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April 2020 New Horizons

Blessings from an Empty Tomb

 

Contents

Blessings from an Empty Tomb

Don’t Seek the Living Among the Dead

Preaching the Beauty of the Gospel

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Blessings from an Empty Tomb

In Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Masque of the Red Death,” Prince Prospero and his nobles, in an attempt to escape a rampaging plague, lock themselves in a large, well-guarded castle. Thinking they have escaped death, they begin to revel and feast. The prince even stages a masked ball to entertain his friends. At the ball, however, a mysterious figure emerges, dressed horribly as a corpse. When sPrince Prospero, enraged at the blasphemous costume, chases the figure down with a dagger, it is the prince who grotesquely falls dead. The figure is finally revealed to be the plague itself, the Red Death. Death was in the castle with the revelers all along. Death came for all. In this short story, Poe illustrates what we all understand: death is inevitable. There is no hiding or escaping from it. It towers over everyone, declaring its unchallenged dominion. It is a black hole that swallows all things, and we are utterly powerless. Death is by far humanity’s greatest fear. There is, however, something... Read more

Don’t Seek the Living Among the Dead

Luke says that, on Easter morning, women went to the tomb of Jesus with spices (24:12). That means they expected to find Jesus dead. They weren’t just honoring him with their spices. They wanted to help preserve his body from disintegrating and going the way of all flesh. The women went seeking the dead one among the dead, which is perfectly natural. They thought he was dead and going to stay dead. Instead, they found the body of Jesus gone from that already opened tomb and heard two men asking a profound question and making a profound declaration: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (vv. 5–6). Of course, these men at the tomb were actually angels. They were angels who knew what Jesus had said. They were even able to say to the women, “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be…crucified and on the third day rise” (vv. 6–7).  I think my initial response to the angels would have been, “If you know what... Read more

Preaching the Beauty of the Gospel

I recently heard a sermon in which the preacher spent much more time detailing the wickedness of man’s heart than displaying the grace of the God who saves. Given the text of the sermon, I could understand his emphasis, if not his balance. Some who heard it thought the proportions wrong; others thought it was a good corrective against always talking about grace and never about holiness. The experience got me thinking: what is the correct balance between grace and holiness? What is the correct balance for an individual sermon, and for the preacher’s body of work overall? How much should the preacher talk about the bad news of sin, and how much about the good news of grace? How best can the preacher portray the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Major and Minor Themes of the Christian Worldview Francis Schaeffer, that well-known Reformed apologist of the previous century, states in Art and the Bible that the Christian worldview can be divided into a major and a minor theme. The minor... Read more

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