About

Posts by :

The Stupidity of Sin

The Stupidity of Sin

I have been meditating lately on the stupidity of sin. We all sin, which means we all share in the great succession of stupidity. But what is at stake here is what Moses refers to as, “high-handed sins.” There are sins that deserve the title of stupidity in capital letters. The public sins are those that are blatant. But then, there are private sins that take a little longer to be exposed, but they too are forms of public sins since all sin is public.

These private sins begin in the tombs of secrecy. They hide in motel rooms and other dirty places. But in the end, they will all be brought to light. After all, God hates the darkness. And the Spirit’s role is to shine in all those dirty, secret places. After all, you cannot hide from the Creator of secret places.

But sin is deceiving. When a man cherishes his sin for too long he gets careless. He begins to publicize more and more his privatized escapades. The more he cherishes his private sins the more careless he becomes in hiding them. One day that perfume scent is tattooed on his shirt or the computer is left on just for a minute or two, but enough for another witness to see. Stupidity increases as the love of sin is magnified.

The heart of the godly man knows that God is not hidden from us. We cannot hide from Him. In fact, if we decide to live in his presence, then we will not be tempted to allow stupidity to make a home in us. The Spirit of God desires to make our bodies a living temple, a re-edenizing of our affections need to take place daily. Sin separates us from the love of God. When sin is prevalent in private it will eventually become public. Kill the private sins early and kill the speed of stupidity before it crashes and your world collapses.

The Trinitarian Father UPDATE

The Trinitarian Father UPDATE

Many of you had a chance to download The Trinitarian Father in kindle format. My small booklet has been updated and will soon be published by Covenant Media Foundation. It will provide a greater platform for the book. The kindle edition will be removed from Amazon as soon as CMF publishes it. Currently, it is still on sale at Amazon for $1.99.

The new edition will have two additional chapters and a nice cover with it. It will be more readable since it has gone through multiple editing processes. Stay tuned for updates, including a new FACEBOOK page.

If you have not subscribed to receive these posts, please do so now on the right hand side of the page.

A Review of “Unstoppable” with Kirk Cameron

A Review of “Unstoppable” with Kirk Cameron

The thought of spending $12.50 on a movie frightens me. I am perfectly content watching my favorite latest series on Netflix. The thought of going to a movie theater no longer appeals to me as it did ten years ago. So what would compel me to visit the theater this time? I confess, I was intrigued. I have been following Kirk Cameron for some time now. Kirk’s rise to stardom occurred in the late 80’s with Growing Pains. Since then, Cameron has come to Jesus and turned his career toward the Christian movie industry. His official entrance into the evangelical scene came in the 2000 movie, Left Behind. In those days, Cameron had drunk deeply of Tim Lahaye’s best sellers. The Left Behind series became a sensation. The 16-part novels emphasized the rapture, a popular evangelical doctrine of the end-times. The “Rapture” occurs when Jesus calls His Church home. The vision of falling airplanes, tightly folded clothes, and millions of people disappearing has become more than fiction; to many, it is Christianity in its purest form. And Cameron’s movies became the face of it.

Fast forward several years. Cameron’s involvement in broad apologetic and evangelistic work with Ray Comfort has given him some notoriety. He has spoken courageously on a host of moral issues and has received the type of media persecution expected from those who are antagonistic to the exclusivity of Jesus.

Cameron’s personal journey led him to some interesting theological figures. His youthful appeal can be deceiving. Kirk has actually become a fine thinker. And the greatest proof of his ability to engage the world of the Bible intelligently is his latest movie entitled “Unstoppable.” Originally presented to an audience of 10,000 people at Liberty University, Cameron explores the traditional question of theodicy: “If God is sovereign, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?” a

A Case for Christian Activism

The theme song summarizes the basic thrust of the movie. There is a time to speak and that time is now. Cameron’s investigation provides an apologetic for Christian activism. The former Growing Pains star is now calling Christians everywhere to grow up. Speak for Christ. Defend Christ. The whole world has become a platform for the Christian vision.

This journey seeks to offer some answers to the broad questions of good and evil. Instead of entering into the philosophical arena, Kirk enters into the narrative of redemptive history. The drama of life is being enacted in this great stage. Unstoppable presents a narrative theology that is often unheard of in the evangelical pulpit. This narrative is both compelling and rich. It is a story that starts in the beginning.

Narratival Theology

Through very rich imagery, Cameron takes us through the formation of man. Man is created with authority and that is most clearly seen in his ability to name animals. In doing so, Adam mimics His Creator. God gives man a mission to heavenize earth.  The heavenification project began in the Garden. Adam then is put to sleep and, from his side, God forms woman, who is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. This beautiful, poetic, creative act, now puts man and woman at the center of God’s great plans for history.

Man was to have dominion over all things. And the first great test they faced came in the form of a beast. Adam should have smelt it a mile away. He should have crushed it. But the compelling drama goes from the safety of the garden into the danger of the forbidden fruit. Adam’s sin plunges humanity into chaos. But in the middle of this cosmic betrayal, God does not betray His creation. He makes a promise (Gen. 3:15). Even after Adam and Eve leave the garden He continues to provide for them.

But the narrative continues in bloody fashion. Humanity experiences its first death: the death of a son, the death of a brother. God then places on Cain the first true mark of the beast.

At this point, Kirk Cameron explores the persuasiveness of this narrative. This is a narrative, he argues, that would not sell. In Genesis, the Creator of the world destroys His own creation when He sent a great deluge to drown humanity in their sin. Why would the Protagonist do this? It is here when Cameron shines in his narration. He argues that God packs the whole world in a wooden box and then re-opens the box (the ark) to a new and better world. The new world is born through tragedy. The story is persuasive because it does not hide the consequences of sin.

The Theology of Unstoppable

Unstoppable is a short commentary on Genesis, which is consequently a commentary on the whole Bible. The great rainbow (bow) serves as an instrument of war. God took that instrument and directed it to His only begotten Son at the cross. At the cross, Christ was brutally murdered by His own creation. But it is precisely at the cross, argues Cameron, that “Jesus flips death on its head by dying for His enemies.” After death came life. Life burst from the grave. In fact, every graveyard is a garden. And one day, “each seed will burst into a new world.”

It is in this resurrection theme that Cameron transforms the question of evil into a case for the God who redeems humanity and will bring humanity from the dust of the earth into a new creation. Cameron takes the death of his young friend and uses it as an example for how grieving is not the end of the story. God’s purposes are unstoppable.

This is not your typical Bible story telling. Cameron weaved into his narrative a robust view of creation. Creation is not something to be despised or rejected. Creation was not left behind by its God. Creation is being redeemed by its Maker. Redeemed humanity united to the Final Adam, Jesus Christ, is now commissioned to disciple the nations and make the glory of God known.

Evangelicals will be deeply shocked by its overwhelming optimism. Cameron does not end in lament, but in triumph. The Christian vision is not an escapist one. It is a mission grounded in resurrection joy. And because of this, evil does not have the final word. God cannot be stopped. His purposes will be accomplished in history. His glory will be known from sea to sea.

DVD AVAILABLE
JANUARY 28, 2014

CHURCH SHOWINGS BEGIN NOVEMBER 15!

  1. Inherent in the question, is “How can He allow bad things to happen to Christians?  (back)
Working Out Your Own Salvation

Working Out Your Own Salvation

All theology is public. Privatized theology is for pagans. Pagans like to do theology in the dark. Christians do theology in the light. We are all light theologians. The principle of working out your salvation with fear and trembling is the principle of living out your salvation before the face of God. God is always present. His Spirit is the One who guides us into truthful living in this world. He is always with us shaping, re-shaping His new creation. The Christian faith is a call to consistency; consistency in repentance; consistency in reconciliation; consistency in living the life of faith.

In this sense, there are two temptations we face: the temptation for self-justification and the temptation to isolation.

The temptation for self-justification is a common one in our day. Those who seek self-justification are always seeking for ways to earn God’s salvation. Now, please understand: these people have tasted of the goodness of God in baptism, Eucharist, communion, and worship. But the problem is that is never enough. They are always trying to justify themselves before God. They never think they have done enough. They believe they are in Christ, but they can never wrap themselves around their Christ-likeness. And so they despair. They doubt. And they find some security in doing one more thing for Jesus, but when it is over they begin to ask again: “Have I done enough?” They are always very introspective. They are always looking within and never finding assurance and pleasure in life. If you fall under that description I say “Rest!” Christ has already redeemed you. Work out your own salvation in the fear of God; and by fear Paul means in the presence of God; knowing that God is everywhere. And also tremble in His presence because He is everywhere. You cannot hide from the Creator of secret places.

The other danger is that of isolation. “I can work out my own salvation as long as I am alone.” “Don’t call me. Don’t counsel me. I am ok and I will continue to be ok if I am left alone.” Have you ever met someone like that? This is the exact opposite of how Paul wanted us to work out our own salvation. Paul envisioned a community working together; striving after holiness as one. Lone ranger Christianity was never an implication of the Gospel.

One of the great problems with the modern evangelical church is that we have created a culture of secrecy; a culture that wants to portray only the good, but never the bad or the ugly. The Church is here for confession. She is here for grief. Work out your own salvation with repentance and with godly sorrow. God is asking you to look to the future with confidence, because in whatever conceivable scenario you may imagine He is there.

But here you must also remember that God is not watching you because He longs to catch you. He is not watching you because He longs to punish you. No. This is not the God we worship. God watches over you, so He can guide you into green pastures. He is not a cosmic kill-joy, He is a cosmic joy-giver. He will work in you perfecting you to become the image-bearer you were called to be. And He does this for His pleasure.

Self-Giving God at the Self-Giving Table

Self-Giving God at the Self-Giving Table

What does this table represent? It represents the blamelessness and innocence of Jesus Christ. To whom is this table given? It is given to the blameless and innocent community of Jesus Christ. In Christ, our lives are rescued and our lights shine brightly in a crooked and twisted generation. This is why the Supper is for us a renewal of our races. It is here where Christ reminds us that our race is not in vain and here where He reminds us that it took the pouring out of body and blood to get us in the race to begin with. It is this self-giving theme that dominates this table and it is this self-giving theme that unites us as a people.

In the World, For the World, Against the World – A Conversation on Christ and Culture with John Piper and Douglas Wilson

In the World, For the World, Against the World – A Conversation on Christ and Culture with John Piper and Douglas Wilson

Many have asked about this link, so I am posting it here.

In the World, For the World, Against the World – A Conversation on Christ and Culture with John Piper and Douglas Wilson from Bethlehem College and Seminary on Vimeo.

Desiring God Conference on C.S. Lewis (Videos)

Desiring God Conference on C.S. Lewis (Videos)

I am currently working my way through these. This conference provides a wonderful introduction to the man who opened the wardrobe to all readers.

N.T. Wright, Paul, and Mike Bird

N.T. Wright, Paul, and Mike Bird

Two of my favorite theologians talk about Paul. Mike Bird interviews Wright on his latest work.

 

Celebrating Communion by Myself

Celebrating Communion by Myself

There is a trend in the evangelical world today. It has gone for far too long unchallenged. It is the personalized and individualized practice of solo communion. As the words of the Eucharist are being said, evangelicals immediately curl up and enter into a mystical state of self-analysis. This continual introspection follows the common theme of most evangelical churches. It follows a form of worm theology. One feels “unworthy”–to use Paul’s words– of partaking of the Eucharist. a

This is manifested when the recipients contemplate their sins or manufacture images of the crucified Jesus in their mind during the passing of the elements. By interpreting Jesus’ words “remembering the Lord’s death” as a reference to silent meditation and contemplation of one’s sinfulness, evangelicals have by and large returned to 16th practice of private mass. As Jeff Meyers rightly observed:

But there’s another problem with the way modern Christians celebrate the Lord’s Supper that might be labeled as “private mass” or maybe just “private communion.”  The word “communion” refers not only to our communion with the resurrected Jesus through the bread and wine at the Supper.  There’s also a horizontal dimension to the Table that flows from union with Jesus.  We are united with one another.  We commune with Jesus and with one another.  “Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of one loaf” (1 Cor. 10:17).

A proper evangelical liturgy will do well to include occasions for confession during the service, but the Lord’s Supper is not that place. If there is something that needs to be dealt with may it be done before the Supper or before the service (preferably). But do not let the Lord’s Supper become a time to catch up on your confessional account.

The Lord’s Supper, then, is to be a time of great enjoyment and relaxation. Jesus gives His Bride rest from her labors, so too we are to enjoy the rest given by our Lord. The Church needs to enjoy the company of one another; they need to one another one another with words of comfort and joy, rather than somber individualized contemplation.

The Table is for our enjoyment. The God of joy broke His Son, so that we might be one, and then He gave us His joy in wine that we might give thanks and embody that joy in the communion of saints. “Celebrating communion by myself” cannot exist in a community. Community exists so that we might esteem others better than ourselves. In the Lord’s Supper, introspection is not desired; rather, incarnational theology is lived out together.

  1. There is a theology of unworthiness at the Table, but this is certainly not it  (back)
Imitation Theology

Imitation Theology

Paul’s theology of imitation is a profound theme in his writings. For Paul, Jesus is the way to glory and following that way means we are to become like Jesus. In Philippians, Paul exalts Jesus as the light of the world in the midst of a “crooked and twisted generation” (Phil. 2:15). Imitation begins when we are able to see that light as desirable. Paul’s context speaks to the allurement of the Old World. The Old World appealed to the flesh. It was a world of darkness and void. The Old World imitated the dark world of Genesis one before God spoke light into it.

Paul’s theology is offered in the middle of darkness. The Philippians, though consistent in faith (Phil. 2:12), needed to be exhorted to pursue it without fear and trembling, lest their light began to fade. But Paul’s imitation theology was not a theology of perfection it was a theology of inspection; a theology that called us to guard our hearts against the attractions that came our way. These attractions pushed the Philippians to other sources for imitation. Imitation demands seeing the light, cutting off the darkness, and replacing it with life in the Spirit. Imitation is spiritual surgery. To become like Jesus we must do away with selfish ambitions and become like our self-giving Messiah.

Paul’s portrait of the suffering Messiah and the exalted King was meant as an evangelical allurement to the Philippians. “If you want someone to imitate, here’s a suffering Servant who abandoned His heavenly glory, and then gave up His earthly body for our sake.”  “Imitate Him!” is Paul’s plea as he writes from prison.

Hold fast to His words of light. He is the light of the world. The Psalmist prayed for guidance when he said: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my path,” but that prayer was fulfilled in Jesus who became the lamp to guide our feet to the nations and a light to guide our paths to righteousness.