Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Every Life Has a Story

February 8, 2012

Watch this video . . .

And apply that to my recent blogpost about structuring for maximum edification.  Every person has a story to tell, indeed.  If Chick-fil-a is willing to read them for the asking of a chicken sandwich, are not willing to take the time to read them for the sake of their souls?

A church unwilling to read and address the stories of people will be satisfied with skimming the surface with conversations that probe no deeper than a “Hey, how are you doing?” which almost always is met with a disingenuous response.  No gifts of the Spirit are exercised because no one is listening.

Now, imagine if we took just one of those stories, one of those individuals and placed them in a context where every member listened, understood the story, and felt personally responsible to play a redemptive part in contributing through the spiritual gift entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit? What role would an exhorter play? A giver? An agent of mercy? A leader? Someone with wisdom? Someone with great faith? And so on?

Paul Tripp nailed it when he said that we are all called to be instruments in the Redeemer’s hands because we are helping others change while at the same time we ourselves are in need of change.  Every person you meet is a mess needing someone willing to get messy.  Every person is a sinner needing someone to help them walk in repentance and faith, growing in the gospel, extending mercy and forgiveness to other sinners.  And the Holy Spirit animates the life of the church by His work in and through Christians sovereignly gifted to do good to one another and so edify the church.

Next time you see people, consider why their lives (the subtext) might be really saying. Everything in us militates against listening and engaging–our comfort zones, our busy schedules, fear of man, selfishness, etc.  Yet, we have in us the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead giving life to our mortal bodies. He intends to do in us what no strength of the flesh can accomplish. I pray the stories of people we encounter will be rewritten by the gospel of Jesus as it is applied to their hearts and transforms their lives.

A Little Blog Update

January 30, 2012

Just a little note about what I am hoping to do in the future. I have come to the conclusion that the season of life right now is one with little margin for rightly lengthy blogposts (though I have dozens of drafts awaiting my attention!). So to keep my blog active, I will attempt to provide more bit-size stuff that I am either working on, reading, observing, or studying in Scripture. 

If you think of it, I appreciate your prayers for the ventures I am undertaking at this point, including leading our church in a time of transition, launching PLNTD, expanding mission in Haiti, and hosting band of bloggers in April. Thanks!

Brian McLaren and the Unknowable Gospel

March 22, 2011

Brian McLaren recently jumped into the fray of the Love Wins fracas by offering an interpretation of Albert Mohler’s interpretation of Rob Bell’s interpretation of the gospel.  That may sound like an odd way to make a contribution, but if you’re Brian McLaren, offering an interpretation of someone else’s interpretation is actually the best thing one can do.  So I will attempt to enter McLaren’s world and offer an interpretation of McLaren’s interpretation of Mohler’s interpretation of Rob Bell’s interpretation of the gospel as explained in his book Love Wins.

Are you with me?  Good.

One of the principle charges McLaren brings against Mohler is his misinterpretation of Rob Bell’s interpretation of the gospel.  McLaren argues that Bell is not trying to offer a version of the gospel better than the one we have in the Bible; rather, Bell is trying to get us to see past all the “imperfect versions or approximations of it” in order to “be bound to that original story rather than to a popular (perhaps the most popular in some settings) version of it.”  McLaren is working on the assumption that Bell has greater insight into the original story than most throughout Christian history.  For thousands of years, we have unfortunately been victims of shoddy interpretations and static interferences of what Jesus actually said and did.  Both McLaren and Bell, on the other hand, assert that the “original story” is better than what we have allowed it to be due to our inaccurate approximations.

But my question for McLaren is, “How do you know this?”


Jonathan Dodson and Fight Club: Gospel-Driven Discipleship

July 10, 2009

Jonathan Dodson, pastor of Austin City Life, recently announced that he has completed his new booklet, “Fight Club: Gospel-Centered Discipleship” which will be e-published for free first The Resurgence, with a print on demand option.  Dodson also mentioned that they are working on a website that will expand the booklet through interaction, blogs, and articles. and ultimately have it published as a hard copy.

Here is a description of the chapters from the Introduction:

Chapter One lays out a biblical case for fighting the fight of faith, which I hope stirs you up to fight the fight of faith. Once the fighting begins, it is easy to slide into fighting people instead of sin. We start beating one another up with judgment, fighting the wrong things with the wrong motives. We fight against the church instead of with her.

Chapter Two explores where we go wrong in our fighting by uncovering legalistic and licentious patterns in discipleship.

In turn, Chapter Three calls us away from these extremes into a gospel-centered discipleship. With the gospel at the center of discipleship, we can live as Jesus intended—fighting the good fight of faith which leads to true change. However, if weren’t not careful we’ll start to fight on our own. Failure to grasp the community focus of the gospel can cut us off from the grace God gives through his people, the church.

Chapter Four reminds us that discipleship is a community project because the gospel is community focused. Jesus created and redeemed us as people in relationship, people who need one another in the fight of faith. Instead of fighting against the church, we can fight with her, to live a life that is motivated by all that God is for us in the Spirit and the Son.

In conclusion, Chapter Five offers a practical way to apply the gospel to everyday life. It is a call for Fight Clubs—small, simple, biblical, reproducible groups of people who meet together regularly help one another keep the gospel at the center of their discipleship.

Fight Clubs have been crucial in my life and my church. I hope and pray that you’ll find them helpful too, that you’ll form a Fight Club and start fighting with the church, in the gospel, on mission, for the glory of God.

For those in or around Atlanta, GA, I encourage you to check out the The Fight Club Training taking place August 1, 2009 at The Journey in ATL.

NFV VI: Don Whitney on “Reforming Through Discipline”

June 26, 2008

About Don Whitney:

Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Senior Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2005. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, for ten years. He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality.  Prior to his ministry as a seminary professor, Don was pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), for almost fifteen years. Altogether, he has served local churches in pastoral ministry for twenty-four years. He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 1991), which has a companion discussion guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I’m A Christian (NavPress, 1994), Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church (Moody Press, 1996), Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (NavPress, 2001), Simplify Your Spiritual Life (NavPress, 2003), and Family Worship (Center for Biblical Spirituality, 2006). His hobby is restoring and using old fountain pens.


This issue has been addressed on repeated occasions, and now there are many people in this room who teach on this subject of church discipline.  When this conference began 26 years ago, it would be hard to find one church who practice church discipline, but now there are dozens who are doing it.  There is always the need to teach again the doctrines we hold dear, especially the doctrine of the church and focusing on the change that needs to be brought in the reformation of the church.

Reformation always begins with teaching.  The goal of church discipline is restorative, not punitive.  It is not “banning people from the church” (as the Wall Street Journal puts it).  The goal is to restore a believer to righteousness.  We want to bring them back, to heal the breach, to restore them in love.

Let’s look at Matt. 18:15-20.


East Meets West Via The Henry Center

June 5, 2008

This past week, The Henry Center, under the direction of Doug Sweeney and Owen Strachan, hosted an international conference in Hong Kong, China, covering topics of Christian identity in diverse situations. A number of faculty from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, along with scholars from Westmont College, Beeson Divinity School, Christar in India, Alliance Bible Seminary of China, Evangel Seminary in Hong Kong, and China Graduate School of Theology, participated in this conference. Strachan, in his introductory post, shares his initial thoughts, stating:

We are really excited by this conference, as it’s not common for Christians from East and West to gather together for such meaningful and productive fellowship. This is a very unique part of the privilege it is to labor for Christ in a world of increasing connection.

Owen has provided his own “Hong Kong Travelogue”–a series of blogposts covering the conference–which are listed below.

1. Hong Kong Travelogue, Day One: Discovery and Jetlag

2. Hong Kong Travelogue, Day Two: The Resort Seminary and Chow Yun-Fat’s House

3. Henry Center Travelogue, Day Three: Evangelical Identity and Ringo Starr

4. Henry Center Travelogue, Day Four: Holy War and Theological Education (Separately Considered)

5. Henry Center Travelogue, Day Five: Final Thoughts

Breakdown of Fall Break and Your Thoughts

October 8, 2007

A week ago, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my thoughts on the Southern Baptist Convention. I had before me some chicken scratch on a napkin from a conversation at the Founders Cafe earlier that week. If I had known that that chicken scratch would result in 12,000+ words on eleven articles with nearly 200 comments, I would have reconsidered that idea. I honestly don’t know what happened or where all this came from. None of this was planned, so maybe I did have a fire in my belly I didn’t know was there. I must say, however, it was somewhat cathartic. 🙂

I chose to write about some issues and problems in the SBC that very few people seem to be talking about. In the course of this past week, I undoubtedly said some things that offended some, while at the same time, those same words received a hearty “Amen, brother!” Such is the nature of the SBC. In any case, I hope to bring to the table something substantive to talk about regarding the SBC and what can be done to see that we become a Convention focused on the gospel, mission, Christ, and the Church. These posts demanded quite a bit from me this past week, and as a result, I will have quite the time of catching up with my class readings and papers. Nevertheless, I do not regret for the way I spent my 2007 Fall Break. I love the SBC. I am passionate about our local churches. I am committed to the gospel. And I want to see reformation and revival in our land.

With that said, here’s how the 12 posts ranked in popularity:

1. The Fleecing of the SBC
2. Together for the Church
3. 2:00 a.m. @ Mars Hill
4. Decisional Regeneration and Southern Baptist Eisegesis
5. Outsourcing the Local Church?
6. From the Cruiseliner to the Battleship: What Will It Take?
7. Depopulating the Denomination
8. Ecclesiological Foreclosure and the SBC
9. Toward a Missional SBC, Part 1
10. From Rural to Suburban to Urban, or, The Kellerizing of the SBC
11. Disconnect
12. Toward a Missional SBC, Part 2

Yesterday, I took the time to compile these posts into one PDF document, and should you be interested in have a copy of it, I would be happy to send it to you via email. To obtain a copy, simply email me at outpostministries[at]yahoo[dot]com. Be sure that leave your first and last name.

So I am done talking about the SBC, and regularly scheduled formatting will resume. But before leave, I would like to hear from you. I want to know what your thoughts are on the SBC. I want to know where your heart is on these matters. And finally, I ask that you respond in summary form to what I have written whether you agree or disagree with the content I have provided and why you feel that way.

So please, share your thoughts. I will not be posting for a couple days as I hope to listen, discuss, and learn from others like yourself. Thanks for participating.

POTW :: 03.16.07 :: long way home

March 16, 2007


View in Flickr (see it LARGE)


View in Flickr (see it LARGE)


View in Flickr (see it LARGE)

These were some of my last shots from my backpacking/photography excursion this past fall (Minnesota’s North Shore and Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore).  The top photo I did because I did one the previous backpacking trip.  The middle was my attempt at minimalism, and the bottom photo was one of many sea caves around the Apostle Islands.  So I suppose these will be my last installments from last fall (it’s about time huh?). 

Actually, I have not taken many photos this year, and in the next month or so, I am going to try to change that.   In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Grace and peace . . .

John L. Dagg on Opposition to Sovereign Election

October 25, 2006

John L. Dagg was, according to Mark Dever, the first writing Southern Baptist theologian. His Manual of Theology was published in 1857 which was also the first published systematic theology in the South. Dagg provides an excellent chapter on the doctrine of election in which he addresses its nature and handles several proposed objections which are often brought up even today. Here is how Dagg began his chapter on the doctrine of election:

The doctrine of election encounters strong opposition in the hearts of men, and it is therefore necessary to examine thoroughly its claim to our belief. As it relates to an act of the divine mind, no proof of its truth can be equal to the testimony of the Scriptures. Let us receive their teachings on the subject without hesitation or distrust; and let us require every preconceived opinion of ours, and all our carnal reasonings, to bow before the authority of God’s holy word (309).

As Dagg rightly asserts, it is the testimony of Scriptures we must square our theology. Following his introduction, Dagg shows how the Scriptures:

1) “clearly teach, that God has an elect or chosen people” (309)
2) “teach expressly, that God’s people are chosen to salvation” (309)
3) “plainly teach that the election of grace is from eternity” (310)
4) “teach that election is of grace, and not of works” (311)
5) “teach that election is according to the foreknowledge of God” (312)

Concerning election based on foreseen faith, Dagg writes:

From the views which have been presented, it necessarily follows, that election is not on the ground of foreseen faith or obedience. On this point, the teachings of Scripture are clear. They are chosen not because of their holiness, but that they may be holy; not because of their obedience, but unto obedience. As the discrimination made in effectual calling is God’s work, and antecedent to all holiness, faith, or acceptable obedience; the purpose to discriminate could not be on the ground of acts foreseen, which do not exist as a consideration for the execution of the purpose. The discriminating grace which God bestows, is not on the ground of faith and obedience previously existing, bur for a reason known only to God himself. This unrevealed reason, and not foreseen faith and obedience, is the ground of election (312).

I think many Southern Baptists do not realize that the doctrine of unconditional election (along with the entire doctrines of grace) is historic Baptist theology. Yet it is to no one’s surprise that the doctrine of election received a considerable amount of opposition as it does today. As a follow-up to Dagg on election, I will share how he handles the issue of reprobation and double predestination. If you want to read his chapter on election yourself, here is the link.

Why McKnight Kissed Calvinism Goodbye

August 31, 2006

Not everybody is down with the “young, restless, and reformed.”

A couple of days ago, Scot McKnight shared why he “kissed Calvinism goodbye” (to use the Joshua Harris phrase). Interestingly enough, what it came down to was the warning passages in the OT covanent coupled with the warning passages in Hebrews that did it for him (from reading I. Howard Marshall’s Kept by the Power of God). McKnight’s conclusion was, “I couldn’t contest his [Marshall’s] many, many passages that all added up to one thing: genuine believers can lose their faith by throwing it away consciously.”

A couple of things worth noting:

1. I have heard many reasons from various people why they reject Calvinism, but McKnight’s rationale is intriguing (and in my view lacking warrant for wholesale dismissal of Calvinism).

2. Several Reformed theologians have addressed the warning passages in Hebrews, not the least of which are Dr. Tom Schreiner and Wayne Grudem (which he did in a conference here at SBTS).

Worth Noting: Start at comment #54 where Terrance Tiessen joined in the conversation. You might know him as the author of Who Can Be Saved? and Providence and Prayer.

Re: Inclusivism – A Concise Bibliography

August 31, 2006

This is my final post about Billy Graham and inclusivism (actually, I had not planned on writing any of these until I heard of his letter to the editor). I hope that these books, essays, and articles will be helpful in directing you to resources for your personal study. Admittedly so, whenever categories are provided, some level of subjectivity is determinative pertaining to what group I put the work in. Furthermore, some are not in either category because they have either gone both ways or cannot be easily categorized (Millard Erickson and Alister McGrath for example). Anyway, here it is. I will be adding this to my bibliography sidebar (to the right). Enjoy.

For Inclusivism:

Braaten, Carl E. No Other Gospel! Christianity Among the World’s Religions. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992.

Cobb, John B., and Clark H. Pinnock. Searching for an Adequate God: A Dialogue Between Process and Free Will Theists. Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2000.

Dupuis, Jacques. Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1997.

Edwards, David L. and John R.W. Stott. Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988.

Grenz, Stanley J. Renewing the Center: Evangelical Theology in a Post-Theological Era. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000.

Kung, Hans. Christianity & World Religions: Paths of Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1993.

_________. “The World Religions in God’s Plan of Salvation.” In Christian Revelation and World Religions. ed. Josef Neuner. London: Burns & Oates, 1967.

Kung, Hans, and Jurgen Moltman, eds. Christianity Among World Religions. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1986.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Lindbeck, George. The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984.

McDermott, Gerald R. Can Evangelicals Learn from Other World Religions? Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. “The Reality of God and the Gods in the Experience of Religions.” In vol. 1 of Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.

Pinnock, Clark H. A Wideness in God’s Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

_________. “Acts 4:12: No Other Name Under Heaven” in Through No Fault of Their Own?: The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard. eds. William V. Crockett and James G. Sigountos, 107-15. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991.

Punt, Neal. Unconditional Good News: Toward an Understanding of Biblical Universalism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.

Race, Alan. Christians and Religious Pluralism: Patterns in the Christian Theology of Religions. London: SCM Press, 1983.

Rahner, Karl. Theological Investigations vol. 5: Later Writings. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1965.

_________. “Anonymous Christianity and the Missionary Task of the Church.” In vol. 12 of Theological Investigations. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1982.

_________. “Anonymous Christians.” In vol. 6 of Theological Investigations. Baltimore: Helicon, 1969.

_________. “Jesus Christ in the Non-Christian Religions.” In vol. 17 of Theological Investigations. New York: Crossroad, 1981.

_________. “Observations on the Problem of the ‘Anonymous Christian.’” In vol. 10 of Theological Investigations. New York: Seabury, 1976.

_________. “On the Importance of the Non-Christian Religions for Salvation.” In vol. 18 of Theological Investigations. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1983.

_________. “The One Christ and the Universality of Salvation.” In vol. 16. of Theological Investigations. New York: Crossroad, 1983.

Sanders, John. No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

_________., ed. What About Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1995.

Stackhouse, John G., ed. No Other Gods Before Me? Evangelicals and the Challenge of World Religions. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.

Stott, John R.W. The Contemporary Christian: Applying God’s Word to Today’s World. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992.

Tiessen, Terrance L. Irenaeus on the Salvation of the Unevangelized. Landham, MD: Scarecrow, 1993.

_________. Who Can Be Saved? Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004.

Wright, Chris. The Uniqueness of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Monarch Books, 2001.

Yong, Amos. Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003.

Articles for Inclusivism:

D’Costa, Gavin. “Karl Rahner’s Anonymous Christian—A Reappraisal.” Modern Theology 1/2 (January 1985): 131-48.

Fudge, Edward. “How Wide Is God’s Mercy?” Christianity Today 36 (April 27, 1992): 30-33.

Grenz, Stanley J. “Commitment and Dialogue: Pannenberg on Christianity and the Religions.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 26 (Winter 1989): 196-210.

_________. “Toward an Evangelical Theology of Religions.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 31 (Winter-Spring 1995): 49-65.

Osburn, Evert D. “Those Who Have Never Heard: Have They No Hope?” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 32/3 (September 1989): 367-72.

Yong, Amos. “Whither Theological Inclusivism? The Development and Critique of an Evangelical Theology of Religions.” Evangelical Quarterly 71/4 (October 1999): 349-57.

Pinnock, Clark H. “Toward An Evangelical Theology of Religions.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 33/3 (September 1990): 359-68.

_________ “Why Is Jesus the Only Way?: No Other Way, Truth or Life Open to God.” Eternity 27/12 (1976): 12-34.

Sanders, John. “Is Belief in Christ Necessary for Salvation?” Evangelical Quarterly 60 (July 1988): 241-59.

Books/Essays Against Inclusivism:

Carson, D.A. The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.

Fernando, Ajith. The Supremacy of Christ. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1995.

Geivett, R. Douglass and Clark Pinnock. “‘Misgivings’ and ‘Openness’: A Dialogue on Inclusivism Between R. Douglass Geivett and Clark Pinnock.” In Who Will Be Saved?: Defending the Biblical Understanding of God, Salvation, & Evangelism. edited by Paul R. House and Gregory A. Thornbury, 111-28. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000.

Henry, Carl F.H. “Is It Fair?” in Through No Fault of Their Own? The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard. eds. William V. Crockett and James G. Sigountos, 245-56. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991.

House, Paul R. and Gregory A. Thornbury eds. Who Will Be Saved?: Defending the Biblical Understanding of God, Salvation, and Evangelism. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000.

House, Paul R, Timothy George, Carl F.H. Henry, D.A. Carson, Scott Hafemann, and C. Ben Mitchell. “Forum Discussion on Inclusivism.” In Who Will Be Saved?: Defending the Biblical Understanding of God, Salvation, & Evangelism. edited by Paul R. House and Gregory A. Thornbury, 145-62. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000.

Moo, Douglas. “Romans 2: Saved Apart from the Gospel?” in Through No Fault of Their Own?: The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard. eds. William V. Crockett and James G. Sigountos, 137-45. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991.

Nash, Ronald H. Is Jesus the Only Savior? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.

Noll, Mark A. and David F. Wells. Christian Faith and Practice in the Modern World: Theology from an Evangelist Point of View. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.

Okholm, Dennis L. and Timothy R. Phillips, eds. Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

Piper, John. Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993.

Plantinga, Alvin. “A Defense of Religious Exclusivism,” in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, 2nd ed. Louis Pojman ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1994. 528-44.

Ramesh, Richard P. The Population of Heaven. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

Ryken, Phillip Graham. Is Jesus the Only Way? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1999.

Sanders, J. Oswald. What of the Unevangelized? Ross-shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 1999.

Strange, Daniel. The Possibility of Salvation Among the Unevangelized: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster Press, 2002.

Other Books:

Bavinck, J.H. The Church Between the Temple and Mosque: A Study of the Relationship Between the Christian Faith and Other Religions. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966.

Crockett, William V. and James G. Sigountos, eds. Through No Fault of Their Own? The Fate of Those Who Have Never Heard. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991.

Erickson, Millard J. How Shall They Be Saved? The Destiny of Those Who Do Not Hear of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996.

Jones, Hywel R. Only One Way: Do You Have to Believe in Christ to be Saved? Kent: Day One, 1996.

Jonsson, John H. Vatican II and World Religions. Louisville, KY: SBTS, 1986.

Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. An Introduction to the Theology of Religions: Biblical, Historical, & Contemporary Perspectives. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003.

Neill, Stephen. Christian Faith and Other Faiths: The Christian Dialogue with Other Religions. London: Oxford University Press, 1961.

Newbigin, Lesslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.

Shenk, Calvin E. Who Do You Say That I Am?: Christians Encounter Other Religions. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 1997.

Other Articles:

Ashcraft, Morris. “The Finality of Christ and the World Religions.” Southwestern Journal of Theology 21/2 (Spring 1979): 23-39.

Blue, J. Ronald. “Untold Billions: Are They Really Lost?” Bibliotheca Sacra 138/52 (Oct-Dec 1981): 338-50.

Brown, Harold. “How Crowded Will Hell Be?” Christianity Today 36/10 (September 14, 1992): 39-40.

Campbell, Iain D. “The Possibility of Salvation Among the Unevangelized: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology.” Westminster Theological Journal 65/2 (Fall 2003): 390-92.

Erickson, Millard J. “Hope for Those Who Have Never Heard? Yes, But . . . .” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 11/2 (April 1975): 122.

_________. “The Destiny of the Unevangelised.” Bibliotheca Sacra. 152 (January-March 1995): 3-15; 152 (April-June 1995): 113-44; 152 (July-September 1995): 259-72.

Ferrante, Joseph. “The Final Destiny of Those Who Have Not Heard the Gospel.” Trinity Studies 1/1 (Fall 1971): 55-62.

McWilliams, Warren. “Spirit Christology and Inclusivism: Clark Pinnock’s Evangelical Theology of Religions.” Perspectives in Religious Studies 24 (Fall 1997): 325-36.

Reichenbach, Bruce R. “Inclusivism and the Atonement.” Faith and Philosophy 16/1 (January 1999): 43-54.

Richard, Ramesh P. “Soteriological Inclusivism and Dispensationalism.” Bibliotheca Sacra 151 (January-March 1994): 85-108.

Wright, Christopher J.H. “The Christian and Other Religions: The Biblical Evidence.” Themelios 9/2 (January 1984): 4-15.

Note: Future Bibliographies in the works include: Universalism and Hell, John Hick/Pluralism, David F. Wells, and Billy Graham’s Theology of Evangelism and Conversion.

15 Questions I Would Ask Billy Graham

August 30, 2006

At the close of yesterday’s article, I shared that I think more clarification is needed regarding Billy Graham’s theology of religions and exclusivity of the gospel. On several occasions, Graham has tacitly denied one of the most important issues of the Christian faith—the necessity, extent and efficaciousness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His redemptive plan through His Spirit and Church. Because I would attempt to probe into these issues and press for theological precision, Graham’s interviewers would label me as one of those “rigid” traditionalists. And that’s okay with me, so long as they are referring to classical Christianity as expressed in a firm conviction in sola Scriptura and solus Christus along with due treatment to the conciliar creeds formative to orthodox Christianity.

One does not have to go far in church history to find that the early Church continually had to define, clarify, and become more precise in their beliefs in order to refute heresies—heresies that would simply change a word here or take a word out there and completely alter the definition of an essential doctrine to the Christian faith. We can find this in such heresies as Arianism, Nestorianism, Doceticism, Apollynarianism, Modalism, and so on. The Definition of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) is a word-specific, theologically precise definition which unified the Church. Other creeds and historical documents universally agreed upon were not the result of development new doctrines or formulating new beliefs but rather the clarification and acknowledgment of beliefs and doctrines held from the beginning of the church. New heresies and false teachers come with each generation, and it is necessary for Christians to care for sound doctrine, to give a defense for the gospel, and to contend for the faith once for all handed down to the saints.

So with that said, I would like to post . . .

15 Questions I Would Ask Billy Graham

  1. Do you believe that a sinner must have knowledge about Jesus Christ in order to be saved?
  2. Do you believe that a sinner can be saved and not know it?
  3. Do you believe that other religions are included in God’s redemptive purposes, either as viable “vehicles” of salvation or find their fulfillment in Christ(ianity)?
  4. Do you believe that a sinner who has never heard the gospel will go to hell?
  5. Do you believe that a sinner can respond positively to general revelation and be saved by that light?
  6. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit accomplishes another work of redemption apart from Christ and His Church?
  7. Do you believe that a sinner can experience a post-mortem encounter with Jesus if he did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in their lifetime?
  8. Do you believe that a sinner has to have an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel to go to hell? In other words, what qualifies a person to go to hell when they die?
  9. How do you define lostness?
  10. You have stated that only through Christ a person can be saved. How would you define the content of saving faith placed in Christ? Can it be implicit as well as explicit?
  11. Do you agree with this statement by Vatican II, “Those who can attain to everlasting salvation who through on fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or his church, yet sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of their conscience”?
  12. Do you believe there is a distinction between a believer in God and a Christian?
  13. Would you agree that “outside the Church, there is no salvation” (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus)? How so?
  14. You have mentioned often about the love of God as a motivating rationale for your inclusive beliefs. How do you believe the love of God is balanced with his other attributes such as holiness, justice, and righteousness?
  15. Finally, do you believe that Christianity as defined by Christ and the Scriptures is sufficient and satisfactory for explaining God’s purposes on earth, or do you believe that Christianity must learn from other religions and integrate other religious beliefs consonant to Christian ideals?

These are 15 questions that I thought of today specifically related to Graham’s statements. How Graham would answer these questions would clarify a great deal about his belief in the gospel, other religions, and the nature of his exclusivism (whether he is of the Pinnock/Sanders/Rahner mold of inclusivism or Carson/Piper/Geivett/Nash mold of particularism).

Tomorrow, I hope to provide some resources for further research on inclusivism for those interested. Instead of putting up a lengthy and running bibliography, I will try to organize the books and articles in sections, with those for inclusivism and those against it. Some would be debatable of course as the lines are not clearly drawn on some of the finer points. Anyway. The matter which has received spotlight (inclusivism) through Billy Graham’s interviews is a huge topic of discussion and debate among evangelicals, and now is NOT the time to be vague, ambiguous, and evasive. May God give us wisdom from His Word, coupled with humility that speaks where God has spoken and remains silent when he hasn’t. Let there be a clarion voice from truth-abiding, Christ-confessing, gospel-proclaiming Christians who do not apologize for the Cross and don’t shy away from it when it is their turn to carry theirs.

Moore About Billy Graham

August 29, 2006

Last night, I was made aware that Billy Graham has written to Newsweek magazine in the upcoming issue (September 4, 2006) regarding his recent interview with Jon Meacham. Here is what Graham had to say:

I was overwhelmed by NEWSWEEK’s generous coverage of the life my wife, Ruth, and I are experiencing as we grow older. “Pilgrim’s Progress” was an apt title for the article. Like every other Christian, I see myself as a pilgrim journeying through life, looking expectantly to what God has promised in the future and yet yearning to be faithful in the present. Jon Meacham worked diligently to understand how my thinking on certain issues has grown over the years, and I commend him for seeking to capture my commitment to the Gospel I have always preached. The world is constantly changing, and I am only one in a long line of men and women who have sought to relate God’s unchanging truth to the challenges of their time. As I grow older, my confidence in the inspiration and authority of the Bible has grown even stronger. So has my conviction that only Christ can give us lasting hope—hope for this life, and hope for the life to come. As the Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Billy Graham
Montreat, N.C.

Dr. Russell Moore, academic dean of Southern (of which I attend) as well as director of The Henry Institute, shares in the great disappointment of many evangelicals who read the article called “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Two main areas, two fundamental, non-negotiable areas for conservative evangelicals is the inerrancy of the Bible and the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In both of these areas, Billy Graham has compromised his once-held positions as he has sought to distance himself from what his interviewers call “fundamentalism” and “traditionalism” (which are implied as antithetical to the progressive and inclusive tenor of Graham). Moore accepts the letter from Graham as a clarification on these issues, according to Graham’s affirmations implied in his statements. While I would love to share that optimism, there are several reasons why I am neither convinced nor believe there is sufficient reason to be. Let me explain:

First, I believe we must consider the nature and seriousness of this matter. We are not talking about the percentage of alcohol in NT wine and the various usages of oinos. We are talking about matters which led previous generations to the burning stake and severed bodies, and even to this day our brothers and sisters are having their tongues cut off for confessing the name of “Jesus” (which happened to missing from the articles I read concerning Graham). Second, we must consider the venue and exposure of this matter as it has received national and even worldwide attention having been on the cover of one of the most widely read news magazines in the world. Such a serious and essential issue, coupled with the worldwide exposure, demands more than a sentence or two (which are also lacking precision). Third, one cannot take Graham’s comments in isolation, away from previous interviews and public statements. I will provide just a few below, along with some additional resources. But suffice to say, these comments, especially regarding the exclusivity of the gospel, did not come from old age or just happening to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Finally, as conservative evangelicals, we must be consistent in our criticism of those who error from biblical truth. Were the comments Graham made to come from the mouths of a confessing liberal, we would unequivocally denounce those statements without apology. Yet for some reason when someone of such high repute (and I sincerely mean that – Graham is one of the most well-respected and honorable men no doubt), we tend to let them say whatever they want without public criticism. This is a tragic but truthful reality. We must be honest, transparent, and up front, even when it means admonishing someone much holier than I/we would ever be.

Regarding Graham’s comments, I see three things lacking. First, I believe there needs to be clarity where there has been compromise. Graham has attempted to do this, but it appears that his comments were intended to appease his critics but not necessarily affirm his convictions. If he believes in the inerrancy of the gospel, then why doesn’t he just come out and say it? If he believes that all those who die apart from explicit saving faith in Jesus Christ are going to an everlasting punishment in hell, then why doesn’t he say it? While his letter was helpful to a degree, the doubts still remain, and the periods which have turned into question marks still have one looking for a substantive, precise, and clear affirmation. Second, I believe there needs to be a correction or retraction of his compromising statements which receive the same proportionate exposure and coverage as his previous statements. It is one thing to make a compromising statement on a cover story, with paragraph after paragraph being read by millions, and it is quite another thing to write a sentence or two in the “letters to the magazine” section which hardly receive any attention whatsoever. So the correction, be there as it may, simply does not measure up to the magnitude of his errors. Why is it, that whenever he gets a cover story with Time, Newsweek, or USA Today, it invariably speaks of his distancing from evangelicals and the essentials of the Christian faith? Why can’t the gospel and the name of Jesus get as much attention through Billy Graham and his prime-time interviews as his denials and errors?

For instance, there are several times where Graham has opportunities to publicly go on record for the name of Jesus and the exclusive nature of His gospel. Here are just a few, starting from the most recent:

Graham in Newsweek (interviewer Jon Meacham) on August 14, 2006:

“When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: ‘Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t . . . I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.’”

Graham in USA Today (interviewer Cathy Lynn Grossman) on May 16, 2005:

“Today, as many fundamentalists and traditionalists refuse to share podiums with people who don’t share their exact vision of salvation, Graham opens his events to Christians of every stripe. . . . ‘There are a lot of groups that feel a little bit strange around me, because I am inclusive,’ says Graham who draws a distinction between ‘evangelical’ – a label often claimed by conservative Protestants – and ‘evangelism.’ ‘Evangelism is when the Gospel, which is good news, is preached or presented to all people,’ he says.” (emphasis original)

“The Christian world today is full of niches – from the vaguest spiritual seekers to the most doctrinally rigid conservatives who decry the ecumenical movement and see tolerance as moral relativism. Words like pluralism and inclusivity, which Graham considers positive, have taken negative connotations, as if they meant all paths to God were equally valid.” (emphasis mine)

Graham and Schuller on
May 31, 1997:

“SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?

GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer — you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ … I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.” (emphasis mine)

“SCHULLER: What, what I hear you saying, that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they’ve been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you’re saying?

GRAHAM: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they’ve believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they’ve tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.” (emphasis mine)

“SCHULLER: [R.S. trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming, then says] I’m so thrilled to hear you say this. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy. (emphasis mine)

GRAHAM: There is. There definitely is.”

Graham in January 1978:

“I used to believe that pagans in far countries were lost if they did not have the gospel of Christ preached to them.. I no longer believe that.” (McCall’s, January, 1978).

Here you get just a sampling of what Graham has said for the lat 28 years. Like I said, one cannot take his comments from the latest Newsweek article and think this is an anomaly. He has been saying this for more than a quarter century. Were one remove the name and simply took the statements themselves, one would come to the conclusion that this person was more influenced by the Vatican II than Scripture, lining up with Catholic theologians Karl Rahner, Gavin D’Costa, and Jacques Dupuis than Ronald Nash, R. Douglass Geivett, or John Piper. As Graham has sought to broaden his base and become more inclusivistic, he has been forced to ride the fence on issues which do not allow it. You hear him making statements like, “I feel I belong to all churches. I am equally at home in an Anglican or Baptist or a Brethren assembly or a Roman Catholic church. I would identify with the customs and the culture and the theology of that particular church” (David Frost, Billy Graham in Conversation, 68) which make you wonder if his theology drives understanding of the gospel, the church, and even God.

While Graham has adapted an agnostic claim on those without Jesus, the Bible makes it very clear where God the Father stands. Consider the Scriptures:

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:9-13

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. And God’s testimony is much greater—even greater than Billy Graham’s. Indeed, we can know that we have eternal life, because whoever has the Son has eternal life which has been granted by the Father. This testimony all Christians have in themselves, for God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).

Ironically enough, as I was driving home this morning from work, I was reminded of my paper which I wrote for Dr. Moore in which I addressed the role of general revelation in the fate of the unevangelized. It was my first paper here at Southern. From my research and studies that semester, I was launched into a field of religious pluralism that has marked my theological education for the past three years. In that paper, I argued against inclusivists like Rahner, Clark Pinnock, and John Sanders. I made my case very clear where I believe the Bible stands. Obviously, as I received my paper (and even a personal phone call) back, Dr. Moore whole-heartedly agreed. However, it would have been no different had I put Billy Graham’s name next to Pinnock, Sanders, Grenz, or any other our school disagrees with, and were Graham to write a paper on his views of salvation, I am quite certain he would not get an “A” in Dr. Moore’s class. My point is simply this: when someone is wrong, let us lovingly yet truthfully make it plain that they are in error and seek to bring them back to a biblical understanding of the gospel. This is my hope and prayer for Billy Graham and others who have been influenced by him to adopt a view of the gospel and salvation apart from the saving knowledge of Christ.

Just this past December, I eulogized my grandfather who died at the age of 89. Graham is 87 right now, so there is some similarity. My granddad was a graduate of Southern Seminary in 1943 and was the first in our family to ever have a high school diploma. He went on to minister for 64 years laboring among people who needed Jesus. As a chaplain in both wars and VA hospitals to pastoring little churches all across the heartland of America, my grandfather ran the race and finished strong. What you see here is his Bible which he preached from an a sermon entitled “Prepare to Meet Thy God” (preached on Sept. 10, 1950). In the center of the page you will find the words, “Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Only Way to God.” Although at the end of his life, where he could not speak and battled Alzheimer’s, he could still pray and smile when you talked about Jesus. Now he has met his God and is worshipping at his Savior’s feet.

Billy Graham is at the close of the last chapter of his life. It would be tragic to see the last pages written with interviews where he backtracked and retracted the convictions which bound his conscience to God’s Word. Having just witnessed the last days and breaths of my granddad, it has made me all the more sensitive to Graham and my hopes that he finish strong. Like Paul, I hope it can be said:

“I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

My granddad never merited an interview except from the little ones which loved to sit on his lap. He never preached to more than a couple hundred at a time. But by God’s grace, He ran the race faithfully. No matter how big or small you are in the world’s eyes, we are nothing without Jesus. And as we reflect on what it means to preach the word, in season and out of season, to endure suffering, to do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill our ministry, may we ever be mindful to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).

Note: Over the past couple of days, I have had the exciting privilege of catching up with a man I mentioned in the comments section of my previous post. His name is Larry Backlund, and he has served as the President of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism across America. He has been very kind to email me, and I am hoping to meet up with him during the week I am in Minneapolis. Having known Graham personally, Mr. Backlund said, “I DO know where Mr. Graham stands on the Cross and the Gospel and the Bible.” While he mentioned that he hasn’t read the articles, he is certain that Graham holds strongly to the gospel and inerrancy of Scripture. Speaking of that, I was able to find an article in which Graham speaks of that now well-known crisis in the summer of 1949. You can access it by going here.

Below are some selected works I picked out that would be helpful for further study. Tomorrow, I am going to post some specific questions that, were I able to sit down an interview Graham myself, I would ask him concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some selected works to consider:

“A ‘Paradigm Case’: Billy Graham and the Nature of Conversion” in Evangelical Landscapes: Facing Critical Issues of the Day by John G. Stackhouse (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002): 103-20.

Drummond, Lewis. The Evangelist: The Worldwide Impact of Billy Graham. Nashville: Word, 2001.

Frost, David. Billy Graham in Conversation. Oxford: Lion, 1998.

Graham, Billy. How to Be Born Again. Dallas: Word, 1989.

_________. Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham.. London: HarperCollins, 1997.

Johnson, Thomas Paul. Examining Billy Graham’s Theology of Evangelism. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003.

Martin, William. A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story. New York: William Morrow, 1991.

Murray, Iain H. Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950-2000. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2000.

Pokki, Timo. America’s Preacher and His Message: Bill Graham’s View of Conversion and Sanctification. Landham, MD: University Press of America, 1999.

Above All Earthly . . . Blogs

August 28, 2006

I am aware that many of you have either started or are looking to start reading David Wells’ latest book, Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World. Since there are so many people reading it and a great deal to talk about in the book, a couple of friends of mine have started a blog for the expressed purpose of discussing the book. The blog, aptly called, is Above All Earthly Pow’rs, and I encourage you to check it out if this book is anywhere on your radar screen.

Shannon McKenzie, who came up with the idea, is welcoming anyone who wishes to contribute with their thoughts through posting and will add you as a contributor. K. Elijah Mayfield has also put together a reading plan which takes small chunks at a time in a disciplined and chronological fashion which would serve the blog well. Of course, if you choose not to be a contributor, you are welcome to comment on anything written!

I haven’t written anything yet, but I hope to have something up this week. You might be asking about how to got about joining. If you are, here is what you should do:

  1. Email Shannon at Shannon [at]treasuringchrist[dot]net and let him know that you are interested. He will fill you in on the details.
  2. Go to the original post and check the calendar dates for the scheduled reading. The idea is to write about that particular section (corresponding to the date) of the book in a blogpost, your reflections, thoughts, or just a review of the material.
  3. If you come in late, you are welcome to write about previous sections as well, but we wish that you do not get ahead of the scheduled reading as it would not contribute to the discussion. Therefore, write a post about the whole book would not work, neither would your thoughts on Chapter 6 when we would be on Chapter 2. You get the idea.
  4. Lastly, it would be helpful if you do post to read other folks posts as well. In other words, interact, critique, and affirm.

I think this book deserves meaningful discourse and interaction, and I am heartened to see that Shannon and Elijah have taken up this endeavor. For those planning on attending the Desiring God National Conference, this blog may have particular interest to you. In any case, please check it out. It would be worth your time.

Sunday Thoughts

August 27, 2006

Here are some thoughts I had today . . .

* After hearing news of the plane crash in Lexington, I couldn’t help but think about the questions which will inevitably be asked (usually on Larry King Live) as they were when 911, the tsunami, and Katrina happened. Questions like “Where was God that Sunday morning?” or “How could God allow this to happen?” To take the paradigm of Rabbi Kushner who wrote Why Does Bad Things Happen to Good People, the argument goes that either God is all-powerful or all-good, but he cannot be both. Some would argue that he could not be all-knowing, for if he were to know that this would happen and didn’t stop it, he would not be a good God, and if he couldn’t stop it, he wouldn’t be all-powerful. These are important questions which Christians must think hard about and humbly respond to with grace. Too many leading evangelicals will want to dismiss God (as Tony Compolo recently has) and say He has nothing to with it. Such an unbiblical response is neither helpful to those suffering nor honorable to God. May God give us wisdom, compassion, and seasoned speech to give an answer for the hope that is within us with gentleness and kindness.

* On another note, I usually don’t listen to the radio on the way home from church. I usually listen to my wife and talk about the mornings message or Sunday School. She was back in Athens this weekend, so I turned the radio on to the Christian station here in Louisville. A prominent charismatic preacher was on there foretelling (once again) that the rapture is going to take place in “four to six years.” When I was in college in 1997, I was told this very same thing (except that Jesus would come back in 1998). He went on to say that there was a pyramid-shaped oil reservoir underneath Israel which would suck all the oil from the Middle East and bring wealth to the nation of Israel. The text he was eisegeting had the word “spoil” in it somewhere, and he proofed his interpretation by saying, “Just take the “s” and the “p” off, and what do you get? Oil.” I didn’t know to laugh or to shout at the console. It was deplorable – one of the worst messages I have ever heard. Scary and crafty, but horrible.

* After helping my dear friend Terri move her stuff before leaving for D.C., I went to Books-a-Million to catch up on some reading before church tonight. I decided to go down the magazine section in hopes of finding the latest issue of Christianity Today. Guess what? Out of the hundreds and hundreds of magazines there in the store (some I have no idea who in the world buys them), they did not have Christianity Today. Ironically, I did find two issues of Biblical Archeology. Some things I just don’t understand.

* Dorcas Hawker linked up to my previous post on worship and has some thoughts as well. I mentioned in a comment that we need to recover a healthy balance of transcendence and immanence in our worship, which is very difficult to do because of our man-centered, existentialist approach. Her comments prompted me to go back and read some of A.W. Tozer regarding worship. Two books I would recommend to you are Whatever Happened to Worship? and Tozer on Worship and Entertainment. I hope to post some quotes sometime soon.

* I spend a lot of time this weekend researching Universalism and Hell (if you have read back in previous posts, you would know this is a major topic for me this Fall). I hope to provide you with a bibliography of some resources very soon. In the meantime, let me provide you a quote and see if you can guess who penned it. Here it goes:

(No Googling – that’s cheating!)

“There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. . . . I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture.”

Have at it. Blessings and see you tomorrow.