Sunday, December 21, 2008

driscoll on gospel, church, and culture

I love these little paradigms Driscoll has. They're helpful when attempting to synthesize American Christianity. He explains them all in further detail in his books, but you should get the picture.


Gospel + Church - Culture = Fundamentalism

Culture + Gospel - Church = Parachurch

Church + Culture - Gospel = Liberalism
Of course, the conclusion to these is that Gospel + Church + Culture = the Kingdom [or biblical Christianity or whatever you'd like to call it]. Read his "Confessions" book. It's insightful and hilarious.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

NARRATiVE THEOLOGY

I like how Rob Bell and his little posse believe in what they call "Narrative Theology." Go here and read their schpeel on it. Of course, the chunks of this that are beautiful and good must be held to in light of the NT's exhortation to pursue doctrinal purity.



Needless to say, the marriage of Systematic Theology and Narrative Theology is an arranged one. The families on both sides often seem near-sighted and ready to hate their in-laws. That's why I'm a member of the First Emerging Reformed Bapti-costal Holiness Church of Prophecy of the Second Coming.

theology for little people

It's awesome to know other guys in ministry who are older, wiser, and cooler than you because they've had their hand to the plow longer. I spoke to one of my favorites today - Chet Andrews.

I got to tell him that Sara and I were pregnant. He told me that if I thought discipling and encouraging students was a blessing, then getting to do that with your own kids is far sweeter. I so look forward to the day. It nearly cripples me with excitement to think about. 

Here's some great kid theology that I might be hunting after soon.



My mom read this kid's version of Pilgrim's Progress to me. The pictures are really intense. I used to be scared to death of the Apollyon pictures.



Our good friend Heather was the artist's model for Sproul's book on the little Lightlings. That's really spiritual of me. It's actually a great read too.



And this book, I've cried reading this book on SEVERAL occasions. This is one of the best books in print. I read it to my 10th graders and it's the quietest they ever get.

Again, here are others that look good for teaching younger kids the Bible. What a blessing to have books like this.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

EDWARDS [quote of the day]

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, to fully enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"examine yourselves to see whether or not you are in the faith" [2 Cor 13.5]

This is our buddy Piper at a pastor's conference. How should I say this? It's Beautiful. Fragile. Humbling. Terrifying. Sweet.


Friday, December 12, 2008

the pope got shot on the day i was born

It's true. May 13, 1981.

Hopefully that was odd enough for you to keep reading. It means nothing except that what you are about to read is loads of pseudo-ecumenical happiness.

My wife's family is diverse and fun. Most of them went to Bob Jones and are now Catholic. One of them went from BJU to Oxford and is now a Catholic priest here in the states. His name is Father Dwight Longenecker. 

Dwight and I are pals. We have good discussions about old fundamental Baptist hymns, philosophy, the sacraments, his homilies, etc. He is fairly popular as a Catholic apologist, writer, and speaker. He has written quite a few books. Even the Greenville News just did a write-up on him.

Earlier this fall, Sara's grandma celebrated her 80th birthday. We all gathered at the beach in a big house to celebrate for a weekend. Soon after this, I was informed that Dwight had written an article about me called "Sleeping With the Enemy." Sure enough. PLEASE go read it so the rest of this will make sense.



First off, I'm actually humbled that Dwight thinks I'm a nice and smart fella. Second, I like how he says that we do often agree on issues, but how we get there is a different story. I'm finding this out more and more as a teacher. I want to teach HOW and WHY just as much as WHAT.

After this though, I believe that even Dwight would admit he paints too broadly over Protestantism. He surely doesn't mean to over-generalize, but I feel he is close to it. His article is really cute, academic-sounding, and philosophical. But the bottom line is that Jesus said when we do it to the least of them, we have done it to Him [Mt 25.40]. "Dialectic" is way too big of an attempted explanation here. That is pure obedience in view of the person and work of Jesus. If you even try to qualify that it begins to lose its simplistic beauty.

Furthermore, he really wants Protestants to have a sacramental worldview. This is faintly hinted at in his article. I also know this from talking to him. And here's a shocker - I totally agree with him! If we don't believe that grace tangibly and supernaturally enters into our space, time, and matter universe then we shoot the Bible and the mission of Jesus in the foot. NT Wright says good stuff about having this kind of lens in his "Surprised By Hope."

Also, I think Dwight's soup kitchen illustration is like attempting to separate a "both/and" situation. Follow me here: Is the kingdom of God here or is it coming? Well, yeah. Was Jesus fully man or fully God? Uh... yes. Did Christ die for us or for God? Let me think - absolutely! So, in our hypothetical soup kitchen, both of us would be legit in our intentionality.

Finally, I wouldn't consider myself an apologist, a polemicist, or even a trainee Baptist pastor. I just know that living like Jesus, with Jesus, and for Jesus is our call. I believe this includes the sacraments, the pursuit of acuteness in theology, social justice, humility, and much more. I also believe with all my heart that attempts at those things unaided by the Spirit of God are vain and cloud the vision of life with God in Christ.

Owell. I think I could write forever about this. I love the Dwight. So we disagree a little.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i hate

I think it's good to be passionate and hate dumb stuff. Never people, of course, but wanting to hate what God hates. So, here are a couple of specific words/ideas that I'm not crazy about. Keep in mind: the most spiritual people around town, the most religious folk you could find - Jesus hated their actions [Matthew 23, John 2].

First off, I hate the word PROTESTANT. If people actually read my blog, I'm sure I'd get some flack for this. But think about it. It is absurd, minimalistic, and ridiculous to define yourself by what you're against. That is the plain idea behind the word PROTESTANT. It is precisely the same as being resolved to vote for one candidate because you think the other one is wrong. Wanting to be known for that which you oppose says nothing directly about what you actually do stand for. If one's religiosity is merely a listing of things they do not participate in [drinking, smoking, cussing, movies, sexual promiscuity, etc, etc], these things say nothing about treasuring our Lord, being obedient to the Spirit, and/or wanting the gospel of grace to go forward. The term "Reformed" carries close to the same historical significance. If I'm forced, I prefer it instead. But PROTESTANT seems to me to be immature and fruitless.



For those who are still with me and think, "Wow. Thompson is really wrangling over words." Well, you're dang straight. Language is one of our primary vehicles for gospel, truth, relationship, and hope. When we aren't precise and intentional in our employment of it, we fail. Alright then. Moving right along.

On most occasions I want to say that I detest or abhor this word. But for the sake of clarity and precision I will say that it often leaves a bad taste in my mouth - CHRISTIAN. What a stupid adjective: Christian music, Christian art, Christian t-shirts, Christian radio, etc. It works far better as a reality than an adjective. I understand that this word has to be used in this way sometimes for delineation, but why do the things described as such always feel so lame to me? I know this is an over-generalization. The term is only used three times in the Bible [Ac 11.26, Ac 26.28, 1 Pe 4.16] and was originally not too positive of a title. Why can't "Christian music" just be music by guys who are believers? I don't get it.

Further, CHRISTIAN as an adjective detracts from Christ the person. It does this in a couple ways. First, the focus slides from Him to His followers and we're sure to blow it real fast. Second, an adjective is an a-relational part of speech. However, the proper noun, Christ, points toward His personhood and calls out for relationship!

I could go on. I just long for the church to be the church. I hate seeing myself and other believers diluted by the sway of cultural cuteness. I want my inaugurated eschatology to be a fully realized eschatology. I'm ready to be with Him, like Him, and for Him world without end.

Shalom.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

this is to remind me to listen

Mohler on the Apostle's Creed. Here.

dominated by the word of God [calvin]

One month before he died at age 54, Calvin wrote his last will and testament. Notice how beautifully Bible-drenched and God-besotted he was.


In the name of God, I, John Calvin, servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva, thank God that He has shown not only mercy toward me, His poor creature, but what is much more, that He has made me a partaker of His grace to serve Him, through my work. I confess to live and die in this faith which He has given me, inasmuch as I have no other hope or refuge than His predestination upon which my entire salvation is grounded. I embrace the grace which He has offered me in our Lord Jesus Christ and accept the merits of His suffering and dying, that through them all my sins are buried; and I humbly beg Him to wash me and cleanse me with the blood of our great Redeemer so that I, when I shall appear before His face, may bear His likeness. Moreover, I declare that I endeavored to teach His Word undefiled and to expound Holy Scripture faithfully, according to the measure of grace which He has given me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

you must download and listen

Edwards said that being in the presence of God for all ages to come will give way to ever-increasing joy, knowledge, and love. Here, Sam Storms gives a talk on Edwards' thoughts on heaven and eternity. It's incredible.

But be careful. Listening to this sermon all the way through will likely make you a full-blooded charismatic.

Friday, December 5, 2008

the hebrew names in isaiah 9.6

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. John Walton gives a sweet Hebrew breakdown of how to better understand those terms in Isaiah. Here

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the importance of role models



"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." -Brooke Shields

this is the most intense bit of theology and philosophy you'll ever read

Actually a gross pregnancy update.

We thought that the wife was past the throw-up stage of pregnancy. She hadn't barfed since last Friday. She had gone about every day prior to that.

Sadly, we were mistaken. Who would've thought that her 4:15pm Waffle House craving yesterday would have held her back from almost one week vomit-free?



She seems to be better now. The baby has moved from the size of a raspberry to the size of a big lemon. She is so excited about being fat. She is really happy that she can't button the top button on some of her pants.

On a side note, we actually named the kid Raspberry Thompson for the pregnancy because it was the first fruit size we found out about. So, I wrote a little song called "Raspberry You." It's simple, happy, and cutesy. You can download it here [it is a website for my kids at school]. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

[Judges]

The book of Judges is a fun read. One of my favorite parts has to be when our pal Ehud goes in to evil king Eglon and tells him he has a special message from God for his kingship. All of Eglon's cool kingly people leave and Ehud give Eglon God's special message - a razor harp sword right in his gut. Eglon was so fat that the whole sword and the handle disappeared. What a cute message.



On a more thought-provoking note, I read something very helpful about Judges yesterday. First off, "judges" might not be the best term. I know that I think of Judge Judy and other afternoon redneck Fox Network court shows when I hear the term. In the LXX, it is the same word as savior, deliverer, and/or rescuer. So, here's that lovely insight. It's from David Howard:
No individual is called a "judge" in the book; the only time the term is used in that way it refers to God [11.27]. This is a significant part of the book's message: It is YHWH who is the true Judge of His people, and He controls their fortunes, both for blessing and for punishment.
The noun "judge" is used six times in 2.16-19 to refer to the judges that are to come in the book. None are named specifically in this passage because this text serves as an overview of much of the book's content.

All of this, though, is beautiful. Samuel, or whoever wrote Judges, is fully aware that YHWH and YHWH alone is the just and justifying Judge over His covenant people.

Monday, December 1, 2008

on prayer

Every Christian needs a half hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy, then he needs an hour. [St Francis of Sales] 

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. [Corrie ten Boom]

Don't pray for lighter burdens. Pray for stronger backs. [Anonymous]

Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life. [Jonathan Edwards]

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray. [Samuel Chadwick]

Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness. [Martin Luther]

SURPRiSED BY HOPE [helpful tid-bits, interaction, review, and reflection]

After discussing prayer in general as a part of the church's mission, Wright says that there are four roots of biblical prayer: transcendence, intimacy, celebration, and covenant.

He expresses his frustration with how Easter Sunday is treated theologically and ecclesiastically. Wright says that

Easter week ought to be an eight-day festival, with champagne served after morning prayer or even before, with lots of alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems. Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don't throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don't do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn't take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom?
Regarding "new creation" as a hermeneutic we employ rather than a experience that is simply spiritual, Wright relates justice, beauty, and evangelism to this "new creation" hermeneutic and Jesus' resurrection. Of beauty, he states,

We are moving away, I think, from the old split in which it was expected that good Christians couldn't be good artists and good artists couldn't be good Christians. We now have, thank God, some wonderful Christian painters, sculptors, and even poets who are showing the way forward. I want to offer a proposal about where the artistic endeavor belongs - within the discipline of the Christian mission, within the map of creation and new creation.
[Along these same lines, my father-in-law is an art professor. He always says that the first thing anyone knows about God when they read the Bible is that He is an Artist: "In the beginning, God created..." There's some aesthetically satisfying image-bearing that needs to happen because that is true.]



Wright's subtitle is: "Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church." His purpose in this book is accomplished. He gives excellent and corrective insights throughout. However, Wright also seems to ease the weight of a couple issues that should be equally related to eschatology, resurrection, and mission.

Concerning the rapture, he dishes out some academically tactful blows to those who swear Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey should be canonized. Isn't it logical to study how the apocalyptic genre functioned in Second Temple Judaism rather than interpret Revelation with the lens of CNN? Wright does excellent Jewish and Roman background work to bring many of the second coming passages to light. Speaking on 1 Ths 4.16-17 and how Paul mixes metaphors when speaking of Jesus' coming, Wright says,

In the next chapter, 1 Ths 5, Paul says that the thief will come in the night, so the woman will go into labor, so you mustn't get drunk but stay awake and put on your armor. As the television programs say, don't try this one at home.
Overall, this is a great read. Tom Wright's correctives are quite helpful. I thank God that the world's leading New Testament scholar is not a flaming liberal whose denial of the supernatural is as simple as eating and breathing. On several occasions, Wright says things like, "I am compelled by the New Testament..." We should be as well. Don't be a stuck-up Calvinist and hate him.

[He is also friends with
Bishop John Inge, who did my wedding. He gives "Uncle John" a shout-out in his last chapter. This gives me 4 cool points.]

Lastly, thinking critically and spiritually is a challenge. It is also a necessity. It is what I tell my students they must do, it is what all Christians must do, and it is what I feel that Tom Wright does in his new book. Take that approach and go read. Shalom.

Friday, November 28, 2008

happy black friday from JOHN NEWTON

These lyrics are awesome. I had fun writing new music for them this morning. You can go here and listen to an older melody. I just went and sang it with that old melody by myself and Mac. Fun times. Also, go here for some of my favorite hymn lyrics of all time... also by Jonny Newton himself. Be blessed and enjoy.
Why should I fear the darkest hour
Or tremble at the tempter's power
Jesus vouchsafes to be my Tower

Though hot the fight, why quit the field
Why must I either flee or yield
Since Jesus is my mighty Shield

When creature comforts fade and die
Worldlings may weep, but why should I
Jesus still lives and still is nigh

Though sin would fill me with distress
The throne of grace I dare address
For Jesus is my Righteousness

Though faint my prayers and cold my love
My steadfast hope shall not remove
While Jesus intercedes above

Against me earth and hell combine
But on my side is power divine
Jesus is all and He is mine

Thursday, November 27, 2008

why do feel so much smarter?

Because I just bought a pipe for $2 at a thrift store. And it was made in Italy! It reminds me of an old CS Lewis quote:

I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity

It is philosophically elementary of me to say that there is a clear divide between the two. Saying that something is absolutely objective or subjective is the same as saying that you can absolutely scientifically prove that God does or does not exist. Neither are possible.

Further, I do not believe the two are diametrically opposed. All of history, all of personal experience, all of math, all of science, all of life - everything is a sweet combination of this pair, regardless of how narrow or broad you define them.

As far as how the objective relates to the subjective, I have found the following quite intriguing. 

The deeper someone goes into any field of study, the more knowledge concerning that field they acquire. Obviously, this warehouse of knowledge is more objective than subjective. However, when those individuals begin to apply or use that knowledge, it seems as though the appropriation and application of it becomes more subjective. 

Example - If you asked a college freshman English major what a participle was, they could tell you in perhaps 12 words or less. However, if you ask that same person 8-10 years later when they are completing their doctoral work on the use of adjectival participles in Shakespeare, they might begin their answer in a similar fashion. But... How they grasp the idea and employ the reality of "participle" will be drastically nuanced, and likely - far more fluid.

In my personal experience, the more I study the Bible, the more I read, the more knowledge I gain, the more I realize that there's more to know and the tougher it becomes for me to apply the existing knowledge I have. The greater the mass of the "objective" I attain, the more significant and fragile its "subjective" outworking becomes. I don't think this is merely a spiritual tension though.

A geologist will always become a better geologist if he keeps studying. But his becoming will never be only theoretical [mere study] or only functional [mere practice]. The marriage of these two - the theoretical and practical, the objective and the subjective - causes deeper pursuit of both.

The reason for this is that we are hard-wired for full fellowship without any partiality. We were not made to be befuddled by this seeming dichotomy. One day though, we will know fully and be fully known. There is no apparent contrast between objectivity and subjectivity in the forever flawless presence of God. "As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end" [Bob Marley] - redeemed man will be unhindered and be with God, like God, and for God... world without end.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

how pregnant is my wife?

Wow. I knew there would be hormones. I knew there would be emotions. I call this combination "hormotional." I know it doesn't sound good, but owell. I have to have create new words to describe stuff like this:

She just cried over a Publix commercial. Dang.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

fun and games

A. Attached or single? COVENANT LOVE
B. Best friend? WIFE, ANDY, ?
C. Cake or pie? PIE
D. Day of choice? FRIDAY
E. Essential item? BOOKS, GUITARS
F. Favorite color? BLUE, GREEN, HAPPY COLORS
G. Gummy bears or worms? SOUR GUMMY BEARS
H. Home town? HOPKINS, SC
I. Favorite indulgence? OLD PUNK AND SKA 
J. January or July? JULY
K. Kids? FIRST BUN IN OVEN
M. Marriage date? JULY 29, 2006
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 BRO - DANIEL, THE MAN
O. Oranges or Apples? SWEET, SMALL ORANGES
P. Phobias? FINANCIAL STUFF. I JUST NEED TO TRUST.
Q. Quote?  ROMANS 8, MATTHEW 5-7
R. Reasons to smile? MERCY, HOPE, SARA, MUSIC
S. Season of choice? SPRING, SUMMER
T. Tag 5 people: IF YOU READ THIS, YOU IS TAGGED
U. Unusual fact? I HAVE OVER 1000 TIC-TAC BOXES
V. Vegetable? COLD CARROTS OR CELERY 
W. Worst Habit? PROBABLY SPITTING
X. Xray or ultrasound? I DON'T GET IT?
Y. Your favorite food? CHEAP, TASTY FOOD
Z. Zorro, Zoo, or Zaxby's? ZOO

Friday, November 21, 2008

THE BiBLE iN ONE MiNUTE

book list for dad [and my OCD materialism]

My dad told me to make a list of books I might like for Christmas. Usually, I'm quick to say I don't need anything. Somehow though, I can always justify moving books from the want column to the need column. This puzzles and sometimes bothers me. Owell.

  1. VINTAGE CHURCH [Driscoll and Breshears]
  2. THE ART OF READING SCRIPTURE [Davis and Hays]
  3. COMMENTARY ON THE NT USE OF THE OT [Beale and Carson]
  4. THE UBS GREEK NEW TESTAMENT: A READER'S EDITION
  5. JESUS WANTS TO SAVE CHRISTIANS [Bell]
  6. THE MORAL VISION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT [Hays]
  7. WORLDLINESS: RESISTING THE SEDUCTION OF A FALLEN WORLD [Mahaney]

Maybe I got it from him. Me and Pops like to go to http://www.dealoz.com/ and drool over books we don't have. This website gives you the cheapest place online to find the price, the shipping, and the total to whatever book you're hunting - all on one page! Don't thank me because if you're like me, it will be your doom!

presence [don't read this b/c it's really long]

Sometimes I'll be studying in our office/library room and my lovely Sara will call from the living room, "Come in here with me." So, of course, I proceed to move my procrastination down the hall to be with her.

She sits on the love seat and I might be on the couch. Perhaps she has the computer and I have a couple of books. Regardless of the precise circumstances, 25-30 minutes could pass without a word spoken between us.

What's the deal with this? Why did I get up from the ideal place to study [the study!] to move into the living room with Sara? The answer is clear, but complex. I love her. But doesn't love mean communication, words, information exchange, affection exchange, etc? Yes, but there is something more there.

Job's three friends [Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar] were good friends when they sat with him and didn't say a word. They began to show themselves morons when they opened their mouths.

Let's chase Derrida's dog for a second. Do words have meaning? For example, what is the meaning of "meaning"? You understood those questions. Therefore they must have some sort of meaning. Why does the certain arrangement of letters call you to action and then an arrangement of letters such as "pasygerzysod" have absolutely no significance to you?

I bet if your 16-month old girl said "pasygerzysod" to you that it would mean something. Why though? I don't exactly know what Derrida would say about this, but it's safe to say that words only have meaning when they are nestled in a context. That context only has meaning [denotation or connotation] because of relationships - human relationships.

Some have said that 93% of communication is non-verbal. That seems obscenely high to me. Others say 70% and few even say that 55% is a safer estimate. Still! - that means that over half of what you're saying you're not really saying!

Now let me feebly attempt to sift all of this gibberish into a point. Why does my wife want me to sit in the room with her? Why were Job's friends only good friends when they kept their fat mouths shut? Why do we question whether or not words have meaning? Why do I say so much without saying anything? Here's the skinny:

There is a design in the human psyche, soul, and spirit that necessitates relationship. But this is not "relationship" in a vague sense. This relationship must include presence. My wife knows that we are married from the other room. She's got some shiny rocks on her left hand to remind her. But she wants my being to be there. Job knew his friends were his friends when they were far away. But he had to sense their nearness [Job 2.11-13]. We want to communicate and we want to be communicated to. Presence does this. I'm not saying it does it fully. But presence means relationship and presence is communication.

Perhaps this is why He is Emmanuel. This is why YHWH led them by cloud and fire. This is why He gave the Tabernacle. This is why He came. This is why He has given us His Spirit. And this is why He will be with us until the end of the age.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a treatise on modern American evangelicalism

"Our problem is that we no longer have martyrs. We only have celebrities." -Anonymous

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elia Ruth?

I think we like Elia Ruth Thompson for a girl's name. "Elia" comes from the Greek word for mercy. We'll see.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ain't that cute

The day I got to tell my students that Sara was pregnant, one of them went home and knitted some little baby booties for us. They're too cool. I had to put 'em on here.



This might be the least manly post of all time. I'm totally unashamed and proud of it :)

ROMANS 11.33-36

The breakdown in Romans is chapters 1-4, 5-8, 9-11, and 12-16. All are distinct sections. All are thick and thorough. As you know, 9-11 is likely the toughest. However, thick thinking for Paul doesn't lead to theological restlessness or apathy or anything of the sort. In Paul's heart and from Paul's pen, deep thinking about God's plan leads to elaborate praise. For Paul theology leads to doxology. It must be the same for us.

Let's look at how he closes ch 11. Rom 11.33-36 gets more intense the more I muse over it. Here's a fun way to remember it: 2, 2, 3, 3

Paul lauds the great depth of WISDOM OF GOD and the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. That's your first 2.

He then asks, "how UNSEARCHABLE ARE HIS JUDGMENTS and how UNFATHOMABLE ARE HIS WAYS?" There's your second 2. 

Both of Paul's sets of three begin with the word "for" [NASB]. In Greek, this simply means that he is explaining something or continuing his train of thought. So, in 11.34-35 Paul asks three "who" questions. 
  • WHO has known the mind of the Lord
  • WHO has become His counselor
  • WHO has first given to Him...
This is your first 3.

Lastly, Paul chooses three prepositional phrases to depict why glory will eternally and rightfully be to God. 11.36 reads, "For FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen." This is your second 3.

So, in Rom 11.33-36 we have two exclamatory couplets that lead to two explanatory triplets, but that are all under one consuming goal - the fame of God.

Just this structure is enough to make me delight in God's wisdom and beauty. Now go read Rom 9-11 and see His mercy and it the will be greater grounds for glorying in and rejoicing in His goodness.

Friday, November 14, 2008

MY WiFE iS PREGNANT!

I'm sure most of you who read my blog nonsense know already. But still, we're quite excited. Our Father is faithful. He gives and takes away. We will rejoice at whatever comes from His hand.

The little human Thompson is due on or close to June 23, 2009. If it is a boy, we are going to go with James Walker Thompson V. I'm JWT4. That should be fun.

If it is a little lass, we like Ruth as a middle name, but still don't know exactly what might flow nicely with it? We're open to suggestions as long as you don't mind us rejecting them :) Someone's name is kind of important.

Sara made this video to send to her far-away relatives. It's fun and the music is happy.

video

If you want a more consistent Thompson baby report, my wife is sure to keep it real on her blog.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

POLiTiCS

Is it easier to morally and ethically justify abortion or to biologically and sociologically justify homosexual marriage? I know what I think.

how do the NT writers understand the OT?

This is an awesome discussion. Two recent books should be helpful on this. This is an important question for anybody who reads the Bible.

 


Go here to see an overview chart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

LEViTiCUS [overview]

I went over some of the grammatical and theological themes of Leviticus today with my class. They were fun to outline for them. I thought I'd share.

First, when sacrifices were offered, it says that they were a "soothing aroma to YHWH" [NASB]. This phrase is used 16 times in Leviticus to anthropomorphically describe God's pleasure in the sacrifices [1.9, 1.13, 1.17, 2.2, 2.9, 2.12, 3.5, 3.16, 6.15, 6.21, 8.21, 8.28, 17.6, 23.13, 23.18, 26.31]. The most pleasing blood sacrifice to God, however, is the death of His Son. Paul notes this in Eph 5.2. It is the most pleasing to God because of the finality of atonement it brings.

Second, is atonement. This word is found 49 times in Leviticus. It implies the idea of appeasement, forgiveness, and/or a covering for sin. Atonement is also part of the idea behind the powerful NT word "propitiation" [found only in Rom 3.25, Heb 2.17, 1 Jn 2.2, 1 Jn 4.10].

Third, the phrase "without defect" [NASB] is used 18 times in Leviticus [also 18x in Numbers]. This phrase is used to show that those animals offered as sacrifices must be blameless and have no blemishes.

Lastly, and most significantly, the melody line of Leviticus is holiness. YHWH commands His people to "Be holy because I am holy" in 11.44-45, 19.2, 20.7, 20.26, and 21.8. He said that if they obeyed Torah they would be a holy nation to Him and for Him [Ex 19.5-6]. Israel's distinctness in how they lived was to point to the distinctness and holiness of their God. This likewise applies to us as the New Covenant people of God [1 Pe 1.16]. He has beckoned us to walk in such a way that shows forth who He is. He has given us the perfect example of this in His Son.

EDWARDSEAN TRiNiTARiANiSM [not for the young or faint of heart]

Jonathan Edwards' "Unpublished Essay on the Trinity" is beautifully baffling. It is a short, but tough read. Edwards also said that Trinity was within the reach of naked reason.

Hold on. Here we go.

Edwards surmised that if an eternal and divine being existed then that eternal and divine being must not only be perfect, but must also love, adore, and exult in perfection. So, there must be some sort of duplicity in the make-up of this divinity.

However, the reciprocity and reflexivity of that being loving itself could not be fully expressed or experienced with mere duality. The mutual nature of its personal adoration would be too linear and merely mutual. But what if there was more than a duplicity in this divine being? What if there was a Tri-Unity in this being? 

If a divine and eternal being exists, posits Edwards, then it must exist in a plurality of three. Its subsistence cannot be two, yet one - this would not accomplish its innate purposes [to love and adore perfection perfectly]. And its subsistence cannot be four, yet one - this quadality would be superfluous to its purposes.

Pretty fun, eh? I told this to one of my students today and they got it! I did have a board to draw on. Perhaps I just felt that after posting that video, I had to post something that stretched the brain a bit. It stretched mine to write it. 

"To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen." [Jude 25]

how you might think of JESUS if you grew up in conservative Christianity before 1999

a ministerial kick in the teeth

Maybe these are a few reasons why "not many of you should become teachers, my brothers" [Js 3.1]. I convictingly perused through these this morning in a Puritan book of quotes I have. Both Richard Baxter and Charles Spurgeon also have poignant considerations about pastoral ministry. This book is at the most $7. Tis worth every penny and would probably look good beside your bed or on your toilet.
  • He that is more frequent in his pulpit to his people than he is in his closet for his people, is but a sorry watchman [John Owen].
  • The doctrine of a minister must credit his life and his life must adorn his doctrine [Jean Daille].
  • Ministers are not cooks, but physicians and therefore should not study to delight the palate, but to recover the patient [Jean Daille].
  • Brethren, it is easier to declaim against 1000 sins of others than to mortify one sin in ourselves [John Flavel].
  • Three things make a preacher - reading, prayer, and temptation [John Trapp].
  • Unholiness in a preacher's life will either stop his mouth from reproving or the people's ears from receiving [William Gurnall].

Friday, November 7, 2008

heavy metal hymnody [reprise]

I went to a pastor's conference this past spring. It was tasty. One of my favorite parts was 5000 pastors singing to the tune of songs written by dead guys and a grand piano. They're finishing production on it right now. Soon, it better be spinning at your house on Sunday mornings. Here's the line-up:
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
  • It Is Well with My Soul
  • How Firm a Foundation
  • Oh the Deep, Deep Love
  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • How Deep the Father’s Love For Us
  • How Sweet and Aweful Is the Place
  • My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less
  • I Will Glory in My Redeemer
  • Arise, My Soul, Arise
  • The Power of the Cross
  • My Song Is Love Unknown
  • And Can It Be That I Should Gain
  • There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
  • Before the Throne of God Above
  • In Christ Alone

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a tribute to John Williams and Star Wars

Most of my nerdiness stems from enjoying theology or philosophy a little too much. There is another small slice of the nerd pie that I do enjoy, however. The below video will show you just that.

If you didn't grow up on Star Wars and/or don't appreciate John Williams, this will be lame to you.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

this might not make any sense. it just came out of the keyboard. it's not my fault.

In a sense, works justify justification. They are also inseperably linked to it, follow it, and flow forth from it.

Also, since when did good works get a bad rap?

Probably since we deduced from the Protestant Reformation that Judaism and Catholicism are both merely morality-based expressions and attempts at a relationship with the God of the Bible.

Or, probably since we have set the post-Enlightenment human psyche as the goal and end of all thinking. When this happens, human motives behind works take a seat on the throne.

But all of this - works, motives, justification, sanctification, salvation, etc - all of this takes its proper order and place when our focus is correct. Our focus is God Himself [2 Cor 3.17-18]. This means we must "hear with faith" [Gal 3] and walk by the Spirit [Gal 5, Rom 5-8] as we have our eyes perpetually fixed on what God has done in Jesus.

Søren Kierkegaard

Lord, give me weak eyes for the things that are
of no account but clear eyes for all Thy truth.

prayers for Election Day

If you're reading this on Election Day 2008, join with God's people in prayer for His "will to be done and His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven" [Mt 6.10]. Also, go read and join Dr Mohler in prayer.

Don't forget, our King of kings doesn't question the extent His reign. He is not curious to whether His term as commander and chief will end. His kingdom is not of this world. To the increase of His government there will be no end. He will bring shalom.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

MARK 2.13-17

Our church is going through Mark together on Sunday mornings. It has been fun. This morning was particularly sweet. Our teaching/discipleship pastor is finishing up his PhD in the Gospel of Mark. So, whenever he gets a shot at it, you sense his fresh familiarity with the text of Mark.

His text this morning was Mk 2.13-17 about Jesus eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. It is here where Jesus says that people who are well don't need doctors. People who are sick need doctors. He also says, "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" [2.17].

The way this should hit us is huge.

Give it a listen here ["You're in Good Company" on 11/02/08]. Trust me, ye shall be blessed [two syllables on "bless-ed"].

Story Time with Pastor Spurgeon

There is a young girl in heaven now, once a member of this church. I went with one of my beloved deacons to see her when she was very near her departure. Fair and sweetly beautiful she looked, and I think I never heard such syllables as those which fell from that girl's lips. She had had disappointments, and trials, and troubles, but all these she had not had a word to say about, except that she blessed God for them; they had brought her nearer to the Saviour. And when we asked her whether she was not afraid of dying,


"No" she said, "the only thing I fear is this - I am afraid of living, lest my patience should wear out. I have not said an impatient word yet, sir; I hope I shall not. It is sad to be so very weak, but I think if I had my choice, I would rather be here than be in health, for it is very precious to me; I know that my Redeemer liveth, and I am waiting for the moment when He shall send His chariot of fire to take me up to Him."


I put the question, "Have you any doubts?"


"No, none, sir; why should I? I clasp my arms around the neck of Christ."


"And have not you any fear about your sins?"


"No, sir, they are all forgiven; I trust the Saviour's precious blood."


"And do you think that you will be as brave as this when you actually come to die?"


"Not if He leaves me, sir, but He will never leave me, for He has said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'"

Friday, October 31, 2008

"Behold, I am coming like a thief"

  • Mt 24.43-44
  • Lk 12.39-40
  • 1 Ths 5.2
  • 2 Pe 3.10
  • Rev 3.3
  • Rev 16.15

how i spent my halloween



Me and the wife on the couch with a movie. We finished and are now ready for bed by 9:15. Heck yes. 

JOHN PiPER READS MY BLOG

Or at least it sure sounds like it.

Below is a video that echoes much of what I wrote yesterday. His outline in this video covers six issues: Womanhood, Race, Abortion, a prophetic perspective, God's sovereignty, and the Gospel. It is worth your time.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

THE BiBLE and WORLD POLiTiCS

Pharaoh.

King Cyrus.

Caesar.

Nebuchadnezzar. 

If you've read your Bible at all, you'll know that these are big-time political leaders found in the Old and New Testaments. These are just a couple. There are dozens more. What's unique about these fellas and their political counterparts is that they were pawns in God's huge, providential hand. God was always working through and against world politics to bring about His purposes for His covenant people.

The use of the two prepositions in the above sentence is massively intentional. Politics is never an end or a goal. It is a means. I know that we will always wrestle until "the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" [Rev 11.15], but why do Christians live like one tiny slice of the political pie is the end all. Further, if you don't see eye to eye with them, you are often deemed a lesser believer in their mind.

Let me repeat those prepositions again. God works THROUGH and AGAINST world politics. That is the biblical paradigm. I don't feel as if many believers live like it is. Yes, render to Caesar what is Caesar's [Mk 12]. Yes, submit to authority [Rom 13]. But please, don't rush to the polls as if you are doing God a favor. We must be upstanding citizens, but we are strangers and aliens here [1 Pe 1 and 2] and our true citizenship is in heaven [Phil 3]. We have to live like that is true.