Christian books vs. the Bible

I get a lot out of reading the latest Christian books. In evangelical Christianity, we tend to quote a lot from the “inspired” works of Sts. Max Lucado, John Eldredge, C.S. Lewis, John Piper…etc (no offense to those I’ve missed). I’m really loving the works of the Reformed Church of Relevant, with works by Mark Driscoll and some other folks that are working hard at revamping the church by NOT watering down the power and might of the Gospel and prostituting it into the “NAME IT & CLAIM IT” and “MY WILL BE DONE!” gospels preached by many televangelists

Sorry….sorry about the rant. What was I saying?

Oh yeah, I love reading these books. Liz and I don’t have enough bookshelves to house our books. But sometimes, I’m so caught up reading the latest publication from Relevant Books or Discerning Reader, that I forget the Word of God Himself.

I’ve been inspired by other books, but the Word of God is the only one that truly ignites me. I must give all credit and glory to the Holy Spirit for causing any ignition or regeneration in my heart, since I can no more change my own heart than a car can change it’s own engine.

When I open up the Bible, I don’t find tasty morsels of food. I find a never-ending banquet. And this is the good, expensive stuff, not the stuffing and macaroni at Hometown Buffet. It’s like entering a cave while looking for a gem, and instead, you find a horde of treasure. Make that hordes of treasure, so much that you’re shocked that there’s enough gold, silver and diamonds on the planet to make such an abundance. You try taking out a bag of gems, but your mind goes bananas because you can’t decide which one’s you have and your bag is so small. Forget bringing in the trucks to haul the treasure off, because a 10 ton truck wouldn’t make a dent.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
– Psalm 19:7-11

For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

Granted, Christian books are worth their face value. God’s authored Word is priceless. Feast on the Word of God. Read it in a worthy manner, not as a bedrudging task, but as a delight. Delight in God’s Word.


Hey Jesus! Your bench isn’t what i wanted!

I got into an argument with a lady who called my work wanting to place a St. Jude ad. I suggested she get a slightly larger ad since the type was too small. Rather than following a reasonable suggestion in case, say, someone would prefer to read the ad, she threw a fit over the phone.

Why do Christians have to be a-holes sometimes? I wonder if Jesus had to deal with rude costumers. I bet he did. The book of Hebrews descibes him as becoming like us, His brothers and sisters, experiencing everything we did and do. I bet He got flak for some of His carpentry.

“Hey Jesus, this bench is short a cubit!”

“Thanks Jesus, but I know I think I would have liked louvered cabinetry.”

“I suppose it will work, Rabbi, but I really wanted a polyurethane finish.”

Okay, he probably didn’t hear the last one. But people complained. They picked fights, just because they were grumpy or grouchy. I wonder how He dealt with them. I want to know Christ and how He lives peace, even though the world is full of bitchy people, like myself and my customer today.


Responding to open theism

As discussed on… Interview With An Open-theist

I understand the appeal of OVT, as I am a former Arminian-turned-OVT-turned-Reformed, but I don’t understand how a God, to whom we credit the creation of the universe, is bound to the same time and space continuum that we are. The very constants and laws of the universe are set in place by God Almighty, if He is who we claim to believe. Gravity works in such a way because God designed it so. Light works in such a way because God designed it so. Time is effected in such a way because God made it. He made the universe, and when we say the universe, we mean the laws and constructions that hold the universe together.

The problem of OVT is it’s way of thinking that God is restricted to a linear time/space continuum. God designed the present age and us humans to operate on a linear time/space continuum. But we can’t assume for a minute that He is tied into the same thing. He exists eternally, and the difference between linear time and God-time is like the different between linear editing and non-linear editing.

In linear video editing, you are limited to seeing only one frame at a time. You might remember what you just saw a few frames back, but you never know for sure what’s ahead on the tape until you play forward into it. This is how we operate in life.

In non-linear editing, the video is digitized and you can see beginning and end at the same time. It’s an easy thing for God to fulfill prophesy, since it must feel like it’s being fulfilled. It’s an easy thing for God to have foreknowledge, since all the events that will transpire have transpired as they are transpiring.

Now, my linear/non-linear analogy is very simple, and really doesn’t do the truth justice. I don’t really know how God relates to time. What does “A thousand years is as on day, and one day like a thousand years” mean? But if God is not confined to our linear way of viewing time, I don’t see how He could not know everything about the future with absolute certainty. There could be no surprises, no “unsettled” events or actions, yet at the same time, everything is unsettled as far as God is concerned. Again, my point is that as much as we have no real concept of non-linear time, God is not confined to linear time. However, He does understand it. It’s one of the greatest mysteries of Christ’s incarnation. How does a non-linear thinking God pour into a linear human mind? All I know for certain is my mind can’t answer such a question without the risk of sounding heretical or having a broken gear pop out of my head.

Indeed, the Reformed view can seem fatalistic if the focus of the Christian life is self and not God. But WE are not the point, God is. I think the greatest infection in evangelical Christianity is the myth that Christians are being held back from spiritual blessings or missing their “purpose” in life, all because they haven’t read the latest book or joined the latest program, and if WE could only get OUR act together, more people would be saved and vote Republican.

Bah! God gets GLORY in our failures because it shows the world to trust Him alone. Our joy is that His purpose is carried out by Him and we get to come along for the ride. He is our Rock, HE is. Not this church or that ministry. Christ – He is our Rock.