Thursday, July 30, 2009

Comments From Caller On William Lane Craig

Last year I wrote a few posts that interacted with an email exchange I had with a group in Colorado that desired to help men experience Christ (read 1, 2, 3). When I wrote that, my main response was in relation to the group's understanding of what it means to experience Christ and the fruit that comes from that. The Gospel and the God ordained means by which we are to proclaim the Gospel was simply not in this group's thinking.

More and more we are seeing Protestants willing to work with Roman Catholics as if Rome possesses the Gospel. How do we know Rome possesses the Gospel? Because they have just as much fervor for Jesus as Protestants do.

Theology matters. On the 4th of June a caller on the Dividing Line had a discussion with Dr. White about the debate between an atheist and Dr. William Craig. During the debate the atheist asked if Dr. Craig could point out Christians who have bad doctrine. Dr. Craig's first thought was that of the Calvinists. This would explain his willingness to stand with Roman Catholics more than he would Reformed folks.

To make a loooong story short, in this short clip the caller makes a great point about the same problem I was addressing last year. When man's autonomous will must be believed at all costs, the foundation for the reformation is undercut. Listen here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pass the Buck

I read these couple of quotes on the masked crusader's site.
Posted: 03/03/2009

Denny's is now offering a new breakfast "slam" in special honor of the California octuplet's mother.

You get 8 eggs, no sausage and the person next to you gets the bill.

Socialism in America
Posted: 03/02/2009

Norman Mattoon Thomas (November 20, 1884 - December 19, 1968), and some of us are old enough to remember him running for President, was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.
Norman Thomas said this in a 1944 speech:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." He went on to say: "I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform."
Snopes has not yet verified the Thomas quote, but is there any doubt as to its truth whether he actually said it or not? I first read this in an email.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Couple of Notes

Just a couple of things. First I have been reading through a small book by Donald MacLeod called Shared Life. Subtitle is The Trinity & The Fellowship of God's People. This is a great book for the beginner Christian. I really appreciated a couple of paragraphs that answer the question of "why?" the Trinity is important to learn. With so much demand for "practical preaching, here is a portion of his response.
Even here, however, we need to be careful. What do we mean by practical? We think immediately of humanitarianism: of assisting our neighbors, of relieving famine in Africa, of ministering to drug addicts and alcoholics. Practical is seen almost exclusively in terms of this world. Such thinking looks harmless enough, but what it actually makes us say is this: loving our neighbor is practical, loving God is not. As Christians we obviously have no right to think like that. Practical Christianity will certainly involve concern for our fellow man and good will towards our neighbor wherever we meet him. But it begins with loving God, and with expressing that love in humility, gratitude and obedience.
The book is broken down into 3 section. First, an explanation of the biblical teaching of the Trinity and the major thinkers down through the centuries contribution to our ability to articulate the teaching. The second section deals with the Trinity in our religious life. The third is a defense of the doctrine in light to the major world religions and cults.

MacLeod is also the author of one of the best books on the Person of Christ that I have in my personal library. In this book you will receive a very thorough understanding of who Christ is from the Scriptures and also the historic debates concerning His dual nature.

Get it. Read it. Give it to a Christian friend.

I also managed to listen to a few programs of Issues Ect. with Todd Wilken. Shane Rosenthal was interviewed by Todd last week. After a few generations of bad preaching and worse youth group programs, Shane discusses a survey showing that American Christian youths are simply moralistic deists looking for a life coach in Jesus. Basically, we have become narcissistic gnostics looking for new ways to experience Jesus.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Carter and the Created Order

I have noticed something over the years that I think has caused Christians a problem in the field of apologetics. I have seen this problem when discussing the issue of homosexuality not only in the religious context but in the political realm as well. Since the issue of women in the church and family is tightly related, I thought pointing out this inconsistency might be of service in the Christian's ability to communicate his beliefs.

This morning's blog post by Albert Mohler is excellent. Mohler explains that Jimmy Carter is simply wrong in his use of scripture and Carter's view of denominational membership (Why doesn't he leave already!). But, here comes the other shoe, there is that one point that I think Christians need to clarify.

Mohler quotes Carter,
So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
Mohler then makes this comment with a quote from Carter,
Instead, his reference to the Southern Baptist Convention introduced his argument that any religious teaching that denies what he construes as full equality for women "is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God."
Of course, one could have a field day with this nonsense. Could anyone with a quarter pounder in his mouth and half a brain make such stupid words string together by accident? Yet that is the beauty of Liberalism. Words have no meaning and history is able to be rewritten at the whim of the touchy feely.

However, it is in the next paragraph that I think the Christian in general and Mohler in particular miss the opportunity to clarify. Mohler states,
All this fits a pattern for which Mr. Carter is now well known. He simply rejects the texts in the Bible that clearly establish different roles for men and women in the church and the home. He dismisses these verses for the simple reason that he also rejects the inerrancy of the Bible.
Now all this is true of course. Liberals hardly believe in Genesis. It is just a story to twist and pervert and mythologize to no end. Yet one does not have to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture to argue against Carter's feminist views anymore than the homosexual issue or even just talking with an unbelieving neighbor. (I need to clarify that I am a presuppositionalist, and I believe that the Christian must start with the inerrancy of Scripture. However, here I am simply arguing the created order. This knowledge is known by all men.)

My point is simple but easily missed. There is a created order. Christians in particular need to learn to argue from this created order to demonstrate the Creator's purpose and design. Everyone knows that men and women are created equal in one sense. Yet we all may see that there is a purpose and order to things as well (Eve comes from Adam. She is not second rank because of her sin but because of the created order). Our consciences even bear witness to this fact. For we see this in militaries that have attempted to incorporate women along side of men in battle. We see this when a man's family is attacked. We see this plainly in so many areas of life that we must acknowledge, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1,that men suppress the truth.

Christians have the Scriptures to speak to the sinful heart of man, and we must continue to proclaim the truths of God's Word. For it is the written special revelation of God that gives the needed correction to all of man's sinful perversions and twistings of the general revelation around him and within him. The Scriptures also give the special revelation that man needs to once again be reconciled to his Creator and to once again come into a right thinking about himself and the created order around him.

I doubt Former President Carter would be persuaded by any of this. Sinners do what sinners do. Nevertheless, I think Christians could and should engage unbelievers in the political arena in a more consistent manner for the simple fact that Christians desire to honor God's truth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time To Brag

The 4-H results are in and my kids did great. Once again, Steven got Grand Champion for his Geology project, and this year he also took grand champion for his rocket. Rachel got plenty of blues as well. In fact, she caused the judge to struggle between her Key Lime Pie verses somebody's chocolate cake for Grand Champion. Here are two things she also did really well in.

Above is a decorated zucchini and below is her snowman.

Steven also took grand junior champion in the Scott County photography contest with this one.

This one got a purple.

As for my pictures, 2 of the 3 lightning pictures (see previous posts) received champion and reserve champion. The rest were all blues including these.

There is just no place this boy can not sleep.

Tomorrow I'll try to have more pictures of the fair.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


As one friend pointed out, there are plenty of red dots in the background. They have proved quite difficult to rid. With a little online help, I fixed one picture. I must admit I am no artist. Real photographers know how to take something like this and make it great.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lightning Storm

Tonight we had a thunder storm miss us to the west and then slid south east of us. My daughter talked me in to taking some pictures. I am sure glad she did. Here are a few of them.

This week is the Scott County Free Fair. I usually try to enter something into the photography open class. Any suggestions would be great.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

4-H Rockets

This evening we did a little 4-H rocketry. These pictures were better than I could have hoped for.

Yes, it survived impact with only slight damage.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here Come the Thought Policing Left

The Thought Police and the Secret Tribunals are coming our way with the U.S. Senate's passage of the Hate Crime legislation. The Baptist Press News speaks about the Senate's version,
The Senate measure says a person commits a hate crime when he "willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person."

The penalty for a hate crime could be as much as 10 years in prison or, in some cases, up to a life sentence.

The legislation would authorize the U.S. attorney general to provide assistance to state and local officials in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
Sam Brownback has attempted to amend the bill to make the bill more palatable. The bill should be completely opposed. The Republican Party is a complete failure. Brownback is no more able to articulate why this bill is wrong than his Democrat counterparts are able to defend this intellectually. This is all emotionally driven. Brownback is simply giving us the light version of the Democrat/Left-wing hate crimes legislation. We should all be happy now? Yeaaaaa! Only a portion of my American liberties have been lost?

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is quoted in the article.
"In addition, the Brownback amendment doesn't resolve other inherent problems in the bill," Duke said. "The bill still elevates homosexuality and other aberrant sexual behaviors to a specially protected class, and it still creates an opportunity for the prosecution of thought. Consequently, while we appreciate the protection that Senator Brownback gained for people of faith, the hate crimes bill is still inappropriate legislation and should be defeated."
The article also states,
The amendment also is unclear in defining who would fit the categories of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity," ERLC President Richard Land said in a July 16 letter urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to oppose the legislation. "While the American Psychiatric Association lists roughly 30 sexual orientations, including pedophilia, the term 'sexual orientation' is unspecified in the bill, and 'gender identity' is only loosely defined," Land wrote.
"Loosely defined" bills like this are bad news. With irrational judges, who reject the created order and the law of God, sitting on benches attempting to define loosely defined laws, Conservatives in general and Christians in particular better get ready for the many lawsuits that are coming our way.

The culture war has only increased in measure since the 60s. How could a bill like this help Americans to "get along"? My prediction is that this bill will only inflame the culture war. Eventually, when enough people are sued, people will turn to violence.

One thing I have learned over the years is that wars don't start over night. The Revolutionary War, The Civil War and other wars didn't start the day congress got into the mix. Wars escalate to the point of forcing governments to be involved. This is all the worse because the government is now taking sides. It appears to me that the Political Left wants a war. I wonder if they'll be able to finish it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Conversion of Souls

I just received this week's edition of the Spurgeon Baptist Association Weekly Newsletter. Richard Smith's article, THE CONVERSION OF SOULS, PART 24, stated much of what I have been thinking. Here is the first couple of paragraphs.
The professing Church must begin to think of salvation in terms of conversion and not just salvation from hell as the Bible does. Hell is a fearful truth, but it is not conversion. Sinners are saved from hell, but also converted for the glory of God now. The professing Church must repent of practical deism and live before the living God. Deists think that God created the world, wound it up like a clock with natural laws, stood back, and then disinterestedly watched. God did not, they said, take part in daily affairs. That is what the professing Church has done spiritually. Practical deists have taken the Bible as His Word and yet think that God is standing back and watching what human beings will do with it. They think that all that is needed is to teach people for the purpose of intellectual belief. Their theology may say differently, but practically speaking they deny that God is active in conversion.

Practical deists evangelize by quoting Scripture and telling men that they need to make a decision and pray. It is to tell them that the Bible gives the facts and we must make an act of the ill to believe them to be saved from hell. This idea has permeated churches and seminaries. We believe that if we can simply get the information to those listening that we have done our duty.
This paragraph just nails it.
As we can see from the text, God must reveal the truth. He reveals these things by the Holy Spirit, and we might add that the Holy Spirit breathed forth the words of Scripture (II Tim 3:16). No one can really understand the thoughts and things of God apart from the Spirit of God. The Lord teaches His people things that do not come from human wisdom. Simply put, as verse 14 says, the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. It does not matter if the person is a seminary professor or pastor, if that person is unconverted that person does not understand the things of the Spirit of God. A pastor cannot be cool enough and our music cannot be professional or lively enough to teach what the Spirit alone can teach. We cannot be smart enough to teach what the Spirit alone can teach. In other words, we are developing personalities and methodologies in order to get people to say prayers because the Spirit is being withdrawn in our day. If we cannot even understand things apart from the Spirit, then surely we must know that the Spirit of God alone can truly convert people and bring spiritual life to their souls.

Evangelizing Our Children

Last night during our evening walk, my wife and I were discussing some of the methods and approaches we as Christians use to evangelize children. Evangelicalism assumes a view of man that seems at best sub-biblical. With this sub-biblical view of man, we have created a people that do not have a proper understanding of regeneration or conversion. We have placed these doctrines squarely in the hands of the sinner.

I was once asked by a Christian in a debate, "What is the difference between the natural man and the spiritual man?" The fact I was asked this shows the difficulty of the subject and Evangelicalism's ignorance of this distinction.

Much of Evangelicalism's methods of evangelization is simply appealing to the natural man. By remaining ignorant of natural man's ability to believe almost anything, including Christian religious beliefs, we have simply added Christian beliefs to the natural man's repertoire. Therefore we have churches filled with people who are able to say they believe in Jesus, because of the context in which they have learned about him.

To use an example, all of my children believe in Jesus. The reason is simple. That is all they have ever heard. One day my children will go to college and be on their own. It is then that we will see their true character on display. It is quite often that we see our children "falling away" from the faith they once professed. When this happens most Evangelicals will intuitively say something to the effect of, "They were never really saved." This is quite right and is a solid reason why theology matters.

We also use different forms of entertainment to teach about Christ. We use Hollywood style methods. Are we simply looking more like the world? This is a difficult question because the last thing Christians should be is boring. Being creative is important. Yet using worldly means to get someone to profess faith in Christ is still sinful and dishonoring to God.

Another example of evangelizing children that I have personally witnessed is telling them about hell. Now there is nothing wrong with explaining to children the teachings of the Bible, but as with any subject, we must do so in an age appropriate manner. Taking a group of young children and telling them about hell and then asking if they want to believe in Jesus to escape hell is just manipulative. What 5-year-old child is going to stay behind while all of the other children go to heaven? What child is going to say, "I want to burn." Then after we get their professions of faith, we pat ourselves on the proverbial back because we, as adults, for the moment really believe we converted sinners to salvation.

Theology Matters.

Robert Gonzales, Dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary, has written an excellent post titled, Of Free-will, An Exposition of the LBCF IX. He has also written an excellent series on how Christian parents ought to teach their children the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Science Czar

This article is pretty scary. If this doesn't tell us who President Obama is, I don't know what is needed to convince Americans we have totally abandoned our nation's heritage.
In today's world, however, the number of children in a family is a matter of profound public concern. The law regulates other highly personal matters. For example, no one may lawfully have more than one spouse at a time. Why should the law not be able to prevent a person from having more than two children?

Monday, July 13, 2009

By Any Other Name

Here is yet another example of media attempting to brain wash Americans by redefining words so that words either become meaningless or are used in a way to make the masses angry. In this so-called story we are told that the market value of cars is far below MSRP.
But that doesn't mean every vehicle is a bargain; plenty are still overpriced. Right now, according to Vincentric, a firm that tracks vehicle ownership costs for the auto industry, several cars on sale now have market values far below their manufacturer's suggested retail price.
What is this story trying to do? It is quite simple. The Left in this country believes they must control everything. Therefore they are attempting to convince Americans that the "system" is unfair. You are being ripped off and there is nothing you can do about it unless a Left-wing Democrat is in power to steal from the rich and give to the poor. In essence, paint the worst possible picture of those evil corporations and anyone that believes Capitalism has benefited our society.

Facts? What facts? We need no stinking facts!

The fact of the matter is that if a person is willing to pay the MSRP, then there is (by simple definition) in fact a market that determines the value of the car. This is basic economics 101, but again, this is not about economics. This is about power and control.

Are computers next on the hit list? By proportion, computers are a far bigger rip-off. I could never sell any of my computers for the price I paid for them. I guess I was ripped off. I now see my need for Obama to save me.

Even last week, my neighbor had a garage sale. The items were clearly too expensive. Yet, he managed to dupe some people into buying some of those items. I think Obama should have done something about that. (yes, this is sarcasm)

As a member of a church, I must confess, I have never heard of a missionary coming back from a foreign country saying how the standard of living is so great throughout the world. Instead, it has always been reports of the complete opposite. Yet if one only watches the American News outlets, one would be convinced at how bad and rotten America is and how capitalism has made people utterly poor. Getting people to step outside their living rooms into reality I think may be the only solution for Conservatives. (Yes, I know there are poor people in America too.)

Any thinking person should recognize, if the government controls the prices of things, whether they be cars or anything else, then by definition the free market is not determining the price of the things, much less cars.

I have always been amazed at how certain people have the power and cleverness to convince others that black is white. Words may have lost their meaning, but a rose is still a rose by any other name. A thief is still a thief no matter what the Congress and the President and the media call themselves.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fads Are Not the Church's Business

Here are two good examples of why pastors should remain in their calling as pastors. Although I did not read the entire encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI, I didn't see much of a difference between his views and Rick Warren's views based upon this recent USA Today article.

Warren is quoted as saying,
... people of goodwill, whether they happened to believe, as I do, that Jesus Christ is the son of God, or not, to work together on the areas where we can work together, and not worry about the areas where we can't.
The Pope's encyclical states in the first paragraph,
All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).
Now the problem with the above quotes is that in some sense they are true. Christians should work with their neighbors for the betterment of society. Although the Gospel may impact and motivate a Christian in his duty towards the public good, that is not the Gospel, and it certainly is not the duty of pastors to try to work with "others" as pastors.

The duty of the pastor is to proclaim the message of the foolishness of the cross to dying men. When men like Warren go down this road, they have simply gone back to old fashioned Liberalism. When you present a "social gospel" as the Gospel, you will eventually abandon the Gospel. Although the fad seems to have passed, do you remember Warren going green?

If you read this article, it demonstrates all the more reasons why denominations should be very cautious about getting political. Even the SBC has gone way beyond common sense. As the article states,
Only two years ago, Southern Baptists passed a resolution urging the government to "reject mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," and to "proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research."
Church leaders should be careful about getting involved with political fads. Quite often they find themselves on the wrong end of things.

Why Should I?

I just saw this video on I have to ask a simple question in response to the statement at the end of the video, "Vote Republican in 2010."

Why? Why should I vote Republican? Did not the Republicans help destroy Sarah Palin?

I don't care whether or not Sarah Palin had the right pedigree. I don't care that she didn't have all the right specifics to foreign policy. The facts are plain. She actually took on Big Government types in Alaska and rid it of corruption. She actually believed in fiscal responsibility. Unlike McCain or Obama, she actually believes that the Constitution is the Law of the land. She really does believe in liberty as it is articulated in the Constitution and the Declaration.

Now I am not suggesting we must vote for Sarah Palin. In fact, there are far more qualified people. The question still remains. With the behavior of the Republican party, we now know without a doubt it is just as corrupt and culpable as the Democrats when it comes to our nation's financial problems. They also participated in the attacks against Palin.

As a Christian, I believe Christians should participate in our government. I believe Christians have a moral obligation to act and work with their neighbors for the betterment of society. However, to confuse the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of men and thinking that somehow the Republican party is the party that will save our nation's moral decline is simply foolish. The Republican party is no more able to articulate moral values than Democrats.

They can't even say abortion is wrong. They wish Evangelicals would go away on this issue.

They are not able to articulate why marriage is defined by the Creator. Something that should be so obvious, but yet they are terribly afraid of the politically correct speech crowd.

The corrupt Republicans in the Senate voted with the Democrats to pass the stimulus.

The corrupt Republicans helped create the situation in which Obama now owns parts of the private sector (GM, banks, ect...).

The corrupt Republicans in the house voted for the energy bill that was nothing short of a tax bill that does completely the opposite of what Obama promises.

The corrupt Republican party would like to see Former General Colin Powell as its leader. Yet he is the man who supported the Radical Leftist Chicago thug Obama, the very man who seeks to destroy freedom and liberty as we know it.

There are so many other problems that we could sit here all day wondering...

So why? Why should I vote Republican?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Celebrate the Historical Reality

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate a major historical event, our nation's founding. John Adams wrote to Abigail, his wife,
It ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bell, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other...
As I was reading Richard Barcellos' article, New Testament theology of the Sabbath, Christ, the change of the day, and the name of the day, I noticed a similar idea that made for great conversation with my wife and children. (This article is in the 2008, volume 1 issue of the Reformed Baptist Theological Review).

Why do we celebrate holidays? Nothing significant is in reality happening tomorrow. No Red Coats are marching through our towns. There are no true Patriots setting the sparks of freedom throughout the country side. General Washington's troops are long gone. Most Americans may be unaware of any historical significance, especially our smaller children (I am thinking of Jacob, my almost 3 year-old). For the next few years Jacob may not understand the reality of Independence Day, but he will intuitively know something is important about this day and its meaning.

Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Thanks Giving and even Christmas are all really memorial days that point to a real event in history. Something really happened that we celebrate and identify. Americans do not celebrate Cinco De Mayo (unless you are from Mexico) because most of us do not identify with such a historical reality. We do identify and are in union with Washington and all of those that gave birth to the greatest nation on earth. The memorial is directly tied with its historical reality.

Richard Barcellos' article points out similar and parallel thoughts to the Lord's Day. As he wrote on page 55, the old Sabbath both looked back to creation and forward to an eternal rest, so the New Covenant Sabbath looks back to the inauguration of the new creation and forward to an eternal rest.
Barcellos cites Sam waldron on the observance of the Sabbath and its historical basis, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament teaches, therefore, that there is a new creation in Christ. The idea of a new creation is frequently associated with Christ's resurrection. By union with Christ in His death, the old man is destroyed. By union with Christ in His resurrection, the new man is created. When He rose again He became the firstborn of God's new creation. As He was the beginning of the old creation, so He is now the beginning of the new. Thus, the memorial of Christ's resurrection is of necessity a memorial of the new creation. Thus, the Lord's Day like the Sabbath and unlike any other religious observance points to both creation and redemption. (-emphasis mine)
In conclusion, I am attempting to make the brief case for the reality of the resurrection of Christ. We know and have every reason to believe that Jesus was truly raised from the dead and is the beginning of the new creation. Why? Because every Sunday for the last two thousand years, Christians in every location and every generation (with some exceptions) have celebrated this major historical event by gathering together on the Lord's Day or Sunday, the first day of the week.

Richard Gaffin is quoted in the article on the nature of our resurrection with Christ's,
...Paul views the two resurrections not so much as two events but as two episodes of the same event.
Barcellos adds,
Christ's resurrection is the most powerful sign of the age to come.
As we gather together to celebrate the 4th of July and our nation's independence, keep in mind of the historical reality that has given us the freedoms and liberties that no nation has on earth today. As we gather together this Lord's Day, Sunday, let us celebrate the historical reality that is the basis for its observance. Perhaps not with fireworks, but celebrate it as the Lord commands with singing, prayer, preaching, baptisms and the memorial of the Lord's Supper.

We may be as certain of the resurrection of Christ and the new creation as we are with Independence Day.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How Things Really Are

As I slowly plow through Dennis Johnson's Triumph of the Lamb, I found his comments in chapter 3 quite helpful in how we approach and interpret the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapter 1 the apostle John gives us a picture of Jesus Christ, to which Johnson writes,
Other aspects of the speaker's description exhibit the impact of Old Testament imagery on John's visionary experience, but also the newness of the revelation that he receives. Images drawn from different Scriptures or, even more confusing, different figures in the same prophetic vision are brought together to describe the Son of Man.
Johnson then offers an example of how Jesus is described.
He wears a robe that reaches His feet and a sash, like the ancient high priest in the tabernacle.
As Johnson says on page 60,
Revelation's visions show us how things are, not how they look to the physical eye.
Keeping this interpretive method before us will cause us to see that John was not merely describing futuristic things in terms his generation could understand. He was in fact telling us about the nature of things. Therefore, when we read of scorpions or locusts, the author is not describing war craft helicopters. He is using Old Testament language to describe the realities around us for every generation. As Johnson wrote on page 16,
Revelation is addressed to a church that is under attack. Its purpose, to reveal "things which must soon take place," is not to satisfy idle eschatological curiosity or feed a hunger for revenge but to fortify Jesus' followers in steadfast hope and holy living.
Again, why use symbols? Since "One of the key themes of the book is that things are not what they seem", the church of Jesus Christ must view the world from a viewpoint that God has given to us. The kingdoms of man are truly at war with God's Kingdom. The Dragon, Beast and False Prophet wage war against God's people. Although there may be periods of peace (something which we should pray for), natural man is anything but morally neutral.

Therefore God's revelation to us about ourselves should be considered as we consider the choices we make in this present evil age. How we do evangelism or how we interact with governments or even how we seek to glorify God in our daily living.
But the symbols show us something about the church, the great city, the bride, and the Enemy, revealing what does not appear to the naked eye.
We could even ask, "Do we agree with what God has to say about ourselves and the world around us?"