World View
The New Racism

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)

Racists All
Evidently, I’m a racist. I’m sure that confession comes as a surprise to people who know me: to my friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, and the (literally) thousands of people I’ve ministered to in the U.S., Africa, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. You know, all the “brown skinned” ones who I’m supposed to care nothing about because...well, because I have white skin.

I Know Whom I Have Believed: The Gospel as Public Truth, Part 6

By the Testimony of Witnesses

Television courtroom dramas tend to use a certain number of dramatic tricks to move the plot along or create dramatic tension. One of them is the role of witnesses.

We love the moment when the prosecutor cross-examines a key witness for the defense, uncovering some lie that blows a gigantic hole in the defense strategy. Or we wonder whether the judge will allow or disallow the testimony of a key witness for the prosecution. You know trouble of some sort is brewing in the jury room when the foreman requests that the judge allow them access to a transcript of the trial so the jurors can review certain testimony given during the proceedings. And, of course, so often there is the witness who dramatically reverses her testimony because she has been threatened or intimidated by some shady associate of the defendant. Toss in a scene of a witness “taking the fifth” or committing perjury and we’ve got a full set of plot devices that will add thrills to any legal drama.

I Know Whom I Have Believed: The Gospel as Public Truth, Part 5

Choosing Wise Guides

It may be that at this point in the series you feel a bit like Hansel and Gretel in the woods. Your bread crumbs have been eaten by the birds and you’re not sure you can find your way home. Let me assure you that you’re not about to be baked into gingerbread by a wicked witch before you finish this series.

Let’s recap so that you can find that trail again. We live in a culture where it is often assumed that if science can’t determine it, you can’t know it. Well, you can say you know it but that doesn’t really count. Your assertion carries little more weight than insisting that vanilla is better than chocolate. Whether you are talking about God or ethics or beauty or any number of issues, you can assert your preferences or declare your valuing of something but you cannot make a claim to knowledge. Not in any way that really matters in the public square.

I Know Whom I Have Believed: The Gospel as Public Truth, Part 4

Pledging Troth

Troth is a rather old-fashioned word. We don’t use it much anymore but it’s a good word, actually. The simple Webster’s definition is loyal or pledged faithfulness. Some of you may be old enough to remember when it was used in marriage ceremonies.  The bride and groom would say to one another, “I pledge you my troth.” What’s one of the most significant results of that pledging? Knowledge—but not just any kind of knowledge.

Let me explain. Sure, we often think back to that biblical statement, “And Adam knew Eve his wife,” and think of the sexual union that resulted in the birth of Cain. No doubt that sex is, or at least should be, a powerful way to know another human being. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Adam pledged troth to Eve in Genesis 2, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” with sexual union as the sacramental sign and seal of that pledged faithfulness. Curiously, at the heart of that pledging and uniting there comes to exist over time a knowing of intimacy, sympathy, and understanding of the deepest and most profound kind that encompasses the whole person. “Adam knew Eve.” Remove troth and it all falls apart. No trothing, no deeper knowing. We’re reminded at the very beginning of the Biblical story that troth is part of how we know. For Adam to know Eve, he had to pledge troth to her. He had to make a commitment of a very particular kind.

Where Has All the Wisdom Gone?

How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riff-raff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Matthew 11:16-19, The Message

Where has all the wisdom gone?
Long time passing
Where has all the wisdom gone?
Long time ago
Where has all the wisdom gone?
Too many have embraced the Lie
When will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?

I Know Whom I Have Believed: The Gospel as Public Truth, Part 3

Flying with Short Wings

We think in order to know. It’s part of how we’re made as divine image bearers. The Christian tradition is filled with examples of great thinkers whose presence among us have left an indelible footprint in history. Think of Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm or Aquinas and all we’ve done is dipped into the first letter of the alphabet.

God has blessed his church with remarkable intellectual gifts. But we shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that capacious cognitive capacities are the end of the story. Try this on for size. Certainly we reason in order to know but isn’t it equally certain that we also love in order to know?

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