The idea of the resurrection of has been criticized and mocked from the very earliest days of christianity. Jesus debated with the Sadducees – a group of Jewish scholars who generally dismissed the possibly of the miraculous or supernatural. When Paul spoke with the Greeks in Athens, they listened to his argument, up until he got to the fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Then they just mocked and dismissed him.
There seems to be an element of appeal in this dismissal of such fantastical notions. A reasonable rootedness in reality. There is indeed a goodness and virtue in such a gesture. It’s so much easier to believe in magical stories that explain away some of the big questions of life. The modern mind needs reason and foundation. There is no room for blind faith here. We have grown out of that. Continue reading
Its now been nearly a year and a half since Tim Challies started his series of blog posts on productivity. The beginning of that series of articles was a new chapter in my own personal growth. I knew that my life needed a great deal of growth in the areas of discipline and productivity, and so I took that as my opportunity to try and tidy things up. As I look back, its amazing to me how long it has taken to really see some of the deeper fruit of change. And yet, I also realize that the lessons I am learning are foundational and will stick with me for a long time. The first is one that I have already written about. It is this: that real change takes time. Today I want to take it a step further. Continue reading
Is the God of the New Testament really that different from the God of the Old? This is the claim of many people today. The central idea that was made in the previous post was the fact that, when we read a little more carefully, we see that, in the whole Bible, God is a God of grace. The story of God’s relationship with the Israeli people highlights over and over the central reality of his grace and mercy as the one and only reason for all that they had. This is coupled with the fact that the main command of the Old Testament is not that people obey a long list of moralistic laws and rituals. Rather the heart of God’s message to the people is that he be the central object of their love and affection. Making anything outside of him the object of their worship inevitably sends them tumbling down a destructive life of self centeredness.
It seems to me that one of the sources of the most misunderstanding of christian thought and teaching is the Old Testament. This is especially true of the first four books of the Bible. The lack of careful reading in these sections has lead to broad and inaccurate generalizations. One such generalization is that the God of the Old Testament is completely different from the God of the New Testament.
It is stated that the God of the Old Testament is the God of law and judgement while the God of the New Testament is a God of grace and mercy. One section that completely debunks this idea is the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is an address of the people of Israel before they enter the promised land. This is a section where God takes an important moment to stop, reflect on all that has happened, and point forward to that which he desires to do for these people. Deuteronomy is a reflection of all that has come before. It is a moment when God reminds Israel of their history and identity, and his role in it all.