The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Apologetics”

DOMA & Gay “Marriage” – a Christian Evaluation

Guest Post by Ben Rossell

In the aftermath of the SCOTUS DOMA ruling, here are 7 points to help us understand why we are where we are and 7 things Christians should do about it.

1. Heterosexual couples destroyed the sanctity of marriage long before the gay rights movement hit the mainstream. “I have two dads, you know.” This is what a young boy I know recently told me. His words struck me. I knew they were true. But I’d never thought of it … like THAT before. His birth parents divorced while he was an infant [for what I believe were sound, Biblical reasons]. His mother went on to remarry a fine Christian man and so, like so many other boys around, he has “two dads”. Why should we think it so odd that this trend continue, though now with the ruthless efficiency of eliminating the mother altogether? A long time ago, our society began to deliberately streamline the process by which a man or woman can dissolve the oath they had previously made before God, church, family, community, and state to stay united until death.  And for decades, the process of oath-breaking has been made more and more convenient.  At this point in our history, “the sanctity of marriage” is nothing more than a hollow-sounding phrase; a string of words that used to mean something.

2. The Heterosexual promiscuity paved the yellowbrick road on which gay rights activists now march – the What young people really mean when they say “Don’t tell THEM what THEY can’t do in THEIR bedroom” is “Don’t tell ME what I can’t do in MY bedroom”.  This is what ‘the pill’ is all about.  What we see today is the fruiting of seeds that were planted fifty years ago and have been faithfully watered and fertilized ever since. Pulling levers and pushing buttons isn’t going to change that or stop what has been in motion for so long. But being faithful will… eventually. This is a bitter fruit, but the story is far from over.   Read more…

The Wrathful God of the Old Testament Needs To Die

sodom angelsby Mark Horne

Why? Because he is fictional.

If you are afraid of wrathful, you should be running away from Jesus as much as from anyone you meet in the Old Testament.

Of course, even that comparison is fraught with falsehoods. To begin with, the Old Testament is not about “the Father” who gets supplemented by his much nicer Son in the New Testament.

(Oh, another falsehood is me using the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament,” but I don’t have the energy to include another issue in this post, so I’m just going to sin boldly.)

Quite the contrary, it was Jesus who met Moses on Mount Sinai. The New Testament is new more because it reveals the Father. Jesus declaring himself the Son doesn’t mean he’s a new character being introduced now. It means we learn more clearly that someone had sent Him from the beginning. He introduces His Father. All divisions of history that go from an age of the Father to an age of the Son are clearly backwards.

So it is Jesus who killed all those unfaithful Israelites in the wilderness. Read more…

Day Six of Creation and Christian Ethics

by Uri Brito

When God made the world he made it in divine priority. He made all things with an agenda, and to use the oft-repeated line, “he saved the best for last.” He made man on day six, and at the end he breathed with the breath of perfection (Gen. 1:31): “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

Could God have created man on day one or day three? No. This was a divine priority. Man was created last purposefully. He made him on day six and then affirmed (Gen. 1:26-28) that he was to be over all things. Man receives a place of honor in creation because he is made in the image of God.

Read more…

Questions Science Will Never Solve?

by Adam McIntosh

Blogger George Dvorsky for Altering Perspectives has written a piece titled, 8 Great Philosophical Questions That We’ll Never Solve. Dvorsky’s premise is that philosophy goes where “hard science” cannot, therefore some of the most fundamental questions of our existence cannot be answered with absolute certainty. The eight questions listed in the article are: Why is there something rather than nothing? Is our universe real? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Is there life after death? Can you really experience anything objectively? What is the best moral system? And What are numbers?

The Christian faith, of course, has answers to all of these questions to some degree. We may not have exhaustive knowledge of every topic but we do possess a view of reality that is consistent within itself and that serves as a guide for philosophical musings. As for Dvorsky, not so much. On the existence of the universe:

Why is there all this stuff in the universe, and why is it governed by such exquisitely precise laws? And why should anything exist at all? We inhabit a universe with such things as spiral galaxies, the aurora borealis, and SpongeBob Squarepants.”

Read more…

That Your Joy May Be Full: Celebrating the Ascension of our Lord

By Uri Brito

The Church celebrates the Ascension of our Lord this Thursday. Since many Protestant churches find it difficult to gather parishioners for a Thursday service, many of them celebrate Ascension on Sunday.

The Ascension of Jesus is barely mentioned in the evangelical vocabulary. We make room for his birth, death, and resurrection, but we tend to put a period where God puts a comma.

If the resurrection was the beginning of Jesus’ enthronement, then the ascension is the establishment of his enthronement. The Ascension activates Christ’s victory in history. The Great Commission is only relevant because of the Ascension. Without the Ascension the call to baptize and disciple would be meaningless. It is on the basis of Jesus’ enthronement at the right-hand of the Father, that we image-bearers can de-throne rulers through the power and authority of our Great Ruler, Jesus Christ.

The Ascension then is a joyful event, because it is the genesis of the Church’s triumph over the world. Further, it defines us as a people of glory and power, not of weakness and shame. As Jesus is ascended, we too enter into his ascension glory (Col. 3:1) This glory exhorts us to embrace full joy. As Alexander Schmemann once wrote:

“The Church was victorious over the world through joy…and she will lose the world when she loses its joy… Of all accusations against Christians, the most terrible one was uttered by Nietzsche when he said that Christians had no joy.”[1]

But this joy is given to us by a bodily Lord.

We know that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He is ruling and reigning from his heavenly throne. He has given the Father the kingdom, and now he is preserving, progressing, and perfecting his kingdom. He is bringing all things under subjection.

We know that when he was raised from the dead, Jesus was raised bodily. But Gnostic thinking would have us assume that since Jesus is in heaven he longer needs a physical body. But the same Father who raised Jesus physically, also has his Son sitting beside him in a physical body.  As one author observed:

Jesus has gone before us in a way we may follow through the Holy Spirit whom he has sent, because the way is in his flesh, in his humanity.[1]

Our Lord is in his incarnation body at the right hand of the Father. This has all sorts of implications for us in worship. We are worshipping a God/Man; one who descended in human flesh and who ascended in human flesh. He is not a disembodied spirit. He is truly God and truly man.

As we consider and celebrate the Ascension of our blessed Lord, remember that you are worshiping the One who understands your needs, because he has a body just like you; he understands your joy because he has a body just like you.

[1] Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World. Paraphrased

[2] Gerrit Dawson, see http://apologus.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/ascension-and-jesus-humanity/

Uri Brito is a pastor and blogger. He treasures earthly life, but dwells in the heavenly places.

Evangelicals, Damning Statistics, and Bible Reading, Part I

By Uri Brito

The results are in and they don’t look good. Christianity Today reports on the Sex Lives of Unmarried Evangelicals. The two surveys offer differing numbers, but the conclusion is summarized in this manner:

Bible Reading? Evangelicals who infrequently read the Bible were 70 percent more likely to have been recently sexually active than frequent Bible readers.

Church Attendance? Evangelicals who attend church less than weekly were more than twice as likely to have been recently sexually active than weekly attenders.

Conversion? Of the sexually active singles, 92 percent had sex after becoming“born again.” That’s largely because the average age when evangelicals under 40 became “born again” was 8.

Evangelical statistics have a way of increasing our national Christian guilt, which is something that usually is already mighty high. Furthermore, the numbers usually paint a more pessimistic picture than what is actually taking place. My general principle when dealing with these statistics is to cut the percentage by a third. When the oft-cited “50% of Christian married couples end in divorce” statistic is referenced, this usually means about 35% of Christian married couples divorce. Those original statistics also included Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. A Non-Trinitarian marriage is anything but a Christian marriage.

But however you do the math, the numbers are still frightening. No one can deny that they reflect a weak evangelicalism. It is not that evangelical churches are fully entertainment driven without any substance, but that the substance they offer is not sustaining, and therefore leading our young generations to find pleasure is worldly entertainment. Part of this worldly entertainment is the casualness of the sex culture.

Since this is the case, we have responded in the way we evangelicals do best: we have over-reacted. Read more…

Depravity and Social Cooperation for Christians in Pluralistic Civilization

Abraham_KuyperPost by Mark Horne

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

We all know this Scripture (Matthew 7.9-11). It is part of a famous passage exhorting hearers to trust God and pray to him. What I find interesting about it is that it doesn’t come up more often in questions about human depravity and human virtue. I wish I knew what Abraham Kuyper said about these verses, since he wrote a great deal about “common grace.” As it stands now, what I mainly have is an extensive reading in virtually everything Cornelius Van Til ever wrote. Van Til was a famous Kuyperian, but my reading took place many years ago.

This passage strikes me as interesting because it seamlessly weds a dire verdict on human nature with  incredible optimism. Jesus says:

  1. you are evil
  2. you do good

What do we make of that? Read more…

A Note from the Founder: 700th Post

Greetings Kuyperians,

If you have been following the progress of this humble bunch you know that we enjoy life; more importantly, we enjoy the good life. We treasure angels, we despise angel-killers, we favor truth, and have an intense allergy for falsehood and hypocrisy. Above all, we like a good party! Part of this party-spirit stems from the inspiration to carry on our noble tasks as ambassadors of the Most High God. When we say we believe in God the Father Almighty, we are doing more than creedal recitation, we are challenging the world to a duel. This is why we are Christians. We refuse to give ground to unbelieving thought. Neutrality is one of those words we dare not utter unless we negate it.

Our purpose is to echo Kuyper’s words “Not Once Square Inch,” into every word and argument we make in this endeavor. I realize it’s a noble and difficult task to live so consistently with such a robust vision, but it’s what we aim for around here.

In this 700th post, we celebrate also over 50,000 hits. This may not seem much, but at the very least it says that our labors are not in vain, and that there is a legitimate need to discuss the issues we are discussing in this virtual lecture hall. So as we aim toward the next 50,000 hits, let me encourage you to spread the word! Share our posts on Facebook and Twitter. Leave comments and feedback on how we can better improve your reading experience. We really do believe what we say is worth listening to. And so on behalf of the 16 writers of Kuyperian Commentary, I would like to say thanks for your support and continual encouragement! Party on!

What Does Jesus Look Like?

The History Channel’s hit miniseries “The Bible” offers us yet another on-screen depiction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The honor this time goes to Diogo Morgado, whom the New York Post calls “a kind of surfer Jesus.” The Portuguese actor’s Jesus is not exactly Anglo (although his on-screen accent is); but basically, this Jesus is white. And therein lies a problem.

My thoughts on what Jesus looks like were spurred by a fascinating lecture at Baylor by the University of Colorado’s Paul Harvey, author with Edward Blum of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. In spite of the Ten Commandment’s ban on “graven images” (and the worship of them), many Christians have become so used to visual representations of Christ that we often don’t give them a second thought, nor consider what they say about our mental picture of the Son of God.

The medieval church also produced artistic representations of Christ, but many Protestants assailed these icons, tapestries, and paintings as violations of the second commandment, smashing and burning many of them as they had opportunity. The Puritans and some other early settlers of America tried not to employ visual representations of God, although they surely must have had some mental image of God or Jesus as they spoke to him in prayer.

During the nineteenth century, visual images of Jesus became more common among American Protestants, and they were almost always ‘white’ – or at least not distinctly Semitic/Middle Eastern/North African, which one would think would be the preferred choice if ethnic accuracy were a priority. These images became more common – and insistent – in the years following the Civil War. Perhaps the most disturbing use of the white Jesus was in D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915), in which Jesus blessed the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.

Most depictions of a white Jesus were more innocuous in intent than Birth of a Nation, and the most common one in American homes was Warner Sallman’s 1941 The Head of ChristThe commonplace depiction of Jesus as white led to indignant reactions, with some African Americans and other Christians claiming a “black Jesus” or some other Christ of their own ethnicity.

I don’t mean to go all ‘Puritan’ here, but should churches promote any visual depictions of Christ? Do the images of a white Jesus risk making God in our own image? Would a more Semitic Christ solve the problem? Or should we return to the full Reformed skepticism about using any images of God at all?

Whatever our answers, the fact remains that Christians do normally imagine Christ’s appearance as we read the Bible and pray (reported visions of Jesus have often seemed Anglo, too). Scripture, however, gives us precious little guidance about his appearance. If not the Jesus of Warner Sallman or The History Channel, then what should he look like?

Thomas Kidd is contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

This article was originally published at Patheos.

Bill O’Reilly, Robert Jeffress, “The Bible,” and the Truth of God’s Revelation

Bill O’Reilly had on Pastor Robert Jeffress of The First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX. Jeffress gained a lot of attention during the 2012 presidential elections when he opposed Romney—in favor of Perry—on the grounds that Romney was a Mormon. Jeffress argued that we needed an evangelical in the White House.

O’Reilly’s segment focused on whether the Bible should be understood literally or allegorically. The unstable Fox News host began the segment with an irresponsible remark:

“The Bible,” which was co-created by Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, “highlights fundamentalist Christian beliefs.”

The History Channel show can be debated (at another time), but the opening assumption already triggers the insult of ignorance of anyone who believes such events to be literal. “Fundamentalist Christian beliefs” is the media’s way of perpetuating evangelical Christians as theological dinosaurs. Further, it carries on the abusive stereo-types usually addressed towards Islamic radicals. If you are a fundamentalist, you are in some way capable of doing things the typical enlightened human being would never do. Read more…

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