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« Contemplative Youth Ministry: A Review | Main | Open Discussion: Blog-within-a-blog (the month of June) »

May 31, 2006

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Wanted to put my thoughts here before reading the comments, forgive any overlap.

"and I don't understand that pineapple shirt, but it..." Whoops. Oh the message.

My biggest issue is that he is basically selling fire insurance in this. That completely misses the point of the gospel - it is not about getting into heaven but about God stepping into our history. For a video on salvation I thought it was interesting that he made these terms synonymous with salvation: follower, relationship and committment. I think this is a common mistake - these are quite distinct and I think they all apply, but they are not all the same.

The step approach always leaves me cold, Rick would be served well to read Volf's Free of Charge. Ironically he talks about how wrong the notion of earning salvation is yet presents this formulisation of how we can earn it. Just follow these X steps and you are saved. And just in case that didn't work for you let me give you the standard caution about your evil emotions. That is the blight of Bill Bright on salvationist theology.

Sorry for being so negative. I didn't think it was all bad, I like the personal stories and his statement that we spend a lifetime working out (I would say discovering) the implications of our decision (I would say of our relationship and not relegate salvation to a single moment, especially not a moment completely of our initiative).

The final plug for his book was a bit over the top though. Good thing I was done my coffee at that point or it would have been all over my screen.

Fr. Matt, are you saying you don't see the difference between 'becoming a Christian' and then Living like one?

Fr. Matt, are you saying you don't see the difference between 'becoming a Christian' and then Living like one?

Is there much difference, Seraphim. When you become a Christian you start to live the Christian Way, but isn't becoming a Christian a process, and usually a fairly gradual one.

Is there a point at which someone becomes a Christian? I appreciate some people think making a specific decision or saying a certain prayer suddenly means that person has joined the Christian club. However, I think those who see it as a process have a more accurate view of what happens. Isn't becoming a Christian about becoming Christ-like in thoughts and actions? That can't happen suddenly, but needs a whole life-time and the process still isn't perfected.

On top of that, people who go to church may be thinking of leaving, or just paying lip service to the whole process, and there are some who don't go yet who feel very drawn to it and may be praying and learning to live in a Christ-like way before they summon up the courage or find the time to go along. So really it's pretty hard to know exactly when someone becomes a Chrsitian, or when they are 'in' or 'out'.

Wow. And here I thought that Jesus primarily came to die on the cross to pay the price for the sins of His children, and that pursuing salvation primarily by one's supposed obedience was in direct opposition to the Gospel. Whatever would make me think that? O yeah, I remember...

Matt 1 21“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matt 18 11“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

John 12 47“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

Romans 3 21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Hebrews 2 17Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Romans 3 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Romans 9 30What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33just as it is written,
“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”


Plus a ton of other Scriptures.

First, I must say that his perfection analogy failed. Heaven is a perfect place, a place that would lose its perfection if we imperfect folk were allowed in? But we can't be made perfect, so one of the perfect folk sneaks us in using his ID? We are still imperfect people then, are we not? Still destructive of the perfection?

No, he had an interesting way with words, but I don't imagine this would sell to a non-believer. It is perhaps a decent sermon for a church, but not a good witness for the unsaved. I don't think anyone crosses over after watching this.

Of course, they certainly wouldn't if they watched it and then read all of these comments. I have often thought that the small amount that I know of that have turned away from the church do to the infighting about what means what have got to only be the tip of the iceberg.

Karin - "So really it's pretty hard to know exactly when someone becomes a Chrsitian, or when they are 'in' or 'out'.

The whole concept you are presenting here puzzles me. If you open your heart to Jesus, does he take his time getting there? Does he wait until he is sure that you are sure?

This doesn't make any sense to me. Take Warren's "New Management" reference. You take a job as a waitress, the very first day you work, you are a waitress. You may be a bad one. You may be a good one. You may spend your entire time in this career field trying to improve yourself and do it right, but you are what you are.

Contrary to all of this garbage I watch so many of you Christians throw around about who really is a Christian and who isn't, the answer is simple. If you profess your belief in Jesus Christ, well guess what. You are a Christian. Whether you live your life as a good Christian or not is a completely different story.

A gate and a way. I like the analogy Seraphim.

Au contraire; some professors are not possessors, as Spurgeon might put it. Romans 10 '8But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the de*d, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.'
1John 2 '18Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.'
In any case, anyone who claims that he is a Christian because he thinks Christ said a bunch of nice things that have inspired him to do what he thinks God wants him to do, but has not considered the fact that he stands condemned before a holy God, and has not put his trust in Jesus to have paid the price for his wrongdoing in God's face, might consider actually reading his Bible...

The whole concept you are presenting here puzzles me. If you open your heart to Jesus, does he take his time getting there? Does he wait until he is sure that you are sure?

Isn't it us who take our time accepting him? - and we can accept Jesus and his teachings on different levels.

This doesn't make any sense to me. Take Warren's "New Management" reference. You take a job as a waitress, the very first day you work, you are a waitress. You may be a bad one. You may be a good one. You may spend your entire time in this career field trying to improve yourself and do it right, but you are what you are.

Maybe it is better to think along the lines of serving an apprenticeship or being a trainee.

Is there much difference, Seraphim. When you become a Christian you start to live the Christian Way, but isn't becoming a Christian a process, and usually a fairly gradual one.

No. I don't believe so. Salvation is a free gift. Not of works. Your process analogy posits that you 'become' a Christian by 'doing something'. I'm still very much okay with what I believe the Gospel has taught from the beginning.

You become a Christian by 'believing something' -- I become a new Creature in Christ after I accept the free gift of Salvation and God starts the transformation from the inside out. That whole 'He who began a good thing in you thing'.

(John 3:14-19, Romans 10:9&10, Ephesians 1:18 and I John 5:13)

Not to mention, one of the main elements missing from the 'Christian as process, as apprenticeship' is the fact that the choosing begins with God, not with us.

(John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

(John 1:13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The moment I was 'born' I was my father's son. Same with Salvation. The moment I was Born Again (or from Above) I was transformed.

God's Peace

Seraphim

Au contraire; some professors are not possessors, as Spurgeon might put it.

Doc, what is interesting to me, is that inMatthew 7:21 when Jesus is telling them "I Never Knew You" the folk claiming that Jesus should know them were doing so on the basis of what they 'did for Him'.. Rather than claiming a Relationship with Him.

John 17:3

God's Peace

Seraphim

Fr. Matt, are you saying you don't see the difference between 'becoming a Christian' and then Living like one?

Well a Christian is a "Christoi"-little Christ or Christ-like one. So aren't we always becoming one who is "like-Christ"? I also have a problem with the idea that we are saved by faith "alone". If one believes and has no works such a faith is a sham. The Church fathers, confirming scripture, teach that faith and works work together in salvation. I am sure that many will citicize this position, but what can I say, I am not Protestant.

There are things the Orthodox church can teach us Protestants. :0)

. . . as can the Catholics. Not sure why I think you are Orthodox Fr Matt.

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