Thursday, April 27, 2023

How The Next Life Should Motivate This One

One of my posts earlier this month addressed the theme of how the afterlife, including our resurrection, should influence how we live this life. I've discussed some examples in other posts. I've written a lot about the primacy of God and how we should be anticipating a life in which "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9), in contrast to the secular, trivial nature of this culture. I've recommended Jonathan Edwards' work on heaven as a world of love. Given that we'll have a transformed body after the resurrection, that transformation raises issues of how a different body will interact differently with our souls. I've discussed a lot of relevant paranormal issues over the years, including many contexts in which we have evidence for certain capacities of our souls that are concealed or restrained, for example, by our bodies. When we have transformed bodies in the future, the nature of the relationship between the body and the soul will likely be substantially different, including in the abilities we'll have as a result of that changed relationship. I've also written about the resurrection of animals. The gospels alone provide a lot of examples of the sort of motivations from the afterlife I'm addressing here, like Jesus' comments about building up treasure in heaven.

What I want to focus on in this post, though, is something that's especially relevant to those who are involved in doing unpopular work. Because of the nature of the world and cultures like modern America, some of the most important work in life meets with a lot of apathy and contempt (missions, evangelism, apologetics, etc.). And the unpopularity of that work exists alongside the far greater popularity of work that's less important, trivial, or even sinful. But which work will hold up better over the long run? The long run includes the afterlife. Maybe something you've done that was underestimated or misjudged in some other way in this life will receive God's approval and be more widely disseminated and become more influential on the day of judgment or in some other afterlife context (e.g., your legacy on earth after you die). God could choose to use some work you've done in a theological or apologetic context, for example, as a means by which he'll influence other people. And the people who are influenced by your work could be many billions, far more than the view count of any popular YouTube video or the sales number of any popular book. Popularity in the next life is more important than popularity in this life. I've been referring to popularity to summarize the situation, but there's a lot more involved: the priority of God's approval over the approval of others, the fact that we'll continue to influence people in the afterlife, the potential for our productivity to increase in the future, etc. A common theme in scripture, such as in Jesus' comments in the gospels, is that the afterlife will involve changes so significant that the first will be last and the last will be first. The final evaluation of our work hasn't occurred yet, and it won't occur in this life. And the potential for the reception of our work and other circumstances to be much better in the next life is large. There's a lot of potential in the abstract for improvement in the afterlife, and Jesus and other Biblical figures tell us that there will be some major changes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Justification Apart From Baptism Among Pre-Reformation Waldensians

In an article published in 1900, Henry Vedder quoted what some Roman Catholic sources reported about the beliefs of the earliest Waldensians ("Origin And Early Teachings Of The Waldenses, According To Roman Catholic Writers Of The Thirteenth Century", The American Journal Of Theology, Vol. IV, no. 3, July 1900, pp. 465-89). You can read the article on the page just linked. I want to quote some portions of what a few of those Catholic sources said about how the Waldensians viewed salvation and baptism. As with other issues, there is no one view that every Waldensian held. And it could be that one or more of these Waldensians was misunderstood, that somebody who wasn't a Waldensian was mistaken for one, and so on. But since I'm citing a few different Catholic sources (whose reliability is discussed in the article linked above), and those sources sometimes use the plural to describe the Waldensians they're discussing, for example, it seems highly unlikely that no Waldensians actually held the views in question.

My understanding is that the large majority of pre-Reformation Waldensians believed in justification through works of one variety or another, including justification through baptism. But it seems that a small minority of them rejected baptismal justification. Here are some of the relevant comments from the Catholic sources as Vedder quotes them:

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Other Anti-Roman-Catholic Views Of The Pre-Reformation Waldensians

I won't address all of them here, but I want to provide some examples. I discussed their opposition to praying to saints and angels and their opposition to some related Roman Catholic beliefs and practices in a post last week. Gabriel Audisio covers some other disagreements as well in his book I cited in that post.

D.A. Carson On Colin Hemer

I recently came across D.A. Carson's eulogy of Colin Hemer after seeing it linked by Lydia McGrew.