‘Many of you have been there and done that. You’ve accepted the call to a new church. You are excited about the possibilities. Your mind is filled with energizing ideas. You are ready to move forward. Then it happens.’
‘With one slanderous blogpost or tweet, we can destroy someone’s reputation in the eyes of thousands—all within a few hours. And because we do it from the privacy of our home, any reproof from the community comes too late. Once the bell of slander has been rung, it cannot be unheard. Some people will never look at the slandered person in the same way. The acid of slander has permanently marred them.’
You may or may not find the Christian conception of God convincing, but it is coherent. Joe Carter explains why.
We so often claim to know it but we also so frequently disbelieve it in the everyday walk of our Christian lives.
On a similar note, W. Robert Godfrey answers this one.
‘Week after week, many of us attend a worship served not a worship service. Don’t understand what I mean? Perhaps this will help. How many of your Sundays look like this? You show up, and parking lot attendants greet you. Faithful teachers instruct you. Ushers find a seat for you. A well-practiced worship band leads singing for you. Your pastor preaches a faithful, God-glorifying sermon to you. Childcare workers care for your children. And after all that, you pick up your kids and simply return home. I wonder: have we strayed from the way the early church approached their gatherings?’
‘There are several interesting features of the story. First, there is the fact that a Mesopotamian seer who is more than a little money-driven appears seems to have his own hotline to the living God. Second, given that Balaam is certainly not a believer (cf. Deut 23:4-5; 2 Pet 2:15; Jude 11; Rev 2:14), his insistence that he will only speak ‘the word that God puts in my mouth’ (22:38) is intriguing. Third, there is what, at first glance, looks like a sharp and harsh about-turn from God (Num 22:12f cf. 22:20-22). Fourth, there is the whole talking donkey bit and, alongside it, Balaam’s apparent underwhelmed reaction that his donkey has suddenly started chatting.’