Learning at Daniel’s feet

Brent White shares his testimony of his conversion to being a strong conviction about the truthfulness of the Bible.

Included in the post are comments on a British podcast by a Christian apologist and Oxford mathematician. The full transcript of his lecture explaining how the Book of Daniel is a perfect book for Christians trying to figure out how to live in the 21st century. The speaker, John Lennox, speaks specifically of Great Britain, but I think many of his observations apply to us — or will in the coming years. This is how he frames the story of Daniel.

So, we have a young man who has been brought up to believe in God and he’s suddenly without warning precipitated into a completely alien culture. He’s moved physically. Now we haven’t been moved physically in this country, but in recent years and with increasing acceleration, we’ve been shifted from a culture that has been broadly monotheistic, in a culture that is increasingly relativistic, that’s increasingly atheistic, and that’s increasingly marginalising the capacity of the possibility of articulating faith in God in public….

To maintain your faith in God and your public witness in that kind of a situation is not easy. My view is that if we can gain anything from looking at this book that will help us to unpack the secret of Daniel’s stability and his conviction and his power and understanding, then it is worth doing.

If you prefer to listen, the lecture audio is here.

Is this why mainliners don’t read their bibles?

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order has passed away.” (Rev. 21: 3-4)

Before we ponder these beautiful verses, let’s skip down a few.

“Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, idolaters and all liars — they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev. 21: 7-8)

The beautiful hope of God rings out from the first quotation. The dire warning of God greets us in the second.

I have all these tendencies to want to embrace what people tell me I should believe as a United Methodist. I want to be able to pretend that Jesus never said anything hard that was directed at me and people like me. Sure, he said hard things to Jerry Falwell and the CEO of Monsanto, but not us. I want to be able to smile on my own sin and yours and say, God does not care all that much about it. He loves me. He loves you too much to speak harshly of sin.

And as long as I don’t actually open the Bible, I can get away with this.

40 questions, lots of answers

Reformed blogger, writer, and pastor Kevin DeYoung has written a post asking 40 questions of those who feel pulled to embrace the rainbow flag and consider themselves to be a “Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

The post has generated a fair amount of response. Here’s one blogger who has collected some of those links and offered her own.

Somewhere in here is an interesting small-group study. I think some of the responses reveal that they are not really from DeYoung’s target audience — evangelicals. For instance, the writer who says Paul was a cult leader who blunted the revolution of Jesus probably would not meet most definitions of evangelical.

But these are still interesting questions and responses that could be the basis of deeper and more prayerful conversation among those who are interested in such things.