Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2: 8 - 10

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Race, part 1

John Piper has a really hard time with the concept of race.
I’m a stickler for clear definitions. I like to know what I am talking about. ... Believe it or not, the existence of the reality of race itself is disputed. I mean seriously by very wise people whom I admire. I deal with this in appendix 1. And, of course, the term racism is ambiguous as well. (Bloodlines, pg 17)
It is a healthy sign to wish that the term race did not exist. It has not served well to enhance human relations. In general, the term race has been used to signify “a biological concept referring to the taxonomic (classificatory) unit immediately below the species.” We may not be able to communicate in our day without the term, but we can at least try to show why it is a fuzzy term that is minimally helpful and has often been hijacked by ideology for racist purposes. (Bloodlines, Appendix One, pg 234)
I get a little nervous when I'm reading something where the author takes pains to define words in ways that are not standard. My shields go up and I wonder why he would need to do that.

Is "race" really a difficult word to define? Here is the dictionary definition from
1. a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.
2. a population so related.
3. Anthropology. [omitted] (no longer in technical use)
4. a group of tribes or peoples forming an ethnic lineage:
5. any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.:
6. the human race or family; humankind
That is quite straight-forward and agrees with most people's common sense understanding. Piper says he's a stickler for clear definitions, but he has taken something clear and intentionally made it, in his words, fuzzy. I also wonder if he is engaging in psychological projection when he states that the term has "often been hijacked by ideology."

It should also be absolutely no surprise to Christians that various races of humankind exist. God Himself created the condition that resulted in the proliferation of distinct people groups that became identifiable in terms of their geography, cultures, and physical characteristics.
The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11: 5-9)
God's intentional sundering of humanity at the tower of Babel led directly to the rise of the nations and the division of mankind into a diversity of races. And, He did it for our good, to limit Man's potential for evil, and to force Man into obedience to Him.

Yet, Piper says that it is a "healthy sign to wish that the term race did not exist." Why would we "wish" for that? Is it so we could more easily pretend that race itself doesn't exist? So we can pretend that one of God's blessings doesn't exist? So we can remake the world God created into one of our own imagination?

The secular Progressive world is waging war against God's created order. They hate that God created Man, male and female, so they seek to destroy the distinction and create a fluid continuity of "genders." They hate that God blessed husbands and wives with distinct responsibilities and gifts, so they work tirelessly to destroy and pervert marriage.

They also hate that God created The Nations, so they work toward a globalist future and vilify the term "nationalism" and anyone who stands for national sovereignty.

And, maybe most of all, they hate that God created the races. While they dishonestly call for greater Diversity, they in reality promote the obliteration of the glorious variety of Man.

Whatever God has created, they will seek to destroy and replace with its opposite.

I haven't made it far into Piper's book, but at the outset he appears to be lined up on the opposite side of the battlefield.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

No Small Miracles

Years ago, I was talking with an atheist acquaintance about the Bible. Among his reasons for discounting the Bible's reliability was the frequent recounting of miracles. He particularly objected to the ones, like God making the sun stand still (Joshua 10: 1-15), that were simply impossible to his mind.

The sun wouldn't actually be standing still, he said, it would be the earth that would have to stop rotating on its axis! Did I know, he asked, what would happen if the earth stopped rotating? Then he told me about the physical ramifications of a non-rotating earth. So, he continued, not only would my so-called god have to stop the earth's rotation, but he'd have to deal with the meteorological consequences and all of the other difficulties that would arise.

So, I got the impression that he thought that the miracle in the valley of Aijalon was absurd because it would be Really Hard for a theoretical god to pull it off.

This guy was seriously smart. Way smarter than me, but I still think that he was totally missing the point about Who God is.

This morning, on the drive in to work, I was listening to the Dangerous History Podcast about the "Grunt's Eye Perspective" of the Civil War, and it reminded me of one of my two favorite miracles in the Old Testament.
Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.
Deuteronomy 8:4
Listen to the description of what the Civil War soldiers endured regarding clothing and footwear and you will get a new appreciation for what this meant. The American Civil War lasted roughly four years. The People of God wandered and fought in the desert for forty years and their clothing (including sandals) did not wear out.

Every day that their wandering continued they were presented with an ongoing miracle of preservation. I wonder if they stopped thinking about it after a while.

I know that I stop thinking about God's ongoing preservation and blessings in my life.

Some other time I'll mention my number one favorite Old Testament miracle.