What I Read Online – 01/04/2013 (a.m.)

04 Jan
    • Higgs boson theorist says he agrees with those who find Dawkins’ approach to dealing with believers ’embarrassing’
    • On one side is Richard Dawkins, the celebrated biologist who has made a second career demonstrating his epic disdain for religion. On the other is the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who this year became a shoo-in for a future Nobel prize after scientists at Cern in Geneva showed that his theory about how fundamental particles get their mass was correct.

      Their argument is over nothing less than the coexistence of religion and science.

    • “What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists,” Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind.”
    • In the El Mundo interview, Higgs argued that although he was not a believer, he thought science and religion were not incompatible. “The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers. But that’s not the same thing as saying they’re incompatible. It’s just that I think some of the traditional reasons for belief, going back thousands of years, are rather undermined.
    • He said a lot of scientists in his field were religious believers. “I don’t happen to be one myself, but maybe that’s just more a matter of my family background than that there’s any fundamental difficulty about reconciling the two.”
    • I’m afraid the same is true on the individual level. A feminist leader once said that most Americans are pro-life with three exceptions: rape, incest, and “my situation.” When the teenage daughter is pregnant, the theory is abandoned and bloodthirsty pragmatism rules. I fear this feminist is all too right.
    • I just think that we must have a realistic view about how ingrained the abortion-rights worldview is in our culture. We are on the lookout for the ways in which the death culture seeks to circumvent the state of the debate through pernicious new technologies and through the more subtle changes in culture that make children seem to be burden rather than blessing. Knowing the persistence of the abortion culture shows us what we’re up against, but it doesn’t sap our spirit.
    • But often forgotten in our zeal to show that the Bible is a book about the past, is the reality that the Bible is also a book about the future. The Christian message is fundamentally eschatological (to use the standard theological nomenclature).  It is not only about how God has entered the world during the first coming, but also about how God will enter the world again during the second coming.  And when he does so, he will set all things right.
    • We will forget that redemption is more than “spiritual.”
    • We will lose perspective regarding the problem of evil.
    • We will lack an appropriate context for personal holiness.
    • Pastors will find this a short, sharp shock, and yet also eminently sweet: a powerful, brief reminder of what we are about, of whom we serve and how we serve. The teaching is mainly positive, and so the rebukes are incidental, and yet they hit home as we see how far short we fall of the standard of diligent godliness and sincere and outworked care that the Scriptures establish. At the same time, there is encouragement, both with regard to the first things of pastoral ministry and its development over time, with instruction along the way.
    • “Being a Christian is more than going to church and being a good person.”
    • “We must be born again.”
    • “We need to develop a personal relationship with Christ.”
    • “Mature Christians develop lifelong habits of Bible reading and prayer.”
    • “Christians suffer.”
    • “God can be pleased with me.”
    • “Beware of false teachers.”
    • “There is one God in three Persons.”
    • “There are many people in the world who don’t think Christianity is true and some of them are very nice and very smart.”
    • “There is a reason we worship the way we do.”
    • First we need to recognize the various ways in which the gospel is addressed or reflected in various biblical passages.
    • first, we must keep what I call “the big picture” — the Bible story line — in mind always
    • Second, it is helpful to bear in mind the twin gospel promises of justification and transformation. The gospel promises not only rescue from sin’s punishment but also from its rule and dominion, and a given passage may stress one or the other. This, in turn, will have much shaping control of our sermon.
    • Next, we should bear in mind always the redemptive purpose and power of the preached Word. Warfield emphasized well that revelation itself, culminating in Scripture, is a “redemptive act” in that its goal is the restoration of fallen humanity. And the declaration of that Word from God is a major part of that redemptive process. It is the means by which God works both to claim and to transform his people. The faithful preaching of God’s Word is a means of grace.
    • Finally, we should understand the difference between teaching and preaching. Teaching merely explains a given passage of Scripture. Preaching is designed (as Tim Keller says it) to make it live. Preaching not merely unfolds the passage, but it unfolds the hearer’s situation also. There is a “So what?” factor that addresses people as they are. Preaching not only exegetes a passage of Scripture; it exegetes the related human problem also and points to the solution.
    • First, we must locate the passage canonically
    • Second, closely related to this, we must locate the theme and application theologically
    • Third, it is wise, then, to select your preaching passage carefully
    • Finally, let us remember at all times to keep the gospel prominent and explicit. Far too many “expository” sermons go week after week without any real gospel proclamation. It’s “out there” somewhere in the atmosphere — from the hymns we sing, perhaps
    • The word “fornication” is almost gone from contemporary Christian speech. It sounds creepy and antiquated. Instead, we talk about “abstinence” and “premarital sex.”
    • Fornication pictures a different reality than the mystery of Christ presented in the one-flesh union of covenantal marriage. It represents a Christ who uses his church without joining her, covenantally and permanently, to himself. The man who leads a woman into sexual union without a covenantal bond is preaching to her, to the world, and to himself a different gospel from the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he is forming a real spiritual union, the Apostle Paul warns, but one with a different spirit than the Spirit of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15, 19).

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

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Posted by on 04/01/2013 in Current Issues


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