There is only one rabbit worth chasing: God himself. He is the only rabbit who can be caught and, at the same time, remain elusive. In Christ, you can catch God.[i] And yet, because he is infinite, you will never really catch him. Once you’ve tasted the true presence of God, you should know that nothing else will ever satisfy the way he can.
Bob Buford tells a story about dog races in his book Finishing Well that rattled my heart when I first read it and continues to shake me:
“One of my favorite stories is about the dog races in Florida. They train these dogs to chase an electric rabbit, and one night the rabbit broke down, and the dogs caught it. But they didn’t know what to do with it. They were just leaping around, yelping and biting one another, totally confused about what was happening. I think that’s a picture of what happens to all sorts of people who catch the rabbit in their life. Whether its wealth or fame or beauty or a bigger house or whatever, the prize isn’t what they thought it would be. And when they finally get it, they don’t know what to do with their lives.”
What rabbits have you caught in your life? I’ve caught a lot of rabbits in my life. And, like the dogs, they usually hang lifeless in my jaws once caught.
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By Danny — 2 years ago
Most things in the Christian life are not complex. We pray, we tell people that Jesus died for them, we read our Bibles, we fast, we attend church. But though those things are not complex, they are difficult.
I have a Bible reading plan, four different Bible apps on my phone, the capability to listen to the Bible on audio, and around 7 paper Bibles. And I didn’t read my Bible the day before I started writing this post. Therefore, it would seem that the absence of the Bible in my life came not from a lack of resources, plans, or technology, but rather from a lack of discipline.
I think that this is important to point out, because often, when we moderns have a failure in our life, we tend to attribute it to not having the right tools. Now, tools are helpful, tools definitely can help you towards your goals, but tools without discipline are useless. We tend to think of things as complicated when they are really just hard. You are not gaining weight primarily because your watch doesn’t track your calories, you are gaining weight because you can’t stop eating what you know you should not be eating. Reading a finance blog may be helpful, but you don’t need to read one to realize that you can’t buy something for $120 when you have $100 in the bank.
I remember telling one of my friends what was necessary to be a good small group leader. It boiled down mainly to 1) pray for everyone in your group every day, and 2) call and check up on each one at regular intervals. All you need is a phone and your knees. But I struggled so much to do it simply because I wasn’t disciplined enough. And I think therein lies the secret to why we overcomplicate things so much.
By Tim Miller — 2 years ago
I can see the appeal of the book. It is written in a simple and endearing style. Further, the author, Matthew Vines, argues for the authority of Scripture throughout. He attempts to make the case for the acceptability of homosexuality within the biblical corpus. For those unfamiliar with the arguments made in favor of his case, the mountain he has chosen to climb may seem unconquerable. Nevertheless, many have found his case convincing.
Some of my previous university students, many of them bright students, have embraced the view that homosexuality is biblically acceptable. I have seen this trend especially among those who either embraced homosexuality themselves or are close to others who have embraced this lifestyle. In a conversation with one of the students recently, she indicated that I needed to read more on the topic. I chose the book God and the Gay Christian because it appears to be the most popular book on the topic.
I can see the appeal of the book. It is written in a simple and endearing style. Further, the author, Matthew Vines, argues for the authority of Scripture throughout. He attempts to make the case for the acceptability of homosexuality within the biblical corpus. For those unfamiliar with the arguments made in favor of his case, the mountain he has chosen to climb may seem unconquerable. Nevertheless, many have found his case convincing. I read the book hoping to understand how my former students came to accept such a position.
As with most arguments, the most important occur at the foundation. I would say that Vines presents two major arguments for the pro-homosexual position. First, Jesus said that a good root produces good fruit. Second, when the Scriptures speak of homosexuality, they are not talking about the same type of homosexuality we are talking about today. Let’s examine these in turn.
Good Fruit, Good Root
Vines opened the book by quoting Jesus who said that a good root produces good fruit. Vines then argued that homosexual unions of the variety he is proposing (monogamous, faithful, loving, etc.) are good fruit and therefore arise from a good root. On the opposite end, the church’s rejection of homosexual unions leads to self-hatred, impaired lives, and often suicide. These are obviously negative, and therefore, the rejection of homosexual unions springs from a rotten root.
Now I am simplifying his argument, but I would argue that this is a fair representation of his case in chapter one. A few responses may be leveled against this argument. First, he forms his argument in such a way that Christians are opposing loving, committed homosexual relationships. But this is far from the norm within the homosexual community. Simply watch video of a pride parade (actually, I would strongly suggest you do not), and it will prove the point. Of course, I am not denying that there are homosexual couples who have embraced these values; I am simply noting that it is far from the norm. There appears to be a deep connection between homosexuality and the breaking of God’s norms in other realms (a connection I think is borne out in Romans 1).
Second, throughout the book, Vines is concerned with the horizontal element of sin: sin is that which harms another person or oneself. Such a perspective is good as far as it goes, but it is incomplete. There is also a vertical dimension to sin. God created the world to operate in a certain way. As Creator, He has the right to determine how we ought to live. This brings me to a slightly related point, Vines’s argument may also be used to defend bestiality, for the one who practices this could show great loyalty, devotion, etc. (a good root?), and yet they would certainly feel rejected by the church (a bad root?).
By Kendall Lankford — 9 months ago
Until the Lord Jesus Christ returns, the church has been called to live out our Gospel redemption together. Ethnocentrism has no place among our ranks, as we are perfectly united in Jesus Christ. It does not matter what color, culture, or country we hail from; we serve a more excellent King who has made us one in Christ! We now see all people, from all strata, as being created in the image of God.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel,for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
Despite what secular woke artists, race baiters, and critical race grifters may tell you, ethnicity is not primary to our identity. The world is not divided into systemic oppressors and marginalized victims. And your melanin count is not the most important thing about you. It just isn’t.
In this article, I want to reject every godless notion that racism can be fought with more racism. Instead, I want to embrace the commonsense notion that increased divisiveness does not lead to increased unity. And I want to stand upon the only truth that can bring healing to our land. To do that, I will entirely ignore every pagan secular philosophy that has an opinion on this issue, and instead, I will joyfully share the Gospel! That message is what we need to hear, now more than ever.
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
In its most basic form, the Gospel is the four-part story of how God is bringing redemption to sinful man. Part 1 is the story of how God created humans to be perfect. Part 2 is about how those same humans chose rebellion and fell into sin and ruin. Part 3 is about how God sent His only Son to rescue and redeem those fallen men. And Part 4 is about how God will totally and finally bring total redemption to full completion in eternity. That is the general and good old Gospel message.
HOW DOES THE GOSPEL SPEAK ABOUT RACE?
But, what I find so fascinating about the Gospel, is how robust it truly is. It not only provides the general answer to the question of redemption, but it also communicates redemption in more particular and concrete ways. For instance, the Gospel not only recounts how God created us (a general truth); it also shows how we were created as sexual, emotional, biological, rational, relational, and vocational beings (particular truths). Moreover, the Gospel not only argues that we have fallen into sin (A general statement), but it also defines what that sin is and how it has infected every facet of our being (a particular appeal).
With that, I believe the Gospel can and should be told from various angles to show how God redeems us from all various and sundry sins. So with that, this article is about how the four-part general story of the Gospel can be told through the particular lens of race, and how only Jesus can heal the sin of racism.
PART 1: CREATION (One Unique Race)
After 5 dramatic days filled with the most incredible displays of God’s creational power, God made the animals, and then He fashioned the man. He personally knelt down in the dust and intimately formed a human in His own image (Gn. 2:7). Then, He made a suitable helper for him in the woman, Eve (Gn 2:18). And finally, He commanded both of them, male and female, to be fruitful and multiply, rule and have dominion, and to spread out to the ends of the earth (Gn. 1:28). This was what it meant to be human in a general sense.
More specifically, we may understand that humans were designed as a single ethnic people. Eve was made to be the flesh of Adam’s flesh and the bone of Adam’s bone (Gn. 2:23), which meant that Adam and Eve were members of a single race; the human race. Their melanin content did not matter at all in God’s perfect design. However light or dark they were, they were human. And their mandate was to fill the world full of people so that a worldwide community would all worship the same God, living in perfect harmony with one another, without even a hint of division.
Then enters the serpent.
PART 2: FALL (A World In Ethnic Division)
When Adam and Eve rejected the Word of God and followed the serpent’s trickery, humanity fell into sin. That sin not only affected their relationship with God but also had a profound impact upon human race relations as well. For instance, the first intraracial crime in human history occurred when Adam’s son Cain killed his other son Abel. These boys were members of the same human race, both descended from the same bloodline, and yet one of them decided to perpetrate a hideous act of violence upon the other. This set a terrible precedent that still exists today, but it does not stop there.
Humans not only murdered themselves interracially (meaning members of the human race killing other humans), but soon ethnocentric discrimination, hatred, and murder began as well. After humans were judged through a global flood, the rebooted race of Noah gathered in a valley called Shinar, also known as Babel. The goal was not to be fruitful, multiply, or for man to spread out to the ends of the earth in obedience to God’s covenant commission (Gen 1:28; 9:1). Instead, their goal was to cloister together in a valley of disobedience, and in pure hubris, attempt to build a tower that reached up to the heavens; making themselves equal to God.
God, of course, vetoed their foolish plans, but He also introduced a new facet into the human race. That was ethnicity. Up to this point, all humans spoke the same language and looked the same color. Again, there is only one race of human beings. But, after the curse of Babel, humans naturally segregated into ethnolinguistic tribes who scattered all across the earth in search of places to call their own. Thus, after Babel, one human race was divided into a myriad of ethnicities. This was not the problem.
The problem was sin. And since sin affects every facet of the human condition, humans began acting out their dysfunction, discrimination, judgment, and violence along ethnic lines as well. It was not enough to perpetuate violence against another human. Sin, instead, caused humans to group and stratify themselves according to color, tribe, language, and culture. This way, evil could be inflicted upon groups and not just individuals.
While one race of people still existed (the human race), a deep distrust for other ethnic peoples settled upon the human psyche so that human genetically similar persons were never more divided. Wars and prejudices were now being enacted over skin color and complexion. Slavery became an early institutional norm in the ancient world, where one tribe would act shamefully against another, believing the other group to be subhuman.
And while examples could abound in history and in the modern world of this kind of hatred, it is essential to note that sin produces ethnocentrism among all peoples. I do not use the word “racism” here because there is only one human race. Sin does not produce fear, prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism among various races (i.e., racism); sin produces fear, prejudice, discrimination, and opposition among the many competing ethnicities that exist as one broken, fractured race of people (i.e., ethnocentrism).
This distinction is critical because racism does not really get at the problem. People hating one another inside the human race is not specific enough to account for the intentional sins that ethnically dissimilar people enact upon one another. And, racism as a term, is not robust enough to describe any meaningful cure. This is because humans will not be cured and made whole through more division; humans will be cured and made whole when they come together as one human race as God intended. That can only come about through the Gospel.