This week I’v been experiencing some vision problems in my left eye. I have diabetes and lately I have not had it under control. Nobody’s fault but my own and I’m not whining. However, I was concerned that my vision trouble might be a ruptured blood vessel in my eye causing my sight to be blurred due to blood in the eye. This is something that my mom experienced several times in her later years and it concerned me.
I contacted my eye doctor and he checked me out this morning and the good news is- I don’t have a bleeder. The bad news is- I’m getting old. I can’t remember the terminology he used but something is happening in my eye that happens when we age. In fact, he said that my eyes were in remarkably good shape for someone who had lived with diabetes for as long as I have.
Even when my sight was really good (wait a minute- I’ve always been extremely nearsighted) my hand-eye coordination was never this good. This video has been up for only two days and its already gotten over a half million hits. Enjoy!
Have a great week!read more
Books are a bit of an obsession for me. That is to say, I have a lot of them and I seem to keep acquiring more and more as time goes by. Each month I try to set myself a reading goal. I keep a close watch on what books are coming out, and I will make a note of those that seem interesting to me and add them to my reading goal for the month. This month I have two books on my “must read” list, and I thought I would share them.
Kingdom Through Covenant
Written by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum, Kingdom Through Covenant attempts to forge a “middle ground” between the opposed systems of Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. If those sound like foreign terms to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Though you may not have heard of either system of thought before, chances are that your understanding of the Biblical story-line has been heavily influenced by one or the other.
Both Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism offer Christians a “big-picture” understanding of what the Bible is all about. In KTC, Gentry and Wellum assess both systems and offer critique, while at the same time developing their own “big-picture” framework.
This is a topic of much interest for me. Having grown up in a Dispensational Church, and having graduated from a Dispensational college, and now being enrolled in a seminary that strongly espouses Covenant Theology, you could say that I understand the need for clarity of thought with regard to these matters. On just my initial overview of the book, I have to say that I find the ideas set forth intriguing, and am looking forward to digging in further.
What Every Christian Needs To Know About The Qur’an
I am a huge fan of James White. A first-rate apologist and an avid debater, he is committed to a thoroughly Biblical defense of the faith. Unlike many of the other “big name” defenders of the Christian faith, White is not content to defend a bare-bones, purely philosophical conception of belief in “a god.” Whereas many apologists do the Church a disservice by having a mindset of, “Well…so long as it’s not atheism I won’t say anything against it.” White knows that the biblical focus of apologetics is the Lordship of Christ and the glory of His gospel.
In addition to having a biblical focus, White is also relentlessly meticulous in his efforts to accurately represent the position he argues against. If you read one of White’s books, or listen to one of his debates, you can be confident that you are getting an accurate representation of the issues in question.
That said, when I heard that White was writing a book on the Qur’an, I went right out and pre-ordered it. Having mainly studied the psuedo-Christian cults, (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) my knowledge of Islam is severely lacking, and there are few apologists who have interacted with Muslim beliefs as much as White has in recent years. If you’re looking for an accurate, thorough, and scholarly overview and critique of Islamic theology, this is the place to start.
Following up on my grab bag post from last week, I thought I would share with you guys three more articles that have grabbed my attention this week. If you’ve got a bit of time, I recommend giving them a look:
Over at Spiked, Brendan O’Neill writes about “Gay Marriage: A Case Study In Conformism.”
Interestingly, from what I understand Brendan is an Atheist with regard to religion, so bear in mind that the article is being written from a non-Christian, secular perspective. It’s helpful to see the issue discussed by someone who would typically be “on the other side of the fence” as it were.
From the article:
I have never encountered an issue like gay marriage, an issue in which the space for dissent has shrunk so rapidly, and in which the consensus is not only stifling but choking. This is the only issue on which, for criticizing it from a liberal, secular perspective, I’ve been booed during an after-dinner speech and received death threats (‘If you’re dead, you can’t talk *%$# about gay marriage’). It’s the only issue on which both hard right-wingers and the wettest leftists have told me to [shut up]. It’s the only issue on which even friends have said, ‘Stop writing about it. It isn’t worth it.’
On a related note, Jesse Johnson writes for The Cripplegate about how Christians can love their homosexual neighbors while still opposing their sin.
From the article:
Most believers understand perfectly well the concept of hate the sin and love the sinner. But that concept is more and more being seen as inadequate simply because homosexuals often perceive their sexual orientation as their identity, thus rendering any attempt to love the sinner while hating the sin as contradictory.
The difficulty is compounded for believers who work with, for, or around those who are openly homosexual. How should Christians respond to those in the work place who are homosexual? If you manage a company with homosexual employees, or if you have homosexual co-workers, how do you find the balance between hating the sin and loving the sinner?
Last but not least, Michael Kruger reviews the latest literary offering by former pastor Rob Bell.
For those who have never heard of him, Bell is an extremely popular (and extremely controversial) Christian pastor/author who made waves a couple years back by coming out in favor of a modified form of the Christian heresy of universalism.
From the article:
In the end, my overall concern about this volume is a simple one: it is not Christian. Bell’s makeover of Christianity has changed it into something entirely different. It is not Christianity at all, it is modern liberalism… Bell’s book, therefore, is really just spiritualism with a Christian veneer. It’s a book that would fit quite well on Oprah’s list of favorite books. What is Rob Bell talking about when he is talking about God? Not the God of Christianity.read more
I’m praising God today for my decision to remove myself from Facebook. It seems that in the last several days there has been a considerable amount of uproar over the military blocking the Southern Baptist Convention website for having “hostile content.” Seems that this sort of message appears when there might be some sort of virus or vulnerability within the site. But Christians everywhere were sure that it was an attack on Christianity and were sharing their outrage all over the web.
Then a few days later it was reported that people in the military were going to be court-martialed for sharing their faith and the uproar began again. The government obviously has it in for Christians. Turns out that the court-martial thing was for harassing someone after being told that they were not interested in hearing about another person’s faith.
I am a Christian. I trusted Christ as a result of what I believe was a call by God as I heard the Gospel. I would not want for someone to constantly harangue me with a religious view that is contrary to my own. If this is what the government is calling harassment, I’m in agreement. As I understand it, it doesn’t stop me from sharing my faith with another soldier who is my friend. And I admit that I would have the desire to keep on sharing until that friend came to Christ. If he asks me to stop, I’m obliged to do so.
What I’m most curious about is whether or not those screaming so loudly about the loss of religious freedoms are even exercising them? Have they in recent days shared their faith with anyone? Or are they just the folks who feel it necessary to post religious blather with the “will you be among the 3, or 8, or whatever made up percentage of people proud enough of their Christianity to repost said blather.
The web can be a tremendous tool if we take the time to utilize it. Check the facts before you have a melt down about what someone else has sent you. Christianity deserves better.
For info on what’s been going on, here are links to two articles by Ed Stetzer. http://www.edstetzer.com/2013/05/wait-do-you-mean-the-story-thr.htmlread more
Some weeks I hit Tuesday morning knowing exactly what I’m going to write about. Some idea, or a particular concern will have been banging around inside my head, and I’ll rush to the keyboard ready to let my thoughts out in a more organized fashion. On weeks like those, blogging is a pleasure.
Today however, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. Sure, I have things that I’ve been studying for school, and there’s always upcoming Sunday School lessons I could preview, but none of those options really struck me as a reason to put fingers to keys. However, it is Tuesday, and that means it’s my turn to update our blog. On days like today, I prefer to let others share their insights for me. So, what I want to do is point you guys toward some recent blog articles that I’ve found insightful and thought provoking.
Over at Challies.com, Christian author and blogger Tim Challies is reviewing a book I’m very much looking forward to reading. The doctrine of the atonement is currently a focus in my studies, and this book looks like it will be well worth my time to check out.
Also, if you’ve never heard of Carl Trueman, then you’ve been seriously missing out. There are very few Christian writers that I read and think, “That. I want to write like that.” Trueman is definitely one of them. He has been well-blessed with a gift for pointed satire, and his recent offering is an excellent example of his form. Oh, and it’s also painfully accurate.
And last but not least is an article featured in Christianity Today. Written by a former atheist, it is an interesting glimpse into the journey from opposition to faith.read more
We have had enemies infiltrate our country in a myriad of ways recently, from mailing poisonous letters, to planting explosives in heavily trafficked areas. The buzz word-phrase of the day is “safe-guard.”
To safeguard is to protect, to stand guard to keep a person, place or thing safe. While I am confident you know where I’m going with this, allow the example to settle in. What would you do to safeguard your family?
Your dwelling place?
I can guess that you would take great pains to protect and guard those closest to you, and those possessions dearest to you.
As would I.
But what about the most vital relationship you can have? What about the one relationship that feeds into all of your relationships?
What would you do to safeguard your relationship with Jesus?
While I wouldn’t take anything away from anyone for safeguarding their family or their stuff, I have to wonder if we take as much diligence, planning and care in protecting THE MOST vital part about us.
“Jason, protect it from what?”
Great question! And in the weeks to come, we’ll discuss exactly what…and just as important, exactly how to keep our walks with God vitally fresh. Upcoming next week: Safeguarding from apathy (hence the ‘lack of’ smiley face).
Hope we enjoy the ride!