Apologia: A Sermon Series in Defense of the Faith – Part IIb: “Can We Trust the Bible?”

apologiaAs we continue with our consideration of the reliability of the Bible (with special attention being paid to the writings of the New Testament), I would like to review the premise and the three basic historical facts we looked at earlier.

The premise from which we are operating is as follows: the reliability of the Bible is important as it is from the Bible that we learn information about the person of Jesus: who He is, why He came, and what He has done and is doing.

Some Thoughts Occasioned by Mark Tansey’s 1994 Painting “Landscape”

I took yesterday off and Mrs. Richardson and I traveled to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  It was the second time I had been to this truly wonderful museum.  However, I did not recall yesterday having seen Mark Tansey’s 1994 painting, “Landscape,” on our first trip (you can zoom in on the painting through the Sotheby’s page here).

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Franz Kafka’s The Trial

5a1In Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial, a man named Josef K. (referred to simply as “K.” throughout the book) is arrested on charges that are never explained to him by a court that is shrouded in mystery, presided over by judges that wield seemingly arbitrary power, and in which lawyers and agents of the court appear to be experts in obfuscation. K. attempts to live his life like normal in the midst of this odd ordeal, per the instructions of the court, but the ever-looming trial haunts and torments him, pulling him further and further into the depths of the system’s insanity.  Ultimately, K. is taken out by two agents of the court and executed with a knife.

John Michael Talbot’s The Master Musician

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InterVarsity Press has republished musician John Michael Talbot’s book, The Master Musician, and I wanted to recommend it here as a nice, brief, but poignant devotional reflection on Christian growth both individually and corporately.  Talbot is a Franciscan monk based in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, whose music I have been listening to for over twenty years.  He has been writing and performing music on a very high level for a very long time, and his expertise will be evident as you read this book.

He establishes his operational premise at the outset of the book:

“Concerning the Church and Marriage”: A Last Minute Sermon Change

Marriage Heart HealthI’m not going to say much about this here.  I’ll just let the sermon speak for itself until I decide to address the issue further.  But, for numerous reasons, I did something yesterday (Saturday) that I almost never do.  I set aside the sermon I had worked on all week and wrote a new one in light of the recent Supreme Court decision concerning marriage.  I am not a political preacher.  I’m a Jesus preacher.  But I simply felt that I had a responsibility to speak from a gospel perspective to this issue.  I am grateful to pastor a church where I can simply share my heart on such controversial matters.  Here’s the sermon.

Apologia: A Sermon Series In Defense of the Faith, Part IIa – “Can We Trust the Bible?”

apologiaIf you grew up in church, it is likely that one of the first songs you ever sang as a child went like this:

Jesus loves me

This I know

For the Bible

Tells me so

Little ones

To Him belong

They are weak

But He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

The Bible tells me so

“Charleston church victims’ families forgive suspect in court”

That’s the headline of this article.  It is worth reading and the videos embedded therein are worth viewing.

I am preaching a sermon series on apologetics right now…but this article provides more evidence for the truth of the gospel of Christ and what Jesus can do with a human heart than anything I could or will say.

Love and forgiveness are and will always be the greatest apologetic.

Pray for the suffering believers in Charleston.

The Council of Nicaea, 325 AD (Patristic Summaries Series)

THE_FIRST_COUNCIL_OF_NICEAThe next number of posts in the Patristic Summaries Series will concern what is known as “The Seven Ecumenical Councils” of the Church.  In writing these posts, I am consulting (a) historical insights from Leo Donald Davis’ The First Seven Ecumenical Councils: Their History and Theology and Peter L’Huillier’s The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils and (b) the primary sources surrounding each council (to the extent that we have them) in volume 14 of the post-nicene writings of Philip Schaff and Henry Wace’s (editors) 38 volume Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Second Series).

Roger Olson’s Proposal on How the Church in America Should Approach Marriage

I’m going to post this as simply a point of interest, though one I am very much still thinking through.  For some time I have heard conversations similar to this come up among pastors.  My only opinions at the moment are (a) that there likely needs to be a definitive break between the church and secular society on the question of marriage and (b) that such a break would indeed raise a number of difficult questions about how the church views marriage and, in particular, divorce that the church would really have to think through.  My interest in this is convictional:  I simply do believe that what the state says about marriage and what the church says about marriage are two very separate things except insofar as they conveniently overlap.  The recent social experiments are causing the church today to think through the lines of demarcation, and I think, on the whole, that is a positive thing.  More on these later, but, for now, check out Olson’s first post and then his second clarifying post.