How the disciples encourage preachers, teachers and parents

9 Aug

Bishop JC Ryle on John 2: “the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken.”

We see in this passage, how men may remember words of religious truth long after they are spoken, and may one day see a meaning in those who at first they did not see.

We are told that our Lord said to the Jews, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John informs us distinctly that “He spoke of the temple of His body,” that he referred to His own resurrection. Yet the meaning of the sentence was not understood by our Lord’s disciples at the time that it was spoken. It was not until “He was risen from the dead,” three years after the events here described, that the full significance of the sentence flashed on their hearts. For three years it was a dark and useless saying to them. For three years it lay sleeping in their minds, like a seed in a tomb, and bore no fruit. But at the end of that time the darkness passed away. They saw the application of their Master’s words, and as they saw it were confirmed in their faith. “They remembered that He had said this,” and as they remembered “they believed.”

It is a comfortable and cheering thought, that the same kind of thing that happened to the disciples is often going on at the present day. The sermons that are preached to apparently heedless ears in churches, are not all lost and thrown away. The instruction that is given in schools and pastoral visits, is not all wasted and forgotten. The texts that are taught by parents to children are not all taught in vain. There is often a resurrection of sermons, and texts, and instruction, after an interval of many years. The good seed sometimes springs up after he that sowed it has been long dead and gone. Let preachers go on preaching, and teachers go on teaching, and parents go on training up children in the way they should go. Let them sow the good seed of Bible truth in faith and patience. Their labor is not in vain in the Lord. Their words are remembered far more than they think, and will yet spring up “after many days.” (1 Cor. 15:58; Eccles. 11:1.)

Does religion make good people do bad things? Without God, is such a judgment even intelligible?

4 Aug

From Steve over at Triablogue:

Steven Weinberg says: “Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
To which Freeman Dyson parried, “And for bad people to do good things–that takes religion.”
i) Dyson makes a good point. Good religion prompts some people to do good things they wouldn’t do if left to their own devices.
But I’d like to address Weinberg’s allegation on its own terms.
ii) There’s no such thing as “human dignity” given atheism.
iii) There’s a certain paradox in saying good people do evil things. Does Weinberg mean they are still good at the time they commit evil? Or does he mean people who’d otherwise be good become morally warped by religion?
iv) Weinberg thinks his slam against “religion” is devastating, yet there’s a sense in which a religious believer might agree with him. That’s because Weinberg is attacking religion in general. As an atheist, he thinks all religion is bad. But, of course, religionists are typically more discriminating. For instance, I think Islam inspires “good” people to do evil things. Likewise, the Bible says paganism inspires “good” people to do evil things.
Here I’m using “good” in the sense that false religion can make people morally twisted. Of course, there’s another sense in which bad religion is the product of morally twisted people. Those aren’t mutually exclusive explanations. Rather, they feed on each other. Bad people invent bad religion, while bad religion makes people worse. They imagine they have an absolute duty to commit evil.
v) Weinberg is arbitrarily selective. Secular ideologies can inspire “good” people to do evil things. Take Communism. A utopian, idealistic ideology that inspired torture, mass murder, &c.
vi) For that matter, some otherwise “good” people do bad things because they find themselves in a coercive situation. Take men conscripted to fight in unjust wars. If they refuse, they will be shot. So they do what’s required of them, although they may do the bare minimum.
vii) A final problem is that Christian ethics is incommensurable with secular ethics. Weinberg deems some actions to be evil which Christian ethics deems to be good; Weinberg deems some actions to be good which Christian ethics deems to be evil. There’s not much common ground.

To Christianity from China: conform or else. To Christianity from American government: conform or else?

3 Aug

Broadly speaking, in China there are two versions of Christianity. There is the one that is officially tolerated, accepted, celebrated, subordinated to, and accommodated by the State in public life. Then there is the one that is officially not tolerated, prohibited, discriminated against, and shunned by the State. Why the unequal treatment? In the former version, the State has determined that it poses no threat to national ideological and cultural orthodoxy and State power. It’s a version of Christianity that will comply with the reigning political elites and their ideological creed, even affirm them. As such, it is rewarded for good behavior with public accommodation. But the latter version, the underground version, has done what all authentic Christian communities have always done on their better days: bend the knee only to the Kingship of Jesus Christ and His Word. They fear God rather than men. It isn’t surprising that such a dichotomy in the 21st century, where a religion is accommodated only in so far as it conforms to a State sponsored creed, exists in communist China, where religious liberty and separation of church/state have never been a fundamental right/principle of the political system. We expect the State to maintain a “conform or else” attitude towards religious communities there. But in America?

Evidence?  Where to begin.  How about California Senate Bill 1146:

http://www.albertmohler.com/2016/08/03/briefing-08-03-16/

 

Senator Dr. Ben Sasse just gets it. Sasse for President

18 Jul

Why will I be writing in Ben Sasse for president in 2016?  Because he gets it.  He is a constitutionalist first (party way down the list).  He understands that cultural change and process will not happen through centralized legislation.  He is conversant with and guided strongly by founding principles of political philosophy (he actually has one, which is almost entirely missing from politicians these days).  Most importantly, he knows that how laws and decided (separation of powers, federalism, rule of law, checks and balances) is far more significant in a republican than what laws are decided (or which partisan side you are on).

Just listen to the man.42f0699cfba87c006a0f6a706700912d_c0-239-5712-3569_s885x516

BLM Facts (they are stubborn things)

12 Jul

From Heather MacDonald

Women’s Issues in the PCA

12 Jul

This year’s General Assembly passed a recommendation from the Administration Committee (who got it in turn from the Cooperative Ministries Committee) to erect a study committee on women’…

Source: Women’s Issues in the PCA

Evangelicals, the Kingdom of God, and Donald Trump

7 Jun

Perhaps the ‪#‎NeverTrump‬ debate among evangelicals may in fact boil down to this: should evangelicals be more worried about the nation or the church, the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of this world? Let’s be clear, voting for Trump, however purely strategic it happens to be, will result in a pro-Trump label for evangelicals (that’s how it will be uncharitably spun). So, how detrimental, shameful, consequential, to the church or kingdom of Jesus Christ will that be? If they reason it won’t be all that detrimental for the cause of Christ and reputation of his church, then a strategic choice to defeat Hillary may be prudent though painful. But if they think that it will be highly detrimental, then they will reason that a Hillary defeat gains little compared to the “mark of Trump” the church will have to bear in the aftermath of the election. Whatever an evangelical does, it seems to me that too few of them are worried about the heavenly kingdom’s reputation and goals and are singularly focused instead on the kingdom of this world.

 

%d bloggers like this: