Oct 112017

The NBA season starts in just one week and for the first time in several years there is hope for my Philadelphia 76ers to make the playoffs.  Beyond that, there is a hope for the first time in many more years than that, that the Sixers could be building a championship caliber team.  While there is just as much chance that everything could blow up in their face, this is the first time in a long time where the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible.

I have written a couple times before about “The Process” the Sixers have undertaken over the past few years.  The linchpin of this process is Joel Embiid, all 7’2″, 260 lbs. of him.  Embiid, who has taken on the name of The Process as his own, has the potential of being an all-time great.  He also has played only 31 out of a possible 246 games over his first 3 years in the NBA due to various significant injuries.  But in those 31 games he played just this past season, he flashed some serious skill and ability.  If only he can stay healthy, cries the entirety of Sixers fandom!

Just a couple days ago, the Sixers committed a contract to Embiid in the maximum amount they are allowed under the rules of the NBA.  That means Embiid will be receiving $148 million over 5 years from the Sixers after this year.  Silly and unfathomable money to the rest of us, but this is the reality of professional sports.  For purposes of this writing, rather then dwell on just how much money these professional athletes make, I want to focus on the Sixers’ actions in offering this contract.  Because along with a maximum amount teams are allowed to pay individual players, there is also a salary cap in the NBA which limits how much each team can pay collectively for all their players each season.  So teams must decide how much they are willing to spend on each player they want to try to get or maintain on their team, because no team is allowed the money to just sign whoever they want for whatever amount they want.  Once a couple big contracts are given out, there are (relatively) limited funds to fill out the rest of the team.  So when teams commit a max contract to an individual player, they better be quite sure about that player or else they can hamstring the rest of the franchise if the player turns out not to be worth it.

And so despite Joel Embiid’s substantial injury history, the Sixers are saying they believe he is worth it and they are committing a significant amount of the team’s future to him.  If Embiid plays only 31 games over the next 3 years, the Sixers will be in a world of hurt.  They may not be as bad as they have been over the past several years due to some of the other good young players they have acquired during that time period, but they likely will fall well short of any championship aspirations.  And they will be limited as to what other players they can pursue due to the big contract doled out to Embiid.  Still, the Sixers are saying he is worth it.  And despite some salary cap protections that are reportedly included in the contract to hedge against injury, the team is still taking a big risk.  Team ownership, management, and all their fans fervently pray that Joel Embiid can stay healthy!

As Christians, when we say we trust God, it sometimes sure does feel like we’re taking some risks.  We take things that we have come to realize that we can’t command control over and place our trust in God to see them through.  And yet, it sometimes feels like God is only showing up 31 out of the 246 times we need Him.  Sometimes the percentages seem even worse.  When we see all these terrible things happening in the world or to our loved ones or when we are struggling with our own personal troubles and dilemmas, it can feel way too often as if God is just sitting on the sidelines, unable or unwilling to act.

And it sure feels like a risk to continue to trust Him.  At times we’d rather just do our best at handling things on our own without being left to dangle in the wind on any improbable hope that God is going to show up this time.  We’ve got plenty of stories we can tell where this would appear to be the case.  It frequently would seem much better not to commit to some max contract of faith in God and just work through things the best we can on our own or with the help of others, rather than getting our hopes up that God is going to do something.

Now, part of us knows that this isn’t true.  We are reminded and comforted with many words in Scripture that God will never leave or forsake us.  There is an innate part of our faith where we know these things to be true.  We know that God is not just sitting on the sidelines with a broken foot, but is sovereignly in control over all, even if we often can’t figure out the how, when, where, or why.  But there are other parts of us who want those protections built into the contract for when things do not play out the way we think they should and when it appears as if God hasn’t shown up.  Sometimes we may feel like we don’t want the contract at all.

The bottom line is that God is the one has committed a max contract to us despite all of our injuries and sins and other shortcomings.  We are the ones who really only come through 31 out of 246 times, if that, and yet God is not deterred.  He signed His contract……. in blood……. on the Cross.  God was the one willing to take the risk and say we are worth it.  That we are worth every last dollar of excruciating pain and anguish built into this max contract with no salary cap in sight.

As we labor through the struggles of life, may we remember the Sacrifice that was made to bestow a contract upon us for which we are woefully unworthy, and yet is given in glorious and astounding love.  Even when and most especially when we feel abandoned and can’t make sense of things happening around us.  The contract has been signed in His blood……. it cannot fail. 

  100 Responses to “Kevin’s Conversations: God and the Max Contract”

  1. “God was the one willing to take the risk and say we are worth it” … 🙂
    it was not so much our worth, but the fact of the cross that made me willing to accept our God as worthy to be God… His unspeakable and unfathomable sacrifice
    looking around at the state of the world, i didn’t think much of God until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the price He paid to redeem His creation… i often wonder if i had been born before our Lord was incarnated, would i have ever done so? now that is humbling and a bit scary

  2. While I a appreciate the spiritual lesson…

    The Sixers are a mess.

  3. The cross is the only viable answer there is for much of what we live through here…

  4. Josh,

    You watch out, the Sixers will be kicking butt within the next couple years….. if they can just stay healthy!

  5. The new Sixers are the old Blazers…if only they could have stayed healthy….they couldn’t…

  6. Michael,

    Yes, when we can’t understand all the terrible things that happen in this world and all around us, we look to the cross and see the horrific suffering of Jesus on our behalf. Our Savior knows what we are experiencing.

  7. Michael,

    We’re just hoping that Embiid is not the next Bill Walton, or even worse, Sam Bowie!

  8. Walton was awesome. Embiid will almost definitely be closer to Bowie.

    @4 – They can’t stay healthy. Can not. They’ve had the last 100 #1 picks in a row. All tore their legs off before the season begins. This “process” is terrible.

    Time for a new plan.

    My Hornets on the other hand should be mediocre this year. In Charlotte, we LOVE mediocre.

  9. Evangelical culture has always made doubt a sin…if it is, I’m going to split hell wide open.

    Faith is difficult…belief may not waiver, but faith is only possible if it’s God given.

  10. Josh,

    You are so far off on your facts. Markelle Fultz’s injury right now is his shoulder, nothing to do with his leg. Get your facts straight! 😉

    P.S. And here’s hoping your Panthers are even less than mediocre tomorrow!

  11. Nope, we will be full on mediocre. So far everyone else except the Saints have been less than mediocre. I really think tomorrow’s game could be fun.

    @ 9 – Doubt is an integral part of faith, I think.

  12. Michael,

    If doubt is a sin, then so is faking it.

  13. Jean,


    I’m going through a reevaluation of what I believe and why I believe it…what I can hang on to with both hands and what I can no longer profess.

    It’s scary to do so privately…it would be almost impossible to do in public.

    I’m sure I will eventually anyway… 🙂

  14. #14 Michael

    I’ve come to a point of knowing what I believe (for the most part) – Scripture, Creeds, Doctrine, Church History, etc.

    The active exercise of faith, however, is a daily struggle – Why did my friend die? Why did my wife’s friend lose her home to the flames? I know the “theological” answers as they are part of what I believe. Having faith, however, in those answers is another matter.

    But that’s just me…

  15. Duane,

    You have company. 🙂
    I need to come up with a coherent doctrine of Scripture that I can define in less than an hour.
    It won’t include the word “inerrant’…

  16. I’ll go a step farther: Doubt is a necessary ingredient of faith.

    I don’t doubt that when I type the letters on my keyboard they will appear on the screen. I’ve seen it happen a million times. It requires no faith.

    Faith being about something I haven’t seen means that there will definitely be an occasion of doubt on the road to faith.

  17. I’m thinking these days that few things harm a relationship with God more than a distorted expectation of Scripture.

    Our expectations of Scripture become our expectations of God …and God is not a book.

    Early thoughts…don’t ask me much more… 🙂

  18. #18 Michael

    Christ came to found a church… not a library. While Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation (39 Articles), salvation itself stands outside of Scripture… Otherwise, what would the early Church, without a complete canon, have said of salvation? In my view the essential element of salvation is Christ himself who makes himself present in a unique way when two or three are gathered in his name.

  19. Duane,


    As I look at the three creeds and the 39 Articles, none of them speak to the “inerrancy” of Scripture and only the Articles speak to Scripture at all.

    They say it is sufficient for salvation…which I can certainly affirm.

  20. Do not the Scriptures bear witness to themselves and what we are to believe about and from them?

  21. Jean,

    That’s been the argument. 🙂

    At some point we have to be honest enough to admit that the “promises” aren’t always kept and that the Bible isn’t always “literally” true.

    When we reach that point we have to think more deeply about what kind of “true” the Bible is…

  22. The Bible is the only access mankind has to the “ONE.”

    “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

  23. “The Bible is the only access mankind has to the “ONE.”

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more.

    It’s the primary revelation of God…but there are more ways to access Him…

  24. Such as?

  25. God is not is not a book. But God is the Word.

  26. I would start with prayer and personally add other avenues that some would call heresy.

    Let’s also be honest enough to say that we all read the Bible as mediated through our particular sects and confessions…leading to the Bible saying conflicting things, all of which are attributed to God.

  27. The Word says conflicting things to different sects…so there may be a deeper meaning to God being ‘The Word”…

  28. However, let’s also be honest enough to say that some sects and confessions are dead wrong. Otherwise, the “ONEs” in Eph are a lie.

  29. I would like to hear more on the promises that failed.

  30. Prayer is access to God only because God commands it and attaches promises to it in the Scriptures.

  31. Jean,

    I am not qualified to determine who among us is “dead wrong” and I acknowledge the possibility that it could be the sect I prefer.

    On the other hand I could be charitable and acknowledge that all orthodox sects contain enough truth for saving faith along with error.

    That’s where I land…

  32. #23 Jean

    “The Bible is the only access mankind has to the “ONE.””

    What then did Christians do for the first 200-300 years?

  33. “I would like to hear more on the promises that failed.”

    Have you ever called your elders together and anointed a sick person and prayed that they would be healed only to watch them die or remain in their infirmity?

    That’s one…

  34. Are all homeless or hungry people heathen?

    They had promises too…

  35. “What then did Christians do for the first 200-300 years?”


    The Church has always had the Word of God. By the Advent of Christ, the Church had the Hebrew Scriptures. From there, the Church added oral tradition and quickly New Testament Scriptures.

  36. Jean,

    What volume of church history did you get that out of?
    The church has always had a partial revelation of God in some Scriptures, but there were many other documents given equal weight in those early years and how much of Scripture was possessed varied with time and location.

  37. OK, so you think Jesus is a liar or false prophet – I don’t. You make the same mistake as the word faith guys (and gals) and put all these promises in the wrong eschaton – the wrong time zone.

    Go back and review the times Jesus healed and he likened healing to salvation. Is it easier to me to say take up your bed and walk or that your sins are forgiven. – or whatever the word order.

  38. Yes, there was sifting, controversies, councils, and (1) the Church catholic aided by the Spirit agreed on a canon; and (2) our presence today bears witness that the early Church, aided by the Spirit did a great job.

  39. OK, so you think Jesus is a liar or false prophet –
    I mean this in a nice way – the bible is clear who those are who make prophecies, promises that do not come about.

  40. MLD,

    “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
    (James 5:13–15 ESV)

    This sounds like a word to the church to me…

    So can you define for me which words are for another time zone and which are for today?

    Can you also tell us the process by which you define which are which?

    By the way, do not dare account to me what you claimed I believed about my Lord ever again.


  41. MLD,

    Last warning.

  42. #36 Jean


    Ah, yes the Gentile converts had the Hebrew Scriptures, which they could not read if, big if, they had a full collection of scrolls, which most Jews did not even possess at that time – often they just had the Torah. After the 130s and the LXX, there was a very limited access to a Greek version, but it was not in common use for some decades and then only to a small literate portion of the population.

    Yes, they had the Word – the Word made flesh – whom they encountered in prayer, memoirs of some Apostles and in the Eucharist. Indeed, the best known words of Jesus in the early church would have been the Words of Institution.

  43. When the Bible is conflated with Christ Himself that’s when you get the sort of accusations made against my faith in this thread.

    That’s why I refuse to buy in to that line ever again.

    We can speak of inspiration and revelation, but conflation needs to be stopped.

  44. But you said the promises failed – you not only said it, you listed them. I will leave it at I do not believe what you believe on this particular topic.

    Also for clarification of my #40 – I was not saying that the Bible would say that about you – I am saying that the Bible says that Jesus should be called a false prophet if he made promises that did not come true.

  45. MLD,

    Do all people anointed and prayed for by the church (as the Scriptures demand the CHURCH do) recover?

    Yes or no?

    Is that a promise or not?

    Yes or no?

  46. #44 Michael

    “We can speak of inspiration and revelation, but conflation needs to be stopped.”

    Yes. I worship Christ. I revere and to some extent venerate Scripture, but I do not worship the Canon. I worship the One spoken of by Scripture. To do otherwise is idolatry, at least in my understanding of the term.

  47. Duane the sermons in Acts are preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures. The letters, Jesus’ preaching, etc. are all fulfillment preaching of OT Scriptures.

  48. Duane,

    Mine as well.

    I will also note one more time that the Bible most people defend is their sects interpretation of what the shared text says…which is often in conflict with another orthodox sect.

  49. My scriptures doesn’t say recover – mine says – “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.”

    Whatever that may mean – yes it comes to pass.

    But remember, which is easier to say? What if the sick person is in need of salvation? I myself cannot stamp “FAILED” across that page.- what does it mean the lord will raise them up?

  50. Let’s not strawman this gentlemen’s discussion. NO one argued that we should worship the Bible. No one conflated Christ with the Bible.

  51. MLD,

    The obvious inference is that the person will be made well from the sickness…and their sins will be forgiven.

    Two acts of mercy.

    That doesn’t always come to pass.

    It is always amusing to read those who will insist that “this is my body” is literal while making a metaphor of other passages when necessary..

  52. Jean,

    MLD is indeed making that conflation when he says that Jesus is a false prophet if the writings of James are not always true.

    It assumes the words we have are the very words of God…and I’m not sure that’s the case.

  53. #48 Jean

    Who is doing the preaching? Christ, preaching to the Jews. Then, Jewish Christians standing likewise in the oral rabbinic tradition. Paul takes another approach preaching in Athens.

    They did not have a local Lifeway to go and pick up copies of either the complete canon of the OT, much less the emerging NT! We have to take the historical, social and religious context of the first centuries seriously if we are going to fully appreciate the miraculous journey of the Church as well as the acceptance of Scripture. Part of that recognition is that exposure to the written Word was limited. Exposure to the Word made flesh, however, happened at every eucharist.

  54. Michael – I have not read these passages as metaphor – I look to what Jesus said and meant when he healed people.

    So what else has Jesus failed to deliver on? How do we know in the end he will deliver on that salvation promise?

    While I was typing I saw your #53 – so I see that Anglicans agree with Luther on James? (everything James knows he learned from Jesus)

  55. MLD

    “It is always amusing to read those who will insist that “this is my body” is literal while making a metaphor of other passages when necessary..”

    They were using the words of institution before they ever saw them written on a scrap of papyrus…

  56. MLD,

    You haven’t answered the passage in question.

  57. Are these passages always literally true?
    If not, how do we read them without doing damage to either the goodness of God or the veracity of Scripture?

    ““Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
    (Matthew 6:25–33 ESV)

  58. remember the mustard seed? maybe, remember thinking that it described tiny faith? ever tried to move a mountain? … what does it mean, faith has substance? isn’t it just attitude? guess not…
    ever been a parent telling your child to do something and have them come back at you with “why?” and you knew that answering that question would serve no purpose?

    this thread is great, i’m loving reading it because of one thing that stands out for me… i’m reading the ponders and conclusions of a bunch of people that know that God is… He is an immutable, eternal fact … there is nothing in the mind of man or the planet that makes more sense or gives more hope than the fact of Him …
    Faith comes by hearing the Word of God… some of which gets dispensed to us right here on the PhxP

    at the very least, we are a bunch of imperfect kids with a perfect Parent… Thank God for grace and mercy and thank you folks for a good read here this afternoon, too

  59. Duane,
    “They were using the words of institution before they ever saw them written on a scrap of papyrus…” — I agree. I have not been making the argument about written scriptures – that is someone else.

    I have been arguing against failed promises in the scriptures.

  60. Michael, are you making the claim that the earth does not provide enough resources to feed and cloth mankind? That would not be a wise conclusion.

    Is it possible that man, greed and failed distribution are to blame?

    But you claim in directly quoting the Lord Jesus Christ, you had better walk carefully when you say he has failed to deliver. You Anglicans are a lot more ballsey than us Lutherans ever dared to be. 🙂

  61. It was safe to be Reformed, just like it’s safe to be a Lutheran.
    The Westminster or Concord answer every question.
    The confessions settle all matters.
    Not for me.

    I couldn’t hack being safe anymore.

    Questioning Scripture is not the same as questioning Christ…and if He objects to honest questions or doubt, then I’m toast already.

  62. That is such grandstanding – since your ‘change’ you have referred to the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles in a ratio of at least 50 to 1 for any mention that Jean or I have made to the Lutheran Confessions.

    But you are correct with one charge – we do like the scriptures. 😉

  63. MLD,

    Not grandstanding at all.
    In case you missed it, I included my former tribe in the mix.

    The 39 Articles are known for being both brief and open to broad interpretation.
    Not so with the Book of Concord or the Reformed confessions.

  64. Perhaps it should be tightened up a bit in what it allows – an interview with John Shelby Spong – a man still in good standing who in this interviews denies almost everything the Gospel of John claims about Jesus.


    Now I am sure there are Lutherans who do the same, but not while claiming to stand on the Lutheran Confessions.

  65. My wife has been laid up with a bad back the past week and a half. I need to go out and do the grocery shopping which is a dangerous move. I come home with way to much ice cream and not nearly enough fruits and vegetables. 🙂

  66. Let’s always use the worst example of another sect when arguing…it makes us look so very holy.

  67. Why is he the worst example? Perhaps he is mainstream – why is still allowed to wear the purple shirt and collar? Doesn’t he fall into the broad interpretation?

    I personally like tight, down the middle interpretation. It really is a good interview – he is well spoken – it’s not like he is some loon.

  68. Duane,

    “We have to take the historical, social and religious context of the first centuries seriously if we are going to fully appreciate the miraculous journey of the Church as well as the acceptance of Scripture. Part of that recognition is that exposure to the written Word was limited. Exposure to the Word made flesh, however, happened at every eucharist.”

    I’m not sure what your point is or point of disagreement. I already said, but let me clarify, that before the NT was written, the apostles and early Church had the OT plus oral tradition. So, the Church always had the external Word of God. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” It is so crystal clear in the gospels in particular, that Jesus was fulfilling the promises in the OT. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.”

    Regarding the Eucharist, it is only the body and blood of Christ (in, with and under the bread and wine) when the Word of God, in the words of institution, are spoken in the Church over the ordinary elements of bread and wine.

  69. #69 Jean

    Most early Christians, for two hundred years, did not have access to the tests…

  70. I know this will not be a popular comment, and it hurts me to say it…

    The arguments espoused in this thread are the very same arguments that “liberals” have always used to undermine Scripture.

    I wish there was a way to warn you and let you know that this path will not lead to the promised land you hope for.

    I’m afraid it’s too late for that, and I’m also sure that voicing this serious concern will not be taken kindly. I’m sorry for the offense, but I care too much not to say it.

  71. Josh,

    I’m not looking for any promised land in this regard.

    I was hoping that perhaps honest discussion around these issues was possible.
    I’ve already been accused of trying to “sow doubt”.

    I don’t have to sow anything…many people share these concerns.

    Per usual, instead of offering answers, there is labeling and accusation…it’s the way this usually works.

    Just a reminder…my teacher literally wrote the book on inerrancy and his scholarly work was far more in depth than the Chicago Statement.

    I’ve read the best…and there is still mystery and unanswered questions.

    I’ll continue the search elsewhere.

  72. You should have stayed with your teacher.

    I’m sorry brother, this is a bad path.

  73. I really wish I didn’t have to say it. I want to be liked.

    Unfortunately, I’ve been connected to this blog for ten years, and though we’ve all disagreed openly on most issues, there was always a solid core of fundamental truths that united us.

    That union is seeming pretty shaky.

  74. Josh,

    It’s not a path, it’s a discussion.
    Spare me the ominous warnings and try to interact with what I’ve said.

    When does the path become dangerous?
    When I utterly reject the pretrib rapture as a fantasy?
    When I confess that the Eucharist is body and blood?
    When I wonder why James says one thing and another happens?

    When I hold the Bible as the authority, but not an “inerrant” book?

    When is it too late?

    Does the fact that I believe in Christ and profess the creeds mean anything or do I have to buy the whole fundamentalist package?

  75. Josh,

    That unity is always an illusion if it’s based on a common understanding of Scripture.
    The differences here among orthodox believers are many, yet we all claim the Bible as authoritative.

    The unity is in Christ…no where else.

  76. Josh,

    Why would I not like you?
    We’ve never agreed on everything.

  77. I’ll be the bad guy, that’s fine.

    I’ve just been down this road many times. It’s like there is a text book with talking points. And we are hitting them all.

    Insult me if you must. I don’t think this is a good path for you, and you are my friend. Do I not say it?

    Hopefully, when you forget I’m a stupid little fundamentalist you’ll take time to consider if anything I’ve said is true.

  78. Josh,

    You haven’t interacted with any argument at all.
    You have declared the discussion dangerous and liberal without even attempting to answer anything.

    That may work some places, but not here.

    How would you answer the objections given other than declaring them “liberal”?

  79. I’ll be the bad guy along with Josh, who I agree with.

  80. Arguing with you and Duane over issues that have been argued back and forth for the last 200-300 years is completely fruitless. You are both smarter than me, and Duane is far more educated than me. The best I could do would be to offer faithful sources that have answered those charges, but those have already been dismissed in this thread.

    I’ve got no ammo, other than Scripture…and I think our belief in that is fundamentally different.

    I can’t debate you, only warn you as a friend. I’ve seen the end of this path. It isn’t pretty.

  81. Nobody even inferred that Josh was a bad guy.

    So far, I’ve been insulted and threatened, but nobody is interacting with what I actually said.

  82. Duane,

    “Most early Christians, for two hundred years, did not have access to the tests..”

    There you go again.


    I have been engaging in an discussion. It’s a counter point, but in good faith.

    I see nothing edifying or spirituality healthy in looking for God’s will outside the rock solid testimony of the Bible. And where He hasn’t spoken, I am free in the Gospel to make decisions based on reason.

  83. Are you expecting me to argue with you on whether or not the words of Jesus are true or not???

    Let God be true and every man a liar.

  84. I haven’t insulted or threatened.

    I didn’t read MLD’s comments, perhaps he did.

  85. Obviously, I’m the only one who is wrestling with the fact that these “promises” do fail and wonder how we reconcile that with Scripture.

    I leave you all to your certainty.

  86. Josh, Xenia, MLD, Jean,

    If we were to meet face to face, there is 98% we would agree upon with regard to texts transmission and all the rest. Michael and I agree 100%. If that is a problem, I’m sorry. I approach things differently, but in the main, we’re in accord. Do we have to nail every disagreement to the church door? I think not.

    My only hope is that you know I love you all…

  87. I don’t think anything that God promised ever fails… the problem is that we are not always the intended recipient of the promise and there are – IMO – a myriad of reasons for this… that is a whole separate ponder…

    God IS faithful – I wouldn’t trade one day of my bumbling life for a day not undergirded by the the watchful eye and the merciful grace of God… don’t think any of us would… even when our questions come… anger or tears, receive His grace… pride and disrespect for His holiness…? there’s the dangerous ground… or so it looks to me from here tonight… as Xenia noted God is true – man tends to lie – to himself, even

    Back to pondering

  88. When I one day stand before God, what if I was wrong about the Bible? If I was wrong in believing that the Bible was infallible and inerrant; and I ministered in that belief, then okay, I will accept that.

    But if I was wrong in believing the Bible was not infallible and inerrant; and I ministered in that belief, then I think I would somehow regret that.

    I’d encourage us to bear that in mind.

  89. I think it was ‘covered’ last week who gave the same warning as to what he was noticing around here in the teaching..

    Josh, “I didn’t read MLD’s comments, perhaps he did.” — I did get a final warning from Michael for challenging his comment that NT promises have failed and have not been fulfilled. That may be it.

  90. #89 CostcoCal

    You, my friend have spoken wisdom…

  91. We are all finding our way. We all know that we will stand before God. I want to know that I have faithfully used the gifts God has given… textual criticism, history, languages, etc. … in order to find, discover and extract all that we might learn. I pray that God will know my heart and my motivations.

  92. In regards to the NBA and professional sports at large, I am amazed how quickly it is devolving. Right in front of our eyes!

    Now I sound like an old timer but pro sports certainly do not captivate everyday society as twenty or thirty years ago. Not even baseball. Pro sports do not have the same energy as they did back in the day on ESPN or USA TODAY.

    I wonder what all this means. Maybe nothing.

  93. I don’t see anything wrong with what James wrote. Didn’t Peter begin to walk on water before he started sinking? One could take this as insulting, meaning the ol’e hurtful, “you weren’t healed because you didn’t have enough faith.” Maybe, maybe not. Wasn’t a man born blind solely to be in the path of Jesus some day to be healed and declare the glory of God? Didn’t David fast and mourn to the extreme, yet his baby was still taken from him? No one in his court understood, but David, with the most to lose (not counting Bathsheba) did.

    As for worrying about food, can be fed tonight by going to The Olive Garden, just the same as when I was a kid and ate government cheese and cold tamales and Vienna sausages out of dented cans that my mother got from the cannery at discount (the latter I blamed solely on my mother’s poor stewardship and mental illnesses). We were homeless for a while and suffered, but ultimately, things worked out for the good, but not through being taught severe life’s lessons.

  94. Michael – help some of us along with your transition. Now that you are training to be an Anglican pastor and I am sure you are learning all of the ins and outs of Anglican congregational life – I would like to ask – is your local Anglican pastor at the local Anglican parish on board with your new broader understanding of scripture? Is he OK with this openness being taught within the congregation?
    If he is, I guess I will respect and accept that as the way of the Anglicans.

  95. MLD,

    I’m seriously considering helping you out on a permanent basis.
    I may not be the only one transitioning.
    I have espoused no doctrine of Scripture here…indeed I stated clearly that I was still in the process of formulating such.
    We were unable to have a conversation around one point I’m wrestling with as some perceive wrestling as apostasy.
    Asking questions led to assumptions of liberal theology and accusations of leading the faithful astray.

    In any case, there is nothing I am thinking, reading, or writing that is outside the Anglican tradition.
    I fully affirm the three creeds and the Thirty Nine Articles.
    Some traditions allow people to think and study, not just parrot a company line.

    Now, I’m off before i completely lose my temper.

  96. Michael,

    When it comes to doubt and questions about the reality of God vs. the realities of everyday life, I’ve been helped by a couple of books by Philip Yancey. One I especially recommend is called “Disappointment with God” — 3 Questions No One Asks Aloud.”

    The other is “Where is God When it Hurts.” Philip has a lot of stories in both books about believers who confront the difference between how they might think God is “at work” versus the realities of daily life. Definitely not preachy, in the negative sense of the word.

    “Some traditions allow people to think and study, not just parrot a company line.”

    Count your blessings!

    To question God is not wrong — just look at all the lamenting in the OT!

    God wants us to love Him with all our mind (along with heart, strength, and soul). I believe you’ll be a stronger, more empathetic person (not that you’re not already!) when you come out the other end of your searching. I’m praying for you.

  97. bob1,

    I had just those books in mind when I was thinking through all this…Yancey is a gift.

    I wonder how much backlash he got for writing them.

    Thank you…thank you for hearing.

    That too is a gift…

  98. Michael, I have not leveled any charges of liberalism. You are the one who keeps bringing up this new openness in understanding scripture. All I have asked here is in your transition how this has been supervised by some local Anglican pastor?
    In the Lutheran church the 3rd year seminarian interns for a year in a local congregation when they structure their in depth learning into the life of a congregation so when they return for their 4th and final year of seminary, they can now put the final pieces of their new learning into a congregational perspective.

    I would have thought that would have been a great opportunity to share your journey of working with a new crowd of people. But it’s bed time.

  99. First, there is no affiliate church here of the group I’m joining.
    Second, this will be the last place I share anything about what I’m doing or where.

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