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Letters to the Editor (Jesus Calling, Love Languages, Age of the Universe)

One of the great joys of blogging is receiving feedback from those who read what I write. Every week or two I like to collect some of the letters to the editor that I receive and share them here. What I share today represents the best of the week that was.

Letters on Jesus Always, the Sequel to Jesus Calling

Tim: These really are the best of what I received this week on the subjects of Jesus Always and Jesus Calling.

First of all, EVERYONE HAS A GIFT!! Sarah has a gift of hearing from the Lord! She brings us closer to him! I feel like all you’re doing is wanting publicity in downing someone else. How do you think GOD feels about that?! Sarah is doing what GOD told her to do and you’re against it; meaning you’re going against GODs will! He does NOT like ugly and that is everything that you are being. YOU NEED TO PRAY! Pray & figure out what GOD wants for you instead of going against what He wants for someone else. Sarah has a life to live and message to send. Ask GOD what YOUR calling is…let Sarah’s relationship with GOD be her own. Shes helping people and you’re tearing them down. Im praying for you.

—Cameron C, Knoxville, TN

Stop being a hater because nobody wants to ready your crap. Have a blessed day.

—Aven P, Cheraw, SC

Letters on No One Else Is Coming

Thank you for writing the article about 20Schemes, and specifically about the Petes in Barlanark. I wanted to add a hearty “amen” to what you have written and add another personal vouching for the lads.

Our church has supported the Petes for some time now. This past summer I had the privilege of taking a small team to Barlanark to see the ministry firsthand. It isn’t dazzling. It isn’t showy. It isn’t glamorous. We weren’t expecting that though. What we expected and saw was that it is hard, it is necessary, and it is good.

I remember being in a conversation with David Murray (of PRTS and a native Scot himself) a few years ago where he commented offhand that he thinks 20Schemes may be Scotland’s last hope. Indeed, what we personally saw in Barlanark was a people that are hopeless. But the reason why 20Schemes can be characterized as the “last hope” is because they bring the gospel of hope to the hopeless. Hope Community Church Barlanark is the perfect name to describe the church that is being planted.

I would encourage both individual Christians and churches to come alongside the work happening in Scotland. Pray, give, go, and send. The Lord of the Harvest is planting and gathering. What a privilege to be part of His work.

—Bryan W, Rothbury, MI

Letters on Why Does the Universe Look So Old?

Tim: Not surprisingly, the majority of responses to this article were opposed to what I wrote. Still, many of the responses were both kind and reasonable.

Both suggested reasons for the universe looking old have problems. “The universe looks old because the Creator made it whole” misses the fact that the universe does not merely look old, but it looks like it has a complete history. It’s reasonable to suggest that an instantly created Adam would have looked a few decades old, but Adam would not need growth rings in his bones, a navel, scars, memories, or other evidence of a nonexistent series of events. But when we look at the earth, or at the universe, we see clear evidence of a lengthy series of events. The wine at Cana resembled the product of a year’s work by a vine, but it didn’t have a fictional label crediting it to a particular vineyard or genuine bits of bugs and dirt to give the appearance of normal winemaking techniques.

Likewise, identifying looking old as due to sin is problematic on many counts. God said it was good; this says it looked bad. Although human aging as we know it is marred by sin, the idea that looking old is because of sin sounds more like a modernistic cult of youth than Biblical appreciation for maturity.

The modern young-earth interpretation is not all that traditional. Non-24 hour interpretations of the days of creation were common in the early church. By the early 1800’s, the geologic evidence for a vast age of the earth was not only firmly scientifically established but also widely accepted in the church, with young-earth positions regaining popularity only in the past half-century as a result of the popularity of the erroneous scientific claims of creation science.

Not that science should dictate our exegesis, but it may indicate places where our exegesis is off, as Augustine suggested. And we must be honest in reporting what science indicates, whether or not it fits what we want. Both theology and science must rigidly stick to the evidence, rather than “here’s how I think it should work”.

—David C, Boiling Springs, NC

It is very unfortunate that respected Christian spokesmen like John MacArthur and Albert Mohler insist on continuing to promote the totally unnecessary false choice of either the facts of nature or one particular interpretation of the Bible. It is obvious that the book of Genesis was not intended to teach science and that there are many passages in the Bible that are not intended to be taken in a rigidly literal manner. If these men were to publically allow for the possibility of other ways to interpret Genesis, Christianity might not be losing so many young people. Equating Christianity with Young Earth Creationism hasn’t saved anyone, but it has caused many to be lost. I grant that there are theological issues that need to be worked out and then disseminated, but this is being done, on the internet and in the literature. We need to get to the point where creation and evolution becomes just another one of those secondary issues on which Christians graciously agree that alternative views are possible.

—Paul B, New Kensington, PA

I see the lens of the creation camera as on the earth and focused on the earth and viewing the heavens from an earthly perspective. The universe declares the glory of God, but earth is the stage of God’s creative, providential and redemptive work in and for man. The Cosmos manifests the divine grandeur but does so in a way that is anthropocentric. This is illustrated by the greater and lesser lights being created for the benefit of man on the earth. Then God made the stars also. Given the anthropocentric nature of the universe this statement cannot really mean anything unless these stars were immediately visible with the radiated light created with them reaching earth at the very moment of their creation. We are, each of us, behind the lens as the drama unfolds. The camera sees each stage as it unfolds from the perspective of the stage. The stars are the backdrop to the stage, the universe the theatre. we watch and observe the immediacy of each unfolding act of God’s unveiling of Himself in the His creation. We see it’s all immediately as Adam would had He been created first.

—Donald M, Glasgow, Scotland

Letters on Those Exquisite Forms of Love That Do Not Speak Your Language

First, I want to say that I agree with much of what you say here. And obviously, the Bible offers so much more than the love languages concept. However, I think you are perhaps a bit too cynical about the benefits of understanding love languages. I don’t think it has to be this dark and greedy thing that you paint it to be.

I don’t think most people learn about love languages for their own benefit. I don’t think everyone is reading about love languages to hold over their spouse’s head, “see, this is my love languages and you aren’t meeting that.”

Instead, there are 2 very beneficial things that we can learn:

  1. My spouse’s love language. In learning about love languages, I can choose to learn how I can best love him. I think that is why most people learn about love languages–to love their spouse better, and not in a selfish way. It’s important that we understand how our spouse’s love language differs from our own because our nature is to do what we understand. For example, if my love language is affection, I might be very affectionate toward my spouse. Not that it’s a bad thing, but if his love language is acts of service then I need to do that too. Why? Because I want him to feel loved, so I want to learn about what makes him most feel loved.
  2. The second reason is somewhat related to the first. If I learn about my husband’s love language, then I can better appreciate the ways that he shows me love, even if they aren’t necessarily speaking my love language. You mention the dark and greedy growl and making your own love language the ultimate and only acceptable expression of love. I would disagree here. I think we are naturally prone to do that, without anyone telling us to. I think learning about love languages helps us do the opposite because instead of saying, “hey you aren’t showing me affection, so you don’t love me.” I can step back and look at the ways he is showing me love through his own love language and learn to better appreciate those things.

I think we should all look for the ways our spouses show us love anyway, but I do think that learning about love languages can assist with that and doesn’t have to be the negative thing that you ascribe to it.

—Crystal B, Marion, KY

  • It Begins and Ends with Speaking

    It Begins and Ends with Speaking

    Part of the joy of reading biography is having the opportunity to learn about a person who lived before us. An exceptional biography makes us feel as if we have actually come to know its subject, so that we rejoice in that person’s triumphs, grieve over his failures, and weep at his death.

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    Weekend A La Carte (April 20)

    A La Carte: Living counterculturally during election season / Borrowing a death / The many ministries of godly women / When we lose loved ones and have regrets / Ethnicity and race and the colorblindness question / The case for children’s worship services / and more.

  • The Anxious Generation

    The Great Rewiring of Childhood

    I know I’m getting old and all that, and I’m aware this means that I’ll be tempted to look unfavorably at people who are younger than myself. I know I’ll be tempted to consider what people were like when I was young and to stand in judgment of what people are like today. Yet even…

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    A La Carte (April 19)

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    A La Carte (April 18)

    A La Carte: Good cop bad cop in the home / What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? / The sacrifices of virtual church / A neglected discipleship tool / A NT passage that’s older than the NT / Quite … able to communicate / and more.

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    It’s Okay To Be a Two-Talent Christian

    It is for good reason that we have both the concept and the word average. To be average is to be typical, to be—when measured against points of comparison—rather unremarkable. It’s a truism that most of us are, in most ways, average. The average one of us is of average ability, has average looks, will…