Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Prayerful Thoughts

September 30th, 2007 1 comment

Danny wrote this during closing prayers this morning:

God bring me to you.
You are unlimited love for the whole world.
No one can take that away.

and amen.

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Must. Post.

November 18th, 2006 8 comments

Team Pyro has dragged out the Lordship thread for three days, I can’t see why can’t revisit it. 🙂

One of the comments, by ‘Don Sands’ in the thread now yearning for 400 posts was this:

“we need to walk a fine line” -Phil

“we are sinners and saints all at once! That is the paradox of evangelicalism. The Antinomian and the Perfectionist would abolish the paradox– the one drowning the saint in the sinner, and the other concealing the sinner in the saint.” B. B. Warfield

Which captures the question succinctly.

One of those arguing for a non-Lordship, or at least contra-Phil, Lou Martuneac suggests:

This position means man cannot believe or express faith and repentance unless he has first been regenerated, been born again.

The Bible has a different view. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Which is fairly cherty-picking scripture, since if you back up in the context of the verse Jesus answers the question:

Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:4ff)

It is an arguable point, I suppose that the 3:16 verse is answering a different question. Nicodemus marveled at how on could be born again, and Jesus is saying it is a doing of the Spirit, not of man. Isn’t that what regeneration is, a work of the Spirit?

Categories: Faith, Life Tags: ,

Lordship – the horse flogging begins…

November 16th, 2006 Comments off

I blogged tangentially on Phil Johnson’s Lordship series in my post ‘Morphin’ Time…‘. Last night I wrapped up my class that surveyed John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted. Today Phil has posted the last of the Lordship series and an open post for any doubters/debators to keep on whaling on the horse that has died. I’m linking to the comments thread, because the meat of the discussion takes place there, regardless of where you stand on the ‘Lordship debate’, I think it is a good read, and to hear the Lordship debate story from Phil’s insider perspective is edifying.

This series I’ve continued to read as I continued to prepare for my class and other limited teaching duties, and it provided a good anchor point to many of the themes in the lighter topics of TLYAW. The class I taught had a few ‘new’ Christians, and the perspective of Lordship, I believe, is an important tact to cover with newer converts, and always a good anchor to hit with more mature believers as well. I don’t consider it a coincidence in the timing of how things were written.
Anyhoo, this is a two-purpose post, one to get a Blogspotting link from Team Pyro, and the other fulfills my NaBloPoMo responsibilities for today. 😀

Mawwiage and the art of perserverence…

November 13th, 2006 2 comments

David Wayne (aka Jollyblogger) has a post citing Marriage statistics.  The old saw the last few years is that the divorce rate from evangelicals is roughly equal to (and sometimes worse than) the national average.  This new post states that instead of just counting those that cite a ‘born again’ experience as proof of their evangelical creds, it also counts those that attend church regularly.  When that additional data point is added to the equation, the sturdiness of the evangelical marriage stands up a bit better than the national average.

While I think trying to use statistics to prove a faithful life is somewhat of a folly, the point I’d like to ponder is a long those same lines.  The power of attending church as a factor in persevering in a life in Christ.  My class this last Sunday we talked about Christ as being the light of the world, the light that casts our darkness.  In my Thursday class we talked about science and the shakiness of special and general revelation as we see through the glass darkly.  In all the exposure of regular attendance in church seems to have a mystical effect on those that express a faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  It isn’t something that we can test for, or monitor, it is something we can see if we look close enough.

The darkness will try to hide it in the shadows, but faith in Christ isn’t a faith that occurs in solitude.  It is  faith that grows in community, with a body of other believers.  It is a faith that grows with the study of the Word of God, and that requires the body of Christ to and the Holy Spirit as guides along our course.  The statistic regarding lower divorce rates of evangelical, church attending Christians is lower, because their marriage includes Christ in that union.  The wheels come off when one starts to think that the marriage can be whole apart from Christ.  The relationship is held together by the working of Christ.

I don’t want to discount faithful people that are devoted to Christ yet still see their marriages fall into divorce.  There is healing for people hurt in that tragedy.  I have faith that Christ even works towards the good in that situation as he does with a couple that struggles in a marriage that includes weekly worship in a church.  The magic isn’t in the building, it isn’t in the work, it is in the understanding that where two or more are together, Christ is present.  The faithful obedience of people that fall almost daily, but are willing to walk inside the door and confess those failings, are more able to accept the failings of themselves, and also of their spouse.  The humilty that comes with a life in servanthood to Christ is required in a covenant of holy matrimony, because it can freely accept the fallenness of a partner, because we acknowledge our own fallen state, and the light that brings us out of the darkness.


Categories: Faith, Life Tags: ,

Looking over your shoulder…

November 3rd, 2006 2 comments

Have you ever wondered about God’s angels?  Or guardian angels?  Some type of angelic host that protects us from trouble?

There was a friend at our church that had a really bad bicycle accident, fell 15 feet from the top of a jump.  Landed on his face, and was really torn up.  He will be going through several oral surgeries.  But he will be okay, bruised and banged up, but okay.

The cynic might say, ‘Where was God when that happened?’  Or, ‘Why didn’t God do something to prevent that?’  Maybe even, ‘If an angel were physically present that would never have happened, because it never would have been attempted.’

I’m not equating x-cross biking with sin, but using it as an example.   Would things be better if God physically, manifestly intervened to prevent us from sinning?

Short answer, been there done that, didn’t make a difference.  Longer answer and mindless prattle and preaching after the break. Read more…

Categories: Faith, Life Tags: ,

The Truth Project

October 13th, 2006 1 comment

That is the topic we studied in our bible study last night, here is a link:

The Truth Project

Produced by Focus on the Family, it is a fairly good worldview study, looking at the ‘big’ questions.  Last night we watched the third segment, that talks about ‘Anthropology’ and tries to answer the question of ‘who is man?’.  The segment, taught primarily by Dr. Del Tackett was mostly over the question of evil, if it exists, where is comes from, and how the secular world view has some unsatisfying answers to the question of evil.  Pointing out that secular thought (from Rosseau and Maslow) has a basis that man is essentially good (aside: what you say, isn’t that what the Bible says, that we are good?  Um well, yes, in our original state, in the natural state, we are fallen, which is different than good… ).  Tackett does a good job of tying knots in the secular response of the question of evil, because if man is essentially good, and the source of evil, as some philosophers say, is the cultural institutions, where do institutions become evil, if their sum is made up of ‘essentially good’ parts.

Tackett never really answers the where does evil come from, and more points out that the secular response to the question is unsatisfying.  Good, well produced video, that brings up some good worldview discussions in our group.  We’re left realizing that man’s default state (currently, not pre-fall) is a corrupt state, that although we still bear the ‘image of God’, we lack the Spirit of God and lack the control over our ‘inherent’ ‘natural’ instincts and in a way the problem of evil, is the problem of being fallen.  Or as the Calvinists say, Totally Depraved.

I’m looking forward to next week’s session.

Categories: Faith, Life Tags: ,

For AP: Biblical context for ‘With us’

October 11th, 2006 Comments off

Last week, HotAir’s AllahPundit had a discussion on the Amish’s tendancy to outrageously forgive their enemies, and asked Christians to reconcile their advocacy of war, with Christ’s teaching of ‘turn the other cheek’.

Today’s controversy is Ted Turner’s comments on President Bush use of the phrase ‘if you aren’t with us, you are against us’, quoting AP, quoting CSPAN:

There are a lot of things about this war that disturb me and one of them is the attitude, that you know, that was well expressed by our President. He said it very clearly, he said either you’re with us or you’re against us. And I had a problem with that because I really hadn’t made my mind up yet.

Typical of Ted, who’s news agency cozied up to Saddam in prelude to Iraq, becuase they were neither hot nor cold… But anyways, my point is that that religious zealot Bush was using the words of Jesus in that speech. The lede:

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. ( Luke 11:23)

I like Eugene Peterson’s ‘The Message’ paraphrase that renders the text as:

This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.

I think Ted’s comments fall into the ‘making things worse category. But that is plainly up to interpretation.

Also interesting to grab the crossrefrences in that Luke passage (one is Matthew 12:30 which is a synoptic, same thing, different verse…)

Luke 9:50 – But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” (paradox? looking at context, the person in question is casting out demons in Jesus’ name, so while not technically a disciple, clearly on the same side…)

Revelations 3:15-16 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot!. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth!”

Whoa, that Jesus dude, knew how to slice to the point. Get with the program, take a side, stop hemming and hawing… Seems Jesus was a bit more complex than the ‘turn the other cheek’ angle. But we’re now talking spiritual warfare here, not Iraq and not the war on terror. Still good apocalyptic thoughts … even from Ted Turner… who is as lukewarm as they come.

Morphin’ Time…

October 11th, 2006 Comments off

And now for something completely different. A couple of weeks ago, I signed up to teach a course for our church during our Wednesday night activities. The course is a video presentation based on John Ortberg’s book The Life You’ve Always Wanted. Let me cut&paste a bit from the preface:

If you have ever been frustrated with the state of your spiritual life. If you’ve ever wondered why spiritual growth goes so slowly. If you’ve ever wondered if real change is possible. If you’ve ever felt confused or stuck in your spiritual life — you’re my kind of person.

Throughout the centuries, wise people have devoted themselves to following Jesus in this way. This series is an attempt to make some of that wisdom accessible to people who line in a world of freeways, corporate ladders and Xboxes. When you are through, my hope is that you will accept Christ’s invitation to live life his way because it truly is the live you’ve always wanted.

A facinating topic, to be sure. One that I’ve struggled with for much of my life. Spiritual maturity or growth is a weird thing. If anyone has a litany of things you must do to mature spiritually, run away, seriously. Not because a list of things to do is inherently bad, it just might be misdirected. These past few weeks in my daily reading of blogs, or studying for Sunday School, or just leafing through the book that goes along with the study, I’ve realized I’ve playing a bit on the fringes of my spirituality.

Its gonna get wordy, so if you’re interested click to continue reading.

Read more…

Categories: Faith, Life Tags: ,

Forgiveness v. Justice… the point is Grace.

October 5th, 2006 2 comments

Allahpundit over at HotAir has a good link to an article about one of the Amish girls being asked to be shot first, to give more time to her companions. Then as he is wont, goes on to post an excerpt to a post by John Podhoretz that cracks open the question of Forgiveness versus Justice. Two admirable qualities to uphold in a civilized society. The discussion proceeds in the comments, after Allah says:

Serious question: if it’s okay to turn the other cheek when it comes to child killers, why isn’t it okay when it comes to, say, Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein? That inconsistency among hawkish Christians has always troubled me.

Or is it perfectly consistent, and I’m just missing something?

Which is a wonderful question, and the level at which that is posed comes down to Individuals versus Governments. Individuals can choose foregiveness, or go the extra mile and head towards Grace, when faced with harsh actions towards them by individuals. It seems that is the case with these small precious children that chose personal sacrifice over retaliation. The coments follows my thoughts, and Allah’s pushes back admirably. But I think he is overstressing a well missed aspect of what a Christian is, and how one bases their theology. He is stressing Jesus’ point of ‘turning the other cheek’ and basically boils Christianity into ‘following the words of Jesus,’ which might be a popular belief about Christianity, but in practice is hardly ever followed to that letter. In fact, Scriptures became codifed to ‘include’ the gospels (or Jesus’ sayings) because some hair-brained fellow decided to strip the scriptures down to ‘what Paul said, and a bit of Luke for context’.

But Christianity, is based on much of Pauline theology (and I’d argue, as I think Paul would, that is also Jesus’ theology) and so we can come to Romans 13 and here what Paul had to say as the purpose of governments. Their role in dealing out God’s justice upon those that are misbehaving. That point is brought up tagentially in the comments, as is Aquinas’ Just War thoughts, but Allah keeps pressing on with the, that doesn’t mesh with the Sermon on the Mount stuff. Which I gather is the point. Not all things can be boiled down to the key phrases of the SotM. If anything the sermon on the mount is a commentary on Moses’ law, and pointing out that for every fence built by the ‘teachers of the law’ the law can be extended to fence those people right back into the ‘sinner’ category. The Sermon on the Mount is an exercise in telling us that we ALL fall short, we ALL need foregiveness, and most importantly, we all NEED grace. For the key to the kingdom of heaven isn’t some moral olympics, but the acceptance of a confessed and penitent sinner, that realizes they’ll never jump high enough to reach God.

So while the ‘consistency’ of ‘turn-the-other-cheek’ vs. ‘just-war’ is lacking, that is the point. We are lacking. That is why Christ paid our price, hung on a tree, and died, so God could redeem us all to himself.


ADDED: And if AP reads this: How does a brother get the right to post to comments at HotAir?

Focus of evangelism…

September 20th, 2006 1 comment

… is God, not the ‘convertee’

Read Dan Phillips‘ insightful (at least I think) post on the topic of “Doomed” Evangelism

Money quote:

Our focus in evangelism (I preach to myself, nice of you to listen in) must be the glory of God. Lift up the Lord Jesus, lift up His gospel, lift up the Cross, and God will be glorified. He may be glorified by converting our hearer; or He may be glorified in judgment. But either way, He will be glorified.

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