Friday, November 30, 2012

The Blessing of a Burglary

A couple weeks ago The Mrs. and I both had busy days.  It was a Saturday, and we were both running here and there, doing errands, taking the kids places, grocery shopping, going to church, and so on and so forth.  By the time we were both home, we had both parked our cars outside the garage, assuming that there would be more errands to run later in the day.  As it turned out, neither of us ended up going anywhere for the rest of the day, and neither of us remembered that our cars were parked outside.  We almost always park our cars in the garage, and very seldom leave them outside overnight.  We figure we have a garage so we might as well use it.

The following morning, which was a Sunday, I sped off to church at about 7:30 AM.  The Mrs. came later with the young'ns.  As I met her at church, she said she was "having issues."  What were the issues?  It turns out that, sometime during the previous night, someone had jimmied her car door open and went through some stuff.  They ended up taking a purse-like bag that was on the seat (which, oddly enough, was filled with her Children's Church materials).  But other than that, nothing else appeared to be missing.  We counted our blessings and went on with the day, contacting the police that afternoon just to let them know of the break-in.

At lunch that afternoon, The Mrs. asked me to purchase some 1X8 boards for a craft project she had for her kids at school.  She asked me to cut the boards into one foot sections, which I said was no problem. After lunch, I went to the lumber yard, secured the wood, and took it home.  A quick change of clothes after arriving at home found me out in the garage with the wood set up on my sawhorses.  I went to the shelf that held my circular saw, but noticed something strange: it wasn't there.  Neither was my jig saw. Neither was the case for my cordless drill.  I spun around and looked throughout the rest of the garage.  Huh.  My table-top bandsaw was also missing from its perch.  A quick perusal of the rest of the garage revealed that there was other stuff missing too - a lot of stuff.  In addition to the missing power tools, two of my toolboxes were gone, one containing miscellaneous hand tools, the other containing all of my socket wrenches and sockets, which are probably my most commonly used tools.  Needless to say, the thieves walked away with quite a haul.  Over $500.00 in tools.

After doing all the necessary work with police, and finding out that my homeowner's insurance deductible was more than $1500.00, the words of Matthew Henry came to mind: "Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took what I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed."

I've used this quote before in some of my sermons.  Now I got to live it out.

As I pondered Henry's words, I began to realize how much of a non-event this robbery was to me.  I really didn't care.  It's not that I enjoyed being robbed, but more that I realize that the stuff that was taken from me is...well, just stuff.  I don't judge the value of my existence by the stuff that I have.

This morning my mom brought up the burglary to me again in conversation.  It wasn't until she mentioned it that I realized I hadn't even thought of the event pretty much since it happened.  I also realized that I'm not really bitter about being robbed, nor do I necessarily miss the stuff that was taken.

It should be noted that this would not have always been my typical reaction.  In the past I most likely would have responded in anger and resentment, wishing to exact vengeance upon those who would dare to steal from me.  This time, I'm just kind of like..."Meh."  What's happening to me?  I suppose one option is that I'm just becoming increasingly cold and calloused as I get older.  The other option, and what I think is actually happening, is that I'm growing in holiness.  God is increasingly growing in me a desire for eternal things, and as a result, I value and desire temporal things less and less.  This is the process of sanctification.

I'm glad I got to have this experience.  In a very real sense, the burglary was a blessing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thus & Such, Vol. 11

Wow.  It's been a week since my last post.  I need to get back on the horse!  To make up for the recent absence, here's a longer edition of "Thus & Such."

1. While I greatly appreciate the works and ideas of Charles Spurgeon, as has been noted on this blog several times in the past, I have sometimes felt that he takes significant liberties in the ways he reads and applies scriptures.  Many of his sermons (which are quite long) are based on a single verse, or even a portion of a verse.  How does he glean all of that insight from just a few words?  Is he ignoring the context of the verse?  It doesn't seem to me that he can be exegeting and applying the text rightly in such a narrow view.  Here's an interesting article that talks about this trend.  Apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed this.

2. Several months ago, a Facebook friend and I engaged in a conversation on abortion.  He sent me an article to read and then respond to - one that he thought would stimey me.  At the time, I responded to the article by saying that dependency didn't determine whether a being is human or not.  After all, someone dependent upon medical equipment or medicine is no less a person because of that dependency, and neither is a baby in the womb who is totally and completely dependent on the mother.  While this is true, I like Scott Klusendorf's response to the argument better.  The argument for abortion espoused by the author of the article is "The Violinist" argument, which is probably the best argument for abortion out there.  Take a look at the (long) "Violinist" article, and then Klusendorf's response.

3. Looking for a good Advent devotional?  Here's one for you to check out.

4. When we read the Bible, we are reading a translation.  This presents all kinds of interpretive issues, and the translation we read matters.  In Bible translations, there are two general categories: formal equivalence, and dynamic equivalence.  A formal translation is more literal (like the NASB or ESV), and a dynamic translation is less word for word and makes more of an attempt to communicate concepts and ideas.  It has been my experience that those in academia are moving more toward dynamic equivalent translations, for reasons that I don't understand.  In this article, Bill Mounce makes a brief argument for using what he calls a "natural language" translation, which to me, sounds a lot like a dynamic equivalent translation.  As much as I respect and appreciate Bill Mounce, I can't agree with him on this.  In fact, I don't see how what he says has any effect on the translation of scripture.

5. Despite early cooling from La Nina, 2012 is on track to become one of the top 10 hottest years on record..."  Hmm.  That's an interesting sentence, especially considering that the "record" is only about 130 years old.  Sound like a lot?  Not when compared to the supposed age of the earth, allegedly more than 4 billion years old.  That means we have observable, scientific data for .0000000325% of the earth's history.  Do we really think this is enough data to come to scientific conclusions about global warming?  Apparently the United Nations does.  I don't.

6. Here's an interesting back and forth between a supposed poetic interviewer and the Apostle Paul.  I'm not a big fan of poetry, but this is pretty cool.

7. What's wrong with the church?  Here's a good example.  It turns out that people only come to church to hear "inspiring" sermons, and if the pastor doesn't deliver, the people will leave.  In my opinion, don't let the door hit you on the way out.  This article is chock full of thoughts and ideas that clearly reveals what is wrong with the church in America, primarily that the people in the churches aren't actually Christians, and would therefore rather have their ears tickled than be convicted by biblical truth.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ride Along

About six weeks ago I officially became a chaplain for the West St. Paul and Mendota Heights police departments.  Pastor Wick suggested I join him and five other local ministers as a police chaplain, and I gladly obliged.

Police chaplains in these jurisdictions basically do whatever they can to help the officers, with their primary duty being death notifications and counseling people who have experienced the loss of a loved one.  In other words, if there's a fatal car accident, or if the police are called to a scene where a death has occurred, they will call the chaplain on duty and he or she will come to the scene to help out in any way they can.  Usually this just means being present for the people involved, thereby freeing up the officers to get back to their jobs.  From what I hear, there are three or four "call-outs" every quarter or so.  I have yet to be called.

A secondary duty of the chaplains is to get to know and support the West St. Paul and Mendota Heights police officers.  One of the best ways to do this is to go on ride alongs, or in other words, hang out with an officer while he's on duty in his squad car.  I got a chance to do this yesterday.  It was my first such ride along, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and enjoyed my time with Officer Todd Rosse.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous leading up to the ride along.  I had never been in a police car before, plus I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  What would I do if we got into a "situation?"  I guess it would be a trial by fire kind of experience.  It turns out my trepidation was uncalled for, as Officer Rosse basically just drove me around his jurisdiction and told me about himself, and what it's like to be a cop.

There were a few times where my heart started beating a bit faster, though.  One time we were driving through a pretty crowded parking lot, and there was a unseemly character staring down the squad car pretty intensely.  "Looks like that guy is eyeballing me," Officer Rosse said.  He quickly ran the plate of the car, and the computer came back saying it belonged to a female whose license was suspended.  But because it was a man in the vehicle, and no female was present, we didn't make a stop.  Plus, I guess simple knowledge of a suspended license isn't enough to stop someone.  There needs to be some kind of infraction.

Another time we were driving down a road and the dash-mounted radar gun pegged the oncoming vehicle as being 15 miles per hour over the speed limit.  Officer Rosse quickly made a U-turn and floored it.  But we were too late.  By the time we reached the top of the next hill, the car was gone, presumably having turned to the right or the left before it was back in our field of vision.  Needless to say, I had some adrenaline pumping!

The only other item of interest from the ride along came toward the end of the night, as we observed what appeared to be some teenagers sneaking around a building.  We went around the block and pulled up slowly to try and see them.  Turns out they were sneaking up on some friends with water guns.  No harm done.

All in all, it was a great experience, and I look forward to my next ride along, and to whatever ways I can serve these great people in our police departments.

Thus & Such, Vol. 10

1. "Something very important and very weird is happening to the book rightnow: it's shedding its papery corpus and transmigrating into a bodiless digital form, right before our eyes.  We're witnessing the bibliographical equivalent of the rapture."  How has the way we read books changed over the years?  We don't read from scrolls anymore, we read books.  But instead of books, now we're reading tablets and computer screens.  I attended a lecture once by a professor who had studied the different ways we read the Bible, both from ancient and modern times.  He said that this generation is the first in history to regularly read the words of scripture along with advertising at the same time.  Don't think it affects you?  Think again.

2. Staying on a book theme for this installment, here are four reasons why men don't read books.

3. "Great educational programs combine academic study with real-world application."  This is oneof the lines that introduces an article on conducting auditions for church worship team members.  I've always said that one of the least important things about playing with a worship team is knowing how to play an instrument.  There is so much that is vitally more important.

4. What's the dirtiest place in your house?  Don't blame the toilet seat.  Think kitchen.  Read here and be grossed out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thus & Such, Vol. 9

1. "Such thinking misunderstands evil....The 'evil' in our nation is not he result of dirty politics.  The 'evil' that we are pushing back against isn't found on the other side of the aisle.  It is found in our hearts."  Here's an interesting article that explains why we should think twice before using fear mongering as a means of communicating a message.

2. "Farewell, and God be with you till we meet again on Resurrection Morning, beseeching God that our family circle will be unbroken."  What a legacy!  Here is a letter that a dying man wrote before he died, which was discovered by his children years later.  May I live to write a letter such as this to my own children.

3. "...this is the beginning of the end for the anti-marriage equality movement.  They long ago began to lose in the courts and state legislatures.  now they have begun losing at the pools.  This battle may go on for years, but there is no longer any doubt about the outcome."  Same sex "marriage" is a forgone conclusion in our country.  The question is not "if," but rather "when."  Read this article to learn more.  

4. "How do you discern - of the hundreds of things you could do today that would bless people - what to do?  You stay with the Lord every morning; you go deep with him in his word; you pray like crazy for guidance; and then you do your best."  There's always more to do.  How do you know what to say yes to and what to say no to?  John Piper talks about that in this video.  Although his comments are directed toward pastors, they are definitely applicable to all walks of life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thus & Such, Vol. 8

1."...evagnelicals' influence is waning.  Conservative Christian ideas are failing to shape the broader culture.  More than 3,500 churches close their doors every year, and while Americans are still overwhelmingly spiritual, the institutional church no longer holds the sway over their lives it once did.  The sweeping impact of globalization and the digital age has marginalized the church and its leaders."  Is America becoming an "evangelical disaster?"  This article analyzes some data and makes some interesting points about the last election.  

2. What should Christian worship be like?  Here's a list, although it's certainly not exhaustive or comprehensive.

3. "There's a memory seared into my mind from when I was twelve years old.  I was watching from the backdoor of our home as my father brought out an axe.  Laying prostrate on the ground was a three foot tall intricately designed statue of Buddha carved from wood.  The axe went flying through the air over my father's shoulder landing with a loud thwack!  The first stroke severed the statue's head.  Another thwack!  Then another.  Pieces of red wood went flying all over the yard.  Finally, all that was left were indiscernible remnants of what was once our family idol.  This scene also gave me a lasting impression that life for my dad and our family would never be the same.  Here's an interesting reflection on what it is like to be raised in a family that worshiped literal idols, and then what it was like to leave that practice.

4. "I want to discuss one passage of scripture that vexes the problem of alcohol with great passion.  It is the subject of Christ and his relation to alcohol while here on the earth.  Most specifically, I want to ask the question of whether Christ, during the miracle at the wedding of Cana in John 2, turned teh water into wine, unfermented grape juice, or something else.  Did Jesus really turn water into wine?  Does it matter?  What does it say about the Christian's attitude toward alcohol?  This is a very good treatment of this miracle.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself...Or Else

Each week or so I receive an email from Relevant Magazine that contains links to articles from their website or from the most recent issue of the magazine.  I subscribe to Relevant as a last-ditch attempt to stay up to date on pop culture, both secular and Christian (I've found that most attempts to remain "relevant" after getting married and having kids go by the wayside, so I guess my subscription to Relevant Magazine is my only hope).

I've posted before about some of the issues I have with the magazine - particularly about how it is consistently left-leaning in most areas.  But sometimes the articles are informative and worth the read, if for no other reason than to practice confronting ideas and beliefs that I personally find to be unsatisfactory.

This week's Relevant email had a bunch of articles whose titles piqued my interest, so I followed the links.  A couple of them had to do with the election (pre-election, that is - like how to vote in the election that was held last week - I guess that's what you get from a bi-monthly publication: information that isn't necessarily current or up to the minute).  One article from this category caught my eye: "5 Reasons I'm Voting This Year."

The article details the five reasons that Nick Price has found to be valid enough to inspire him to vote in the 2012 election (hopefully these reasons are valid for every election for Nick, and not just this one).  Looking over the list, I can see a few nuances I'd make to Nick's list, and ways that I might state things differently.  But in general, I think it's good...until you get to reason number 4.  Nick says the fourth reason that he was going to vote in this past election was that it would enable him "to give voice to the voiceless."  He cites Isaiah 1.17 in support of his reasoning, and says, "Throughout scripture, especially in the prophetic books, those who have power and a voice are encouraged to speak up on behalf of those who do not."  Amen.

Nick goes on to say, however, "As such, I enter the voting booth not only with my own interests in mind, but also the interests of those less fortunate than myself.  In this way, voting takes on a corporate dimension as I give away the power that I have to the powerless - voting for what serves the marginalized and oppressed, and using my voice to amplify the voice of those who are usually silenced.  I believe that in this way I also put into practice Jesus' call to love my neighbor as myself.  So I try to vote specifically with the interests of my most disadvantaged neighbors in mind.  I see my role as speaking up and pleading their case to those who are in power."

The sentiment described above is one that is increasingly common among younger evangelicals.  I agree with this sentiment in the sense that it speaks to those who truly have no voice, such as the unborn, or to those who are truly and unjustly on the fringes of society.  The ideas espoused by Price, however, have become more commonly associated with a stream of evangelicalism that believes that a more liberal social agenda should be implemented in order to stand in the gap on behalf of the oppressed and effectively "give voice to the voiceless."  In a very real sense, this stream believes that government serves as a means by which Christians can fulfill the second-greatest commandment (love your neighbor as yourself), by way of voting for politicians who will establish and vote for programs that are intended to defend the poor, give relief to the oppressed, and serve those on the margins of society.  This belief, in my opinion, represents a severe lack of understanding of scripture, however, and exposes why the evangelical vote in this country has tended toward the left in recent election cycles (it should be noted that I do not know if Price himself subscribes to this ideology, but there have been many who have said something similar to what he has said above, and have used this idea to support a liberal social agenda).

Certainly all Christians agree that followers of Jesus are required (if by no other means than by their association and identification with Him) to defend the cause of the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give relief to the oppressed, and fight for justice.  But not in the sense that it is a law that a Christian must keep in order to be a Christian.  Indeed not, as we are saved by grace, and not by loving our neighbors as ourselves.  If this were the litmus test for a faithful Christian, we would certainly all fail.  Instead, we love our neighbors as ourselves because we have been saved by Jesus - because he first loved us, and because his Spirit empowers us to be able to love others.  On this point we can definitely find agreement.  The question is, how do we do these things?  It is my opinion that accomplishing these things through government is a flawed, dangerous, and unbiblical way to go about it.  But rather than talk about what the government should be doing, or what the church should be doing, I want to think for just a minute about the implications of having the government be the enforcer of people loving their neighbors as themselves.

The second-greatest commandment says that we love people as ourselves by...well...loving them.  And loving them genuinely.  While obvious, this is important to understand.  Consider the fact that the Bible does not commend those who love their neighbors out of duty, or obligation, or as a means of being noted by others.  Instead, the Bible commends unforced sacrificial giving and loving.  There is a significant difference between the two.  In fact, the difference is so significant, that scripture details the former as leading to death, and the latter as leading to life.

If we choose to believe that the second-greatest commandment is fulfilled by way of the government then - other than voting - we have no say in the matter.  The last time I checked, taxes are required of every American who owns property, collects an income, etc., and that tax money goes to programs that voters have implemented via politicians to help the poor, clothe the naked, etc.  If we believe that Christians fulfill the second-greatest commandment through the government, then I, as a taxpayer, am not emotionally or spiritually invested in its fulfillment.  I am simply doing what the government requires me to do.  There is no love or concern on my part to speak of.  We will "love our neighbors as ourselves" whether we like it or not.

Forced charity is not charity at all.  And love isn't love if it is forced.  Instead, whatever care or concern we give to the marginalized by way of the government is actually born out of violence.  This kind of thinking seeks to (knowingly or unknowingly) do violence to those who would not love their neighbor as themselves, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help the poor, etc.,  After all, what will be the fate of those who do not want to help the less-fortunate and subsequently evade their taxes?  They will be prosecuted and imprisoned.

You cannot use the government to force people to love the marginalized; you cannot use the government to defend the cause of the oppressed.  In fact, if you do use the government (or any other means) to force people to "love" others, then what you have isn't love.  The best you can do is have an authority structure (in our case, the government) bully people into following a set of rules (paying taxes) that allegedly benefits the less fortunate.  This is the same kind of thinking that Jesus condemned when he called out the Pharisees: they bullied people into following religious rules under the threat of condemnation if the rules weren't strictly adhered to.

So then, asserting that we should elect government officials, representatives, and leaders for the purpose of fulfilling the second-greatest commandment is, in my opinion, a biblically untenable position to take.  Moreover, it has the potential to be spiritually damaging (maybe even damning?).  Unfortunately, however, it is one that many evangelicals have adopted and have brought with them into the voting booth.

Note that I am not asserting that we should not pay taxes, nor am I saying that paying taxes to support programs that clothe, feed, house, and relieve the marginalized is wrong or sinful.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I am saying, however, that using the government to fulfill what is perhaps an idealistic interpretation of biblical mandates (such as the notion that the second-greatest commandment is fulfilled when I vote for candidates with a liberal social agenda) is misguided at best, and does real spiritual and physical damage at worst.

Monday, November 12, 2012

5 Year Olds, and the Doctrine of the Trinity

Ever had one of those questions from your kids that you have no idea how to answer in a way that they will understand?  I had one of those tonight.

Jamie said that no one could do the things that God could do.  I affirmed this notion, and said that neither he nor I could do things like God does.  Then I said to him, "Only one person can do the things God can do.  Do you know who that is?"

"Who?" he answered.

"God!"  I said.  "Only God can do the great things that God does."

"Oh.  What about Jesus?"

"Well, Jesus is God, so Jesus can do those great things too.  Remember, Jesus is God's Son, so Jesus is also God," I explained.

"Oh," Ferg replied.  "So there are two Gods?"

Uh oh.

"Well, no, Jesus and God are the same.  They are two distinct persons, yet the same one God."

"Oh," Jamie answered, feigning complete comprehension.

How do you explain to a five year old that God is three distinct persons, yet one God?  When you figure it out, let me know and I'll have the "trinity talk" with my five year old.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thus & Such Vol. 7

1. Post Election 2012 Debriefing.  By Dan Philips.  Good and encouraging thoughts for those struggling with the results of the election.

2. "The tragedy of the 2012 election is that in this land of the free and home of the brave, many people were not allowed to vote.  Their voices were silenced.  Their votes were not cast.  Their opinions not expressed.  Why?  Because they were dead."  Here is an interesting reflection on one of the effects of abortion on this country for the past 30+ years.

3. "A church operates more like a family than a store.  If we miss this, then we will always have dissatisfaction towards those who are trying to love and help us."  Are you a Christian Consumer?  Find out here.

4. "This a good day to reflect upon what God has done for you, as the price he paid for your freedom also didn't come cheaply."  Here's a thoughtful reflection for Veteran's Day.

5. Our small group Bible study this past week talked a bit about issues surrounding disabilities in children and adults, and particularly in a church setting.  One of the questions we talked briefly about was whether or not people with severe cognitive disabilities have the capacity for understanding the gospel, and if not, what happens to them at death?  Will God hold them accountable for the deeds done in the body, even if they don't even have a grasp of their own existence?  This question is not unlike the question as to whether or not infants go to heaven at death.  Thankfully, there are some very helpful articles out there that I sent along to our group members.  I thought I'd post them here as well: the first article is Albert Mohler's biblical explanation as to why he believes that all aborted babies are, in fact, among the elect.  The second article is an explanation of Old Testament verses that suggest that children who die in infancy go to be with God.  The third article is the same as the latter, except that it looks at New Testament verses on the same subject.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Is the Church to Blame?

NOTE: It has come to my attention that the video embedded below keeps switching to whatever video the Wretched channel has most recently posted.  This means that it's not the video I refer to in the post.  To see the video referenced in this post, go here.

The following is from Todd Friel, of Wretched Radio and TV.  The video is basically him expounding on the idea in the text below.  It should be noted that this sentiment and video could have and should have been shared regardless of who won the election.

Little Johnny just threw a rock through his neighbor’s window.  Is the broken window the problem? No, it is a result of Johnny’s actions.  What caused Johnny’s behavior? Johnny thought it would be fun to smash ol’ Mrs. Hildebrand’s window.  Where did Johnny’s thinking come from? His beliefs; instead of believing his parents, he believed that rotten friend of his who goaded Johnny to, “Throw it, throw it.”

Bad results come from bad actions which are the fruit of bad thinking which is the result of bad beliefs.  If you ever witness a bad result, you can be assured that it is merely a consequence of bad actions, thinking and ultimately, beliefs.

That is why President Obama is a problem, but he is not the problem.  THE problem in America today is the church.  Permit me to persuade you.

  • If a liberal church focusses on the environment, who are they inclined to vote for?
  • If a progressive church defines marriage as “anyone who is committed to another person,”  do you suppose they will vote red or blue?
  • If a prosperity church focusses on healing and free money from God, who do you think they will pull the lever for?
Surprise, liberal, progressive and prosperity churches voted overwhelmingly for Barak Obama. Why? They are bad churches with bad teachers delivering false teachings resulting in heretical beliefs which inspire wrong actions that deliver horrific consequences.

Might I suggest, if we want to reclaim America we had better reclaim the churches first.  

The result of strong, healthy, Biblical churches is strong healthy faith which changes rotten thinking into righteous thinking which produces holy behavior generating good consequences.  If you don’t like the results of this election, don’t blame Mitt, the Republican Party or Chris Christie.  Blame the church.

But don’t stop there.  Instead of abandoning ship, doing home church or church shopping every Sunday, dedicate yourself to a local church to: fix it, serve it, fund it, cleanse it, help it, support it or reform it if necessary.  If we focus less on Washington and more on our local churches, the nation will be better off.

Please note: we should not clean up our churches in order to have more conservative political leaders, but that will ultimately be the result of strong, healthy local churches.  Besides, Christian church activism is what Jesus commanded, not political activism.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

God's Good Design in Disability

I had the opportunity to lead some folks from Riverview to Desiring God's conference, "God's Good Design in Disability."  That's a strange title, you might think to yourself.  How can disability be good?  The word alone implies that something is broken or off: dis-ability.  Four speakers, however, provided what I thought was a convincing, biblical case for why disabilities are good things.

The first thing you will need to believe in order to accept that disabilities can be and are blessings from God is the general idea of God's sovereignty.  The Bible says over and over again that God is the main "mover and shaker" in the universe.  That is, nothing happens outside of God's purview.  He controls everything, either by directly causing things to happen, or allowing things to happen.  The point is, that nothing happens without his direct stamp of approval.  There are no accidents - there are no tragedies, even - that he is not directly involved in, including disabilities.

How can we say that, though?  How can a good, kind, and loving God cause people to have disabilities?  Well, in one sense, the question is flawed.  We inherently assume that disabilities are necessarily a bad thing, and we form this opinion based on our observations of the effects they have on the people who have them.  We see cognitive abilities diminished; we see physical capacities hindered, and we automatically form a judgment that says these conditions are inherently bad or evil.  And if we affirm that God is indeed sovereign, and that he designs and distributes disabilities to whom he will, we then have a problem: how does God remain good and yet assign certain disabilities to people?  But if we look to scripture a bit first, I think we get a different outlook.

Scripture affirms over and over that everything God does is good and right (Psalm 145.17).  God is never wrong in his judgments, nor does he ever do anything that is sinful, unfair, or unjust.  This means that everything that happens to us in life that might look difficult, trying, or hard, is actually good.  After all, if it is from God, it is good, regardless of whether or not we view the circumstances as being positive or negative.  Anything from God is good, precisely because it is God who has caused it to happen.

Moreover, scripture also teaches that everything God does to us and for us is for our good (Romans 8.28).  He does not vindictively smite us or cause us unnecessary harm or difficulty.  God always does that which is good, and good for us.  Does this mean life isn't hard?  Does this mean tragedies don't happen?  Does this mean that suffering from a disability isn't heart-breaking?  Certainly not, in any of these cases!  But it does mean that, even if difficult, those things God brings into our lives (such as a disability) is ultimately good because it is from God.

So in the most basic sense, we have a perspective problem: we are viewing life through a temporal set of lenses that limits our understanding of how certain pieces of life contribute to an eternal whole.  Our lenses only let us see the past and the present - we have no knowledge of the future, nor how the past and present will effect the future.  God does see the future, of course, and so the things that he puts into our lives are their to accomplish his good purposes for us and for his glory.

This is a hard concept to "get" to be sure, but it is one that essential.  And, of course, the notion of God's sovereignty is not limited to disabilities, but to all aspects of life.  When we face difficulties and trials of many kinds, we can consider it pure joy, because God has given us those trials for our good: to develop in those who love him a steadfastness in the faith that would be unattainable had we not been afflicted (James 1.2-4).  Does God have a good design in disability?  Absolutely.

The four speakers also participated in a panel discussion in which they fielded questions on the topic of disability.  Two questions were rather thought provoking:

1. How can people with sever cognitive disabilities that limit their understanding of the gospel be saved?

2. Will people with disabilities be rid of their disability in heaven?

The answer to the former question is based on what I've written above about God's goodness and sovereignty.  In one sense, we cannot have a definite answer for whether or not people with cognitive disabilities that preclude them from believing the gospel are saved, or how they are, if indeed they are.  But we can say this: God is always just, and his decisions are always right.  In other words, God will never do anything that is wrong, including condemn those whom it would be unjust to condemn.  If it would be wrong for God to condemn a person with a cognitive disability that limited his or her understanding or ability to believe the gospel, then we can be sure that God will do no such thing.  The trick is that we can't know whether or not it is wrong - we simply trust God to be faithful to his word that says he always does that which is right and good.  For me, this answer is a satisfying comfort.

The answer to the latter question was, I thought, fascinating, and is one that people who do not suffer from a physical or cognitive disability can probably not completely comprehend.  The question was posed to Dr. Mark Talbot, who has been a paraplegic since the age of 17, after having broken his back. He explained that his disability has become so engrained in the very essence of his personhood, that he can't imagine life without being disabled.  In a sense, he knows no other existence.  For him to imagine a life in heaven without a disability, then, is something that is unfathomable.  Furthermore, he explained how so much good has come from his disability, that he can't imagine that God would, by implication, pronounce the disability as something worthless and bad in heaven.  This is a difficult thing to wrap your mind around, and I certainly wouldn't say that Dr. Talbot's opinion or anyone else's is definitive, but it's certainly something interesting to think about.

I find Dr. Talbot's answer to be interesting, because my own father has lived with a disability since he was seven years old.  Indeed, my dad's disability has become a part of who he is - even in his identity as "father."  I have no knowledge of what it's like to have a father who is not physically disabled.  It's always been there, and it's something that has just become a part of who my dad is.  Will he have a disability in heaven?  If he does, it certainly won't be considered a dis-ability, but I'm not necessarily sure what else to call it.  I almost can't fathom seeing my dad in heaven some day without a disability.  It's an idea that's completely foreign to me.

Over all, it was good to be reminded today how God works in this world, and how he is always doing what is good for us, and for his own glory.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Facebook on the Election and Voting

Lots of people voting in this election, and lots of them are posting about their experience (and trying to sway others their way) on Facebook.  Sometimes this is very good, and very encouraging - and not necessarily because these people are voting my way.  Other times people are rude jerks.  What follows is sentiment about the election and voting that I've seen today on Facebook from my friends.  These folks spoke highly, and were appreciative of, their right obligation to vote.  I don't particularly know how these people voted, but I respect the fact that they answered the call to fulfill their civic duty.  On a sidenote, a lot of these people are from my church, and I was overjoyed to see the ways in which they were analyzing the election through spiritual lenses.  Way to go, Riverview peeps!

Whoever wins, that’s my president.  I have to pray for him and wish him well.

#voting #longlines #worthit

The truth that Jesus of Nazareth was who he claimed to be has infinitely more impact on the world tomorrow than who gets elected tonight.

I did all that I could…it’s out of my hands now.  It was always in God’s though, so it will be alright regardless.

I am reminded today that this is not my home; I am destined for a better place.  Lord, guide me to that end, and no matter what today brings, that is where my hope carries me.

Praying for MN today!

In line to vote.  Too bad it’s such a crummy morning…well worth the wait!

God be with me when I head to the polls and cast my vote.  I pray that my choices will be honorable in your sight.

I have been anxiously waiting for the opportunity to vote, and finally I voted.  I felt like I had done something important, something that connects me with my fellow Americans, something that may very well impact the future of the country itself.  I do realize that I have contributed to one of the most important political races in the world.  Whoever will serve as the president, I want to pray that only God’s purpose be fulfilled.  God bless America. (posted by an immigrant who was recently granted American citizenship)

Well, this is quite an important day for our country.  I haven’t voted yet, but will in an hour or two.  I am praying that no matter what the result I will remember, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  I hope you can join me in that thought.

I went to vote today and got butterflies in my stomach.  I am so thankful for this right, thankful to the volunteers at the polling place for doing their jobs so well, and thankful for my freedoms.  God bless America.

Two Election Day Thoughts

I wish I could say these quotes are mine, but they are actually from John Piper's most recent sermon this past Sunday.  He says of the election:

"Let there be no man-exalting illusion as though mere human beings will be the decisive cause in any victory or loss.  God alone will have that supreme role."

And of he who is to be our next president, Piper says:

"Whoever the next president is, he will not be sovereign.  He will be governed.  He will be ruled.  And we should pray him, that he would know that.  He will bow his neck under the sovereign hand of Jesus Christ, Lord of all.  

A Prayer for Election Day

From Joel Beeke:

Our Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Thou art very great. We praise Thee for Thy name is above all blessing and praise. Thou canst do immeasurably above all that we ask or think. Thou hast made the heavens and all their host, the earth and seas and all that fills them, and the angels of heaven do worship Thee.
Thou hast blessed our nation with an abundance of food and wealth. Thou hast revealed Thy law and gospel in Thy Holy Scriptures. Thou hast sent Thy Son to give His life a ransom for many. Thy servants have testified to our people.
Yet, O God, our land is bathed in the blood of innocents. We have taken Thy gifts, and made them our idols. We have hardened our hearts, and listened not to Thy commandments. We have turned Thy holy gospel into a license to sin. We have celebrated that which Thou dost condemn. We are a proud nation, and Thou dost hate pride.
Have mercy, O God, have mercy upon us! Thou dost not change, and therefore Thy people are not consumed. Forgive America for its many sins. Forgive each of us for all our sins. In wrath remember mercy. Thou didst promise that for the sake of ten righteous men Thou wouldst spare wicked Sodom. O God, hear the prayers of those who delight to fear Thy name, and do not give this nation over to a lie.
Thou art the Most High, who doth rule over the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever Thou wilt. If the heart of the king is in Thy hand to turn it as Thou pleasest, certainly then Thou rulest over the votes of the people. Direct their votes, we pray Thee, to those that will govern our nation with wisdom and lead us in ways that are right. Grant to us a president, senators, representatives, judges, governors, and other officials who will do us good and not harm. Give us a government under which Thy people, Thy church whom Thou dost love, may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Yet, Sovereign Lord, our deepest prayer is that Thou wouldst do whatever is necessary in the United States so that Thy name be hallowed, Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done, both here and throughout the world, now and in all generations to come. Glorify Thyself in Thy church and in Thy Son now and forevermore. Amen. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Pray on Election Day

On this Election Day Eve, it is indeed profitable to lift up the election process and our nation in prayer.  I have read two great pieces about praying for the upcoming election and our country: one from John Piper at Desiring God, and a piece about how to pray for the election by Albert Mohler.  Above all else (like political involvement), those who call on the name of the Lord should do so at this time, and in the days to come.  And through this process, let us examine ourselves as we examine the state of our nation and those who lead it.

Unfortunately, our system of government has led Americans (including Christians) to believe that we are the masters of our own destiny - we elect whom we want, and if we don't like someone in power, we vote him out of power.  This gives us a sense of control when it comes to government.  We believe that we have the final say.  Also, there are many American Christians that separate their spiritual and political thoughts and opinions.  This ought not to be.  These two realities, however, have predisposed American Christians to, in large part, refrain from deep prayer when considering the political realm.  Again, this ought not to be.  As the two pieces linked above make clear, there is much to be prayed about when considering our country, our leaders, and even our own involvement in the political process.

How should we pray at this time?  Albert Mohler suggests the following.  And it should be noted that these prayer requests are appropriate for all times, not just during election cycles.

1. Pray that God will bless America with leaders who are better than we deserve.

2. Pray that Americans will be motivated to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship, yet also that we will be stripped of an unhealthy and idolatrous confidence in the power of government to save us.

3. Pray that Americans will vote by conscience, not merely on the basis of celebrity or emotion.

4. Pray that Americans will vote to defend the least among us - and especially those who have not vote.

5. Pray that God will prick the conscience of the nation on issues of morality, righteousness, and respect for marriage as the central institution of human civilization.

6. Pray that God will protect the candidates and their families.

7. Pray that the election is conducted with honor, civility, respect, and justice.

8. Pray that Americans will be prepared to accept the results of the election with respect and kindness.

9. Pray that this election would lead to even greater opportunities to preach the gospel, and that the freedom of the church will be respected, honored, and protected.

10. Pray for the church - that she would be strengthened in the truth, grounded in the faith, and empowered for witness and ministry.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A (Worshipful) Comedy of Errors

It's been a week since my most recent sermon at Riverview.  Whenever I fill the pulpit I try to write a post about the content of the sermon I preached.  For whatever reason I haven't gotten around to writing that post yet.  Well, I just downloaded the podcast of my sermon from last week, so I thought this would be an opportune time to say a few words.

I need to start off by saying that it's a good thing that God doesn't accept our worship based upon the level of technical perfection it is conducted in, nor does he give demerits for uncontrollable technical glitches.  Thank goodness that Jesus' blood and righteousness are what make our worship acceptable, because if God's standard for acceptable worship were functional microphones and technical perfection, then Riverview Baptist Church would have been up a creek last week!

First of all, it was a crazy service.  There were several technical snafus, not to mention that it was a very full and detail oriented service.  Several things had to go a certain way in order to "work."  To begin with, the Pioneer Girls group was presenting a black light puppet show during the service for the children's story.  This meant that we had to try and black out as much natural light from the sanctuary as possible, which meant quite a bit of work beforehand, plus all of the platform furniture was either moved or removed, and there were plenty of black light decorations all over the stage.

Things went crazy during the service too.  Rich, our multi-media guy, came down right as the service was about to begin and told me the computer had frozen, and it was going to be a solid five minutes before it was back up and running.  This was a bit concerning, considering that a lot of our announcements are fueled by visuals on the screen.  Moreover, we were showing an Operation Christmas Child video during the announcements.  Rich told me I needed to kill some time during the announcements to allow time for the computer to reboot.  I did, but apparently it wasn't enough.  The computer was still hiccuping by the time we were ready to show the video.

After all that, our sound guy, Craig, signaled to me from the sound booth that my microphone wasn't on.  I signaled back that, in fact, it was turned on.  He then signaled back that I had it on "mute mode."  I signaled back again that no, I didn't.  This wouldn't be too much of an issue, had I not been responsible for the corporate prayer that morning, which I was.  This means I had to pray corporately for the church, which is somewhat hard to do without any voice amplification.  During a silent prayer time, Craig snuck down and gave me a new wireless mic, and told me to plug my mic cord into the new receiver.  I couldn't get my cord to plug into the mic!  So, out of desperation, I picked up one of the hand-held mics, which unbeknownst to me, was wrapped around the music stand I was standing in front of.  The mic cord had no slack, and as I drew it to my face, the taut cord pulled the mic from my hand and it bounced loudly off the music stand (did I mention this was during the silent prayer time?).  The foam wind protector on the mic fell off and rolled onto the floor (four feet below the platform).  It turned out that this particular microphone was having problems too, so I ended up just shouting out the corporate prayer for the morning.

After the prayer, I invited the congregation to stand and sing the doxology in preparation for the offering.  As the piano and organ played the introduction to the doxology, out of the corner of my eye, I could see someone ascending the stairs to the platform.  I looked, and was more than surprised to see my three year old daughter coming to greet me on the platform.  She had left her seat, gone and picked up the foam wind protector from the handheld microphone, and brought it to me on the platform.  According to my wife, she was very distressed when I dropped the mic earlier and the foam wind cover fell off, and she felt it was very important to return it to me.  The Mrs. told her to go get it and hand it to me after the prayer.  In the mind of my three year old, this meant to bring it to me on the platform, which she did.  Needless to say, I was quite surprised to see her up there!

After the doxology, and during the offertory, I slipped into the back room (because there was nowhere to sit on the platform.  Craig, the sound guy, was waiting for me, with yet a third wireless mic.  He explained that the cord from my original wireless mic had shorted out, and that's why it wasn't working with any mic he gave me.  But here he was, with a fresh and working mic and cord, which I quickly clipped to my tie.

Then, after coming up with a makeshift children's story to introduce the black light puppet show, the kids came on and did a fantastic job.  Take a look.

After each service, it's traditional for the preaching pastor to meet exiting worshipers at the door for a handshake, which I dutifully did (although I always get out of there as fast as possible - no offense to Riverview folks, but have you ever shook 200 hands in a row?  You tend to want to wash your hands as soon as you can).  This time, one person who was in the service and had heard my sermon simply came up to me and asked me where the book of 2nd Colossians was located in the Bible.  I didn't understand.  That's a strange question to ask.  After all, my sermon was from Colossians 2.

Uh oh.

He said that I had mentioned at the beginning of the sermon that we were "continuing our study of 2nd Colossians."  No.  Not possible, I thought.  I must've said something like, we're "continuing our study of the 2nd chapter of Colossians."  Surely I would never say something as stupid as referring to 2nd Colossians - a book that doesn't even exist.

Although, when I look back on it, it's not too surprising that I would say something like that in a sermon.  Whenever I preach, I tend to get in a zone where all I'm focusing on is the sermon, and what I am saying.  I find that if I don't pretty much know what I'm going to say during a sermon, then it's anybody's guess what is going to come out of my mouth.  Therefore, if you ever hear me preach, you can pretty much know that almost every word I say is prepared before hand.

This zone, however, can tend to tie me down and make me oblivious to what is happening around me, and even to what is coming out of my mouth.  Sometimes I think I can get so concerned about what I am going to say, that I don't realize what I've actually said.  It seemed possible to me  that something like this could have happened here, although I wasn't going to believe it until I heard the recording for myself.

Well, as I said earlier, I just downloaded the podcast.  Here's a transcript of the first 11 words of my sermon from this past week:

"We're continuing on, this morning, in our study of second Colossians..."


Oh well.  Like I said: if nothing else, we can rejoice that the acceptable-ness of our worship is not dependent upon us doing it well.  Thank God for that!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thus & Such, Vol. 6

1. "Sadly, far too many professing Christians seem to have both feet in each election - which is a profound failure of identity.  We are genuinely citizens here, yes, but those truly united to Jesus have a deeper and more durable belonging, the benefits of which will far outstrip any other citizenship we have."  Need help keeping an eternal perspective, and keeping the upcoming election in perspective?  Then read this article.

2. "Zombies are horrifying not simply because they're mean and aggressive.  They are horrifying because they represent what ought to repulse us: the rotting decay of death.  But they still walk.  And, beyond that, they still crave.  In their search for human brains, they are driven along by their appetites, though always under the sway of a slavemaster's will.  Here's an interesting comparison of the state of living as a zombie with the state of living as a lost sinner.  Yes, you read that correctly.  More surprisingly, the article is written by Russell Moore.  It's interesting.  Check it out.  

3. "Imagine if I said, 'Don't like slavery?  Then don't own a slave.'  Or, 'Don't like spousal abuse?  Then don't beat your wife!'"  This is part of Scott Klusendorf's response to the question, "Don't like abortion?  Then don't have one."  Scott has literally done more thinking about the abortion issue than probably anyone else in the country.  The guy is a genius, and his insight on how to approach the abortion argument is invaluable.  In this article, he attempts to explain why people are pro-choice.

4. "In some schools, it's the football players doing the bullying.  At Queen Creek, they're stopping it.  And not with fists - with straight-up love for a kid most teenage football players wouldn't even notice, much less hang out with."  This article wins the "Feel-Good Story of the Year" award.  Definitely worth the read.  I especially appreciate the little brother's comment at the end: "Mom, I got this."

5. "One of the greatest crimes of this generation of Christians is its neglect of the gospel, and it is from this neglect that all our other maladies spring forth."  This is taken from the back cover of Paul Washer's newest (first?) full-length book, The Gospel's Power and Message.  I bought it as soon as it was available, and am looking forward to reading it.  Not familiar with Paul Washer?  You should be.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Politics

If you don't receive Grace Gems in your email, let me encourage you to sign up to receive them for free.  It's usually the best email I receive in a day.  What are Grace Gems?  They are mini-devotionals from puritans, preachers, and theologians of old (I think the litmus test for who is included in the devotionals is that you have to have been dead before 1900).  There are fantastic theological ruminations recorded in these little gold mines that every Christian should ingest on a regular basis.

Today's Grace Gem rocked my socks off.  It was penned by John Newton, of "Amazing Grace" notoriety.  Topic: "my politics."  According to the email, the following is taken from one of dozens of letters that Newton penned to various people.  Have a look:

The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse, "The Lord reigns!  Let the nations tremble!" (Psalm 99.1) 

The times look awfully dark indeed; and as the clouds grow thicker - the stupidity of the nation seems proportionally to increase.  If the Lord had not a remnant here, I would have very formidable apprehensions.  But he loves his children; some are sighing and mourning before him, and I am sure he hears their sighs, and sees their tears.  I trust there is mercy in store for us at the bottom; but I expect a shaking time before things get into a right channel - before we are humbled, and are taught to give him the glory. 

The state of the nation, the state of the churches - both are deplorable!  Those who should be praying - are disputing and fighting among themselves!  Alas!  Ho many professors are more concerned for the mistakes of government - than for their own sins!

O God, purify your church for the sake of your glory and our good, both as a church and as a nation.

A Year of (anything but) Biblical Womanhood

Rachel Held Evans is a self-proclaimed Christian blogger.  It's no secret that she tends to the left on just about every issue, and her writing tends to get conservative people like me all riled up.  A lot of my left-leaning Christian Facebook friends link to her articles frequently, and that's pretty much sums up my experience with her.  I don't read her often, nor do I regularly check what she writes, but I run across her every once in a while.

Several months ago, during one of my various times at her blog, I noticed that she was in the process of writing a book called "A Year of Biblical Womanhood," written in the same vein as this book that details the complexities of supposedly living completely biblically for one year.  Held Evans (or is it just evans?  I never know when it comes to people with three names) does everything she can to supposedly obey every command and requirement placed upon women by the Bible for one year.  According to Evans, this endeavor led her to do all kinds of crazy things, most of which she records in her book for comic relief, according to her.

Unfortunately (for Evans) a plethora of devastating reviews have been unleashed on her book, almost exclusively from the conservative side of the Christian camp.  I have taken the time to read these reviews, such as this one, and this one, and this one from the always funny and witty Doug Wilson.  If the content of the reviews and opinions of the reviewers are accurate (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), then it appears that Evans' book is one to stay away from.

To be fair to Evans, I haven't read the book, nor do I intend to (I have a limited amount of time, which means a limited amount of reading time, and her book is not at the top of my very select list)  But from what I can tell from the reviews, one of the major hermeneutical mistakes that Evans makes is that she fails to understand the purpose for those laws and commandments given to women, and especially their purpose under the specific covenant that they were given.  That is, any time we talk about Old Testament laws, we need to in the same breath affirm that Jesus fulfills all of those laws, and that they are no longer necessary.  Therefore, asserting that the Bible is oppressive to women based on Old Testament requirements for women is absolutely uneducated, and almost embarrassingly so.  This is Christianity 101 type stuff.  Of course we don't follow those laws (for women or men) because they are impossible to follow.  That's why we needed a Savior.  Now that we have a Savior, our obedience and righteousness rests in him, not in a hopeless endeavor to obey a myriad of laws.  Again, from what I hear from the reviews, this distinction is painfully lacking in Evans' work, and that's incredibly unfortunate, if for no other reason that it robs Jesus of the glory he is due for meeting those requirements, and secondarily for confusing modern day women and coercively convincing them that the Bible is oppressive toward women.

The key to understanding these issues, and several others that are reportedly in Evans' book is hermeneutics.  I just used this term in an email conversation with a friend yesterday, and he had no idea what it means, so let me define: hermeneutics is the art and science of interpretation - particularly biblical interpretation.  The way we interpret the Bible will color and influence the conclusions we make from the Bible.  Hermeneutics then, is an especially important thing to understand.  From what you will read in the reviews of Evans' book linked above, it appears that her grasp of hermeneutics leaves something to be desired.  Unfortunately, she has chosen a very sensitive issue to be very wrong about, as her writing will no doubt influence thousands of women to distrust the Bible, and distrust God.

It should be noted that I decided to write this post after reading Doug Wilson's review (the third review of the three linked to above).  As I did a little looking around, I meandered over to Evans' site and noticed that she just happened to be appearing on "The View" this morning, right around the time that I was writing the post.  This is important to note, since Evans and her supporters insist that her critics have gotten her wrong.  She does not attack the Bible, they say, but rather the notion that there is a "right" interpretation, and also the idea that there is such a thing as objective biblical interpretation.  This is an idea that I would carefully affirm.  I say "carefully affirm," because we also need to note that just because we all bring a certain set of suppositions to the text when we interpret, this does not mean that we should not make absolute statements about the Bible, or or truths we have interpreted from the Bible.  It does mean, however, that we need to recognize and admit those things we bring to the text (and even force upon the text) and be aware of them.  The more we are aware of them, the more we can fight against them as we interpret the Bible and conform our lives to what it says.  And the more open and honest we are about the things we bring to our study of scripture, the more we can hold each other accountable when we read and study it together.  In fact, even a realization of the fact that we each bring things to the text when we study it, will influence the way we study it.

Anyway, since Evans was appearing on The View around the time that I was writing the post, I decided to tune in (going against every fiber of my being).  I bring this up, because Evans was anything but open and honest about her own presuppositions that she brings to the text during this interview.  The segment was designed to make the Bible look stupid and irrelevant.  It focused on videos of her doing the things she describes in the book, which look absurd and outdated, as indeed they are (outdated at least).  This woman is not interested in openness and honesty about where we all lack when it comes to interpreting the Bible.  She wants to advance her feminist agenda by downgrading the authority of scripture.  This seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy.

For example, the tagline before the commercial break preceding Evans' appearance on the show said this: "You won't believe what she did to obey the strict laws the Bible has for women, for an entire year."  Yeah, that sounds like it's going to be an open and honest conversation about hermeneutics.  Ms. Evans, don't tell conservative reviewers that they're not getting to the heart of the issue represented in the book, when you yourself aren't getting to the heart of the issue of your book on a nationally televised program.  It's extremely hypocritical.  Moreover, the hosts of The View took this opportunity to laugh at the Bible and what it says.  Congratulations, Ms. Evans.  You've given unbelievers a reason to laugh at, condemn, and disbelieve the Bible (including the audience members of the day, as they were each given a copy of the book).  Well done.

For someone who reportedly wants an open dialogue about how we interpret the Bible, but seems to try to initiate that dialogue by spending her time belittling the Bible and ignoring context, she has a strange way of going about it.