John Calvin on Injustices committed against the Christian

This is from Calvin’s masterpiece, Institutes of Christian Religion (1:17:8),

When unjustly assailed by men, overlooking their malice (which could only aggravate our grief, and whet our minds for vengeance), let us remember to ascend to God, and learn to hold it for certain, that whatever an enemy wickedly committed against us was permitted, and sent by His righteous dispensation.

I gather that this might not be well received in some circles…

CS Lewis and the Social Gospel?

From Mere Christianity,

‘Niceness’–wholesome, integrated personality–is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat.

But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world–and might even be more difficult to save.

It is a good thing that truly nothing is impossible with God or else none of us would escape His wrath…

Ravi Zacharias on Postmodernism

This is taken from Ravi’s book, “Jesus Among Other Gods”,

Philosophically, you can believe anything, so long as you do not claim it to be true.

Morally, you can practice anything, so long as you do no claim that it is a “better” way.

Religiously, you can hold to anything, so long as you do not bring Jesus Christ into it.

If a spiritual idea is eastern, it is granted critical immunity; if western, it is thoroughly criticized. Thus, a journalist can walk into a church and mock its carryings on, but he or she dare not do the same if the ceremony is from the eastern fold. Such is the mood at the end of the twentieth century.

A mood can be a dangerous state of mind, because it can crush reason under the weight of feeling. But that is precisely what I believe postmodernism best represents–a mood.

Thoughts?

Does the Bible disprove Theism and Christianity?

Oftentimes, people hostile to the things of God will clumsily cite certain Biblical texts to justify their “inability” to believe in either God or His Word.

Ironically enough, sometimes folks who are the most antagonistic towards the Bible often end up being the worst of legalists, requiring certain things from people who have been saved by grace.

The Bible doesn’t set out to prove God’s existence, the text assumes His Existence (What do you expect? It is His Word). Yet, with the contextually-challenged citations listed below, one can see how the gentle reader might be a little confused,

“There is no God.” – Psalm 14:1

“there is no savior…” – Isaiah 43:11

Click here and here to read these texts respectively in their proper context.

Soccer is what Religion should be…

At least according to Sean Wilsey, a writer who contributed to a National Geographic (June 2006) story on “The Beautiful Game” in anticipation of the 2006 World Cup.

Here is what Wilsey wrote,

What is soccer if not everything that religion should be? Universal yet particular, the source of an infinitely renewable supply of hope, occasionally miraculous, and governed by simple uncontradictory rules that everyone can follow.

I wonder if Wilsey realized that he described Christianity, which JI Packer correctly describes as the “true worship and service of the True God”?

Shall we run down the list? Notice that each of these qualifications has been raised (sometimes vehemently) as objections to Christianity.

Read more of this post

Mohler on Jesusanity

Often the call is heard within Christian circles that we need to be “red-letter Christians”. What is probably meant by this is we need to primarily focus on Jesus’ actual words in the Gospels. That is, the things He taught during his 3-year ministry in Palestine.

Focus on these words more than the words in the rest of the New Testament. Words written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (who by the way Jesus sent). What is conveniently forgotten is that the “red-letters” were also written under the inspiration of the same Spirit.

What this call translates to in our modern world after it gets sifted through a couple of political filters is that we need to focus on issues such as helping the poor (with nary a regard for prudence) and/or rescuing the environment from our predations (regardless of other considerations).

Other topics which are deemed more personal like abortion and homosexuality are left by the wayside since allegedly Jesus didn’t address them in those infamous red-letters. Again what is forgotten is that the Spirit whom Jesus sent inspired Paul to reiterate the fact that homosexuality is abomination in God’s sight, so in effect Jesus did address this “issue”.

As for abortion (the murder of one’s own child), it doesn’t take a seminary degree to realize where Jesus stands on murder, much less infanticide.

Dr. Mohler posted on the conflict between this brand of spirituality as it stands in contrast with biblical Christianity.

“Christianity vs. Jesusanity — The Postmodern Temptation”

When Religion Makes One Feel Superior…

If you have been through this blog you’d realize that I deeply admire and have been blessed by the writings of one Clive Staples Lewis.

Perhaps my favorite book of his is Mere Christianity, which contains a few chapters which can stand alone as classics.

One of these titled, “The Great Sin”, is a treatise on pride and contains a number of riveting insights.

He describes Pride,

Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Also,

The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people.

But pride always means enmity–it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.

Insightful to be sure and he goes on to say that pride can be a “death-trap” to Christians.

He describes such occasions,

Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good–above all, that we are better than someone else–I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.

The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.

It is better to forget about yourself altogether.