This is a picture of Birdtail Butte in Montana — my entry for Horizons
I had never seen this artwork before but the picture is haunting. This brief article from Ray Ortlund really struck a chord in my heart and I share it with you. How precious do you hold the study of God’s Word?
If you don’t follow Seoul USA, you really need to…
Seoul USA‘s NK-led, 100% Christian nightly shortwave radio broadcast has become the target of Chinese cooperation in blocking attempts, adding to the (ultimately unsuccessful) ongoing blocking efforts of the North Korean government.
Analysts note Chinese efforts to specially target a broadcast into North Korea are largely unheard of. That they would specially target our humble little (zillion megawatt) home-brewed effort of North Korean Christians makes you wonder if they understand the power of the gospel more than we do.
Jamming efforts are the best indicator we have of how threatening the NK regime considers our broadcast to be. That the Chinese have been invited to the jamming party is a better-than-best indicator…and it makes me button-busting proud of the North Korean Christians who are involved in the broadcast. It’s 1 Corinthians 1:26 in action.
An analyst told me something interesting…
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Here is a link to a good article. It is a couple of years old, but still very relevant.
It seems to me that too many Western Christians view God as a president and not a monarch. Perhaps we confuse how heaven is run with the muddled way we govern ourselves. A president is elected by the people and serves them at their whim. They can be deposed and a new one voted in as the people will. God is a monarch. People serve Him, as He elects and dictates. He serves forever as no one is powerful enough to depose Him. He does not have to share power with committees, congresses or groups of people. He alone determines what He will do and then He executes His plans and brings them to pass. He is not influenced by lobbyists, special interest groups or political opinion polls. It is at His feet everyone will one day kneel and confess that He is Lord.
As long as we have the view of God as a president or prime minister and not as a monarch, we will never view God correctly. Our relationship with Him will be immature at best and non-existent at most. This view has permeated many churches, also. We live in a day of a Laodicean “rule of the people” mindset. Until our view of God changes, we will continue to live lives of complacency and settling for second-best. Until the fear of God is instilled in both individuals and churches, understanding that God is Sovereign over the affairs of mankind, we will continue to see a world slipping further and further into spiritual darkness.
While I was sitting in church this past Sunday, listening to the choir sing Days of Elijah, my mind starting fixating on the words of the chorus:
Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!
Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call
Lift your voice! It’s the year of Jubilee!
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes!
My mind was swept away thinking about the greatness of our King’s return. He will come for His own, coming back through the clouds as He went away, riding on His great white horse followed by the armies of heaven. What a magnificent scene this will be. He will blaze with glory, outshining the sun in His brilliance because He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. The trumpet blast will herald the return of the King of kings and for those who are His it will be a time of jubilee, a time of salvation, a cause to shout and praise. For others, though, it will be a time of despair, as He comes to execute judgment on those who do not believe, who have not bowed to Him as their Lord.
Charles Wesley captured this in his great hymn Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending which I reprint below:
Lo, He comes with clouds descending, Once for favored sinners slain
Thousand, thousand saints attending, Swell the triumph of His train
Alleluia, alleluia, God appears on Earth to reign
Every eye shall now behold Him, Robed in dreadful majesty
Those who set at naught and sold Him, Pierced and nailed Him to the tree
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, shall the true Messiah see
Now the Savior long expected, See in solemn pomp appear
All His saints by man rejected, Now shall meet Him in the air
Alleluia, alleluia, See the day of God appear
Yes, Amen! Let all adore Thee, High on Thine eternal throne
Savior take the power and glory, Claim the kingdom for Thine own
O come quickly, O come quickly, Everlasting God come down
Are you ready for the coming of Jesus Christ? No man knows the hour or the day when He will appear in all His glory. Today is the day of salvation, tomorrow might be the day of judgment.
Recently there has been a stir among the Web about the future possibility of wrestling with the question of baptizing cyborgs. As more and more artificial parts are integrated into human beings, the issue of creating cyborgs as pictured in science fiction movies may, indeed, become fact. The question arises when artificial intelligence is uploaded to a human body. Does it then become human? Does it have a soul? These are questions that seem far-fetched, and yet they are being discussed in places such as Christianity Today and in the Southern Baptist Convention.
At issue is the definition of a soul and the definition of salvation, as well as the means by which salvation is obtained. If salvation is by a free will choice solely determined by one’s mind (I choose to accept Jesus as Savior) then the question of an artificial intelligence choosing wisely is very real. If salvation is a grace gift given by the Lord to whom He chooses (the elect), then the question is irrelevant. Do you see how one’s theological understanding of free will impacts the discussion?
If God breathes into a life at conception, giving it a soul, then that is one issue. If one believes that the soul and intelligence are one and the same, that is another issue. If one believes the mind (intelligence) is the same as a soul, then there is a real concern of baptizing cyborgs. If one believes that the soul is placed into a body, (and by extension a new body at the resurrection) then it doesn’t matter, the whole point is moot.
Before more articles are written raising questions about such things, it would be wise for authors to clarify and define their use of terms for words such as soul, spirit and salvation. It might even be helpful to clarify the authors understanding of cyborg versus golem. Just a random thought on a Tuesday morning, but one that might merit some consideration.