Why Was Satan Allowed to Torment Job? (Job 1)
God is impressed not by Satan’s extraordinary abilities but rather by Job’s character.
What is surprising is his theology. Is God in the business of dealing with Satan? Or, worse, is God in the business of giving authority to Satan? Worse still, is God in the business of giving Satan power to do evil to good people? The answer to those questions is “yes.” But the key to... Continue Reading
The Unholy Pursuit of God in Moby Dick
Ahab’s pursuit of the whale is not a righteous pursuit of God but natural man’s futile attempt in his hatred of God to destroy the omnipotent deity.
Some argue that Moby Dick is Melville’s symbol of the incarnation of evil itself. Certainly this is the view of the whale held by Captain Ahab himself. Ahab is driven by a monomaniacal hatred for this creature, this brute that left him permanently damaged both in body and soul. He cries out, “He heaps me,”... Continue Reading
John Owen’s Ministry to Young Christians
Owen spent a great deal of time with teenagers and young adults as the primary focus of his preaching.
Owen had high expectations for the spiritual potential of younger people. From the beginning of his ministry, he thought carefully about the ways in which Christian children should be formed. In 1645 he published two catechisms that outlined the principal themes of the Christian faith. The Potential of Young Christians John Owen specialized in... Continue Reading
Truths and Lies in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
We wrongly tend to attach that word liar to a specific kind of liar.
We think liars are dishonest lawyers, cheating used-car salesmen, and drug addicts. They are instead pastors, news commentators, and doctors of philosophy. Liars can also be silent. That is, what defines the liar is not just the speaking of lies but the loving of lies. God is true and every man a liar. Liars,... Continue Reading
Law, Grace and Redemption in Les Misérables
We will consider three of these twice-told vignettes to see how they develop the drama of Valjean’s redemption, of his struggle between the equally pressing demands of law and grace.
While one may easily get lost in this literary labyrinth — literally, too, as Jean Valjean, the novel ’s hero, scurries about the streets of Paris with Javert the police inspector hot in pursuit — the artistic genius is evident at every turn. Virtually every major scene, for example, is doubled, finding a poetic and... Continue Reading
Honoring the Elderly
If the pandemic has a silver lining, it has forced us to reconsider shuttling our relatives off to facilities to die alone, apart from their families.
Pro-family conservatives ought to be doing all they can to keep these generations connected to one another, not least by encouraging families to take responsibility for their elderly relatives rather than sending them to institutions. Such practices also help strengthen local community bonds by making space for neighbors, churches, and other local groups to help... Continue Reading
Recovering Bavinck’s “The Christian Family”
Bavinck wrote "The Christian Family" in a day animated with revolutionary spirits.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck (1854–1921) found himself confronted by a society increasingly hostile to human flourishing according to divine design. Sufficiently alarmed, he busied himself with a counteroffensive, which has been passed down to the anglophone world under the title, The Christian Family. The family was in trouble, and one... Continue Reading
The Mission Field I Never Expected
I could imagine telling the breathless BBC correspondent, “but curing Ebola was worth it.” Somehow, raising children with special needs doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
And there are days, even now, when it is tempting to blow my own trumpet, whether by looking for recognition in the wrong places or by belittling the parenting trials that the people around me face. In a room full of women bemoaning the fact their children won’t try broccoli, it can be tempting to... Continue Reading
Exodus Old and New
Reading one of Morales's books on Scripture is like going on a walk with a friend down a forest path that you've travelled many times and having that friend more than once point to something and say, "Did you ever notice this?"
My friend, Michael Morales, has published a new book titledExodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption. I have been eagerly awaiting this one for some time, and I was not disappointed. The exodus event is the paradigmatic redemptive event in the Old Testament, shaping the way the biblical authors talk about redemption throughout... Continue Reading
White Fragility and Getting White People To Talk About Racism
Perhaps no author has played a more central role in this cultural conversation than Robin DiAngelo and perhaps no book has been more widely recommended than her book.
The great tension at the heart of the book is this: Why is a white woman leading the conversation about racism and racial inequality? If white people are so biased and so blinded by our whiteness (as she herself teaches), how can we trust her to properly understand the problem and prescribe the right solution?... Continue Reading