Archives For Essay

Usually long, involved posts about theology or philosophy.

“At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian’s faith is unseen reality.”
AW Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Tozer, on the Invisible Kingdom (2)

Let’s start off by saying congratulations to President Obama.

Sir, I sincerely hope that you reevaluate your positions on several key issues regarding civil liberties. Not only that, but I implore you as one professing Christian to another, to reevaluate some of your policies in light of the Word of God. I’ll be praying for you, Mr. President, and once again, congratulations and may God bless you and your family.

And now on to the political rancor and bile—

I don’t have live TV at home, which was nice during the campaign. Nothing is better than dodging negative ads. However, that also meant that I had to get the election results via CNN.com and Twitter. The later, of course, was incredibly editorialized.

And none of it was very positive. Continue Reading…

Would Christianity survive without reward or punishment in the afterlife?

This is the question behind a recent “user-generated” editorial on a Cape Town news site. (Yes, South Africa. Thanks to Google it really is a small world after all.) The author, known only as “RationalBeliever,” (RB) does a good job of “nutshelling” the Gospel. I might have chosen to replace a few words here and there, but for the most part, I like the angle he/she chose. However, I do have one problem with the article, and it rests in the premise itself and the conclusion that RB draws.

Continue Reading…

I had a friend in high school who lived the model Christian life: chaste, kind, faithful, etc. Then, one day, my friend started to make some unwise decisions. I tried to speak to my friend about it, but another friend jumped in with this wonderful bit of non-wisdom: It’s their day-off. They’ve done enough for God. They deserve a break!

I can’t remember my friend’s response, but I don’t remember hearing anything close to a denial of that statement. And I can’t blame them. Time and again, I wished for a “day-off” where I’d be free of the expectations placed upon by my faith. I wasn’t necessarily wanting to be free to sin: I wanted to be free from the fear of failure. Fortunately, I’ve matured and have learned a little bit about grace that would have saved me a lot of frustration back in the day.

Continue Reading…

Dear America,

Thanks so much for the proud tradition of freedom. I truly believe that you are the greatest nation on earth and that you’re ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness just might be the best that a human government can offer. I know that I am so very blessed to have been born in this country, and I’m beginning to realize that such a blessing wasn’t given to me so that I could squander it. I was blessed with my birthplace so that I might make use of my freedoms in order to bring glory to the One who truly sets men free. With all of that being said, I would like to point out just one simple thing: America, you are not God.

Continue Reading…

Everyone Worships

Phil —  June 5, 2011 — Leave a comment

God created us to live in relationship with Him and others. Relationships require roles, and all of us play several roles. For example, I am a husband and father. I’m also a son, a brother, a pastor, a teacher, and a student. We even have roles in our relationship with God, and God has roles in His relationship with us.

He is our King; we are His servants. He is our Father; we are His children. He is our Creator; we are His creations. Every role comes with certain actions attached to it. And each action of God’s roles has a matching response action within our roles. For example, Jesus, as my Savior, lived a perfect life, so as His disciple, I follow His example. God, as my King, has forbidden certain actions, so as His servant, I obey His commands. God created me, so as the creature, I worship Him and bring Him glory.

Now, here is the heart of my thought for today: all of humanity fills the role of ‘creature,’ so all of humanity must fulfill the action of worship. Surely you will say, “Most people on Earth do not worship God,” and I will respond like this: That does not mean that they do not worship.

Continue Reading…

Questions w/o Answers

Phil —  April 9, 2011 — Leave a comment

The past few weeks have been crazy. And not necessarily in a good way. It’s been tough on several levels. To cap all that off, I received notice that I have been laid off for the 2011-2012 school year. So, like I said, it was a rough few weeks…until last night. Last night, the other shoe dropped.

My wife and I heard some tragic, life-changing news about some friends of ours. We were just grieved, saddened, and totally caught off guard. The only way I can describe it is that it felt like those first ten seconds after you get punched in the face: disoriented and hurt. In this moment of quiet desperation, my wife tearfully asked, “Why?” Continue Reading…

What are you worth? Is there anyway to determine what you are worth? Essentially, we’re all trying to find out worth. Some try to find their worth in their actions, their legacy. They build massive empires only to watch them fall, or they construct exquisite buildings just so they can be used as mauseleums. Others establish their value on the foundation of personal ability and character. And yet, skills and abilities are blunted by time. Bodies fade. Character fails. Beauty, relationships, wealth, nations, pride–they are all temporal, limited, and terribly unreliable when the storms of doubt and insecurity rage against your soul. None of these are adequate to establish your worth.

Naturalists state emphatically that the universe was an accident and that our emergence from the primordial stew was much the same. Nothing preceded everything. Out of non-existence, all of existence suddenly–without precursor or planning–emerged. This is how the naturalist sees our world, as an accident. This is how the naturalist sees you, me, and even himself.

What are we worth? Don’t pose this question to the naturalist, for the naturalist has an answer that will certainly not satisfy. And yet, when we reject the notion that God created the universe, that someone greater than anything we can comprehend set in motion all of what we call “human history,” we tacitly accept what the naturalist preaches.

What if our world was truly arranged around the naturalist perspective that so many of us have passively adopted? Obviously, a naturalist framework would lend itself to a capitalist expression of worth. Thus, “self-worth” would become “human market value,” which would of course be expressed in dollars and cents. Surely, some economist, physiologist, psychologist, and a politician would gather together in a New York boardroom to determine what criteria should be considered in figuring “human market value.” Physical attributes would be considered, including age, health, and strong along with sex appeal and virility. Also to be counted would be skills, talents, and general abilities along with a person’s level of education. However, other intangible qualities that we might value would be discounted like courage, insight, passion, patience, and other virtues. These have no place in a this naturalist system as they are based upon moral judgments that cannot exist within in a naturalistic framework. Using all of this, these “experts” would develop the scientific equation that would be used to provide an accurate assessment of an individuals bottom line worth.

Once this has been established, every person in the world will be evaluated. Then, like the NYSE, there will be LED tickers everywhere, informing the general public how their worth has increased or decreased within the global human market. Can you imagine trying to get a house if your human market value (HMV) has gone down? It’s hard enough now with a traditional credit report. What if your HMV drops more? Would you lose your job? Your family?

This is the world as the naturalist wants it: sterile, quantifiable, and completely devoid of the metaphysical. Without A Creator, without God, we have no intrinsic value. Our worth becomes based upon our marketable skills and abilities. We are reduced from the height of creation, and our value is expressed as a bottom-dollar figure.

This is what I think of when atheists criticize Christianity as devaluing people, and it’s just sad because that could not be further from the truth.

In Zechariah 2, God refers to us as the “apple of My eye.” This phrase, in the original language, was actually “little maiden of My eye.” But what does that mean? Ever been close to someone? Like almost face to face? See that dot in the center of their eye? That’s a reflection of you, and that’s exactly how God sees us. He is so close to us, so in love with us, that we are a reflection in the center of His eye. That’s how much he values us.

Romans 5:1-11 states that we were God’s enemies, rebels determine to overthrow the King of the Universe, and yet He still loved us enough to die for us. He gave us everything, and we still rejected Him. Despite all of this, He sought us out. He came to earth. He lived our life and died our death on the cross. He came as close as could to us–we’re the little maiden in our eye–and we killed Him.

Thank God that His love survived, and He was resurrected. As it stands, He is still waiting, still close, with us at the center of His eye. God has placed the ultimate value upon you: He would rather die that have to spend eternity without you. That’s how much He cares. That’s how much you and I are worth in God’s human market economy.