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Why Gay Marriage Can’t Be Christian Marriage

Ben Witherington:

At the end of the day either we realize that gender matters, and gender difference is essential to a real Christian marriage, or we totally change the definition of what counts as marriage, what counts as husband and wife, what counts as mother and father Biblically speaking. It is in no way surprising that in the most individualistic and narcissistic culture on the planet, that Americans would like to be able to even choose their gender, their own biology. But in fact you can’t do that, and since gender matters Biblically speaking when it comes to Christian marriage, you also do not have Biblical permission to redefine marriage, husband, wife, mother or father.

I Don’t Know, And That’s OK

Nick Horton:

Why are so many of us uncomfortable saying the words, “I don’t know?” It’s incredibly freeing, I recommend you try it  some time. We give voice to the truth that we are not God when we do so. The expectation of full and total knowledge is nothing more than unmasked pride, quivering in its rush to be like God. Yet we will never know everything, now or in Heaven. Omniscience is a divine attribute and as such does not convey to us.

The Distracted Worshipper

Check out the first part of a new series at the Leadership Resources blog.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bible Rebinding

Matthew Everhard:

There is no book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bible Rebinding, but if such a volume is ever to be written, I have a feeling that I may inadvertently be its protagonist.

Incidentally, The Bible Design Blog may well be my new favorite blog.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say to Your Wife then…

Erik Raymond:

We have all heard the expression, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” This may be good advice for elementary school children but it is not preferred for husbands.

Am I saying, “Feel free to insult your wife.” Hardly. Instead I am saying that we need to try harder, look deeper, pay more attention.

Don’t Trust Yourself In Anything

cannot-be-trusted

You are not to be trusted. I may not know you, but I am confident that I can’t be confident in you.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. It calls us to place our confidence in God. It leads us to forsake ourselves. Trusting the Lord gets most of the attention in that verse, and rightly so, but we have a tendency to forget that wisdom and to trust ourselves in some circumstances. Many scholars call that “super dumb.”

So, let’s look at not leaning on our own understanding. Here are three reasons you shouldn’t trust yourself.

1. You don’t know most of what you can know.

There is so much information available in the world, and you don’t know most of it. The knowledge is out there, but you don’t have it. If you don’t know that you don’t know most of what you can know, take this short quiz:

  1. What is the capital is the capital of Uzbekistan?
  2. What is the square root of 4096?
  3. Why is there an aurora borealis?
  4. Who invented power steering?
  5. Where is the largest sunflower garden?
  6. How many calories are in a Five Guys cheeseburger?

I don’t want to know the answer to that last question, but I don’t actually know the answer to any of them. And it was easy it was to come up with questions I don’t know the answer to because I don’t know the answer to most questions. Neither do you. How can we trust ourselves when we have such limited knowledge? We don’t know most of what there is to know.

2. You don’t know any of what you can’t know.

As much as we don’t know about what we can know, there is probably even more that we don’t know that we could never know. There are so many things that are simply impossible for us to know.

Next time you are at the grocery store ask yourself this question—“What is happening at my house right now?” You’ll probably have a good guess, but you can’t know for sure if you’re not there. Everything is probably how you left it, but it might be on fire. A pipe might have burst and your kitchen might be flooding. A truck might have just driven into your living room. Let that weird reality sink in. None of us know for sure there is not a truck in our living room when we are shopping for cereal.

We also can’t know what our kids will score on the SAT. We can’t know what our spouse is thinking when they don’t feel like talking. We can’t know when we are going to die. There’s so much we don’t know. There’s so much we can’t know. It is foolish to lean on our own understanding. But, there is one more reason.

3. You’re not honest with what you do know.

This last one is a harder to prove, but I’m hoping you can be honest with yourself just long enough to acknowledge the fact that you are often not honest with yourself. We must not lean on our own understanding because even when we have understanding, which is rare, we often lie to ourselves about it. Sometimes we know deep down that we are wrong, but we keep telling ourselves we are right, right? We are deceitful people and we are best at deceiving ourselves. We convince ourselves we are not as bad as we are, that we are not as wrong as we are, that we are not as weak as we are. Even when we know something we can know, we can’t know that we are really being honest about it.

We cannot lean on our own understanding because we don’t know so much, can’t know so much, and can’t be trusted. Thank the Lord we can trust the Lord. May he lead us to Five Guys.


Brandon Hiltibidal is a husband to Scarlet, a daddy to Ever and Brooklyn, an owner of the Green Bay Packers, and a Discipleship Strategist at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, TN. Follow him at @bmhiltibidal.

Augustine and the undoing of arguments toward ignorance

slight knowledge

If you say you understand God, it’s not God you understand. You’ve probably heard or read something like this in dozens of books, sermons and lectures over the last 1700 years or so (but with a renewed vigor in the last 20). Usually, it’s used as an argument against certainty, especially about our knowledge of God.

To say we know anything about God is presumptuous some suggest. Wouldn’t it be better to admit just how little we know? Turning to Augustine, some even seek an ally, for, as he wrote:

We are speaking of God. Is it any wonder if you do not comprehend? For if you comprehend, it is not God you comprehend. Let it be a pious confession of ignorance rather than a rash profession of knowledge. To attain some slight knowledge of God is a great blessing; to comprehend him, however, is totally impossible.1

But is Augustine truly an ally—is he the undoer of their arguments? For to be sure, one who would argue that we can exhaustively know God’s thoughts and intentions, his character and his being… those who suggest such things are speaking too quickly (and foolishly).

But a lack of comprehension—our inability to fully and exhaustively know God—does not mean we cannot know something. Remember that, even as Augustine said it is impossible to comprehend him, “to attain some slight knowledge of God is a great blessing.” Which means: there is something of God that is knowable.

What Augustine reminds us of is our ability to apprehend God. To grasp something of him. And certainly, this is no arrogant thing to say, for God desires for us to know him. Were that not the case, he would not have revealed himself to us, in creation, in his written Word, and most fully in the person of Jesus Christ.

In creation, we see God’s creativity, his love of beauty, his precision and attention to detail, among other things. In the Bible, we are given his character and declared will, his plans and purposes for this world and its inhabitants. And in Jesus, we see all of what has been known of God in the abstract—his justice and mercy, compassion and commandments—most fully and tangibly expressed. Do we understand it all fully? Of course not. It is far too much for us. But to grasp something of God—to begin to understand what he reveals to us—is a great blessing indeed.


Photo credit: 000019 via photopin (license). Designed with Canva.

Knowledge vs understanding

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

There is nothing new about not believing in God; it is the oldest thing in the world to deny Him. This is what I find so pathetic, that people think it is clever not to believe in God, that it is modern, that it is something new, that it is something wonderful! But here is a man, King David, writing all this a thousand years before Christ—nearly three thousand years ago—and there were people saying then, “There is no God”—just what clever people are saying today, those who try to argue that they are saying it in terms of some latest esoteric knowledge that they have been given and that other people still do not have. But is it not clear that this has nothing at all to do with knowledge as such?

No; it is a question of understanding, and that is a very different thing. Men and women may have a lot of book knowledge, but that does not mean they have understanding or that they have wisdom. They can be aware of many facts, but they may be fools in their own personal lives. Have we not known such people? I have known men in some of the learned professions; I would take their opinion without a moment’s hesitation because of their knowledge and because of their learning. But sometimes I have known some of those men to be utter fools in their own personal lives. I mean by that, they behaved like lunatics, as if they had not a brain at all. They have behaved in exactly the same way as a man who never had their educational advantages and who had none of their great knowledge. They drank too much even as a less educated man did; they were guilty of adultery even as he was.

There is all the difference in the world between knowledge—an awareness of facts—and wisdom and real understanding. Though people may have great brains and may know a number of things, they may still be governed by their lusts and passions and desires, and that is why they are fools.… They are men and women who listen to their hearts, their desires; they are governed by what they want to do rather than by true understanding.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Seeking the Face of God: Nine Reflections on the Psalms, 14–15

Book Review: The Gospel and the Mind by Bradley G. Green

The Gospel and the Mind by Bradley G. Green

Title: The Gospel and the Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life
Author: Bradley G. Green
Publisher: Crossway (2010)

What does the gospel have to do our intellectual life? While some would argue that it has nothing to do with it at all, it’s interesting to note that, “wherever the gospel goes, it seems to generate intellectual deliberation and inquiry” (p. 12).

Why? What is it about the gospel that it encourages deep thinking?

And why is it that, “when the gospel ceases to permeate and influence a given culture, we often see a confused understanding of the possibility of knowledge and the meaning of our thoughts”? (p. 19)

Is there a connection between the loss of the gospel’s hold on the modern world and the modern world’s increasing skepticism about the viability, purpose, meaning, and possibility of an intellectual life? (p. 21)

In The Gospel and the Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life, author Bradley G. Green proposes a two-part answer to this challenging question. He argues that:

  1. The Christian vision of God, man, and the world provides the necessary precondition for the recovery of any meaningful intellectual life.
  2. The Christian vision of God, man, and the world offers a particular, unique understanding of what the intellectual life looks like.

Green supports his argument by examining five themes:

  1. That the doctrine of Creation provides the necessary basis for any intellectual pursuit at all. “Without a robust understanding of creation and history, we cannot—ultimately—account for the nature of the intellectual life,” writes Green. (p. 50)
  2. That a compelling vision drives the intellectual life. For the Christian, the vision (or “telos” as Green puts it) is that we will one day see Christ face-to-face and know Him fully even as we are fully known (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). “With the loss of this sense of a telos . . . there has been a corresponding confusion in thought [that] leads ultimately to nihilism.” (p. 176) [Read more…]