Whoa. that’s all. Just . . . whoa.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the traditional beginning of the Lenten season and the time when small wars break out around the Protestant household over whether or not the season should be a part of the Christian calendar.
Many argue (quite plausibly it seems to me) that we should learn from the calendar God established for His people under the Old Covenant, which had only one day of fasting set apart each year (and it was surrounded by numerous days of feasting). If, they say, this was the case prior to the coming of our Savior (and the inauguration of the new heavens and new earth, the days of “continual feasting”) why would we institute a season of 40 days of “fasting”? And, I think I agree — assuming that Lent is celebrated as a 40 day fast. But the question is, “Is this how Lent should be celebrated?” I don’t think so.
I know that traditionally, Christians have “given up” something for Lent and usually that “something” has been something they particularly enjoy. This may be seen as a form of “fasting” I guess, but if it is, it’s a very pale shadow of what “fast” (doing without food of any kind) really means. I understand the rationale for the practice, but given it’s very limited focus, it seems to me to miss the point of fasting in general and is easily metamorphosed into something like a “Pharisaical” act (i.e. “God surely must be pleased with me since He sees me foregoing my usual afternoon grande chocolate-caramel-cinnamon mocha latte with extra foam, which I’m absolutely dying to have right now!”).
This is — probably unintentionally, but it is all the same — a distortion of the whole purpose of fasting. We fast to remind ourselves of the seriousness of our sins. Our sins are a high-handed insult to the gracious, loving God who made us. They are so grievous that we deserve no good thing from God — indeed, we deserve to starve to death. Fasting should have the same effect upon our attitude toward sin that spanking is designed to produce in our children — i.e. it should impress upon us that sin is bad, painful, worthy of death, and that I ought to hate it and stay away from it. I’m not sure that giving up Godiva chocolate for forty days always has the same effect.
So, unless the congregation is going to engage in a corporate fast for a particular reason or you decide to set a day aside for a real fast (which means no food for 24 hours or at least until sundown), I’m not sure that these lite fasts mean a great deal — and we probably are better off without them. But that’s a different matter than saying that Lent is evil or unprofitable. (more…)
I don’t know of anyone who agrees with Bishop N. T. Wright at every point. Not a single person. But the hysterical reaction against some of his views on the part of some “Reformed” and evangelical leaders has been nothing short of disgraceful. Here’s a man who is getting a hearing around the world — who actually believes in Sola Scriptura and in a literal resurrection and sincerely believes the finished work of Jesus is absolutely necessary for salvation (and on top of all else, is a self-professed Calvinist!). You’d think that the “Reformed” and other evangelicals would be dancing in the streets. But instead, they have fallen over one another to see who can be the most extreme in their denunciations. It’s been nothing short of amazing.
In other (more sane and faithful) times these men could never get away with these sorts of shenanigans. But in a time when “orthodoxy” is proven more by the list of people you denounce rather than by what you profess, this is what you get.
Are there legitimate grounds to disagree with some of the things Bishop Wright teaches? Sure (and, he is the first to acknowledge that, by the way). Are there things on which I will probably never agree with him? Certainly. Do I think that all of these issues are insignificant? No, I don’t. But none of them are so serious as to provoke me to denounce him as a heretic or “wolf in sheep’s clothing” or false shepherd or denier of the gospel, or any of the other ridiculous charges that have been thrown his way by some.
Anyone who has heard Bishop Wright speak or who has spoken with him, knows that he’s quite willing to interact with those who disagree and has never been surprised by the fact that not everyone thinks he’s got everything right. But this is not sufficient for our valiant “Defenders of the Faith and Enemies of all Error.” For them, these are the days of miracles and wonder, their own special “killing time,” and they are giddy drunk with the excitement of getting to shoot at those who dare to think differently or who presume to meddle with their hallowed definitions.
It’s been a shameful spectacle.
Which brings me to this post from Jim Jordan. Jim points out some of the factors provoking the reaction against Wright and gives us some very important perspective. Please read it.
Yep. That’s Jordan all right.
The bloodshot eyes and Stonehenge teeth are a dead giveaway. I can tell it’s Jim from a mile away.
And furthermore, the guy you see over his shoulder on the right is Jeff Meyers (the guy who’s got the spikey-corn row hair thing going).
Oh and the other guy on the left is Peter Leithart (you can tell by the Mr. Universe biceps). He’s always pumped like that.
And the little guy behind Peter is Ralph Smith — yeah, I know, it’s a little hard to tell, but the giveaway here is that he’s really short. That’s Ralph all right.
You don’t want to mess with any of these guys, I’m telling you. Really. You’ll be very sorry if you do.
But speaking of Jordan, if you’d like to get the recordings of his latest lectures at the Bucer Institute (and don’t you dare talk about “weird” until you listen to these) just contact AAMedia. They can help you out!
So, . . . . this was what all the fuss was about??? This? This made NOW upset?? How? I thought we were going to get an “anti-abortion” message . . . or, at least a “pro-life” message. Instead we got this:
So, what are we being told here? . . . apparently . . . . . don’t tackle you’re mother while she’s talking about you on TV.