Friday, December 24, 2010

Misinterpreting the patience of God

Jeremiah 44:16-23 "As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you! 17 But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine." 19 The women also said, "And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands' permission?" 20 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people—the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer—saying: 21 "The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and did it not come into His mind? 22 So the LORD could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day."(NKJV)

Jeremiah had many conversations with various people in his books. This passage above from Jeremiah 44 really jumped out as one that could have occurred today. The people of the land complain to Jeremiah that they had plenty of food, water, and everything else when they worshiped the “queen of heaven.” It was better when they spread the worship around. They even misplaced the cause of their judgment; it wasn’t because they forgot to worship the Lord that they were being judged, it was because they had stopped praying to their own gods. To them, the simple proximity of time between the various actions gave the cause and effect. It couldn’t possibly have been because of neglecting the worship of Jehovah that they were suffering; they’d stopped doing that too long ago for that to be the cause! They did not know God, nor His word well enough to understand God’s attributes.

Because of the patience of God, sinful men become even more set in their sinful ways. They believe that if they aren’t judged right that second for their sin, that God must be looking the other way—that he must be ok with whatever they are doing, or perhaps He doesn’t exist. In a sense, even this expectation is a form of idolatry. To the unbeliever, whatever he or she is doing is at the center of the universe; God should interrupt His plan of history to make sure that each sin is punished immediately. God should march to their beat and dance to their desires. If He doesn’t, then He doesn’t exist, or He isn’t relevant they will assert. This is the same thing that the atheist does in arguing against God’s existence. “God has to reveal Himself to me in some supernatural way before I will believe” says the atheist. “I’m so important, that I cannot read the words you’ve spoken God, I have to have my own special revelation to believe.”

This may come as a shock to a lot of people, but the Bible isn’t a religious buffet. One doesn’t get to choose this piece or that piece of what God has said to believe, and then choose other pieces that are to be rejected. Either you are going to worship the God who has spoken through the Bible, or you are going to worship an idol. You might think you’re something special if you construct an extra specially complicated idol with some unique features, or you might think yourself special if you adopt the idol of some famous person. You might comfort yourself with the idea that so-and-so also worshiped this or that god and they were a “good” person, but ultimately it is still an idol. The judgment at the end of the age isn’t going to be based on how creatively you adorned the idol you created, it is going to be based on whether or not you know the God who is there. Woe to those whom Christ tells at the end of the age says “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23).

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Lie Told By God-Hating Humanists

This story from ABC News is saddening to me. Without even really commenting on the pill itself (that's really just another facet of the abortion debate), I'd like to point out one of the most outrageous comments in the article:

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, further noted in a statement released Wednesday that the development is a victory for science.
"We are pleased that the FDA is taking the necessary steps to comply with the court's order. It's a good indication that the agency will move expeditiously to ensure its policy on Plan B is based solely on science," Northup's statement reads. "It's time the FDA restores confidence in its ability to safeguard the public health and put medical science first."

The part of the quote that is just ludicrous is "to ensure its policy on Plan B is based solely on science." This lady's comments shouldn't even be reported by a news agency because they are an outright lie. Science can never answer moral questions. Science can answer "could" questions, but not "should" questions. Science can tell you what the pill is going to do, how it's going to work, the side effects and many other things, but it most definitely CANNOT tell you if minors or anyone else for that matter should have access to it. That is a moral question to which science cannot speak. This is not a victory for "science," it's a victory for God-hating humanists. Of course if she told the truth, then her statement looses much of its high sounding authority. Let me say it again, this is not about science in any fashion, it is about one group's religious agenda. Christianity will not have problems standing up in the marketplace of ideas; it'll stand up to Nancy Northup's brand of humanism any day, but she needs to be called out for her agenda. It's not a scientific agenda, it's an anti-Christian one. At least her opponents are honest and understand that it's not about science on this question.
This isn't much different than the story presented in Genesis 3. As far as science was concerned, Adam and Eve could eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was nothing special about the tree as far as science could say; the fruit was good for eating, there was nothing physically preventing them from reaching out and taking the fruit, but no matter what science said about the tree, that didn't answer the question "should they eat of that tree?" To answer that question, they needed to look to their Creator.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Illustrating Worldviews

Many times movies do a good job of illustrating different world views. In fact, you won't find any kind of media that doesn't come from some sort of worldview. One of the biggest contrasts to me has always been between a couple of movies that deal with women in stressful marriages and how they react to that. These two movies are "The Hours" and "A Beautiful Mind." A full plot summary is not for this post, but I'll give enough so the quotes are understandable. For "The Hours," Laura is a housewife during the 1950s. She's not happy in her very traditional marriage and has contemplated suicide several times. She eventually leaves her husband and children. At the end of the movie though, she returns many, many years later and makes this statement:
From "The Hours:"

Laura Brown: It would be wonderful to say you regretted it. It would be easy. But what does it mean? What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear. There it is. No one's going to forgive me. It was death. I chose life.

In contrast to this, consider the following situation from "A Beautiful Mind." Alicia is married to a brilliant and rather eccentric mathematician who sees imaginary people. When the fact that he's seeing things is discovered, it creates a situation where she struggles about whether to stay in the marriage or not. At different points in the movie, she gives these quotes:
From "A Beautiful Mind:"

Alicia Nash: Often what I feel is obligation or guilt over wanting to leave, or rage against John, against God. But then I look at him and I force myself to see the man I married. And he becomes that man. He's transformed into someone I love. And then I'm transformed into someone who loves him. It's not all the time. But it's enough.
John Nash: And then, on the way home, Charles was there again. Sometimes I miss talking to him. Maybe Rosen is right. Maybe I have to think about going back to the hospital.
Alicia Nash: Maybe try again tomorrow.

These quotes illustrate in stunning clarity to me the difference between a modern-day worldview (specifically that of marriage) and a Christian worldview. Both sounds high minded, and one specifically tries to justify itself. Proverbs 26:16 says "The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason." This would also seem to apply to people that wish to abrogate their responsibility. It's easy to come up with reasons to just give up when the right thing to do is so difficult, and if you are a good speaker or writer you can even make it sound good when you give the excuses. These excuses will always be centered on yourself, and all the difficulty it will cause you to fulfill your obligations. They usually won't mention the disaster that will be left for other people to pick up: the financial devastation that will come upon a family, the questions from the children regarding why, and the emotional and other stress that will come to the remaining spouse because of the extra responsibilities. Of course the list of problems it would have caused to simply be responsible will make this list look small. That's exactly what Proverbs is getting at though.

Taking responsibility is not going to be easy. Dispatching the lion from the street is not a simple task, but the consequences of this choice are drastically different. As the sermon this week spoke about, trials don't ever make people faithful. They don't create gold out of iron or anything similar. Trials do however reveal and refine the true faith people already have. They make people patient and stronger overall. That doesn't mean everything will be happily ever after every time. That's what's great about Alicia's quotes in the movie: she doesn't gloss over real problems. It's not about flowery beds of ease. There are real, difficult, emotional problems to be addressed. The damage is mitigated though; the tide stemmed.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Re: Global Warming and Abortion

A great followup commentary on the article I posted the day before.
The only way to understand how such a mainstream scientist could fall into the clutches of such unscientific ideology, is to consider the nihilistic philosophy of life prevalent among many of the cultural elite of Western Europe and to some degree of America too. They have not only rejected the sacredness of human life by denying the Sacred; they have emptied human life of all transcendent purpose. They have replaced man’s natural search for inter-personal righteousness with a new and easy godless ethic of “Green,” where the earth is the victim of human existence, and humans, ironically, are the only ones who can save it.

Yes, the tale of the new Green superhero–the one we are creating today by accepting the prophets of environmental doom–can only end with a man standing naked on the edge of a cliff, having freed the earth of every other human aggressor, and every other evil product of his making, and having the great courage to jump into oblivion.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Global Warming and Abortion

This is an interesting marriage of ideas--if I do say.
Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government's Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Unity and Scripture Alone

In studying the attributes of God, one realization I've had is just how interconnected they all are. You can't speak about God's knowledge without mentioning His power and decree and His other attributes as well. You can't speak about God's immutability without also mentioning His wisdom and His will. This shows the unity of God.

This unity in God's being is also reflected in the life of a Christian as well--especially with regard to who we are to trust and worship. After a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, they begin a process of sanctification. They begin with earnest desire to live "not only according to some, but according to all the commandments of God." (Heidelberg Catechism Q.114) Here Christians begin to bring all aspects of their life into accordance with the law of God. Indeed they have been predestined to this very thing. This in a dim manner illustrates God's unity as well. Christians are not to be divided in their worship, but they are to solely trust in the Lord.

One of the signs of perilous times ahead is when people are "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3:7) This implies that they have never really accepted the scriptures as truth because then they would then have come to the truth. In fact, Paul's council to Timothy after this description of these wicked people is to "...continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:14-15) By rejecting the scriptures, they've also rejected any hope of true unity within themselves or with other Christians for that matter. Scarier still, they no longer worship the God who is.

I find it strange that these people still desire to hold onto the Christian label at all though, but they do. They then parade around as "Christians" who have been enlightened to see that the Bible is really just like any other book: full of man's opinions. And they really do believe this is enlightened. They present it as if they've attained a higher form of knowledge; they pity the poor people still ignorantly believing the Bible is actually completely true. They then pick and choose what is "truth" based on their own arbitrary standard. Some "truths" are to be accepted, some are to be rejected. By ripping ideas out of context or flat out denying other parts, they make it sound like the Bible says something completely opposite of what it really says. Once this cat is out of the bag there is little hope for unity or for truth. I believe these statements of the Bible, and you believe these other statements of the Bible; really we're both just elevating our own ideas and then finding some proof text within scripture that seems to support what we already want to believe.

This is not worshipping the God who is. This is having another God. Deuteronomy 5: 9-10 "you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." I wish these would stop using the name Christian to identify something that is obviously not Christian.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conservativism's Obituary?

The Wall Street Journal has a good op-ed on the election. From the same:
In the coming days you will hear many a pundit read the conservative movement's obituary. But voters have not rejected conservative ideals; they are disgusted with Republican politicians who govern like liberals.

This seems to match up to what I see as well. How do you explain the electing of a very liberal president while at the same time California (which we all know is the nation's great bastion of conservativism) votes to ban gay marriage? People are rightly fed up with politicians that promise small government that then increase the size of government. Unfortunately, I fear we will end up with even more government because of Obama.

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