2 Ways God Communicates to People Today
We have so much around us in creation that reveals God’s attributes: goodness, power, wisdom. Yet, he also has revealed himself and his love to his people in historical narrative, poetry, prophecy, letters, and the Sacraments. God’s communication is multifaceted and provides a wonderful depth and beauty as we use all of God’s revelation to know him.
Blazing sunrises, gentle moonlit nights, lush forest paths, rocky arid beauty, bird song, leaf-fall, thunderous ocean waves, cascading waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams—these glorious beauties are the songs of nature. Each of these songs declares a theme, a message from God the King. He calls us to learn of him from nature and his Word. God has created a symphony for us: let’s listen.
God the Composer
A composer is a person who writes music. It is his vision and foresight—his message—that is written down on paper for others to communicate. The composer is in control of what fundamentally must be played and how it should be played. Will this line be loud or soft? Will it be played forcefully or delicately? Will the music communicate joy, sorrow, anxiety, or strength?
God is a composer, too. He created the glorious, amazing, and beautiful world around us to communicate something about himself. The rhythm of the seasons, sounds of nature, colors, and smells are all part of his composition. Just as a composer communicates through his music, God communicates to us through his creation and Word. They both reveal something about him.
1. God Communicates Through His Creation
So what does creation say to you about God? Psalm 19 speaks of the creation being a witness to God’s glory: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). And Job 38 stresses God’s power, wisdom, design, and care of his creation. The book of Romans declares,
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Rom. 1:19-20)
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Remaining Faithful in Changing TimesBy Seth Hammond — 12 months ago
Christian, although we find ourselves living in different times than we did twenty years ago, the Christian’s job description remains the same: keep poised, keep persevering, keep proclaiming, and keep performing the duties that God has prepared in advance for you to do.
This year I am working with a committee from my high school in planning our twenty-year reunion. I am looking forward to seeing people I have not seen in a long time. It will be a joy to hear about their families, where they are living, and what they are doing with their lives. One thing will be certain: changes have occurred. A lot happens in twenty years.
I have the privilege of serving at a church in my hometown where I graduated. As I have been reflecting on the past twenty years, I have noticed there has been a major change in the spiritual landscape of my community. Many churches that were once thriving are now struggling. Even though there has been a significant population increase, churches have not seen growth. As I talk to other pastor friends around the country, I am hearing the same things. What has changed in the last twenty years?
When the twenty-first century began, our society entered the Innovation Era, a new technological, digital age. I distinctly remember sitting in my dorm room working on my large computer and waiting minutes for my internet to dial up. Now, I can connect online in a second. This digital world enables us to talk to almost anyone anywhere at any time.
The Innovation Era has brought about a lot of good. Technology has played a role in the growth of the kingdom of God by making it possible to reach many people with the gospel who were previously unreached. Christian colleges and seminaries that provide online learning are educating the masses. Along with all the progress this age has brought, there has also been great harm. Pornography has ruined marriages and ministries. Work is much more difficult to turn off. Countless worldviews are being shared as anyone who can get online has a public platform to discuss their ideas. Unfortunately, many in our society are buying into these opposing worldviews and are drifting from the Lord and His church.
The world I find myself living in is a world like Timothy’s, where “people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–4).
In 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul warned Timothy about false teachers who were coming from inside and outside the church (1 Tim. 1:6, 19; 4:1; 6:10, 21; 2 Tim. 2:18). There were four issues that kept coming up in the church from their teachings:
Myths that referred to Old Testament figures from extrabiblical writings would excuse immoral behavior (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4).
The Jewish law was wrongly interpreted, and heresy was being taught (1 Tim. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:18).
Andy Stanley vs Joshua and CalebBy Bill Muehlenberg — 1 month ago
The need for preachers and leaders to stand strong on biblical truth and proclaim it fearlessly has always been great, but certainly so today. We have far too much compromise, equivocation, men-pleasing, and seeking to have feet in both camps. The need of the hour is what we find Joshua saying elsewhere: “choose today whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15, NLT). Mealy-mouthed pastors who want to please everyone will never be pleasing to God.
Yes, this is a strange title, but wait: there is a connection between the Atlanta pastor and the two Old Testament champions of the faith. Indeed, this article is all about faith: real faith versus false faith. Biblical faith is never divorced from obedience to God and his word. Fake faith is all about ‘if it feels right, do it,’ and anything goes.
Let me explain. I have written before about Andy Stanley, the preacher son of another well-known preacher, Charles Stanley. I have already penned three articles about the son over the past five years, given what worrying things he has said that are at odds with biblical Christianity.
For example, he has basically embraced the heresy of Marcionism, in which he dismisses the Old Testament as irrelevant for the believer today. Back in 2018, he said that Christians need to “unhitch” themselves from the OT.
And in another article, I took him to task for making this reckless claim: “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles.” Good grief: so we can now kill, lie, steal and commit adultery since OT law means nothing to us now? See more on this here.
I also penned a piece on why the OT is indispensable to the Christian, and to ignore it or to reject it is to reject God himself.
So what is Andy up to now? Well, he has been quite weak on homosexuality, for a while causing many Christian leaders to be further concerned about him and his wishy-washy positions. Now he has come out and said homosexuals in churches have more faith than straights do.
Um, biblical faith is ALWAYS tied in with obedience. Just as one can never say a Christian living in adultery is faith-filled or faithful, so too here. A ‘homosexual Christian’ is a contradiction in terms – full stop. Living in known sin and being a faithful Christian is an oxymoron.
But some might argue that Stanley should be taken to task privately for all this. However, the old principle holds here: ‘Private sin, private rebuke; public sin, public rebuke’. When you proclaim heterodox views from the pulpit, then they need to be called out. Another American pastor – and an ex-homosexual – Daren Mehl said this on social media:
When someone as big as Stanley openly rebukes the Bible, it is Stanley who is openly in error and STANLEY who OPENLY needs to be corrected so ALL can hear. Andy got this far into heresy because he left the truth a while ago. He started to miss the discernment on lgbtq a while ago. His current public error is fruit of a seed from a while ago. I would place my bets he’s selfishly ambitious and looking for a “middle ground” or “third way” so he can play both sides without having to offend anyone with the truth.
Indeed this seems to be a long-standing habit of Stanley. He seems to want to straddle the fence and he seems to delight in being deliberately vague and unclear on these sorts of issues. In a recent article, Denny Burke warned that this recurring ambiguity of Stanley is just far too problematic:
Stanley’s message comes across as a straightforwardly affirming position on homosexuality in the church. He valorizes the faith of homosexuals as head-and-shoulders above the faith of straight Christians. He says, “the men and women I know who are gay, their faith and their confidence in God dwarfs mine. And so not only is there room, there’s plenty of room” for them in the church. He brushes aside what the Bible says about homosexuality as “clobber” verses, as if those texts somehow harm gay sinners.
Why the World Needs MenBy Christian Winter — 6 months ago
No Apologies pulls no punches: the transformation of society into a gynocracy has been a disaster. But the attack on manliness is not merely an attack against boyhood or manhood: “Ultimately the attack upon the home, and upon the marriage of man and woman, is an attack on the God who made man and woman” (183). If we call “very bad” (or even toxic) what God has called “very good,” we call God a liar. God has made men to lead and protect and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). Christians ought to honor the high calling to which God has called men. This high calling, for the glory of God, is for the good of all.
Matt Walsh’s recent film, reviewed here, documented Walsh’s worldwide quest to find an adequate answer to the age-old question, “What is a woman?” In fact, Walsh’s film aimed to expose the incoherency of the radical gender ideology sweeping the West, especially as it has impacted women and girls. In his 2022 book No Apologies: Why Civilization Depends on the Strength of Men, Anthony Esolen exposes how radical gender ideology and its evil twin, feminism, are short-sighted in their attempt to “destroy the patriarchy” by demonizing manhood as “toxic masculinity.” The book’s defense of manhood, Esolen explains, is especially for the young boys in our society. Men are strong enough to withstand attacks. Boys are being destroyed before they reach manhood.
Drawing on nature, history, literature, science, common experience, and Scripture, Esolen defends a traditionalist understanding of manhood, an understanding that recognizes the good and unique differences between men and women and the consequently different roles for men and women in the family, society, politics, and the church. Men’s unique roles in these spheres are not for self-aggrandizement, as feminists would have us believe, but for the common good—and for the good of women especially. Men performing their roles well is good for all, for “[w]e cannot corrupt one sex without corrupting the other. Male and female stand and fall together” (xi). Thus, throughout his book, as Esolen highlights men’s unique contributions to civilization that cannot be replaced by women, he does so not to demean women but to promote the good of all of society, both men and women.
Esolen repeatedly rejects the doctrinal claims of modern feminism in No Apologies. He begins in Chapter 1, “Strength,” by exposing one of the most obvious falsehoods proclaimed by modern feminism: the false claim that men and women are physically interchangeable. A woman can do anything a man can do, and sometimes better, proclaim the feminists. With colorful examples from history and his own life, Esolen demonstrates that men and women are physically unequal, and the greater strength of men enables them to perform physical tasks which women cannot. The team required to raise a barn or cut down an oak tree with an axe is necessarily male, for such tasks stretch adult men’s strength to the upper limit, thereby excluding women from direct participation. Esolen qualifies his claim–there will be some very strong women who may exceed some men in strength. Despite this, Esolen argues, men’s average strength far exceeds the average strength of women, and that is what counts when dividing labor.
Men’s unique strength is not merely external and physical but also internal and emotional. Men have a stronger ability than women to quiet their emotions when a task at hand must be accomplished. Contrary to those moderns who would encourage boys and men to express their emotions by opening the floodgate of tears, Esolen encourages boys to become men and learn when they must stiffen their upper lips and accomplish the work that must be done. To counter the claim that masculine emotional resiliency is a mere cultural relic, Esolen cites example after example from the literature of societies all over the world, past and present, Western and non-Western, which tells of men who must withstand the pull of emotion in order to accomplish their pious duty to their people and their gods. Aeneas must leave his lover Dido to fulfill his divine calling to found Rome. The Chinese master, Confucius describes the good man as he who “obeys the sacred custom, and . . . does not permit the grief to master him” (19). Native Americans told the tale of an adolescent boy who resists his grandmother’s tears in order to brave the hunt to provide for his people and courageously kill the evil murderer, Klarrheit. For Esolen, men must not allow their emotions to disable them, especially when the family and nation are depending on them to act.
In his chapter “Agency,” Esolen explores men’s drive toward action, and how that drive has historically been used for great projects that have benefited both cities and all mankind. Whereas some today object, arguing that boys’ restless energy is learned from their upbringing, Esolen correctly points out that such a claim “defies not only everything that we know about the physiology and the behavior of mammals, but also the testimony of human cultures in every climate, in every age, and at every stage of technological development” (30). Boys and men have an energy that seeks “to change the face of the earth” (30). One way or another, men will act: either to destroy or to build up. Esolen describes how men acted in coordination to build aqueducts to bring fresh water to ancient Rome. Men of modern society, given the tools of the ancient world, would have neither the mental aptitude nor the physical capability to accomplish such a task. But such tasks are what make civilization possible.
If men are those who accomplish the frankly brutal tasks that are necessary for a city or country to even exist, then men and masculinity are not dispensable. Rather, man’s inner drive prompting him to shape his world according to his will is a foundation of a flourishing society. Yet modern academics and modern politicians have promoted ideas and policies that do not encourage boys to grow into the sort of men who do great things for the sake of their people and land. Esolen tells of the work of lawyer and professor of law, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality”–an analytical tool that considers how overlapping identities can advantage or disadvantage individuals. Crenshaw’s intersectionality is for Esolen “the academic fad of our time” that has led Crenshaw to pursue policies directly detrimental to the needs of boys, such as the Equality Act (40). The Equality Act ostensibly promotes the interests of women and homosexuals, but in reality “is a dagger aimed at the heart of the healthy masculine camaraderie that builds aqueducts and lays pipelines” (40).
Modern society in America has been a disaster for boys and their potential development into men who would work to better their world. The government incentivizes family breakdown and the resulting fatherlessness. Modern education and college credentials are pushed as a cure-all, when in fact they discourage young men from pursuing the sort of work in which they would really thrive. Related to this, the trades and blue-collar work are improperly funded and discouraged as somehow less worthwhile than office work. Esolen suggests that we have structured society in this way in part because we believe the world runs on magic.
We no longer understand how things work or how things are built: like magic, special words or keystrokes are all that is necessary. Maintaining aqueducts, for example, is now done entirely through computers. What will happen when computers glitch or break? Men with know-how will have to work to repair and rebuild. Yet our society no longer produces such men. The focused, knowledgeable action of men built civilization: we have forgotten that fact to our detriment.
Men’s drive to shape the world is not merely physical. Citing psychologist Ellen Winner, Esolen explains how some men have a “‘rage to master,’ a consuming and obsessive interest in what fascinates them, often to the exclusion of more ordinary pursuits” (54).