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3GT Episode 73: When Two Kingdoms Become One

Why would the 3GTers want to talk about the Democratic primary for the governor’s race in Texas? Because one candidate who is promoting a pro-choice position is an elder in a Reformed church, and other elders in his denomination are calling him to repent!

The guys use this situation to delve into the underlying theological currents that influence believers as they seek to live in the two kingdoms of state and church. Aaron, Barry, and Kyle seek to identify the factors that can cause one kingdom to engulf the other in the minds and lives of believers.

Join them for this wide-ranging “trialogue” on 3GT!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/3gt-episode-73.mp3

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Episode Notes:

An Open Letter to Andrew White | Todd Pruitt

Andrew White, Todd Pruitt and John the Baptist | Richard Phillips

Trying to Get our Morals Back

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and a whole pile of other celebrity accusations, it has been sadly fascinating watching the west trying to claw its way back to some form of morality. At the Golden Globe awards earlier in January actors and actresses wore black as a way to say ‘Enough’ or ‘Me too’.

This would be the same Hollywood that releases 50 Shades of Grey and a host of other films, that endorses a hook-up and casual sex culture—and then acts self-righteously shocked and surprised that the culture that they created isn’t what they want to live in. Society tried to disconnect the sexual revolution from morality, and seems shocked when people behave in immoral ways. We want to be free to watch, but kid ourselves that watching won’t shape us.

Cue frantic back-peddling, or as some more cynically might call it, ‘virtue signalling’—that quick rush to show that you are just as virtuous as anyone else, whether or not your adoption of these virtues is a recent acquisition or even genuine at all. I do wonder how many of the artists parading around in black have paraded around in a lot less when it suited them.

The cat […]

The Arena of Christ’s Kingdom

The Philadelphia Eagles knocked off the New England Patriots this month in what was “one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.”

But nearly as stunning as the big game was the host stadium.

Shaped like a Viking ship (since it’s the home field of the Minnesota Vikings), U.S. Bank Stadium has 200,000-square-feet of windows that reveal the sky and the skyline, and seats for as many as 73,000 screaming fans—some of which sit just 40 feet from the sidelines.

This stadium not only made the game possible. It made it better.

The same is true for the arena of Christ’s kingdom. Our human society is the host stadium for the drama of redemptive history. Christ uses it to make that drama possible—and make it better.

Imagine if the Super Bowl were played in a broken-down stadium, on a dusty field pitted with dangerous craters, rocks and jagged pieces of metal fallen from the rafters. Would the players play nearly as well in such conditions? Would they play at all? And would anyone bother to watch?

Yet that’s a pretty good description of the arena in which Christ’s church operates. Christians live in constant danger of injuries that can and do seriously hinder them spiritually—if not […]

What Will Amazon Think?

Amazon.com, Inc. created one of the most recognizable and meaningful logos ever. The  curved arrow points from the “a” to the “z” under the word “amazon.” The smirk it creates reminds you that Amazon can make you happy by delivering everything from “a” to “z.” The cardboard box smiles at you when the delivery man hands you whatever you ordered, and you usually smile back with excitement.

Amazon deserves credit for a brilliantly simple mark. It works to make good on its promise. Indeed, I benefit regularly from its services.

We should receive the good things of this life with joy. As Christians, we should remember with every Amazon package that lands at our doorstep that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet). He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He alone can make all things new. He alone can make us smile for eternity.

Our trouble begins when we look to any earthly provider for our ultimate happiness. That can become a temptation for us as Amazon consumers. And, the problem can be magnified as such suppliers grow. When we are beholden to someone to supply our happiness, we […]

The Antidote to Our Political Addiction

Americans—including American Christians—are a bunch of political addicts.

Every time our phone buzzes with a news or Twitter alert, we get high on excitement or outrage.

Even the Russians realized they could mess with the 2016 U.S. election by posting fake news all over Facebook and watching millions of Americans trip out in angry paroxysms.

But there is an antidote. It was brilliantly presented in a recent speech from, of all people, a rabbi from Britain’s House of Lords.

“Freedom requires not just a state, but also and even more importantly a society,” Lord Jonathan Sacks told the American Enterprise Institute in October. “A society built of strong covenantal institutions, of marriages, families, congregations, communities, charities, and voluntary associations.”

 

Sacks drew a useful distinction between a social contract—which emphasizes the rights citizens cede to government in exchange for certain protections—and a social covenant, which like a marriage isn’t about rights but about mutual commitment and identity.

“The social contract creates a state but the social covenant creates a society,” Sacks said. “In America,” he added, “the social contract is still there, but the social covenant is being lost.”

Sacks’ speech—filled with humor—is worth watching or reading in full.

It’s also worth quoting at length:

 

“And because half […]

3GT Episode 70: Super Duper Sunday

The so-called Super Bowl Sunday is coming soon. But these three guys don’t seem too excited about it. Why?

Are they just nerdy mama’s boys? Partially. Fuddy-duddy Sabbatarians? Probably. Legalistic killjoys? Careful!

Just tune in and listen to why you might want to tune in and listen in a whole different way this coming Sunday!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-70.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

From Geneva to Amsterdam in Five Minutes!

Alpine Climes!

I’ve just arrived back from 3 days on the slopes with Andy Jr skiing. We stayed in a beautiful little village in the Chablais region of the Northern French Alps called Les Gets – really ‘chocolate box’ scenery. It was kind of some friends to let us have the use of his chalet for a few days.

Fabled Fun

Dad & Junior

Anyway, now, aged 51, the ‘thigh-burn’ is starting to get ridiculous – I was chasing a trail of ‘snow-dust’ for almost all of the time. I’m glad to say, however, that there is still a little life in the old legs of the old dog yet. I was happy to quote Aesop’s Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare to Andy Jr as I left him for dead on the big bumps on the final run of the final day. His only reply was that his shin was beginning to hurt – a classical case of Invisible-alpine-shin-microblister-dad-just-beat-you Syndrome, no doubt!

A dear French brother flanked by two Irishmen!

En Route!

After a few hours shut-eye, we rose at 5.30 am, did a quick final clean of the chalet, and headed down the road to Geneva Airport, only to have to pull […]

Gymnasts, Prophets, and Us

The following article is a guest post by Rebecca VanDoodewaard, author of Uprooted: A Guide for Homesick Christians, Your Future ‘Other Half’: It Matters Whom You Marry, and Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth. She is also the author of the Banner Board Series, a four-volume set of books written for young children on church history figures.

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The Nassar trial ended today, and it was close to home. About a year ago, I was in a courtroom where a judge handed down a verdict that told everyone that little girls aren’t worth much, really. Yet in the Nassar trial itself, there is a lot to be thankful for in how this horrific situation has concluded: a life sentence, a culture that places blame and shame on the predator and not victims, and widespread support for those brave young women who stood up and faced down an abuser.

But the situation is shot through with so much failure, that this conclusion is hardly a satisfying ending. In her concluding testimony, Rachael Denhollander was eloquent in her assessment of the situation, pressing home the hollowness of dead works and the need for Christ. She was a lonely voice. So many other young women spoke, […]

Gospel Thoughts on a Dark Anniversary

Below is a bulletin insert that I wrote for Lord’s Day, January 21, 2018, in remembrance of the 45th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized human abortion in all 50 of the United States. Monday, January 22nd is that anniversary: 

Thoughts on A Dark Anniversary

On Monday, January 22, 2018, Americans in the US will wake up and go to work and about the day as usual. Looming as the backdrop of that day sits an anniversary that some celebrate as a victory of women’s reproductive rights and others lament as one of the darkest stains on our national conscience.

On this day, in 1973, 45 years ago, under the so-called right of privacy, the Supreme Court declared abortion legal in all 50 States. As the national median age is 37; more than half of Americans, including myself, have always lived with this so-called right to privacy—human abortion.

The psalmist reminds us that there is no privacy before God when it comes to human life; for he is the one who forms and weaves. Psalm 139:15-16 says:

“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,  intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw […]

A Regrettable Future

Imagine a terrible situation.  Imagine yourself off at some point in the future, and that you have ruined your family or friendships; you’ve brought great pain and misery to those who trusted you.  Imagine yourself in a moment where it hits you:  how much you’ve done, how much you’ve lost, how deeply you’ve hurt people – imagine how hard you’d cry; imagine the heart-ripping regret you’d feel, how you’d do anything and give anything to go back to this time in your life, this very day, this very moment, before any of that horror happens so that you can keep far from the path which led to that destruction.  Such joyful thoughts!  In a way, they are.  Here’s how.