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According To His Works

He will repay each one according to his works:   eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality;

Romans 2:6‭-‬7 HCSB

 

  The passage goes on to describe what is in store for those whose actions do not get categorized as good, but you hear the message, right? It seems Paul needs to be informed of how Jesus will be heading out keys to the pearly gates, because this directly contradicts that the only thing I have to give an answer for is whether or not I believed in Jesus. What Paul says here shakes the very core of the “just ask Jesus into your heart” teaching. 

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

The Obedience of Faith

We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations,  on behalf of His name,

Romans 1:5 

   Have you ever tried to explain a word or phrase to a young mind? And in the moment of explanation you question whether you actually know what it means yourself, or wonder how you came to understand a thing you can’t explain, you just know in your gut? We do this funny little thing with words and phrases. The more we hear a phrase we tend to take for granted it’s meaning. Sometimes the meaning we ascribe to it is correct, and sometimes it isn’t. 

   Here Paul says that the gospel is preached to bring about the obedience of faith and the meaning I was taught growing up was that means people should obey the command to believe in Jesus. Sounds good, right? But if we look at the context that surrounds this verse it seems Paul is speaking of something much greater than obeying a call to give mental assent to the gospel. 

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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in Soteriology

 

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Faith and Works

A reflection on Romans 1-4

As a child and young adult I was raised with the teaching of salvation by faith alone. This doctrine was taught as a contrast to the Roman Catholic teaching of salvation by works (as it was explained to me). Now this is not an attempt to exhaustively address the RC doctrine of salvation and how faith and Works play out in that teaching; I’ll leave that to someone else. This aim is to address the understanding that was delivered to me as a child; and to examine a more biblical view of faith and Works in contrast to it.

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Posted by on July 10, 2019 in Soteriology

 

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Now I Know…

I mentioned in a previous post, that I am involved in a topic study on Open Theism. This post is a result of some of the ongoing reading/discussion:

 

In his book “No Other God”, John Frame argues for an anthropomorphic interpretation of Genesis 22:12 “Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.”” To speak anthropomorphically is to use human terminology in regards to God, in order to communicate a meaning, even though the human attribute isn’t true of God. for example, “the right hand of God” would mean God the Father’s power even though we know God the Father is a spirit and doesn’t have a body. Frame’s defense of this, as seems to be typical of him up to this point in his book, is to attack the opposing view instead of substantiating his own. While there is a problem of saying this is anthropomorphic, I would like to point out the problems with Frame’s attempted attack on the Open Theistic interpretation of this passage.

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Posted by on August 23, 2014 in Apologetics, God

 

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God – Personal or The Ultimate Stick in the Mud?

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I am doing a group study on the topic of Open Theism. The group I am in has agreed to read three books (1 pro-Open Theism and 2 pro-Classical Theism): Greg Boyd’s “God of the Possible”, John Frame’s “No Other God”, and Norman Geisler’s “Creating God in the Image of Man?”. While it is difficult for me not to go into detail of all the arguments among the three that I have found convincing or failing, I will resist the temptation. I just want to focus on one from Geisler’s book. Dr. Geisler founds his book on “Aquinian” reasoning (he takes the first 25% of his book to argue for his position in this manner). He uses the philosophical works of Thomas Aquinas to “prove” that God must have certain attributes if He is in fact really God. (This seems odd to me for one who should be letting the God of Scripture be defined by the Scripture He inspired.)

In illustrating how an immutable God can have a genuine relationship with humanity he employs the analogy of a pillar and a man. Dr. Geisler states,

“Thus, when there is a change in the creature there is no change in God. Just as when the man changes his position from one side of the pillar to the other, the pillar does not change; only the man changes in relation to the pillar.” (“Creating God in the Image of Man?” – pg 33)

The pillar is such because it is stationary (representing immutability). This pillar stands there, like a stick in the mud. And this “stick-in-the-mud” pillar is analogous (in Geisler’s mind) to God.

stickinthemudTo Dr. Geisler, this constitutes a genuine relationship between persons. The human relates to the stick, and we describe this relation through prepositions: above, beside, behind, beneath, beyond, around, etc. Geisler argues that when Scripture says God changes, it is not God that actually changes but man’s position to God that has changed. From man’s perspective the stick has changed, but the stick has always been the way it is, it is just the man seeing the stick differently or relating to the stick differently; but the stick has not changed. Aside from the problem that Geisler dismisses these passages as anthropomorphic with the ease of a Jedi mind trick; it affirms that there is no real, personal relationship with God. God does not feel, does not change according to the actions of the beings around Him. If God appears to be angry, it is just because we are on the angry side of God. We need to reposition ourselves to God. The analogy goes like this: If we would relocate ourselves away from the ugly side of the stick over to the bloomingly beautiful side, then to us it would appear the stick has changed. But it hasn’t, for it cannot change, because if the stick were to change then the stick would not be the ultimate stick as it would be somehow affected by man and thus relationally dependent on man. Geisler even states, which is the common view of classical theism, that prayer doesn’t even change God.  He states,

“It is utterly presumptuous for mortal man to believe that their prayer actually changes God. Instead prayer is a means by which God changes us and others.” (“Creating God in the Image of Man?” – pg.87)

The stick must not be affected by anything around it. It is just there, in the mud, unemotional, unmovable. The epitome of a loving relationship, right?

This Harvy Dent view of God is the price one pays to maintain the “classical” view of God. There is no real relationship. There is HarvyDentmerely the immovable, unaffected God that we must play ring-around-the-rosie with in order to stay on His “good side”. An unmoveable deity that speaks to us as if, and acts as if, He changes and is affected by our actions and prayers, but Who is really quite the opposite. A god who is a misleading, immovable, stick in the mud.

That is not the God revealed in Scripture.

That is not the God revealed in Jesus.

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Apologetics, God, Jesus Christ

 

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The Lie of Two Kingdoms

American Christians have been encouraged to think they must divide their allegiance between to kingdoms. That, as citizens of God’s Kingdom, it is still permissible [expected even] to play by the rules of an earthly kingdom when it comes to life within it.

In this sermon, Greg Boyd speaks of how Scripture has been twisted by the majority of American minded Christians. This is not a truth that I have come to accept easily as it goes against much of what I have been taught to believe about being an American citizen. I was taught contra this sermon at home, church, and school. However, I am convinced by what I find in Scripture that what Greg Boyd is attempting to teach Woodland Hills Church is biblical and should be the mindset of every follower of Jesus.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Christian Life, Church

 

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We Need To Have A Talk

dialogue

There are many different points of views within the body of Jesus on a variety of topics; so much so that there is a ton of ink spilled, both from the inkwell and the ink cartridge, than most would care to read in it’s entirety. Some devote their lives to studying it and some of those have begun the task only to give up out of desperation. All this disagreement is within the group who are a family; a group who all is to be following the teachings of one Man – Jesus the Messiah. These disagreements can get pretty nasty at times. But disagreements aren’t just within the group of people who follow the teaching of Jesus, but are also had between those who claim to follow Jesus and those who do not. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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