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One of the things of creation that astounds me more than anything is music. I find it incredible how different types of sound are so aesthetically pleasing and moving. On a physical level, it is only the air molecules being disturbed by a force moving them in a certain pattern (or wavelength). At the same time, this moving of air influences people to get up and dance, to cry, to laugh, and to sit completely in awed silence. 

I’m an amateur musician. I play several different instruments. Being bent towards theology as well, I’ve wondered what it is about music that makes people gather around a regular guy like me to hear me play one of my instruments or to listen to the band when they play worship music. Heck, why do we have worship music anyway? 

I think C.S. Lewis did a great job in explaining this in his sermon “The Weight of Glory.” He basically argued that such things like music, art, etc. contained a tiny glimpse of heaven itself. The incredible moment in the point of the song that makes the heart leap for joy is the glimpse of what forever will be for those who are of the kingdom of heaven when it finally arrives in full splendor. Music is wonderful because it communicates to our emotions in a way that no other art form can. It also helps us to worship God in a way that reflects His glory while glorifying Him at the same time. 

I also think that because music is so powerful that it can be used for very evil purposes. Quite frankly, it can be used to manipulate people into doing things that are wrong. I’ve also seen music used in manipulative tactics by New Agers in chat rooms that employ sound an microphone. I remember going in and a message was being played where a man was saying all kinds of illogical nonsense about how people are god and that resisting this type of thought was wrong. He said these things in a very friendly voice. What I noticed more than anything was the music being played in the background to his voice. It was the same thing over and over and over. Every thirty seconds it would begin again. I had to mentally fight it and I realized that it was actually a type of brainwashing. What it was doing was trying to bypass rational thought through manipulation with music.

To those of us who are musicians, I think we need to be careful with our own music and how we use it. I think it’s best to remember this verse: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). I think that God is well pleased with music that glorifies Him. I also think this can include music that is deemed “secular.” I have heard that J.S. Bach would always write “to the glory of God” on his musical notation, including his secular works. If that is the case, I think he ultimately had the right idea.

Today’s kudos! goes to Team Pyro for this really cool post on the Church’s relationship to politics. I’ve had the same types of thoughts and feelings for years. I really noticed something wrong when listening to Focus on the Family (note, I do think FoF does good things and provides excellent resources for people) and their constant political activity. I’ve often thought, “What sort of message does this send to unbelievers here?”  So again, Kudos to Team Pyro!

(Note: when I say “Preterism” in this post, I’m talking about what is called either Orthodox Preterism or Partial Preterism. Full preterism is heresy.)

For a long time I had multiple problems with Preterism. My eschatology started as dispensationalist (Left Behind view of the end-times) because of that book and because, quite frankly, everyone that I knew believed it. However, after becoming more and more familiar with the Bible I kept noticing inconsistencies with the dispensationalist view. I read magazines like Midnight Call to see what their answers were for many of these things. Though they offered a lot of good insight on certain things, I believe that many of their defenses for dispensationalism are just wrong. I found the most baseless theory in dispensationalism to be the theory that says the seven churches in the book of Revelation are 7 “church ages.” Where is any hint in the book (specifically the first few chapters) of Revelation of that being the case? Dispensationalists will always say that we are in the last age: the age of Laodicea (the lukewarm church). I agree that a lot of the church in America is lukewarm, but is that the case all over the world? Certainly not. Plus, what if the dispensationalist doctrine came 100 years before the 1830’s? More than likely people in the 1790’s would have said they were in the church age of Laodicea.

After seeing that and several other major problems, I dropped dispensationalism. I became an Amillenial futurist in my first or second year of college (can’t quite remember which). Basically, I was open minded to many views on the end times while holding that position. In a way, I still hold that position.

This summer I started reading N.T. Wright’s The Challenge of Jesus. His explanation on things like the Herodian temple, Jesus parables, Old Testament prophecies, etc. began to help me understand preterism and why it makes sense. Later in July I picked up Hank Hanegraaf’s The Apocalypse Code. I read it and a lot of my mistaken thoughts on preterism were corrected. For instance, I thought that preterists believed that Jesus second coming was in 70 A.D. with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple when the reality is that they believe no such thing.

After reading through the various arguments in the book as well as other places on the internet, I cannot refute them. That does not mean that a refutation does not exist, but I have not found it. If I ever do, I’ll post them and my preterist friends and I can have a good debate here or elsewhere.

So, what’s the next step? Counter-research! I’ve heard a good many of the preterist arguments, now I want to hear the counter arguments from scholars who disagree. I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon…yet. However, I am thinking about it.