From Ruthless to Generous & From Enslaved to Empowered

Recently, J. D. Greear wrote about the power of the gospel seen in the book of Philemon. Here’s an excerpt:

Modern readers are often so side-tracked by the question, “Is Paul okay with slavery?” (short answer: no) that they miss the bigger picture: Onesimus’ slavery depicts for us the slavery of sin, and how we are all servants to it. Many of you are enslaved to sinful passions, idolatries, selfishness, lusts, and many other things that are keeping you from being a world-changing leader. It may have started as a diversion or an amusing hobby, but if you start to give your heart to something other than God, it will take the whole heart and make you useless. But God created you to be useful! That’s what Onesimus means, which is precisely Paul’s point: the gospel liberates you to be what God created you to be—not “useless,” not even “useful” in the sense of being a utility in someone else’s life, but useful in God’s purposes, part of a bigger plan.

Read the full post here.

Creation Vs Eternalism: (The Age of the Earth Part 1)

Historically, the debate has not been between creation and evolution, but creation and eternalism. During the apostolic and patristic eras, the pagans did not argue simply for an ancient earth, they contended that the universe was eternal. Even though Aristotle believed that the world was caused by God, he did not believe that God created the world, in time, in the usual understanding of the word “create.” God, as the perfect, unchangeable being, did not act in time. Since he is the eternal source of the world, Aristotle reasoned, the cosmos and its elements must also be eternal. Such a view is called eternalism. During the first centuries of the church, neo-Platonic philosophers would use Aristotle’s arguments to attack the Christian doctrine of creation. For example, in his book, On the Eternity of the World, Proclus gives 18 arguments against creation in favor of an everlasting universe. From biblical times up through the medieval era, the greatest challenge to the doctrine of creation was eternalism. 40 questions creation evolution

Eternalism, by its very nature, is fatalistic. The ancient pagans believed that the world operated within an eternal framework of oscillating and recurring cycles. The early cultures—Sumerian, Indian, and Chinese—universally held to the notion of never-ending, repeating, cyclic time. The Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks all held to 36,000 year cycles while the Hindus believed that the cycles were as long as 4.3 million years. The Mayans taught that the world had been created, destroyed, and re-created at least four times, with the last re-creation occurring on February 5, 3112 BC. The pagans understood time as a circle rather than an arrow.

Early Christian writers such as Tertullian and Augustine responded to the threat of eternalism by demonstrating that the Bible taught that God created in time, and that He created the world ex nihilo (i.e., out of nothing). John Philoponus, a 6th century Christian philosopher, exposed the internal inconsistencies of Aristotle’s arguments, and demonstrated that the notion of a world created in time is more logically tenable than belief in an eternal universe. By the end of the patristic period the doctrine of creation had won the day. However, the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries will be accompanied by the resurgence of eternalism. This needs to be kept in mind as we survey the attempts to ascertain the universe’s age. (Adapted from 40 Questions about Creation and Evolution)

This blog is cross posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com

How Richard John Neuhaus Changed the Way I Think

Today at Canon and Culture, Bruce Ashford, Provost and Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at Southeastern, discusses the impact of the late Richard John Neuhaus on his theology. Specifically, Ashford writes, Neuhaus helped him think through the connections of Christianity to the public square.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the early 1970s, in his mid-life, Neuhaus had risen to be a prominent liberal public intellectual, poised to be the next Reinhold Niebuhr. He had a sharp wit, golden tongue, and prolific pen. He had major left-wing credibility, having marched arm-in-arm with MLK who was a personal friend. In the late 1960s he became famous for co-founding (together with Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel) Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. He was at the dead center of the “in” crowd in New York City, speaking to Congress, appearing on news shows, and publishing in his pick of journals and magazines.

 

The great turning point of his life was Roe v. Wade. When abortion was legalized, Neuhaus opposed it because he believed humans were created in the image of God and therefore possessed a certain dignity.

Read the full post here.rpg mobil