Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Evangeliad (27:33-35)

Section 27:33-35 (corresponding to Luke 13:3-5)

No, I say, it wasn't judgment for sin,
But it tells of times about to break in;
This is the hour to repent at God's call,
Lest similar evils should come for you all.

Or what of the eighteen unfortunate ones
On whom, at Siloam, the tower came down--
Were they, of all of Jerusalem's men,
Set out for wrath and condemnation?

No, they were not. But unless you repent
And turn back your hearts from the ways you went,
You'll all perish too. For such things invite
Not judgment's scorn, but the call to do right.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Photo of the Week

This day I walk in Jesus' ways,
For, Lord, the day is Thine;
Help me to spend it in Thy praise,
And thus to make it mine.

- adapted from a hymn by John Mason

Monday, March 20, 2023

Quote of the Week

"I will keep the ground that God has given me and perhaps in his grace, he will ignite me again. But ignite me or not, in his grace, in his power, I will hold the ground."

- John Knox

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Apologetics: The Problem with Christians

If you Christians can't even agree amongst yourselves, why should anyone else believe you?

- It's a fair question--according to one estimate, there are some 41,000 Christian denominations, representing about 20 major branches, each of which is a different interpretation of Christianity.

- However, most of the differences among Christians are not questions having to do with the ultimate truth of central doctrines. It's not as if we don't agree on the existence of God, the nature of Christ, the value of salvation, or things of that nature. (As opposed to Christianity's differences with other world religions which are disagreements about such ultimate questions. This means that not all world religions can be true. If Christianity is true, then Islam and Buddhism are not, in a way that does not hold when various Christian denominations are compared.) Christianity's many denominations all hold to a common core of doctrine rooted in the apostolic teaching in the New Testament; differences tend to be about rather more minor, peripheral points of doctrine, for which the New Testament texts could plausibly be interpreted in various ways. 

- Further, despite our surface differences, all true Christians are actually united together in the highest possible sense. If one is truly a Christian, then that person is mystically united with Christ and is one with all other true Christians, of whatever denomination they may partake. 

If Christians are riddled with moral failures--as you obviously are--why should anyone believe you?

- It's true that some Christians have done some truly awful things. The question, however, is whether those awful things are actually attributable to their being Christian. In most if not all cases, it's not a correct understanding of Christian doctrine that underlies their heinous acts. Their behavior is not explained by their faith, but rather by their humanity. Christianity actually predicts that all people--including Christians--will deal with the ongoing effects of their own sinfulness. That's not to dismiss such behavior or say it's okay, but simply to point out that this doesn't add up to a valid argument against Christianity.

- This question also tends to fall into the ad hominem fallacy--pointing at one person's moral failings to discredit a set of truth-claims, rather than assessing the truth-claims on their own merit. Don't base your life on a fallacy. Yes, Christians will struggle with sin. But it doesn't follow that God isn't God and that Christ isn't Lord.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Evangeliad (27:30-32)

Section 27:30-32 (corresponding to Luke 13:1-2)

Then people with news approached and they said,
That some Galileans had ended up dead
When Pilate the governor had them all slain,
Their blood on the sacrifice-altar stained.

The crowd reacted with shock and dismay,
Alarmed that evil could triumph this way,
And wondering why such men could have died
Had the God of Israel been on their side.

"Do you think these victims' sins had surpassed
Those of their neighbors and friends?" Jesus asked,
"And therefore, due to the sins they had done,
This terrible fate upon them has come?

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Photo of the Week

Watch and pray, the Savior said,
Lest in temptation you be led;
And Jesus watcheth with you
As on your guard you stand.

- from a hymn by George A. Griswold

Monday, March 13, 2023

Quote of the Week

"God the Father is a deep root; the Son is the shoot that breaks into the world; and the Spirit spreads the beauty and fragrance."

- Tertullian