Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let Me Tell You About My Father

My Father doesn't give me stones;
     He uses them to strengthen my feeble arms and weak knees.
My Father doesn't give me snakes;
     He uses their venom to cure me.
He uses the roar of a lion to turn me back;
     and flaming arrows to enlighten me.
He uses wolves in disguise to make me discerning;
     and swine and dog to reflect my pride.
He uses my blindness to show me His glory.
He uses the sword to shed my thoughts and intentions from my heart.
He uses fire to purge my dross;
     and pruners to grow my knowledge of Him fuller.
He uses war to strengthen His armor upon me.

He used my disease to drive me to the Physician;
     my debt to drive me to the Forgiver of debt;
     and my trespasses to drive me to the One who justifies.
He used my heavy burden to seek out His relief;
     and my thirst to seek out His righteousness.
He used my darkness to discover His Light.

He will use my poverty to enrich me;
     and my hunger to satisfy me;
He will use my tears so that I can enjoy Him;
     and my insults so that I can exult Him.

Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline?But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons.Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn't we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.~Hebrew 12:7-11

Do you know who your father is? --Then Jesus replied, " I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way.~John 5:19

They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.~~Johhn Chapter 8

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Philosophical Legalism

Philosophical Legalism

          Biblical philosophy… God honoring, God glorifying philosophy, is a good thing. We do well to train ourselves to develop this type of philosophy. Even so, it is limited. It is restricted by the constraints of our brains and our minds. In the Christian worldview two things contribute to this: the clouding of judgment done by sin and the physiological defects brought about from the curse of the fall. There is no instruction, however, in the New Testament on how we are to perform biblical philosophy. Basically, all we know is that we should be both wise and righteous in our thinking.
            Contrary to this is the idea of biblical interpretation. By that I mean a good and righteous interpreting technique. Today a common and valuable way of reading scripture is that of hermeneutical exegesis. This would be, in essence, the opposite of taking one verse and implanting your preconceptions into it. It is, actually, to read a passage in many relevant contexts including, for example, authorship, history, testament usage, and genre.
            Most everybody is familiar with legalism, whether they were the victim or were (or are) legalists themselves. The common outworking of legalism usually shows itself when someone interprets scripture and then forces that interpretation into a law to be followed (do this or don’t do that) by themselves or by someone else and attributes a holy or righteous standard to it. I think most people are conscious of this epidemic and it does not need further attention here. However, there is a type of legalism, which I have been aware of for some time now and could never quite put my finger on. I call this philosophical legalism.
            Let me explain what I mean by philosophical legalism. A practical definition could be summed up as follows: Anytime you attribute a holiness, righteousness, or other godly character to an ideal and force that ideal, at least mentally, on yourself or others as a requirement to be right, when that ideal is not based solely on a personal interpretation of certain scriptures, but on your logical conclusions drawn from your interpretations. You see, your interpretations may be correct or incorrect, but that is not the problem. The problem is what you do with those interpretations.
            There is a problem in philosophy (man’s logic or human wisdom) with which hermeneutical exegesis does not struggle. That problem is authority. If you are basing your position on purely philosophical reasoning, then your position has no authority. Scripture has authority in itself implanted by God; and, to a large degree, the hermeneutical exegesis of that God breathed scripture has authority, as well. Once we pass the point of scriptural interpretation, however, authority is now purely rooted in ones logical abilities. Since, one cannot test their own reasoning beyond what they are mentally capable and since this is limited and ever changing, the authority then seems to be quite relative. Hermeneutical exegetical interpretation however, is much more objective. That is, it has a learnable ‘scientific’ methodology, which is firmly grounded and is far less susceptible to change over time.

          Therefore, we must take caution. When you take the interpretation of scripture outside of what the Bible is capable of doing, in and of itself, you go into the realm of theories; you end up floating up around possibilities, never having a strong tie to the ground. This is what may be in Paul’s view when he mentions the ‘doubtful issues’. {(Rom 14:1- Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don't argue about doubtful issues.(hcsb) without quarreling over disputable matters.(niv) not to quarrel over opinions.(esv))} Therefore, I think we can see that forcing our extra biblical philosophical ideals, having little or no (and sometimes relative) scriptural authority, on our lives or the lives of others is dangerous and downright unbiblical.

         Legalism, forcing your beliefs as God’s law is, quite simply, wrong. Let me just state, it is between you and God as to how far you should press your beliefs on others, weighing things such as, how assured you are, how important the matter is, the benefits, and so on. Let me make one suggestion to consider in this area, however. Unity in the body is better than disunity; and searching for common ground between believers is more important than converting opposing opinions.

Let the main things be the plain things; and let the plain things be the main things.

--With great knowledge comes great legalism. With great understanding of that knowledge, and godly wisdom, comes great grace.--

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Natural selection can only explain why certain species are still around; not how they came into being