A short description of what we’re up to can be found here. Comments are welcome but may be moderated for content and tone.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Galilee probably looked something
like this in the time of Isaiah.
Are Christians really the world’s most persecuted religious group?

Nelson Jones at New Statesman has taken up the issue at some length in response to a recent statement from British Prime Minister David Cameron: “It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world,” Cameron said. “We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can.”

Jones starts his article by appearing to agree with Cameron and others who have voiced similar sentiments but as he meanders on, it becomes evident that what he really wants to say is: 1) religion causes fighting, 2) Muslims are persecuted too, 3) “persecution” is a relative term, and 4) anyway, if Christians ARE being persecuted, it’s certainly not because of their faith.

Which pretty much covers all the bases.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

That Poorly-Attended Prayer Meeting

Another article on the church, and yet another concerned comment about poorly-attended prayer meetings.

It’s a “head-scratcher”, we’re told.

Scratch no more, my good friends. It’s not that tough from where I sit.

I’m not sure that there are all that many Christians who really believe their church can succeed without prayer. Rather, I think the message many Christians are sending when they beat feet in the other direction at prayer meeting time might just be that they’re not convinced their church needs or wants THEIR prayers, or that their attendance on any given week will make the slightest bit of difference either to the Lord or to their fellow believers.

Much of the time I suspect they’re right.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Love and Response

Several years ago I gave some good advice to a struggling, depressed young adult. Basic things, really: Go to bed at the same time every night, get up at the same time every morning, brush your teeth and get dressed rather than lying around moping until all hours. Eat properly. Exercise. Clean up after yourself. Jordan Peterson stuff, but before everybody knew who Jordan Peterson is.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

When to Stop

Scientists who subscribe to the the Big Bang Theory seem compelled to seek out some earlier cause for each event in their chain. Everything happens, they reason, because something else happened first. So, for instance, this astronomer argues that the “highly concentrated ball of matter” from which the universe is supposed to have begun was the product of decaying photons.

We might try to frame this sort of argument in the language of the book of Hebrews by saying this: something “visible” (in this example, light) eventually gave rise to “what is seen” (in this case, matter).

But obviously the writer of Hebrews would disagree with that formulation.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Semi-Random Musings (3)

Some meanings are just lost, I’m afraid. At least that’s how it seems to me when I dig into the original languages of scripture in hope of finding the most accurate translation of specific words.

To the post-modernist, a text means whatever he pleases at any particular moment. Authorial intent doesn’t matter in the slightest because the post-modernist assures us intent cannot be known and, further, if intent could be known it would carry no more weight than the most trivial and uninformed interpretation of the reader.

Word studies? Who cares?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: See You in Court, Brother

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Wow. Christians going to court with one another.

You’d think this issue would be put to bed speedily by even the most cursory glance at Matthew 5:25-26 or 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. But no, believers are keeping their lawyers on speed-dial in significant numbers. It used to be the primary reason was child abuse, but last year it was something new: property rights.

Tom: Here I thought we’d all be meeting in cell groups in homes sooner than later as a result of lawfare trial balloons from the transgender, feminist or gay lobbies. But no, this is even stranger: we’re doing it to ourselves, Immanuel Can; not just as individuals, but whole congregations. And most of it involves issues related to church buildings.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Between Museum and Megachurch

I’ve been to a few churches lately. And I’ve got some questions. Maybe you do too.

Two weeks ago I visited a tiny congregation. Everything about them — the building, the furniture and the people — was redolent of a past generation.

Not near past. Long past.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Liked You Better Before You Apologized

Here’s Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last Wednesday, responding to a question from a female reporter about the “physicality” of one of his wide-receivers as he runs downfield:

“It’s funny to hear a female talk about ‘routes.’ It’s funny.”

Oops.

Cut to the same Cam Newton last Thursday, after social media erupted over his “sexism” and at least one of his corporate sponsors went off in search of greener pastures:

“I sincerely apologize … I’m a father to two beautiful daughters and at their age I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.”

You know, I kinda liked Cam better before he apologized.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jesus@Home

At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus established a base of operations near the Sea of Galilee at Capernaum, about 40 miles from Nazareth where he had grown up. Matthew tells us he made this move right after the arrest of John the Baptist, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

It was near Capernaum that he called his first disciples, preached the Sermon on the Mount and calmed the storm. It was from the same region that he sent out the Twelve into the rest of Israel to proclaim the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Implementing the Peace Principle

Legally speaking, a conflict of interest is a situation in which a person owes a duty to more than one party, the execution of which duties are either incompatible or mutually exclusive. In other words, discharging one’s responsibility to the first party may result in negatively impacting or failing to discharge one’s responsibility to the second.

This is not a situation with which Christians are unfamiliar. Conflicts of interest are part of the package.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Bridegroom Is Here

The Pharisees complained to Jesus about his disciples breaking the Sabbath by plucking and eating heads of grain as they made their way through the fields. If you had asked them why this mattered, they would have replied that they were concerned about the commandments of God. “It’s not lawful,” they said.

But when the people asked Jesus why it was that his disciples did not regularly engage in fasting, they were not asking about commandments or laws, but rather about a widespread, optional religious practice of the day.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Study of Plate Tectonics (or What Do I Do Next?)

Which way do I go? How do I respond to THAT? Should I wait, or should I act now?

The answers to such questions are not merely of academic interest to the Christian. From time to time, one choice or another gives rise to significant consequences, either good or bad. Other times nothing we choose to do or say matters in the slightest; what happens would have happened anyway.

But of course we don’t know that when we’re choosing, do we? So we find ourselves asking God for wisdom.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Not Going to Nashville [Part 5]

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Nashville Statement is a significant evangelical document. It’s an attempt by big names such as John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Russell Moore, James Dobson and others to formulate a written response to Western culture’s post-Christian “massive revision of what it means to be a human being”, especially as that revision relates to sexuality and marriage.

Significant though it may be, in our final installment we’re discussing why, here at ComingUntrue, we’re Not Going to Nashville.

Tom: On to the ante-penultimate Article then.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Who’s Holding the Scales?

I have to admit I’m appalled by the debates flying around the Internet these days. More and more, they seem like merely the propaganda of angry factions, not the rational pronouncements of people who think things through.

And the sanctimony ... oh, the sanctimony! Every faction sees its perspective as not merely just, but as the only side a reasonable, compassionate, fair-minded, informed, civilized or decent person could ever be on.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Problems You Can’t Fix

The rich get a bad rap sometimes. But they also have their defenders.

A few years ago in Forbes, John Stossel pointed out that the big-money folk in America don’t have enough spare change between them to put a dent in the financial woes of their own country, let alone the rest of the world.

“If the IRS grabbed 100 percent of income over $1 million, the take would be just $616 billion. That’s only a third of this year’s deficit.”

The finer details of Stossel’s math might be debated, but all the same he’s got a point, and one that won’t go away. Some problems can’t be fixed — at least not by human beings.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Everybody’s a Theologian

Augustine of Hippo (called Saint Augustine by some) defined theologia as “reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity”.

A theologian, then, is someone who engages in the study of theology, or has learned something about God.

Hey, by that standard everyone’s a theologian.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Believers in Orbit

Long-time readers here will be aware that I don’t always see eye to eye with Crawford Paul over at assemblyHUB. We’ve had one or two carefully-worded differences of opinion and a number of back-and-forths in the comments section there (and, to be fair, plenty of common ground too).

That said, I’ve got to concede his latest post makes some very good points.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Six times in Matthew 5 (v21, 27, 31, 33, 38 and 43), the Lord Jesus refers to things his audience had heard said. Some of these things are the direct commands of God through Moses in something very close to their original wording. Others appear to be rabbinical interpretations that expand on the originals.

In all cases, the conventional rabbinical readings are inadequate. So instead, the Lord infers from the Law of Moses principles of conduct and modes of thought by which his listeners might strive to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.

Hearsay, it appears, was not good enough.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Inbox: Policing the Table

A reader queries an older post. Jeff asks:

“Are there any hard guidelines as who can eat the Lord’s supper? You refuted a few in this post but are there others not mentioned? (i.e., baptism, member of a local church, a women who doesn’t want to wear a head covering, etc.)

Also, who has the authority to decide who gets to eat and who doesn’t? Obviously God has given us certain instructions pertaining to church order, is it the elders / pastors / leaders’ job to police these issues?”

Good questions, Jeff.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Not Going to Nashville [Part 4]

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Nashville Statement is a significant evangelical document. It’s an attempt by big names such as John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Russell Moore, James Dobson and others to formulate a written response to Western culture’s post-Christian “massive revision of what it means to be a human being”, especially as that revision relates to sexuality and marriage.

Significant though it may be, in our next few installments we’ll be discussing why, here at ComingUntrue, we’re Not Going to Nashville.

Tom: On to the next article then.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Helping / Not Helping

Job’s three friends came to help. Their purpose is explicitly stated: they came in order to “show him sympathy and comfort him”, and they probably traveled great distances to do it.

They all failed. In fact, they failed horribly. They made Job’s situation that much worse.

Some might make the argument it’s because they were men.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Three Kinds of Peace

Nick Lowe’s song (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? remains a staple in Elvis Costello’s live show more than forty years after Lowe penned it. Its simplicity and straightforwardness stand in sharp contrast to Costello’s ornate verbiage and characteristic cynicism, and yet the Lowe song often gets the strongest reaction of anything Costello performs. Why not? I mean, who could rightly disagree with the sentiment?

John Lennon famously urged us to Give Peace a Chance. If anyone suggested we Give War a Chance by way of response, it never got much radio airplay. There are times when men find compelling reasons to fight, but peace is usually preferable to bloodshed and death. Everyone agrees about that.

But peace means different things to different people.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

History and Message Fiction

I believe the most venerable and most frequently attacked Old Testament narratives in Genesis are genuinely historical. One reason: the moral lessons they contain are rarely driven home with a four-by-four to the reader’s noggin. I find that sort of authorial restraint persuasive. It’s what you do when you’re telling the truth rather than concocting a storyline or building a case.

Stories have always had morals; that’s not a new thing. The three little pigs remind us hard work will keep both you and your friends safe when the Big Bad Wolf comes knocking. Chicken Little reminds us that if you squawk about everything, people eventually stop paying attention. Good to know.

But history doesn’t come in such neat packages, does it?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lead Us Not

I’ve always kinda wondered why the Lord instructed his disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” After all, James is clear that God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

So why should we ask God not to do a thing we already know he won’t do?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Way That I Take

He knows the way that I take.”

I don’t. You don’t. Nobody else does.

In this world we see God’s specific purposes for us only dimly. Hopes rise only to fall again. Is this what God is doing? Maybe. Maybe. Uh, no … never mind … not that. Right, well, back to prayer …

“He knows the way that I take.”

Saturday, September 23, 2017

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (3)

Jessica Misener at Buzzfeed wrote a piece a while back on “shocking Bible verses” and happened to include this one:

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.”

Jessica’s tongue-in-cheek characterization? “Slavery rocks.”

Friday, September 22, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Not Going to Nashville [Part 3]

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Nashville Statement is a significant evangelical document. It’s an attempt by big names such as John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Russell Moore, James Dobson and others to formulate a written response to Western culture’s post-Christian “massive revision of what it means to be a human being”, especially as that revision relates to sexuality and marriage.

Significant though it may be, in our next few installments we’ll be discussing why, here at ComingUntrue, we’re Not Going to Nashville.

Tom: You pointed out last time around, IC, that Articles 5 through 7 of the Nashville Statement are related, so I thought we’d consider them together.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Fragile Basket

Jamin Goggin says when today’s celebrity pastors get caught sinning, churches collapse, whole conferences evaporate and large numbers of Christians are deeply wounded.

And Goggin maintains the real problem is us:

“The church has embraced a form of power that is antithetical to the way of Jesus, and her pastors stand on the front line of this destructive reality.”

Now, he’s not wrong here. Perhaps he doesn’t go far enough, but I think he’s on to something.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reading With One Eyeball

Sometimes people get the obvious so wrong you can’t help but wonder if they’re doing it deliberately. Or maybe somebody just poked them in the eyeball.

Mary Kassian was at the meeting of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood twenty-five years ago when the word “complementarian” was coined, so she’s probably not the worst choice to explain it what it means. She attempts to do that here.

My reaction? I’m not so sure it means anything good.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Better Than Equal

I note that Tim Bayly and seven pastor-or-elder friends have taken their best shot at “fortifying” the same Nashville Statement we’ve been mulling over on our Friday morning Too Hot to Handle series (the first installment of which may be found here).

Like Bayly and crew, IC and I would probably have drafted a modestly different document (assuming we agreed to write it at all), so I was curious to see what the revisers decided needed changing.

To my surprise, I find myself more interested in what they didn’t change. Maybe I’ve got a log in my eye or something.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Our Purgatory Is Now

It’s always wise to let those who teach error define their own terms, otherwise we end up flailing away at straw men of our own construction. Nothing is gained from such exercises.

In that spirit, from Catholic Answers, a definition:

Purgatory (Lat., purgare, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.”

Hmm. Let’s chew that one over a bit.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Winning By Losing

“For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”

This is not the easiest sentence to unpack.

The apostle Paul is contemplating a test of orthodoxy. On one side, the Corinthian church, misled by false apostles and questioning the spiritual authority and current relevance of Paul and his co-workers, through whom they had originally received the gospel. On the other side, we have Paul and his fellow servants of Christ, still preaching the same old things the Corinthians learned way back when.

That might not be as cool as the cutting-edge ramblings of the new kids on the block, but it had the virtue of being the same message Paul and his fellow workers preached everywhere they went.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Misappropriating Scripture: The Practical Consequences

Reams have been written on the subject of Bible prophecy and how it is to be interpreted. Even within Protestantism, the number of distinct views of what scripture teaches concerning the end times is mind-boggling and often daunting to the new Christian, so much so that many are inclined to throw up their hands and declare that the answers cannot possibly really matter.

But they do. And they matter practically as well as intellectually.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Not Going to Nashville [Part 2]

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Nashville Statement is a significant evangelical document. It’s an attempt by big names such as John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Russell Moore, James Dobson and others to formulate a written response to Western culture’s post-Christian “massive revision of what it means to be a human being”, especially as that revision relates to sexuality and marriage.

Significant though it may be, in our next few installments we’ll be discussing why, here at ComingUntrue, we’re Not Going to Nashville.

Tom: We stopped after Article 1, Immanuel Can, in which God designed marriage to be a lifelong covenant with a variety of useful purposes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Universal Human Rights: The Christian Legacy

Okay, let me say it right away:

There is only one reason we have human rights: God.

And it was a Christian who first discovered this and explained it to the world.

Eh?

Now, you might ask yourself this: if this is true, why was I not told? Why didn’t my teachers in high school, my instructors at college or my professors in my undergraduate explain this? Or if it’s true, then why is not every Christian trumpeting the fact from the rooftops?

The answer’s simple: Christians don’t know it, and other people don’t want to hear it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Transgression Bag

The eye of faith is an amazing thing.

In all his bitter distress and confusion, Job never completely loses sight of the character and purposes of God. Like most sufferers, he talks at length about how things appear to him: “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.”

Yep, can confirm.

But nowhere in all of his inquiries does it occur to Job for a moment that God may not be there at all. That’s one big difference between the righteous and the wicked. “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” as Paul puts it. They do not consider God in the slightest. “They did not see fit to acknowledge God.” God and eternity have simply been dismissed from their calculations.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

God on the Hot Seat

Cheryl Schatz on the subject of calling God to account:

“So the question we need to ask is, should we call God to account for gifting women in areas that men say God has ‘disallowed’ or ‘disqualified’ women from using their gifts for the benefit of all?”

Now we all trust Cheryl’s answer is going to be no, right? I mean, the idea of calling God to account for anything at all is actually pretty funny, and it’s especially odd to see a professing Christian use the phrase. After all, those who make the public claim that it is God who created and God who sustains them ought to be the first to recognize our relative place in the universe.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Quote of the Day (36)

If Professor Bret Weinstein is not quite Washington State’s answer to Jordan Peterson, at very least he’s managed to make a bunch of the same enemies by refusing to kow-tow to political correctness on campus, and good for him.

Weinstein is an evolutionary theorist and a professor of biology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. He and Peterson got together on Joe Rogan’s show recently (ostensibly to discuss Hitler, of all things) in a wide-ranging, almost three hour brainstorm-fest. (Rogan may have an ‘everyman’ sort of appeal, but he too is no intellectual slouch.)

At least part of the three-way exchange might interest other Christians as intensely as it interested me.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Analyzing the Narrative

Detail from Meister Francke’s Resurrection, ca. 1424
I read a lot of fiction. I always have. And, like most avid readers, I can tell the difference between a good story and a bad one; between a narrative account that holds water and one that is flimsily constructed or implausible.

The stolen body hypothesis is one of the latter, one that has been around from the very beginning. Matthew points out that the chief priests and elders paid to circulate the rumor as soon as it was clear the Lord’s body was no longer in his tomb.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Private Interpretation

I believe all scripture is breathed out by God. That’s not a new idea and it won’t shock anyone here. Holding and maintaining that view of the Bible is one of the marks of orthodoxy going back to the first century.

I’ve been enjoying the book of Job recently, every word of it God-breathed and profitable. But that does NOT mean every word of it is correct.

No, really.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Not Going to Nashville [Part 1]

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Nashville Statement is a significant evangelical document. It’s an attempt by big names such as John Piper, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Russell Moore, James Dobson and others to formulate a written response to Western culture’s post-Christian “massive revision of what it means to be a human being”, especially as that revision relates to sexuality and marriage.

Significant though it may be, in our next few installments we’ll be discussing why, here at ComingUntrue, we’re Not Going to Nashville.

Tom: Anyone who reads here regularly will be well aware how much I dislike creeds, statements of faith and formal declarations. I won’t be signing this one, IC (big surprise there). All the same, I think a bunch of the usual suspects have done a passable job of distilling the convictions of a large swath of Western Christians into as few words as possible, whether or not we agree with everything they’re saying or precisely the way they expressed it. For that reason alone, it might be an interesting exercise to work our way through it and discuss what we like about the way it’s been framed, and what we don’t.

Sound like a plan?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Sometimes Burning is Better

My mother had all but given up on being married when she met my father. At very least she had determined to walk with the Lord and serve him with a whole heart whether or not she ended up doing it alone. Or so I remember hearing the story told.

My father, to the best of my knowledge, wasn’t really looking for a wife when he met my mother. He was busy preaching and teaching and seizing whatever opportunities to serve that the Lord put in his way. My take on it is that he was seeking first the kingdom of God and found to his delight that some other things got “added unto” him along the way, so to speak.

With such ambivalence about actively pursuing marriage on both sides, it’s a wonder I’m here to type this today. They might well have missed each other. And yet ... here we are.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

‘Christian’ in 2017

What does it mean to be “Christian” in a day of access to a near-infinite plethora of diverse perspectives and opinions?

We might choose to ask Mihee Kim-Kort, who calls herself a “Presbyterian minister, agitator, speaker, writer, and slinger of hopeful stories about faith and church.” For Mihee, being Christian means being Feminist, Democrat, pro-abortion, pro-immigration, a community activist and an advocate for and supporter of all women of color — not necessarily in that order.

This is all in the course of a single blog post, by the way, one that makes no reference whatsoever to the word of God.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A Pocket Full of Glory

It’s amazing what I miss.

I mean, I’ve preached on 2 Corinthians 4, and I have a feeling I may have botched the passage rather horribly.

This was years ago, but I still recall a post-meeting conversation with a sniffling middle-aged lady. She was at the time embroiled in an exceptionally tough family situation and wanted to thank me. And to be fair, it had been a fairly encouraging message: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” Paul says. Wonderful. Very uplifting.

I never thought to ask the question “Who’s the US here?”

Monday, September 04, 2017

Visions of Their Own Minds

Saturday’s post ended with my contention that while teachers need to study scripture to be accurate, a prophet doesn’t (or rather, real, biblical prophets didn’t). A true prophet — good or bad, wise or foolish, ignorant or prudent — simply repeated what God had told him.

Interestingly, the commentary I’m reading on Daniel this morning addresses this very issue:

“We read of [Daniel] how each vision was connected with the deepest soul exercise, with fasting and prayer as well as the reading of those portions of the Word of God he possessed.”
— Arno C. Gaebelein

Now, Gaebelein’s not wrong about Daniel’s study habits.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Fake News

The biggest news today is “fake news”.

What is “fake news”? Nobody seems to know. It could be the panicky blandishments of the liberal media. It could be the paranoid pronouncements of the extreme Right. But it could also be the confused babblings of the moderate centre. Nobody really seems to know. The only thing upon which all sides agree seems to be that there’s a lot of it out there somewhere.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Seven Reasons I Don’t Believe You’re a Prophet

Compared to the supernatural, real life can be pretty tedious.

I still recall vividly my childish frustration with the bits of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books that take place in WWII-era England. I wanted the Pevensies to hurry up and get through the magic wardrobe, or climb up on the picture frame in Eustace Scrubb’s bedroom, or for Eustace and Jill Pole to open the mysterious door in the stone wall behind the gym at their boarding school, or just go ahead and use whatever method they were going to use to travel to the land of talking beasts, dwarves, witches, giants and who-knows-what; the place where all the truly exciting things were happening. England was drab, grey and uninteresting by comparison.

I think some people feel pretty much the same way about the Christian life. They keep hoping for something a little zippier to come along.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: ‘Apostles’ and ‘Prophets’

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Everybody’s looking for greater certainty these days it seems, even Christians. Our own Immanuel Can has written at length about how the resurgence of Calvinism is evidence of it, and I’ve recently done some reflecting on how Christians often speak about the “call of God” to bolster their confidence in what in most cases are just their own decisions.

Tom: This, though, might take the cake, IC. A new and rapidly-growing charismatic movement mostly off the radar of other Protestants. Independent Network Charismatics (or “INC Christians”) find their certainty in alleged “prophetic” voices and the pronouncements of “super-apostles”.

It’s big-bucks too. Christianity Today notes that the Asuza Now conference in the LA Coliseum drew 50,000 people in the rain, and almost nobody knew about it outside the INC movement.

How’d you like to have the apostles and prophets back, IC?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Semi-Random Musings (2)

There’s often quite a difference between what we assume went on in a Bible story and what probably really happened.

My mental pictures of Bible characters and their environment tend to auto-default to the flannelgraph cutouts of my Sunday School years. These presumably came from the fertile minds of whoever was drafted to produce the art for the curriculum. But such sacred two-dimensional imaginings are not necessarily the first thing a ten-year old challenges or even notices. They are what they are, and they stuck with me.

This was long before Veggie Tales, so thankfully I don’t carry around the mental image of the prophet Daniel as played by Larry the Cucumber. Not much, anyway.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Things NOT Done in the Body

One night in my late teens I found myself facing a temptation that is probably better not described in excruciating detail. Let’s just say it was a temptation common to young men. The other party was ready and willing and very much to my taste, there were no adults around to complicate matters, the situation was intimate and comfortable, and there was every natural reason to carry right on with what was already well underway.

For reasons I was unable to adequately spell out at the time, I didn’t. I’m not sure there’s a heavenly reward for that exactly, but I can tell you without even a shred of doubt that I did save myself a great deal of earthly emotional distress, guilt, ongoing complications and probably several courses of antibiotics.

If you must know, I blame my parents for that one. There’s probably a reward coming for them, if not for me.