- Isaac Newton, Eat Your Heart Out
- Who Gets the Credit?
- Andrew Peterson
- An Unfettered Gospel?
- Early Bracket Champ!
- Delusions of Innocence
- What a Weekend!
- It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
- Jackhammers of Grace
- Love Wins?
- What if They Were Bunnies?
- Let's Go Dancing!
- Challies Reviews Bell
- Wilson on Universalism
- Book Bracketology II Coming Soon!
- Scientists Continue to Speak Out
- Discrimination and Risk
- ▼ Mar 2011 (19)
- ► 2010 (295)
- ► 2009 (235)
- ► 2008 (116)
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Another good post by Pastor Wilson, this time on giving thanks for everything good that God has given us via technology and wealth.
The birth of the modern age, measured in terms of conveniences, technology, wealth, medical advances, and so on was largely a legacy of the Reformation. But the Bible teaches that whenever a gift is given, there will immediately be a temptation arising in our hearts to steal the glory and gratitude that should go to God alone. That temptation will say, fundamentally, that we owe none of this to God, and that we did it all ourselves. That attitude is what we call the Enlightenment. That is modernist hubris, technocratic arrogance, and purblind puffery.
This is the sinful pattern. God gives wealth, man takes credit for himself. If someone else later on comes along and blames man for creating all this wealth, and demands that we have ourselves a little "social justice" around here -- and what a wretched little phrase social justice is -- he is just creating an extra layer of sedimentary silliness. And by this point, we don't need any extra layers.
The Enlightenment is not to be credited with Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood, Smith's discovery that no one man is capable of manufacturing a pin, Newton's discovery of what objects in motion tend to do, or Watts' admirable divvying up of energy into units of horsepower. God gave us all those things. We must thank God for them.
Seeing the inevitable abuses of wealth that follow after a humanistic grabbing of credit for it, and reacting away from the whole thing entirely, is simply foolish. If it is a good thing, as my smart phone is a good thing, then God is to be thanked. If it is a sinful thing, like thinking that man does things he can't do, then we should abandon our folly, repent of our sins, and return to the gospel of grace that undergirds all God's statutes and laws. And if you don't know where those passages are, you can look them up on your phone.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Doug Wilson has a good post on how Christianity is necessarily political and thinking it isn't leads to a Kingdom of God that isn't of this world or intended to change our lives in the least.
You see, if the gospel says that repentance and belief actually mean something in this world -- like canceling that sex change operation, or forgoing the nuptials with someone whose genitalia are uncannily similar to yours, or letting your kid stay alive, or even worse, having a repentant king say that such goings-on ought not to be going on -- such particulars might create a stumbling block. No stumbling blocks! We must preach an unfettered message of repentance, by which we mean that we must thunder a message that every man must repent of "stuff." Like what? You know, stuff.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Well, I don't think I've ever seen this before: a bracket contest with no potential points left to be had and the Final Four still left to be played. That's right, with the exception of the prize to the person who guesses closest to the championship game total score, Book Bracketology 2011 is done. Colin Elliott wins with 105 points (and 40 correct picks). Derrick Grow takes second with 98 points. Congrats to them both!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Well, that hurt. If VCU keeps up their hot shooting tomorrow, we'll see a Final Four without a top seed... and a lot of destroyed brackets in the process. Colin currently leads the pack, but his pick to win it all is gone, so he needs some help. UConn needs to win, for one. And Kansas needs to lose soon. If that happens, Colin likely wins. Other people still in the running are Chris Chaffee, Steve Brown, or Jacob Teichroew. Chris is in good shape if Kansas wins it all, Steve wants Florida to beat Butler and someone other than Kansas to win the championship, while Jacob is looking for a Kansas title victory over North Carolina. Good luck!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
"May God's grace give you the necessary humility. Try not to think - much less, speak - of their sins. One's own are a much more profitable theme! And if on consideration, one can find no faults on one's own side, then cry for mercy: for this must be a most dangerous delusion." - C.S. Lewis
Monday, March 21, 2011
From Morehead State's opening round rejection of Louisville's attempt at a long tourney run to Butler's continuation of last year's magic (including the craziest 1.4 seconds in college basketball history) to VCU's domination of their heavily-favored opponents, it was a glorious beginning to the 2011 edition of March Madness. I can't wait to see what next weekend has in store. The Book Bracketology contest is pretty much over for some brackets, particularly those that picked Pitt, Purdue, or Notre Dame to win it all. Meanwhile, the front-runners of Kristyn and Colin have put themselves in good position with their picks, but the field is still wide open. By this time next week, we'll probably be down to a handful of brackets still in the running... good luck!
Monday, March 14, 2011
This post by Doug Wilson on Rob Bell is really really good.
[T]here is a particular kind of soft teaching that creates hard hearts, and there is a particular kind of hard teaching that creates tender hearts. The unconverted human heart is a slab of concrete, and what is needed there is the jackhammer of grace, and not the feather duster of indulgence. [Theological] Liberals have a reputation for being soft because feather dusters are soft. But feather dusters leave the hearts hard. Conservatives have a reputation for being hard because jackhammers are hard. But conservatives are tenderhearted. Jackhammers break up the slab, and the big trucks of grace haul the chunks away. Then we can break up the fallow ground beneath the slab, seek the Lord, plant a crop and pray for rain (Hos. 10:12)
Grace for sinners is deliverance from wrath. Indulgence for sinners is the realization that boys will be boys and that we are just one or two doctrinal developments away from Grand Rapids being a great place for theologically informed homosex, not to mention those who are straight but not narrow. Keep your eye on the ball, folks. This is about the lake of fire, but more immediately it is about something that rhymes with fire, as countless rock songs would have it -- desire. Why are we talking about wrath all of a sudden? Because the doctrine of God's wrath gets in the way of certain things that are deeply desired.
Kevin DeYoung has written the ultimate review of Rob Bell's new book. Case closed.
At the very heart of this controversy, and one of the reasons the blogosphere exploded over this book, is that we really do have two different Gods. The stakes are that high. If Bell is right, then historic orthodoxy is toxic and terrible. But if the traditional view of heaven and hell are right, Bell is blaspheming. I do not use the word lightly, just like Bell probably chose “toxic” quite deliberately. Both sides cannot be right. As much as some voices in evangelicalism will suggest that we should all get along and learn from each other and listen for the Spirit speaking in our midst, the fact is we have two irreconcilable views of God.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
As I mentioned earlier this week, we are only a few days from the announcement of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament bracket, and that also means we have come to my second annual Book Bracketology contest where you all can compete to win books, gift certificates, and the like. I have the rules posted above, but in short, you can enter up to 3 brackets at a cost of $5 a bracket. The overall winner takes home the main prize of a few books as well as some gift certificates. There will also be prizes for a couple other categories, such as closest guess to the total score of the championship game. Last year, the champ took home a nice load of books as well as a gift card to Amazon. That was from a group of 15 contestants (and 18 total brackets). If we can double that number this year, imagine the good books that could be gracing your bookshelf by the end of April. Join now!
Here we go, a review of Rob Bell's book by the chief Christian book reviewer of our day, Tim Challies.
Bell begins the book with surprising forthrightness: Jesus’ story has been hijacked by a number of different stories that Jesus has no interest in telling. “The plot has been lost, and it’s time to reclaim it.” (Preface, vi)Unfortunately, this is not unexpected. But it is still heart-breaking... not so much because of Rob Bell's soul (which is important) but because of the millions of souls he is leading astray to a very real Hell. May his words perish and wither so they may yet live.A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. (ibid)You may want to read that again.
It really says that. And it really means what you think it means. Though it takes time for that to become clear.
A God who would allow people to go to hell is not a great God, according to Bell, and the traditional belief that He would is “devastating … psychologically crushing … terrifying and traumatizing and unbearable” (pp. 136-7).
God is at best sort of great, a little great—great for saving some, but evil for allowing others to perish. Dangerous words, those. It is a fearful thing to ascribe evil to God.
So what of the gospel? Where is the gospel and what is the gospel? Ultimately, what Bell offers in this book is a gospel with no purpose. In his understanding of the Bible, people are essentially good, although we certainly do sin, and are completely free to choose or not choose to love God on our own terms. Even then he seems to believe that most people, given enough time and opportunity, will turn to God.
Christians do not need more confusion. They need clarity. They need teachers who are willing to deal honestly with what the Bible says, no matter how hard that truth is. And let’s be honest—many truths are very, very hard to swallow.
Love does win, but not the kind of love that Bell talks about in this book. The love he describes is one that is founded solely on the idea that the primary object of God’s love is man; indeed, the whole story, he writes, can be summed up in these words: “For God so loved the world.” But this doesn’t hold a candle to altogether amazing love of God as actually shown in the Bible. The God who “shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8), who acts on our behalf not so much because His love for us is great, but because He is great (Isaiah 48:9, Ezekiel 20:9,14,22,44, 36:22; John 17:1-5).
That’s the kind of love that wins. That’s the kind of love that motivates us to love our neighbors enough to compel them to flee from the wrath to come. And our love for people means nothing if we do not first and foremost love God enough to be honest about Him.
Doug Wilson has some very helpful thoughts on the topic of Rob Bell and particularly universalism and a doctrine of hell.
I have taught for many years that if the Lake of Fire is literal, then it is unspeakably bad. If it is symbolic -- because realities are always greater than the symbols that represent them -- it is far, far worse than the symbol.
In short, any theology that neglects telling a wicked and adulterous generation that they need to flee from the wrath to come is a theology that is participating in the general iniquity.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
I just wanted to give a quick reminder that the second annual Echoes in Eternity Book Bracketology contest is nearly here. The March Madness brackets will be announced this coming Sunday, and I should have the details up later this week. Want to win some books? Stay tuned...
1000 global scientists, including many from the UN's own IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), recently spoke out against the UN's claims that global warming either poses a threat or even exists at all. It's refreshing to see such honesty.
“We're not scientifically there yet. Despite what you may have heard in the media, there is nothing like a consensus of scientific opinion that this is a problem. Because there is natural variability in the weather, you cannot statistically know for another 150 years.” -- UN IPCC's Tom Tripp, a member of the UN IPCC since 2004 and listed as one of the lead authors and serves as the Director of Technical Services & Development for U.S. Magnesium.
“Any reasonable scientific analysis must conclude the basic theory wrong!!” -- NASA Scientist Dr. Leonard Weinstein who worked 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center and finished his career there as a Senior Research Scientist. Weinstein is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace.
“Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself -- Climate is beyond our power to control...Earth doesn't care about governments or their legislation. You can't find much actual global warming in present-day weather observations. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone's permission or explaining itself.” -- Nobel Prize-Winning Stanford University Physicist Dr. Robert B. Laughlin, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, and was formerly a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Apparently, the legal system in Europe is rather stupid.
Discrimination is the very essence of proper insurance: risk cannot be assessed without it. Of course this discrimination has itself to be discriminate, which is to say proper, but to say of an insurance company that it gives policies indiscriminately is about as damning an indictment of it as anyone could make. The court’s ruling is as intellectually fatuous as it is politically tyrannical.Of course, on this side of the pond, Obama and our wise legislators proclaimed that insurance companies can't turn away anyone who applies for insurance. So idiotic tyranny runs rampant.