What a joy it is to believe in a sovereign God. He has not sent us on a fool’s errand. He is faithful. He saves sinners. He uses foolish means to bring people to faith. What a joy it is to serve that type of sovereign King.
I recently sat across the table from a couple who knew nothing of the Bible, Jesus, or the Gospel. God had in His sovereign plan provided this meeting. The doors were open to share the good news. As I explained creation, fall, redemption, and consummation they politely listened. They had insightful questions about the justice of penal substitutionary atonement. As the conversation continued it became clear their hope was in being “good enough” for God to accept them. The conversation went to the law of God and our need to be saved by grace alone through faith alone. The stumbling block of Christ was set before them. The conversation moved on as kids needed attention.
What does all of this have to do with sovereignty? We can have assurance when we share the Gospel. Those who are His elect will respond with faith. There was no need to press an immediate decision. There was no sentimental music to be played. No sinners prayer was offered. Easy beliefism can be avoided. God can give us peace in our hearts as we present the Gospel and trust in the Holy Spirit to do His work.
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By Titus Techera — 1 year ago
As for lessons learned, Pinocchio in 2022 does not turn into the boy that Geppetto had wished for, as in 1940. He remains a puppet, no doubt as a sign of his authenticity and acceptance for himself as is. That suggests an underlying truth—children brought up with such beliefs can never really grow up.
American parents used to trust Disney to charm their kids with beautiful fairy tales. Most such tales were European in origin, but Disney Americanized them, made them more democratic, less bloody minded, and ultimately hopeful. It started with animations, then added amusement parks, then any number of other things that made American technical ingenuity and prosperity gentle and pleasant, until it became the most important educator of the imagination of children in the entire media industry.
Nowadays, Disney is reeducating American children to believe in a woke agenda most Americans don’t share, wouldn’t vote for, but might somehow be tricked into financing when their attention is diverted. It seems to have traded delightful surprises for involvement in political scandals, as in Florida, or media scandals over every aspect of casting and plot. Indeed, it courts scandal as a marketing strategy, dividing Americans rather than uniting them, and using its reputation to make it seem as though the very people who gave Disney their vaunted reputation are immoral. What happened?
There are many aspects to this very important story, and some thoughtful conservative should take the time to elucidate them. All I can do today is point out the educational aspect of this change—What is the role of the imagination in education?—by comparing Disney’s Pinocchio (1940) with the new Disney+ movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring none other than America’s last lovable actor, Tom Hanks.
Pinocchio is a story about how children learn to become moral. The puppet is a metaphor not only for helplessness but also for the way children are made to do what they do by their parents—it points to our imitative nature, and much of the comedy depends on the awkwardness of the children, who are self-important without being self-aware in their imitation, and the foibles, to say no more, of the adults, who recognize their faults magnified in the small versions of themselves they have made, the focus of their love and life. The puppeteer Geppetto’s wish upon a star, to have a real boy, is every parent’s wish that their child turn out right.
Walt Disney’s contribution to Carlo Collodi’s original story, Jiminy Cricket, is a metaphor for conscience. Jiminy defines it by an old and trusty adage: “The still, small voice that people won’t listen to. That’s just the problem with the world today!” It’s not hard to know what’s right and wrong in many cases, indeed, but it’s hard to do it, it comes at a cost, and without certainty of reward. That problem of character, rather than of knowledge, might not be solvable. After all, our admiration of good character depends to some extent on our knowledge of its rarity!
But in this moment when Jiminy introduces himself to Pinocchio, he gets so carried away with confidence in the power of morality that he leaves character behind, taking it for granted. Instead, he insists on the intellectual part of morality and quickly gets himself in trouble: “The world is full of temptations. They’re the wrong things that seem right at the time. But even though the right things may seem wrong sometimes, sometimes the wrong things may be right at the wrong time, or vice versa. Understand?”
By Carl R. Trueman — 2 years ago
Written by Carl R. Trueman |
Thursday, March 24, 2022
The latest form of body dysmorphia—rapid-onset gender dysphoria—is fueled by extremely wealthy lobby groups with a vested interest in identity politics. Backed by a medical establishment for whom ethics is little more than a supine acceptance of technological possibilities, and enabled by a political class that lacks a moral backbone, these groups are shaping the country’s pediatric care. And the cost will be catastrophically high.
The trans revolution reached new heights of absurdity last week when the BBC asked Anneliese Dodds, the Labour party’s shadow secretary for women and equalities, to define “woman.” Dodds proved singularly incapable of doing so; after saying that “it does depend what the context is,” she equivocated for several minutes and refused to give a direct answer. Her party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, later came to the rescue, telling Pink News that “trans women are women.” That is not, of course, an argument. In fact, by using the term “woman” without offering a definition, Starmer merely begs the question. But arguments and definitions are somewhat passé in our current political climate. Uncritical and obsequious recitation of the liturgical response that the progressive lobby demands is the order of the day. That not even all trans people buy into this mantra is never mentioned. They have, to use trendy progressive jargon, been made “invisible” by the political powers that be.
Dodds made a pitiful spectacle; she is an ironic victim of the anti-culture of endless inclusion that is now consuming the West. To be qualified for a job, one must have a basic understanding of the specific task at hand. The car mechanic needs to know what a car is; the brain surgeon needs to be able to recognize the brain. A politician tasked with safeguarding women’s rights should therefore know what a woman is and be able to articulate that understanding in public statements. “What is a woman?” hardly seems an unexpected or unfair question to ask the shadow secretary for women. And yet she fluffed it.
The rationale for the transgender movement is couched in arcane and rebarbative prose. But its underlying dynamic is nonetheless straightforward. It is based upon negations—denials and repudiations of traditional categories. Such categories, the gender theorists claim, create the illusion of an authority grounded in nature, posit ideological forms as the truth, and thus marginalize and exclude any who do not fit.
By Thomas Endjala — 12 months ago
We will all die, eventually. Yet we have hope. We do not mourn without hope. And even though it is hard, the invitation is always open. “Come to me,” Jesus calls. Cast your burdens to him and he will work wonders in your life, even in the face of death.
Death is one of those things that we don’t prepare for. Sometimes we have tragic accidents that no one expected and other times we have incidents where someone was sick and they die. In both instances, death is painful. When I heard that one of my cousins was involved in a tragic accident and died, I was hurt by the news. I asked myself: “Why?” To be more specific, I asked God: “Why did this happen?” Mourning is inevitable in the face of death.
One thing that we cannot deny, is that death is a part of living. We are all going to die. Whether rich or poor, male or female, old or young, we will all eventually die. But sometimes we think we are going to live forever. So we’re surprised when we hear that someone we knew is dead. It’s shocking. Only it shouldn’t be. That being said, how should we face death? What does God say to those who mourn?
Mourn with Hope
When I attended the memorial service of my cousin who passed away, there were mixed feelings as to what should happen. Some insisted: ‘do not cry.’ Others urged tears. I was confused as to what I should do. Some cultures see crying as a sign of weakness. When death comes, they insist, we need to be strong.
Paul is helpful on this, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. As believers, we need to mourn rightly because we know who is in control. We don’t mourn as people without hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who died and rose again. We can know that when we die, we will live again. This is the Christian hope.
The first thing I asked when I heard that my cousin died was: “why him?” We ask God why he did not do anything to prevent the accident. We want God to answer us because deep down we know that he knows all things. In such situations, we want answers.