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Seeing By The Light

How can we understand God’s revelation to us?

Throughout the church’s history, theologians have often answered this question by appealing to a doctrine of illumination whereby the Holy Spirit shapes our knowledge and understanding of Scripture. Without denying the role of the Holy Spirit or the cognitive role of illumination, Ike Miller casts a broader vision of divine illumination and its role in the Christian life. In his constructive approach, Miller argues for a fully Trinitarian view of illumination that forms not just our intellect, but also appeals to the affections and encourages our ethical action.

In order to develop this theology of illumination, he explores both Augustine’s and Karl Barth’s readings of the Gospel and Epistles of John, including Barth’s previously untranslated lectures on the Gospel of John. In light of his careful study of both the Johannine literature and the theologies of two giants from Christian history, Miller lays out a doctrine of illumination whereby we are enabled to know the Father and participate in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Courage that Causes a Pause in the Genealogy

You have heard it said, “First and Second Chronicles are “boring,” but I say to you, check again!

I get it. There is a lot of names that seem so insignificant, so many lists of battles and numbers that don’t seem to matter. Therefore, in our Bible reading plan, we don’t so much “read” these books as much as “look” at them. That still counts right?!?

But, one of the things we miss when we skip these books are the powerful stories of 3-4 verses that are tucked into these pages. It is as if they are dropped right smack in the middle of a list of 1000 names.

One of my favorites comes from 1 Chronicles 11.

David is at war with the Philistines who had set up camp at Bethlehem (David’s hometown of all places!). The scripture tells us David was extremely thirsty by this point and mumbles to himself, “if only someone would bring me water to drink from the well at the city gate of Bethlehem!” (v.17)

As the story unfolds, we’ll see that David never intended anyone to actually act on this throwaway statement, it was a passing desire. But, 3 of his mighty men did. They broke through the Philistine camp, drew the water and brought it back to David. What comes next makes your mouth hang open.

He pours it out. HE POURS IT OUT!

We think to ourselves, that ungrateful little… I’ve got some words for him!!! That could have cost me my life!

And that is the point.

He pours it out because the action of retrieving this water was at the costs of these men’s lives. To drink this cup would be to acknowledge that his life was worthy of such sacrifice. Indeed, David did not feel he was worthy of the action that caused the pause in this genealogy. 

This was an action of incomparable courage and devotion. It was unparalleled in its power as a story of risking it all for that which is worth it all. The chronology would be incomplete without it.

What’s so profound in this moment is that actions that cause a pause in the genealogy always come in moments of crisis. They always come in moments under pressure, moments that require courage. These are the moments that make the difference between being a name in the genealogy and a tale of great consequence for generations of Christ followers after us.

Moments of crisis demand the character we possess or, they expose our lack of it. Click To Tweet

I read books like 1 Chronicles because I want to learn what it takes to cause a pause in the genealogy. What did these men and women do that forced the Chronicler to stop and say, “I can’t tell this story without this event – you won’t believe if I don’t and you will only be transformed by it if I do.”

What will be your action that causes a pause in the genealogy of our faith?