Thursday, June 23, 2011

What They're Saying 06.23.11

Christianity Today writer Michael McGowan on existential reasons for faith; by the way, I totally squirmed right before McGowan wrote 'some Christian apologists will squirm.'

"Some of these existential needs are self-directed, and some are directed toward others. For example, we need to love and be loved; to do good things and delight in the goodness of others; to feel cosmic security and expand the realm of justice; to receive forgiveness when we lose our way and admire those who tread morally praiseworthy paths; to absorb the beauty of nature and connect with those we love. We need to feel like our lives have meaning here and now, but we also need the hope of living beyond the grave. And we need to know that in heaven we'll finally be free from this life's problems. What Williams calls the existential argument claims that belief in God is justified because it satisfies these needs. At this point, some Christian apologists will squirm. For them, reason is the best way to justify belief in God. Emotions are fickle and unpredictable. They can blind us to the truth or disrupt our commitment to our deepest values. But Williams doesn't abdicate reason altogether. After all, he teaches philosophy at Trinity College (in Deerfield, Illinois)."

Gayle Trotter at Evangel asks, "Can Buddhists Teach Christians?"

"The most fundamental difference between Buddhism and Christianity is that Christianity orients the entire search for wisdom toward a God who creates the universe, who gives the very active existence. There is nothing in Buddhism that exactly corresponds to that belief in God as creator of the universe. I heard the Dalai Lama say once he could believe in God as infinite love, but he could not believe in God as creator. This is a very important, fundamental difference that shapes all of the words that we use in the dialogue between Buddhists and Christians. Having said that, there are similarities in that the Buddha is looking to an underlying pattern in life experience, and there is certainly a similarity between that and the ancient Israelites’ search for wisdom in everyday life which then continues through the New Testament into the early church."

John Piper thinks we should watch a video of a Christian being beheaded

"World Magazine received a two-minute video of Islamic militants beheading a man for becoming a Christian. The article is called “Brutal Beheading”. I hope many of you read it. Why? Because we can’t get into the reality of most of the Bible without some real emotional connection with terror. Every book of the New Testament has terror in it, somethinglike a beheading. The situation in the first century, when these books were written, was more like Afghanistan than America. Without the help of horrific news we will likely romanticize the New Testament."

3 Statements from Tim Challies on assurance of salvation

"Today I would like to make 3 statements about a subject that is always relevant to Christians: assurance of salvation. This is an area of great confusion for many believers and an area that can lead to great discouragement. I am going to make 3 statements about assurance and then, Lord willing, follow up tomorrow with a word about the true basis for assurance. (1) It is possible and even normal for the Christian to experience assurance of salvation; (2) It is possible and even normal for the non-Christian to experience false assurance of salvation; (3) It is possible and even normal for Christians to have doubts about their salvation."

Mark Driscoll, meditating on a first-century tax collecter by the name of Zacchaeus, writes about rediscovering restitution

"Penance is the false teaching that you need to pay God and others back so that you can be forgiven. Restitution has nothing to do with forgiveness in the sight of God. Rather, Zacchaeus practiced restitution as evidence that he’d received God’s forgiveness. Restitution is making right to those that you’ve sinned against as a response to the work of Jesus in your life. It’s not penance. It’s justice. And it’s the duty of every Christian."

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