Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Christian love as distinct from Social Activism

When Christ comes to judge us all, what will be the criterion of His judgement? The parable answers: love - not a mere humanitarian concern for abstract justice and the anonymous "poor," but concrete and personal love for the human person, any human person, that God makes me encounter in my life. This distinction is important because today more and more Christians tend to identify Christian love with political, economic, and social concerns; in other words, they shift from the unique person and its unique personal destiny, to anonymous entities such as "class," "race," etc. Not that these concerns are wrong. It is obvious that in their respective walks of life, in their responsibilities as citizens, professional men, etc., Christians are called to care, to the best of their possibilities and understanding, for a just, equal, and in general more humane society. All this, to be sure, stems from Christianity and may be inspired by Christian love. But Christian love as such is something different, and this difference is to be understood and maintained if the church is to preserve her unique mission and not become a mere "social agency," which definitely she is not.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Welcome!

Hey Guys,

Welcome to my blog. The plan is for this to be a place that hosts my papers and rants on everything God. Given that I am currently in Bible College, this blog will probably get a lot of use for the next few years.

I also have another blog were I post more on philosophy and big picture stuff, which you can find on the top tabs.

Also, check out my budding project that I hope culminates in the creation of a Bible college! 

Here is my recent work
Future Studies (Lord willing)
  • Importance of 2nd Century to Evangelicalism - Undergrad
  • The Development of Doctrine
  • Old Testament 
  • Hermeneutics  

Insights from Maximus the Confessor


This was adapted from an article I wrote for my school's newspaper.

                 Currently, my Greek class is tackling the highly philosophical and yet very intriguing Maximus the Confessor, an Eastern theologian who lived during the seventh century. Maximus is called the Confessor because he lost both his right hand and his tongue due to his unrelenting push for orthodoxy in what is known as the Monothelite controversy. We are currently reading through a work called the Mystagogy which has been called “one of the most seminal literary pearls of Greek Orthodox Byzantine culture and spirituality, whose tremendous importance for our present world is yet to be discovered.”[1] In it, Maximus seeks to display the total mystery of the Church. 

                One doesn’t have to read the Mystagogy long before one realizes that Maximus goes beyond the traditional Evangelical framework. He effortlessly moves in and out of philosophical systems while explaining the theological topic at hand. His main goal in the work is to describe the ways in which the church is the image of all reality. He indulges in what many would call speculative theology with no reservation. Most would find his work utterly foreign. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Marijuana and the Christian: The Spiritual Realm

On November 7th, 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states in American history to legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana. The Gallop Poll continues to prove that more and more American citizens favor the legalization of marijuana, with 58 percent in agreement, which is quite a feat when understood that when the Gallop Poll first asked the question back in 1969, only 12 percent of America favored legalization.[1] Marijuana is still illegal federally, which brings up larger issues regarding state rights vs. federal rights, but the Justice Department has publicly stated that it will not challenge the recent marijuana laws enacted by Washington and Colorado as long as they keep in line with a few, reasonable federal policies.[2] On the world stage, on December 23rd of last year, Uruguay became the first country to legalize the sale and production of cannabis[3] despite protests from the UN.[4]
 
Society is changing. One day very soon the entire nation will legalize marijuana. But right here and right now, in the state of Washington, marijuana is already legal, and this year will see many legitimate, recreational pot shops open for business. How does the Christian react? What should we tell our youth group kids, or our future congregation? Is the drug to be treated like alcohol, so that it is safe to consume in small amounts and as long as one is of legal age? Or is marijuana to be completely avoided? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Faith and Reason according to Gregory of Nazianzus

I am currently studying the use of Natural Theology in the early Church, specifically in the Cappadocians, and ran across this gem:

"When we leave off believing, and protect ourselves by mere strength of argument, and destroy the claim that the Spirit has upon our faith by questionings, and then our argument is not strong enough for the importance of the subject (and this must necessarily be the case, since it is put in motion by an organ of so little power as our mind), what is the result? The weakness of the argument appear to belong to the mystery, as Paul also though. For reason is fulfilled in faith."

- Gregory of Nazianzus (325-389)

Interesting words from the Greek father.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Calvin and Justification

main post
Alister McGrath summarizes the Reformation’s understanding of justification as follows: Justification is a forensic declaration of righteousness involving a sinner’s status rather than his nature; Justification is distinct from regeneration or sanctification; and justifying righteousness is an alien righteousness, completely external from man and imputed to him.[1] It is within this paradigm that John Calvin lived, moved and had his existence, yet he did add his own unique flavor. His contributions that I would like to highlight is his emphasis on the forensic aspect of justification, which can be seen most readily in his controversy with Osiander, his cementing of the distinctions between regeneration and justification, and his answer to the familiar charge of antinomianism and the role of works in salvation.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Luther - God wills man to do evil?

"For I misspoke when I said that free will before grace exists in name only; rather I should have simply said ‘free will is a fiction among real things, a name with no reality.’ For no one has it within his control to intend anything, good or evil, but rather, as was rightly taught by the article of Wycliffe which was condemned at [the Council of] Constance, all things occur by absolute necessity.  That was what the poet meant when he said, ‘All things are settled by a fixed law’ [Virgil, Aeneid 2.324]…."

This is part of Luther's Assertion of Article Thirty Six which was a response to Pope Leo X’s official document (Latin: bulla) Exsurge Domine dated June 15, 1520. He here denies free will not only to do good, but even to will evil. This was in part to combat the idea of Congruous Grace, which taught that man can do some good before he is converted, though not to merit him eternal life. However, in doing so, Luther went as far as to say:

"What, then, is free will but a thing in name only? How can it prepare itself for the good when it does not even have the power to make its own paths evil? For God does even bad deeds in the wicked..."

So God is the doer of even evil deeds? Thoughts?

Quotes taken from Thomas Scheck's BISHOP JOHN FISHER’S RESPONSE TO MARTIN LUTHER article, which can be found in the journal Franciscan Studies.

Origen's response to those who use Rom 9:16 to argue that man does not have free will


"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." - Rom 9:16

"Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain." - Psalm 127:1

In this [Psalm 127:1] he is not dissuading us from building or teaching us not to keep awake in order to guard the city in our soul [allegorical interpretation of verse 1], but he is showing us that what is built without God and what does not receive its guard from him is built in vain and protected to no purpose, since God may reasonably be regarded as the lord of the building and the Master of the universe as the ruler of the guard for the city.