Toward the Tithe and Beyond | Desiring God – Review


John Piper presents 7 Biblical reasons for tithing in this article. Quite contrary to the teaching of John MacArthur that Christians don’t need to tithe since they pay taxes to the government, Piper sees tithing as vital to a Christian’s being part of the Kingdom work. Tithing is also an antidote against covetousness, he says. Piper’s 7 Reasons reminded me of David Jeremiah’s 7 Reasons for tithing. Clearly, again contrary to what MacArthur teaches, Jesus made a distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God. The book of Malachi that encouraged tithing against robbery of it so that there would be food in the house of God was not written to people in the theocratic times before the monarchy. Clearly tithing is not tax-paying. Piper’s article and appeal is a needed one in an age when Mammon tries to steal the true and total devotion that only belongs to Christ. Piper’s illustration from John Wesley’s life is touching indeed.

Take John Wesley for example. He was one of the great evangelists of the 18th Century, born in 1703. In 1731 he began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor. In the first year his income was 30 pounds and he found he could live on 28 and so gave away two. In the second year his income doubled but he held his expenses even, and so he had 32 pounds to give away (a comfortable year’s income). In the third year his income jumped to 90 pounds and he gave away 62 pounds. In his long life Wesley’s income advanced to as high as 1,400 pounds in a year. But he rarely let his expenses rise above 30 pounds. He said that he seldom had more than 100 pounds in his possession at a time.

This so baffled the English Tax Commissioners that they investigated him in 1776 insisting that for a man of his income he must have silver dishes that he was not paying excise tax on. He wrote them, “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.”

See Also
Should I Give Tithe


God And Ultimate Origins by Andrew Loke – Review


God and Ultimate Origins: A Novel Cosmological Argument

Andrew Ter Ern Loke

Springer International Publishing, 07-Nov-2017 – Philosophy – 200 pages

God and Ultimate Origins lucidly compacts a gigantic breadth and depth of philosophical and scientific research on the concept and fact of causality and its importance for the cosmological argument. Students of philosophy will note that, in modern Western Philosophy, it was primarily Hume who first set torch to the common sense notion of causal relations. Kant, who claimed that Hume’s writings woke him from his dogmatic slumbers, attempted a salvage of causality by devising an epistemic system that suggested and provided proofs for causality to just be a priori, which also means that it is how the human mind connects events subjectively in the form of a necessary connection. As such, this notion of subjective causal interpretation could be devastating to the cosmological argument. However, the fact that Kant needed causality to account for understanding causal relations seems to beg the question. In other words, stating that the a priori category of causality causes us to interprete data as causally related is an attempt to look for objective causes of our concepts while at the same time treating causality as just a subjective mental mold for processing raw data.

While to some it may seem that Kant dealt a death blow to the cosmological argument, the objective necessity of and inescapability from causality makes the cosmological argument as realistic as any research in empirical science. Andrew Loke capitalizes on that. He first makes a sweeping survey of the most important issues related to the cosmological argument, particularly the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and observes how each objection has been or could be rebutted. Then, noticing that the KCA as well as the Thomistic argument do continue to invite more objections from theories of time and issues of actual infinities, he tries to combine the both by offering a novel argument which he illustrates with a simple analogy of a series of train cars drawn by an engine. Of course, he observes that there could be disanalogies between the illustration and the idea of causal series. However, he does his best to answer each and tries to explain why his argument has a greater advantage over the others. He also musters a number of scientific research findings to reinforce the a posteriori part of it and displays patient and arduous labor in freezing a wide ocean of research into this 200 page book. The book is a must read for any student of the philosophy of religion or Apologetics who wishes to be updated with the breadth of scholarship in arguments in favor of theism. We hope Springer can make the book available at a lower cost so that it can be buyable in countries where a fair price of a book should not be more than $12. 

The Shack (2017): Movie Review

Source: The Shack (2017): Movie Review

There are a number of Christian movies that have tried to tackle the issue of human suffering in the face of faith in an all-good and all-powerful God. The Shack, based on the 2007 novel by William P. Young, is a serious attempt towards the same. The movie shows Mack who is in deep shock from the sudden loss of his youngest daughter struggling with the issue of faith and forgiveness. By a turn of events, He meets the Trinity which manifests to him in a homely setting as Mother-Son-Sarayu (a young lady as the Spirit). The Trinity don’t look European (white) in this movie. The traditional image of the Father as someone aged (here, first shown as Mother (Papa) and later as Father-figure ) is kept intact. Of course, we may think the Ageless One need not be depicted as an old aged. But, the movie maker tried to not disturb the traditional imagery too much. The movie draws a very homely, friendly, and lively scenery of the conversations between Mack and the Trinity.

There are a number of theological and apologetic reasoning strewn into the conversations, most of which are familiar in Christian responses given to the problem of evil. Themes of freewill, divine sovereignty, moral choice, and the suffering of God feature well in the discussions. However, Mack cannot be helped by any of these until Wisdom shows him his daughter Missy happy in heaven. It is at this moment when hope, faith, and love combine in Mack and he is healed of the sting of suffering. Later on, of course, he also needs to learn to forgive the murderer of his daughter. He needs to forgive and say it out aloud that he has forgiven that man in order to be delivered.

The movie has made a great attempt at trying to make a sense of human suffering in light of the revelation of God in the Bible. In the final state, it is the vision of hope that he can meet his Missy again that has the greatest panacea for Mack’s suffering. Then, it is an act of love – to forgive – that finally emancipates him. Of course, it also involves his remorse, repentance, and love to Triune God.

Of course, underlying all is a deep religious experience of personal encounter and a remarkable vision.