June2011Archive for

Embracing Your Inner Man

The Kingdom Notes

By Jim Bob Howard From the Jan/Feb issue of Every Thought Captive magazine. Psychobabblers tell us, in order to be better men–husbands, fathers, employees, friends, etc.– we must embrace our “inner child,” that that is the “real” us. We need, they say, to tap into, get in touch with, hug that innocent, immature, scared, just-wants-to-be-loved, idyllic picture of our childhood, as though what the world needs is more grown men acting like five-year-olds. We spend so much time and energy worshipping youth that we ignore the Bible’s reaching that a righteous life produces a hoary head—a silver-haired sage that passes on his faith and wisdom to the next generation, that they would remember and know the Lord. Too many men with hoary heads have embraced their inner imbecile and have gone off traipsing about the globe, running out the clock, rather than showing themselves to be the patriarchal head of…

Enquiring about the Inquisition

The Kingdom Notes

It is true enough that the divisions in the church are a scandal. There are literally thousands of denominations in these not so United States alone, and that doesn’t even count the tens of thousands of micro-micro denominations, those “independent,” non-denominational churches that each think they are escaping the problem by forming a denomination of one. Jesus prayed in His high priestly prayer that His disciples would be one, even as He is one with the Father. And we, like ill-trained siblings, squabble with our brothers over issues that might one day grow up to be important. I understand how people get tired of it all. I get tired of it all. What I don’t understand is how some people think they can solve this problem by joining the one true church. Problem number one is that each of these one true churches have the same kinds of divisions that…

Ask RC: Does Natural Law exist?

Ask R.C.

No, and yes. One of my favorite writers, CS Lewis, in one of my favorite books, The Abolition of Man, makes a very bad argument for a very bad understanding of natural law. The entire last third of the book is devoted to an exposition of the Tao, which he describes as a universal moral law by which God Himself is bound. The notion that there is a law, or anything above God, to which He must submit is heretical, broadly speaking a form of idolatry. There is no law above God. He alone is a law unto Himself. In this sense there is no such thing as natural law. All law is God’s law. It flows out of His own character. It is neither above Him, such that He must submit, nor below Him, such that He can act capriciously. He instead acts consistently with who He is. This…

A Tale of Two Cities

The Kingdom Notes

It is good, important, nay vital that we never grow dim sighted with respect to our own sin. Gospel courage is that ability to look unflinchingly into the mirror of the Word that shows how hideous we are. We all still see only dimly, but in a grand irony, the more we grow in the grace, the more we mature, the less spotted we become, the more clearly the mirror becomes and the more of our ugliness we see. The more deeply we look into our sins, however, the more we understand and give thanks for His grace. That said, it is likewise fitting and appropriate that we should celebrate that grace that not only justifies us, but sanctifies us. That is, we are actually getting better, and we do ourselves and the kingdom no favor if we piously seek to deny that gospel truth. We are getting better, and…

Ask RC: Question about foreclosures.

Ask R.C.

Question: My husband read Biblical Economics and learned much. What is your opinion about giving back our rental/investment property to the bank as a foreclosure? Not long ago I received another interesting question related to our current economic hardships. A friend wondered if investing in Iraqi currency in anticipation of a steep devaluing of that currency was legitimate. I explained an important but often overlooked element of economics (which also touches on oil speculation and even ticket scalping)- the economic value of sharing risk. If I buy Iraqi denari at x and turn around and sell then at 10x I have not profited illegitimately but have shared in risk that provides genuine economic benefit to the whole Iraqi economy. (Of course I cannot cry if I sell x for a loss either.) What has that to do with foreclosures? Possibly everything. First let’s cover the easy part. If you agreed,…

Babes in Toyland, from Every Thought Captive, 2006

The Kingdom Notes

Babes in Toyland, Every Thought Captive Magazine, January/February 2006By RC Sproul Jr. It would be our expectation that a given culture would follow the pattern of the riddle of the Sphinx. You remember that Oedipus was asked this question: what begins on four legs, moves to two, and ends with three? Oedipus was allowed to pass on his way because he recognized this as man. We begin as babies, crawling on all fours. As we mature we move to walking. But as age comes, we require the aid of a cane to get around. Cultures do begin young and then they mature. But I’m not sure that the end looks like an old man with a cane. I’m afraid that we may go out less with a whimper than a whine. We will be wearing Pampers, not Depends, and drinking formula rather than prune juice. We will not die, culturally…

Ten Ways Not to Look at Children

The Kingdom Notes

Wisdom is a narrow path. Folly, on the other hand, is a wide, gaping desert. Our conversations in the church about children tend to be contentious and emotional. Few things touch closer to home. Which is why we need all the more to develop a careful, thoughtful and sober understanding of the Bible’s wisdom on this issue. Below are ten common ways we err in our thinking. May He give us grace to fill our quivers with blessings, and our hearts with wisdom. 10. Children are a hassle to be avoided. What has become conventional wisdom in the world is now conventional wisdom in the church. We quip about longing for school to start, about dreading when they outgrow children’s church. We make the same stupid jokes- Do you know what causes that?, flaunting our folly. We are so biblically illiterate in the church we have no idea we are…

The Pathway of Death

The Kingdom Notes

It is my habit, once each week, to write a brief piece answering a question from a reader. I also write one piece each week wherein I set my own agenda. Truth be told, even the question answering pieces tend to morph into something on my agenda. These pieces are published and promoted in sundry corners of the world wide web, many of which leave opportunity for comment. Earlier this week I was asked about the Bible’s response to polygamy and concubinage. Though there are missionaries who have to deal with such things, I doubt many of my readers are tempted in this particular direction. I took the time to answer the question, however, because it gave me an opportunity to address something that interests me, the patient way God deals with our folly. In one particular corner a discussion ensued that touched on how rare this problem is, and…

Ask RC: Is there a moral law against polygamy?

Ask R.C.

“The Bible never condemns polygamy or having concubines. Is there a moral law against them?” Yes there is a moral law against them because the Bible actually does condemn them. Jesus Himself said, “From the beginning it was not so…” He commands that marriage be between one man and one woman. He notes also that the relative lax standards for divorce in the old covenant were the result of our “hardness of hearts.” (See Mark 10 for this discussion.) There is irony here. Most of the time we squirm over the harshness of the Old Testament and find the New kinder and gentler. Here Jesus narrows radically those circumstances where divorce might be permitted, and in the process rules out polygamy and concubinage. Which raises this question- what does Jesus mean by “because of the hardness of your hearts?” Why were these things seemingly permitted in the Old Covenant? For…

What a Difference a Day Makes

The Kingdom Notes

My dear wife spent May 21, that day Harold Camping predicted the end of the world, in the hospital fighting leukemia. Though the war is not yet over, just as she has done twice before, she has cancer on the ropes. And, in case you missed it, the world did not end May 21. The confluence of these two events, however, has, as they might for anyone, encouraged me to think about my end. Bucket lists, “what would you do if you knew this were the last day of your life,” and the pearly gates have been on my mind. Whether we are goaded by this nugget of pop wisdom or that, whether we wake up determined to live this day as if it were our last, or determined to live mindful that today is the first day of the rest of our lives, the question is the same- what…