I had a friend ask me today what my definition of a Christian is. I resisted the question to some degree, as I remain extremely troubled by the obsession many have, with drawing lines to delineate who is “in” and “out” of fellowship, orthodoxy, or whatever. I am not taking anything back that I said in my Word About Creeds. Nevertheless, if I claim to … Continue reading What IS a Christian, anyway?
Several years ago I made an observation which led to a question: “Why don’t Christians stand out in culture?” My observation was that so many Christians, particularly in the US, blend in with everyone else. With that observation in mind Matthew 7:13-14 when Jesus states that “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, … Continue reading The Way is Narrow
We talk a lot about the loving character of Jesus, and well we might. But despite the popularity in some circles of pointing out God’s wrath, we rarely seem to notice one thing that really seems to have pissed Jesus off. We find the same language in all three synoptic gospels, in Matt. 18:6-7, Mark 9:42, and Luke 17:1-2. Jesus says that someone who causes … Continue reading Better off Drowned? Who are you driving from Jesus?
If you are like me there was a time you would have answered “get saved and go to heaven.” That, for me, was what I believed the central message of the bible, Jesus, and his Kingdom to be. I honestly thought my job after I “got saved” was to wait for death or the rapture and hopefully save some other souls along the way. If … Continue reading The Bible is an Invitation To….
For over 15 years I had been deeply involved in one particular faith based institution. I had given a great deal of time and energy to do everything I could to inspire people to follow Jesus more fully and completely with every aspect of their existence. The last few years of my involvement in this church I had been doing some teaching at the many … Continue reading Are Theology Debates about Fear or Faith?
A common phenomenon within theological, political, and other discussions that get us worked up, is that someone frames a question as “either-or” and then others jump onto that argument as “for” one side or the other…without anybody really stopping to consider whether the question itself was properly framed to begin with. The recent controversy surrounding Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” seems to me a prime … Continue reading Burn-them-all vs. Universalism: A false choice
The recent debate around the blogosphere as to whether or not Rob Bell is a universalist, has got me to thinking. There seems to be a substantial contingent within conservative Christianity, that is extremely dedicated to the notion of a hell where those who do not “believe” will suffer unending, conscious torment. Many of these people–dear friends of mine, some of them–are not angry, vindictive … Continue reading So, do you trust the Holy Spirit, or not?
I am the way , and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. There are, I suppose, a variety of possible candidates, but today I submit John 14:6 as the single most blatantly misquoted saying from Jesus’ entire ministry. Lifted completely out of context, Jesus’ statement is usually presented as “Exhibit A” for Jesus’ establishment of the exclusive … Continue reading No one comes to the Father but by me…
My wife and I finally watched “Fireproof” yesterday. Though preachier than I might prefer, I overall enjoyed it as a well-done and worthwhile movie. I was bothered by the content of the obligatory “Gospel Message” in the middle, though. In usual form, the sage believer lectures the unbelieving hero on how he “can’t measure up to God’s standard” because he’s “broken God’s law.” The “Gospel,” … Continue reading Why do you "need" God?
I just sat through yet another interminable “worship” session this morning, at which song after song repeated one form or another of the notion that “Jesus is all I need” or “Jesus is more than enough for me.” I suppose I’m going to raise serious doubts about my spiritual condition here (nothing new in that), but I’ve just got to say this: Jesus is NOT … Continue reading Jesus is all I need … NOT!