“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 »
Practical universalism isn’t very practical. It doesn’t help people become godly, anymore than hiring blind umpires makes baseball more exciting. The umpire can’t grade on a curve. He has to decide if the runner arrived before the ball, or the ball before the runner. But if the runner never arrives, he doesn’t have to decide anything. The answer is obvious. It doesn’t matter how fast a baseball player ran from second to third, it doesn’t matter how sincerely. If he doesn’t make it to home plate, he doesn’t score. It doesn’t count. If you never become the kind of person who wants to spend eternity praising God, it doesn’t matter how close you got to it. You won’t be forced to spend eternity praising God.
My recent satire on the similarities between some Muslims and Christians seems to have been misunderstood. I’ve taken four graduate courses on the relationship between Islam and Christianity, and spent hundreds of hours talking with members of both religions. But I’m still learning how to write clearly.
No, I wasn’t saying that all Christians and Muslims have destructive beliefs and attitudes in common. Just many of them. More about that tomorrow.
In one sense, truth is static, written in heaven, but our understanding of it is imperfect so not static.
In another sense, truth is relational. What is good news will change depending on the needs of the hearer. The broken-hearted need mercy, and the unrepentant need law.
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.
Why do they call it the Christian Right when so many of its best spokespeople are Jewish? Syndicated columnist Don Feder, talk show host Dennis Prager, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, film critic Michael Medved, pornography researcher Judith Reisman: all these find common cause with conservative evangelicals.
And how about intellectuals Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol, or talk show host Laura Schlessinger, or journalist Charles Krauthammer? Other influential heroes of the Christian Right are Jewish converts: former abortionist and now pro-life advocate Bernard Nathanson and World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky.
And there’s another category of Jewish leaders that the Christian Right has been willing to follow: Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Lewis Libby, and Elliott Abrams. Several of them have not been convicted of any crimes, something which cannot be said for certain Christian ministers.
The moral is that right doesn’t always mean Christian. And perhaps, that Right doesn’t always mean right.
“I cannot thank and praise the Lord sufficiently, that He so comforts me in my tribulation, and that my mind is still fixed to fear the Lord with all my heart all the days of my life, according to my weak ability.”
– Clement Hendrickss, Martyrs Mirror, p. 834-841
The Bible is most often read like a greeting card, whose only purpose is to warm the heart regardless of whether or not its sentiments apply to you. We bend the meaning of the Scripture to fit our own experience. When the Bible describes how God’s people must live, instead of asking, “Am I one of God’s people? Is that how I live?” we declare, “Since I am one of God’s people, that is how I live.” That we may not be part of God’s people is not considered a possibility.
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