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Tag Archives: orthodoxy

Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 12)

Like Jonah, we are in situations where we will make orthodox statements about our beliefs — and will be judged by the way that we are living.  Jonah’s (forced) declaration: “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” is perfectly orthodox.  But it’s obvious that these are merely words to Jonah.

Notice the reaction of the pagan sailors to Jonah’s orthodox declaration:  “This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?'”  They are shocked and horrified that Jonah’s beliefs and his behavior are so contradictory.

What upsets them?  The reality that Jonah is the reason for the storm.  He is the cause of their having to dump their cargo.  It is his fault that their stomachs and their lives have been violently turned over.  And the text tells us that “they knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.”  I wonder how Jonah put it — “I’m actually running away from the God who made the sea and the dry land.”

There are many ways of running from the Lord.  If you wish, write out one of those ways in the Comments section below.  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 11)

Let’s continue thinking about Jonah’s first orthodox statement:  “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”  Like the rest of us, what Jonah says he believes is very orthodox.  But his professed beliefs are contradicted by his behavior!

“I am a Hebrew” — Jonah does not hesitate to identify himself as one of God’s covenant people.  He is proud, it seems, instead of being ashamed that he is betraying his heritage and refusing to do his part in fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant of being a blessing to all people (Gen. 12).

“and I worship the Lord . . .” — What is worship?  Is it merely ceremony, rituals performed to placate a sometimes angry deity?  How could he say “I worship the Lord”?  How can we say we worship the Lord when we don’t do what He tells us to do?

“the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” —  This is the Creator God!  This is the One who is responsible for this lethal storm.  This is the One who fashioned the dry land (which these sailors were longing for about right now).  We Evangelicals make a lot out of God as Redeemer, and rightly so.  But, I wonder, have we ignored much of the Bible’s witness to God as Creator?

This is no deistic-designed universe.  God is personally involved in sustaining His world. And He sustains His servant long enough for him to identify himself theologically.  But even pagans can see through such hypocrisy (to be continued).

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 9)

I’m not very good at grilling.  I burn the meat, forget to get the propane filled, flip the burgers too often.  But there’s a world of difference between grilling and being grilled.  Jonah might have felt he was on the bar-b-que as the pagan sailors cast lots to discover whose fault this storm was.  We read that “the lot fell on Jonah.”

Yes, it did.  God sovereignly allowed their method to reveal Jonah’s treachery.  I wonder if some thought of killing him then and there.

But instead of executing him, they pummel him with questions:  “Who’s behind all this trouble?  What kind of work do you do?  Where are you from, anyway?  What’s your country?  And from what people are you?”  These five questions must have felt like daggers in Jonah’s heart.   He seems to have no alternative but to tell the truth.

What is the truth that he tells?  “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”  That’s about as ORTHODOX as a statement can get!  Jonah doesn’t lie.  Perhaps he spoke these words with great pride, not realizing the absolute contradiction his behavior was to his beliefs.

We certainly don’t do that, do we?  If you would like, give one area or issue in the Comments section below in which Christians are verbally orthodox but practically heterodox. (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah — Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 1)

Friends:

I am beginning a new series of messages at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta, Georgia, where I have been serving as interim pastor for the last 10 months.  There will be four sermons, but I want to work my way slowly through this “minor prophet’s” book.

Although there has never been a more reluctant missionary than Jonah, the book gives us much more than simply his running away from God or just a story of his being swallowed by a sea creature.  His story is really verbal orthodoxy being contradicted by behavioral heterodoxy.  He seemed to believe the right things.  But his life did not reflect his professed faith.  Which is a condition, I suspect, which characterizes most (if not all) of us.  Let’s begin looking at chapter one of Jonah and make some observations:

What do we know about the person Jonah?  We learn in 2 Kings 14:

23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. 24 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. 25 He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher. 

It seems probable that Jonah was a disciple of Elisha and succeeded him as prophet. He lived during the reign of Jeroboam II and was a statesman in the northern kingdom of Israel.

We read that “the word of the Lord came to Jonah . . .”  God commissions him for a task.  If you are a Jesus-follower, you have been commissioned for a task.  What would you say is your TASK for today?  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Orthodoxy: Coming HOME! (time for a good quote)

“I have often had a fancy for writing a romance about an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a newisland in the South Seas. . . . What could be more delightful than to have in the same FirefoxScreenSnapz496few minutes all the fascinating terrors of going abroad combined with all the humane security of coming home again? . . . But nearly all people I have ever met in FirefoxScreenSnapz497this western society in whichI live would agree to the general proposition that we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. . . . I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom.” (G.K. Chesterton)

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2014 in orthodoxy

 

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What do you love doing? (re-post)

KeynoteScreenSnapz069What do you love doing?  My list is pretty long — but there are a lot of things that I love doing. Here are a few: 1.  I love spending time with my grandkids!

They are an absolute delight — and I get to send them home when their visiting time is over!

2.  I love to play competitive table tennis with a group of mostly Korean professionals who are very, very good!  At the advanced age of 64, my game is probably at its peak, even though my legs give out after about ten games!

3.  I love engaging in contemporary theological debates and issues!  After teaching the doctrines of the Christian faith for twenty, twenty-five years, I feel it is important to be aware of the newest challenges to the Christian faith.  And so, I read books that I describe as those that “will boil your blood before you get past the preface.” In fact, this coming May I have the privilege of being a plenary speaker at Emmaus Bible College’s conference entitled “Iron Sharpens Iron.”

You can find conference details here.  It would be great if you could join us.  The theme this year is “REVOLUTIONARY ORTHODOXY: Living a Biblical Worldview.”FirefoxScreenSnapz361 The topics I will present are “Orthodoxy Under Fire: Who’s Shooting and Why?” and “A Life of Living Biblically.” I also get to present several workshops/seminars entitled: KeynoteScreenSnapz070These are all critical issues.  Would you pray for my preparation of these messages, as well as the working of the Lord in my heart and in the hearts of those who will attend “Iron Sharpens Iron.” If you will covenant to pray for me, I will send you a free copy of my short novel, Abandon All Hope.  Just email me of your commitment and provide your mailing address.  You can email me at: theoprof@bellsouth.net.  Thanks for praying!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in speaking

 

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WORKING OUT YOUR OWN . . . FAITH!

I’ve been doing a lot of work, friends, on a project which I pray will come to fruition within the next year or so.  I don’t have a publisher yet, so suggested contacts are welcomed!

WORKING OUT YOUR OWN . . . FAITH:  

Engaging Scripture for Yourself!

Original cover by Ron Wheeler

This series of ten workbooks will cover all major areas of the Christian faith (the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Scripture, the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of the church, etc.).  Presented in a spiral-bound, lay-flat format, each workbook provides the serious Christian with key Scriptures to investigate, brief definitions of crucial terms in that area of doctrine, a month’s supply of devotionals on that area of doctrine, and practical exercises to apply what is being learned.

Didn’t the cartoonist Ron Wheeler do a terrific job on the cover art?

More on this project in a few days.

Questions:  Would you benefit from such a workbook?  What ideas would you like to see in these?

 

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