This incarnate and human God

When we think of God, we often think of Him as a transcendent being, far above and beyond this world.  This would be the case whether we were mystics, Deists, or philosophers.  Or, we might think of Him as a being who dwells within us.  Or as a being who is both transcendent and indwelling.

Certainly, Christianity teaches both the transcendence and the immanence of God.  But this, while true, is not enough, and what Christianity teaches about God goes further:  God is incarnate.

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, God made tangible, God as a human being, God revealing Himself to us in the only way we can truly understand, God for us.

In one of his most striking passages, Luther warns about trying to contemplate God as an abstraction or in His glory apart from Christ.  If we try to think of God apart from Christ, Luther writes, He will be “intolerable.”  Rather, particularly when we think of our salvation, “We must look at no other God than this incarnate and human God.”

Read what Luther says about this after the jump. [Read more…]

He is the priest, He is the Samaritan, He is the robber

A few weeks ago, our pastor (and son-in-law) was preaching about the parable of the Good Samaritan.  He developed the idea that this parable gives us a picture of love, which is what the Law looks like in practice.  And because Jesus fulfills the law, all acts of righteousness–that is, all acts of love–look like Him.

He then applied this back to the parable in a startling way. [Read more…]

Traditional sexual ethics vs. Christian morality

I happened upon a book by a former student of mine, Matthew Rueger, now a pastor in Iowa with a Ph.D.  The book, just out from CPH, is Sexual Morality in a Christless World.   Matt (if I can still call him that) tells about being put in the position of defending Christian morality in an Iowa State college classroom, whose professor was teaching pretty much the opposite.  He became a regular guest lecturer, up against great opposition, but his input grew to be respected, if not appreciated.  Those experiences became the basis of this book.

The Rev. Dr. Rueger includes a fascinating treatment of sexual morality in the Greco-Roman world.  The wide practice of homosexuality in that classical culture–specifically, pederasty, the sexual use of young boys–is particularly illuminating.  He also treats sexual morality in the ancient Hebrew world, which was not without problems of its own (such as easy divorce).   The Christian perspective on sexual morality, he shows, has always been counter-cultural.  It took its shape from consideration of our identity in Christ.   [Read more…]

Exposing the forgery about Jesus’s wife

The Atlantic has published a piece of investigative journalism on the source of the manuscript fragment that has Jesus referring to “my wife.”  Though heralded by Harvard professor Karen King, other scholars have argued from internal evidence that the fragment is a forgery.   This article pretty much finishes off any possibility that it is authentic by exposing the man who first came up with the manuscript–an expert in ancient manuscripts, a pornographer, and a New Age gnostic, with a very shady record–and the scholar who wrote about it without ever bothering to check on where the fragment came from. [Read more…]

Sequel to “The Passion of the Christ”

Mel Gibson is reportedly planning a sequel to his film “The Passion of the Christ,” focusing on Christ’s resurrection.  Screenwriter Randall Wallace (Braveheart) told Hollywood Reporter that he is working on the script. [Read more…]

Deleting “He descended into Hell” from the Apostles’ Creed

I have learned that there is a movement to delete the line about Christ descending into Hell from the Apostles’ Creed.  Those who wish to do this are called “deletionists,” or “neo-deletionists.”

The phrase in question can be interpreted in a number of different ways, but it is certainly part of the Apostle’s Creed.  I remember as a child going to Methodist churches that don’t include it.

Lots of Christians don’t have creeds at all, but if you do have a creed–that is, if you are confessing your doctrinal agreement with the historical Christian church–it makes no sense to delete part of it!

[Read more…]