Quick Takes – 9/13/2008

Justin Childers quotes Jim Eliff on the centrality of the cross in heaven. “One is taken aback by the emphasis on the cross in Revelation. Heaven does not ‘get over’ the cross, as if there are better things to think about … Heaven is not only Christocentric, it is cruci-centric, and quite blaring about it.”

John Mark Reynolds reflects on his son going off to college. “My son is at college. He is doing something, somewhere, and I don’t know what. I shouldn’t know. I wish I did know. I am glad I don’t know. Losing your child while gaining an adult son is confusing and clarifying. It is confusing to any attempt to cling to old ways and clarifying to the better self that loves God’s ways of organic growth and change.”

Justin Taylor tackles the question, How could God command genocide in the Old Testament? “The question is about what happens in the book of Joshua when God commands Israel to slaughter the Canaanites in order to occupy the Promised Land. It was a bloody war of total destruction where God used his people to execute his moral judgment against his wicked enemies. In moving toward an answer it will be helpful to think carefully about the building blocks of a Christian worldview related to God’s justice and mercy.”

Mark Roberts appreciates Michael Card’s use of original languages in his teaching ministry. “What I experienced with Michael Card this past weekend at Laity Lodge was a powerful reminder of why it’s so important for Ministers of Word and Sacrament to know and to use Greek and Hebrew (even if with the helpful crutch of a computer). Translations, no matter how good they might be, only get us so far in the task of biblical interpretation. One who can investigate the original languages has an unparalleled chance to find deeper truth.”

Tim Challies quotes Alexander Strauch from his book, Love or Die on the topic of love in the local church. “Christians cannot develop love by sitting at home alone on the couch watching TV preachers or by attending a weekly, one-hour church service. It is only through participation in “the household of God,” the local church (1 Tim, 3:15), with all of its weaknesses and faults, that love is taught, modeled, learned, tested, practiced, and matured. By dealing with difficult people, facing painful conflicts, forgiving hurts and injustices, reconciling estranged relationships, and helping needy members, our love is tested and matures.”

Hugh Hewitt offers up some encouraging words on the seventh anniversary of 9/11: “Prayers for the souls of those who died and for the comfort of their loved ones. Praise for the courage of the passengers on United Flight 93. Thanks to the first responders who immediately rushed to the Towers and the Pentagon, and to the tens of thousands from across the country who followed to help. Thanks to the men and women of the United States military and their civilian counterparts who have fought so hard and sacrificed so much to prevent another such attack.”

James Lileks’ words from the second anniversary of 9/11 are also worth repeating. “The picture at the top of this page is a sliver taken from a 9/11 camera feed. It’s the cloud that rolled through lower Manhatttan when the towers fell. Paper, steel, furniture, plastic, people. The man who took the picture inhaled the dust of the dead. Somewhere lodged in the lung of a New Yorker is an atom that once belonged to a man who went to work two years ago and never came back. His widow dreads today, because people will be coming and calling, and she’ll have to insist that she’s okay. It’s hard but last year was harder. The kids will be sad and distant, but they take their cues from her, and they sense that it’s hard – but that last year was harder. But what really kills her, really really kills her, is knowing that the youngest one doesn’t remember daddy at all anymore. And she’s the one who has his eyes.”

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