« November 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

Notable Links

Posted by: David Carroll

The Three Factors: quality, spirit, content

Posted by: David Carroll

Last time I wrote about Hearing God, I discussed how there were three lights: circumstances, impressions of spirit, and passages of scripture that must somehow lineup without which, they tend to discount the veracity of whether such a message could be a “voice” from God for you at that moment.

The most important quality of knowing God’s voice is the same as knowing a person’s voice…familiarity. It is our familiarity with God’s voice that allows us to recognize it.

Song of Solomon 2:8; 5:2a (NKJV)

The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills.

I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying…

With a human voice, we recognize tone, modulation, style, and tempo. These would be characteristics of a voice produced by vibrating vocal cords. But as Willard says there is also a spirit in a voice that “would be passionate or cold, whining or demanding, timid or confident, coaxing or commanding.”

Matthew 7:28-29 (NKJV)

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

E. Stanley Jones answers the question “how can we distinguish God’s voice from that of our own subconscious?”

The voice of the subconscious argues with you, tries to convince you; but the inner voice of God does not argue, does not try to convince you. It just speaks, and it is self authenticating. It has the feel of the voice of God within it.

Willard says the characteristic spirit of God’s voice is one of “exalted peacefulness and confidence, and joy, of sweet reasonableness and of goodwill. … any word which bears an opposite spirit most surely is not from God.

God’s voice has the weight of authority. God’s voice has energy packed power to effectuate supernatural events. But because God’s voice is so authoritative and powerful, it does not need to be loud.

Finally, content is king. Whatever that voice says, it must affirm
Christ and it must be in complete agreement with the Holy, inspired and inerrant Word of God.

A Step Back and a Crash

Posted by: David Carroll

Recent Update 12/28 at bottom of this post

I was beat up tired when I awoke this morning. As I laid in my bed which is my recliner in my office, (I know, it’s weird but it works for me) for about thirty minutes I tested moving muscles, and testing out joints that had stiffened in the night. Then the time to arise arose. Now, the trick to this recliner is that it does not allow your feet to get completely under you body weight as they are pushed out in front of you by the bottom part of the recliner. For the normal healthy person, no big deal, just push out your body weight until it is over your feet then do the rest with the legs. The way i do this when I am sick, I try it and if my body weight does not get out far enough I simply allow my self to fall back into the chair, no big deal again. I actually made it up the first time this morning, cane in hand to steady myself.  

But I guess I was a little light headed. I made a turn to put my slippers on but before I got there, I realized I had to step back to “catch” my weight trying to fall back. I never caught it. I took several more back steps then bumped in to something and finally fell backwards crashing into the printer and desk and cabinets Worst of all is my back took the first blow on the printer and then my head as it slammed the floor. I laid there all tough and taking the pain (actually screaming like a baby it hurt so much). My fall was so loud it set the alarm off which sent Delaine rushing to see what the matter was. Toby was really sorry for me licking me and trying to comfort me. Delaine helped me engineer the least painful and most efficient method. of getting back upright. Some times you need a crane to lift a huge mass of crying, hurting, lumps of soreness.

I am feeling a little better writing this (drugs are starting to kick in pretty well). I just hope I have not messed the bone fusion up. That is what this confounded neck brace is for which Delaine has been making me wear really tight. Thank you honey .

Psalm 37:23-24 (NKJV)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

This verse came immediately to mind as I pondered my situation.  God is so good, I love you Jesus. Help me make it through this. Though you slay me, yet will I trust You.

  • Update: 12/28 I am feeling much better after my little spill. As a matter of fact even a few hours later I was starting to feel better. I don't say there were no ill effects and that I dont have a bit of catching up to do, but I don't think any permanent damage was done. Praise God (I did call the doctor and that was his conclusion thus far anyway). Praise God, Thank you Jesus.

Staples

Posted by: David Carroll

DSC_0985I get these taken out Friday, I can’t wait for the skin to seal up really tight so that I can qualify to get in the hot tub! Boy will that ever feel good. Thank you Lord for hope in the small details.

 

Christmas Eve Dinner

Posted by: David Carroll

DSC_0967This was a very delightful dinner we had on Christmas Eve. We had all the traditional items: ham, turkey, green bean casserole (yum) sweet potatoes (double yum) and cranberries (smack my lips). The decorations were beautiful (notice the white porcelain creche).

Of course we prayed before dinner and I got a little emotional about all that he has done for us while we seem to just cast the value aside without demonstrating the incredible love and sacrifice that went to achieve successes

I was not very comfortable in my chair since no straight chair is that easy to sit in at this point. Because of the lack of support for the muscles. of my neck shoulders and back. You just don’t know how much you depend on them until they hurt to use. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that my shoulders were getting much better until this moment. I think they just get tired. The prayer, eating, picture taking and conversation were just enough to wear it out. God’s good timing for when you need the rest.

What was the Star of Bethlehem?

Posted by: David Carroll

BethstarJust a few Christmas season memories today. This is a video lesson  I did last year and thought you might want to watch it if you have not yet seen it to learn about the scientific possibilities regarding the mystery of the Star. If you are interested in astronomy or history and how this can confirm the Biblical text, you might like this one. It’s a 43.5 mb Flash file, be patient and use your fulll screen to view.

Also, I recorded some short audio thoughts (1 min 48 secs) last year about the Star of Bethlehem.

Enjoy and God Bless

P.S.: my appetite came back today! I never thought taco soup could ever taste so good! Praise God!

I didn't even think to ask this one

Posted by: David Carroll

When I found about the tumor on my neck, I knew it was serious because of how serious the Docs were. By every measure of medical history, the surgery was a success, the tumor was completely removed, the patient made home from the hospital without complications, etc. But operating on a tumor embedded around your spinal column and en-snarled among the nerve branches exiting the column toward your left arm, all this being done with a laser knife and a microscope under the hands of a skilled neuro-surgeon. it is not an easy surgery. Plus the fact that the tumor and nerve are very similar in color and texture makes it particularly hard.

Well my doctor told me, “I have good news and bad news.” I was able to save all of the motor neurons, the ones that drive your muscles. But I had to sacrifice a number of sensory neurons in your left arm and I don’t know where on your arm that will affect you. Well, turns out it has affected the sense of touch in the tips of my fingers…my typing fingers. I was anxious to get home to try things out with these new pair of gloves I am wearing. I can feel pin pricks but not much else. So far it has been very annoying to have to use the backspace key so much. Little things you take for granted like knowing which keys your fingers are on come from touch, edges of keys and the little detants on the f and j keys. Also knowing whether I have actually typed the key or now just because I stabbed at something is no guarantee.

I may have to get very familiar with CodeRush. even though till now I have just found some of the functionally interesting and other parts annoying.

There is more good news. Nerve cells grow back very, very slowly.

DSC_0964Here’s my setup. It is a reclining chair with a perfectly neutral position for your back, That is a Toshiba Satellite P26 running a Pentium 4 CPU at 3.2Ghz with 1.00 GB of RAM with an 80 GB harddrive. The notebook is sitting on a lapdesk whiich is adjustable to tilt (normally for holding books) but perfect for the reclined developer position. The rest of the hardware, that white and black ugly thing around my neck only server aa temorary purpose to annoy me and keep my from seeing my keyboard through my glasses. Maybe that is another thing that may help with the typing someday?

It wasn't easy comming home either

Posted by: David Carroll

Praise God I am here though. I’ll have to say a bit more about the difficulties and triumphs at the hospital the a last few days.
And I will when I get some more strength. Suffice it to say for now, that the heater was broken, the Internet line was broken, So admist all the prescriptions, well-wishers, I had to get the heater fixed, and the Internet fixed. The heater part was pretty easy, but I had to get way too involved on diagnosing Internet part.

Anyway Got home today and still hurting like the dickens.

Blogging like a telegraph

Posted by: David Carroll

This is going to be short and sweet.  Blogging without internet access is a real pain in the neck (no pun intended).  Thank you Bethany for keeping everybody up to date.  Things have not progressed as well as we had hoped, particularly my physical therapy.  Because of the severe pain, I haven’t been able to get out of this bed much at all.  Only twice in fact, and both of those were near disasters.  Pain level is close to 10, much dizziness and sweatiness.  How can anyone be happy and joyful in the hospital for 5 days?  Well, let me count the ways.  My dear, sweet wife is taking care of me.  The food on a scale of 1 to 10 has been a 3, but I actually like 3, but I think I’m actually ready for some junk food.  My doctor has been very liberal with the pain medication, which keeps me doped up pretty much all the time except when I have to do grueling things like physical therapy.  Poor health is actually a very spiritual battle because it forces you to test your own faith, in other words to trust.  I haven’t been doing many devotions, but I’m looking forward to them.  I will say this, the only part of this hospital room I’ve seen is the ceiling, and I’m starting to see things in the ceiling that weren’t there before.  This is depressing.  But thank God for modern day surgery and drugs.  The worst part is when they give me all the “ra-ra” speech about how well I’m doing, and I say getting out of a chair one time with the ability to scream a yell of 10 in pain is not a reason to cheer.  Have a great Lord’s day tomorrow.  Bethany will keep you posted every day or so. 

No internet access at the hospital

Posted by: David Carroll

Surgery successful.  Hurting really bad.  Jesus is still sweet.  Feeling a little bit better in the last couple of hours.  Witnessing a little bit more.  Sorry for the short post, gotta go.  Hopefully I'll be home this weekend.  Bethany is blogging this for me.  Grace and Peace.

Good Morning

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)
There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel that will stand

I almost drank a cup of coffee. Wow, not supposed to eat or drink anything after midnight. Thank you Lord for reminding me.

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

This is where I stand. No fear. Just trust. I had a good night’s sleep. Thank you Lord.

Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)

It is vain for you to rise up early,To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.

OK, Time to get up. sleepy head. Face the day, with Jesus on my mind. I don’t know when I’ll blog again but I’ll try to figure it out. Maybe from the hospital. Maybe i’ll get someone to do it for me. Anyway, later my friends.

DSCN0183P.S. I miss my dog Toby. He is a good wake up buddy, we go out together and get the newspaper and stuff.

Laying on of Hands

Posted by: David Carroll

I just remembered a wonderfully moving experience I had on my recent trip to Manauga Nicaragua. I went there to do some due diligence for the Bellevue Foundation to determine how we could partner up with the Baptist Theological Seminary of Nicaragua. There are a bunch of photos of that trip on my Flicker site.

63323149_52f706fbcaAnyway, the class of students studying the ministry of Pastoral Care knew I was having back trouble and stayed behind to ask if they could pray for me. I was in a meeting but said I would be most honored if they could do that after the meeting. You can see me in the picture (bald head, kneeling down). Of course they were speaking Spanish and so I could not understand what they were saying but I understood Señor Jesucristo (Lord Jesus Christ) and Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit) and mi hermano (my brother). I also understood the fervency of their prayers which lasted about ten minutes and seemed to increase to a crescendo and then begin to taper off. What a blessing to be cared for like that. I think that prayer session with laying on of hands and anointing with oil could very well have been related to God’s movement in my life towards this surgery. Nevermind…forget the maybe part and let’s just give God the credit for it.

James 5:13-15 (NKJV)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Thank you to my brothers and sisters in Christ in Nicaragua who loved me enough to pray for me like that.

I’ll tell you more about the Seminary in a later post (Lord willing)

T-14 hours and counting

Posted by: David Carroll

I’ve been here before. The night before surgery when all is quiet in the house. All the bills are paid, all the emails are written and my dog is snuggled up in his kennel with hopes of his buddy coming to get him soon. Which means, I have nothing left to keep my mind off the surgery anymore. The questions are after I fall to sleep, am I going to wake up hurting, paralysed, nauseated (no doubt about that one), or in the arms of my Jesus. I am going to try to be spiritual here (meaning really believing in my faith) and say that it matters not how I wake up.

Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Now about the paralysis part, God, I gotta trust you on that one. The hurting part, they’ve got pretty good drugs for that one (Still trusting You Lord, the one who happens to have made those little things work).

These are just the inner thoughts that go through the mind of anyone about to undergo a major surgery. But let’s not forget the prayer’s of the righteous.

James 5:16 (NKJV)

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

I just realized we normally cut off that first part about confessing when quoting this verse. I desire healing so I’ll confess now. I have not prayed enough, loved enough, had enough quiet times, and I’ve gone faster than the speed limits. I don’t want to make light of this; I am serious. I am a sinner but here is the good news: I am bought and paid for by Jesus Christ own blood and I am saved and forgiven. If I remember any more of the dastardly deeds I might have committed against any of you who are praying for me, I’ll be sure to let you know soon.

I can’t begin to count how many people there are praying for me. What a comfort that is and I am resting on the promise in this verse that prayer avails much. That word avails means useful or advantageous. Well I want all the advantage I can get and from the looks of things I getting a lot of advantage. That means a lot to me. Thank you.

Here is my prayer:

Ist2_158605_glovesLord, be my physician, my Jehovah-Rapha, “The Lord Who Heals.” Lord I ask you not to just guide the doctors hands but be his eyes, be his mind. Let your hands slip into his as gloves. And Father, when I am in bed being taking care of by all the many nurses and helpers, let me ask them how I can pray for them and then tell them how they need Jesus more than any thing they could ask for.

The Three Lights

Posted by: David Carroll

Dallas Willard talks about three lights that form a sort of check and balance whether what we “hear” from God is true or not. They are:

  1. Circumstances
  2. Impressions of the Spirit
  3. Passages from the Bible

It is suggested that when these three point in the same direction, we can be assured it points to where God would have us go. This perhaps sounds too much like a formula or a gimmick which we would not expect to be so simple but let’s examine it.

First of all, there is no doubt you must have a working familiarity and a confidence in the recognition of these “lights.”

What if you read a passage from the Bible, and you felt a clear impression of the Holy Spirit you should do something but the circumstances in your life either would not allow for it or were in some way hindering it. I think this would be a clear indication that God would have you to wait. 

What is the biblical test of authenticity? I believe that it must contain a clear confession of Jesus Christ as Lord

1 Corinthians 12:3 (NKJV)

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

1 John 4:2-3 (NKJV)

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

I know that I have prayed a number of times for God to either open or close doors to make it clear whether to proceed or stop. But how do you know who is opening and closing doors? Is it God or Satan or another person? So Scripture and inner promptings of the Spirit must be a part of the analysis of such door opening and closing.

I think the point is that these three lights do serve to correct each other and perhaps are useful to only that extent. At any rate, these three lights seem to reflect the very things that must go on in our decision making process which is still necessary even when hearing from God.

A little about me, more to come

Posted by: David Carroll

DavidMy name is David Carroll and I am your host on this site. I am a software developer and a Bible teacher.

Remember when reading blogs, the entries are in reverse chronological order so the most recent entry is always at the top. So you should read from the bottom up if you are trying to catch up.

I started blogging in 2003, when I began blogging a Daily Devotional in which I commented on my bible reading for the day. Actually it was a way to motivate my class to read the Bible through in a year. I told them that I would be accountable to them in my own reading by writing a a daily commentary on what I had read that day.

Sometimes I record Sunday School lessons and make them available as mp3 files and as a podcast.

I also teach a ten week Creation Science Course at my church which I have taught for six years now.

One of my hobbies is photography. From May 1999 to June 2000, I kept a diary of my experiences learning landscape photography. Currently, I put most of my public photos on flickr.com. You can find older public photos here on a slower server I keep at my house.

Of course since I am a software developer, I also spend a lot of time on the Internet. I also post links to interesting things I find on the Internet.  I have divided the links into two main categores which are developing software and other stuff. You can see the rest of my posts either by category or by date in the Archive.

If you know what an RSS reader is (also known as an aggregator) you can subscribe to my RSS feed.

You can email me by clicking on my name in the upper right corner of the page.

This page just a listing of various blog posts which have been categorized “AboutMe.” This way, I don’t have to write the whole thing at once (how boring!), but as I have time and the inclination.

You can already gather from reading my blog that I am a Christian and a Software Developer. I have not always been either. In fact I used to be a carpenter running my own remodelling busiiness for ten years. That is actually how I met Delaine my precious wife. She was the executive secretary for Wrangler Mens wear sales office in Memphis where I was doing a remodelling job. I kept wanting to ask her for a date but I could not seem to work up the nerve or the right time just never availed itself. Needless to say, I lost a lot of money on that job extending it for several weeks beyond necessary just to hang around her. Well I finally asked her out and we fell in love (me before her ). And now we live happily ever after.

I have a daughter Bethany who will be 20 this January, 2006. She is a sophmore at Samford University in Birmingham Alabama. She has a blog too.

Back to my not always having been a Christian. No one is born a Christian; that is why it is called being born again. Anyway, I don’t have time for that story now, but I’ll leave you with this: I almost got saved five different times over twenty years but it was the sixth time that I surrendered my life to
Christ, back in 1980 (or there abouts)

Also, I’ll write more about my hobbies and other things I like to do later.

Tumor on my spinal column in my neck

Posted by: David Carroll

The radiologists have discovered a growing tumor on my spinal cord in my neck which is about 1 inch long and about .5 in wide. It has displaced the nerve and has deformed some of the vertebra in my neck. I am not sure if it is related to my continuing problems with my leg and back pain but it could be. Anyway, it requires immediate attention since it could cause complete paralysis at any time. I am going in for surgery next Tuesday (Dec 13, 2005) at 1:00. They will have to remove quite a bit of bone to get at the tumor to remove it so it will require a triple fusion as well. I'll be in a neck brace for several months.

I covet your prayers for me, my surgeon, and especially for my wife Delaine and my daughter Bethany. She was doing fine until I was talking with her on the phone and started to quote all the scripture verses I am standing on. That's when she started crying but it is a sweet thing to have your daughter say that she depends on my faith to bolster hers because somehow I draw her closer to Christ. Of course I can only reflect my own utter dependence on my Lord and implore her to trust in Him too. People will disappoint you but Jesus will never do so. I am confident I am in his perfect will and that he is sustaining me.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NKJV)

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

I have been suffering from chronic pain for the past three years in my lower back and legs. I have been through one discectomy and a fusion of the L5/S1 joint already neither of which have resolved the pain. I have asked the Lord to remove my pain from me numerous times. But since it has not been His good pleasure to do so, I decided to go to a pain clinic recently. The neurologist there observed something unusual about my reflexes and decided to order a cervical MRI. That was last Monday and the diagnosis came Tuesday. I remember noticing the unusual mass while looking at the X-Rays on a makeshift lightbox using my computer monitor and a white background. I figured I did not know what I was looking at but the urgent and somber call came the next day confirming my suspicions.

By the way, I am in perfect peace about this because the circumstances which led to this discovery. The upshot of it is that had it not been for the low back pain which is still bothering me after two failed back surgeries and three years, I would never have gone to the pain clinic. My doctor commented that somebody up there must really like me. So I introduced him to the One so takes such pleasure in me.

Praise God for the pain!

Posted by: David Carroll

I posted about the Emerging Church the other day. Here is an interesting post, You Might Be Emerging If..., that is in a funny way accurately descriptive since it seems to appeal to the actual emergents themselves judging from the comments. I don’t get most of it but I still think it is a significant movement with the young generation.

Hilariously funny story and a very gracious man

Posted by: David Carroll

Adrian RogersSome people always have a hilariously funny story about stuff that happens to them. One such person is Phil Johnson. I read his blog and noticed a story about my beloved pastor Adrian Rogers. Although it’s funny from Phil’s perspective, it really illustrates the graciousness of Adrian Rogers. I laughed till I cried and then cried some more when I thought about Pastor Rogers.

I want to say something about the passing of Adrian Rogers. I had the highest respect for him, a great love for his preaching ministry, and a special appreciation for the courage and diligence he showed in resisting the erosion of confidence in the Scriptures in some SBC circles.

I also made a short personal connection with Dr. Rogers once.

This happened while I was working as acquisitions editor for Moody Press in 1982. I was still in my 20s, but my job at Moody gave me access to a number of well-known preachers and authors. Moody Press sent me to the ICBI convention in San Diego that year, because every major Moody Press author (as well as every person we ever dreamed of recruiting to be a Moody Press author) was there. My assignment was to get to know as many of them as possible and find out what they were interested in writing. (That conference was where I really got to know John MacArthur for the first time.)

Anyway, one morning during the conference, I had breakfast scheduled with Adrian Rogers. Just the two of us. To talk about books. I was in awe. It was hard not to be. Of course, his voice was the deepest, richest, most mellifluous voice ever. In person, he had the presence to match. He was poised, elegant, refined—the very picture of dignity. And he seemed genuinely interested in talking to me about writing.

I ordered grapefruit. I had so many restaurant-meetings lined up for three days solid that I would have preferred not to eat at all, but he was having breakfast, and it would have been impolite to sit there and do nothing besides talk business while watching him eat.

This was a pretty good grapefruit, with only a few seeds, and small ones. But about halfway through my grapefruit, at a point in the conversation where he was laying out a really interesting book idea, I took a bite of grapefruit that turned out to have a seed in it. If I were at home with Darlene, I would just get up, walk over, and spit the seed directly into the bin. (Or else take aim and spit the seed across the kitchen in the general direction of the bin.) But in this classy hotel restaurant with fabric napkins and fine silverware, sitting across a small table from Dr. Rogers, I wanted to be as well-mannered as possible.

In retrospect, it would have been wise simply to swallow the seed. What I tried to do was quietly, discreetly, put the spoon to my mouth, deposit the seed there, and then silently put it back on the edge of my plate. But this was a really sticky seed, and I couldn't get it off my lip. I tried to blow it softly onto the spoon, but it didn't budge. So I blew harder.

Much too hard, actually. The maneuver launched the seed, which bounced off my spoon, arced across the table, and stuck fast to Adrian Rogers' lapel. His dark blue tailored suit was now decorated with a rather conspicuous grapefruit seed.

Worse, he didn't seem to see it happen. He kept talking to me without missing a beat, as if the whole thing had utterly escaped his notice.

I quickly realized I was no longer hearing him. My attention was fixed on the grapefruit seed, which sat there like a large, grinning lapel pin—getting bigger the more I looked at it. I couldn't decide whether to mention it to him or let him start his day with a seed from my breakfast clinging to his suit, waiting until someone else pointed out to him that it was there. In every scenario I could imagine, he would be embarrassed to discover the grapefruit seed hanging from his lapel, and of course, he would immediately know where it must've come from.

But after a 90-second eternity, during a moment when he thought I had looked down at my note pad, he quickly flicked his wrist and brushed it off. He knew it was there all the time, but he said nothing about it, I presume because he was too gracious to embarrass me.

From that day on, every time I ever saw him or heard his voice on the radio, I have remembered the grapefruit-seed incident; his classy, gentle compassion; and the care he took not to notice my disastrous lapse of etiquette.

I know he was beloved by his people, and I completely understand why. He'll be missed.

I was laughing so hard when I got to the end I had to re-read the section about Dr. Rogers graciousness because my eyes were watering with laughter by the time I got there. The italics above are mine because I wanted you not to miss the part about Dr. Rogers’ graciousness.

Can I only imagine?

Posted by: David Carroll

There is a lot of buzz about the upcoming movie The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, and naturally there is a heightened interest in C.S. Lewis as a Christian apoligist with a wonderful storytelling ability. Andrew Hoffecker wrote a good article on this in the Reformation 21 » December feature.

God is more truly imagined than expressed, and He exists more truly than He is imagined.
– Augustine

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
– Sir Arthur Eddington

I think God delights in our imagination of Him. After all, Jesus used imaginative parables to illustrate truth in a way that allows it to be told without objection from the hearer. But our imagination can never fully comprehend His true majesty and glory.

God’s prescription for this is to stay focused on Jesus:

John 14:9 (NKJV)
He who has seen Me has seen the Father

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

I can do more than imagine, I can be Jesus’ disciple and follow Him.

Emerging Church, Postmodernism and Truth

Posted by: David Carroll

I am still trying to figure out what the Emerging Church movement is. The few people I've asked at church about this, don’t seem to know much about it.. Most of the discussion seems to be occurring on the Internet. But I don’t think it is insignificant.

My take is that it is somewhat of a young, ecumenical, worship centered, slightly charismatic. The common denominator seems to be a suspicion of traditional church and a desire to have a more meaningful religious experience.

John Hammett, Professor at Southeastern Theological Seminary, presented a paper available here: An Ecclesiological Assessment of the Emerging Church Movement. Thanks to Justin Taylor for the link. There is also a more accessible resource written by emerging churchers here.

I am going to digress now on some related thoughts I have about this.

One of the earmarks of the young generation (X and Y generation) is the postmodern characteristic of asking “why” as opposed to just accepting a thing without challenge. I don’t think this is bad, a thing said to be truth is not true because it is said, but this can turn into an attitude that is annoying if it goes too far.

One of the ways modern people progress is by standing on achievements of prior generations. This is true scientifically and philosophically. However, you could argue that science progresses by proving prior assumptions wrong. Does this scientific method apply to religious thought? Only to a degree. The difference is that Christians have the Bible and if that book is Abo solute truth, a tenet of my faith anyway, then we always compare current thought against that standard. Science does not have anything like this. I think if the Emerging Church is careful to do this, regardless of how different from traditional church, it should be accepted with open arms.

For me then, the only question that remains is whether the movement accepts the Bible as the innerrant, inspired word of God. How do you find this out without a creedal statement?