God Loves Sinners

Paul wrote to the church in Rome,

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Humbling words to be sure, what is more, the Truth therein is one more glorious testimony of the love of God who sent His Son to die for creatures whose best efforts are, according to Isaiah, like a “filthy garment” (the Hebrew being a bit more specific).

I recently downloaded some of the lectures from the 2008 T4G conference and have been listening to them on the way to work.

Ligon Duncan’s treatise, Sound Doctrine, is not only riveting but much needed salve in an age where it seems that doctrine is deemed a hobby (at best) or irrelevant (at worst).

At around minute 45, Duncan hit a raw nerve. He’s explaining how doctrine is for our assurance. He exposits John 15 and settles on this part of Jesus’ words to His Apostles,

You did not choose Me but I chose you

He expounds on why Jesus thought it necessary to teach the 11 (Judas had left already) about election. Duncan’s conclusion is that because Jesus knew that every last one of them would desert Him later that night. Then Dr. Duncan ties it together with these words,

And if they’re going to have one shred of assurance left in them it is not going to be based on the fact that they have chosen Him because everything about their actions will be screaming to their hearts and consciences that they have no part of Him unless they hear the Master say, “Dear child, dear friend, I knew everything in you and I chose you anyway.”

“I knew everything in you and I chose you anyway”, those words shattered whatever self-righteousness I carried with me this morning. Shattered whatever thoughts I might have had that somehow I had been elected based on something inherently good within. Shattered the illusion that maybe, just maybe, there is some shred of good in me apart from Christ.

My eyes watered in a mix of contrition and gratitude. The former for my arrogance and the latter for the power and extent of God’s love, that even one such as I can be reconciled to Him.

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Politics according to Jason Whitlock

This quote comes from Mr. Whitlock’s latest column,

Let me make one thing clear: I am neither Republican nor Democrat, liberal nor conservative. I abhor politics because of its inherent untruthfulness. I have never participated in the political process. Never. I don’t share that with a great deal of pride. I’ve just found it impossible to participate in a process that is directly opposed to truth.

Do you agree with Whitlock? Is that last sentence accurate in its description of politics?

New Page: Discussion

Not that I’m trying to go the way of ESPN in regards to their shameless self-promotion, but I have added a new page to this here blog.

Some blogs have a comments policy which outlines what may or may not be said (amazing that those who tout their tolerance can be anything but as they refuse to post comments which they simply don’t agree with), but this is not the route I wanted to take with this page.

So without further ado, here is “Discussion”.

Peace Village: More Interfaith Confusion

We believe that all religions are basically the same –
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation. — from Steve Turner’s “Creed”

Many Christians are angered or disturbed by so-called Interfaith groups. Anger isn’t really an emotion that bubbles up within me when I read about these kind of well-intentioned groups (truly the quip about the road to hell surely applies here).

Confusion is probably what besets me when I read about these types of efforts (previously blogged about it here).

After reading a related article in the Houston Chronicle’s Religion section, I was again puzzled.

“Bound by the Golden Rule”

The story is about a woman, Janie Stevens, who has brought something called “Peace Village” to Houston in order to,

“It helps Christians of all ages learn about their fellow human beings on Earth, within the context of their faith,” she said. “It has been a real eye-opener to see how we all have prayer lives of one form or another and we all acknowledge a higher being.”

Well and good, I for one don’t mind learning about other beliefs. It is somewhat enlightening and astonishing how humans utilize their imagination to worship everything and anything instead of the Living God.

I’m not sure if Stevens’ venture seeks to pretend that these different faiths are all the same and they worship the same god.

Anyone familiar with any of the major world religions can see that as Turner points out in his poem they differ vastly on the important stuff. That there are threads of commonality is beyond dispute but this does not mean that they are the same.

Though this seems to be espoused by a Christian Reverend quoted in the article,

“It’s a wonderful depiction of the major world religions,” said the Rev. Gary H. Jones, director of chaplaincy services for St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Care System. “What I saw as the thread is a way of blessing people — the many ways of blessings, of calling for prayer and calling God in times of need.”

I wonder what Rev. Jones makes of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman,

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”