Blog Archive


Monday, January 04, 2010
So today marks the third anniversary of the start of this ol' blog. I've posted exactly 500 times in that span, and my tastes in subject matter have changed slightly over the years. Once or twice I've come close to shutting it down (for lack of readership or motivation), but since it primarily serves as a way for me to think out loud (while not annoying my wife with my political, theological, and cultural rants), and the fact that the readership/commenting has increased steadily over the last year, I've kept it going and hope to do so for the foreseeable future. So with that in mind, I thought it would be fun to go back through the archives and highlight a handful of posts which still strike my fancy or are worth a second look (or first look, as is more likely for most readers).

An Atheist Applauds Christianity
Questioning Emergents
Piper and the Prosperity Gospel
Communism Never Dies
A Great Book on Culture
Abortion in Europe
Climate Change 35 Years Ago
In-roads into Islam
Is Your Wife a Calvinist?
Lewis on Intellectuals
The Case Against Organic
Thought Police
Chuck Norris Pounds Pluralism
A Great Book on Evil
It Will All be Worth It
How a President Affects Abortion
The War Over Evangelicalism
Network TV Eviscerates Pluralism
Canterbury Loves Sharia
We Are All Josh Hamilton
Positive and Negative Rights
Avoid High Places
A Myth of Capitalism
RIP, Emergent Church
Christ in the Garden
Penn and Proselytizing
Christians and Capital Punishment
See God's Holiness
Driscoll on Devotions
"Clothed in Rainbows..."
The 10 Cannots


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Steve Martin said...

Congrats, Darius, and continued success on your blog!

Chris Austere said...

Yeah, keep it going, budday!

I used to check out your blog just so I could see if there was something I could challenge you on. I still do that sometimes. But if I do challenge you, I know I'm liable to get challenged myself. So that helps to keep me on my intellectual toes.

But more lately, it seems that we are not as opposed to each other ideologically as we once were, or maybe its just we know each other well enough and have argued so much that we are used to one another. But I think our prior conflicts, even going back to my early ZFT days, really helped to sharpen my perspective more than you know. Heck, I am even reconsidering the Calvinist view of predestination. Don't gloat, because you don't have a convert just yet, but I see some aspects of the Reformed view that are unquestionably correct - views that I didn't give much attention to before.

But this is the thing: I must be a principled disciple of Truth, and that requires that we modify our theology, politics, or whatever else when confronted with questions we have no concrete answers for, and when those answers are found elsewhere.

But I will tell you one thing. You will never ever get me to agree that Gran Torino was a good movie! The acting was literally some of the worst I have ever seen in a Hollywood feature! Watch it again and tell me I'm not right. Ha!

Darius said...

Chris, at least will you agree that Gran Torino is a great story? I would have to watch it again to see if I agree about the acting (I admit that some of the script and characters are weak), but the story is superb, in my opinion.

Thanks for the encouragement, guys. Having a few people who actively engage my posts in the comment sections is the best way to keep me motivated. Nothing's more sad (and somewhat pathetic) to me than when I come across a blog that has almost no comments (some exceptions, of course, where comments are turned off or the readership is just more silent) yet the blogger posts consistently, oblivious to the fact that he's talking to an empty room. At least in this room of mine, I have an occasional passerby. :)

Darius said...

As for our more amiable convos, Chris, I think it's like you said. We know each other enough to the point that we don't get quite so heated. I know where you stand and I know that it's not likely I will change your mind on most of those issues (though it warms my heart that you're reconsidering some Calvinistic ideas :) ); plus, many of them aren't that important to argue about. I think some of your views on health and prosperity toe the line of dangerous territory, but at least you caveat it with the understanding that any blessings from God are given us to bless others.

Chris A said...

The reasons I have not entertained certain Calvinistic concepts has to do mainly with how those concepts materialize into religious beliefs and practices that end up being inconsistent with other explicit teachings in Scripture, and specifically in those areas where you think I "toe the line of dangerous territory", although I don't know what's so dangerous about the provision Jesus made for health; wealth, on the other hand, does have its obvious trappings, but my position on this topic is a great deal unlike those of many of the preachers well-known for prosperity doctrine, Joel Osteen, for instance.

In my thinking, financial wealth is only a fraction of what actual biblical prosperity is. And whereas some seem to make it the central desire of God to see that his children has all the material comforts to be offered, I feel that material wealth is but a means to an end - that end being the establishment of God's covenant with fallen man, the Great Commission, in other words.

I don't see anything wrong with material possessions per se, but I am far from being materialistic, and my theology is not inherently materialistic. I would much rather give than receive. But in giving I expect to receive so I have more to give. However, my purpose in giving is not to receive.

Darius said...


The trap people can fall into with health is very similar to that of wealth. In either case, Christians who take the idea too far can tend to forget that this fallen world is just temporary and not worth holding onto. They need to remember that we don't take anything with us, including these fallen bodies. In fact, if it weren't for the Great Commission, it would be far better to die sooner rather than later in life. Paul said this himself...

Chris A said...

Well, I suppose someone could de-emphasize the temporal nature of this present world in their perspective of health, but that sounds more like the Fountain of Youth than what the Bible teaches about health and healing. There are far more non-religious persons who have this sort of complex than do religious ones.

I agree that, in comparison to being in heaven, this present state of being is far inferior. But there is much more to experiencing the life of God in the here and now that most Christians don't realize, and in so doing, they have developed an escapist theology - hence the popularity of premillennial dispensationalism and all the "Christian" fiction that glorifies it. And whether we agree with it or not, we must be willing to admit the strength of its popularity in Christian culture is escapism. Even though Jesus prayed that the Father not take his followers out of the world (John 17:15), it seems like vast numbers of them romanticize their escape - either by death or the Rapture.

Notwithstanding whatever traps there are in going to extremes on the teaching, the doctrine on health and healing in the Scriptures is so concrete that a person just has to live in denial or willful ignorance not to accept it - unless of course they point to human experience as the deciding factor rather than the actual Bible. The doctrine of health is evident before the Law, in the Law, in the Psalms, in the Prophets, in the Gospels, in the Acts, in the Epistles, in Church history, and in modern times.

Sure, people can argue that such things have passed, but that doesn't nullify the Word of God. There is absolutely no biblical basis for such arguments; I've heard them all, and they are weak and totally devoid of merit.

The power of such bankrupt theology often seems to be an unhealthy view of the sovereignty of God that has undeniable Calvinistic roots. Does this discredit all of the elements of Calvinism? Certainly not, but it does help us understand why people who look for the will of God in every disaster and calamity have a hard time believing that God will heal them. They are fine with believing that he might do such a thing, but they aren't holding their breath.

Darius said...

I agree with a lot of what you're saying, Chris, particularly about Christian escapism. Jesus brought the Kingdom of God HERE, He's not just bringing us to it.

That said (I know I'm about to open a can of worms)... the theology of healing that I believe you preach has some weaknesses Scripturally. The debatable thorn in Paul's side, obviously. And Paul himself telling Timothy to take some wine for his stomach ailment rather than just be healed. There is a lot of evidence in the New Testament that healing can't be expected in EVERY situation or just commanded. It can be hoped for and known to be possible in every situation, but we don't know God's will and sometimes Christians are meant to suffer (so that the world can see how to suffer well and where our hope is). And eventually, we all die of health problems... Lazarus died a second time. So while Jesus does offer healing in this life, we still have fallen bodies which are groaning to be released from the curse of death and decay and won't be until Christ returns. Until then, we see glimpses of what eternal life will be like when someone's body is miraculously fixed (albeit ultimately temporarily).

Chris A said...

Can of worms indeed! Ha ha! Okay, this is old ground for us, but I will rehearse some of the things I have stated previously for your reconsideration.

But let me first agree with something you said. Healing cannot be expected in every situation. If you're old and have lived out your life, and particularly you are ready to die, you probably aren't going to expect to be healed, and others can't believe for healing on your behalf. It is appointed unto man once to die, so we all will obviously. Healing also cannot be expected in some situations where the judgment of God is being poured out on someone, such as the case in 1 Corinthians 5 or in the case of the death of David's infant son.

Concerning Paul's thorn, it is conjecture to suggest that it was a sickness, and even if it were a sickness, that would not do away with the doctrine of healing; but it seemly rather unlikely for a number of reasons, not all of which I will list here. Here is what we explicitly know for sure about the thorn - it was the messenger (angelos) of Satan, meaning that it, like sickness, was of satanic origin (Job 2:7; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38). Also note that the word angelos does not refer to sickness anywhere else in the Bible, and it would be very strange if that were the case here since it generally refers to an actual messenger, either earthly or heavenly. It is much more likely, in keeping with the rest of the uses of word in the New Testament, that Paul was referring to a satanic personality or influence stirring up trouble for him and creating opposition to the Gospel. And that would also be more in keeping with the expression "thorn in the flesh" or "thorn in the side".

However, even in certain cases where sickness is the direct result of someone's sin, the sickness may be healed under many circumstances (John 5:1-14; James 5:14-16). The instances concerning David committing adultery and then murder and the man who had a probable incestuous relationship in the church are extreme cases of sin.

But let's assume for the sake of argument that this thorn was a sickness. Would the fact that one person failed to experience healing nullify the Word of God on the matter? Never. It certainly didn't in the Old Testament, where the Israelites enjoyed a covenant of healing even though some people got sick sometimes. In all attempts to ascertain the meaning of Scripture, what is implicit is subservient to what is explicit.

Concerning Timothy, if we take it that Paul recommended that Timothy for medicinal purposes (also conjecture by the way), that wouldn't nullify the doctrine of healing. Paul's recommendation could have just as easily been given to suggest that Timothy avoid drinking the water that was causing him to be sick. In many areas of the world then and now, the water quality is poor, and as a result people often drink beer, wine, or milk. Plus if Timothy had stomach troubles not associated with the water, drinking wine would not have helped one bit; it would have made it worse.

Another thing to consider regarding healing is that there is no promise of instantaneous healing in the Scriptures. Rather we are promised to "recover". Healing could be instant or gradual. I've seen both and I've personally experienced both. Even in the ministry of Jesus, some of the more miraculous healings were not instant (John 9:7; Mark 8:23-25). And Jesus got better results than any minister ever.

I believe in the redemption and glorification of Christian bodies, but that isn't healing. There's nothing in the Scripture that suggests this is healing at all, yet this is often brought when someone tries to discuss what the Bible says concerning the subject. While bodily resurrection is a true doctrine, it is a distraction to the subject under discussion. Healing is the life of Jesus manifested in our mortal flesh, not our immortal glorified bodies.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »