Doesn’t Matter If You “Like” It Or Not…

cross tozerA local pastor preached a series concerning the “Monster God.”

His thesis? If the verses from the Getty’s “In Christ Alone” – “til on the cross, where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied” are correct…then the God of the Bible is a monster similar to a child molester.

What is called “Penal Substitutionary Atonement” has apparently embarrassed many a professing Christian. The song referenced in the above paragraph has been covered by many artists…and many of them have dropped the verses cited. An entire denomination wanted to put the song in their hymnal without the “offensive” words…they were denied (thankfully).

Here’s the take of J. I. Packer (from “The Heart of the Gospel” in Knowing God):

“Has the word propitiation any place in your Christianity?

“In the faith of the New Testament it is central. The love of God [1 John 4:8-10], the taking of human form by the Son [Heb. 2:17], the meaning of the cross [Rom. 3:21-26], Christ’s heavenly intercession [1 John 2:1-2], the way of salvation–all are to be explained in terms of it, as the passages quoted show, and any explanation from which the thought of propitiation is missing will be incomplete, and indeed actually misleading, by New Testament standards.

“In saying this, we swim against the stream of much modern teaching and condemn at a stroke the views of a great number of distinguished church leaders today, but we cannot help that. Paul wrote, “Even if we or an angel from heaven”–let alone a minister, a bishop, college lecturer, university professor, or noted author–“should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (“accursed” KJV and RSV; “outcast” NEB; “damned” Phillips–Gal. 1:8). And a gospel without propitiation at is heart is another gospel than that which Paul preached. The implications of this must not be evaded.”

 

Tough to Read? Good advice/counsel:

I can’t even imagine doing time and not knowing how to read. The four years I spent locked up were tough in many ways; but would have been incredibly more difficult if I was not able to read…

But many inmates are functionally illiterate…at best…Thankfully many prisons have programs to help (sadly, many offenders don’t take advantage of any of the educational stuff available because that is “cooperating with the man”).

Certainly it is not just prisoners who have reading difficulties.

Here is some great advice and ideas to help…it can be read or listened to…highly recommended: CLICK HERE

Tough To Read – Deadly Accurate

Written decades ago; true then, truer now:

“People seem to think that the masses are outside the Christian church because our evangelistic methods are not what they ought to be. That is not the answer. People are outside the church because looking at us they say, “What is the point of being Christians? – look at them!” They are judging Christ by you and me. And you cannot stop them and you cannot blame them.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

I Am A Racist….

Well, no, actually I am not a racist. I am very prejudiced against prejudiced people.

I think prejudice of any type from any corner is an admission of cowardice…”I am better than you because I am white/black/brown/etc”.

A “Christian racist” is a contradiction in terms.

As a follower of Christ I couldn’t be racist even if I wanted to be. Had I been raised racist it may take me a while after conversion to learn the horrificness of the sin of prejudice; but that conviction would come.

But…that said…I am a racist.

CNN says I am. ESPN says I am. Should-be-in-federal-prison Hillary says I am. And, alarmingly, so do many, for instance, facebook “friends” whom I used to respect.

In their parlance I am a racist.

But I am not.

I think any form of protest that a, for instance, NFL player takes part in at a game is wrong; whether it be “black lives matter (which is a pretty racist statement, by the way)”, prolife, or anything else. Wrong place, wrong time.

I will not apologize for being white. Wasn’t my call.

I will not apologize for the horrific slavery that took place in the United States any more than I will apologize for the massive slavery that continues worldwise; though I hate it.

I will take you at face (and faith) value.

I am commanded to love you…regardless. That does not mean I have to like you nor your opinions; and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to let you get away with slandering me.

And if you disrespect all Law Enforcement Officers and/or the military; I will lose any and all respect for you I ever had.

Period.

And I’ll close with what comes to mind every time I think about this issue:

 

Just Because It’s In The Bible Doesn’t Make It Right

osamaToday, of course, is the 16th “anniversary” of that horrible September morning.

In watching the news earlier, I saw an interview with the Seal warrior who actually blew away Osama years later…

Prior to the interview the network showed a clip of Americans celebrating in the streets as they learned of Bin Laden’s death.

I recall that night also…and remember thinking of Ezekiel 33.11:

“Tell them, ‘As I live – this is the declaration of the Lord GOD – I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways!'”

I remember shaking my head and thinking, “I get it, but…”

Then later this morning read this:

Proverbs 11.10b, “…when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.”

Is this a contradiction?

Of course not.

God desires that no man perish.

The Proverbs line is simply an observation of fact, not an “okay” to rejoice at death.

“But Osama was…”

A sinner.

Like you. Like me.

The worst sinner I know is Jack Hager.

 

Butterfield on the “Nashville Statement”

If you are unfamiliar with “The Nashville Statement” you may READ IT HERE.

You are probably familiar with Rosario Butterfield? If not, she tells a bit of her story in the article below explaining why she signed the Statement. It has what would seem to be obvious truth (but, sadly, is not in todays “evangelical” climate) and I believe makes some incredibly vital points. Read it:

“Great battles in theology faced by the church over the centuries have been caused by the introduction of unbiblical categories about the nature of people and the nature of God, and the imprecise language that emerges from this.  Are we justified by faith or are we justified by faith alone?  Does the Bible contain the word of God or is the Bible the word of God?  Should we refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings because marriage is a creation-mandated institution and not a social privilege that can be re-packaged as the world whims?  Or should we bake two cakes because sexual orientation as a category of personhood erases sexual sin without the blood of Christ?

The issue is not primarily homosexuality; it’s Scripture.

The issue is not primarily gay marriage; it’s whether “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The issue is not whether people are good-intentioned and sincere in desiring things that God forbids.

The issue is whether we all bear the sin of Adam, inheriting an unchosen moral deformity, an energy of opposition to God, a rebellion that bequeaths to us a sin nature that we cannot erase on our own terms and by our own hands.

The issue is whether Jesus rose from the grave, is alive today, and whether His blood and love and resurrection makes any wit of difference in how you fight the original sin that distorts you, the actual sin that distracts you, and the indwelling sin that manipulates you.

The issue is whether you can trust the Bible to tell you who you are, who God is, and which way is up.

Twenty years ago, I lived as a lesbian.  I delighted in my lover, our home on one of the Finger Lakes, our Golden Retrievers, and our careers.  When Christ claimed me for His own, I did not stop feeling like a lesbian.  I did not fall out of love with women.  I was not converted out of homosexuality.  I was converted out of unbelief.

Conversion to Christ did not initially change my sexual attraction for women.  What conversion did change immediately was my heart and mind.  My mind was on fire for the Bible and I could not read enough of it or enough about it.  The gospel gave me a light that was ruinous.  It ruined me for the life I had loved.  The Lord’s light illumined my sin through the law and illumined my hope through Jesus and the gospel.  The gospel destroyed me before the Lord built me back up.  In saying “yes” to Jesus and “no” to the desires of my flesh, I learned that the only way to peace with my God was through the Cross—the one that Jesus died on and the one that I was called, with the help of Jesus, to carry.

In this crucible I wondered how this could be so.  How could that which I loved be sin?  How could I hate my sin without hating myself?  How could I both hate my sin and feel drawn into it simultaneously?

I learned that sin does not lose its character as sin because I loved it.  I learned that my homosexuality was a logical consequence of the fall of man, the thumbprint of original sin on some of us.  It is true that some of us are born this way.  It is also true that we are all  born in sin, in one way or another.  We can hate our sin without hating ourselves because we who have committed our lives to Christ stand in his righteousness and not our own.  Our real identity is not in the sin we battle but in the savior we embrace.

Christ’s salvation is definitive and decisive.  Christ rescues his people, growing us in union with Christ, establishing us in God’s family, the church, and setting us apart to bear the image of God in knowledge (of God’s word), holiness (in God’s justification of his people), and righteousness (through sanctification, also called growth in Christ).

We gain more than we lose when we pick up our cross and follow Jesus.  But pick up our cross we must.  And for many of us, our cross demands forsaking the sexual sin that calls us by name.

We live now in a world that has no use for the God of the Bible, for Jesus, the savior of His people and of the world.  The terms are shifting quickly.  Calling people like me to forsake sexual sin is no longer considered a first step toward walking with Jesus in liberty and in new life.  Today, some influential people who claim to know Christ no longer believe that God hates sin.  Sin is in the eyes of the beholder, they say.

Just a few years ago, these people blamed sin on the devil, saying “the devil made me do it.”    Now these same people—some of them leaders in the church—blame sin on the Holy Spirit, declaring that He is blessing what the Bible condemns.  In a few short years, blame shifting has morphed into  blasphemy.  And this blasphemy is coming from people who claim to have Christ’s salvation and from the pulpits and blogs that they wield.

When blasphemy comes from the church, the Bible gives us ways to understand how prophets become lions and wolves.   First Peter 5:8 issues the warning for today’s church climate:  “Be sober-minded.  Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Matthew 7:15 shows us what to do:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits.”  Christian fruit grows you in holiness, like Christ.  Christian fruit grows you in grace—which is bought by the blood of Christ, the ransom price for my sin and yours.  Grace leads you to love and desire the moral law of God, and not to despise it.  Christian fruit has no measure but the word of God.

I signed the Nashville Statement because I stand with Biblical orthodoxy, which is inseparable from God’s creation mandate and definition of gendered personhood found in Genesis 1:27:  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female, he created them”.  The soul is God’s fingerprint on humanity, but the gendered body—essentially and ontologically male or female—will also, for the believer in Jesus Christ,  be glorified and resurrected in the New Jerusalem.

I signed the Nashville Statement because my conscience compels me so, because the promises of liberty on the world’s terms are false and deceptive, and because many who currently claim to have Christ’s forgiveness and salvation must be called to account for leading good people astray with false promises and filthy lies.

I signed the Nashville Statement because the wolves are prowling, and the lions are roaring, and because they are bold and proud of their heresy, and because you must be warned.

By God through the merit and power of Jesus Christ, here I stand.”

t

Teach/Preach/Lead Worship? Read This:

Just started rereading Knowing God by J. I. Packer; one of the very few books I read again.

And again struck by a quote from C. S. Lewis that Packer included in his original preface (1972).

It is a sober and sobering reminder:

“Those like myself, whose imagination far exceeds their obedience are subject to a just penalty; we easily imagine conditions far higher than any we have really reached. If we describe what we have imagined we may make others, and make ourselves, believe that we have really been there.” (The Four Loves