Thursday, 6 August 2009

Tozer on Textualism

'The error of textualism is not doctrinal. It is far more subtle than that and more difficult to discover, but its effects are just as deadly. Not its theological beliefs are at fault, but its assumptions.

It assumes, for instance, that if we have the word for a thing we have the thing itself. If it is in the Bible, it is in us. If we have the doctrine, we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity true of us because we accept Paul's epistles as divinely inspired. The Bible tells us how to be saved, but textualism goes on to make it tells us that we are saved, something which in the very nature of things it cannot do. Assurance of individual salvation is thus no more than a logical conclusion drawn from doctrinal premises, and the experience wholly mental.'

-A. W. Tozer, Leaning into the Wind, pages 20-21

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

TV: Servant or Master?

'A good test of whether television is servant or master is, when your children have watched something, do they then go out and do something related to what they have seen? Is their imagination stimulated? Television is a servant when your children can watch a program then say, “Well that was fascinating. Let's go and play Robin Hood," or “Let's go and do this thing."- Jerram Barrs

I presume that most people reading this post haven't got any children. The principle still applies: Do we watch TV to stimulate us and serve us? Or are we allowing it to master us?
TV as a master
Culture wants us to watch telly passively, allowing every idea change our thinking. Jesus wants us to be transformed by having our minds renewed with scripture (Rom 12:2, John 17:17). Active watchers of TV think critically: 'What is this programme telling me about God, myself and the world?' The problem is that television hasn't been designed to be engaged with actively. Most programmes exist to be accepted and enjoyed without hesitation. Passive viewers of TV are likely to let the telly become a master. It can become a God: whenever the television speaks we listen, the television commands we obey.

TV as a slave
I believe television is a redeemable gift from God. Largely the TV has become a master, it rules and reigns in many homes, but by God's grace Christians have the power to use television in a sinless way for good. Here are a few ways I think this can be done:

1) Watch TV and praise God for His creation- watch nature programmes that cause you to thank God for what He has made

2) Watch TV and praise God for narratives - God made us to be story lovers, hence scripture is written mainly in narrative. Through grace God has given many non-Christians with gifts in story writing. Praise God for those gifts by enjoying their work.

3) Watch TV and fear hell- the wrath of God is worse than any calamity ever captured in a disaster movie
4) Watch TV to understand the world- TV represents the worlds views and opinions. Watch the TV to understand culture and reason against it with non-Christian friends/family

5) Watch TV to learn contextualisation- watch TV looking for the gospel. Many programmes contain themes of redemption, atonement and reconciliation. TV can be an evangelistic tool in being a bridge to the gospel .

6) Watch TV to care about the world- God cares about our fallen world. Watch the news and grieve over sin and its effects.

7) Watch TV to provoke prayer- as you see and grieve over the effects of sin in the world pray for spiritual and physical restoration.

8) Watch TV to show self-control- Christians should be examples to the world of how to enjoy TV righteously. Christian lives should make the gospel attractive.

The TV can be a good slave or a terrible master.