The Danger of Forgetting

The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; 10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. 11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. (Psalm 78:9-11) The men of Ephraim—that is, the tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel—fall into grave idolatry. So completely do they abandon God’s covenant (verse 10) that God delivers them into the hands of Assyria. In contrast to the…

Why Should Christians Care?

Of all people on God’s green earth, Christians should be the most passionate about racial justice. If what the Bible says (repeatedly) about humanity is true, we should abhor racism in all its forms and work tirelessly to see it rooted out of any society in which we dwell. I mention this because, when Christians begin to speak about racial justice or other issues that have political overtones (with the exception of abortion—a curious inconsistency),…

Meditation on Isaiah 9-10

Those following along with TGC’s Read the Bible plan read Isaiah 9-10 this week. Contemplating these remarkable chapters last year prompted me to write the following poem. It is a villanelle (think Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle”), which explains the refrain. A Gospel Meditation on Isaiah 9-10 His hand upraised, his anger yet remains To punish heart’s foul arrogance, sick pride, Until the day his justice wrath obtains. Brash cedars planted fresh on famished…

Bernie’s Blunder

Although I’m a tad late to the party (I only blog once a week), I think I should offer some words of response to the comments Senator Bernie Sanders made last week at the confirmation hearing of Russell Vought, an evangelical Christian. I think some response is in order because the views Sanders espouses have broad cultural appeal, even though they betray misunderstanding, illogic, and hypocrisy. It is very likely most evangelical Christians will have…

Lessons from the Garden

I love to garden. When I’m outside planting or weeding or pruning, it reminds me that I was made to garden. I feel like I’m back in Eden, worshiping the Creator by stewarding his creation. Occasionally I even feel I’m imitating my Father—like the son who follows behind with his toy lawn mower while Dad actually mows the grass—by using the creativity he’s given each of us to design and develop (I won’t say create)…

A Virtual Gospel

Yesterday, Ezra Klein of Vox interviewed Yuval Hariri, the Israeli author of Sapiens and his latest, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. In Homo Deus Harari envisions humanity’s future (including its likely end) with specific focus on technology and artificial intelligence. Near the end of the interview, Harari makes this claim about religion generally, and Christianity in particular:   You can think about religion simply as a virtual reality game. You invent rules that…

The Great Gospel Opportunity

As I mentioned last week, we are currently living in a culture of division and hostility. Our desire to vilify our political opponents has led many to accept and promote #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts. We are more wedded to our ideology than to reality, in other words; more committed to our narrative than to truth.   This all feels fairly depressing, I admit. But the current backlash against #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts also presents us with a…

Fighting Idolatry

Now that I’ve started to identify my idols, what next? How do I fight idolatry in my life? How do I learn to treasure Christ more, to value supremely only that which is supremely valuable?   On a handful of occasions I’ve tried to learn some form of artwork or other—drawing, painting—usually with spectacular ineptitude. The most enjoyable part of the process, though, is reading the manuals that purport to teach you in four easy…

Identifying Idols

God takes idolatry very seriously. The first of the Ten Commandments—and they are given in order of priority—is about idolatry: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Nothing else should get pride of place in our lives. He alone deserves our highest devotion, he alone is of infinite worth, and he alone can provide us with the ultimate meaning we seek.   But our hearts are idol factories, as John Calvin wisely noted. You…

The Cost of Prayer

When trouble hits, as it inevitably does, the human heart instinctively cries out in prayer. (To the best of my knowledge, no other species exhibits this tendency.) A majority of people the world over pray regularly, even daily; remarkably, this number includes a large percentage of those who profess not to believe in God. Theologians would attribute this to our sensus divinitatis : our innate sense of the divine (cf. Romans 1:20), or our “incurable…