Thursday, November 11, 2021

If Jesus was teaching a physical presence in the eucharist, why didn't he explain it better?

Advocates of a physical presence of Christ in the eucharist often suggest that he couldn't have made the concept much clearer than he did, that he should have made some other view of the eucharist clearer if he had some other view in mind, and so forth. For example, we'll be asked what could be clearer than what Jesus said in John 6. Or if Jesus wasn't teaching a physical eucharistic presence there, then why didn't he clarify that fact, especially after people expressed their opposition to such an interpretation of his comments (6:52, 6:60) and some abandoned him (6:66)? Or what could be clearer than Jesus' words at the Last Supper? And so on.

There are a lot of problems with that sort of reasoning. I'm not going to address all of those problems here, but I want to discuss some of them. The primary issue I want to address here is that a lack of clarification from Jesus is more of a problem for the physical presence view than for views of the eucharist not involving a physical presence.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Where have you been?

"All that I beg for is this, that you would step aside oftener to talk with God and your own heart; that you would not suffer every trifle to divert you; that you would keep a more true and faithful account of your thoughts and affections; that you would seriously demand of your own heart at least every evening, 'O my heart, where hast thou been today, and what has engaged thy thoughts?'" (John Flavel, Keeping The Heart [Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2019], 111-12)

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Making Good Use Of People's False Priorities

When Christians are talking about younger generations - Millennials, Generation Z, or whoever - there's a tendency to focus on issues like those associated with the LGBTQ movement and racial controversies. We'll often be told that those are the issues people in those generations are the most concerned about, are talking about the most, or some such thing.

But why defer to the judgment of younger people on these issues, since they are, after all, younger people who tend to be less wise, less experienced, and so on? It's like the polls asking people what man or woman they admire most. Many will name somebody like the President, the First Lady, or the Pope, whichever names quicky and easily come to mind and seem like respectable answers at the moment. It's not as though they've given the issue much thought.

And it doesn't make sense to think that something like transgenderism, race relations, or legalizing marijuana is the most important subject in life or what we should be talking about most. I want to focus on another point, though, which should get more attention than it does.

We ought to be using the false priorities of people as an argument against their worldviews and those of the people influencing them. If what you're most concerned about in life is something like transgenderism or race relations, what does that suggest about your priorities? If the people influencing you the most - your relatives, your friends, Hollywood, academia, the media, and so on - keep neglecting God, the afterlife, and other issues that are so obviously so much more important than what the people most influencing you talk to you about the most, what does that suggest about their trustworthiness? We should make more of an issue of how unloving and irrational it is for people to be so negligent about what's most important in life while giving so much attention to matters that are so much less significant. The fact that young people are so focused on the issues they're most focused on is itself a strong line of evidence that they've been misled and should be questioning the sources who have taken them so far astray. It's not difficult to explain to people why subjects like God and the afterlife are so important. And it's not difficult to demonstrate that those subjects have been highly neglected by the relevant sources, who keep encouraging people to focus on matters of much less significance.