Piper’s Sermon on Pilgrim’s Battle with Sloth

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Augustine, a brilliant poet

But what do I love when I love my God? . . .
Not the sweet melody of harmony and song;
not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes, and spices;
not manna or honey;
not limbs such as the body delights to embrace.
It is not these that I love when I love my God.
And yet, when I love him, it is true that I love a light of a certain kind, a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;
but they are of the kind that I love in my inner self,
when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space;
when it listens to sound that never dies away;
when it breathes fragrance that is not borne away on the wind;
when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating;
when it clings to an embrace from which it is not severed by fulfillment of desire.
This is what I love when I love my God.

—Augustine, Confessions (transl. Pine-Coffin), X, 6.

Taken from Justin Taylor’s blog Between Two Worlds

Heaven is For Real? Cool!

Yes, now the book is a movie.  Are you surprised?  We shouldn’t be because we live in a Christian publishing and media culture that is more interested in exploitation than discernment. Some defend such books (of which there are many)  because anyone who dies, visits heaven, and then returns from the dead is a powerful testimony to non-Christians of the reality of life after death, and the existence of God and heaven. But this ignores Jesus warning in Luke 16:31

“If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. ‘”

Yet the claims in the book are unbelievably infantile. Even though the Holy Spirit is of the same form and substance of God the Father and God the Son, he appears as a blue fog which shoots a beam of power from heaven to the boys father to give him power as he’s preaching.

Nancy Guthrie has written a very helpful article at The Gospel Coalition called “We Don’t Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Believe Heaven is Real.”

People sometimes say these stories encouraged their faith or the faith of someone they know. But I think they actually diminish biblical faith by elevating claims of a supernatural experience over the substance of the Scriptures. Most of these claims of seeing into heaven focus on earthbound concerns and stunted human desires that lack what the Bible describes as the heart of heaven—the glory of God, the Lamb who was slain, on the throne of the universe. In embracing these stories we’re saying the Bible is simply not enough, that someone’s mystical experience is needed to verify or “make real” what God has said. But saving faith is putting all our hopes in who God is and what God has said as revealed in the Bible. It is being confident of what we can’t see (John 20:29Hebrews 11:1), not being convinced by something someone else supposedly saw.

She goes on to say this:

There are only five testimonies of seeing into the realities of heaven that we are obligated to believe. These testimonies clearly develop rather than diminish biblical faith. There is Isaiah, who saw the Lord high and lifted up, seated on a throne (Isaiah 6); Ezekiel, who was given a vision of the future new heavens and new earth that he describes as garden-like city in the shape of a temple called The Lord Is There (Ezekiel 40-48); Stephen, who, before he was stoned by the people of Jerusalem “gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God and said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God'” (Acts 7:55-56); John, who saw the risen and glorified Jesus seated on the throne of the universe being worshiped by all the people of the earth, all the creatures of the earth, and all the angels of heaven (Revelation 1, 4); and the apostle Paul, who was caught up into the third heaven and “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Cor. 12:1-7). Isn’t it interesting that Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, did not include details about what he saw in his personal guided tour of heaven and said, in fact, that it should not be talked about?

None of these witnesses claims to have died and come back to life. None of these testimonies focuses on meetings with other people who have died. These witnesses are clearly captivated by God alone. We read that they fell on their faces as their eyes beheld the glory of God radiating from his being.

To read the full article click here.