Friday, February 29, 2008

Because He is Too Humble to Post it Himself...

Last Sunday Justin Taylor spoke on adoption at Grace Community Bible Church. Particularly interesting is the contrast he draws between adoption in Islamic thought and the Biblical perspective. The message is about 24 minutes long and well worth the time. You can find the link for the message here.

HT: Jeff Brewer

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Do Muslims Worship the Same God as Christians?

One of the first questions in the Q&A time at O.U. was posed by a sociology professor who had done work among Muslims in Indonesia. Her question was simple: "Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians?"

My summary answer was this: the short answer is no. I gave two brief reasons: (1) the NT insists that the one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father (John 5:23); (2) the NT claims that Jesus is God. Since Muslims do not worship Jesus as God, I think it is misleading at best and damaging at worst to say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Now admittedly that was a simple and short answer; there are more issues to be addressed. That is why I want to point your attention to a recent post by my friend Justin Taylor. He traces the recent important discussion of this question, complete with links to statements by Rick Love (former international director for Frontiers) and the responses by John Piper. These are crucial issues for us as evangelicals to undertstand and to be able to articulate.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thoughts on My Trip to O.U.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for time at Ohio University. Let me start by saying that God was so kind to me in giving me safety (despite a snowstorm on the way back!), strength, and a calmness in the midst of speaking and answering questions. And I want to express my gratitude to my student Gabe Tribbett, who accompanied me. Our fellowship was one of the highlights of the trip, and I want to especially thank him for typing up a rough transcript of the Q&A session.

My message on Thursday night I spoke at the weekly Campus Crusade meeting--"God of Vengeance, God of Love: Is the God of the OT the God of the NT?" As you might suspect, I argued that they are one and the same. In my 35 minute talk, I tried to make three points that I suggest seeing continuity:

  1. The testimony of the early church, the NT authors and Jesus himself. Here all I wanted to accomplish was to show that they in fact believed that the God who spoke and acted in the OT had now revealed himself definitively in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  2. God's character is consistent in the OT and NT. Here I argued that the common misconception that the God of the OT is all about wrath and justice while the God of the NT is all about love and mercy is not accurate. God's love and mercy are evident in the OT, and in fact are more prominent than his wrath/justice. God's wrath and justice are evident in the NT, and the person who makes the most frightening statements about hell is Jesus himself.
  3. God's character intensifies in its expression. This is an extension of the previous point. As God progressively reveals himself and his plan for human history in OT and into the NT, the expressions of his character intensify. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than the cross, where Jesus willing takes upon himself the wrath and justice of God so that all who believe in him may experience God's love and mercy.
The following day I held a two-hour Q&A session. I hope to post later in the week some of the dialog from that time. I was grateful that the overall tone of the questions was inquisitive and respectful, even at points where there was substantive disagreement.

On a personal level it was fun to return to my alma mater. It was the first time I had been back since the fall of 2002, and much has changed since then. The former church that my wife and I were married in is now an apartment building! I also had a lot of fun spending time with the director of Campus Crusade for Christ @ O.U., Brian McCollister and his family.

Again, thanks to all who prayed. God is doing some amazing things at O.U. as students are asking these important questions. Please continue to pray for the students and staff of CCC as they continue the conversation.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is the God of the OT the God of the NT? - OPEN THREAD FOR QUESTIONS

This space is for questions anyone might have who attended the Campus Crusade 180 Meeting from Thursday night, Feb 21. I'll post more later about this event, but at the end of the message promised to provide an open thread for people to post questions.

What's on your mind?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is the God of the OT the God of the NT?

That is the topic I will be addressing at Ohio University this coming Thursday, February 21. I will be speaking at the weekly meeting of Campus Crusade for Christ, which has been putting on a series of messages oriented towards addressing difficult subjects. On Friday afternoon I will be doing a follow-up Q&A time. I am excited to return to my alma mater and be a part of what God is doing there. If you are in the Athens area, please feel free to come out. If you think of it, I would appreciate your prayers. Pray that God would give me clarity of thought and expression, and that he would be at work in the hearts of those who listen.

If you were in my shoes, what are some of the things you would want to point out to these college students?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Galatians 2:2 and Paul's Fear

In describing his second post-conversion trip to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1-10=Acts 11:27-30), Paul indicates that he submitted the gospel he preached before those regarded as pillars in the Jerusalem church (Gal 2:2-10). He did so in private, "for fear that I might be running or had run in vain" (Gal 2:2).

But the exact content of Paul's fear is not spelled out. In the larger context it seems extremely unlikely that Paul was concerned that the content of his gospel message was incorrect. But what exactly then did Paul fear would happen if his presentation of his gospel to the Jerusalem pillars went poorly?

I've got my own answer that I am willing to give in the comments, but I want to hear from you first...