All posts by Uri Brito

Phil Robertson and the Liberal Media

Let me begin with a confession: I have seen the equivalent of 30 minutes of Duck Dynasty. This makes me uncommitted to the show. I have no intention of watching any more of it. At least, until Phil Robertson goes out and hits a home-run. A&E exercising their free speech called it a foul ball, and beyond that treated Phil as unprofessional. Rumors are that Phil has been looking for a reason to leave and he just found himself one.

Governor Bobby Jindal summarized the situation when he wrote:

It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.

There are a couple of assumptions that need to be discussed from the outset. These assumptions shape the way we react to such news. First, what did Phil Robertson say? He said bluntly:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” Robertson says in the January issue of the men’s magazine. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Let’s leave the anatomy details aside. Part of the argument is that sin is not logical. It’s non-sensical. Or as I have said elsewhere, sin is stupid. Phil Robertson’s world is a logical one. Don’t be distracted by his hunting gear, the man is truly a savvy biblical theologian.

The first assumption Christian must make in any discussion on public/social cultural matters is that sin is non-sensical. And we live in a world where sin is treated as fashion.

Secondly, this goes directly to Piers Morgan’s latest tweet:

Phil Robertson is not a ‘victim of political correctness’. He’s a victim of his own repulsively racist, homophobic bigotry.

Let’s be honest. Political correctness is one aspect here of how the liberal media treated our redneck hero. But the other assumption we must make is that what passes for “repulsively racist, homophobic bigotry” is just simply biblical religion. Now, of course, I’d argue that the Bible is just and right and holy. And the Gospel of grace, which puts up no walls of partition, is the farthest thing from racist and repulsive, but again, this is how they will see biblical Christianity expressed. So, assumption number two is that the message of the Bible is repulsive to those who deny its authority; or better, to quote St. Paul, “it is foolishness to the world.”

When Myley Cyrus exalted the god of promiscuity she was exalting the god of the liberal media. Myley Cyrus is the world’s wisdom.

Finally, some more sophisticated Christian thinkers may say that the way Phil used his words were drawing attention only to one element of the conversation, namely, that of body parts. The argument then is, female body parts–for men– are more attractive than male body parts. The argument does not need to stop there, but it should include it. Yes, the body is God’s design for pleasure, and to deny it is to affirm a form of gnostic god of your own. The marriage bed is undefiled, but it is defiled when it is populated by members of the same sex and members of the opposite sex who should be far away from that bed. Phil is assuming an undefiled marriage bed. So, the final assumption is that however sophisticated our argument, we need to express the sacredness of that bed, and the defilement of that bed when it is populated by un-godly partners.

Still, to the fancy conservative Christians out there expecting a more Augustinian anthropology to be announced from the mouth of a simple man who loves God and guns is to expect too much, and thus fails to be an adequate critique. Yes, there is much more that can be said about the matter, but sometimes a simple affirmation of what’s right and wrong should be sufficient.

And still one more note. Though Phil Robertson’s arguments may not have been helpful in a pastoral counseling room, it was precisely what the media needed to hear. As a result, the marriage issue is a front story. And we need to keep marriage as a front story again and again.

The Trinitarian Father (Book and PDF edition)

The good news is that the book is now in print and should be here by Christmas. Some of you may have purchased the book in kindle form, but the new book is a revised version of the kindle edition with several new chapters added. It is a great Christmas gift for all dads (do you hear it moms?)

Covenant Media Foundation will be publishing the book and as soon as I am made aware it’s available I will make it known.

The even better news is that you can get a PDF copy of my booklet now for any amount. That’s right. Simply donate however much you think my little labor of love is worth, and leave your e-mail in my paypal account or send me an e-mail at uriesou@gmail.com and I will send you the book in PDF form.

Suggested donation: $1.99



Blessing and Kingship

David Garland observes that the genealogy in Matthew reveals something unique about the nature of Jesus’ salvation:

Both David and Abraham were promised a son. The birth of Isaac, miraculous as it was (Gen. 22:7), and the birth of Solomon, beloved of the Lord (2 Samuel 12:24-25), are superseded by the birth of Jesus, whose conception is even more miraculous and who is beloved of God’s own son. a

The promises made to Abraham and David were promises of a universal nature. The promise to Abraham was that by his seed all the nations of the earth shall gain a blessing (Gen. 22:18). The Davidic promise was that of rulership and kingship. In Jesus, all the nations of the earth are blessed and his kingship shall have no end.

  1. Garland, David. Reading Matthew, 17  (back)

Dining with the Prophet

…the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have goo news preached to them (Mat. 11:5).

The prophet of the New World is here and his name is Jesus, the Christ. The prophet bids us come and dine with him.

He gives us a table of certainty. Here Christ gives himself for his sheep. Here we see clearly more so than our first century forefathers that the Son of God brings a kingdom that shall have no end. But beyond that, this table is for us a memorial of mercy. It was nothing but the grace of God that caused the hand of God to extend us mercy rather than doom. We are recipients of the body and blood of Jesus not because of our loveliness, but because Christ in the incarnation of love willingly gave of himself to us. We have received the objective pardon from the true prophet of Israel, and that pardon comes through death and resurrection. Let us dine with One who gave us sight, made us to walk into newness of life, cleansed us by the washing of water and word, gave us ears to hear, raised us from the dead, and preaches good news to us.

Jesus Means Savior

Q. Why is the Son of God called “Jesus,”
meaning “savior”? a

A. Because he saves us from our sins, and because salvation should not be sought and cannot be found in anyone else.

We sometimes can overlook the particular meaning of these titles for our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. But they are all intentional in the Scripture. They describe a particular function in the messianic work of Jesus. This expectation we undergo during this Advent Season provides us with reasons for meditating on the nature of our Lord. And in this catechism question, we see that the very definition of the name that is above every name, Jesus, means “savior.”

This Savior accomplishes two activities: First, he saves us from our sins. Part of the Advent expectation is an expectation of salvation from sin. Our natures are marred by the fall, and the Savior transforms our natures by uniting us to Himself. Jesus means deliverance from past sins, current sins, and future sins. But secondly, to expect Jesus, the Savior, means that we long for no other messiah, but Christ alone. We dare not seek other gods. We dare not doubt the salvation of Jesus. He is our only hope.

On this morning, we pray as the songwriter taught us:

Savior of the nations come, Virgin’s Son, make here Thy home!

Marvel now, O heav’n and earth, That the Lord chose such a birth.

  1. Heidelberg Catechism, #29  (back)

Tremper Longman on Rick Warren’s New Book

Longman, my former professor at RTS, wrote this on his facebook page worth re-quoting here:

I just heard Rick Warren talk about his new book, the Daniel Plan on CBS news yesterday. I applaud his efforts to help us all keep trim. However, citing Daniel’s water and vegetable diet as the model made me chuckle a bit. The look that Nebuchadnezzar was going for was not lean and mean but plump. If you check out ancient depictions of Babylonian wise men, they are bald, round faced and chubby. Daniel was giving God room to work. At the end Nebuchadnezzar thought it was his diet that made Daniel so pleasantly chubby (many cultures even today prize a little girth on people), but Daniel knew that God was in control and made him chubby in spite of his diet. The next chapter shows that it is God’s wisdom and not the Babylonian wisdom that he learned in school that made him truly wise. For more detail see my Daniel commentary (NIVAC; Zondervan).

Table of Repentance

Brothers and Sisters, the exhortation to repentance is clear enough. Repenting is your duty and your life. This is why this is a table for repentant people. It is for those who find refuge in Jesus and who love to be near him and who make their paths straight, so He may come and dwell with them. This is not a table for the religiously proud , but for those who have found rest in the Messiah who came, comes, and will come again.

Christ is with us and He calls to eat his flesh and drink His blood as a memorial unto Him. We are reminding God in this mean that He has promised to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and He remembers.  The King is calling: come, eat and drink repentant people of God.

Four Lessons for our Thanksgiving Family Gatherings

Let me provide a few practical lessons from Philippians as you all will soon gather with loved ones for Thanksgiving and have dominion over one of God’s greatest gifts to us, food.

First, beware of a contentious spirit. It has been said that the most contentious table in America is the Thanksgiving table. My expectation for myself and for you is that you treat others with dignity and disagree respectfully. I have said before that our example and our children’s example are the best and most convincing marks of our worldview. Whether we are dealing with fellow believers or unbelievers, we are both called to love them and know when the limit of a conversation has been reached. Paul says that as much as it is possible live in peace with all men. Do not become the one that everyone fears around the table; the one who will turn a question on the weather into a discussion on the teleological necessities of an epistemic self-conscious worldview. Learn to discuss something besides that which everyone knows is the only thing you talk about.

Secondly, keep your eyes open to those who are in need when you gather this coming week. There may have been much pain and sorrow that have transpired in the lives of family members in a space of twelve months. Paul says in chapter two of Philippians: “If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love…” You may have the opportunity to be a good counselor to those grieving in your family or to a friend.

Third, practice lots of thanksgiving. Use your traveling this coming week with your family to remember the good things God has done for you. And if you happen to be in a difficult time in your life, give thanks for what God is going to do in your story. Your story is not a one chapter book. It is filled with drama and joy and glory. And if you think our Triune God is done writing your story, you need a bigger view of the God we worship.

Finally, rejoice in a way that would make pagans jealous. A pagan looks at a bottle of wine and says: “I drink for my own satisfaction.” A Christian looks at the same bottle and says: “I drink to the glory of God!” Set a good example of moderation and festiveness. Thanksgiving–not only because of its glorious Christian history in this country– but for many other reasons, is a distinctly Christian celebration. We have reason to rejoice and to give thanks. Let’s feast like Christians!

The Way of the Cross

Doug Jones’ newest book Dismissing Jesus: How We Evade the Way of the Cross is filled with gems right from the start. Peter Leithart writes a wonderful foreword; not just one of praise, but one where he confronts some of the basic premises of the book. Peter relates his concerns:

I think the topography of maturation from Old to New is less smooth
than Doug maps it. Doug is not a pacifist, but he needs to explain why
not. I wonder if Doug has given weight to the way the patriarchal narratives,
the life of David, the career of Jesus, and the history of the church
progress from weakness to power. I would like to see Doug integrate Acts
more intimately into his reading of Luke.

This type of open engagement is befitting of the Framian tradition of book writing.

The book begins with some challenging shots at the heart of our westernized fascination with success. I am sure there will be plenty to disagree with in the book, but I am taking every line at a time and enjoying Jones’ penetrating observations. Among them is  this beautiful definition of the implications for the way of the cross:

The way of the cross fails if it is not lived in community. It is not
designed for loners. Jesus’s way assumes a community of love and commitment
and burden bearing. It requires great sacrifice and self-denial
out of love for others in the body. The way of the cross is deeply communal
because, in the end, it seeks to incarnate the love and loyalty of Father,
Son, and Spirit on earth. The way of the cross seeks to make Trinity here
and now. That is God’s mission for us.