Reflections From ECCLESIASTES 6: THE PREACHERS DOWNWARD MUSINGS Continued

“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men— a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction.

What is this evil that one with the power resources bring, lacks the ability to enjoy its treasure?    It seems that the Preacher is alluding to something that both the rich and the poor lack: the gift from God to not only be stewards of their lot in life but also to have the capacity to enjoy it.  I think he is saying that the ability to enjoy what we have is not earned, but granted to us by our maker.  Perhaps the reason so many people are miserable is precisely because God has not gifted them with the capacity to enjoy their station in life.

What lessons are here to learn?  First, it seems that to have God’s gifts but not the capacity to enjoy them is evil.  It’s not the way things should be but they are.  So if I don’t know how to enjoy what things I have, either God has not granted me the gift, or He has and I’m too stupid to get it.

Second, this gift as I’ve said before does not come from within me, the creature, but from the Creator.  Here again we are reminded of our finitude and contingent existence which is so needy and the pride within suppresses that truth.

Third, to possess riches and honor on the one hand and to lack the goods enabling us to enjoy them is a severe affliction, it is misery.  Yet the poor can’t relate here in one sense to the burden of the rich.  Perhaps that’s why in the book of Proverbs there are many warnings to cease the pursuit of riches, for without God riches are a cruel abyss of unfulfilled desires.

Lastly, I think we need God’s strength, even though we may not be rich, to enjoy our lot in life by remembering that it is God alone who gives life and possessions meaning.  May we delight in the LORD today, as we seek Him for our own good and the good of others.

(SDG)

Reflections from NEHEMIAH 1-4: RESTORING WORSHIP IS COSTLY BUSINESS

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Our rebellion results in the desolation of our souls.  Only after contrition and repentance before Yahweh is complete are we His people ready to rebuild that which our sin decimated.

Nehemiah loved God’s people and Jerusalem, for biblically, worship and the land are always closely linked.  The land prospers when the worship of Yahweh obtains but desolation is assured when idolatrous wayward people have their own way.  Nonetheless, God’s promise of returning back to the land from Babylonian captivity after seventy years had come to fruition.

As the kings cupbearer, Nehemiah had favor with Artaxerxes such that he was granted royal support to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild its walls:

And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. I said to the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, “How long will your journey be, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time. And I said to the king, “If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go.” And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.

Then I came to the governors of the provinces beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about it, it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel. (2:1-10)

And yet, Nehemiah had enemies that would linger whose sole purpose was to mock, threaten and discourage the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and infrastructure:

“Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?”Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, “Even what they are building—if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!” Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity. Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders.” (4:1-5)

 Nehemiah, like a recon man, did not show his hand in the land until after he examined the damage that needed reparation (2:11-18).  Among those involved in repairing the broken down walls were priests, goldsmiths and perfumers yet the nobles did not support the work (chapter 3).

Opposition is often manifested through mockery fueled by anger.  These two go hand in glove by those who hate righteousness and laud wickedness (4:1-3).  The way to combat such spiritual warfare (and it is spiritual wrestling) is sometimes through imprecatory prayer directed to Almighty God.  This type of intercession is pivotal for combating the dangers we His people confront.  When our passion is the renown of God’s Name, He hears our cries evidenced in Nehemiah’s experience (4:7-14).

In order for the work to continue, the laborers needed protection and this through swords, spears and shields.  That is, after the intercession was offered, the people still needed to arm themselves:

“When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. 19 I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a laborer by day.” 23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.”  (4:15-23)       

I have often felt that that the walls have been torn down in the American church because the culture, not the scriptures, are what dictates to many professing Christians what they believe.  Included in the range of issues are: the issue of origins (a-la Darwinism), the status of the unborn (Abortion), the meaning of marriage (a-la same-sex “marriage”), embracing a pluralistic view of salvation (a-la any religion can lead you to Jesus), etc.  It’s only because of His great mercy we’re not wiped off the face of this earth.

Personally, I’m often overwhelmed and burdened with the sin of unbelief that keeps me from pursuing God in the midst of my anxieties, fears and doubts.  Fortunately, God’s word here in Nehemiah reminds me that where God guides He will provide the necessary resources to accomplish the tasks put before us.  So LORD we look to you to be our strength, light, and courage as we your people endeavor to be salt and light in this land.  Help us be faithful stewards of the gifts given to each one of us for the common good of the Church and our Neighbors.  Give us a renewed vision of your Holiness!

(SDG)

Reflections From 2 CHRONICLES: 9-10 “THE QUEEN OF SHEBA AND THE GLORIES OF GOD”

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          Looking at a picture of the Eastern Sierra Mountains with snow-capped tops is a delight to behold.  At times it seems as if the photographs taken of these majestic peaks have been tampered with in order to make them look better than they are in reality.  But then seeing, smelling, and walking the base of such mammoth rocks illuminates the reality that its pictures are a faint glimmer of the actual glories they possess.   And, the joy of both experiences can’t compare for the former is a taste in abstraction, whereas the latter is a plunge into actual elation.

The queen of Sheba had a similar experience when she heard of king Solomon’s fame.  After answering all of her questions with absolute clarity all that was in her heart, the text reads:

When the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house which he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his servants, the attendance of his ministers and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and his stairway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, she was breathless.(9:3-4)

Note that to “hear” or to “see” through the words eye picture is one thing, but to actually taste and see the reality is incomparable.  The text continues to unfold her experience:

“ Then she said to the king, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.Nevertheless I did not believe their reports until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You surpass the report that I heard. How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for the Lord your God; because your God loved Israel establishing them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.” (9:5-8)

There are many lessons here to note.  First, there’s a difference between hearing about, as opposed to seeing and tasting this wisdom.  Now while Solomon’s riches astounded her, it was the wisdom with which he answered and disclosed to her every question that threw her over the edge.  How about Jesus’ wisdom, do we ever consider him as a top tier thinker among the great thinkers in recorded history?  According to Mathew 12:42, not even Solomon can compare to Christ’s wisdom and knowledge:

“The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” 

 This wisdom and knowledge that’s from another age came in Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God where much confusion had to be corrected for the Jews regarding the Torah (Mt.11-12).  Unlike any Old Testament prophet, Jesus preached himself as the message; he was God incarnate and thus superseded the splendor of Solomon.

Second, when the queen says, “the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me”, reveals that there’s so much more that words could have described.  Solomon serves as a shadow example of the breath, width, height and depth of God’s wisdom and splendor that surpasses our ability to imagine or think.  It’s precisely this wisdom that culminates in the cross of Christ and its preaching that’s hidden from all of us until God the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see and taste the glories of God’s majesty revealed in Christ Jesus (1 Cor.2:1-16).

Third, to be continuously before said wisdom is cause for deep happiness in the soul.  “How blessed are your men…servants…”  Why, because it’s utterly rare and delightful.  That is, the knowledge and wisdom of God was given to Solomon by God because the king feared the LORD.  If the notion of God’s wisdom and knowledge conjures up a boring notion, then we haven’t tasted said knowledge or wisdom.

Jesus said that he was greater than Solomon (Mt.12); the Hebrews writer explains that Jesus upholds creation by the word of his power (Heb.1:1-3) and thus by virtue is better than the rest of creation combined.  And the reason the generation of Jesus will be judged more strictly than other generations is based strictly on the ontological status of the one speaking.

Fourth, the place of power belongs to God always, but Solomon is placed as God’s vice regent to do justice, and righteousness (v.8).  The qualities of love and delight, justice and righteousness are what moved God to make Solomon king over Israel.  God delighted in Solomon and thus set him up on the throne of power which ultimately belongs to God, not man.  Moreover, it was God’s love for Israel that moved Him to choose Solomon to be their king (v.8.c) for the purpose of doing ruling justly and righteously.

Since God by virtue of being the Creator, is the ground of what is just, right and true, when a nation departs from His ways and ignore the Designers understanding of reality, what ultimately awaits is misery, not bliss.

(SDG)

Reflections From ROMANS 12:1-2 “GOD’S MERCIES GROUNDS HOLY LIVING & HOLY THINKING”

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In this chapter Paul makes an inference to the previous chapter specifically (“therefore”) and I think generally to the entirety of the book going back to Romans 1:1 where God chose Paul to be an apostle of the Gospel of Christ.  Paul starts with:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Many years ago I practiced praying these texts over myself and others.  They were and still are “go-to-prayers” for power to walk with God.  Paul now makes a break in this letter that can be missed but hurts the readers understanding when it occurs.

In his letters, Paul has a habit of going from the indicative to the imperative which means that he explains the revelation of the gospel first (indicative=facts) and secondly he gives the implications of the gospel (imperative=command) where believers are to live in accordance to that message.

A quick recap of Romans up to this point will be helpful.  Chapter 1&2 shows Paul being eager to preach the Gospel of Christ (God’s Son) because both Jew and Gentile are under God’s just wrath (1:1-2:29).  In chapter’s 3&4 Paul argues that the true Jew is not the one circumcised in the flesh but the one who has Abraham’s faith.  In chapter 5 the two Adam’s are compared where the 1st one brought death resulting from his rebellion, and the 2nd Adam (Christ) through his obedience and death brought life.

Then in chapter 6 we see that believers are dead to sin but alive to God because of Christ’s resurrection, yet in chapter 7 Paul considers the battle of sin within believers still fight, a battle that Christ alone can/does help us win.  In chapter 8 Paul then assures believers that in spite of this battle with sin, God’s condemnation passes over them—working in them to be more like Christ.

Finally, in chapters 9-11 Paul argues for the election of both Jew and Gentile alike (9), that this salvation and election is accomplished through the preached word of God (10), and finally that God has not rejected Israel, but has a plan for them to also be rescued (11).  The bow around these three chapters is the grandeur of God’s being which includes His wisdom and knowledge which are unsearchable.  The proper response to all of this is doxology—praise, worship and adoration.

It’s these gospel truths to which Paul is inferring when he now commands believers to live a certain way.  Here’s a powerful lesson in the proper use of authority to bless people rather than manipulating and controlling them for selfish means.  Paul grounds his “urging” or “appeal” on God’s mercies to vessels of mercy, which formerly were objects of wrath, to live and to think in a certain way.

Both living and thinking are to be impacted by Christ’s Gospel already revealed in this letter.  This mystery revealed must now be evidenced in how believers relate to each other and to the observant world (both enemies and the state.)  Unlike Monists who deny the reality of the physical realm by denying real distinctions and claiming they are mere illusion, or those who claim that the body is bad and the spirit is good (thus what one does in the body is inconsequential), the Gospel of Christ says no!  God says that, “My people are to be holy as I Am holy”:

 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”       

The sacrifices offered on the altar in the Old Testament, for example, were dead so they could not feel any pain of being burnt.  But here “somewhat like the Master” on Calvary’s cross, his followers are expected to in one degree or another suffer.  Minimally, when we are tempted to misuse our bodies (as in chapter 1:18-32 with illicit sexual acts) and we don’t succumb to it, we truly suffer hardship because of our love for God.  This is evidenced not only through a chaste life, but also by denying homosexual tendencies overall.

But our bodies also are involved with other degrading passions such as gossip with the tongue, murder with our hands, etc.  Our bodies house our soul and while they are decaying these bodies will one day be resurrected to immortality.   For Paul, the body is the tool believers are to use to honor God, but it’s just not our bodies, it’s also our minds which engage this worship:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”   

             Here, Paul not only affirms our bodies but also our minds (i.e., not the brain which is physical, but the mind which is an immaterial substance) as the means to worship God.  These two are gifts from God and should be used in accordance to their design.  An atheistic worldview denies any such notion of immateriality or spirit, this is called physicalism.  But according to God’s revelation such a view is an example of “suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness”.  The point here is that our thinking in light of the gospel must be disciplined so that foreign ideas to it are not adopted and thus dishonor God.  Instead, our thought life is to align with God’s thoughts as revealed in this letter of Romans.

One thing is certain in light of election (Chapters 9-11) all human pride is crushed, boasting before God is eliminated because only sovereign grace can rescue anyone from God’s wrath.  This means that any “works of the Law” righteousness people rely on in order to be acceptable before God will utterly disappoint because that foundation of “sand” can’t save from Holy wrath, but actually assures it on the participant.

Note that to prove or to know God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will our thinking must change, it must be transformed from the way this present evil age thinks.  The application here is massive.  The point is that our bodies and minds, what makes us image bearers, are included in the true worship of God (see Mt.22:34-40).  Thus, how we think and how we live demonstrates our understanding of reality in light of the gospel of Christ.  LORD, have mercy on us!  (SDG)          

Reflections From Acts 3: More Fulfilled Prophecy

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It amazes me how the little details tell us big things.  Solomon says that there’s a time for everything under heaven including its opposite (E.g., Birth-Death, Plant-Harvest, War-Peace).  In this chapter we see that it was the time for prayer which Peter and John practiced.  Through this practice, God had an appointed time for something the apostles did not anticipate—a miracle which made the lame man walk (vv.1-10) and an opportunity to explain what this sign pointed to: The Resurrected Jesus! .

Much can be said concerning this section but one thing that strikes me at the Beautiful Gate is something so ugly—a lame person.  Brokenness, not beauty, twisted-ness not wholeness obtained.  The irony is that a time for healing this ugliness at the Beautiful Gate was about to be occur for one who had accepted his ugly plight since birth.

This man was merely asking for aid to eat in order to subsist, but God had other plans for him—to have the ability to walk uprightly, to ambulate as he pleased.  Rather than moving about with his hands, he would now (as originally designed by God) use his feet to accomplish his travels.  This healing is a manifestation of God’s beauty where what is ugly (“lameness” not moving according to God’s design) is turned into something beautiful (“wholeness” progressing according to God’s purposes).

Peter and John gave this man what they had—God’s power to heal.  Now, this new found ability to walk allowed the healed man to express praise and honor to God by leaping and walking.  This beggar’s life was forever changed and it aroused the people’s amazement such that Peter speaks up and delivers his third sermon.

The content of the his sermon is salvation history and Peter demonstrates that Jesus of Nazareth is not a “new” message with zero basis, but actually his life, death, and resurrection had been long ago prophesied.  Consider the following observations:

First, he connects Jesus to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the fulfillment of God’s promise to the covenant people (v.13).  Second, he recounts the crucifixion and again accentuates the historicity of these events in space and time.  Note that the people could have protested to Peter’s accusations of their guilt but these events were common knowledge in all of Jerusalem.  That is, Christ’s ministry and death were a public reality, not a fabrication.

Third, he points out that it’s because of Christ’s name and not the apostle’s power that this miracle occurred for the lame man.  He was granted “perfect health” for all to see.  Again, these events are publicly displayed, not secretly performed behind closed doors.

Fourth, he preaches Christ and the resurrection to which the only proper response is repentance from sin.  Sins can’t be wiped away by any other means and this Jesus is a gift from God to the Jew first and then to the Gentile world.

Fifth, he points out more fulfilled prophecy which Moses foretold concerning God raising up another prophet like himself to which the people must hear and obey.  Disobedience to this prophet equals destruction for the guilty and it’s through Abraham’s seed that all this has occurred.

This lame man represents those who have not been touched in their soul by the resurrected Christ–they are spiritually lame, ugly, and hopeless because of sin.  Jesus of Nazareth came to set that right but as the lame man needed another to intervene in his life, so those around us need similar help.  What will we do, what are we doing?

(SDG)

A 20th Century Apologetic’s Gem

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J.P. Moreland is arguably one of the most influential American Evangelical apologists of the latter century and the first part of the twenty-first century.  His adeptness is especially clear in the areas of philosophy of science and philosophy of mind.  Through his debates, lectures, and writings, Moreland has served well the cause of Christ by equipping people for ministry both in the academy and in the local church.

In Scaling the Secular City, Moreland displays his acumen in dealing with some of the toughest challenges posed to Christianity.  He accomplishes this with rigorous argumentation and a winsome spirit, the likes of which is worthy to be emulated.

ATTQ has it’s 2nd book review for your personal enrichment and challenge.  Take up and read!

A Question On Love: Does It Have any Ultimate Reference Point?

love-160aWhat is love?.  According to one cable commercial from the  Ad Council which sponsors the “One Love Campaign” it asserts that love has no race, love has no gender, and love has no disability.  But what “is” love?

That’s a metaphysical question about love’s nature, or what-ness.  In our relativistic society, love is what we say it is.  But, if there’s a Creator who grounds all that is true, good, and beautiful, then love has a specific meaning and it’s based on what the Designer and Creator says it is.

See my recent post “realtivism” @ https://answerstotuffquestions.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/true-truth-and-why-it-matters_what-are-the-three-enemies-of-truth_-part-4.pdf.

Also, consider the article, “What is This Thing Called Love?” by Douglas Groothuis who addresses this issue and explains the difference between the love of this world compared to the love of God the Creator.  It’s worth the read, just click on the link: http://douglasgroothuis.com/2015/07/13/what-is-this-thing-called-love/comment-page-1/#comment-1717

Like Water and Wetness Morality Can’t Be Separated From Legislation

The front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Completed in 1935, the US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, is the first to have been built specifically for the purpose, inspiring Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes to remark, ÒThe Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith.Ó The Court was established in 1789 and initially met in New York City. When the national capital moved to Philadelphia, the Court moved with it, before moving to the permanent capital of Washington, DC, in 1800. Congress lent the Court space in the new Capitol building, and it was to change its meeting place several more times over the next century, even convening for a short period in a private house after the British set fire to the Capitol during the War of 1812. The classical Corinthian architectural style was chosen to harmonize with nearby congressional buildings, and the scale of the massive marble building reflects the significance and dignity of the judiciary as a co-equal, independent branch of government. The main entrance is on the west side, facing the Capitol. On either side of the main steps are figures sculpted by James Earle Fraser. On the left is the female Contemplation of Justice. On the right is the male Guardian or Authority of Law. On the architrave above the pediment is the motto ÒEqual Justice under Law.Ó Capping the entrance is a group representing Liberty Enthroned, guarded by Order and Authority, sculpted by Robert Aitken. At the east entrance are marble figures sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil. They represent great law givers Moses, Confucius, and Solon, flanked by Means of Enforcing the Law, Tempering Justice with Mercy, Settlement of Disputes between States, and Maritime and other functions of the Supreme Court. The architrave carries the motto ÒJustice the Guardian of Liberty.Ó The interior of the building is equally filled with symbolic ornamentation. The main corridor is known as the Great Hall and contains double rows of marble columns

“You can’t legislate morality” sounds like “You better not get wet if you jump into that ocean junior.”  That’s silly and lamentable.  By nature laws prescribe what one ought or ought not do.  Like water and wetness moral standards can’t be separated from their prescriptive design, nor can morality from any legislation.  Douglas Groothuis answers this issue succinctly, clearly and cogently.  Click http://douglasgroothuis.com/2015/07/08/should-we-legislate-morality/comment-page-1/#comment-1649

Happy pondering!

The Marriage Decision of the Supreme Court

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In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding marriage, there will be mixed emotions and thoughts—based on your worldview.  I’m glad we live in a country where we can talk, debate, and even agree to disagree—hopefully agreeably, and not with incivility (I.e. name calling, etc.).

I know many in the gay community are elated with the court’s decision but there are those within the community that are not[1].  I know many think this issue can only be viewed through scripture and tradition, but reason[2] and experience can also be good tutors.[3]  I also know that historically Christians have been swayed by the culture, rather than impacting it.  Many are the reasons, but two in particular are huge. There’s the unfortunate ignorance of the historic Christian faith and abandoning the life of the mind as a way to love God.   These two reasons produce souls without conviction who often reject Christianity’s truth claims (whether conscious or not).

Provided are two links that can help remedy the malady.  The first one is by Philosopher Douglas Groothuis’.  In his article, he challenges Christians in favor of same sex marriage to logically argue their case.  Among the values of this exercise is to replace the “parroting” of what’s in vogue with the presentation of a reasoned position.  Link http://douglasgroothuis.com/2015/06/27/a-challenge-to-christians-who-support-same-sex-marriage/

Secondly, Stand to Reason has helpful links to help our understanding of the issue(s) which also provide strategies for civil discussion regarding the marriage decision.  Link http://www.str.org/blog/more-resources-for-understanding-and-discussing-the-marriage-decision#.VZAf_flViko

ATTQ encourages the reader to consider these sites, and welcomes dialogue in the comment section concerning your thoughts, worries or even doubts about this issue.

[1] (Accessed 6/28/2015):  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22758434 “The gay people against gay marriage” by Tom Geoghegan, BBC News, Washington http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/  “I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage” by Doug Mainwaring

[2] By reason I mean “unaided reason” which comes under the rubric of general revelation—knowledge all people possess concerning God and moralsIt’s this ability to reason that makes it possible for humans created in God’s image to make proper, true distinctions—judgments of reality.

[3] (Accessed 6/28/2015) http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/ “I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage” by Doug Mainwaring.  Scripture teaches that God has spoken through two books: The book of nature (Ps.19:1-6; Rom.1:18-21) known as general revelation and the book of redemption called particular revelation (Ps.19:7-14)The former gives the general knowledge of God, the latter the requisite redemptive/salvific knowledge of God.  Too often Christians neglect the latter book to make their case and actually miss out on a good opportunity for dialogue and persuasion contra Paul (Acts 17).  This issue calls for both “books” to be considered at least by professing Christians.

TRUE TRUTH and Why It Matters—“Is Truth Real and Can It Be Known?” Part 3

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In part one of True Truth and Why it Matters, I mentioned first that truth is—that which corresponds to reality, and without truth there’s no Christianity—a position the Scriptures teach.  In part two I considered that a belief is a state of mind where trust is placed in a person or thing held to be true, that beliefs are unavoidable and yet beliefs are not created equal.  In part three the issue under consideration is whether or not truth is real, and if it is, can it be known.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT THE ISSUE OF TRUTH?

Christian writer, lecturer and social scientist, Dr. Os Guinness on a talk he gave at Cambridge University, considers whether there is any truth and if so, how we can come to know it, and says:

“…the most common motto in all the universities of the world is ‘the truth shall set you free’. But while that adorns the walls, it no longer animates the minds of many people in the West. Truth is highly controversial.”[i]

           “The fact is the higher the education, the more brilliant the mind, often the slipperyer [sic] the rationalisations [sic]. In other words, humans are not only truth seekers we’re also, let’s be honest, truth twisters. And there’s two ways you can always handle truth. We can try and make the truth conform to our desires of reality or make our desires conform to the truth of reality.” [ii]

The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans speaks of what Guinness says we do and are: truth twisters.  Consider these ancient words:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth[iii] in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Rom.1:18-19)

According to the God of Scripture truth matters and suppressing it is cause for his wrath.  These propensities lie within all human beings.  Its’ part of what Christian theologians call “The Fall” where Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s holy command and thus sin entered the world.  Despite this tragic event, God’s gift of logic while tainted nevertheless remains to aid our discovery of the real.

Thus to answer the question: is truth real and can we know it? , we must first consider the nature and utility of logic and then (to read more click→define what we mean by truth.

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[i] Os Guinness lecture “Truth—How Can We be Sure about Anything”  http://www.bethinking.org/truth-tolerance/intermediate/truth-how-can-we-be-sure-about-anything.htm (accessed 2/19/2014)

[ii] Ibid. (accessed 2/19/2014)

[iii] Emphasis added