Tuesday, October 30, 2007

To Participate or Not To

Yes, this is quite strange, but my main thought concerns the nature of Halloween. Is the believer participating in the table of demons (1 Cor 10. 18-22) when he (or she for you TNIV freaks) participates in Halloween. Or is Halloween a Christian liberty issue or a command issue--we are not to participate in the table of demons. There are several issues in this discussion so I will list a few.

(1) Halloween is a pagan festival at its roots, or so I have been told. So participation in a pagan festival becomes questionable. Since the festival is sourced in darkness, is the believer to abstain? Some respond that Paul only condemns participation and not association, so that in Halloween no Christian is necessarily eating and participating at the temple so it is all right to trick or treat.

(2) Can we redeem this pagan festival for the Gospel without violating the Scripture-if indeed the Scripture explicitly forbids Halloween. So can I pass out my chic tract and my tootsie rolls, or must I turn off the lights and use some candles? Or can I actually dress my children with the Scream masks and go introduce myself to all the people in my immediate community to build a love bridge to my community?

(3) Churches--don't you love all the alternative festivals? For me, if you are going to participate it must be in a redemptive way. I was at one of these the other day and it was ridiculous. They charged money for people to use the blow up toys. They charged for drinks and chili. Now this church is a mega church and you would think that they could budget a few more bucks to provide for the community. But how missional can you be when you charge people money and Jesus never shows up at the event? These church events usually just become alternatives for Christian teens as opposed to missional ministry of reaching unsaved teenagers.

(4) My conclusion--Use this event for redemptive purposes, be missional in your activity this Halloween. Just don't go to any temple and eat and participate in a pagan ceremony because we eat at the table of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Isaac and Christ

Yes, getting really crazy with three blogs in just over a week. This posting deals with the 'parallels', 'analogies', or 'types' of Christ in the person of Isaac. As I have been going through the Abrahamic material my eye caught the numerous, clear parallels of Christ and Isaac. Here are just some I found:

(1) God tells Abraham to take 'your son', 'your only son', the 'son you love'--near exact parallel of John 3:16

(2) They are to go to Mount Jerusalem to perform the sacrifice--exact place where Christ was sacrificed

(3) God provides a sacrifice-just as God provided Christ for our sacrifice. This sacrifice provided a substitute for the child of promise--Isaac. Similar sacrificial, substitute imagery is found only in two other places: Lev 8-9 where the first sacrifice at the tabernacle is performed, and in Lev 16 at the Day of Atonement. Dempster then states, "It is as if the Day of Atonement institutionalizes for the public community this private experience of Abraham and Isaac. Israel is also spared the knife."

So, with the context of the seed in Gen 3.15 and 12.3, it seems obvious to me that in this episode Moses is pointing out a parallel of the seed and how he will defeat and crush the serpent. In fact, in 22.17 it states that Abraham will possess the gates of his enemies. Thus the nation of Israel will military success. However, in the context of Gen 1-11, this military success has much wider ramifications. Namely, the real enemy, the serpent, will be dealt a blow to his head. So it seems that even in the early stages of the Israelite history, Abraham would have success over his physical enemies, but also through Abraham would come spiritual victory over the serpent.

So how does the Isaac episode function? Does it portray on purpose the sacrifice of Christ, or was Moses unaware of the implications? How much of these similarities did Moses know? Are these even genuine parallels?

Yes, the Osborne 'curse' has been lifted--just kidding, but we are rejoicing in the Lord at the birth of our new son, Owen Michael. He was born June 1 and was a good 8.3lbs and 19 1/2" long. And yes, everybody shut up about the Nike hat already!! The girls love him and are going to make him tough quickly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cain and Abel

Yea, we are back up and running after a long overdue hiatus. Things are a little crazy around the Osborne household lately; however, we had a very interesting conversation last week at church surrounding Cain and Abel. The question being this: why did God accept Abel's sacrifice over Cain's? There are several 'legitimate' options that have been proposed.

(1) It was a blood sacrifice. This is the most anachronistic of all the answers. There are several problems with this. First, where does it say a blood sacrifice was required? Was it a sin offering? Second, there is nothing in the text that merits any such conclusion.

(2) The ground was cursed. Interestingly five times in Gen 1-11 the word 'cursed' is used and one of the instances refers to the ground (3:17). So obviously since the ground was cursed, so was Cain's sacrifice, right?

(3) The Sovereignty answer. God just chose Abel's. This is in the same vein in Genesis in which God just chose Jacob over Esau. The Expositor's states that God chose Abel's in order for Cain to learn and see how he would deal with God choosing Abel's. Just a far stretch for me.

(4) It was based on character. Obviously Hebrews tells us that Abel's sacrifice was offered in faith, which implies that Cain's was not. Also, 1 John declares that Cain was wicked and Abel righteous.

So I have listed them in descending order in my mind, but the bigger question to ask here is how the narrative fits in Genesis. Obviously Moses did not consider it of great importance to tell us why, but he was concerned with what the story taught about humanity. After the 'good' creation in Genesis 1, of which man was crowned the climax to rule as God's viceregents over this good creation, Moses moves to what life looked like while man was still fulfilling his responsibility in Genesis 2. Genesis 3 declared man's inability to continue this task because of their sinful choice. So now man must die. Sin is crouching at the door ready to destroy them (4:7). Therefore, in chapter 4 Moses is concerned with declaring what sin has done to creation. It is so pervasive in humanity that God's highest creation are murdering their own brothers. So chapter 4 is showing the wicked effects of sin upon God' creation.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Various Thoughts From Christmas

1- I cannot go without mentioning something...where's all the love for Melo? Come on just because he slapped a guy and ran like a scared schoolgirl... Hey for me, I glad he ran so that he did not throw any more punches and be out even more games!

2- Next, I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas! In keeping with the blog title, I have been overwhelmed with Luke 1-2 this Christmas. Luke's primary emphasis goes beyond the events of the Christ Child--the virgin birth, no room in the inn, shepherds, etc... His primary emphasis falls on the fulfillment of this Christ child. He is the promised Christ that was promised to Israel through, of course, Abraham and David. He is the one who has come to bring deliverance from oppressors and from sin and evil. He is the One who will have an everlasting kingdom, throne, and house. He is the Lion from the Tribe of Judah. He is the one who will bring deliverance not just to Israel, but to the entire world. This is the meaning of the Christmas event. It goes far beyond the events of the story to the actual fulfillment of all that comes with this Child. Truly, God is with us and has brought us redemption through the gift of His Son. So these thoughts have captured me and have caused me to truly rejoice in my Christ this season!!

3- If you have not heard, my wife and I are expecting number three...craziness and mayhem. So with this comes a need for a bigger vehicle. So we had been praying and looking for a while and little did I know that we would come home with the biggest vehicle on the road. Yes, the Lord was absolutely gracious in providing this vehicle to our family. The details of how we got this car are absolutely providential, and we are so grateful to the Lord for His wonderful provision.

4- I just finished reading Tremper Longman's Making Sense of the Old Testament, and much more will come from this book, but suffice to say here that I was disappointed with Longman's approach to the center of the Bible, and his thoughts concerning the christian and the Law. So those out there intrigued with OT theology be thinking about your thoughts about our relationship to the Law. He is so in the middle on every issue...so Carson like, but that is for another day.