Freedom throughout the religious life of a person, not just at its beginning. Miroslav Volf, Flourishing

A world religion that forcibly prevents a person from embracing another religion and compels a person to remain in a religion unwillingly is inconsistent. When Christians punished apostates and heretics, as they did for much of Christianity’s history, the Christian faith itself was divided. When Muslims insist, as many still do, that “once a person accepts Islam out of his free will he is not allowed to leave it,” Islam, too, at is at odds with itself.
If religion is to be embraced freely, that free choice must obtain throughout the religious life of a person, not just at its beginning.

Miroslav Volf, Flourishing : Why we need religion in a globalized world

Reclame

Man shall not live by “bread alone”. Miroslav Volf, Flourishing

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My main thesis is simple. I can state it in the words that, according to the Hebrew Bible, Moses said to the children of Israel at the end of forty years of wandering in the wilderness and the words that Jesus, weakened after forty days of fasting in the wilderness, hurled at the Tempter in self-defense (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4): “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” The greatest of all temptations isn’t to serve false gods, as monotheists like to think. The greatest of all temptations, equally hard to resist in abundance and in want, is to believe and act as if human beings lived by bread alone, as if their entire lives should revolve around the creation, improvement, and distribution of worldly goods. Serving false gods—or turning the one true God into a mere bread provider, which amounts to the same thing—is the consequence of succumbing to this grand temptation.

When we live by bread alone, there is never enough bread, not enough even when we make so much of it that some of it rots away; when we live by bread alone, someone always goes hungry; when we live by bread alone, every bite we take leaves a bitter aftertaste, and the more we eat the more bitter the taste; when we live by bread alone, we always want more and better bread, as if the bitterness came from the bread itself and not from our living by bread alone. I could continue with the analogy, but you get my point: living by “mundane realities” and for them alone, we remain restless, and that restlessness in turn contributes to competitiveness, social injustice, and the destruction of the environment as well as constitutes a major obstacle to more just, generous, and caring personal practices and social arrangements.

Trying to live by “bread alone” kills both us and our neighbors.33 “Alone” is a key word in the biblical passage and in my thesis: bread alone (or, perhaps, bread above all). For we all live also by bread, and without bread all of us are dead. Still, without the divine Word we shrivel even when we are in overdrive, we fight and destroy, we perish. The Word is the bread of life, and it gives abundant life, as it is suggested in the Torah and written in the Gospels (Deuteronomy 8:1–20; John 6:35, 10:10).

Miroslav Volf, Flourishing : Why we need religion in a globalized world

The world as a gift. Miroslav Volf, Flourishing

A very beautiful analogy on the world as cosmos and the world as creation, a picture that made me smile and pounder in Miroslav Volf’s new book, Flourishing: Why we need religion in a globalized world.

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Consider first the nature of the world. Christians, to stay with the example of my own faith, believe that God is the Creator: “I believe that God has made me and all the creatures,” wrote the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483–1546) in his Small Catechism. To claim that God made “all creatures” isn’t to dismiss on the authority of an ancient holy book the findings of modern physical cosmology and evolutionary biology; it is to relate to oneself and to the world in a certain way, as a gift, for instance, rather than merely as a particular form of matter and energy. Imagine an object you very much like, say, a well-designed and skillfully crafted fine leather wallet with a texture you can’t resist touching. Think of yourself, first, in a store examining it as you contemplate whether to purchase it and, second, holding it in your hands after receiving it as a gift from a lover to commemorate your first date. It is the same object, and yet it isn’t: the love between you and your lover is part of how you experience the object, enhancing your appreciation and enjoyment of it. The first is world as cosmos; the second is world as creation.

Miroslav Volf, Flourishing: Why we need religion in a globalized world

My Book Review: The Invisible Hand by Dr. R.C. Sproul

The Invisible Hand by Dr. R.C. SproulHow can a God of love allow suffering and injustice in the world? Why we had to go through such awful events last year? Why is He allowing confusion sometimes, to cry and be in pain. Why there’s no answer to my prayer?

Although people today have some answers and approach this subject in different ways, the biblical answer to the problem of evil and suffering is the only true and liberating answer you can find.

Sproul is presenting God and His ways with a wonderful logic and clear insight. He is very biblical in his style of defending the truth about God’s sovereignty and providence.

In a very generous and warm environment, he is calling us to trust this good and loving God who really has all things in His hands and does not allow something in your life without a holy purpose, often misunderstood by us.

We are called to embrace these dark moments with hope, always recognizing God’s love and care, and believe that, as he is saying … the providence of God is our fortress, our shield, and our very great reward. It is what provides courage and perseverance for His saints.

Return to the Potter

Intelligent Design is the understanding that the complexity, beauty and composition of this world is the work of an intelligent mind as opposed to a random, non-purposeful chain of events. Creationists believe that this Intelligent Designer is God.

The Bible tells us that God is our Potter and we are the work of His hands, products of His labour. A Potter shapes the clay, fires it and then glazes it in order to design different objects for the desired purpose. A ceramic vase is designed with its unique purpose in mind, to hold flowers.

In the same way, God, your Intelligent Designer and perfect Potter knows just what purpose you were created for. You are the work of His hand and only in His hands, can you be moulded, fired up and shaped to fulfil His desired will for your life.

If you want to leave your footprints on the moon, you must return to God, the Potter and ask Him to show you what destiny He had in mind when He was creating you. Submit to His shaping and moulding. Allow Him to fire you up.

Relent in absolute surrender to His decoration and beautification of your life for His glory.

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