Trading my sorrows?

I don’t like critiquing Music publicly. It’s far, far too dangerous.

These days in the blogosphere it is open season on churches & pastors big and small, Christian culture, missionaries & missions, theologies (or theology itself), and pretty much anything else that a previous generation would have considered sacred or worthy of respect. The Bible, and even God can even be questioned or mocked so long as one assumes the correct demeanour of “a skeptic seeking understanding” or assumes the title “relevant evangelist.” But…lift an eyebrow towards Christian pop culture and WHAMMO! The hammer drops.

Suddenly, one finds themselves on the inside of a four-walled cell (also known as a pigeon-hole) with the letters emblazoned outside: “Danger! 1970’s King-James only Fundamentalist!! Handle with care!”

I used to have a controversial blog, with lots of discussion and anger and controversy. It was fun. But nowadays I just want to serve my work with my own hands and lead a quiet life, as I have been commanded.

And so I would invite you to think, question and reason calmly together with me as I seek to honour the God of the Bible over the sacred cows of our day.

Specifically, I would like to discuss the words of the song, “I’m Trading my Sorrows.”

I grew up with that song, but it has been a long time since I sang it. You know how it goes – as a kid you just mouth along to the words and mostly are interested in what the bassist or drummer is doing. But this line caught me, “He’s under my feat, he’s under my feat…Satan is under my feet.” Especially when it was repeated ad infinitum, (often with foot-stomping motions) I started asking myself, “Is that Biblical? IS Satan under my feet? I know Jesus has defeated him, but where does it say he is under my feet?” Call me legalistic, but I started humming the bridge.

The more I pondered, the more my humming rebellion broke out of the bridge, and into the choruses and verses. “Something this song just doesn’t sound right to me.” I thought to myself. “Are we really called to lay down all the hardships of life, and take up the joy of the Lord? Is this what we are called to do?”

Now, after five weeks on the mission field I just came back from an opening ceremony where this song figured prominently. Not only was I not singing (or even humming) along, my arms were crossed. The earth herself trembled under the fury of my silent rebellion, way back there in the back right corner of the packed auditorium.

But this time, I had more than theological reasons to dislike this song. Today, this song was salt in the festering wounds on the sores I have gained on my back, carrying the cross Jesus put there these past two years. I couldn’t help but ask, “What kind of life/deal/plan of salvation is this song offering? It’s not the package I seem to be signed up for!”

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I’m trading my sickness, I’m trading my pain…

Since coming here, in obedience to the call of God, we have been hit with no less than three bugs in under a month. First our baby got Rosella – a long drawn out affair with a five day fever, two day rash and non-stop clingy “I-refuse-to-sleep” mayhem. These all-natural parents were setting a personal record by dousing down the maximum allowable amounts of baby tylenol…and then finally even interspacing baby tylenol with baby Advil. Then the oldest got a 36 hour flu, and we were washing sheets and wiping up vomit. Then I got what is affectionately known as “runny tummy” and now my wife has it, but for her it is just one big, full-body joint ache. Of course disease can happen anywhere, but it doesn’t take a medical doctor to say that our bodies are not used to the viruses and bacteria here: our moving to a radically new environment and climate means our bodies have some adjusting to do. And yes, there will be some sickness, and some pain involved in that.

I’m trading my sorrows…

A pause. Head down. Where do I start? Shall I start with every day, when I log into Facebook and see all my friends staying close, together, in the land I love? Having babies and letting their kids forge life-long friendships as I was able to experience? Shall I talk about the depression that our oldest went through on our first move? (Apparently, a medical/psychological anomaly, because kids that young aren’t supposed to get depressions) Shall I tell of the tears spilled on school books, on grocer receipts, on phone calls, on bills? This one is too personal for me. I must move on.

I’m trading my shame…

At home, in my element, I was a chameleon. I fit. Nobody noticed me. Now, the entire world behind me, and the entire world before me sees this foreigner among them. Our lives are open to the judgement of many and the scorn of a few. It happens often that I feel ashamed of who I am and what I am trying to do for my king.

I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord.

…and what is this joy? I have the peace of Christ in me, and I can testify that when we pray desperately for help, He is there with us. But I’m not quite sure I’m able to sing along with the old Hymn, “…it was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day.” No, I’m not happy all the day. I’m not happy as I write this. I just drove through town, and was foolish enough to do as others and pull over in traffic to buy veggies from a roadside stand. I was halfway through the order when I got mobbed by vendors and beggars, all trying to get my money, all yelling things and pushing veggies or themselves into my car. I got out of there and got the veggies I ordered (I think) for kind of a good price (I hope). I am now wide eyed, frazzled, fazed and foggy. Not really especially “joyful” right now. This life is hard – one would need to be on drugs, or act like they were, to be happy all the time in this real world of serving God.

I say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord…(etc. etc. etc.) amen
.

Well, who wouldn’t say yes to that? A life of no sickness, no pain? A life of no sorrows, and no shame? Sign me up, please! You can find me on the first plane out of here, and back to my cozy home town and country where I belong, where nobody judges me, where I have free healthcare and a sanitary environment.

But that is not what Jesus has called me to.

First He said, “Follow me.” So I did. Then He said, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” So I did. And it hurt. And just so we were clear He said, “Whosoever puts their hand to the plough and looks back is not worthy of me.” And so I didn’t. Well, at least I try not to look back.

And He is good. And His mercies really are new every morning. And I can testify with honesty that no matter how hard this life is, I’d really rather be in a hard place with Jesus than in a good place without Him. He is all the world to me. But here’s the deal: it’s hard! So why do we tell our children that following Jesus will be easy? Even, that this is what He is calling them to?

What is a cross? It is shame. It is a cause of pain. It is sickness, it is death. Do we call our children to lay these things down? If so, we are standing in opposition to the call of Christ.

Jesus came to give us life, and life more abundantly. But then He added the little caveat: unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot truly live. Those who gain their lives will lose them: but those who lose their lives for Christ’s sake will find them.

Why is there such a high rate of attrition on the mission field and in the ministry? We used to send out missionaries with their luggage stored in coffins, with sober words and services bordering on funerals: we did not expect to see them again, and we usually didn’t. Now we send out missionaries with promises of adventure, wholesome family times, fun and cultural experiences. And it’s just not like that over here.

Did you know that they had missionaries in the Bible? Of course you do. Peter was the first one, then there was Andrew, Thomas, and the most famous of all was Paul. They called their ministry the ministry of apostleship. (Small “a”…as apposed to The Apostles, of whom there were only 12) An apostle went were there was no church, or only very young churches, to plant a new work. Listen to how Paul describes what it is like to be an apostle:
…For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honour. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now…by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things. (2 Cor 5 & 6)

A fellow missionary recently told Anne Jisca an Arabic saying: “Some days are honey, some days are onions.” She told me she has really been meditating on that saying. It so fits our reality here! Also, interestingly, Anne Jisca has made a “miracle-mend” caught syrup (hey, it really works well, folks!) whose main two ingredients are onions and honey.

I want to make it clear that I don’t have any particular problem with singing the song “I’m trading my sorrows.” I also mean no disrespect towards those who sang it today, as I myself have sung and lead it many many times. The song has some truth to it – as no doubt will become clear as people draw verses from Matthew and from Isaiah and post them in the comments below.

The song isn’t pure heresy. However, what it is is pure honey. It is in need of a bit of a rewrite. Would it be possible to incorporate some of the verses above? Something like:

“I’m taking my hunger, I’m taking my needs…
“I’m taking my weakness, I’m taking infermity…
“I’m taking my persecutions, I’m taking my shame…
“I’m taking them up, for the glory of His name!”

Another thing. The song aught to be sung in a minor key. Perhaps D minor. In the colour of purple. With the taste of onions and honey.

Because that is the savour of a life following after the crucified Lord.

Post-script:

When I wrote this I was not able to
get online to read the actual lyrics.

To be fair to Darrel Evan, the line “he’s under my feet” seem to be a regional variation of the song, that he didn’t write.

He also has a very good bridge (which wasn’t sung during the opening ceremony) which goes like this:

I am pressed but not crushed
Persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
For His promise will endure
That His joy’s gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

…and so I stand corrected. It seems that Evans wrote some onions in along with the honey after all. I still think the song should be dropped to d minor: but now I’m just being nit picky! :-)

The one thing you should NOT say about ISIS and Christianity

I find it very troubling when people respond to the ISIS massacres by saying, “All religions are evil,” or “Religion only leads to violence.” It’s as though they are thinking like this…

1) ISIS is committing atrocities in the name of their religion
2) Therefore all Muslims are evil
3) Islam is a religion, therefore all religions are evil
4) Christianity is also a religion, therefore it is evil
5) Therefore, THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANITY PROVES THAT CHRISTIANITY IS AN EVIL RELIGION.
You may laugh and say, “Who would think this way?” But it’s the reality – whenever persecution of our brothers and sisters heats up on one side of the ocean, ideological persecution and “Christianity causes violence” comments increase on the other side.
I know these sorts of comments are very politically correct to make, but please consider that making them is very hurtful for those who are mourning the real atrocities committed against our religion in Iraq and other places.
Please be kind with your words and informed in your comments.
Thank you.

“Can You Tolerate Me?” Said the Conservative to the Homosexual

On the issue of homosexuality, we must remember that it is not Christianity that has changed to believe something radical, unreasonable or outrageous. Rather, it is our society which has moved suddenly and dramatically to affirm and approve something which as little as forty years ago was defined as “unhealthy” by secular clinical journals. On this issue, Christianity used to be a red rose among a field of poppies. In so short of time, the poppies were replaced by lilies and we are a sudden abnormality by resistance to change.

As society teeters along, pushed on by the opinions of rock stars and popularity of competing philosophical systems, conflict has always been inevitable with those who have anything like roots.

And Christianity has roots. We believe not only in a God who “is,” but a God who “speaks.” And because He has spoken, there is a tremendous amount of stability to our beliefs. We do not base our morality on what the philosophers and scholars say, but on what we believe to be the unchanging record of what God has said.
Like the tide coming in and going out, society seems continually at odds with Christianity over one point or another.
So long as Christianity stays true to her values, she will never be able to find total peace with a society based on the changing ideas of her leading thinkers, poets and advocates.
This issue is often cast as one of intolerance – and of course one can always find examples of Christians who seem cruel or insensitive towards Homosexuals. (Let us pause for a moment to note the passing of Fred Phelps). But usually, the stories center around Christians who simply “are” and who believe what they always have, and who are being attacked by a society which has changed and can no longer find space for them. This issue really is one of tolerance. But from where I am sitting, it really seems to me that the question is really, “Will society find it in it’s heart to tolerate a segment of society which does not agree with them?”
We were here first, we have not changed. And further, we cannot change. To ask a monotheistic religion to change on such a point is to demonstrate complete ignorance for how our religion works, or else to call into question how deeply we believe in our God. What is Christianity if we do not believe the Bible to be God’s Word, is more important than the competing and conflicting voices of our society?
In brief, the demand for Christian institutions to become “open and accepting” towards the LGBT community is in essence a demand for us to reject or cripple our religion. It is a demand which is unreasonable, which is impossible for a conservative to accommodate. When it is accompanied by social, legal or financial pressure – as it often is – it is nothing other than religious persecution.
“Persecution” is a big and potentially loaded word. But follow my logic and read what I have written here slowly. I do not simply have a martyr complex. This is a topic upon which Christianity cannot bend. To try to force a religion to bend on a central doctrine by some form of external pressure is the very essence of religious persecution. Therefore, demanding that Christians change or hide their views regarding traditional marriage could be called nothing less than religious persecution.

Essential and Non-Essential Theology: Who Decides Which Is Which?

The question, then, is not so much, “Will Christianity tolerate homosexuality?” Just about even Christian I know tolerates Christianity. As with the topic of fornication, most Christians I know have no problem tolerating homosexuals. They say simply, “They believe differently than we do,” and they get on with their lives. Christianity is surrounded by people – virtually every person in our society – who either practiced fornication before marriage, currently looks at pornography, or engages in what Christians would call “lustful thoughts” on a regular basis. All of these people – all of them – know that what they are doing is no acceptable to the Christian faith. They also, by the way, know that eating beef is not acceptable to the Hindu faith. And drinking alcohol is not acceptable to the Muslim faith. And that working on Saturdays is forbidden for Jews.

And yet, shockingly, life goes on. People in our society are surprisingly tolerant. Most people in our society are quite well aware that at most of the religions of the world disagree with his or her lifestyle. Most people are just fine with that. Why should they care that others think they are going to Hell, or going to be reincarnated, because of their actions? They are not part of those religions, they get by with life the best they know how. This is (North) America, and we live and let live over here.

We do, at least, on every topic except for Homosexuality.
On homosexuality, it seems, it is not enough for Christians to keep
And that is all that we ask of you, our dear culture.
You are already so very gifted at toleration. You can tolerate every form of religion. You can tolerate every vice and evil practice in print and video. You who revel in songs and stories of liberty, rebellion, and escape from the norm. You can tolerate diversity, divergence, deformity and decadence. But can you tolerate me, the Christian who is trying his best to serve a Holy God?

My dear homosexual friend, can you find it in yourself to tolerate me, the conservative Christian who believes differently than you?

RELATED POSTS:

How the Persecution Will Arrive in an (Overly) Tolerant Culture

Driscoll on Homosexuality

What Do Homosexuality, Women in the Church & Home, Fornication, Divorce & Remarriage, Emergent & Hell All Have In Common?

The Campolos on Homosexuality

Reflections on the Interview, where Jennifer Knapp “Comes out of the closet”

Sin Lists and Why We (Should) Love Them

The “Homosexuality Issue” as a Litmus-Test of Orthodoxy

Does Love Still Exist in the World?

For a French assignment, I was given the project of answering the question, “Does love still exist in the world?” Here is my English version of my response.

***

It is my belief that true love does exist in the world.

I am not speaking about desire, admiration, friendship or lust. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) True love is desiring the best for another person, even at the cost of one’s own self. This sort of love exists first and foremost as parents loving their children. Jesus said that even though we are evil, we know how to give good gifts to our children. (Mat. 7:11, Luke 11:13) We love because we are meeting God’s image (Gen. 1:27), and He loves us (John 3:16). Whether we know it or not, we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
This is also why God sent John the Baptist to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and children back their fathers. If love does not exist in families, it does not exist at all, and a culture is under God’s curse and is doomed (Malachi 4:6).
Every person has the capacity to love, but there are at least three ways that love may die. Sin is a violation of love (Luke 10:26-27), and repeated sins can cause the heart to become seared and unable to love (1 Tim. 4:2). Secondly, very lawless and difficult times may make love grow cold (Mat. 24:12). Finally, the spiritual battle between God and Satan can destroy love in the home. As Jesus said, “all men will hate you… Even mothers will turn against their children, and children will deliver their parents up to death” (Mat. 10:21).
Although love may die through the harshness and sins of life, every time a child is born their parents are reminded of the love that God has for all his children. And there is a new chance to discover what love means.
But most of all, I believe that love exists in the world because God is in this world. He works through his children in the church. It is true that true love exists outside of the church, because non-Christians are made in God’s image just as much as Christians are. It is also true that Christians may have cold hearts, and many who call themselves Christians are false brethren.
However, it is through his work redeeming souls and healing hearts that God’s kingdom continues to make progress in this world.
The most perfect place where I can witness love is in the unconditional manner in which Jesus loves me, gives Himself for me and forgives me over and over. I hope that through me love may exist in the world around me.

 

Made in the Image of God: A video-sermon on the value of the human soul

Here is a new sermon I preached on the value of the human soul, how our culture tends to dehumanize people, and how Christians should make it their ambition to love the whole person to Christ. Thank you for watching!

Why Christian Husbands Should Always Clean the Toilet and/or Take out the Garbage

I have to admit one thing right off the bat: I don’t clean the toilet nearly often enough. I leave it for a few weeks, and my wife often becomes fed up and cleans it herself. And the garbage often piles up to ridiculous sizes before I get around to carrying it all the way up the hill to the dumpster. (It’s so far away at this apartment!) I’m only human. A very distracted, “absent-minded-professor,” sometimes lazy type of human. However, theologically I not only believe that I should be doing these chores, but I have a strong conviction that almost all husbands should be doing exactly the same thing.

I have a feeling this post will be more popular with wives than with husbands. So be it.

The logic is quite simple:

1) God calls men to be the head of their home (Eph. 5)

2) Jesus demonstrates what leadership/headship looks like. He washes feet. He says, “You call me teacher and Lord, for that is why I am. If I, your teacher and Lord, have done this, you are to do likewise.” (John 13:13-14)

3) We don’t have dirty feet anymore, and so the significance of the command is lost on us. Washing feet was the most demeaning, “bottom-of-the-rung” job for a slave (if one had one) to do. The closest equivalent we have to today is cleaning the toilet or taking out the trash.

4) Jesus cautions that the leadership of the world is like a pyramid, with the people on top being served with the people on the bottom. “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” (Luke 22:26) That is, the leader should be the one who washes feet – or cleans toilets, as the case may be.

Elsewhere, I said there are basically four perspectives on leadership and submission in the home (from left to right): patriarchy, complimentarianism, egalitarianism, and feminism. In brief:

Patriarchy: is the belief that God made men to be leaders in the home, and should be served.

Complimentarianism (yes, it’s  along word. sorry): is the belief (which I hold) that men are to be servant-leaders of their home

Egalitarianism (another long word – sorry!): is the belief (which I used to hold) that men should not speak of leading, but only of being equal with their wives

Feminism: Is rarely taught but often exemplified in Christianity. It is the belief that women should lead, and men submit.

In this post, I am concerned only with dividing between patriarchy and complimentarianism.

Theologically, complimentarians and patriarchalists look very much the same. They both have very similar theology, they both usually conduct the home quite similarly. So, how does one know whether they have the attitude of a patriarchalism or a complimentarian?

Here’s one way to find out: how did you react to the idea that you aught to clean toilets and take out garbage?

A Complimentarian: “Well, that makes sense! I never thought of it…I’m usually tired when I come home from work, and my wife does most of the house chores…but that could be a good way of demonstrating my love, and serving her as the head of the home…hm…good idea!”

A Patriarchalist: “This is ridiculous. I have been called to be the head of the home. So I shouldn’t have to get down on my knees next to the family commode with a brush in one hand and cleaning solution in the other? That would just be confusing to the children. I am the leader. My wife needs to do that to show she is submitted to me.”

Objections

Q. I consider myself equal to my wife, but we have chosen to divide our work by me working to pay the bills, and her staying home to care for the house and kids. I don’t ask her to do my job. Why should I do hers?
A. From your description, you are an egalitarian couple: you have a vision for the equality of the Bible. Great! But I would like you to catch a vision for the Biblical leadership of the Bible. It’s not enough for you to “just do half” of the work. You are the leader, and leaders do more than half. Your family is your body, and you are the head. Be proactive, be involved, and see what little things can be done to serve your kids, love your wife, and contribute to a healthy home. If not the toilet…what? Dishes? Diapers? Compost pail? Think of your best-boss-ever. Wasn’t he the greatest boss because he got out of his office so often, because he was always tuned in to his department, because he was always there when someone needed an extra hand? Be that guy.

Q. No no…you don’t understand! I am really working hard here! I don’t have time to do a bunch of housework when I come home!
A. I’ve seen marriages where the man works to support his wife all day, then comes home to clean the house, do the dishes, and care for the kids. Unless his wife is ill, this is just an unfair division of labour. In the case I saw, it was an example of a feminist marriage (but a submissive feminism, such as one often sees in the Christian church). This is not what I am advocating. The toilet takes about ten minutes once a week. Garbage? Seven minutes a day. The time commitment is not the same as promising to keep every dish spotless for life. However, a loving and engaged servant-leading husband of wife-with-littles will know when his wife is burnt out, when she needs help, and will self-sacrificially “give more than 50%” when she needs him.


Q. The example of the toilet doesn’t work for us, because…
A. Very well. Maybe I haven’t thought of your example. So tell me – what is the smelliest, dirtiest, nastiest job in your home? In other words, what is the best equivalent to washing feet? Do that. Life is crazy, but tell your wife that as her loving head, you are making it your ambition to remember to do this chore for her. I believe it will make a profound difference in your marriage, and in your walk with God!

Conclusion

Bruxy Cavey often says that the problem with teaching on gender is that both men and women tend to read the other gender’s mail, and not their own. Teach on the Bible’s commands to men, and the women are nudging their husbands, putting their hands on their hips and saying “yeah! yeah! exactly! Why doesn’t he ever do that?!” and putting so much pressure that their husbands clam up, hear nothing, and the end is frustration on one side, and diminished respect accompanied by frustration on the other. Teach on the Bible’s commands to women…and the roles are reversed!

This is a post to men, and if you are a woman reading it I would urge you not to take the opportunity to show your man just how far he has fallen from the standards of a Biblical manhood.

Never compare your husband unfavourably to another man.

Understand that this post does not come out of the blue. If you wish to have a husband who leads in confidence, notices you, and serves you in love, perhaps the problem runs deeper than just a dirty toilet or a pile of garbage? Perhaps you have established your marriage as an egalitarian or even feminist marriage. A feminist husband feels whipped and secretly frustrated/angry. He tries to get out of any of the dirty work he can. An egalitarian husband sees his wife completely as an equal – like a dorm-mate – and assumes that she is strong, that she is capable, and that she is able to handle her responsibilities while he handles his (this is why egalitarianism often leads to distance in a relationship). Signs of weakness frustrate and annoy him. “I’m doing my half – why can’t you do yours?” Only a complimentarian husband will catch the vision of Ephesians 5, caring for his wife and kids like his own body, being dialled in to their needs, and self-sacrificially serving. You wish for your husband to care for you like that? Are you prepared to submit to his leadership like that? Try re-reading the Biblical passages on gender roles in the home, and prayerfully consider whether you have established your marriage by patterns of Scriptures, or patterns of the world? Then consider what God calls you to be and to do as wife. Change what you can change, not what you can’t.

And to the husbands reading…I know you’re mad at me. I know I’ll hear about this one. I’m sorry.

But the big idea is this: most of us feel frustrated after a few years of marriage because the churches today are teaching egalitarianism. Which basically means we get no respect, we don’t know where our place is in the home, our wives find ways of bringing us down a notch in their humour, glances and words, and we often feel the need to “get out” of the home to find some other place to be the strong, decisive, powerful, responsible, capable, and respected leader God made us to be. If you tell your wife “look, I feel like we’re not doing it God’s way. I’m supposed to be the leader, you’re supposed to submit” – let me just submit to you…that probably won’t go over too well. Our culture is terrified of the patriarchalism which it saw in previous generations.

But if you wish to be the servant-leader of your home that Jesus modelled in Scriptures, there is nothing stopping you from just doing it. Ask God for grace to be confident in yourself. Start thinking about your home like it is “your” home, your business, your body. Start asking questions about where the money goes, what the burdens are, where things are rubbing the wrong way. And start making steps towards kind and confident leadership.

But at the same time that you do that – and in a much greater measure – find ways to lovingly serve. To assure your wife, with actions rather than words, “Look, I’m not here to beat your down and make you my servant like great-uncle sam did with aunt sue. I believe we are equal in Christ! (1 Pet. 3:7) But I also believe our marriage would work best if we do this as God intended – with me taking the lead and also tenderly loving and serving this family. Would you be up for that?”

It’s not the end of a discussion, it’s the beginning. And I wish you well on your journey.

RELATED POSTS

Leadership and Submission in the Home

Follow-up post to “Leadership and Submission in the Home”

Fighting Over the Pants, or the Crown of Thorns?

 

The Christian Gender Debate: Understanding the Four Perspectives

What Do Homosexuality, Women in the Church & Home, Fornication, Divorce & Remarriage, Emergent & Hell All Have In Common?

The Good & Bad News of the Gospel

The message of the gospel…

is first that we are in a terrible and dangerous situation.
secondly that God in His love has provided a way of escape from said situation.
To preach the second without the first is to present the notion that we are in no danger, and thus God’s “Great Rescue Plan” is not needed and is thus not very great.
To preach the first without the second is to present the image of a severe, unloving, unreasonable and profoundly ungracious God.
Many of the current debates and divisions between Christians today result from over-emphasizing one of these two extremes without concern for the unity and necessity of the two.
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