The Grace and Truth Paradox chapter 6 pages 51-60

This section is titles “A Closer Look at Truth.” I have inserted some of his thoughts below:

• “Flew across the country to not preach at a church that invited me to preach. After leaving my hotel I rode with a prominent Christian leader to the church. I knew this man had been accused by the media of misrepresenting certain key details on his resume, so I asked him about the charges. He admitted saying and writing some things that weren’t true—but it didn’t seem to bother him. I told him, calmly, that I thought he should repent and publicly ask for forgiveness for his dishonesty. He said nothing and we rode to the church in silence. A few minutes after we arrived, I was escorted to the office of the senior pastor, where we were scheduled to pray before I preached in the service. When I stepped in, the pastor slammed the door behind me. I was surprised to see his face turning scarlet, his veins bulging. He poked his finger at me. ‘No way will I let you preach from my pulpit!’ he thundered. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw the man I had just confronted. The pastor told me I had no right to question our brother’s integrity. The pastor was fully aware of the man’s reputation but thought it none of my business. We left the office the pastor still seething.” (page 51-52)
• 64% of Americans say, “I will lie when it suits me as long as it doesn’t cause any real damage.” 53% say, “I will cheat on my spouse—after all, given the chance, he or she will do the same.” Only 31% of Americans agree that “honesty is the best policy.” When asked what they would do for ten million dollars, 25 percent said they would abandon their family, 23 percent would become prostitutes fir a week or more, and 7 percent would murder a stranger. (page 53)
Lies pile up like ocean waves. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said in his Nobel Prize acceptance address, “One word of truth outweighs the entire world.” (page 55)
• “University students, once known as truth-seekers, now have minds so ‘open’ they don’t critically evaluate truth-claims. They sit passively while professors affirm the random evolution of complex life forms. No mention is made of the biochemical discoveries of irreducible complexity at the cellular level, which refute Darwinism and constitute overwhelming scientific evidence for intelligent design. Many professors are not truth-seekers, but status quo gatekeepers, highly selective about which ‘truths’ they allow in their classroom door.” (Page 56)
Any thoughts of response?
God bless,
Steve

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I read this int…

Aside

I read this interesting blog on Prov 13:24

This is from Dr. Ben Witherington of Asbury Theological Seminary:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child?

July 17, 2012 By  14 Comments

On June 8th of this year Prosperity Preacher Creflo Dollar (yes, that’s his name) was arrested for assaulting (choking involved) his 15 year old daughter when she would not co-operate with his ban on her going to a party after midnight. In my life time, the issue of corporal punishment and whether it is acceptable or not an acceptable practice for parents to use with their children has become a contested and controversial one, whereas when I was a child, not only was it seen as an accepted means of dealing with a disobedient child, it was also seen as an accepted means of dealing with a disobedient student in school. Principals and vice principals had ‘boards of education’ that they were not afraid to use on the backsides of recalcitrant or rebellious students. Nowadays, our culture has other ideas about this matter, and some would even call the use of any physical discipline, including spanking, an example of child abuse or assault.

What should we think about these matters as Christians? Is there really no difference between physical discipline and assault or child abuse? And what does the Bible actually say on the matter? Well there is a famous verse in Proverbs used to justify physical discipline, and perhaps it would be useful to look closely at it first.

Proverbs 13.24 says the following— “those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them.” The axiom ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ appears to derive from paraphrasing the KJV 1611 mistranslation of the Hebrew text. Let’s first deal with the issue of how proverbs actually work. They are not one maxim fits all occasions teachings. They are generalizations and generalizations are by definition something that have been shown to be usually, often, or normally true under normal circumstances. They are not laws for they are not always applicable. Proverbs, in other words are not universally applicable laws. They admit of exceptions of various sorts. The Biblical book of Proverbs however does not try to deal with exceptional persons or situations. It presupposes a normal state of affairs, and gives advice into that normal or common situation. It is well to remind ourselves that what turns out to be true in a stable, settled, orderly society, and works well, might not be true at all in troubled or chaotic times or places or situations.

For example, Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes rightly makes clear that the teaching of Proverbs cannot be universalized, for example when Proverbs suggests that the righteous are rewarded with wealth, whereas the lazy end up poor and starving. No says Qoheleth, there are times and situations where the righteous end up destitute, persecuted, prosecuted, even executed whereas the wicked sometimes prosper. The question then becomes— under what circumstances and in what situations is the advice given in Proverbs appropriate and probably apt and helpful? Does this advice about children readily translate to our own dysfunctional cultural and family situations?

It is interesting that OT scholars who are experts in Wisdom literature have suggested the material like we find in Proverbs 13 is for more mature disciples of the sage, not for beginners. That is, it is advice given to those wise enough, and mature enough to know how to use and not abuse the advice. Think for a minute about times you were disciplined growing up (if you were). Was physical discipline applied to you when parents got angry and used it as an expression of their wrath?

If so, a good case can be made for that being an abuse of the privilege of disciplining your children, something which must be done dispassionately, fairly, in an appropriate measured way and not as outlet for one’s anger. Here the advice must be taken in the context of everything the NT says about anger. For example: 1) Ephes. 4.26– be angry but sin not; 2) ‘Father’s do not provoke your children to anger’ Ephes. 6.4 (a verse that seems apposite in the Creflo Dollar case); 3) James 1.19-20 says we must be slow to anger, and that the anger of human beings does not produce the righteousness of God.

A second regular feature of maxims, aphorisms, or proverbs is that their rhetoric is often sharp edged. By this I mean they use dramatic contrasts and even hyperbole to make a point. So here the language of ‘hate’ and ‘love’ cannot be taken literally in Prov. 13.24. We might say a person who never disciplines an unruly child is guilty of being a bad parent or a negligent parent, but in our context the word hate would be too strong a word if taken literally. Parents who fail to discipline their children often love their children but are unsure of how to discipline them properly or are afraid if they do so that they will harm the child or lose their love and affection. In other words, sometimes failing to discipline is an example of fear based thinking about one’s children. I can honestly say that the spankings I occasionally got when I was young did me no lasting harm at all, and indeed were a memorable reminder that a particular course of conduct or speech was out of bounds, inappropriate, indeed even sinful in some cases.

I would say that Prov. 13 assumes that physical discipline is an appropriate form of disciplining a child, but clearly it does not mandate that this is the only appropriate form of discipline or even that it should be the first resort. Time outs, taking away of privileges, extra home work or house work, and so on, should all be exhausted first before resorting to physical discipline, and again that sort of discipline must be limited, measured, and not an expression of a moment of anger or frustration.

In regard to the latter I would say Dollar definitely crossed the line into abuse and so into sin. He was angry and his anger led to abuse, such as choking, of his 15 year old. This was not appropriate at all and would never be appropriate conduct by a parent under any circumstances, no matter how frustrated one becomes.

So is Proverbs 13 providing us with justification for the regular exercise of physical discipline of our children whenever we may feel inclined to use it, or angry enough to use it? No. It does not, for it does not suggest it is the only means, or even the primary and first option means of disciplining of children. There are many other things that should be tried first. But what a saying like this does suggest is that there may come a day when a measured application of physical discipline is appropriate and does not constitute child abuse.

The Grace and Truth Paradox chapter 5: pages 43-50

This chapter us titled: “A Closer Look at Grace”
He begins with a story:
Wesley Allan Dodd tortured, molested, and murdered three boys in Vancouver, Washington, fifteen miles from our home. Dodd was scheduled to be hanged— the first U.S. hanging in three decades— shortly after midnight, January 4, 1993. At dinner that evening, both our daughters, then eleven and thirteen, prayed earnestly that Dodd would repent and place his faith in Christ before he died. I agreed with their prayer… but only because I knew I should. I stayed up and watched. Reporters from all over the country crowded around the prison. Twelve media representatives were firsthand witnesses to the execution. When they emerged thirty minutes after Dodd died, they recounted the experience. One of them read Dodd’s last words: “I had thought there was no hope and no peace. I was wrong. I have found hope and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Gasps and groans erupted from the gallery. The anger was palpable. “How dare someone who has done anything so terrible say he has found hope and peace in Jesus?” Did he really think God would let him into Heaven after what he’d done? “Shut up and go to hell, child killer— you won’t get off so easy!” The idea of God’s offering grace to Dodd was utterly offensive. And yet… didn’t Jesus die for Dodd’s sins just as He did for mine?
Interesting quote: (page 44) “No sin is bigger than the savior. Grace is, literally, not of this world.
End of opening illustration
Any thoughts about that or the rest of the chapter or book?
We are saved by grace for good works (Eph 2:10).
Read Matthew 20:1-16 and compare. In this illustration Jesus talks about the person who is hired last getting paid the same as the others. Read it, it is interesting. Our salvation is all about God and not us, though we are saved unto good works.
Here are some notes from the ESV Study Bible on Matthew 20:1-16:
Matt. 20:1 the kingdom of heaven is like. See note on 13:24. vineyard. Grapes were one of ancient Israel’s most important crops, and thus Israel was often referred to as the “vine” or “vineyard” of God (e.g., Isa. 5:1–7; Jer. 2:21; Hos. 10:1; cf. Matt. 21:28–46). “Vineyard” represents the activity of the kingdom in this world (cf. Matt. 21:28–46).

Matt. 20:2–15 denarius. A typical day’s wage for a laborer. third hour. 9:00 a.m. The workday was typically divided into four three-hour increments, running from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eleventh hour. 5:00 p.m., near the end of the workday. These workers are desperate enough to continue waiting for work. each of them received a denarius. Surprisingly, the last laborers to be hired are paid a complete denarius, the same as those who had worked all day. Friend, I am doing you no wrong. The landowner addresses the worker gently, explaining the fairness of his actions. do you begrudge. Literally, “Is your eye evil?” The laborer failed to be thankful for his own wage because he was blinded by his self-interested lack of compassion for his fellow worker.

Matt. 20:16 So the last will be first, and the first last. A disciple of Jesus should not measure his or her worth by comparing it with the accomplishments and sacrifices of others, but should focus on serving from a heart of gratitude in response to God’s grace. Jesus is not denying degrees of reward in heaven (see note on 1 Cor. 3:14–15) but is affirming that God’s generosity is more abundant than anyone would expect: all the laborers except the very first got more than they deserved. It is probably correct also to see here a warning that Jesus’ early followers (such as the Twelve) should not despise those who would come later.

Anyways, I have written enough for today. Have a blessed week in the Lord!

The Da Vinci Code

Here are some short thoughts on “the Da Vinci Code.”
I intend to write more about “the Da Vinci Code” in the future. Someone asked me about this book last week. I can tell you that I read the book and I watched the movie. The book was a real page turner. I didn’t like the movie as much. The book was fiction for sure. But the book did make certain erroneous claims and this showed how much people do not know about how we received the Bible. If you have not read it or seen the movie, please do. But also read a book about the Da Vinci Code from a church history perspective. Several short books came out in response. These are written quite well and show the truth behind the fiction. For example:
The book says:
“The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan emperor Constantine the Great” (p. 231)
“Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike”(p. 234)
What one needs to know is: More than 32,000 citations of the NT in the Church fathers prior to 300 AD. So prior to Constantine we can research several citations of our NT by the Church Fathers.

Another claim is that Jesus was secretly married. However, there would be nothing wrong with Jesus being married. There would be no reason to keep it secret. In fact in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 Paul says:
1 Cor 9:5
Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?
If Jesus was married Paul could have stated that right there.
Anyways, those are some short thoughts on that book and movie.