Jan 302013

B-8-sew-loose-ends-451x300Family members of the accused killer in the Albuquerque tragedy have created some controversy by making statements of support for him.

The statements have not denied the horrific nature of the crimes or the need to see justice take it’s course, but have been expressions of deep concern and familial love.

This has evoked no small derision and some outrage from others in the community and on various forums as some believe this “monster” has forfeited all human graces.

This notion, in my opinion, strikes at the very heart of the Christian faith and the cross of Jesus Christ.

When He was being murdered for our sins, the Lord said “, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.””(Luke 23:34 ESV)

We had a hand in the murder of our Lord, He died for our sins too.

We do not know what compelled this child to commit this awful crime and perhaps we never will.

It was evil unrestrained and wicked beyond comprehension.

The criminal justice system will do it’s work and he will receive earthly justice and that is as it should be.

However, until the end of his earthly life, he can still be offered the possibility of divine grace and redemption that was purchased for him when Christ died for him.

While some may be unable to offer this young killer grace, I will not condemn those who can.

My Five Favorite “Heretics”:

1.Eugene Peterson

2.Walter Brueggemann

3. Frederick Buechner

4. N.T. Wright

5. C.S. Lewis

Evangelicals have read Lewis for decades to great profit…without acknowledging that he held to “aberrant” doctrines in some areas.

The key here is that he wrote before the internet age…when we judged a work according to it’s merits, not according to whether the author fit our mold.

Out of time…off to work.






  23 Responses to “Loose Ends”

  1. “However, until the end of his earthly life, he can still be offered the possibility of divine grace and redemption that was purchased for him when Christ died for him.”

    Doesn’t he already have it?

  2. From what I have read, this family really loves and supports one another. I am in awe of the grace and love they are showing that young man. I pray with them that this boy’s life is not completely wasted. It is a horrible situation that I cannot fathom.

  3. I am encouraged by the response of the surviving family members in Alb. It models for many the reality of grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love instead of relegating it to a doctrinal point or sermon topic. It is encouraging to notice it in high profile instances, but also to see it in everyday actions and responses. Our faith wears well in public when we become what we believe.

  4. This was a tragedy on so many levels. Our son is very close with a sibling and they attend the same church. We can sometimes give our opinions and dig in on certain conclusions. When it’s a bit closer to home we take a step back and wonder what would we say and do if it were our family. In this particular case hearing that someone’s brother, nephew or grandson in a “monster” is probably hard to hear (even if true) in this situation. While they are offended by that tag, deep down they know it’s true and it’s probably very hard to hear if from others. Sort of like knowing your kid is a brat but hearing it from others seems very harsh.

  5. A Few Added Heretics that I enjoy

    Rodney Stark

    Randy Clark

    Gary Burge

    Philip Jenkins

    D G Dunn

    but I like Michael’s list better just throwing in some others

  6. I can’t critique how the family, and those close to tragedy handle it. However they can get through it, God bless them.

    Far as the “heretics” – #’s 1,4, and 5 would only be called heretics by the most small-minded folks. They are generally respected, even if thought of as a little liberal. I will say, I just heard Tony Jones trashing C.S. Lewis about a month ago. Lewis is not exempt either.

    Walter Brueggemann is teaching a class at Gardner Webb’s Divinity School this spring. I think I’ll attend, if nothing else to say I took a class under Brueggemann.

  7. Hey Michael and PP Community. What do you think of Karl Barth? I’ve been reading him lately and I’d love to get some feedback if you have familiarity with his works and beliefs. Thanks!

  8. Do we offfer that same grace to others tho? I have seen many people get raked over the coals on this Community Blog for way less than what this kid did. No problem with offering Grace but at least let’s be consistent and offer it to everyone not just when it is a Kid of a Christian family.

  9. Thanks everyone. That was very enlightening!! Wtf? 😉

  10. two more ‘heretics’ I’ve come to treasure, Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning

  11. PTI,

    Karl Barth was a giant neo-Reformed thinker. I kind of have a rule — the more someone trashes Karl Barth, the more fundamentalist they are. He said some good things. I’m trying to think of someone in the Lutheran or Reformed communities who’s written something balanced about the guy, but no one comes to mind. Doesn’t mean it isn’t out there.

    What’s kind of ironic is that in his time, Barth was considered conservative by mainline church theologians. Barth argued for the freedom of God. But he’s considered just the opposite — a liberal and/or apostate — by most or nearly all conservative fundagelical types. And I’d include conservative Calvinists in that evaluation.

    Go figure.

  12. PTI,
    I can tell you a little about Barth just from some recent reading on the topic of the proper distinction of Law and Gospel.
    It’s called Barth’s inversion of law and gospel.

    This topic is reserved almost exclusively by Lutherans, who take a very strong stand on the separation and the Reformed who have retreated a bit. But all believe that you begin with the law to make people aware of their sin – the law does not drive anyone to Christ… it just makes people feel crappy, so that when they hear the gospel, they know that there is some relief from their “crappiness” and the gospel draws the prepared heart to Jesus. Lutherans leave you in the gospel, where the reformed now seem to go law, gospel law. Preach the law and move to the gospel – once someone reacts to the gospel, they take them back to the law with “a good Christian does these things… so do them.”

    Barth, and I am not an expert here came up with a theology that starts people off with the gospel. Preach the gospel to people and they will react, with no preparation of the law shining light on their need for a savior. But after, he then takes them to the law.

    My understanding, which is limited, is that he was so into fighting for orthodoxy in a time between the enlightenment and modernism and the advent of WWI. Issues we don’t face today.

    In the end, the guy was quite brilliant… but wrong to the law / gospel issue. I need to go back and read that chapter again – I just read it last week, so great that you asked.

  13. Wow, the 2 Lutherans had a night time tale to tell about Barth.

    Most evangelicals think he was the wookie in Spaceballs (Barf) 😉

  14. I was thinking this morning about grace and illegal immigration. I am so thankful that God shows grace to me a law breaker, but I wish more christians would see how they are treated by God and show the same grace. Luckily not as many posts as I would expect, maybe people are actually reading and thinking about the verses I am putting up about sojourners and strangers from the bible.

  15. Really, PTI???

  16. Personally, my favorite heretics are on this blog 🙂

  17. Alex,
    that was funny. and probably true. 😉

  18. Okay, Lutes. Thanks for your insights. Very appreciated.

  19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uI8txqQXklc

    I try very hard not to let these stories bother me. I know there apologetic value as they show our total and complete depravity and that in and of itself justifies such thinking. I do not say that for the “shock” value it was the way I was raise as a “Christian”, everything was about the apologetic. If 10, 000 die in an African war and it supports some novel prophetic voice then that was an extremely small price to pay for the support of that prophecy. I remember many times when in bible studies fine folks who did what they could would talk about the deaths of billions in a mushroom cloud or vast pandemic to fulfill “prophecy”. On tv they would drool over headlines at some God awful event to prove a point of view of a prophecy from some obscure text written by some person not even named interpreted by generations to mean something else and call it inerrant. I hope I dont offend anyone but it is just so frustrating for me, which means nothing. What means something is the loss of this young person and the bazillion other people who fall to random violence.

  20. 25 guests online at 5 AM? Who are you people? Has the body of Christ been hit simultaneously with mass insomnia and a desire for petty theological bickering?

  21. PP Vet,
    Petty theological bickering?!? Why, I never, if only, and, and, :: sputter ::
    …oh, wait, the Vente Americano still needs to kick in… 😉

  22. My favorite heretic is George MacDonald.

  23. PZI,

    Here’s your book. It looks like a really solid and fair treatment of the man.

    Have you been to seminary or know anyone who has? I’m sure at any reputable seminary you’d study Barth along the way.


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