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What Did Jesus Actually Say…

December 23, 2013 4 comments

A recent post on the Religion page of the Huffington Post states that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/22/what-jesus-says-about-homosexuality-_n_4489452.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003).  This can lead to the assertion that because the Gospels do not record Jesus as saying anything about homosexuality, he must not have had an opinion about it.  I suppose one could also make the argument that it was not an issue at the time of Jesus; therefore, nothing needed to be said.  Either way, the post succeeded in being provocative.

Either way you look at it, this is a good example of picking and choosing particular passages in Scripture to support your idea of what is right and wrong.  In this case, the author is only considering part of the Bible while ignoring the rest of Scripture.  It is true that the Gospels do not quote Jesus as saying anything concerning homosexuality, but that does not refute what other books of the Bible say.  Moreover, we do not know for certain that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality.  As John records, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.” John 20:30 (English Standard Version).

Just my thoughts.

Categories: Bible, gospels, theology, worldviews

Discerning God’s Will as Revealed in Scripture

June 30, 2013 Leave a comment

In my studies this week, I read this passage from Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way.  I want to share it with you as a way of furthering our discussion about our calling.  Horton writes,

Romans 12:2 promises that “by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  On this basis, some have taught that God has a sovereign plan for our lives, but that we can step in and out of it.  Often referred to as God’s “perfect will,” this notion of God’s sovereign plan considers it merely a Plan A—God’s best for our lives—rather than God’s secret but certain decree.  Many believers struggle to discern God’s secret will in daily decisions because they confuse it with his “perfect will” in this passage.

However, Romans 12:2 is not speaking of God’s eternal counsels, sure to be fulfilled yet hidden to us. Rather, the context (renewing the mind through the Word) indicates that the perfect will that Paul calls us to discern is God’s moral and saving will (i.e., the law and the gospel) insofar as he has revealed it in Scripture.  Therefore, when it comes to our vocations, whom we should marry, where we should live, and so forth, we are responsible to discern God’s will only insofar as it is revealed in Scripture.  For example, we must marry fellow believers (2 Co 6:14), but other considerations are left to our wisdom, the counsel of friends, and the desires of our hearts.

Unlike God’s good and perfect (revealed) will, God’s hidden decree is secret to us. We have no reason to believe that God will reveal to us where we should live, even though he has “determined allotted periods and the boundaries of [our] dwelling place” (Ac 17:26).  But we can be confident that he has revealed everything necessary for salvation and godliness.  It is liberating to know that we cannot step in and out of God’s sovereign will, although it remains hidden to us, even if we discover that a decision was poorly made or circumstances did not work out as we had planned.  It is not only unexpected that we should know God’s secret purposes; such inquisitiveness is treated in Scripture as an affront to God’s majesty (Ro 11:34). (p. 363-364)

The bottom line is to focus on our calling as Christians and as we live out our lives as such, the rest will come together.

Reference

Michael Horton. (2011). The Christian faith: A systematic theology for pilgrims on the way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Categories: Uncategorized

Evolving Theology?

May 26, 2013 1 comment

I have become quite the fan of the Religion page of The Huffington Post. The articles represent such a wide variety of religious views and worldviews.

Take for instance an article I read today, The Theology of Unitarian Universalists. As the article says, we may have a misunderstanding of what the Unitarian Universalists believe. However, after reading the article, it appears that a member of this church can believe whatever they chose to believe. One of their core beliefs is that a person’s theology is always evolving. (For my views on that, read my previous post). That alone rings of postmodernism.

How much confidence can one have in a faith that is always evolving? How much assurance can one have if their theology is based on their own personal view? If the sand is always shifting, can you build on a solid foundation? Just food for thought.

Categories: faith, theology, worldviews

Can We Change Our Theology?

How Religion Is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth

I read the article, How Religion is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth, on the Huffington Post (click the link above to read it for yourself).  Do you agree with the author of this article that nothing short of changing our theology of human sexuality will save the young lives he refers to in this article?  My understanding of theology is the study of God.  With that understanding, changing our theology would mean changing God.  We cannot change God.

I think Bishop Robinson is using the wrong argument.  It is about changing our attitudes toward the LBGT children that needs to change; not our theology.  We must not alienate these children, but embrace them with the love of Christ.  If we all had that attitude, then perhaps things would change.

Categories: Bible, theology Tags: ,

WORLD | A biblical and scientific Adam | Vern S. Poythress | May 18, 2013

Here is an interesting article for those of you interested in the ongoing debate of Darwinism and Creationism.

WORLD | A biblical and scientific Adam | Vern S. Poythress | May 18, 2013.

Categories: Bible, worldviews

Do we live by Scripture or assumptions?

April 6, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday, I found this posting on Christianity Today.  It is a blog entry, What Churchgoers Believe about Life after Death and Other Doctrines.[i]  I found this article interesting in that 25% of Christians surveyed believe that “a person who is ‘sincerely seeking God… can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity,” yet 82% believe the Bible is the “written word of God and is totally accurate in all that it teaches.”  This is just another example of how people do not have a clear understanding of their worldview.  While some profess to be a Christian, and thereby most likely think they are following a Biblical worldview, they still cling to ideas that are not supported by this view.   I suppose we could attribute this to people being unfamiliar with Scripture.  If that is the case, then this shows how much we need to be in God’s Word and not live by our assumptions alone.

Categories: worldviews Tags: ,

The Gospel and Western Culture

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I have begun reading a book for one of my seminary courses, Foolishness to the Greeks, The Gospel and Western Culture by Lesslie Newbigin.  I have just begun to read the book, but it has already raised a good deal of questions in my mind.

The western world has come so far in science and reasoning that we find ourselves living in a society where facts rule the public arena and we relegate values to our private lives.  We no longer need to seek new knowledge for ourselves; we just listen to the experts and trust them to tell us what is true and what is not.  Furthermore, because of our advanced understanding, each individual has the right to determine what is right or wrong, to determine his or her values and worldview.  We can believe whatever we want, just as long as we keep it to ourselves and not try to impose our values and beliefs on others.

But try to take our beliefs into the public square and now we are preaching heresy in a world dictated by facts.  How dare I try to impose my values on others?  Have I not read the latest issue of so-and-so magazine that says religion is only for those who are weak minded and cannot think for oneself?  Oh, how ignorant of me to think that we should live in a society of common norms and values.  That would be imposing my religion on everyone’s right to live his or her own life.  Society cannot tolerate such thoughts.

Is it any wonder that Christianity is losing ground in the western culture?

Categories: community, discipleship, faith