Is theology arrogance?

“Doing theology” often implies that we understand God better than the apostles or their disciples, and Jesus would really have benefited from a background in textual criticism. But has everything orthodox already been taught? Read the rest of this entry »

O Lord, thou art forever in my thoughts.

“O Lord, thou art forever in my thoughts.”

– Joost Joosten, Martyrs Mirror, p. 651

Redemption and lift

Sociologists decry the weaknesses of single-parent families, but how many of them speak out against the socially-acceptable sins that made them common? Historically, repentance and conversion, not social programs, have been the only effective solution for a myriad of problems such as child abuse, child exploitation, poor working conditions, low incomes, high unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and teen pregnancy. God helps a father to stop drinking and start working, God helps the father’s employer to provide job training and increase wages, God helps the employer’s teenaged daughter to seek love from himself instead of boys. Social scientists have even coined a term for the phenomenon: “redemption and lift.”

Worship the Bible and worship yourself

The problem with loudly claiming the Bible as your only guide to faith and practice is that, at the same time, you may be quietly claiming your own intellect as your only guide to the Bible. If you aren’t, what other guide to the Bible do you claim? Can’t think of one? I suspected as much. Read the rest of this entry »

There is no god but God

Missionaries to Muslims (few though they be) sometimes argue over whether “Allah” is different from God. However…

  • “Allah” comes from the same Semitic root words as “elohim,” “El Elyon,” and “El Shaddai.”
  • Even before Muhammed came along, Arabic Christians (and they were not few) called God “Allah. They still do. I’ve heard them do it myself.
  • The Qu’ran says, “We believe in what has been sent down to us and in that which was sent down to you; our God and your God is One; and we are submitted to him”. Surah 29.46
  • To Muslims, “Allah” means the Creator of the universe. There is only one of those.

The problem is that Muslims talk about God in ways that we disagree with. But so do other Christians.

Worship Tricks

An English Christian leader named Jonny Baker has compiled one hundred of what he calls “worship tricks.” Many of them require multimedia resources. Others resemble sophisticated object lessons, such as those used in children’s church, only these are for adults: music videos, mystical poems, spiritual labyrinths. One of them involves a flame-throwing sermon illustration — for the feast of Pentecost of course.
Read the rest of this entry »

Found by few, walked by fewer

“This is the true way to eternal life, which is found by so few, and walked by a still smaller number; for it is too narrow for them, and would cause their flesh too much pain.”

– Jan Jans Brant, Martyrs Mirror, p. 617

Amateur prayer

“Some prayers are like a fire escape, used only in times of critical emergency — never very enjoyable, but used as a way of terrified escape from disaster. They do not represent the regular life of the one who offers them; rather are the unusual and uncommon acts of the spiritual amateur.”

A.W. Tozer