Half-hearted Creatures

I talk a good deal about the importance of the resurrection to the Christian faith. Typically, this comes off as some hare-brained attempt to advocate social justice or inadvertently support global warming, which is so unfortunate. I struggle to enunciate exactly why I think this is so important, even though the thought of it on certain days sink down into my soul so thoroughly that I fight tears. So, for a brief moment, allow me to use someone else’s words:

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. – C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

This was my first real encounter with resurrection theology, and while I didn’t realize it at the time, this notion has become one of the most foundational concepts in my faith. I do not want to be a half-hearted creature! And I genuinely believe that only way to live a full and rich kind of faith is to see the resurrection of Christ as the focal point to, well, everything.

As someone who struggles with traditional church, and mindless institutions (collegiate or otherwise), the resurrection screams to me that we cannot, we must not, go quietly along simply because “this is the way it’s done.” My response to that? “Dead men don’t rise from the grave!

We’re working through a series on Saints right now over at the College House, and in some ways this is simply revisiting what I’ve already taught to my juniors and seniors during the school year, but it never ceases to amaze me how God’s Truth runs right smack dab through the middle of everything, and the resurrection of Christ is no exception. So many of the Saints who stand out in the twenty centuries of Church History do so because their faith, anchored in the same sentiment that Lewis enunciates so clearly, causes them to live a life totally different from everyone around them. I think of Watchman Nee and Dietrich Bonheoffer, men who reflected Christ even as they died in such unjust circumstances, and I pause: “how will the resurrection change me? will people see that truth in my life?

It’s a powerful question. Father, help me to live it well.


Creation Science

As always, I encourage you to download the handout and fill it out as you watch the video above.

This past week’s lesson was a good one. The PowerPoint didn’t work. We ran out of time. And multiple people expressed disappointment that we didn’t get to have more of a discussion.

What made it good had nothing to with the decent lecture I had prepared. And it wasn’t because we had a pretty amazing time of praise before we got started. Our lesson this past Wednesday was awesome because fellowship happened.

People volunteered to help bring food and drinks for next week. People hung around and chatted afterwards about life and all the in-between stuff. People were open, even if it made them a little but uncomfortable.

This is really what I love about teaching. Take all the fancy lectures and intelligent words and just throw into the ocean for all I care. Church gets real when people fellowship with one another.

So while I had some thoughts I wanted to post about Creation and Evolution, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m just going to say, man we had a good time this week.

Science & Faith: A Primer

The small group I teach is embarking on an 8-week journey this Spring. As many of those in attendance are college students, we are endeavoring to dig into God’s Word and wrap our minds around the correlation between science and faith. Since I am learning as I prepare for these lessons, you can expect some further blog posts to help me work through the material, and hopefully get some good discussion going.

Our first lesson was a basic introduction to apologetics, and laid the four main foundational ideas that I think are necessary to this study:

  1. Christ must always be our foundation.
  2. The Bible is not a science book.
  3. Science does not determine meaning in life.
  4. We must always keep in mind what the Bible defines as true wisdom.

If you’re interested in knowing what was discussed, you can watch the video of our PowerPoint below. You can also click here to download a copy of the blank handout waiting for you to fill it in (or, for the less initiated, you can download a completed handout here).

I hope that you will join us, online or in person, as we draw closer to our Creator, and recognize the role science can play in our understanding and proper attitude towards His Creation.


My life group had an interesting discussion this past Sunday. We’ve been going through John, and we were looking at the Bread of Life discourse during this particular meeting. We observed how simple the message of Christ is: “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent.” In the course of talking about the different ways we add to this Gospel, we began discussing the whole “works versus faith” issue that often arises in Christian circles. Theologians have been dealing with this for  a long time (St. James, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, Francis Schaeffer, James W. Sire, N.T. Wright, to name a few) and there are still a variety of opinions.

In my life group, there seemed to be two main thoughts (well, two were voiced anyways): 1) When you’re saved, you desire to have the character of Christ, and this desire produces the works James wrote about. 2) Works that are forced are bad, because works should come naturally from our salvation.

This sums up the perspective of many Christians that I have met over the years. They often cite amazing transformations (like those of Paul, or the brother of Jesus, or even Constantine) as examples of how the power of the Holy Spirit comes down and just changes a person overnight. While there is some truth to these examples, this kind of thought offers an incomplete picture for a few reasons.

1) Powerful transformation does not happen overnight. The few (and I stress the word, few) examples of this kind of thing that we find in Scripture should serve as a stark warning. For most people in the New Testament, change is difficult and slow. The Disciples are perhaps one of the most prime examples of this, and Christians should keep in mind that while the Spirit does indeed give us a new nature, that does not mean we will be sinless from that point on.

2) The Christ-like character of people like Paul came with effort. Immediately, people will want to point out errors in this thought. So perhaps an example will help. As a Christian, it is our business to help point people to God, in effect saving their life. A person trained in CPR is very similar. Both desire the best for those in need, and have a sincere desire in their heart to help people. However, if I am choking, I would rather have the CPR-trained individual nearby than the Christian with well-meaning intentions. In order to be of any use in the business of saving lives, we must practice the habits that will be used in this process. This leads into the next point.

3) Being kind by nature is not the same as being transformed. The person who was gentle before they were saved will continue being gentle. So when this individual reads that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, they think to themselves, “look at how easy this comes!” This is a deception though. Some people will have gentle natures, while others have the nature of a thief. And yet, no one is exempt from needing God. We have to understand that in some aspect, we will fall short of God’s standards. If kindness comes natural, perhaps honesty does not. Of maybe we fail in our sexual ethics, but stand strong in our generosity. Regardless, in order to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, we will have to practice some of them.

C.S. Lewis often spoke of the importance of doing something in order to really feel a certain way (he touches on this in Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, and The Weight of Glory, which are all books I recommend). The idea is this: if we treat someone like we love them, because we desire to love them as Christ does, our hearts will be transformed. Eventually we will find ourselves loving this person without effort. It becomes natural because we made it a habit.

In the end, the Christian who does not live the Christ-like life is not fulfilling their purpose. And that, sadly, seems to be the case in much of the American Church. Perhaps, we are just out of practice.

Lord, as we seek to really be Your body here on this earth, soften our hearts to the wounds around us. Open our minds to the truth found in Your Word. And give us the hands to carry out Your will, just as You would have it done. May Grace and Peace characterize Your people. Amen.