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Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

What To Do When God is Unfaithful?

What To Do When God is Unfaithful?

What To Do When God is Unfaithful

We often talk about human unfaithfulness. Novels become bestsellers partly to the extent their plots involve the right amounts of betrayal, infidelity, and intrigue. Why is this? The answer is that human beings are prone to unfaithfulness even though they know it is a vice rather than a virtue. Unfaithfulness is all around us. Not just in marriages. How often don’t we fail to live up to our friend’s expectations? How often don’t we break our own rules? We disappoint friends, let down colleagues, break promises to our children, etc.. In short, being human is to be unfaithful.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

I Believe in Predestination But God Has Nothing To Do With It!

I Believe in Predestination But God Has Nothing To Do With It!

Actually, I don’t believe in predestination. We are not robots! I hate predestination and consider it one of the great heretical ideas that have crept into Christian theology, first by the philosophically inclined medieval theologians, but then, in a horribly amplified version of the doctrine, by way of the Calvinists and their double predestination (some are destined for salvation and some for damnation). Through their ardent labor, millions have lived in agony about their whereabouts in the afterlife and have seen, in the misery of their earthly conditions, a sure sign of the divine determination to ransack and haunt them all the way from a hellish earth to a fiery hell.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

A Sundered Cross: Evangelicalism and the Public Sphere

A Sundered Cross: Evangelicalism and the Public Sphere

A Devotional on the Cross

Imagine a cross. The cross has a vertical pole and a crossbar. It is not hard to imagine the vertical pole representing the dynamic between below and above. Christ was nailed to that cross. He hung suspended between heaven and earth, deserted by the dwellers of both. In Christ reconciled with God, Christians the world over are participants in that vertical dimension. The connection with God has been established. The vertical pole represents the relationship with God. They also have a responsibility in the horizontal.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

Why Christianity is Not About Having a Personal Relationship With God

Why Christianity is Not About Having a Personal Relationship With God

A few years ago, I saw a post on Facebook that asserted that what makes Christianity stand out from other religions is that Christian have a personal relationship with God. It irked me and I was ready to fire off a response but I stopped with my fingers hovering over the keyboard. There was no point in getting broiled in yet another fruitless Facebook dispute.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

“Believe Us Or Burn in Hell!”—Why Unity is not about Policing Others

“Believe Us Or Burn in Hell!”—Why Unity is not about Policing Others

The Apostle John tells us that before Jesus was arrested he prayed the following words, part of a longer prayer: “…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. (…) so that they may be brought to complete unity.” What has come of Jesus’ prayer?

The unity Jesus prays for is connected to both the unity that he and the Father have and to the task that is set before the believers (“Then the world will know that you sent me”). In theological parlance this means that unity is connected with the Trinitarian nature of God (that is, God as a trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit) as well as the mission of God, the so-called missio Dei in the world.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

“Thank God We Skipped Friday!”

“Thank God We Skipped Friday!”

“He is risen!” read the headline of a newsletter of a Christian ministry I received yesterday. I was taken aback. No! I thought. He hasn’t even died yet. Heck, he hasn’t even been crucified, what’s the rush?

My issue is not so much that not all people follow the liturgical calendar. I am notoriously bad in remembering the important days of Christianity (except Christmas). No, it’s just that too many Christians want to skip Friday. They don’t want to be reminded of it. They desire to relegate the shame of the cross to a historical event in the past. It’s over now, they say, he’s risen! Which is code language for: we live in victory.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

The Impossibility of Christian Community

The Impossibility of Christian Community

Photo by Pujohn Das on Unsplash

Last week, the Guardian reported on Bay View, a town in Michigan, that is being sued for excluding non-Christians from buying and owning property in its community. While such communities with an original goal of spiritual renewal are not uncommon in the United States, this one stands out because the asociation enforcing the rules is defending itself.

The exclusion rule is not entirely innocent, however. The Guardian reports that “The Christian exclusionary component was introduced in the 1940s. This was a time of heightened racial anxiety and antisemitism in the US…” And indeed: “[t]he Christian-only clause was introduced together with a white-only clause, which the association eliminated the following decade.” Thus, it is safe to say that the exclusion rule was not for the purpose of spiritual renewal—as it was for previous generations—but for the sake of keeping out the other—an unwanted other.

Posted by Josh de Keijzer on

The Resurrection As God’s Vanishing Act

The Resurrection As God’s Vanishing Act

Emmaus by Janet Brooks-Gerloff, 1992 Benedictine Kornelimünster, Aachen

Although the resurrection is the story of the unexpected hope breaking forth in the midst of tragedy, loss, and defeat, resurrection is also always the cypher for confusion and enigma. Is not the resurrection both presence and absence, hope and deferment. Does it not bring emptiness in the midst of fulfillment?

No narrative illustrates this better than that of the two men who are on their way to Emmaus.