Friday, November 13, 2020

Shallow Confession Of Sin

"If you forget the costliness of sin, your prayers of confession and repentance will be shallow and trivial. They will neither honor God nor change your life….Stott argued that confessing our sins implies the forsaking of our sins. Confessing and forsaking must not be decoupled, yet most people confess - admit that what they did was wrong - without at the same time disowning the sin and turning their hearts against it in such a way that would weaken their ability to do it again. We must be inwardly grieved and appalled enough by sin - even as we frame the whole process with the knowledge of our acceptance in Christ - that it loses its hold over us." (Tim Keller, Prayer [New York, New York: Dutton, 2014], 212)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

You Have Not, Because You Reason Not

I've been thinking about James 4:2. Sometimes we don't get something because we don't pray for it. The verse is often referred to in a variation of its King James form, "You have not, because you ask not."

The same principle is true of apologetics. We don't get answers we want to questions because we don't think much with the mind God has given us. We don't convince many people of our views, and our culture declines, because we don't reason with people as much as we ought to. That sort of neglect of apologetics, and intellectual matters more broadly, isn't the only factor involved in something like our own unanswered questions or the problems in our culture. But it is one of the factors involved. Similarly, after his comment in James 4:2, James goes on to mention other potential reasons for not getting what we want. But that doesn't change the fact that what he mentions in verse 2 is one of the factors involved.

How often is it suggested that if we want revival, we should pray more, improve our lives in certain moral contexts, study scripture more, attend more church services, evangelize more, and so on? We're often told that we should try to be more like the church in the books of Acts in those contexts. How much is said about doing more in the context of apologetics, which is so prominent in the book of Acts? Or how much is said about maturing intellectually in general, not just in apologetics? We're commanded to be intellectually mature (1 Corinthians 14:20; what Proverbs says about knowledge, discernment, and wisdom; etc.). And that maturity is all the more important when changes in technology and other changes in the world require us to sort through so much more information and to do so more rapidly.

God can act independently of apologetics, just as he can act independently of prayer. The fact that God can convert people and otherwise influence them by non-apologetic means doesn't suggest that we shouldn't try to influence people through apologetics. We have a standing obligation to make the most of what God has entrusted us with, including our minds and the minds of other people. We shouldn't use God's sovereignty as an excuse to neglect prayer or apologetics.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

My thoughts on the 2020 election

Here are my thoughts on the election so far:

1. The media has declared Biden the winner. However, that's not how our system works. The way it works is we vote. All the votes are in. Votes are counted. If there are discrepancies which warrant further investigation (e.g. voter fraud, irregularities that need to be reconciled), then independent investigations will be made. That's how we ensure the integrity of our elections. That's how we ensure future elections remain free and fair. This election isn't any different. We need to wait for the outcome, not accept what the media says - and arguably the media is saying Biden is the winner for malicious reasons (e.g. to foster the notion that Trump stole the election if he does win). In fact, isn't this what essentially happened in 2000 with Gore v. Bush?

2. However, even if Trump doesn't win the presidency, this election is an overall win for the GOP and conservatives in general: