Quenching thirst with sand


photo: iStock

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9 (HCSB)

To take comfort from our good doings, or good feelings, or good plans, or good prayers, or good experiences, is to delude ourselves, and to say peace when there is no peace. No man can quench his thirst with sand, or with water from the Dead Sea; so no man can find rest from his own character however good, or from his own acts however religious.

Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Peace: A Book for the Anxious, 20–21.

The backlist: the top ten posts on Blogging Theologically


Let’s take a trip back in time to see the top ten posts in July:

  1. Sin makes smart people stupid (July 2013)
  2. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  3. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  4. The real secret of keeping millennials in the church (July 2013)
  5. When “our” voice is silent (July 2013)
  6. God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  7. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  8. Church Buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  9. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  10. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)

And just for fun, here’s the next ten:

  1. Kindle deals for Christian readers (July 2013)
  2. 3 things congregations should say to their pastors (June 2013)
  3. The End of Our Exploring by Matthew Lee Anderson (July 2013)
  4. Can you worship even when the music stinks? (July 2013)
  5. Memorizing God’s Word: Colossians (July 2013)
  6. 20 reasons to love one another (July 2013)
  7. Is God anti-gay? by Sam Allberry (July 2013)
  8. Kindle deals for Christian readers (July 2013)
  9. Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What is Humility? (February 2010)
  10. What does the Bible say about worship? (March 2013)

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these posts, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check them out.

How do we exercise dominion?


People who know me (or at least follow me on Twitter), know I enjoy puttering around the kitchen. One of my favorite ways to unwind is to try out a new recipe—everything from stuffed French toast to braised rabbit—and see what the response is from my family. What’s funny is, for me, it’s not always what I wind up making that is the enjoyable part: it’s the feeling of power that comes from taking all these raw ingredients and making something really cool and almost always delicious.

Why do I have that feeling, aside from being easy to please? I think it’s, at least in part, because of how God has designed me—and humanity as a whole. You see, back at the beginning of creation, when God created the first man and woman, He declared He would make them in His image—“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” God said (Genesis 1:26).

This idea of being made in God’s image has been the subject of much discussion within the Christian community over the centuries. It carries with it an understanding of the dignity of humanity, of being designed to function within relationships, of being wired to worship and serve our Creator.

But it also carries with it a responsibility: to “rule” or “have dominion” over the earth (Genesis 1:28).

If there’s one command that’s caused people to get in a tizzy, it’s this one. What does it mean to have dominion? Are we still called to do this? And, especially given that we’re living in a fallen world, how do we exercise dominion in a way that honors God? [Read more...]

Links I like

Fanboy or Disciple?

Barnabas Piper, guest posting at Tyler Braun’s blog:

Can you define “disciple”? It’s not so easy. When I think of what a disciple is I begin coming up with characteristics. A disciple is a follower of someone. He is loyal and knowledgeable, so knowledgeable that he knows the pertinent and intimate details of the one he follows. The disciple can quote the one he follows verbatim and at length and then give you a pretty good summary of what that all means.

Get When Worlds Collide in today’s $5 Friday at Ligonier.org

The ePub edition of When Worlds Collide by R.C. Sproul is on sale in today’s $5 Friday sale at Ligonier.org. Also on sale:

  • God is the Gospel by John Piper (paperback)
  • The Christian Mind, Ligonier’s 2012 National Conference (audio and video download)
  • A Survey of Church History teaching series by W. Robert Godfrey (audio and video download)

$5 Friday ends tonight at 11:59:59 PM Eastern.

Why Millennials Are Coming to Church

Joe Thorn:

Our church is only 6 years old but is very generationally/socially diverse. It’s pretty amazing actually. Looking around on a Sunday and you see senior citizens who have retired, young professionals, truck drivers, young men who tour in metal bands, college students, stay at home moms, et al. While we don’t have a ton of college students, the largest percentage of our growth at Redeemer comes from the millennial generation.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Is Glory God’s Only Goal?

Christopher Morgan:

It is encouraging to hear much about God’s glory as his ultimate end. I rejoice in the renewed interested in Jonathan Edwards as well as the contemporary influence of pastors like John Piper and ministries like The Gospel Coalition. I rejoice that many are captured by God’s glory as the ultimate end, as it is the goal of creation; the exodus; Israel; Jesus’ ministry, life, death, resurrection, and reign; our salvation; the church; the consummation; all of salvation history; and even God himself. Paul often highlights this cosmic goal: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29); “all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16; cf. Rom. 11:33-36;Heb. 2:10).

While there is a healthy resurgence in teaching that glory is God’s ultimate end, many inadvertently equate God’s ultimate end with God’s comprehensive motivation (Edwards and Piper do not make this mistake, but many who read them do). As a result, we rarely hear that God often acts with multiple ends in mind.


Renewal is needed—and renewal will come


When the (self-appointed) voices of a generation saying the church needs to “change or die,” it’s easy—tempting, even—to get frustrated or disillusioned. When the voices get louder and seem to gain more prominence, what are we to do?

This is really the question brought up by all the hullabaloo surrounding millennials and the church. It’s important to remember two things:

1. This is nothing new. From the beginning, the church has been infiltrated by false teachers intent on deception (Jude 4), teachers actively trying to turn the eyes of the Christian community away from Christ (and many times under the guise of “reclaiming” or “renewing” the faith). And Christians have historically had a difficult time, either because of simple naïveté or maybe theological ignorance, recognizing these teachers for the “fierce wolves” they truly were.

The first centuries of the church, from the time of the New Testament’s writing onward saw numerous battles waged against various heresies. Paul fought vigorously against the Judaizers. John battled the proto-gnostics. Jesus rebuked the Nicolaitians. Augustine defended the faith against Pelagius and his followers. Athanasius battled Arius. On and on the list could go with Luther, Calvin, Owen, Spurgeon, Packer, Schaeffer, Machen…

The point is simple: The attacks against the church we see today are nothing new. We ought not be surprised when they come. 

2. Renewal is needed—and will come. In each of the cases above, the counterattacks mounted by Christians were successful, in the sense that many believers were awakened to the danger of false teaching and renewed their commitment to sound doctrine. Inevitably, though, the Church’s fresh zeal would, over time, cool into passivity before slipping finally into apostasy—typically within the relatively short span of three or four generations. Where one generation believed the truth, the second assumed it and the third denied it, as D. A. Carson frequently reminds us. But in every instance, when truth is denied by one generation, God mercifully brings about a renewal in the next.1

Our own day is indeed in desperate need for renewal. That’s one thing all this talk of millennials and the church makes abundantly clear. But it should give us confidence that renewal is coming. Errant voices, ironically, do us a great service by making us reexamine the beliefs and practices we cling to. The flames of our hearts are reignited to the amazing truths of the gospel and we move forward. And while the war waged against orthodoxy will not cease, Christ’s kingdom will not fall. He will not be thwarted.

Renewal is needed. But have faith, dear brothers and sisters—renewal will come!

Links I like

Pray For Your Wife: 31 Day Challenge

In case you missed this yesterday (I added it as a last minute item), Mike Leake is challenging men to spend the next 31 days praying for their wives. I’m glad to be a part of this and look forward to seeing what God might do through the prayers of over 600 men. Will you take part?

8 Email Mistakes You Make

Tim Challies:

I am convinced that some day we will all have a really good laugh at ourselves for ever using a form of communication as ridiculous as email. We will laugh that we ever tried to make it do the things we make it do. It is my hope that we will soon move to more efficient forms of communication.

In the meantime, though, we are stuck with email, and need to learn to use it well. I have put a lot of time and thought into the best email practices and have identified 8 dumb email mistakes you may be making (which is to say, 8 dumb email mistakes I have found myself making). Many of these mistakes apply to everyone, though some apply primarily to those of us who tend to sit at a desk most of the day.

I Wouldn’t Trade Seminary for Anything

Rich Clark

I associate my seminary years with a wide range of emotions and experiences. I went through a period of unhindered excitement and joy, of grave disillusionment, of utter heartbreak, and ultimately of satisfied contentment. I experienced a new appreciation for my church, the personal heartbreak of divorce, the camaraderie of lasting friendships, the frustration of academic hardship, and the satisfaction of slowly discovering my place in God’s kingdom. It wasn’t anything close to a utopian experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Why Preaching Is Still Relevant

Interesting discussion between John Piper, Voddie Baucham, and Miguel Núñez:

We Are All Judgmental

Daniel Darling:

On Twitter, on the radio, in newspapers, in casual conversation, the reaction to both stories, by people of all stripes, is something like, “Can you believe this guy?” For Weiner, there is no end to the mocking on Twitter. Fellow Democrats were as harsh on him as Republicans. For Braun, the words, “cheater”, “liar”, “fraud” are being used prolifically.

The real secret of keeping millennials in the church


I want to let you in on a secret: I know the reason millennials are leaving the church—and you probably do, too.

In case you’re unaware, a recent article by Rachel Held Evans on why millennials are leaving the church has lit a fire under a number of Christians. That young people aren’t exactly gravitating toward Christianity is no surprise. More importantly, it’s no secret why many are leaving.

What Evans suggests is that what millennials are looking for—the secret to “getting” this notoriously difficult to pin down generation—isn’t a change in style, but in substance.

What does she mean by substance? She writes:

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

“You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around,” she says. “We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.”

This is a pretty bold assessment, isn’t it?

I mean, to say that the reason millennials are leaving the church is because they can’t find Jesus there… that takes some stones.

But is it true?

I’m not entirely sure.

You see, Evans is taking the tried and tired road of declaring that the Church must change or die. She’s casting a vision of how the church needs to change “with” the millennials, to see their values and be a place where they belong.

And yet, what does any of it mean?

It’s fine to say we want to end the so-called feud between faith and science, but what does that mean? For that matter, what does it mean to change “with” a generation, rather than “for” it? The same question could be said about any of her assertions above, many of which are derived from books like You Lost Me by David Kinnaman.1

Here’s where Evans is right: Millennials don’t need hipper worship bands and they don’t need to be asked to turn their brains off.

That’s not what they need.

But is the answer to make church a place where it’s okay to have questions? Sure, as long as you’re asking them with the expectation of getting an answer.

Is it to make the church a place that isn’t tied to a particular political party or nation? Definitely, as long as we’re not afraid to speak up about tough topics like abortion for fear of being seen as being “too political.”

Is it make the church a place where LGBT friends feel warm and welcome? Yes, as long as we’re not too timid to tell the truth about what the Bible says about all sexual sin, including homosexuality.

But here’s the thing: doing any of these things (which, for what it’s worth, is what the vast majority of churches already do) isn’t going to make millennials suddenly want to come back to church.

Why? Because they’re not really the reason they’re leaving.

Do millennials have doubts that go beyond pat answers? Yep. Do they have a hard time with the biblical view of sexuality? Absolutely. Do they really struggle with what the Bible says about how the world came to be? Totally.

But the real reason millennials are abandoning the church isn’t because they’re dissatisfied with the answers to any of these questions. And it’s not because they can’t find Jesus in the typical evangelical church.

The reason many leave is they don’t know Jesus. 

Evans’ take is one, ultimately, of cultural accommodation. It’s an approach we’ve seen fail again and again. When the mainline denominations abandoned historic orthodoxy in favor of theological liberalism, it gutted their churches. There’s a reason these congregations are hemorrhaging, and it’s not because their beliefs are offensive to the average person on the street.

There’s a reason the so-called Seeker movement was a largely an exercise in futility, and it’s not because it was producing vast numbers of strong, theologically-sound, mission-minded believers.

In fact, many of the millennials who are leaving the church are simply following the example of the previous generation of nominal believers. Christianity didn’t really make that much of a difference in their parents’ lives, at least from what they could see, so clearly there’s nothing to it.2

So for all the damning talk of millennials not being able to find Jesus in our churches, the reality may be they don’t know what Jesus to look for.

You want to keep millennials in your churches? Here’s what you do:

Tell them about Jesus. Tell them about the Son of God, who came and lived a perfect life, who died on the cross for their sins, and who was raised from the dead in victory over Satan, sin and death. Give them the opportunity to repent and believe!

Teach with conviction. Squishiness and arrogant uncertainty is so tired, especially for a generation that’s been fed a steady diet of it. Tell them the truth about God’s Word; teach them sound doctrine with conviction.3

Live out your beliefs. What you believe works itself out in what you do. If you really believe the truths of Scripture, live in light of them. Evangelize passionately. Serve others joyfully. Let millennials see that your beliefs aren’t just intellectual thoughts, but convictions that drive all you do in life.

That’s the secret of reaching and keeping the millennials. And it’s no secret at all. So what are you going to do with it?

Links I like (updated!)

Pray For Your Wife: 31 Day Challenge

Mike Leake is challenging husbands to pray for their wives for the next 31 days. Do this!

Peter And The Promise

Tullian Tchividjian:

Apart from his being the first to acknowledge that Jesus was the Christ, the son of God, almost everything Peter did in the Gospels ended in a correction, a rebuke, or just simple failure. It is hard to imagine how to be a worse disciple than Peter, short of rejecting the faith entirely, once and for all. He could be relied upon to fail at doing God’s bidding, with one or two salient exceptions. Yet these exceptions were enough for Jesus to proclaim that he was the rock. Why?

Don’t Be A Bible Pharmacist Be A Bible Doctor!

Stephen Altrogge:

There are two ways to get medicine. The first is from a pharmacist. I call in my prescription, the pharmacist counts out the pills, places them in a bottle, and hands the bottle to me, no questions asked. Pharmacists rarely ask about symptoms, medical history, or current medications. It’s not their job. To put it simply (and I’m sure this is oversimplifying), they fill prescriptions.

The second way to get medicine is to go to a doctor. Going to a doctor is a vastly different experience. A good doctor asks me questions about my symptoms. He explores my past medical history. He asks me what medicines I’ve taken in the past. He asks about the medical history of my family members. He feels my limbs and muscles. A good doctor spends a significant amount of time listening before he actually dispenses any medicine.

Too often I’m a Bible pharmacist when I should be a Bible doctor. 

Kindle deals for Christian readers

One last time for July:

Have Archaeologists Found King David’s Palace?

John D. Currid:

In the last few weeks, Israeli archaeologists have announced a sensational find. News reports claimed that King David’s palace had been found. But is this headline accurate? Let us consider the facts of the discovery to the extent that we know them.

Who Am I to Judge? The Pope, the Press, and the Predicament

Albert Mohler:

Pope Francis pulled a surprise on reporters when he walked back to the press section of his Alitalia papal flight from Brazil and entered into an open press conference that lasted more than an hour. The Pope gave the press what Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton offered as presidents—a casual question and answer session that was on the record.

The Promises of God by R.C. Sproul


We’re a culture with severe trust issues. Politicians have long struggled with this thing called honesty. Employers break their word when it’s in the apparent best interests of the bottom line. Spouses break their vows in the pursuit of “happiness.”

So it makes sense that we’d take our trust issues and put them on God, doesn’t it? When you strip away the nuances of so many of our doubts and questions about God, the thing we really want to know is:

God can really be trusted? 

R.C. Sproul wants to give readers confidence on this matter. To know that the God of the Bible is a promise-making—and promise-keeping—God. His most recent book, The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word, examines the promises God has made and why we have good reason to trust Him to keep it.

Defining “covenant”

When seeking to understand God’s promises, you need to start with the concept of covenant. Our God is a covenant-making God. The concept, therefore, “is integral and foundational to the divine revelation” (9). But what does “covenant” mean and what are the covenants God makes?

Sproul begins by explaining that while all covenants are, at a fundamental level, agreements between two parties or more parties (think wedding vows or industrial contracts), biblical covenants are unique in that they “are established on the basis of a divine sanction. That is, they are established not on the foundation of promises made by equal parties, but on the foundation of the divine promise of God. In biblical covenants, it is God who declares the terms and makes the promises” (11). [Read more...]

Links I like

Why I’m Not Overjoyed Our Town’s Adult Bookstore Closed

Jared Wilson:

We had to pass it every time we drove into Rutland. There was really no way around it, unless you wanted to drive miles out of the way. It was our town’s only (as far as I know) adult video store. I remember the day I drove by and they had several large poster board signs taped to the front announcing that the DVD’s were buy one get one half off. I thought of the men and women who might be tempted by such an offer. I wondered if any of my church folks ever wandered into that store. I hoped it would one day disappear.

And then one day it did.

Kindle deals (round 2)

A few more Kindle deals for you:

When Churches Produce Heretics instead of Disciples

Tim Kimberley:

Then came the “Aha” moment for why I was asked to talk with Jake at the Credo House. As Jake read the Bible he processed some of the content in unusual ways. First, he believed any ideas he came up with from the Bible must be correct because the Spirit must have communicated the ideas directly to him. If anyone thinks his interpretation is wrong…Jake thinks they must be wrong. Second, he had closely correlated the Bible with Astrology. Note, I said Astrology and not Astronomy.

Motivations and Hindrances in Communion with Jesus, My Lord

Thabiti Anyabwile:

Of late I’ve not been maintaining a regular and fruitful communion with my Lord. I could use more socially acceptable terms like “struggling,” but the truth is my lazy flesh has won more mornings than my willing spirit. I’ve found myself–once again–in a dry and weary land. And I haven’t fought as I should. Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

Emerging from this period of dullness, I’ve been reflecting on some tensions in my approach to communion with the Lord. There are things that push me toward the Lord, and there are things that pull me away. It’s been good for my soul to see something of these tensions. I’m hoping I’ll be more familiar with my heart and more watchful of those things that erode my conscious communion with Christ. What follows are three positive motivations to communion with Christ and three enemies that war against them. Perhaps this will be helpful for someone else, too.

Putting Online Shepherding In Its Place

Mike Leake:

When Al Gore invented the internet* a new opportunity for “pastoring” was also invented. With a few strokes on my keyboard and a click of the mouse I can sit under teaching from all around the world. I can be “pastored” by a guy that I’ve never met and live in a “community” filled with people I’ve never actually seen.

Don’t let despair distort your thinking


Different people have very different responses to stressful or difficult situations. I’m the kind of guy who fixates when he’s stressed. I’ll focus on a particular point or action and, even though I know I don’t need to, just can’t look past it. It could be raining gold, my kids could all be getting along swimmingly and a promotion could be in the works, but all I’d be able to notice is whatever’s got me in a funk.

Am I the only one like this? Probably not. Consider the Israelites. They were a messed up bunch of folks. They had it all—the blessing of God in their midst, a good and fertile land—but all they could focus on was what they didn’t have.

They didn’t have meat in the desert, so they decided to turn back to Egypt. They didn’t have a flesh-and-blood king, so they demanded a monarchy, knowing it would cost them dearly. They didn’t have gods you could touch or see so they went after the gods of their neighbors. On and on it went… and even when God disciplined them, they kept on focusing on the wrong things.

In the opening verses of Psalm 137, a psalm of lament, the psalmist depicts the Babylonians mocking the exiled Israelites, encouraging them to, “sing us one of the songs of Zion” (Psalm 1:37:3b). The psalmist’s response is powerful:

How can we sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy! (Psalm 137:4-6 HCSB)

I find his response fascinating, not least because we see how his despair distorts his thinking. The psalmist has connected worshipping God and Jerusalem (where the Temple was) so strongly that for him, the notion of singing “the Lord’s song” seems tantamount to treason. He would be betraying his people and his Lord if he were to do so. And therefore, it would be better for him to forget how to play his instrument and for his mouth to be shut up if Jerusalem were not his “greatest joy.”

The right worship of the Lord is his priority.

I find this fascinating because the whole reason the Israelites were in Babylon is because they failed to worship the Lord rightly in the first place. They had gone their own way, chased after foreign gods. They had utterly rejected the Lord.

Yet here, the exiled psalmist is focused on worshipping the Lord rightly. It’s not that he couldn’t worship the Lord in Babylon—after all, the Lord had told them to settle in (see Jeremiah 29). And as we know, the Lord isn’t constrained to a single place. But the mockery of the Babylonians prevented him from responding. He would not allow them to mock his God.

We need to constantly consider the place of worship in our response to stress and difficult situations. Too often, we allow our thinking and our priorities to become confused. We spend too much time at work when things get crazy, and so we put God on the sidelines. We get sick and we turn away from God. We get hit with a major financial disaster, over time we feel the Lord becoming far off.

But He is never far. Don’t let despair distort your thinking into believing He is. Instead, keep the right worship of the Lord as your priority in all of life.

Links I like

Purity, Virginity, Guilt, Shame, and the Church

Barnabas Piper:

Much has been written recently about the evangelical “purity culture.” Basically it is a culture that emphasizes sexual “purity” in two unhelpful ways. The first is to equate purity with virginity, something that can never be regained once it is lost. The second is to elevate sexual purity above all other aspects of purity of heart, thus creating a culture of guilt and shame.

Kindle deals for Christian readers

July is rapidly coming to a close and that means a whole lot of eBook deals will be ending soon. Here are some to take advantage of before they’re gone:

Counseling cohabiting couples

Phil Schmidt:

As church leaders, it is easy to fall into one of two extremes. We either ignore the fact that couples are living together and do nothing, or we heavy-handedly refuse to serve them at all, imposing rules upon them that don’t lead to conviction or changed hearts. We must fight the temptation of these extremes and instead stay on the road of grace and truth.

Cohabitation needs to be addressed boldly yet graciously. We must remember we are shepherding two people who might resist, not trying to forcefully solve an uncomfortable problem with an ultimatum.

4 Ways Pastors Must Practice Evangelism

Steven Lawson:

In his final letter, Paul charges Timothy, his son in the faith, to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). By these words, the aged Apostle establishes the timeless standard for pastoral ministry, not only for young Timothy but for all pastors in every generation and in every place.

With Apostolic authority, this imperative command comes with binding force. All pastors must do the work of an evangelist. They must earnestly proclaim the gospel message, urging people to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. So, where should this pastoral evangelism begin?

The angry atheist

Rex Murphy:

Evidence of this prickly, acutely self-regarding perspective comes from the U.S., where a group of forlorn and (by their measure) much put-upon atheists are making angry demands that atheists in the military be granted their own chaplain.

Other than the whiny schoolyard temper-tantrum logic of “He’s got one, so I want one too,” what has this silly demand got going for it? How can a system of thought built on the not believing of/in something, on the non-existence of any god, require the services of a chaplain, a — need the qualifier be emphasized? — spiritual counsellor. Chaplains offer mediation on the supernatural, the afterlife, the individual’s relation with the/a creator.

Biblical worship is rooted in humility


Biblical worship is rooted in humility. Humility is simply being aware of your limited strengths and gifting in light of the greatness of God. Charles Hodge said, “Christian humility does not consist in denying what there is of good in us; but in an abiding sense of ill-desert, and the consciousness that what we have of good is due to the grace of God.” There is nothing we possess that did not come through grace. Pride exalts gifts above the Giver, and distorts evidences of grace into entitlement. The psalmist says, “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 10:4). The prideful man is one who “does not seek him” and his heart refuses the presence of God. Humbleness of heart is nonnegotiable for worship leaders.

Matt Boswell, Doxology and Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader

Let your imagination fly beyond the stars


Christians ought not to be threatened by fantasy and imagination. Great painting is not “photographic” in the poor sense of photographic. The Old Testament art commanded by God was not always “photographic.” There were blue pomegranates on the robes of the priest when he went into the Holy of Holies. In nature there are no blue pomegranates. Christian artists do not need to be threatened by fantasy and imagination, for they have a basis for knowing the difference between them and the real world “out there.” Epistemologically, as I have pointed out in He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Christian man has a basis for knowing the difference between subject and object. The Christian is the really free man-he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.

Francis Schaeffer, Art and the Bible