Tuesday, November 11, 2008

beauty for ashes

Wake up and smell the orchids!
It is so easy to get discouraged at the prevalence and strength of untruth and evil in our world. It takes my mind away from the real power and almighty omnipresence of God - who is more than able to overcome, and whose will and purpose will be accomplished on earth. He has given us his word. And, when we need reminding, all we need do is look around at the beauty of his creation, like this bloom erupting out of my jungle garden. When you bend down to admire her, you can also inhale the perfume.

A Beautiful Promise
"The song of the ruthless is stilled.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty
will prepare a feast of rich food
for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine -
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away
the tears from all faces." Isaiah 25:5c-8a
And, all those aborted babies and people murdered in secret will be revealed as,
"The earth will disclose the blood shed
upon her;
she will conceal her slain no longer." Isaiah 26:21b
Some day everyone will know the truth, whether or not they accept, agree with, or fall in line with it.
"for the earth will be full of the knowledge
of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9b
I very recently did a post I called The Book of Miracles, discussing a current tendency to question, rather than really teach the Word of God. This can't be emphasized enough.
All those irreverent, so-called "Christian" teachers and professors at our "Christian" colleges and universities, who confuse and mislead their students will be judged more severely. They don't seem to comprehend the serious responsibility they have, and are in danger of the millstone hanging. Our God is as able to preserve and protect the whole of his Word to us, down through the years, as he is to communicate it to us in the first place. But, if you have difficulty believing in the power of God to create this universe as he said he did, without some millions of years' worth of trial and error, then you are worshiping a false and weak god, who would leave it to mankind to compile a "canon" of scripture; that by religious power-plays and politics, we ended up with what we call the Bible. This link is an example of the sort of teaching going on, in case you don't believe me.

Praise God, his Word is usually able to get me out of a funk, and all creation is a constant reminder to us of his beauty, power and majesty - good to remember with Thanksgiving coming up soon.


  1. Hello again Claudia!

    This is you friendly land-locked secularist teacher, Henry.

    In the lecture I gave that you linked to, I had to tell the human side of the story. I would challenge you to show me where I am wrong on the human side of canon building. We have all sorts of varying lists. We don't see a finalized and universally accepted list of Canonical books until very late. One of the greatest Christian historians ever, attests to disagreement even among Christians about what should be in and what should be out. What else do you see historically (and where do you find it?)?

    Now, as a person of faith I fully think that God guided the cannonization process and had a guiding hand in the writing of our Bible. However, when I lecture at the University of Missouri, I cannot tell the religous/faith based side of the story. I can't speak of God's involvement. What I can do is show how it did evolve. And I can show how we can read these texts to get a glimpse of the people behind the text. Do you have any specific problems with how I do that?

    I would love to continue a dialouge with you on this subject.

  2. Hello Henry, I mistakenly assumed you were teaching at a Christian College, though, from what I've heard, the approach is similar in many of them.

    My disagreement is with the idea that the "Church" is the determiner of Canon. Instead, the church has recognized or discovered which books were inspired by God. As Josh McDowell notes in The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, "From the writings of biblical and church history we can discern at least 5 principles that guided the recognition and collection of the true divinely inspired books." He goes on to list them:
    1. Was the book written by a prophet of God?
    2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God? Frequently miracles separated the true prophets from the false ones.
    3. Did the message tell the truth about God? God cannot contradict Himself, "nor can He utter what is false" (Heb. 6:18) For reasons such as these, the church fathers maintained the policy, "if in doubt, throw it out." This enhanced the "validity of their discernment of the canonical books."
    4. Does it come with the power of God? "The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword..." Heb. 4:12 The presence of God's transforming power was a strong indication that a given book had His stamp of approval.
    5. Was it accepted by the people of God? Paul said of the Thessalonians, "We also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe." 1Thess. 2:13 For whatever subsequent debate there may have been about a book's place in the canon, the people in the best position to know its prophetic credentials were those who knew the prophet who wrote it. Hence, despite all later debate about the canonicity of some books, the definitive evidence is that which attests to its original acceptance by the contemporary believers. When a book was received, collected, read, and used by the people of God as the Word of God, it was regarded as canonical.

    Number of copies extant is an indicator of that acceptance also, despite the various efforts to eradicate writings. What God desires to preserve, he preserves.

    I suppose you wouldn't be able to teach that, but could say that believing Christians understand that God has not only inspired the Scriptures, but has preserved them down through the years for us.