What are we hearing?

Three true stories. Three very different messages. We might agree with some, but not all. Yet, all contain the same fundamental truth. Can you identify it?

#1 The speaker related Osama Bin Laden’s claim how a divided Christianity had significantly shaped his negative view of Christianity. Then this presenter further prepped the audience with various statements before asking, “How many churches are there in the US?” Affirming ecumenicalism, the audience shouted back, “One!”

#2 A preacher explained how the elders in his congregation had rallied around the principles of Romans 12:1-2 and “You can not do together what you are not doing individually.” These two principles had led them into pursuing habits of personal spiritual formation to transform their elders’ meetings from business board meetings into a more spiritual time for serving the congregation.

#3 Wading through verses in the Gospel of John while sprinkling in several humorous antidotes, the professor asserted that John powerfully portrayed Jesus as allowing himself to be crucified. Jesus was always in control. Jesus was no victim.

Continue reading “What are we hearing?”

The importance of definitions

Michael Potemra wrote, “An assertion of compassion is not necessarily an act of compassion.” Because someone claims to do something for the good of the children, or the church, or the kingdom, does not mean he is acting in the best interests of his object. An act of grace is defined by God, not by man.

The challenge is to discover what is good and right and compassionate. The rich young ruler thought he knew what was good, only to discover that Jesus turned his every concept of goodness on its head. Our Lord challenged his definition right off the bat. “Why do you ask me about what is good? (Matthew 19:17 NET).

So our definitions of grace and goodness are exactly that. They are ours. They are not necessarily the Lord’s. But, like the rich young ruler, we often prefer to walk away from God’s definitions, because these will not let us remain religious and keep our favorite sins. Continue reading “The importance of definitions”

A Lesson From A Law Professor

Several years ago, I invited Phillip Johnson, a staunch adversary of macro-evolution and a law professor at the University of Berkeley for over thirty years, to be a guest speaker for a regional preachers? meeting. On the appointed day in a local restaurant while we sat around a large table, I cautiously presented a question about “evolution and creationism.” I have forgotten the exact nature of my question or the answer he offered. What does remain clearly etched in my mind is his discourse on the danger of speaking about “evolution and creationism.” When the discussion is framed in this manner, … Continue reading A Lesson From A Law Professor