Social Justice…Isn’t God’s Word Enough?

June 13, 2020

I have been following the idea of “Social Justice” for some time now. Not too long ago these two words put together had a positive meaning. Today, the term has different meanings in the minds of many. Add other terms like “intersectionality” and “Critical Race Theory” or “Critical Theory,” terms discussed in positive ways even among some leading “Evangelicals” (I don’t even know what THAT word means anymore), and you have a recipe for the continued “Down Grade” controversy of Charles Spurgeon’s day (Link).

The “Down Grade” was a drift away from sound Biblical doctrine, something we are seeing a lot of in our day as well. I think Josh Buice did a good job of discussing the topic as described in the YouTube description:

“Intersectionality as a social concept has revolutionized the entire victimhood culture across the political and educational spectrum.”

This conference talk took place in January of 2019 and could not be more appropriate today. Because I have been spending time studying these issues WITHIN CHURCHES, I will post a few more appropriate videos on similar subjects below. There are thousands of videos on this subject so I’ve thrown in a couple of randoms.

May God bless our understanding of these issues so that we can be salt and light to those in world that seems more lost every day.

Chris Reimers
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Why the Coronavirus and Why Now?

April 30, 2020

Photo by Yuri Samoilov
yuri.samoilov.online/.

In education, “why” is generally the highest level question that one can ask. Teachers are encouraged to use Bloom’s Taxonomy to create high-level questions. For example, instead of asking, “Which U.S. President, authorized by the U.S. Congress, sent the American military into the Iraqi conflict in 2003?” a teacher could ask, “Was President Bush justified in sending U.S. soldiers to Iraq and why do you think that?”

Here are several articles that I have read that relates to the title above and a few of my thoughts on each:

Is This A Judgment? (link)

Whenever someone comes up with 10 reasons to think the coronavirus is a judgment of God, like Peter Leithart does here, I’m curious to see what he thinks. I am not only curious about his thoughts, I always try to find out a bit about him. I have done both.

Mr. Leithart asks the question “Why?” and his 10 reasons represent his thoughts about his home country, the U.S.
Each one of his reasons is a possible answer for “Why?” and “Why now?”

Ask Dr. Land: Did God cause the coronavirus pandemic? If not, why did He allow it? (link)

In answering the first of the two questions in his article, Dr. Land states:

So, when people ask, “Did God cause this to happen?” the answer has to be, “No, He did not.” Why? The Bible tells us that “no one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18). The Psalmist tells us that “the works of his hands are faithful and just” (Psalm 111:7) and “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

I particularly like Dr. Land’s reliance on scripture. I also liked it that he started the article with:

Whenever we seek to answer such questions, we must first express our humility, remembering the Apostle Paul’s admonition, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Rom. 8:23-24 CSB).

Dr. Land has impressive educational achievements and yet he says we need to remember our position in relation to God.

Did God allow the coronavirus? Dr. Land gives an interesting illustration using the Rose Bowl of 2006 (U.S.C. vs. Texas) to explain how God views human history. (It is an article worth your time.)

Dr. Land’s opinion:

“Did God cause the Coronavirus pandemic?” No. “Did God allow the pandemic to happen?” Yes.

Also, he states this:

Can God ultimately redeem the pandemic for good? That depends entirely on how we as Christians and as a nation respond to this terrible tragedy.

Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To (link)

This is the title of N.T. Wright’s article that appeared in Time magazine.

No doubt the usual silly suspects will tell us why God is doing this to us. A punishment? A warning? A sign? These are knee-jerk would-be Christian reactions in a culture which, generations back, embraced rationalism: everything must have an explanation. But supposing it doesn’t? Supposing real human wisdom doesn’t mean being able to string together some dodgy speculations and say, “So that’s all right then?” What if, after all, there are moments such as T. S. Eliot recognized in the early 1940s, when the only advice is to wait without hope, because we’d be hoping for the wrong thing?

Since Mr. Wright calls certain reactions to the virus silly and “would-be Christian,” what is his view?

Rationalists (including Christian rationalists) want explanations; Romantics (including Christian romantics) want to be given a sigh of relief. But perhaps what we need more than either is to recover the biblical tradition of lament. Lament is what happens when people ask, “Why?” and don’t get an answer.

Is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow what happens when people don’t get an answer? I would agree that the answer is sometimes “yes.” But Christians I know don’t get answers and still call faith “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I’ve never heard one quote the T.S. Elliot version of hope Mr. Wright uses:

What if, after all, there are moments such as T. S. Eliot recognized in the early 1940s, when the only advice is to wait without hope, because we’d be hoping for the wrong thing?

Christians know the hope that they have. It is a blessed hope.

They are “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus…”

I’m always concerned when someone thinks they have all of the answers, which is the tone of Mr. Wright here. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. He did use the term “perhaps.”

The article ends with:

As the Spirit laments within us, so we become, even in our self-isolation, small shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell. And out of that there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope. New wisdom for our leaders? Now there’s a thought.

We become small shrines? What is that supposed to mean? I’m all for new acts of kindness and I’m all for new scientific understanding, but Mr. Wright seems to clash with himself when he criticizes “Rationalism” at least twice in this endeavor.

I understand lamenting and I verily understand groaning. I don’t understand Mr. Wright.

Where is God in a Coronavirus World? (click on the video link below)

John Lennox has written a book named “Where is God in a Coronavirus World?” Mr. Lennox is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and an Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford University. I have not read his book, but I have watched this video:

I have always appreciated the views of Mr. Lennox and had no different experience here. John is asked, “Why have viruses at all?” I’d recommend you watch the video.

I could continue to share opinions and make my own speculations but the truth is, I do not know why the Corona virus has hit our world now and I do not know why. I do think three of the four gentlemen above have given good possibilities for these questions. The fourth view (that of N.T. Wright) is also a possibility.

I do know one thing. If I understand the tribulation as Christ describes it in Matthew 24 (along with other passages in the Bible), COVID-19, at least to this point, is like a mosquito bite compared to what is eventually coming. Many people I talk to think that we are living in the days of “birth pangs” described in Matthew 24:8. I think this is very possible. Whether we are closing in on or are in the last days or not, here is a passage that we all should keep in mind:

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, 4 but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. 11 Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ 12 But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

This parable is stated directly after the chapter about the Tribulation. It is found in Matthew 25.

If I see any other interesting views on “Why?” and “Why now?” I may add them as time allows.

Chris Reimers

Related:

Alistair Begg’s Easter Sermon 2020


Thou art my hope in the day of evil

April 29, 2020

Photo by pol sifter

“Thou art my hope in the day of evil.”
Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of his children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

Charles H. Spurgeon

When I read this today, the verse seemed to fit our day in other ways as well. The deity of Christ is under attack perhaps more today than ever. Just this week, I’ve stumbled across several different religious leaders who do not give Jesus his full position as God as the Bible teaches. (30 “I and the Father are one.” – John 10)
Add to that the many false prophets, prosperity teachers, New Apostolic Reformation leaders, New Age thought, Unitarian positions, cults, etc. (I’m not even including other religions here) and we have a time where Bible verses are twisted to make Jesus someone to fit personal wishes instead of the true Jesus found in scripture (Tota Scriptura).
We need to be familiar with the entire Word of God so that we are not fooled by these impostors. I think it’s time for all of us to go back to the basics and study why we believe the things we do believe. I think this because basic Christian Orthodoxy which has spanned the ages is in question (i.e. the diety of Christ).

cr


Radiant With Hope

April 6, 2020


“Amidst chaos and confusion, where can we find hope?”

Just like my church (and yours) Parkside Church is full of empty seats until further notice. Pastor Begg gives a sermon to his congregation through his church’s website. It is relevant to our times. The message starts at 16:45. May God bless you by His Holy Spirit through this recent lesson.

(CLICK HERE TO HEAR PASTOR BEGG’S RECENT TREATISE.)

CR


What mean these stones?

June 1, 2018

A Sermon by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (An excerpt)

Let me put it to you like this. Christianity is not a philosophy. What is a philosophy? Well, a philosophy is made up of ideas put forward by men, in an attempt to try to understand life and our problems and how to deal with them and how to solve them. It is a matter of ideas, of thoughts and of teachings. My point is that while there is obviously a teaching and a doctrine which is a vital part of Christianity, that is not the first thing. What differentiates this is that it is first and foremost a record of historical events and historical facts. What mean these stones outside Gilgal? All that they mean is that certain things happened to these people-history. Let us be clear about this. There are so many people today who talk about the Christian attitude-towards war and peace, a Christian attitude towards education, a Christian attitude towards art, drama and literature. Now all that tends to turn it into a philosophy, into a teaching, into a theory, into a point of view. But that is really not to be true to our position. So Christianity, we must remember, is not one of a number of theories and ideas and philosophies with respect to life. It is quite unique because it is teaching which is based upon history.

I can go further and I can say this. That this is the thing that differentiates the Christian faith from religion-from any kind of religion. You take these religions that people, some of them, are turning to at the present time. Buddhism or Confucianism or Hinduism, or any one of these ‘isms’. What are they? Well, they are all something invented by men. They are all teachings. They involve a kind of worship, but they are not based upon facts and upon events. They are all based upon ideas-and they are ideas that are supposed to lead you and to help you to arrive at the particular deity that you want to worship.

Now here again, you see, our Christian faith is entirely different. It calls attention to facts. And that is why this building in a sense is going to do exactly the same as the bread and the wine do in a communion service. They again are calling attention to facts. So, we must start with this all important matter-this principle-and realise that it is vital to our whole situation. The uniqueness of the Christian faith depends upon a series of historical facts and events and the teaching which results from them.

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It is probably not altogether right to excerpt from one of the greats, though I think the good Doctor would be happy with my reasoning here. How many were saying in 1977, when the sermon was given, that the Bible was a good book but that much of it consisted of “meaningful fables” and “nice stories” and that its historicity was in serious question? This type of liberal Christianity, already quite popular then, was something that Martyn Lloyd-Jones abhorred. How much more are the historical parts of the Bible under attack today? Yes, parts of the scriptures are beautiful poetry and some are eschatological wonders. But there are the parts that, until the past few centuries, were always considered history and still are by men in agreement with Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Remarkably, currently and in the recent past, men are calling what has always been considered history poetry or allegory. There is the “Documentary Hypothesis” and a myriad of similar criticisms which weaken the inspired intentions of the text. Some go so far as to question the miracles.

I admire men like David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Walter Martin, and Charles H. Spurgeon and I agree with them. All great scholars, they upheld the Bible as the inspired word of God in times of question. We are living in times when many consider the Bible as just another book on the shelf. In their time, these great men were astonished that anyone could have such an opinion and if any were with us today I think they would receive more mocking than they did in their day and would respond no differently than when they were alive.

This is a sermon that needs to be heard more today than ever. I am including a link to the text of this sermon and another to the recording of the actual sermon. Either would be more than worth your time.

Chris Reimers

COMPLETE TEXT OF “WHAT MEAN THESE STONES?”

A RECORDING OF THIS EXACT SERMON BY Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Preached at West Street Baptist Church; Crewe; in 1977.)

A sermon WITH THE SAME TITLE was preached at Newport; South Wales; in 1977. Martyn Lloyd-Jones often used this text at the opening of new churches. It was on this text that he last preached at the opening of Barcombe Baptist Chapel in 1980.

MEET DR. LLOYD JONES (INTERVIEW)


Basics Conference 2018

May 10, 2018

The Basics conference of 2018 has ended. This year’s conference took place May 7-9, at Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. HERE IS A LINK TO ALL OF THE SESSIONS. I have not watched it all but I respect Alistair Begg enough to post the full conference.

The conference “aims to encourage and equip pastors to do the basics of Christian ministry well (most of the time). Given the unique responsibilities and challenges of life in ministry, we also hope that God might use the conference to refresh pastors and send them back to their home churches renewed for further Gospel work.”

As a layperson and former “minister of religion,” I found the parts of the conference that I watched helpful not only for those in pastoral ministry. After all, each Christian is given the great commission and the wisdom of these pastors may assist you in your walk with God and your efforts to assist others.

If you find something in any of the sessions that you would like to discuss, I would be happy to have that discussion as time allows.

The Q and A sessions are always interesting and this one is no exception. (It starts at just after the 15 minute mark.)

Enjoy.

Chris Reimers


Calvinism vs. Arminianism

April 24, 2018

I appreciate this statement. You will see the same basic statement made in Charles Spurgeon’s sermon called THE SUM AND SUBSTANCE OF ALL THEOLOGY. It is a sermon version of this few minutes by Dr. MacArthur.

cr


Twisted Scripture – Exegesis VS Eisegesis

April 24, 2018

Christian “high” terminology simplified, I always appreciate when this is done correctly as, I think, it is done here.

Tulips & Honey

Last week, beloved, we discussed hermeneutics and it’s roll in protecting us from twisting Gods Word. Today I’d like to talk about exegesis in comparison to eisegesis. These are big, fun words to say, like hermeneutics, but they’re actually very simple concepts to understand and apply.

Exegesis is the careful study of the meaning in each verse based on its context, the grammar used, the original language it was written in, and syntax. For proper exegesis of Gods Word we use the whole counsel of the Bible to form our beliefs. When I became a Christian I had to take everything I had been taught, everything I believed and set it aside, pick up the Bible and let God instruct me. How I felt, my experiences, and my previous training were not allowed to overshadow or muddy the scripture. Still today, when I hear something I don’t understand, or haven’t…

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The Immutability of God

April 12, 2018

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Photo from
https://archive.spurgeon.org/

A Sermon (No. 1) delivered on January 7th, 1855 by C. H. Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”—Malachi 3:6

It has been said by some one that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God.

Click here to read the rest of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon…

Source: The Spurgeon Archive


The Resurrection

April 1, 2018


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