Is church attendance pleasing to God?

A friend brought to my attention a very legalistic article,  Why Should Christians Attend Church? by Dale Robbins. Each statement  is flawed, and on that friend’s blog I answered each one point by point. Now I’m reposting here.

(1) Is church attendance an expression of our love for God? No. Worship is the expression of our love for God. Many people who “go to church” do it for various Continue reading “Is church attendance pleasing to God?”

Critique: Godliness through Discipline by Jay Adams

The critique that I’ve posted here on Amazon is really more of a commentary on Jay Adams’ perspective on sanctification, which I very strongly disagree with. Does Godliness really come through development of habits, as Jay Adams has been teaching since the early 1970s? When you understand the New Testament (and the Old in the light of the New), that’s not at all the picture that you see. Continue reading “Critique: Godliness through Discipline by Jay Adams”

A New Year Filled with Hope

I hope things will be different. . . . I hope he’ll start being kinder. . . . I hope she’ll come back to her husband and children. . . . I hope the economy won’t collapse. . . . I hope Jesus will return this year. . . . I hope my abuser will be brought to justice. . . . I hope they’ll repent and acknowledge their sin. . . .

Have you ever noticed that the way we talk about hope in ordinary conversation is very different from the way the Bible describes “hope”? Continue reading “A New Year Filled with Hope”

What does real repentance look like?

Jesus cried out, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

A couple of years ago I posted on Facebook a question about the Greek word translated “repentance.” (It’s metanoia and its variants.) Yes, I admit, it took me a long time to get back to all the links and ideas people sent me, but here I am again, studying repentance.

It’s because three things happened at about the same time. First, I was praying for pastors and other Christian leaders (the ones who have treated and counseled sexual abuse survivors as if they were pariahs) to repent about their wrongdoing. Second, I’ve been praying for revival for a long time, and in the context of that, having a discussion with a Christian leader about whether or not repentance is necessary for salvation. Third, I’ve been studying II Corinthians, where Paul talks about repentance in chapter 7.

I always used to hear repentance being taught as a change of mind. That very sterile, academic definition vaguely dissatisfied me. It seemed to accompany the academic, intellectual acceptance of Christ embodied in the “sinner’s prayer.” Continue reading “What does real repentance look like?”

How can I give grace?

I can’t.

I don’t mean I’m incapable unless God helps me. I mean, giving grace is a prerogative of God alone. I have no part in it.

It’s popular now to talk about how we need to give grace to others, but the way people are using the word—meaning forgiveness and kindness and love—diminishes the meaning of the remarkable word “grace” until it loses the vital meaning it should have.

grace

Continue reading “How can I give grace?”

It’s HARD Living by the List

The book of Romans . . . I printed it out so that I could highlight sections and color code words and draw arrows and fill the margins with question marks and write cross references and draw pictures of stick figures . . . When I was studying through it, then—asking the Lord to make the book fresh to me, to strip away preconceived notions of what everything “had to mean,” and show me what it really meant-—it was then that many important Christian Life truths throughout the book began to crystallize. And I began to understand that Paul was refuting the concept of Living by the List. And he was describing three . . . no, it was four . . . reactions to it. This was immensely important to me, because I grew up Living by the List. Continue reading “It’s HARD Living by the List”