Monday, July 22, 2019

Anonymous Asks (50)

“How do you get over a broken romantic relationship?”

How you feel when a relationship ends depends mostly on what you expected from it. If you are convinced that the guy or girl who just told you they don’t see you in their future is the only possible one for you, or that you will never find anyone else like them, or that they are somehow defying all common sense and maybe even the will of God by not appreciating your finer qualities, then you are bound to have a pretty hard time with breaking up.

More importantly, if you and the person who just dumped you have been heavily physically involved, breaking up will be ten times worse.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

God’s Eyelids

God is spirit. I think we can confidently affirm that spirits do not have physical features like we do.

So what’s this the psalmist says about God’s eyelids then? Seems a strange expression:

“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”

Hmm.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (68)

Throughout history kings have been given opportunities to do good and evil on a scale unlike almost anyone else.

When focused on the welfare of their kingdoms, the benefits they could confer on their subjects were immense. When exacting vengeance from their enemies, the damage the greatest of monarchs could inflict was almost incalculable. And when they devoted themselves to self-indulgence, their excesses were the stuff of legends.

Even today, when monarchs are little more than figureheads, these royal celebs have in their grasp the potential to do both harm and good far beyond the ordinary man or woman.

“With great power,” as they say …

Friday, July 19, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: The Pendulum Swings

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

Pride Month in Canada has come and gone, but there are still rainbows everywhere: in banks, fast food outlets and all sorts of corporate venues where you wouldn’t have seen them a decade ago. Our office building had a display in the lobby. If we were to judge the general acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle on the basis of such evidence, we would have to conclude public support for a practice the word of God condemns as an abomination has never been higher.

Not so, say the polls. Interestingly, it’s Millennials who most egregiously dissent from the “conventional wisdom” of their peers.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

So You Want to Serve God …

Dear Daniel:

I’ve been watching you for a while now. I see that you are an earnest kind of person, spiritually speaking. You are enjoying your studies, but finding them a challenge sometimes too, I know. And it’s not easy to handle a young marriage at the same time. Good for you for keeping it all in balance. That wife of yours is a saint; but then again, so are you — I mean the real definition of “saint”, not just some putatively-exemplary dead person in a cathedral window, but a person who has been genuinely sanctified by the salvation in Christ Jesus and has taken his place among all those who love God.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Reports and Opinion Pieces

When Israel reached the borders of the promised land, while the mass of the nation continued to camp in the wilderness of Paran, Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan.

He did not do this on his own. God gave the instructions directly, and he even insisted the spies be of high caliber: “every one a chief”.

In hindsight, there were probably several very good reasons for this.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Winning?

Bea tweets, “If god hates gays why do we keep winning?”

Good question. It sounds an awful lot like a punchline with which marauding Philistines might have taunted Israelite farmers around 1070 BC in the midst of plundering their produce and livestock with impunity: “If the God of Israel really hates the practices of the Canaanites, why is it we are running roughshod over his people?

“And by the way, your mother wears army boots!”

Monday, July 15, 2019

Anonymous Asks (49)

“I have a friend who says she is not religious. How do I respond?”

One thing I am slowly learning not to do is to tell other people exactly what they should say when witnessing for Christ. There are probably worse ways to share your beliefs than recycling someone else’s arguments in words you wouldn’t normally use, but I can’t think of too many at the moment. The best case a Christian can make is one he fully understands and believes with all his heart, and is able to express in the same sort of everyday language he uses to enthuse about a football team or a great song.

So I won’t tell you how to respond. The response needs to be all yours. What I might be able to do is to help you work through what your friend is really telling you when she says she is “not religious”, so you can decide how best to attempt to share Christ with her.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Place of My Own

One thing is absolutely certain: we are all going someplace when we die. It may be nowhere more exciting than the digestive systems of worms and soil microbes, thereafter to be distributed throughout the earth’s ecosystem over time, but it is certainly a place. Or places, if you prefer.

Biologically, we do not choose our place. It is imposed on us. Spiritually, however, we do; moreover, we testify to the choices we have made with every daily act we perform. Death makes all choice irrevocable.

This is true even when we are not aware we are making any choice at all.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (67)

A lot of things change in three thousand years, but human nature is not one of them. I am always astounded to find how many of the ancient Hebrew proverbs remain relevant today, if not directly, then certainly by application.

We are looking at the last five verses of Agur’s oracle, which include the last of his six observational quaternions of lists (seven total).

This one is maybe a bit more difficult to work out …

Friday, July 12, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Churches in the Crosshairs

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

Tom: Last week, IC, Bernie and I discussed the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Toronto, Canada, which consisted of 8,000 Catholics, Buddhists, Baptists, Bahai, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and indigenous spiritualists. They gathered to complain about Donald Trump and disseminate tactics for effectively infiltrating evangelical churches in order to convert us to the globalist / ecumenicalist cause.

Since they’ve been so kind as to warn us of their intentions in advance, I thought maybe we could consider how best to keep them out, or perhaps how to bring them in while thwarting their efforts.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

I Want to Die

I was baptized young.

Not so young that I did not know what I was doing. After all, I believe in believer baptism only … just like the scriptures tell us.

I was around ten, I think. I asked for it to happen. No one pushed me. And at that time, I had a ten-year-old’s faith, and a ten-year-old’s understanding. Nothing wrong with that … it’s just not where I am today.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

That Wacky Old Testament (14)

Yesterday we looked at the sometimes-controversial fifth chapter of Numbers, in which God gives instructions about how a jealous husband should deal with a wife thought to have committed adultery.

The confusion this chapter produces in modern women reading it for the first time is really quite entertaining. Brought up to believe unquestioningly in “equality” of every possible sort, they quickly look around for the parallel chapter in which a wife could take her husband to the priest and have him tested for adultery. The less-experienced Bible students are shocked to find it doesn’t exist.

The world was a different place in those days, especially in the nation of Israel. Some things have changed. Some have not.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

That Wacky Old Testament (13)

The “bitter water” test found in the fifth chapter of Numbers is the source of a fair bit of confusion and debate.

There are arguments that it legitimizes abortion, arguments that the test couldn’t possibly work, and of course we can’t forget the obligatory fussing that the test was unegalitarian because it was not applied to men.

That makes the chapter worth a little more attention, surely.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Anonymous Asks (48)

“Why doesn’t God interact with us today the way he did over the periods covered in the Bible?”

It is important to notice that God did not always interact with men and women in exactly the same way over the periods covered in the Old and New Testaments. In fact, he revealed himself at many different times and in many different ways. There were also long periods in between these self-revelations — sometimes ten generations or more — during which God appears to have been silent, and no new word from heaven was forthcoming.

All the same, I think we have a good idea what’s being asked here, and that is this: Why does it appear there is no longer any absolutely categorical, personal, undeniable, back-and-forth interaction with God available to us?

Sunday, July 07, 2019

A Closer Look

I did not grow up with liturgy. The closest thing was probably the occasional corporate reading of scripture from the back of a beat-up hymnbook with a busted spine, where at least you could be sure everyone was looking at the same translation for once.

Agreed, that’s not very close.

The Upper and Nether Millstones

Of course there were always very sincere, older, conservative Christians around who prayed out loud in religious clichés so hackneyed and distinctive you could see them coming several sentences in advance. But that’s not really liturgy either; it’s more like chronic failure of imagination. My brothers and I would mouth these pieties to one another as they rolled off the speaker’s tongue in amusement at our own rather profane cleverness in anticipating them.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (66)

Everybody loves an underdog.

Ask any sports fan. We are always delighted to cheer the overcomer, the up-and-comer, and the unexpected victory from the team that wasn’t expected to get it done. It’s called bandwagoneering, and it happens regularly in cities whose teams haven’t won in years. People with no previous interest in basketball, baseball or football suddenly start talking about the home squad as if they are family members.

But underdogs are not just a regular feature of professional sports. Creation has plenty of them on display. The best thing is that these natural examples of overcoming were not cobbled together at last minute with millions of dollars at the trade deadline; rather, they were designed by God to teach us all lessons of enduring value.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Those Pesky Evangelicals

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

The 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Toronto, Canada was ecumenicalism monetized, organized and with a working agenda for planet-wide spiritual dominion.

That’s not hyperbole. They’re not hiding much these days, and almost anyone who makes an effort is free to come in to their major gatherings and take a look. They want both a world government and a viable world religion to make it happen. Something close to 8,000 delegates got together to plug away at the project. These included Catholics, Buddhists, Baptists, the Bahai, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, indigenous spiritualists and even a video message from the Dalai Lama. You name it, they were there. Carl Teichrib was also there, reporting.

Tom: Assuming it’s accurate, what interests me about Teichrib’s summary is that the Interfaith Engagement panel he attended was particularly troubled by evangelical resistance to their project. They considered at length how to break down the walls that keep evangelicals from fully participating in their little Babel 2.0. Their recommendations were intriguing.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Straight Talk

Some years ago, Dr. Gordon Marino, the ethicist, wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education called “Before Teaching Ethics, Stop Kidding Yourself”.

In this article, Marino complained of the cottage industry of posers and pseudo-experts we have today who dispense advice to us about how we ought to conduct our moral lives. Ethics, he argued, were not so much a matter of specialized knowledge as of ordinary people doing what they already knew to do.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Conspiracy Theory

I’ve been enjoying the account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, the writer of many books in the New Testament. The book of Acts tells Paul’s story several times, each version bringing out new details not recorded in the others.

Atheists and detractors like to point out alleged contradictions in scripture; anything that might be interpreted, however implausibly, with sufficient elasticity as to make less than perfect, logical sense of the biblical narrative. Such things are accounted for variously as factual mistakes, copyist’s errors or conspiracies among believers to commit pious fraud.

TheThinkingAtheist.com is a great place to go if you want to see the sort of thing that passes for Bible criticism among those who have already made up their minds before reading a single verse.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Quote of the Day (41)

In a week when the usual suspects have been howling for a “disproportionate response” to the downing of a U.S. navy spy drone, it’s refreshing to find a commentator who prefers violent provocations be met with no response at all.

Don’t worry, this is not about the Strait of Hormuz or what constitutes Iranian airspace. The provocation is storyline-only, and the response to it is disproportionate only if you fail to consider the circumstances in which it occurs.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Anonymous Asks (47)

“How did people stay alive so long back in the Old Testament?”

If we are going to consider how it was that people were able to live to exceptional ages in the early chapters of Genesis (930 years for Adam, 912 for Seth, 969 for Methuselah, which is the highest recorded, and so on), we had better first ask the question, “Did they really?”

After all, some Bible students believe they did not. I think they’re wrong, but we should at least let them weigh in.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Immanentizing the Eschaton

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: when you hear that someone is trying to “immanentize the eschaton”, it’s simply educated jargon. It’s a more confusing way of claiming they are trying to bring on the end times. I expect it’s intended to leave us midwits scratching our heads in perplexity, but who knows? The accusation has been leveled against utopian secularists and evangelical Christians alike.

Most recently I found it in Infogalactic’s entry on Postmillennialism, which I was discussing in this space just the other day: “It [postmillennialism, especially reconstructionist postmillennialism] has been criticized by 20th century religious conservatives as an attempt to immanentize the eschaton.”

Saturday, June 29, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (65)

As we have noted in previous installments, there are different kinds of proverbs. One very common sort is the command. An example: “Do not add to his words lest he rebuke you.” Another is the warning: “The eye that mocks a father ... will be eaten by vultures.” A third is the appeal: “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” All these teach us in different ways.

Agur’s favorite type of proverb was none of the above. More than anything else, Agur was a keen student of the natural world. His proverbs are primarily observational. He may draw the occasional moral conclusion explicitly, but for the most part he simply tells us how things are and lets us chew on that for a bit.

It’s not a bad strategy. I’ve been enjoying it.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: The Whole of the Law

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

For those who have never heard of Aleister Crowley, a short bio culled from information available at Infogalactic.

Crowley was born into a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family in Warwickshire, England in 1875, and rejected Christianity to become an occultist, poet, painter and novelist. A practicing bisexual, he founded the religion of Thelema, promoted a form of Satanism, traveled the world, climbed mountains, experimented with hallucinogens and claimed to be a prophet of the Egyptian god Horus. In his day, he was referred to as “the wickedest man in the world”. In 2002, the BBC ranked him as the 73rd greatest Briton of all time.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Church Without Wings

In one of the towns in which I lived as a child there was a church that called itself “Berean”. I’ve noticed quite a few such establishments, and I wonder if many people know what it actually means.

It’s a reference to a group of ancient Jews who lived in a town called Berea, and who were among those who experienced the early ministry of the apostle Paul. They listened to the gospel Paul preached; and yet they didn’t just trust it. They checked it out for themselves, comparing his New Testament teaching with the word of God in the Old Testament. Acts says that they “received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Unhobbling Don Quixote’s Horse

In a couple of earlier posts this week I looked at some of the differences between the premillennial and amillennial schools of thought about Bible prophecy. You can find them here and here if you’re interested.

All beliefs about prophecy have practical implications of one sort or another, but the one most likely to ruffle feathers in the here-and-now, I think, is postmillennialism. That makes it worth chewing over a little.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Cup of Weak Tea

“Facts don’t care about your feelings,” Ben Shapiro is fond of saying. Unlike much of his recent book The Right Side of History, that statement is fairly accurate.

But facts also don’t care about your eschatology. Not a bit. Premillennialist Bible teachers and popular writers who make careers out of dogmatically applying specific prophecies to current events tend to find this to their chagrin — well-know date-setter Harold Camping being one recent example.

Facts take no joy in embarrassing the likes of Camping. They are not mean-spirited. They simply are what they are.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Anonymous Asks (46)

“Spiritual worship: like ghosts and stuff? I don’t understand it.”

No ghosts, but if you’re not familiar with the concept of worshiping God in spirit, maybe it can be a bit confusing.

Jesus said God the Father is looking for people who will worship him “in spirit and in truth”. That became possible when the Father sent the Son into the world to reveal God to mankind.

To understand the meaning of worshiping in spirit, we need to understand a little bit about the alternative.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Don’t Stop Now, You’re Almost There

The devil may be in the details, but far-reaching doctrinal errors are all in the broad strokes and almost never in the minutia. I’m becoming convinced of it.

My test case at the moment is the expanded edition of Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (2013), in the event you’re wondering. But I have found the same thing with several books I’ve read recently: they advance a fundamentally flawed major premise. Once you’ve done that, you can pile up the proof texts to highest heaven without successfully proving anything. Your original, glaring defect of thought makes them all irrelevant to the greater argument.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (64)

Psychology Today analyzes excuses for adultery. Here’s one of the more spectacularly trivial:

“Adultery may be the lightning conductor of modern indignation, but are there not other, subtler ways of betraying a person than by sleeping with someone outside the couple; by omitting to listen, by forgetting to evolve and enchant, or more generally and blamelessly, by simply being one’s own limited self?”

I must admit, that one’s a beauty: “My wife failed to evolve and enchant me, so I was compelled to explore my options. There was really nothing else for it.”

What do you think, gents? Have you been “evolving and enchanting” fast enough for your wife?

Friday, June 21, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Screened Out

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

I don’t spend a lot of time browsing the The New York Times, but this article was worth a few minutes. Nellie Bowles describes an increasingly common phenomenon: screens everywhere you go, doing almost everything people used to be paid to do. Touchscreens provide a consistent user experience, don’t take sick days, don’t unionize, and the hourly cost of maintaining them is considerably less than that of employing a person. For all but the wealthiest couple of percentiles of society, technology has become the go-to substitute for human contact.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mastering the Pastor Disaster

Her voice on the end of the phone was shaky. Clearly she was very, very upset about something. But she couldn’t bring herself to tell me what. Her words came out in a kind of extended groan that seemed to swell up from inside the depths of her heart, but could only leak past her lips. Something very bad had happened.

As our conversation continued, I gently drew more details out of her broken responses, and it became clearer. Not only she, but all her friends and her church, had been betrayed. A leader in their circle, much loved and widely admired, had turned the corner of a disastrous course. The first of the news had just broken; and she had called me less to tell me than to seek some kind of soothing for her aching soul.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Inbox: Is Socialism Biblical?

Jeff says:

“Hey, long time lurker of your site here. With all the recent debate in the US about the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘democratic socialists’, I was curious about what your thoughts are regarding socialism and capitalism from a biblical perspective. I immediately think about the year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25:8-13 and about the early church described in Acts.”

Well, we love long time lurkers. We have a bunch. Thanks for a great question, Jeff. Here goes …

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The View from Eternity

God is very much misunderstood.

This is not without reason. God and man come at things from vastly different perspectives. Two of the most common features of online discourse about God are befuddlement and frustration. “How can a loving God permit this or that?” “How could God command genocide?” “Why animal sacrifices? Doesn’t God care about his creation?” “Why does the Law of Moses contain so many weird and apparently pointless rules if God was really behind it?” “Why would God say two people who love each other cannot be together?”

For older Christians these can be challenging questions.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Anonymous Asks (45)

“Do I have to be nice to everyone?”

It very much depends on what you mean by “nice”. Christians often confuse being nice with being good. But the word “nice” is never used in our English Bibles.*

There are solid reasons for this. “Nice” is an awkward word, very much open to being misinterpreted. I can understand why Bible translators would make an effort to avoid its potential ambiguities. Its original meaning (now obsolete) was “wanton” or “dissolute”. Later, it came to mean “fastidious” or “exacting”. (For example, to make a “nice” distinction was to make a distinction so subtle that a lot of people would fail to grasp it.) All these historic ways of using “nice” are various degrees of negative.

Today, “nice” has come to mean “pleasing”, “agreeable” or “polite”. That is probably the way you are using it. Let’s go with that.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Day of Big Things

A handful of times throughout our earth’s history God has made major public statements. Big things.

The Bible records a number of these great and unambiguous events: the Flood; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and Israel’s delivery from Egypt, passage through the Red Sea and miraculous conquest of Canaan. Even when Israel and Judah went into their various captivities, God still made appearances to miraculously shut the mouths of lions, walk around in fiery furnaces and write on the walls of pagan kings.

Then came the first century miracles of Jesus, and later his apostles. Big things.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (63)

I was originally planning to zip through these last few verses of Proverbs, but I find myself enjoying them too much to rush through them, even as I remain perplexed as to their full meaning in more than a few cases. I suppose it helps that they are among the least-examined verses of scripture I’ve ever encountered. New territory is always interesting.

So … horrors and marvels, here we go.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: When We ALL Get to Heaven

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

The Huffington Post headline reads “Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics.”

The Post adds, “Pope Francis rocked some religious and atheist minds today when he declared that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists. During his homily at Wednesday Mass in Rome, Francis emphasized the importance of ‘doing good’ as a principle that unites all humanity.”

Everybody’s Home Free

Tom: It’s not quite universalism, but add a few good works in there and it seems everybody’s home free. If so, that’s pretty generous of Rome, wouldn’t you say? Do you know if he’s walked that one back yet?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Christ-Shaped Empty Space

Regarding last week’s post about spiritual narcissism, one further thought has been with me lately.

The attraction to following a single, charismatic, spiritually-talented man is an interesting case of misdirected spiritual longing. As human beings, and especially as sons of God, we are constituted for the destiny of eternal relationship with a Man. He is our legitimate spiritual leader and source of spiritual food, the rightful head of every direction we’re going, and the source of all our future hopes and blessings. To be given over to serving him is our highest and best destiny, and even now we have a longing for that — a longing God gives us, and which we must have.

It’s a longing for our Shepherd … the Good Shepherd.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

More Teaching Won’t Help

Yesterday I drew attention to what at first glance might appear to be an imbalance in the teaching of the book of Proverbs. Solomon gives many dire warnings about “women on the make” to young men, but no warnings at all to young women concerning the dangers of lustful men.

This was not because God is uninterested in maintaining the virtue of women, as we will see shortly. However, ancient Eastern societies, and especially Israel, had a culture of built-in familial and legal protections for ordinary women which made them difficult for men on the prowl to access or seduce, and this without imposing on them pillbox-style face-coverings and body bags.

And of course there was no internet in those days. Where temptation is concerned, that was far from a negative.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Discriminating Against the Adulteress

Modern readers flipping the pages of Proverbs would have to be incredibly inattentive to fail to notice that the warnings about lapsing into sexual sin are ... all directed at men.

In fact, where adultery is concerned, it could be argued that Solomon viewed women of a certain sort as cunning predators and men as their potential victims. Foolish and gullible victims, certainly. Unknowing and uncaring of the consequences of their actions, definitely. But victims all the same ... even though we know it takes two to tango, right?

Where are the parallel passages warning young Hebrew women against the prowling adulterer with lust in his eyes? Why, they are nowhere to be found.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Anonymous Asks (44)

“If you are not a Christian and believe that Jesus died on the cross to relieve us of our sins, can you still go to heaven?”

There is a significant difference between believing about someone and believing in someone.

The book of James points out that even demons get some of their facts right. They are strict monotheists, for one. Mark’s gospel records that unclean spirits repeatedly fell down before Jesus and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” In that respect, the demons were better theologians than the Pharisees, who hotly disputed that very issue.

However, believing something correct about Jesus — even something very important indeed — doesn’t mean demons are on their way to heaven. Far from it.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Semi-Random Musings (13)

“Go, tell his disciples and Peter …”

The earliest manuscripts of the gospel of Mark end with a “young man” (read: angel) instructing three terrified women at the open tomb of the Lord Jesus to go and share the news that while Jesus of Nazareth had died and been buried, Christ the Lord had risen and planned to meet with his followers once more.

No wonder they trembled.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (62)

Entropy is pretty much the governing principle of our present universe. Systems and sub-systems are not independently or permanently functional. They require replenishing from other sources.

The earth cannot survive without sunlight. The sun could not warm the earth were it not fueled by both hydrogen and helium. And without the collapsing clouds of interstellar gas and dust we call nebulae, there would be no stars.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: The Church and Fatherhood

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

Tom: Last week I came across a U.S. federal government site designed to be a resource for fathers and families. While of course we applaud any such effort in a period when the family is relentlessly under attack from all sides, it seems obvious secular governments are not well-equipped to teach the more spiritual aspects of fatherhood.

Fathers do not exist simply to pay the bills and do the heavy lifting around the house. The last time we talked, we compiled a list of fatherly responsibilities from scripture, and it was not a short one. God did not intend fathers to be dispensable, whatever our society may think.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

The Pastor of Disaster

Andrew sat back and stirred his tea. “What kind of church are you in?” he asked.

“Well,” I said, “I was in a conservative evangelical group, but it seems perhaps I’ve been kind of bumped out.”

“What do you mean?”

“We were in one kind of church, but we had to leave; now we’re sort of in-between, looking for what the Lord would have us do.”

“I will tell you why you left.” His voice was even and certain. He leaned forward. “It was because of … that man.”

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The Commentariat Speaks (15)

From Doug Wilson’s comment section at Blog & Mablog. S writes:

“Why is there not an option to fully bow out? Neither Heaven or Hell, just non-existence?”

Doug’s own response is brief and related to the need for God’s holy justice to be displayed. I agree, and I’m not sure I can offer anything more profound in terms of an answer, but I was sufficiently taken with the question that I felt the need to explore it a little here.

It’s my observation that the sorts of questions we ask about God often say more about us than they say about him.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Quote of the Day (40)

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The book of Acts begins with this question.

Jesus does not answer it directly. Instead, the Lord draws his disciples’ attention away from Israel’s earthly kingdom and redirects it to their mission promoting his spiritual kingdom in this present age. After this, he is taken up into glory.

Some read this to mean there will be no restoration to national prominence for the Jews. Others believe the restoration of the kingdom to Israel is fulfilled in the Church’s present ministry on earth.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Anonymous Asks (43)

“Does God know what we will do?”

More than a few Christians have a strong aversion to neo-Calvinist determinism. They don’t agree with the teaching that God micromanages the universe, controlling and pre-arranging everything that happens within it, including the choices made by all created beings.

I don’t blame them. I don’t like that idea much either, and I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of what the Bible teaches about either God’s sovereignty or human choice. Giving us a Bible full of commands seems an unlikely thing for God to have done if our responses to him are all predetermined.