Monday, September 27, 2004


To an extent, sin can be thought of as the disorder of loyalties. We sin when we act contrary to a vow or obligation that a loyalty places on us. For instance, when we sin against God, we choose to break loyalty with Him by ignoring His commands in order to satisfy another person, to whom the bond of loyalty should not be as strong. That person may either be ourselves or another. We can sin against people in the same way, too. For example, if a man joins his friends in publicly scorning his wife, he has chosen their approval over his loyalty to her as wife. Looking at it from the other angle then, sanctification is learning how to honor our loyalties.

This is helpful to think through when dealing with enemies. The Lord commands us to love our enemies, and pray for those who curse us. That means that we have a loyalty to our enemies that should be stronger than our own loyalty to ourselves. We must be careful though, that our loyalty to our enemies is not stronger than our loyalty to our disciples, family, friends, and God. That is why it is appropriate for Christ to keep quiet when falsely accused, and to pray for the forgiveness of his enemies, yet to call names and throw insults with the best of them in other circumstances.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bitter or Sweet?

At a certain moderate theological school a guest lecturer was invited to speak at a public event. This man was a college professor, and a staunch and noted atheist. He spoke for two and one-half hours, attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He went through the tired old arguments involving the opinions of Biblical "scholars" and modern philosophers, and concluded that the tradition of the church was groundless, an emotional fantasy. In keeping with his liberal and collegiate background, he said that Christianity was a viable option among religions, but fell quite short of providing a reasonable worldview for a functioning society, mostly because it was false.

Having been prompted for questions, an old evangelical preacher stood up. He stood silent for a second, then began to speak after reaching for an apple in his lunch bag. In between bites he explained that, although he was a professional minister of this faith, he was not familiar with the philosophers and scholars that the professor had quoted. Nor could he read the Scriptures in their original languages he explained with a full mouth. But he did have a question for the professor. "Here's what I want to know: This apple I'm eating-- is it bitter or sweet?"

The atheist paused for a moment a confused look on his face. He asked the old fellow, with a very patronizing air, "Sir, how can I tell? For I have not tasted that apple."

The white-haired old man looked back and said slowly, with a slight pause for effect, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus."

The crowd sat silent, all eyes glued on the professor for his response. He stared straight out over the crowd, hands grasping the edge of the podium. Then, slowly, a smile crossed his face, and he spoke into the microphone.

"Yes, thank you. That will do nicely. Good day."

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Thinking Outside of the Box

Having recently been urged to learn to "think outside of the box", I thought I'd meander on the subject for a little bit, safely inside the box. This browser window's text box, that is.

Wishing to think outside the box is the Buddhist's goal. He hates the box, because the box reminds him that he is a creature. He is not infinite. He is not one with everything. He is limited and finite and weak and creaturely. The box reminds him that try as he may, he cannot be everything, nor good at everything. In short, the box reminds him that while there is a God, he is not it. He hates the box because it is imposed upon Him by the hand of the Creator, whom he also hates.

The Christian must not learn to escape the box- he must learn to love the box. Here is joy and wisdom. If we love the Creator, we must love the creation since it proceeds from Him, which means we must learn to love the creaturely limitations placed upon us. We should greatly rejoice when one of our brothers or sisters has a better idea than ours, for we are not an envious people. We must thank the Lord when we forget something we used to know, for He knows everything and does not forget. When we cannot figure out a problem, we should toast the Lord with a glass of wine and enjoy an evening on the porch.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor- it is the gift of God. - Eccl 3:11-13