Peter concludes his correspondence returning to an idea from the start of this letter: the believer’s diligence. It almost sounds paradoxical, for people relying in faith on God to make them holy and acceptable to work at their change. Are we to see it as our responsibility to work at the change that only God can effect in us? In a word, yes.
We have seen Peter repeatedly speak out against the false teachers of his day. Even though I made the point a while back that legalists have the same root problem as the people who claim that sin doesn’t matter, those are the people Peter is warning us against. He even refers to Paul’s writings with a warning: they are difficult to understand so beware of those who would distort them. Our lives and actions as God’s people matter. In fact, they are the evidence of whether we are His or not. The proof of faith.
The New Testament is clear. We are saved by God and must trust Him for our restoration; yet we are saved to a task and we need to be at it. We need to live the only life acceptable in the face of what Christ has done for us and grow in our ability to please God and follow His plans. And chief among God’s plan for every single one of His people is that we do our part in bringing the salvation He offers to everyone who will receive it. We need to see that this “patience” of God exists so that more people can be reached with His love. And THAT is our task.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Starting with the Eleventh Doctor, I think I may differ from a lot of fans. I like his earlier stories more than the later ones. Those huge to-do specials that came with the fiftieth anniversary only rank 13th and 14th on my list. Here are my top 10 stories:
10. “The Eleventh Hour”
9. “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon”
8. “A Christmas Carol”
7. “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone”
6. “Vampires in Venice”
5. “The Angels Take Manhattan”
4. “A Good Man Goes to War”
3. “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang”
2. “Amy’s Choice”
1. “Vincent and the Doctor”
Friday, August 28, 2015
Growing up, my parents occasionally used some of the material produced by the IBLP in our family devotions. “Character Sketches” combined life lessons from nature with Bible stories to teach kids positive character traits. Not a bad concept. I especially enjoyed the natural science and the artwork, with was outstanding.
Beyond that, we were pretty wary of the group. That caution started when a IBLP newsletter tried to promote the teaching that any family not cooking all their own bread at home was actively sinning. I am not sure if they had a deal with one of those bread makers or not. In any case, it was a terrible case of Biblical eisegesis and clear legalistic hogwash.
As an adult, I still have one of those Character Sketches volumes. A few years ago I decided to use it with my own kids. We went through nearly all the devotional material deriving teaching from the animal stories. However, after the first week, I quit using their Bible Stories. The retellings were hardly recognizable and the interpretation was terrible. I had to substitute it with actual scripture.
Then a realization dawned on me. Where was the Gospel in this book? Outside of a sidebar in the introduction that literally listed four verses with zero explanation, and a formulaic prayer that the reader was instructed to read ala magic incantation, there was no mention of the Gospel. The teaching of the IBLP is literally a religious self-help organization trying to teach people to overcome their sin problem in their own strength. There is token mention of the help of the Holy Spirit, but that is never really taught either.
It saddens me to think that so many believers have been led astray by this well-intentioned but false teaching. Even worse, I hate that fact that Christian celebrity culture has portrayed our faith in such a distorted way. Is it any surprise that a group telling men to overcome their sin in their own strength (and telling women that a lot of the men’s failures are women’s fault) is failing miserably? That is not the teaching of Scripture; not Biblical Christianity. It lacks the Grace. It is missing the cross.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Season 4b—Season 5b
The first half of season five is solid, but not outstanding. There are even some serious topics dealt with, but largely in a cursory fashion. And, as is the norm with more modern Trek, there is a ton of stunt plotting.
Episode 1 “Night”
Episode 2 “Drone”
Episode 3 “Extreme Risk”
Episode 4 “In the Flesh”
Episode 5 “Once Upon a Time”
Episode 6 “Timeless”
Episode 7 “Infinite Regress”
Episode 8 “Nothing Human”
Episode 9 “Thirty Days”
Episode 10 “Counterpoint”
Episode 11 “Latent Image”
Episode 12 “Bride of Chaotica”
Episode 13 “Gravity”
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
In the film, the irony is that Beatlemania had taken off, and the movie was being made to capitalize on/feed that trend. So even as the Beatles mock such fashions and the companies that create them and make a living off of them, they were an example of that very teen culture. Maybe the joke was on the entertainment industry, to think they could control such trends and dictate what was considered popular. Here the Beatles were doing their own thing and inspiring a whole generation!
Then again, here we are 50 years later and they may have been laughing too soon. Popular culture today does indeed seem to be dictated and controlled by corporations and entertainment elites. Clothing trends, stylistic choices, culinary tastes and even ethical and philosophical beliefs change and flux following the direction of the entertainment industry.