Emergent congregations are especially well equipped to live creatively in the newly post-Western Christianity. They are careful not to confuse the life and message of Jesus with the “Western” elements in which it has been packaged. They try to assign equal weight to both the message and the context so that a new version of the old story can take shape. They strongly underline “living … Continue reading Living The Message….
They had turned the way of Jesus, I felt, into the club of the Pharisees, and they didn’t speak for me, even though their spokesmen dominated the dialogue night after night on cable TV. The terms “Evangelical” and even “Christian” had become like discredited brands through their energetic but misguided work. I increasingly understood why more and more of my friends winced when the name … Continue reading Those Who Use Jesus’ Name….
For example, let’s say we approach the Bible with this question: How should we treat our enemies? Matthew 5:44 tells us to love them. Romans 12:17–21 tells us to do good to them and never seek revenge against them. First Peter 3:13–17 tells us to suffer at their hands and set an example for them. Psalm 137:9 says we should joyfully dash their infants against … Continue reading The Old vs. The New….
I am only now beginning a serious but somewhat sporadic study of church history but even at this point in my study it is clear that the church has remained silent about many moral wrongs of the times. The most notable in recent history is the holocaust. Millions of Jews were being sent off to their deaths by Hitler and the church for the most … Continue reading Silence is Complicity….
“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. via What it means to be a Christian…. These words come from Rachel Held Evans blog but are the words of Brennan Manning. Until I had read them I was unaware of who he … Continue reading What it means to be a Christian…
Here we are at the end of my study into universal salvation as presented by Philip Gulley in his book “If Grace Is True”. It took a lot longer to get here than I originally thought but this is a very serious subject so I shouldn’t be surprised. I am still not totally in the camp of universal salvation but I am definitely leaning pretty … Continue reading The Significance Of Universal Salvation…. A Wrap-Up
One of the current foundations of the Christianity is the atonement. Generally that is thought to be Jesus taking the wrath of God for us with his substitutional crucifixion in order to appease God wrath toward man’s sinfulness. I, like many others I’m sure, thought that atonement was a foundational issue with Jesus and the early church. In reality it was post-Constantine theologians who gave … Continue reading Atonement….
It’s taken me many years to empty hell. As a child, I was taught only Christians would be saved. Billions of non-Christians would crowd hell. The thought of non-Christians in eternal torment didn’t disturb me because I’d been told Christians were good people and non-Christians were bad people. Since I grew up in a Midwestern American town where nearly everyone belonged to a Christian church, … Continue reading Emptying Hell…..
I discovered the meaning of salvation. Salvation comes with believing God loves you unconditionally. It is abandoning the misconception that you are rejected because of your bad behavior or accepted because of your goodness. Only when we repent of this self-absorption and focus on God’s love can this love alter us. Then and only then can God transform hearts darkened by sin and soften hearts … Continue reading The Meaning of Salvation….
Since the very beginning, the disciples of Jesus have tried to destroy the opposition. Instead of patiently awaiting the transformation of others, we’ve quickly divided the world into “us” and “them.” We haven’t even reserved this distinction for those of other religions. We’re intolerant of any deviation from the party line. Catholics thought Protestants apostate and damned. Protestants returned the favor, then splintered into a … Continue reading Exclusivity of Salvation..
Occasionally people knock on my door or hand me a tract on a street corner or strike up a conversation with the aim of asking, “Are you saved?” Even before I believed in the salvation of every person, I always answered with an enthusiastic yes. Often, rather than sharing my elation, my inquisitors would look me up and down with a dubious eye and ask … Continue reading Are You Saved???
I once considered human freedom the most persuasive argument against the salvation of every person. My friend asked, “How can you believe God would send his children to hell?” I replied, “God doesn’t send anyone to hell. They send themselves. God simply respects their freedom.” Human freedom was the linchpin of my theology. We were saved not by grace, but by our decision to accept … Continue reading A Simple Truth….
This is a continuation of the previous post about being afraid of God. It is a precursor to undertanding the underlying message of the book we are reviewing: Of course, her final question reveals the deeper issue hidden in any discussion of ultimate human destiny. Who is God? Is God a gracious, loving father waiting long through the night, with the light lit and the … Continue reading Being Afraid of God…. (Part 2)
I am saddened by how many people are afraid of God, projecting their negative experiences with parents and the Church onto God. Often we’ve reinforced these false images of God. I assured Susan her Father in heaven was different from her earthly father. I could tell she wanted to believe me but still hesitated. Susan asked me, “What if you’re wrong, and I believe you … Continue reading Being Afraid of God…. (Part 1)
“How can you believe that God’s grace isn’t sufficient, that many of God’s children will languish in hell forever, that they’ll never be restored to their Father, that evil will claim victory in so many lives? How can you believe that?” Gulley, Philip; Mulholland, James (2009-03-17). If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person (Plus) (pp. 89-90). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. Some think the … Continue reading God’s Wrath vs. God’s Grace…….