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What I Read Online – 04/17/2012 (p.m.)

18 Apr
    • Once you see that an argument is logically valid, you can’t consistently affirm its premises and deny its conclusion. So you have two options in order to maintain consistency. You can either (a) affirm the premises and the conclusion or (b) deny the conclusion and at least one of the premises. When presented with an argument like the one above, atheists will typically follow the second option rather than the first. Why? The reasons are complex but the short answer, from a biblical perspective, is simply—human sin. One of the defining characteristics of unbelievers is that they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
    • Here is my modest proposal: We should think of proofs in terms of proofs for a particular person. In much the same way that mathematical proofs are system-dependent, so proofs of the existence of God need to be seen as person-dependent. The question “Can we prove the existence of God?” then becomes “Can we prove the existence of God to so-and-so?” My suggestion is that if we can show, without begging the question, that the existence of God logically follows from propositions that a person already accepts, or is willing on reflection to accept, then we have indeed proven the existence of God to that person. If they fail to see that the existence of God follows from what they already believe or take for granted, or if they prefer to abandon other beliefs rather than to affirm the existence of God, the problem doesn’t lie in the proof.
    • There is, however, another question I think we should also ask: “Do we need to prove the existence of God?” My short answer: “No, but it’s still important to be able to do so.” I take the view, following John Calvin and other Reformed scholars, that Romans 1:18-32 teaches a universal knowledge of God: a sensus divinitatis that is part of our human nature. On this view, every human being possesses a natural knowledge of the living and true God, even though they sinfully distort and suppress that knowledge. It’s precisely this fact that serves as the basis for God’s universal judgment. People don’t need to have the existence of God proven to them by us.
    • His youth ministry had sold him a message that faithful obedience before God would yield an experiential intimacy and spiritual euphoria, which he failed to encounter. In spite of tireless religious striving, Allen felt as if his pursuits resulted in a tumbling spiral into a deep, dark void.
    • ased on my experience in youth ministry, if I had to identify the greatest theological problem in the field, it would be the absence of the gospel in teaching on sanctification.
    • At the same time, youth pastors need to view themselves as sowers, planting gospel seeds for harvest down the road.
    • Very few youth pastors go through a year without the death of a teenager in the community where they serve. Many youth pastors preach moralism over the gospel in order to protect students from self-destruction. Unfortunately, law-driven ministry often yields the opposite of its intention; law and pressure often inflame rebellion.
    • A gospel-centered youth pastor in South Carolina once told me that parents were his biggest opponents to him fully preaching the gospel.
    • Many youth ministers are young, both in age and in their faith. Given all of the other responsibilities that adult pastors must juggle, nurturing the theological and spiritual development of the youth pastor can be overlooked. Furthermore, churches often view the youth department as entertainment and relationships but not a serious teaching ministry. If churches fail to take seriously the theological development of their youth pastor and to view youth ministry as a teaching and discipleship ministry above all things, then the message likely will lack biblical or doctrinal depth and contain a law-driven message.
    • With apologies to the dramaturges out there, I can’t help but think that this is an unhelpful way of speaking. To me, the language of story and self-projection obscures what must be made crystal clear–namely, that everyone already stands within the history of redemption simply by virtue of being God’s creatures and image. Scripture tells us that, whether or not we realize it, we are those “on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Cor 10:11) and so are even more responsible to repent and find forgiveness is Christ alone (Acts 17:31). Whether or not we believe it, the Word of God is still able to pierce to our hidden thoughts by the secret power of the Spirit (Heb 4:12) and disclose our deepest sins on the Day when we face the Judge now raised from the dead (2 Cor 5:10).
    • If this is all true, then it seems that the “story” of redemption is less something to be adopted as one’s own “story” and more something I must acknowledge and believe,
    • The gospel of Christ crucified and raised is not just a compelling narrative, not just a story of meaning for one’s life and world. It is the centerpiece of human existence and the consummate revelation of the God who defines all meaning whatsoever.
    • So, I submit we should keep telling the “old, old story.” But let’s be sure our congregations know that the Bible points beyond itself, beyond its own “story” (if we must), to the events of redemption in time and space, and to the consummation that will climax the facts of history and expose all rival fairy tales. Proclaiming the gospel this way may mean the difference between a people who see all things according to Scripture and those who see Scripture as a useful story that, for them, will turn out to be a tragedy.  

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

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Posted by on 18/04/2012 in Current Issues

 

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