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The Worst Religion

G. K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy describes what he thinks to be the worst form of religion, what he calls the "worship of the god within":
"Of all conceivable forms of enlightenment the worst is what these people call the inner light. Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within...That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners…

Weekend Rant 9.8.17

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One of my pet peeves is when Christians align themselves too closely with politics. When it dominates our conversations, online posts, general focus; and especially when it is presented alongside Biblical texts from the pulpit.
This is not to say that politics are irrelevant and that Christians should not be involved in the political process. Quite the contrary! If we love God, we will by nature love what He loves: people. The second greatest commandment naturally flows from the first. If we truly love God we cannot help but love our neighbor as ourselves, and one of the many ways this manifests itself in the way that we vote and in our involvement in politics.
There are also several social issues that are Biblically mandated that we advocate for. God’s Word calls us to care for the widows, the orphans, and the oppressed (James 1:27). It calls us to treasure life and the sanctity of marriage as designed by God. In loving our neighbor as ourselves we should be very much concerned about …

Be Prepared

Last night I just missed two Mormon missionaries who were visiting my house. Not to worry, they will be back. Montana informed them that I will be available later this week, so the onus is on me to be prepared. I consider myself sufficiently warned.
The biggest issue that I can gather between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity is a question of canon. Mormonism, like any other cult, believes that the Bible as we have it today is in some way, shape, or form—insufficient. They believe that through the centuries following Christ, the Bible was corrupted through transmissions, which made it necessary for new revelation be provided from heaven to “restore the gospel” of the Jesus Christ.
And while I have the utmost confidence that God’s word will accomplish what He purposes; that it will not return void (Isaiah 55:11); that Christ, who built his church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20), promised to Peter that the gates of hell will not stand against His church (Matt …

Book in Review: Orthodoxy

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I have read almost 4 books by G. K. Chesterton thus far; and Orthodoxy is a masterpiece. The best of what I have read from him yet. Witty, hilarious, intellectually astute--Chesterton is in fine form throughout. And though Orthodoxy is heady, you will find that Chesterton's humor and skill with the pen make it an entertaining, almost addictive read. His paradoxical manner of framing big ideas, his undeniable ability to wield "common" sense as a weapon, his way of speaking to universal human experiences--together makes him one of the most enjoyable writers of his time. And he's not pulling any punches with the philosophers of his day either.
In the introduction, Chesterton self-deprecatingly describes himself as a man who sent out from England to explore new lands but gets blown off course in his travels and unknowingly arrives back in downtown London, where he then proceeds to claim this "new land" for England! Chesterton then charts his spiritual journey fr…

Ryle on Sin

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I ran across this from J. C. Ryle in his book Holiness. I thought it relevant:
"A Scriptural view of sin is one of the best antidotes to that vague, dim, misty, hazy kind of theology which is so painfully current in the present age. It is vain to shut our eyes to the fact that there is a vast quantity of so-called Christianity now days which you cannot declare positively unsound, but which, nevertheless, is not full measure, good weight and sixteen ounce to the pound. It is a Christianity in which there is undeniably 'something about Christ and something about grace and something about faith and something about repentance and something about holiness', but it is not the real 'thing as it is' in the Bible. Things are out of place and out of proportion. As old Latimer would have said, it is a kind of 'mingle-mangle', and does no good. It neither exercises influence on the daily conduct, nor comforts in life, nor gives peace in death; and those who hold it oft…

Weekend Rant 8.26.17

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Yesterday I finished Pilgrim's Progress--John Bunyan's Christian classic. I remember reading children's versions of this book when I was younger, complete with illustrations, and I would admire my favorite scene of Christian duking it out with the devilish fiend Apollyon. But reading through the original I cannot help but be impressed by the incredible desperation that Bunyan paints the Christian walk. This is not some sort of beneficial, feel good Christianity. This is not the health and wealth gospel. Evangelicalism these days I fear has been reduced to this encouraging, positive thinking brand which, as much as I would like to believe it, does not seem to match the extreme, entirely demanding tones throughout all of Scripture. Seriously, I can barely listen to our local Christian radio station 91.9 anymore because they are always having a "positive thought for the day"; branding themselves as "encouraging, uplifting" music.
I do not want positive. I d…

Why?

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I recently found "Paradise Lost" by John Milton for free on Gutenberg.org--and I am just about half way through. I know I am missing a lot though the old(er) English and the Greek mythological allusions, but I am getting the gist of it--and I find it fascinating! In fact, a lot of the things I have heard as a child about Satan do not come from Scripture but from Milton's classic. For instance: "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven" is Milton. The devil's logic that spells out, "Since I cannot attack God, I can attack His chief creation (man) and thereby attack God" derives mainly from Milton.
My favorite verse so far is early on when John Milton describes why an almighty God would allow Satan to break from his chains in hell to then ultimately seduce Adam and Eve out of paradise:
So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay Chain'd on the burning Lake, nor ever thence Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will And high pe…