What I Read Online – 06/04/2013 (a.m.)

    • You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.
    • When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important
    • John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.) are now 20% off at Westminster Bookstore! Here are several short videos of several Westminster scholars explaining who Calvin was and how he has influenced their thinking:
    • James deals extensively, charitably and clearly with the Qur’an itself. He’s not lobbing rhetorical grenades or wildly flinging accusations and half truths. He’s incisively investigating the history, theology, and transmission of the Qur’an in a way that’s accessible to any intelligent reader.
    • Islam came after the Gospel (despite Islamic belief otherwise), and includes as part of its teachings the rejection of the heart of the Gospel itself (the Person of Christ, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and hence the exclusivity of Jesus the Messiah as the sole means of peace with God).  Hence, Islamic apologetics is first and foremost a “gospel” activity, and the goal of the Christian must always be to make sure the Gospel in all its glory and power and grace is made known to the Muslim who has almost never heard it with clarity.
    • One surely does not have to be an “expert” on the Qur’an to engage their Muslim neighbors, but just as having read the Book of Mormon is a great advantage in witness to a Mormon, being able to show the Muslim that you have respected them enough to gather some knowledge of the Qur’an is a tremendous advantage.
    • There are many theological and philosophical problems with such a view, but the primary one about which Christians should know is this: if the Qur’an is eternal, and the very words of Allah, then the Muslim sees no reason to consider the development of thought in Muhammad’s life.  Hence, asking questions about the consistency of the Qur’an, whether it accurately represents others, etc., is not a part of the interpretive process for the average Muslim.  While looking at the context of, say, Paul’s letters to the Corinthians is a vital and illuminating element of biblical exegesis, such aspects are almost irrelevant to Qur’anic exegesis, at least amongst Muslims.  As a result, the interpretation of the Qur’an is primarily “stagnant,” limited to the conclusions reached by examination of the hadith literature centuries ago.  Likewise, the accuracy of the Qur’an’s statements about the Trinity are simply taken as a given by the average Muslim, which introduces all sorts of problems and complications to the witnessing situation.
    • The first is not an explicit teaching of the Qur’an, actually, but it is nigh unto a universal belief of Muslims: that the Bible, Old and New Testaments, has been corrupted, changed, and is, therefore, in need of correction on the basis of the Qur’an.
    • The second barrier is that of the Qur’an’s teaching against the Trinity, or, at least, what the author of the Qur’an thought the Trinity was.
    • This is then combined with the idea that the one sin Allah will never forgive is that of shirk, the association of anyone or anything with Allah.  Many Muslims believe Christians commit this sin in their worship of Jesus, and hence feel that we are inviting them to commit the only unforgivable sin in following Jesus!
    • inally, the third barrier is found in the Qur’an’s unique denial, in a single verse comprising only forty Arabic words (Surah 4:157), of the historical reality of the crucifixion of Jesus.  If Jesus was not crucified, then there was no resurrection, no atonement, etc.
    • Most definitely not, and this is one of the primary reasons I reject the Qur’an as a divine revelation.  While the Old and New Testaments in the Bible are intimately related, the authors of the New showing intimate familiarity with the Old, the author of the Qur’an shows only a surface level, second-hand knowledge of the Bible in its entirety.  This results in gross misrepresentation of those Scriptures, and of the beliefs of the Christians especially
    • Though I did not really address this subject in the book, it seems self-evident to me that such a concept, that of creating a Christianity where one is a secret disciple while maintaining an outward profession of Islamic faith, replacing prayers in one’s own mind to Allah with prayers to Jesus, etc., is not only utterly foreign to the biblical record (which addresses clearly the responsibility of being a disciple of Jesus in a hostile context) but even from an Islamic perspective is utterly without merit as well.  A believing Muslim would find such a concept pure deception and a heart-borne example of unbelief and even shirk,  and such would have little attraction to a believing Muslim, to be sure.
    • The misguided effort of some to seek to avoid the offense that derives from the Qur’an’s own misunderstanding of the Christian faith is in reality a betrayal of not only the message of the Scriptures (and the wisdom of the Spirit) but of the martyrs who have suffered for the divine truth of the Sonship of Jesus.  One explains the meaning of the text and in that explanation vindicates biblical truth over against Islamic misunderstanding.  You do not attempt to avoid “offense” when that offense is based upon ignorance and error!
    • One could address a few areas here, but the most compelling and obvious example is that of Surah 4:157, where the Qur’an, in forty Arabic words, sets itself against the combined testimony of all of history in denying the crucifixion of Jesus on a Roman cross under Pontius Pilate.  This single verse in the Qur’an, which mysteriously receives no attention in the hadith literature, and is never expanded upon or elucidated in the Qur’an itself, puts the Muslim holy text in direct opposition to the earliest historical sources that clearly and unanimously testify to the reality of the crucifixion
    • The vast majority of Muslims are utterly unaware of the history of the transmission of their own text, just as the majority of Christians likewise suffer ignorance about the history of the Bible (a lamentable problem on both sides).
    • We are very excited to see that the L’Abri ideas library has archived a huge collection of Dr. Schaeffer’s lectures on Mp3. While we do occasionally disagree with Dr. Schaeffer’s cultural critiques, we hold his theology and basic philosophy in the highest regard, especially his defense of “real reality” and its knowability by all men, a theory which was grounded in the inescapable fact that God is there. Hopefully new projects such as these will pass Dr. Schaeffer’s work on to new audiences.
    • God says there is nothing in all creation he values more than human beings. And if this is true, there can be nothing more abhorrent to God than the desecration of human beings. There is nothing that displays greater spite toward God than destroying what he considers most significant. As man rejects being made in God’s image, there necessarily follows a culture of death and desecration.
    • When you look at pornography you are participating in this mocking of the gospel. You are watching the violation of the gospel, you are enjoying the violation of the gospel, you are being aroused by it. God says, “I have given you this great picture of Christ and the church” and you watch that portrait be defaced and violated and mocked, and you enjoy it all the while. God says, “The purity of the sexual relationship points you to the purity of the love the Savior has for you.” And you say, “Right now I need a different kind of salvation from a different savior. A more satisfying kind, and one Christ did not supply at the cross. I need salvation only this god can provide.”
    • Here is what I want to ask you: Do you love pornography enough to go to hell for it?
    • First, it’s not at all clear that the liquid found in the remains is really blood. It looks like blood, but as my mother once told me, looks aren’t everything
    • However, suppose the red liquid the scientists found is actual mammoth blood. Does that mean they will be able to clone the mammoths? Not necessarily. In order for the cloning process to work, scientists need a living cell. So not only do the researchers have to find intact cells in their specimen, those cells have to be able to be revived so that they are completely functional. Only then can the researchers attempt the cloning process.
    • However, once the embryo reaches a certain state, it needs to be implanted in a living animal’s uterus to complete the developmental process. Where, exactly, will they find such a uterus? The scientists at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation think that an elephant can be used. However, it’s not clear that’s possible. Typically, the uterus needs to be from the same species.
    • Both of those claims were shown to be made based on falsified data, and he was later convicted of fraud and embezzlement. I am not sure his foundation is really the one that should be handling such a project.
    • But growth in anything important takes time. Etymologically, “radical” means “going to the root.” The way it’s used today, though, it more likely means “pulling up the roots.” If by “radical” folks mean immediate, visible, and measurable, there are no New Testament calls to this sort of discipleship. The repeated analogy used by the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles is organic. Growth in Christ is often imperceptible—especially to us. When planting a garden with Mom, young children expect a strawberry after a few days. They sit and watch it. After a few days, the children stop asking about it. They pass it each day without any notice. “A watched pot never boils,” to change metaphors.
    • Only as we get older do we begin to realize that the most fruitful things in life take a long time—and a lot of care—to mature
    • Everybody wants to experience something radical and to do something radical. The tougher thing is to be justified before God and transformed in the depths of our character through the ordinary means of grace. It’s hard work to grow up in Christ, bearing the fruit of love and good works, in ordinary ways through ordinary means in ordinary moments over time.
    • Wolterstorff defines “the project of being a Christian scholar” as “the project of thinking with a Christian mind and speaking with an appropriate Christian voice within your chosen discipline and within the academy more generally.”
    • First, be patient
    • the Christian scholar will have to be immersed in the discipline and be really good at it
    • to be able to think with a Christian mind about the issues in your discipline, you have to have a Christian mind
    • be well acquainted with Scripture
    • you need some knowledge of the Christian theological tradition
    • you have to become acquainted with the riches of the Christian intellectual tradition generally, especially those parts of it that pertain to your own field
    • the nourishment of communal worship
    • Are tattoos sin? Mark Dever asks Carl Trueman, Mike McKinley, and Andy Johnson about the contested topic of Christian freedom.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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