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Archive for the ‘Quick Takes’ Category

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When we talk about evangelism or how people get saved, the inevitable question is asked: “Why doesn’t God save everyone?” He certainly could do that if it was His desire. The better question, however, is “Why does God save anybody?” He’s under no obligation to save any of us. Because of our sin and sinfulness, we deserve His wrath and not His blessings. God’s grace and mercy alone are the driving motivation behind His choice to save some from His wrath. We should be grateful that God chose to save anyone at all, including us!

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Some things I’ve been thinking about lately. (The notes above are not mine, but the person who wrote them did a good job!)

“Privilege”

There’s been a lot written and said about the subject of “privilege” lately. We’ve heard about white privilege and even Christian privilege, and the need to recognize it and renounce it. This comes almost entirely from the political and religious Left with a handful of conservatives foolishly joining the chorus.

Here are Doug Wilson’s thoughts about privilege (from his podcast called “The Plodcast”).  Privilege, or the emphasis on it, comes from egalitarianism – the belief that everything and everyone should be equal. Egalitarianism is based on envy – if someone has more than me, there’s something wrong with the universe). Therefore if someone, or a group of people, has more money, intelligence, beauty, or power, they should feel guilty for what they have. Biblically speaking, we should be grateful for what God has given us, which includes money, possessions, a good family, health, or beauty (to name only a few), and not feel guilty. We shouldn’t be jealous or envious of what God has given to others (remember the tenth commandment: “You shall not covet”) because He doesn’t give His gifts equally. Our gratitude for God’s gifts will motivate us to be like Him and give generously to others. Guilt motivates us to give small amounts to assuage our guilt.

Wilson has hit the nail squarely on the head.

Complementarianism

David Prince tweets, “Biblical complementariansm is no more to be blamed for the scandal surrounding Paige Patterson than egalitarianism is to be blamed for the scandal surrounding Bill Hybels. The cultural mood to leverage every sinful crisis to score personal argument points is repulsive.” Amen!

Patterson’s recorded comments from years past were wrong and sinful, but they don’t invalidate the truth or falsehood of complementariansm (men and women are equal in value and dignity, but have different roles in the family and the church). The same is true for Hybels and egalitarianism (men and women are equal and there should be no restrictions upon roles in the family or the church).

I’m firmly in the camp of complementarianism. I’m convinced the Bible teaches it and that we must submit to it, whether the world likes it or not, because the Word of God is our final authority. I’m concerned because I’ve heard some brothers and sisters in Christ from the egalitarian side of things claim that Patterson’s views and the actions of others are “proof” that complementarianism is a misinterpretation of Scripture. No, they aren’t. They’re a misapplication of Scripture. None of us completely live out the truths of Scripture, even though we’re absolutely committed to them.

A New/Used Book

Books are part of a good life as far as I’m concerned. Earlier this week, I picked up a used copy of Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose at the Salvation Army thrift store. Ambrose is a first-rate historian and writer. I can’t wait to dive in!

 

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Got a minute?

Genesis 1:1 is the first verse in the Bible and it may be the most important. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” If you believe that God created everything – visible and invisible – out of nothing and by the power of His word alone, then the rest of the miracles, and for that matter the non-miraculous, recorded in the Bible shouldn’t be hard to accept. If you can’t accept Genesis 1:1, the rest of the Bible doesn’t make much sense. The Bible starts with God in its very first verse. It shows that He is the sovereign, wise, powerful, and majestic Creator – for His glory and our good!

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Dignity and Depravity

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The horrific flooding in Houston as a result of Hurricane Harvey has put a basic biblical doctrine – anthropology – on full display. (Anthropology is the doctrine of man.)

What the Bible teaches about man is built on two pillars of truth: the dignity of man and the depravity of man.

Man (speaking in the generic sense of all human beings) is created by God in His image and likeness. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen. 1:26-27) As humans, we’re like God and similar to Him in some ways, but not in all ways. As a result, every single human being has dignity, value, and worth. We have the ability (though not perfectly) to reflect God’s character and attributes. We’ve seen a lot of that in Houston over the last few days. People have rushed in to offer whatever help they can give, sent donations to organizations that provide relief, and many have made heroic attempts to save and help anyone in need. The dignity of man is on display.

Man, although created in the image and likeness of God, is also sinful and fallen. The effects of Adam and Eve’s sin have been passed own to all of us like a virus, but they’re not completely to blame – you and I ratify the decision they made every day. The result is stated clearly in Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All human beings are sinful in every part of our being – mind, will, affections, body. In other words, we’re totally depraved. We’re sinners, therefore we sin. The depravity of man has also been on display in Houston. We’ve seen it in price-gouging, looting, scams that take advantage of people’s generosity, and even in despicable comments made on social media wishing death on those with different political views.

We human beings are what has been called a “beautiful tragedy.” Because of God’s doing, we have incredible dignity, and because of our doing we have thorough depravity. The only hope we have for restoration is that which comes through God’s grace by means of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

While we see man’s dignity and depravity, we also see God’s power and grace. We’re praying for you, Houston!

 

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Just as all the glitters is not gold, so all that goes by the name “worship” isn’t worship.

In Matthew 2:1-11, the magi come to worship the One who was born the King of the Jews. They had searched for Him and were led to Him by God’s providential use of the star. When they found Him, they worshiped.

King Herod, however, proclaimed his desire to worship, too. His real intent became clear in verse 13: “Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him” (which was carried out in verses 14 through 23).

True worship focuses on the Lord and responds to Him, in this case with rejoicing and the giving of gifts. False worship is self-focused, self-interested, and ultimately seeks to suppress and destroy the God who alone is worthy of worship.

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I posted this on Facebook late last night regarding the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States:

I can’t say I wasn’t surprised that Donald Trump won the election, but I’m glad he did. He was my seventeenth choice of the seventeen Republicans, but once he was the official nominee, I supported him. I didn’t, and don’t, defend everything he’s ever done or said – I wouldn’t do that with any fallen and sinful human being. But at this point in our nation’s history, he’s the flawed vessel needed to pump the brakes on the runaway Leftism that is seriously damaging our nation. I hope he does it. He has my prayers, as does Mike Pence. As a nation, we have a lot of problems to work on, and a lot of sins for which to repent. Maybe, just maybe, God has given us mercy in the form of time to do just that. Although the Presidential campaign seemed to last forever, the real work has just begun. I’m especially thankful that, by God’s providence, we live in a country that has non-violent transfers of power.

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“Faith is the refusal to panic” according to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones…For my money, minor league baseball may be the best value going in terms of watching sports in person. You’re close to the action and may get to see a future major-leaguer. Ron Tonkin Field is a beautiful ballpark to boot. If you want to take that as an advertisement for the Hillsboro Hops, fell free…”Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange” (Kevin DeYoung)…If you’re not listening to James White’s podcast “The Dividing Line,” you need to start. He demonstrates critical thinking and doctrinal clarity on every single episode…Will any of you be watching the Olympics? What sports or athletes?

So the United States government paid $400 million ransom to Iran for the return of hostages? No matter what the President or his mouthpieces (in both his administration and in the media) say, this was a ransom, not a “coincidence.” When I go to the coffee shop and give them a certain amount of money, they give me a sugar-free hazelnut latte – it’s not a coincidence. Sending the money, made up of Swiss Francs and Euros (cash in other words), on an unmarked plane to Tehran, at which point a plane carrying the hostages took off for the United States, certainly makes it look like a ransom. Paying ransom for hostages is unethical, immoral, and foolish. Does anyone think the Iranians won’t take more hostages now that they know they can demand, and receive, a hefty ransom? I don’t. I’m not that naive and I believe in the total depravity of man.

The incomparable Al Mohler os studies: “Remember that very clearly: ‘studies show.’ Studies show what studies show studying other studies that will be studied in the future in order to study what the studies mean. But it’s interesting: the studies always turn out to mean what the latest studier of the studies wants it to mean.” (From The Briefing)…In my opinion, if a study comes to a conclusion that goes against common sense, it’s wrong.

When taxes are raised on corporations, who ultimately pays the bill? The CEO doesn’t – they don’t take the money out of his or her salary. There’s no shoebox full of cash in the safe labeled “Money for  Corporate Taxes.” Increased taxes are passed on to the consumer – you and me  – in the form of higher prices for goods and services. If a 35 percent tax was placed on bananas, the price of bananas would rise at least 35 percent – simple economics. Some on the left of the political spectrum seem to think corporations have trees growing money or are ATM’s they can make withdrawals from whenever they feel like it.

Remember those who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ (Heb. 13:5). Pray for them and for their persecutors (Luke 6:27-28).

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