Raymond Chang: “Open Letter to John Piper on White Evangelicalism and Multiethnic Relations”

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In CT, Raymond Chang responds to John Piper’s post on Lecrae and evangelicalism. Previously Raymond shared a post on this blog here. In the current article, Raymond writes,

For better or worse, we are only at the beginnings of this “Reverse Exodus,” since, at the moment, there aren’t many better options to turn to for people who hold the same doctrines as white evangelicals hold. Evangelicals of color are growing up in, getting trained by, and seeking participation in white evangelical spaces because there aren’t many viable options of another sort who hold the same theological convictions – except in the historically black church which emerged out of exclusionary practices by white Christians who held convictions nearly identical to the ones evangelicalism promotes. Despite this, there are many evangelicals of color who still hold onto a genuine hope and willingness to endure in order to see the church demonstrate what Gospel centered unity in diversity can look like. This flickering flame is what I hope we can fan into a blazing fire.

However, the willingness of evangelicals of color to remain will likely change when they begin to realize that they too are the token/mascot/poster child for white evangelical churches or institutions. Unless white evangelicalism wakes up to the realities that it’s unwillingness to sufficiently change keeps it behind the culture, instead of leading prophetically with a clear vision of the Kingdom of God, the exodus will ensue.

My hope is we can work towards an equitable unity where all people mutually submit to and honor each other.

You can read the rest here.

Thank you, Raymond, for your love for Christ and his church.

 

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Kuyper’s Two Life Systems in Mortal Combat

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“Moreover, besides this common parentage, there is another factor which, in the face of even a wider difference, would continue to unite your interests and ours. Far more precious to us than even the development of human life, is the crown which ennobles it, and this noble crown of life for you and for me rests in the Christian name. That crown is our common heritage. It was not from Greece or Rome that the regeneration of human life came forth ;— that mighty metamorphosis dates from Bethlehem and Golgotha; and if the Reformation, in a still more special sense, claims the love of our hearts, it is because it has dispelled the clouds of sacerdotalism, and has unveiled again to fullest view the glories of the

Cross. But, in deadly opposition to this Christian element, against the very Christian name, and against its salutiferous influence in every sphere of life, the storm of Modernism has now arisen with violent intensity.

In 1789 the turning point was reached.

Voltaire’s mad cry, ‘Down with the scoundrel,’ was aimed at Christ himself, but this cry was merely the expression of the most hidden thought from which the French Revolution sprang. The fanatic outcry of another philosopher, ‘We no more need a God,’ and the odious shibboleth, ‘No God, no Master,’ of the Convention ;—these were the sacrilegious watchwords which at that time heralded the liberation of man as an emancipation from all Divine Authority. And if, in His impenetrable wisdom, God employed the Revolution as a means by which to overthrow the tyranny of the Bourbons, and to bring a judgment on the princes who abused His nations as their footstool, nevertheless the principle of that Revolution remains thoroughly anti-Christian, and has since spread like a cancer, dissolving and undermining all that stood firm and consistent before our Christian faith.

There is no doubt then that Christianity is imperiled by great and serious dangers. Two life systems are wrestling with one another, in mortal combat. Modernism is bound to build a world of its own from the data of the natural man, and to construct man himself from the data of nature; while, on the other hand, all those who reverently bend the knee to Christ and worship Him as the Son of the living God, and God himself, are bent upon saving the ‘Christian Heritage.’ This is the struggle in Europe, this is the struggle in America, and this also, is the struggle for principles in which my own country is engaged, and in which I myself have been spending all my energy for nearly forty years.”

Abraham Luyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishng, 1931; rpnt. 1999), 10-11. (ebook)

On Making the Abnormal Good

Source: On Making the Abnormal Good

On Making the Abnormal Good

Nathan Englander: What Jewish Children Learned From Charlottesville

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Credit Edu Bayer for The New York Times

In the NYT, @NathanEnglander) writes,

While harking back to my pious, head-covered days, I am reminded of a notion that our rabbis taught us: The theft of time is a crime like any other. Back then it was about interrupting class — one minute wasted was a minute of learning lost. But multiply that minute by everyone in the room, and it became 15, 20 minutes, half an hour’s worth of knowledge that none of us could ever get back.

Saturday in Charlottesville was just one day, but think of that one day multiplied by all of us, across this great country. Think of the size of that setback, the assault on empathy, the divisiveness and tiki-torched terror multiplied by every single citizen of this nation. It may as well be millions of years of dignity, of civility, of progress lost.

Just from that one day.

Thank you, Mr. Englander.

Read the whole article here.

John Calvin on Paul’s Unanswered Thrice-Prayer for Relief – 2 Corinthians 12:8

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It may seem, however, to follow from this, that Paul had not by any means prayed in faith, if we would not make void all the promises of God. ‘We read everywhere in Scripture, that we shall obtain whatever we ask in faith: Paul prays, and does not obtain.’ I answer, that as there are different ways of asking, so there are different ways of obtaining. We ask in simple terms those things as to which we have an express promise — as, for example, the perfecting of God’s kingdom, and the hallowing of his name, (Matthew 6:9), the remission of our sins, and every thing that is advantageous to us; but, when we think that the kingdom of God can, nay must be advanced, in this particular manner, or in that, and that this thing, or that, is necessary for the hallowing of his name, we are often mistaken in our opinion. In like manner, we often fall into a serious mistake as to what tends to promote our own welfare. Hence we ask those former things confidently, and without any reservation, while it does not belong to us to prescribe the means. If, however, we specify the means, there is always a condition implied, though not expressed. Now Paul was not so ignorant as not to know this. Hence, as to the object of his prayer, there can be no doubt that he was heard, although he met with a refusal as to the express form. By this we are admonished not to give way to despondency, as if our prayers had been lost labor, when God does not gratify or comply with our wishes, but that we must be satisfied with his grace, that is, in respect of our not being forsaken by him. For the reason, why he sometimes mercifully refuses to his own people, what, in his wrath, he grants to the wicked, is this — that he foresees better what is expedient for us, than our understanding is able to apprehend.

John Calvin, Commentary on Corinthians, Vol. 2, 2 Cor. 12:8

The Levite in Us

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The Old Man Confronts the Ephramites, The Levite Finds His Concubine on the Doorstep, and The Levite Cuts His Wife in Twelve Pieces, by James Tissot (1836-1902)

 

Literarily, the writer of Judges 19-20 frames the story of the Levite and his concubine to stand in juxtaposition to the earlier Levite story in Judges 17-18. Terms link the two passages – “Bethlehem-Judah” (17:8; 19:1), “Ephraim” (17:1; 19:1), “Levite…sojourned/sojourning” (17:7; 19:1), and “inquired of God” (18:5; 20:18).

The story also has parallels to that of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. Therefore, the reader should anticipate a scene in which a local host offers hospitality (Gen. 19:2-3), evil men approach (19:4-5), the evil men rebuke the hospitality standards (19:6-9), and mediating angelic beings rescue the Abrahamic relative (19:10-11). However, no one intervenes, demonstrating that the guest is acting in discord with the covenant of Abraham. Instead, the host offers his own daughter and the guest’s concubine to the evil men (Judg. 19:24). Eventually, the Levite seizes the concubine and gives her to the Sodom-like men (19:25).

Rather than a Moabite offspring coming as a result of the poor choice of the male figure in this story (in comparison to Lot, Gen. 19:37), the narrative witnesses the death of the concubine (Judg. 19:26-27). Israel then must act as their own mediators and provide justice and deliverance (Judges 20). The mercy for which Abraham pleaded on behalf of Lot is absent in the narrative because no one is concerned about pleasing the Lord, as they have rejected him as their King (Judg. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).

Significantly, Judges 19 ends with the Levite dismembering the concubine. He uses her death as a rallying cry for Israel to make judgment upon the acts of the Benjaminites. Yet the Levite has not dealt with his own sin—his own disregard for the Law, his rejection of the father-in-law’s hospitality, and the demeaning treatment of the concubine in life and death. The Levite is a hypocrite, blaming the men of Benjamin for the evil he could have prevented if he had obeyed the law of God, listened to the father-in-law, and stood his moral ground in the old man’s home.

In contrast to the Levite, the concubine – who was mistreated in life and humiliated in death – dies in place of the man, saving his life from suffering, disgrace, and death. Her death then stands as an injustice in the eyes of the Levite and greater Israel (Judg. 19:29-30). In this story, she is the type of the one to come who will die in place of those deserving death.

Resource

George M. Schwab, Right in Their Own Eyes: The Gospel According to Judges (P&R).

Awe of the Creator’s Creation

4434517-space-wallpapersFrom crystalline caves, to distant galaxies, to the tiny phytoplankton in the ocean that produce more than half of the earth’s oxygen, the world we live in is complex and wondrous. Our own brains have 100 trillion to 1,000 trillion neural connections and more than 100,000 miles of myelinated nerve fibers. For a Christian, a natural awe in creation is the outcome of an awe of the creator. These amazing things we see, including our own brains, are the works of his hands.

– Dorothy Boorse

Natural selection certainly operates. It explains how bacteria will gain antibiotic resistance; it will explain how insects get insecticide resistance, but it doesn’t explain how you get bacteria or insects in the first place.

– William Dembski

 

 

Word-Centered Church, Jonathan Leeman

Word Centered ChurchI am excited to see Jonathan Leeman’s, Word-Centered Church (Moody Publishers), in print as a repacking of a very good earlier work, Reverberation. Leeman especially does a great job of helping the church member understand how God uses the preached word to conform our lives into the image of Christ. His work is a good place to start in order to see a case for enjoying Scripture daily as a joyous love exchange between the believer and our Lord. (“Is that in the book?” Yes, if you read it prayerfully and with discernment.)

prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781629952918I also am excited to see O Palmer Robertson’s, The Christ of Wisdom. Reading Robertson’s understanding of the literary structure of the Psalter and individual psalms was so rich that I am eager to see how he complements that study as he goes through the rest of the major books of biblical poetry.