Welcome to the 199th Christian Carnival. The theme for this week’s carnival is taken from J. I. Packer’s life changing book, Knowing God. Though many people find the book difficult (read intellectually demanding), most of it was originally written as a series of articles for popular consumption in Evangelical Magazine.
Maybe the expectations that Christians place on themselves and the interpretation of the biblical command “to study to show yourself approved” have changed in thirty-five years. Maybe the tendency to “wing it” and “be generally in ballpark” fits with the current politically correct position of giving everyone their due and allowing all positions to have equal footing.
That is too bad. Truth is truth and error is error and the right answer is just that, right. I can imagine the surprise that will be voiced by some when the wood, hay, and stubble is burnt away despite the objections of what the politically correct think about it all.
There was a great line in the movie Chariots of Fire, where those supporting the athleticism of the “Flying Scotsman”, Eric Liddell, talk about needing to find a “muscular Christian”. I think what we need today are more “thinking Christians”, those who have responded to Paul’s challenge in Romans.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
We need more Christians with renewed minds, who can think with discernment and separate what is good and perfect from the spiritual wood, hay, and stubble we see so much of today, especially in the church. We need Christians who know their God.
With that in mind, I invite you to read Packer’s book, and if you so desire, to use my study materials to help you along [see links above, left]. I also invite you to consider the following submissions, who in their own way are trying to fight the good fight, calling to their brothers and sisters in the faith to accept intellectual the challenges we all face.
Knowing God is divided into three main parts:
- Behold The Lord – is about the nature of the quest, the study, theology, and the source materials.
- Know Your God – is about the attributes of God, the qualities that we in partial measure share with our Lord.
- If God Be For Us – is about what it means to be Christian and the assurance of being a member of the family of God.
Behold The Lord
Steroids and Other Christian Scandals. Chris Brooks at Homeward Bound. One of the most important things every Christian should consider is that “Everything we do and say has the potential to pull people toward or push them away from Christ.”
A Reply on Religion in Society. Mark Olsen at Pseudo-Polymath. Mark argues what the Founding Fathers believed, that the Church (Christian religion) is required for a successful self-sustaining state. Religion, rather than being the source of social breakdown and civil war, is often the source of the charity that mitigates the situation driven by other factors. As Mark noted, “My point in the former essay, was not that religion just “justified charity”. It put charity “on the map.” Right on. Christian charity is almost a definition.
The Golden Compass: written by a materialist magician? Martin LaBar at Sun and Shield. With the movie, The Golden Compass, coming out December 7th, there will be a lot of commentary about its admitted anti-Christian, anti-Catholic point of view that drudges up much of the old gnosticism (archons and demiurges) in more modern and exciting dress. The author, Philip Pullman, is a militant atheist who despises the Judeo/Christian view of creation. Martin takes a look at the spiritual content of the Compass storyline, whose anti-Christian premise was predicted to become mainstream by C.S. Lewis, in 1942.
Divinely-Inspired Constitution. Jeremy Pierce of Parableman. History has shown that while religion should influence politics, there is always a problem when the reverse occurs. Jeremy discusses the issue around Ron Paul’s statement of faith that seems to say the U.S. Constitution is divinely inspired. Be sure to read the comments also, since there is significant point, counterpoint, and clarification.
Dead or Alive…We’re in the Driver’s Seat. Elementary History Teacher at Got Bible? A nice Georgia peach of a teacher uses the lyrics from a Bon Jovi song as the lament of someone who cannot work their way to heaven. “Just as Bon Jovi realized in his song lyrics he had no real relationship with those around him. He was dead.” she notes that we are all dead without Christ. Art often shows us the stark truth of the world around us…no escape, no exit. The Bible, however, shows us the hope the world has left behind.
Know Your God
FSM used by God? Cory Tucholski at Joshiah Concept Ministries. For those of you who do not know what FSM is, it is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a concept used by atheists to try and shoot down Intelligent Design. Cory thinks that the problem with ID is similar to a problem that he had earlier in his business life, “Intelligent design does the same thing: acknowledges a creator without acknowledging God. “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 10:33).
Snowing Today. Ken from A True Believer’s Blog. While enjoying the first snowfall of the season in New Hampshire, Ken took the opportunity the white stuff provided to reflect on the wonderment of creation. He spoke for us all when he said “I don’t know anyone who can look outside at the first real snowfall of winter and not pause to think about how wonderful it is.”
Does God determine our path or our destination? Doug at Bounded Irrationality. How far does the sovereignty of God extend? Does it include our life’s path or just our destination. This issue has divided theologians from the time of Moses and Aaron. If God’s creation does indeed show us eternal truth about God (Romans 1:19-20), his nature, attributes, and being, then science has something to lend as perspective about this debate.
If God Be For Us
Right on Time. Jan McKenzie at The Jericho Road. Since the beginning of creation “Calvary had waited with a purpose, patient and sure.” In God’s infinite wisdom everything that needs to happen, happens “right on time” and that is the theme of Jan’s posting.
True Prosperity. Pastor Duane Vander Klok submitted by Free Money Finance. For Pastor Klok, true prosperity can be summed up in “My prayer for you is that you will live a life that is rich toward God so that you can be truly prosperous.”
Righteous by faith: imputation and God’s righteousness. Weekend Fisher at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength. In the end, it comes down to the fact that “Abraham was fully persuaded that what God promised, God was able to do.” Weekend Fisher examines the arguments around imputation and righteousness, which in the end boil down to whether or not we trust God.
A Matter of Choice. Barbara Sanders at Tidbits and Treasures. Everything we do, every choice we make, impacts the course of history, people’s lives, our own destiny. With that in mind, Barbara reminds us that “Rather than trying to make decisions by ourselves, we need to pray and get direction from the Lord.” Amen to that.
Beating Christmas Commercialization. Rodney Olsen at The Journey. Are you a giver or consumer of the true meaning of Christmas? Rodney talks about one method that everyone can use to help themselves break free from the commercial cycle that plagues us this time of year. Weren’t we told by Paul to offer ourselves as living sacrifices?
The New Dark Ages. Theresa Twogood at Online eBook Publishing. While this post is from a business blog and could be seen as an attempt at targeted advertising, I believe Theresa has written something that all Christian parents should read. Her posting looks at serious problems. “Until parents and other adults in authority understand this “new-dark ages” many teens will be in grave danger and involved in activities that no one of any intellect would recommend.” What you don’t know, can hurt you and maybe God is using this post to help some parents find out what they need to know.
Not Trusting Human Construction. Henry Neufeld at Pacesetters Bible School Newsletter. It is endemic in our fallen human nature to trust ourselves, what we can or have accomplished. After all, that is the sum and substance of Adam and Eve’s sin. Henry’s sermon deals with how that always leads to failure. There is only one place to put your trust and that in not in the human side of the equation; it is in God alone.
Grace and peace to your day. I hope you enjoyed this week’s carnival.
Update: I just wanted to add that it was nice meeting the new blogs (to me) that the carnival brought my way this week. I also wanted to offer up a prayer for a blessed and God-filled Thanksgiving to everyone who passes this way.
Update 2 – Late Addition: This post arrived a little late, but since the author wrote it specifically for Thanksgiving, I am including it here.
A Maverick Servant: Thanksgiving in Action. Arris Turner at Spirited Ink. While we in the United States have an official holiday originally instituted to thank God for and to share the bounty he has given us, Arris Turner challenges us to extend that attitude of heart to those unexpected moments by helping others. Arris notes: “…serving through giving thanks and praise to others is most beautiful when it is not only during the holiday season that society dictates is time to give to others, but rather when you are spontaneously compelled by the Spirit of God to be the heart, hands and feet of Jesus during the ordinary moments of others” lives to make them feel extraordinary!”
I think James (2:13-19) agrees: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” Indeed!