Free colouring sheets of "Jesus Showed Us!" by Bradley Jersak (author) and Shari-Anne Vis (illustrator) are now available.
Free colouring sheets of "Jesus Showed Us!" by Bradley Jersak (author) and Shari-Anne Vis (illustrator) are now available.
"For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along."
"Posterity may know we have not loosely through silence permitted to pass away as in a dream." RICHARD HOOKER, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, 1593.
When living in a political climate where silence, and indeed a certain banal idiocy, threatens to nullify Hooker's sincerest hope, sometimes the stark voice of lament delivers a wake-up call and a nation's demise is deferred for another generation. So it was with the publication of George P. Grant's Lament for a Nation in Canada in 1965. Canada's unique vision was waning into vassal state status in the shadow of US imperial policy and liberal culture. Grant's jeremiad served as smelling salts and, against heavy odds, Canadians 'came to,' at least in part and for a time.
Through Ron Dart, Grant's Lament was my introduction to the High Tory tradition. Ron and I hiked the trails of the North Cascades over the course of years, through a series of parapatetic lessons on political philosophy and practical theology. The miles covered took us from Plato to Christ, Luther to Leacock, Hooker to Hegel to Heidegger ... and ultimately to my PhD dissertation on George Grant and Simone Weil. Mounting these peaks broadened my own horizons and offered me fresh mental, emotional and theological health. I'm indebted to Ron for that experience. In the end, we co-published a text entitled, "George P. Grant: Canada's Lone Wolf - Essays in Political Philosophy."
Now, Ron Dart, though already profound and prolific in this field, has released his magnum opus on The North American High Tory Tradition (American Anglican Press, 2016). This weighty work of politics, philosophy, literature and theology surely cements Ron's place as the leading High Tory scholar in Canada, if not the world. He has a unique ability to see to the heart of the matter and to transcend the poverty of the left-right spectrum. His critique of American modern liberal thought would be devastating, but Dart nevertheless disappoints extremists (as did Grant before him) by nuancing nearly any debate beyond crass reactivism.
Perhaps Ron's greatest critical faculty is expressed when he compares various thinkers and movements. In this collection of essays, he contrasts Canadian toryism with American conservatism; Noam Chomsky with Robin Mathews; Ginsberg with Grant; Creighton with Forsey; Leacock with Eliot; and even Anglicanism with Orthodoxy. This sort of flint-on-stone approach produces sparks of insight that I've not seen elsewhere. I would regard Dart's work as a richer blend than, for example, Phillip Blond's popular Red Tory analysis on the UK front. This achievement is magnified by Dart's embodied stewardship of the George Grant legacy. It marks this particular work as the decisive text on The North American High Tory Tradition.
Bradley Jersak is the author of From the Cave to the Cross: George Grant and Simone Weil's Theology of the Cross, originally Jersak's PhD thesis completed under Ron Dart's co-supervision.
Brad Jersak is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC. He is on faculty at Westminster Theological Centre (Cheltenham, UK), and is also the editor in chief of CWR (Christianity Without the Religion) Magazine.
Brad’s most recent book, "A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel," seeks to detoxify our images of God to present the Incarnation of Christ as our clearest vision of the nature of God as love.
“SPARKS” 2016 was a weekend of conversation and discovery at Ashburnham Place to explore the following theme: “How to remain present, faith-filled, and resilient in the challenge and change of today”.
This video was produced by Michael Lafleur and The INFUSION NETWORK on behalf of SPARKS and it’s organizers © 2016.
This article originally appeared on AlwaysLoved.net
The last years have seen a grand deconstruction of Scripture reading and interpretation—some would say of Scripture itself. Of course, this has been an ongoing centuries-long project, but two unique elements dominate the past decade: first, the ‘New Atheists’ are actually reading the Bible—carefully and, unlike liberal scholars, they have read it literally with a view to destroying faith. “The Bible says it; I reject it; and that settles it.” And second, their dance partners in this deconstruction have been evangelicals who are finally questioning the modernist lingo of inerrancy and it’s narrow literalist interpretations. They’re ready to either toss Scripture (many have) or to reconstruct their reading on sturdier foundations.
For my part, the deconstruction has run along very specific lines. I have come to believe that Jesus Christ revealed the fullness of God in the Incarnation and thus, he—not the Bible—is the only divine Word and our final authority for theology, faith and Christian practice. His primacy as the revelation of God challenges doctrines like inerrancy when they elevate ‘every word of Scripture’ as the ‘infallible word of God.’ That latter phrase was reserved by the Church fathers for God the Son alone. And so while I do believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, I’m among a burgeoning crowd of quite conservative theologians who reject evangelical bibliolatry in favor of the Christ to whom Scripture faithfully points.
For those who’ve made that trek, the niggling question remains, ‘What now?’ How do we read the Bible, if at all, after the deconstruction? The answer to that will require many authors to contribute umpteen volumes, a task well on its way. What I’ll offer here is just one gesture toward reconstructed Bible-reading. Ironically, my suggestions were elementary standards in the early church, but were often marginalized by Protestant assumptions and the co-opting of Evangelicalism by modernity … and now by the fashionable cynicism of post-moderns. But anyway … you’ll see how a counter-intuitive reconstruction may be helpful.
How, why or when is 'wrath' God's?
Why does the Bible talk about 'the wrath of God'?
As we continue to preach and teach the NT message that "God is Infinite Love," embodied in Christ and revealed on the Cross, it is right that we should continually challenge and be challenged by "the wrath of God." That challenge requires us to keep returning to the Scriptures and to the Lord for greater clarity, because such great potential for error persists. We dare not slander God, either as a violent punisher or a spineless pushover, because such images serve as stumbling blocks, especially to those suffering under the consequences of their poor choices or those of somebody else.
In A More Christlike God, I referred to 'wrath' as a biblical metaphor for the natural and supernatural consequences of our self-will and defiance. I lament the fact that these consequences often afflict others with terrible suffering, such as victims of drunk drivers. And I question whether it's appropriate to think of sin's effects as the 'wrath of God.' In that book, I cite the great church Fathers, St John Cassian and St John of Damascus, who show us that 'wrath' is an anthropomorphism for human anger, projected onto God, and which must not be literalized lest we commit a "monstrous blasphemy." I showed how Paul redefines wrath as passive, as divine consent, as "giving us over" (Romans 1) to our choices and their consequences. And in Romans 5, we see finally that God-in-Christ came to rescue or save us, not from God, but from "the wrath" (an allusion to Wisdom of Solomon 18:22-25 , where "wrath" is a synonym for "the destroyer").
So much for review. For those who need more backstory, see:
Today, I stand by the progress we've made, but press a little harder. All the above still begs the question: why does the Bible sometimes refer to the consequences of sin as "the wrath of God" when Paul so clearly sets "the wages of sin" (death) over against "the free gift of God" (life)? How, if Satan is the destroyer and Christ is the Savior, can "the wrath" ever be said to be "of God"? Why does God ever own punishment for sin in any way, if judgement for sin is intrinsic to sin, rather than God's literal reaction to it?
"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." Genesis 6:3
"For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100:5
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever." Psalm 136:1
Final conversation from True Detective (full video link - language warning).
Marty: “Didn’t you tell me one time, dinner once, maybe, about how you used to ... you used to make up stories about the stars?”
Rust: “Yeah, that was in Alaska, under the night skies.”
Marty: “Yeah, you used to lay there and look up, at the stars?”
Rust: “Yeah, I think you remember how I never watched the TV until I was 17, so there wasn’t much to do up there but walk around, explore, and...”
Marty: “And look up at the stars and make up stories. Like what?”
Rust: “I tell you Marty I been up in that room looking out those windows every night here just thinking, it’s just one story. The oldest.”
Marty: “What’s that?”
Rust: “Light versus dark.”
Marty: “Well, I know we ain’t in Alaska, but it appears to me that the dark has a lot more territory.”
Rust: “Yeah, you’re right about that.”Rust insists that Marty help him leave the hospital, Marty agrees.As they head to the car, Rust makes one final point to his former partner.
Rust: “You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing.”
Marty: “How’s that?”
Rust: “Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”
Rust stares at all of the stars in the midst of the darkness.
Kenneth Tanner (FB post 15 June 2016):
It was always there in Psalm 23:
God does not visit evil on humanity, and God does not prevent the evil that men and the dark angels do.
Rather, God is *with us* as we endure the evils our departures from his light and life bring us.
"Even though I walk through of the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me."
"This song and video was just released by Radiohead. It's like Radiohead has been reading René Girard -- sacrifice at the dark heart of civilization." - Brian Zahnd
I concur with Brian. Certainly the Girardian themes of scapegoating and sacred violence are intrinsic to both the witchhunt lyrics and the Wickerman-style references in the video. First to the lyrics:
Song meanings are notoriously subjective. Listeners hear what a song means to them, sometimes quite divorced from authorial intent. And this is as it should be. Art does that. One interpretation of the song and video comes from Virpi Kettu, an animator who collaborated on the video, spoke to Billboard about her take on the song:
Based on Kettu's understanding of what the band was after, she opines they may have wanted "Witch" to raise awareness about the refugee crisis in Europe and the "blaming of different people... the blaming of Muslims and the negativity" that could lead to sentiments such as "burn the witch."
My reaction: With the current refugee crisis, and even prior to that, with the momentum of Muslim immigration into the UK, movements like 'Britain First,' (and watch for America First) are sharpening their pitchforks and terrifying people with how the Muslims will impose Sharia Law once their numbers make them the majority.
Now, those who oppose the fear-mongering typically say, "You're exaggerating. The population balance won't tip that soon and the danger that Sharia Law will be imposed here is fabricated."
But I say, let's do a thought experiment. Let's assume for a moment that for sure Muslims will outnumber non-Muslims in the UK (or Europe) by 2050 or 2070. And let's assume that your children or grandchildren will live under Sharia Law. If you knew that for sure, how would you want to treat Muslims for the next 35-50 years as you wait for that day? What we sow, we will reap. If for the next 35-50 years, we sow fear, hatred and exclusion, what do you imagine our descendants will experience once Islam is running the nation? If it were me, foreseeing what's coming, I would want to be so kind, respectful and hospitable that when the day comes, mistreating my children or trampling on their rights would be unthinkable to them. The spiritual or social math on this is unbelievably obvious.
Typically, I see glazed looks in response. And the next words always start with "Yeah, but ..." My reaction: "Yeah, but ... what did our Lord, Jesus Christ say?"
The golden rule, after all, is part of the sermon on the mount. Jesus said,“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). And he did say,
43 I was a stranger [the Bible-word for immigrant/refugee], and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, [YEAH, BUT] Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee.
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
"Yeah, but ..." A common, but oh-so-inappropriate phrase after Jesus speaks. Or worse, "By no means, Lord!" -- Peter's words in Acts 10 as Christ is preparing to dismantle his racism!
In any case, such interesting timing ... the release of Radiohead's song coincides with the election of London's first Muslim mayor! Of course, Britain First will be panicking. Their own mayoral candidate, Paul Golding, defiantly turned his back on Kahn at his swearing-in ceremony
Is it ironic or poignant (in light of the controversy) that the first Muslim mayor of London is the son of Pakistani immigrants and became a civil rights lawyer. His statement at the swearing-in didn't sound so much like the first steps to Sharia Law. It didn't feel like the great tribulation had begun:
"I'm determined to lead the most transparent, engaged and accessible administration London has ever seen, and to represent every single community and every single part of our city as a mayor for Londoners."
Not that I believe political promises or trust the systems that overwhelm their good intentions. But Gandalf seemed happy. Actor Sir Ian McKellen greeted Khan at the cathedral gates. He said,
"To have a Muslim mayor seems preferable to me to any alternative regardless of the politics. I hope it's an image that will go round the world as representing a new sort of England that's at peace with itself regardless of race and so on. That's the beauty of it."
Meanwhile, much closer to home (for me ... 2 miles from America), I write this the week that Donald Trump crushed it in Indiana and became the GOP's presumptive nominee. Today, Donald Trump is having a rally in Lyndon, Washington, about 15 miles from my house. I'd probably cross the border and attempt to start negotiations with him on building the northern wall (echoes of Game of Thrones), but I'm told that I'd have to get a ticket and line up by 9:00 am to get into the 3:30 pm rally. I guess I won't bother.
Some of my very good friends (truly) will be voting for him in November. I'm just saying.
I only bring him up to connect the dots between the above story to one policy item that's come up. Thanks to BZ for digging this up for me:
"America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration." - Donald J Trump, Foreign Policy Speech, April 27, 2016
You have to admit, he's good at slogans. Slogans are powerful. Slogans cover a multitude of sins. "Make America Great Again" may yet stand as the greatest marketing slogan of all time ... at least since "Jesus is Lord." As one of his Evangelical supporters put it: "It doesn't matter if he's a racist or a misogynist or a xenophobe. We need a strong president. We need someone who will make America great again."
Back to scapegoating. Donald Trump is an expert at employing Girard's scapegoating mechanism: you create pseudo-peace by bringing mimetic rivals together to focus on and sacrifice a common threat. In the end, though, those who live by the sword, die by the sword, and I won't be too surprised if the Donald becomes the scapegoat whose sacrifice will make everyone feel good about themselves. Creating the Trump phenomenon and then voting him out in a landslide (if that happens) could almost make the nation feel virtuous, yes? No?
At the end of the day, Robert Plant's 'Band of Joy' gets it right. "I heard the voice of Jesus say, Satan, your kingdom must come down." A great tune worth hearing before I give Michael Hardin the last word.
I dare not wax eloquent about Girardian theory without passing the mic. to Michael Hardin--Rene Girard's preeminent interpreter. What say you, Michael?
This pervasive disease that is Christendom (Empire Christianity) must fall. The whole megalomaniac, flash and glitz, narcissistic personality disorder that I see dominating Christendom (except for the few, the proud, the Pope Francis's; and Richard Rohr's) has got to come tumbling down. And then I wonder how will Islam respond to its internal Janus-faced god, it's economies of exchange and its theology of glory. I wonder: 100 years from now, who will be known as the Kierkegaards and Bonhoeffers of our generation?
By the grace of God, there will be some.
Bradley, my wife and I met you recently at the Grace Conference. I asked a question about sovereignty, and your response addressed misunderstandings of what sovereignty means. Would you please elaborate and give some additional sources for me to look into. We enjoyed the conference and the material you presented. MUCH food for thought and reflection.
What is God like? (1 John 4, Eph. 3)
God as infinite love without remainder as revealed in Christ, esp. on the Cross.
Audio (mp3) to be viewed with slides:
Slides (powerpoint): Download PPT of God - Infinite love without remainder
Slides (pdf): Download PDF of God - Infinite love without remainder
"A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel" - WTC Pub Night Interview of Brad Jersak by Matthew Lynch and Lucy Peppiatt
This episode of WTCLive comes to you from the student pub at WTC’s student residential (January 2016). Lucy Peppiatt and Matt Lynch discuss Brad’s recent book A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel (Plain Truth Ministries, 2015). Brad explains his journey toward writing this book, and how his perspective developed. Hear Matt, Lucy and Brad in a fun and lively discussion about Brad’s book.
Until now, most Christians have assumed that evangelicals – people who base their convictions clearly on the teaching of Scripture – cannot possibly be universalists – people who believe that God will one day redeem all mankind.
With the release on March 8 of Zondervan’s Four Views on Hell (Second Edition), that understanding suddenly changed!
For the first time, a well respected, evangelical publishing house has clearly acknowledged that universalism is a view Christians should seriously consider.
An Evangelical Universalist
The four views presented in the book are: Eternal Conscious Torment, Terminal Punishment, Purgatory, and an essay by Robin Parry on Christian Universalism.
According to the book’s general editor, Preston Sprinkle –
All of the authors are committed Christians who believe in the full inspiration and authority of the Bible . . . All of the authors will derive and articulate their views based on Scripture and theological reasoning.
Dr. Sprinkle goes on to say –
I found Robin Parry’s essay to be a fascinating read! And, if I can be quite honest, I think it is a game-changer . . . Christians can no longer dismiss his view as unorthodox. We must now actually crack open our Bibles and, like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), see if these things are so.
Response by Brad Jersak
While 'Christian Universalism' and indeed a truly 'Evangelical Universalism' is as old as St Gregory of Nyssa and as rich as Rev. George MacDonald, it has often required some key leader, popular denomination or established publishing company to formalize broader acceptance of any controversial doctrine, practice or people. Who has the courage of St Peter to come along and say, 'Like it or not, 'they' (whoever they happen to be) DO have a legitimate place at this table'?