In chapter 13 of The Lost Message of Paul, Steve Chalke asks: Where does the Western church get all its ideas about guilt and unworthiness before God? The Eastern half of the church has never accepted the doctrine of ‘original sin’. That doctrine owes its origin to Augustine of Hippo and was developed much later by John Calvin. It teaches that we all enter the world with Adam’s fallen nature. The analogous doctrine of total depravity teaches that there is ‘no vestige of goodness left in us’. …
You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
the arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.
Writing in Hard Sayings of the Bible, Old Testament scholar Walter Kaiser comments:
‘Our problem with any description of God’s displeasure with sin, unrighteousness or wickedness is that we define all anger as Aristotle defined it: “the desire for retaliation.” With such a definition of anger goes the concept of anger and hatred of sin as a “brief madness” or “an uneasiness or discomposure of the mind, upon receipt of an injury, with the purpose of revenge.” All such notions of hatred, anger and displeasure in the divine being are wide of the mark and fail to address the issues involved.…
‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26). ‘Nothing is impossible with God’ (Luke 1:37)
So why doesn’t God simply forgive sinners, without need of any atonement? Why can’t he just let bygones be bygones?
After all, he can do anything, can’t he?
Well, setting aside the obviously absurd (God cannot create a two-sided triangle), we note with Puritan Thomas Brooks that there are three things that God cannot do:- he cannot die; he cannot lie; and he cannot deny himself.…
Our ‘better story’ for sex and marriage begins as we are welcomed into God’s reality.
Five truths underpin this.
1. God has spoken. We no longer have to strive to construct our our ‘reality’. God has spoken in his Son and in his Scriptures.
2. We are God’s creatures. This is his reality, not ours. Our nature and purpose need to be understood in the light of our creaturely dependence on him.
3. We flourish when we work with the grain of God’s reality. …
By the time we reach chapter three of Philip Gulley’s book If the Church were more Christian, the procedure is becoming rather predictable: tell a story or two illustrating how bad ‘they’ (other Christians) are, and then tell a story or two showing how ‘we’ get it right. Throw in one or two references to the Bible (don’t take too much trouble about how you select, interpret, or apply them). Job done. Next chapter please.…
Philip Gulley puts it like this:- If the church were more Christian, ‘affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness.’ (If the Church Were Christian. HarperOne)
The church’s teaching about the sinfulness of human nature, it appears, has done great harm. It has brought the church into disrepute, and caused individuals to feel damaged and guilt-ridden. Gulley supports this with anecdotes of horror stories from which every reasonable person would recoil with horror.…
Transformations. DIY SOS, Restorations, Homes Under The Hammer, House Doctors, Grand Designs, Tattoo Fixers, Embarrassing Bodies.
But none of them attempts: the transformation from death to life.
V5 ‘God made us alive even when we were dead.’
1. Before, 1-3
A threefold tyranny: –
The tyranny of the world: v2 ‘You followed the ways of this world’. ‘Those places, persons, pleasures and pursuits where God is left out.’ Those without Christ are slaves to secularism, materialism, peer pressure, religious fads, and the dubious role models of celebrities.…
The account of the ten plagues of Egypt frequently refers to the ‘hardening’ of Pharaoh’s heart. Because ‘hardness of heart’ suggests to us something to do with the emotions, Goldingay prefers to think of this as ‘the closing of Pharaoh’s mind’. There are four aspects to this:-
- Yahweh will close Pharaoh’s mind: Exodus 4:21; 7:3; 14:4
- Pharaoh’s mind was closed: Exodus 7:13, 14, 22; 8:19; 9:7, 35
- Pharaoh closed his mind: Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:34
- Yahweh closed Pharaoh’s mind: Exodus 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:8
Alexander refers to the ‘strengthening’ of Pharaoh’s heart. …