According to R.C. Sproul, it's that you don't know who God is....
Frequently you'll hear people talking about the authority of the Bible - but what do they mean? In the quotations below you'll find a number of good answers.
10. “The Word of God is either absolute or obsolete.”
Is "faith" in the biblical sense, blind? If you listen to most people you would think it was! In the popular vernacular "faith" is little more than a wild stab in the dark. It is belief without evidence... And while this understanding of "faith" might be true for any number of the world's religions, it is certainly not true for Christianity. Christianity has never been about belief apart from reason. If it were do you think God would have given His people a 1,500 page book comprised almost entirely of objective truth claims? It's highly unlikely.
Faith & Reason: Top Ten Quotes
10. "Faith must have adequate evidence, else it is mere superstition."
9. "It is not a very robust faith which in order to survive must distort or ignore the facts."
8. "The faith that does not come from reason is to be doubted, and the reason that does not lead to faith is to be feared."
-G. Campbell Morgan
7. "True faith and saving knowledge go together."
6. "Faith is a response to evidence, not a rejoicing in the absence of evidence."
5. "Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all."
4. "God does not expect us to submit our faith to Him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity."
- St. Augustine
3. "Faith is knowledge passing into conviction, and it is conviction passing into confidence."
- John Murray
2. "Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second."
1. "The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we will trust Him; the greater our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith."
-J. Gresham Machen
Ever heard of it?
It used to be considered a pretty big deal for Christians. Moses outlawed it (Exodus 22:25), Jesus called it robbery (Matthew 21:12-13). King Edward I of England compared it to blasphemy. Historically many Christian (and Islamic) countries outlawed it. Roman Catholics have excommunicated those who practice it. Protestants have condemned it (e.g. 19th-century Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.) And yet it is - and it remains - one of the driving forces behind the modern U.S. economy.
So what is it?
The word usury simply refers to a monetary loan with interest. In the Western World interest (not to be confused with necessary banking fees) was, until relatively recent times, deemed immoral and sinful as it always enriched lenders and frequently impoverished, exploited, and even enslaved borrowers.
So what position should the modern American Christian take on the common practice of usury in our society? Furthermore, in light of our culture's historic stance against it and the numerous biblical prohibitions against it - how should we respond? (see Leviticus 25:36-37, Deuteronomy 23:19-21, Ezekiel 10:17, Psalm 15:5)
These questions are made all the more relevant when one pauses to consider that 80% of all Americans are in debt according to CNBC with 12% of those expecting to die in debt. According to nerdwallet.com overall U.S. household debt has increased 11% in the past ten years alone with current indebted households owing $134,924 on average. This means that in the U.S. (where the real median household income is $55,775) interest payments cost the average American household more than $6,600 per year or roughly 12% of total household income.
Coupled to these alarming statistics are a number of ethical questions regarding the policies of modern lending practices. According to the Catholic academic, Dr. M. Oliver Heydorn, in an article entitled Usury, Social Credit, and Catholicism, "The conventional financial system centralizes wealth, power, and privilege in the hands of those who have acquired monopoly control over financial credit (the lenders). The policy... is self-serving..."
Despite the fact that usurious loan practices have become both legally permissible and commonly practiced today (not to mention central to our national economy) shouldn't the handful of statistics cited above at least give Christians pause to think? Shouldn't the widespread indebtedness of our fellow citizens (not to mention ourselves) at least encourage us to think critically about whether usurious loan practices really do impoverish, exploit and enslave borrowers just as previous generations of claimed? And if so... shouldn't the American church have something to say about it?
It is certainly a complex situation to address and as with all complex situations the question is 'where do we start?'
Read the Bible:
Consider what the Bible teaches about usury (there are a number of texts cited above.) Once you've done this consider whether your understanding of usury has been derived from God's point of view or from the 'permissible' norms of the modern American marketplace.
Consider what people of the past have said on the subject. Ask yourself why so many countries strictly limited usury - if not banned it entirely. Were our ancestors justified in their actions against usury? When usury was practiced in the past did it help or hurt the average man?
Ask an Expert:
The video below captures a very interesting 'man on the street' conversation between two men. The man on the right (who for some inexplicable reason is dressed like Hercule Poirot) is explaining to the man on the left why usury, over and above all else, is a mathematical fraud. Though the man on the left is a little slow to understand it, the man on the right provides expert commentary on the subject along with a number of good illustrations. See if you find his explanation helpful.
In our latest installment of the course, Know Your History, we finish our look at one of the greatest churchmen of the past. He was a man who would provide godly leadership to the Church in His day. He was a man whose ministry would lay the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation more than 1000 years after his death. He was a man who would leave his indelible mark upon Western Civilization as a whole. He was a man whose name was Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo.
Why not take the time to meet him?
"Know Your History"
Class #5: Augustine: The First Theological Giant
I don't normally watch the news... But I did happen to watch this interview with a Planned Parenthood Executive.
On the one hand I was startled by her willingness to evade truth rather than admit self-deception... On the other hand, I was reminded that the penalty for living in the dark is not merely that a person cannot see, but that they go blind.
Take a quick look
(the relevant portion starts at 3:18):
"Since the Bible teaches that life in the womb is human life, one cannot accept abortion without denying the authority and truth of Scripture in practice."
- Francis Schaeffer
What is meant by “Christian Apologetics?”
pl.noun [ treated as sing. or pl. ]
reasoned arguments or writings in justification
of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.
Clearly a communication breakdown had occurred… and not the sort of Communication Breakdown (pictured right) that one desires to revisit again and again. Nay! This was a simple breakdown of verbiage. When my friend heard the word “apologetics” he had thought I was suggesting that Christians should go around apologizing to everyone for the claims of Chrsitianity – but nothing could have been further from the truth!
So… What is meant by “apologetics” anyway?
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
Rev. R Crabtree
"...a son, a husband, a father of 6, a friend, a Presbyterian
(not the liberal kind), an eccentric, and a minister of the gospel... I am also the Pastor of All Souls Church and a Professor of Religious Studies at OCBC."
All Souls Church
Attributes Of God
Irenaeus Of Lyons
Journey Of Faith
Means Of Grace
Order Of Salvation
Westminster Confession Of Faith