Christian Issues

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I've read on this for a while (years) and I remain a creationist.  I believe that God created - not evolved.  I don't think that God-directed evolution is correct.  God created.

I'm just not sure that the "day" of Genesis 1 represents a literal 24-hour period.

Then Justin Taylor wrote "Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods"

One of his points I've heard before.

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Okay...are we reading a prelude, a heading title, or a summary of what follows?

Taylor writes:

Genesis 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

This is not a title or a summary of the narrative that follows. Rather, it is a background statement that describes how the universe came to be.

In other words.

At some point in the past, God created the universe.

Then (starting in Genesis 1:2) He formed our planet into our place.

At some point, the universe came into existence, then some time later,

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3)

In this case, even the six days of creation took place inside of a larger history.

 

The Measure You Use

Most of the article I agree with.  The way that it's put into action is (at this point) one-sided.  Thus, a couple of different posts.

First:

“Don’t assume the worst about me because I don’t look like you. Don’t size me up based on how I dress, where I live, who my parents were, or if I ever knew my parents. Don’t speak before you listen. Don’t rush to judgment before you’ve heard from all sides.” Isn’t that what we all want?

Here's the thing.  Or "things" - I call them "uniforms" and whether we like it or not, we are likely to wear a "uniform" that portrays who we are.

We believe this person is a ________________________ because of ____________________

This person is likely to be _______________________ because of _________________.

This person looks like a ___________________________ because of ________________.

This person might be a _______________________ because of _______________________________.

 

Which person would you cross the street to avoid meeting on a narrow side walk?  Why?

I have learned that great articles disappear off the web.  So, with a clear disclaimer that if the author wishes, I'll make it private (so only I can read it,) and with a clear link to the article and appropriate credit, here is the text of

~~~

By Colin J. Smothers

In Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, John Piper speaks about two methods that can be used to commend a vision for biblical complementarity—the teaching that God has created men and women with distinct differences for His glory and our good.

The first method is careful, exegetical argument that demonstrates the plain teachings of the Bible on complementarity. We need people who do this, and we should be thankful for people like John Piper and Wayne Grudem for doing just this.

But the second method is just as important. This method is a robust portrayal of the vision of complementarity, and we are in need of people who do this, too. We need people who are able to show that God’s ways are good, that God’s ways are most satisfying.

Complementarianism is true not just because it is right, but also because it is beautiful.

And so I have excerpted below the introduction to John Piper’s chapter in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood because of the way he portrays his faithful parents living out complementarianism. Piper’s reflection on manhood and womanhood through the lens of his childhood is not only beautiful, it is compelling. It is compelling because it is God’s truth, and God’s truth resonates with us. It is what we were created for.

When I was a boy growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, my father was away from home about two-thirds of every year. And while he preached across the country, we prayed–my mother and my older sister and I. What I learned in those days was that my mother was omni-competent.

She handled the finances, paying all the bills and dealing with the bank and creditors. She once ran a little laundry business on the side. She was active on the park board, served as the superintendent of the Intermediate Department of our Southern Baptist church, and managed some real estate holdings.

She taught me how to cut the grass and splice electric cord and pull Bermuda grass by the roots and paint the eaves and shine the dining-room table with a shammy and drive a car and keep French fries from getting soggy in the cooking oil. She helped me with the maps in geography and showed me how to do a bibliography and work up a science project on static electricity and believe that Algebra II was possible. She dealt with the contractors when we added a basement and, more than once, put her hand to the shovel. It never occurred to me that there was anything she couldn’t do.

I heard one time that women don’t sweat, they glow. Not true. My mother sweated. It would drip off the end of her long, sharp nose. Sometimes she would blow it off when her hands were pushing the wheelbarrow full of peat moss. Or she would wipe it with her sleeve between the strokes of a swingblade. Mother was strong. I can remember her arms even today thirty years later. They were big, and in the summertime they were bronze.

But it never occurred to me to think of my mother and my father in the same category. Both were strong. Both were bright. Both were kind. Both would kiss me and both would spank me. Both were good with words. Both prayed with fervor and loved the Bible. But unmistakably my father was a man and my mother was a woman. They knew it and I knew it. And it was not mainly a biological fact. It was mainly a matter of personhood and relational dynamics.

When my father came home he was clearly the head of the house. He led in prayer at the table. He called the family together for devotions. He got us to Sunday School and worship. He drove the car. He guided the family to where we would sit. He made the decision to go to Howard Johnson’s for lunch. He led us to the table. He called for the waitress. He paid the check. He was the one we knew we would reckon with if we broke a family rule or were disrespectful to Mother. These were the happiest times for Mother. Oh, how she rejoiced to have Daddy home! She loved his leadership. Later I learned that the Bible calls this “submission.”

But since my father was gone most of the time, Mother used to do most of those leadership things too. So it never occurred to me that leadership and submission had anything to do with superiority and inferiority. And it didn’t have to do with muscles and skills either. It was not a matter of capabilities and competencies. It had to do with something I could never have explained as a child. And I have been a long time in coming to understand it as part of God’s great goodness in creating us male and female. It had to do with something very deep. I know that the specific rhythm of life that was in our home is not the only good one. But there were dimensions of reality and goodness in it that ought to be there in every home. Indeed they ought to be there in varying ways in all mature relationships between men and women.

I say “ought to be there” because I now see that they were rooted in God. Over the years I have come to see from Scripture and from life that manhood and womanhood are the beautiful handiwork of a good and loving God. He designed our differences and they are profound. They are not mere physiological prerequisites for sexual union. They go to the root of our personhood.

Excerpted from John Piper, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (Wheaton: Crossway, 1991), 31–32.

May God enable our churches and our homes to reflect His glory in living out His design for manhood and womanhood. Let’s not just know that God’s truth is true, let’s demonstrate that God’s truth is true.

 

slaves
Yes and Yes. No and No. Yes and no, No and Yes.

I need to explain, yes?

Before reading, take a second to rest your eyes on both images...what feelings do they bring forth?  Are the feelings different or the same?

 

IF one image makes you feel different than the other, how so?  Why do you think this is?

Let's take 9-11 first.

Never Forget.

People died.  We were attacked.  Never forget those who died, never forget that  a minority of people who want us dead.  Use this teachable moment to illustrate honor, memory, the difference between right and wrong.  The difference between tolerating peaceful difference, vs. trying to destroy those who disagree with you.

The fact that a belief system can drive a person, or a group of people to violence, and that we, as human beings, cannot exempt from the possibility...never forget...

But...

Get over it.

We must also remember how easily we blur the line between remembering and holding grudges.   To blur the line between honoring a death or hardship, and wanting to exact a pound of flesh.  In order to fully honor those who suffered, we must resist wanting to profit from their suffering, even if that profit is emotional.

Also vital, to keep in mind that "they" are NOT all our enemy.  I remember a story shortly after 9-11 where a Sikh was killed because the murderer was confused by the head covering.

When we eye every person who is different than we are with suspicion, we lose part of our own humanity.  If we view every Muslim as a terrorist, we miss something.

Get over it.

And never forget.

The first image appears fresher in our collective mind, but you don't see the suffering up close - we can think not about the people throwing themselves to the ground and just think about the attack.

The second image burns through our brain.  Man's inhumanity to man.

The evil that was slavery in the United States should not have happened.  But it did happen.

Never forget.

We need to remember the time of slavery in our country, lest it happen again.

We need to remember chattel slavery in our country's history, and remember those - even today - who are kidnapped and made slaves.

We need to remember that many people react to unjust treatment through the lens of history.

We need to remember that we all (no matter what the color of our skin) harbor some sort of "feeling" toward some group, whether it's race, class, religion, sex.  It may be a tiny seed, but it's there.

We need to remember that we have all felt that "feeling" aimed at us, by another person.

Never forget...but...

Racism and bigotry dog us through history, and seldom is it the result of slavery.  We need to deal with racism and bigotry today as it happens today, as we see it all too often...but...

If "you" (general "you") think that you are owed money because you have ancestors who were made slaves, get over it

If you look at people who look different than you with suspicion simply because of the color of their skin, get over it.

If your "go to" assumption for everything is rooted in slavery...get over it.

Bottom line:

What's the heart motive?

Honor or greed?

self-centered or other-centered?

That's the heart of it.

Never forget...for all the right reasons...

Get over it...for all the right reasons.

I use the tag quite a bit, and will be using it quite a bit more.

Visualize the point where either faith directly impacts politics, or where politics directly impacts faith.

In the past, faith has informed our politics; our faith has a direct affect on how we see politics, how we vote, how we discuss the state of our country.  More and more, I see politics, or politicians, or the government itself having a direct affect on how people of faith are allowed to live out their faith.

Where people of of faith are forced by law to violate their conscience, visualize that point. Where people of faith are forced to act, or are prevented from acting.

Dictionary.com  defines "persecution as the state or act of being persecuted."

Persecute:

to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

With this in mind, I suspect that there will be more stories where faith and politics intersect.

 

from Aish.com by Dr. Gerald Schroeder

How did I get to this site?  My thought process was something like

  1. How old is the world?
  2. How old is the world according to Scripture?
  3. How can we best understand what Scripture means (answer: find out what the people who wrote it and originally read it thought it meant.)
  4. Who would know better what the ancient Jews thought...than ancient Jews?
  5. What is the closest we can get to that?

A lot of this made my head hurt.

Dr. Gerald Schroeder earned his BSc, MSc and double-Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

So...he's a smart guy  😉

Now...add to that, the Bible commentary he uses is all pre-1300 (so, no modern science has affected the reading of Scripture.)

In 1959, a survey was taken of leading American scientists. (...)Two-thirds of the scientists gave the same answer: "Beginning? There was no beginning. Aristotle and Plato taught us 2400 years ago that the universe is eternal. Oh, we know the Bible says 'In the beginning.' That's a nice story, but we sophisticates know better. There was no beginning."

That was 1959. In 1965, Penzias and Wilson discovered the echo of the Big Bang in the black of the sky at night, and the world paradigm changed from a universe that was eternal to a universe that had a beginning. After 3000 years of arguing, science has come to agree with the Torah.

Okay - when do the Jews say the universe began?  They start with Rosh Hoshana - the Jewish New Year.

"Hayom Harat Olam ― today is the birthday of the world."

Does it mean that (about)5,700 years ago, the universe came into existence?  According to this article, the "birthday of the world" celebrates, not the cosmos, but rather the creation of the human soul.

So (to use the article's wording) the Bible has two clocks.  The first "clock" is the time leading up to Adam, the second clock begins with the soul of Adam.

One of the reasons for seeing this concept is the language.  Is there anywhere else in the Bible where a "day" is described as "morning and evening?"  This bizarre word usage is used until Adam; after Adam "normal" human time is always used.

Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations;(Deut 32:7 ESV)

Nachmanides (died 1270 AD) saw this verse as "split time" - "days of old" = pre-Adam; "many generations" = post Adam.

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Phil and I have been discussing this exact topic - how Christian should respond to the state's newly revised definition of "marriage" and what to do when pastors can no longer, with good conscience, act as state administrators

In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing. In a few short years or even months, it is very likely that this new definition will become the law of the land, and in all jurisdictions the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage will be granted to men in partnership with men, and women with women.

As Christian ministers we must bear clear witness. This is a perilous time. Divorce and co-­habitation have weakened marriage. We have been too complacent in our responses to these trends. Now marriage is being fundamentally redefined, and we are ­being tested yet again. If we fail to take clear action, we risk falsifying God’s Word.

The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.

Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.

Please join us in this pledge to separate civil marriage from Christian marriage by adding your name.

Drafted by:

The Reverend Ephraim Radner

The Reverend Christopher Seitz

Link here

1) Remember "Palin Derangement Syndrome?" It happens with other people also.

When you are so determined to see bad in all things that even tangentially touch a person, you've got DS (Derangement Syndrome)

2) I am in NO WAY supporting or agreeing with the sins that Mark Driscoll as committed in his time at Mars Hill. I hope that he, his family, his church, and all those who have been injured by Driscoll's leadership find healing, repentance and forgiveness.

~~~

Warren Throckmorton has been making much hay over Mark Driscoll.

Some of the posts have been right on target. Others miss the mark.

Still others are full on "MDDS" (Mark Driscoll Derangement Syndrome)

When you go on the attack, aimed at John Piper, because he didn't say everything that you think he should have said in an ELEVEN MINUTE podcast, you've got MDDS

When you question the integrity of other authors, based on the fact that they use the same publicist as Driscoll, you've got MDDS.

When (this was a commenter) you suggest that Christian authors should not sell their work, but give it away as a PDF and wait for folks to "donate" what they think the work is worth---forgetting that the HOST of the blog you're commenting on is an author who (wait for it...) SELLS HIS WORK, you've got MDDS.

I've been following Throckmorton for a while, and his encouragement of the haters is disturbing and disheartening.

The information he puts out there is (perhaps) necessary, for those who have sat under Mark Driscoll, and want to keep tabs on the information in one place.

BUT...in order to keep the true haters (and MDDS) under a little more control, I'd suggest closing comments on all new posts concerning Mark Driscoll. If readership continues, Throckmorton will know that his information is still getting through to the right places.

If readership falls if commenters cannot continue ranting - that's a clue that Throckmorton's most common function has been to provide a venue for MDDS.

that should be worth thinking about.

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I've been quoting this, and since it's now PAGES back, I want it posted here so I can find it quickly:

To the Progressive Socialist Totalitarian Left, Christianity is a threat to the primacy of the State. The Totalitarian Left believes the Authority of the State must be absolute, because the left can control all the apparatuses of the State and impose their moral beliefs on the population. For example, the belief that unborn children can be sacrificed in the name of personal convenience and the sick and elderly can be sacrificed to save the State money. Christianity, on the other hand, teaches that there is a Higher Moral Authority than the State; and that the conscience of the individual… not the Collective Will as embodied in the State and its organs.

It isn’t necessarily because of Gay Marriage, per se, but Gay Marriage is a cudgel that the left can use against Christianity; forcing Christians to bow to the State (e.g. being forced to participate in gay weddings as bakers, photographers, and florists). The ultimate goal is to eradicate Christianity and its tenet that each individual has a conscience and a moral imperative.

This is my second time through this book, the first time I breezed through, this time I want to get at what he wants to get at.

Worship matters. It matters to God because he is the one ultimately worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshiping God is the reason for which we were created. And it matters to every worship leader, because we have no greater privilege than leading others to encounter the greatness of God. That's why it's so important to think carefully about what we do and why we do it.

The first chapter is about how Kauflin started his career, and about a really dry spot he went through. Frustrated and tired, he was pointed again at the cross (a good thing.)

What I hope to get from this book HOW worship matters, as well as WHY worship matters.

There is a line that Sunday morning groups need to grapple with, that many don't: what is the difference between being in a performance group, and being in a group that deliberately leads a congregation in corporate praise?

That's not a matter of how to choose songs, that's a matter of leadership technique.