The Challenge of C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is a household name in most Christian circles, and his influence in evangelicalism is undeniable. Between his fantasy fiction writings, most notable The Chronicles of Narnia, and his more theological fiction and non-fiction, such as Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, and the Great Divorce, Lewis finds a very broad audience. In many churches, Mere Christianity will frequently be recommended to non-believers or new Christians as an introduction to the faith. The clarity and wit with which Lewis writes surely explains much of the appeal.

However, at least among the more conservative and reformed evangelicals, this phenomenon is actually quite interesting considering a number of Lewis’s theological positions. While this is a bit of simplification, and not taking into account changes that may have occurred between later Lewis and earlier Lewis (and most readers don’t make such a distinction), consider if a public figure in evangelicalism published works that:

  • Called into question the inerrancy of scripture
  • Spoke affirmingly of biological macro-evolution
  • Advocated an inclusivist understanding of salvation among those who have not heard and/or accepted the gospel
  • Was ambiguous on the atonement
  • Believed it was possible for a Christian to lose their salvation and ultimately be lost
  • Taught a form of justification that is more consistent with Roman Catholicism than historic Protestantism (e.g. Justification via transformation rather than a forensic justification by faith)
  • Held to a form of purgatory, or after death purification process between death and glory I can imagine that in many similar cases, such an figure would be considered out of bounds and their books not recommended except for the purposes of analysis and critique. Certainly, this is true even of Lewis for many, with some going so far as to even question whether he should even be counted as a Christian (which view seriously conflates doctrinal correctness with personal faith). However, by and large (in my experience), Lewis is not received with the same caution and/or derision as other notable figures - N.T. Wright, Rob Bell, John Walton, for recent examples.

What explains this discrepancy? Here are 6 considerations:

  1. Apologetic Effectiveness: Lewis’s apologetic works, such as Mere Christianity, offer a robust defense of the Christian faith that resonates deeply with evangelical beliefs. His ability to articulate complex theological concepts in accessible language has made his works valuable tools for evangelism and apologetics, emphasizing common Christian doctrines over denominational differences. Lewis has been a teacher and example for multiple generations of evangelical apologists.

  2. Literary Merit and Influence: Lewis’s literary contributions, particularly the Chronicles of Narnia, have deeply influenced both children and adults, weaving Christian allegorical themes into compelling narratives. This broad literary appeal often supersedes theological discrepancies, with many evangelicals viewing Lewis’s works as a gateway to deeper spiritual reflection and understanding.

  3. Historical and Cultural Context: The period during which Lewis wrote (mid-20th century) was marked by a cultural milieu that was more accepting of nuanced theological positions. Lewis’s academic standing and intellectual approach to Christianity provided a bridge between conservative evangelicalism and broader cultural and intellectual movements of the time, making his ideas more palatable even when they diverged from evangelical mainstream.

  4. Selective Emphasis: Many evangelicals engage with Lewis’s work selectively, focusing on areas of agreement such as the lordship of Christ, the reality of sin, and the need for salvation, while overlooking or minimizing areas of disagreement. This selective engagement allows Lewis’s broader contributions to Christian thought to be appreciated without necessitating full doctrinal alignment.

  5. Legacy and Icon Status: Over time, Lewis has attained an almost legendary status among Christians of many denominations, including conservative evangelicals. This status is partly due to the widespread use of his quotes in sermons, books, and social media, often devoid of the broader context of his more controversial views. The legacy of Lewis as a defender of the faith often overshadows the specifics of his theological positions.

  6. Ecumenical Appeal: Lewis’s emphasis on “mere Christianity” — the core beliefs common to Christians across denominations — has endeared him to a wide audience, including conservative evangelicals. This approach promotes unity based on shared beliefs rather than division over doctrinal differences, appealing to evangelicals who prioritize core Christian tenets.

Some reading for further reflection:

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3 min read | musings | c.s. lewis

What is the Gospel?

How do I answer the question, “What is the gospel?” Here are a couple ways.

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6 min read | musings | gospel

Hypothetical Debate on the Olivet Discourse

Below was a artificial debate generated by Bing Chat regarding the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse. It was instructed to create the debate between Don Carson and Kenneth Gentry. No information was provided as to what their positions actually were. It’s fascinating how it captures the essence of several critical issues, although it’s also instructive that the dialogue very convincingly misrepresents D.A. Carson’s position on several elements.

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35 min read | musings | gpt, eschatology, olivet discourse

The Oppressors of Wokeism

An uneducated anecdotal observation -

If you observe the pattern of politics in any authoritarian state in the Middle East or Asia, specifically those where the discrepancy between the life circumstances of the population when compared to the developed world at large is substantial, you will notice the common thread that the government has identified and promoted among the people and outside enemy who is primarily to be blamed for the daily economic and social hardships being experienced. This blame is not only historical (past actions that have contributed) but ongoing (they are still doing it). In some (many?) cases, there is legitimate grievance to point to, but never in proportion to the plight of the people and rarely is the blame properly directed. Rather, the outside enemy has become a scapegoat to serve as cover for the ruling class of that nation and to properly direct the growing unhappiness of the populace with their disparate circumstances. An authoritarian government’s grasp on power is always tenuous due to the need to control a vastly larger number of people, and especially when representatives of those people are included in the armed forces that supply the muscle for maintaining control. In such cases, maintaining the scapegoat narrative is of the utmost importance for maintaining a secure grasp on power.

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2 min read | musings | economics, wokeism, politics

ABCs of Character

  • Ambition
  • Bravery
  • Curiosity
  • Devotion
  • Etiquette
  • Friendliness
  • Generosity
  • Hospitality
  • Independence
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Mercifulness
  • Nurturing
  • Open mindedness
  • Patience
  • Quietude
  • Respectfulness
  • Single mindedness
  • Truthfulness
  • Understanding
  • Vocation
  • Worshipful
  • Exuberance
  • Youthfulness
  • Zestful
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~1 min read | musings | character

John Calvin on the American Revolution

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, finished 217 years before the American War for Independence, John Calvin wrote a chapter on the concept of Civil Government and how Christians should think and behave with respect towards government authority.

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2 min read | musings | politics, books, calvin

Peeling Potatoes to the Glory of God

There is no sacred vs. secular distinction when it comes to glorifying God in our work. All work is pleasing to him, provided it is done in love and service to our neighbor and with a view towards excellence. 

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~1 min read | musings | Work, Quotes

Bavinck vs. the Pelagians (or, Foreknowledge = Predestination)

The common Christian approach to reconciling God’s predestination with human freedom is to say that God predestines based on his foreknowledge of free human actions. In his discussion of Pelagian views of divine providence, Herman Bavinck argues that divine foreknowledge must either be redundant, being fundamentally identical to predestination, or nonexistent. The choice, then, is between Predestination or Open Theism. He writes:

“Pelagianism, however, does not yet marshal its full strength when it opposes the general and special providence of God. To some extent it even recognizes this doctrine. But it comes out fighting especially when the eternal state of rational creatures, the particular decree of predestination, is at issue. Now, predestination is only a particular application of the counsel or providence of God. Just as we cannot separate the natural from the moral world, so neither can we point to a boundary line between the temporal condition of human creatures and their eternal state. With respect to the latter, however, Pelagianism has traded predestination for foreknowledge and described foreordination as the decree of God in which he determined either eternal blessedness or eternal punishment for people, depending on whether he foresaw their persevering faith or their undying unbelief. Now, however generally this view has been adopted in the Christian church (is it not the confession of all Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Remonstrant [Arminians], Anabaptist, and Methodist Christians?), it is nevertheless firmly contradicted by Scripture, religious experience, and theological reflection.

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6 min read | musings | bavinck, predestination, foreknowledge, open theism, doctrine

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, HCSB)

How do you apply a passage like John 3:16? For starters, you believe. But beyond that, consider the love of God which is made manifest in Christ Jesus.

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3 min read | musings | New Testament, reflecting on the bible, devotionals, Hope against Hope

Living For Tomorrow (The Economics of Christian Belief)

There is a concept in economics known as time preference. Very basically, it is the notion that, all other things being equal, present satisfaction of our wants is to be preferred over future satisfaction. That is, if we can’t achieve our ends now, we want to do it as soon as we can. This means that we place a premium on delayed attainment of those ends. If I say, “you can have a $100 now or $100 in six years,” you would likely choose now without much consideration. However, if I were to say, “you can have $100 now or $1000 in six years,” you would be forced into thinking about the premium placed on the future money and whether it is sufficient to forgo the present ends you could attain with the $100.

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5 min read | musings | New Testament, reflecting on the bible, devotionals, generosity

There is a higher throne

Ezra 3-10

It’s comforting to read of the exiles in Persia being guided by God’s providence to be able to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the temple. In the midst of opposition, under the rule of a pagan king, not only are they permitted to complete the project but it is fully funded for them. When the Lord has promised something, he will bring it about and no one can stay his hand. As Christ builds his church on the earth, this is a great comfort because there is opposition on all sides, from spiritual oppression, to government intervention, to local antagonism, to lack of funding, and to internal disputes or disobedience among the people of God themselves. Knowing that the sovereign Lord works to bring about his purposes through and in spite of these circumstances gives us cause to rejoice.

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1 min read | musings | old testament, reflecting on the bible, devotionals

Our Great High Priest

Reading the account of Peter and Dorcus is Acts 9, I was struck when he said to her, “Tabitha, get up.” This immediately brought to mind Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter and saying to her, “Talitha, cume” or “Little girl, get up.” Peter is continuing in the footsteps of his Lord Jesus, bringing life and healing. Christ ascendedto the right hand of God but continues his work in the Holy Spirit through his Church.

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1 min read | musings | New Testament, reflecting on the bible, devotionals

An Undesirable God?

Over on Scot McKnight’s blog, Jeff Cook argues that one of the fundamental flaws in our apologetic encounters with non-Christians is that we’re playing completely different games - the Christian is attempting to argue for the reasonableness, probability, even certainty of Christianity, while the non-Christian is primarily dealing in categories of emotion and preference. In the example debate provided, the Christian wins on logic and argumentation, but ends up losing because the non-Christian excels at arguing from desire and preference, ridiculing God as distasteful and altogether unworthy of respect and admiration.

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2 min read | musings | books, apologetics

Why Live Simply?

Channeling Randy Alcorn

In a previous post I wrote about the “rich” verses of the Bible and how pretty much everyone living in America ought to be applying these passages to themselves first and foremost. Today, I read the following in Randy Alcorn’s excellent book Money, Possessions, and Eternity:

“There’s no room for making wealth a source of security, or for lacking generosity or hospitality, or for an unwillingness to share. Still, Paul leaves a door open for Christian to be “rich in this present world” - but only if they carefully follow the accompanying guidelines related to their open-handed use of that wealth. The rich are not told they must take a vow of poverty. They are told essentially to take a vow of generosity. They are to be rich in good deeds, quick to share, and quick to part with their assets for kingdom causes. In doing so, they will lay up treasures in heaven.

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3 min read | musings | books, generosity

Was Jesus born in a barn? Probably not…

Questioning the Tradition

This time of year we get to reflect on the glorious message of our Savior’s birth, sent into the world to save us from our sins and to take his place as creation’s rightful King. The basic contours of the traditional Christmas story are commonly known, even among those who are not Christians. Three wise men, shepherds in mid-winter, baby Jesus in a barn with animals, and of course, that crusty old innkeeper who wouldn’t give Joseph and his laboring wife a place to stay (or in some accounts offered up his stable out of generosity!). But is the traditional story an accurate portrayal of the biblical story and is realistic given the historical and cultural setting?

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5 min read | musings | christmas, books, Bible Studies

My favorite books of 2012

Of all the books I read this year, these are my top 11. They may or may not be the best books, but they are the ones I enjoyed reading the most.

  1. Reformed Dogmatics (Volumes I & II) by Herman Bavinck - an outstandingly clear, historically aware, and thought-provokingly deep systematic theology. I’m looking forward to reading Volumes III and IV in 2013.
  2. Surprised By Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber - a delight to read.
  3. From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer - an eye-opening look at how technology changes us. Backed by strong knowledge of media ecology.
  4. Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction by John Frame - The best concise introduction to Christian apologetics.
  5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens - I can’t believe I waited so long to read this.
  6. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim Keller - The best book on marriage out there. I dare you to find a better one.
  7. Kingdom through Covenant by Peter Gentry and Steven Wellum - a brilliant work of Biblical Theology.
  8. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson - still working on applying it.
  9. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright - I always enjoy reading Wright and this was no exception.
  10. Political Visions and Illusions: A Survey and Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies by David Koyzis - a penetrating analysis and critique of the prevalent ideologies including dismantling some of my own.
  11. Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning by Nancey Pearcey - carrying forward the torch of Francis Schaeffer, this is a must read.
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1 min read | musings | books

You are the “rich in this world”

During our Life Group bible study this evening, a friend made a very insightful point: Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, and our society is very much that rich man.

This is true. We are the rich man, and in many ways the job of an evangelist is more difficult in the affluence of the first world than in the poorest and most pagan of societies. The false god of mammon has more of a stronghold on people than the false gods of the animists.

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3 min read | musings | reflecting on the bible, politics, Bible Studies, generosity, economics

Going Deeper in Bible Study

I was recently asked my opinion on where to start for going more in depth in Bible study. My answer is generally applicable, so I’m reproducing it here. This is just my advice based on quite a bit of exposure to studying. Take it as nothing more than that.

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2 min read | musings | Bible Studies, books

Were Jesus and the Early Christians Mostly Poor?

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9)

It’s a well established theological truth - The Lord Jesus, who existed eternally as the Son of God, owner of all creation, rich in every possible sense of the word, became poor for our sakes, taking on the weakness and poverty of human nature and enduring humiliation and suffering rejection and crucifixion at the hands of the very people he came to save. Through this sacrificial suffering he redeemed a people for himself who would become co-heirs with him in the kingdom of God. This truth is recounted in numerous places throughout the Bible (c.f. for example Philippians 2:5-11; John 17).

But what about Jesus’s earthly life? The popular conception is that he was born into poor, humble circumstances, recruited disciples from similar roots, and that the spread of early Christianity was mainly accomplished through the lower classes of society. In his book, The Triumph of Christianity, sociologist and historian Rodney Stark argues against this view, making the case that Jesus came from a moderately well-off family, and a large proportion of his supporters and audiences would have been among the privileged classes.

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6 min read | musings | history, books

9.5 Theses in Honor of Reformation Day

In honor of Reformation Day, I offer 9.5 indications of a need for reformation (both personal and corporate) and a challenge for each of them.

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2 min read | musings | reformation, gospel

The 16 (or 22) most influential books in my life

How do you measure the impact that a book has on you? There have been many times that I’ve finished a book profoundly moved, impressed, or otherwise feeling that I have just read something significant, but looking back later could not identify any substantial influence that the book had on me in terms of my life, thought, beliefs, or actions. At the same time, there are countless things that I’ve read whose ideas have, over time and without any conscious realization on my part that it was happening, become my ideas and contribute to the way in which I view and interact with the world. In fact, I suspect that happens more or less with everything I read, either in adopting or rejecting certain ideas put forward by the author.

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20 min read | musings | books

Some Random Memory of a High School Crush

It’s strange how a word, a picture, a smell, can bring to the front of your mind a memory that had long been filed away. All of us have a novel-worthy story wrapped up in the recesses of our memories, with details, plot lines, and drama that would leave Dickens impressed. Just now I’m reminded of a momentary high school crush, forgotten long ago but apparently forever seared into my memory. Not that my retelling itself would impress Dickens, but the story nonetheless.

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6 min read | musings | memories, random, writing

The Apologetic Value of Excelling in Your Field

In my last book review, I referred to this quote by C.S. Lewis on the importance of Christians mastering their field of work and the impact that this would have:

“What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects — with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defence of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian” (God in the Dock, 93).

I thought I would provide some examples of Christians who have done this very thing and because of their demonstrated expertise have earned the respect of colleagues in their field. It’s important to note that they do this in a way that is consistent with the Christian worldview they hold and is not simply a respect earned from compromising their beliefs to be in line with the current scholarly consensus. These are some notable examples, and there are many others who could be mentioned. May their tribe increase.

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3 min read | musings | work, apologetics, c.s. lewis

30-Second Book Reviews

As I plow through these books on the hit list, several of them have left me without too much to say about them, or in some cases so much to say that I just can’t bring myself to take the time to write about them. These aren’t necessarily bad, but I’m going to give my 30-second take on them rather than a full review.

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5 min read | musings | books

A Response to a Friend

This post is in response to my friend Andy’s questions over on his blog. You can read the original post with questions here.

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11 min read | musings | debates, doctrine

Who am I? … I will be with you…

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus said to go into all the nations, make disciples of them, baptize them, and teach them to observe all that he’s commanded. This would be a discouraging commission, except for one thing – the one who has all authority on heaven and earth has promised that he will be with us, even until the end of the age. This presence is the bedrock of our confidence and our only assurance of success. Like Moses, who said, “Who am I to lead this people?” and God’s response was, “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:11-12)  Who are we? Christ Jesus is with us.

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1 min read | musings | devotionals, Bible Studies

Anti-Psalm 50

After reading an article from the Journal of Biblical Counseling, I learned a technique for meditating on and applying the Psalms. It is to take the Psalm and invert it to play out the implications of the opposite perspective. You can see examples of this by David Powlison with Psalm 23 and Psalm 131. This is an anti-psalm I wrote for Psalm 50:16-22.

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1 min read | musings | psalms

More on Genealogies - “A whole bunch of dead folks…”

I asked the question previously, “What do you do with genealogies?” In particular, the really intimidating ones like 1 Chronicles 1-9. Does anyone preach on these? Would anyone dare? Should they dare? I searched an online sermon database, and with the exception of the Prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 1-9 was left untouched. There was one pastor I forgot about who I thought might just be willing to attempt to expound and apply this text.

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1 min read | musings | old testament, sermons, genealogies

Genealogies in the Bible

I’m never really sure what to do with the genealogies in the Bible. Other people have taught me a bit about the significance of some of them, but it is certainly a struggle. The “and he died” of Genesis 5 underscores that the sentence against Adam and Eve was carried out as promised and that it affected their descendants in the same manner. The short one at the end of Ruth informs us that this story carries significance beyond the immediate events, and would produce King David, from whom the Messiah would come. Speaking of which, the genealogy of Matthew one is perhaps the most perspicuous in its theology, subversive as it may be. The fact that he includes 4 women (which itself is unheard of) – including an incestuous relationship, a gentile prostitute, a gentile saint, and an adulterous affair – points to the significance of this King, who would be Savior of Jew and Gentile, male and female, sinner and saint.

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2 min read | musings | old testament, genealogies

The Conqueror of My Soul

William Henley’s famous poem Invictus provides a picture of the groundless defiance of humanism in the face of a cold, unrelenting, and hopeless Universe:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

In brilliant contrast, Dorothea Day’s Conquered presents the assured dependence of the conquered Christian in the arms of the loving, merciful, and sovereign Lord of the Universe:

Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.

Since His the sway of circumstance
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under the rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.

Beyond this place of sin and tears—
That life with Him! and His the aid,
That spite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep, me unafraid.

I shall not fear, though straight the gate;
He cleared from punishments the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate;
Christ is the Captain of my soul.

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1 min read | musings | secularism, poetry

Eternal Sonship (Adam Clarke Refuted)

Regardless of where you stand on the issues of generation, derivation, and other debated aspects of the Trinity (and they are much debated by orthodox theologians), I think the denial of Eternal Sonship is unnecessary. Adam Clarke (and Albert Barnes too, for that matter) misses the forest for the trees in this respect. The entire revelation of the Trinity in scripture is based on this Father/Son relationship. All of the imagery of redemption, the revelation of God’s love, the assurance of hope, etc, is based on the fact that this is a revelation of eternal realities.

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16 min read | musings | trinity, doctrine, debates

How sin entered the world…

Without a biblical understanding of sin, we have no basis from which to judge the external world, and the apparent brokenness and futility of life. We will have no real answers to the world’s dilemmas because we won’t have an adequate grasp of the true problem. Furthermore, without a correct view of sin, we’re bound to misunderstand who God is. C.S. Lewis points out that a belief in God without an understanding of sin would result in monism, where God is both good and evil, or dualism, where there are two opposing gods, one good and one evil (see The Problem of Pain). Perhaps most importantly, sin is the problem for which the gospel provides the solution. Without an adequate understanding of the problem, we cannot truly appreciate the solution. In other words, without doctrine of sin, there is no Christianity. The root of this Christian understanding is found in the first three chapters of Genesis.

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8 min read | musings | doctrine, Bible Studies, sin

Applying the Bible – Part 2: How to apply the Bible

There are many factors involved in applying the message of the Bible to your own life and community. It’s not possible to treat all of the nuances of application in such a short space, but a broad outline and a few examples should create a framework which will allow you to pursue your own study and begin applying the Bible to your life. With time, you’ll begin to see that the richness of biblical application extends well beyond what is presented below.

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6 min read | musings | Bible Studies

Applying the Bible – Part 1: What is application?

While the Bible has immense value as a piece of literature, and can give great insight into certain aspects of ancient history and culture, this is not the reason most Christians read it. Ultimately, most Christians read the Bible because we believe that it is God’s word, not only to a people in a time and culture far removed from our own, but that it is God’s word to us in our time and in our culture. We believe that through the Bible we may come to a true knowledge of God and of ourselves, and may come to discern His will, including what He would have us believe and how He would have us live.

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5 min read | musings | Bible Studies

Understanding the Historical Context of Scripture

One of the key components in properly understanding a verse, section, or book of the Bible is to understand the historical context in which it was written. The Bible is God’s Word for all people and for all time, but much of the Bible is occasional in nature. That is, it was written at a particular point in history, by a particular inspired author, addressing a particular audience which faced a particular situation. With this in mind, proper interpretation involves finding out what the text says, understanding how it applied to the original audience and situation, determining the underlying principles which guided that application, and then applying those principles to parallel situations today. The historical context is the means by which we can gain clearer understanding of how the text would have been understood by the original audience.

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5 min read | musings | Bible Studies

Choosing a Bible Translation

Why are there so many different Bible versions? What’s the difference between them? How do I know which one to choose? If you’ve ever stood in the Bible section of a bookstore, I’m sure these questions have come to mind. While choosing a Bible is ultimately a matter of personal preference, a little information about the different versions available can go a long way in helping you to make an informed decision.

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6 min read | musings | Bible Studies

Hope against Hope – Part 3 – When Hope Seems to Fail

The Response of Job – Worship and Honest Supplication

Job was an extremely wealthy man - one who feared God and turned away from evil. He had ten children and was clearly blessed beyond measure. However, within the course of a day, Job receives news that all of his oxen and donkeys have been stolen and his servants murdered, all of his sheep and their shepherds have been consumed by a fire from the sky, and all of his children have been killed in a tornado.

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9 min read | musings | devotionals, Bible Studies, Hope against Hope

Hope against Hope – Part 2 – What if it doesn’t happen?

We know that God is faithful and that we can stand in hope against the wave of faithlessness and slander which cries out, “Your God is not trustworthy!” But what do you do if something unexpected happens? When the deliverance hasn’t come as you anticipated? When the thing that you had hoped for did not come to pass? When it seems as if the cry of the faithless is right? How do you respond when it happens? Is it unbelief to even consider such things?

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3 min read | musings | Bible Studies, devotionals, Hope against Hope

Who are the ministers? (Or, Why do you go to church?)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph 4:11-15

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3 min read | musings

Hope against Hope - Part 1 - The God of hope

Hope against hope – that is the call of every Christian sojourning in this world. We have the promise of persecution and trial (2 Tim 3:12; John 16:33), and in the face of that, the promise of hope. The persecution of the world in America is not torture, imprisonment, or political exile (as some of our brothers and sisters face this very hour). It is a much more subtle, much more deadly assault. You may not be persecuted in this sense for claiming the name of Christ, but slowly we are being persuaded to lose hope in God. Is he trustworthy? Is he reliable? For today’s persecutors, the answer is “No!” The evidence is all around you. The misery of the whole world demonstrates that he is not helping (they say). At the same time, abundance and wealth lull us into a sense of satisfaction and contentment – not in God, but in the things themselves – to the point that we are tempted to rely on and put our confidence in them. “God may not be there for me at retirement, but I sure hope my investments are.”

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4 min read | musings | devotionals, Bible Studies, Hope against Hope

He Is Exalted!

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Php 2:5-11)

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5 min read | musings | devotionals, Bible Studies

The Bible on the Treatment of Immigrants

The Old Testament has some interesting things to say regarding the treatment of immigrants among the people of Israel:

  1.        Prohibitions on oppression and unfair treatment (Exo. 22:21; Exo. 23:9; Deut. 10:18-19; Deut. 24:17; Eze. 22:7; Eze. 22:29; Zech. 7:10)

  2.        They are held to the same laws as natives (Exo. 12:19; Lev. 17:15; Lev. 24:22; Num. 9:14; Num. 15:15; Num. 15:30; Lev. 19:34)

  3.        They are included in the provisions for the orphans, widows, and other poor (Lev. 19:10; Lev. 23:22; Deut. 14:29; Deut. 24:19-21; Deut 26:12-13)

While we can’t take the laws and customs of the Israelites and transplant them directly to a Christian era under secular governments, there are certainly underlying principles that apply regardless of the culture and context. Throughout the Old Testament, the reason God gives for this treatment of sojourners or foreigners is that the Israelites themselves were once sojourners in the land of Egypt. Christians everywhere should be able to relate to this sentiment, seeing as we are but sojourners ourselves with a heavenly citizenship (Php 3:20; Heb. 13:14)

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