Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)We shall see that it is often precisely when Yhwh reveals His will and purposes (in the divine council) that He engages His prophets in a dialogue (“Amos, what do you see?” Amos 7:8) and invites them to participate in the making of the divine plans. It is in the context of five visions that we find Amos interceding for Israel (Amos 7:2, 5). Although initially the prophet succeeds in averting disaster, it becomes increasingly clear to him that Israel has sinned to a point beyond the reach of prophetic intercession. Nothing seems left to do, but to describe the consequences of what he has seen and to proclaim a message of judgment.—Standing in the Breach, page 480
Friday, December 29, 2017
The divine council and intercession
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Into the New Testament
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Unfortunately, it seems we are still hoping for it. Perhaps because our culture is so antisupernatural and the church as a whole has absorbed that same mentality.
Lord, send you Spirit upon us that Joel's vision might become reality!
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
By his sustaining grace
Although human repentance is an essential aspect in the process of reconciliation, the book of Joel makes it clear that the process is initiated by God. The prophet underlines though that human repentance does not guarantee divine forgiveness. Yhwh cannot be coerced into a favorable response (Joel 2:14; cf. Amos 5:15, Jonah 3:9). Achtemeier notes:
Repentance is not a meritorious work that compels God to accept us. When we have done all that is required of us, we are still unworthy servants (see Luke 17:10), and the truly repentant know that they have no goodness of their own to claim, but depend solely on the mercy of God. As the saying goes, the true saint is one who knows that he or she is a sinner.[Achtemeier, “Joel,” 319–20]The reality is that the covenant relationship, at anytime in the history of the people of God, has been preserved by God. From the beginning, Israel, Judaism, and Christianity have been forgiven and are restored communities (cf. Gen 8:21, Exod 34:9, Luke 15:11–24). There was a covenant and a new covenant, but only because it has been graciously initiated and maintained from God’s side.—Standing in the Breach pages 470–71
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Friday, December 15, 2017
What manner of man?
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
All of God
Monday, December 11, 2017
To everything there is a season...
Friday, December 08, 2017
Hope for the wicked
That's assuming, of course, that there are people willing to intercede!
Thursday, December 07, 2017
The power of prayer
This paragraph is worth the price of the book! It gives me hope as I pray—hope that no matter how far-gone a situation might be, that God still might intervene if I continue to pray. Nothing and no one is beyond redemption—as scripture says, "God is not willing that any should perish." If we persevere in seeking God's face in prayer and interceding on behalf of others, against all odds, God might intervene.
Wednesday, December 06, 2017
So what is wrath?
Take away point here, which needs to be in flashing bold letters: "divine anger is not an attribute of God. Rather it is 'a mood, a state of mind.'”
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Hope through the ashes
That was also the theme of a book I recently read: Habakkuk in the Two Horizons Commentary. He argues that Habakkuk came to the position of embracing the coming judgment because he saw God's restoration on the other side of it. Good book, by the way.
Monday, December 04, 2017
A shift in viewpoint
This radical shift in understanding salvation undoubtedly has important ramifications for the Church’s understanding of the imprecatory prayers. God’s justice is no longer primarily displayed in the punishment of the wicked, but in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.— Standing in the Breach, page 416
Thursday, November 30, 2017
To what end suffering?
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
What of the violence in those prayers?
Thus, two patterns have emerged. On the one side, we have those who want to exclude these prayers from the functioning Christian canon, because of their time and culture-bound characteristics, while, on the other side, are those who tend to reinterpret or spiritualize the material in order to maintain its abiding witness for the Church. Traditionally, the Church expects that the Bible in its full complexity has relevance for its contemporary readers. This is what gives the Bible its vitality.—Standing in the Breach, page 413
An enduring problem, indeed. I certainly don't have the answer! But it does seem ironic to me that a culture that is as warlike as ours, sending drones on innocent citizens, carrying on wars all over the world to "protect American interests," and that allows 33,000 people every year to be killed by hand guns has a problem with violence in the Bible!
Stop to think about that for a minute. It's like the current rage of firing people for sexual misconduct—which I think is totally justified!—in a culture that glorifies sex. Does anyone see the irony in this?
Ah well, just an
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
What about Jeremiah?
Monday, November 27, 2017
It's not automatic
one gains the impression that it (the curse) acts quite independently of the relationship between the individual and his gods. The many symbolic actions connected with the oath could, much more than in Israel, also be understood as magical manipulation to render the curses automatically efficacious.There is, however, hardly any evidence for such a reading in the Old Testament.— Standing in the Breach, page 408
Friday, November 17, 2017
Monday, November 13, 2017
I am weary of holding it in…
Friday, November 10, 2017
Intercession is a family affair
Not even Moses and Samuel!
Have we reached that point yet? I don't think so, but we do need to intercede more. See this. Here's a snippet:
If church history teaches us anything, it is that prayer meetings, seemingly out of style today, possess more potential to transform societies than vote counts.And most "prayer meetings" that do happen end up being at least 90% singing and talking and at best 10% praying. Nothing wrong with singing and talking, but don't call it a prayer meeting if you aren't going to reverse the percentages!
Thursday, November 09, 2017
Yesterday evening we went to the library. We hadn't been there for a while now, so I spent a good bit of time looking over the new books. One especially caught my eye, a short little 70 page book entitled Roots of Violence: Creating Peace through Spiritual Reconciliation, so I read it : ) Here's good little snippet that I managed to pull from it:
It isn’t easy to be a prophet. The prophet of doom prays like mad that his prophecy not be true. Any prophet of doom who isn’t praying like mad that it not happen is just on an ego trip. That was Jonah’s problem.—Krister Stendahl, Roots of Violence: Creating Peace through Spiritual Reconciliation (Brewster, MA: Paraclete, 2016)Jonah sounds like far too many "prophets" doesn't he? : (
Accordance for Android!
To install it, I downloaded it via the link, copied it into Dropbox, and then accessed it on my phone to install it. Log in to your account, and do the Easy Install. Seems to run fine on my small phone, so I'm sure those of you with more memory will have no trouble.
Standing before the Lord
About that timeline of yours…
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
The inner life of God revealed
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Anthropomorphism from a different angle
I like that—especially the point made by Heschel!
Monday, November 06, 2017
Your walk betrays your talk
Why don't we pray more?
Saturday, November 04, 2017
What is faith?
Friday, November 03, 2017
Gone too far
Review of Irenaeus of Lyon for Young Readers
Simonetta Carr, Irenaeus of Lyon (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017) is a nicely illustrated and well-written biography of an important early church father. In a little more than sixty pages, she does an excellent job of filling in the background of why he is important and how he obtained his source material (he was a student of Polycarp, who was a student of John the Elder).
Beginning with his birthplace in Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey), she gives background on what a typical male child’s education was like and why it seems that Irenaeus had that education (he shows a good knowledge of the Greek classics in his writings). She explains the importance of Polycarp, highlights Irenaeus’s time in Rome before he arrives at his final destination of Lyon in Gaul (France), where he became bishop.
If I still had children at home, I would definitely enjoy reading this book to them. What’s more, I’m sure they would enjoy it, which is quite an accomplishment for an author!
That being said, there are two places in the book where I take issue with her. The first is on the first page of the book. She seems to imply—no, she comes right out and says—that Paul was considered one of the Twelve. Unfortunately, that reflects the highly Pauline-centric view of too many in the Reformed world. There are many definitions of “apostle” in the New Testament, but Luke’s was the most restricted, as described in Acts 1, where the disciples choose a new twelfth member. Needless to say, it wasn’t Paul. Ok, maybe I’m nitpicking.
The second issue is in the final background information, where she states the common misinterpretation of Augustine’s comment about Ambrose reading silently. From that little statement has grown a common misconception that almost no one in the ancient world read silently. Wrong! That view was rightly put to rest back in the 1960s by Bernard Knox, but it has maintained a life of its own. It was considered in bad taste to read silently, largely because so many were illiterate, but it was not unheard of or unknown. I know, only a Classicist would get all bent out of shape over that. Color me guilty, but I’m tired of having to always correct that mistake—even in articles by New Testament scholars who should know better.
Irenaeus is an important source for the early church, especially in his refutation of gnosticism and witness to the rule of faith. But one other thing that I wish she had developed was his doctrine of theosis or divination, the process by which we become more godlike (without becoming God). In his Against Heresies 3:19, he has the amazing statement
For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality.This idea would later be summed up by Athanasius (3rd century) as, “God became man that man might become god.” Mind you, not gods independent of God, but only in the likeness of God because we are adopted into God through Christ. The Eastern Orthodox have a wonderful theology of theosis that those of us in the West could do well to adapt and adopt. Indeed, if you look, you can find it in Luther to an extent, moreso in Calvin, and to a much greater extent in Wesley, who had the advantage of being at Oxford during a time of the rediscovery of the Eastern Fathers, which then influenced his idea of Christian perfection. If you do a search on theosis on this blog you will find a good bit more information. : )
Well, it seems we’ve gone far afield from the book at this point, but to sum it up again, this book, despite the two minor errors (and they are minor despite the space I gave to them), is highly recommended. In fact, this book has encouraged me to take a look at the other biographies for young readers that she has written. They might make good gifts for the grandkids!
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Reformation Heritage Books. Needless to say, that didn’t influence my review.
Thursday, November 02, 2017
It gets complicated
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
Prayer as (honest) dialogue
I'm working through a commentary on Habakkuk right now, and this resonates very well. There are many similarities between Habakkuk and the confessions/prayers of Jeremiah.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
And you thought you had it bad!
In the following verses and chapters, one gets a sense that Jeremiah has powerful enemies. The people of his home town Anathoth want to silence his attacks on Judah’s two-faced religious life ( Jer 11:18–19). In other words, on the one hand, Jeremiah suffers at the hands of his people who persecute him for his unpopular prophetic warnings, and on the other hand, Jeremiah grieves over the coming misfortune of the people in faithful intercession. On top of this, the prophet wrestles with God over his calling, his role, and the divine will. Jeremiah’s exceedingly difficult ministry context finds expression in a number of stormy conversations with Yhwh.—Standing in the Breach, page 357
Monday, October 30, 2017
Food for thought
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Just for (Hebrew) fun
note the second person masculine plural form תִּסַּבּוּ the dot in the ת is a dagesh lene, the dot in the ס is the assimilated nun, the dot in the ב is the doubling of the geminate root, and the dot in the ו is the sign of the shureq.Fun stuff!
Friday, October 27, 2017
No cheap grace here
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Powerless? Not totally...
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
So where does that put us?
So, I repeat, where does that put the US as a country?
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Monday, October 23, 2017
Intercession and sin
Interestingly, all but one of the four references to God’s restraint on intercession appear within chaps. 11–20. These chapters contain several laments of the prophet that give expression to the suffering that was evoked through Jeremiah’s calling as a prophet. One could almost argue that the fourfold command not to intercede is matched by the fourfold lament of the prophet (Jer 11:18–12:6, 15:10–20, 18:18–23, 20:7–18). Strictly speaking, Jer 15:1 is not an explicit divine ban on intercession. Nevertheless, it is instructive to observe the interweaving of the references to God’s restraint on intercession and the prophet’s laments. It looks as though God’s prohibition to intercede violates the very core of Jeremiah’s prophetic self-understanding and thereby gives rise to great pain and confusion.—Standing in the Breach, page 338
There's so much I could say here. I was recently talking to someone who told me that he was convinced that God was going to judge the US. I asked him if he thought revival was possible. He said no, that God always had to judge a nation when it went too far—and in his opinion, the US had. I asked him about the role of intercession. He downplayed it, saying there was no hope. I pushed back, but to no avail.
So, here's my challenge, to those of you who are convinced that Trump is the greatest thing and to those of you who think he's the worst thing that has ever happened to the US: Intercede! Shake the heavens for revival. Realize that all human rulers are transient and what really matters is the human heart.
I recently read a book review that concluded that by 2060 climate change will have destroyed humanity. The final sentence was something to the effect that "may the next species that rules the earth be better than we were at being stewards." Wow! I'm not that pessimistic! But, are we interceding with God for mercy? Or are we throwing up our hands in despair? Or are you convinced that the rising temperatures and strange weather are God's judgment?
Either way, Intercede!
Friday, October 20, 2017
Thought for the day
[c] MT has prophets.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
The canonical portrayal of Jeremiah raises the question of what sustained and enabled the prophet to endure all the physical and spiritual hardship over the long years of his prophetic vocation. Jeremiah’s profound joy in the words of the Lord may have helped. The prophet ate them and they “became a joy and a delight of his heart” (Jer 15:16). In absolute obedience to God’s words, to the point of death (Jer 26:14–15), Jeremiah proclaims what God had entrusted to him. As we shall see, prayer, a close relationship with his God is another, possibly even more important, source for Jeremiah’s perseverance and inner strength.—Standing in the Breach, pages 332–33
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Eisenbrauns to Continue Under Penn State University Press
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
What does it take?
Monday, October 16, 2017
Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 in tandem
Bury the term!
The one thing I despise about Christianity in the USA is its aligning with a political party. Mainliners have done it; they’re Democrats. Evangelicals have followed suit; they’re Republicans. Politicization is accomplished.<idle musing>
Let the rest of us call ourselves Christians.
I dropped the term many years ago when it became evident that the pro-war people had taken it over. If asked, I will tell people the only way I can be called "Evangelical" is if you use the term to mean the 18th century Evangelicals, who were at the forefront of not just caring about souls, but caring for their physical well-being: establishing schools, orphanages, pushing for social reform, fighting slavery, etc. Those are the heroes of the faith that I can identify with, not the current pro-American, pro-war users of the term that we find today.
So, I'm with Scot, bury the term and call ourselves Christians. And may people know us by the love we have for others. What a radical thought!
Friday, October 13, 2017
When we look at the immediate literary context, we can note a clear shift of tone between chaps. 52 and 54. Before Isaiah 53, the prophet still talks of the people’s guilt. The exiles are drunken with the cup of judgment and are full of Yhwh’s wrath (Isa 51:17–20). The time of divine judgment and hopelessness, however, is coming to an end. It is time to wake up and to leave the Babylonian captivity behind (Isa 51:17, 52:1). There is an expectation that Yhwh is resolved to intervene in a dramatic act of redemption.
For thus says the Lord: You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. . . . Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isa 52:3–10)The fourth poem is followed by chap. 54, a chapter that replaces the relationship of God and His prophet with the relationship between God and Israel. There is a dramatic shift of images. Israel who was portrayed as a barren, adulterous women who was left by her husband, is now called to rejoice.—Standing in the Breach, page 319
Thursday, October 12, 2017
What is an intercessor?
That's a strong definition! I'm not convinced that's the correct definition, but it definitely is a goal to strive for as an intercessor. But perhaps he is correct. Take a look at Paul; he' was willing to have himself condemned in order that Israel be saved.
Food for thought, anyway. I recall that there have been times in my own life when the burden of intercession has been so heavy that I've come almost to the point where Paul was. And in the most recent example I can think of, God answered that prayer. As I said, food for thought.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
We should remember that one fundamental Old Testament concept that led to the formation of the substitutionary understanding as we find it in Isaiah 53, is prophetic intercessory prayer.—Standing in the Breach, page 316
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Delaying the inevitable
Monday, October 09, 2017
Intercession, yes. Repentance? Essential
Friday, October 06, 2017
Forgiveness is only the beginning…
simply for God to forgive sins, but are also for God to act in other ways to reverse the effects that their sins have had on various aspects of their lives. Salvation, therefore, is understood to comprehend more than forgiveness of sin; it includes also the amelioration of the consequence of sin that have reverberated out into the larger community, including the natural order. (vv. 35–37)Terence E. Fretheim, First and Second Kings (WBC; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999), 50—as quoted in Standing in the Breach, page 268
Thursday, October 05, 2017
A consistent theme of Solomon’s prayer, and indeed of many Old Testament intercessory prayers, is however that divine pardon cannot simply be evoked by the intercessor. Brueggemann notes that “Israel’s only way into the future is to reverse its course and reembrace Torah obedience.”
The dynamics and circumstances of Solomon’s second petition are also reminiscent of Samuel’s intercessory activity in Mizpah (cf. 1 Sam 7:3–10). There as well, in the face of a military threat, the people gathered at the sanctuary to confess their sins and to recommit themselves to covenant obedience. The covenant mediator intercedes for the repentant Israelites. Samuel’s prayers are also accompanied by burnt offerings (1 Sam 7:2–12). The logic of these passages seems to be that, unless the sinful party recommits to Torah obedience, the intercessor can only pacify God’s wrath for a certain time.—Standing in the Breach, page 267
Friday, September 22, 2017
Yet I know that all that scarcity—or the perception of it—is what drives cultural life here. Rather than paucity, I see abundance of life and fullness of experience. A dynamic current runs through our community life. Though much of rural life is defined by scarcity of people and places, it’s precisely that sparseness that compels people to get involved. That’s what moves us toward action and makes events more meaningful. It’s a scarcity that’s vibrant.Indeed! Of course, Grand Marais is a bit different in that we aren't a farming community—not enough dirt or level ground here—and the nearest town over 250 is Two Harbors, about 1.5 hours away (or you could go to Thunder Bay in Canada). We already have a food co-op and a thriving art scene that is nationally known. And, most importantly, we have Lake Superior!
Rural life is plentiful and life-giving in its own way. So I continue down this path, engaging in life’s mystery. I look for opportunities. I take on some of the boldness mirrored by so many around me. I say yes. I will continue to experience the mystery of life and faith as I cast anchor in the vibrant scarcity of rural life.
The limited role of intercession
Thursday, September 21, 2017
From despot to servant
King David changes from a despot to a father of his country; he no longer exploits his people and his power, rather he offers himself and his family for the people.Only when David comes to stand in the right relationship to the power of a just ruler does he receive divine instructions to build an altar for himself and the people.—Standing in the Breach, pages 244–45
I think there might be a lesson for us there. Servant leadership is a buzzword, but this passage shows that if it is really embraced, and not just tossed about, God can do something.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Why was David forgiven, but Saul not?
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
Figurative language? Or literal? Is there a difference?
All that's left…
Friday, September 15, 2017
How does this king thing work anyway?
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Worship wars, part 2
I have recently had the opportunity to visit two of the most popular churches in my city. They both had something in common when it came to worship. First, both had very good worship bands that were obviously very talented. The lights in the auditorium were dimmed (or right out) and the lights were on the band. The band only played a few songs and most of the congregation listened instead of singing along. Basically, both churches put on very nice and professional Christian music concerts.I’m seeing and hearing a lot of this in the last several years.
Back some 15 years ago, while we still lived in the Twin Cities, we went to a all-city gathering of a megachurch that had local campuses scattered throughout the city, such that each branch was only a couple of hundred. Our daughter was involved with one of the branches and invited us to join her for the big gathering, advertised as a worship service. The first 30–45 minutes were basically a big concert, complete with light show. Truly spectacular, but I wouldn’t have called it worship; the songs were not singable by a congregation and there was no attempt to involve the congregation. It was just a (well-done) concert.
Sadly, that seems to have become the norm in many places—and not just megachurches, either. : ( Maybe I’m an old man waxing nostalgic, but I seem to recall that once upon a time people would enjoy sitting on the floor and singing (admittedly not very good or theologically deep) choruses together. If somebody could play a couple of chords on the guitar, they would accompany, but it didn’t really matter. What mattered was the body was together and sharing.
That seems to be dead now. People talk about getting together for a Bible study, and you enquire about the format. Response, “Oh, we’ll throw in a CD and sing along with some well-known Christian artist for a song or two, then we’ll throw in a teaching DVD by a well-known Christian teacher.” My question, “Is there any interaction on the part of those there?” Response, “Oh, sure, we’ll discuss the teaching a little bit, but hey, what do we know compared to the teacher?”
The Reformation is dead.
Justice? What is justice?
The motif of justice in the Old Testament has two axes: divine justice and human justice. Both axes involve—albeit with different emphases—cosmological, historical, anthropological, theological, and ethical dimensions. Both axes share three further aspects: the belief in justice, the problematizing of justice, and the redefining of justice.—The Development of God in the Old Testament, page 30
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
There are limits!
Yes, there are limits to how long. I was in a discussion with someone a week or two ago who thinks that it is "too late" for the US and the Western world. Personally, I don't agree. Anyone who has read about ancient Greece and then compares it to modern western society would have to agree that western society still looks puritanical compared to them … and look at the success of the early church in those areas! If only we would spend more time praying and less time soapboxing, maybe we'd see the same results.
Of course, praying isn't as "sexy" and doesn't bring the personal accolades. And big gatherings, proclaiming victory over the darkness, are much easier than the moment-by-moment death to self necessary for real victory over the darkness.
But the call remains. It's our choice to obey it—or not.
Whose praise would you prefer? Society's? Your subgroup's? Or God's?
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Are you listening?
Are you listening to God? Are you hearing him say he's going to judge? If so, maybe instead of getting on your soapbox and condemning everything, you should get on your knees and intercede. OK, forget the maybe. You definitely should get on your knees and intercede. Then, and only then, do you have a right (and responsibility) to warn the people.
My experience (limited though it may be) is that if I start blasting without interceding first, it's out of a self-righteous attitude. On the other hand, if I intercede first, I find that I'm crying out for them because of love, not with a judgmental attitude. Try it!
Monday, September 11, 2017
No silver bullet
Thursday, September 07, 2017
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
I can't help it!
Monday, September 04, 2017
Sensing the tension
Saturday, September 02, 2017
Languages change, so should we
Friday, September 01, 2017
Not just a veneer
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Obedience? Or politics?
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
He will hear!
Monday, August 28, 2017
A recurring theme
Friday, August 25, 2017
What was he doing all night?
What was Samuel doing all night? Another model of what a true prophet looks like. He's given a message to deliver, but before he delivers it, he spends the whole night interceding, asking God to be merciful—at least that's how I read it, based on Samuel's comment in 1 Sam 12:23. That doesn't seem to be the way some of these so-called prophets work today.
Even if you can get them to say anything other than "God will bless you with abundant material blessings," all they will do is stand on a hill and pronounce curses.
I know of exceptions, real prophets who almost sweat blood interceding, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
It's in your hands
This is beginning to sound like a refrain, isn't it? The intercessor stands in the gap, then rebukes the people. If the people respond in repentance, i.e., they change their hearts and their ways, then judgment doesn't fall.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
OK, you "name it and claim it" people: There's the standard. Can you meet it?
I suspect not, because the goals of most are self-centered, not God-centered. You can't be a faithful intercessor without being God-centered. And if you are God-centered, the only things you want to claim are ones that will bring the maximum glory to God, not to self. And that basically disqualifies 99% of what most people in the U.S. want.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Ouch! That hurts
Donald Trump is what we evangelicals already are, or at least are becoming. It explains why he is so supported among us. Even after a cavalcade of circus-like activity coming from the White House since his inauguration, he still retains his support. Why? Why not, I say, if he matches what we actually value. We love entertainment, ourselves, power, and money. Trump gives us those things. We need to admit it. We love these values even more than the Son of God they obscure behind them. We might fill out surveys and claim differently, but we don’t live that way.<idle musing>
Ouch! Unfortunately, as he points out in the main body of the post, it is true. The keynotes of traditional Evangelicalism of the 18th through mid-20th century (as highlighted by Bebbington) have been eclipsed by the love of self, which manifests itself in the love of entertainment, power, and money. The exact opposite of what conversion used to mean.
Lord, have mercy! Bring revival to your church!
Moses as a type
Monday, August 21, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
No, it's more than that!
If there is one thing you take away from reading this book, this is it. Prophets don't primarily foretell or even forthtell. Prophets primarily intercede.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I have so much of a problem with the current rage of "personal prophecy." Where's the intercession? How can you intercede when all you ever prophecy is "good stuff?" It reminds me of the false prophets in Jeremiah.
Of course, it didn't end so well for Hananiah, did it? (See Jeremiah 28.) Just an
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Me, at book exhibits
Indeed. That's one reason I have a problem with "declaring the powers bound" thinking. If there is no repentance, you can rebuke demons all day long and it won't have any effect. Repentance is essential to repair the walls. Yes, we need to stand in the breach as intercessors, but we also need to call people to repentance—and live lives that reflect holiness ourselves!
I like how the CEB translates repentance: change your hearts and minds. Too often in the US Evangelical community, conversion has been nothing more than a change of mind. No change in behavior, just a mental assent to a set of beliefs.
Sorry, but that doesn't cut it. That's selling out the biblical definition for cheap grace, easy believism. I'm with the early Anabaptists here: no change in lifestyle equals no salvation. That's one reason Wesley organized his converts into bands and societies: to keep people accountable and to promote "scriptural holiness throughout the land." We could do a lot worse—and are : (
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Judgment will catch up!
At the risk of overextending the application of this, I would say we're on the same path in this country...there's a limit to what intercession can do. At some point, individuals have to decide whether they want God or not. Contrary to what some think, you do reap what you sow. And violence always begets violence, just as hatred always begets hatred.
Unfortunately, the current evidence is that the choice is "not."
But we are called to pray anyway.