One of the strangest chapters in Steve Chalke’s The Lost Message of Paul is chapter 24 – ‘Wired’. Strange because it doesn’t really belong in a book about Paul and his theology. Also strange because one has to wonder how competent Chalke is to deal with some of the subject-matter of this chapter.
Let me see if I can make some sense of what he’s trying to say.
While we all tend excuse our own bad behaviour (we are good people affected by bad circumstances), we are much more ready to attribute others’ bad behaviour as due to failed personal morality (they are bad people). …
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.…
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