Category: Faith Page 3 of 4

Jesus' cleansing of the temple

Dig for treasure

One of the most valuable pieces of advice about preaching I ever got is this. If there’s anything in the text you’d like to skip, major on it. That is where the gospel is found.

Or, as David Day put it in his Preaching Workbook (a fine primer):

‘looking for trouble’… If you read a passage carefully, imaginatively and prayerfully, the text will often ‘pop’ – that is, some aspect of the passage will surprise you or scandalize you or puzzle you. This is the feature which it is most tempting to overlook, and this is the bump in the terrain which will tell you where to dig for buried treasure.

In practice, approaching the text ‘looking for trouble’ involves a bit of discipline.

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Albert Einstein writing General Relativity equations on a blackboard

God and Einstein II

Continuing our exploration of eternity in open theism, and specifically the implications of Einstein’s theory of special relativity, we’ll now move on to Einstein’s theory of gravity, that is, general relativity.

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Albert Einstein looking thoughtful

God and Einstein I

When considering time and eternity, I cannot help but think as a physicist as well as a theologian. From a physicist’s point of view, a time-bound God is a curious phenomenon.

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Time and Eternity

God is eternal. Of course God is eternal. We confess it, we sing it, we affirm it, and we’re happy to leave the details to philosophers and theologians. But you know what? Time and eternity interact in our words, songs and thoughts more often than you’d think, and all too often to highly confusing result. Without pretending to say anything that hasn’t been said before, let’s have some innocent fun with this.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Confess your faults one to another (James 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!

But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. My son, give me thine heart (Proverbs 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

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