As Christians, we love hearing testimonies of God’s faithfulness. It encourages us when our own faith is failing. We are reminded that God still works in peoples’ lives. All this is good.
The tricky thing is the hearer must be careful to not become like Simon Magus. You may recall how he wanted to do miracles just like Peter and John. Simon erroneously thought he could pay for something like this. We are not as crass, but we hear how God answered someone’s prayer and we look for the secret which made it all come about. Let’s say the person communicates that God convicted her to fast one day a week. Ah, that is the trick. If I fast one day a week, I can also count on God answering some of my most cherished prayers.
A sample of Reno’s words: “…the discussion seems to want something impossible: ideals without judgments, goals without rules, principles without ‘discrimination.’ This reflects the incoherence of modern liberal culture…”
The full piece is here: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/10/catholicism-sex-and-marriage
Two books I’ve read back to back for interviews referenced this brief article:
Strobel has put the Jonathan Edwards cookies on a lower shelf while not allowing the treats to taste “store bought.” Formed for the Glory of God is a well-written, accessible, and a beautiful treatment of the spiritual life.
One quote to give you a feel: “The cross is not an event to leave, nor is it a starting line; it is the path itself.”
Brian Regan is very funny and I’ve never heard him use crude humor. In any case, here is some of his comedic magic:
Watching the video I posted yesterday reminds me of a simple, yet widely neglected truth: Christians must wrestle with the beliefs of their faith. We are now embarrassed to say doctrine and theology. Sounds too impractical. If people come to that tragic conclusion, it is either the teacher’s fault or it could be the student’s fault. But it is never the subject of vibrant and life-giving theology. And notice how I felt compelled to modify theology. Maybe I am too defensive!
What happens when we mainly attract people to church with the social benefits, yet they don’t really understand much of what the Christian faith is about? Well, if they get troubled and want to ask probing questions, they might be told good Christians don’t struggle with such things. I’ve heard my share of such horror stories.
Christianity is true, but rightly understood it is beautiful, compelling, worth everything we are and have.
Warning, and I am serious: Make sure you are ready spiritually to listen to the eighteen minute clip below. Bart is the son of the famous, Christian speaker Tony Campolo. Bart started many ministries, but recently became the first secular humanist chaplain at USC.
Below is the article followed by his short talk. This is the kind of stuff that motivates me to put together a new seminar called “Listening to Skeptics and Doubters.” Here is the brief description of that course/seminar. If you know of a church or any organization who would be interested in having it, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Christians we understandably are quick to answer the questions raised by detractors of the gospel.
In this course/seminar/talk (all options are available), I will certainly offer responses to the objections raised by those outside the Christian faith, but I seek to do something more.
My approach follows somewhat in the spirit of Christian philosopher, Merold Westphal. He patiently allowed Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche to bring their various cases against Christianity. Then he did what most Christians don’t: he conceded that some of their concerns were valid. Professor Westphal offered answers, but first he gave ample time so these three “masters of suspicion” could speak freely.
We will look at five challenges to the Christian faith from the nineteenth century. All five challenges remain with us today:
*Critiques of Christianity from writers like Emerson and Melville along with the serial doubter, poet Emily Dickinson.
*New challenges due to immigration of moving from a largely Protestant nation to more of a “banquet” of religious options.
*Processing the carnage of the Civil War, numerically a 9/11 every day for about seven years!
*Attacks on the Bible from radical scholars which caused many to lose confidence in the Christian faith.
*A new paradigm of origins thanks to Charles Darwin.