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Wrestling With Matthew 10:23

A good friend of mine recently called to ask me about a perplexing passage in Matthew.  We discussed the issue at some length, and I gave what I thought was a fair interpretation.  After some healthy give and take, he was like, “Yeah, I guess that makes sense.”  And that was it. 

But that wasn’t it.  I had that uncomfortable gnawing feeling, as if I had just made the incorrect call as a referee in a ball game.  And it stayed with me.  So I soon found myself pondering the issue while walking the mail, chewing and thinking, mulling over the text over and over again.  “What does it mean?”  I kept asking myself.  Round and round went the thoughts. 

It happened over my lunch break, while eating some oatmeal cookies at McDonalds (3 for a dollar!  Hard to beat!), when the answer hit me.  And it felt right… and it continues to feel right.

Are We Really Just a Blank Slate? A Conversation with Steven Pinker – Al Mohler

In one of his more recent and fascinating podcasts, Dr. Mohler discusses the subject of man’s nature with well known evolutionary psychologist, Steven Pinker.

In this interview, two things are worth noting.  First, Dr. Mohler proves yet again that he is a gentleman.  He allows Dr. Pinker to present his view without interruption.  He doesn’t try to triangle the guy.  He doesn’t yell.  He doesn’t snicker.  He asks clear questions in a straight forward manner.  So if you’re looking for a debate, this isn’t the download for you.  Dr. Mohler does provide some thought-provoking commentary at the end, however.

Secondly, if you’re interested in hearing firsthand how a fairly consistent naturalistic evolutionist thinks, you’ve come to the place.  Man is a soul-less chemical bag, in Pinker’s worldview, that should behave morally. 

On the Other Side of Complexity: Christian Conviction in the Late Modern Age – Al Mohler

Dr. Al Mohler recently gave the fourth annual Gaffin Lecture at Westminster Theological Seminary, and I must say that it was absolutely brilliant.  Picking up a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity,” Dr. Mohler provides a penetrating analysis of Western thought.    

While some may have a hard time following his message at points, as he does stroll through the halls post-modernity and neo-orthodoxy, as well as modernism, highlighting not only the key thinkers, but their ideas, I suspect that most will still be able to grasp the main points of his lecture.

Trust me when I say this.  The last ten minutes are worth the price of admission.  His critique of fundamentalism, as well as evangelicalism, is powerful.  And for many, the antidote he proscribes will prove very surprising.

Rambling Reviews of an Audio Scavenger

I love a full MP3 player.  And last week, my MP3 player was pretty darn full.  Ah, yes, the simple pleasures in life!

So, yeah, I’ve listened to quite a few messages lately.  It’s been a strange mixture.  A little bit of everything.  Nothing life changing, exactly, but no downright duds either.  It’s for this reason I’m going to go with the shotgun approach today.  Not a slug, but buckshot.  So here we go.  Time to ramble.

The Impudence of Men and the Hiddenness of God – A Thought

I have long wondered why atheists continue to brazenly demand a showing of God.  If they knew what they were doing, or if they had slightest inkling of the utter audacity of it all, they would realize the sheer folly of the demand and immediately desist.  But they do not. 

The demand to see God usually occurs during a debate, and typically towards the end.  The atheist, with an air of elite confidence, will say something like the following:

“If God is truly real, then why doesn’t He simply show up?  Why doesn’t He come down here right now, make this podium float and twirl in the air and tell me that I’m wrong?  If He would do that, I would believe.  He wants me to believe, right?  He wants it badly, no?  So why not simply prove He’s there?  A simple miracle will do.”

The Justification Landscape – Reformed Forum

What I’m about to say isn’t hyperbolic:

I appreciated every single sentence uttered by Pastor Mark Garcia in this Christ the Center interview.

As someone who has been following the Federal Vision and New Perspective(s) on Paul controversies for some time now, I’ve listened to my fair share discussions.  Like that old Clint Eastwood flick, most could be labeled as either being good, bad or ugly.  And unfortunately, there’s been a lot of ugly. 

But let me tell ya, Pastor Garcia ain’t ugly.

Prayer as a Way of Walking in Love: A Personal Journey – Francis Chan

Pastor John Piper said that Francis Chan’s message at the 2010 National Conference was probably one of the most listened to talks in Desiring God Conference history.

That’s remarkable.  In some ways this surprises me.  But in other ways, it doesn’t at all. 

There will no doubt be some who feel this is a bad thing, as Francis Chan doesn’t adequately measure up to their standards of Reformed purity.  The popularity, they will suppose, stems from the ever increasing downgrading of Evangelicalism.    

But I, for one, very much like him.

Leadership Interview with Bruce Winter – 9Marks

I love it when I meet a new, biblically astute theologian.  By “new” I don’t mean someone who has freshly emerged from seminary, but rather a scholar who, up until this point, was unknown to me.  

And so it was when I downloaded the latest 9Marks interview about a week or so ago, that I met Dr. Bruce Winter, a NT scholar residing at Tyndale House.  Being a man thoroughly acquainted with ancient history, especially the often bizarre and exotic culture of Corinth, Mr. Winter was able to shed much light on Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians.  Much light. 

This made for an excellent interview.  A number of tasty tidbits could be highlighted, but I’ll simply entice you with the word “leader.”  What’s so enticing about that?  Well, Mr. Winter doesn’t at all like the term “Christian leader.”  He feels it is misleading, if not wrong.  And he makes a good case.

An Arminian Conundrum

Let’s be honest, texts like 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 pose a challenge to the doctrine of unconditional election.  And Arminians love to remind Calvinists of this fact. 

Over the years, I’ve discussed theology with my fair share of free will theists.  While exploring the doctrines of sovereign grace, it usually takes, oh, about 3.2 minutes before one of the above passages is unsheathed.  I’ll point to the first chapter of Ephesians, and they’ll smile and point at 1 Timothy 2:4.  I’ll ask them to consider Romans 9, and they’ll promptly turn to 2 Peter.  Know what I’m talking about? 

Here a number of us Calvinists will try to explain what has come to be known as “The two wills of God.”  But if you’ve ever gone that route before, that is, address the difficulty head on, you know it’s a tough sell.  The Arminian scrunches his face and rolls his eyes and usually dismisses the notion.  “Sir,” he replies, “you’re grasping for straws.”