Thursday, January 26, 2012

The "Resume" Matters

How many of you have gone job-hunting before? If you have, you know that most employers are looking for certain baseline requirements — a degree, several years of experience in the field, etc. They will likely advertise a number of “secondary” qualifications too, things like, “ability to work well in a fast-paced environment,” or “able to manage multiple projects at once.”

Companies can’t afford to be naive about who they decide to hire. They have goals and they need the right people to help them achieve those goals. You probably won’t even get an interview unless you meet their minimum requirements. And I think that’s perfectly fair (though regrettable sometimes for folks with fledgling resumes!).

Marriage has “baseline” requirements too. Considered Biblically, marriage is definitely not a “freestyle,” “whatever-suits-you” kind of institution.

With the re-emergence of the practice of courtship in some circles, we have seen, simultaneously, a renewed interest in what the Bible states as requirements for those considering marriage. This is good news! But what that entails may not excite many young men today. Some guys would have preferred things to stay the way they were in their parents' generation.

I think it’s fair to say that all of us, at one time or another, find ourselves wishing that things were a bit “easier” and simpler. Is the resume really that important? Can I almost qualify and still be OK?

When these questions begin to confront you, remind yourself of what we’re talking about; this is marriage, the foundational institution of all society and the closest human relationship in existence. Would you expect something of this magnitude to be easy or have a low barrier-to-entry?

You know the answer. God makes it very clear in Scripture that you must possess certain qualities and abilities to enter marriage. Don’t just acknowledge this fact — embrace it! You have a challenging road ahead, but it’s not impossible with God’s help.

Are you lost, bewildered and without a map? Turn to Titus 1 and read the requirements that Paul lays down for elders (and every Christian man). Read the psalmist’s exhortation to young men in Psalm 119. Consider the portrait of the Proverbs 31 husband (yes, you read that right).

You might also ask yourself the following questions regarding your future family:

  1. What am I doing right now to prepare myself to be my family’s provider?
  2. I must protect them someday. Am I protecting myself right now?
  3. I must be the priest of my home. Do I know the Word? How is my relationship with God today?
  4. I must be the family prophet. Can I instruct, disciple, and discipline? How am I preparing myself for those duties?

Don't think that I'm speaking from a pedestal here. I'm right there beside you guys and I need to hear this as much as you do — probably more.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Factuality of Scripture: Part 1

I recently received a comment from a gentleman named Phineas on my post It Really Happened, which I found interesting and which provided the spark for this series of posts. The factuality of Scripture is an important topic and one that, I fear, Christians consider far too seldom. Here's an excerpt from my post:
We tend to be shortsighted toward the future and toward the past, living in the moment, allowing our sense of identity and place to slip away unchecked. Let’s take some time to consider where we fall in God’s redemptive history. Consider the reality of what He did through Christ’s incarnation — what that event meant for the human race. I must admit that, oftentimes, I take Scripture as a strictly theological resource (it certainly is that!) and forget that it is also intensely historical.

These things actually happened in time and space. Christ was born of Mary, lived a perfect life, suffered, died, and rose again that I might be reconciled with God; what a glorious reality!
In order to give you some additional context for this discussion, here is Phineas' comment:
Do you really expect anyone to take your blog seriously? Okay, except for the band of fundamentalists, who'll likely agree with your every word and take it, pardon the expression, 'as gospel.'

You cite theology as a personal interest. Perhaps so. But that is certainly not what you're doing here. No discerning theologian — and I have known plenty — would ever unequivocally state the contents of the Bible as fact, historic or otherwise. Any reasonable theologian, and even many believers, are wise enough to understand and accept the undercurrents of belief. To wit, belief and fact, and indeed reality, are not synonymous.

I'm not writing to be critical of your belief system. I'm suggesting that you temper your language to reflect actual facts, where they occur. Believe it or not, it will make you a stronger advocate. And it will show wisdom. People respect that, even when they may disagree.

A couple years ago, a friend asked me what time of day Jesus was crucified. After some initial embarrassment that I didn't already know, I did a little research. I answered thusly:

"According to Bible,..."

That's quite a bit different than simply saying: "3 pm. That's a fact."

As hard as it may be to do, you have got to rid yourself of the notion that the Bible 'proves' itself. That is not, by any measure, among the methods we use to constitute proof.

If His indeed is the glory, He won't mind you having enough doubt to make journey to him an authentic one.

Best of luck in that journey.
Come back soon as I begin to deal with his arguments and take a closer look at the factuality of God's Word. We'll be taking a look at the following topics (though not necessarily in this order):
  • Whose Word is it?
  • What is theology?
  • What is belief?
  • What is fact?
  • What is reality?
  • Does the Bible prove itself?
  • What is proof? How can we prove things?
  • Faith and doubt

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Quotes from Martin Lloyd-Jones

We recently began a sermon series at church on the Sermon on the Mount, so I've decided to dig into Lloyd-Jones' Studies in the Sermon on the Mount to compliment that study. Even in the first 20 pages, I've found a number of excellent quotes. Here are a few which I think are good to ponder as we embark on this new year:
...Merely to read the Bible is not enough in and of itself. It is possible for us to read the Bible in such a mechanical manner that we derive no benefit from doing so... It is a good thing to read the Bible daily, but it can be quite profitless if we merely do so for the sake of being able to say we read the Bible daily.
The Sermon on the Mount is nothing but a great and grand and perfect elaboration of what our Lord called His 'new commandment.'
The Lord Jesus Christ died to enable us to live the Sermon on the Mount... He made this possible for me.
I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns to attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, 'What is the secret of this?'