Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ernie Johnson - A Moving Story of Fathers and Sons

Tired of nothing but bad news in the news?

Take 20 minutes and watch this ESPN E:60 story of Ernie Johnson, Jr. You'll want to have some tissues nearby.

Johnson is one of the most respected and successful sportscasters today, but his story is about much more than his professional success. He and his wife Cheryl have six children, four of whom they adopted, one (Michael) with special needs. He also survived a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma from 2003-2006. His story is a testimony of the grace of God, a steady and quiet faith, and the powerful influence of a faithful father.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why I Am A Democrat

C.S. Lewis:
I am a democrat [i.e. a proponent of democracy, not a member of the political party in the US] because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. 
A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government. 
The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they're not true. . . . I find that they're not true without looking further than myself. I don't deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. ...  
The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.
"Equality," in C. S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. by Lesley Walmsley (London: HarperCollins, 2000), p. 666.

And again: 
I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows. ... That I believe to be the true ground of democracy.

-C.S. Lewis, “Membership” in The Weight of Glory, (New York: Touchstone, 1996), p. 126.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

God Put Your Ears On The Outside

Ray Ortlund, Jr. gives the answer (Isaiah: God Saves Sinners, 333-334):
Why do we have ears on the outside of our heads? Why not on the inside? Because we’re not supposed to listen to ourselves. I wonder how much of our misery stems from our almost religious devotion to our own thoughts and feelings. But that inner personal world where you and I live constantly – what relation does it bear to the atmosphere that the gospel creates? We spend every moment of our entire lives within a mental universe. The quality of that environment matters. Are our ears open to the in-flowing blessing of God? Do we understand what it means to listen to God? He wants to re-tune our ears so we can hear the word of God again. That alone is how we escape our fantasies and enter into reality with God.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, commenting on Psalm 42, unpacks it further (slightly edited): 
The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. 
Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. 
Now this man's treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, 'Why are you cast down, O my soul?' he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: 'Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you'. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience. 
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: 'Why are you cast down'--what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope…in God'--instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him, my salvation and my God'.

Monday, July 11, 2016

"What's Going On?" - Thoughts on Last Week's Bloodshed By Tony Carter

A number of you have asked for the piece by Tony Carter that I read yesterday. Carter is the lead pastor of East Point Church, near Atlanta, GA. He posted the piece on The Front Porch, a site devoted to "Conversations about biblical faithfulness in the African-American churches and beyond."

Here's the link to the full piece.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': An Update

You might have missed it, but "On September 18, 2012, [Harvard Divinity School] Professor Karen L. King announced the existence of a papyrus fragment dubbed “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” at the International Coptic Congress in Rome." Part of this fragment reads, "Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’ and "she will be able to be my disciple."

The authenticity of the fragment was questioned by many critics. Nevertheless, in 2014, NPR reported Harvard's continued claim that it, "shows no evidence of being a modern forgery."

Well, if you missed all this "news," you can rest assured that you didn't miss anything. Professor King has now gone on record as saying it is probably a fake. She came to this conclusion after reading The Atlantic Monthly's investigation into the origin of the fragment.

Eric Metaxas over at Breakpoint provides an excellent, short summary of the story (you can listen or read).

And, as always, God gets the last word.

1 Corinthians 1:18-20
"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?"
1 Corinthians 3:19-20
For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

How Do You Know You're Real?

William Arnot has a great answer:
The difference between an unconverted man and a converted man is not that one has sins and the other does not have sins. The difference is that one stands in solidarity with his cherished sins against a dreaded God, and the other stands in solidarity with a reconciled God against his hated sins.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Food For Thought

Some tasty morsels I've chewed on recently:

Bryan Loritts, "Portrait of a Diverse Church" (Bible Study Magazine, Mar/Apr 2016):
"Something in you has to be discontent with just a multiethnic sanctuary -- you've got to want a multiethnic dinner table."
David Powlison, "Straight Talk":
"Jesus never said a pointless word to other people. He was never just marking time or keeping things that matter at arm's length. He always engages the important matters. he never just describes, analyzes, and complains about what's wrong. His conversations always go somewhere helpful. Jesus speaks life-giving words: candid, constructive, relevant, and redemptive. And one of the constructive things Jesus talks about is helping us to assess the quality of what we talk about. 'The mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart' -- either good or evil (Matt 12:34)."
Tim Keller, Galatians For You (53):
Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas ...
"Literally, Paul says that he was 'not ortho-walking with the gospel'. (The prefix ortho means to be straight--so we go to an orthodontist to straighten out our teeth.) ...
This gospel has a vast number of implications for all of life. It is our job to bring everything in our lives 'in line' with the thrust, or direction, of the gospel. We are to think out its implications in every area of our lives, and seek to bring our thinking, feeling, and behavior 'in line'. 
Christian living is therefore a continual realignment process—one of bringing everything in line with the truth of the gospel."