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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Christ Made Perfect

Image courtesy of FreeBibleIllustrations.com

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 5:8-10)

“For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” (Heb. 7:28)

WHAT? CHRIST WAS MADE PERFECT?!!!!

That was my response when I was first made aware of those verses. In light of the fact that this Friday is Good Friday, I thought it would be good to attempt to clarify this for anyone who is wondering what it might mean. I learned this from one of my instructors, Prof. Gurney, whom I believe presented it accurately and very well. I am presenting this, however, entirely on my own, not referring to any class notes but looking into the scriptures myself, so it may or may not be identical to his view.

What Kind of “Perfect”?
The first thing to note is that this perfection has nothing to do with Jesus’ morality or sinlessness. The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus was and is sinless (2 Cor 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5).

How, then, was he made perfect if he was already morally perfect? It my goal to argue here that Christ was made a perfect sacrifice, so that his death could be considered a perfect replacement for sinful man:

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18, bold mine)

Image courtesy of FreeBibleIllustrations.com

OT Parallels
It is important to be very careful when looking for parallels between the Old and New Testament (more on this later). However, we are explicitly told in scripture of a very important parallel between Israel and baptism in the New Testament:

“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.” (1 Cor 1:1-5, bold mine)

Notice the parallel being made here. We are told that as Christians we have been baptized into Christ (Rom 6:3, Gal 3:27), and yet in this passage the Israelites were “baptized into Moses”. This sets the stage for the next point, because what is crucial to understand here is that some kind of parallel between the Old and New Testaments regarding Israel and baptism is being made.

As we see in the next verse, Christ comes into the parallel as well:

“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.'” (Matt 2:14-15)

This controversial prophecy in Matthew is a reference to Hosea 11:1, which, if you read it in it’s entirety, seems to only be talking about Israel coming up out of Egypt. This has led many to question whether Matthew has taken a verse out of context in order to a fulfill a prophecy that was never made.

If, however, you see Christ as the ideal Israel, then this worry goes away (I realize it is possible that it is not intended to be taken this way, but this is the argument that I have found to be the most substantial). In Matthew, Jesus is being directly compared to Israel. Bear with my lengthy explanation, because this will (hopefully) make sense when I put it all together. Before I go on to the third and final point that is a base for the overall argument, keep in mind the parallel between Israel’s “baptism” in the red sea and baptism (either figuratively or literally) for Christians, and also keep in mind the parallel between Jesus and Israel made by Matthew.

The final point to note is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. If you check out Matthew 2-4, you find that Matthew has presented the parts of Jesus’ life before his ministry in quick succession, so that in the second half of chapter 2 you find Jesus has already gone to and come back from Egypt; in the short chapter 3 (16 verses), he is baptized, and beginning in chapter 4 he is tempted. At verse 12 of chapter 4, Jesus’ ministry begins. I think this is to indicate a comparison of events.

Don’t miss the order of events: 1) Jesus came up out of Egypt, 2) he was baptized, 3) he was tempted, 4) he began his ministry. Also, don’t miss Jesus’ reason for being baptized: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).

You now have all three points before you. Let’s put it all together!

Putting it All Together
To put it plain and simple, this is the parallel that my instructor fully fleshes out, based on the hints given:

Jesus was not a perfect sacrifice at birth (as the scriptures indicate), because, though he was and is morally perfect, he was not yet the perfect sacrifice for humanity. Figuratively, he represented Israel by coming out of Egypt and being baptized. He then entered into the desert for forty days, symbolizing Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness for forty years. After successfully completing this time, he began his ministry.

What this means is that Jesus successfully did all that Israel failed to do. He fulfilled “all righteousness” by relying fully on the Father during the temptations and his ministry. Jesus himself talks about this fulfillment:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus successfully lived the way Israel was supposed to live, under the law. In doing so, the Father could say that he was a valid and perfect substitute, as a fulfiller of the law, for all those who broke the law (everyone). It’s not just that he was morally perfect (for animals are morally perfect since they do not commit sin; if being morally perfect was enough, then it seems that animals or angels could pay for our sins). He also obeyed everything the Father commanded, so that he truly became one who did not deserve the punishment that the law required. The Father can therefore look at Jesus as the one who has done everything that needed to be done, so that Jesus can pass that on to us.

Conclusion
I feel like this is a valid and biblically supported argument. However, I am willing to admit that there is always the possibility that this is not quite what the scriptures intended to say. The many parallels I pointed out, though, give what I feel to be a strong support for what I have said, in addition to the points made in Matthew and Hebrews. Also, it explains how it was possible that Christ had to be made perfect before he was crucified.

I will most likely be adding further verses to support the final conclusion in the near future.

(all verses taken from the NIV)

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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Theology

 

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In Christ Alone

In light of Good Friday and Easter coming, I just had to share this version of “In Christ Alone”, by Philips, Craig and Dean. It’s actually a medley, which they managed very well. In my opinion it’s probably the best version I’ve found yet (thanks Liza!): Click here (YouTube)

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in General

 

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Faith and Reason

Image courtesy of FreeBibleIllustrations.com

You’ll find discussions about the role of reason in faith (particularly regarding Bible study) popping up quite often these days. Some objections against over-utilizing reason in studying the Bible are, “You can’t put God in a box,” and, “Don’t put reason over the Bible.” There are a couple points I want to make here because I think this issue needs to be resolved.

What is “Reason”?
This part of the definition on Wikipedia says it well:

“…Reason, like habit or intuition, is a means by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. But more specifically, it is the way rational beings propose and consider explanations concerning cause and effect, true and false, and what is good or bad.” (bold mine)

It is difficult to define “reason”, because that is like asking, “Why does 2 + 2 = 4?” It’s something which, while being “in opposition to ‘intuitive reason'” (see the Wikipedia page), can only be fully grasped by intuition.

Putting Reason “Above the Bible”
To start off, I want to say that I’m not sure what this statement “above the Bible” means. I think many Christians think of “reason” in the wrong way.

I do not think reason is a thing to be placed above something else. That is, it is not an object; it is a method of the mind. Reason is not a thing; rather, things are “reasonable” (that is, can be reasoned). Reason must be thought of as a tool and not what the tool is being used to achieve at a particular moment. Even so, reason is not a tool that you can ever put down. Without reason, the sentence you are reading means nothing.

One of my instructors has said that the problem with the modern/enlightenment era (roughly 1500-2000 AD, where reason and logic are said to have come to the forefront, as far as understanding the world is concerned) was that, though at first reason was in its proper place, it was eventually elevated above the Bible, so that men stopped believing in the Bible. They said it was “scientifically untenable”. Naturalism prevented faith from being an option, because everything that exists is physical. Therefore, the Bible is false, because it contains miraculous accounts.

I would argue that elevating reason was not the problem during the modern era. The reason (no pun intended) why the modern era produced atheists and why they discredited the Bible was because people abandoned reason. It is entirely unreasonable to hold to the theory of naturalism. When people in that era stated that faith is a myth, that religion only involves the physical, and that the miraculous cannot break into the physical laws of this world- at that moment when they believed this, reason, logic and wisdom died in them.

It was not logical for them to presuppose that the physical is the only reality. This makes studying the Bible impossible. This is why I say that when you study the Bible, utilize reason and logic to the fullest. Run your mind at 100% capacity.

But how does reason work with faith? I think all faith, if it is real, has a reason. If you believe, you believe for one of these reasons:

  • The Word of God proved to be true in your heart, so you believed it.
  • God miraculously spoke to you.
  • You were convicted by the Spirit in one way or another.
  • Conscience testified to the existence of God in your heart.
  • Creation was adequate evidence for you to believe in God.

These are all great, scriptural reasons to believe in God. If you believe without a reason, I am not saying you are not a believer, but that this is “blind faith”. No one suddenly says one day, “I’m just going to believe in God”, unless they have a reason, whether that be conscience, creation, or a direct word from God. In fact, I would go so far to say that man by default has reasons to believe in God because God has put that into man, but man has chosen to suppress those reasons because of sin (Psalm 19, Rom 10:18).

I think what “don’t put God in a box” really means is that we should not categorize too strictly who God is by saying, “this is what God’s love is”, and, “this is everything about God’s justice,” with an extreme sense of confinement so that we can “determine” how God will act in every possible situation. I agree wholeheartedly that this is wrong, but not because reason is being put above the scriptures. Rather, reason is being abandoned.

Studying the Bible
How does having the Holy Spirit affect studying the Bible, in relation to reason? I wish I could say precisely what this means, but I can at least say the following.

I think it’s safe to say that it is not as if a non-believer cannot grasp the statements of truth in Scripture. That is, such a person can see logically what we mean by “Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins.” He can comprehend probably all of the logic of what Scripture is saying.

However, understanding is different than simply acknowledging the logic of the statement:

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14, NIV)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18, NIV)

I take this verse to mean that, even though people can grasp the concept of Christ’s sacrifice, without the Spirit of God it is simply silly. It just looks foolish (not illogical). I’ve heard this when talking to Muslims: “Why would God send his Son to die?” If the guy knew that much, he probably knew the answer: “to pay for sins.” Yet he was asking because it just made no sense. He could see that “a” caused “b” which results in “c”, but it meant nothing to him. This is as much as I can say.

Conclusion
Therefore, when you study Scripture, don’t think to yourself, “Ok. Now I’m going to lessen my use of reason and rely on the Spirit.” This structure of thought is entirely off the mark. The Holy Spirit and reason are not mutually exclusive when it comes to interpretation. Rather, the Holy Spirit will tell you that which is reasonable and true.

So rely on the Spirit to teach you the truths of God, and expect that these truths will never be contradictory.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Philosophy

 

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Theology and Heresy

Image courtesy of FreeBibleIllustrations.com

Denominations, factions, different traditions; it seems that no one can agree on more than a few main doctrines, and even there each, to a certain degree, has his own viewpoint. What is the truth?

Don’t be discouraged by this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s that everyone, including myself, has flawed theology. It was only once I realized this that I was fully enabled to learn. Before that point, if there was an instructor whom I agreed with on almost everything, who said something that I had previously held to be false, then no matter what his argument was, I was inclined to accept his point of view. Likewise, if the instructor’s theology was very different than what I hold to, if he said something right I would still be inclined to reject it then and there, though often I would accept it outside of class. This was never vocalized, but waged war inside my head.

Now, however, learning is much easier and a lot more enjoyable. I look at things differently. I now see it the way Dr. Hauff sees it, which is in light of this proverb:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)

If I am in class and I hear something I know is not correct simply because it is incorrect and not because I tend to disagree with the instructor on a regular basis (hopefully it’s not because of that), then I have to say to myself, “I just don’t think that’s right”. Sometimes, I speak up and say what I think the right view is, and this can reveal the flaw in either their argument or mine. Or we both may end up not having a clue who’s right (for issues like the doctrine of the Trinity, this is not uncommon). Either way, we help each other become aware of all sides.

But I have to go into it thinking that I might be wrong, or else I will learn nothing nor change any wrong view that I have. I try to make myself realize that my instructors, more likely than not, have a higher awareness of all sides, and therefore might possess information which I have no clue exists.

If it’s something I agree with, it strengthens my belief, and I say “Thanks for that!” If it’s something new, I say “WOW. Completely missed that. I’m going to chew on that one!” I must decide by reason and conviction, not by bias (to see my take on the role of reason in studying the Bible, click here).

I say all of this to make an encouraging point, which I discovered during my time at Bible college: just because there are so many different views, one should not be discouraged to seek the ultimate truth. A crucial barrier that must be removed in this process is bias, something I am still shedding to this day. There is only one answer, and the fact that Christians disagree should not lead us to the conclusion that we’ll never figure out what it is.

This leads to a question, though: when is the point when theology becomes so off that it is actually heretical? First, we need to define heresy. Whatever you think of Wikipedia, the definition there suits my purposes:

“Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma.”

Then of course we must ask, “What exactly is dogma?” Wikipedia again helps with that:

“Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or by extension by some other group or organization.”

Dogma should therefore be thought of as the central belief or set of beliefs in Christianity, and failure to hold to these beliefs means to be heretical. In the case of Christianity, being heretical means being outside the realm of belief which leads to salvation or denies a crucial attribute of the nature of God.*

In light of this, we need to establish just what these central beliefs are. Paul lays that out for us:

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2, NIV)

In contrast:

“Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22, NIV)

Take note of this second verse. Denying Jesus means denying the Father. One cannot claim to follow God. and deny Jesus. Even if one claims that Christ is the Messiah but that he is not God, he is essentially claiming that the Father is not God. This lines up with what Jesus says in the book of John, where he actually seems astonished that the idea that he is separate from the Father is being held:

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9, NIV)

Essentially what I am saying is that if you acknowledge that…

  • The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one God, the only God.
  • Jesus became human, while still remaining fully God.
  • Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
  • Jesus rose from the dead.
    (if I missed anything let me know!)

…then you probably are not a heretic (though some doctrine is heretical because, even if it does not deny any of the above explicitly, it comes too close). But there is a lot of theology and a lot of doctrine that does not prevent salvation or go against the core belief of Christianity. For example, you might as a Christian be either Egalitarian or Traditional, Pre-Millennial or Post-Millennial, Arminian or Calvinist; or you might believe in post-belief baptism or infant baptism, trichotomy or dichotomy, the rapture or no rapture…whatever conviction you have, try to lovingly defend it if you believe it is a warranted belief. But never in these cases threaten the opposite side by accusing them of heresy, or by stating that they are not saved, unless it truly is a crucial doctrine of the faith that they are undermining. It is, however, safe and fair to say that they are wrong if indeed they are wrong.

What’s the key to finding the truth? Read your Bible! Then discuss difficult theology with others.

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*I put a star on this point because what I stated there is based more on intuition than reason. It is difficult to define with precision what heresy is. The Church has traditionally called heretical that which denies the essential character of God and what he has done. This is why creeds were developed: to prevent heresies from becoming the norm. I find this definition to be a good one. The important thing to be aware of, however, is that some heresy, while being terribly off the mark, may not prevent salvation. For example, many Christians today, probably without realizing it, believe that the three persons of the Trinity are manifestations of only one person, who plays all three roles. On the opposite side of the spectrum is the view that each member of the Trinity is completely separate from the others in every way (in the same way that human beings are separate from each other), but that they simply have a relationship with each other, essentially making God into three separate gods. Do not assume that holders of such theology are not or cannot be saved; in fact, never worry about whether someone is saved. Just attempt to correct the false doctrine or heresies! It is not our place to determine their salvation.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Theology

 

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Defending the Bible

Image courtesy of FreeBibleIllustrations.com

One crucial question that comes up by atheists in the Western World today, when the Gospel is preached to them, is: “How do you know the Bible is the Word of God? Why not follow what another religion’s scriptures say?”

This question has probably lurked in the back of the minds of many Christians at one point or another (as it has for me). It mustn’t, however, be shunned. Questioning the sources of your belief is a good thing. If this did not happen, many who now believe might not have believed because they would not have become discontented with their prior belief system.

People are shocked when Christians show signs of awareness and thought-out arguments, because many believe that Christians have what is called “blind faith”, a faith without reason. Therefore, in doing Apologetics both inside and outside the Church, I find these four main points to be very helpful. These are reasons to trust that what the Bible says is true. I have put them in order of importance/prominence.

1. The Bible testifies, concerning itself, that it is the truth.

“But that’s circular reasoning,” you say. I guess it is. But I cannot help it. This, by conviction of the Holy Spirit, is the reason I believe. The ultimate testimony of the truth of God is the truth of God itself. It cannot be defended in this regard, but once it is accepted it defends itself in your mind and heart. You’ve heard the saying, “seeing is believing”. In this case, it is quite the opposite. Once you believe, you will truly see. But even before you believe, the scriptures testify that they are true. The issue is pride that prevents someone from believing it. More than this I cannot say.

I recommend that, if you are defending your faith based on the four points in this post, you state this point first. Also, make it clear that you realize this is circular reasoning, but from there go on to the next point.

2. The Bible is perfect.

Saying this will open a discussion that could last for hours. Many people will say that the Bible has “50,000 mistakes”, but will be unable to point to one of them. Others have genuine concerns about what we call “problem texts”, which I like to call “texts which we cannot understand yet”.

This is why it is important to be reading the Bible intensively. If you are aware of these problems, at least you will be able to say so. Then they will not think you are simply ignorant, that you are just repeating what someone else told you. A rounded out knowledge of the Scriptures is a powerful weapon to wield.

3. There are prophetic statements in the Bible that have already come true.

This is where you show them what a timeless God can do. Show them specific prophecies, such as Isaiah 43 and Psalm 22, both of which predict the coming and death of Christ. The visions of Daniel are amazing as well, because of the details God provides concerning events that were to happen later (more on these fascinating prophecies soon). Prophecies can really have an impact if presented correctly. In fact, this is what brought the eunuch to belief in Christ (though of course it must be noted that the eunuch seems to already have believed that the Old Testament was the word of God). It says:

Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture [Isaiah 53:7-8] and told him the good news about Jesus. (Acts 8:35, NIV)

4. The narrative of Jesus’ death and resurrection is historically sound.

You might think there’d be no way to give substantial proof showing that the resurrection really happened. Think again! If you get the chance, get a hold of William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith. The entire book is worth reading in my opinion, but specifically the last chapter is a real gold-mine for apologetics. In about 60 pages, Craig, treating the Bible only as a historical document (though he believes it to be much more than that), proves that the resurrection account provided therein must be true. In fact, even liberal scholars today agree that the evidence points in favor of the resurrection (though whether they would actually take the step to believe in it is a different story).

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That’s how I would defend the inspiration of the Bible. I know discussion about apologetics in evangelism is a somewhat contentious issue. Later I will be making a post explaining what I believe the role of apologetics is and how far one can take it, because many believe that apologetics has its proper place (which I agree with). Until then, I hope you find these points useful.

I will conclude with a list of books I think are must-reads for Christians today. The first one in particular is probably the best apologetics book I have ever read, and was a real page-turner:

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Philosophy

 

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In Spirit and Truth

Image courtesy of FreeBibleIllustrations.com

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me talking about the article I got to write for The Voice, the school paper I work for as the online editor, at Multnomah University. The article was about worship and some problems I perceive in contemporary worship services.

You’re probably thinking, “Wait, I thought you said this blog wasn’t about just criticizing other views?” That is what I said. But I also said there are certain cases where I have to speak out. This is one issue which I have been thinking about for months, and even after writing the article two months ago, I still think about it daily.

Below, I have posted the full article. But before getting to that, there are some points I want to clarify.

First, I need to say that it’s not just that I am pointing out, say, a certain musical instrument that needs to go. Though I cannot say this for certain, I feel that the conservative reaction to contemporary worship has been targeted at the wrong things. I think conservatives were and are rightly troubled by what is done in Churches today, but what they did with that was to prohibit the smaller things, and in doing so missed the bigger problem (much like trimming your hair but not washing it). They would, as an example, exclude drums from the worship services because they would see that as the problem. Rather, I’m arguing for an almost complete paradigm shift.

Just recently, I’ve come to love some specific verses in the book of John that deal with worship. I don’t know how I missed it before, but I guess reading a book six times (going on seven) for a New Testament Theology class is the ultimate way to force you to notice things! It is the part where the Samaritan woman asks Jesus about worship:

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

(John 14:19-24, NIV)

 

Note what Jesus is saying here. I find it to be incredibly profound:

  • It’s not about the place where you worship (don’t take this to the extreme).
  • There is some sort of distinction between “true worshipers” and those who in some way are not true or sincere in their worship.
  • The Father actually seeks those who will worship him in this true way! Worship is therefore extremely important.

Primarily, focus on the phrase, “in spirit and truth”. Whether “in spirit” refers to your spirit or the Holy Spirit could be debated, but the Holy Spirit’s involvement seems vital either way (also, the reference to truth might be a hint, since the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Truth” [John 14:16-17]).

Either way, don’t miss [what I believe to be] the point here: worship must center around a proper understanding and appreciation of the truth of God. This understanding leads to joy, which enables worship to happen in the way it’s supposed to happen, this being “in spirit” (whether or not this refers to the Holy Spirit).

In light of this, try to see what I am getting at in the article. It is short because the article had to be short (exactly 411 words was the requirement!). Therefore, the statements I make are frank and precise. Do not take all of my statements as facts, but read them only as propositions which stem out of my understanding of the verse above that I want you to chew on. As always, comments are definitely welcome.

 

Everyone has a favorite Christian song that just seems to invoke praise every time it is heard. It is a joy to realize that worship can occur even when one is primarily seeking entertainment and relaxation.

It seems to have been assumed, however, that because one can worship God while being entertained, one should therefore be entertained while worshipping God. Consequently, worship in the church has become the side benefit, making entertainment the focus.

Interestingly, the songs that we sing in chapel are the same ones we listen to for fun while doing homework. Perhaps this is why we cannot shift out of “entertainment mode” in chapel. Conservative Christians have said that only hymns ought to be sung because they have that sense of ordainment that is different from contemporary music. Perhaps the real reason is that no one listens to hymns.

Rev. Paul Washer also addressed this problem, explaining that if the only time the worshiper feels the presence of God is during that delicious and brilliant part of the chorus, he or she has not really felt God at all. It is not surprising that the catchy chorus is when hands are raised to heaven.

What is averting our attention from God? Perhaps it is because we have it all when it comes to worship: lights, technicians, deep bass and skilled musicians. Whether or not there is a proper way to use all of these, we’ve failed to do it. If I were placed in either an average contemporary worship service or a Christian rock concert, and were asked to determine which was the concert, I might as well flip a fair coin.

It seems that the only requirement to become the lead singer is if you can also play the guitar at the same time. Washer says that the leader of the worship service ought to be a man of the Bible and hold to good theology, even more so than the preacher. But no one seems to care what the songs are saying these days, which may explain the usually self-centered nature of their content.

What if we tried a chapel worship service without a band, even without a lead singer? What could go wrong if the congregation merely started singing the words on the screen without anyone up front to avert our attention from God? Probably the only thing you would expect is that it wouldn’t sound perfect. But that would be music to God’s ears.

~Multnomah University, The Voice (February 2011)

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Theology

 

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The Road To Wisdom

Hello, and welcome to my new blog.

You’re probably wondering why I called it “Road to Wisdom”. Here are not three reasons why I’ve called it this:

-I’ve got wisdom figured out.
-You will most certainly find wisdom here.
-There is a point where you reach a fully wise state, and can end your journey to wisdom.

Hopefully number one is actually true and I’m just being humble. Or maybe I’m being proud and am trying to cover it up.

As you can see, I like humorous writing. However, I also think humour has its proper place. Because I intend to use this blog to post both theological thoughts and philosophical theories that I come up with, some of the things I will be writing about will be too sacred to joke about.

What is the point of this blog?
If you know me, you know that I love theories and discussions about theories, and coming up with theories. But when it comes to the Bible I have to take my theories and land them in truth, so that I can come down out of the ivory tower of philosophy and say something meaningful. Because of this, you will find posts about theological issues that I take very seriously and am searching deeply, in order to discover which lines up with what the Bible teaches. But then you will also find philosophical posts where I speculate on theories I have come up with. Often, these two categories blend (it is hard to be a theologian without using philosophy, and doing philosophy without grounding it in truth is like speculating about wind when you don’t know what air is). In all of these posts you are free to agree or disagree with me, and comments are always welcome. I will try to respond when possible.

I must make one thing clear, though: my goal is not to set straight what I perceive to be wrong theological or philosophical views today (though in some cases I won’t be able to resist this, I’m sure; in some cases, I may actually need to). Rather, I’m concerned with posting what I believe in my mind and heart to be the truth. You may find posts that disagree with my earlier posts, especially when they are theological. This is because I am constantly adjusting my theology to match what is actually the truth. You play a large part in this; I will always be glad when someone points out something that I have missed or provides a powerful insight.

Finally, I want to add that it is my goal that I try not to make my theology irrelevant for the believer, or simply something to hold to mentally. Theology must be applied. It is no good to claim that Jesus is God unless we also follow him because of it. The beginning of properly applying truth to life is the beginning of the walk down the road of wisdom.

That is actually what I mean by naming my blog “Road To Wisdom”. It is not because I’ve figured things out, but because I’m trying to figure things out (which is why it says “to”, and not “of”, wisdom). My goal is to share what I’ve learned and to be critiqued so that I can learn more too. Also, “path to wisdom” was already taken…

Thanks for reading. If you are intrigued, feel free to subscribe to this blog. I hope you find something I write to be either helpful in your spiritual walk or simply interesting to read.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in General