Showing posts from 2017

How to View Christians of the Past

The other day, I ran across someone who said something along the lines of: "we should not to listen to the Calvins, the Luthers, the Augustines...etc.--when we have the Bible as the perfect and inerrant Word of God. Man is prone to error, God's Word is all we need."
And as someone who has found much value in the Christians who have gone before us, this prompted me to ask the question: At what point does our love for the very rich Christian history and the "developments, or applications of the Word of God over the course of time" become misguided? Is this not what the Catholics do? They let their love for tradition and the role of the church replace and add to the Word of God. They view the church's interpretation as the final authority, the church's later councils and subsequent statements as authoritative.
We cannot do that.
So, the question is: as Bible believing Christians, what role should Christians throughout church history (and specifically their t…

Book in Review: "The Heresy of Orthodoxy"

While the majority of objections to Christianity are to its morality and exclusive claims, there is an intellectual minority that seeks to undermine the Biblical authenticity on a more textual and historical basis. We need to be prepared to answer both of those objections.

Growing up in the church, I was taught relatively nothing about the transmission process of the Biblical texts or even how certain New Testament books were eventually canonized. But it is no longer enough to just know 2 Timothy 3:16 anymore. It is no longer enough to believe the Bible is true, "for the Bible tells me so." We need to know why we believe 2 Timothy 3:16 to be Scripture in the first place. C. S. Lewis once said, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” We need to be aware of the good philosophy of how we got the Bible and why we believe it to be authentic, because of the modern assaults on it today.
The Baur thesis is something that has b…

The Struggle of Our Time

Last night in our Bible Study we took a look at Daniel 3. One of the top ten most well-known Bible stories. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (or rather: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azzariah) had been taken from their homes in Judah—and forced to assimilate into a polytheistic, pagan Babylon. They had been taught the language and the literature of the Babylonians in order that they may be future administrators and magistrates in the greatest nation on earth. A fantastic leadership model from Nebuchadnezzar by the way: integrating the best and brightest of the conquered into your ruling class. (Next time you invade a foreign power, take note.)
In Daniel 3 Nebuchadnezzar constructed a brilliant golden image for the people to bow down before in worship. Those who refused to do so when the music played were given the threat of a fiery death in the furnace. You remember the story.
For these young Jewish men, living in a foreign land, the situation could not be any more black and white. The line in …

Working for a Sovereign God

Our young adult Bible Study has been going through the book of Daniel, a relevant book for today for many reasons. As we studied the first two chapters I was struck by the theological balance between personal responsibility and God's sovereignty displayed throughout.
A major theme in Daniel is God’s sovereignty, as the book really paints God in a magisterial light. He is not taken by surprise at the successful invasion by the Babylonians of Jerusalem--rather the text says that “The Lord delivered Jehoiakim” into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar (1:2). God is then the one who gives Daniel favor in the eyes of the Babylonian leader (1:9), and God is the one gives the four young men knowledge and understanding (1:17). He is the one who is working out everything according to the counsel of his will; and in the book of Daniel that reality is undeniable. Furthermore, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 is proof that God is the one who sets up the mightiest empires and God is the one who will …

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…