Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Culture That Is Smarter Than God (Or So We Think)


Whenever I’m driving during the day on my way to and from the building or out visiting people, I enjoy listening to sports talk radio.  I’ve intentionally moved toward becoming a more casual, less emotionally-involved sports fan over the past 5-10 years, which has been good.  I don’t watch sports near as much as I did in college, but it’s enjoyable to me just to listen to the conversation, to stay caught up and hear what’s going on in the sports world.  But this week, there was a conversation that left me a little more emotionally involved than usual, because it had to do more with attitudes toward God than with sports. 

A national sports columnist was giving an interview on a local Memphis sports talk show, and the debate was over Tim Tebow planning to speak at a church in Dallas that was said to be hateful and intolerant.  I frankly know nothing about the church, and for all I know that church may approach sin in an un-Christlike way.  But the columnist turned this discussion into an attack on the biblical Christian faith in general, essentially saying that if you say anyone is going to hell, you are hateful and intolerant.  I missed part of the interview, but a friend later told me the columnist said (I think we’ve got this quote right): “If your God would send someone to hell for being gay, someone needs to go up there and fire Him.”

Wow, was my first thought.  That’s an arrogant attitude toward God that I sure don’t want to have on my resume when my life is over and I stand before God Himself. 

My second thought dug in a little deeper to what lay behind his statement.  How could anyone so confidently affirm that they know what’s right more than God does?  Yet it’s becoming more common, for people to claim that the God of the Bible is actually the bad guy in comparison to the goodness of our own ‘enlightened’ culture. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Is God Evil for Commanding Israel to Destroy the Canaanites? 

(and why it's worth discussing)

I've spent 3 days this week at Freed-Hardeman's annual lectureship in Henderson, TN.  It's always encouraging to hear and be around so many other people of faith, many of whom are working hard at preaching in their own communities, and I always come away motivated to be a better servant for God. 

This week, I thought about sharing some of the many ways I hope to grow in my faith and ministry in the coming year, but I'll save a public admission of my shortcomings for another time.  ;) 

I decided instead to share some important information that was presented in one of the lectures this past week, by Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press.  Eric's topic was God's commands to the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites when they entered the land, and whether this command was evil on God's part.

Eric's lecture stood out to me for a several reasons:

First, I've become very interested the past couple of years in the ideas of the "New Atheists" that have been popularized by several aggressive atheist authors, and how those who profess Christianity have responded.  What you find is that the ideas of the "New Atheists" are not really new, and in fact have been answered over and over again through the past several hundred years.  And just a little digging (beneath the media's glorifying of the new atheist arguments) will also find that people of faith in our own generation are answering these objections very ably as well. 

As a follower of Jesus, I've been encouraged to see just how effectively the atheists' arguments are being met, even if i'm often discouraged at how little popular culture seems to notice that the Christian arguments are in fact one step ahead in the back-and-forth.  People for some reason have come to assume that science and modern culture have "discovered" something that makes Christianity irrevelant or wrong, which is simply not true.