He is careful to warn me that the only proper motivation for good works is the gratitude for the great grace bestowed upon us by Jesus. To do them for any other cause, he cautions―such as duty or obligation or utility or obedience―is to miss the mark and to operate in a worldly and unspiritual manner―and then he grows darkly serious when he goes on to warn of how doing good works under any hint of an understanding that they are required by God is nearing the heresy of “works salvation”.Continue reading Short on Grace, After All
He ventured to mention some doctrines he wanted me to believe. So, naturally, I raised some questions and objections to what he was saying. But confidently, he promised he would bring me a book that spells it all out in good order.Continue reading The Doctrinal Peek-a-Boo
The churches are packed with millions and millions of members who should not be there, according to Jesus. They are not the sort to repent of their sins, and should have been confronted about it and put out a long time ago, yet they are given quarter, and with flagrant disregard for Jesus’ instructions:
Continue reading The Millions Who Shouldn’t Be in Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.Matthew 18:15-17. NIV.
Let me be blunt: I submit that the following passage in Jesus’ teaching is widely disobeyed in the churches―and probably by your church, too. Read the following passage carefully, and then ask yourself whether this is your regular habit whenever someone sins against you, or it is is rather something you do only occasionally.
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.Jesus. Matthew 18:15-17. ESV.
Let us notice these four successive steps here, prescribed by Jesus in the hope that the first step alone will suffice:Continue reading Disobeying Jesus in the Fellowship
America has partied herself to death.
And I don’t mean with drugs and alcohol,
But with donkeys and elephants, mostly,
And all the pundits and labels that go with it.
He’s long been pretty sure that the other party is incorrigible,
So he was glad to join this one.
But if he’s like most, he’ll invest a lot of years in this party
Without ever realizing that it has its own incorrigibilities,
And is not the champion of goodness he had assumed.
He had only cared enough in the beginning
To ask whether this party is better,
And did not care enough to ask
Whether it is good enough.
He had hitched his wagon to the church,
And the church, to the nation―
And off they went, waving their flags
And singing their songs,
And having no real need of Jesus
Beyond some name-dropping here and there―
Which seemed pious enough to them, even if
It infuriated the Jesus they never knew―
Who stayed aloof, anyway,
And never crashed their party.
The one Christian thinks his Christianity was fully settled from the get-go, and that all he has to do to please God from here on out is simply to be.
The second thinks that what happened from the get-go was just a starting pistol, and that to please God is to become like Jesus.
The third can’t quite accept the aloofness of the be idea, but neither can he wholeheartedly embrace the full accountability of the become idea. He will never settle into either camp, and has no other choice but to be confused between the two.Continue reading Three Christianities: To Be, To Become, and To Be Confused
Until Jesus is enough for you, no person or thing will ever be.Steven Furtick
This meme may sound awfully right and satisfying to some, but I think it’s messed up. I think this was written from the point of view of somebody who doesn’t know Jesus very well. But let me start first by examining the “tone” of it.Continue reading “Until Jesus Is Enough”
Christians are all over the place when it comes to their understanding of what God requires of man before he will grant him eternal life in that Holy City. I think that naturally, one could consider the idea that “God requires nothing”, as a possibility to be covered in due diligence, but that once he sets one toe over that line of zero requirement, he steps out onto a slippery slope that will whisk a great many people away to a conclusion that do not find agreeable.
And the question, of course, is whether God finds that conclusion agreeable―whether it is the right and true conclusion, whether we might tend to think so or not. So this article examines that slippery slope, and what seems to be on each end of it, and how most people tend to reason their way up and down that slope, avoiding the landings at both the top and the bottom, preferring instead, the frantic life of trying to live somewhere along the slope itself.
I’ve made a rough list below of example positions below. It is surely imperfect in several ways, yet useful (I hope) in sketching out the gist of the quandary that plagues so many, and the various ways they dispute the particulars.Continue reading The Slippery Slope of What God Requires of Man