How we got where we are today

[I’m still crunched for time, so this is going to be another re-run. I thought it might be interesting, though, to remember where we were four years ago, and how we got there. Here’s a post inspired by the late Chuck Colson, originally published Sept. 20, 2008]

Chuck Colson has an, um, “interesting” perspective on the recent financial turmoil. He begins by conceding that there may be legitimate cause for concern.

Most of us have been badly shaken by the tumultuous events of the last 48 hours in Wall Street. If you have an IRA or some kind of retirement plan, no doubt you’re licking your wounds. You may even be fearful. I understand. I’ve experienced those apprehensions myself.

As an influential Christian leader, however, Colson has to remain focused on the really important issues, like “How can I use this crisis to persuade even more people to trust Christianity?”…

But as I told a worried young man on our team today, we need to remember that fear is always the enemy of faith. A few months ago, in the midst of fervent prayer during my devotions, I had an especially strong realization that my life was completely in God’s hands. To live is Christ, to die is gain. I’ve known that intellectually, but for the first time in my life, it is now engraved in my soul. Now, when things go wrong, I turn to God, pray, trust Him, and feel an amazing peace. I’m His.

Don’t think of it as a major economic crisis brought about through greed, gullibility, and failure of government oversight. Think of it as a clever technique God uses to help us grow more trusting and to be less concerned with real-world consequences. After all, if we worried too much about preventing such crises, we might deprive God of valuable opportunities to lead us into disasters that will force us to cry, “God help us all, because sure as hell nobody else can!”

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Intermission: September 16, 2007

With apologies to Justin Martyr fans, I’m under a crunch time at the day job, and don’t have time for my weekly post. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy “An answer from the Manawatu Apologetics Society, originally published 5 years ago today. Note that at the time, I was writing under the pretentious/facetious pseudonym of “The Professor,” which I later changed because I wasn’t actually a professor anywhere. (I was once a deacon, though.)

Meanwhile, here’s the original post, which I’ve placed below the fold.

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Bad lip sync

(Book: First Apology, by Justin Martyr, courtesy of The Christian Classics Ethereal Library.)

In the early days of the film industry, the art of lip syncing hadn’t quite evolved into what it is today. Maybe you’ve seen an old late-night movie where some monster is attacking the city, and the people are screaming and shouting things, and their mouths keep moving after they’re done talking, or they talk without moving their mouths. They couldn’t help it; it was the best they could do at the time. Fortunately, the movie studios learned a few tricks over time, and today you can see dubbed movies where you can actually watch the movie without wondering whether all of the characters in the story are secretly maladroit ventriloquists.

Justin Martyr’s First Apology reminds me of the history of lip syncing. Modern believers have a standard repertoire of Old Testament passages for which they claim New Testament fulfilments, and although the OT passages are still taken out of context and twisted around to fit the Christian interpretation, they at least have the appearance of being fulfilled prophecies. Back in the second century, though, believers were still having trouble getting the words to line up with what their mouths were saying.

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Justin and the Ring of Secrets

(Book: First Apology, by Justin Martyr, courtesy of The Christian Classics Ethereal Library.)

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been watching Justin Martyr run rough-shod over various Jewish prophecies, taking them out of context, editing them, and assigning them interpretations so arbitrary as to border on the downright random. Buckle your seatbelts, though, because he has a word or two of advice for us about the Jews and their scriptures.

But when you hear the utterances of the prophets spoken as it were personally, you must not suppose that they are spoken by the inspired themselves, but by the Divine Word who moves them. For … sometimes He speaks as from the person of God the Lord and Father of all; sometimes as from the person of Christ; sometimes as from the person of the people answering the Lord or His Father… And this the Jews … did not understand, and therefore did not recognise Christ even when He came, but even hate us who say that He has come…

Yep, the reason you don’t actually find Messianic prophecies when you go back and read those Jewish scriptures is because the Jews don’t know how to interpret literature properly. And it’s Justin Martyr who says so.

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