One of my dearest friends, Andrew Vogel, got married two weeks ago (p.s. He has an amazing blog). He had originally asked me to do this Scripture Reading at the wedding. But unfortunately, the drive from Philly to Newark, Ohio is a long one, and many variables can make for much delay, and indeed, this is what happened. (Amy and I went on to the rest of our plans: a wonderful visit to God’s country, Pittsburgh). Anyway, to add to the pain of this loss, this particular set of Scriptures that I was going to have the honor of reading just happens to be the best set of Scripture readings I’ve ever encountered for a wedding. No Song of Solomon or 1 Corinthians 13 here; just a proper and exegetically sound exploration of the sweeping story of God’s relationship with his own Bride. Therefore, I felt compelled to share these verses with you today. May they stir and woo you for Bridegroom for Whom your soul was made.
Andrew and Laura, I pray that this feeble attempt at publicly participating in the celebration of your union communicates the love and grace of our Lord to your hearts. May it bless you.
And… intensity at work, lack of sleep, church home group beginnings, Fall TV premieres, a trip with the lady to meet the parents, and two weeks later, I find myself here, computer atop my lap, typing these words over a bowl of stove-top-made oatmeal. I’m ready to pick this blog post up again after more facebook, blog comments, and text messages than usual asking when the next post would be. This sets up a pressure under which I don’t work well, but it’s a pressure I feel is appropriate to bring up considering the content to follow.
In my last post, I unpacked a bit of my own story which has led me to often be perceived as an arrogant overly-sure man–and indeed I see this in myself often. But I went on to point out how this arrogance is not necessarily at its root sprung from pride or over-confidence, but rather a deep fear and insecurity that at the end of all things I wouldn’t be found pleasing to the God I know I love.
photo from Wired Science
Well, my article for last week on Patrol took a little longer for me to submit it than usual so it only just got posted. The article has to do with the recent situation involving Bruce Waltke, formerly of Reformed Theological Seminary. The article is in response to a recent post by Rick Phillips of the site Reformation21, whose mission is “Encouraging biblical thinking, living, worship, ministry, and constructive cultural engagement.” I believe the articles written by Phillips (and others) reacting to Waltke’s situation do not fall into any of those parameters set by that mission statement. Here’s the link:
“If You Believe in Jesus, the Resurrection, & Evolution, You Are A Heretic”
Also, something that might be of interest to some, the article contains a very surprising and substantial list of names (and links to sources) of Christians throughout history whose view of Genesis either explicitly or implicitly allows for, encourages, or would have allowed for theistic creation by means of Darwinian evolution. Check it.
You can see all of my past articles for Patrol here.
I’m not married. I don’t even see it on the imminent horizon for myself. But it’s something I’ve waited for, have tried to prepare myself for, and have written my fair share of poetry about throughout the years (here’s a sampling of my passion for it, my confusion about it, my fears about it, and my desire for it). The Westminster Bookstore is having a 48 hour sale ending at 3pm on Friday, April 16th.
There are two books that this sale affects, but there are three books I’m mainly talking about in this post, so don’t stop reading until I get to the third. The main book being promoted in this sale here is Paul Tripp‘s new book, What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. The second book is not a new one, but it is one of WTSbooks’ “favorite books on marriage”, and that is John Piper‘s This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.
Just wanted to drop a quick note to let everyone about a great deal I saw at WTSBooks.com. I’ve long said that Westminster Theological Seminary’s Bookstore is the best bookstore I know of. Between classes, it where we’d go to have fun. It was like a candy store for all those theologically-inclined individuals. They’re dirt-cheap (more often than not cheaper than Amazon) and usually have some good deal going on. And this one is no exception. Two brand new books. $14.49. Here’s the link:
You Can Change/ What Is The Gospel (Two Pack)- WTSBooks.com
The other day I posted an article on how Roman Catholics look at Scripture. When I originally wrote it, it was far too long to post online in its entirety. Therefore, I cut out some chunks, that I’d like to post now. They are mainly on how I believe the current landscape is in typical Evangelicalism in America. I know I’m using broad strokes to talk about these things, but I assure you, this mindset is still very strong, especially in the South. Here it is:
Oh, the Bible. It’s the lifeblood of the Church. It’s our backbone. Why? Well, the logic goes like this: there’s a God who’s so far beyond our understanding that we can know nothing of Him unless He reveals it to us. That’s what Christian believe the Bible is–the revelation of God. This may sound fairly simple–and it is, in one sense–but in some areas, this truth of Scripture sometimes brings more confusion and disagreement than clarity and insight. Because, let’s face it, it’s difficult to grasp that the God that is SOOOO beyond our understanding revealed himself through–of all mediums–a book? And what’s more: this book? It’s tough to read many (most?) parts of the Bible and think “this is the revelation of GOD.”
Oh, the Bible. It’s the lifeblood of the Church. It’s our backbone. But there’s so much we don’t get, and the culture both within and without the Protestant Church hasn’t helped. In its response to the Enlightenment, Evangelicals adopted the ground rules and assumptions that undergird modernism, namely, that Truth must be something that has a one-to-one correlation to things in created reality (as opposed to Ultimate Reality–God Himself), therefore making science and history the only vehicles for this Truth. This has caused so many problems with the rest of the world when talking about a little doctrine: Inerrancy which means, at its simplest level, that the Bible contains no “errors”. What does that mean?
Catholics can help us answer this. I fear that Evangelicalism is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the current discussion on nearly every front because of these improper assumptions about Scripture. Catholics, though, were having these discussions in the Middle Ages! They have largely already dealt with the things that we Protestant are only now encountering issues with. This gave them a foundation that let them maintain intellectual and biblical credibility in light of the Enlightenment and now modernism. Here’s what they say about Scripture in the Catholic Catechism:
I know, I know — this seems like a weird topic to inaugurate this series. Today, in my ongoing series “Catholics Aren’t Crazy” I wanted to put up a post on a Catholic view of Scripture, inspiration, and inerrancy. They have some amazing things to say on these topics that Evangelicals could do really well to embrace. But alas, current events have changed that plan. Tomorrow I’m posting up a potentially controversial article here on a Christian view of Torture. I’m writing it in light of the recent developments, publications, and interviews concerning the legal and ethical exoneration of the “Torture Memo” authors, John Yoo and Jay Bybee. In my research I stumbled upon the following wonderful article by Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic, posted on his blog on Ash Wednesday:
“May the Judgment Not Be Too Heavy Upon Us” — The Daily Dish
The article concerns Marc Thiessen, former speech writer for President Bush. Thiessen is on a tour of every news outlet it seems (I’ve seen him on like four different ones just this past week) to promote his brand new book, Courting Disaster, the point of which is pretty much as follows: Our “enhanced interrogation” techniques were moral, effective, and NOT torture; and President Obama has ended them, thereby “inviting the next attack” and putting everyone in America at risk of being slaughtered by Islamic extremists.
Yesterday, I started a little miniseries on Transgenderism in response to a question a friend sent me. They were wondering how Christians are supposed to look at this particular issue. Yesterday I laid out the questions and definitions involved here and asked for feedback. Today, I’m talking about a “Prolegomena of Transgenderism”. “Prolegomena” is just a big (but appropriate for this context) word that basically means talking about all the things that must be kept in mind before trying to answer questions. In Systematic Theology, it’s when we lay out the very foundation of our knowledge about the given topics and the presuppositions that will guide us through the rest of the endeavor. That’s what this post is. I want to explore a couple of perspectives that have driven a lot of the answers I’ve seen about this. Also, in light of the comments I received yesterday, I want to repeat that this was already written before I posted the prior post. I say this because I don’t want people to think I’m taking their ideas without giving them credit, nor do I want people to think I am specifically calling them out in what I’m writing. So let’s get started…
The backbone of my morning and evening meditations and prayer has become the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. It has taken me a while to figure out how to use it (with a lot of help from a friend), and I’m still clumsily trying to make my way along, but it is an amazing book. It gives just the right amount of both freedom and structure to give me both guidance and excitement. I’m really enjoying it. Secondly, I am a relatively new member of a church that belongs to the Reformed Church in America. Both of these things has led me to encounter ancient church documents, creeds, and traditions I was never exposed to as a Bible Belt Southern Baptist.
One of those newfound traditions that is really becoming a major part of my life is the Church Calendar. According to the calendar, we are currently in the season of Epiphany, where the church celebrates the travel of the Wise Men to see Jesus, therefore declaring him King and Lord among all the nations, and today is the Church Holy Day on which we celebrate Jesus’ presentation by His parents in the temple (forty days after Christmas) (Luke 2:22-40). As I went through the Daily Lectionary this morning, I found that focusing on this event and meditating on it bore some very real personal fruit that I wished to share.