We must not come to this table with pride and presumption. Rather, with humble gratitude you lay hold of Christ, the entire Christ; which means that as you then pass the bread and wine to the person beside you, if indeed they are in Christ by faith, they too are receiving all of Christ.
Part of Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 11 has to do with the architecture of their meeting place. It was common for the saints to gather in the homes of wealthier Christians. The architecture of the home was such that there would be a decent sized atrium for the people to gather, but when it came to partaking of the Lord’s Supper they would split into two separate groups.
The wealthy and important would go into the more comfortable dining area, while the lower classes––the poor, the widows, the slaves––were left out in the courtyard atrium. The rebuke of Paul about those who rushed forward to eat and leave others to go without has this architectural component in mind.
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By Bill Muehlenberg — 2 years ago
Atheists do not spend all their time and energy hating on and railing against flying spaghetti monsters for the simple reason that they know there are no such things. But they DO know that God exists, and they hate him for it. If God exists, then they cannot be god.
Yes they actually do hate God:
Having just penned another piece on the war against God, I of course got the usual angry atheists writing in with their fists flying. They hate it when you dare challenge their derelict worldview. And they always go on about how they do not really hate God. Yeah right.
Of course they hate God. Their entire life screams out this hatred. And it is no wonder: when they are told that they are NOT the centre of the universe, but only the one real and living God is, that incenses them. That outrages them. Atheists hate it when you point out the truth that there can be only one true God. And the reasons are obvious:
They want to be king, not subject.They want to rule, not be ruled.They want to give orders, not take orders.They want to call the shots, not be told what to do.They want to determine what is true and false, not God.They want to determine what is right and wrong, not God.They want to be independent, not dependent.They want to do their own will, not God’s will.They want to live like the devil, not God.They want to rule in hell, not serve in heaven.
Scripture of course often speaks about atheists. Twice in the Psalter for example they are called “fools” because they refuse to recognise God (Ps. 14:1 and 53:1). Rejecting their creator—and judge—is the height of foolishness. And this is a deliberate, defiant rejection of God. D. A. Carson, commenting on Psalm 14:1, puts it this way:
The word rendered ‘fool’ is in Hebrew a term of moral opprobrium suggesting perversity, churlish and aggressive perversity…The Bible’s view is that in the last analysis atheism is less the product of misguided searching, a kind of intellectual mistake, than a defiant and stubborn rebellion…The fact that atheism is not widely seen that way is itself an index of our depravity. In fact, the best-informed atheists commonly acknowledge the connection between morality and belief, between immorality and unbelief. There is a famous passage in Huxley that acknowledges that one of the driving forces behind atheistic naturalism is the desire to tear away any sort of moral condemnation of otherwise condemned behavior. In a passage scarcely less famous, Michael Foucault, one of the theoreticians behind postmodernism, frankly acknowledges that it became important for him to destroy traditional notions of truth and morality, because he wished to justify his own sexual conduct. A few years ago, Foucault died of AIDS.
But the classic text on the atheist mindset and value system is found in Romans 1:18-32. It reads:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
By Kevin Flatt — 1 year ago
Wherever Marx’s ideas have been implemented, collective ownership has given a few people immense, unchecked power over every aspect of life—ironically, one of Marx’s accusations against capitalism. The failure of utopia to materialize means that the “dictatorship of the proletariat” becomes permanent, and can only be maintained through brutality and terror.
To borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, there are two equal and opposite errors one can fall into concerning Marxism. One rightly identifies Marxism as a powerful and pernicious influence in modern Western culture, but then comes to the mistaken suspicion that anything that talks about oppression or justice is “Marxist” and needs to be exposed as such. The opposite error, which can stem from naïveté or nefarious intent, is to ignore or deny blatant signs of Marxist influence in contemporary ideologies and movements.
The two errors feed on each other: the more one side sees Marxism under every bush and uses the word as a club to beat down any opponent that is in some sense to their “left,” the more the other has an excuse to dismiss all charges of Marxism as so much spin and propaganda. In order to help the church avoid both of these errors, this article provides a factual account of Marxism’s origins and character. A subsequent article will look at the long-term influence of Marxism in communist societies and the West.
Marxism takes its name from the German thinker Karl Marx (1818–83). Western European society was changing rapidly in Marx’s day. The French Revolution of a few decades earlier had unleashed tremendous political upheaval. The Industrial Revolution was leading to the growth of cities and the emergence of a large urban working class. A growing belief in the inevitable progress of science and culture was taking hold of educated people.
Rapid change created new social problems. The new class of wage labourers in the mines and factories were vulnerable to dangerous working conditions, low pay, and insecurity—which seemed all the more unjust in comparison with the spectacular wealth and power amassed by the entrepreneurs who owned these mines and factories.
Marx was not the only thinker to criticize these conditions, and propose a society based on a different, more egalitarian economic system. What set him apart from other “socialist” thinkers was his all-encompassing vision of the hidden laws governing human history and society.
In contrast to the prevalent philosophies in Germany at the time, which saw ideas as the driving force in history, Marx concluded that material factors are everything. There is no realm of spirit and no God, he claimed—all that exists is the material world. The economic basis of life, how we feed and clothe and house ourselves, determines every aspect of a society, even its ideas. In particular, Marx argued, the class that owns the “means of production” in a society is able to dominate and exploit everyone else.
For Marx, this simple principle explained historical change. Changes to the means of production led to changes in the identity of the ruling class and therefore the leading values. The feudal nobility of medieval Europe had derived their power from their control of the land, and exploited the serfs whose labour made them rich. But as economic power shifted to commercial and industrial activities, the nobility and their values were thrust aside by the urban merchant class, the “bourgeoisie.” In this new dispensation, which Marx called “capitalism,” the exploitation of serfs by nobles gave way to the exploitation of industrial workers (the “proletariat”) by the bourgeoisie.
By Greg Lanier — 1 year ago
The Apostle Paul makes a stunning claim: because Jesus was in the form of God in eternity past (when), accomplished salvation (what), and returned to heaven (where) bearing the name above all names (who), He is—as God the Son—worthy of worship from all corners of heaven and earth (why) (Phil. 2:5–11).
Few people today doubt that Jesus existed as a man walking the earth. Most are aware that Christians embrace Him as Messiah. But they balk at the claim that He is truly God. Most moderns have heard that Jesus’ divinity was invented by some fourth-century church influencers. But the New Testament is clear that this belief did not evolve but is rooted in the life of Jesus and His early followers. We can address this issue by tracing how the New Testament answers the six big questions about Jesus: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Who? Virtually overnight, Jesus’ followers refer to Him as Lord (Greek kyrios). By the first century, many Jews had started using a Greek translation of the original Hebrew Scriptures, and one of their practices was using kyrios to translate both the Hebrew Yahweh (God’s covenant name) and the Hebrew Adonai (God’s title “Lord”). The Christians adopted this practice as a way to express who Jesus is: the “Lord” of God’s people (1 Cor. 8:6). Yet Jesus is not some sort of second deity added to the pantheon. He regularly refers to Himself as the unique “Son” of the Father (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:21–22), and He stands in special relationship to the divine Spirit as well (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:32–33; Rom. 8:9). Father-Son-Spirit—Jesus Himself implies the concept of the Trinity, even if He does not use the word (Matt. 28:19). Finally, the Father even addresses Jesus as “God” (Heb. 1:8).
What/How? If Jesus is on the divine side of the line, it should be no surprise that He does what only God can do.