What Love is this?

Love.  What a loaded and nuanced concept that the world keeps getting wrong.  American culture and the slowly fading post-modern movement are in the process of redefining love.  Liberal theologians, rock star mega-church pastors and their undiscerning followers are guzzling the liberal love kool-aid by the bucket full and the visible church in America is suffering because of it.  Their bankrupt view of love is not derived from or defined by Scripture any longer, instead it is defined by what society deems lovely.  It’s being redefined by our culture and adopted by professing believers in Christ.  This is to say that in our modern culture love isn’t supposed to offend.  Love must be universally accepting no matter if one engages in a lifestyle of sin.  Love is dependent on human emotion so it changes like a chameleon.  Love, as defined by society, affirms sin to avoid making someone feel bad and the mainline church swallowed this shallow idea our culture calls love.  What a travesty! In reality love separated from biblical truth is not love.  It is hate.

To be sure the bible speaks endlessly of love and exhorts Christians to love people, both believers and unbelievers indiscriminately as Christ did.  We are to love those who persecute us, those who seek to tear us down, those who hate God and His commandments.  God’s infallible, inerrant and completely perfect Word instructs Christians to walk in a way worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to that end we must remain faithful to the Word of God by loving those who hate or oppose us.  I fall short, in fact, we all fall short of such commandments. No doubt we struggle to love those who hate us and even those who don’t because we’re sinners.  We will continue to fall short of God’s demands while in the flesh and we must continually  guard against destructive and judgmental behavior through constant bible study and prayer.  We must be steadfast in prayer and bible study because society is bent on, and succeeding, at perverting the very concept of biblical love and professing believers are blindly falling in line.  Love is being replaced with a emotionally driven, morally relativistic, insufficient, totally sentimental form of love that in actuality is hateful to unbelievers… stick with me and allow me to explain.

Before I go any further let me be clear about what I am not saying.  I am not making a case to be offensive for the sake of being offensive.  I am not calling for Christians to abandon gracious attitudes toward the lost or condone the harsh treatment of unbelievers.  I am certainly not advocating the twisted and childish tactics employed by apostates such as the Westboro Baptist cult.  These attitudes toward the lost are harmful, unbiblical and unacceptable for any Christian.  Period.  No exceptions.  So, what am I saying?  Well, sometimes (most of the time?) biblical truth hurts.  It hurts because the bible exposes us to our corrupt and sinful nature.  The bible affirms that no one is righteous, not even one. The wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive and we can’t change that nor should we try to.  The cross is folly to those who aren’t in Christ and the bible makes that point abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians, look it up, it’s there.  So what’s the issue?

You see, when I hear professing Christians speak about loving sinners I have to stop and listen closely with a discerning ear.  What do they mean by love? Have they cowered to the screaming voices and stomping feet of our relativistic culture and abandoned their biblical position in an effort to avoid confrontation? Unfortunately, most of the time, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes’.   Love, it seems, is being redefined by professing Christians in an eerily similar way that our secular culture has redefined marriage.  Systematically.  By and large the evangelical mainline church has reduced love down to mere sentimentality and abandoned biblical truth to avoid offending unbelievers.  Capitulating on biblical truth to appease the conscience of those who aren’t in Christ, all in the name of love, is nothing less than watering down the gospel.

A prime example of cashing in biblical truth to appease our anything-goes-as-long-as-it-makes-you-feel-good culture is the Marin Foundation’s ‘I’m Sorry’ campaign.  On the surface the campaign looks to be a legitimate ministry.  Its goal? To apologize to the LGBT community for the past transgressions of the visible church.  The Marin Foundation says it is committed to “making the first step towards relational reconciliation in a tangible way“.  I don’t have an issue with that statement although I find it a little ambiguous.  I’m willing to admit that harm has been done to the LGBT community by professing Christians. In fact I’m certain of it; after all we’re sinners.  However, upon further inspection of the core goals and philosophy of the Marin Foundation’s ‘I’m Sorry’ campaign it becomes sickeningly clear that saying “I’m sorry” is the only thing they advocate…and that is something I take issue with.

You will be hard pressed to find the gospel proclaimed, let alone mentioned, anywhere on the Marin Foundation’s website.  Of all the testimonials I read through I couldn’t find one instance where the gospel was clearly and accurately proclaimed to the lost or otherwise.  Apologizing to the LGBT community for the past transgressions of the visible church worked to open lines of communication.  It briefly opened the door to boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ but that opportunity was quickly squandered away while professing Christians hugged it out with the lost.  Instead of following up their apology with a biblical  picture of what sin is and how we all deserve God’s righteous judgment these professing believers affirmed the lost in their sin by not sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  One can only assume they failed to preach the gospel in an effort to love these people and not offend them! What kind of love is that?

The Marin Foundation and its disciples aren’t the only group at fault for such blatant biblical ignorance but one I take particular exception with because the publicity it garnered via social media.  The Marin Foundation’s ‘I’m Sorry’ campaign is what a culture friendly love looks like.  Void of any truth.  Affirming sin in the name of love.  The Emergent Church and it’s so called pastors like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt are equally guilty of replacing biblical truths with post-modern philosophy.  They work hard at replacing orthodox Christianity with a culture friendly version of the gospel which really is no gospel at all.  Many mainline denominations are guilty of this biblical treason too. Instead of leading the lost to the cross of Christ these so-called-believers are leading the lost straight to the gates of hell. Such is the post-modern times we live in.  The scary thing is that this love, a love founded mainly on emotion and a desire to be accepted by the modern culture, is infiltrating once-upon-a-time conservative churches and changing the narrative of love within evangelical circles.  People are buying in to this secular brand of love and we’re losing souls in the process.  Some kinda love huh?

Why would we, as professing Christians, affirm a sinner in their sin?  To know the love of Christ is to understand what He did at Calvary.  He was our perfect substitute.  He paid the price we could not pay. Christ bore the full wrath of God on the cross for those who call out to Him and repent of their sin.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior!  Those who are found in their sin at the day of judgement will suffer God’s righteous wrath and will spend eternity apart from Him.  Proclaiming these truths to those who aren’t in Christ is true love.  It is biblical love.  To exclude these biblical truths from our dialogue with the lost is nothing short of being criminally negligent with all of eternity on the line.

I heard a brother in Christ use a splendid and very clear metaphor for what I’m driving at in this post so I’ll borrow it for the sake of time.  The metaphor goes like this: there is a blind man walking toward a cliff, if he walks off this cliff he will surely die. Watching this blind man make his way toward certain death are two men.  One man calls out to the blind man and tells him that Jesus loves him, he shouts that he himself loves the blind man but never warns him of the cliff and his certain doom if he doesn’t change course immediately.  The second man observing the blind man trotting to his death calls out in a loud voice and warns him to stop.  He rightly warns the blind man of his coming fate and orders him to stop and turn around otherwise he will die.  Who loved the blind man more?  What kind of love is this?  This, brothers and sisters, is the biblical love we need to exhibit and bring to our dying world.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Josh.

Advertisements
Posted in Discuss This | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

New Life is Just Around the Corner

This post will be quick.  Megan and I are headed to the hospital early tomorrow morning.  God willing our first child will be born tomorrow afternoon.  To those that read this blog and are in Christ I ask that you keep our family in prayer, especially Megan.  I hope to publish a few in-depth posts in the near future so please check back daily.  I cannot provide a time table when those posts will publish so in the meantime I’ll check in with a few quick updates as time allows.  Thank you in advance for your prayers, God bless you.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Posted in First Things | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Around the Blogosphere and Other Stuff

As of today I haven’t completed the post I intended to publish by Friday of last week.  My wife and I are awaiting the arrival of our first child so my time to write has been limited to say the least.  I am working on it and hope to have it posted shortly.  In the meantime lets take a buzz around the blogosphere:

  • Michael J. Kruger is writing a series called “The Ten Basic Facts about the New Testament Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize.” The post is insightful and well worth your time. The third entry in the series can be found here.
  • Over at Reformation Theology, John Samson answers this question:

“How do you explain Adam then? God gave him a command not to eat the fruit but he also gave him free will to choose. Hence why we fell into sin. If he didn’t have free will he wouldn’t have needed the command.”

The answer is well thought out and biblically sound.

  • Fred Butler discusses the multiple exchanges he’s had with Dr. Brown regarding the upcoming Strange Fire conference.  Another well thought out and well written post by Mr. Butler, please take your time to read it.  It can be found here.
  • If you haven’t heard of Sye Ten Bruggencate or presuppositional apologetics I would encourage you to watch this YouTube video.  It’s a solid introduction to the apologetic and well worth your time.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Posted in Around the Blogosphere | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Around the Blogosphere and Other Stuff

My very pregnant and now overdue wife took the dogs for a quick walk.  I’m going to use my time wisely and share a few links for your edification.  God willing, a lengthier piece will post later this week.  I’m examining love and how the modern evangelical view of love is boiled down to sentimentality.  How do we love unbelievers biblically?  It seems, to me at least, that love is largely viewed as avoiding confrontation even if it means watering down the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The meaning of love is being systematically changed by our relativistic culture and Christians are buying in to it.  I fear we’re abandoning truth in an effort to “love” and in the process we’re actually “loving” unbelievers right in to hell.  Okay…around the blogosphere we go:

Michael J. Kruger is writing a series called “The Ten Basic Facts about the New Testament Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize.” The post is insightful and well worth your time.  The second post in the series can be found here.

R.C. Sproul rarely disappoints so take time to read about the 3 Distinctive Aspects of Biblical Faith:

“I think the whole concept of faith is one of the most misunderstood ideas that we have, misunderstood not only by the world but by the church itself. The very basis for our redemption, the way in which we are justified by God, is through faith. The Bible is constantly talking to us about faith, and if we misunderstand that, we’re in deep trouble.”

Lastly, John MacArthur writes about modern culture’s assault on biblical standards within the church.  He specifically address’ how feminism has crept in to the evangelical church and is undermining God’s design for men and women in His church.

Posted in Around the Blogosphere | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Around the Blogosphere and Other Stuff

This will be a quick post.  It’s Sunday and my endlessly understanding and very patient wife is 9 months pregnant.  I don’t want to push my luck by spending several hours on the internet blogging when I could be cooking or doing the dishes.  Below I linked to a couple thought provoking blogs and a book review for your convenience and enjoyment.

Fred Butler, the Volunteer Ministries Coordinator at Grace to You and the man who writes the blog hip and thigh responds to Dr. Michael Brown’s two articles regarding the Strange Fire Conference that is upcoming.  Mr. Butler’s response to Dr. Brown is both thorough and enlightening.  You can find the blog here.

Michael J. Kruger is writing a series called “The Ten Basic Facts about the New Testament Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize.” The post is insightful and well worth your time.  The first post in that series can be found here.

Craig Hurst wrote a book review over at Sharper Iron on a book titled Is God anti-gay?  I haven’t read the book but after reading Mr. Hurst’s review I may have to get a copy.  You can find the book review here.

Lastly, this article really brings to light the way news networks can manipulate recorded interviews in such a way that alters the context of what was originally said. This week juror B29, or Maddy, involved in the George Zimmerman trial was interviewed by ABC News.

ABC News hasn’t posted a full unedited video or transcript of the interview. The video that has been broadcast—on World News Tonight, Nightline, and Good Morning America—has been cut and spliced in different ways, often so artfully that the transitions appear continuous. So beware what you’re seeing. But the video that’s available already shows, on closer inspection, that Maddy has been manipulated and misrepresented. Here are the key points.

I’m continually astounded at the lengths the mainline news media will go to in an effort to alter the truth.  Maybe my continuous shock speaks more to my naivety about the media and their agenda than anything else but we’ll leave that discussion for another post.

Posted in Around the Blogosphere | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m Here…

This is my first blog post…ever.  What am I doing here? Why write a blog? Why add to the army of  blogs already alive and thriving in cyberspace? There are millions of new blogs that publish to the web every day that cover every imaginable idea and topic from the inane and boring to the interesting and practical.  There are blogs that cover politics, religion, sports, money, food, and blogs that even blog about blogging.  The daunting imagery of a needle in a haystack currently comes to mind as I peck away at my keyboard and yet I can’t wait to publish this so you, whoever you are, can read it.  What is ‘it’ going to be about though? What will this blog be about? Lets circle back to the first question I asked at the beginning of this post: what am I doing here?

The abbreviated answer is that I’ll comment on the ordinary and boring and provide you with my perspective, whatever that’s worth, on the interesting and intriguing, however those things won’t be my primary focus.  In actuality I’m here to blog about God.  The God of the bible. America’s perspective on church. Biblical doctrine.  I’m going to comment on the state of evangelicalism in America, where it is and where it’s headed.  I’m going to dive headlong in to theology, as best as I can, in an effort to understand the deeper things of God all while writing blogging about it.  These are the things I have a passion for and these are the topics I want to write blog about.  My microscopic corner of the blogosphere will be Christ centered and anchored in biblical truth.  To be clear: I’m not a seminary student and I haven’t been seminary trained. I’m just a middle-aged guy with a computer and a bible and an overwhelming desire to talk (write?) about Jesus Christ.  I’m resolved to stand firm and steadfast on the wonderful, foundational truths of the bible and to proclaim those truths to everyone and anyone who will listen.

What else can you expect? Well, American culture has propounded the idea that religion and politics should be avoided in the context of public discussion.  Since we’ll be talking about religion why not pencil in politics as well?  I find the American political landscape to be equally irritating and intriguing so to leave out such material from our discussion would be a travesty.  I won’t devote much time and space to it but American politics is important…plus I’m sure such topics will stimulate the comment count and I’ve been told that’s a good thing.

Fortunately I have an insatiable appetite for books and articles and I cherish the time I  get to devour them. Sharing with you and expounding on what I learned after feasting on and digesting countless words, sentences and paragraphs should make for easy filler material. I’m sure finding the right angle to approach certain topics will be a little more difficult but that’s what makes blogging fun…right? Other important and equally interesting subjects such as Christian apologetics (presuppostional or evidential?) and church history are fascinating so I’ll be sure to to devote ample space to these topics as well.

Speaking of church history, I’m going to make it a point to discuss and examine the protestant reformation.  I would be remiss if I neglected to discuss the theology of men like Martin Luther and John Calvin.  The contribution these men, and men like them, have made to the Christian faith cannot be overstated.  Furthermore it would be a shame to overlook the courage and contribution of men like William Tyndale and John Wycliff.   Their stories are certainly encouraging as much as they are enlightening and I’m positive the 21st century Christian can glean much from these men.  I’ll look forward to touch on each of these topics in due time.

So, where does that leave us? Well I guess the truth about this blog, at this time, is that it doesn’t have a specific direction.  At this time its a ship without a rudder.  I have to start somewhere and I have to start writing at sometime, what better time than now?  Resolved to Reason will be a welcomed outlet, a place to house my thoughts and observations on the things I have a passion for.  This blog will be the shelf where those thoughts and observations reside.  I hope this blog offers encouragement to the anonymous reader who stumbles upon it.  I hope it provokes thought in those who read it.  Ultimately my prayer is that the Lord outfits this blog with a rudder and providentially moves it in a direction that brings glory to God.   I look forward to writing, I hope you look forward to reading.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Josh

Posted in First Things | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments