Category Archives: Theology

If Something isn’t True, You Should Stop Saying It…

Like the much repeated ‘lesser of two evils’ argument presently making the rounds amongst the politically angsty.  It’s simply a fact that the lesser of two evils argument just doesn’t work for Christians.   Why?  Because ‘Abstain from every form of evil’ is our task- not cultural accommodation.

The notion that Christians have to ‘fit in’ is absurd on its face.  We needn’t fit in at all and in fact are commanded to ‘not be conformed to this world’ but rather ‘to be transformed’.

Conformed people can achieve nothing.  Transformed people can be the instruments of God and hence the instruments of change.  Authentic change, not paltry political ‘change’.

Christians should stop with their craven and depraved thirst and hunger for power and instead hunger and thirst for righteousness.

“God is Our Refuge…”

It’s fair to say that we live in terribly divisive times.  Families and friends are literally at one another’s throats because of the incredible political divides which festoon the national landscape with ever more hostility, acrimony, and ill will.

People feel very strongly about their cherished political perspectives.  Nevertheless as believers in Christ it is utterly indispensable that we step back a pace or two and remember what Scripture teaches us about hope and the future and trust and peace.  Psalm 46 declares

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has wrought desolations in the earth.  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire! “Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!”  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

The Psalm falls naturally into three main divisions, each concluded with the Hebrew word ‘Selah’ which means something like ‘pause, consider’ or in our parlance, ‘stop and think about this’.

Section one invites us to abandon fear- given that God is eternally the same and eternally loving.  Section two invites us to find our refuge in God who is never moved by the tides of time or change.  And the third section encourages us to restful trust.

What message is needed right now more than this text’s word?  Three times the passage reminds us that God is our refuge- our place of security and safety.  No politician of any political persuasion can say that truthfully.  Trust God, and rest in him.  You’ll be better off.  And you may even avoid coming to hate your friends.

Quote of the Day

If everything comes by chance, Providence is done away with, and if Providence is done away with, the Deity also is done away with. For if anything goes by chance, then everything must go by chance. For if Providence were idle in one single thing, It would not be Providence. It must apply to all things, because the power of the Deity is over all, and if it were not over all, He would not be the Deity. — Huldrych Zwingli

I Would Rather…

I would rather eat bread with the Zwinglians than eat human flesh with the Lutherans and Romanists.

Quote of the Day

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Ps. 90:12)

Every day is a little life; and our whole life is but a day repeated: whence it is that old Jacob numbers his life by days; and Moses desires to be taught this point of holy arithmetic—to number not his years, but his days. Those, therefore, that dare lose a day, are dangerously prodigal; those that dare misspend it, desperate. — (Bishop Hall)

Let’s Face It, People Treat Theology and Biblical Studies Differently Than other Disciplines

Most people act like they know that they aren’t brain surgeons or heart specialists or mathematics professors or organic chemists if they actually aren’t those things.  But when it comes to disciplines like biblical studies and theology (which do indeed have their own requirements and associated skills) it seems that every slack jawed mouth breathing product of generations of incestuous inbreeding feels compelled and even justified in thinking that their opinion on matters biblical and theological is worthy of a hearing and being taken as seriously as the actually skilled and equipped expert scholar.

And we let them get away with it instead of calling them on it and describing their amateurism and ignorance for what it really is- insipidity and that of an invincible sort.

Why do we do this?  To be polite?  No.  It’s because too many of us don’t take our discipline as seriously as it deserves to be taken.  And that’s our fault.  We don’t think accurate theology is as weighty a matter as accurate brain surgery or accurate maths or chemistry.  But just as poison and death are the result of poorly done chemistry so too poison and death are the result of poorly constructed and disseminated theology.

Heresy is death.  And yet many of us sit by on our hands when heresy is spun, saying nothing.  Meanwhile, the heretics are misleading people and doing incredible harm both to the Church and to society.

Theology matters.  Exegesis matters.  If you don’t think so, you should get out of the field and do something else.  You’re doing more harm than good.  Get out.  Get out and leave the field to skilled and equipped persons who take it seriously.

The Law is Just As Important for the Christian as the Gospel

The following conversation is said to have taken place between Martin Luther and his colleagues –

“Doctor, many men think and say that the law should be emphasized often for the sake of the profane common people, lest they abuse the gospel. Others say that the common man ought not to be cited as a reason but only the command of Christ, who wishes that the goodness of the Father may become known through the gospel. Which of these opinions is the better?”  The doctor [Martin Luther] replied, “This shouldn’t and can’t be comprehended in a fixed rule. Christ himself preached [the law and the gospel] according to his circumstances. As a passage or text indicates, therefore, one should take up the law and the gospel, for one must have both. It isn’t right to draw everything into the gospel alone; nor is it good always to preach the law alone. The Scriptures themselves, if properly adhered to, will give the answer.”

Sage words indeed.  If we today emphasize the Law more than the Gospel than we end up with a modern type of pharisaism; and if we emphasize the Gospel more than the Law, then we end up with libertine licentiousness.  The Law, properly understood, drives us to the Gospel, and the Gospel, rightly known, makes us obedient to the intention of the Law.  One without the other is no more conceivable, nor sensible, than one side of a coin is any more use than the other.  Both together are required.

At the end of the matter there is no Law-less Christianity nor any gospel-less Law. The Law is just as important for the Christian as the Gospel.