You know you have a bad gospel when …

Benny Hinn rebukes Joel Osteen. Interesting and ironic that Hinn is defending the exclusivity of the gospel as well as attacking the folly of the seeker sensitive movement. Apparently Joel Osteen can’t cast out demons because he himself is demon possessed. It’s an interesting 10 minutes.

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Mr. Rogers Remixed

Ted S. linked to a remixed version of Mr. Rogers. Of course the nostalgia came back to me having grown up with the sweater wearing grandpa, so I had to read the Wikipedia article on him. Amazingly, the show ran for over 30 years and just about 1000 episodes! His take on educational television programming revolutionized the industry and (in my biased opinion) has not been surpassed in the current offerings (I’m talking about you, Teletubbies!) Anyway, for your enjoyment is the remixed video.

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First Harvest

First harvest of radishes from my garden

This is the first year that I’ve tried growing a garden. I helped my dad here and there in his garden when I was little, but this is the first time where I had to take care of everything. Although I knew how much work my dad put into the garden I never experienced it for myself. I use the time in the garden to meditate and organize my thoughts and over the past week I’ve really spent some time thinking about the most famous and significant garden in the world: Eden. Events which transpired there have had lasting effects. Just thinking through the obvious ones:

 

  • First man and first woman were created and lived there.
  • First human disobedience occurred.
  • First curses placed on the earth, humanity, and everything else which was created.
  • First promise of a “seed” which would crush the serpent’s head was given.

My thoughts recently have focused on the effects of the curse especially as it relates to growing things. Adam’s purpose as given by God is that he would subdue the earth. He was uniquely created as a God’s vice-regent by virtue that he was created in God’s image. ((Eugene H. Merrill.  Covenant and the Kingdom: Genesis 1-3 as Foundational for Biblical Theology. Dallas Theological Seminary.))  However, this exercise of authority over the earth was not independent of God’s authority. This dependence upon God’s authority  is what made the forbidden fruit so destructive to humanity. In choosing to eat of the fruit, Adam and Eve asserted their authority over God’s. Thus, Adam lost the privilege of exercising authority over the earth. He was still responsible for subduing it, but he must now subdue it through hard, tedious labor.

This hard labor is frustrating because the earth does not submit to our will. Weeds grow where we don’t want them and good plants become infested with bugs and disease. Rain and sunshine come and go as they please, not as we desire. It’s an interesting connection between the first Adam and the second Adam, Christ, since Jesus was able to subdue storms with a word or destroy a fig tree with a curse. While these miracles are often ascribed to Christ’s deity (and rightfully so), there also seems to be an aspect that Jesus himself is subduing the earth in ways that humanity, which was patterned after him, should have subdued the earth back in the garden.

Praise God that his plan is “to unite all things in him [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). Jesus is the ultimate king over the cosmos as he subdues everything perfectly.

Biblical advice for single women

Thanks to Greg D. for pointing this one out. (Link). Below is the text listed in the linked picture.

To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of Biblical advice: “Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz.” While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don’t settle for any of his relatives; Broke-as, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheatin-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothin-az, Lazy-az, and especially his third cousin Beatinyo-az. Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yoaz.

Though humorous and hopefully it was portrayed in a jovial manner, the fact remains that the theme of Ruth is much larger then just good advice about dating. Obviously I don’t know the context of the sermon or if this was just a humorous illustration for a larger point, but in isolation this is exactly what not to do with a biblical text and portray it as what it actually means. I guess I would make an observation and a question.

(1) The wordplay here off of Ruth is both humorous and memorable. I am sure that the teens at this rally chuckled, snickered, and whispered to each other, “did he really say that?” In that regard, finding ways of making biblical stories memorable, this I think is a good example. As actual exegesis, not so much.

(2) How far can a non-exegetical sermon go in order to teach moral lessons before it turns from memorable to non-biblical? The point is not that we should teach teenagers (or everyone for that manner) about biblical relationships but rather should we teach these things apart from the larger theological context. For example, there probably are some good lessons to be learned about relationships in Ruth, but why are those lessons important? In my limited understanding of Ruth and where it sits in the cannon it was important that the idea of the kinsman redeemer be fulfilled because of the linage of Christ. Ruth, the ancestor of David from whom Christ eventually came, was not a Jewish woman by birth and therefore was unqualified to be in the line of the promised seed. However, because of her relationship with Boaz, God’s promise to Abraham (even going back to Eve) was continuing to be fulfilled. By making Ruth a lesson about relationships, the faithfulness of God is being overshadowed.

Therefore, I would be of the opinion that applications such as the one linked to above can be done, but they must be done in the theological context of the book.