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Category: Human Nature

My Help

“O MOST mighty and most merciful God … without thee all health is but the fuel, and all strength but the bellows of sin…” (Donne Devotion IV) Our help does not help when it does not address the curvature of sin. It simply abets the sinner’s own bent to self-execution.  The Prodigal’s father did not spare his well-loved son the experience of envying the swine’s supper that he might “come to himself” and yearn for restoration to the Father.  Only a stay of execution will help us.  Satan is quite capable of destroying us by giving us what we want.  Help not from God is but “the bellow of sin”. But “My help cometh from the Lord…” (Psalm 121) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQerwoYjbqo  

Cut Flower Future

  The fractures we now see in our society Wolfhart Pannenberg predicted thirty years ago as he announced that “Western society will not survive the entire emancipation of the self.” Godless secularism provides no integrative center for a society and no rationale whatsoever for self-denial in the service of a higher good. Unhinged from the transcendent God, all that remains to rule is unbridled self-interest. What a fairy tale it is to think that we all can bow to that Molech and somehow magically an orderly and prosperous society will result. Such a people lack the basic equipment necessary for freedom and responsible citizenship. You cannot even get a healthy family that way. We have become what Elton Trueblood called…

Who Has Believed Our Report?

  “Who Has Believed Our Report?” (Isaiah 51:3) On the list of things that might discourage us, we can scratch these off: 1. That no one believes. The implied answer to Isaiah’s question is “no one.” When the Messiah appeared, no one got him right – including his own disciples and family. The only reason anyone believed is the Father drew their heart. (John 6:44) Small numbers are not to scandalize us. 2. That our circumstances are unpromising. God’s promises have always gone forward amidst unpromising circumstances — from Abraham, to Jesus, to Paul, to today. We are the early Church to someone. Stop complaining about the decline of the West and take up some useful work. Darkness is a great time…

Be Still

“Idle hands cannot do the Devil’s work!” says concussion-addled Basil Fawlty (John Cleese), frustrated manager and owner of Fawlty Towers, (“The Germans” episode), after his zeal to do good nearly destroyed his hotel and landed him in the hospital. Everywhere I hear – “all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” There are times when that is true, when silence amounts to cowardly complicity. Paul says that God’s death sentence falls not only on those who do wickedness but those who stand by and approve with their silence. (Romans 1:32) But there are also times when stillness furnishes the most powerful resistance. Our challenge is to know what time it is. We cannot transmit…

Knowing What We Don’t Know

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are depressed by Ecclesiastes and those who are cheered by it. I fall squarely in the latter group. Ecclesiastes cheers me by giving words to my confession of not knowing despite all my efforts. I cannot deny Aristotle’s claim that the need to know is a basic human need, yet it remains largely unfulfilled in things that matter. Over and over runs the refrain throughout Ecclesiastes “you don’t know”, “we don’t know”, “no man knows.” It’s good to unknow things that aren’t so, even if it means giving up the career of teleprophet. We want to know in order to control, in order to certainly extract happiness from this…