Read more on Dave Black Online.
(June 29, 2020) 8:10 PM Hello bloggers and bloggerettes! I was humbled to have been invited to speak to the Christian student organization at Princeton University in May. Obviously the trip had to be postponed to next year. There is a beautiful grassroots movement arising among the university students of our land. Thousands of young people are abandoning the Christendom paradigm of the church in order to become more authentic followers of Jesus. The irony is that, just as millions of American evangelicals are running away from science, many non-evangelicals are running away from it too. There are many reasons for this. One is the professionalization of the academy, beginning in the late 19th century. Biblical scholarship became the exclusive domain of graduate schools and seminaries. Another issue that divided evangelicals concerned the “scientific” approach to the Bible. Many evangelicals of the 20th century objected to methods that had originated in German scholarship. These methods were thought to call the authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture into question. However, believing critics began to accept these newer methods without their underlying presuppositions. They found both insights and errors in biblical scholarship. They called for renewed honesty in dealing with critical issues in the biblical text and began to integrate their findings into their faith journey. I believe that if evangelical Christianity is to shed its anti-intellectual and anti-scientific trappings, it also has to shed its isolated and divisive politics, since the former is the direct consequence of the latter. My professors in Basel combined heartfelt devotion to Christ with a love of theology. They practiced a rigorous intellectual life and embraced cutting edge science. I believe it is indeed possible to enter the intellectual centers of society (like Princeton) without compromising the Gospel and the authority of Scripture. God, after all, is the author of both science and the Bible. I’m not advocating for an intellectual elite or arguing that the life of the mind is more important than that of the heart. The effort to think Christianly is simply an effort to take the sovereignty and providence of God over the world seriously. By contrast, the trend of political activism moves people to shut down their minds, to reject public discourse, and to drive a wedge between Christian thinking and Christian doing. As Christians, we are called to love the Lord our God with all our minds. At the very least, this would involve an effort to think across the whole spectrum of modern academia (history, philosophy, science, linguistics, politics, medicine, ethics) within a specific Christian framework.
All this and more is what I would have spoken about at Princeton. The mind, the arts, the sciences — all these spheres are created by God and sustained by his glory. A vision of education that pits Christian intellectual inquiry against “secular” intellectual inquiry will only deepen the chasm between the church and the world.
Blessings on you all, and keep growing, thinking, and loving!
(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of a number of Energion Titles including The Jesus Paradigm, Seven Marks of a New Testament Church, and The Authorship of Hebrews: The Case for Paul.)
(Monday, June 15) 8:38 AM My reading this morning was in one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Hebrews 13.
There are two things we must do as followers of Jesus, and the church must lead out in this matter (see verse 16):
Do not neglect to do good and to share with others who are in need, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Being a Christian consists of more than loving God with our entire heart, soul, strength, and mind. It also consists of loving our neighbor as ourselves. The earliest believers in Jerusalem illustrated their love for God through (Acts 2:37-47):
- Evangelistic preaching
- Christian baptism
- Apostolic teaching
- Genuine relationships
- Christ-centered gatherings
- Fervent prayer
But they also showed their love for God through showing love for their brothers and sisters by sharing whatever they had. In fact, “All the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other, selling their possessions and dividing with those in need” (Acts 2:44). Thus the 7th mark of a New Testament church is sacrificial living. Love for God is always matched by love for others. They are two sides of the same coin. They always go hand in hand. So if we say that we love God and see a brother or sister in need and then don’t help them, how can God’s love be within us? “Little children,” writes John (1 John 3:18), “let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” This is what the impoverished Macedonians did. Writes Paul (2 Cor. 8:3-4):
They gave not only what they could afford, but far more; and I can testify that they did it because they wanted to, and not because of nagging on my part. They begged us to take the money so that they could share in the joy of helping the Christians in Jerusalem.
Fellow saints, how easy it is to praise God in the Sunday service and neglect our ministry to the needy. Praise must be put into practice by relieving the needs of the poor. In fact, the author of Hebrews sees our deeds of mercy and love as sacrifices of praise. Y’all, we need so many things today, but perhaps most of all we need a afresh awakening of social responsibility. We need to be people who do a lotta listening, a lotta learning, a lotta loving, a lotta living out the Gospel we proclaim.
Lord God, come and make us givers, not takers. For when the needy are helped and the oppressed are defended and the blind see and the deaf hear, will not many have to marvel and confess that Jesus the Nazarene is surely among us in all his saving power?
(June 12, 2020) 4:20 PM Guys, stop everything you’re doing right now and read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It completely changed my views on the criminal justice system in America.
Sunday, May 31, 2020
8:22 PM One more.
8:14 PM Never has a 60’s folk song had more relevance.
“How many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free? How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.”