Category Archives: Theology

DAVE MOORE ON “END TIMES”

Here’s a short description I came up with that reflects a bit of how I feel:

I am having hyperdispensational migraines induced by a lopsided hermeneutic which prevents knowing about OT typology. 

If you don’t understand what I am saying here, it is probably a good thing!

THEOLOGICAL TURKEY

 

Image result for turkey carcass

 

The comment below is to a friend about one of his friends.  It is easy to know what the friend of my friend doesn’t believe (it includes some of the silliness I don’t believe), but tough to know what he believes.  Here’s the analogy I came up with:

At the end of it all I scratch my head every time wondering what he still believes.  He states various presuppositions, but it seems he holds to a faith so tentative that it is difficult to see any scandal of the cross. Lots of bad meat is sliced off the theological turkey, but it seems we won’t be eating any meat at his house.  Instead, it looks like he is only keen on using the carcass for spiritual soup.

ANGLICANISM

Many American Evangelicals mistake the American variety of Anglicanism for either the British variety, or worse still, the liberal Episcopalian church.  The Anglican Church North America (ACNA) is decidedly under the authority of Scripture and quite clear about the work of Christ on the cross. 

I now gladly attend an Anglican church, but I am not Anglican.  There are four major reasons I give to those wondering why we shifted from low church evangelicalism to the Anglican church: an intentional theology of the body (and the physical world), a conscious tie to the whole church throughout its history and in the world today, truly keeping primary doctrines primary which translates to giving much space to differ over a variety of non primary doctrines, and a protection against personality cults emerging with respect to the ministers.  Much could be said about those things and perhaps later I will offer more details…

TWO PEOPLE STAND OUT

There are two men who have taught me the most about the proper ways to integrate theology and literature: Ralph Wood and Roger Lundin.  I have interviewed Ralph before, and Lord willing shall be going back to Baylor for another interview.  I corresponded with Roger.  I was planning on meeting with Roger during my lecture at Wheaton, but Roger unexpectedly died a few days prior to my talk.  Jeremy Begbie of Duke collaborated with Roger.  Here is part of Begbie’s tribute:

He cared about words – or better put, he cared for people through words: his students, colleagues and readers. That was why he labored so hard to find the right ones. That was why – with that memorable sidelong glance – he paused so often in conversation. That is why he spent hours and hours revising and re-editing his essays and books. In all the years I knew Roger I can honestly say I never remember him using words carelessly. He knew that careless words could hurt, maim and wound. In a culture deluged with half-thought out words, sloppy, hollowed-out language, he saw it as his calling to hone words full of care for others, full of the winsome generosity of God. And in the corridors of the academy, few things are needed more today. We academics revel in large words – to impress, to intimidate. He inspired us to use words with largesse. And that is a legacy beyond measure.

The rest is here: http://www.transpositions.co.uk/tribute-to-professor-roger-lundin/

1+1+1=3 NOT 1!

It is common to see Christians use the 1+1+1=1 equation to describe the trinity.  Their intention is good, but I think utilizing this equation as an illustration of the trinity is misguided.

When we look at the equation we conclude that the trinity is irrational.  All our lives we have known 1+1+1=3 not 1.  But now we are instructed that there is a heavenly math of sorts where it equals 1.

I was sharing the gospel with a Muslim years ago at the University of Texas in Dallas. He said he could never become a Christian because the trinity was irrational.  I shared with him that irrational was not the right word.  Mysterious to be sure, but not irrational.

Irrational would mean we are saying God exists simultaneously as one Person and three Persons.  Another irrational option would be to say God exists simultaneously as one Being and three Beings.  But of course, Christians don’t believe either one of these things.

We do believe that God is one in His Being or Essence, yet three in Person.  Each Person is fully God not 33.333% God.  That is why you can’t conceptualize the trinity.  It is indeed beyond our understanding, but that does not make it irrational. 

I asked my Muslim friend if he could conceptualize everything about Allah.  He conceded that he could not.  He could not get his head wrapped around such things as God being uncaused or self-existent.  I asked if he thought uncaused or self-existent would be irrational.  “Not if He is God,” he replied.  Of course, it would be irrational to say God is both self-existent and dependent on someone/thing else for His existence.

So let’s drop the 1+1+1=1 for the trinity.  We don’t want to give the impression that belief in the Christian God is irrational.  Mysterious and beyond our comprehension to be sure, but not irrational.

 

THE CIVIL WAR’S BEST THEOLOGIAN?

Historian Mark Noll likes to answer the question above with Abraham Lincoln.  Not because Lincoln was a Christian, but because of his acute awareness of the mysterious tracings of God’s providence.  Here is an important except from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, the greatest American speech according to well-known Civil War historians like James McPherson and George Rable:

“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”

HEY JERRY FALWELL JR. AND ROBERT JEFFRESS: PLEASE READ AND HEED THIS BOOK!

https://www.amazon.com/Onward-Engaging-Culture-without-Losing/dp/1433686171/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Russell Moore’s latest book is a note of sanity in the midst of rampant confusion. And I am talking about Christians. Thankfully, Moore (no relation) also has the church in his gracious crosshairs.

Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel is a good reminder of what should be central (God, His kingdom, and the good news of gospel) and what should be secondary (American politics in this case, but everything else by way of implication).

Moore is crystal clear and compelling in the variety of ways he describes an American church being coopted by many influences and straying from the scandal of the cross. Moore is not an advocate for being foolish for foolishness sake, but he reminds us that there is an otherworldly sound to the gospel. This unusual sound is arresting to non-Christians, but as Moore does a nice job of showcasing, it can also be surprising to those of us who align with the Christian faith.

The tone of this book is respectful, loving, and hard-hitting. That triad may seem contradictory, but Moore pulls it off.

Highly recommended…and if you know Falwell or Jeffress make sure to buy them a copy!

THE PAIN AND JOY OF LEARNING

If you are following the debate swirling about the trinity, I think it is quite clear that one side has the better of the argument.  My brief reflection on this, and by way of extension, all such challenges:

Luke Timothy Johnson likes to remind us of the ancient phrase that “to learn is to suffer.” Learning many times means abandoning something we believed to be true, but now realize is not.

The other side of learning is the joy of discovery. Ezekiel Cheever, the first headmaster of Massachusetts Bay, believed that “children ought to come to learn as they come to play.”

May God motivate all of us to admit when we are wrong. There will undoubtedly be some pain in the discovery, but joy will attend our way as we do.