Drinking Deeply

Friday, January 25, 2008 at 9:44 AM

A Christian as a designated driver?

I found myself in the enviable position of being surrounded by people who were getting drunk last night, and one of them started saying to me that she was sorry she was a sinner, and she hadn't touched a drop in over three months but she just hated this and that and so on, apologizing because I was judging her.

As I went to sleep I realized I really didn't do it right. While I suppose I was doing a "kind" (to the world) thing to help them by offering to be a designated driver, by offering them food and water and a place to stay if they needed, this was in no way the model of salt and light that Christ brings.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it was wrong to take care of a people who certainly brought it upon themselves, but I could have done much more for the case of a Christian love by seeking to stop them before it gets out of hand. Just thinking about salt and light makes me sad. How little I acted to preserve and protect my friends and how much I acted simply as a passive enabler for unhealthy and sinful habits.

How does that tie into the introduction? I think too often we as Christians (myself especially) have taken the "I'm not judging you" but never say, "go and sin no more." How often do we act as passive enablers and rarely as salt!

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Friday, January 18, 2008 at 12:27 AM

Musings on spiritual gifts

I wonder if the common criticisms against Charismatics might be tamed a bit more if people talked (and sought after) the spiritual gifts that weren't as flashy,like the gifts of administration, or of helps, or of giving. When someone says that someone is gifted with the Spirit, how often do we think that they are incredibly blessed by the ability to give of their money until it hurts and then some? Or how often do we remark that the Spirit has gifted them remarkably with an ability to organize information and direct people and tasks? Yet these seem to be named in Scripture as well.

Of course, we are to seek the higher gifts, but what are they? Teaching and prophesy. But all that talk about the body being diverse means that there are lower gifts too, and we ought to seek those as well.

I bet if we made more of an emphasis one the gift of giving self-sacrificially, the gift of service, and all those other gifts that put us below others instead of above them (like more spiritual), there would be a lot less issue with "gifts of the Spirit."

Philippians 2:5

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [1] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, [2] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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Friday, January 04, 2008 at 7:16 PM

Interpreting the Son

There are a couple of these. Among them - a strong distinction between head and heart, and a hand-waving "but that's all passed with Christ." (Tithing, death penalty, NT obedience among others).

One thing that has come up a great deal when talking to some people who really don't have a stitch of knowledge about Christ and His work is when people try to dismiss Christ's words in Scripture with, "but that's just your narrow interpretation." After I ask them what their interpretation of Christ's words is, they love to launch into "well, this is what I think Jesus is trying to say."

And I wonder, how do they have an interpretation of what Christ was about without actually reading His Words? Without actually trying to go to the source? They love to stand there and say that the Scriptures are corrupted, and even if we concede that it's not 100% accurate (which I don't), there's still the issue of "well, then how do you have an interpretation of Christ?"

It's like a group of people inside a room with the blinds drawn and the door shut trying to interpret and guess what the sun is like. How about we go outside and look for a moment and then we can compare observations? Stop giving me this stuff about interpretation if you're going to draw the blinds to keep from seeing the Son. Gah!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Book Review: Christian Philosophy

From the way John Robbins represents him in defending him and the way that most theologians in arguing against him, I expected to find Gordon Clark's Christian Philosophy vitriolic and dripping with sarcasm. Thankfully, that was not the case and the book was very informative and enjoyable.

The book itself was a compilation of Clark's works:

3 Types of Religious Philosophy was informative and useful, but very broad. It covered what typical views of Rationalism, Empiricism, and Irrationalism, were, refuting (broadly) and it laid down a foundation of Christian Dogmatism, put forth as the only way to escape complete irrationalism. Good, but very technical at times. I wish I understood more philosophy. Like all sorts of studies, it carries with it special and specific language, a lot of which I was unfamiliar with.

Religion, Reason, and Revelation was a treatment of how faith intersects with reason, examining how representatives have approached God and how it fits in with Christianity. Contrary to the popular notion of reason against faith, or faith above reason, Clark emphasizes that the Christian faith is a rational and logical one, not set apart from or above or below, but wholly with. What a refreshing emphasis in a world where it is often perceived that you have to be stupid in order to be Christian, or you have to be irrational to be Christian. Clark also puts forth a Christian view on language, which I had sometime thought about, but found interesting and informative. This book also includes a view on morality and Christianity, putting forth the divine command view on ethics over and against utilitarianism and kantianism, both of which he described (using Mills and Kant). I must say some of Kant's passages were difficult to interpret, even when Clark himself interpreted it for the reader. The book finishes by dealing with the often rehearsed problem of evil, pointing the deficiencies in the free will defense and laying out how Calvinism solves it conclusively from a rational standpoint. One of the clearest expositions on the problem of evil (and its solution) I've read.

The last book was An Introduction to Christian Philosophy. This rehashed the issues with traditional philosophy, dealing with some similar material already covered, albeit in briefer form (this book was 3 lectures to students at Wheaton College). He then goes into Christian Philosophy and it's foundations upon the Word of God, a form of "foundationalism" if you will, of presupposing and building up, via reason and revelation, the truths of life. The last chapter of this book (or last lecture) was several implications to political theory, history, ethics, science, and religion. A most informative (though short!) section.

All in all, I really liked my first taste of Gordon Clark. His writing was easy to read, filled with personality and oftentimes humorous. He does an excellent job summarizing various positions in a readable way, and he's way more charitable than his defenders or detractors make him out to be. Though he catches a bad rap from some, his rationality and clarity when presenting a Christian argument against secular philosophy make him an enjoyable and informative read. I am mucho glad I read this book, though it was hard reading at times with all the terminology. Since sometimes the logic was difficult to follow, I often times had to put together the syllogism on the side in syllogism form. heh, just goes to show how little I really understand logic.

Well, praises be to God for being our divine Logos, who grants us all His reason.

1 Cor. 2:16 - “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

And indeed we do, and with the mind of Christ, no secular philosophy can stand. Glory to the Lord in the highest.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Irrationality and itching ears

Got into an interesting conversation the other day with some friends of my mother. They asked me what I thought of "Your Best Life Now" and I told them the truth, that while there were some things in it that hinted at biblical truth, the whole was filled with error and that Joel should be ashamed of calling himself a minister of the Word of God.

Not surprisingly at all, they were not too happy with such a view and we started talking. We covered all sorts of things: what the Bible does say, how do people's interpretations differ, how much error there was etc etc. What it really boiled down to was their refusal (just like my mother's) to really believe what Scripture says about Christ, His exclusivity, the absolute need for repentance and faith, sovereign election, and the like. Simply put, as one of them put it, "I just don't want to believe that."

Talked about how everyone has a right to their own opinion, at which point they were trapped, since I asked them if someone has a right to believe 2+2=5. "Of course not, but that's truth, not opinion." But is the existence of God, and the reality of judgment, and the necessity of Christ are just opinion and not truth?

Well, eventually they backtracked and ended with "so 2+2 = 5 depending on your opinion." To which I wanted to respond "well, then, depending on someone's point of view, you're stealing from your company, you're sleeping around, and you've raped 3 children last week" But reason won out and I just laughed at them as we sat down to eat dinner.

Throughout the whole conversation, they demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the basic principles of Christianity (though one of them listened to Joel Osteen every week, hooray for sound biblical teaching) and it simply was just sad. How true Paul's words are today -

2 Timothy 4:
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound [1] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
I am also highly amused that everyone has an "interpretation" of Jesus, but no one really has read what He said!

I've given up on being frustrated by conversations like this. I still long for them to have true faith and repentance, but I don't want their lack of faith keep me from enjoying Christ. I wonder if that's a healthy view.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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