Issue #37

The News and Loving Neighbor, Despair Well, Theology and Film, and more...

Issue #37
Photo by Avel Chuklanov / Unsplash

Bible Study: Hebrews Part 6 (1:7–14) — Angels Are Servants, Not Inheritors

We are going to finish Hebrews 1 this week as the author continues showing, through the Hebrew Scriptures, that this son is greater than the angels and the inheritor of all creation. In this passage, the author talks about how angels are servants, but the Son is the eternal creator who is worthy of being served. The Son will receive the throne over all creation, while angels will serve those who will rule alongside the Son.

Angels are Servants (v. 7)

Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
— Hebrews 1:7 (ESV)

This quotes Psalm 104:4. Psalm 104 is a poem of praise to the creator and sustainer of the universe. God is the magnificent, glorious, and all-powerful one who gives what is good to the righteous and will punish the wicked. Amid this song of praise to God as the one who is greater than all, we have this quote.

God’s angels/messengers are winds, and his ministers/servants/worshippers are fiery flames. Wind and fire are two common ways that God revealed himself in the Old Testament. You could think of Moses’ burning bush (Exodus 3:2), or the pillar of fire and cloud to lead the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21), or the wind that parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21)...

Keep Reading →

Consider the Culture 🎨

Does the News Help You Love Your Neighbor? With Jeffrey Bilbro | Gospelbound with Collin Hansen 🎧 →

Bilbro warns that “objects on screen are more distant than they appear,” and that “the public sphere is simply not conducive to the formation of loving, sustaining communities.” He writes this:

“When the news sets itself up as the light of the world, it is usurping the role that rightly belongs only to the Word proclaimed in the gospel. But when the news helps us attend together to the ongoing work of this Word, it plays a vital role in enabling us to love our neighbors.”

Christianity Is True ✝️

“But I Only Believe in Things I Can See”: Why Everyone Uses Inferential Reasoning | Eric Chabot 📃 →

Uninformed atheists will sometimes use the argument that they only believe in what they can see. This is called “empiricism,” that we should only trust what we can verify with our five physical senses. Eric Chabot explains why nobody can really live this way, not even atheists.

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Church History Corner ⛪️

Catholic and Protestant Debate: Is the Papacy Affirmed in the New Testament? With Gavin Ortlund and Sean Sonna | Capturing Christianity with Cameron Bertuzzi 📽 →

I have linked to many debates here, but I don’t believe I’ve ever linked one between a Protestant and a Catholic. I have studied some Catholic theology, but not in-depth as I have Mormonism, Islam, and Jehovah’s Witness, so debates like these often interest me.

Catholic vs. Protestant Debate — Capturing Christianity

Living This Christian Life 🤴👸

How to Despair Well | Akshay Rajkumar 📃 →

I live in India, which has two primary ways of dealing with emotions. The mindset of Old India doesn’t give much weight to them. Traditional education, family, and cultural powers prepare children for vocational success, not emotional health. No price is too big to pay for prosperity. But it is clear that the cost of our financial health has been billed to our emotional health.

New India, on the other hand, resists the stifling rigidity of Old India. Like an arrow released from a bow held too tightly for too long, New India believes it is moving from the hell of suppressed feelings to the heaven of indulging them. The new way of dealing with our emotions is to prize them, honor them, submit to them, and follow them. Our feelings are more than feelings, New India says. They are the center of our soul, the core of our identity. They are the lights we must follow to find salvation by gratification of desire.

New India’s heart beats for autonomy and self-expression: I want to get what I want, do as I please, say what I feel, write my own rules, live my own truth, and follow my own heart. I write the rules that I live by. I will find my way to make my own way, and if you’re not on my side, you need to get out of my way.

What could go wrong with millions of New Indians, each going their own way? This is a lonely road, marked by fear, anxiety, nagging self-doubt, self-destructive habits, and addictive coping mechanisms, not to mention the despairing weight of ennui. There was an epidemic before the pandemic.

I feel like those words could also be written about America. Rajkumar’s article then moves into a theological view of feelings, emotions, and dealing with despair.

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Explore the Scriptures 📖

Were the sons of God in Genesis 6 fallen angels? Who were the Nephilim? | Dr. Peter Gentry 📽 →

This short video on a controversial (and weird and fascinating) story, Genesis 6:1–7, is really well done. I’m not sure that I agree with Dr. Gentry about the Nephilim, but his view is certainly possible. It’s worth your time.

Listen and Learn 🎧

Cultural Apologetics with Paul Gould | Apologetics 315 Podcast with Brian Auten and Chad Gross 🎧 →

In this episode, Brian Auten and Chad Gross interview Christian philosopher Paul Gould about his book Cultural Apologetics: Renewing the Christian Voice, Conscience, and Imagination in a Disenchanted World.

“Cultural Apologetics” is defending Christianity not just intellectually, but aesthetically as well. There have been studies showing that people are not just going to be convinced by evidence, and that’s not just with religious matters. When presented with contrary evidence, people often dig deeper into the beliefs they already hold. Cultural apologetics seeks to present a worldview that is attractive to non-Christians so that they want Christianity to be true.

Cultural Apologetics — Apologetics 315
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Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

Theology, Film, and the Idolatry of Marriage: Dr. Kutter Callaway | Theology in the Raw with Preston Sprinkle 🎧 →

I found this discussion fascinating. Too often as Christians, we focus too much on content and not enough on message. If a movie doesn’t have nudity or gore, we watch or let kids watch without critically engaging with the worldview and message the movie is portraying.

On the other hand, I have found that movies are one of the best ways to engage others in conversation on worldview issues. My wife and I saw The Green Knight (content warning!) a few months ago and had great conversations about the message of the movie (which is fascinating and points toward the gospel).

Sprinkle and Callaway engage these issues and use a few different movies as case studies on how to critically evaluate the message of movies.

Theology, Film, and the Idolatry of Marriage — Theology in the Raw

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
— Matthew 6:6 (CSB)

Joel Fischer