Archive by Author

The Cathedral of Christianity

18 Oct

In our reckless attempt to make Christianity popular by making it “practical,” we invariably vandalize it by stripping it of its inherent beauty and mystery… We make it practical by adapting it to the assumed values of the wider culture. We figure out what people want, and then offer them a Christianized version of it. We do it in the name of church growth, but it is really the betrayal of a sacred trust. It would be like turning Saint Paul’s Cathedral into a shopping mall to increase traffic…

Christianity is a vast and enormous cathedral built around the astonishing and seminal confession that Jesus is Lord. But most of us worship in particular chapels – whether Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we don’t confuse the chapel for the cathedral.

brian_zahndBrian Zahnd

Beauty Will Save the World (2012), Zondervan, 71, 167,175.

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Perfection

14 Oct

Don’t Mix the Covenants

11 Oct

God makes it very clear that the two covenants are not to be mixed: “Cast out the bondwoman and her son” (Gal 4:30)… The old covenant operated by principles, the new covenant by promise… The distinction between principles and promise also explains why the Apostle Paul chose not to preach anything to the Corinthians other than “Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). That puzzled me somewhat as I thought of all the wonderful Old Testament truths that were readily available to Paul. He could easily have preached Proverbs with all its wisdom. He could have preached Psalms with its varied and creative expressions of intimacy. Or he could have explored the many lessons learned from the history of Israel. Yet he focused completely on his message on Christ crucified. Why? Because Christ’s death and resurrection represent the highest and most climactic revelation of God’s entire design. It is God’s bringing life out of death and something out of nothing according to his purpose. That really is gospel!

Dudley_HallDudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 128-9.

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Behavior Modification

7 Oct

What is Resurrection Life?

4 Oct

You have been raised to new life. This is not more of the same; it is brand new zoe-life. Christ is your life (Col 3:4)…

The grace cure is greater than the disease. One sin cell infected the entire human race with the fatal condition of sinfulness; grace not only cures us it inoculates us against re-infection. We have been made new. We have been rewired to resist sin and please the Father. Grace doesn’t just remove all traces of past sins, it empowers us to sin no more! Grace is both favor and divine influence through the Holy Spirit. We’re not just freed captives; we’re kings and priests called to reign with Him. This is not some reference to the hereafter for Paul says we will “reign in life” (Rom 5:17) meaning here and now. Through the power of the Spirit we can reign over forms of death such as sickness and all the things that lead to sickness (e.g., bitterness, unforgiveness). We are no longer victims; we are more than conquerors through Him who called us.

Jesus has not returned us to the Garden, He has taken us to heaven (Eph 2:6)! From the position of rest we rule and reign with Him here on earth.

Paul_EllisPaul Ellis

Last Adam’s Greater Work (2012)

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Uncontainable Love

30 Sep

Faith and Repentance

27 Sep

These two things act and react upon each other: the man who is forgiven, therefore repents; and the man who repents is most assuredly forgiven. Remember first, that forgiveness leads to repentance… Repentance grows as faith grows… Faith and repentance are but two spokes in the same wheel, two handles of the same plough… Do not regard your repentance is the cause of your remission, but as the companion of it. Do not expect to be able to repent until you see the grace of our Lord Jesus…

SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

All of Grace, Trinity Press, 2011, 91-93.