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Ruth_and_Naomi_Leave_Moab

Ruth and Naomi Leave Moab, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872).

Of all political issues, immigration is perhaps the one most likely to elicit strong emotions from all sides of the political spectrum. For this reason alone it is important that we be careful to define our terms. For my part, I find that seeking to be precise in my language is an effective hedge against allowing emotion to cloud my judgment.

In today’s post I would like to tackle one of the most important, and at the same time one of the least examined, aspects of the immigration debate: According to Scripture, by what method or methods does someone become a citizen?

The answer to this question will have a significant impact on our understanding of what the Bible teaches about immigration.

What is a Citizen?

It’s been said, truly I might add, that if you don’t define your terms, you don’t know what you’re talking about. So let’s begin by asking this question, What is a citizen? My Webster’s Seventh Edition give the following,

  • an inhabitant of a city or town; esp : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
  • a member of a state
  • a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it
  • a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state

Of these four definitions, the third “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it” will be the sense in which I use the term “citizen” in this post.

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2018

As once again we find ourselves at the end of one year and the start of another, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to serve him and his church through this blog.

In March 2018, I will celebrate nine years in the blogosphere, and that’s a pretty long time in blog years. That raises an interesting question, So just what is the average lifespan of a blog anyway? Well, as is often the case, it depends on whom you ask.

According to one post, most blogs die after 100 days. Yikes! That makes Lux Lucet something like 1000 in human years! Another post puts the average blog lifespan at 33 months. Whatever the actual average number is, it appears that this space has continued to be active well past the time when most blogs have become internet history.

And that’s a credit, not to the skill or to the perseverance of the blogger, but God who has graciously provided the opportunity, the desire, the knowledge, the wisdom and the strength to continue.

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The Annunciation_Fra Angelico_15th c.

The Annunciation, Fra Angelico, 15th cen.

 

One of the many reasons I have long admired the work of John Robbins was his insistence on holding, and skill at handling, question and answer sessions after his talks.

As brilliant as his lectures were, some of his best recorded comments came in the discussions that he had with audience members after he was finished speaking.

A few years ago, Tom Juodaitis was kind enough to send me recordings of a number of sermons preached by Dr. Robbins at Reformation Chapel in Unicoi, TN.

Among the sermons was a two part series on John 3:1-17. At the end of part 2, there is a discussion among Dr. Robbins, an individual whose identity I don’t know, and Tom Juodaitis concerning the incarnation.

In this discussion, Dr. Robbins explains Gordon Clark’s teaching on the incarnation. Clarks mature thinking on this subject is found in the final book he wrote just before his death in 1985, The Incarnation. Clark’s work was at the time, and continues to be, controversial. For at its heart is the idea that Jesus of Nazareth is not, as is commonly taught, one person in two natures, but two persons in one individual, one a divine person and the other a human person.

This really shouldn’t be controversial. Just recently I heard a preacher say, correctly I would add, that Jesus is 100 percent God and 100 percent man. If this is the case, and it is, then we are logically driven to the same conclusion Clark reached.

Yet many people are offended at Clark’s thought, dismissing it as Nestorianism while ignoring the logical force of his argument.

John Robbins was one theologian was persuaded by Clark’s argument and had no problem saying so. In the discussion below, Dr. Robbins is at his best, brilliantly, simply and persuasively summarizing Clark’s argument.

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Jack Phillips_SCOTUS

Mary Torres holds up a rolling in in support of cake artist jack Phillips outside the Supreme Court n Washington on Dec. 5.  (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

In perhaps the biggest story of this past week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The case involves the Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop, who in 2012 refused to make a custom wedding cake for a same sex married couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. This set in motion a legal battle that saw Mr. Phillips, a Christian, dragged before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which did not look kindly on his appeals to free speech and the free exercise of his faith.

“I can believe anything I want,” said Commissioner Raju Jaram, “but if I’m going to do business here, I’d ought to not discriminate against people.” According to this same article, Phillips was ordered to stop discriminating against gay people, document any customers he refuses to service, provide antidiscrimination training for his staff, and report quarterly for two years.

One commissioner likened Phillips’ actions to those of the Nazis.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal organization representing Jack Phillips, argued this week before the Supreme Court that the baker’s First Amendment rights were violated by the Commission’s ruling. According to her, the Commission also violated Phillip’s religious liberty by attempting to force him, “to sketch, sculpt, and hand-paint cakes that celebrate a view of marriage in violation of his religious convictions.”

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