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A View from the Altar / Lithology
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Category Archives: Lithology

Snuggling a porcupine

09-Oct-11

The biblical teaching about the return of Christ tends to focus our minds upon an event that takes place at a certain place and time.  So it’s natural for people to ask when it will occur.  In Paul’s second letter to his church at Thessalonica, he addressed this question when it surfaced in response to […]

Different sort of square peg

09-Oct-11

John the Baptist was quite popular early in his ministry.  But in less than two years, his popularity plunged to near zero.  When Herod’s men executed him, the Jews did not object at all.  They were glad to be rid of him, and Christ demanded to know why (Matt 11:7). Had they gone out in […]

A square peg the size of Gibraltar

08-Oct-11

It’s generally believed that Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians were among his first epistles.  Ordinarily I would say the Bible is the Word of God period, so I typically avoid arguments based on which letter of Paul was written first.  If that sort of argument appeals to you, see the writings of Cornelius Stam.  I’m […]

Pursuit of sinners

02-Oct-11

The Pharisees uttered the famous “Gospel in a grumble” in Luke 15:2, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Jesus responded with a series of stories as if to say, “And not only that…” In the first story he compared God to a shepherd who lost a sheep and left most of the herd […]

Sodium-free Gospel

23-Sep-11

My parents tell a story from yesteryear when mass market infant formula was still somewhat <ahem> in its infancy.  It seems one of the formula manufacturers left out a key nutrient, and the missing nutrient led to a lot of babies going blind and suffering brain damage.  Initially they thought the problem was a contaminant, […]

At the core of evangelical belief

21-Aug-11

Israel definitely got the wrong idea about the purpose of the law of Moses.  They thought it was a prescribed method for gaining God’s favor.  Actually, says Paul, it was more like a systematic way to identify all the ways we offend God. Now we know that what things soever the law saith , it […]

Nettlesome revelation

20-Aug-11

I’ve been working my way through the book of Romans lately and just finished the chapter 9 which so many people love to hate.  But as an internet acquaintance said about a different subject, “the words say what they say.” And they do indeed. I should point out that Romans 9 doesn’t stand alone.  It […]

Brother Harold, please stop talking

24-May-11

Harold Camping’s worldwide church of embarrassment is stepping into the batter’s box for their third strike.  The end of the world has been rescheduled for October. Harold, please — please — stop this.  You can’t predict the end of the world.  Speculations about the date of Noah’s flood are occasional fun for deep students of […]

World still here. Dang.

21-May-11

Chalk up another loss for the date-setters.  I don’t know why people do this.  They embarrass themselves and the faith they profess.  Jesus said nobody knows the day and hour of his return.  (Matt 24:36)  We should leave things right there. A long time ago, my preaching ministry emphasized the interpretation of Bible prophecy.  Eventually […]

Guys, you don’t have to do that

23-Apr-11

Roman Catholics in the Philippines (sans any official approval of their church, I add in response to a comment) participate in an annual ritual of suffering that re-enacts the passion of Christ.  They have themselves scourged and crucified — literally.  Check out the Google images link here, but be forewarned that many of these images […]

Having an Advocate

16-Apr-11

When we were at the airport in Guangzhou, China, a problem came up with our airline tickets.  I speak no Mandarin, and the ticket agents spoke no English.  Pointing, nodding, and shrugging weren’t working out.  So our guide intervened, figured out the problem, and got it settled to the satisfaction of all concerned.  It was […]

A killer of a god

07-Apr-11

Whoever coined the phrase “American dream” surely never meant it to be a catch phrase for greed.  But that’s what it has become.  And covetousness, Paul reminds us, is idolatry (Col 3:5). America’s prosperity was God’s gift.  But the Secular Man — and perhaps a few of us Christians — began to worship and serve […]

It cost a king’s ransom… just about right

01-Apr-11

More than any of the other evangelists, John highlights the deity of Christ. (Jn 1:1-2, Jn 8:58)   His deity is at the nexus between doctrine and devotion.  It’s doctrine because it says what Christianity is and why it has any authority. (Jn 12:48) The Christian faith is founded on Jesus, centered on him, all […]

Here’s looking at you, kid

12-Mar-11

John 9 tells about a blind guy whose sight Christ restored by means of spitting on the ground, making clay, and rubbing it into the man’s eyes.  He told the man to go wash his eyes, which he did, and the man’s sight was instantly healed. This occurred on the Sabbath day which naturally set […]

No Bondo on God’s chariot

03-Mar-11

What did he know and when did he know it? During the Watergate hearings of 1974, Senator Howard Baker asked this question about President Nixon, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” Baker got genius points for distilling the issue, but the question wasn’t original with him. Christian thinkers have been […]