Do you need to see concrete evidence for something before you believe it? Most people would say they do. Michael Guillen has written an insightful book arguing that, in fact, that’s not the case – that before you can actually see and accept something as true, you have to first believe it is true.
Modernity has gradually abandoned the love of Jesus as the key tenet of society with predictably disastrous effects. Ever since the Enlightenment (1650-1900) mankind has committed itself to a mission of analyzing technical and societal problems and, through its own IQ, skills, and determination (you know, “hard work”, etc.), “fixing” them.
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) has many stories in which beings typically identified as “an angel of the LORD ”, or just “angel”, is depicted interacting with people as, apparently, another person. What can we learn about these persons from the texts? More than you might think.
Why a human Jesus? Wasn't there another way?
How did Paul see "all Israel" being saved?
The West, I argue, has turned a corner from which it will be impossible, short of a miracle, to un-turn. We’ve become addicts of narcissism, ignorant judgements, and feigned righteousness. We’re continuously fed their messages of “just a little more” so that our impending overdose is all but assured. But, perhaps most depressing is the fact that we don’t even realize it.
People who read the Bible somewhat seriously are well aware of the Biblical story leading up to the nation of Israel; their near-total rejection of their redeeming God; His attempts to retrieve them from their apostasy; and their ultimate destruction as a nation and collection of tribes in 70 and 135 AD. What some may fail to notice is that even before they entered the “promised land”, God had foretold their apostasy and that, as a result, they would endure the curses articulated in His covenant made with them at Horeb.
Most will recognize this title as one of the most famous admonitions of Jesus of Nazareth. But most of us don’t have much experience in fulfilling it. How can we turn this around?
The book of Isaiah is in many ways a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. In it, we find a seemingly bipolar God concerning His chosen but about-to-be-exiled Israel. One moment He chastises their behavior while the next He promises future redemption and blessing. And in it, we find the enigma of His servant – sometimes His beloved Israel, and sometimes…well, someone else, unnamed.
Anyone who has spent any time in Israel knows that it is a land of hills, and therefore of constant elevation change from one location to another. From the cliffs overlooking the Rift Valley of the Dead Sea and Masada in the South, to Qumran, to the Central Highlands, to the Golan Heights and Mount Herman in the far north. (If you’ve been there you may have heard the saying: “Everything is uphill in Jerusalem”.) How did this topography influence the Biblical authors?
Calvinism defames and assaults the character of God. Here's how.
Much of today’s popular psychological messaging is designed to make us happy and content with ourselves by puffing up our self-esteem. Much of this messaging is commercial, designed to create in us a frame of mind favorable toward purchasing whatever is being sold. This psychology doesn’t have your best interests at heart; it doesn’t want what’s best and most edifying for you. It just wants your money, your time and attention, and your “clicks”.
If you haven’t yet recognized your abject needfulness; haven’t yet plumbed the depths of your prideful self-satisfaction with your comfortable, predictable existence as your greatest and most challenging failure, then you haven’t approached the door of God’s Kingdom, nor, perhaps, do you know where to look for it.
The New Covenant of .... Moses?
My premise here is that the radical Left, whatever victim, group, or cause they profess, is focused on eradicating God. For most, their political North Star is Cultural Marxism (a subject about which I have written elsewhere). The general idea is that anything the West has created or held in esteem is noxious to humankind, as it represents oppression by the privileged class (Caucasian male, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied, native-born American, religiously faithful, family man) over their assumed victim classes (or more appropriately, identity groups -- i.e. everybody else).
Few understand what being called into the life of Christ means to them or requires of them. Fewer still understand what, having answered this call, that life looks like as it is lived out, let alone how such a life is even possible. And very, very few know that answering that call and living that life is what God expects of all of us.
Freedom from Disquiet
What is cultural Marxism and how should I respond?
Paul in Romans 3:27 says:
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Unfortunately, Paul never explicitly tells us what this law is that he is referring to (this is the only occurrence of the phrase not only in Romans, but in the entire Bible.) In order to understand his meaning, we’re going to have to do a bit of exegetical work on the argument he is waging in Romans 3 and preceding.
In this note we’ll look at this imperative of obedience to Christ as portrayed in the Bible, and uncover some insight into what the Bible means by “obedience” and "believe".
Recovering the Gospel - II
Recovering the Gospel - I
What was Paul teaching us in his epistles? Ever since Martin Luther and the Reformation he inspired 500 years ago, we’ve thought we knew. However, in the last 30 years, a different understanding has been proposed as the result of research to understand Jewish thinking on their relationship to God in first-century Israel, so that Paul’s messages could be interpreted within this context that surrounded him.
In the Bible the people of God are commanded to love Him (Deut 6:5, 11:13, 30:6, Mt 22:37) and love their neighbors (Lev 19:34, Mt 22:39-40), whether those neighbors are love-able or not. But what is Biblical love? And how do we get it, and give it away[i]?
The Parables of the Treasure and Pearl
What makes us think we have any idea of what "heaven" is like?
Dispelling Christianity as "Hate"
This note focuses on the sincere Christian desiring to live the life he has been called to live in Christ.
Did God "know" the future "before the beginning"? Or did He simply design it?
Most modern western Christians miss what the Bible has to say about its good news – the Gospel of Christ. It’s right there in black and white. But somehow they miss it – read right past it. How does this happen?
The Economy of God
The Chimera of Being a Good Person
God's Calling to Himself
Christianity for Dummies
Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem in Prophecy
Christians are taught to “know” and love God. And for some, their experience in the faith leads them to moments of perceiving God with them. Here I’m not talking about some strange incursion into your life by some spirit-like presence, perhaps in response to some crisis or loss in your life. The web is full of such event-induced testimonies, and, no doubt some are true, and some are even God.
No, I’m referring to times typically of quiet reflection in which you sense the reality of God with you. These episodes are far more intense and immediate than the Spirit-filled Christian typically experiences. They are (for me at least) very rare. (I certainly am no mystic.) But they do happen.
Not One Stone Left Upon Another
The Jewish and Christian God
Seek First the Kingdom of God
Belief and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Thinking About Tragedy
A Conversation with God
The Grace of God
Thinking About the Trinity
The Narcotic of Moral Superiority
Israel as Metaphor
If Grace Is True
What if All FB'ers Lived in the Kingdom of God?
Lots of people write blogs. Very few people actually read them. So why this one? Recently I’ve been absolutely stunned by the power of the delusion our society is suffering regarding truth, good and evil. In this perverse worldview, people who elect to strap on explosives and detonate them, or fire automatic weapons at unsuspecting … Continue reading Christianity in the Age of ‘Whatever?’