Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The distinguising mark of man-made religion

There are three big man-mad religions:



The Watchtower Society


They all turn man's relationship with God into a transaction. As though man can bring anything to the table!

Listen to Mitchell's C. S. Lewis lecture as this is thought through.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The three main events.

The Bible tells of three moments when God and his creature are together.

The creation: made for the fellowship of God and man, for life together. The creation is done in the terms of that relationship to show the ground of that relationship.

That relationship is broken at Genesis 3:8. This is the day that the relational ideal is shown, the day the idea of evolution started (the idea that separates God from man and denies his love) and the day it was shown that harmony had left the creation.

God and man are richly together in Genesis 1 and 2.

God and man are richly together in Revelation 21 and 22

God and man are together in the created world in the incarnation. Yeshua shows how different the world is from how it should be: he, its creator, is rejected by it; but only to turn the tables on that rejection and take up his life again, to bring us into his kingdom. Thus Revelation 21 and 22; where it is all headed.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

On my walk

If you want to listen to one Christian talk, listen to this one by Chris Mitchell. He talks through part of C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity in The Christian View of Reality. He means of course, 'what reality really is'.

Download it. Listen to it. Then listen again. I need say no more. 

Why I got to listen to this podcast on my walk.

Hitherto I've just enjoyed the scenery, but a friend related his listening to some sports podcast on his walks.

Sport is not my thing, but I thought: plenty of  podcasts I want to listen to, so get on with it. Sticky taped the earphones in and off I went.

My son suggested a better way would be Taotronics Soundliberty 79s. I'll see.

Problem of evil: us!

I've just read an article in the Weekend Australian by a woman telling of her and her sister's childhood abuse at the hands of relatives and its parlous consequences.

It reminded me of Jeremiah 17:9 

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? 

As I wrote yesterday. The 'problem of evil' is not a philosophical game. It starts with us, and we mostly reject the solution our heavenly father has provided.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Koukl does it agin.

Greg K has an interesting article on how evangelism was done. Read it!

I wrote to him:

Dear Greg,
I listened to your podcast where you discussed evangelism in Acts. I like the cut of your jib. In fact, it reminded me of the priority of repentance: turning away from a life turned away from God.

When people talk about the 'problem of evil' they are disinclined to acknowledge that they are part of the problem. And they can do something about it: reject the evil that infects all of us all the time and turn to God in repentance: God's way out of the 'problem of evil'.

But that's an aside.

As you were talking on the podcast about evangelistic episodes in Acts I was thinking that you were going to point to an important distinction: the distinction between incidents with Jews and others knowledgeable about Judaism and those with Gentiles. Paul's strategy with Gentiles was utterly different to those taken with Jews, yet today we often think we are talking to Jews. People who know of God, his commandments and his promises. But we aren't. We are talking to a bunch of Stoics and Epicureans, just as Paul was in Acts 17.

The interesting thing about this is Paul's start: he acknowledged their spiritual interest, as lame as it was, and he gave them the identity of God, the one who demonstrated by his presence in action and event that his domain overlapped with ours, with our 'life-world'. God as creator.

God refers in many places to his being creator as the basis for our worship of him. This is of fundamental significance to the fellowship place and means he made us for. This identity is bedded in Genesis 1-3: the complex account of creation and its disruption.

We tend to allow discussion of Genesis 1-3 to be limited to 1 and get distracted by 'days' and the events of those days as recounted in the passage, reducing them to a cute mechanism, without pondering what it teaches about who God is, his relation to us as his creatures-in-his-image in the world that came from his word.

So what does God teach in Genesis 1 particularly? His proximity, indeed his intimate involvement in our world, to the point of immersion in it, sleeves rolled up! God, working in the denominating factor of our lives: time, and that delimited into days, shows God here he is accessible and active in the place he creates for real engaged fellowship; fellowship with the one who shows his spiritual proximity, the nature of our reality, the ontological continuity between his word, its fruit and our experience of the creation. This is God in our world; not a pagan 'god' who has nothing to do with our world and is removed from the life of man by myth: all connection of time and place lost, evaporated, obscured, invisible and so a god remote, uninterested, disconnected and untouchable, so to speak a God to whom man is insignificant: the ludicrous Enuma elish the prize exemplar of pagan craziness.

God made the world as the place where his being and ours could come together and showed this in the creation 'method'. A method of embedded being where Logos is immediately primary and productive instantly into our Space-Time-Event-Material world. This turns both paganism and materialism on its head and defines reality as dependent upon Logos.

It is this whole conception of God that Paul reaches to in Acts 17. This is the God to whom we repent: one who is near in time and space and almost entangled with our life-course in the creating of (and thus sustaining of) the world made for us to worship him in.

A world that stands in a continuous ontology between God's Logos, its actions in the creation and our experience of that creation where logos is prior to techne and gives rise to episteme.

Today, we faint before the materialists and put this aside in real terms. We give in to the modern Stoics and Epicureans with their evolution abetted by immense passage of time and swallow their nonsense, bringing home Lyell's hope of detaching our view of the real world from its creator ( ). So repentance becomes a meaningless trope of a vanished and ignorant age in the minds of those we abet in their paganism.

If its not real, then its really nothing.

If the creation account in Genesis 1 and reflected throughout the scriptures being presented as the basis for worship of God is not an account of real events in our space-time-event-material (STEM) world, then its relation to truth is uncertain it and can provide no compelling basis for worship in our STEM life-world and its constituting relationship with the Creator-God.

The 'philosophy' of the Bible is 'concrete realism' of events and relationship in the context of logos dominating the material world. If the creation account is not part of the historical flow of God's relationship with his creature-in-his-image, then it is dislocated and God is 'mythologised', removed from our 'life-world'.  His proximity denied by the materialist alternative of evolution and he is pushed away from us and relationship with us in the totality of the interpenetration of his ontology with ours. Lyell's mission accomplished!


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Surprising questions

I sometimes listen to the Stand to Reason podcasts. More frequently, I read the titles or the blurb, and decide to not listen. Life is too short for the questions some people ask (and some people would see the need to answer):

'God is the threat and a rescuer' (brought to you by Calvin's theology-fiction more a statement than a question!).

'Was there a definite point (sic) in time [moment of time?] when the Old Covenant ended and the New Covenant began?'

'Why couldn't Jesus have paid for our sins by dying of old age?' [more amusing than daft]

'How do I answer the challenge that Jesus may have just had a near-death experience?'

'Should we seek interpretations of our dreams as they did in Joseph's day?'

'Would leaving a 'seeker-friendly' church for better teaching be too petty a reason to leave?'

Wow. That's all I can say, 'wow'.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Just an organiser

Thinking about my post on not leading, this came to mind:

A home group that I was part of needed a 'leader'. An older woman, one of the long time members of the church was told she was the leader.

Discussing it with us, she was flipping between being horrified and being overwhelmed. She didn't know what  a 'leader' was. No one told  her.

However, we figured it out: she kept the roster and made sure we all knew the venue as it varied from month to  month.

That was all. She was our organiser. She was great at it.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Why are you a Christian?

There are lots of ways of answering this question. I'll keep writing them up as they come to me (from experience as well as musings).
I was told of a  neat approach at a local high school Christian group: all the seniors were asked for their answer to that question. In one sentence.
A real challenge. Give me 5 minutes or half an hour and I'd be OK. But one sentence?
Let's give it a go:

"The driving factor is the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In his resurrection he showed that he had dealt with the final human frustration and guaranteed his chief claim: following him makes you part of God's family."