Wednesday, August 31, 2011

why theology

Bert Waggoner's Top Ten on Why Is Theology Important?

1. Theology provides us with the answers to life's questions regarding meaning in life: "Who am I?", "What am I doing here?", and "Where am I going?" 

2. Theology tells us not just what the Bible says, but also what it means. 

"What it means to sinner and saint in their journey from the city of anywhere to the city of somewhere - plagued by a thousand plights." 

"The church" if it is to be true, must preach the Word. If it is to be relevant, it must speak to the times. Christian theology is thus the blending of the changeless with the changing." (Bruce Shelley, By What Authority?, p. 140). 

3. Theology helps us recognize God not simply in life's boundary situations, but in the center of every situation. 

4. Theology is vital to Spirituality 

"Devotion to Jesus cannot long maintain itself apart from theological fidelity and integrity". (Donald Bloesch, The Crises Of Piety, p. 3) 

"Theology reforms our life and our doctrine which we need, because a holy life divorced from sound doctrine becomes moralism". (Donald Bloesch, A Crises of Piety p. 4) 

5. Theology makes us more or less articulate our experience of God's multifaceted grace. God does not wait until we have knowledge before giving us grace. We learn to articulate His grace in theology. 

6. Theology puts wonder in worship (Hebrews 12:28-29) 

7. Theology plays a strategic prophetic role in the Church. Paul the preacher/theologian constantly reflected this role. 

"There are blindnesses in every age of which no one is conscious because they are so widespread that they are recognized as normal. There is unbelief that so completely captures the mind of an age that it goes on unchallenged even within the Church. There are sins that establish themselves so securely in a civilization that no one any longer considers them to be sins and they may become knit into the very texture of the church. All three of these statements could be illustrated profusely from history; in fact, the witness of history is that usually the most dangerous blindnesses, unbelief and sin in the church remain unrecognized until they bring disaster upon it. 

"There is need, therefore for yet another service of God in the Church, a discipline in which the Church will mount the watchtower and scan the life and faith in all directions, in order to detect the presence of blindness, unbelief, unfaithfulness, and sin, and give warning before it is too late. (James Smart, The Teaching Ministry Of the church, pp.32, 33). 

8. Theology makes all practical things really practical because its primary concern is not with theory or speculation. 

"The two terms, "spiritual" and "theology," keep good company with one another. "Theology" is the attention that we give to God, the effort we give to knowing God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and in Jesus Christ. "Spiritual" is the insistence that everything that God reveals of Himself and His works is capable of being lived by ordinary men and women in their homes and workplaces. "Spiritual" keeps "theology" from degenerating into merely thinking and talking and writing about God at a distance. "Theology" keeps "spiritual" from becoming merely thinking and talking and writing about the feelings and thoughts one has about God. The two words need each other, for we know how easy it is for us to let our study of God (theology) get separated from the way we live; we also know how easy it is to let our desires to live whole and satisfying lives (spiritual lives) get disconnected from who God actually is and the ways He works among us." (Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, p.4) 

9. Theology makes preaching as difficult as it ought to be. 

"All preachers should be theologians, and all theologians preachers." (Emil Brunner) 

"The false preacher is one who has to say something; the true preacher has something to say". (Charles Spurgeon) 

10. Theology makes praying as easy as it ought to be.

love wins

Wow! I agree with Timothy Stoner, love really does win - but differently than Rob Bell imagines.

The love that won on the cross and wins the world is a love that is driven, determined, and defined by holiness. It is a love that flows out of the heart of a God who is transcendent, majestic, infinite in righteousness, who loves justice as much as he does mercy; who hates wickedness as much as he loves goodness; who blazes with a fiery, passionate love for himself above all things. He is Creator, Sustainer, Beginning and End. He is robed in a splendor and eternal purity that is blinding. He rules, he reigns, he rages and roars, then bends down to whisper love songs to his creatures. His love is vast and irresistible. It is also terrifying, and it will spare no expense to give everything away in order to free us from the bondage of sin, purifying for himself a people who are devoted to his glory, a people who have “no ambition except to do good”. So he crushes his precious Son in order to rescue and restore mankind along with his entire creation. He unleashes perfect judgment on the perfectly obedient sacrifice and then pulls him up out of the grave in a smashing and utter victory. He is a God who triumphs… He is a burning cyclone of passionate love. Holy love wins.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

more amazing grace

Ok - if you liked these, here's even more ... Amazing Grace to the tune of the House of the Rising Sun ...





Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

for v. about

The gospel is for us, not about us. It isn’t about anything that we do, feel, or choose. It is the Good News about Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished for us. ~ Michael Horton, The Gospel Commission

HT:OFI

singleness

Great post in CT on what Albert Y. Hsu learned from John Stott on singleness (and more). .

John Stott is being remembered as an evangelical statesman, a pastor/scholar, and an inveterate birdwatcher. He was also a lifelong bachelor. While researching my book on a theology of singleness, I had the opportunity to meet Stott and interview him about his views and experience as a single. He later revised and expanded his candid remarks into a more thorough treatment of the subject, from which the following is excerpted.

On the balance of marriage and singleness: We must never exalt singleness (as some early church fathers did, notably Tertullian) as if it were a higher and holier vocation than marriage. We must reject the ascetic tradition which disparages sex as legalized lust, and marriage as legalized fornication. No, no. Sex is the good gift of a good Creator, and marriage is his own institution.

If marriage is good, singleness is also good. It's an example of the balance of Scripture that, although Genesis 2:18 indicates that it is good to marry, 1 Corinthians 7:1 (in answer to a question posed by the Corinthians) says that "it is good for a man not to marry." So both the married and the single states are "good"; neither is in itself better or worse than the other. 

Reasons people remain single: I doubt if we could find a clearer answer to this than in the recorded teaching of Jesus himself in Matthew 19:11-12. He was talking about "eunuchs," meaning people who remain single and celibate. He listed three reasons why people do not marry. First, for some it is "because they were born that way." This could include those with a physical defect or with a homosexual orientation. Such are congenitally unlikely to marry. 

Second, there are those who "were made that way by men." This would include victims of the horrible ancient practice of forcible castration. But it would also include all those today who remain single under any compulsion or external circumstance. One thinks of a daughter who feels under obligation to forego marriage in order to care for her elderly parents. 

Third, "others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven." These people, who are under no pressure from within or without, voluntarily put marriage aside, either temporarily or permanently, in order to undertake some work for the kingdom which demands single-minded devotion. 

Singleness as a gift from God: It's noteworthy that Jesus himself, before listing those three categories of single people, said that not everybody could accept what he was about to say, "but only those to whom it has been given." If singleness is a gift, however, so is marriage. Indeed, I have myself found help in 1 Corinthians 7:7. For here the apostle writes: "each man [or woman] has his [or her] own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." "Gift" translates charisma, which is a gift of God's grace (charis). So whether we are single or married, we need to receive our situation from God as his own special grace-gift to us. 

On Stott's own experience as a single: In spite of rumors to the contrary, I have never taken a solemn vow or heroic decision to remain single! On the contrary, during my 20s and 30s, like most people, I was expecting to marry one day. In fact, during this period I twice began to develop a relationship with a lady who I thought might be God's choice of life-partner for me. But when the time came to make a decision, I can best explain it by saying that I lacked an assurance from God that he meant me to go forward. So I drew back. And when that had happened twice, I naturally began to believe that God meant me to remain single.

Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, I think I know why. I could never have traveled or written as extensively as I have done if I had had the responsibilities of a wife and family. 

On loneliness: God created us as social beings. Love is the greatest thing in the world. For God is love, and when he made us in his own image, he gave us the capacity to love and to be loved. So we need each other. Yet marriage and family are not the only antidotes to loneliness. 

Some pastors work on their own, isolated from their peers, and in consequence are lonely. But the New Testament plainly envisages that each local church will have a plural oversight. See, for example, Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5. So in All Souls Church in the heart of London we have always had a team ministry, and we have found it an enormous enrichment. I have also been greatly blessed by Frances Whitehead, my faithful secretary for more than 40 years, and by the "apostolic succession" of my study assistants. 

In addition, single people are wise to develop as many friendships as possible, with people of all ages and both sexes. For example, although I have no children of my own, I have hundreds of adopted nephews and nieces all over the world, who call me "Uncle John." I cherish these affectionate relationships; they greatly lessen, even if they do not altogether deaden, occasional pangs of loneliness. 

Final words of advice for single people: First, don't be in too great a hurry to get married. We human beings do not reach maturity until we are about 25. To marry before this runs the risk of finding yourself at twenty-five married to somebody who was a very different person at the age of twenty. So be patient. Pray daily that God will guide you to your life partner or show you if he wants you to remain single. Second, lead a normal social life. Develop many friendships. Third, if God calls you to singleness, don't fight it. Remember the key text: "Each person has his or her own gift of God's grace" (1 Cor. 7:7).

dispensationalism



From Michael Patton, Why the Dispensationalist Did Not Cross the Road ...

10. They were not a part of the ‘crossing’ dispensation.
9. They thought that the other side was for Israel and this side was for the church.
8. Charles Ryrie was still on this side of the road, why cross?
7. It is pointless since Jesus is just going to bring them back after 7 years.
6. Like the OT prophets and the church age, they were unable to see the other side.
5. They counted and it would take 18 steps. That divided by 3 is 6. 666. Therefore, crossing the road would be taking the mark of the beast.
4. By taking a consistently literal approach, they thought that “cross the road” meant something about the crucifixion.
3. Dallas Theological Seminary has yet published anything telling us how to do it.
2. It was crossing from HWY 69 to HWY 70. That road is meant only for Israel.
1. They thought we would be raptured before we got there anyway.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

tolerance


Tolerance is the virtue of people who don’t believe anything. ~ G.K. Chesterton: Quoted in The American Hour, by Os Guinness

HT:CB

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

to ignore sin

What looks more glorious? A God who loves us by ignoring our sin? Or a God who pays the enormous debt for our sin by taking it upon Himself? When sin is seen as the rebellion it is, grace is costly — and tranformative! When sin is shrunken to the point that our accountability to God is removed, then grace is cheap, and it leaves us unchanged. — Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels

HT:OFI

faith boutique

Too many would agree ...


mercy and wrath


God, because in his mercy he willed to forgive sinful men, and being truly merciful, willed to forgive them righteously, that is, without in any way condoning their sin, purposed to direct against his own very Self in the person of his Son the full weight of that righteous wrath which they deserved. — Charles Cranfield, quoted by John Stott in The Message of Romans

HT:OFI

classic fail video

I can't watch some of these but others are just too funny to not post this ... classic fails ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

divorce

Chris Brauns shares some excellent thinking on divorce. I particularly like the phrase, "divorce is like amputation".

preaching hell

"If you would ever be a healthy and scriptural Christian, I entreat you to beware of any ministry which does not plainly teach the reality and eternity of hell. Such a ministry may be soothing and pleasant, but it is far more likely to lull you to sleep than to lead you to Christ or build you up in the faith. It is impossible to leave out any portion of God’s truth without spoiling the whole. That preaching is sadly defective which dwells exclusively on the mercies of God and the joys of heaven and never sets forth the terrors of the Lord and the miseries of hell. It may be popular, but it is not scriptural; it may amuse and gratify, but it will not save. Give me the preaching which keeps back nothing that God has revealed."  ~ J.C. Ryle Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots
HT:Erik

eyes open

I normally pray with my eyes open ... hmmm ...


Friday, August 19, 2011

a better way

I agree with Trevin Wax's observations of the below less-than-good approach to those of other faiths.

“My purpose in meeting you is not any sort of conversion. I respect you and your beliefs. You’re not going to change, and I’m not going to change.”

After his analysis, Wax offers this improved paragraph ...

I respect you as a person made in the image of God. I respect your right to hold to any faith that you choose. I would never coerce you or force my religious beliefs upon you, as such a practice would detract from the truth that you, like me, are made in the image of God. And yet, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am commanded to share the gospel. When the time comes for me to seek to persuade you to follow Jesus, it is not out of a heart of oppression or desire for control, but out of love and concern. Since I truly believe the gospel offers hope for all humanity, I cannot keep it to myself. The gospel is too precious and you are too valuable for me to keep silent.

amazing grace

Justin Taylor just pointed at this great video of The Blind Boys of Alabama singing Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun.


legalism

"There are many pastors today who, for fear of being branded 'legalists', give their congregation no ethical teaching. How far we have strayed from the apostles! 'Legalism' is the misguided attempt to earn our salvation by obedience to the law. 'Pharisaism' is a preoccupation with the externals and minutiae of religious duty. To teach the standards of moral conduct which adorn the gospel is neither legalism nor pharisaism but plain apostolic Christianity" (Stott, Between Two Worlds, p. 158).

DW via PC

Monday, August 15, 2011

sex as part of all things

In Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, Justin Taylor suggests we do a Bible word search on all things rather than sex to see what the Bible tells us about sex ... because sex is a subset of all things. I like it.
  • Sex is created by God (“by him all things were created”—Col. 1:16).
  • Sex continues to exist by the will of Christ (“in him all things hold together”—Col. 1:17).
  • Sex is caused by God (he “works all things according to the counsel of his will”—Eph. 1:11).
  • Sex is subject to Christ (“he put all things under his feet”— Eph. 1:22). • Christ is making sex new (“Behold, I am making all things new”—Rev. 21:5).
  • Sex is good (“everything created by God is good”—1 Tim. 4:4).
  • Sex is lawful in the context of marriage (“all things are lawful”— 1 Cor. 10:23).
  • When we have sex, we are to do it for the glory of God (“whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”—1 Cor. 10:31).
  • Sex works together for the good of God’s children (“for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”—Rom. 8:28).
  • We are to thank God for sex (“nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving”—1 Tim. 4:4).
  • Sex is to be sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (“everything . . . is made holy by the word of God and prayer”— 1 Tim. 4:4-5).
  • We must be on guard not to be enslaved by sex (“I will not be enslaved by anything”—1 Cor. 6:12).
  • We are not to grumble about sex (“do all things without grumbling”—Phil. 2:14).
  • We are to rejoice in the Lord during sex (“rejoice in the Lord always”—Phil. 4:4).
  • We are to be content in sex (“having all contentment in all things at all times”—2 Cor. 9:8 mg.).
  • We are to practice and pursue sexual relations in holiness and honor (“each one of you [is to] know how to control his own body [KJV: “possess his vessel”; RSV: “take a wife for himself”] in holiness and honor”—1 Thess. 4:4).
  • Spouses are not to “deprive one another [sexually], except perhaps by agreement for a limited time,” that they might devote themselves to prayer (1 Cor. 7:5).
  • But then they are commanded to “come together again [sexually], so that Satan may not tempt [them] because of [their] lack of self-control” (1 Cor. 7:5).
  • In this fallen age, sex is both pure and impure—“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled” (Titus 1:15).

extreme seeker

We still often forget who the seeker is ...


charismania

I love this discussion. I hate this ranting.

And if you care to defend the latter, first consider DJP's remarks in the meta here. According to Dan, you should be discounted.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

who is innocent

As God reveals himself in creation we must keep in mind that our problem is not that we fail to grasp this revelation. His manifestation does in fact pierce our minds. Our issue is that we know God and still do not honor him as God or give thanks to him (Ro 1.21a). We, in our fallen state, continually suppress and distort until we exchange the truth for a lie (Ro 1.21-32). Universally, we are guilty!

So what about the innocent in the wilderness who have never heard the gospel? What happens to them? Nothing. Innocent people do not need the gospel. Jesus didn't come for them anyway (Lk 5.32). And how many of these innocents are there? Well ... none (Ro 3.10-18).

It saddens me to find professing christians claiming we are saved because of our fortune to be born in the time and place we were. And then using that as a launchpad to explain away the sin of these "innocents" and look for salvation within their cultures/religions. Yes we are fortunate. But our salvation (or rebellion) is not as they perceive. Our understanding should not serve to soften our attitude toward the sinful state of other - it should compel us to want to shout to a world already under the curse of God's wrath the compelling truth of His grace and the good news that Jesus, our Redeemer, has come to set us free!

expect a miracle

Some of us continuationists really aren't so much ....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

orthodoxy

Repost from 2008 ... how are you coming on those orthos?

n. pron. [or-the-dock-see]

Gr. orthos (right, true) + doxa (opinion, thinking)

Orthodoxy has been widely acknowledged to refer to adhering to the teachings and traditions in an established faith or religion. With respect to Christianity, the concept generally means recognizing and accepting the fundamental teachings and doctrines found in the Bible. All three branches of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox) consider the early ecumenical confessions such as the Apostles’ Creed, Athanasian Creed, and Nicean Creed to be their primary sources relating to orthodoxy.

While I want so much to stay orthodox, Tony Jones has suggested that "orthodoxy doesn't 'exist.' Instead, orthodoxy is an event, in the Derridean/Caputoean sense. That is, orthodoxy happens when human beings get together and practice it (talk about God, worship God, pray to God, write books about God, etc.). There's no orthodoxy somewhere out there that one can point to and say, "See that? That's orthodoxy. That's what we're trying to get to."

I've said before that we need orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy (right doctrine, right practice, and right motive). John Wimber taught that leaders "need to remain congruent with orthodoxy and orthopraxy, to maintain our focus on the 'main and the plain' in Scripture." If we have right doctrine but it does not manifest itself in right love, it is for naught. On the other hand, we cannot have right love without right doctrine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the human will




The human will is an amazing thing.

hate sin yet?


The story of the Prodigal Son illustrates the fact that “you are not a Christian if you enjoy sin.” Mike McKinley writes,

"The son’s turnaround began when he saw the reality of his sin clearly. He realized what a fool he had been, how offensive behavior and attitudes were, and how ratty the pleasures of sin were in comparison to the joys of his father’s home. In Jesus’s words, “He came to himself”—he came to his senses. Since a Christian is dead to sin and alive to Christ, when he does sin, he finds that it doesn’t suit him. He cannot be comfortable living in it. Although sin may provide him with a moment of pleasure and enjoyment, he is later plagued with feelings of regret, disappointment, and shame. If a true follower of Jesus is snared in sin, he will eventually have a moment like the Prodigal son, had in the pigsty where he comes to hate his sin. He does not grow in an ever-increasing love for sin, but as time goes by, he hates it." ~ Mike McKinley, Am I Really a Christian? (Crossway, 2011), 70.

HT:BR

hiroshima

Hiroshima after the atomic bomb blast in 360ยบ panorama. Story here.



Hiroshima after the Atomic Bomb (2 of 5) by Shigeo Hayashi in Japan

Monday, August 08, 2011

acts in 3 minutes

Here ya go, the book of Acts in 3 minutes from the folks at The Church at Brook Hills.

 

Love it or hate it?

HT:DA

not sin in general


I love  Darryl Dash's latest post found below. Feel free to substitute any sin issue you want. It still works. Jesus bore our specific sins.

I knew this, but I’d never thought about it in exactly this way. In his book Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free, Tim Chester paraphrases 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
On the cross, God treated Christ as a porn user…[Paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 5:21], “God made Jesus, who never looked with lust, to be a porn addict for us, so that in him we might become sexually pure.”
Jesus died not just for abstract sins, or sin in general, but my sins (whatever they are) in particular. Amazing.

sadly you are not alone

It continues to sadden and anger me to find professing christians sharing videos such as the one below. As I watched I was filled with compassion and empathy toward this young woman. And hope; I was anxious to hear how in the midst of her pain she found comfort and healing in the arms of our Savior. But I was disappointed. Instead, she found happiness in sin. Worse, her offer to others in the same sin is that they are not alone. This is a reflection of a perverse generation.

The hope offered to this person is temporal and ultimately leads to more pain and sorrow. She is being encouraged to find life outside of the image in which she has been created - it can only lead to ultimate despair and destruction. Her happiness is a facade that will one day come crashing down. It pales in comparison to the joy she could find in Christ.

Jesus can set her free and in Him she can find healing, restoration, and life. I pray Jesus, the giver of life, would grip her heart and set her free. I pray those promoting this perversion would repent and publicly proclaim their repentance so that those deceived by this emotional trickery would perhaps hear the truth.


 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

redemption

“If you read Scripture carefully, you will never get the idea that the work of Christ is for well-adjusted people who just need a little redemptive boost. It never presents any human condition or dilemma as outside the scope of the gospel. Redemption is nothing less than the rescue of helpless people facing an eternity of torment apart from God’s love.” ~ Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands

HT:OFI

Saturday, August 06, 2011

distortion

Justin Taylor reminds us of the words of Francis Schaeffer:
Increasingly I believe that after we are saved we have only one calling, and that is to show forth the existence and the character of God. Since God is love and God is holy, it is our calling to act in such a way as to demonstrate the existence of God–in other words to be and to act in such a way as to show forth His love and His holiness simultaneously. Further, I believe that the failure to show forth either of these is equally a perversion
Of course, in one’s own strength it is only possible to show forth either love or holiness. But to show forth the holiness and love of God simultaneously requires much more. It requires a moment by moment work of the Holy Spirit in a very practical way. (71; also 59, 67, 126)
As I've said many, many, many, many, many, many, many times before, the postmodern innovator simply lacks a regenerate heart. This unredeemed mind works to build a god in their own image and focus on their distorted perverted view of love. They completely miss the Holiness of God and a true understanding of love.

dead to sin


Friday, August 05, 2011

prayer for pastor

Good things to pray for your pastor (and most anyone else for that matter) ...

1. That the gospel would be the focal point of my life and identity - not manhood, not being a husband, not being a father, not being a pastor, but who I am in Christ.

2. That I would not fear man by desiring the admiration of people; that the Lord's "Well done" would be ever before my eyes.

3. That the Lord would not allow me to go long between repentances; that I would keep short accounts with him and be sensitive to and ruthless with my sin.

4. That I would continue to grow in the character qualities of the man of God (1 Tim 3:1-7; 2 Tim 2:22-26; Titus 1:5-9).

5. That I would have a consistent, powerful, diligent life of private prayer; that I would grow in my dependence on the Holy Spirit.

6. That the Lord would give me great diligence in study and sermon preparation, making the most of my time.

7. That my preaching and teaching ministry would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; that the Lord would effect real change in our lives through it; and that by it we would be more endeared to Christ.

8. That I would boldly and faithfully and humbly and joyfully and intentionally share the gospel with the non-Christians in my social orbit.

9. That I would see Jesus as supremely valuable, my greatest treasure, and as my dear friend.

List by RW Glenn via Todd Pruitt via Peter Cockrell

god glorified

"The goal is that God be glorified in us, not useful to us."

Attributed to Larry Crabb by David Wayne

man's plans


Perhaps a church planting seminar?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

denouncing sin



"Thus a reasoned denunciation of homosexual behavior and all other attempts at nurturing and justifying homosexual passions is not, and should not be construed as, a denunciation of those victimized by homosexual urges, since the aim is to rescue the true self created in God’s image for a full life." ~ Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p31

And as always, I think we could substitute the word sinful for homosexual and still be spot on.

Denouncing sin is not hateful; it is loving. Doing otherwise is sub-Biblical and failing to love as God loved.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

japanese pro wrestling

Oh yeeeeeaaaaah ... Japanese professional wrestling ... it doesn't get more real!

erasing hell

No I haven't read the book! Well, not Erasing Hell, the book by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle in response to Rob Bell’s sub-Biblical Love Wins (which I have read ... well as much as I could stand anyway).

Anyway, in his review of Erasing Hell, Trevin Wax writes:
The problem with the responses to Love Wins is that, while we are experts at critiquing Bell’s vision of God, we aren’t stepping up with a more compelling portrait of God’s magnificence. We are scribbling down our thoughts under Bell’s chalk drawing instead of taking up the paint brush and creating something that reflects the beauty of biblical truth.
This is a powerful and unfortunately true statement.

It's worth reading Wax's post.

On Love Wins he writes, "Bell’s book is troublesome, not because it is a thoughtful representation of the optimistic inclusivist position. ... It’s troublesome because it is seeking to make inclusivism beautiful. Bell succeeds at “dressing up” falsehood."

Monday, August 01, 2011

love sinners


Al Mohler, in addressing how the Church must respond to homosexuals, speaks to how we must respond to anyone identifying themselves as sinners.

We must be the people who love homosexuals more than homosexuals love homosexuality. This is a tough challenge. We have to be the people who, because we are possessed by a passion to see God’s glory in his creation, love homosexuals more than they love their sin. This means that our love has to be a tenacious love. This will also require that we come to know and establish relationships with those struggling with homosexuality. Armed with an awareness of both the problem and God’s provision, we have no right to consider that homosexuals are beyond the grace of God or that any individual is beyond the hope of redemption and transformation. Compassionate truth-telling is deeply rooted in Christian love, and this means that we must love homosexuals more than homosexuals love homosexuality.

Every sinner loves his sin, but the church must love sinners more than sinners love their sinfulness. This is precisely how Christ has loved us, and we must love other sinners even as Christ has loved us.

We cannot allow a homosexual to reduce his identity to being a homosexual. This is a tough message, but we live in an age of identity politics when people say, “What I do in my sex life is who I am—period!” We are the people who know that this is nonsense. Sex is a part of who we are—a vitally important and powerful part—but it is only a part of the total human being. Our sexual desires and sexual practices are genuine pointers to our inner reality and our relationship to God, but sexuality is not the end of the story.

Christians must be the people who refuse to put the period at the end of the sexual sentence. We cannot allow homosexuals to be isolated as a class of persons who are beyond the grace of God and exist in some special category of human sinfulness. We must be the people who say to homosexuals, “I am going to love you even more than you love your sin, because in this same way I was loved until I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Someone loved me more than I loved my sin, and this is how I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.”

Our doctrine of salvation must be accompanied by a strong doctrine of the church. The ecclesia—the purchased people of God—are a covenanted community gathered in mutual accountability to the Word of God. In the bonds of Christ, we are to love each other even more than we love ourselves. Even in the process of church discipline, our purpose is not only to protect the integrity of the people of God, but to love persons into obedience and conformity with the Word of God. The common life of the church is really all about this mutual accountability, mutual encouragement, and exhorting each other to faithfulness unto the authority of the Word of God. The church sins when we deal with these issues wrongly, unscripturally, and superficially.

reftagger