Published during: January 2013

Why is meaning a theological question, and why should a theologian bother with it? My response is twofold: because theology has an interpretive dimension and because interpretation has a theological dimension.

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?

To be filed under “duh”

I saw this one a while back and never got around to posting it. Christianity today writes up a blog post on a study by Mark Regnerus, suggesting that “Porn Predicts Same-Sex Marriage Support”. As they quote Regnerus from another article he posted:

But of the men who view pornographic material “every day or almost every day,” 54 percent “strongly agreed” that gay and lesbian marriage should be legal, compared with around 13 percent of those whose porn-use patterns were either monthly or less often than that. Statistical tests confirmed that porn use is a (very) significant predictor of men’s support for same-sex marriage, even after controlling for other obvious factors that might influence one’s perspective, such as political affiliation, religiosity, marital status, age, education, and sexual orientation.

Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t this seem to belong in the category we might label “duh”? Read on, intrepid explorer →

It will often look as though Christ is defeated. That’s the way it looked on Good Friday. He let himself be libeled and harassed and scored and shoved around and killed. But in it all he was in control. “No one takes [my life] from me” (John 10:18). So it will always be. If China was closed for forty years to the Western missionaries, it was not as though Jesus accidentally slipped and fell into the tomb. He stepped in. And when it was sealed over, he saved fifty million Chinese from inside—without Western missionaries. And when it was time, he pushed the stone away so we could se what he had done.

When it looks as though he is buried for good, Jesus is doing something awesome in the dark.

—John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad

Satan’s aim is that no one be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. And one of his key strategies is to start battles in the world that draw our attention away from the real battle for the salvation of the lost and the perseverance of the saints. He knows that the real battle, as Paul says, is not against flesh and blood. So the more wars and conflicts and revolutions of “flesh and blood” he can start, the better, as far as he is concerned.

So when Paul tells us to pray for peace precisely because God desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth, he is not picturing prayer as a kind of harmless domestic intercom for increasing our civilian conveniences. He is picturing it as a strategic appeal to headquarters to ask that the enemy not be allowed to draw any firepower away to decoy conflicts of flesh and blood.

—John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad

A heart for the glory of God and a heart of mercy for the nations make a Christian missionary. These must be kept together. If we have no zeal for the glory of God, our mercy becomes superficial, man-centered human improvement with no eternal significance. And if our zeal for the glory of God is not a reveling in his mercy, then our so-called zeal, in spite of all its protests is out of touch with God and hypocritical.

—John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad