The Cup Which Christ Drank

10:05AM, Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To contrast with Bell’s teaching, I commend to you here true teaching about Christ’s prayer that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Thanks go to my friend Ben for sharing this video with me that I might share it with you.


Analysis and Critique of NOOMA 019 – Open

5:19PM, Monday, February 18, 2008

I watched this video on 18 Feb 08 in its entirety when it was available for free on Facebook for 48 hours. The URL I used to watch it is http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=588666405663

This analysis and critique is provided for the purposes of discernment and truth as declared and defined by the Word of God.

Problem 1:
Rob says, “God leaves the world unfinished.” I do not believe that this is an accurate statement in light of what Scripture says about the Creation. When God created the world, He made everything good and perfect. In John 1, we read that nothing that was made was made without Him. When God created, Creation was complete and good, perfect in every way. And then man fell, introducing sin and its consequences to the world.

But I think there’s another contextual clue as to what he means by this statement. He calls Genesis a “creation poem” which immediately raises a red flag for me. Why? Quite simply, you don’t read poems literally. You read a poem as a figure of speech. So if Genesis is a “creation poem” then the whole Adam and Eve thing didn’t happen, nor the literal six-day Creation account.

What sort of agenda might there be to call Genesis a poem as opposed to referring to it as a literal historical account (which, by the way, there is no reason, historical or literary, to assume otherwise)? If it’s not glaringly obvious by this point, it’s Evolutionism. The idea that the universe and that which is in it is constantly being “created” (i.e. evolving into bigger and better) is Evolutionism through and through.

Problem 2:
God commands us to pray, and so we ought to do so. Also God is sovereign and does as He pleases, and all that He does is good and perfect and holy. But the coexistence of these two truths do not mean that somehow there is a synergistic interaction going on when we pray. Prayer is not “tapping into divine creative energy” as Rob says. To even compare the creations of man to the creation of God is blasphemous. Man creates out of what is. God created ex nihilo, that is, out of nothing.

Prayer is the submission of the will of a man to the will of God in humility and acknowledgment of his utter dependence upon the providential graces of God. Sometimes God says no when we ask for things, and He is within His right to do so! God is sovereign. To ask “Well why should we pray then?” in response to God’s sovereignty is to be so arrogant as to expect that God owes us anything. God owes mankind nothing.

How about a little Romans shall we? This passage is from chapter 9, verses 14-24, emphasis mine and in bold:

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.


Suffering? Have Some Mercy and Grace.

5:12PM, Thursday, September 20, 2007

This post is a response to something my friend wrote on his blog. Rather than take up a considerable amount of space in his comments, I have decided to post my thoughts here.

After some of the things I’ve wrestled through in the past few months, I’d have to say that the question of why God allows suffering gets things backwards. I think it assumes in the first place that we are not all worthy of suffering greatly for our sins.

I think rather than asking why God allows suffering or asking why we allow suffering we ought to be asking “Why does God allow us to live in spite of our sinfulness?”

You see friend, this world we live in is dying, and it’s all because of sin. The universe is decaying because sin entered in by way of Adam and Eve. It’s moving day after day, hour after hour, moment by moment toward its ultimate destruction. Apart from Christ, the men and women of this world, including you and I, stand already condemned and worthy of death before a holy God. And the fact that God does not send us straight to just judgment in hell the moment we sin is an act of Grace!

And how is God even able to offer us this Grace without contradicting His divine demand of justice for sin? The Cross of Jesus Christ provides the answer to this much better question. The mercy and grace that we are offered at the Cross is there because the wrath of God for sin was on Christ! Because the justice poured out at the Cross was infinite for the infinite offense of sin against a holy God, God is therefore free to offer Grace and Mercy as He so wills.

That we are still living and breathing, that we are not as bad as we could be (even Joseph Stalin didn’t murder his own mother) is a sovereign act of God moving in His Grace. That does not mean that all people have all of God’s Grace. God sovereignly chooses those upon whom He will bestow His Grace and Mercy. “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.” declares the Lord.

As an aside, if you want some more Scriptural background on the things I’m talking about, I’d suggest reading up a bit on the Doctrines of Grace.

So does the fact that God doesn’t magically eliminate all suffering mean that we don’t help the poor or care for the sick? By no means! We ought to do these things because we love them. And we ought to love them because God has demonstrated His love to us by giving us Christ’s Cross. But the elimination of suffering in this fallen world is not the goal of these actions.

Folks like Rob Bell will tell you that that is the goal because we’re supposed to bring some sort of physical kingdom of God here to earth. That’s not at all the goal, and that’s a completely unscriptural motive. The goal in showing love and mercy to the suffering is to be merciful because God is merciful to us, and if that person is unsaved, the ultimate goal is to show them the way to repentance and faith in Christ.

Suffering isn’t at all the question, is it? God gives to us all varying degrees of mercy and grace as He sovereignly chooses. I’m not sure that any of us is really in a position to question the one giving mercy as to how much mercy we or others “deserve” are you? I know that on the surface that might seem like a cop out, but it really isn’t. None of us deserve God’s Mercy or Grace, and that, my friend, is precisely why God’s Mercy and Grace are so grand!