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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The original Fundamentalists were so known for their defense of the “Fundamentals” of the Christian faith.  They needed defending (and still do).  Some of their defenders even embodied them.  Others sadly defended the truth about Christ in a decidedly un-Christlike manner, and they bequeathed their reputation to the movement and the the connotations attaching to its name.  If only we could recapture what was right about fundamentalism without bringing along the unfortunate baggage they added!  Could this sonnet be a start?

J. Gresham Machen–a Fundamentalist who avoided the movement’s pitfalls

THE RISE AND FALL OF PROTESTANT FUNDAMENTALISM

Christ’s virgin birth, His deity, His cross,

His Word, His resurrection, His return:

Could these be given up without the loss

Of Christian faith itself?  was the concern

Of those first known as “Fundamentalist.”

If their descendants’ words have proved uncouth

As if their mind had closed up like a fist,

At least they started caring for the Truth.

It’s one of mankind’s greatest tragedies

Beyond the power of the tongue to tell,

This hardening of mental arteries

Within a movement that began so well.

What they forgot should be like hand in glove:

Truth is not Truth unless we speak in love.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

THANKSGIVING

With Christmas Carols and Christmas decorations taking over the stores when Halloween is barely past, and Black Friday looming right after it, Thanksgiving is a holiday that has a hard time maintaining its position in American life.  And what that position is can be hard to determine, beyond an excuse to consume obscene amounts of Turkey and doze through a football game under the influence of all the Tryptophan flooding one’s system.  I will probably consume a little more Turkey than is ideal for my diet and  watch some football myself.  But I hope I don’t forget what the Pilgrims were thankful for: not prosperity but survival, and a survival which meant a chance to have a new life in which they could worship God according to Scripture as they understood it, without interference from prying magistrate or prelate.  I hope I don’t forget that they thought such freedom something worth risking their survival over.  And I hope I will not be the only one pondering the question whether they might have been right about that after all.

Thanksgiving is a time to remember our Forefathers and what they struggled for.  It is also a time to ponder the virtues of thankfulness in itself.  I remember once at a picnic a rather gaudy, elaborately articulated, and heraldically colored bug flew by and landed on one of us.  We spent a few minutes oohing and ahing over its surreal beauty, and then my friend David Stott Gordon made a profound observation on the moPilgrims2ment.  “It must be rather depressing to be an atheist,” he mused, “because they don’t have anyone to thank.”

We are made to give thanks and praise for the thousand little wonders that the world constantly showers upon us.  Think about that football game: When a receiver makes a particularly acrobatic, even balletic catch as the consummation of the incredible timing between him and the quarterback, combining power and grace in the way that only American football allows for, some response is required of us.  We don’t just raise a Spockian eybrow; we pump our fist and shout if it was for our side, and exclaim that it was a great play even if it wasn’t.  The enjoyment of the moment is not complete without the expression of praise.  And if all such wonders are merely chance occurrences due only to the random motion of atoms and ultimately mean nothing–if indeed there is no One to thank–then our enjoyment of the world must of necessity be truncated and incomplete at best.  The holiday can serve as a reminder of the virtue of receptiveness to the blessings with which life showers us, as blessings–as gifts from the hand of God.  The thing we should be thankful for most of all is the fact that as Christians, as people who know the Creator as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have some One to thank.

Pilgrims1

Thanks be to God.

For more of Dr. Williams’ writing, go to the Lantern Hollow estore and order his books, Stars Through the Clouds, Reflections from Plato’s Cave, and Inklings of Reality.

https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/.

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Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

 When Handel’s “Messiah”—possibly the greatest musical expression of the Christian faith ever composed, whose libretto is nothing but Scripture and whose score is often the most perfect acoustic commentary on that text imaginable—was premiered, there were Christians who boycotted and protested it because it was first performed in a “secular” auditorium and not in a church.

Yes, we were that stupid.

Yes, some of us still are.

HANDEL’S “MESSIAH”

Premiered, Dublin, 1742

The pious found a way to be offended:

God’s Word sung in a public Music Hall!

It truly was a venue to appall,

Incapable of being comprehended.

Why, vulgar entertainments there were vended,

With doors thrown open wide to one and all.

To mix the Gospel with such folderol?

An error that could hardly be amended!

 

And what would these blasphemers think of next,

So careless of the Church’s reputation?

Why not associate with sinners?  Why,

You might as well proclaim the Sacred Text

Of God’s pure Kingdom and His great salvation

Out on a hillside underneath the sky.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

The Book

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS SELF ON NEW BOOK

Donald T. Williams, The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019), $12.95, 139 pp., pbk.

ME: I’m going to interview myself? How does that work?

MYSELF: You ask yourself questions and then try to answer them.

ME: OK, tell me about this new book. Why do we need one more popular book on apologetics?

Dr. Williams Proclaiming the Gospel

MYSELF: Because the landscape keeps changing. The truth of the Gospel remains the same, but the questions we have to be prepared to answer in order to get a hearing for it shift. When I was young we only had to mount a straightforward defense of the Bible’s truthfulness. Now you still have to deal with that, but today’s skeptics are much more likely not to care about the Bible’s historical accuracy because they are convinced that it is an immoral book. It supports genocide, racism, slavery, male chauvinism, homophobia, etc. in their eyes. You’re not so much naïve if you base your life on it as immoral! I find that many Christian young people, even those who are interested in apologetics and can defend the Bible from the old charges, get caught flat-footed by some of these new challenges.

ME: Who is the audience for this book?

MYSELF: Christian young people first of all: high-school and college students who want help in answering the questions that come from their secular friends, or who are troubled by those questions themselves. Then, just as importantly, those who work with those Christian young people: Youth leaders, pastors, and parents.  It could serve as a textbook in a senior high-level apologetics class in a Christian school or for a college-level apologetic class as well. I tried to write it in such a way that it will be accessible to questioning youth but edifying and useful to those who are older. Some at least of both groups think I succeeded.

ME: What are some of the questions you deal with?

MYSELF: Each chapter title is a question we need to be prepared to answer if we are going to give a reason for the hope that is in us effectively today. I start with the most basic questions: Why should we believe the bible and why should we believe that Jesus rose from the dead to substantiate His claim to be the Messiah? It turns out that each of those answers is the key to the other. Then we look at questions about the nature of the Bible and how we relate to it. How for example do we know which books belong in it? Then we move to questions about how modern (or post-modern) people can believe in a religion that claims to have absolute truth and a supernatural God. Finally we deal with those aspects of the Bible’s teaching that strike our contemporaries as positively evil. What does the Bible really teach about racism, sexism, etc.? The answers may be shocking to bot h its friends and its enemies, but they are the only path to real human thriving because they come from the God who made us and gave us purpose.

Dr. Williams Answering Questions

ME: What do you want people to get out of this book?

MYSELF: I want them to believe in Jesus with new confidence, love Him with new fervency, and share Him with new boldness, to the glory of God.

ME: How can people get ahold of this book?

MYSELF: The easiest way is through Amazon. Here are the links:

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VFR66Z4

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1949586898

The Book

283

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.” 

What does loving the Lord your God with all your (heart, strength, and) mind look like?  Sometimes, like this:

C. S. Lewis, Possessor of a Christian Mind

THE NEED FOR CRITICAL THINKING IN THE CHURCH

Why is it that the drive to integrate

Faith and Learning, Heart and Intellect,

Is treated as a spiritual defect?

When Jesus said the Truth would liberate,

Could he have meant his followers to hate

The Mind and all its works, or to reject

Unheard that Truth for fear it might infect?

It is a strange idea to contemplate.

 

The world is full of charlatans and liars,

And they can come quite cleverly disguised.

But has your estimate of who conspires

With them not ever had to be revised?

To love the Lord with all your mind requires

A certain willingness to be surprised.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.