There aren’t many things more noble and worthwhile than tearing down false beliefs that dishonor Christ, and replacing them with real truth and beauty about Christ.
There is a special beauty and aura to my pregnant wife. I love to look at her!
Since truth about Christ is vital for the falling of the Spirit, obscurity is deadly and clarity is redemptive. When nuance obscures, love demands the condescension of summary. When naunce adds clarity, love demands clear, precisional categories. Love labors and sweats and aches to find helpful ways to communicate truth and beauty, folk and fine.
Missions are why rationally suicidal Christians stick around. (Philippians 1:20-25)
Some of the best premises in an argument appeal to indisputable parts of the human experience.
When sin is attributed to a man’s motive on the basis of external fruit, he objects that his motives are ultimately unknowable by others, since they are internal. When goodness is attributed to a man’s motive, he commends the other for his amiableness, politeness, and respect. We are deep sinners with double-standards, and we love ourselves with whatever standard suits us at the moment.
Repentance isn’t really what changes us. Repentance merely connects us to the Spirit who changes us. It is the resolve of the heart, sorrow over sin, and turning to trust God for all his promises. It always comes weak, empty-handed, and imperfect. The glory of the change of the heart and being right with God goes to God, not our willpower. Whenever you turn a salvific instrument like faith or repentance into a glorious, life-changing instrument of willpower, you miss the entire reason God chose faith and repentance as the instruments of salvation. God chose weak instruments to shame those who think they are strong. Real faith and repentance are such that no man will or can boast in them. They are like empty cups that homeless, humble, bankrupt beggars lift up. The beggars of grace know that not even their humility will make them right with God. Only the righteousness of another will due.
Repentance unto life, like faith, looks outside of itself to the beautiful, delivering rightousness of another, with a brokenness over the ugliness of one’s own sin.
It’s helpful to show people that you resonate honestly with human experience. It serves as a testimony to your reliable character, and that your testimony about other things is truthworthy.
It is very plain to me that truth and lie and belief and conviction unite and divide men more than affability or congeniality or tone of voice. A man has more genuine unity with another who is abrasive yet believes the same, than with a man who is amiable yet believes differently. Even when this hasn’t been immediately apparent, it has become apparent to me. Behind every friendship is a bridge of shared conviction.
When a man knows a thing, and I share that knowledge, and then I find out that he knows other things as well in relation to that first thing, and I share the knowledge of those things too (but not previously their relationship with the first), my eyes are often opened to the relationship, and I feel the excitement of seeing a bigger picture, and I feel confident that there is an order to things, and that reality always come in a package, and is interconnected. I love it that creation is a system. And I love learning from those who see it as such.
We trust God in our suffering, not by withholding our questions, but by asking them in an earnest way without accusation, and by willing to leave them unanswered. “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You yourself are the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” (C.S. Lewis)
Degree of clarity corresponds to degree of accountability. If God should hold men accountable for a thing, we may rightly infer a damning clarity. If God should reveal a thing clearly, we should rightly infer the weight of the condemnation of a man for not heeding it.
You can tell that a religious person is a secret atheist when he says doesn’t think God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20) are clear from nature. Even if he says he believes in God, you probably should set out to convince him that He exists.
Faith that honors its object is a subjective response to something objectively trustworthy — I believe that I exist, and I believe that my wife is faithful, but I do not believe that my wife is faithful with the same degree of certainty that I exist. If I did, my trust in her would dishonor her, for it would cease to be a response to how reliable she has demonstrated herself to be. My own existence is inescapable, and it is logically impossible for anyone to demonstrate the opposite. There is glory in my own existence (that is owing to God), but it is shown in a less glorious way than how my wife shows her fidelity. If I said, “Honey, I believe that you are faithful, apart from all objective content”, she should not blush, she should furrow her brow. For, if that is the case, I could hypothetically come home to find her patently, objectively adulterous, and then still believe in her faithfulness. But would such relentless belief honor her? Absolutely not. The faith that honors its object is a response to demonstrated reliability, and is vulnerable to damning objectivity. It is a leap into the dark responding to light seen without the eyes. It is the same with faith in God. Abraham’s faith honored God because it was a response to how reliable God had demonstrated himself; indeed, a subjective response to his very objective nature and character. This should be obvious, for blind faith that is stripped of all compelling objective content does not honor an object.
Testimony that bears witness of the objective, demonstrated trustworthiness of another appeals more to the self-evident trustworthiness of that person than the self.
Testimony that bears witness of the euphoria of one’s own emotional epiphany appeals more to the trustworthiness of the self than the object of the epiphany.