Jul 292013
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The biggest theological problem today (and the one that we have ignored to our ruin) is holiness.

Until you come to grips with the holiness of God and His demands for holiness from His people you cannot begin to comprehend the biblical narrative in a meaningful fashion. It is only when you understand  the holiness of God and the unholiness of fallen men you begin to understand the difference between you and God…and your desperate need for a Savior.

2. We have so stressed the immanence of God in this generation that we have begun to despise the God who is transcendent. Without a knowledge of both, we worship an idol of our own making.

3.Charles Spurgeon said;“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” The question before the house is do our words and actions look like pleading with the lost to be reconciled to God or like we’re pushing them to the pit in Jesus name?

4. Psychologist Rollo May identifies five kinds of power that leaders can exert. (1) Exploitative power uses physical force or the threat of violence and leaves the other with no choice but to comply. (2) Manipulative power uses the covert cunning of the con man rather than the gunman. (3) Competitive power employs an I win / you lose strategy. Only one can win, and it results in shrinkage of community. (4) Nutrient power is likened to the parents’ care for their children; they exercise their power to do them good. Problems arise when “care” becomes smothering and when it insists on doing children good the parents’ way. Such methods create dependency.(5) Integrative power works with the other person to enable them to grow both mentally and spiritually. I thought that was interesting, especially in light of the fact that I have very little to offer today.

5. The G.R.A.C.E. statement on child abuse in the church has only gathered about 1400 signatures despite being seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Make your own application…

6. This link is better than anything I’ll write this week…

7. When I was a lad there were many cultural role models,( both real and fictitious) that assisted in forming good character. The children of today are stuck with us. How are we doing?

8. This is what I taught on Sunday night;  “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”(2 Corinthians 10:3–5 ESV) The battle from the beginning has been with supernatural darkness, (not other people) and the battleground is your mind. We’ve lost many battles because we have chosen to use the weapons of the world instead of the ones of the Spirit. The biggest win of the enemy has been to divide us against each other…and the war goes on.

9. The aforementioned war goes on whether you choose to acknowledge it or not….and you are a participant whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

10. The biggest takeaway from my little break in the woods? There is still a vast amount of beauty, peace, and grace on this broken planet…and it’s worth pointing to as much as that which is broken.

  82 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. Grace does not negate holiness. We are saved by grace. We are empowered to be holy. I struggle with this all the time. It shuts me up more than you know.

  2. The article by Chaplain Mike was wonderfully honest and real. Being real and honest about our fears and dark moments in life is the greatest reminder of our indescribably great blessings.

  3. The internet monk article is excellent! It’s so good to “hear” someone being honest about these kinds of thoughts.

  4. 1. True. Our weaknesses are blessings in that we daily realize are desparate need for Jesus. I know I do, anyway.

    2. Not sure what this means, but I was never in a heavy “rapture” type church either.

    3. I love Spurgeon’s quote. Our words and actions look more like we are ashamed to even have a Gospel at all.

    4. I’m not sure that it is possible for any human to have any power without some oppression. I think it is one of the ugly truths of human nature.

    5. I don’t think people put much stock in online petitions.

    6. Very well written. Maybe the reason there are so many “Fear Not”s in the bible is that God knows we are gonna be afraid.

    7. There are still plenty of role models, the cultural morality has just changed drastically. Believe it or not, our culture celebrates the people it thinks are good.

    8. Hmm. THinking about it.

    9. This is true. We engage in battle when we kneel to pray.

    10. Agreed. I’ve been so stressed for the last few weeks, I’ve just been miserable. Driving up the road to my house last night, I noticed a huge, pink sun going down behind a million trees. So beautiful. Easy to forget.

  5. 1. I think an equally important theological truth we are missing is that God loves and accepts us, just as we are and not as we should be. NOTHING we can do, positive or negative, changes that one bit.
    Some of have no issues with believing we’re the biggest sinner on the planet and that we don’t even deserve to live, but rather just go straight to hell because we don’t believe the “right stuff” (whatever that is) or do the “right thing” (whatever that is).
    We don’t have any problem believing we are not worthy to be called “saint”. That’s a no brainer….
    What’s difficult, is to believe that despite all that, we are wildly, crazily, and passionately LOVED by this Holy God. That despite all our flaws, and we have many, He loves us.
    THAT is what makes no sense to us.
    Who in their right minds could believe we are loved like that?

  6. GOtta give a Hallelujah to London’s # 5!

  7. I’ve got a serious happy hangover from my time on the mountain…having a hard time re acclimating to “reality”.

  8. I’m with you there, Michael. Not quite the same, but back to work after spending the summer as a pastoral intern…having a hard time re acclimating as well.

  9. London’s #5 will be copied and pasted into my quotes library. What a fantastic statement on the holiness and love of God!

  10. CK,

    I thought I already ordained you… 🙂

  11. I read a book a few months back called “The Utter Relief of Holiness” that I highly recommend, it was very thought provoking. Because the author is a favorite pinata in many Christian circles, I acknowledge that it’s more fun to shred than to think and back softly away, hoping that it might be good for just one heart . . .

  12. 1. Too many people live according to I Opinions 1:1 “God wants me happy” instead of facing the fact that according to God’s Word, He is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness.

  13. London’s number 5 is a winner!

  14. London,
    Looks like you hit a home run with #5. I like John Eldredge’s writings too.

  15. Does our being holy (our state of holiness) have anything to do with us?

  16. John Eldredge?
    what does he have to do with anything? I’m missing the link to what I said.

  17. Another scintillating ThITh. Love the Rollo May thing, how timely, lots to chew on there.

  18. “The biggest win of the enemy has been to divide us against each other…and the war goes on.” Yes, yes, yes!!!
    When I was working in a huge missionary community, there would sometimes be huge “issues” and I will never forget one man so wisely admonishing the group with something to the effect, “Let’s remember folks, WE (all of us here) are NOT the enemy. There is a true enemy, but WE are not him. Let’s keep that in mind as we work through this.” I have never forgotten that!

  19. Sorry, London. That was in reference to Rob Murphy’s post #11 about the book. I was referring to John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart.

  20. No worries.

  21. I’m more positive about the 1,400 signatures…it’s about 1,399 more support than I got from within Calvary Chapel regarding the same issue.

    The biggest theological problem today is the appeal to theology as god.

  22. Michael wrote, “Until you come to grips with the holiness of God and His demands for holiness from His people you cannot begin to comprehend the biblical narrative in a meaningful fashion”

    OK, how much holiness does God require of me? Give me some quantifiable metrics. I thought only Jesus could satisfy God’s demand for holiness perfectly?

  23. Rickity Bobboly,
    It’s all about you. You define holiness.

  24. #7 Not good

  25. You know someone could post up some bible verses dealing with progressive sanctification, but RB would challenge the meaning and try to steer it towards biblical interpretation….and on and on.

    This ride never stops.

    Good ThITh, Michael.

  26. RB,

    God requires perfect holiness from you.
    That is why we rejoice in the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    The point of what I wrote is that until we understand that our sin was such an offense to a holy God that only the sacrifice of the Son of God could cover it, we understand nothing of the biblical narrative.

    God called His people to be separate and holy…and then provided the only way for them to be such.

  27. Holiness is not the important issue, not nearly. Never has been, never will be. It’s the big philosophical mistake of the Selective Fundamentalist.

    You can’t be holy enough, reads one narrative. Only Jesus can satisfy the full law of God, etc, blah, blah.

    In the other breath, you have to be holy as God is holy, then in the next breath you can’t be holy like God is holy, that is impossible.

    And round and round you go on the holiness hampster wheel.

    Pick one. If you can be holy enough to satisfy God, then by all means…

    If you can’t be holy enough to satisfy God, then what does it matter? Bema Seat rewards?

  28. “God called His people to be separate and holy…and then provided the only way for them to be such.”

    We’re not far off in one sense, I too believe that Jesus provided the way and is the only sacrifice worthy etc.

    Where we differ is that I believe all of God’s Creation are “his people” and that redemption is for all (eventually) whether in this life or the next.

  29. Jesus was that perfect sacrifice for those who would trust in Him.
    Unfortunately, even a cursory reading of the Gospels will show that by His own words, Jesus excludes some from that number.
    For me to be “intellectually honest’ I have to take all the recorded words of the Lord to be true, or none of the recorded words of the Lord to be true.
    By faith, I believe them all to be true.
    I have questions, just as others do…but I trust when I get home the answers to the most difficult ones will make me rejoice in the wisdom and goodness of God.

  30. “Unfortunately, even a cursory reading of the Gospels will show that by His own words, Jesus excludes some from that number.
    For me to be “intellectually honest’ I have to take all the recorded words of the Lord to be true, or none of the recorded words of the Lord to be true.”

    This is your error and is a Fallacy.

    The bible contradicts many recountings from the witnesses as to the events and even the what was stated. Three different accounts of Jesus’s last words. Differing accounts of where he taught the Sermon on the Mount, etc etc.

    The fact is, the bible isn’t perfect as it is told through human filters. There is some truth in there, but we must use conscience and reason and factor in new revelation when dealign things of the spirit, which is God…and not ink on a piece of paper bound in a book.

    The bible doesn’t have to be perfect and without error for some of the things to be truth. One mistake, 100 mistakes, 1,000 mistakes does not necessarily void the truthfulness of God and Jesus.

  31. That is your opinion and I couldn’t disagree more.
    However, there is no profit in debating with you, so I’ll leave this discussion.
    Peace.

  32. How then do you resolve the differing accounts? The apologetic is extremely weak. You state:

    “I have to take all the recorded words of the Lord to be true, or none of the recorded words of the Lord to be true”

    Then when presented with three differing accounts (that all cannot be true at the same time) of Jesus’s last words…you want to leave the discussion.

  33. RB,

    You’ve made your position clear.
    These objections are as old as the Bible itself…and one will choose to believe what one wishes.
    There are far better sources than myself if you honestly want those answers.
    I’m not interested in turning another thread over to you, nor am I interested in endless debate.
    Feel free to post a link to your blog where people can engage you if they choose to, instead of having to do so here.

  34. Yet you regularly discuss things that have been hashed out for centuries and been cast in stone and you discuss those things over and over like Calvinism vs. Arminianism or justification or holiness or all manner of old doctrines where there are far better sources and people will believe what they want to believe as evidenced by the differing opinions on all the other subjects under discussion daily here…all issues that are as “old as the bible itself”

  35. You are interested in endless debate as you discuss the same issues over and over and over for going on 5 years that I’ve been on this blog now…except issues that make you personally uncomfortable or issues that you don’t like to discuss.

  36. RB,

    We do have those discussions and when the community as a group wants to engage in them occasionally they are profitable.
    It is not good for the community or do they desire to see every thread dominated by you and your desire to undermine the authority of Scripture.
    Once again, people are choosing not to participate at all because of this.
    You have a forum to speak to these issues and I’ve invited you to link to it.
    That’s more than fair.

  37. Ricky Bobby, You post here and then go to your blog and demean this place. I’m sorry Michael but I would have booted him a long time ago and not given it a second thought. Even before he got blindsided in his court case he made a mess of this place. He needs to be gone. I’m fed up with his antics and I’m sure others are as well.

  38. scripture undermines the authority of scripture, I am merely stating fact and pointing out the scripture that self-contradicts in other scripture

    You are not intellectually honest by presenting my position in the manner you did. It is untruthful and is a form of lying.

  39. Can you tell Alan to not use my name and respect anonymity like has been asked and enforced with me? Please moderate his comment, thanks.

  40. If you will let this post, that will be my last comment on this subject as it makes my point for consideration sufficiently:

    Matthew 27:46-50: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” …Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

    Luke 23:46: And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, “Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:” and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

    John 19:30: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

    These are demonstrable contradictions in the very words attributed to Jesus as his last words before physical death.

    This proves that there are possibly other errors in recounting of the exact words of Jesus (and there are other passages that contradict each other in terms of timeline, geography and narrative).

    What it does is leave us with some loose facts and lots of room to not really know exactly what was stated verbatim.

  41. Ricky Bobby,
    Why couldn’t Jesus have said all of those things from the cross and each writer chose which quote to put in their writing?
    I will watch Don Mattingly give an interview at the end of each game and then read the papers the next day, One writer may want to talk about what Mattingly said about the pitching and another writer may only include what he said about the hitting, while even another may just quote what he said about the next team coming in to town..

    Your arguments are not only weak … but very weak.

  42. Ricky Bobby, Who are you trying to kid? You think people don’t know who you are? At least spell my name correctly. It’s Allan. Funny how you routinely outed people and you’re whining about being anonymous here. The more you post the more your credibility plunges.

  43. If you want to scuffle with RB…go to his blog and do it.
    We’ve got big problems in the valley tonight…the smoke from forest fires has made the air unbreathable and dangerous for people like me with lung issues.
    Pray for some wind.

  44. MLD said, “Ricky Bobby,
    Why couldn’t Jesus have said all of those things from the cross and each writer chose which quote to put in their writing?”

    Do you accept this principle you are asserting for the rest of the bible as well, or just this example of contradiction? If you embrace this principle as applicable to the rest of the words attributed to Jesus and others in the bible, then there are some pretty interesting considerations. My guess is you won’t like this principle you are embracing to avoid contradiction here…when it is equally applied elsewhere and presents bigger problems for your “no error, no mistake, perfect” bible thesis.

  45. Erunner said, “Ricky Bobby, Who are you trying to kid? You think people don’t know who you are? At least spell my name correctly. It’s Allan. Funny how you routinely outed people and you’re whining about being anonymous here. The more you post the more your credibility plunges.”

    Equal Scales Allan. I was scolded for using names and even punished (yet you aren’t). My point is Equal Scales. If you have a rule, written or unwritten, then apply it equally.

  46. Michael, I come here because of the content and the people here. I don’t wish to participate on RB’s blog. He seems to have carte blanche here and it’s impossible to ignore him. I apologize for being so straight forward.

  47. pffft. I’m heavily moderated and I am participating less frequently and presenting my opinion like everyone else. The haters are gonna hate no matter what.

  48. Erunner,

    I’m handling things the best way I know how to.
    Do pray for us.
    Right now, the smoke is putting me in a bad way and I’m not going to spend much energy on this tonight.

  49. Michael, I understand you have chosen a path I disagree with yet try to respect. My uncle’s funeral is tomorrow and my wife will take my mother because I am unable to and I am angry and frustrated about it. When I am in a better frame of mind I will pray for you.

    I’m a lot of things but I am not a hater.

  50. Erunner,

    That would be very frustrating and my heart is with you.
    You are entitled to your feelings and I’m sorry if I made things more difficult for you.
    We will pray for you…and I know that you are a large hearted man, my friend.

  51. Michael, It’s because I’m so invested in this place that I have such strong opinions. I have received so much from this blog and the people here I seem to take it personally when others berate the blog and the people here.

    You don’t make things more difficult as I know you have chosen a specific path which is your right. It’s an awkward situation for me which I’m having trouble adjusting to. God bless.

  52. RB,

    Here’s an insight from Reza Aslan…
    “The literalists are the problem. Literalism is an extremely new phenomenon. It can be traced to the end of the 19th century. The people who wrote and compiled the Gospels were NOT literalists. If they were they would not have canonized four gospels which contradict each other on numerous facts of Jesus’ life. THEY DID NOT CARE about those contradictions bc they did not read the texts literally. neither should anyone else.”
    – From http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1jal04/i_am_reza_aslan_scholar_of_religions_author_of/

    …now granted, this is only the observation of a religious scholar, and one who is not a christian, but I think this will help you greatly in your struggles with how to approach our sacred texts, because being a literalist isn’t going to ever work for you in the least.

    I sincerely hope this helps. I wish for you a greater peace than you’ve had.
    Just know that asking the participants :: here :: about these things will only get you :: their :: same answers, and you will not persuade them otherwise, and, honestly, why would you want to? You and I must simply become persuaded of the things we are becoming persuaded of and respect those who are not persuaded of what we’re persuaded of, yes?

  53. Michael,
    Can you and Trey take leave to a less smoky place for a few days?

  54. There are 2 versions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible. I find no contradiction at all – Jesus used similar sayings, examples and forms of speech as he went along preaching – giving similar messages.

    I know many traveling preachers that give the same message each place they go and do not use all the same words or examples – vary the message for the local audience.

  55. G,

    I wish we could.
    It actually started getting to him before me…but it’s taking me out.
    He’s with his mom on the higher end of the valley tonight, so he should get some relief first.
    Really scary for the elderly tonight…

  56. Glad Trey’s breathing easier. Now, for you, our friend, please get over to the ER and let them know you have respiratory issues, had a collapsed lung!

  57. G,

    Bless you for caring.
    I’ve got a mask now and all the drugs they would give me…we’ll get though it.
    They glued my lung to my chest, so it’s not going anywhere now. 🙂

  58. I am in Medford, Oregon, tonight (in a motel, on my way back to CA) and it is really smoky.

  59. Xenia,

    You’re five miles from me!

  60. I thought you lived in this general area. It is really beautiful around here!

  61. Ha! “Mask & drugs”?
    Sounds like you could hit a 7/11.

    Michael, is anyone in your congregation in frontline healthcare, a paramedic, a nurse?
    I’m thinking that it’s not a bad idea to call in a favor should you have any breathing difficulties.

  62. G,

    Trey’s mom is a RN…and she is keeping tabs on me.
    Between her and Trey I want to hide in the hospital. 🙂

  63. Xenia,

    Let me officially welcome you to the Rogue Valley…it’s usually not this smoky.
    You know I like you a lot because I rarely welcome Californians. 🙂

  64. MIchael, I am honored. 🙂

  65. We’re honored to have you here…I hope you enjoy your stop in my homeland.
    How long will you be here?

  66. Michael,

    I’m planning on being in Ashland the end of next week. Let’s get together.

  67. Bob,

    Let me know when so I can have someone watch the little man for a while.

  68. Michael,
    That’s awesome to hear that she’s a nurse.
    Let her know that I work for AACN.org

  69. Michael do they give you some oxygen to help you if you need it? I know it helped other people going through issues when the fires were going on in the Santa Cruz mountains many years ago. They issued oxygen under doctors orders.

  70. G,

    I take it she’ll know what that is… 🙂

  71. Michael, we are leaving early tomorrow morning. We’re just stopping here overnight on the way back home.

  72. Xenia,

    Next time save some time to get hugged and blessed. 🙂

  73. brian,

    I think so…so far my oxygen level is good.
    I’m just clammy and my lungs are burning from being out earlier.
    Trust me, I never want to go through what I did last year again…I’m being cautious.

  74. Michael, will do!

  75. Erunner,
    Sorry for the loss of your uncle and the frustration you’re going through with not being able to go to the funeral.

  76. Praying for a strong wind to blow the smoke out of your valley, Michael.
    Praying you and Trey can get a good nights sleep.

  77. Praying for Michael and erunner.

    Either later this evening or tomorrow evening, I will answer #40. I am going to try to find the time after I get off work today to write out a response.
    Fortunately, this is one of those times, you don’t need a theologian to answer a question about the bible, just someone familiar with narrative and witness reports.

  78. I will be submitting that response tomorrow.
    I have had a splitting headache most of the day that shows no sign of going away soon.

    This junk of just letting RB say what he pleases when he has his own Calvary Chapel Abuse blog to speak his mind is getting a bit ridiculous though.
    I don’t think his blog qualifies as an abuse blog anymore though, more the anti-apologetics blog would be more accurate and that is as nice as i can think to say that.
    This whole letting a public figure, which is what RB has become, be anon on this blog has led to another person getting hurt. This has to stop at some point.

  79. Derek, relax this evening, enjoy your family and I pray you headache is gone very soon! Blessings to you my friend.

  80. As happens a lot in life, the abused has become the abuser.

  81. You are right, Nonnie. Thanks!

  82. In reference to number 5 about the GRACE petition against sexual abuse. I was reading about missionary children who were sexually abused in the Philippines and here is quote from one of the victims:

    “I actually moved away from him and he pulled me back. And I froze. My mind was screaming but I couldn’t say anything. He told me later on, ‘You could have told me ‘no.’ Then, he goes, and it’s the phrase I hate most: ‘silence is consent,'” Mary said.

    For those who refuse to sign the petition or to speak out against sexual abuse….”Silence is Consent!”

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