Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Who Can Tell Me What This Is?

hint: It is in Washington, DC.

Jodie Posts Again!

A really interesting article on Unashamed of Grace.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Puppies, Babies and Curmudgeons

Barking dogs really irritate me.
Crying infants test my nerves.

However, one has to admit ... (don't they?) ... cute little babies ... and lovely little puppies ... are wonderful!

I was walking this morning at sunrise and I saw two puppies with two different owners in two different locations. In both instances, when I came upon them, I said softly, "Awwww, how cute." As each of the owners looked at me, we smiled at eachother. We had that mutual recognition of the dearness in a cute baby dog, wagging its body and making that sweet sound that puppies do when they want to be friendly.

After I had passed the second puppy, I started thinking about the curmudgeons. They don't like puppies. They don't like babies, either.

Who can resist the delightful face of a little baby ... smiling at you with its innocent, toothless grin, wanting to interact? Oh, they are so charming. When a baby is in a good mood, there is nothing like it. They smile with their whole little, wiggly body. They cannot be ignored.

How is it that some of us in the adult community have such hard hearts? Why is it that we can look at these appealing little creatures and not be attracted? If you can't pat the head of a puppy dog ... or at least smile at a little baby, you need to check your pulse.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Thoughts on John 6

Has anyone else seen the movie "The Gospel of John"? I have this movie on DVD. It is so good to watch. I love that my young children become engrossed in it. "Hearing" the Word is different than reading it.

I noticed something. When we get to the part that represents John 6 ... frankly ... and I say this with the utmost respect for the Word ... it starts to sound really strange. Now, I am not talking as a non-Calvinist here. I mean it sounds strange in the sense that He doesn't seem to be trying to draw anyone to himself, but rather, it sounds like He is trying to shock people, especially when you hear the drama of the audible presentation of His words. For example:
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
I would think that many there would have thought He was quite off his rocker. Actually, the Bible indicates that they did think something like that.

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Now, I can't ask Christ directly why he spoke this way. Surely He could have said things in an easier-to-understand way. I have often wondered why he did this. Then, I found a pretty good explanation. Actually, when I think back, Matthew tried to explain this to me before, but it didn't become clear to me until I went to this link. I will cut and paste from the link that which I found helpful below. I don't agree with several of the things that I read there, but this makes so much sense:

" [Let's look at] ...the peculiar historical circumstances of this discourse in the general dispensational scheme. This discourse occurred in a Jewish setting, BEFORE Christ died on the cross. There was a specific dynamic occurring during Jesus' public ministry that is NOT occurring now. That dynamic is the partial blinding of Israel so that the crucifixion could occur. John 6 must be understood against the background of the following passages.

Mark 4:10-12,33-34 10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; LEST AT ANY TIME THEY SHOULD BE CONVERTED, AND THEIR SINS BE FORGIVEN THEM. ... 33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. (KJV)

Jesus spoke to the Jewish crowds in PARABLES for the expressed purpose of keeping them in the dark! He spoke in riddles. But, He expounded the true meaning of these parables to His disciples! Why? If not, the crowds might have believed on Him! And having the crowds on their side was necessary for the religious leaders to carry out the crucifixion. Also, if the religious leaders had understood the Mystery that God had hidden, they would NEVER have crucified Him! Paul states this clearly in the following passage.

1 Cor 2:7-8 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (KJV)

The crowds had a lot of power. The leaders were afraid of the crowds. And any uprising of the people would most certainly bring down the wrath of the Romans on the Jewish leadership! That is why the Pharisees had such heartburn on Palm Sunday, when some of the worshippers cried "Hosanna" at Christ's entrance into Jerusalem for Passover. The ONLY WAY the crucifixion could be carried out was IF the crowds and the leaders rejected Jesus! So, Jesus' words and actions were designed to force the Jews to reject Him! This is very apparent in John 6. The RIDDLE about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and about His being the "bread from heaven" was more than most could bear! The whole "Bread of Life Discourse" was intended to DRIVE AWAY the crowds!

Now, this may seem absurd, given the fact that God desires to save all men. But, let me quickly point out that after the crucifixion and resurrection, this situation no longer existed, and many of the Jews who had been hardened against Jesus, who were part of the mob that cried "away with him, crucify him," were also converted on the Day of Pentecost, and 3000 of them were baptized and added to the Jerusalem Church! This is proven from Acts 2.

Acts 2:22-24,36-41 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, YE HAVE TAKEN, AND BY WICKED HANDS HAVE CRUCIFIED AND SLAIN: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. ... 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, WHOM YE HAVE CRUCIFIED, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, THEY WERE PRICKED IN THEIR HEART, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (KJV)

No longer did God blind the Jews! (Although many of them continued willfully in their blindness). Some of the very same Jews who abandoned Jesus in John 6, and cried "away with Him," turned to Christ and were saved on the Day of Pentecost. John 6 MUST be understood within this framework.

God elected certain Jews to be saved during Jesus' ministry, as the core of His church. He spent three years preparing them to be missionaries to the whole world. All the while, He kept the crowds and the religious leaders in the dark about what His real purpose was, by using parables. Mark said that without a parable He did not speak to them! In this way they were "blinded" to the Gospel."


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Home From Church

I am home from church with a sick 11-year-old today.

Bugblaster thinks I should blogspot him. Here, Bugblaster. Here is a spot:
Chezkneel Blog by Bugblaster
Bugblaster wants you to read his blog! He has posted a lot of stuff on Leviticus lately. He says we have a lot in common, he and I ... besides that "pesky Calvinism thing." (What is that blond crazy-haired person doing in his sidebar?)

Don't Hate Your Sins. Daniel doesn't want me to blogspot him. I hesitate to do so because he is using that hated phrase "false gospel" in his sidebar, but this is a really good article by him. It almost sounds like he confirms that believers are dual-natured. I am sure, however, with that pesky Calvinism thing in place, it can't be.

By the way, I really hate the way people say that the Free-Grace gospel is a false gospel. I don't agree with everything in the FG theology, but what a stupid thing to say. There is only one gospel. Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again for our sins in fulfillment of the Scriptures. There is life in no other.

Here is a quote from Antonio on the Unashamed of Grace Blog:
The preaching of the cross and resurrection is the vehicle in which we present Christ as the sufficient and authoratative Guarantor of eternal life. Why can Christ be relied upon for one's eternal well-being? Precisely because He is the God-Man who took the penalty for the sins of the world by His death on the cross, and proved that His sacrifice was sufficient to God by His subsequent raising from the dead.

People who are preaching the death, burial and ressurection of Christ as sufficient to save are not preaching a false gospel.

Stop it!

As promised, more on John 6 coming up .....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thinking About John 6

I have been thinking about John 6 and reading over it a couple of times. It is so very interesting! Of course, I am always drawn in by the verses that my Calvinist friends like to quote to me, like:

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
It occurs to me that Jesus is not talking about anything remotely having to do with election or predestination here. Taken in isolation, this verse can come across that way, especially when that idea is tagged. Looking at the whole chapter paints a different picture. How about starting with the surrounding context? He is saying that He is the bread of life and that they do not believe in Him (v. 35 & 36). Then he says, " 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." And then He says "for .... I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (v. 38-40)

What of the word "for"? It is connecting two parts of the sentence. Jesus is saying that ALL that the Father gives Him will come to Him for He is not here to do His own will, but that of the Father. His point is not one of predestination or determinism, but that He is not on His own here. He is doing the will of the Father and those who come to Him are directed from the Father. I think a key verse to this passage is verse 45:

45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
Could Jesus have been telling them that if they were really followers of God, they would listen to Him? He sure talks a lot about His Father in this discourse. Perhaps that is the point! The Father gives them to the Son, not in the sense that He looks from eternity past with the Son and says, "there, there and there. Those are your sheep, I am giving them to you." Rather, if any of the Jews have truly been seeking the Father and looking for the Hope that the Lord had promised, they would be led where? To Jesus!! The Father would give them to the Son. It is the Son they will see and believe and have everlasting life and be raised on the last day. Glory!

Anyways, those were some thoughts I had when reading through this this week. I also was pointed to another source on John 6 with some insight into something about the chapter that has troubled me for some time. Reading it really helped me to understand what could have been happening when Jesus said,
"53 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

(Has that verse ever baffled anyone else? I have heard explanations of it, but none stuck until the one I read yesterday.)

I will share the other view of this chapter that I found so helpful later in the week, before Friday. I hope you'll come back and read it!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Zane Hodges = Free Grace Theology?

Danny, a commenter on the previous post, said, "It's important that people understand that Hodges does NOT speak for the entire FG community. It's not fair to frame discussions on Free Grace Theology around Zane Hodges' views only."

Article on Grace Evangelical Society Website disgreeing with Zane Hodges

I told him I would post this link for all to see. I learn something new everyday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is Christ's Deity Essential?

What must one know about Jesus to receive eternal life from Him?

I tend to think that these passages indicate that belief Jesus is the Son of God is really important to receiving eternal life from Him, the gift that He offers.

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20)
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11)
23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8)
Free-Gracers, with whom I have a lot in common, indicate that one doesn't have to know about Christ's deity to have saving faith. They say as long as you are believing in the Jesus that walked the earth and who is written about in the Bible, you can receive His gift. Actually, it has been said that as long as you are believing in the Jesus that offers eternal life it is enough - because no other Jesus offers eternal life... The say that when the words "Son of God" appear in the verses above, they are a title and are referring to Jesus' ability to guarantee eternal life. I just can't see that. That reasoning doesn't sit well with me. I think a title such a "Son of God" has some meaning beyond what He can do. I think when "Son of God" is used it means something about "WHO HE IS" not just what He does.

He can guarantee eternal life because He is the eternal being and that is what Martha was saying, was it not? In other words I would think that "Son of God" means "able to guarantee eternal life" because of the nature of the Son of God as revealed in the title.

Say you have a person who is a blank slate - they never heard of Jesus. What is the main thing they need to know about Him to make sure that they don't get Him confused with another person named Jesus?

That is my question. What is your answer?

The article below is relevant and it represents the part of the Free Grace perspective that I am not in agreement with.

How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1.
The article in its entirety is located at the following url:

The article is written by Zane Hodges.

An email joke

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?

Charismatic: Only 1. Hands are already in the air.

Pentecostal: 10. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.

Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.

Episcopalians: 3. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.

Mormons: 5. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Bring a bulb of your choice to the Sunday lighting service and a covered dish to pass.

Nazarene: 6. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans: None.Lutherans don't believe in change.

Amish:What's a light bulb?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Quote of the Week

I posted this quote on another blog as a "quote of the week" entry, but I like it so much, I decided to post it here also:

Premillennialists are often accused of being pessimists with regard to their philosophy of history. However, it is premillennialism which provides the most satisfactory answer to the problems of human history. While premillennialists believe that in the age immediately prior to return of the Lord, men will deepen in their rebellion against God, it is premillennialism that points despairing humanity to a coming “Golden Age” during which many of their frustrated hopes and aspirations will find fruition. Mankind has always dreamed of an age of peace, of universal security, happiness and prosperity. Premillennialism looks across the turbulent present to just such a hope at the return of the Sun of Righteousness. It avoids at once the anthropocentric optimism of the old liberalism and the utter helplessness of materialism and fatalism. The premillennial hope is most optimistic for it rests upon divine promise which demands a certain fulfillment.

Ernest Pickering, “The Importance of Premillennialism”, Article from Central Press

Monday, June 04, 2007

Life before Death?

I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died. (Romans 7:9 )

What do you make of this verse? What do you think Paul is trying to say? I was reading this verse yesterday and it struck me - perhaps this has the answer to my question about the word "dead." I have asked about the word "dead" here on this blog. When the Bible says we are spiritually dead, I have oft wondered what was the "life" that preceded that "death." IOW, to be "dead," you had to "live" first. People are are not dead before they are conceived and born, they are just not alive yet. A corpse is dead because it was once a living body. So spiritually, if we are dead, somehow, there must have been a spiritual life that preceded that death - it seems to me - else why would the Lord chose to use the word dead rather than unborn? Do you see the question in all of that?

So .... maybe this verse holds the key to my dilemna with that word.

What do you think?


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