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cs-lewis-quotes-inspirational-9This week I'm at the University of East Anglia to help the Christian Union with these events. Last night I spoke on the topic "What do Christians actually believe?" Afterwards there was a great question about faith which I answered so badly I thought I'd have another go on the blog. Here's what I wish I'd said...

How can God expect us to have faith? It seems so uncertain.

We all live by faith. Whether we are Muslims, Christians, atheists, agnostics, we all live by faith. I mean this in at least two ways.

First of all, we all must trust the testimony of others. Only a small fraction of my knowledge has been attained through direct observation, scientific experimentation or mathematical proof. For the rest, I've been told it. Teachers have told me, books have told me, journalists have told me, my parents have told me. I can have all sorts of rigorous standards which I expect these sources to adhere to. But I simply cannot personally fact-check everything I'm told. I have to take it on faith.

I once made this point in a conversation and the other guy said "No, you can check your knowledge scientifically and if you don't, it's not certain knowledge." I said "I can't scientifically assess the truth claims of my wife." He said "Yes you can." I said "No I can't. If I seek to falsify each of my wife's statements (falsification being at the heart of the scientific method) I wouldn't have a wife to assess!!" The scientific method is great for some truth claims but by no means all!

Nonetheless there are things that I know apart from such investigations (i.e. that my wife loves me, that she is trustworthy, that she has always been called "Emma", that she is beautiful, that she is "right" for me, that she exists, that this world exists, etc, etc!)

So that's the first point. So much of our knowledge comes to us in ways other than direct observation / scientific experimentation / mathematical proof. We live most of our lives by the testimony of others. In other words we live by faith.

There's a second sense in which we live by faith. We all have a view of the world that depends on larger commitments to truth, beauty, goodness, etc. You might object and say "I don't have any larger commitments. I am completely neutral as I build my view of the world from the ground up." But then I'll ask you, "Why do you do it that way?" At that point you'll have to justify that particular method of interpretation and this will reveal a worldview that precedes and shapes your approach to the world. It's inescapable. None of us can say "Just the facts ma'am, just the facts." Even that turns out to be a kind of worldview. Everyone has commitments of the heart and mind that go deeper than the facts.

Here is the Christian worldview in a 5 minute animation:

Here we find a God who is before, behind and beyond this world. There is a Father loving His Son in the joy of the Spirit (find out more here). This personal, good, truthful, beautiful, loving God is the ground of all being. From this God comes everything else and we are intended to participate in the life of this personal, truthful, beautiful, loving God.

Jesus came as the expression of God lived out in our humanity. He took on Himself the consequences of our vicious, wicked, lying, ugly, hatefulness and then rose up from the dead to offer us His kind of life. Connection to Him puts us in touch with what is most deeply true about reality: that there is Goodness, Truth and Beauty bound together in love. In other words, Jesus reconciles us to God.

This is the framework from which Christians view the world. And I'd like to suggest that it makes sense of reality in a way that no other view does. Here we have a very high regard for truth. We will want to assess the world rationally and rigourously. But we also see that there is a personal, an ethical and an aesthetic dimension to truth that must be explored too. Beneath and beyond the axioms of mathematics and the findings of science, there is love. Here in the Christian view is a grounding for our dearest intuitions - that personal relationships are what's most important.

We all live as though love is the greatest reality. Only the Christian can ground that intuition in something deeper than wishful thinking. The atheist does not have love as the ultimate reality. The theist-in-general does not have a God who is essentially love (since a single-person God cannot be love). It is Christianity that actually gives to the world a pair of spectacles that brings the world into proper focus.

Christian faith is about adopting these spectacles (rather than any other).

If the question is "Why does God expect us to have faith?", the answer is: Everyone has faith. What God wants is for us to have the sort of faith that actually fits us, fits the world, fits ultimate reality. He says "See the world like this. Doesn't that make sense of you, me and everything else?"

C.S. Lewis said this: "‘I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen. Not only because I can see it but because by it I can see everything else."’

This is another way (a much clearer and more succinct way!) of saying the same thing. You can get to grips with the sun in two ways. You can look at it (carefully!) but you can also look at everything else in its light. Both kinds of looking establish the reality of the sun.

The same is true of Jesus (who, incidentally, claimed to be the Light of the world, John 8:12). We can look at Jesus to see this God of love walk the earth. Here is something we can investigate and I urge you to do just that. Pick up one of the four biographies we have of His life, read, pray, chat it through with others. This is what it means to "look at the sun." At the same time we can look around at a world which Jesus illuminates. You can say to yourself "Could it be true that the Jesus-God is the deepest reality in this world? Could it be true that His kind of truth, beauty, goodness and love are what's ultimate in the world?"

When you put the two together you have a "Sun" that accounts for the sparkle. You have an Explanation for the light that we prize in this world.

As I look back at my conversion I see these two things going on. On the one hand I was reading the Gospels and in them encountering the unmistakable Light of Jesus. It got to the point where I could no more deny that He was Lord than that I could deny that the sun was bright. There is something self-authenticating about the Light of the world - He recommends Himself just by the force of His own compelling personality. At the same time though, I was listening to the Blues Brothers on repeat: Everybody needs somebody to love. It was striking me forcefully that love was the deepest reality in the universe. And all of a sudden these two things came together: I saw a sparkle in the world and I had found a Sun to explain it. There's a word to describe this kind of eureka moment: faith!

Why does God expect us to have faith? Everyone has faith. But which faith actually fits? I'd urge you to pick up the Gospels, shoot up a prayer and say "God, if you're there, shine!" See if the Jesus you meet there doesn't make sense of everything. It's worth a shot, don't you think?

 

3

Angry-PreacherI've come across far too many angry evangelists for this to be a coincidence. Out we go, door-knocking, flyering a uni campus or getting into conversations on the streets. (I'm a believer in first contact evangelism so I'm often doing this kind of thing (see here and here).)

Almost always these are two-by-two scenarios, so there I am with a fellow evangelist and we get chatting to someone about Jesus. Within 90 seconds my partner is agitated. This happens all the time. Maybe the non-Christian is showing scant regard for the importance of their own soul. Maybe they're denying their inherent sinfulness. Maybe they have the temerity to question certain gospel events. But pretty soon the non-Christian turns out to have actual non-Christian views and my Christian partner gets antsy.

Suddenly the Christian turns the conversation towards the conviction of sin, the inevitability of death, the judgement to come etc, etc. All of these have their place - absolutely - but I often wonder whether these are raised out of frustration and the desire to sledge-hammer a way through a conversation that hasn't gone as planned. I don't think I'm imagining it. I think that there are a lot of angry evangelists out there. And not just "out there".

I still remember (with more than a wince) a carols service I preached at 12 years ago. Workers piled into our central London church for a lunchtime sing-song and some mince pies. I vividly recall drawing attention to the carol before my talk: "Do you realise what you've just sung? O Come Let Us Adore Him. Adore Him? Such praise of Jesus! Doesn't that turn your English stomachs?" Yes I used that phrase: "Your English stomachs." *sigh* I can still picture the looks, the shifting in the pews, the ultra-awkward festive refreshments afterwards.

I was trying to draw attention to the person of Jesus - how incredible that billions would sing adoration to Him even after all these years. But what came out was anger, snarkyness, frustration, superiority. Ugly stuff.

I see this kind of thing quite a bit. Christmas and Easter services are prime examples. The preacher is often found saying: "And where have you been the other 50 Sundays of the year??" with their tone if not their words.

What's going on?

Several reasons might be given for a Christian's angry evangelism:

  • a failure to grasp the gospel (we don't see it as good news, so we put all our focus on "hard truths")
  • a failure to grasp the nature of evangelism (we think of it as delivering an ultimatum rather than the offer of Christ).
  • a failure to grasp the bondage of the will (that the unregenerate "cannot see" 2 Cor 4:4)
  • a failure to have any non-Christian friends (such that non-Christians genuinely surprise and threaten us).
  • plain old self-righteousness.

I think these are going on all the time in evangelists, in evangelical pulpits and, let's face it, in me. And it's ugly.

But let me here draw attention to something else going on. Essentially it's a view of evangelism that sees humanity as standing on either side of a "decision for Jesus."

Slide1

Now there certainly is a vital distinction between those in Christ and those who are not. But this kind of evangelism revolves around, not Christ, but the decision.

On this understanding an "evangelistic sermon" is not so much a sermon full of the good news. It's a sermon imploring non-Christians to make a decision. Such preaching makes Christians feel bored (because they've already made the decision) and non-Christians feel got-at (because the preacher is clearly not addressing their own flock but taking aim at the visitors).

Let me suggest a far more important line that should define our preaching. This line is between the "life of heaven" and the "life of earth" - between God's righteousness and our sin.

Slide2

Only one Person stands on the right side of this line. Only Jesus. The rest of us - Christians and non-Christians - are on the wrong side of His story. In evangelistic preaching then, we don't speak over the heads of Christians to hit our real targets - the unwashed. We speak to the children of Adam and reveal the problems of Adam. These problems are common to all, but praise God, there's a solution for all. Jesus is the "life of heaven", He is God's righteousness and He's made available to all. Christians need Him and need to look to Him constantly (not just in a one off salvation-moment). Non-Christians too need Him and need to look to Him for the first time. But the problems addressed are the problems of all and the solution proclaimed is available to all.

But what does preaching look like on that first paradigm...

Slide3

Someone from the right side of the line condescends to preach to those below. And the essence of their message is an "arrow up" - it's an exhortation to make a salvation decision (the way that the preacher has already).

So preaching comes from on high and it's message is for those below to make their way up. Not so on the second model...

Slide4

Here the preacher is on the side of the hearers - part of the same problem but also offered the same solution. And so this is the essence of the message: arrow-down! In the law, heaven does indeed stand above us and condemn us. What is revealed from heaven is, first, the wrath of God (Romans 1:18ff). But this wrath is revealed to all humanity and convicts all alike of sin. "But now a righteousness from God has been revealed" (Romans 3:21). Here comes the gospel and, once again, it is arrow-down as Christ is offered to lost sinners.

Christians need this gospel. Non-Christians need this gospel. No-one should feel superior. Everyone is humbled. No-one should feel uniquely "got at". Everyone is lavishly "given to." What place does anger have on this understanding.

But what understanding do we have? And how does it shape our preaching?

 

8

Jesus_washing_Peter's_feetYesterday I led a seminar on equipping Christians for evangelism. I opened up with a quiz to figure out where people were coming from. This is the quiz:

Here are four pairs of statements. Both sentences in each pair make good and honourable points, but if you had to choose, which would you lean towards...

A. Evangelism is about finding connections with what the world already believes.
B. Evangelism is about telling a very different story

A. Evangelism is more like leading people along stepping stones.
B. Evangelism is more like inviting people into an unfamiliar world

A. People’s stated objections to faith should be answered as asked with careful consideration.
B. We assume that, most often, questions are excuses because the questioner doesn't want to believe?

A. Our goal is cultural transformation and being taken seriously by the powers that be.
B. We are content to be an unimpressive church of nobodies.

I lean towards B in each of these pairs. I hear the concerns of A but I think we give the world better than they ever dared believe when we first tell a different story. We lead people on in the faith by proclaiming the strange new world of the Bible. We address questioners best when we see beneath their questions. And we transform culture by being a cross-shaped community, unconcerned for worldly power.

Both A and B reflect good and honourable truths, so in one sense it's a false dichotomy to get people to choose. On the other hand we do need to choose the way we pursue these things. And I say we take the hit by leading with B, all the while trusting that this is God's path towards A. In other words I think the way to get the glory which everyone wants is through suffering. The way to resurrection is through the cross.

Here's something that interested me. On three of these questions the room was split between A and B. I think A probably won each of the rounds but on one question A got 99% of the room and B got a couple of sheepish hold-outs. Which question? Number 4 - about cultural transformation. Everyone wants to shape culture and be taken seriously by the powers that be. No-one wants to be an unimpressive church of nobodies.

It seems to me, though, that God's power and wisdom are vindicated precisely in a weak and foolish looking cross and a weak and foolish looking church (1 Corinthians 1:17-31). This cruciformity does indeed carry God's power and wisdom and so will have a truly spiritual, transformational impact. But there's a shape to that transformation - down and then up. Are we prepared to go that path? Are we prepared to be unimportant? Are we prepared to look foolish - nuts even - before the world. I was surprised yesterday to see how few people were prepared to identify as unimpressive and how many preferred to be 'culture shapers.'

Maybe though, as the last vestiges of cultural power are being stripped from us, there is an opportunity for fruitful evangelism. Maybe if we embrace the "weak and foolish" label which the world is giving us rather than insisting on our own wisdom and credibility, we can truly walk the way of the cross. Maybe we'll actually reach the world when we stop trying to do so with our own impressiveness. Maybe we should stop demanding 'a seat at the table' and instead pick up a towel to serve.

"But people will think we're stupid, inconsequential servants!"

Exactly! Genius isn't it?

h-is-for-hypocrisyWe try to look good in the presence of judgement => hypocrisy.

The gospel means looking bad in the presence of love => healing.

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4

Original sin is a bit of a passion of mine (committed sin too but in a different way). I bang the 'original sin' drum in posts like these:

The Good News of Being Condemned Already

Original Sin (for the Evangelists Podcast)

The Importance of Adam

I'd love to see a proper renaissance of this teaching in our evangelism. Unfortunately Christians shy away from it for several reasons - not least a loss of confidence in the historical Adam. But let me leave that to one side and here sketch out three good reasons our culture ought to resonate with original sin and then address three dumb reasons why it really doesn't.

Three Reasons Our Culture Should Love Original Sin

It's holistic

We all know that we're perishing physically. We're born into a terminal condition called life. The Christian faces the fact that we are whole persons. We refuse to believe in a divorce between our physical state and our moral/spiritual state. We're born perishing - that's just a fact. There's no need to appeal to some other magical realm where we remain pristine and virtuous. Original sin treats us as whole people - dying on the outside, dying on the inside.

It's communal

Yes we live in an insanely individualistic age but actually the language of community is hugely prized. We're in this thing together. That's what original sin says: We're all in the same boat. No use pointing at the bad folks over there. I am them and they are me and we're all in a mess. Original sin levels the playing field and brings us together in the same place - a place of authenticity...

It's authentic

These days authenticity plays really well. If you can fake this you've got it made. Well here's a doctrine that says we've all got deep, deep issues. And no-one can claim an exemption. Nobody's perfect. Here is the death of all judgmentalism - no-one has achieved a different class of moral existence. All those religious types who think they're better than others are, beyond question, hypocrites. Original sin says we're all the black sheep of the family, so let's stop pretending to be 'on the side of the angels.'

Having said all this, here are Three Reasons Our Culture Hates Original Sin

We think we're immortal (The myth of limitless potential)

Modern westerners are in complete denial about our creaturely limitations. We spend our lives seeking to avoid and reverse our mortality. Actually we don't face our physical perishing so it's no wonder we can't face our spiritual perishing either.

We think we're islands (The myth of individualism)

For all our talk of community, our doctrine of humanity is thoroughly individualistic. I might like to get together with others, but it's my personal desire here that's important. I'm a community kinda guy. That's how roll. When the community starts making claims on me, I cool off big time. When you start telling me of my corporate identity and responsibility, I'm likely to get pretty offended.

We think our decisions make us free (The myth of choice)

It's so incredibly stupid and enslaving and obviously untrue but we are captivated by the idea that we create our own identity through the exercise of our personal choices. I know, I know - the multiplication of choices mostly ends up paralysing us (see, for eg, this TED talk on the Paradox of Choice) but still the mythology persists. And the  slogan "it's your decision" is so overwhelmingly persuasive it seems impossible to counteract.

But...

Let's keep holding out the holistic, communal, authentic side of this message and let's keep chipping away at the delusions we tell ourselves: that we're immortal; that we stand alone; that we create ourselves. Let's point out our mortality and our limits. Let's highlight the failures of individualism. Let's spotlight the slaveries we bring on ourselves precisely when we make our bold choices.

And all the while, our goal is not to burden people under the conviction of sin but to awaken them to the reality we all face. The whole point is to wake up the world to the obvious: we're sick. To embrace this truth is not our damnation, it's our salvation. For Jesus did not come for the healthy but the sick. He did not come to call the limitless, individualistic self-creators but only original sinners.

Broken BreadThe adultery bomb goes off in a marriage. What next? It's the cross or hell. Either there is the giving up of rights - in repentance and forgiveness - or there is the standing on rights, and it's hell.

Nation wars against nation. What next? Either there's surrender / reconciliation or a never-ending cycle of violence. It's the cross or hell.

An argument starts: harsh words stir up anger. What next? Either a gentle word turns away wrath or the wrath spirals on. Proverbs 15:1.

It's the cross or hell.

This is not a feature of certain conservative theologies - it's a fact of everyday existence. In every walk of life the making of peace involves a swallowing of pride - a wrath-bearing sacrifice if you will. Without this "cross", it's "hell". If we are at all aware of a sin problem, we become aware of the desperate need for costly atonement.

Some Christians shy away from the language of hell, wrath and sacrifice. Who believes in such things these days? Well, sinners do. People who understand the world and who understand their hearts - they get the need for blood and fire. If we ditch those concepts we become less able to reach the culture, not more.

The Sermon features 12 minute sermons from some wonderful preachers. Check it out.

They've also let me on. Here's the first to be released: Jesus' Baptism

 

 

WEST-Union-Slider

Do you know about Union Theology? It's a very exciting development offering theological resources and, soon, theological education too. Here's Mike Reeves explaining the rationale.

On their new website there are some wonderful resources, have a look around. I've also sneaked on with a paper about intimacy with God. Here are the headings and questions for consideration to give you a feel for the paper:

The God of Intimacy:

Do you see God as enjoyable; as worth knowing?

Does it help to know God as a Father pouring infinite Spiritual blessings onto his Son?

 

The Way of Intimacy

Is intimacy something you’re trying to achieve or receive?

How would your pursuit of intimacy change to know it’s a gift that is yours in Christ?

 

The Basis of Intimacy

Meditate on the various portraits of one-ness listed above – which speak to you most strongly?

Is it possible you’ve ever sought “intimacy” instead of Christ? What’s the difference?

 

The Purchase of Intimacy

Is Christ’s blood atonement at the heart of your idea of divine intimacy?

How is your approach to God changed, knowing that it comes through the death of Jesus?

 

The Shape of Intimacy

Have you known “fellowship in suffering”?

What might the God of intimacy be up to in the midst of your current sins, suffering and service?

 

The High Priest of our Intimacy

If you knew Christ was praying for you in the next room, how would it change your experience of intimacy?

What difference does it make to know that, in heaven, Jesus prays for you now?

 

The Experience of Intimacy

What place does church have in your relationship with God?

How can you enjoy God and serve others in your local church family?

 

The Promise of Intimacy

What place does Christ's return have in your pursuit of intimacy?

How can you cultivate more of that future hope?

 

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11

Here's the poem I wrote last week performed:

Let me explain some of my thinking...

In the first kingdom everything is framed in transactional terms. There is a reward for the girl and, naturally, people want to talk about the terms and conditions. So there is a battle between legalism and licence: give the girl too much and she'll spend it on prodigal living. Impose too many terms and she's little more than a slave.

And so a debate ensues. One side may want the goodies given freely, no strings attached. The other side wants the girl to prove how serious she is about royal living.

These debates can get tiresome. But the worst development of all is the person who stands up claiming to have discovered the optimal payment structure - not too strict, not too liberal. These sanctification Goldilockses are just right - balancing license and legalism with their perfectly measured pastoral pronouncements.

But the answer is NOT to balance licence and legalism. The solution to this problem does not lie in between these errors. We need to come out of this transactional kingdom and enter the realm of gracious union. If we miss union with Christ, we miss everything, and we will be doomed to ping-pong back and forth between "grace" and "holiness" - as though those things were extremes to be avoided!

In Christ's kingdom, He marries His wicked bride - freely giving her His righteousness, graciously taking on Himself her sins. She offers Him nothing. He gives her everything.

And in that utterly gracious union, she finds herself both captive and crowned. She has a new Lord forevermore. And she has new freedoms she could never have imagined. Both. At the same time.

The bride now has everything - but not apart from her Lord. In her Lord she is free and she's possessed. In her Lord she is freely forgiven and given a new life. In her Lord, she is loved in spite of all sin and she's claimed for royal living.

If you take your eyes off your gracious Lord, you might celebrate the security of your wedding ring - surrounding you no matter what your behaviour. On the other hand, you might emphasize the seriousness of your wedding vows - binding upon you at all times. But neither focus is the Scriptural one. Look at Jesus - freely given to you in all your sin, fully possessing you for all your life.

Don't balance licence and legalism. They're both errors and the answer is not in between. In Christ we are both captive and crowned.

12

We all agree on the nature of nature right? Whether you're Christian, atheist, animist, whatever - we all breathe the same air, we all experience the same world, we're all moved by the same beauty, right? Well....

Let me give a very broad-brushstrokes history lesson and then say what I think the bible says...

Thomas Aquinas, the favourite theologian of Roman Catholics (1225-1274) was big on relating "Nature" and "Grace". In terms of knowledge and in terms of salvation Aquinas had a model of co-operation. We build towards God, He tops up our deficiencies with his grace.

Slide1

God's grace does not destroy our works, it completes them - so said Thomas. He was very clear that no-one could think their way completely towards God, neither can we work our way completely towards heaven - we all need a helping hand. But that's how it works, God helps those who help themselves.

The rediscovery of the gospel in the 16th century completely destroys that way of thinking: We're saved and we know God by his grace alone.  Christ alone is God's gift coming down to us. And He is received, not by any religious capacity of our own, but by faith alone.  The green arrow comes down from heaven and then goes through us and out to the world. That's the gospel, and it obliterates the co-operation model.

But what happens when that gospel gets  lost again? Because it does get lost again post-reformation. This time it's not lost to medieval catholicism, it's lost to the Enlightenment.

With the Enlightenment there are also two elements, but they aren't so much nature and grace, they are nature and supernature (i.e. the supernatural).

Slide2

Here, the nature arrow is no longer pointing up, it's pointing forwards. Enlightenment people come to believe that the natural world is pretty much self-sustaining. The world grinds along according to iron laws of physics which reason can discover. There's really not much point in anything supernatural, but maybe that realm does exist, up there, in an ethereal way divorced from "the real world."

Of course this is the world view we still have today. Some people believe there might well be a floaty, light green, supernatural realm. Others just believe in the reality of this self-sustaining natural world. And of course, once you've set things up like this, the atheist position looks like the most obvious one doesn't it?

In churches today there are two prevailing attitudes about how to relate "the natural" and "the supernatural" - both of them completely assume the Enlightenment worldview.

The first response is to agree that there are these two realms and never the twain shall meet. There's God and Jesus and the Spirit and faith and the Christian life... and then there's the real world. This is the heresy I'm most tempted towards.

The other response is to say "These realms do meet - they meet when freaky, unnatural stuff happens."

Once again the Enlightenment worldview is taken for granted because "God" is associated primarily with things that are not natural. The nature / super-nature divide is assumed, but this time the emphasis is on the supernatural.

People who take these two approaches might seem very different but, deep down, both are singing from the same (secular!) hymn sheet.

I suggest that the two realms that need co-ordinating are not nature and grace or nature and super-nature but Old Creation and New Creation (you could call it 'kingdom of man' and 'kingdom of God', or Adam and Christ, or flesh and Spirit). I think the true picture is more like this:

Here the old creation is the more transparent one - it is less real than the new.  It is subject to futility and plunging down into death.  There is an arrow here - there is a direction - but under Adam, that direction is downwards.

Overall however there is progress because the second Adam has come.  And He brings new creation.  Christians are part of this in-breaking kingdom even as we wait in this passing age.

On this view, What does it look like for God to show up?

Well God is at work in the Old Creation and intimately so, it's just that Old Creation goes from life to death. This is God's alien work, but His work nonetheless. His proper work though is the renewal of all things under the feet of Christ (from death to life).  Therefore the signs of His coming kingdom are restoration and recreation. God does indeed act in power in this passing age but "freaky" is not the point. New life is.

With this view of the world, What is the nature of "nature"?

Well let's forget the Thomas Aquinas split. Nature is not an obvious realm that we all understand similarly. It's not as though we all have one level of natural understanding that just needs topping up with grace in order to get the fullness of its spiritual meaning. No, the green arrow must come all the way down to convert us and give us new eyes, new ears, new hearts. We must be converted and then we will see the world the way it really is - a proclamation of Christ.

And let's forget the Enlightenment split. Nature is not a self-sustaining realm, divorced from the spiritual. It is the site of God's constant activity in every detail. Of course we must be in Christ to see it and we need the spectacles of the Scriptures to adjust our vision to these realities. But the world is not a neutral space - it's the theatre of Christ's glory:

The earth is full of the glory of the LORD Jesus (Isaiah 6:3; John 12:40-41).

The heavens are declaring the glory of Christ (Psalm 19:1; Romans 10:17-18).

Creation is proclaiming the gospel of Christ (Colossians 1:23).

 

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