Monday, December 10, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Kim:

In her book Advent, Fleming Rutledge talks about the significance of the combination of royalty stooping down to meet with her people.
Elizabeth I was a great monarch in part because the people knew that she loved them, and her processions through the countryside were specifically designed to allow them to love her in return. . . If it is true that there is unique power in the combination of royalty and stooping, then there has never been anything comparable to the errand of the Son of God. In Jesus Christ we see the One "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be clutched at, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave' (Phi. 2:6-7). The problem with much of our Christology nowadays, it seems to me, is that we have concentrated so much on the stooping that we have lost sight of the royalty. More than half of the biblical message is thereby eliminated, for it is the combination that counts. Thus we read in Exodus 3, "Moses his his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, 'I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them.'"  
The God who is so terrifying that we must hide our faces from his resplendence is the same God who has come down to deliver his people in their extremity.

Persis:

My pastor started a sermon series on Leviticus, so I picked up From Paradise to the Promised Land by T.D. Alexander off the shelf. It's hard to comprehend how much blood had to be shed day after day, year after year at the Tabernacle and the Temple. I also wonder what it was like for the early believers to realize that Jesus Christ's sacrifice was once and for all.
By emphasizing that Jesus Christ as God's unique son, provided the sacrifice necessary to atone completely for human sin, the New Testament highlights two important aspects of God's character: his justice and his love. Motivated by love, God provides the sacrifice necessary to meet the demands of his own justice. It is God, in the person of his own son, who pays the price of forgiveness for human sin. (pg. 226)

Rebecca:

Graeme Goldworthy on why the Old Testament relevant Christian scripture:
Jesus claimed that the whole of the Old Testament was about him. It has been estimated that the New Testament contains some sixteen hundred direct quotes from, or recognizable allusions to, the Old Testament. If we are interested in the New Testament's testimony to Jesus, we cannot avoid the implications of its preoccupation with the link between Jesus and the Old Testament Scriptures. The idea that the Old Testament deals with the rather irrelevant Jewish background to the Christian gospel is detrimental to the New Testament's exposition of the gospel. Jesus is declared to be the fulfiller, but we won't understand what this means if we don't understand what it is that he is said to fulfill. 
[The Son of God and the New Creation, page 37.]

Friday, December 7, 2018

Five Star Links

Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Persis:

Disagreement is not handled well in today's climate. Attacking the person rather than his stance on an issues seems to be the method of choice, which is why I appreciated this post by Mike Leake - What I Learned When My Position Was Mocked.
[I]f you aren’t being fair in your critique what are you doing to future conversations with those who don’t agree? And especially what will happen as you try to interact on different and more important topics like the gospel? You might have just absolutely exposed the foolishness of socialism and liberals and secular thinking, but have you now forfeited a hearing on the kingdom of Jesus? If your argument isn’t fair, gracious, and Christ-like then you probably have. So what’d you win?

Kim:

Late to the game, but I found this post by Chuck Lawless sobering, even while I had to admit to his point. "Why the North American Church is Unlikely to Experience Revival." 

Rebecca:

This week has been a particularly busy one, so I'm late with my link, too.

I have a few friends who are dealing with family members with dementia—and it is hard! Here's a piece on speaking the truth in love to loved ones with dementia.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Persis:

This is a quote from Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf. She is a neuroscientist and reading specialist who is concerned with what screen-reading is doing to our ability to read deeply. This in turn affects our thinking and our empathy. I don't know about you, but I have definitely seen a change in my ability to concentrate when I am reading from a print book.
Do you, my reader, read with less attention and perhaps even less memory for what you have read? Do you notice when reading on a screen that you are increasingly reading for key words and skimming over the rest? Has this habit or style of screen reading bled over to your reading of hard copy? Do you find yourself reading the same passage over and over to understand its meaning? Do you suspect when you write that your ability to express the crux of your thoughts is subtly slipping or diminished? Have you become so immured to quick precis of information that you no longer feel the need or possess the time for your own analysis of this information? Do you find yourself gradually avoiding denser, more complex analysis, even those that are readily available. More importantly, are you less able to find the same enveloping pleasure you once derived from your former reading self? Have you, in fact, begun to suspect that you no longer have the cerebral patience to plow through a long and demanding article or book? What if, one day, you pause and wonder if you yourself are truly changing and, worst of all, do not have the time to do a thing about it? (pg. 96)

Rebecca:

Nancy Guthrie's Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, a collection of short essays on Christmas topics by various authors, concludes with a piece by Joni Eareckson Tada. We think of Christmas a promise fulfillment—and it is—but, as Joni writes in A Christmas Longing, Christmas is still a promise, too, even for those who live on this side of the first Advent.
Yes, the Savior has come, and with him peace on earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world. 
Every Christmas is still a “turning of the page” until Jesus returns. Every December 25 marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to … home. 
When we realize that Jesus is the answer to our deepest longing, even Christmas longings, each Advent brings us closer to his glorious return to earth. When we see him as he is, King of kings and Lord of lords, that will be “Christmas” indeed!
Christmas calls us to celebrate a glorious event from the past, but it also calls us to celebrate a  glorious event that is yet to come.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Five Star Links



Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Kim: 

Mike Leake echoes much of what I've been learning in Greek Exegesis this semester. Originally, the Greek New Testament was written not only without punctuation, but in all upper case letters without spaces. The extras were added later. He wisely counsels us not to build a theology on the placement of a comma.

"One Part of Your Bible Which Isn't Inspired."


Persis:

In contrast to the endless debate about career versus home, I appreciate Pastor Sam Powell's post. He takes the discussion out of the realm of pitting one circumstance against the other and brings us back to Who gives us purpose and significance in our very different situations.
Ecclesiastes spells it out perfectly. Under the sun, all is vanity. Married, career, pleasure, mirth, wisdom, foolishness…
There is no life there, for the ground is cursed. The relationships are cursed. Bearing children is cursed. Unless God does something to restore Eden, what does it matter if you have 10 children or die childless?
But God has done something. He sent his Son, the perfect image-bearer of the God, so that in him we DO have purpose, meaning, significance.

Rebecca: 

My week has been a busy one, so I've done less online reading than I usually do. I did listen to a couple of sermons/lectures as I cleaned house and prepared food. I especially enjoyed this lecture by James Anderson on Scripture's self-attestation.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

On Being A Son


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV)
My sister and I were the only children in our family. My father didn’t seem to mind that he had no sons, but my mother mentioned a few times that our family was the end of the line for his surname in our branch of the family tree. There were no sons to carry on his name.

That he had an all girl family didn’t make any difference when it came to inheritance. As a rule, when the last parent dies, if there’s no will that states otherwise, all surviving children, male and/or female, divide the inheritance equally. When my father died a few years ago my sister and I split the inheritance.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, which contains the text at the beginning of this post, this is not the way it worked. In ancient Rome, women were usually provided for by the men in their lives, and did not inherit the family’s wealth. Sons, however, could inherit. If there were no natural-born sons to inherit, or if, for some reason, the father did not wish to leave what he owned to his natural-born sons, he could adopt a man of good character to inherit his estate. It was a great privilege for a man to be adopted as a son.

It was, at least as it pertained to inheritance, better to be a son than a daughter, and better to be an adopted son than a natural one. Natural sons could be disowned and disinherited, but not so with adopted sons. Adoption was permanent. When a man was adopted, he became a chosen heir. He would inherit for certain.

It’s probably this kind of adoption Paul had in mind when he used adopted sonship to illustrate the relationship between the believer and God in the passage above. And as the context of these verses makes clear (see 3:28-29), both men and women are God’s adopted sons. Paul used a human institution that applied to men only to illustrate something that, in God’s household, applies to both men and women.

Some translations of the Bible translate son and sons in this passage as child and children. This is not necessarily wrong, but it does obscure one of the main points of the passage, and strips Paul’s chosen analogy of its power. Believing women are not simply children of God—and not simply his daughters, who, in Paul’s day, would have owned nothing for themselves. No, we are adopted sons. Our adoption papers are signed and notarized, and we are permanent designated heirs. In Christ, God’s riches belong to us forever for certain.

God adopts believers as his sons, and it changes everything for them. Every believer’s inheritance is secure because they are adopted sons of God. If we are adopted sons—and we are!—our inheritance is guaranteed.