Being new there Tim sat at an empty table like a survivor washed onto an island in a sea of festivities asking himself why he bothered going to this church picnic in the first place. He watched children play on inflated structures, but he was far too old for that, and he saw groups conversing, but he was far too shy to introduce himself.
Eventually two elderly women, both widows, along with a husband and wife sat down at his table. The widows spoke of their husbands who were now with the Lord and they all spoke of their activities and the work of their children and children’s children and listened to Tim struggle to pick the right words that avoided topics like where his wife and child were or reveal for scrutiny the questionable paths he followed with his career and choices of entertainment over the years. The husband, who met his wife in high school and had been with her now for over sixty years, invited Tim to a men’s group on Thursday which Tim, although unsure of what he was getting himself into, agreed to attend.
By the time the picnic was over Tim was breathing calmly and wondering why he had not realized before that people like this still existed who overflowed with power in their humility of being salt for the world hoping it was not too late for him someday to somehow do the same.
The Fall, contra to what you may have seen…in Sunday School, is not simply the eating of the forbidden fruit…. What happens in Genesis 3…is actually an attack on creation order.
Owen Strachan, Issues in Biblical Anthropology, Lecture 3 (about 57:45)
Creation order is the order of Genesis 1 and 2. As Strachan put it: “There’s God and under God there is the man who’s called to this position of headship as the New Testament will call it. There’s the woman underneath him. There are the animals underneath them.” (about 59:00)
Biblical anthropology does not take the creation order from the world but from the Bible. The world blurs distinctions the Bible makes and creates distinctions the Bible doesn’t.
The world blurs the distinction between fathers and mothers by calling them “parents”. Strachan recommended that we avoid words like “parent” that undermine the distinction between fathers and mothers.
The world blurs the distinction between men and women and the rest of creation in particular the animals. Strachan told us to maintain the distinction. Both men and women, and only they, are made in the image of God. The animals are not.
The world creates more distinctions between the sexes than there are and then blurs those distinctions through gender fluidity. Strachan recommended the use of the word “sex” for its specificity of only two biological sexes over the word “gender”. We capitulate theologically to the world by using its preferred language.
Owen Strachan wanted the future pastors in this seminary lecture to see clearly the creation order so they could effectively lead their churches and not be themselves led by the world. He said, “Are you feeling how alien Christianity increasingly is from what our secular culture teaches? Are you feeling that? I hope you are. If you are, good. That’s what you should feel. You should feel that Christianity is distinct from the world.” (about 42:45)
Jerome thought of all the good he’d be able to do if he made the deal.
“You really could do a lot of good with that money,” reaffirmed the lawyer offering him the contract.
With those additional billions Jerome would be able to implement his plans for climate control by reflecting solar radiation back into space, stop genetic entropy by cloning engineered species, medically manipulate the population into an addicted state of happiness, and eliminate any unhappy terrorists who’d try to stop him.
“Just to make sure you understand,” the lawyer continued, “after fifty years my company will acquire your soul, which you’ve admitted doesn’t materially matter to you anyway, and in exchange you will have enough resources to save your planet in any way you’ve a mind to do so.”
Some years later after a good deal of planet-saving had wrecked the planet, Jerome listened to his top scientists explain how they might be able to remove the orbiting sun-reflecting micromirrors they released earlier that year, but it would be more expensive than Jerome had expected.
He then asked them, “Hypothetically, if someone were fool enough to sell his soul to the devil to hire guys like you, is there another way out of the contract than the one you are now proposing and how much would that cost me?”
At the beginning of the essay, Bahnsen explained why miracles are a problem for the modern mind: “Miracles would disrupt our simplistic and impersonalistic views of the predictability and uniformity of the world around us.”
We should be careful not to accept Naturalism’s presuppositions by becoming aware of what they are. For example, there needs to be a reason for the uniformity of nature. Can the Naturalist presupposition of the existence of impersonal laws of nature provide that reason? Given that “impersonal” implies those laws arose by chance, it is not likely. Furthermore as Bahnsen claimed at about 21:30 in the narration of the chapter, “God’s self-revelation in the scriptures offers no support for the idea that there are impersonal laws of nature which make the world operate mechanically and with an inevitability which is free ordinarily from the choices of God’s will.” So, there is no need for a Christian to capitulate to the Naturalist’s presupposition of impersonal laws of nature.
The Christian presupposition is that the Bible is the Word of God. The creation account in Genesis 1-2 provides a reason for the uniformity of nature since the creation was good and Genesis 3 provides a reason for the disorderliness of evil (rebellion) that we also see.
Is the source of the orderliness we experience personal or impersonal? If we accept that it is personal (rather than arising from impersonal chance), does the Bible reveal the true personal source or might there some other source such as panpsychism, Brahma or some Baal? The Christian presupposes that the Bible reveals the true source and, given that source, miracles are possible.
At the end of the chapter, Bahnsen warned us to be careful with miracles. They are possible, but the presence of a miracle, or perhaps better put, a sign or wonder, does not mean that God was responsible for it. Signs or wonders, given the serpent in Genesis 3, may also come from demonic sources seeking to deceive.
All knowledge is deposited in Christ. Man’s knowledge of the truth depends upon God’s prior knowledge, begins with the fear of the Lord, and it requires submission to God’s Word.
Considering how nebulous his mind was only a few years ago, Joel knew he was being led by someone beyond what he thought the word “beyond” meant.
Shamefully he admitted he didn’t deserve any of this insight, or help as he sometimes called it, having filled his life with vanity and trouble. Now all he was interested in were questions like How can you feel at home in this world?
When Joel disappeared most of them thought the hunters got him. The hunters got a lot of them. Sometimes they found body parts, but so far nothing turned up that could be linked to Joel giving them hope that whoever or whatever he thought was on his side led him beyond the hell they were living in and wishing they could have gone along even if it meant dying to get there.
Six people wearing their required masks for passenger safety boarded the train heading downtown while Sam watched. He remembered the days when the station was full of people, of which he would have been one, going to work. Today he was waiting for the stopped train to move on so he could cross the tracks and proceed on his walk through the park.
Without realizing it Sam was near the center of a pentagram formed by two points in the station, two on the train and one across the tracks.
The media reports, carefully written days before the coordinated explosions occurred, said that a terrorist group had assumed responsibility but luckily an unusually high number of regular commuters had taken that specific day off. Sam would have described the event as his ticket home if he had known although if he had known he would not have taken his walk there that morning.
Given the Deuteronomy quote above there are both blessings and curses (life and death). Furthermore, experience suggests that many of us find it easier to curse than to bless. Too often we speak harshly of others and even ourselves. Too often we slip into immorality while seeking either pleasure or power.
Given curses, how do we undo them? How can we go from curses to blessings?
Near the beginning of the video below Derek Prince said, “If you have any need or problem whatsoever in your life there is one place and only one place to which you must go to find God’s provision or God’s solution and that one place is the cross of Jesus.”
Satan wouldn’t want to remove a curse. Those nature deities like Gaia couldn’t. Honoring them with attention might go beyond being a waste of time and lead one through idolatry to even more curses.
Weekly Bible Reading:Ezra (Audio), Nehemiah (Audio), Esther (Audio) Commentary: David Pawson, Ezra and Nehemiah, Part 26, Esther, Part 27, Unlocking the Bible
James devised a tale where the deep state cabal released their bioweapons which triggered humanity’s genetic degradation which triggered starvation which triggered random violence from terrorist groups such as the Retaliators which triggered dead bodies piled upon dead bodies. That’s when something snapped inside of him making him explore other plots.
He came up with a new character, Tommy, a quite likeable bunny. He wrote that Tommy’s rabbit hole was near Farmer John’s vegetable patch. He brilliantly described Farmer John smiling at Tommy as they lunched together on carrots.
Being pleased with that new plot, James wrote his final words before the Retaliators arrived, “Their tears were wiped away and all the earth lived happily ever after.”
Focusing on repentance, these are my thoughts after listening to David Pawson’s lectures on the normal Christian birth. I have added to some of what I’ve heard. In the process I may have got some of it wrong. So check out the videos for yourself if you want to hear Pawson’s views directly.
There are four stages to a Christian birth: (1) repentance, (2) belief, (3) baptism and (4) the laying on of hands. Many skip the first and the fourth looking only for eternal security (safety) rather than being saved (salvaged) from sins for holy service in the Kingdom.
It takes time to identify specific sins. However, like a Catholic penitent kneeling in a confessional we need to specifically identify what sins we want to be saved from. This growing awareness convinces us that we really are sinners and, after we’ve changed, we know what specific sins we have stopped doing.
Repentance is more than regret for what we’ve done to ourselves and more than remorse for what we’ve done to others. It is sorrow for what we’ve done to God. Having that kind of sorrow is proof we believe there is a Lord God we can offend. We prove our faithfulness (allegiance to the Lord) by following orders to sin no more.
Without repentance we aren’t of much use. We are broken pots, perished to such an extent that we really ought to be thrown out. Without repentance we can only fool ourselves with our good deeds.
If we ever do get around to repenting we find we will have to repent not only for all of the bad things we know we’ve done, but also for all of those good deeds we’ve done to our own glory. By then we will have realized that nothing short of being made holy for renewed service will do.
Weekly Bible Reading:1 Chronicles (Audio), 2 Chronicles (Audio), Ezra (Audio), Nehemiah (Audio) Commentary: David Pawson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Part 24, Ezra and Nehemiah, Part 25, Unlocking the Bible