Defunding the Idol-state, A Help to Learn Greek, and Three Great Books

First off, Doug Wilson recent post made the political scientist in me jump for joy! Here is a little taste:

Without God, man is naturally an idolater and he prefers tangible idols, idols he can carve and paint and bow down to. Some secularists have some capacity for abstraction, and so they place their trust in the laws of logic or Adam Smith’s invisible hand. But for the most part, secularists over time will always prefer the visible hand of the state to the invisible hand. The invisible hand is too close to Christian orthodoxy for comfort — the secularist always retreats to things he believes he can manipulate.

And so, in our political debates, there are basically two positions — with each option having its own intramural debates, of course. One position wants the idol-state to have an increased allowance next year, and the other wants the idol-state to have a decreased allowance next year. There you go. Politics made simple.

Really good stuff, right? Click here to read it all.

Secondly, I am doing a Greek brush up this summer and I am using Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek and the workbook. I recommend them to anyone who wants to learn Greek or do what I’m doing and review what you already know. The methodology of these texts is very uplifting; they tell you how much of the Greek New Testament you know as you learn vocab. So, for example by the end of the first chapter’s homework you’ll know 11% of the words in the Greek N.T. and knowing that stat will help keep you going when things get tough. Mounce points out in the forward that the reason to learn Greek is to better understand the word of God and he makes every effort to keep that fact in front of you as you study. I recommend them to you for consideration.

Lastly in light of the recent interview we did with Kress, I wanted to point out three great books they’ve published:

The Cup and the Glory: Lessons on Suffering and the Glory of God. Here is an excerpt:

Paul was living in obedience to God when God twice told him “no” to what he attempted. Paul was not like Jonah; he was walking with God, not running away from Him. We begin at the same place before going any farther. The first element before crying out to God “Why?” or “Help!” is to examine your own life. Are you currently living in obedience to God?

The Stone and the Glory: Lessons on the Temple Presence and the Glory of God. Here is an excerpt:

We are on our way to Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. As with physical travelers over the centuries who would journey three times yearly to the great national feasts of Israel, we, too, have begun our own journey. But before we see the vistas of Jerusalem that God so delights in showing His children, we, too, have some land to traverse, but instead of walking miles to Jerusalem, our pilgrimage is through the pages of Scripture—often through some dark passages and often through obscure books for most readers of the Bible. But as with the earthly pilgrims, our journey promises to be more than worth any effort we exert. How arduous it must have been during biblical times for mothers with small children or infants to travel up to one hundred miles or more on donkey or on foot. As the Jewish mothers no doubt used to encourage their weary and impatient children on their pilgrim- age to Jerusalem, “Hush, child! We are not there yet. We have a ways to go. Settle down. Be patient. It will be worth it when we arrive. We are going to the Holy City of God”—the same holds true for us. But we have work to do. We must drop down into the Word “to see with their eyes and hear with their ears” the events and truths that God reveals. As always, God’s Word contains marvelous mysteries and markers that God Himself has set before us.

The Darkness and the Glory: His Cup and the Glory from Gethsemane to the Ascension. Here is an excerpt:

Peter’s latter proclamation in Matthew 16:16 contrasts with what the disciples previously concluded about Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the God the Living One!” God Himself made sure that four definite articles were included as He inspired Peter to say what He wanted said in the exact way that He intended. What the disciples gradually learned about Jesus, Satan already knew. At this point in the confrontation, Satan may not have believed or accepted that Jesus was the Christ. The Christ—or Messiah—is a title, an office. As far as Satan was concerned Jesus had not fulfilled this function yet. Perhaps He never would. At this stage in His life Jesus was not yet fully qualified to be Messiah. Hebrews 2:10 gives an indication of some of the means that God chose to accomplish completely all that He intended in Jesus: “For it was fitting for Him [that is, God the Father]. . . . in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” “To perfect” is used in the sense of fullness or completion, not as correcting something that has defects. The sufferings of the Messiah were only now––in the wilderness––beginning in earnest, as God perfected into maturity His Messiah who would not only redeem the lost from their sin but also would identify with their sufferings (Heb. 2:14-18). Such was part of the cup that Jesus was drinking throughout His entire Incarnation. Satan hated Jesus with abhorrence unrivaled by any human hatred. Satan’s approach to Jesus demonstrates this. Unlike the demons who throughout the Gospels always cowered in Jesus’ presence, Satan never did. Satan, who deems himself worthy of all worship, honor, glory, and praise, was not about to acknowledge Jesus’ title or status without a fight—and the fight was just beginning during this initial temptation of Jesus. Even how Satan addressed Jesus was an insult, a prod. He did not acknowledge Jesus’ unique status; he simply tempted Him by acknowledging He was a son of God. But Jesus was not the first so designated. Adam had originated as God’s son (Luke 3:38)—and Adam had been no match for Satan.

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