Social Media and Spiritual Problems — from Doy Moyer’s Mind Your Faith blog
Interesting quotation from Miroslav Volf
If God is loving then how can He be wrathful? Isn’t wrath or anger inappropriate for a God who is love?
Yale Theologian, Miroslav Volf provides one great answer. He was born in Croatia and lived through the nightmare years of ethnic strife in the former Yugoslavia—including the destruction of churches, the rape of women, and the murder of innocents. He once thought that wrath and anger were beneath God, but he came to realize that his view of God had been too low…
“I used to think that wrath was unworthy of God. Isn’t God love? Shouldn’t divine love be beyond wrath? God is love, and God loves every person and every creature. That’s exactly why God is wrathful against some of them.
My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia…
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Footnote 35 — Christopher J.H. Wright, Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament (2nd ed., Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2014), pp. 71, 256-257.
Learning Biblical truths by implication (and the inferences drawn from narrative, prophecy, poetry, legal mandates or prohibitions, etc.) has been a topic of controversy in some religious circles for awhile now. Christopher J.H. Wright’s work connecting various Old Testament texts with Jesus provides some insight into how that process was used by the Lord himself to teach those who were seeking the truth about him.
“In order to explain Jesus, the New Testament connects him to a whole range of Old Testament Scriptures that are all perceived as expressing God’s promise – whether directly or by implication” (p.71, chapter 2).
Wright picks up this dangling thread later in his work, for example, in explicating the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13) –
“And once again, in the conversation afterward, Jesus helps them to understand the significance of John the Baptist. They knew the accepted teaching of the experts – Elijah must first come before God arrives. The staggering challenge lay in the implications. Here is the logic:
Elijah comes first, then God will come down (drawn from Mal 4:5).
You know that John has already come first, and then Jesus came.
So if John was Elijah, who is Jesus?
“In ways like this Matthew shows that Jesus used Scripture that spoke about God in ways that pointed to himself. He did not stand up with a banner proclaiming, ‘I am God.’ He did not need to. The people around him knew their Scriptures. Jesus pointed to those texts, pointed to himself, and in effect told them to draw their own conclusions.” (pp. 256-257).
Part of the issue, of course, is not so much about whether Jesus, and Biblical authors, taught by implication. That they did is an obvious truism — and expected others to draw the logical conclusions. The problem seems to be some of the UN-necessary inferences which some have drawn from Biblical teachings – “whether directly or by implication.”
Think about it, and draw your own conclusions!
Worth a few moments of your time …
It is amazing how certain comments stick in the mind. It is hard to know whether it is the context in which they are spoken or the sheer simplicity with which the comment nails its intended target, but nonetheless some things remain with you. I am regularly reminded of one of the funniest, and yet searingly clear, comments I received whilst engaged in mission work.
The context was my regular pilgrimage to the Holy Land; or, Llandudno as it is more commonly known. I was co-leading a week of mission. Much of the work involved cold-contact evangelism; approaching folk on the promenade and trying to generate conversation. The aim would be to share something of Christ and perhaps leave them with a Christian book or piece of literature to read in their own time. Sometimes conversations take off – often in ways you wouldn’t expect – and excellent theological discussion can…
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Lincoln on Emancipation, the Bible, and God’s Will
Lincoln gave voice to his thinking on the subject in September  when a church delegation from Chicago came to the White House to present a memorial endorsing emancipation… He told the delegates that religious men regularly approached him with advice. They were invariably “certain that they represent the divine will.” But they came with radically opposing views (“the most opposite opinions and advice”), and not all of them could be right. It might even be that all of them were wrong.
And there was the nub of the problem. How could one learn God’s will, and if one could not, how could one make the grave decision…? “If I can learn what it is I will do it!” Lincoln said. But God’s justice was inscrutable. “These are not,” he reminded his memorialists, “the days of miracles.” There would be no “direct revelation.” …Confederate troops were no doubt “expecting God to favor their side” just as Union men thought that God would favor theirs….
But the Chicago Christians replied with a much older idea…Unbeknownst to them, their reply followed the course Lincoln’s own thinking had been taking over the previous weeks. Moral uncertainty, they observed, could not excuse paralysis. “Good men,” they conceded, “differed in their opinions.” But “the truth was somewhere,” and men could not merely set one opinion against another and throw up their hands. The moral leader had to act, had to bring “facts, principles, and arguments” to bear and come to a conclusion as to what justice required
…[W]hen the interview closed, it was clear that Lincoln and his Chicago petitioners were not so far apart after all. “Do not misunderstand me because I have mentioned these objections,” Lincoln told them. “Whatever shall appear to be God’s will I will do.”
34 John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (New York: The Free Press/Simon and Schuster, 2013), p. 213.
The Week Leading to Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
If we consider the Gospel of John a sort of “Day Planner” for Jesus, we have nearly complete activity recorded for two weeks of the earthly ministry of Jesus. The first is in John 1:19—2:11 where activity for six of the seven days is recorded. I think the omitted day is the Sabbath.
The next nearly complete week is the last week, leading up to the resurrection. John gives more attention to the last week than any other Gospel. Even here we have activities for only six of eight days. This section begins in John 12:1 and continues into John 20. Here is the way I have reconstructed it. Where John does not record the activity I have…
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