Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Five Points of ...

It seems as though Christians often have a difficult time balancing grace and truth.  We seem to either deliver the truth with no love at all or compromise on the truth in the name of love.  Lovingly delivering the truth can be difficult.  While this extends to battles that we have with those outside the church (e.g. homosexuality, abortion), I believe that it is also true of battles that we have inside the church (e.g. age of the universe, Calvinism versus Arminianism).  I for one love spirited debate.  While I can be passionate about the points in a discussion, I don’t tend to get upset or emotional.  I merely seek the truth of the matter—I have to strive to remember to love.

In thinking along these lines, I considered a prayer that I had offered for my children’s salvation. I had asked that God would move in their hearts to bring them to a saving faith in His Son.  This prayer was offered in the presence of those whom I knew to be more of an Arminian persuasion.  While the prayer was genuinely from my heart, afterwards I reflected on this and wondered if my Calvinist leaning prayer would have caused any offense.  Upon reflection, it occurred to me that even when Arminians pray, they ask God to change circumstance and people, and this was all that I was asking.  This caused me to wonder what other areas of agreement that Calvinists and Arminians share.  The results are these Five Points of Agreement.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Under Construction

Ok.  I admit it.  I got a ticket.  We had made a trip to Arkansas for a funeral in April.  On the return trip to South Carolina through Alabama, I got to see blue lights in my rear view mirror.  Before I could even get my registration and insurance cards, Mr. State Trooper was at my window.  I rolled down the window and told him I was still getting my other information, but he informed me that my driver’s license was enough.  With my driver’s license in hand, Mr. State Trooper returned (nearly at a gallop) to his vehicle.  In no time at all, he returned with my ticket, talked me through the specifics, and returned to his car.  While I was still getting stuff back in order, Mr. State Trooper pulled out and returned to his hiding spot.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Why Eschatology?

So, since I am team teaching through 1 Thessalonians on Wednesday nights at my church, it seems like a good time to pick up my blogs on Christ’s return.  Before I turn to the substance of the discussion proper, I want to examine the reasons why eschatology (the science of the last things) is important for us to study.

First, it is in the Bible.  God thought it was important enough to make sure that it is in the Bible.  The main places are Daniel, Matthew, 1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation, but eschatology is found throughout the Bible.  As Millard Erickson says, if it is in the Bible, it is the Christian’s duty to read it, think about it, and meditate on it.

Second, our eschatology impacts our other doctrines.  If we have a misunderstanding about what happens in the end, we leave ourselves open to misunderstanding doctrines that pertain to the middle.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Freedom Isn’t Free

We’ve all heard this phrase, “Freedom Isn’t Free”, growing up.  Most of the time we associate this phrase with the lives that men and women have sacrificed for freedom throughout our nation’s history—from the Patriots of the Revolutionary War to the Snipers of Operation Enduring Freedom.

When the founders of our nation declared independence from England, they pledged their lives, treasure, and sacred honor.  I’m asking that you do the same for our country today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

To Read or Not to Read

Ok, I admit it. I read fantasy books. I also read other book genres, too, though. I enjoy stories in different formats as well: movies, musicals, and opera to name a few. I was recently asked by a young man in our church how I select books to read and books to not read. In other words, what’s my philosophy on narratives?

To begin with, we need to take a step back. There is only one real story—His Story (sometimes we call it history). If you know history, then you know that there are five key parts that can be represented by the five following words: God, Man, Jesus, Cross, Resurrection.[1] History starts as every story starts, with a beginning and a problem. God existed timelessly and chose to create the universe, which included us. Our many-great grandparents messed everything up. This crisis needed to be fixed. God sent Himself (God the Son, specifically) to be victorious over our problem, sin. He did this on the cross. In doing so, He secured for us an ultimate happy ending with Him, enjoying Him forever.

It is my contention that all fictional stories beg, borrow, and steal from the real story. (Ok, nearly all stories, but I’ll explain that in a bit.) Think of the common story lines of love, self-sacrifice, heroic victory, powers used for good, good over coming evil, cleverly defeating your enemy, and on and on. All of these themes are rooted in our common shared story—history. It’s no wonder that all of the best selling stories revolve around one of these themes. When stories go against this grain, we often don’t enjoy them. Sure, they are sometimes lauded with “artistic acclaim”, but they leave the common man feeling empty inside (think Matrix sequels or some nihilist Oscar winning film). Even our “dark” stories are rooted in the story—just highlighting the other side of the tale. I believe that we love stories that align with reality, follow the pattern of the story, and present as virtuous God’s attributes.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Troublesome Times Are Here

My pregnant wife woke up with some fluid discharge that didn’t seem normal.  Thinking that it wasn’t anything to worry about, we simply shifted schedules that morning.  I took charge of our youngest while she dropped off our older two at school.  From there she visited her OBGYN.  Bad news—her water had broke at 29 weeks and a day.  From this point forward, our life was turned upside down.  In an instant, Christmas plans were canceled, schedules were altered, and fears were aroused.  She was immediately admitted to a nearby hospital and then transferred by ambulance to a hospital better equipped to care for premature births.  Since that time, she has been under the watchful care of doctors and nurses who have prepared her and our baby for an untimely birth.  That was a week ago.  Thankfully, the baby is still in mother's womb and seems to be doing fine.

That’s it.  That’s the story.  But, I left out one key aspect—the body of Christ.  During this time, our brothers and sisters have been loving us.  Some spoke truth into our lives.  Some showed us mercy.  Some helped us.  Some encouraged us.  Many, many have prayed for us.  Words cannot express my debt of gratitude for how my wife and I have been loved during our ordeal.  One member was hurting, and yet all of the members felt that hurt and responded.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where to Begin?

I’m interrupting my current interruption (yes, I promised a few more blogs on the tribulation, which I interrupted to talk about Santa Claus) to talk about the tragedy in Connecticut.

There are several questions that come to mind when something like this happens.   We all want to know why.  Why did he do it?  Why did God allow it?  Why does our culture have so much violent crime?  Then we turn to what.  What can we do to get justice?  What could we have done to prevent this?  What can we do to stop it from ever happing again?  What should we do with our own children?  What should we tell them?  What should we do for the families who he so devastatingly affected?

I do not know the answers to all of these questions.  I do have some very well organized thoughts about self defense in general, about guns in particular, and about the public policy that surrounds both of them.