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Showing posts from May, 2018

visited his world in person

"Right in the middle of all these things stands up an enormous exception... It is nothing less that the loud assertion that this mysterious maker of the world has visited his world in person.  It declares that really and even recently, or right in the middle of historic times, there did walk into the world this original invisible being; about whom the thinkers make theories and the mythologists hand down myths; the Man Who Made the World.  That such a higher personality exists behind all things had indeed always been implied by the best thinkers, as well as by all the most beautiful legends.  But nothing of this sort had ever been implied in any of them.  It is simply false to say that the other sagas and heroes had claimed to be the mysterious master and maker, of whom the world had dreamed and disputed.  Not one of them had ever claimed to be anything of the sort.  The most that any religious prophet had said was that he was the true servant of such a being.  The most that any p

supernatural to the core

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ...  This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true."  (John 20:30-31; 21:24 ESV) "The outstanding result of a hundred years of effort to separate the natural from the supernatural in the early Christian view of Jesus is that the thing cannot be done. The two are inseparable. The very earliest early Christian account of Jesus is found to be supernaturalistic to the core." (J. Gresham Machen) Read "The Supernatural Christ" , chapter 15 in The Christian Faith in the Modern World (1936) here .  

the yoga debate

In teaching Romans 14, and how we address questionable or disputed matters , I raised the question of yoga.  Is it okay for a Christian to participate  in a yoga class?   Now, I need to keep in mind that not all yoga classes are the same, not all have the same emphasis on all the elements of traditional  yoga.  This is an important point.    But I do think the Apostle Paul's teaching on meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8-10) is an example of discerning how to respond to practices that have  pagan elements .   In 1 Corinthians chapters 8 through 10, the Apostle Paul deals at length with the topic of meat sacrificed to idols .  Often the meat and wine sold in  Roman markets had been previously offered to a pagan deity at a local temple.  The question came up, can a Christian in good conscience eat such  meat?  Here's my summary of Paul's answer, mainly in three principles from chapter 10: 1)   The meat itself remains unchanged by its being offered to an idol or false go

with all their heart

"And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul..."  (2 Chronicles 15:12 ESV) There are moments in the Old Testament when God's people responded wholeheartedly to the Lord.  Kings and Chronicles tells us about these  times.  For example, King Asa in response to a prophet's warning (2 Chronicles 15), leads the people to destroy the detestable idols in the land and  to renew their commitment to serve the Lord as the only true God. This has been God's intent all along for his people, for all time -- wholehearted love:  "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you,  but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep  the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?"  (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 ESV)  This hasn't changed in th

a house for his name (2 Chronicles)

"Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the LORD my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the regular arrangement of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the LORD our God, as ordained forever for Israel.  The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?"  (2 Chronicles 2:4-6 ESV) Solomon knew that the temple in Jerusalem could not in any way contain God.  The Lord who created all things really doesn't need a house.  Nor would it really enclose him in any way.  Heaven, nor the highest heaven, can not contain him!  The house was to be a place for "the name of the Lord", that is, where the Lord (by name) woul

zeal for the Lord

First Chronicles celebrates King David's courage, strength, and ability to bring God's people together as a nation.  He was a great warrior.  But perhaps a greater emphasis in this book is upon David as a man of worship.      First, a warrior.   David's "mighty men" (chapters 11 and 12 especially) provide examples of individual courage and skill, as well as unity.  The kind of men David  attracted, and what he inspired them to do, is remarkable.  He brought greatness out of such a varied mix of men!  In Psalm 110, David wrote  that his Promised Descendant ("my Lord") would also bring about great change in his people, calling forth strength, unity, willingness, and holiness in them:  "Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours."  (Psalm 110:3)   Our Lord is the true King of might , and every eye will see him take back this world and

world-conquering faith

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"  (1 John 5:4-5 ESV) I finished reading Bavinck on the Christian Life , by John Bolt (Crossway, 2015).   The excerpt below is from a sermon given by Dr. Bavinck in Kampen (the Netherlands) on June 30, 1901.   It is the concluding chapter in Bolt's excellent book.  The excerpt below comes after Bavinck reviews the victorious faith of believers down through biblical history.  He asserts that this faith is not merely psychological faith, nor faith in general, but a specific faith...    "Acknowledge this history therefore as witness to the world-conquering power of faith!  But history does not bear this kind of testimony to every kind of faith -- not to the faith that is only a psychological phenomenon without reference to its object, its origin, its