Letters to My Sons: A Humane Vision for Human Relationships, by Matt Bianco
An excerpt from Letter XII: “Hatred Leads to Blindness.”
Today I was thinking again about Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. Do you remember the scene where the fellowship enters the land of Lothlórien? Gimli is the only dwarf in the fellowship and he is singled out by the elves. Their hatred for the dwarves causes them to see him as an enemy when his labors are with them as a friend.
Rich Blesdoe is a man not only well-read in history and philosophy, he is able to interpret the mountains of data through a finely-focussed biblical-theological lens.
“The Left has now won, and Leftism is an auto-immune disease. It has nothing to do with any of the diseases of paganism. It is completely and wholly a reaction to Christianity.”
or What Are You Looking At?
by Steven Opp
I feel their eyes all over me
Itʼs lookinʼ like conspiracy
Iʼm outta friends that I can trust
Maybe theyʼre onto us!
- Needtobreathe: “Maybe Theyʼre Onto Us”
Everybody knows what the word “paranoid” means. Itʼs when somebody is irrationally afraid of something. People who are paranoid are always on the lookout for what might jump out and get them. Comedian Richard Lewis understands this: “Even at home, on my stationary exercise bike, I have a rearview mirror.”
Something a bit off-brand today, so don’t let it throw you. The beauty of true theology is that it is at home anywhere, applicable in any situation, and has something to say in the most mundane, most visceral, most public, and least abstract, situations.
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
Most disputes concerning the meaning of the Scriptures are not due to a lack of trying when it comes to hermeneutics. They result from a lack of due process. By this, I do not mean the process of interpretation but the identification in the Scriptures of the processes of God.
An example would be the meaning of Christ’s words concerning the unpardonable sin, which have terrified many Christians unnecessarily. Blasphemy against the Spirit is unpardonable not because it is the worst sin. It is unpardonable because it is the last sin.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, (Transcendence)
the Son can do nothing of his own accord, (Hierarchy)
but only what he sees the Father doing. (Ethics)
For whatever the Father does, (Oath/Sanctions)
that the Son does likewise.” (Succession)
The premise that the entire text of the Bible has a common structure, one which operates at multiple levels, has many implications. Besides the fact that this is clearly a miracle, there is the question of why such a limitation would be placed upon the Words of God.
“The whole world is like a drunken peasant.
They fall off one side of the horse or the other.” – Martin Luther
An Apology to Joel McDurmon – In Both Senses of the Word
“As Christians, an exhortation to ‘remember your baptism’ is a good one, but this begins with a baptism you can actually remember.”
Joel McDurmon of American Vision just wrote a post tracing back to their Arminian doctrine the deceit and manipulative tactics use by, and even marketed by, the Elevation Church to increase their baptism quota. He writes:
If “saving souls” is the main end-game of your Christian faith, and if the free will is the last hurdle of salvation, then why would you not what the help of an army of marketers, managers, assembly lines, pre-packaged directions, techniques, tools, processes, and networks of support farms and professionals who can claim “billions served”?
It’s only from the standpoint of the doctrines of grace that it makes sense to criticize these manipulative tactics. It is encouraging that some Christians seem naturally uneasy when a church like Elevation admits what it does. But Elevation is just a mote. Free will theology is the plank.
Well, my nickname is Bully and I saw red. A discussion ensued on facebook which did not end on very good terms. Of course, this is something that rarely ever happens (not). I believe what I wrote was entirely objective, and at least as gracious as Mr McDurmon’s opinion piece, however re-reading it, it was badly worded and Joel, a writer whose work and ministry I admire, took it personally. I wrote:
Looking God in the Eye
The history of mankind is one of good gifts turned into idols. Blessings abused become curses in the hands of those who won’t look God in the eye.
For those of us who know the Bible, the idolatries become more subtle. This was the case for the Pharisees. The exile had purified Israel of old-school idolatry, so she invented a new school: an elitism bound by an Abrahamic heritage and energized by the abuse of Moses and the Law as a means of salvation: heritage instead of faith; obligation instead of salvation. The good things given as gifts once again became the gods.
or Nailed to the Mast
Rachel Held Evans is a writer who likes the challenge of “asking tough questions about Christianity in the context of the Bible Belt” while consulting the howling void of modern culture for the answers. That is indeed a challenge. She takes Christians to task for referring to the de-Christianizing of Christmas as “persecution”, offering a helpful chart.