Who do you identify with in the Passion narratives?
Of course, as good Christians, we say Jesus. He’s the good guy, our protagonist. As we relive the story, we pull for him, and against his enemies. And a long list of enemies it is: Judas who betrays him, Peter who denies him, the chief priests who hate him, Herod who mocks him, the crowd that calls for his crucifixion, Pilate who washes his hands and condemns him, and Barrabas who is guilty but gets to go free.
Wait a minute.
Barrabas—the guilty one who gets to go free?
In his 23rd chapter, Luke leads us sinners, in his careful wording of the narrative, to identify in this significant way with Barrabas. As Jesus’ cond…
Who else would call Noah’s ark “a floating zoo of creepy-crawlies”? Sam Crabtree is a skilled turner of curious phrases and has the rare gift of never being boring. His most recent article wrestles with how to be both green and missional. Here’s a sample:
We can strive to save both mortal mammals and immortal souls, while realizing that saved whales will not save souls, while saved souls might so earnestly desire for everything that has breath to praise God that they set out to save whales. So wise Christians put their God-given energy where it might make the greatest difference in the long haul. Once again God presents us with a situation that is both/and, and first/then. Save…
The BBC reported recently, concerning the recent revelations of more sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, "It is like a tsunami." Elke Huemmeler said “About 120 cases had come to light so far in Munich, about 100 of them at a boarding school run by monks.”
Hans Küng, long-time Roman Catholic critic of his own church (whose right to teach theology the church rescinded), has posted a challenge to the Pope. In it he says, “In Germany 86 percent of Roman Catholics charge the church's leadership with insufficient willingness to come to grips with the problem.”
Then he asks and answers these four questions:
1st Question: Why does the pope continue to assert that what he calls "ho…
Today is David Livingstone’s birthday. He was born March 19, 1813. He gave his life to serve Christ in the exploration of Africa for the sake of the access of the gospel.
On December 4, 1857, he spoke the sentence that has made the greatest impact on me. It is one of the clearest applications I have seen of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:29-30. Jesus said,
Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal l…
Read this very brief article in the China Daily (China's official English language newspaper). It's the testimony of a university student who converted to Christianity.
Now if you've been following China for any length of time you might be picking your jaw up off the floor. Get this:
- The official and highly controlled newspaper of the Communist government is featuring a story of a religious conversion of an exceptionally bright university student who found meaninglessness in existence apart from God.
- He was given a Bible by a colleague, and the reader is not led to believe this is a bad thing.
- He converted to Christ after reading it and now is experiencing fulfillme…
A Song for Molly and Abraham
On Seeing Baby A and Baby B
“How long, O Lord, how long
will we be made to wait, and swallow jagged shards
of that unchristened chalice
of whose warm wine we never took a taste
and all we drank was emptiness unplanned?”
And he replied,
“Until you learn the song
that only sorrow sings, of how my soul regards
your ev’ry wound, and malice
has no place in my design, but all is paced
to come with double blessings in my hand.”
Don’t limit your understanding of God’s absolute sovereignty to five points in a mnemonic device (TULIP). Do start there, or at least cover that terrain in due course, but know that there is so much more to the full biblical worldview sometimes called Calvinism.
In the introductory essay that I referred to yesterday, J. I. Packer says, “it would not be correct to simply equate Calvinism with the ‘five points.’” He continues, (paragraphing added)
Calvinism is something much broader than the “five points” indicate.
Calvinism is a whole world-view, stemming from a clear vision of God as the whole world’s Maker and King.
Calvinism is the co…
In his introductory essay to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, J. I. Packer writes that Calvinism and Arminianism are “two coherent interpretations of the biblical gospel, which stand in evident opposition to each other. The difference between them is not primarily one of emphasis, but of content.”
Packer continues, (paragraphing added)
One proclaims a God who saves; the other speaks of a God who enables man to save himself.
One view presents the three great acts of the Holy Trinity for the recovering of lost mankind—election by the Father, redemption by the Son, calling by the Spirit—as directed towards the same persons, and as securing…
Psalm 58 is an imprecatory psalm. David asks God to tear out the fangs of his enemies, blunt their arrows, melt them like a snail in the sun.
We sometimes stumble at these psalms because Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
Can humble, obedient, loving Christians ever pray Psalm 58 and mean it the way the psalmist did?
Yes. Here is one possible scenario.
The wicked in view “deal out violence on the earth” (v. 2). They have resisted every remedial effort. They are entrenched and unwilling to listen—like cobras who stop their ears lest they be charmed into meekness (vv. 4-5).
So day after day their violence destroys the poor …
According to the New York Times “The Tea Party leaders . . . deliberately avoid discussion of issues like . . . abortion. . . . [They] argue that the country can ill afford the discussion about social issues when it is passing on enormous debts to future generations.”
Let me see if I understand this term “ill afford”.
Is this it? Enormous debt will hurt our children and grandchildren. Therefore don’t talk about the lawfulness of whether they can be killed.
Something like that?