Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Interview - J.P. Moreland


J.P. Moreland is interviewed on the Converse with Scholars Program. CLICK HERE to download and listen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Group Pics

Wednesday Night - June 20th

Saxophones, 5 inch Floppies, and Training Wheels - 1 Corinthains 13:8-12 (Week 5)

by JM
I’ve sat down with a number of couples facing significant relational stress in their marriages. Often the man and/or women have invested considerable time, money, and energy in something regarded as important: usually, but not exclusively, a job or education. It can easily be a passion or a calling different from career: ministry or marionette making. Such endeavors are sometimes met with degrees, certifications, awards, or something like this. Now of course, these things are quite important for living a fulfilled life, yet as the counseling session soon reveals, these things occupy too much importance. Imagine with me such a session.

“So Bob,” I say “you have a degree in engineering?” “Yep.” Bob responds. I continue, “I bet that means you’ve read a ton of books on the topic?” “More than I wanted to” he sighs. I retort, “But probably no less than you needed.” “You’re right” he says, “in fact, periodically I’ll take night courses to keep up with the industry.” “Bob, I imagine you’re good at what you do?” Bob, with half-suppressed but glaring pride says, “Well, I consider my job my calling.”
At this point, the conversation takes a revealing turn.

“So Bob, how many books have you read on marriage?” Silence………. “They make books on that,” Bob says with inappropriate humor trying to alleviate the painful, glaring, and undeniable reality to which he was oblivious to up to the question. I prod. “You haven’t answered the question: how many books?” He turns to his wife and asks with desperation, “Honey, didn’t we read a book by John Dobson; you know that Families in Focus ministry, right before we got married? You know the one, ‘Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.’”

Now, certainly Bob would have admitted that his wife is far much more important than the job, and at some level we might even believe him. But he’s certainly not convincing his wife nor the counselor trying to repair years of dysfunction.

This little illustration isn’t a spring board for a discussion on marriage, but on all things that matter in life, including marriage. In keeping with Paul’s overall thought in 1 Corinthians. 13, I want to address the following problem: There are certain matters in life which are very important, but not most important. Due to some flaw in our vision, we gravitate towards elevating very important matters as most important matters, and most important matters as of lesser importance. In addressing this problem, I’m going to import the temporally important matters of life (e.g., car, credit, career, clout, comfort) into Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts in chapter 13. To illustrate Paul’s thought, I will use a Saxophone, a 5 inch Floppy Disk, and Training Wheels.


During a fundraising event at our church, one of our members donated a saxophone to be displayed and bid on in an auction. This seemed to be an ordinary saxophone: it produces sounds when you exhale into it in a certain way; it has knobs which when operated properly provide soul-stirring notes; it came with a case to be used, as it appeared to have been use before - for travel purposes. But when someone purchased it and brought it home for use, something wasn’t right. They tried and they tried to produce sound, but to no avail. It then became apparent to the new owner that there was an obstruction in the saxophone. They placed their hand into the instrument and pulled out a bag of marijuana. One can only image the reaction at this point: “I don’t think that this was in the bidding description at the church?” Of course, it wasn’t. In the exoneration of our altruistic member who donated the sax, it was from a time long ago when he knew not Christ. Nevertheless, it was no longer a secret that the saxophone was used a bit differently than it was designed to be used.

Paul says this in verses 8-13

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
If I may paraphrase the thought, Paul is saying

“One day you will shed your gifts. When they are removed, what will remain? Sure, they are on display now, and what they do is obvious. Oh, certainly, it appeared that your prophecies, tongues, and teaching were all meant to sound a glorious tune for God’s fame and love for neighbor. But not so fast, Oh Corinthians, you might have fallen into the trap of elevating the very important function of your gift above their most important function and God-designed intention: loving God and others. Are you blowing your own horn? Are you inhaling when you should be exhaling? What’s at the core of your instrument?”
Or take ones’ car, career, credit, clout - the important things of life: a person may keep telling others that all these important matters are pursued out of love and devotion to others, family, church, or God. “The reason I work so hard is for you…for them..for...” That’s the appearance; that’s the claim; that’s the supposed function of our lifes’ activities. But when these things are shed, will love remain, or self-love? Paul says that one day one’s motives will be revealed – will it be elating, or embarrassing?

5 Inch Floppy Disks

I imagine a man who had the inside scoop on the cutting edge technology of floppy disks. I also image that such a man might have believed this invention to be one which will have enduring affect and place in all future technology. “The Floppy disk is the wheel of the 20th century.” Of course, he invests heart and money into the budding technology, and when the 80s rolled around, all hopes and aspirations were confirmed beyond his wildest imaginations. “The plane, the wheel, the 5 inch Floppy disk!” was his cry of joy. By the early 90s, we find him mourning. You see, the burgeoning information technology roared passed the unsophisticated and clumsy floppy disk. One can no more retrofit the floppy to the new and ever-changing technology than one can retrofit a covered wagon with hydraulic breaks. The wagon, as well as the floppy, must be scrapped.

Here was his mistake. Certainly the man should have invested in the floppy, but he should have also positioned himself for long term success by putting his attention in the technology under girding the floppy. Put differently, he failed to see the difference between the temporary floppy-disk wave of technology, and the oceanic reservoir that would toss up other waves like CDs, Flash drives, and the like.

In addressing the church, Paul says,

1 Corinthians 13:8-10 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
Spiritual gifts, or those temporally important matters of life have a shelf-life; they are designed to become obsolete. Their present glimmer and shine makes one think that they will endure, yet as quickly as are born, they will die. “The world is passing away… (1 John 2:17). Love, on the other hand, is eternal. As such, I must discern the difference between the transient waves of love (be it prophecy, knowledge, or some human endeavor), and the oceanic reservoir of love that fuels every wave that rises and falls. If I master love, I’ll be prepared for whatever expression that God establishes in time or eternity. If I master temporary expressions or shells of love, and not the love itself, I’ll be ill-equipped for new and heavenly dimensions awaiting.

Training Wheels

My 4 year old daughter is under the delusion that she has mastered bike riding because she has training wheels. It’s the exact opposite. The fact that she has training wheels is powerful evidence that she has accomplished anything but mastery in bike riding. Because of her delusion, she attempts to handle her bike in ways unfit for bikes with training wheels. We all know that training wheels help, but they can easily harm. She’s safe so long as she rides slow and avoids dips into driveways, but as soon as she reaches a certain speed or drops into a drive way, the occasions are ripe for serious injury.

We all know that a little age will clear up her misperceptions of her bike-riding ability. Right about nine years of age, she’ll see her childish ways - her misplaced pride in training wheels - as well as her ‘mastery’ of bike-riding, and then shed the training wheels and truly experience the joy of the sport.

1 Corinthians 13:11 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Paul relates this chapter to a group of people who believe that they had mastered the Christian life because of their possession and use of spiritual gifts. Paul saw the absurdity of that view. The fact that the spiritual gifts were in operation was clear proof that they had not arrived. The fact that prophecy is in operation shows that we know very little of what we need to know. The fact that knowledge and tongues are in use shows that we only see faint glimpses of glory and perfection. Spiritual gifts are crutches, or training wheels for people who aren’t even remotely ready for glory. If we boast in the gifts, we glory in our deficiency.

Spiritual gifts are to love what training wheels are to a bike. One day we will shed the gifts. When that day comes, did we take advantage of the training wheels to learn some rudiments of love? Or will we have missed the lesson altogether to our embarrassment.

Let’s use the important matters in life as an application. How many people are under the delusion that if they get these things in life in place (e.g. cash, credit, car, career, comfort, clout) and are managing them well, then they have arrived? The fact that one would boast in such an accomplishment discloses the childish overestimation of earthly things. Success is rooted in how well we do in taking the important matters of life and wielding them in service of the most important matters of life: loving God and others. Life and its blessings are meant to hang on these two things:

Matthew 22:35-40 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' 40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

The Offensive Truth: Relativism and Our Kids

from Townhall.com - BreakPoint by Chuck Colsen

I was dismayed a while back when I learned that a Barna survey found that “less than one out of every ten churched teenagers has a biblical worldview.” But a survey is just that, a survey. Things couldn’t be that bad, could they?

Listen Here: Original audio source 3 minutes

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is God Self Centered?

by JM
In an attempt to bring disrepute to the Christian faith, some have objected that the God of Judeo-Christian Scripture blatantly violates a moral law that his creatures are punished for infringing. God is thought of as saying “do as I say, not as I do;” an imperfect, though perhaps well-meaning paternal figure who prescribes to his children virtues noticeably absent in him.

The particular vice that allegedly plagues God is self-centeredness. God commands his creatures to practice selflessness; we are to treat others as better than ourselves; we should never look upon another as a means, but always as an end. We find numerous injunctions issued against self-centeredness and the exploitation of others. For the objector, however, the Most High seems to be the most prolific violator of this moral prescription. God is presented in Scripture as making everything for his own glory and pleasure. Consequently, it is thought by some that humanity is treated merely (and perhaps even cheaply) as a means to God’s end of self-gratification. His end is ultimately that all would worship him, eternally verbalizing how great God is and how menial we are. And what happens to those who refuse to “stroke” God’s ego? Eternal hell. For the objector, such a God deserves neither worship nor obedience.

How might a believer respond? One assumption found in this line of reasoning is that all morality is equally and categorically applicable both to God and his creatures. So that if God commands or forbids x to humans, it is necessarily immoral for God to do x. However, this assumption must be challenged. Don’t get me wrong, we would never want to say that what are vices for humans, God arbitrarily deems as virtues for him. The moral status of “taking pleasure in the torture of good men” isn’t relative to whether you are God or not. God always regards such things as heinous and vile. This raises two important questions: (1) How can one act be praiseworthy for one person and blameworthy for another? (2) How can self-centeredness be praiseworthy for God and blameworthy for humans? Let’s look at each in turn.

How can the same act be moral for God and immoral for a human without morality being either capriciously dictated or thoroughly relative? The answer is really quite simple, and everyday life furnishes plenty of examples. Life often illustrates that what may be wrong for one human may not be wrong for another given certain circumstances, though there are obviously other actions that are wrong for all humans at all times. Let’s say that a teenager protests to his father, “since you have commanded that I can’t have sex, it is necessarily immoral for you to have sex.” The flaw in the teenager’s argument is that the command universally applies to all beings at all times. The father would do well to respond, “you’re not old enough, mature enough, or married enough to have sex, and this is why it’s wrong for you.” “But I’m old enough, mature enough, and married.” “That’s why it is permissible for me.” The father is stating that it is immoral to engage in sex when conditions x, y, and z are missing. These conditions are missing from the teenager’s life and not from the father’s, therefore what is wrong for one human isn’t wrong for another. Notice, however, that the father could not make a similar case with something like “stealing cigarettes from convenience stores if one is low on cash is alright for me, but wrong for you.” This criminal activity is wrong to both son and father.

In the same way, given that God has certain characteristics that humans can never possess, it is proper for him to have the kind of self-regard that he does, and improper for us to have that kind of self-regard for ourselves. Put slightly different, pride and self-centeredness are some of those things praiseworthy for God and damnable for us precisely because he “meets certain conditions.” This will then answer question (2): How can “pride” and “self-centeredness” be praiseworthy for God and blameworthy for humans? Perhaps the best way to shed light on this question is to first present the reason why it’s improper for humans to display these traits.

When we say a child is self-centered, we mean something like he is adamant in keeping his toys to himself. If he’s proud, we mean that he’s haughty or arrogant about his possessions, reminding other children of what he has and what they don’t. Furthermore, we may even mean that he usually kicks and screams until he gets things his own way. When we say an adult is selfish and full of pride, these traits are often cloaked in garb far more acceptable to the public eye (perhaps the garb of altruism or ambition), for no one would tolerate a man who adamantly refuses all reciprocity in a relationship, or kicks and screams when he doesn’t get things his own way. But underneath this veneer, there is a drive within this individual to solicit an inordinate and unjustifiable honor from others.

At bottom, a selfish and proud person believes himself to be far more valuable than he is, and others less valuable than they are. In fact, his greatness makes sense in his own mind given the backdrop of others’ deficiencies. As a result, the proud person believes his ways to be right and insists on them being done. More often than not, his ways are neither the only way nor the best. Even if he knows his ways to be in error, he will insist on them anyways; for his person always trumps principle. In other words, he insists on his own policies or values for the often unspoken reason that they are His policies and His values, not because those policies or values are good in and of themselves. Furthermore, a proud person will use others as a means to his end, often at the expense of the happiness of others. People are regarded as opportunities to reach some goal, or obstacles to that goal. In either case, other peoples’ wishes or desires mean nothing, as the prideful person’s goal cancels out all others.

As we approach the question of whether God has the moral flaws of pride and selfishness, it seems quite clear that God does not fit the preceding description.

First off, God not only believes his ways to be right, they are right.

“The precepts of the LORD are right” - Psalm 19:8
Since they are right, it is right to insist on these things being done. So the image isn’t of a child kicking and screaming for ice-cream to be served for dinner, but of an upright magistrate insisting that the righteous law be upheld.
Also, though a selfish person would have his wish prevail at the expense of our happiness, God’s commands are quite different in that they result in the complete felicity of those obeying.

“In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” - Psalm 16:11
God’s ultimate end is his glory, but glorifying God doesn’t require the debasing of his creatures, but rather results in the elevation of those obeying creatures to their divine design. It’s when creatures operate according to God’s design that happiness results. What smoke is to fire, so is happiness to glorifying God by obedience.

Though a selfish person believes himself to be more valuable than he is and others less valuable than they are, this is not parallel to God’s own self-estimate. Scriptures affirm that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to (Romans 12:3). The idea here is that pride is in part the sin of imagination in which we act and expect others to treat us according to our own grandiose and bloated evaluation of ourselves, not altogether different from a madman who demands all to worship him because he’s deity. So the charge of pride in the Most High would only stick if he was not “Most High;” that is, God had a bloated view of himself. However, we assert that God’s command to give honor and glory to him is the fulfillment of treating him in the way that he ought to be treated.

An illustration may be of use here. Compare a rock and a diamond. A rock has very little value; as such we may throw it, spit on it, or do with it as we please without the gasps of disgust from those around. A diamond, on the other hand, has far more value than a typical rock. Its value “demands” for it to be treated a certain way. The person who throws it, spits on it, or disposes of it is looked upon as failing to “grasp” the value of the object he is mistreating.

My point is that there are “gradations” of being, and as such different expectations as to how we should treat those beings. A caterpillar isn’t worth as much as a toddler, and so someone who treats a caterpillar as she would a toddler might be labeled “odd,” perhaps even “perverted.” Conversely, a person who treats a toddler as a caterpillar will be labeled “wicked.” In both cases, people did not treat subjects in the way they “ought to have.”

Just as there is a seeming infinite gap between the value of caterpillars and toddlers, there is an infinite gap between humans and God. A person who treats another human in a way reserved for God, or treats God as if he were a human has failed to treat both humans and God respectively in the way they should be treated. I suspect that the charge that God is “proud,” meaning that God has failed to do what he commands of his creatures, loses its steam as we consider the respective value of God and humans. God is infinitely worthy, and so deserves attention commensurate with his value.

“Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;” - Psalm 29:1 & 2
Some might agree that God is far more valuable than humans, but protest that God is overly vocal about it. “He keeps bringing it to our attention.” So a man who has justly worked for his new car (therefore deserving it) seems in the wrong when he constantly tells everyone else about what he has and what they don’t have. However the situation isn’t the same. The analogy may be more appropriate if people were negligent around his car, perhaps by continuously throwing a hard ball over it. Or, what if they are even deliberate about trying to devalue it by throwing rocks at it? In these cases, we don’t fault the owner in bringing to their attention the value of his new car, his own efforts spent to procure the car, and perhaps the reminder that they’re not in a position, nor do they have the right to debase the value of his car. This is what one might expect.

In this, I think, we can see the numerous injunctions by God to be careful and cautious with what is his only. The Ten Commandments were posted in a world which grossly violated them. The command to worship God only was one given in a world engrossed in idolatry. A person wouldn’t post a sign “do not trespass” unless some have trespassed, or it is likely that some will trespass without it. In short, the numerous injunctions to give God his just due are given in a background where we have consciously maligned what is his.

So, is the Judeo-Christian God the most notorious violator of pride and self-centeredness? At the beginning of our journey I asked two questions which were relevant to answering this allegation: (1) How can one act be praiseworthy for one person and blameworthy for another? (2) How can “pride” and “self-centeredness” be praiseworthy for God and blameworthy for humans? The answer to the first question revealed that there are clear cases in which the same action is right for one person and wrong for another. This is due to certain conditions that are met (or characteristics that are possessed) by one person and not met by another. In answer to the second question, I affirmed that God possesses the following characteristics that make the kind of self-regard he possesses not only appropriate, but necessary. So, God’s ways are right, and his insistence on the right thing being done is the right thing to do. Also, God’s ways do not necessarily mean the pain or debasing of others. In fact, a creature who acts according to God’s will ultimately experiences joy. Lastly, given that God is infinitely worthy, it is only proper for all other conscious beings to treat him the way he “ought to be treated.”


1 I will use “self-centeredness” as being closely related, though not necessarily identical to pride. It may be the case that although all proud people are self-centered, perhaps not all self-centered people are proud. For example, someone who battles with depression related to low-self esteem might be considered someone who is self-centered, though not haughty or arrogant.

Monday, June 11, 2007

True Martyrs: Victims of Radical Islam and Political Correctness

from Townhall.com - BreakPoint by Chuck Colsen

For years radical Islamists in the Philippines have been attacking Christians. In late April seven Christians were murdered on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

Listen Here

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Boundaries of Love - Week 4 - Small Group Study

The Boundaries of Love: Love isn’t a Doormat, but it may be a Stepping Stone

by JM

Is “Love” masked exploitation?

Upon reading verses such as “Love is patient, love is kind…it always protects, trusts, hopes, preservers. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:4 & 7), some have concluded that the contents of this chapter are not so much a recipe for a good marriage or healthy relationship, but for exploitation. Friedrich Nietzsche more than once made statements like this:

"I regard Christianity as the most fatal and seductive lie that has ever yet existed--as the greatest and most impious lie…”
Nietzsche’s rationale for this scathing declaration was rooted in what I perceive in the following areas. The Christian ethic, namely, the Christian notion of love is:
•foreign to nature
•an assault on individual expression
•an assault on personal fulfillment
•an endorsement and reinforcement of the slave ethic.
The believer readily admits that agape love is foreign to nature; nature here being clearly defined as creation in the throes of a curse - a curse that moves humans imprinted in the image of God to bite, kick, scratch, harm, maim, and murder like their animal subordinates who have no divine imprintation. Nietzsche has got us on this one.

The Christian readily admits that agape love is an assault on individual expression; it tells them to stop biting, kicking, scratching, harming, maiming, and murdering when you want to give vent to your “nature.” Nietzsche has got us on this one too.

Now, we’re a little bit more cautious to conceding to Nietzsche the third accusation: agape is an assault on personal fulfillment. Certainly we would admit that turning the other cheek doesn’t pay immediate dividends of pleasure. However, Nietzsche would be the first to concede that within his own experience, there are certain pleasures that may be immediately experienced and enjoyed by someone, yet that same pleasure may be an obstacle to a greater pleasure that yields greater satisfaction that is gradual, not immediate. I derive immediate pleasure in watching TV. However, to turn off the TV and discipline myself to practice an instrument or read a book sets the stage for great satisfaction - a satisfaction that may be delayed. In the same way, agape is an assault on the pleasure of personal fulfillment. But agape says that pleasure of self-absorption is inferior to the pleasure experienced in communal engagement - a pleasure that pays dividends gradually.

Lastly, the believer refuses to accept the last charge: the Christian ethic of love is pure exploitation that those in power wield to paralyze their subjects. True love, Paul insists, is zealous about fairness and truth.

Love Delights In and Upholds Justice and Truth

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:6-7
Paul declares to the Corinthian church that Love is Zealous for:

•Right Living (Justice) – the opposite of evil
•Right Thinking (Truth) – the opposite of falsehood.
Which is to say, whatever “patience, kindness, trusting, believing, hoping, enduring” mean, it can’t be taken to exclude notions of justice and truth. I would even suggest that it is quite likely that the Corinthians believed that Love somehow excluded the emphasis on right living and right thinking. Paul seems to be referring to something that this church is doing which they suppose to be loving, pure, holy, right, good, but upon apostolic examination, they are delighting in evil and rejecting the truth.

Corinthian Love: Delighting in Evil and Rejoicing in Falsehood.

In some chapters earlier, Paul sharply rebukes the church for tolerating the sexual immorality of a particular member of their church. Paul says that they had become arrogant and boastful about this matter. At first this seems odd that a church would boast in the clear violation of Scripture in their midst. But upon further examination, it is easy to see how the church settled for pseudo-love believed to be biblical. A love that

•Celebrates individual expression, no matter what it is.
•Embraces and does not challenge wrong living
•Embraces and does not challenge wrong thinking
•Is non-judgmental
•Is non-confrontational
•Is intolerant of intolerance
This is a notion of love prevelent today. It’s a love that labels Jerome Pinn “unloving" and "intolerant”:

“Graduate student Jerome Pinn checked into his dormitory at the University of Michigan to discover that the walls of his new room were covered with posters of nude men and that his new roommate was an active homosexual who expected to have partners in the room. Pinn approached the Michigan housing office requesting that he be transferred to another room. Listen to Pinn's own description of what followed: "They were outraged by this [request]. They asked me what was wrong with me--what my problem was. I said that I had a religious and moral objection to homosexual conduct. They were surprised; they couldn't believe it. Finally, they assigned me to another room, but they warned me that if I told anyone of the reason, I would face university charges of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." Click Here
The Intolerable Compliment: Loving People Enough to Confront

Paul pays the Corinthians the Intolerable Compliment. For Paul,

•Love doesn’t celebrate individual expression no matter what
•Love challenges wrong living
•Love challenges wrong thinking
•Love is compelled to make judgments about moral issues
•Love is compelled to confront.
C.S. Lewis coined this the Intolerable Compliment. He explains:

“When people talk about the goodness of God these days, they almost exclusively mean his love. And by love, we almost always mean his kindness – the desire to see others than the self happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, no so much a Father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven - a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all’”
Later on he would say that kindness, on its own, is somewhat indifferent about whether the object loved is good or evil. As if to say, “if embracing evil and rejoicing in false hood makes you happy, then embrace it.” Love peers beyond this false happiness and sees that if evil and falsehood are embraced, it will lead a person to their utter misery. Love confronts with a person’s well-being in mind.

Lewis would illustrate this facet of God for us by using the illustration of how an artist feels for an artifact:

An artist working on a sketch merely to please a child is content to leave it as it is, even though it isn’t exactly how he wants it. An artist working on his magnum opus will take endless trouble - and give endless trouble to the picture if it were alive. “One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and recommenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only the picture made for the child (a stick figure). In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but less love.
Loving People to Life

We are called to pay the intolerable compliment to one another – we love them so much that we will confront when necessary.

Proverbs 27:5 - 6 Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

Psalm 141:5 Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.
To ensure that we’re not loving people to death by an unrestrained regard for truth and justice, we must answer these questions:

•Do I receive the intolerable complement when made by others. “I can give it, but not receive it?”
•Do I put much prayer and thought before confrontation?
•Do I know the person well enough?
•Do I have enough information?
•I’m I tethering truth with love and humility?
•I’m I being Punitive or Restorative?
•I’m I willing to go through the complete process of restoration?
Loving People to Life by Death

To love people to life, we are called to die. We are called to lay down our lives in paying the intolerable compliment. Sure, we’re not called to be a doormat, but sometimes we’re called to be a stepping stone for others. There’s nothing more difficult, nor more loving then bearing with someone’s dysfunction, sin, and character flaws as they make movements of progress, and relapse, and movements of progress, and relapses. But that’s precisely 1 Corinthian 13 love.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tom Schreiner on Justification

Tom Schreiner on Justification - LISTEN HERE
~ C Michael Patton ~

Broadcast #26: Tom Schreiner talks about the Protestant doctrine of justification and the current state of the Evangelical-Catholic dialogue.

Source: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2007/06/04/tom-schreiner-on-justification/

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Free Download

Free Download: The Best of Jonathan Edwards' Sermons

If you use the code JUN2007 this month at ChristianAudio.com, you can download for free the 3.5-hour audiobook, The Best of Jonathan Edwards' Sermons.
The Jonathan Edwards trilogy includes three of the most important sermons ever preached on American soil. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is maybe the most important and well-known sermon of his, but also included is A Divine and Supernatural Light describing and illuminating what Edwards describes as a supernatural light imparted by God. His farewell sermon was given in June of 1750 and is a commendation to those who are in the Lord’s service, a plea to maintain unity, avoid dissension and false doctrine, and a call to devote themselves to prayer.
HT: The Man from Edinburgh

Here's the Link