Destinations

November 2, 2012

We had a great Fall Frenzy the other night at Bowman. Conservatively, we had well over 150 people pass through our doors. Thanks to Bonnie and her crew for making it happen.

In the past several weeks or so I’ve posted several things about the Sabbath. One of the posts generated more comments than usual. The bottom line is that the Sabbath is not an easy issue to unpack. That said, here is a piece that is worth reflecting on. It isn’t exactly my view, but most of us need to move in the author’s direction.

Desiring God has some free books on Calvin available in all formats. You will be enriched by reading any, or all, of these books.

Bob Mundorff discusses the grace verses law tension. This is something we always need to be reminded of. He quotes one of my favorite poems:

Run, John, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands,
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings

This next post by C Michael Patton is certainly provocative. It is titled “You Can’t Judge A Person’s Salvation” … and Other Stupid Statements.” Let me know what you think. Here’s a quote:

So, I don’t believe that once someone says he is a Christian, we are somehow obligated to take them at their word. In fact, my default position (at least here in America) is that this is nothing more than a verbal affirmation of their initiation into American culture. I normally start by not believing them.

Finally, below is a video you’ve probably already seen. Yes, the election will be over soon. We’re more than likely in for four more years. Ohio seems to be the president’s and thus the election itself (in spite of what deluded Karl Rove says).

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5 Responses to “Destinations”

  1. phfs9 Says:

    “So, I don’t believe that once someone says he is a Christian, we are somehow obligated to take them at their word. In fact, my default position (at least here in America) is that this is nothing more than a verbal affirmation of their initiation into American culture. I normally start by not believing them.”

    Sadly, for me, this has become all too true. I see it, hear it and experience it way too frequently – the Christian who refuses to forgive another, the Christian who doesn’t want your forgiveness, the Christian who will not venture outside of their comfort zone when another is in need of fellowship, the Christian who is better than the next Christian for whatever silly human reason. All claim to be Christian and none who behave Christian.

    Then, my faith in my fellow Christian man is once again restored for a short while when I encounter the Christian who behaves as if you have never offended them in any way, always a light heart, always extending that hand of Christian fellowship leaving me wishing I could be as faithful a servant.

    And, then, finally I am reminded we are all sinners each in our own way and it is God’s test of my faithfulness to Him that puts another’s offenses at my feet. I am to remember to forigve the non-Christian, the Christian and the Christian who claims to be a Christian but does not put effort in to learning God’s word, following God’s word or passing on the Christian love we are supposed to give to each other.

    I try NOT to begin by believing someone is not a Christian when they say they are. Perhaps it is my belief in them that could push them over the edge and help them to move up the Christian ladder insted of down.

  2. Mark Says:

    I generally agree with what the author wrote. I wish he would have interacted with Mt 7:1 (do not judge). I don’t think he is wrong; I do think it would have made his case stronger if he would have unpacked the passage that most people run to when criticized. Obviously, in Mt 7:1 Jesus isn’t telling us not to judge at all. How can we determine who the dogs and pigs are further down in the passage unless we’re making a call, particularly about their Christianity? Jesus seems to be saying that we need to deal with our own stuff first.

    I understand your point about believing people when they say they are Christian. However, just about 75% of Americans say they are Christian in one form or another (http://www.chron.com/life/houston-belief/article/Poll-Nearly-80-percent-of-Americans-say-they-are-2444092.php). It seems to me that the majority of those claiming to follow Christ really aren’t. Does it seem to you like three quarters of the people you run into are believers? So, with this in view, I don’t mind the author’s assumption.

    In practice, I almost always give a person the benefit of doubt when it comes to their faith. There is only one criterion and that is reliance on Jesus for salvation. This seems to be a rather low bar to clear. However, unless the Lord draws people never come to Jesus. Also, at some point there should be some fruit that accompanies salvation. This fruit might not be visible to me. If there is total disregard for the law of Christ, then I think it is fair to question their salvation.

  3. phfs9 Says:

    I have seen people tipped over the edge by those who claim to be Christian but do not walk-the-walk or talk-the-talk so to speak.

    There is the Mormon who became curious about Christianity and upon following that curiosity literally left the Mormon faith and came to Christianity AND was totally delighted with Christianity….but, still a very new and very vulnerable Christian – like our children might be at a young age. However, being a tender new Christian and eager to always learn more this ex-Mormon found himself/herself in the midst of a group of people claiming to be true Christians who did not walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk. Needless to say the ex-Mormon is now churchless and not eager to be exposed to “Christians” any further.

    There are many who claim Christianity and truly do believe in the Holy Trinity and the power of Jesus Christ and that you get to Heaven only through Jesus Christ. But, for one human folly reason or another they believe that “believing” is enough so they are not careful about their behavior.

    I am thinking the author is saying he takes individudals who claim to be Christian with disbelief first is because of this very behavior – believing is enough and I don’t have to adjust my behavior.

    Being a Christian in today’s world carries with it the Christian responsibility of Christian behavior in our daily lives. As Ghandi said, he might have been a Christian – until he met one. The point there is that our Christian behavior is part of being a Christian and one can be responsible for the loss of a Christian soul because of non-Christian behavior.

    When you write “If there is total disregard for the law of Christ, then I think it is fair to question their salvation.” I do think that our Christian day-to-day behavior is definity a part of that statement. If you are not going to behave as a Christian then just believing is not enough. I could be wrong and if I am I will accept correction with humility. And, just to clarify, since we are all sinners, (a point well clarified and learned by me from you)I am not referring to those who err and then ask for God’s forgiveness as much as I am to those who make it a way of life and “just believing” as their daily walk.

  4. Mark Says:

    I agree with what you say. Two thoughts: first, Christianity is true because of what Jesus did in history. It’s nice if Christians live in a Christianly way. There many examples in the Bible that tell us this isn’t the way it often is. People sleep around and then kill to cover their tracks. Still, the issue is Jesus. Is he truth? Is he the God-man? Was he born of a virgin? Did he rise from the dead? If he did, then we need to listen to him regardless of how his followers screw up.

    Second, all of our behavior flows from our belief system. There isn’t anything we do that isn’t tied to what we believe. So, if we believe that Jesus loves us; if we believe that he loves us so much that he died for us, shouldn’t we be willing to follow him? I know you agree with me. All I’m saying is that if a person believes that Jesus is the treasure in the field or the pearl of great price then hurtful behaviors that get in the way of seeking Jesus should begin to fall away. Thus suspect behavior points to suspect faith.

  5. phfs9 Says:

    “Thus suspect behavior points to suspect faith.”

    Ah, ha! That is what I was looking for. Great explanation for me. Thank you.


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