My take on the ferocious prayers of the Psalms is that Christians shouldn’t skip over them, nor should we pray them exactly as they stand.  My reasoning is summed up in one word: Jesus.  The gospel of Jesus is the supreme fact of the universe, and so we must learn to interpret all things in light of the gospel.  And by all things I mean all things, including the world around us, the Bible, that big book called Psalms in the middle of the Bible, and all the imprecations therein.

So, you find yourself on the receiving end of terrible evil.  Or you’re grieved and angered upon seeing how others are oppressed.  You turn to the Psalms to find a voice for your anguish.  And there they are—a short outburst here, sustained smoldering there—cries to God to do violence to his enemies.  I gave examples of these prayers here, and I argued that it’s okay to pray these prayers, provided we pray them in light of the gospel, here.  So what does that look like?  How are you, as a Christian, to pray these prayers? Read the rest of this entry »

The most likely explanation for why the Psalms have never made a person uncomfortable is that the person has never read all of them.  Woven throughout the beautiful prayers of praise and thanksgiving, of lament and confession, are appeals to God to do violence to his enemies.  I gave some examples of these prayers yesterday.

The Psalms include ferocious prayers, more commonly called prayers of imprecation.  Should Christians pray these prayers?  If so, how are we to pray them?  Those are the questions I want to answer. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you pray for the young man who date-raped your daughter?  How do you pray for the terrorist?  How do you pray for the kids at school who are pressuring your son to try drugs?  How do you pray for the uncle who is abusing you?  How do you pray for those unreached people who tortured and killed your missionary husband?  How do you pray for government officials who authorize the persecution of Christians?  When you suffer evil, how do you pray? Read the rest of this entry »

“I’m disappointed in you” are some of the hardest words we can hear.  Ed Welch writes:

If my wife says, “I am so angry with you,” I can live with that. But if she says, “I’m not angry. I am just disappointed in you,” that is unbearable. I feel like a scolded puppy. My tail goes between my legs, I retreat to the corner, and . . . I feel helpless because I am not sure what I can do to change her opinion. I could ask forgiveness, and she would be quick to forgive, but I would still be left feeling like a disappointment. Forgiveness does not remove disappointment. Maybe I would make vows to do better and spend the rest of the day living out those vows, but it would still be unbearable.

After exploring the problem further, Ed offers a meaningful remedy.  Here’s a hint at his conclusion: “There are no doghouses in the kingdom of God.”

You can read the whole article here.

 

A Moody God

September 17, 2012

Throwing the Father, Son and Spirit into a blender like this is politely called modalism by theologians.  I prefer to call it moodalism.  Moodalists think that God is one person who has three different moods (or modes, if you must).  One popular moodalist idea is that God used to feel Fatherly (in the Old Testament), tried adopting a more Sonny disposition for thirty-some years, and has since decided to become Spiritual.  You understand the attraction, of course: it keeps things from becoming too complicated.

The trouble is, once you puree the persons, it becomes impossible to taste their gospel.  If the Son is just a mood God slips in and out of, then for us to be adopted as children in the Son is no great thing: when God moves on to another mood, there will be no Son for us to be in.  And even when God is in his Son mood, there will be no Father for us to be children of. And if the Spirit is just another of his states of mind, I can only wonder what will happen when God feels like moving on.  “He fills me . . . he fills me not….”  The moodalist is left with no assurance and a deeply confused God.  Somehow the Son must be his own Father, send himself, love himself, pray to himself, seat himself at his own right hand and so on.  It all begins to look, dare I say, rather silly.

(Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, 32-33)