Sunday, January 29, 2012

Faith and Knowledge: Opposites?

Somewhere in the history of the Christian faith there came to be a battle between ‘faith’ and ‘knowledge.’  It would seem that the two concepts are now placed on a continuum, ‘faith’ on one end, and ’knowledge’ on the other;  Christians are told to have faith, but underlying this is a suspicion, or suspension of knowledge.

The early heresy of Gnosticism made a cult of secret knowledge, and it is possible that in combating this continuing heresy, we in the body of Christ have made the equally mistaken solution of making the pursuit of knowledge an un-spiritual calling.

But ask yourself this question; “Since when is being ignorant spiritual?”

The Pharisees may have taken note that the disciples were ‘unlearned’ (see Acts 4:13) yet were preaching and teaching with boldness through the power of the Holy Spirit ; but remind yourself that these disciples had three intense years of schooling at the feet of Jesus.

Increased faith can only come from an increase of knowledge, knowledge of God, knowledge of Scripture, knowledge of the Philosophy of Religion, knowledge of Theology.  The two need to no longer be separated, they need to be joined.

In his book The Glory of the Lord, Hans Urs von Balthasar (1963) a Christian scholar wrote this on the topic of  “Faith and Knowledge”:

No more than the Old [Testament] does the New Testament shy away from united ‘faith’ and ‘knowing’ in one and the same total human act—on one condition… which is directed against gnosticism: that increase of  ‘knowledge’ should not weaken faith, but, on the contrary, strengthen it.  There can be no question of a believer, on earth, ever out growing an attitude of faith; but through a deeper knowledge of God and his revelation in Christ, he can only grow the more deeply in his faith. (p 133)

The belief that one needs to hold faith in God in a blind, unexamined way is actually a contradiction.  I will grant here that not all are called into the deeper study of Philosophy of Religion, but at a very basic level we all should be able to give a ‘defense’ of our faith, for the hope that is within us(see 1 Peter 3:15).
Balthasar writes:
It is a vital question of Christianity today, which can only commend itself to the surrounding world if it first regards itself as being worthy of belief.  And it will only do this if faith, for Christians, does not first and last mean ‘holding certain propositions to be true’ which are incomprehensible to human reason and must be accepted only out of obedience to authority. While fully upholding the transcendence of divine revelation—nay, precisely because of it—faith must bring man to an understanding of what God is in truth, and in so doing it will also (coincidentally, as it were) bring him to an understanding of himself. (p.140)
No blind faith!

Hans Urs von Balthasar. (1963) The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics vol. 1
Ignatius Press, San Francisco

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"New Light"

Photo by Alice E. (Lisa) Guinther (c) 2012

Because in the mystery of the Word made flesh, thou hast caused a New Light to shine in our hearts, to give the knowledge of thy glory in the face of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (from the  book of Common Prayer)

Friday, January 20, 2012

"We Are Robots! We Are Puppets! The Church of Scientism." Post by Tom Graffagnino

This week I am featuring a post from Artist, Poet and Thinker, Tom Graffagnino.  Follow the link for the complete post.

The Bible is able to speak to and inform the human heart on every conceivable level and in every setting and context.  she is able to communicate spiritual truth to the people of any culture, nation or tribe.  and she can do so , ti seems, at any time.  She can communicate to and satisfy both the unschooled and the most highly educated.  she speaks here truth to the most miserably downtrodden and oppressed ans well as to the most comfortably ensconced powerful elite.  she can just as easily mystify and fascinate the innocent pre-schooler as she can mesmerize the wise and aged scholar.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Michael Behe & Daniel Kuebler: Science and Faith Conference

I am running into Christians who do not understand Intelligent Design.  Would you take the time to listen to the professor who developed this theory.  This is Dr. Michael Behe (Bio-Chem, Lehigh), at the Science and Faith conference in Steubenville OH, this last December. There is a rebuttal presentation by Professor Daniel Kuebler after the paper by Dr. Behe.

Understand that just like Darwinism, this is a "Inference to the Best Explanation."  But according to Darwinism and Neo-Darwinstic theories; these are evolutionary processes which are premised by the idea of no-telos; no purpose...e.g. no God. And these theories cannot explain by "incremental changes over time by random mutation" the complexity of molecular "machines" within a cell.

Intelligent Design points out that the most reasonable explanation for the complexity in cellular biology is that it is designed.  It does not "prove" God, it only point to the possibility of a designing intelligence...that "could" be God. And quite frankly, it in no way takes away from biblical teaching; rather it enhances it.

And contra critics, it is in no way "anti-scientific." To know that this is an orderly universe has been the driver of science and philosophy since Plato.

Darwin's theory is God-less and purposeless.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Quote From Vernon Grounds

We can and must affirm that the Church’s primary task is that of personal evangelism.  Whatever methodology we employ…our task is that of bringing individuals one by one into a redemptive encounter with Jesus Christ.  We can and must affirm that personal evangelism and social concern are two sides of the same coin.  This is not a case of either-or; it is rather a case of both-and.  We can and must affirm that social concern and personal evangelism are not a dichotomy; they are a both-and duality blanketed as our Lord’s word in Luke 11:42: “But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God.  These things you should have done without neglecting the others.”(p. 60)
Vernon Grounds
From the essay “Evangelicalism and Social Responsibility”
In the book Tough-Minded Christianity (2008) B&H Academic

The Flying Spaghetti Monster...Again.

This is the January 6 post on the Ratio Christi blog.  Seems the Secularists (read: militant Atheists) are at it again. On March 24 there will be a rally on the Mall in Washington DC to promote their agenda and claim the only true religion... is no religion. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Defense Against New Age Philosophy: Video

Here is a video produced by IVP from 1989 about the New Age movement. Please take the time to watch it for these issues are still with us.

There is a great difference between the wisdom of the world and God's Wisdom.  This is the aim of Christian Apologetics; to learn God's Wisdom in order to out-think the world for Christ.

Two authors interviewed here are Doug Groothuis and James Sire.  I would recommend Doug's book Unmasking the New Age and James Sire's book Naming the Elephant; both of these books are excellent, and accessible reads to help you clarify and strengthen your Christian walk and defend your faith.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Mordecai Project

In this New Year, I would like to encourage you all to think about supporting the ministry of Lee Grady and  The Mordecai Project.  Watch this video.

Throughout the world in many cultures there still is the endemic problem of the abusive treatment of women.  The cultural/traditional devaluation of women continues in the 21st century un-abated especially where the Gospel has not been preached, or worse yet, not clearly explained.

In India for example, thousands of infant girls are aborted because of the “problem” of having a girl baby.   You see, it is not just China’s one-child (and it better be a boy) policy that causes the abortion of girl babies. In India the use of ultra-sound causes gender selection; there is a "gender-cide" going on.  Parents want boys, not girls.  Boys bring honor, girls only bring shame and expense!

But the ministry of Lee Grady and The Mordecai Project is aiming to change that!

By preaching the love of God, and that men and women are equally created in the Image of God, he seeks to change the paradigm of abuse and devaluation of women.  His organization plans to build ‘safe-houses’ in other countries for women suffering from abuse, and Lee also leads intensive work-shops to teach men  in other countries how to be a better husband to their wives; abuse is never an option.

I personally have some very strong opinions about discrimination, both in the ‘world’ and in the church…but you have to understand the separation of sexes into "roles" over-seas is not just hurt feelings, it is a matter of life and death!  If women in other countries are not seen as having any value, they are abused and killed, or sold to brothels.  This is not about women as teacher and preachers, it is about survival!  Only in Christianity is there hope for women world-wide.

If you want an eye-opening read; get a copy of  the book “Half-the-Sky” by Kristof & WuDunn (2009, Knopf)

Please consider supporting this worthy ministry.  At the very least, consider passing along this video introduction so more people get the message.

Christianity historically was and is the only hope for the betterment of women...just remember the "exposed" infant girls of the Roman Empire were rescued by the early Christian Church...can we do that today?

Can you imagine how many abortions could be halted if women were valued as highly as men?

Please think about it.