A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 8.15.2005

    Lashed to the Mast

    Ulysses was trying to get home. The journey was long and dangerous. In Homer's great epic (do I really need to give the title?), Circe warns Ulysses that he has to sail past the island of the Sirens whose song is so enchanting--so charming--that innumerable sailors had changed course to land and listen. Their fate was to rot in a field of flowers.

    Preparing for this danger, Ulysses plugged the ears of his men with wax--but he wanted to hear the sweet Siren song. He commanded that he be lashed to the mast of the ship while his men rowed by the perilous island. If he were to beg for freedom, they were to bind him to the cross piece even more tightly.

    They made their preparations. The crisis came. As his ship passed the island, the Sirens drove him mad with their musical promises of honor and wisdom. He frowned to his men, but they bound him fast. Soon, the fit was over, and the men untied him--only to prepare for their next danger.

    This classic tale of beautiful peril, compelling danger, and deceitful enlightenment reminds me of the dangers Christians face:

    1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in thelatter times some
    shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of

    Religion is popular again in America. We've seen an interest and respect for Jesus Christ in recent years. Much of this is positive, yet many "Sirens" have arisen to lure the undiscerning. False teachers sing many songs written by seductive spirits. Doctrines of demons provide the lyrics. Lying hypocrites cast the melodic net.Jude has names for these false teachers:

    Filthy Dreamers
    Brute Beasts
    Spots in our Feasts
    Clouds withoutWater
    Trees of Rotten
    FruitWandering Stars

    People do not see what Jude saw. They see teachers who smile, who care, who sound sweet, who appear enlightened, who seem charming and beautiful, and who should never be criticized. Unfortunately, this loyalty is spent on deceivers. The faith of millions is shipwrecked.The unsuspecting find death in the flowers.

    How can a Christian stay lashed to the mast when so many plunge overboard? Jude 20-25 supplies us with several ropes we can use to secure ourselves.

    Rope 1: (verse 20) We must build ourselves up in The Most Holy Faith. The pursuit of godliness requires effort. Not self-effort, but the exercise of God's given grace. The already-redeemed must work out their salvation--build themselves up.Many wish to have spirituality without religion. They jettison the form and power of godliness. But God-empowered forms are lifesavers: Baptism, Communion, Meditation on Scripture and Doctrine, Worship with Fellow Believers, and Accountability to the Assembly. These can save us from many perils.

    Rope 2: (Verse 20) We must pray in the Holy Ghost. Prayer brings us to the mind of God. It can strengthen the inner man. It reassures our hearts. It is commanded by God.

    Rope 3: (Verse 21) We must keep ourselves in God's love. We cannot define away the loving heart of God into abstract theory. God passionately loves His people. His love is holy and true, yet personal and warm. It sees the individual. God's love has a binding effect. It compels and heals us.

    Rope 4: (Verse 21) We must remember the gospel of grace. God's mercy and grace have redeemed us--not our works, nor the forms of religion. The New Testament book of Galatians should be between the believer and any teacher. It is a plumb line.

    Rope 5: (Verse 22-23) We must actively pursue others to come to Christ. It is not enough to maintain a defensive posture. It is time to storm the gates of hell. Some we save with compassion. Others we win with fear--snatching them from the flames.

    Rope 6: (Verse 24) We must remember God's disposition toward us. He wants his children to be spiritually successful, and will do what He must to make it happen. This verse gives me great hope. I cannot keep me from falling, but He can. I will rely on Him.

    These truths redound to the glory of God! He will see us through the dangers and present us before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. The brightness of His glory will not be the grounds for our condemnation and separation. It will not be the grounds for our terror or shame. His glory will be the ground for our rejoicing.No wonder all glory, majesty, dominion, and power belong to Him! He has defeated every Siren and gives hope to His children.Stay lashed to the mast.

    God will bring us home.

    posted by John Rush 1:40 PM


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