Every year I set out to read 52 books, the equivalent of one a week for a year. I have never reached my goal, but I aim for it every year. This year I read 37 books. These included history, theology, poetry, and fiction. Here are a few highlights from my 2018 reading. Continue reading “Thoughts on Books I Read in 2018”
“Train a child in the way that he should go, and he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Often, we think this means that if we raised a child to know Jesus, he will return to his roots if he goes wayward. But notice, the proverb specifically says the child will not depart from his training. It is much easier to place the burden upon the child for his waywardness, but what if what is truly at issue is the training. If a child is trained right, he shall go right, but if he is trained wrong, he shall go wrong.
This is not to say that there is not redemption for a child poorly trained or for the mother or father failing to train well. God certainly forgives and redeems us from our errant ways. But do we want to miss all the time it takes for us to get back on the right road by not being on that road from the beginning? Continue reading “Train up a Child . . .”
All people are equal, but all ideas are not. If we treat ideas the way we are to treat people we will harm people. Truth is not indigenous to people, it is revealed from God. When God brought the Hebrew people group out of Egypt to make them a nation, they did not already know how to be a nation. They only learned how to be slaves from the Egyptians. God gave Moses the law to teach the people how to become a great nation in the promised land. The foundational teachings of nationhood come from Mount Sinai. God had to get Egypt out of them, and the covenant way of life into them.
We do not hear God telling the people to keep the ways of Egypt or any other land. Today we have elevated ideas to the status of the people who have them. Because of the abuses of colonialism and our modern judgment of them, we have retreated significantly from discipling nations in truth. In so doing, we consign cultures to darkness while trying to deliver individual people unto salvation in Jesus Christ.
Moreover, we embrace the cultural ideas of foreign lands serving foreign gods into our own nation. We go beyond the freedom of religion, to Continue reading “Love People but Judge Their Ideas”
The Devil likes to redefine and repurpose words so that we reject them and lose their intended purpose in the process. He has attempted to hijack the word “nationalism.” The word has become politically and racially charged because it is being used incorrectly.
We first saw this with Hitler when he tried to make the world German. But what Hitler was doing was not nationalism, but imperialism. To quote Author, Speaker and Reformer, Vishal Mangalwadi, “German Fascist imperialism was able to hijack words such as nationalism in the 20th Century, because Continue reading “Restoring The Word ‘Nationalism’”
Christian culture is shifting in a myriad of ways to embrace the idea that the Gospel is bigger than personal salvation. We are beginning to see that its scale encompasses institutions, cities, and nations.
We are not talking about The Church swallowing up these spheres, but that God cares about nations. His truth is not confined to how we do church and how we live our individual lives but expands to how nations function. We are not looking to create, or at least we ought not be looking to create, another Christendom, but an expansion of the Kingdom into all spheres of society. There is a difference. Continue reading “A New Reformation”
The Christian worldview is the best home for facts. The idea that one can have “just the facts” with no framework to judge them except “objective” human common sense is the worldview of naturalism. It is not Christian. We must get away from the idea that there is a neutral worldview. Truth runs deeper than mere facts. It involves interpreting the data within the framework of what is good and true. It is not imposing a cultural idea on the facts, it is receiving true truth from God’s written revelation.
As Christians we infuse God’s meaning on the conception of a child, calling the child a baby. Scientific investigation cannot provide that designation without operating through a Christian worldview Continue reading “Facts in Context of Truth”
The evangelical vernacular has adopted and old word “Reformation.” For many our thoughts immediately go to The Protestant Reformation. We think of Martin Luther and the 95 Theses being nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in what would become the nation of Germany. This history is not only church history, but world history. The world changed through The Reformation. It did so because biblical theology came to bear on the practical world of institutions.
Today the term is used in conjunction with the historical meaning, but we are no longer talking about a protest, but a return to an integrated truth. The Church has been crying out for revival, asking the Lord to heal our nation. But we have not been applying the Continue reading “What is Reformation?”
HOW we say something can be as important as WHAT we say. It is not enough that what we say is true. We can say it in a way that is brash or in a way that is kind. Sharing the truth in love does not mean that we share the truth because we love, but that we share truth in the way that love shares truth. Love always hopes. When we share what is true we are not rattling off the negative facts like a pessimist. We share the truth with hope.
When we speak of a problem it is not the end of the world (or the nation), it is an opportunity for a solution. Before you call me an optimist, neither optimism nor pessimism is Christian. To hope is Christian. Without biblical hope, all we are left with is the world’s philosophies of optimism or pessimism based on our personal preference. Truth carries a substance that is otherworldly. It is the reality of heaven infused in our very words. It is the power to release hope where there was fear. It is the power to give life where there was death. It is the power to give freedom where there was bondage.
Love does not dishonor others. Just because something is true does not mean we can speak it in a manner that brings dishonor. Love always protects. It does not just protect family and friends, but the stranger we have never met that we are talking about on social media. It does not just protect the one whose name we know, but the whole group we may be discussing. It protects celebrities and governing leaders too. I Corinthians 13 is not only how we are to treat those in our inner circle it is how we conduct ourselves in the way of love. A mature believer is one who speaks truth in love (Eph 4). Love is the way truth is shared not merely the reason truth is communicated.
Love is not easily angered nor easily offended. It speaks in such a way as to set people free, not to keep them bound by their wayward ways. It does not point fingers, it shields the one under attack. Not because the one has merited the love, but because Jesus did the same while we were yet sinners. “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Truth is not communicated in offense. Offense is communicated, and the truth becomes secondary.
Politics is not an excuse for negativity, dishonor, anger, offense, or ridicule. While truth can be partisan, love is not. This means that we still have the responsibility to communicate truth in love no matter what the position of the other may be. They are not idiots. They are not imbeciles. It is possible “they” are the ones who see something we need to see. It is possible “they” have never seen what we see and therefore cannot know what we know and think like we think. Most likely “they” are not doing anything to us on purpose. It is important not to assign motives to people. It only serves to maintain the culture of “us” versus “them” when we do that.
Governing how we communicate truth will require that we slow down and listen to ourselves and how we may sound to others. It also necessitates that we listen to how others hear what we are saying. I have found that communicating my ideas to people who do not believe them help me to learn how I sound to them. It matters. If I fail to understand how I sound to others, I cannot do better at letting truth be heard in a way that honors the one listening.
To be continued . . .
The worldview of the Bible is the worldview of Jesus. They are not in conflict. The Bible is the truth because Jesus is the Truth. The Bible is the written revelation and Jesus is the person of Truth Himself to which the Bible points. (Post) Modern Christian authors are confused into thinking God is in conflict with His words where no such conflict exists. The conflict that exists is the university training these Christians have conflated with truth and applied to the Bible to judge it and rewrite it.
The Bible isn’t subjected to human culture – it is that revealed truth which transforms human culture. In a world of myth, it came forth as history. In a world of gods, only the Scriptures spoke of the one true holy God not made by human hands. He alone is the God who is not silent. These very same Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation have given us the modern world. Its truth has developed the previous undeveloped world. Continue reading “The Authority of Scripture”