Mission – Köstenberger

Mission – Köstenberger (doc). This is the ‘Mission’ chapter from the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. It’s basically the same as the summary in ‘Salvation to the End of the Earth’ by O’Brien and Köstenberger. So you get 250 pages summarised into 4. Sweet.

If you’re not about to sit an exam on this stuff, have a read any way. It’s good. If you have no idea who Jesus is – this website is a good start. (sxc pic)

An Evangelical Rationale for Social Action

An Evangelical Rationale for Social Action (pdf) by Michael Hill. “By his sacrificial service on the cross (Jesus) revealed God’s standard for all to imitate. He modelled true humanity in his humility and selfabasement before God and his self-giving service… to his neighbours.”

“The reality is that evangelism will lead to conversion and conversion will lead to a new creation and that new creation will oblige people to be involved in social action.” sxc pic

What can we know for certain?

“The concept of divine revelation was central to Augustine’s epistemology, or theory of knowledge. He saw that revelation is the necessary condition for all knowledge. As Plato argued that to escape the shadows on the cave wall the prisoner must see things in the light of day, so Augustine argued that the light of the divine revelation is necessary for knowledge.

[…] When Augustine speaks of revelation, he is not speaking of biblical revelation alone. He is also concerned with “general” or “natural” revelation. Not only are the truths found in Scripture dependent on God’s revelation, but all truth, including scientific truth is dependent on divine revelation.”

R.C. Sproul – The Consequence of Ideas. p58-59 + sxc pic

Confessions by Augustine

“I seek thee, O Lord, in the faith that you gave me. The time has come to call to mind my past sins. My mother followed Christ, yet I was not baptised. I shunned the path of friendship and pursued the passion of fornication. I, with other young scoundrels, committed the sin of theft in stealing some pears. I was captivated by the vanity of the theatre.

But I chanced upon Cicero’s ‘Hortensius’, and discovered philosophy. I studied, too, thy Holy Scripture, and saw something sublime. I fell among the followers of Mani who spoke of Jesus Christ, yet hung on foolish questions. I lusted after empty fame, and took to the false religion of “liberal arts”. I had a mistress, without lawful marriage. I happily consulted with astrologers.

[Read more…]

Christians are Weird and Unimpressive

In Mark 4 there are 4 parables about the kingdom of God: “[Jesus] has sharply contrasted his ministry now (with all its oddness, rejection and insignificance) and its fulfilment in the kingdom of God (with all its glory, majesty and greatness). What you now see – and accept or reject – bears little resemblance to what you will one day see.” (PTC)

I can see a parallel between these parables and followers of Jesus today. I’ve met lots of really weird people who are Christian. Seriously. People that don’t look impressive. People that don’t say impressive things. People who are very unimpressive. I think that it’s a testimony to the power of the gospel and the love that Christians have for all people that these unimpressive people can be genuinely accepted and included. For all their (our?) weirdness one day, they (we?) will be more glorious than you can imagine!

pic fom sxc

Celebrating with all your might

Check out how stoked Dave and his homies were after the Ark of God was brought back into Jerusalem: “David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.” (2 Sam 6:5)

2 Questions:

  • What the heck is a sistrum?
  • Christians have a greater salvation in Jesus – why don’t we celebrate with all our might?

pic fom sxc

Justin Martyr had a certain hope. Do you?

In 165AD, Justin and some homies were in Rome. After refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods, all were sentenced to death and beheaded. When taunted by officials ‘Do you suppose that you will rise again, and live for ever?’, Justin’s reply was ‘I do not suppose it, I know it!’

(PTC notes)

At just the right time…

…when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). A big thing going on in this verse is the death of Jesus for us when we were sinners. We often miss the “at just the right time” bit. Jesus died in accordance with God’s purposes and plans AND at a time historically that was ripe for the rapid spreading of the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The Roman Empire was enjoying widespread peace (pax romana) meaning that there was safe road travel. The Greek language was in widespread usage and the Old Testament had already been translated into Greek (LXX). And the Jewish synagogues throughout the Mediterranean provided a platform for proclaiming Jesus.

Where do we come from?

“Over against Greek philosophy, Augustine staunchly defended the biblical concept of creation. God’s work of creation, said Augustine, is voluntary and purposive. Creation is not of necessity (as in Greek thought), nor is the material world eternal. The universe had a beginning. There was a “time” when the universe was not. […]

According to Augustine, God created all things ex nihilo, “out of nothing.” Augustine was not violating the maxim Ex nihilo nihil fit, “Out of nothing, nothing comes.” He did not argue that once there was nothing and suddenly there was something. This notion of self-creation is irrational, and only the credulous affirm it. For something to create itself, it must exist before it existed, a manifest violation of the law of noncontradiction, as the thing must be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship. Before creating the world, the eternal God existed, so creation ex nihilo does not mean creation by nothing. […] Since God is good, all that he originally created was good.”

R.C. Sproul – The Consequence of Ideas. p61-62

Is Kanye West an Übermensch?

The Übermensch (or Superman) was a creation of Friedrich Nietzsche. The Übermensch is “the person who has conquered himself. The more-human-than-human person who will freely define himself by inventing his own values and so is beyond good and evil” (Flew & Priest). “What does not kill me, makes me stronger” is a famous quote from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols. The opening lyric from Kanye West’s song Stronger is “that that that that that don’t kill me can only make me stronger”.

Some might say he can’t be an Übermensch because of his race, but the more I think about the way that Kanye portrays himself, I think he is deliberately trying to claim some type of Übermenschiness. Nietzsche had delusions such that he identitfied himself with Jesus Christ (ironic considering he’d claimed ‘God is Dead‘), and the January 2006 Rolling Stone reminds us that Kanye likewise identifies himself with Jesus. What do you think… Übermensch? Or just Über-annoying?

What makes for the Good life for Kanye West? Check this video:

[Read more…]

Richard Maegraith Band – Whisper

I’ve spent most of the day doing Philosophy 1 study: Plato, Augustine and Nietzsche. For each subject, I’m listening to just 1 album while I study and wearing one t-shirt. The plan is to listen to that album on the way to the exam and wear that t-shirt. Is that weird? Let’s call it multi-sensory-engagement. My Philosophy album is Free Running from the Richard Maegraith Band. The following song, Whisper, is from the opening sequence at his album launch at The Basement back in June.

Plato – The Cave

“For Plato the realm of ideas is the realm of true knowledge. The realm of material objects is the realm of mere opinon. His famous ananlogy of the cave illustrates this. In The Republic Plato tells an imaginary story of men who have lived in a cave as prisoners since childhood. They are chained and immobile. Their field of vision is restricted to a wall directly in front of them. Behind them is an elevate area where people are walking, carrying objects made of wood, stone, and other materials. The glow from a fire casts shadows of the people on the wall that the prisoners can see. The prisoners hear the voice of those people and assume that the voice come from the shadows. Indeed, their only perception of reality comes from the shadows.

Plato then asks what would happn if one of the prisoners were to be released and allowed to walk toward the fire. Having been cramped for so many years he would find walking painful. The glowing fire would hurt his eyes. Because looking at real objects is more painful than gazing at shadows, he would be inclined to return to his customary position and confine his glance to the familiar shadows.

[Read more…]

Friday Foto #34

Greek Exam has happened… I think I may have just scraped through! We’ll wait and see. Here is a waterfall and some leaves from the North Coast of NSW.

[click for full wetness]

Don’t worry about your exams

Exams. I’m allergic to them. Seriously. I haven’t really done any since the HSC. My four year university degree involved lots of essay writing and some fun projects, but only 2 exams. No sweat. Sweat: I have 7 exams coming up very soon for Moore College! I don’t really do stress, but I’m starting to feel a little stressy-bessy about our Greek exam this Friday. I’ve been working hard but not sure if I’ll cut it…

Scott Petty’s sermon at Senior High tonight was particularly aimed at Year 12s getting ready for their HSC exams, but I felt that it was a timely word for my ears. He spoke from Matthew 6 and how Jesus says not to worry about your life (v25), your clothes (v28) or tomorrow (v34). His big question was: Why not worry?

  1. Your life is important to God (v26)
  2. Non-believers run after these things (v32)
  3. Worry about the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (v33)

Resolution: work hard – but keep it all in perspective…

Philosophy 101

[Mental Note: start preparing for Philosophy 1 exam]… Our set text for Philosophy is the Squashed Philosphers website. The website basically has abridged works of a whole bunch of Philosophical ninjas. Check it out.

Here are some other online resources for Philosophy. Warm fuzzy for the name of the dude in the above pic. [clue: “I think, therefore I am”]