The Superbowl and vocation

Falcons_vs_Redskins_2006The Superbowl is this weekend, time for the obligatory polls about whether or not God gets involved in the outcome of sporting events.  One-quarter of Americans believe that he does.  About a half believe that God rewards faithful athletes with health and success.

Certainly, the easy answer is that of course God doesn’t care about a sporting event because He has much more important things to do.  But if God attends to the fall of a sparrow, why wouldn’t He attend to the fall of a pigskin?

The real problem is that all this assumes a theology of glory (God’s favor = success).  But what would a Lutheran approach to this question be like?

The answer to where is God in the Superbowl would have to be in vocation.  Athletes on both sides should do their best with their God-given talents.  Furthermore, they should love and serve their neighbors when they play.  Their neighbors would be their teammates, the viewing public, their opponents.  So they shouldn’t cheat, make cheap hits that needlessly harm their opponents, etc.  And they should know that God is just as likely to break them with trials and tribulations, if that is what they need so as to depend on Hi.

Other than that, things just have to play out.  Can anything else be said on this topic? [Read more…]

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…]

Muslims agree that we do not worship the same God

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Catholics, liberals, and some evangelicals are saying, yes.  When Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins made that claim, it blew up into a controversy that ended with her leaving the institution. But the favored position, to show our sensitivity to Muslims, is to say that both religions, for all of their differences, worship the same God.

But what do Muslims say?  A council of Islamic authorities agrees with Wheaton College at least in this:  Muslims do not worship the same God as Christians.

Some Muslims believe otherwise, just as Christians disagree on the issue. But doesn’t it show more sensitivity to Muslims to allow them their own religion, rather than to say that we are fundamentally the same?  Isn’t the “we all worship the same God” talk actually patronizing and disrespectful?

 

[Read more…]

God the Giver

I came across one of those stunning and paradigm-shifting quotations from Luther, this one about how God–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–is always giving.  Above all, God, in all of His persons, is always giving Himself. [Read more…]

The claim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God

We Missouri Synod Lutherans went through this controversy some years ago. . . .A professor at Wheaton College, a leading evangelical institution where I was once visiting professor, was suspended for claiming that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.  (The media reports say that it was for wearing the hijab, the Islamic head-covering for women, but the suspension was not for a fashion statement.) [Read more…]

God always begins with NOTHING

“It is God’s nature to make something out of nothing; hence one who is not yet nothing, out of him God cannot make anything. . . .Therefore God accepts only the forsaken, cures only the sick, gives sight only to the blind, restores life only to the dead, sanctifies only the sinners, gives wisdom only to the unwise.  In short, He has mercy only on those who are wretched, and gives grace only to those who are not in grace.”

–Martin Luther, “Commentary on Psalm 38,” Luther’s Works 14:163. [Read more…]