Faith

39 posts

C. S. Lewis on God’s Sovereignty, Free Will, and Suffering

It turns out, judging by the notes in the margin, I had read C. S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain some time ago. I did not remember having done so, but perhaps it impacted my thinking more than it did my memory of the actual reading of it. Or perhaps I had already come to similar conclusions before I read his book. I have no way of knowing. Below are a few quotes from that […]

Ash Wednesday: Do not give up, take up!

Ash Wednesday First reading Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Psalm Psalm 51:1-17 Second reading 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 Gospel Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Ps. 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Amen. Today is Ash Wednesday, marked literally and figuratively by the ashes that will be placed upon our foreheads as a sign and reminder of our mortality. It is the beginning of Lent, which is the season of forty days and forty […]

John Piper’s Warped & Harmful Teaching on Suffering

A few caveats to begin. Although I have known of John Piper for years, I am just now coming to read his teachings on suffering and the sovereignty of God. The book by that name is graciously made available for free download on his “Desiring God” site and is worth reading; there are multiple authors with thought-provoking comments. It was published in 2006. Finally, I know that he and the other contributors are motivated by […]

Permission to Lament

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]

The Divine Perspective: Open Theism and Human Will

[TLDR: Open theism is appealing, but, like Reformed theology today, it insists on looking at things from a human rather than divine perspective of history.] Ages ago, so long ago, in fact, that I do not remember the time or the day or even the year, I realized that I could not hold to a strict belief that God had ordained, structured, determined, and ordered, every final detail of history. Whether one calls it Calvinism, […]

Why did the Son of God Suffer?

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. As cited in CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (New York: Macmillan, 1947), p. vi. Cited by CS Lewis in the frontispiece of The Problem of Pain. I am not sure what I make of the statement. Humanity had already been suffering for millennia by the time Jesus came, so is GM saying that by coming Jesus took […]

Remembering the Unknown

“It makes me a bit worried about what the next year will bring,” I said. “What does?” asked Elizabeth. “The fact that things are going so well.” It was Christmas Eve 2012 and we were finishing wrapping presents and a glass of port. I was reflecting on the fact that there had been three major areas of concern in the last few months that had been weighing on my mind and now, just before Christmas, […]

Alternative Christmas Music 2018

A few years ago I shared about Over the Rhine‘s Christmas music. It is a little bit melancholy and a lot of gorgeous. I shared then that I had found one of my all time favorite Christmas albums from 1988, “A Broken Christmas,” was and still is on iTunes. There are quite a few albums that I enjoy this time of year that are not the usual Christmas fare and I thought I would share some […]

What are our priorities?

Whenever I hear the word priorities, I think of Ron Weasley (in the movie version, at least) saying that Hermione, who privileges learning above all else, “needs to get her priorities sorted.” The comment is a bit subversive, it is very amusing, but I have a more serious challenge today. American Christians: we need to get our priorities sorted. What is more important for a Christian, to be right or to be compassionate? What is […]