Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am in the middle of writing a lot of papers right now. For my class on Counseling Individuals with Problematic Emotions I am writing about the Puritans approach to depression. As I was researching I found a blog with this photo posted... I think it's funny so I thought you might too.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Reflections on the Emergent Church: Should Gospel-Believers have reservations about God's Wrath and Judgement? - A Response to IanJMatt

I am going to respond to Ianjmatt.

Here were his thoughts and questions:

"Hmm. I think you have confused a few things.

If you read the opening chapters of Lost Message, you will see that Chalke and Mann are not denying 'original sin', they are asking whether or not focussing ont his is a good way to evanglise. Their phrase 'original goodness' is about the fact that the Father saw every human being as worth saving through His Son - that every person is someone God wants back. Really, your disagreement is one of practice, not doctrine, as that is what they were discussing at this point. Surely that is a lesser issue?

On the issue of wrath there are two distinction. Did the Father NEED to pour out his wrather upoin the son to forgive, and does He still act wrathfully after the sacrifice of the Son?"

Here is my response:

First, it would be wonderful to correspond with you by e-mail as well.

Second, thank you for your comments as they prove helpful to re-think my statements and to verify their validity.

Thirdly, you are right in that Chalke and Mann are arguing that original sin is not important to convey in evangelism. However, you are very wrong in that they are saying that don't believe in original sin. You are arguing from a literal standpoint from what is written, but judging from their further arguments and their own logic; that is what they are saying. Of course I am not shocked seeing that is what most in the emergent church do anyways; attempt at denying essential doctrinal truth so everyone can be "happy".

Fourth, the Father did need to pour out his wrath on his son in that there was no other way as Scripture speaks from Genesis to Revelation. He does act wrathfully on individuals today in order to get people to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel (Check out Luke 13 and the tower of Siloam).

Fifth, the Father will continue to pour out his wrath on sinners and sin itself as the Bible states that he will send his Son Jesus to judge the living and the dead. I believe Revelation is very clear that he will come riding on a white horse with a flaming sword in his hand to strike down all who oppose him. Really frightening unless you have trusted in Jesus and in that case, it will be glorious and beautiful as sin will be removed forever.

So in conclusion, I believe you have confused a few things.

First, you need to distinguish what is essential in the Scriptures that is a part of the Gospel (the finished work of Christ on the cross for sinners).

Second, you need to see those essentials as they are, essential and to not shrink back as Paul declared he would not do from declaring the full counsel of God (which is the Gospel and all its doctrinal teachings).

Lastly, you need to quit doubting Christ's work on the cross that is complete and that is was not for you and me that he died essentially, but for the Father's glory. As Romans states, "There is nothing good in us, nothing." He did not come to bring out the potential there is in us and he did not come to die so he could rejoice in us as if there was something valuable inside of our lives. Christ came to give glory to the Father that by his sacrifice you might come to the knowledge of his glory. That is the Gospel and he took our place as our substitute to pay the penalty we deserved.

Think about those things I just mentioned and read the Bible with it's "objective" propositional truth ianjmatt.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


No, unlike the rest of the world I am not talking about the candidate for the President of the USA. Steven and I are candidates for missionaries with the IMB!! We had our in depth interview yesterday and we passed. We received an invitation to the candidate conference in Virginia December 9-14 and we gladly accepted. This puts us in our new country around September 2009! Many more steps in the process are to come, but all looks good for smooth sailing. Thank you for continuing to pray for us!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reflections on the Emergent Church: Should Gospel-Believers have reservations about God's Wrath and Judgement?

I believe that there are a list of questions that could pertain to this discussion. Unfortunately all questions will not be discussed for the sake of space and your time in reading this. However, I do believe it will be profitable for your sanctification to revisit the main issues of: Why did Jesus die?, What ultimately is at stake when we marginalize the biblical thought of the wrath of God?, and Where does it fit within the framework of the Theistic Worldview?

Let's begin with the first main issue of why Jesus died.
  1. Galatians 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law be becoming a curse for us-for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree."
  2. Romans 3:25: God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
  3. 1 John 4:10: In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
That word propitiation means Christ's death appeased God's just wrath. This is called penal substitution in that God paid the penalty that we deserved and substituted himself in the form of his son Jesus Christ in taking our place.

Two emergent writers Steve Chalke and Allan Mann refer to penal substitution as "a form of cosmic child abuse, " which they write, contradicts the statement "God is love" and "makes a mockery of Jesus' own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil for evil." I am very certain Peter had no issue with seeing the cross as a model for our suffering and as a payment for our sin as seen in 1 Peter 2:21-24.

You might think emergent church leaders would stop there, but you have to follow the logic of their thinking. Steve Chalke rejects original sin, claiming "Jesus believed in original goodness" in his book The Lost Message. His questioning is not, do I believe in God?, as much as does God believe in me? How similar does this sound to Joel Osteen? This is nothing more than a "new, cool, hip" version of self-esteem Gospel that is breaking subtle ground in the life of the church. "God wants to bring out the best in you? Your best life now! I am a Champion!" I know that might seem a little exaggerated, but when it comes to defending the Gospel of the Bible you must defend all tenets or teachings of Scripture completely and not just the ones people will listen to and feel good about. The wrath of God is not meant of us to "feel" good about ourselves. There is a reason God has his wrath aimed at mankind and justly so as a Holy God. When you threaten the glory of the Sovereign King, you come under his just wrath. God's glory was threatened and sending His Son to die to appease His wrath would satisfy Himself in getting the glory due his name and as a result, those who would repent and trust in his finished work would be saved from their sins. Isn't that love? Love that has power to justly destroy and justly save?

The wrath of God needed a solution and it would have to be the cross, Christ's sacrifice of himself, the blood spilled for the remission of sins, and the resurrection. This was all to happen to appease or satisfy our Holy God because of his love for those who would repent and trust in his finished work.

Now, what is at stake when the emergent church decides to marginalize the wrath of God? It results in the understanding that God is no longer a holy God who is angry with sin, who, in his great mercy, sent His Son to die on our behalf so that divine justice might be satisfied, but becomes a vulnerable lover who opens himself up to hurt and rejection in order to be with us because we are worth dying for.

Kevin DeYound and Ted Kluck in their book Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), had some helpful observations in regards to why knowing and understanding the wrath of God is so vitally important to the believer's faith and growth in Jesus Christ.
  1. We need God's wrath to keep us honest about evangelism. In Acts 24:25 Paul reasons with Felix about the coming judgment and righteousness.
  2. We need God's wrath in order to forgive our enemies. Romans 12:19 is very clear that we "do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."
  3. We need God's wrath in order to risk our lives for Jesus' sake. Martyrs under the throne cry out, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (Rev. 6:10).
  4. We need God's wrath in order to live holy lives. Sometimes we need to "scare the hell out of people" by reminding them that hell is real and that those who live to the flesh will die to the flesh and that those who live to the spirit will reap eternal life.
  5. We need God's wrath in order to understand what mercy means. Only when we know that we were once objects of wrath will we know that we are now objects of His mercy and grace. Mercy is meaningless when there is no purpose for it concerning our salvation.
  6. We need God's wrath in order to grasp how wonderful heaven will be. If believers could imagine everyday what their lives would be like apart from Christ they would see themselves as objects of UNDESERVED mercy going to a UNDESERVED place.
  7. We need the wrath of God in order to be motivated to care for our impoverished brothers and sisters. The Gospel says that if we don't care for the least of our brothers we will inherit eternal punishment (Matthew 25:31-46).
  8. We need God's wrath in order to be ready for Lord's return. When we tremble truly at the coming judgment that awaits all of mankind, we will live as if our lives are ready to be given account for. Every word, deed, or thought will be seen in light of God's wrath that is coming where more people will be forced to bow while others willingly.
I know what some of you might thinking already, "Aren't we splitting hairs here? Is all of this really important?" Well this issue is only important if you care about being saved or knowing what you are being saved from. If the other religions are right and we have to do enough good things to get the gods to accept us, then we'd better get to our religious duties! But if the Bible is right, then God accepts us as his children totally out of Jesus' work of dying and rising again so we can have forgiveness and new life.

Now for a little honesty. I struggled with the doctrine of the wrath of God during my early years in college. I was so invested in my own self-esteem and what I "felt" was best rather than what I "believed" to be best in Scripture. The result was a denial that God could ever be angry with me. How marginalized did Jesus look to me during those days? Did he look like a warrior and triumphant victor over sin and death or a well-manicured, hippie-savior where everything is about love without consequences? It was then that I started to read the Grand-narrative of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation in seeing that propositional truth was necessary for me to base all "affections for God" upon so that what I believed to be true concerning love would be seen in light of what Christ has done already and why he did it. This would transcend the way I treated my roommates, family, and friends at that time.

There should never be reservations about proclaiming this aspect of the Gospel when sharing your faith in word or deed. Understanding this teaching in Scripture is vital for local churches to grow, be planted, and for believers to know more about their great and merciful God.