Monday, November 16, 2009

The Manna of Faith

Grace is the joyful kindness which fills the heart of God. It is his pleasure to redeem the estranged and to rescue the lost. It should be noted, however, that if he were a just a big fluffy pushover, we wouldn't have been estranged in the first place! God hates sin, fundamentally, that will never change and never cease to be true of him. It means his reaction to sin will always be thorough and inescapable. Certainly, that's something to think about!

Faith is the means that this kind and severe God has established by which his grace is brought to bear upon the condition of the estranged. We are saved by grace through faith.  Humans who express such faith get saved, those who won't, don't. A statement like that is likely to bend some Calvinists into a pretzel, probably a salty one, but it reflects the Bible on the subject, what can be wrong with that? Faith has always been, and always will be the issue with human beings in regard to their relationship with God.

Faith is not a static thing, however, it has a shelf life, a relatively short one, it seems to me. To envision faith as if it was like a switch--once turned on it stays on, without thought-- is a mistake in my view. Faith is a dynamic conviction,  a motivating understading that has power while its active, but diminishes when its not. Faith has ebb and flow, it does not exist in the static universe, but only in the realm of action. Try to put it on a shelf, like oil in a lamp, unused, untended, and inactive, it evaporates and won't be there to bear light when needed. It not only has to be engaged to function, it has to function to exist.

Can we learn a lesson from the traveling Israelites, whose sustenance, like ours, was dependent upon God's grace?  Faith is like manna, it's good for today, but does not project to tomorrow. Even the pot collected to serve as a communal memorial has long since turned to dust and blown away. Faith is a working thing, and a present thing. Manna could never serve as a knick-knack, neither can faith.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turkey Is Always Interesting This Time of Year (Updated)

Zoiks! I know I've taught this for what seems like forever with conviction and near certitude, but seeing things shaping up as they are makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. As I've said before, the Bible teaches that the Antichrist will rise in Turkey and control two other nations (likely adjacent) in his climb to worldwide dominion. Dr. Michael Davis published this astonishing article yesterday. YOU'VE GOT TO READ IT!!!!  Thanks Dr D for the heads up, and thanks Wikipedia for the pic.


And then there was this a few weeks ago. Hmmm, what is it that Turkey is positioning itself for? Don't tell me better relations with and economic opportunities in Europe. Something more is afoot, trust me! This is the end game, and yes, I know folk have been convinced of that before, and yet here we still are. But the totality of things prophesied have never come together so completely before. I hope you're wearing your flying shoes.  Thanks Heanous for the heads up.


Update: Dr D mentioned a Joel Richardson article in a comment to this post, but that link address doesn't work. Try this instead, interesting reading, to say the least! The source for some of his analysis is not crazy, pie-eyed religious nut jobs (like yours truly), but the US government. It should becoming clear, that something is afoot in turkey, and it's not a drumstick!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A. C.U.R.E.

The famous (or infamous, depending on your view) theological acronym TULIP has served the church community well in summarizing the basic tenets of Calvinistic soteriology for centuries. It arose from the disputations the Arminian school of thought offered back in the 1600's. The Calvinists walked away from the debate with TULIP and carried the day, the Arminians walked away ridiculed with nothing but the truth.

There have been some good offerings for a similar acronym for Arminian soteriology (like FACTS), but I have never found them satisfactory, because I didn't feel they were clearly descriptive. So, for the ailment of inexactitude, I'd like to offer a cure, or literally, A CURE.

A.= Absolute Inability: mankind is so stricken by sin and the fall, that none are able to turn themselves to God apart from his gracious enablements.
C.= Conditional Election: God has chosen to save all who place faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
U.= Unlimited Atonement: the blood of Christ was shed for the sins of the entire world, and anyone who will can avail themselves of its effects through faith.
R.= Resistable Grace: God's efforts at bringing his gracious enablements to the sinner can be resisted by the sinner.
E.= Extinguishable Faith: the faith that God's grace made possible can be lost or shipwrecked by the person who had believed at one time.

I think this is a little more clearly descriptive than the FACTS acronym (and it doesn't have to be shared with a toy convention). Hopefully, some of my Arminian readers will weigh in with their thoughts. It would be nice to have something as communicative as TULIP among those of us who actually got our soteriology right! ;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Abortion Battle

This story is absolutely amazing! What does it say about Crisis Pregnancy Centers shift to an ultrasound strategy for combating abortion? Whereas the scriptures say one can only believe in what is not seen, the people we're trying to persuade say seeing is believing. Regardless, God has a way of making his enemies friends! A strange way to fight a battle, I know, but apparently it's very effective, at least the early church would say so.

It is frustrating trying to know how to approach the abortion battle in America. The religious foes of abortion, particularly Evangelicals, have been waging political warfare for 30 years, with precious little to show for it. Even with pro-life majorities in both houses of Congress and a pro-life President (from 2002 to 2006) nothing, really, got done. Innocent blood continues to pay the price for American hedonism.

As a result (I hope) some have taken to more violent measures in their frustrations. I think, however, violence is likely to beget only more violence, fire is likely to be met with fire, without actually stopping the evil battled against in the first place. The devil doesn't let loose of his grasp on those that are his through unbelief. His claws are only broken by the light of faith.

Murder is worth being against in any venue. It is a justice and mercy issue. The early church was opposed to abortion within the Roman Empire, but did not have the opportunity nor the political power to do anything legislatively about it. They fought their battle passively by getting adults saved and actively by rescuing the exposed (adoption). Abortion never became illegal within their realm, even after the days of Constantine, but it all but ceased due to the power of conversion and persuasion-- a lesson for us, perhaps?