Are You Lost and Out of Step?

Can I share something with you?  Something you can keep to yourself?  Well I’m considering radically changing our house church, and restarting, or rebooting if you will. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So it’s time to make changes.  Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve accelerated my deconstruction and I think it’s been hard on those that were/are with me.  But there is no turning back for me I’m convinced that what I’ve been taught is incorrect and not reflective of Jesus Christ.

I’m committed to truly knowing Jesus even if it cost me everything.  Part of this journey is letting go of ways that have been ingrained in me as to how church should be, how often, what days. In some ways I feel lost, but in my lostness, in my wilderness, it’s there that I always seem to hear God’s voice. It’s there that I find my way back home.  So embrace the feeling of being lost it’s a good place to be.

Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve rejected the following:

  • a retributive god
  • all hierarchy (within the body of Christ that views one as higher, better, greater than another)
  • all forms of control
  • all forms of power
  • all forms of manipulation
  • all forms of sin management
  • all forms of legalism
  • all forms of ignorance
  • all forms of success
  • all forms of exclusion

I firmly believe that in the body of Christ we are all equal, and the only great one is Jesus (and he defined greatness by becoming human, powerless, and a servant).  Yes I still believe that those that claim to follow Christ should gather together at the Table of the Lord where every one is equal and to bare each others burdens.  That is what I think church is and should be.

I don’t know where you are at in your journey but know this, where ever you are I’ll always be your friend. For the record Yes I believe that God heals, and that the Holy Spirit moves in our presence, and brings about restoration in our lives. Yes I still believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I have no intentions to abandon my Charismatic roots (although I’ve never been anything like the crazies or extreme, that doesn’t mean that I don’t hold those views).
Please keep me in your prayers as I truly value you and those that dare to come along with me on this Path that I have set.  You are here because you are a seeker, like the wise men looking for the God that will bring peace on earth. We’ve been lead to him, so now lets live like him and continue his work of bringing peace on earth.

May Christ be with you and your family,

Quadrilateral Thoughts

I have been following Ken Schenck blog for some time now. He teaches New Testament and philosophy at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a busy blogger and I have learned a great deal from him. I don’t know why I have not added him to my blogroll it must have been something I overlooked.  Anyhow, he is on now 🙂

He just posted a lecture on Constructing a Biblical Theology, Which is really good.  He posts these now and then.  Go and check him out.

Caution don’t read that book! Say What?

I was over at Parchment & Pen (Michael Patton’s blog) and the comments got slightly off track I being part of the reason.  I don’t like doing that or when it happens so I wanted to move the discussion here.

They started talking about Grudem’s book being fair and balance, well I objected and said:

I find his position on Salvation highly Calvinistic, and barely makes a good argument for Arminism.

If I were new to the topic I would have walked away from his book thinking that Calvinism was the correct position, one would not walk away thinking otherwise. I don’t think that is being fair and balance of divergent positions.

I then stated that if you want to read a book that is fair and balance on various divergent books read Gregory Boyd’s book “Across the Spectrum, understanding issues in Evangelical Theology“.

Then a person responds to my post and says:

The only problem with Boyd’s book is that he is an admitted Open Theist. So I would urge caution in that respect alone.  (emphasis mine)

My partial response was: ..That is one of the most narrow minded remarks I have read at this blog in a long time…

First of all he thinks it’s a problem that Boyd is an open theist, and the second part which is what really bugged me, that one should take caution in not reading Boyd’s book just because he is an Open Theist.  I have had other reasons why I haven’t read much Boyd (I have read extensively at his blog/website), and none of them being because he is an Open Theist.

He continues with his line of reasoning:

I would just say that If you have not read Dr. Boyd’s books on Open Theism, I would suggest you do before recommending any of his other works.

Really?  The book that I recommended has no merit on it’s own?  Do I need to read every single book an author wrote before I can recommend one?  I was not recommending any of his other books I was recommending the one book I have read.  Why would I recommend books I have not read by any author?  Would I recommend Dr. Boyd’s books to others?  Sure I would.  Would I caution them?  No I would not.

Then someone else comments as says:

To me it only seems reasonable that when a book is recommended that is written by someone that it is not considered orthodox to “urge caution”.

Say what?  Does that seems reasonable?  Do these sorts of statements bother anyone else?  If they do share why, if they don’t then please help me out because I really have a hard time with these sorts of statements.

If you want to read the postings check them out here.  Scroll to the bottom and work your way up to you see my first post.

A full Systematic Theology on the Holy Spirit, is it possible?

Dr. Rodman Williams in his book “A Theological Pilgrimage” writes:

Here there are a wide variety of testimonies – and in large part this is due to the fact that we are talking about the Holy Spirit. To try to track the Spirit is a little like tracking the wind; it is indeed hard to accomplish! “The pneuma blows where it wills….” There is about the Spirit an unpredictability, a freedom that makes suspect any claim that “this is exactly the way it always happens,” etc. The Spirit has a way of moving not according to our plans and schemes but according to His own sovereign intention. So the dynamic movement of the Spirit cannot be charted but occurs in an unlimited number of ways and situations. Blueprints are out!

Do you think based on what he is saying that it is possible for a Theologian to develop a complete Systematic Theology on the Holy Spirit?

Understanding the humaity of Christ – Part 2

Was Jesus truly tempted as we were?

The supporting scripture(s) on this are: Hebrews 4:15

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are?yet he did not sin.” TNIV

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. TNIV (ESV, NLT, HCSB all use “tempted”)

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

In Hebrews 4:15 the ESV also uses the word “tempted”, HCSB uses the word “tested”, and the NLT uses “testing”.  According the ESV Study Bible (ESVSB) “The Greek (peiraz?) can refer either to temptation intended to bring one down or to testing designed to build one up; both connotations probably apply here”.  The NLT Study Bible (NLTSB) says “Our High Priest understands our weaknesses, our human pull toward sin, because he faced all of the same testings we do. He was tempted with all the essential aspects of sin, such as lust, greed, unforgiveness, and dishonesty.”

From these two notes it would be fair to say that Jesus was not only tested, but also tempted as we are. However, is it accurate to say as the NLTSB states that “He was tempted with all the essential aspects of sin…”?  Is that a correct understanding?

“This meant that he had to obey in his human strength alone. If he had called upon his divine powers to make the temptation easier for himself, then he would not have obeyed God fully as a man.”, [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology]

This in my opinion is a correct statement, but later Grudem states that Christ was fully tempted, yet he could not sin.

“But if Jesus as a person had sinned, involving both his human and divine natures in sin, then God himself would have sinned, and he would have ceased to be God. Yet that is clearly impossible because of the infinite holiness of God’s nature. (5) Therefore, if we are asking if it was actually possible for Jesus to have sinned, it seems that we must conclude that it was not possible. The union of his human and divine natures in one person prevented it.”, [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology]

This is where we part ways in our understanding.  Now in a way it is a moot point for it is clear from Hebrews that Jesus never sinned.  However, I think that if we follow the logic that I have laid out that Jesus did not take advantage of his divinity, which Grudem supports if I understand him correctly.  Christ is no longer relying on or taking advantage of his divinity making him subject to these temptations.  Grudem holds to what is referred to as the “impeccability of Christ,” which means that Christ was not able to sin.

But it would appear to me that a temptation is not a temptation if there is never the real ability to fail (i.e. sin).  How can there be a temptation if there is no capacity to fulfill it?  I think that it was possible for Jesus to have sinned, but would not sin (notice I did not say could not), because he was God, and because his humanity was completely in submission to the Spirit, and was totally obedient to the Father. He lived a truly obedient life, led by the Holy Spirit, and thus fulfilled all of the requirements of the law. He is our perfect (human) example.

To deny his humanity is as equally wrong to deny his deity. If it was not possible for him to sin then he was not human, and we are missing the whole point of what Phil 2 – is trying to teach us. It’s kind of like saying Jesus cheated because he was not truly capable of sinning, so none of the temptations or testing really matter. Jesus could have sinned but He did not. Why? Not just because he was God, but because he was obedient.

This is why:

And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death?even death on a cross! God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:8-11 TNIV

How did He humble himself? By becoming obedient!  I fear that somehow that by acknowledging that Jesus was truly human we somehow think that we are denying that He was God. And that is just not the case.


Understanding the humanity of Christ – Introduction

Understanding the humanity of Christ Part 1

Gordon Fee Pauline Christology – Philippians 2

Gordon Fee “Pauline Christology” 2007 Hendrickson

Donald Macleod “The Person of Christ” IVP 1998


Looking to expand my libarary

When I go to book stores it seems that reformed theologians will out weigh any other theological point of view.  Why is that?  Is it because the store owner is reformed?  Is it because there is just plain ignorance on other evangelical theologians?  Is it because they write more than others?  Why is it so challenging to find other theologians that are not reformed?

I am looking to expand my library next year, and I am looking for authors that are evangelical but that don’t write from a Calvinist point of view.  I want to read books on prayer, salvation, commentaries on Romans/Galatians & systematic theology.  I want avoid spending unnecessary money trying to find new (new to me) authors.

In the last year I have worked really hard to find authors that are Evangelical but not Calvinist.  It is a challenging task to say the least.  Here is a list of theologians that I would not consider Calvinist, that I was introduced to in 2008 and have purchased books from them.

  • Thomas Oden (4 books)
  • Roger Olson (6 books)
  • Gordon Fee (5 books)
  • Jack Cottrell (1 on the way)
  • Dallas Willard (2 books)
  • Larry Hart (1 book)
  • Anthony D. Palma (1 book)
  • Ben Witherington (1 book)

I don’t have any problems with reformed theologian I own more books by them (Piper, Sproul, Demarest, Fineberg, Ryrie, Akin, Cole, Ferguson, Macleod, Coppedge, Bottner, Swindoll, Grudem, Pink, MacArthur,Roy, Spiegel, Erickson etc)  than I do any other system of theology.  I especially love to read there theological works on the Trinity, and Christ.

What are others non-Calvinist evangelical theologians would you recommend to me?  Also list what their expertise are and even recommend a book if you have one.  On any subject, it doesn’t have to be what I am particularly looking for.  Even recommend your favorite book or author, so long as they are not from a Reformed Calvinist point of view 😉  Trust me they (reformed) are ease to find.

This will help to build my list of books to purchase for 2009.

Theological Word of the Week – Hyper Calvinism


Hyper-Calvinism is a pejorative designation for those who are believed to go beyond historic Calvinism in their doctrine. Although there is no one way to designate a Calvinist as “hyper,” there are many extremes that might carry such a designation. Among these extremes: the belief that we do not need to evangelize, the belief that God is the author of evil and sin, the belief that God does not love the non-elect, the belief that God actively elected people to go to hell (the reprobate) before he created them (superlapsarianism), the belief in meticulous sovereignty (that God is the immediate cause of all things), and/or that true Christians will always be Calvinist. All of these are not defining characteristics of historic Calvinism.

Friday’s with Fee – The Spirit is the key to all of Christian Life

Gordon Fee “Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God” 1996 Hendrickson

Paul does not see life in the Spirit as the result of a single experience of the Spirit at the entry point.  He simply did not have the static view of the Spirit that so many later Christians seem to have – that the Spirit is “given” once for all at conversion, and after that we are pretty much left to our own devices to live out the Christian life.  For Paul the Spirit is the key to all of Christian life, and he implies , frequently there are further, ongoing times of receiving the Spirit’s empowering.  pg 201

Friday’s with Fee – The crucial role of the Spirit

Gordon Fee places a high emphasis on the Crucial role of the Holy Spirit in the theology of Paul.

All of this to say, then, that any understanding of Paul that does not recognize the crucial role of the Spirit in his theology quite misses Paul’s own concerns and emphases…My ultimate concern, for myself and for the contemporary church, is to persuade that we would do well to return to our biblical roots on this matter, if the church is going to count for anything at all in the new millennium that lies just around the corner. – Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, pg 13

New Books

Well I did it again and went out and purchased some more books.

God’s Empowering Presence:
The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul
By Gordon D. Fee

Amazon Sales Rank: #88339 in Books
Published on: 1994-07-01
Original language: English
Number of items: 1
Binding: Hardcover
992 pages

The First Epistle to the Corinthians
(The New International Commentary on the New Testament)

By Gordon Fee

Amazon Sales Rank: #88339 in Books
Published on: 1994-07-01
Original language: English
Number of items: 1
Binding: Hardcover
992 pages

The Holy Spirit:
A Pentecostal Perspective

By Anthony D. Palma

Amazon Sales Rank: #73448 in Books
Published on: 2001-08
Original language: English
Number of items: 1
Binding: Hardcover
303 pages

This was a gift by my friend Jerome Weymouth.

I am doing a whole new study on the Holy Spirit and the Charismata.  I am also reading the following books from non-Pentecostal/Charismatics “The Holy Spirit Contours of Christian Theology By Sinclair B. Ferguson”, and “He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit by Graham A. Cole”