The Incarnation

There is hardly anything more mysterious and wonderful to me than the incarnation of Jesus Christ. God became a man. Jesus Christ is at once fully God and fully man. God took on mortal human flesh and became subject to all the things that every other mortal is subject to. He sneezed. He coughed. He got headaches and an upset stomach. Every morning he got up, shook the dust out of His hair, and served His Father faithfully.

Jesus Christ was not only subject to sickness, but also to death. The eternal Son of God was die-able. In fact, he did die. And three days later, what was mortal became swallowed up by immortality in the resurrection.

Even now, the resurrected Christ sits at the right hand of God in glory. As I type these words, the incarnate God intercedes in the flesh for His people before the Father (Romans 8:34). And it all began in a manger 2,000 years ago. No, actually, we have to go 9 months before that—when Jesus Christ was first conceived in by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, when the God-Man was an embryo. “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. . . The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:30, 35).

How could any of this be? God is in the flesh now! I cannot get my little pea-brain to comprehend it, yet this is precisely what the Bible teaches. “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).

As we ponder the imponderables of God, let us never cease to be amazed at the manifold mercies of God that have come to us through the incarnation of King Jesus. Let every heart prepare Him room.

Merry Christmas!

Carl Trueman on Being a Christian Academic

Carl Trueman has an outstanding exhortation in the most recent issue of Themelios, and his remarks have a particular punch for academics:

“The title ‘scholar’ is not one that you should ever apply to yourself, and its current profusion among the chatterati on the blogs is a sign of precisely the kind of arrogance and hubris against which we all need to guard ourselves. Call me old-fashioned, but to me the word ‘scholar’ has an honorific ring. It is something that others give to you when, and only when, you have made a consistent and outstanding contribution to a particular scholarly field (and, no, completion of a Ph.D. does not count). To be blunt, the ability to set up your own blog site and having nothing better to do with your time than warble on incessantly about how clever you are and how idiotic are all those with whom you disagree—well, that does not actually make you eligible to be called a scholar. On the contrary, it rather qualifies you to be a self-important nincompoop, and the self-referential use of the title by so many of that ilk is at best absurd, at worst obnoxious.”

Amen to that. Read the rest of this one here.

Joe Scarborough Challenges MSM

Tim Challies has this video linked on his blog, but I saw some of it when it was originally broadcast last week on MSNBC. Here’s the description: “Joe Scarborough challenges the MSM on the lack of attention to Obama’s Chicago roots in light of Blago.”

A Christmas Classic . . . Not!

Well, it has become a Christmas tradition to share this song on my blog. Listen at your own risk! If anyone ever figures out the provenance of this one, let me know.

More on the Rick Warren Controversy

Albert Mohler has a short article on Rick Warren’s decision to pray at the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. At the end, Mohler explains why he would not accept such an invitation:

“Would I deliver the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States? Well, I have not been asked, but I can imagine that it would be difficult to turn down this invitation. After all, the inaugural ceremony is a national event, not a personal ceremony. Yet, in the end, the context of this inaugural ceremony would not allow me to accept. President-elect Obama has pledged to sign legislation including the Freedom of Choice Act, which would affect a pro-abortion revolution in this nation. He has also pledged to sign executive orders within hours of taking office that will lead directly to a vast increase in the destruction of human life. In particular, he has promised to reverse the Bush administration’s policy limiting federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research. Sources inside the transition office have advised activists to expect a flurry of executive orders in the new administration’s first hours and days.

“Knowing the intentions of this President-elect, I could not in good conscience offer a formal prayer at his inauguration. Even in the short term, I could not live in good conscience with what will come within hours. I could not accept a public role in the event of his inauguration nor offer there a public prayer, but I will certainly be praying for this new President and for the nation under his leadership.”

The issue is not whether one should pray for the president. We all agree that we should be praying for our president no matter who he is or what his views are (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Nor is the issue a question of Warren’s views on life and the family. The issue is whether or not a public prayer might have symbolic ramifications that undermine a biblical view of life and the family. I’m not saying this is an easy question to answer, but I am saying that it is a necessary one to consider before participating in such an event.

The only way I could in good conscience participate is to make clear that I do not endorse the president-elect’s views on life and the family. But the only opportunity to make that known would be within the prayer itself. But if one were to make that point within the prayer itself, the prayer would then have the ring of hypocrisy–that is, praying to be seen by men and not by God. King Jesus told us not to do this (Matthew 6:5-6). So absent an opportunity to clarify my non-endorsement of Obama’s policies on the family and life, I think I would have to decline this invitation as well.

I do not think that Rick Warren intends to endorse Obama’s views on these matters. I am just saying that there may be some unintended consequences that may not be all the helpful.

“Choice of Pastor Aims to Bridge Divide” by Laura Meckler and Suzanne Sataline (Wall Street Journal)

Boyce College on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Well, Boyce College won’t actually be on “Wheel of Fortune,” but one of our employees will be. Allison Parker is the administrative assistant to Boyce College’s Dean of Student Life, and she is the wife of Southern Seminary M.Div. student Zack Parker. Allison will be appearing as a contestant on tonight’s edition of “Wheel of Fortune.”

I asked her at a recent Christmas party how her game ended up (the show was taped in October), but she was pretty cryptic about the show’s results. So we’ll all be on the edge of our seats tonight to see how she fares. Go Allison!

“SBTS employee to appear on Wheel of Fortune” – by Garrett Wishall (Towers online)

Carl Trueman on “The Case for Gay Marriage”

Carl Trueman has responded briefly to last week’s Newsweek cover story by Lisa Miller, “The Case for Gay Marriage.” Trueman makes an excellent point about Miller’s article that is worth more than a moment’s reflection:

“Behold the future. The piece is prophetic because, in a week where a high-ranking member of the NAE had to resign because he was `shifting’ on gay unions, at a time when the full weight of the opinion forming social media is behind the normalisation of homosexuality as acceptable, challenges such as this are clearly going to be coming thick and fast. Continue Reading →

Dan Wallace on the Reliability of the NT

I had the privilege of attending Dan Wallace’s riveting lecture at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in November. It was an outstanding presentation, and it is now accessible to a wider audience. Dr. Wallace’s ETS lecture and another one that he has delivered at apologetics conferences are now available for purchase at a very reasonable price. Here are the two lectures and information about how to obtain the DVD recordings of them: Continue Reading →

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