Author Archives: Dave

BIBLE LESSON FROM JUDGE SCALIA

 

Image result for Antonin Scalia with bible

Judge Antonin Scalia was well-known for saying that if you are allow the evidence to take you where it goes, then some of your legal decisions will not be to your liking.

There is an important lesson for those of us who seek to know what God is truly saying in His Word.  Is everything we think the Scripture says to our liking?  If so, we are in need of reevaluating the way we interpret Scripture.

THE BENEDICT OPTION

I trust several of you are wrestling with what Rod Dreher has dubbed The Benedict Option.  Much needed conversation, with quite a bit of feisty debate is being spawned by Dreher’s book. I will be reviewing Dreher’s book and a few others which are being called “alarmist” by some, but for now let me direct your attention to a terrific essay by Alan Jacobs (my gratitude to Bill Bridgman for bringing this to my attention).  If you don’t read the entire thing, then chew on this:

In 1974, when the great bishop-theologian Lesslie Newbigin retired from his decades of labor in the Church of South India, he and his wife decided to make their way back to their native England by whatever kind of transportation was locally available, taking their time, seeing parts of the world that most Europeans never think of: from Chennai to Birmingham by bus. Newbigin would later write in his autobiography, Unfinished Agenda, that everywhere they went, even in the most unlikely places, they found Christian communities—with one exception. “Cappadocia, once the nursery of Christian theology, was the only place in our whole trip where we had to have our Sunday worship by ourselves, for there was no other Christian to be found.”

If the complete destruction of a powerful and beautiful Christian culture could happen in Cappadocia, it can happen anywhere, and to acknowledge that possibility is mere realism, not a refusal of Christian hope. One refuses Christian hope by denying that Jesus Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, not by saying that Christianity can disappear from a particular place at a particular time.

As quoted in Alan Jacobs, “The Benedict Option and the Way of Exchange,” First Things, March 20, 2017

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/03/the-benedict-option-and-the-way-of-exchange

JOHN NEWTON ON POLITICS

I’ve just finished a terrific book on John Newton by Tony Reinke.  Several years back, I read Jonathan Aitken’s wonderful biography of Newton.  Tony’s book (interview with the author this fall) focuses more on themes that emerge from the letters of Newton. 

https://www.amazon.com/John-Newton-Disgrace-Amazing-Grace/dp/1433541815

https://www.amazon.com/Newton-Christian-Life-Live-Christ/dp/1433539713/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The section on politics has much food for thought.  If you know about Newton’s life, you know he was not anti-political.  His encouragement for his friend, William Wilberforce, to go into the political sphere, is one example.  However, Newton did understand better than most that getting consumed with politics has many traps.  Here are a few quotes from Newton:

“There is a peace passing understanding, of which the politicians cannot deprive us.”

At the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 Newton wrote, “The whole compass of my politics lies in Psalm 76:10”:

Surely the wrath of God shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.

“A nation’s safety lies more in the prayers of its people than in the fleets of its navy.”

THREE RELATIONSHIPS

The apostle Paul said many provocative things. These things were not simply provocative. More importantly, there were true. For example, Paul said that we ought to “follow Christ as he did” and in Philippians Paul writes, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

We know Paul valued relationships. From his earliest days as a Christian Paul benefited greatly from mentors like Ananias and Barnabas, later peer relationships like Silas were a huge blessing, and then Paul built into the lives of many people like Timothy, his “true son in the faith.”

Paul says if we do what he did the “God of peace will be with us.” What a promise!

How should these relationships inform our own convictions?