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

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?