Archive for April, 2011
Here’s my answer to this week’s challenge:
As a follow-up to Monday’s post on Jesus’ role as our high priest, I direct you to Justin Taylor’s clear breakdown of the differences between Jesus and the Levitical priests who came before Him, as explained in Hebrews 7-9.
Taylor’s helpful table compares the quantity, duration, frequency, quality, focus, object, sphere, and means in the two priesthoods.
But beyond merely getting the information, take a look at the way Taylor has thought through these chapters of Hebrews. Have you ever tried breaking down a Bible passage this way? This section of Hebrews, like much of the Bible, is one extended train of thought, where an idea is built on the one before it. Take a few minutes to try thinking carefully through a passage in this way.
First ask, what overall argument is this passage making? Then boil down that argument to its main points and determine how each of those points connect with each other. Writing down what you find in a visual form is a great way to help you clarify for yourself what you’re reading. There are many ways to do this. Here’s another example from Justin Taylor where he asks and answers questions to work his way through Romans 1. And here’s a video tutorial for yet another method of visually mapping out a passage.
When you think carefully and analytically through a passage, you’ll find that you understand far more deeply what God is communicating to us through that passage, but the result won’t be merely head knowledge. The Holy Spirit changes us as we meditate on the words communicated to us by God–He helps us see and love God, He convicts us of our sin, and He enables us to become more like the God we love.
At the end of a debate between Michael Behe and Michael Reiss on the subject of Intelligent Design, this challenge was raised by an audience member:
ID is a counterproductive apologetic device for this reason: If you introduce the idea of specified complexity, or irreducible complexity, the argument is that there are certain things that are so complex that you can’t give a natural explanation to them, but they have to invoke the idea of a designer. That entails that there are some things that are not sufficiently complex, so you don’t have to introduce the idea of a designer.
Now that seems to be contrary to Christian theology because God is the maker and upholder of everything there is–the things we do understand and the things we don’t. And to substitute God in the places that we can’t understand is that traditional philosophical error…of the “God of the gaps,” where you substitute God in where you can’t do the science. Now, C. A. Coulson was our first professor of theoretical physics, a Christian man, and he said, when that happens, the challenge is to become a better scientist, not to try and say, “Ah, here we’ve found a bit you can’t explain in science. That’s God.” And I think that’s inescapable as a problem in the Intelligent Design movement.
Now put yourself in Behe’s position. You’ve finished your presentation on ID, and you get this challenge. How do you respond? In a situation like this one, you want to zero in as closely as possible on whatever you think is most important. Though there are a few things to address in this question, if your answer wanders on too long, you’ll lose the audience. So pick out the main thing you need to clarify, and state your answer as clearly as possible. Let’s see what you’ve got! We’ll hear from Alan on this one on Thursday.
Today is a good day to read Hebrews 7-10. What does it mean to us that Christ has risen from the dead and “taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens”?
When God gave instructions to Moses for building the tabernacle, His intention was for Moses to create a “copy and shadow” of the true tabernacle—the true home of God in heaven where atonement for us needed to be made. For centuries, the people of Israel illustrated to the world what would be accomplished with Christ. Daily, the priests would offer sacrifices for their own sins and the sins of the people. Then once a year, the high priest would enter the very heart of the temple, the Holy of Holies, into the presence of God, taking with him the blood of the sacrifice, to make peace between God and the people of Israel.
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12).
We need a priest to stand between us and our Judge, to remove our guilt and open the way for us. The priests of the past were many, but not sufficient; not only because the sacrifices of goats and calves were not sufficient, but because each priest himself was not sufficient. Each would die, requiring us to appoint another.
But here is what it means to have Christ alive and acting as our high priest, our human representative before the Father:
Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:24-25).
Only a live priest can enter the temple and offer the blood of the sacrifice to the Father. Only a live priest can continue to make intercession for us, guaranteeing that our salvation is forever. It is all finished because Christ rose from the dead.
Pretty fascinating to watch. Sadly, Hefner’s Playboy philosophy has taken deep root in our culture.
For those of you in Southern California…
Come hear about the exciting things God is doing in young lives through the work of Stand to Reason. First, we’ll enjoy a delicious banquet dinner together. I will then share about the current intellectual & moral challenges wreaking havoc in the lives of our Christian students and how we’re addressing those challenges in new and innovative ways.
I’ve invited two special guests to join me. First, amateur filmmaker Matt Champagne will be on hand to premiere his documentary movie, “Seekers of Truth.” Matt recently accompanied me on one of our “theological mission trips” to Utah and captured on film this one-of-a-kind trip. In addition, Greg Koukl, founder and president of Stand to Reason and one of the best thinkers in the contemporary Christian world, will conclude our time with a special message and challenge. You won’t want to miss this special program.
And this invitation is open to all, so invite friends & family who might be interested in discovering an exciting new vision for training the next generation of Christians. RSVP on our Facebook Event Page or e-mail Dawnielle Hodgman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
Student Impact Director,
Stand to Reason
Here’s my response to this week’s challenge:
I met the President of the Population Research Institute this past weekend while I was speaking in Portland. He showed off some clever, but short and funny videos that debunk the notion of overpopulation and other myths. What’s cool is that they also provide the science behind their claims. Check out some of their videos.