Trusting in That Which is True

“I like to go hear my dad speak.  It makes me feel safe.”  

“What do you mean?” my wife Erin replied to this surprising comment from our nine-year-old son, Micah.  Erin had been discussing with a friend the connection between our knowledge of God and our experience of Him, when Micah cut in.  

Micah continued, “At night when I’m afraid, I think about the things Dad says about God and who He is.  It makes me feel safe.”  With that, Micah simply affirmed what the adults were discussing.  Micah has heard a lot of apologetics in his short nine years of life.  My kids attend a number of my events each year, and apologetics, theology, and philosophy are woven into our everyday conversations.  Micah is growing in his knowledge of the truth.  

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Being a "Generous" Evangelical

The word "generous" has been thrown around a lot lately. For many, its use highlights a growing lack of doctrinal orthodoxy, which, in many cases, may very well be true. There are certainly many disconcerting things that happen under the label of "generosity." This highlights an interesting issue between members of the church. I can't help but notice that Paul and James, as two of the most obvious examples, spill a lot of ink over the issue of unity. So how are we to think about this?

I have come up with something of an arbitrary delineation of evangelicals, and while it may be highly simplistic, I think it does call attention to an important issue. As I see it, broadly, there are two types of evangelicals - generous and not-generous. The demarcation has nothing to do with doctrinal orthodoxy, but simply with how one conceives onself in relation to the gospel. The generous evangelicals primarily see themselves under judgment by the gospel, while those who are not generous primarily understand the gospel as something they possess. Therefore, by owning the gospel, as it were, other views and positions are seen to be dangerous rather than potentially prophetic. Furthermore, the temptation the non-generous types have given in to is to apply God's own attributes to themselves. God is sovereign, in other words, and they find themselves at his right hand rather than under it.

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Lover or Fighter or Both?

A recent post of mine on whether we should love God or fight for him, got some push back from a friend on my facebook page.

His primary arguments are that:

1) the biblical warfare worldview is basic to all biblical revelation and prescription.

2) I created a false dichotomy between loving God and fighting for Him i.e. surely we can do both.

3) I was "fighting" against the "fighters" as I tried to promote love

Here are a few quick thoughts:

First, the Bible makes quite clear that we battle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6), therefore any biblical battle motif cannot be construed to apply to human interactions.

This is further seen in Christ's refusal to fight, his rebuking of Peter when he cut the ear off the Roman soldier and embodied by the early church who did not fight eye for eye or tooth for tooth and instead followed Christ's example and command and turned the other cheek.

Second, agreed that two apparently contradictory things may not be in contradiction i.e. fighting and loving. For example, I love my children but I discipline them. However, that is a "paternalisitc" relationship and it not necessarily appropriate to extend that to all relationships. However, as a society we still need judges, courts, etc.. and in church we need boundary enforcers to root out evil doers (abusers of children, powermongers, gossips, etc..) and protect innocents even though our call to love the evil doers is not lessened.

Nevertheless, saying that disciplining, boundary enforcement or even fighting is consistent with love takes a lot of nuancing as they are not clearly always consistent with love. In fact, I do not think it is too audacion to say that they are rarely consistent with love and are generally consistent with humanity's desire to control one another.

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To Love God or Fight For Him? or What is Evangelicalism?

What is evangelicalism? It's a term that eludes clear definition and is something that some of my friends and I have tackled in our forthcoming book, Routes & Radishes and Other Things to Talk About at the Evangelical Crossroads.

The question is raised once again with the recent Christianity Today cover story on Al Mohler that unabashedly refers to him as a reformer, invoking thoughts of Luther and Zwingli. Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been a chief architect of the conservative revolution of the Southern Baptist Convention and the primary promoter of the new Calvinism (note: a SBC church ordained me and my wife and i were SBC employees for 6 years).

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Holy War in Afghanistan?: You Decide

On the eve of Memorial Day a friend, the mother of a Marine, sent me this video. Now, just so you know where I'm coming from, I am a sucker for Memorial Day. I expanded upon this sentiment in a recent post at Beliefnet,com.  While the politics of war and hierarchical military directives can be a challenge for this outsider looking in, I find supporting that special breed of men and women who put their lives on the line in service of country to be a simpler task. That's why this video challenged my thinking and raised a number of questions for me, both as a Christian and a supporter of our troops.  

Questions like, what does it mean to share one's faith? How can/should a professing Christian navigate between a call to share their faith when operating in an environment where rules preclude it? Is it right to manipulate the meaning of words to make our actions outside the spirit of the law fit within the letter of the law? Would love to hear what you think...

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