Because sometimes you find a sentence that just deserves quoting…
“When the war is over, the last battle is fought, the last victories are won, and the cannon is allowed to cool, and the sword is sheathed and hung on the wall, and the muskets are stacked, and the bayonets are allowed to rust, he is honorably discharged and turns his face homeward, ever thinking of the love and peace and rest awaiting him there.”
[Letters and Sermons of T. B. Larimore, F. D. Srygley, editor, Old Paths Book Club, 1950, p. 56]
As of yesterday, the Mac Deaver-Farrell Till Debate on the Bible’s inspiration is online. It took place in 1991 on the campus of what is now Texas State University. Specifically, it was about so-called moral atrocities in the Old Testament, and whether or not they disprove that God wrote it.
Yesterday I began a class on the imprecatory Psalms. It’s a challenging balancing act to hold in tension the concepts of authorized hatred (e.g. Psa. 139:21-22) and obligated love. What can be said about the righteous bathing his feet in the blood of the wicked (Psa. 58:10), or of blessing pronounced on those who will dash Babylonian babies against a rock (Psa. 137:9)? Perhaps much of the solution depends on developing a heightened awareness for the gravity of sin, which goes in tandem with a greater appreciation for the holiness of God.
Christ is both the corner stone and the crushing stone (cf. Luke 20:17-18). Many don’t want to see him as either one. Others, who like the former description, still reject the latter. An accurate view of the Savior must accept both aspects.
“I find that there are three stages in all religious movements: The first is the fighting stage, when people are few and humble, and lean on God for support. At that stage they all fight and try to overthrow the teachings of men, as the Jews did as recorded in Deut. 7.
“The second stage is the stage of greatness; we become strong and respected and want fine houses and big schools like the sects around us. The Jews reached that stage when they rejected God and wanted a king, to be like other people.
“The third stage is the age of compromise, when we don’t want the differences between the church of Christ and the denominations debated, for fear we will hurt somebody’s feelings. I fear the church of Christ is in the third stage today, and will be followed by spiritual death if some change does not come.”
(J. D. Tant, Gospel Advocate, January 5, 1928 [quoted in Fanning Yater Tant, J. D. Tant—Texas Preacher, p. 413]).
“I am not ashamed to confess that it has cost me ten years labor to bring into order the thoughts which I have learned from the Scriptures on the first principles of the gospel of Christ; and I am perfectly willing to spend ten years more in order to increase my knowledge and improve the discourses which I deliver on these principles” (the great restoration preacher, Walter Scott, as quoted in his biography by William Baxter, p. 333).
All preachers should open the Bible with such humility and honesty toward the text, eager to learn, willing to grow.
When science was a nobler discipline (by virtue of the people engaged in it), men saw themselves studying God’s creation. Thus, over the door of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, where Crick and Watson discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, was inscribed in Latin Psalm 111:2, “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them” (ESV). Science not grounded in God’s reality is mere superstition, as when it posits anything contrary to Scripture.
September 27, 2016, Ralph Gilmore (Christian theist) will debate atheist Alexander Rosenberg on the campus of Ohio State University. More info at this link: http://warrenapologeticscenter.org/resources/the-great-debate-of-2016.html (they will live stream the debate).
[This was penned today for our monthly newspaper article to be published next week.]
Reality is what exists. Truth harmonizes with what is real. Truth is not a fabrication of the imagination. A fact is a true reflection of actual condition. When it comes to human behavior in a godless society, when “the sky’s the limit,” Judgment Day is still the destination, even if most don’t see it coming. People can do whatever they want, but none can do it with impunity. Denying truth does not make it false; loving the lie does not make it true. Sin is real, even if the doer does not see it. God still says certain activity is sinful, regardless what is acceptable to our president, courts, laws, customs, entertainers, academics, or neighbors. To name a few: Sex outside marriage is sin (Hebrews 13:4). Homosexuality is sin (1 Corinthians 6:9). Men dressing like women, or vice versa, is sin (Deuteronomy 22:5). Lying is sin (Revelation 21:8). Not being sober is sin (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Refusing to repent of every sin is sin (Acts 17:30). Refusing to obey the gospel of Christ is sin (2 Thessalonians 1:8). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, ESV). The Bible’s message does not evolve to accommodate political correctness, or to coddle the sensibilities of people in rebellion against the Lord. God states the facts, tells us what is right and what is coming. He warns us against the foolishness of the world (1 Corinthians 1:19-21). God educates us on reality. He does not ask us what we want; he tells us how it is. To adopt the Bible’s perspective is to see things accurately, that we might be prepared for eternity. A society that celebrates sin constructs its own coffin. At the Sherman Drive church of Christ, we stand in God’s truth. If that appeals to you, please come visit us. If it doesn’t, reality still looms closer every day. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Atheists (like all people) are wired to think on God, but atheism is a negative reflection of that fact; no animal wrestles with its origin.
“One of the great joys that comes frequently in my work of training men to preach the Gospel is the joy of discovering a man before he discovers himself. I often have the opportunity to say to a student: ‘I have more confidence in you than you have in yourself!'” (Roy C. Deaver, 1988)
From the Seventh Annual Denton Lectures, p. 304
Working on a new sermon based on the quote from C. S. Lewis: “Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”
With many a thanks to Stephen Bradd for his help with formatting/publishing/marketing, we can announce that my father’s brand new commentary on Acts is now available for purchase. More info here:
“…I determined a long time ago that I would do my very best to arrive at answers to religious questions by studying the Bible. I determined that I would not sit by, waiting to see ‘which way the wind was blowing’ before taking a stand. By that I mean that I determined to study the Bible for myself and to accept as a part of what I believed only what I myself could see was plainly taught in the Bible. This means I determined that without regard to friendship with other preachers, elders, etc. that without regard to the warm feeling and great respect which I might hold for college presidents and teachers, for editors of papers and their writers, and without regard to how many so-called ‘big’ preachers might be ‘lined up’ on one side or the other of a given ‘issue.’ I would make up my own mind as to what the Bible teaches–and that having made up my mind as to Bible teaching, I would stand there without fear of man until I could see that I had drawn a wrong conclusion!”
(Thomas B. Warren, excerpt from his speech at the 1968 Lubbock Christian College Lectures, quoted in Biblical Notes, July/August 1996, p. 5)
“It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.”
C. S. Lewis (from his Introduction to Athanasius: On the Incarnation)