The 500th Post

This is officially the 500th post on “Fear and Trembling.”  I just want to share some random thoughts on blogging and the Christian life.

Preparing blog posts has been a serious pastime, and the research and thought I have put into this blog have changed me for the better.  I have a deeper understanding of theology and apologetics than I had when I started. 

However, when I blog it is easy to think I have done my duty in evangelism / apologetics or teaching.  This is a dangerous thing.  It is much easier to sit in front of a computer and research and type than it is to be actively involved in the ministry of a local church as it confronts an increasingly pagan culture.  My blog has had some impact (over 42,000 page views since 2007 according to Google Analytics and Blogger), but that impact is not easily measurable because few people leave comments.  By contrast, I can clearly see the impact of personal relationships and personal involvement in the lives of others.

I have been able to revise and republish several blog posts as articles for our local newspaper, The Union City, Tennessee, “Daily Messenger.”    Several have commented to me in person about the impact of those articles.  Maybe blogging has been just preparation for something else.  I am considering writing a book based on the latest series of those newspaper articles and seeking publication.  Only God knows how that one will work out.  It may be a very humbling exercise.

I have not resolved the tension in my own mind between the differing schools of thought on Christian apologetics.  I have written from the evidential, classical, presuppositional and reformed epistemological perspectives at some point or another in this endeavor.  I still do not know where exactly I come out in all of that controversy.  I am aware of exactly what I do not know at this point, and if you think about it, that is a step in the right direction.  I will keep praying and studying as the Lord gives me opportunity.

“Fear and Trembling” has documented my struggle over which denomination to join.  I am happy that that has been a difficult choice.  Religious freedom in the USA has allowed me to have choices, and I am very thankful to God for that freedom.  I was Southern Baptist; I seriously considered the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod; and I am now PCA (Presbyterian Church in America).  A Christian can find the gospel in all of those places, but you see where I ended up.  The Westminster Standards won the day.

Lastly, sanctification is rough business.  Think of Aslan’s claws on Eustace in C. S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  My experience in the Christian life has not been the dramatic deliverance from besetting sins that some of my friends claim, but a slow process of little victories and all to frequent setbacks.  He loves much who has been forgiven much. 

What was it John Newton is credited with saying toward the end of his life?  “Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”  I need Christ to be my great Savior because I am a great sinner.

My posts have been infrequent lately, and I expect that to continue.  I am concentrating my effort on my local church, where I am a Ruling Elder, and my family, where I am a husband and father.  I will be back though, Lord willing, when I have something worth sharing.

May God bless you richly in Christ Jesus.


President Obama, Islam and Christianity

I have carefully avoided involving this blog in politics, but when a sitting U. S. President makes religious comments at a National Prayer Breakfast, then I consider them ‘fair game.’

 The Crusades

Several teachers I respect have made solid cases that the Crusades were a defensive action undertaken to take back lands conquered by Muslims and to prevent their further conquests (see Kevin DeYoung at this link).  But, even if they are wrong, the immoral actions associated with the crusades were against the will of Christ. 

There was a time in the life of Christ when Jesus and His teachings had just been rejected by the inhabitants of a Samaritan village.  His disciples James and John said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and consume them?”  Jesus “turned and rebuked them.” (Luke 9:51-56, ESV)  Jesus’ followers should ‘take His lead’ and not engage in religious wars of conquest in this era. 

It is safe to say that Mohamed would not have rebuked the disciples in the story recounted above.  He may have even ‘taken matters into his own hands’ and destroyed the village without divine intervention as is evidenced by these quotes from the Koran:

“Slay them wherever you find them … idolatry is worse than carnage …Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme” (Surah 2:190).

“Fighting is obligatory to you, much as you dislike it” (Surah 2:216).

“Seek out your enemies relentlessly” (Surah 4:103).

I could go on.  Because the good people at Answering Islam have done so at this link, I do not have to.

Slavery and Racism

I have very little to comment on here accept to say that Christianity is a religion which plainly teaches that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29, ESV).  It is difficult to use that kind of religion to justify slavery and racism.  In fact, it is easy to use that kind of religion to tear down the walls of slavery and the injustice of racism (see the life and writings of William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King, Jr.).  The Koran simply does not have a passage like that.

One Way to Heaven

Yes, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV).  A widely respected moral teacher and moral example said that; not some ‘Bible-thumping,’ uneducated, and backward “fundamentalist.”  So the statement should be respected.  (Not to mention that the aforementioned great moral teacher died and rose from the grave just to make His point.)

As for us, it is high time we stopped griping about the fact that God only provided one way into heaven and start being in awe of the fact that He provided a way into heaven at all whatsoever.  A God who is holy (free from sin and its affects) does not owe a person who is sinful (affected by the evils of sin in all aspects of his / her being) a way into heaven.  All God owes us is a ‘one-way ticket’ to hell for an eternity without a chance of escape.  (See R. C. Sproul’s more eloquent and refined version of this argument at this link.)

May God have mercy on us and bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear His name.  (Psalm 67)

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