On Sunday Our pastor preached on Psalm 115 in a service we actually attended in person, praise the Lord! It was a powerful sermon on a profound Psalm that addresses our everyday experience in the 21st century. The first verse sets the tone:
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
More on this in a moment. The context is the nations and their idols who think that Israel’s God, our God, is MIA, missing in action. Oh, but he certainly is not! The writer compares God for Israel, and us, to the useless idols of the nations: (more…)
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
I was listening to this short video of Khaldoun Sweis on the philosophical issues of truth, a great primer on some introductory epistemological issues well worth Christians thinking about. He makes the statement all Christians are familiar with, that Jesus claimed to be “The Truth.” The full statement in John 14:6 was Jesus’ reply to Thomas (that one given to doubt) when he told the disciples that they knew the way to the place where he was going. Thomas said they had no idea where Jesus was going, so how could they know the way. Jesus replied, ” “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Given that I’m sort of obsessed with defending the truth of Christianity, the first thought that struck me was, What kind of person says something like that! No one in all of recorded history has said anything like that, or many other things Jesus was recorded as saying. Unless they were stark raving mad. Jesus of Nazareth most certainly was not. (more…)
I came across this video at the The Ten Minute Bible Hour of the proprietor, Matt Whitman, giving his de-conversion, and back, story, and at the end of the short video he critiques the now common deconstruction stories, as I discussed in my last post. Growing up a Christian he thought he had this whole Christian thing nailed down, until he didn’t. Around the age of 29 having moved away from his faith, he made an incredible discovery: Christianity wasn’t about him! He did something radical in response to his doubt: he actually read the Bible! From the beginning. At about the six minute mark he describes the discovery that brought him back:
The plot of the bible can’t be the improvement of people’s behavior, and the increased accuracy of people’s thinking about God. It’s gotta be the story of God redeeming things that are broken and messed up, creation, people, everything. That’s a completely different religion.
Most Christians, not to mention non-Christians, have no idea how epistemology, the study of our knowing, affects our faith. Even to say, “affects our faith” has some people automatically think, what does knowing have to do with faith! Lots. This consequence of the so-called Enlightenment, almost 400 years after it entered Western intellectual tradition, is ubiquitous, invisible, and pernicious. It is, and always has been, at war with Christianity, and it is imperative for Christians to understand this. You don’t have to be an “intellectual” either; just grasping the inescapable power of assumptions is all you need. That is, whatever is assumed to be true is accepted as true without question, things taken for granted instead of articulated. I’ll explain one of the most harmful in a moment, but I was struck just how harmful when I heard the story of two famous online guys I’d never heard of who had something now called, I gather, a deconstruction of their faith. Well, I’m going to deconstruct their deconstruction. (more…)