A Couple Great Posts

I found a couple really helpful posts today that I wanted to share. First, Justin Taylor has one on Is Jesus God? A short description of what he says:

I was once at a conference, talking with some colleagues who had a display at a hotel. A Muslim man approached us, demanding that one of us—just one of us—answer just one question, something no one had ever been able to answer for him. “You say that Jesus is God, right?” I answered in the affirmative. “And you say that God is in heaven, right?” I nodded. “And you say there is only one God, not two?” I smiled, knowing where he was going. “Then how is it,” he said, pointing his finger at me, “that God was talking to God?! It makes no sense at all!”

I asked him if I could ask him a question: “Are you a human being?” Yes, he replied. “Am I a human being?” He nodded. “We are both human but we are not the same person. So the Father and the Son share the same nature of God but are distinct persons.” He unleashed a string of expletives and walked away.

He then goes on to explain how this is helpful and where the analogy falls short.

Another great blog today is by Andy Naselli, who has written a 1 sentence summary of every chapter from C.S. Lewis’ great book The Screwtape Letters. You can read it at his blog here.

Young Evangelicals Are Getting High – My Thoughts

I saw a link on Facebook to a blog titled ‘Young Evangelicals Are Getting High‘ that addresses some of the trends I’ve seen among evangelical people my own age in recent years, namely that we’re tired of a casual, “cool” relationship with Jesus. Instead of finding the best coffee at church, we can go down the street. Instead of trying to make church music seem relevant, we can listen to bands like Mumford & Sons who are just as confused about the purpose of the church as we are.

Many of the people my age who have grown up in a Protestant Evangelical church have begun turning back to those with a high view of church (i.e. Lutheran, Catholic) or else going back to some more traditional ways of doing church with more liturgical services. The article makes this distinction:

congregations that carefully teach robust, historic Protestant theology to their children are notably not losing them to the Vatican, or even Lambeth. Protestant churches that recognize their own ecclesiastical and theological heritage, training their children to value and continue it in a 21st century setting, usually retain their youth. These kids have the tools they need to think biblically through the deep and difficult issues of the day and articulate their position without having a crisis of faith. They know the headlines, church history, theology and their Bibles, and so are equipped to engage culture in a winsome, accessible way. They have a relationship with God that is not based on their feelings or commitments but on the enduring promises of the Word and so they can ride out the trends of the American church, knowing that they will pass regardless of mass defections to Rome. That’s not to say that the Book of Common Prayer is unbiblical–far from it! It is to say that children raised in spiritually substantive and faithful homes usually find things like holy water, pilgrimages, popes and ash on their faces an affront to the means for spiritual growth that God has appointed in His Word.

Does your church practice many of these traditions, or is it too busy trying to “stay modern”?

My Child is Gifted and 29 and Living In My Basement

Thanks to a friend’s post on Facebook, I read a very interesting blog titled “My child is gifted. He’s also 29, unemployed, and living in my basement” that is so true it makes me want to cry for the child living at home. Not only is he being unproductive and wasting his life away, but his parents are supporting him in this. Yes-I understand the job market is not the easiest one to get in to right now, but that’s why we’re young and have time to get to the job we want to get to, BUT we have to start somewhere.

The only other piece of advice I would give to people who have graduated college but are still trying to figure out what to do with their lives is to get involved in a local church. I don’t have a problem with people living at home right after college IF they’re working to get a better financial jump start on their lives. Don’t waste the time you have to get involved in people’s lives. Some of the closest friends I have came from getting involved in a small group right after college. Those friends and I are going on a 110 mile bicycle trip through South Dakota’s Black Hills this weekend where we’ll encourage each other, have a ton of fun and enjoy being together. So as I’ve encouraged the people my age before, just do something.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Psalm 133:1

The New Calvinist Denomination

I read a very interesting article this morning about an article that appeared in ‘The Economist’ titled ‘Dippers Divided: Where Evangelicals Disagree.‘ It’s an interesting post with a response done at the blog patheos. The Economist generally prides itself on being a good magazine, yet in this case they show that they have some incredible misunderstandings of Calvinism and the Protestant church at large. For example, they say, “the Calvinists oppose any blurring of the boundaries between Christian denominations.” “The Calvinists don’t belong to a specific denomination, but are in pretty much every Protestant denomination. That’s why we have things like The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel, which draws people from many denominations. What do you think of these articles? It’s interesting to see how the media views Calvinists. Do you think it’s the way we present ourselves, or simply the way the media wants to view us?

Is It True?

I went to a small Christian liberal arts school called Taylor University in the middle of corn fields, Indiana. One of my favorite classes was a class called Contemporary Christian Belief. The class went through 5 questions that Christians were dealing with when I was in college (i.e. is homosexuality a sin, did Jesus really live, etc.). One of my favorite books from this time was ‘Is the New Testament Reliable?‘ by Paul Barnett. One of my favorite things about the Christian faith is how factual it is. The historical records show us Jesus actually lived, the Israelites were a real people, that they actually were in Egypt and the list goes on and on. I read a great article today titled ‘Christianity, the Worlds Most Falsifiable Religion‘ that talks about this very issue.

I, along with the author of this article, can’t think of any other world religion that is based on public events that can be checked. The believer’s of that faith need to take what one person said in blind faith.

Think about it: The believer in the Islamic faith has to trust in a private encounter Muhammad had, and this encounter is unable to be tested historically. We have no way to truly investigate the claims of Joseph Smith (and when we do, they are found wanting). Buddhism and Hinduism are not historic faiths, meaning that they don’t have central claims of events in time and space which call upon believers to investigate. You either adopt their philosophy or you don’t. There is no objective way to test them. Run through every religion that you know of and you will find this to be the case: Either it does not give historic details to the central event, the event does not carry any worldview-changing significance, or there are no historic events which form the foundation of the faith.

The whole article is worth reading and makes me incredibly grateful that we have a God who is an intellectual God. A God who cares about us and works in history to bring about his plans for our good and for his glory.

They Let Me Preach Again

I had the great privilege of preaching a couple weeks ago in church again on Isaiah 44:24-45:25 in a sermon titled ‘God Is Bigger Than the Boogie Man.’ You can listen to the sermon here.