exercised an influence on many revolutionaries right up to Camilo Torres, the Colombian priest-revolutionary? And there can be no doubt that the Jesus of the Gospels is not the sweet, gentle Jesus of an earlier or later Romanticism nor a solid ecclesiastical Christ. Read the rest of this entry
The recent election and more particularly the reactions to it in on my Facebook news feed, caused me to reflect on a book title I read in college- Politics by Other Means. The book was assigned for a government class called Comparative Models of Democracy. To the chagrin of my former professor, I retain only incomplete and elusive memories of this book. What really stuck with me was the intriguing and suggestive title.
I’ve been intending to write a follow up post to a talk I heard almost two weeks ago now. The event was the Glorious Ruin book tour with Tullian Tchividjian, hosted by Austin Stone. This post is on the talk, not the book (which I haven’t read).
The Bible is a unique book for at least two reasons.
First, the Bible is God’s intelligible communication to man. The words of the Bible react with all three parts of our soul and elicit a response from the whole person. Reading the Bible causes us know His purpose, love His purpose, and choose His purpose.
“Although the law can declare God’s will, it may also be used as a shelter in which to hide from God’s will.
The law thus easily leads to an attitude of legalism…
A law provides security, because we know exactly what we have to keep to: just this, no less (which can sometimes be irksome) but no more (which is sometimes very congenial). I have to do only what is commanded. And what is not forbidden is permitted. And there is so much we can do or omit in particular cases before coming into conflict with the law. No law can envisage all possibilities, take into account all cases, close all gaps…
Chris Lazo wrote a post the other day about presuppositional apologetics and how Christians need to engage people with different worldviews on common ground. This common ground could be unknowingly borrowed from the biblical worldview, ie views on marriage, society, the origin of the universe, the meaning of human life, morality, etc. Rather than a “barking monologue” or ten second sound bites, many people are helped more if you enter into their situation and engage their story.
Faith is not mental assent to irrefutable facts.
The classic, oft-quoted, and definitive verse on faith in the New Testament is Hebrews 11:1. And I love the Recovery Version’s translation here (following Darby’s precedent):
“Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Liar, Lunatic, Lord? In my last post I presented a brief survey of this argument. A fourth option was eventually suggested as equally viable. Legend- Jesus is not a historical person but is a myth of some sort.
This is just the sort of argument that pseudo-intellectuals will bring up on college campuses. Or the sort of headline story you’d find in the grocery store check-out line. It is either a mark of ignorance or a strategy for sensational journalism and should not be seriously entertained.