"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning."
"The fingers of your thoughts are molding your face ceaselessly."
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
"Humility enforces where neither virtue nor strength can prevail, nor reason."
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
Resistance Thinking Faith
It is through the Jesus lense the Resistance Thinking seeks to explore truth about the world in which we live. In this faith section you will find articles, news and reivews that will help you explore the complexities of the Christian faith.
We will cover a broad range of topics, including: theology, church, leadership, devotions, classic Christian literature, prayer, everyday faith, apologetics, church history, Christian living, Old Testamnet, New Testament, creation, fresh expressions, epistomology...the list could go on and on!
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"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." CS Lewis
It seems that anti-Christian messages are becoming somewhat of a regularity on Huffington Post. Most of the time these articles are written by so-called Christians who attempt to muddy the waters. There was an example from last month when the Reverend Chuck Currie took a swipe at Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The title alone is provocative; What Does Albert Mohler Have In Common With Al Qaeda?
Certainly Mohler would have cause to claim that he had been defamed by this assertion. Likely he wouldn't bother. It is hardly worth squabbling with some people, even in a court of law. Also it is true what Currie claims, Mohler does believe redefining marriage is a bad idea and Al Qaeda holds a similar stance. Yet therein is where the similarities end. Of course Currie is quick to label both Al Qaeda and Albert Mohler as examples of “fundamentalism”:
“Fundamentalism in religion is a dangerous thing. Mohler is no Osama bin Laden but clearly there is a place where Mohler's Christian fundamentalism and the Islamic fundamentalism of the late bin Laden find common ground: and that is in the subjugation of certain people, including gays and lesbians.
The good news is that Mohler and al Qaeda don't speak for Christianity or Islam.”
Certainly there would be merit in arguing that Albert Mohler doesn't really quantify as a fundamentalist Christian. Of course he is easily labelled “bigot” and “homophobe” in the world's eyes but that doesn't mean he represents the fringes of Christian voice.
This is a guest-post by a friend of mine. Andrew examines a recent article on Huffington Post in defence of Rob Bell in evangelical circles.
Doctrine Divides....and Sometimes It Should (Part 1)
Article by Andrew B
Welcome back. In part 1 of this article, I began dissecting Tim Suttle’s piece entitled, “Will Evangelicalism Last?” over at the religious section of the Huffington Post. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here. I’ll pick up exactly where I left off, as we get to the meat of Suttle’s article…
“Christians are not meant to believe in a rational account of the truth; we are meant to take up our cross and follow the one who is true; the truth as it has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ.”
We’re meant to take up our cross? Sounds like a truth statement to me…
“Most importantly, we must recognize that the fight for truth is nearly always a fight for control. Those who passionately defend the truth are often just grasping for power.”
Massive assumption based on no evidence at all. I could just as easily say that those who embrace and preach many truths are merely grasping for power by seeking to include and appease a larger group of people. But I wouldn’t, because that’s an assumption.
“Whatever you think of his writing, in all the attacks Rob Bell faced over his book Love Wins he never got ugly or defensive. Bell's Christ-likeness patiently proclaimed the good news of the resurrection in stark contrast to those who tried to burn him at the stake.”
Christ-likeness? Check Jesus storming the temple (John 2:13-17) and cursing out the Pharisees (Matt. 23). Also note that wolves come in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). The really good heretics are not the obvious ones. This is a teaching that a disturbing amount of Christians forget when responding to false teachers. At the end of the day just because a preacher appears nice/kind/loving is beside the point (even though every gospel preacher should be those things). John calls us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Furthermore, what is Suttle’s “good news of the resurrection” exactly? We will get into that later on.
“I know the objection. Isn't the Bible the truth? Again, this is a power play dressed up in a defense of orthodoxy. The Bible is the truthful witness to the one who is the way, the truth and the life.”
Check John 1.
Jesus (who is the Truth) is also the Word. What does that mean? Jesus embodied scripture in such a way that he was the perfect communication of God to the world. If Jesus is the Truth, and Jesus is also the Word of God, then the word is truth. I feel like a lot of this is so obvious it shouldn’t have to be said. The implication then is that if we are liberal in our handling of the word and refuse to take it seriously, then how will we receive Jesus who is described as the “Word become flesh” (John 1:14). What type of Jesus will we end up with?
“Mission should constitute the evangelical center.”
First of all, scripture please? Second of all, I partially agree with him. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (check Rom. 11:36, Ps. 16:5-11), and part of glorying God is calling others to join with us in this worship. But what does Suttle mean when he says “mission”? Well, he goes on to say “I'm talking about justice, mercy, faith and living in allegiance to the Gospel.” This is such a contradictory statement for him. Allegiance to the gospel? I don’t think he understands how that phrase goes against everything he’s arguing for. Not only does “allegiance to the gospel” mean preaching and adhering to a set, absolute TRUTH, it also implies REJECTING that which is NOT the gospel.
The rest of Suttle’s article honestly just gets increasingly worse. I agree, wholeheartedly, that missions is an important and essential part of Christianity, however we must never forget that the ultimate reason for missions is not just so that we can all get along or EVEN for the salvation of lost souls. Too often we forget that the ultimate reason for evangelism, preaching the word and people coming to a saving faith in Christ is NOT to keep people from an eternity in hell, but rather to gather souls to worship and enjoy our great God. To quote John Piper: “Missions exists because worship doesn’t”. And what does God say about the manner in which we are to worship Him? We are to worship him in spirit and…? Yeah, you guessed it – TRUTH (John 4:24).
I’ll end with this:
“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”2 Tim. 1:13
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”2 Tim. 4:3
"In the Sunday School class at CBC we're doing a series called Marriage, the Bible and You. In the second lesson of the series, I brought up the subject of secular talk shows and how they like to try to beat up on Christians of any size, shape, and significance about whatever topic they think is most embarrassing and controversial. Of course, at the moment it's "gay" "marriage," or the topic of homosexuality at all.
In the course of the lesson, I remarked that I think — from the comfortable quiet safety of my study — that I'd take a different approach.
When Piers or Larry or Tavis or Rosie or Ellen or The View or whoever tried probing me about homosexuality, or wifely submission, or any other area where God has spoken (to the world's consternation), I think I'd decline the worm altogether. I think instead, I'd say something like,
"You know, TaPierRosEllRy, when you ask me about X, you're obviously picking a topic that is deeply offensive to non-Christians — but it's far from the most offensive thing I believe. You're just nibbling at the edge of one of the relatively minor leaves on the Tree of Offense. Let me do you a favor, and just take you right down to the root. Let me take you to the most offensive thing I believe.
"The most offensive thing I believe is Genesis 1:1, and everything it implies.
Whenever the entertainment industry gets their hands on Scripture and tries to transform it to something that is entertaining I find myself just cringing. So I must admit it is with some trepidation that I saw the trailer for the soon-to-be-released (already released in US) TV mini-series titled The Bible. Here is said trailer:
Now not too much can be gleaned from this limited viewing.
However, this series has received endorsement from Creation Ministries: "The Bible is a brilliant production that brings the history of the Bible to life, and it’s immensely encouraging that a series of this caliber will be airing on The History Channel. No series could possibly perfectly convey the message of Scripture given the constraints of the medium. But I believe The Bible could expose people to these stories for perhaps the first time. People who won’t pick up a Bible will perhaps switch on The History Channel. And if we as Christians ‘get behind’ efforts like these, perhaps we will see more high-quality productions based on the biblical message."
So I'm quietly hopeful this series will buck the trend of the media mishandling the Biblical narrative.
Make sure to check it out once it becomes available.
This is a guest-post by a friend of mine. Andrew examines a recent article on Huffington Post in defence of Rob Bell in evangelical circles. Part 2 will be up in the next week.
Doctrine Divides....and Sometimes It Should (Part 1)
Article by Andrew B
For those of you unfamiliar with the Rob Bell controversy, take a minute to watch this and get brought up to speed. Basically, this former pastor from Mars Hill Church (no, a different Mars Hill) came out with a book promoting universalism, the idea that we ALL eventually end up in heaven, one way or another and hell either doesn’t exist or doesn’t have its traditional permanency. Rightly so, there was uproar in the Christian blogosphere and the responses to Bell’s book have been done to death. To get a basic idea of the rebuttals, take another moment to watch Jefferson Bethke (the “Hate Religion, Love Jesus” guy) parody the “Love Wins” promo vid here.
My goal here is not to respond to Love Wins, or even Rob Bell’s newest work that appears to be coming out soon, but rather to respond to a certain article in the religious section of the Huffington Post entitled “Will Evangelicalism Last?” from a pastor who I’m not familiar with named Tim Suttle. Have a read.
This pastor’s response to the Bell controversy highlights a notion that has been advancing in Christianity basically since the serpent asked Eve in the Garden, “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1). The question is ultimately whether rightly dividing God’s word and doctrinal issues matter enough to justify the furor against Bell and others like him and Tim Suttle, answering, “no, it does not” believes evangelicalism will not last long if it continues to hold so rigidly to its fundamental beliefs.
First of all, just skimming through the article the scripture reference count stands at zero. So, this isn’t a biblically driven article, but from the outset just seems to be some guy’s opinion. As Christians we aren’t too concerned about anyone’s opinions unless it is backed up by scripture. Remember, the internet and blogs are a GREAT source for learning about theological issues, but only so far as it guides us through scripture itself. Let me walk through the article bit by bit.
“One thing seems clear: If evangelicalism continues to be defined primarily by a theological center, it will crumble -- especially if guys like Denny Burk get to decide who's in and who's out.”
So straight off, scripture for this? It’s literally just a random opinion. But I’m sure he’ll try back up his claim so well see.
“For one thing "Truth" is not rational abstraction -- a concept, doctrine, or idea you can write down -- especially not one which you conveniently have right and everyone else conveniently has wrong. Truth-as-a-rational-abstraction constitutes a denial of the in- carnation (and big chunks of the New Testament). Doctrines and theologies can point to the truth but they are not themselves the Truth. The Truth has been revealed to us in and through Jesus Christ. Truth is a person. Jesus is the Truth.
Even if one keeps the truth-as-a-rational-abstraction account of truth, it still should not constitute the evangelical center. Christians are not meant to believe in a rational account of the truth; we are meant to take up our cross and follow the one who is true; the truth as it has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ. But for the truth-police, Christianity has become analyzed instead of lived.”
Rob Bell was known for being part of the “Emerging Church” which loved to use vague, airy-fairy terminology to distract you from the fact that they weren’t actually saying anything that made sense. This article seems to be in the same vein. I mean, it looks like Suttle is just desperately trying to avoid the literal definition of the word “truth”. The fact is this word is confronting by nature. It immediately divides, because if you say “truth” you’re implying there is a “false”. He actually inadvertently provides a good argument for placing a high value on truth by saying that the truth is a person, namely Jesus. What this actually means is that God was SO adamant about what was true and what was false that he actually gets his Son to refer to Himself as THE truth. Remember Jesus didn’t have to say this. He could have just said, “I am the Way and the Life” but no he says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
I actually love this next bit…
“Doctrines and theologies can point to the truth but they are not themselves the Truth. The Truth has been revealed to us in and through Jesus Christ. Truth is a person. Jesus is the Truth.”
…because it’s just a horrible argument. It just does not follow at all. He’s saying that since the truth is a person, then doctrines and theologies cannot be truth. It just doesn’t logically follow and again the lack of scripture references show that he’s not deriving this from a biblical context but rather from his own notions and opinions.
Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll tackle the second half of Suttle’s article.
"We equate love with indifference to sin when the Bible’s logic is exactly the opposite. The cross is the fullest expression of God’s love not because it shows God’s indifference to sin, but because it shows God’s holy hatred toward sin and his willingness to pay for it himself. That’s love.
At the end of Acts 7, we see Stephen praying for the angry mob stoning him to death. He says with his dying breath, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Surely this is love: Stephen wanted them to receive a mercy they did not show him. He had done nothing wrong. Stephen was not deserving of death. Their actions were a profound instance of criminal injustice. And yet in a final gasp, on his knees, he cries out on their behalf, “Lord have mercy.”
How did he do that? How could Stephen love like that? How do we love like that? Pray like that? Forgive like that? Lots of people in the world want to love and forgive. We like those virtues in our culture. But few people are interested in the principles which makes these virtues possible.People want to love like Stephen without bothering to understand or embrace the mile of theology that made his love possible. They don’t want to see the Jesus he saw, or believe in the vindication he knew was coming, or entrust their offense to the God of justice who will one day make all things right.
In the world, they want to be good people. But they don’t realize they have to be God people first. I hope you aren’t going to church just to become a better you or just for the morality your kids might pick up. That’s not how Christianity works. Becoming a Christian is not simply about self-improvement. It’s about a hundred particular truths that teach our minds and touch our hearts–truths about God and Christ and sin and salvation. And yes, later, and only in connection with all the rest, is it about being a good person. When you embrace the biblical worldview of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; creation, fall, redemption, and consummation; redemption accomplished and applied–when your heart thrills to all of that, then you’ll bear fruit. But don’t expect to ever look like Stephen if you grasp for the fruit without the tree."