Wednesday, February 5, 2014

All Around the Web - February 5, 2014

HT: Alex Chediak

Canon and Culture - The Political and Apolitical C. S. Lewis
Conceived of in this way, politics is inextricably tied to the most fundamental questions about human nature and purpose. Unlike the graduated income tax, Lewis had a great deal to say about these matters, and we can take from him four lessons that remain salient for contemporary Christian thinking about politics.

The first lesson is that politics is not everything, nor is it nothing. Lewis noted that the people who did the most for this world are those who had their minds most on the next.[2] This world has a built-in purpose; history has a direction to it that leads to God and a coming reality that frames everything we do in this already-but-not-yet phase of life. Lewis grounds his view of second things on the priority of the first thing, and in doing so follows Jesus’ command to seek first God’s kingdom and then all these other things shall follow. Politics is one of these second things, as it is a practice necessary to protect and promote the good earthly gifts God has provided. The dignity that rightly pertains to political matters depends on our recognition of its limits.

Lewis believed those limits to be rather robust for two reasons, and this is our second lesson. Men and women are made in God’s image, and destined to a future existence that dwarfs this earthly sojourn. At the same time, human beings are fallen. These bedrock truths about the human condition limit the scope of government.

Lewis supported democracy, he wrote in his essay “Equality,” because he believed in the Fall.[3] Bringing to mind Lord Acton’s maxim about power and corruption, Lewis wrote that human beings are so fallen that they cannot be trusted with untrammeled power, and democracy, for all its faults, better checks this dynamic than other systems.

Liberate - How is the Word of God to be Read and Heard?

Trevin Wax - Christ Pays the Ransom, But To Whom?
In C.S. Lewis’s classic work of “supposal,” The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, we see where Aslan makes the payment of his life for Edmund’s liberation in response to the White Witch’s demands. It’s a powerful scene and not without biblical resonance, but if we draw the lines to directly, we may make a theological mistake of some importance. Aslan is clearly Christ in the story, and the Witch is clearly the stand-in for our accuser Satan. But while Satan is often called the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), he is still subservient to the sovereign Lord of all the cosmos. So we have to be careful in how we speak of ransom, lest we lend too much power to the enemy and deflect too much glory away from God.

There is in fact a “ransom text” in the Bible that gives us a clue as to whom is being paid the ransom. In 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Paul writes:
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
The context of this passage show us Christ as the “mediator” not between men and the devil or between God and the devil but between men and God. It would seem from the shape of this text, that the ransom is paid by the Son of God to God the Father, as Jesus becomes the ransoming mediator between God and men, making atonement for men to God. And of course we see the foundation of this truth in Psalm 49:7, where the ransom price of man’s life is said to be owed to God.

In this sense, the ransom view of the atonement is similar to the concept of propitiation (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2), which means “to make favorable.” Who has Christ made favorable with His sacrifice on the cross? Certainly not the enemy, whose frustration is compounded eternally knowing that Jesus’ death redeems souls from sin and its punishment, and who at the cross is not paid but actually shamed (Col. 2:15), and not satisfied but actually defeated (Heb. 2:14-15).

Crossway - Why Think of Worldviews?
1. Thinking in terms of worldviews helps us to understand why people see the world as they do.
2. Thinking in terms of worldviews helps us to make meaningful comparisons between different religions and ideologies.
3. Thinking in terms of worldviews helps us to make reasoned evaluations of different religions and ideologies.
4. Thinking in terms of worldviews helps us to have constructive conversations with unbelievers.

Real Clear Politics - Full Video: O'Reilly's FOX News Interview of Obama

Jason Allen - A Conversation with Danny Akin about Preaching*
Dr. Allen:

Dr. Akin, it is a joy to host you in the Spurgeon Room today. We are on the campus of Midwestern Seminary in the basement of the President’s home, the Vivion Home. We are in the Spurgeon Room, surrounded by Spurgeon’s books and some of Spurgeon’s artifacts. It is a joy to talk about preaching with you today. I want to preface the conversation with you today by simply expressing my appreciation to you for your influence in my preaching. I had you a little over 10 years ago in an M.Div. classroom, learning about preaching. Much of which you said that semester has certainly shaped my understanding of preaching and has stayed with me as I preach.

When I think about the man, Danny Akin, different thoughts come to mind—obviously, seminary president, a heart for the Great Commission, and a loyal and long-time Southern Baptist, but at the very top of that list is a preacher. It is first and foremost “preacher.” Let me begin asking you, autobiographically, to share about what channeled your heart as a young man toward preaching, and what developed this sense of passion in your heart for preaching?

Dr. Akin:

I was fortunate, Jason, to have a pastor that was an expositor. I did not really know what it was, but I knew that he worked though books of the Bible and just taught the Bible. In God’s providence, I went to Criswell College and wound up meeting a man named Paige Patterson, who became my homiletics professor. And, of course, Dr. Patterson is well known for his commitment to expository preaching. He taught me many things. One of the things he taught me was that good preachers listen to good preachers, or even great preachers. He gave us a number of men that he thought provided good role models, in particular, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Stephen Olford, Adrian Rogers, and Jerry Vines. I began to listen on a regular basis to those men just to learn how they did it, why the way they did it was compelling, [and] also the way they handled the word. I was always fed by their preaching. So, I determined in my own life—taking what limited abilities that I had—to try to likewise follow in their footsteps. Having Paige as a preacher, finding those men as good models, and later being introduced to some of the writings of people like Haddon Robinson, Charles Koehler, and W. A. Criswell, that helped shaped my way of thinking about preaching.

50 facts about the 50 states.

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