Archive for the ‘Worldview Thinking’ Category

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“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

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There was a time in my Christian walk when I had an existential crisis of faith. I was raised in a Christian home, and accepted the belief system of my parents. I thank God for allowing me to be raised in a godly home.

Biblical Christianity is an extremely personal religion. You don’t get grandfathered in just because you were raised by Christian parents and attended church all of your life. Its an advantage, to be sure, assuming the home you were raised in exemplified the Gospel message of faith and repentance. It can be a real disadvantage if you were raised in a works righteousness atmosphere.

My faith was real, but I had little foundation in the actual Gospel. I got caught up in the “name it and claim it” movement, which has a dangerous and intellectually stunted theology.

There came a time when my life experience and my worldview came to a head-on collision. Reality and my beliefs didn’t jive.

I was faced with rejecting Christianity altogether, or finding a better Christian foundation than the one I knew.

Thankfully, I knew enough about Scripture to begin an honest and earnest exploration of “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints”.

There are some basic questions every worldview, (either theistic or atheistic), must answer to be coherent. All of us ask these questions, at some point in our lives, if we are thoughtful, and live an examined existence.

Some of my own questions during this time were:

What is the meaning of life?
Where did everything come from?
Who am I?
Why am I here?
How do I know what is right or wrong?
Why is life so hard, and why is there suffering?
What happens to a person when they die?
Is there a God, and if so, who is he?

I’m sure you have asked many of these questions. Fortunately, I had the intellectual and theological foundations to work through many of these questions.

Oddly enough, it was while I was in a theologically liberal Methodist college that I settled many of these questions, since every course I took pertaining to science, theology, or philosophy completely conflicted with my belief system. The things they were telling me didn’t ring true with Scripture, so I worked through these conflicts, and found a renewed and strengthened faith. Not every one in that situation is so fortunate.

On a side note, many of our kids lose their faith when they reach college level, mainly because they have little understanding of their faith, and lack the skills to answer intellectual and emotional challenges to their beliefs.

It is ironic that I went to this school for the purpose of entering Christian ministry, but it (said college) was busy trying to tear down my belief in Scripture and the historic Christian faith. It had the opposite effect. Not all questioning of your faith is a bad thing. It is resistance that builds strength, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

It was later in life that the big question of suffering challenged me. Because of the influence of the Word of Faith movement, I had a faulty view of the existence, cause, purpose, and ultimate end of suffering. When suffering touched me personally, I faltered, and the book of Job became very real to me.

Why did the Lord let my father die, when we prayed so hard for his healing? Is it because we just didn’t have enough faith? Am I to blame?

Why am I in such excruciating pain all of the time?

What did I do to deserve this?

Why doesn’t positive confession work like they said it does?

Why can’t I stop sinning? Why does “letting go and letting God” not work for me? Why can’t I just exercise mind over matter and live a perfectly holy life?

I had, for better or worse, developed a real skepticism of the leading voices of my own generation, theologically speaking. I no longer trusted the theology of many of the big names in pop Christianity.

I had sense enough to know that Christianity had a rich and long history in this world, so I began to read. I spent a lot of time devouring the words of dusty old dead guys, especially the magisterial Reformers of the 15th and 16th centuries, and the Puritans. I felt some camaraderie with the reformers, because they faced a similar situation with the Ronan Catholic Church. Indulgences, corrupt leadership, aberrant theology, Biblical illiteracy (even and especially in the clergy), and human tradition that had replaced God-breathed revelation.

The reformers had a view of the world, the Church, and the believer that made sense to me. It was coherent with reality, and Scripture.

It used strange phrases, like simul iustus et peccator (simultaneously righteous and sinful), and emphasized Original Sin, the centrality of the Gospel, Justification by Faith Alone through Grace Alone by Christ Alone according to Scripture Alone, the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, the Economic Trinity, the Sovereignty of God, and the Means of Grace (the Word and Sacraments).

They, and the Puritans who followed, used a lot of ink to explore suffering in the life of the believer, and the reality of the pervasiveness of sin, as well as the distinction (but not separation) between Justification (Monergistic, all one-sided, from God alone), and Sanctification (synergistic-still God-sided and controlled, but allowing cooperation from the Christian).

It was the theological and philosophical grounding I needed. I won’t lie and tell you that I have everything figured out. “Aslan isn’t a tame Lion”. There is is Mystery and exhaustive Incomprehensibility in the nature of God. We can’t know everything about God exhaustively, since we are finite, and He is Infinite. We can however, know what He has chosen to reveal about Himself through Scripture, and we can know it truly.

We can also know the Biblical Historic Christian faith by studying history, and the theological works of giants who were a lot smarter, and wiser than ourselves. To see where we need to go, we stand on the shoulders of these giants, like Merry and Pippin stood on the shoulder of the Ent Treebeard.

You have to overcome chronological snobbery, though. It also helps to distrust the theology of your own generation, since it is still in flux, and doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight. Just like fish, we can’t always see the philosophical water we swim in.

Be at peace, little Hobbits.

Simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, Georgia

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I’ve been pondering over the Creation account in Genesis for years now.

I mean, let’s face it; in today’s scientific and naturalistic culture, it’s a confusing topic.

All Christians believe in Creation…I mean, once you accept Genesis 1:1, every other miracle after that is small potatoes.

It’s the method God uses in Creation that’s in dispute.

There are basically 3 or 4 ideas about the method of Creation that bear ruminating on:

1. Young Earth Creation- self-explanatory. 6 literal 24 hour days. For most of my life, this was my belief. This would be the belief of Ken Hamm and Answers in Genesis.

2. Old Earth-Gap Theory/-Reconstruction Theory- thanks to my owning a Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, this became my next belief during my Word-of-Faith captivity period. The basic thought is that at some point God created the heavens and the earth. It could have been millions of years ago. There was a pre-Adamite race that fell with Lucifer, creating demons, and requiring God’s judgment of a universal flood. Then God renovated the earth a second time, restoring it in 6 literal 24 hour days. It seeks to harmonize young and old earth Creationism, but it’s Scriptural evidence is scant, and its speculation on pre-Adamites is dubious. Still, it does introduce the idea that there could have been vast ages between Ge 1:1 & GE 1:2. Many Pentecostals/Charismatics hold to this teaching, mainly due to Dake’s influence.

3. Old earth-Day/Age Creationism- This is the theory that the days of GE 1 & 2 are metaphorical, representing immense periods of time. Although this is a separate theory from Theistic Evolution, it tries to match the Book of Nature and the Book of Special Revelation (i.e. the Bible). Many current Intelligent Design scientists, and many thoroughly orthodox Evangelicals hold to this teaching. The group Reasons To Believe would be one of the more prominent groups promoting the Day/Age Theory.

4. Theistic Evolution- This is the belief that God initiated Creation, but instituted Macroevolution as the means to achieve the the arrival of humanity. It is basically a revamped Deistic and anti-supernatural explanation, catering to Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism. Groups such as Biologos promote this theory. This is the one of the four I have no tolerance for. It’s too reminiscent of Old-line Liberslism’s compromise with the Enlightenment. Most of these advocates end up denying the Imago Dei, the Incarnation of Christ, and the physical Resurrection of Christ, unless they violate their own worldview. IMHO, this lies outside of the historic Evangelical Faith.

All of this is a simplistic summary of each of these views. There are obvious nuances and explanations I can’t get into here, unless I’m ready to write a post that would rival War and Peace in length.

I believe we have to give one another room to disagree over the first three views. Many soundly orthodox Evangelicals hold to one of these three views. Obviously, all three can’t be true. The Law of Non contradiction precludes this. Yet, I don’t believe we’ll ever be able to answer all of the issues with any of the three views this side of Heaven.

Each view has to deal with some weighty subjects:

1. Uniformity of scientific laws since the beginning of time;
2. The introduction of death in the animal kingdom;
3. The fossil record;
4. The old appearance of the universe; and,
5. The apparent singular source of all life on earth, in the form of DNA.

One can’t discuss this theological difficulty with non- Christians without being reminded of the controversy involving Galileo in the 17th century.

If you want to make sense of the whole Roman Catholic Church and Galileo, you have to start with the Ptolemaic-Aristotlean worldview (the dominating earth-centric view of the solar system), juxtaposed against the Copernican-Galilean worldview (the upstart sun-centric solar system).

The Roman Catholic Church was staunchly pro-Ptolemy in its doctrine. It’s not really hard to understand. They were simply relying on the established scientific view of the day. The problem was in joining Christian doctrine with scientific theories and codifying them. There’s a lesson here for Christians to remember.

“Ironically, the traditional beliefs that Galileo opposed ultimately belonged to Aristotle, not to biblical exegesis. Pagan philosophy had become interwoven with traditional Catholic teachings during the time of Augustine. Therefore, the Church’s dogmatic retention of tradition was the major seat of controversy, not the Bible. It may also be noted that Pope Urban VIII was himself sympathetic to Galileo but was not willing to stand against the tide of controversy. In reality, the majority of persecution seemed to come from intellectual scientists whose monopoly of educational authority had been threatened. During Galileo’s time, education was primarily dominated by Jesuit and Dominican priests.

” [3]

Much of the controversy began when Roman Catholic Tradition had been criticized by the Reformers of the 16th century. The Roman Catholic hierarchy responded with the Council of Trent, which censored

“any books that challenged traditional interpretations of the scripture.”

[3]

Galileo quoted Augustine (who was partly responsible for an overly allegorical view of Scripture himself):

“If anyone shall set the authority of Holy Writ against clear and manifest reason, he who does this knows not what he has undertaken; for he opposes to the truth not the meaning of the Bible, which is beyond his comprehension, but rather his own interpretation; not what is in the Bible, but what he has found in himself and imagines to be there.”

[1]

It’s always dangerous to hold to tightly to scientific theories as applied to theology.

“Beware of holding steadfastly to a particular interpretation of Scripture and/or a scientific model, which may be in error. For instance, there are various scientific challenges to the Young-Earth Creationist position. We should hold many of our scientific views and their corresponding Biblical interpretations loosely. For we will never have all the right answers this side of heaven.”

[2]

This is as applicable to today’s Science/Faith controversy as it was in the 17th century.

The difference is that today, the roles are reversed. In the 17th century, it was ensconced Ptolemaic/Aristotelean philosophy embedded in Roman Catholic tradition that was the majority view, while Copernicus and Galileo challenged the stays quo.

In the 21st century, Science reigns as king, and it is Creationism and Intelligent Design that is challenging the weakening view of Darwinism and NeoDarwinism.

Remember Galileo’s warning:

“Take note, theologians, that in your desire to make matters of faith out of propositions relating to the fixity of sun and earth you run the risk of eventually having to condemn as heretics those who would declare the earth to stand still and the sun to change position–eventually, I say, at such a time as it might be physically or logically proved that the earth moves and the sun stands still.”

[4]

All of this adds credence to my statement that we need to be careful of dogmatizing a particular scientific interpretation of Genesis. We could wake up in Heaven to a V8 head slap from Jesus, calling us lunkheads for not seeing the complete answer to our Creation queries.

I remain a tentative young-earther. However, I am certainly open to the reality I could be completely wrong. Let’s give one another some slack here for disagreement…except for Theistic Evolution. I’m not going to compromise Scripture for Darwinism.

I end with one more quote:

“The lesson to be learned from Galileo, it appears, is not that the Church held too tightly to biblical truths; but rather that it did not hold tightly enough. It allowed Greek philosophy to influence its theology and held to tradition rather than to the teachings of the Bible. We must hold strongly to Biblical doctrine which has been achieved through sure methods of exegesis. We must never be satisfied with dogmas built upon philosophic traditions.”

[3]

1. Galilei, Galileo, and Stillman Drake. Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo: Including The Starry Messenger (1610), Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615), and Excerpts from Letters on Sunspots (1613), The Assayer (1623). New York: Anchor, 1990. pg. 186, Print.

2. Henderson, Thomas H. “What Were Galileo’s Scientific and Biblical Conflicts with the Church?” Christiananswers.net. Christian Answers Network, 1996. Web. 1 Apr. 2014. .

3. Bebber, Mark V. “What Is the Lesson That Christians Should Learn from Galileo?” Christiananswers.net. Christian Answers Network, 1995. Web. 1 Apr. 2014. .

4. Galileo, 1632, in Janelle Rohr, editor, Science & Religion–Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven Press, 1988), p. 21.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
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According to various resources cited by J. Warner Wallace, any where from 60-80% of college freshmen who claim to be Christian will lose their faith by the time they’re seniors. These are sobering numbers. (1)

We could spend a lot of time exploring the reasons for this trend, but the following quote from a post by Jeff Laird illustrates an important point. When we as parents fail to engage the serious questions raised by our culture, and instead isolate our kids, rather than exposing them to those ideas in a safe environment, we’re not helping our young people develop a healthy immunity to conflicting worldviews. If they don’t see their parents wrestling with Christian answers to secular questions, they won’t be able to fend off the universal acid of atheism. We need to immunize our offspring to the caustic philosophies of our age.

“It’s critically important for our children to see that we, as believers, are not only aware of other views, but that we have considered and responded to them. It’s tragic to see so many children leave home, and their home church, only to have their first, probably catastrophic exposure to the myriad attacks against their Christian faith. No one would be surprised if a teen who had never been vaccinated contracted mumps soon after moving into a public dorm. Why should we, as Christians, be so surprised when a child, having never been exposed to conflicting ideas, assumes their parents and church never considered them?”

-Jeff Laird

via http://feedly.com/k/1m9fWtB

1. Wallace, J. Warner. “Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity?” Cold Case Christianity. J. Warner Wallace, 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
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I’m a ‘Bama fan, but the Aggie’s tradition of the 12th man intrigues me. It seems in 1922, during a hard fought game, A&M’s reserves were low, but the coach remembered an unsuited squad man who was in the press box. The mans name was E. King Gill. He suited up but never played. At the end of the game, he was supposedly quoted as saying, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me.”1

I went through all of that to get to the point of this post.

Last year, I sat through the entire Bible miniseries, self-inflicting myself with hoarseness and a possible aneurism, much to the consternation of my family (I yelled at the tv a lot).

One of the most irritating parts of the whole debacle was the ever-presence of the woman named Mary wherever Jesus was. She’s in the boat when Jesus calms the storm. She’s with Him even in the private conversations He has with His Disciples. She goes into the tomb of Lazarus with Jesus (which neither did). She’s the wisest and most outspoken of all the followers of Christ. She is portrayed at the Crucifixion as the bravest of souls, and she’s the first on the scene at The Resurrection of Christ.

Now, I will be the first to proclaim that Jesus is the best thing to happen for women in all of history. He ministered to women as equals in His Compassion. Many of His miracles were in response to women, and there were actually three ladies at the Empty Tomb.

However, to make this generic “Mary” the 13th Disciple , was totally uncalled for. The symbolic meaning of the 12 Disciples just doesn’t work with a 13th added in to represent the feminists. All you have to do is think about the fact that there are no 13th floors in buildings to get the idea. The feminine gender was well-represented in the Gospels. We don’t need the super-imposition of a “Mary”. In fact, to add to the words of Scripture carries a hefty penalty in the book of Revelations

The tradition of the 12th man is great for the morale of the Aggie’s, but a 13th disciple just to please the culture warriors amongst us is not necessary.

Don’t even get me started on the whole “Peter, just give me an hour and I’ll give you a whole new life”, or “we’re going to change world” exchange with Peter.

I cringe every time Hollywood attempts a “Jesus movie”, or any Biblically-based film. This one, I think, was the worst if all. The worldview of it’s trifecta of ecclesiastical consultants (Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and T.D. Jakes), is all too apparent throughout.

If you start out with a theologically-flawed script to begin with, adding a Roman Catholic mystic and a New-ager as the two producers, along with a culturally-sensitive entertainment complex is not going to bolster confidence to Biblically-oriented believers.

And yes, I have turned into the Biblical curmudgeon, who is just too uptight to appreciate what one radio host has called “Vidal Sassoon Jesus”.

I have not shilled out for the movie The Son of God. I don’t have to. If you watched The Bible miniseries, you have basically seen the movie. It’s just a cinematic regurgitation.

For an interesting review of the movie, go here

Chris Rosebrough gives a great review of Nancy o’Dell’s creepy interview with Jesus here, starting somewhere around the 9 minute mark.

1. http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/team/12thman.html

Roll Tide!

Read your Bible!

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

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Image by Indiansecularist through a CC License

“No one can actually live in the world that is imagined by secularism. Not even the most hardened nihilist can live in the world of pure meaningless that his or her narrative presupposes. In their daily practice, the most ardent religious skeptics have to presuppose a basic order and intelligibility in reality that contradicts the creed of self-creation through random chance”.

— Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, Loc 153, Kindle File

Science itself was born from the thought that the universe was ordered and discoverable by rational inquiry. A universe of chance is a universe of chaos. Only a presupposed bias against a metaphysical cause can blind a man enough to keep him from seeing order and design rather than chance.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

It’s important to have a thoroughly thought out and comprehensive Christian worldview.

“James Orr, in The Christian View of God and the World, maintains that there is a definite Christian view of things, which has a character, coherence, and unity of its own, and stands in sharp contrast with counter theories and speculations. A Christian worldview has the stamp of reason and reality and can stand the test of history and experience. A Christian view of the world cannot be infringed upon, accepted or rejected piecemeal, but stands or falls on its integrity. Such a holistic approach offers a stability of thought, a unity of comprehensive insight that bears not only on the religious sphere but also on the whole of thought. A Christian worldview is not built on two types of truth (religious and philosophical or scientific) but on a universal principle and all-embracing system that shapes religion, natural and social sciences, law, history, health care, the arts, the humanities, and all disciplines of study with application for all of life.

— David Dockery, President of Union University in Jackson, TN

via The Importance of a Christian Worldview – The Gospel Project.

simul iustus et peccator,  

Eric Adams 

Rossville, GA 

godsguy12@comcast.net 

christianreasons@gmail.com 

https://twitter.com/xianreasons 

http://christianreasons.com/