The random rantings and ravings of a self-identified geek ranging from controversial to commonplace to comedic
July 4, 2015

The Name Of The Game: Why Gays Will Never Get What They Want

Much has been said about the Supreme Court’s recently passed legislation (choice of wording intentional) in regard to homosexual “marriage.” The Supreme Court’s decision is part of a series of ongoing actions by homosexuals and their allies. The legality of committing the specific actions that define homosexuality has been settled for a long time. No one has been trying to prevent homosexuals from doing what they want – be it living together, holding “marriage” ceremonies, or buying cakes and flowers.

And no, I don’t consider marriage licenses to be something the homosexuals really want. Let me explain: Most homosexual unions don’t even last as long as most heterosexual unions. The crowd lobbying for homosexual “marriage” is the same crowd that are doing everything they can to make marriage a dead letter. After all, what do they care about marriage? But even if we allow, for arguments sake, that homosexual “marriage” is the goal, does anyone really believe that there are not plenty of weddings chapels, florists, and bakers who would be willing to participate in such a ceremony? Why then do homosexuals seem to be actively seeking out Christian business owners? I suppose most gay activists would deny it, but deep down I think we all realize that this is not about marriage or any of the trappings that usually go with it. Both sides realize that this is about something bigger than cake, flowers, or a piece of paper saying that two parties are “married.”

All this raises the question: what is this struggle really about? The answer to that question should be clear by now. This is a battle for complete societal acceptance of homosexuality. Homosexuals have demonstrated that they will not be content as long as anyone is allowed to register their disapproval. They are more than happy to financially ruin anyone who would be unwilling to participate in a homosexual “marriage.” Right now that is all they can do to those who oppose them. However, the heartless, and yes, even vindictive way in which they view the destruction of Christian business owners’ means of livelihood leaves one to imagine what else they would do if they had the power. That anyone would refuse to lend their approval and acceptance is unacceptable, and in their eyes, worthy of any punishment. It was never about the goods and services involved – as this latest ruling indicates. The goal of this crusade is to force everyone to participate in legitimizing and approving the practice of committing homosexual acts.

All this is apparent enough, but I think it is time we asked why homosexuals are so desperate for public approval. There will always be disagreements on moral issues, and there will always be competing viewpoints, why then is it so important that dissent cease in regard to this one? I think the answer lies in the conscience that God has given to every man and woman. The boisterous homosexual clamor for approval is not the calm, self assured firmness of those who know that God and right are on their side. Christians, of all people, know what is is to stand for what is right even in the face of condemnation. They find strength and acceptance from God even if they do not receive it from men. By contrast, homosexuals feel they must find acceptance with men precisely because, in their hearts, they know that they cannot find it with God. (And nothing enrages them more than being reminded of God’s unambiguous view on the subject.) This is why homosexuals will never be content while anyone refuses to agree that what they are doing is right. They want our acceptance, celebration, and approval, and they will do whatever they can to hurt us as long as we refuse to give it to them.

Right now it seems like they are winning. And politically, perhaps they are. But to understand the aim of the homosexual agenda is to realize that they are no closer to achieving their goal of complete acceptance than they ever where. The goal is to force Christians to accept and give their blessing to homosexuality. That goal will never be reached. Christians – real Christians – will not yield. They can take our livelihood, throw us in prison, and yes, even kill us, but they will never receive that satisfaction from us. More importantly, they will never get it from God.

May 23, 2015

The Delightful Demise Of The Duggars

By now I am sure that the reader is painfully aware of the recent developments in regard to the Duggar family, of late reality show fame, so I won’t recap what is, or at least ought to be, a very unpleasant revelation about the family’s eldest son, Josh. (If you don’t know what I am referring to, you should be able to crawl out from under your rock, and hear a full accounting from the nearest passer-by.) I’ll just say that it was some really, really messed-up stuff that is difficult for me to hear, much less understand, and we’ll leave it at that.

To say that I was disheartened by what I heard would be an understatement. My heart sank in me when I first heard it, and I fervently hoped that it wasn’t true. Well, unfortunately, it is, and now we have to face that reality. The full ramifications of this public revelation are still playing out as I write, but whatever comes out of this story, it seems unlikely that things will ever quite be the same for the Dugger family, and their now cancelled TV show. Those tragic events that took place 12 years ago should be a source of sadness to every person of professed goodwill, and most especially to those calling themselves Christians.

Ohhh Myyyyyy. I'm horrified.

"Ohhh Myyyyyy. I’m horrified."

A naive observer might almost be surprised, then, to hear that for many they are not a source of sadness. Quite the contrary, in fact. The story has been greeted with glee and downright unseemly delight by many. To some, this tragic story is like a breath of fresh air. Reading through online comments you can hear the same repeating theme. In each case, the individual never stops with simply condemning the Duggars’ actions from twelve years ago, but continues on to say something else about how they don’t like this or that unrelated aspect of the Duggars’ conservative, Christian lifestyle. Now for the record, I’m not a big fan of so-called “reality” shows. Nor have I ever professed to believe that it was all that great of an idea for the Duggars to have a show in the first place. But if we’re being honest, most of the flak they’ve taken has not been related to that decision at all. The Duggar family has become a symbol of conservative, (dare I say even earnest?), Christianity. The kind of Christianity that actually stands for something and is distinctly different from the world it lives in. And for that they are hated. This wouldn’t be the first time the family has been involved in controversy, but it is the first time anyone has had anything really good to use against them. The homosexuals in particular despise the Duggars for their biblical stance, but they are far from the only ones. A month or so before this I remember reading an entire article about all the “shocking” things that the Duggars believed. (By which I understood the author to mean that he fervently wished they were shocking.) Mostly what was listed was basic Bible 101. Oh yes, some people have been waiting for this a very long time.

And what of the Christians? I can understand why the other side might greet this event with joy. After all, they are no doubt convicted and offended by the family’s clean living and lack of dysfunction – so rampant in today’s culture. Yes, I can see why non-Christians might be glad to hear of such a serious shortcoming. But I wonder what the presence of a similar attitude says about Christians who rush to condemn the Duggar family for the way they handled this sin? Christians might reasonably be expected to understand something about the transformative, atoning power of the blood of Jesus Chirst. They might also be expected to understand that when a sin has been humbly confessed and forsaken, especially for a long period of time, it means something. That is, if they understand anything about the aforementioned process. However loudly they profess to be disgusted by these actions, one wonders how sad Christians really are about it if they choose to use it as an opportunity to pile-on to a family of earnest, fellow Christians who have taken a public stand for a careful, Biblical brand of Christianity. So I have to ask, what is the real issue? Are the high standards and careful living a conviction to some Christians?

However loudly they profess to be disgusted by these actions, one wonders how sad Christians really are about it if they choose to use it as an opportunity to pile-on to a family of earnest, fellow Christians who have taken a public stand for a careful, Biblical brand of Christianity

None of this is to in any way excuse Josh Duggar’s actions from twelve years ago. Indeed, Josh himself makes no attempt to do so and, I was comforted to note, avoided the use of the word, “mistake” when describing his wrongdoing. (That word get’s used way, way too often by politicians caught up in sex scandals.) The sin was confessed, dealt with, and forsaken some time ago. In so far as we have any reason to believe, there has been no recurrence. What then is the ongoing issue that requires our righteous indignation? The way the parents handled that horrifying development? So say some, but would you have your 14 year old child branded as a sex offender? Would you turn him over? Really? Maybe you would have. Maybe they should have. Do you know for sure? I’ve heard it said that we should place ourselves in the position of the victims. Fair enough – sounds like a good idea. Perhaps we should also place ourselves in the position of the parents and pray to God we never have to make that call. In any case, Mr. and Mrs. Duggar where unwilling to allow that situation to continue. In fact they did not allow it to continue as evidenced by the fact that they took immediate steps to remove any physical possibility of a recurrence, (after internal measures failed), until they were satisfied that sufficient spiritual progress had been made. You may fault their methods, but in the end they did get results. I wonder if the correctional system could have done as well.

I’ve heard it said that we should place ourselves in the position of the victims. Fair enough – sounds like a good idea. Perhaps we should also place ourselves in the position of the parents and pray to God we never have to make that call.

So what should be our response to this information? Sadness? Certainly. We should feel the same deep pain and regret that we would feel if we ourselves had done something equally monstrous and had now come to repentance. (Though understandably to a lesser degree.) But what about indignation and a desire to punish and condemn? I could certainly understand a feeling of righteous indignation at an ongoing sin, but what about one that is acknowledged, repented of and forsaken? (For an ample proving time – say, twelve years.) There would be no purpose to any righteous indignation in that case. It would not, in fact, be righteous. How much less righteous would be any feelings of joy or relief at finding out that Josh Duggar had once messed up really bad? We should not respond with the same gleeful delight that many have. Rather we should resolve to be more careful, more circumspect, and more courageous in telling the truth. Not because we are perfect and deserving vessels, but because doing anything else would be a waste of the breath that God gave us.

“but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”

February 17, 2015

The Tempting – Not the looking

Recently there has been a lot of discussion revolving around the subject of modesty. It seems to have been touched off by one woman’s blog post about her decision to limit when and how she wears Yoga pants. That post set off a firestorm of criticism and has led to a vigorous exchange on the subject with a lot of arguments flying both ways. The scope of the discussion has broadened beyond any particular article of clothing to the whole concept of, and rationale behind what we call modesty. Illustrative of this is the fact that those who criticized the post did so using arguments denigrating the entire concept of modesty as opposed to simply arguing that disallowing Yoga Pants was going too far. Matt Walsh made this very point in his post on the subject, and in much greater detail. I observe it here in order that the reader may understand that the debate is not a “what is modesty?” discussion, but a “should we be modest at all?” discussion.

With that understood, I want to address one particular argument that I often hear from those arguing against modesty. It runs something like this: “It’s the man’s fault for looking. A woman is not guilty for a man having looked at and lusted because she wasn’t the one who did it.” It is usually offered in response to the objection made by those in favor of modesty that dressing a particular way would illicit wrong thoughts in others.

This argument is 100% correct.

The woman is not guilty for what any man does as a result of seeing her. Ever. At all.

She is, however, responsible for her own actions. She is guilty or not guilty based on what she, of her own free will, does or doesn’t do. In the same way, the man is also guilty based on what he does of his own free will. (And rest assured, there is no way that a woman can dress which can deprive a man of his free will.) That means that if she dresses immodestly and presents a “stumbling block” to those around her she is guilty for having placed the stumbling block whether or not anyone actually stumbles over it. In other words, if a woman dresses immodestly and not one man takes a single glance at her she is just as guilty as if 100 men had lusted after her. She bears no guilt for the looking, but she may or may not bear guilt for the tempting. This is called personal responsibility.

Let me make an illustration. Let’s say my boss provokes me by belittling me and calling me names. Let’s say further that he is rude and unkind to me often. Would he be wrong to do that? Sure he would. Does that make it right for me to curse at him and punch his lights out? Absolutely not. If we were both to do those things, then we would both be guilty, but only for the things that each of us had actually done. He would not share my guilt nor I his. (And rightfully, I would probably be the one going to jail if I punched my boss’s light’s out since that is a worse thing than what he would have done.)

Let me reiterate, I and those like me are not now, nor have we ever argued that women are to blame if men think wrong thoughts about them. Women are responsible for the tempting – not the looking. In fact if you only take one thing away from this post then let me break that down into a mantra: “The tempting – not the looking.” 

There is another rather nasty variant of that argument that accuses proponents of modesty of contributing to “rape culture” by saying that women should dress modestly. (I’ve already covered what I think about that term in a previous post.) I address this argument last because I feel that it does not deserve the respect I gave to the previous one. Besides being slanderous and unjust this argument fails to recognize that when it comes to rape the question of modesty is more one of practicality than morality. Dressing immodestly may or may not lead to sexual assault, but that is a safety consideration and not a moral one. The moral outlook is not effected by any tendency towards being victimized because, as stated above, the woman is in no way responsible for what any man does. But when anyone raises the safety question the anti modesty crowd immediately pounces on them with hideous accusations of thinking that an immodestly dressed woman deserved to be raped. That is slanderous, dishonest, and unhelpful to the discussion.

I don’t think either form of the argument will be going away any time soon. I think most people who make it are simply being deliberately obtuse about what proponents of modesty are saying. This is not uncommon as it is often much easier to combat a caricature of your opponent’s argument rather than the real thing. At the very least, anyone who just read this post ought to know better than to accuse us of blaming the woman for the looking.

August 31, 2014

Do not according to their deeds: It doesn’t matter who said it

Lately I’ve been dismayed to hear the scripture quote “by their deeds you shall know them” tossed around as if it were proof positive that everything ever taught by Doug Phillips or Bill Gothard must be wrong. (Or at least the parts that the speaker doesn’t agree with.) This admonition, while useful as a guide to evaluating the spiritual condition of one individual, tells us nothing about what Christian doctrine ought to be. That’s what we have the rest of the Bible for. We should make use of it.

 Both men’s teachings have come under fire and while I certainly don’t agree with everything they taught, I find it ironic that if they had been following their own teachings in their personal lives they would have been okay. Gothard’s proximity, touching, and talking rules for guys and gals, and Phillip’s teaching about unmarried daughters staying at home, if followed, would have made it impossible for either of them to do what they did. I guess it wasn’t really the teachings that were the problem – it was getting the idea that those rules didn’t apply to them.

 So what are we supposed to do about teachings that we hear from deeply flawed people? Here’s what Jesus said:

 “Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” Matthew 23:1-3 (emphasis my own)

 Sound familiar? Some things don’t change. But I want you to notice something: Jesus didn’t say to not do the things that the scribes and Pharisees taught. Why? Because they were in the seat of Moses. That is to say, they were teaching from the law of Moses. The truth they taught didn’t come from them. It wasn’t their doctrine. It didn’t come from them.

 Is everything that these two men ever taught scriptural? I know of things that I believe are definitely not. Besides, it is unlikely that one man would get every single thing right. But that should be our guide. We should evaluate teachings based on what the Bible says and not based on who taught them.

 I’ll conclude with my favorite line from an old black and white Marten Luther film that we have:

 “It doesn’t matter who said it. It is still the truth!”

April 28, 2014

The Bill Gothard Debate: A call for Christian Charity and Civility

The recent revelations about ATI’s Bill Gothard have been extremely divisive to the Christian Homeschooling community for a whole plethora of reasons that vary from person to person. This is unavoidable I suppose given the nature of the accusations and the passionate feelings on both side of the dispute. However, I had hoped that the internal discussion of these issues among Christians would remain calm and civil. I had hoped that, given the serious nature of these accusations, we would all agree, at the very least, that this was a discussion we ought to be having. Of course people disagree on fact. Of course people disagree on the interpretation of that fact. I believe that there is room for honest disagreement and I have good Christian friends on both sides of the issue.

What grieves me is to see otherwise sweet Christian friends, who I have deep respect for, doing everything short of anathematizing anyone who does not accept Mr. Gothard’s limited confession at face value. I have, on a number of occasions, heard supporters of Mr. Gothard arguing that from first principles, if you are against Bill Gothard you must have a spiritual problem. Now that may be so – in fact, if you want my honest opinion, I suspect that a lot of folks at Recovering Grace are motivated by rebellion. The thing is we can’t claim that only because an individual believes that Bill Gothard has not yet come clean.

Apart from the injustice of leveling such accusations merely because of a difference of opinion, these ad hominem attacks have little place in a discussion among Christians. Not only do they stray and distract from the topic in question, but they do little to convince the hearer. I can think of little use for them even for the individual who makes them since they seem to me much more likely to anger and alienate a brother than to win him.

As I said before, due to the grave nature of these accusations this is definitely a discussion we ought to be having. I hope and trust that we all take it very seriously, but I am puzzled that some feel the need to spiritually malign anyone who expresses skepticism or concern about Mr. Gothard’s sincerity. The principle question we ought always to be asking is then “is it true?” (And be sure that we will be guilty if we don’t do our best to find out.) But while we are asking that question we might as well face up to the fact that some folks will take longer to convince than others. Some people may come to different conclusions altogether. We’re going to have to keep getting along though. (After all, we’re supposed to be on the same side.) If we’re going to do that we should stop talking about each other and start talking about what is true and why we think it is true. In other words, we’re going to have to be civil and charitable to people who don’t agree with us while we try to bring them to our point of view. If you have an argument to make, if you have facts that you feel should be considered or brought to light, then by all means, bring them to the table, but for the sake of our testimony before the world and even for the sake of your own cause, refrain from castigating those who came to a different conclusion than you did as spiritually flawed.

If you’re still with me, thank you for reading this and please consider what I have said.

March 14, 2014

On Being Wronged: Forgiveness and The Big Picture

A lasting and mutually amicable relationship must be based on truth. By “truth” I mean a mutual understanding and acknowledgement of what is true about the relationship, its status, and what, from the history of that relationship, one party may reasonably expect from the other. Without it there can be nothing more than a superficial show-relationship with all the trappings and none of the meaning.

We are not commanded to forgive when forgiveness has not been asked. This should not be treated as license to hold a grudge, but rather as a statement about the nature of what it means to forgive. To say “I forgive you” is to affirm that you accept and acknowledge the repentance of someone who has wronged you. That repentance, of course, implies that the repentant acknowledge wrongdoing. Therefore, it is quite impossible to accept repentance which has not been offered. Until it is, the relationship cannot be reinstated as it was.

Moreover continued refusal to acknowledge wrong is Biblical grounds for the termination of all interaction. This does not mean rendering evil for evil or wishing evil upon those who have wronged you. We should always be willing to embrace those who have wronged us the minute they confess their wrong and ask for our forgiveness. Nor should this forgiveness be contingent upon the other party’s ability to make good what his or her wrongdoing may have cost us. Particularly in cases of betrayal, this is not possible. (Though I suppose true repentance would be accompanied by a desire to do so.)

Forgiveness, then, should be offered with genuine joy that the offending party has been won over. We should rejoice to see this spiritual fruit and not begrudge letting go of our claims. Though really, any “claims” that we might think we have ought to be deeded over to God in the first place. He ordained it and he will make it right in his good time.

This brings me to my final point. Sometimes God allows bad people to do bad things to those who are displeasing to him. Time after time God used the cruelty of Israel’s wicked neighbors to judge Israel for her sins. What’s interesting is that God later would judge these nations because of what they had done to Israel. They were wrong in the cruel things that they did, but God was just in using them to judge Israel for what Israel herself had done. I think God uses cruel people for his purposes today just as He did back then. So if someone has wronged you, it might be a good time to sit up and pay attention to what God is trying to get across to you. I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t want for Him to have to do it again.

If you’re reading this, I sincerely hope you found it helpful. They say that a wise man learns from his mistakes, but a very wise man learns from other people’s mistakes.

If it’s too late to be very wise, I hope I can at least be wise.

March 1, 2014

The Truth and Faithful No-Names: What We Can Learn from “Great” Men Who Fell.

Recently the conservative Christian world has been abuzz with reports of moral failings at top leadership levels. I’m not here to comment on the degree of truthfulness I attribute to these reports. Suffice it so say that I’ve heard enough to make me say “ouch.”

Now what? What do we do with this? What can we take away from it? Well, for starters, let’s retreat back to what we know for sure. The Bible is true. And, wicked men sometimes preach truth from the Bible, (as noted by the apostle Paul).

Guess what? The Bible is still true.

The truth that these men brought out is still the truth. Truth does not stand or fall on the personal failings of its actual or professed adherents. It stands or falls on God’s holy word. May I humbly put it to you that If you are relying on a man to tell you what to believe you are going to the wrong place? We have God’s written word and we must use it for ourselves. Of course Biblical teaching can be a wonderful thing, but we ought to be checking what we hear against what we read no matter how lowly and un-knowledgeable we are. Is this arrogance? Well, the apostle Paul actually commended the Church at Beria for fact checking his teachings against God’s word. Shouldn’t we do the same?

This brings me to what I feel is the most tragic part of these developments. I see so many people discarding Biblical truth because somebody who did something bad taught it to them. It is as if the only reason they ever believed it was because a man once told them it was true. Friends, the Bible didn’t change because some man turned out to be a disappointment. What was true then is still true now, and no less binding on us.

Equally disheartening is the fact that some have pointed to Biblical doctrine as being the cause of these failings among leadership. But, look where you will, you will find no article of Biblical doctrine that sanctions what these men are accused of doing. The problem was never doctrine, the problem is a heart issue and the solution is not to equate the doctrine with the shortcomings of the men who taught it, but to evaluate it on it’s own merits against the rubric of the God’s word. For this reason, to automatically dismiss all of these conservative leaders’ teachings as legalism is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The chief example of this sort of thinking is the view that the Biblical doctrine of patriarchy somehow sets men up for moral failings. Oh, how opponents of the Bible’s teachings on male leadership are having a heyday with that sulfur-scented lie. The devil would love nothing more than to have us reject the truth because he can bring down one of its proponents.

So why do things like this happen? Maybe because we were never meant to place so much upon one man. To idolize, to set on high, and to outsource our thinking to one man is just as harmful to him as it is to us. But since he is only one man, the biggest part of the tragedy, when he succumbs to pride and lust, is the damage that it does to those who held him in high esteem. This is true not only because of the direct effects of disappointment, but because it provides opportunity for Biblical truth to be maligned by those who never wanted to obey it in the first place.

The kingdom of God is not advanced by “great” men. The kingdom of God is advanced by the humble foot soldier who preforms his or her God-given duties day-in and day-out. You won’t notice these people automatically – they don’t stick out. They aren’t flashy and they don’t seek leadership for its own sake. They may never have jobs that the world considers significant and they probably won’t receive the kind of admiration that the “great” people do. They don’t mind. That wasn’t what they were working for anyway. If the church was God’s sports team, it wouldn’t be carried on the shoulders of a few superstars who scored all the points. It would be made up of a bunch of no-names who played their hearts out and gave it everything they had no matter what position the coach placed them in. If one of them went down another would step up to take his place without missing a beat. This is the kind of player who consistently wins games – not the divas – not the superstars. This is the kind of Christian we should all aspire to be.

This, then, is what we should take away from the issue no matter what conclusion we come to about what a given Christian leader did or didn’t do. God help us to be faithful no-names.

February 24, 2014

My response to “3 Things Christians Should Stop Doing On Social Media”

Original article: http://jarridwilson.com/3-things-christians-should-stop-doing-on-social-media/

For an article written by a pastor and directed toward Christians I see a disturbing lack of scriptural references, but a whole lot of tired buzz-phrases.

1. While I am somewhat unclear on what is meant here by “publicly calling people out”, the elaboration that follows uses the word “judgement” in the pejorative sense that is so often used by people who don’t like to be reminded of what God doesn’t like. The word “Judgmental” has been so badly abused in this way that perhaps the most humane thing to do is to put it out of its misery and have it stricken from common use. We should go on “speaking the truth in love.”

2. No major objections, but if he means not sharing the gospel and/or biblical truth on social media then I strongly disagree. Everything must be brought into subjection – that includes social media. Moreover, even a nugget of truth my pique the appetite.

3. I don’t disagree with what he says. I disagree with what he means. The use of the word “Argument” is loaded language. With this one term people of his persuasion sweep up petty, childish disputes, philosophical and doctrinal discussions, and political dialogue. Then they stamp them all with the same condemnation and wag a finger at it all using the sweeping term “arguing”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with humbly contending for the truth as you feel led. (“in humility correcting those who are in opposition.”) Just because you don’t feel led to doesn’t mean no one else can be, and just because you have seen it done unkindly doesn’t mean that it must always be so.

Social media is a powerful tool and can be used for good or evil. The answer is not to bar all serious discussion from it. The answer is to subject all uses, including serious discussion, to God’s word.

January 27, 2013

The Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change

I’m pretty sure that most humans don’t like the idea of anything being out of their control. I’m also pretty sure that we male types are even worse about this. I’ve found that it’s especially hard to accept the fact that I have no recourse in a given situation. To my mind there must always be something I can do to “fix” the problem. My mind rebels at the idea that I might not be able to deal with the situation on my own. I find myself either angry or discouraged when I’m boxed in or cut off from the things that I think I “need.” Reaching quiet resignation is about the toughest thing to do. I say quiet resignation because I want to make it clear that the kind of resignation I am talking about is not a noisy, boisterous, or complaining resignation, but a quiet resolve to accept whatever comes my way while still doing my best to bring about the best outcome in each situation. Part of reaching this state of mind is the recognition of the fact that a lot of the things that I tacitly assume that I need are not needful at all. I could name specifics, but it really boils down to a misapprehension that I often suffer from: namely that idea that if I just stay on top of everything and play my cards right I can get the things that I “need.” And further, as often happens, if I’m not getting what I “need” then somebody somewhere must have messed up. And certainly from a human perspective this is possible. But try for a moment to look at the big picture that God is seeing. For him nothing is ever out of control, nothing has slipped or gone off the rails, and even the things that we humans call “mistakes” happen for a purpose. All too often though I have an unstated set of minimum requirements that need to be met before my status can be “okay.” Otherwise something is amiss and I need to find a fix quickly. And I’m not patient when one of these items is missing. Red lights come on in my mind’s control panel and a blaring alarm sounds. The situation is out of control, my “needs” are threatened, and action can and must be taken on my part to secure those “needs” – not only for now but for the foreseeable future. The ludicrous nature of this idea needs only to be put in words to be clearly seen. What I ask of myself is a complete impossibility. No one ever has achieved or ever will achieve the necessary amount of control over their lives to ensure that the things that we often regard as “needs” are always met. And yet I have the arrogance to think that it should somehow be different for me. I sometimes chuckle when I think of how silly this idea is.

So if there’s something that you feel you “need” and you’re not getting it, may I humbly suggest that you turn your attention to the things that you truly need and remember that we’ve already been promised everything that is truly needful.

December 13, 2012

Why I respectfully differ with my calvinist friends.

Let me start by saying that I am reformed in my theology. I also believe in the doctrines of grace exactly as they are taught in the Bible. That is to say that I am protestant and that I believe that Christians receive Christ’s salvation exactly the way that they continue in it: By grace through repentance and faith. For this reason I will refer to calvanism by that name alone since the terms “reformed” and “doctrines of grace” are a little too broad to cover only one school of thought.

I think it’s also important to clarify exactly where I differ from the calvinist viewpoint. I agree that without the working of the Holy Spirit and the extension of God’s grace, (unmerited favor), no human would ever come to a saving repentance from his sins. However, I believe the Bible makes it clear that this grace is extended to all men. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11. Secondly I believe that as a human being to whom God has given a free will, any man has the ability to accept or reject the grace that is extended to him. Over and over God calls upon man to repent. But the mere use of the term repentance implies volition on the part of the man. If God could repent in for us, there would be no need for God to call upon us to do so. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11 But if he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, he would surely not choose it. 
Words can and have been spun on endlessly, but therein lies the crux of the matter. I would encourage those who agree with me not to lose time skirting around the edges by say things like “I just don’t believe that God would save some and not others.” In truth it really doesn’t matter what we believe about it. What matters is what he has revealed to us about himself. By the same token, it is of little validity to say that to believe as I do is to diminish God’s sovereignty. We are not discussing what God can and cannot do. That he could compel us to do his bidding by main force was never in question even for a moment. No, the real question is what he actually did do, and he has already told us that.

About Me

Author Photo I am a Christian IT professional (a.k.a. Geek) who likes to read, write, and muse about morality and worldview as they apply to public policy. In person I have an active and somewhat sardonic sense of humor. In print I repress this trait and try to avoid saying anything that could give offense when not offered with a broad grin (which the reader can’t see). I strive to be genuine in my dealings with everyone and to be frank, straightforward, and kind to friend and foe alike. I believe that the defense of truth is too important to be tainted with anger and malice or crippled by the fear of disapproval. For me, this is what it means to be "speaking the truth in love."