Archive for September, 2014

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3. You mischaracterize the nature of faith.

I heard it over and over again growing up in my church, and I see other Christians say it all the time today: Just have faith. The predictable context is usually a difficult conversation about Christianity or the nature of God – for example, after a tragedy in the news. Unfortunately, “just have faith” is often the catch-all response Christians use when we can’t answer difficult questions. To be sure, we don’t have all the answers, and we should be honest with our kids about what the Bible does and does not tell us. But, oh, how dangerous it is for kids to believe that the primary answer to most difficult Christian questions is “just have faith.” Those three words, too carelessly tossed about, can leave a permanent impression on your kids that Christianity can’t answer tough questions and that blind faith is the answer…”

– Natasha Crain, via http://christianmomthoughts.com/6-ways-you-may-be-raising-your-kids-with-an-oversimplified-faith/

It’s very true that we over-simplify Christianity. It’s a good thing I’m a stubborn guy, because when I went to a “Christian” college, they tried every way they could to undermine my faith. Thankfully, I had immersed myself in the Scriptures as a teenager (while everyone else was partying and messing around). That was time well spent. I had a keen thirst for truth…not just pat answers…but solid truth. Even though I was hindered by Word-of-Faith theology, I had taught myself the fundamentals of logic. I had investigated my own questions- which turned out to be many people’s questions.

Our kids are bombarded daily by an acrid secularistic worldview. I’m not fully convinced that the earth or the universe is as old as scientists tell us, but I’m open to old-earth creationism. Science has missed it badly before, and they could be wrong now. I have confidence that real science will not contradict the author of nature’s book.

The whole article is worth your time.

simul iustus et peccaries,

Eric

IMG_0030.JPG Image titled Dirt Bath, courtesy of The U.S. Army through a CC Generic 2.0 License. No alterations have been made to this image.

2CO 10:4-6 ESV

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

“What are the satanic strongholds that spiritually imprison people, the strongholds that we seek to destroy? Arguments and opinions. Where is the battle raging? Where our thoughts are.

And arguments are not merely strongholds, they are weapons of mass destruction. Adam and Eve (and all of us with them) fell because of an argument. They believed the serpent’s argument and stopped believing God.

That is the deadly essence of sin: not believing God. To not believe God is to ally with Satan, whom Jesus said is “a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth… for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).” – Jon Bloom, via http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/where-satan-will-attack-you-today

IMG_0004.JPGScience Fish Image courtesy of Steve Rainwater through a CC Generic License. No alteration have been made to this image.

““Science” thus becomes a religion: we believe this to be True, and if you don’t, you’re wrong. No, we can’t prove this is True; we simply believe it’s True. It might be a mom telling us vaccines cause autism, hyperactivity and bullying, or it might be a guy on tv telling us that there is not God, but there is Science. And Science is always right.”
– Elise Hilton, via http://blog.acton.org/archives/72707-science-use-word-doesnt-mean-think-means.html

It’s always humorous to read or listen to hardcore antitheists attempt to beat theism into submission to a godless universe.

There’s only one problem: science will never be able to prove or disprove the existence of God. Why is that? Because science is about engineering incrementally, and not about really smart people searching for truth. It’s about repeating experiments over-and-over until you’re pretty sure it’s a reliable theory. How ya goin’ to do that with God? That’s right…you can’t.

Science has given us many wonderful insights into how our world works, but it can never answer the ultimate questions of origins, purpose, meaning, beauty, goodness, ethics, or ultimate destinations.

It takes a “fundamental epistemic humility, and humility is the hardest thing to wring out of the bombastic animals we are.”

But for most people, science means super-smart people telling you what to believe as truth.

“And it’s this view of science that many people hold until this day. Which is a problem. Because it’s backwards. Science means “Here’s an idea of how things work. Let’s test that idea. A lot. The outcome of those tests will tell us if that idea is true or not.” Instead, we have people who think science means, “This idea is True. Smart people believe it’s True. I think it’s True. Evidence not-withstanding, this is True.””

I’m not impressed. Truth (and God) is the domain of religion and philosophy, not science. Remember that.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric

IMG_1743.JPGImage courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“If God is in the business of saving sinners, we need to expect that church will be full of sinners—those who are still wandering and those who have only just been found. If our churches reflect God’s heart for the lost, they will be full of people with problems, full of people showing the consequences of a lifetime of wandering. And this means that church may not be a safe and easy place. It may not be a place full of people who have it all together. It may be messy. It should be messy. Thank God if it is messy.”
– Tim Challies, via http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/challies/XhEt/~3/0NIk8CxAcmk/thank-god-for-a-messy-church

This is always good to remember, when it gets hard to remember exactly why you’re going to that church you go to.

IMG_1653-0.JPGImage courtesy of Nick Bilton through a CC Attribution 2.0 License. No alterations have been made to this image

“Biblical theology is absolutely indispensable for the church to craft an appropriate response to the current sexual crisis. The church must learn to read Scripture according to its context, embedded in its master-narrative, and progressively revealed along covenantal lines. We must learn to interpret each theological issue through Scripture’s metanarrative of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. Specifically, evangelicals need a theology of the body that is anchored in the Bible’s own unfolding drama of redemption.”
-Albert Mohler, via http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/09/16/biblical-theology-and-the-sexuality-crisis/

Simple proof-texting is not going to work in this moral tectonic shift. We need a fully-Biblical worldview, a comprehensive understanding of the “whole counsel of God”, from Genesis to Revelation. We have to see the Scriptural norm for our bodies in the Genesis creation narrative, the Fall, Redemption, and Consummation.

We live in an age of celebrity, punkish, hipster pastors and me-centered, rock concert-styled worship. Ultimately, responsibility for our current moral dilemma lays at the feet of our pulpits.

We’re more interested in marketing trends, book sales, social media, and current pop-culture fads than in being rooted in the Scriptures, and understanding and preaching sound doctrine.

A disconnection from our Protestant roots, and Reformed Theology (Luther, Calvin, Knox, Tyndale, etc.) has left us without a clear, united, confessional voice to speak clearly to the most significant moral paradigm shift since the gnostic challenge to Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd century.

Only a complete understanding, and commitment to the absolute authority of Scriptures will allow a robust defense of Biblical morality.

God help us all.

Please read the whole of Dr. Mohler’s article. He’s much more eloquent and astute than I.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

IMG_1575.JPG Photo titled Hipster Portal, by FunGi_(Trading), used without alteration through a CC License

“Often at the root of so much Christian “engagement” with pop culture lies an embarrassment about the “oddity” of the gospel. Even Christians feel that other people won’t resonate with this strange biblical world of talking snakes, parting seas, floating ax heads, virginal conceptions, and emptied graves. It is easier to meet them “where they are” by putting in a Gospel According to Andy Griffith DVD (for the less hip among us) or by growing a soul patch and quoting Coldplay at the fair-trade coffee house (for the more hip among us).”- Russell Moore

via “Cultural Engagement” http://feedly.com/k/1s9zdwa

The entire article is worth the read. We miss the point of Paul and Mars Hill. We are ashamed of the foolishness of the Cross, so we are ashamed of the Gospel.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

IMG_1513.JPGImage by Brett Jordan, used through a CC License. This photo has not been altered.

“America deserves the Osteens. The consumer culture, the cult of the therapeutic, the marketing impulse, and the sheer superficiality of American cultural Christianity probably made the Osteens inevitable. The Osteens are phenomenally successful because they are the exaggerated fulfillment of the self-help movement and the cult of celebrity rolled into one massive mega-church media empire. And, to cap it all off, they give Americans what Americans crave — reassurance delivered with a smile.”
– Albert Mohler, via http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/09/03/the-osteen-predicament-mere-happiness-cannot-bear-the-weight-of-the-gospel/

I can’t really add anything to this. I truly believe the Osteen’s and their ilk are a judgment from God on the culture-at-large, and the American church in particular.

There really is nothing new here. Nothing these people do surprises me any more.

Read the whole article. It’s a good read on a bad theology that is very dangerous.

Here’s a link to a humorous and appropriate response to Mrs. Osteen:

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams