I gave a presentation at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, last month titled "Why God Is Not a Megalomaniac in Demanding to Be Worshiped."
It is probably the shortest public presentation I have made in the last 20 years! The reason is that I wanted to leave time for questions and criticism. So more than 25 of the 45 minutes allotted to me was Q&A. If we can get the audio recording, we will post it.
But for now, here are seven theses that summarize what I am on the planet to communicate.
The new Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, which is now where every visitor will arrive to see the nation’s Capitol, opened yesterday with 580,000 square feet of displays and $621,000,000 worth of history, but no God.
In what appears to be an intentional misrepresentation of the nation’s religious roots, visitors will enter the center reading a large engraving:
We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.
This reminded me of the celebration of the goddess Reason in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on November 10, 1792. There were some similarities between the American and French Revolutions. But that was not one o…
When Absalom rebelled against his father David, Ziba lied about Mephibosheth and stole his inheritance.
Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son. David, as you remember, loved Jonathan. So he had promised to let Mephibosheth eat at his royal table all his life.
Mephibosheth was lame in both feet and could not escape from Jerusalem by himself when David fled from Absalom. Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, told David that Mephibosheth was a traitor.
Without knowing this was a lie, David rewarded Ziba with all of Mephibosheth’s inheritance.
Soon Absalom was dead and the insurrection was quashed. David returned and found Mephibosheth, who had not washed or shaved since David left, because…
The vision in Daniel 8 is appalling. The great beastly enemy of God is allowed to kill huge numbers of saints.
His power shall be great...and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. (Daniel 8:24)
Daniel is made sick by the vision. But in spite of being sick and appalled, he does his work.
And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it. (Daniel 8:27)
That is the way it is in ministry. From one day to the next the news changes. Some hits home so c…
When I wrote Future Grace my aim was to show that, in the Bible, motivation for obedience to Jesus is never said explicitly to be gratitude. This is astonishing since many (most?) Christians list gratitude as the main motive for our obedience to Jesus.
My argument is that in the Bible “faith in future grace” not “gratitude for past grace” is the primary focus in motivating acts of love. (“You had compassion on those in prison...since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” Hebrews 10:34).
We read of “faith working through love” not “gratitude working through love.” And “work of faith” not “work of gratitude.” And “obedience of faith” not “obedience …
In his book Portrait of Calvin, T. H. L. Parker tells this story about how the possibility of unity between the reformed churches was shipwrecked on the rocks of astrology:
Near the end of Calvin’s life Bullinger wrote to Cranmer urging that England should not send a delegate to the Council of Trent.
He replied that the King had never thought of doing so, but added that he had recommended that “His Majesty grant his assistance, that in England, or elsewhere, there might be convoked a synod of the most learned and excellent persons, in which provision might be made for the purity of the Church doctrine, and especially for an agreement upon the sacramentarian contr…
If I want my own way rather than God’s, it is quite obvious that I shall want my own way rather than the other man’s. A man does not assert his independence of God to surrender it to a fellow man, if he can help it.
-Roy Hession, The Calvary Road, 35
The apostle Peter writes,
Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
This is strange at first glance. How does caring for your wife connect to having unhindered prayers?
Here’s Wayne Grudem’s challenging commentary:
So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so. No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by…
On November 25th, the oldest member of Bethlehem who is still walking the earth turns 100. Irene Peterson attended Bethlehem for over 90 years. Only recently did she move to be near her daughter Joan in Washington, D.C. Joan says what Irene misses most is the body at Bethlehem.
We miss you too, Irene.
Some people get crotchety when they get old. But Joan says, “Mother is mellowing and aging well. Her neighbor calls their home Finishing School; she is finishing well!” Though her loss of hearing makes conversing difficult, word has it that the staff and fellow residents of Ingleside at Rock Creek love her. “Her quiet appreciative ways are winsome!”...
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Good children’s books are profitable for adults. C. S. Lewis put it like this:
I was therefore writing “for children” only in the sense that I excluded what I thought they would not like or understand; not in the sense of writing what I intended to be below adult attention. I may of course have been deceived, but the principle at least saves one from being patronizing. I never wrote down to anyone; and whether the opinion condemns or acquits my own work, it certainly is my opinion that a book worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then.