Drafted: Why Chris Norman Said No to the NFL

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This is a powerful testimony for anyone who plays or likes football, or any other sports! In it, Norman is careful in what he says. He affirms that for some people, the NFL would be the way to go. And He also affirms that for those whom God has given platforms, they should use them for the glory of God. For Norman personally, he feels God’s call to go to seminary. And God has blessed him with an amazing opportunity to do so.

Such an excellent video! Watch it. Share it with other sports fans. And let me know your thoughts below.

And if you play any sports, conduct yourself in a way that gives glory to God as you do!

What is “good” and “bad” in the atheist worldview?

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Whether in person or on the internet, I’ve often heard an atheist assert that nobody needs God (or belief in Him) to do good. As PZ Myers puts it, we “do good because we’re happy to help our communities and see our fellow human beings thrive.” He asserts this while at the same time also asserting (as Carlton Wynne summarizes):

there is no transcendent purpose to guide life’s decisions, no plan according to which all is moving, no divine foundation for interpersonal relations, and therefore no rules to norm our behavior.

A few comments: if there are no rules and no purpose and no foundation for ethics (as Atheists claim either explicitly or implicitly by their reasoning), first off, how can we call anything “good”? What is “good” if there is no absolute standard? An atheist might respond, “well, the vast majority of us know that things like helping our neighbor is good, so of course there is meaning when we call that ‘good’”. But, what if all of a sudden the majority of us change our mind? Would “good” change too?

Personally, I do not understand how else to explain what “good” and “bad” are in the atheistic worldview other than saying that they must be whatever the majority in a community, culture, or country think. In other words, “might makes right.” Atheists may deny this, but what other explanation can they give that is not relative? So, PZ Meyers can say:

Oh, sure, you still feel guilty if you harm people — and that is right and appropriate.

But, I would say to him, “on what basis can you call that ‘right’ and ‘appropriate’”?

For instance, in the atheist worldview, what is wrong with the following conclusion by atheist and murderer Jeffrey Dahmer:

If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing …

How can this be considered ultimately “bad” by PZ Meyers?

What’s really going on when an atheist asserts that certain things are “good,” “bad,” “right,” or “appropriate,” has been summed up well by Carlton Wynne:

Myers, despite his insistence that he is an undesigned biological happenstance somehow morally accountable to other biological happenstances, is actually made in the image of God. As such, he is confronted by the personal presence and covenantal demands of this God with every tweet, every chortle, every breath he takes, every volley he lobs at Christians. But instead of repenting of his arrogant refusal to submit to the adam_eve_running_from_Godsovereign authority and care of his Creator, Myers, like our first father, Adam, runs from God and attempts to hide himself in the forest that owes its very existence to divine generosity. In other words, he purports to co-opt for atheists what only God can and does give–the possibility of respect for human dignity, the pleasure of productivity, a longing for life in the face of death–and stitches these gifts together to adorn his supposed autonomy when at most he only masks his shame (cf. Gen 3:10). Myers portrays these as the fruits of his default position instead of acknowledging that he has ripped these fig leaves from the life-giving soil of their God-given purpose. With a certain biological self-consciousness, Paul foretells the real result of this kind of thinking: “[T]he end of those things is death” (Rom 6:20-21). When set against their Maker, those covering leaves shrivel up and expose the nakedness of a rebellious creature of the dust. [emphasis added by me]

I hope you didn’t skip over that quote. I know it’s long, but it’s rather profound! The point is that atheists can only make their assertions by borrowing from the Christian worldview, or as Wynne put it, by ripping “these fig leaves from the life-giving soil of their God-given purpose.” The only reason people have a general sense of “good” that Myers appeals to is because God made everyone in His image with a conscience. If our world was somehow uncreated and evolved as Myers would claim, then we wouldn’t even be here having this discussion! The very air that Myers breathes out in anger towards a God who supposedly does not exist, is the very same air that God in His mercy gave Myers to breathe. Oh, that we who believe would praise God for our lives and our every breath as a gift from Him!

Overcoming BSL : Bible as a Second Language

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From Tim Kimmel over at the Desiring God blog:

With tweets, blog posts, predigested podcasts, and fingertip access each week to downloads of some of the most engaging Bible teachers in the world, it’s tempting to develop an on-going input of the Bible at the hands of others that overshadows, or even eclipses, input from personal time spent pouring over it on our own.

The drive-by options we have to phenomenal biblical insights can easily meet our need for spiritual satisfaction. Forget the possibility that much of it may be the equivalent of spiritual junk food — great insights and observations that feel good being consumed but can’t possibly provide a well-balanced biblical diet. Throw in some white noise from our preferred theological hot buttons, and the evangelical celebrity status of our favorite Bible teachers, and we shouldn’t be surprised that our primary connection to God becomes one or more steps removed from God himself.

What’s the solution? Kimmel offers these thoughts:

bible_as_second_langugeOur limitless access to prepackaged devotional, inspirational, and theological insights from others can unwittingly give us a BSL — Bible as a Second Language — orientation on God. But intimacy with him is better reached via a firsthand relationship through his word than through someone else’s translation of it on our behalf. There’s a place for both — God has given us teachers (Ephesians 4:11). We simply must be careful becoming so co-dependent on the one that we fail to do due diligence with the other.

I would not venture to legalistically propose what this personal arrangement should look like or how often it should be practiced. But I am claiming here that our relationship with God is always better served when it’s primarily gained by our personal interaction with him through his word than impersonally through the second-hand offerings of his word by others — regardless of how wonderful they may be.

The impact of the gospel in our hearts and its grace-covered application in our lives will always be easier to enjoy when we resist the temptation to keep the Bible as our second language and instead insist on turning it into our native tongue.

I know I’m guilty of “BSL” so often. To me, it feels so much easier to follow the blogs of Christian pastors and theologians I respect. Or to occasionally listen to or watch a part of a sermon by one of my favorite online pastors and call it good. I think that most of us struggle with this. But I think Kimmel is right: “our relationship with God is always better served when it’s primarily gained by our personal interaction with him through his word.” How do we help each other make the Bible our native tongue? One way I know is the following. Reader of my blog: please read your Bible more than you read my blog. Always.

HT: Tim Challies

Abortion & “Women’s Health”

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From a Facebook post from Mike Huckabee on 6/24/13:

[Liberals] demand the right of carrying out the death penalty on an unborn child at any time for any reason and even insist that it all be called ‘women’s health.’ Can’t be too healthy for the baby, and if it’s a little girl baby, I would think that would be bad for that little woman’s health.

womens_healthI wonder how many liberals (or anyone else) actually think through this logic. I am persuaded that Huckabee is right on the money: if “women’s health” was what is truly important, then the life of the little woman (or man) in the womb would be just as equally precious and valuable as the woman carrying the young one. As a nation, then, we couldn’t justify “eliminating” the young woman or man because we would clearly see that as unjustly murdering a helpless, defenseless life in the womb.

I think these thoughts ultimately lead back to the question of when the entity inside the womb is human. It seems the only consistent (and certainly apparent) answer would be at conception. Otherwise, we are left to decide for ourselves this question:

So the question I have for you is what is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks [he murdered the baby] and aborting her moments before birth?

This very question was posed recently to Rep. Nancy Pelosi by a reporter from The Weekly Standard. If you want to see her response, go here (spoiler: she avoids the question).

The Bible is clear that while little men or women are inside their mother’s womb, God knows them intimately. Consider these verses:

13       For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14       I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15       My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16       Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

God said to Jeremiah the prophet:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby [John the Baptizer] leaped in her womb. (Luke 1:39-41a)

Certainly these passages (and others) indicate that to God, people inside their mother’s womb are in fact people. God forms and knits them together in the womb! God sees the undeveloped baby! These facts are true not only of those babies who are fortunate enough to make it alive outside the womb (aka “are born”) as one looks in hindsight, but true of all babies in the womb, even if they don’t make it out alive. In the case of Jeremiah, even before he was formed in the womb, God knew him! And with John, he somehow leapt inside his mommy!

nephew_benjamin

My cute nephew Benjamin texting his daddy

So, next time when you are talking about a baby (whether born or unborn), please refer to the child as “he” or “she” and not “it”. Why? Because the child inside the womb, and the child who has been born, are humans that God made either male or female. You know something is amiss when regularly you hear people refer to their cats and dogs as “he” or “she” with personal names, but refer to babies as “it”. As Christians, let’s try reverse that trend with our speech. Maybe God will use small things like this to impress upon a larger culture the personhood of the precious little ones in mommies’ bellies all across the land.

The Bible’s Unity: “the most amazing of all the amazing things that are true of it” (J. I. Packer)

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From J. I. Packer’s foreword to the 25th anniversary edition of Edmund Clowney’s masterpiece, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament (P&R Publishing, 2013):

The Bible is a unity. That is, perhaps, the most amazing of all the amazing things that are true of it. It consists of sixty-six separate units, written over more than a thousand years against a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, by people who for the most part worked independently of each other and show no awareness that their books would become canonical Scripture. The books themselves are of all kinds: prose jostling poetry, hymns rubbing shoulders with history, sermons with statistics, letters with liturgies, lurid visions with a love song.

Why do we bind up this collection between the same two covers, call it The Holy Bible, and treat it as one book? One justification for doing this–one of many–is that the collection as a whole, once we start to explore it, proves to have an organic coherence that is simply stunning. Books written centuries apart seem to have been designed for the express purpose of supplementing and illuminating each other. There is throughout one leading character (God the Creator), one historical perspective (world redemption), one local figure (Jesus of Nazareth, who is both Son of God and Savior), and one solid body of harmonious teaching about God and godliness. Truly the inner unity of the Bible is miraculous: a sign and a wonder, challenging the unbelief of our skeptical age.

The Bible is full of diversity, yes. But all of its diversity is clothed in unity. Many kinds of teaching in many different ways (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2), yet one coherent message without contradictions throughout all the centuries, locations, and books. Wow! Only a God who is sovereign over history could orchestrate that. And He did! Let’s read His book!

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