Posts Tagged "love"

Knowing God: Tender Love or a Wrestling Match?

Knowing God: Tender Love or a Wrestling Match?

By on Mar 5, 2014 in Blog |

During the Christmas break, our house was full of the noise of grown up children enjoying being together. They have a deep bond between them and this is often expressed physically; not with sentimental hugs but rather by tea towel fights, wrestling and (this one was new) my son sweeping the kitchen floor by dragging his sister around on her back. When he became a teenager Nathan no longer wanted to be hugged and cuddled by me and yet physical contact was still something he needed and sought. This was usually in the form of wrestling and I still remember the triumph in his face when he was first able to pin me to the floor. In the incarnation God became man and dwelt physically among us. Jesus related physically to the people around him, feeding them, healing them, sitting children on his knee, walking with them, greeting them, laughing with them and weeping with them. God made us as physical beings and the relationship we can have with him is not only cerebral and spiritual, but also one which engages with our physical beings. We see glimpses of this when people experience physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we struggle with this, but should that really come as a surprise from a God who wants engage with the whole of our being? It amazed me recently to learn that when we sing our pituitary gland releases natural endorphins into our bodies. These are neurotransmitters that give us a feeling of well-being. God created us so that even as we give to him in praise, it makes us feel physically good! It is has also been shown through psychological and physiological research that ‘an attitude of gratitude’ has a similar effect. When we live as God intended us to it affects the whole of our beings. In Genesis we see Jacob encountering God in two very different but tangible ways. The first is in Genesis 23, where he dreams of the ladder reaching to heaven with angels ascending and descending. Here we see the grace of God embracing a man who had cheated his brother out of his father’s blessing and was on the run. Yet God drew...

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What’s the Point of Apologetics?

What’s the Point of Apologetics?

By on Feb 3, 2013 in Blog |

“You can’t argue people into the Kingdom, it just doesn’t work that way. People just need to be shown God’s love, to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit’s power. Trying to prove God’s existence is a waste of time.” I think this statement captures the feeling that many of us have about apologetics today. Those of us who don’t take this position are probably familiar with it. Apologetics is associated with heated arguments that lead nowhere, arrogant rationality, and a misguided understanding of what motivates human beings to change. Was anyone ever logically persuaded to become a Christian? On the contrary, ask any number of recent converts how they got saved, and you will hear countless stories of God’s love breaking into a person’s life, softening their heart, and showing himself to them. These things speak for themselves. Perhaps there is a small place for defending the faith intellectually, for a few high-flying Christian academics in Universities, but by and large we have more effective ways of spreading the gospel. I want to suggest that we’ve misunderstood the point of apologetics. I believe if we think about it differently, we will see that apologetics is actually an essential way to show God’s love to our non-Christian friends and neighbours – a love enriched with wisdom and understanding. Also, we will see apologetics as something for everyone, to a greater or lesser degree, to get involved with. First of all, I agree wholeheartedly that you can’t argue anyone into salvation. A lot of harm has been done by attempts to do this, and it usually alienates people even further from the gospel. It’s also obvious that hardly anyone has ever become Christian from losing an argument about God’s existence. Second, I agree with the two usual evangelism alternatives: “Just love people” and “They need an encounter with the Holy Spirit.” Once God has touched someone’s life – either in a way that we call supernatural, or through the power of the love of Jesus operating through his church – only then will they be open to the gospel’s message. Belief will come after experience has made belief possible. However, I think we’re often too quick to assume that we...

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