The legal mandate to report abuse—whether it is on behalf of children, the elderly, the disabled, or those abused by authority/power—is our call as believers to protect the vulnerable. It is allowing the authorities to investigate and do their job. It is complying with the laws of the land, and it is walking along-side those who have been impacted with a sage affection. There is so much more to be said about ministering well to those who have been victimized, but it is essential that we understand that mandated reporting is pastoral care and wisdom. –Julie E. Lowe
The cross is the wood on the altar of the world on which is laid the sacrifice to end all sacrifice. The cross is the wood on which Jesus burns in His love for His Father and for His people, the fuel of His ascent in smoke as a sweet-smelling savor. The cross is the wood on the back of Isaac, climbing Moriah with his father Abraham, who believes that the Lord will provide. The cross is the cedar wood burned with scarlet string and hyssop for the water of purification that cleanses from the defilement of death. –Peter Leithart
Easter is not just a season to be reminded that we will live again after death; it is the season to be reminded that we will live again when facing death-like situations in our present.
Governor Scott Walker dared quote a bible reference on twitter. For many evangelicals, the brief reference to Philippians 4:13 is common Christian talk. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Those familiar words carry great weight to evangelicals. We have all been taught from early on to trust in Christ and persevere while doing so. The problem is Scott Walker is an elected official. And the Freedom from Religious Foundation knows it and wants him to do something about it. To be precise, they want him to delete his tweet. That’s right. In their own words:
… To say “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,” seems more like a threat, or the utterance of a theocratic dictator, than of a duly elected civil servant.
As governor, you took an oath of office to uphold the entirely godless and secular U.S. Constitution. You have misused your secular authority and podium to promote not just religion over non-religion, but one religion over another in a manner that makes many Wisconsin citizens uncomfortable. On behalf of our membership, we ask you to immediately delete this religious message from your official gubernatorial Facebook and Twitter…
Look at the assumptions inherent in those statements. First, that the Pauline quotation was theocratic. Second, that the political pulpit is secular. And third, that Walker is upholding an entirely godless and secular Constitution. Now, say what you will about the Constitution, but godless–it is not.
Now, let’s get to the point. The charge of theocracy is a valid one. A theocracy is simply a “rule by God.” Walker thought he was simply quoting an inspirational verse, but in reality the atheists are right. When you assert that strength comes from King Jesus you are affirming his kingship over all things, even the ability to rule rightly.
If the political pulpit is secular, meaning it derives its foundation on no religious grounds, then Walker’s assertion is a threat to a pluralistic society. and he should delete his tweet. But if Walker’s role as a Christian elected leader is first one of submission to the Triune God and secondly, to serve the people of Wisconsin, then the Governor needs to consider the consequences of his tweet. Who are you serving, Governor? If you can do all things through Christ, then have the courage to live consistently your faith in your political office, and while you’re at it, tell FFRF to bring it on.
In a perfect world God does not use animals to teach man. The serpent was a false teacher. In an imperfect world God uses a donkey to rebuke man when man acts like a donkey.
The task of theology is to enable disciples to perform the script of the Scriptures, according to advice of the dramaturge the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the design of the director, Jesus Christ, with the gospel as the theme music, and performed in the theater of the Church. –Michael Bird a
- Evangelical Theology (back)
If God has revealed truth about himself, about us, and about the relationship between himself and us in Holy Scriptures, then we should study Holy Scriptures. It is as simple as that…Not to be interested in the study of Holy Scripture, if one living and true God has revealed himself therein, is the height of spiritual folly. a
- Robert Raymond, xxxi (back)
Persuasion is a terribly strange thing. It has to overcome our personality
types, our histories, our ages, all our past friends and safe influences,
and our willingness to reconsider. We dismiss books and authors for
lacking the right feel or for not sounding like our friends. It’s an impossible
task. Persuasion is magic or more like an unbelievable accident. We
have to be standing at just the right intersection at the exact moment of
time, tilting our head in just one direction to see what we need to see.
It’s astounding we’re ever persuaded of anything new. I guess that’s why
most of us tend to stick forever with views we embraced in high school
-Doug Jones, Dismissing Jesus, xi
I am preparing for an interview with Jason Hood on his excellent book: “Imitating God in Christ: Recapturing a Biblical Pattern.” It’s a gem. Here are two samples:
Many Christians do not ponder their status as the likeness of God. For many evangelicals, the only significance of image-bearing is that murder and abortion are wrong. They have lost sight of the dignity God gave their work when he made it (after a fashion) his own work and enabled our thoughts and deeds to reflect his own. As a result, it is very easy to accept God’s love for us on a spiritual level and ignore God’s involvement and delight in everyday life, laughing or lovemaking. Many Christians do not believe that their activities—whether parenting or preaching, pastoring or partying—are important, that they have been done “in him” (Acts 17:28) and that God enjoys them.
Jesus came to share our clay and restore our royalty. He is the human who brings humanity back to God and the world back to humanity.
Hood, Jason B. (2013-03-07). Imitating God in Christ: Recapturing a Biblical Pattern (Kindle Locations 771-772). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever been in the middle of a phone call or a conversation with someone else and been interrupted by your children? I have many times, and I am certain I have not always responded the right way. To say parenting is difficult is a profound understatement. As I mentioned in my little booklet, The Trinitarian Father, being a parent requires that you embody many roles at the same time. Paul Tripp summarized this when he says that parenting demands spontaneity:
Parenting is all about living by the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. You don’t really know when you’ll have enforce a command, intervene in an argument, confront a wrong, holdout for a better way, remind someone of a truth, call for forgiveness, lead someone to confession, point to Jesus, restore peace, hold someone accountable, explain a wisdom principle, give a hug of love, laugh in the face of adversity, help someone complete a task, mediate an argument, stop with someone and pray, assist someone to see their heart, or talk once again about what it means to live together in a community of love. a
We are not just speaking of making up rules as we go, but of a prepared spontaneity. This demands wisdom; wisdom that at times is not available in a handy “how to” book. Wisdom that needs to be gained in community; a community that struggles together with you and is not afraid to consider and learn from their mistakes.
What is easier? To ground a child after an act of disobedience or to speak and nurture a child after the act? What is easier? To separate two children after a dispute and send them to their separate rooms or to engage them each and teach them how to confess sin and find reconciliation? Parenting is hard because dealing with the consequences of our children’s sin is time consuming.
Instead of dealing with each issue the easy way, and instead of treating each sin as an interruption, the ways of God demand that we change our attitude about these things and realize that parenting “is never an interruption.” b We should look at our roles as parents as roles that demand constant interruption. When children rebel that history of rebellion is filled with fathers and mothers (mainly fathers) who did not use wisdom when their plans were interrupted, but who rather chose the easy way out.
We need to be spontaneous in our parenting, but not spontaneous to apply easy-fix answers, but spontaneous enough to be interrupted regularly, and then choose the strategy of long-term discipleship.