For a church to not have a Reformation Service or reminder of the Reformation on October 31 is like the U.S. not celebrating Independence Day on July 4th. Granted, there is no divine mandate, “thou shalt celebrate Independence Day.” It does, however, seem like a good idea for a nation to pass on a heritage and remember the past. Likewise, while not mandated by God, Reformation services and remembrances are good for the church. They enable us to pass on our heritage and remember our past. It’s not surprising that when churches replace Reformation services with harvest carnivals, trunk or treat (can it get any cheesier?) and mud runs that the distinctives of Protestantism are marginalized and will be inevitably lost. What makes this so tragic is that the distinctive of Protestantism is the gospel. Therefore, you can tell all … Read More »
In the previous weeks we have emphasized the massive chasm that exists between God and his creation. Because of this God cannot be known in himself, for he alone knows himself. Rather, he must reveal himself to us in ways that are understandable to our fragility and humanness. In other words, he must accommodate our weakness. As such, all of our knowledge of God is analogical and never immediate, but rather mediate. One of the ways God accommodates us is by naming himself. We do not name God, but He names himself because he alone knows himself. Last week we considered the generic name of God El/Elohim. This we take up the name YHWH.
We do not name God, but He names himself because he alone knows himself.
The name YHWH does not appear in modern English bibles. Normally, the Hebrew is … Read More »
According to one baby name website, the name “Brian is pronounced BRY-en. It is of Celtic, Irish, and Gaelic origin, and the meaning of Brian is “high, noble”. Could also mean “strength”.” Who would have thought all that to be wrapped up in a name? And who would have thought it to be such a dead ringer for me? What does your name mean? I would guess that most of us cannot answer that question without going to a baby name website. Until this week I couldn’t. For most of us our names are not entirely empty, but not nearly freighted with as much meaning as names of old. When God names himself, however, he does so to further reveal himself, though not to express who he is in his essence. Thus he does so with meaningful words; which is to … Read More »
This week USA Today ran a front page article entitled, “How America Sees God.” The article was based upon a new book on the topic. According to the book, research shows that Americans view God in one of four ways. He is an authoritative God, a benevolent God, a distant God or a critical God. And the unifying thread in all this?
Americans of every stripe overwhelmingly believe that all good people go to heaven, that many faiths contain truth, and that religious diversity is good for the nation. USA Today
Whatever America used to be, articles like this and books on this topic make it very clear that America is not a “Christian nation” (whatever that is). When it comes to religious affiliation and thought, America and Americans are deeply confused.
As we noted last week, this confusion stems from … Read More »