The NKJV said that in one of John’s visions he heard an angel flying through the middle of heaven crying out woes over the earth. But the NIV said it was an eagle that was flying, not an angel. How can this be?
Not long ago an unsolicited e-mail asked me to comment on a skeptic’s blogsite that had posted a list of about twenty “historians” from the Jewish, Greek or Roman worlds of around the time of Christ. Here are my thoughts.
If one can use Allah and explain what one means by it and this is a bridge for sharing Christian beliefs, by all means use it. If among a different group of people, it is inextricable from distinctively Islamic tenets, one may have to abandon it.
If we knew who those people were who had so hardened their hearts that they had committed what Jesus calls blasphemy against the Spirit (Matt. 12:32) so that God gives them over to their depravity (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28), we could stop praying for them, knowing it was pointless. But we don't have such knowledge.
I was reminded once again of how evangelicals even in the comparatively prosperous nations of Western Europe (and Ireland had the fastest growing economy in the world at one point in the last decade until the recent financial downturn) still lag noticeably behind even the average middle-class American Christian.
I remember being shocked as a young adult by some Hollywood wedding (a true story) in which the traditional vows were replaced with promises to be faithful “until the death of love parts us.” It’s time to return to basics. Love is a commitment, not a feeling. Feelings follow from godly actions, not vice-versa.
Middle knowledge is a proposed solution to predestination vs. free will, to divine sovereignty and human responsibility, going all the way back to the medieval Jesuit priest Molina (so sometimes it's also called Molinism).
It’s here in the U.S., in the Western world more generally, where so much less is at stake that we offer up such pathetic reasons (at least I suspect God considers them pathetic) for not joining together with fellow believers on a regular, weekly basis. And almost all of the excuses are anthropocentric rather than Christocentric.
Paul gathers together three key terms here that most people don’t naturally think of as belonging with each other. Any one of them by itself is usually not enough. Two of them together are much better. But all three are necessary for a full-orbed personality of godly leadership.