The Significance Of Universal Salvation…. A Wrap-Up This the the final revisit of the 2013 series on “If Grace Is True” 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 … Continue reading Revisit – The Significance Of Universal Salvation…. A Wrap-Up
I realize that the vast majority of viewers here at RedLetterLiving read the daily post but seldom go into the archives. In order to see where I am going with the blog you need to see where I have come from. On Wednesdays going forward I will be pulling up some of my most significant posts to show you how and why my spirituality has … Continue reading If Grace Is True – Revisit #1
“The quest to feel certain becomes an idol when a person’s sense of significance to God and security before God is anchored not in their simple trust of God’s character, as revealed on the cross, but in how certain they feel about the rightness of their beliefs.” – Greg Boyd SOURCE: Faith, Doubt and the Idol of Certainty: An Interview with Greg Boyd. I can say … Continue reading Faith, Doubt and the Idol of Certainty: An Interview with Greg Boyd
Abelard rejected the idea that Christ died as a result of God’s vengeance for human disobedience. Abelard was horrified by the novel teaching of his fellow theologian, Anselm (1033–1109), who proposed that Jesus died to satisfy the divine justice of his Father, as a payment of a legal debt required as recompense for sin and to restore God’s honor. Abelard exclaimed: Indeed, how cruel and … Continue reading Dying For God’s Vengeance….
I have been studying the history of the church to try an understand how we got to where we are today. An important book in that investigation is entitled “A People’s History of Christianity, The Other Side of the Story” by Diana Butler Bass. This is not the first book I have read by this author and it certainly won’t be the last. With this … Continue reading A People’s History of Christianity….
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..
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)
“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…….
For what good is grace—this unconditional love of God—if it is not extended to those who deserve it the least but need it the most? God is love. Holiness and justice are not competing commitments. God has not chosen to turn his back on us or to punish us as our sins deserve. God has chosen to redeem us. Nothing requires God to condemn us, … Continue reading To Those Who Need It The Most…..
We can’t have it both ways. We can’t honor the words of the men and women of the Bible while ignoring their example. They trusted their experiences with God more than the words of those who preceded them. They believed in a God of fresh words. How can we canonize their words but ignore their radical obedience to the voice of a living God? We … Continue reading Having It Both Ways…
This is an ongoing post about the book “If Grace Is True” by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland. Here are the words for today. Many people are suspicious of experiences with God. The believers in Jerusalem were suspicious of Peter’s experience. You may be suspicious of mine. Some argue that such experiences aren’t trustworthy, that infallible Scripture is the only safe guide in our search … Continue reading Suspicious of Experiences With God…..
I didn’t consider this for many years. I actually thought my experiences rare. I was one of the chosen. I was special. Now I know the truth. God whispers his love in every ear. He isn’t interested in declaring his love to a select few. He doesn’t limit his presence to Vatican City, to the halls of seminaries, to the offices of preachers, or to … Continue reading If grace is true, it is true for everyone. – Part 4 If Grace Is True….
I was certain if I could preach the perfect sermon the altar would fill with people overcome by God’s grace. Now I realize there are many hindrances to experiencing the fullness of God’s grace—confusion, fear, prejudice, ignorance, and pride, to name a few. The removal of these obstacles ought to be the primary purpose of the Church. Unfortunately, the Church has often erected more barriers … Continue reading The Fullness of God’s Grace….. (Part 3 – If Grace Is True)
Many share my love for Jesus. We accepted him as Lord. We were baptized in his name. We became his disciples. We worshiped and adored him. Yet we’ve often divorced the words and actions of Jesus from the God he worshiped and adored. We’ve forgotten the very one Jesus came to reveal. Those of us raised in the Church have a good excuse for this … Continue reading God’s Wrath….
I’ve never experienced a God of wrath. I’ve heard such a God preached. I’ve read of such a God. I’ve encountered wrathful people who claimed to be acting on God’s behalf. I’ve even allowed such sentiments to tarnish my view of God. Yet, in the midst of all these distortions, I never experienced a wrathful God. The God I’ve experienced is the God of Jesus—a … Continue reading If Grace Is True…..
What matters to those who look to history for important lessons is that something was lost in the fourth century that permanently changed the nature of Christianity. If we do not recover that spirit of loyalty to the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount as opposed to saluting the Nicene Creed, the decline of the church will continue. If we persist in arguing across … Continue reading The History of the Church….
I am going to spend the next few posts giving you some more info about the emergent church movement now taking place around the world. The source for these posts is a book by Tony Jones entitled The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. Tony is one of the original leaders of this movement so his words have an insight into the beginning thoughts about just … Continue reading The Emergent Church….. They Love Everyone….
This post is about the fourth great rummage sale and that is the “Great Emergence”. In this post I am only giving you a small taste of the emergent movement In future posts we will look at just what the Great Emergence is and where it is going. Lets start off this post again with some words by Phyllis Tickle in her book The Great … Continue reading The Fourth Rummage Sale??…..The Emergent Church of the 21st Century
Anyone who has visited this blog in the recent past know that I am pinning great hope on the “emergent” church being able to rescue the current Christian establishments from their focus on believing things about Jesus as opposed to of “being” a Christian through our actions. I was very disheartened when I discovered the statistic that almost no one can tell the difference between … Continue reading A Giant Rummage Sale…
Several years ago I came across a small book entitled Quaker Spirituality – Selected Writings. I’m still not sure what made me pause on the title but I am glad I did. Inside that book was an essay by Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941) talked about the “Eternal Presence”. I didn’t know it then but this essay put me on the path to learning much more about Quakers. … Continue reading Eternal Presence….
This is the fifth post on the book Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin Meyers. While I could go on and on I am going to stop this review here. The following will serve as the focus for this post: Some belong to churches that explicitly emphasize the hope of heaven and the threat of hell. Others … Continue reading Saving Jesus — (Part 5) Heaven and the Threat of Hell….
This is the fourth post on the book Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin Meyers: One thing every pastor knows is that knowledge is not redemptive. Indeed, sometimes we can know the truth, and it will not set us free…. One of the great divides in the church could be overcome if we got one … Continue reading Saving Jesus — (Part 4) Science is Not the Enemy…..
This is part three of my review of the book Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin Meyers. This is somewhat the continuation of the study of the pre-Easter Jesus and the after-Easter Jesus mentioned in the previous text. Here is the quote for this post: The simple fact, that the Bible came to us through a … Continue reading Saving Jesus — (Part 3) About the Gospels….
This is a continuation of my review of the book Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin Meyers. Here are the quotes we will look at on this post: Adoration of the post-Easter Christ so dominates the language and liturgy of the church that the wisdom of pre-Easter Jesus is all but lost. We know that … Continue reading Saving Jesus — (Part 2) Post-Easter Jesus
I am going to spend several posts discussing some of the insightful words from a book entitled Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin R. Meyers. This book gave me some pretty profound re-enforcement of my belief that the words of Jesus have been losing focus in the church. Here are the words for today. Strangely, … Continue reading Saving Jesus….(Part 1)