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Author Archives: Dr. Larry Dixon

About Dr. Larry Dixon

Seminary professor, teaching systematic theology and other topics. Grandfather, wicked tennis & table tennis player, loves playing chess on letsplaychess.com. Please check out the ten books I've written. "The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false!" The better email address to reach me is: theoprof@bellsouth.net.

The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Trick Questions)

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Posted by on September 22, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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If I Really Listened to and Followed . . . Hebrews 12 —

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2021 in Hebrews 12

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Rejoicing in Evil)

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Posted by on September 20, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Thirteen Fascinating Expressions in Hebrews 11!

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2021 in Hebrews 11

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Eating)

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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“Miserable Writers Are You All!” An Essay on Writing

Please forgive the reference to Job’s castigating his friends as “miserable counselors are you all!” (Job 16:2)

Writing books really is overrated. At the ripe old age of 71 I’ve been thinking, what meaningful ministry have I had and do I really have now? I love writing. I blog every day. I’ve written a bunch of books on a lotta different topics. My first book (The Other Side of the Good News) was a defense of the biblical doctrine of hell. Then I got a lot more joy by writing Heaven: Thinking Now about Forever. I wrote a three-month devotional book on Christian beliefs (DocDEVOS).

A publisher in Scotland had me write two doctrine books: DocTALK and DocWALK. I tackled the topic of sin in my book When Temptation Strikes. My latest book is a challenge to Christians to be a friend of sinners like Jesus was (Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World).

I’ve self-published several books such as Saved: Rescued From God, By God, and For God. When noted pastor Rob Bell appeared to turn away from the Christian faith, I used John Piper’s famous tweet and wrote Farewell, Rob Bell (an evaluation of Bell’s theology). Whatever Happened to Heresy began as a multi-submission to a Christian journal and then wound up as a short book.

I self-published two books from my students’ work in two of my seminary classes: Thinking about Theology and After This Life . . . What? I presented copies of these two books to my seminary dean and the university’s provost on ironically the day they ended my 20-year teaching career due to the university’s economic downturn!

I’ve also written books for students, such as The Top Ten Mistakes Students Make on Research Papersand How to Avoid Them! I even got so bold as to write a short pamphlet for preachers entitled Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!

I have tried my hand at writing fiction like John Baldacci or David Grisham (I mixed those names up on purpose for those of you who read fiction). I envy them the money they’ve made and the audience they have. I ventured into fiction with my short book Abandon All Hope. It’s about a man who dies and goes to hell . . .

But I’ve never really had an agent and none of my books has ever taken off.

There’s several reasons for that: one reason may well be that I’m not a good writer. But I think I am a good writer but I don’t have an audience. I don’t have an agent. I don’t have a name. I don’t have a platform that allows me to reach a lot of people.

Could it be that I’ve written stuff that’s not that important? But most of my books have been on the Christian life and on making the doctrines of the Bible understandable. I’ve even had people like J.I. Packer endorse my books! So I’m not sure that’s it.

Maybe another reason is that Christians are lousy readers. I talked with a Christian tennis friend who has read just about everything by John Grisham, David Baldacci, Tom Clancy, and several other fiction writers. “I just don’t read non-fiction,” he said. I asked him if he’s read anything by John Piper and he said, “Who?” I think our churches are failing to encourage our people to read.

Perhaps the question is, do we overvalue writing? I look at my other ministries: teaching online courses to 3rd world church leaders, mentoring a younger believer, editing some really good books on biblical eldership and other topics, praying for Christians that I know are broken and really hurting, seriously becoming a friend of sinners, seeking to do the best in modeling a godly marriage in our 50 years, working hard to influence our seven grandchildren to walk with a whole heart in the Lord.

I think the Evil One makes us believe that we’re not significant as Christian leaders unless we’ve got some best selling books.

But in the final analysis what impact have those fiction-writers had on eternity? Now I read their books because I enjoy reading their fiction, but have they impacted anybody for the kingdom of God?

I’ve had the privilege in my teaching career in Bible college and seminary of reaching hundreds of students, encouraging them to be strong in the basics of the Christian faith, to love the Lord, to love their families, to be willing to do all kinds of ministry.

But I’ve not been a best selling author and . . . that’s OK. I’m thinking of starting a group for authors called Hopeless Writers. What do you think?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2021 in writing

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Being Good)

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 15)

With these verses our study of this most extensively described miracle in all of the Bible comes to a close. The man born blind has been healed. He has been tossed out of the synagogue. He has been insulted and excommunicated. All that remains is a proverbial “moral of the story.”

In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

Jesus’ Mission: There are several places where Jesus declares why He came. For example, in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” In John 12:47 Jesus says, ““If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” However, here at the end of this great miracle, Jesus says, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (v. 39).

His coming, according to this text, involves two purposes: (1) “so that the blind will see” (which has happened in two ways to the man born blind), and (2) so that “those who see will become blind.” The blindness of the religious leaders of Israel could not have been made plainer than here in the story of this healing.

An Outraged Question: Some of the Pharisees heard Jesus say this and they respond, “What? Are we blind too?” (v. 40). The Greek reads: 40 ἤκουσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων ταῦτα οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ὄντες, καὶ εἶπον αὐτῷ· Μὴ καὶ ἡμεῖς τυφλοί ἐσμεν; Literally, this sentence is translated as: “The ones from the Pharisees who were being with him (presumably Jesus) heard these things, and said to him: ‘Surely we also ourselves are not blind men, are we?”

The way they word their question contains that negative we touched on before in one of our posts. What they are really asking is this: “Surely we are not blind too, are we?” Their question is one of outrage, thinking that Jesus is somehow lumping them in with the man who, in their opinion, was “steeped in sin at birth.” Their question, in the way it was worded, expected a negative answer. They expected Jesus to respond with something like, “No! Not at all. I’m certainly not implying that you Pharisees are blind!”

It is interesting that their question implies that the man born blind is still blind! They refuse to acknowledge that he has been healed.

Jesus’ Authoritative Conclusion: The last statement in this miracle story is Jesus’ response to these Pharisees. He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (v. 41). So this miracle account is about much more than a man born blind receiving his physical sight. This story is about sin and guilt and claiming to see and actually being blind.

I believe what Jesus is saying to these religious leaders is quite stark and direct: “If you were blind — and you’re not! — you would have an excuse for your refusal to believe in me. The fact is, you claim you can see, but you don’t see your own guilt which is right in front of you!”

By the way, this miracle is referred to once more in the gospel of John. In the very next chapter the Jews accuse Jesus of being demon-possessed and some respond, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (Jn. 10)

Today’s Challenge: Would you say that your spiritual blindness has been healed by the Lord Jesus? If so, will you pray that God would lead you and me to more clearly FOCUS on Him and what He wants to do in and through us?

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2021 in focus

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Belief)

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Posted by on September 14, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 14)

Being kicked out of the synagogue was about the worst thing that could befall a Jewish person. And these religious leaders threw the man born blind out! Being excluded from the center of religious life meant, to many, that one was under the judgment of God. What the man born blind’s parents feared has happened to him.

In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

Sought Out by the Savior: We read that Jesus heard that the man born blind had been thrown out of the synagogue. And He seeks him out. Jesus doesn’t say to the man, “I’m really sorry for the third degree you had to endure!” Or “How’s it going with your vision?” No. Jesus goes directly to the most important point of all: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (v. 35).

The expression “the Son of Man” was a Messianic title. “Any Bible reader will instinctively recognize that all this takes its place in the larger sweep of Messianic expectation that finds its fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah, the uniquely qualified divine-human king. And in fact Jesus himself confirms this for us, explicitly associating himself with Daniel’s “son of man” (Matt. 26:63–64). This is in fact his favorite self-designation, recurring some eighty times in the Gospels, and becomes on his lips a Messianic title. Jesus is the Son of God. He is also the Son of Man.” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/jesus-christ-son-man/).

A Direct Claim of Messiahship: The man born blind asks who the Son of Man is so that he can believe in him. Jesus declares, using third person language, “You have now seen him; he is the one speaking with you.” I’ll bet the word “seen” meant a lot to this man who had been born blind! Jesus is saying, “He is standing right in front of you — and you can see Him!”

A Logical Response: We read that the man said, “‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.” (v. 38) Worship is the natural response of personal faith in Jesus. While the religious leaders of Israel rejected Jesus, this man, this one “steeped in sin at birth,” worshiped Him!

Today’s Challenge: Are you worshiping Jesus as the promised Messiah? Faith is not mere intellectual assent. Faith shows itself by worship. How might you express your worship of the Lord Jesus today?

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2021 in focus

 

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