Category : Theology: Scripture

(Authority & Interpretation of Scripture)

David Zimora–An Advent devotional based on the readings for today

The magnificent machinery of the eye! So finely tuned to fill the mind with color and shape, with light and beauty. And yet, so prone to misuse. An example and analogy of this misuse is found in the way we currently use our mobile devices. These are pieces of technology, with the power to retrieve astounding quantities of information in fractions of a second, that we regularly employ to consume all sorts of frivolities and—sometimes—even contents that could hinder the fruit of the Spirit in us.

Both Amos and Jesus denounce the deeds of the people whose attention has gone after worthless things. The prophet and the Word warn against the external piety that secretly longs for material gain and social acknowledgment. In his utterance, Amos depicts a terrible day of darkness, mourning, lamentation, sackcloth, and baldness. As a climactic conclusion for this list of consequences, Amos announces a thirst and a hunger that will remain unsatisfied. This hunger and thirst do not refer to material elements, but to the word of God. Consequently, the people who wander “from sea to sea” will be dismayed and perish.

Read it all.

Posted in Advent, Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have, you hate the works of the Nicola′itans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

–Revelation 2:1-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.

–Psalm 26:8

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

–Psalm 148:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:6-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Psalm 16:8

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
and lack of bread in all your places,
yet you did not return to me,”
says the Lord.

“And I also withheld the rain from you
when there were yet three months to the harvest;
I would send rain upon one city,
and send no rain upon another city;
one field would be rained upon,
and the field on which it did not rain withered;
so two or three cities wandered to one city
to drink water, and were not satisfied;
yet you did not return to me,”
says the Lord.

“I smote you with blight and mildew;
I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards;
your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured;
yet you did not return to me,”
says the Lord.

“I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
I slew your young men with the sword;
I carried away your horses;
and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
yet you did not return to me,”
says the Lord.

“I overthrew some of you,
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomor′rah,
and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;
yet you did not return to me,”
says the Lord.

“Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
because I will do this to you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

For lo, he who forms the mountains, and creates the wind,
and declares to man what is his thought;
who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!

–Amos 4:6-13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

–2 Peter 3:1-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I through the abundance of thy steadfast love will enter thy house, I will worship toward thy holy temple in the fear of thee.

–Psalm 5:7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CT) When It Comes to Sexuality, ‘We Can’t Simply Review the Verses Anymore’ Pastor Todd Wilson wants to recover the deeper theological and moral meaning of being made male and female

Sexuality is one of the touchiest subjects in the church today. From same-sex marriage to the transgender phenomenon, the issues can threaten to overwhelm our pastoral and theological resources. In the midst of this turbulence, Todd Wilson, pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, wants to seek out the solid ground of the Christian tradition. His book Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian Vision of Sexuality invites evangelicals to see the theological and moral significance of humans being created male and female. Derek Rishmawy, a PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and CT columnist, spoke with Wilson about this vision.

In a world that recognizes so many variations of sexuality, what does it mean to champion “mere sexuality”?

The “mere” is a play on C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. It’s not Baptist, Presbyterian, or Anglican Christianity, but the convictions most Christians at most times have believed. I’m trying to capture what most Christians at most times have believed.

In my time as a pastor, I’ve been confronted with the reality that your average, Bible-believing Christian lacks a deep understanding of the theological vision of sexuality given in Scripture. We don’t see male and female sexuality as theologically significant in their own right. And as a result, their moral significance in the context of marriage is not obvious. But there really is an aesthetic beauty and coherence to the logic of male and female in marriage. And while I’ve seen a number of books giving the “biblical response” or the “pastoral response” to our sexual controversies, it struck me that the theological response was missing. We can’t simply review the verses anymore; we need to see the logic of “mere sexuality” behind the verses and have it take hold of our imagination.

Why have evangelicals lost appreciation for the deep logic of “mere sexuality”?

First is the loss of functional biblical authority. It’s not that evangelicals don’t affirm the authority of Scripture. But sociologist Christian Smith talks about the problem of “pervasive interpretive pluralism”—the suspicion that the Bible doesn’t speak decisively on some important issues. That erodes people’s confidence in the Bible’s ability to shape Christian ethics.

Second, the younger generations of evangelicals have essentially had their basic moral intuitions radically refashioned. Ever since the sexual revolution, we’ve had those intuitions about sexual intimacy—and especially same-sex intimacy—rewired. What was instinctively wrong for our parents’ generation seems perfectly normal to someone in their teens or 20s.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

(PD) The Christian Baker’s Unanswered Legal Argument: Why the Strongest Objections Fail

…[this] week, the Supreme Court will hear one of the most important free speech cases in years, a case of special concern to libertarians and conservatives, small business-owners, artisans, and religious believers. Masterpiece Cakeshop v.Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves Jack Phillips, a baker who claims a First Amendment right not to be compelled to design and create custom wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. Many legal commentators think the case is either a very close call or a certain defeat for Phillips.

In fact, Phillips’s case is very strong. It is based on freedom-of-speech doctrines favored by conservatives and liberals alike. One argument for Phillips in particular survives the best objections leveled in briefs filed by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, by the ACLU (on behalf of the couple who sought the cake), and by several constitutional law scholars.

That argument rests on the widely acknowledged principle that freedom of speech has to include the freedom not to speak. You aren’t free to express your convictions authentically if the state can make you affirm its own orthodoxies. Thus, for more than seventy years, in cases widely seen as more American than apple pie, the Supreme Court has said government can’t force you to say, do, or make something that carries a message you reject. Applying that principle, it has held that the government can’t force Jehovah’s Witnesses to salute the flag. It can’t force newspapers to carry columns by politicians criticized in their pages. It can’t force drivers to carry license plates with a state-imposed (though utterly banal) slogan (“Live Free or Die”). It can’t force companies to include third-party messages in their billing envelopes. Political majorities are entitled to enact their beliefs into law, but not to force dissenting minorities to affirm those or anyone else’s beliefs in word or deed. That would involve “compelled speech,” which is generally unconstitutional.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–How will you live in hope as a Christian this Advent?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Advent, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Bible Readings

But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape. But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

–1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture