What I Read Online – 03/23/2012 (p.m.)

24 Mar
    • To be honest this isn’t something we consciously think about. Our aim is not first of all to produce an effect in the congregation. Our first aim is to worship God in a way that is biblical and pleasing to him. Of course, we do think through the flow of the service. We want the music and the technical aspects to be conducted with undistracting excellence. But those are things we can control.


        The real work is the work we can’t control, the work only God can do. For real heart change, conversion, sanctification, and everything else that matters for eternity we rely explicitly and wholly on the Word of God and prayer. This is what God promises to bless and promises to use to build up his people: the Word spoken in preaching and seen in the sacraments, and the prayers of his people to unleash the power the Spirit’s power.


        Like the farmer who went to sleep and work up to find a crop, we trust the Word of God to do the work of God.

    • Islam claims to be the final revelation of God to men, superceding all previous revelation. But its polemic does not stop there; it also claims to be the only pure revelation of God to men. This further assertion, of course, serves a particularly effective if not somewhat self-serving end. Islam can dismiss all previous revelation with a sweep of the hand, declaring it all corrupted by human error, ignorance, or even by human malice.[1]The immediate apologetic value of this stance is tempered by some profound epistemological liabilities, particularly a vicious form of question begging.
    • Certainly, there has been reinterpretation, but is it true that Islam accepts the New Testament as a “sacred text” in the same way Christianity has accepted the Old Testament? I don’t think so. Both the New and the Old Testaments are hopelessly corrupt documents as far as Islam is concerned. This belief not only reveals a profound difference between the two faiths, but also one of Islam’s greatest theological weaknesses
    • By claiming that all God’s previous revelation has been corrupted by human error or malice, Islam effectively cedes away God’s sovereignty, a doctrine of great importance to the Islamic tradition.
    • Islam makes the claim that it is the final revelation of God to men, superceding all previous revelation. But this rejection of all previous revelation is not an help to Islam but a total theological disaster. It narrows and truncates the work of God to one particular man in one particular cultural context. It is little wonder, then, that the Arabic language is the only official access point to an understanding of the Koran. The apologetic value of the Koran is ultimately reduced to the span of one man’s life; but the apologetic value of the Christian scriptures extends over the span of millennia through the lens of God’s own life and saving acts for men (Heb. 1.1-3).


    • The Reformation doctrine of vocation teaches that even seemingly secular jobs and earthly relationships are spheres where God assigns Christians to live out their faith. But are there some lines of work that Christians should avoid?
    • The purpose of every vocation, in all of the different spheres in which our multiple vocations occur—the family, the workplace, the culture, and the church—is to love and serve our neighbors
    • This point must not be missed: vocation comes with an authorization, so that someone within that vocation may do things someone outside it may not.
    • Vocations, in general, must carry out their proper work and fulfill their proper purpose. A business owner must make a profit; a professional athlete must help his team win. To say these involve selfishness and pride, making them off limits to Christians, confuses different realms
    • Yet here is an irony. Before God all vocations are equal. But that is not so in the world. Often the highest-paying and the highest-status jobs do less for the neighbor than do jobs that the world tends to look down upon. I am ready to concede that the professional athlete and the movie star have legitimate vocations in giving brief moments of pleasure to millions of people. But the love and service rendered by the men who pick up our garbage every week or the women who clean up our hotel rooms is far more immediate and far more important.
    • The wealthy, esteemed, and honored often have a more problematic vocation than do the poorer folks who, in a kind of labor the Bible especially honors, work with their hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11

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Posted by on 24/03/2012 in Current Issues


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