April 8, 2020

The Incarnation In Reverse: Van Til Live!!

*Music Up….swells….Voice Over*

It’s VAN TIL LIVE! The Internet Monk Radio Network Presents The BHT’s Magic Tail-Chasing Dog, Van Til, in Hippy-Emergent Christianity’s Favorite Interview and Entertainment program…..VAN TIL LIVE! And now, broadcasting live from the Boar’s Head Tavern in downtown St. Sadies, Maryland, it’s Vaaaaaaaaan Til!!

*Music Swells….Applause….more Applause…more….shouts from crowd when Van Til appears…..goes to his desk. Hops up in chair…..music up and fade to out*

VT: Hello America. I’m your host, Van Til, the BHT’s Magic Tail Chasing Dog, and you know what we love to say at the beginning of this program…”

Crowd: THE BIBLE IS TRUE!!!

VT: That’s right. The Bible is true. I’ve gotta say that I never expected these “Is your Bible true?” t-shirts to fly off the shelves like they have this week. I’m looking over here at the BHT house band, and everyone…Rob Ray…Jim…Alex…they’ve all got the shirts on. You guys are walking the dog.

Band: Wooot!

VT: I’m looking at this email from Roger in Gulfport…and he wants to know what church I attend. I guess when you are named after a famous Reformed apologist, everyone assumes you go to the OPC, but that’s not the case for me. I’ve tried a lot of churches, Roger, and there aren’t that many that count dogs among their target group. I can’t say I’ve felt a lot of seeker sensitivity for the canine crowd. No convenient hydrants. I got yelled at pretty severely for making natural use of some children’s playground equipment when I was speaking at a Willow Creek network church. Not a good experience.

Then I had a phase where I tried it high church down at St. Francis Episcopal, and I’ll admit it was the blessing of the animals that drew me in for a while. I’m not too proud to say free food will get me to church a long time before the preaching. But these days, I’m going to a kindof Vineyard/Charismatic/Freestyle church that’s into barking. I’m not saying that I bark, but I like being around people who see barking as a form of worship, and if I wanted to bark, or chase my tail, or roll on the carpet, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Can’t say that ought to be your choice, Roger, but it’s mine.

Okkkkaaay…..On to our first guest. He’s an apologist, journalist and lay theologian. His website, “In Your Face (with sovereign grace)” gets a 100,000 hits a month. He’s the author of a dozen books, he’s our favorite mean-spirited apologist, and he’s the author of a new book and teaching seminar, “The Incarnation In Reverse,” let’s welcome back to the program, Dr. Geddy Ledbetter.

*applause* Dr. Ledbetter enters and has a seat.

Van Til: I have to say you’re looking fit. Glad to have you on the show.

GL: Happy to be back, though I have to say I’m shocked that you would attend a Vineyard Church. I’ve done some research….

VT: Ok…I knew this might happen. The host’s choice of a church is not up for discussion, Doc. Save it for your program. We’re going to talk about this new book of yours, “The Incarnation in Reverse.” What’s up with that?

GL: What we have right now in Christianity is a lot of emphasis on Jesus, and I’d just like to remind people that when we’re looking at Jesus, we’re looking at Yahweh. The Incarnation is showing us Yahweh. Don’t get mixed up here. Yahweh is still in business. And I know this isn’t popular, but Yahweh isn’t exactly the tame Jesus of so much hippie-emergent Jellyfish Christianity these days. Yahweh has quite a record of kicking behind and taking names.

VT: I’m not quite following you.

GL: I didn’t think you would. Yahweh destroyed the world with a flood. Well…that was Jesus. Jesus destroyed the world with a flood. Jesus ordered the slaughter of the Canaanites. Jesus destroyed thousands of Israelites in various rebellions in the desert. Jesus wiped out Sodom, and so on. Yahweh dishes out the wrath, and if we’re Christians, we need to get that into our version of Jesus.

We need to look at these things and remind people that this is Jesus doing all the wrath/judgement/plague/destruction stuff. So what we have with the incarnation is a way to look back at the way God did things in the Old Testament, and be clearer that it’s the same God now, he’s just making a kindof walkon appearance in the New Testament. When we talk to people about Jesus, we need to clarify what Jesus is like by using these key Old Testament passages. They clarify a lot about Jesus that some Christians are forgetting.

VT: Like what?

GL: Like the fact that God isn’t going to take any crap! Like reminding people that Jesus is the one sending hurricanes and wiping out whole cities. Jesus isn’t playing around, Van Til. And it takes something more than the Christmas story to make that clear to people. We’ve got to stop thinking that God became some kind of wimp, and get back to understanding that if we don’t get our theology straight, we could get nuked or attacked or otherwise wiped out by Jesus.

VT: So, the “Reverse” bit is starting with Jesus, and moving backwards to God as he was revealed in the Old Testament?

GL: Exactly. That’s the way it should work. God became man, so we could look at Jesus, and then head back to the book of Judges to see what he’s really capable of doing today.

VT: This sounds a little odd to me.

GL: That’s because you’ve been influenced by the weasel theology out there in evangelicalism. You’ve become a lapdog for the emergent mush. If you were reading the right things, you would know that God revealed himself perfectly in the slaughter of the Canaanites, and we need to keep that in mind, rather than paying so much attention to Jesus forgiving people, which really can be distorted without the Old Testament to clear things up.

VT: I guess you’ve said it all doc. The book is “The Incarnation In Reverse,” and it’s available from “InYourFace.com” for an offering of $25. Stay right there, we’ll be back with some ideas for Thanksgiving Turkey with Gloria Gaither.

*Applause….Music Out*

Comments

  1. “you would know that God revealed himself perfectly in the slaughter of the Canaanites,”
    as someone who often teaches NT, I’ve learned the hard way I can’t do it without using some part of the OT. & sign me up for the book!

  2. Just to be clear:

    God revealed himself in all those things, but the last, final and full word that God has spoken is Jesus. “Christians” who take Jesus as a less than final word and prefer to go back to God’s OT revelation of himself are rejecting the plain NT teaching that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” and that all of God’s activity and revelation was leading up TO JESUS. Period. It’s through Jesus that we come to God in confidence and faith that the Father of Jesus is showing us grace and mercy in Jesus.

    What I’m skewering here is a kind of Christianity where the definitive Revelation seems to be the OT revelation of God’s wrath, not the grace of God as revealed in the Gospel. The whole tone of judgement and wrath seems to make Jesus a way to a possible salvation, while it is the fear of Yahweh as seen in the OT that really needs to shape our lives as Christians. There is almost an Islam-like reduction of Jesus to a minor status.

    Try this: The completed revelation is JESUS, not the Bible. If you start saying the point of the process is a completed Bible, with Jesus playing his “role” in the story, then the story becomes the revelation. (See the Playwrite’s Son post for more details.)

    When the pastoral care of “Christians” is a recitiation of wrath and predestination, what is really going on?

  3. awwww… why’d you have to go and explain yourself? I thought the satire stood alone quite well!

  4. I hate to waste all that good irony 🙂

  5. Shouldn’t we be looking for balance? We learn about God (Father, Son and Spirit) from the entire canon, not just the NT.

    In your last comment you wrote, “The completed revelation is JESUS, not the Bible” has me thinking. Do you mean to say that Jesus is the full revelation? I would take “complete” to mean that Jesus was the most perfect and most complete revelation of God. He is certainly more complete than the OT since he is God himself. However, we do not have Jesus in the flesh now. We only have the gospel records and they are just another part of Scripture.

    I agree that the point of the process is not a completed Bible, but Christ. However, all we learn about God and Christ we learn from the Bible.

  6. > Do you mean to say that Jesus is the full revelation?

    Yeah….Hebrews 1:1-4 is pretty clear isn’t it? John 1:1-18?

    What exactly is that category of “Things Revealed Outside of Jesus” that I keep hearing about? 🙂

  7. Three words for you: Van Til podcast!

    Jesus is the culmination of Yahweh’s redemption plan. He is the exact image of the Father, and as such is the rull, final, and ultimate revelation of who “I AM” is. If the Bible points to anything other than Christ, it wouldn’t be the Bible because it would not be revealing God as He is.

    Good post once again imonk.

  8. Great Satire!

    But it got me thinking about another issue. We christians really do verge on polytheism sometimes in the way we seperate God and Jesus (or at least our view of God is a bit schizophrenic).

    I always thought that I was careful about avoiding that sort of thing (given how many long debates I’ve had with Jewish friends and family on the subject), but found reading ‘Jesus destroyed the world with a flood. Jesus ordered the slaughter of the Canaanites’ a bit shocking and uncomfortable. My comfort meter for ‘God destroyed the world with a flood. God ordered the slaughter of the Canaanites’ is not high, but I don’t find that sentence nearly as shocking or scandalous. Why is that?

    Pat Robertson regularly warns that God is going to visit some sort of vengence on some group he dislikes, but Pat (and his ilk) never say ‘Jesus’ when making these pronouncements. Nor do more sane and mainstream Christians when they talk about some ‘act of God’ or something unpleasant that is ‘God’s will’. I mean, it’s never an ‘act of Jesus’ or ‘Jesus’ will’, is it?

  9. Yes, Hebrews 1:1-4 is pretty clear that God spoke to us in many ways but, ultimately in Christ, I agree. If you maen now that Christ has come, then we can ignore the OT, then I disagree.

    Jesus fulfilled the law, he did not replace it.

  10. the irony wasn’t wasted on me–good post.

  11. 2 Thess. 1:6-10 — “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.”

    ***

    Sure, Jesus offers hope, but can we intelligibly explain “hope” without first dealing with “hopeless”? If I don’t understand wrath, I can’t understand mercy. Grace and mercy are meaningless without a backdrop of wrath and judgment. Conversely, grace and mercy are all the more precious in light of the horrifying doom averted by Calvary.

    Help me understand. How does building a wall of separation between a gracious Jesus and a wrathful Yahweh clarify the gospel? This may or may not have been your intention, but your (well-written and funny) satire appears to steer a little too close to reefs that divide the Son from the Father, and upon which countless faiths have been shipwrecked.