What I Read Online – 11/30/2012 (a.m.)

30 Nov
    • When I decided on a scientific career, one of the things that appealed to me about science was the modesty of its practitioners. The typical scientist seemed to be a person who knew one small corner of the natural world and knew it very well, better than most other human beings living and better even than most who had ever lived. But outside of their circumscribed areas of expertise, scientists would hesitate to express an authoritative opinion. This attitude was attractive precisely because it stood in sharp contrast to the arrogance of the philosophers of the positivist tradition, who claimed for science and its practitioners a broad authority with which many practicing scientists themselves were uncomfortable.


      The temptation to overreach, however, seems increasingly indulged today in discussions about science. Both in the work of professional philosophers and in popular writings by natural scientists, it is frequently claimed that natural science does or soon will constitute the entire domain of truth. And this attitude is becoming more widespread among scientists themselves. All too many of my contemporaries in science have accepted without question the hype that suggests that an advanced degree in some area of natural science confers the ability to pontificate wisely on any and all subjects

    • We considered it as divinely excellent, and I failed. I spoke of it as greatly extensive, and fell short. We thought of it as transcendently sweet, and my words thudded to the ground. We looked at it as unquestionably sufficient, and it was beyond my communication. We marvelled at the fact that it is unshakeably consistent, but I could not get that across. We noted that it is profoundly valuable, but how little of that was explained. We recognised that it was entirely undeserved, but I barely scratched the surface. Along the way, we sought to illustrate this from the life and death of the Lord Christ, and I missed the mark.
    • The truths that preachers handle are, in a real sense, beyond us.
    • And we keep trying and failing. It is a miserable, glorious, constant failure.
    • I don’t think this is unique (at all) to the Twilight series, but this is an area to which we ought to pay more attention. It’s also an area where Christians and some feminists can agree, at least on diagnosing the problem. Images given to our girls and young women often mask a pagan and predatory patriarchy, one in which female worth is seen satanically in terms of sexual availability and attractiveness to men.
    • What’s wrong with a statement like this, the point of which is to exalt God’s grace? The problem is that Tchividjian teaches that, apart from our change in legal status through justification, Christians are in the same spiritual condition after regeneration as before. Unbelievers are totally depraved and Christians are totally depraved; the same condition describes them both. When it comes to sanctification, then, the logical implication of Tchividjian’s reasoning is this: why should I exert any effort towards holiness since I am still totally depraved? For this reason, Tchividjian’s formula, commendably designed to exalt God’s grace, actually denigrates the grace of God in regeneration by leaving sinners in their totally depraved condition
    • Tchividjian might answer these criticisms by pointing out a statement in his article that for the Christian “there is nowhere where Christ has not arrived by his Spirit.” Amen, again. The problem is that this statement is lodged within a sentence that urges not the Spirit’s enlivening presence and power but the Christian’s enduring bondage in sin. He thus immediately adds that “it is equally true that there is no part of any Christian in this life that is free of sin.” Here we must particularly quarrel. It is true that Christians must continually contend with sin, but are we not substantially freed, and increasingly being freed, from the power of sin? If not, then what did Jesus mean by saying, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36)? While there is truth behind Tchividjian’s statements, his emphasis seems to be at odds with the Bible’s emphasis on the transformation begun in regeneration and continuing throughout a believer’s life.    
    • To be sure, Christians remain dependent on Christ’s grace for sanctification, just as we have for justification. Yet it is because Christians are no longer totally depraved but born again in union with Christ that the apostle urges, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you” (Phil. 2:12-13). Thank God that regeneration does not leave Christ’s people in the situation of those who reject him in unbelief. We are certainly still dealing with sin in the totality of our beings, but thank God that we are no longer totally depraved. Praise God that, as Paul wrote, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

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

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Posted by on 30/11/2012 in Current Issues


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