“The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer”? Examining 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (Part Two)

Yesterday I posted Part One of this study of some Scriptures that can be hard to understand, in response to a heartfelt letter from a reader. The questions I said I wanted to address were:

  • If any unbelieving spouse wants to keep living in the house, does that mean the believing spouse has no choice but to let him stay?
  • Can the believer actually make the unbelieving spouse holy?
  • Does a believer staying with an unbelieving spouse mean the children will be born again?
  • Should the believer persevere with the unbelieving spouse in hopes that she will be the cause of his salvation?

Continue reading ““The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer”? Examining 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (Part Two)”

“The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer”? Examining 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (Part One)

Some time ago I received this letter from a reader:

The scripture that caused more pain, confusion and hopelessness in my two-decade bondage in an abusive marriage was this one from 1 Cor.7:13-16.  

“If you’re a woman married to an unbeliever and he wants to live with you, hold onto him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife…otherwise YOUR CHILDREN WOULD BE LEFT OUT; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God. . . . For how do you know O wife whether YOU WILL SAVE your husband.” 

Ohhh, the pain, the staggering confounding pain these verses have caused.

Continue reading ““The unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer”? Examining 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (Part One)”

5 reasons for church small groups to replace “transparency” with “integrity”

1.     There are no Biblical guidelines for “transparency,” but there are for integrity

Transparency is an extra-Biblical concept. In church small group it usually seems to mean “being willing to tell us about your sin,” and I think it’s based on James 5:16, which says, “Confess your faults one to another.” Apparently the word “confession” wasn’t a good enough word—“transparency” takes it a step further: the ideal is for us to see all your faults. Continue reading “5 reasons for church small groups to replace “transparency” with “integrity””

When is it wrong to be a “living sacrifice”? Reexamining Romans 12:1

Romans 12:1 says,

“Therefore I exhort you, brothers [and sisters], through the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable [rational] service.”

I’ve been naïve and sheltered apparently, because I was in my fifties before I found out how this expression, this good Bible verse, had been perverted beyond recognition. For me, beyond imagining, until I learned it was real. Continue reading “When is it wrong to be a “living sacrifice”? Reexamining Romans 12:1”

Are all Christians hypocrites? A response to a Bill Hybels supporter

I know it must grow wearying to many Jesus-lovers to hear of one Christian leader after another being accused of sexual sins and even crimes.  I become weary too, but not because I believe the accusations are false or nit-picky. No, I’m glad for any such truths that are coming out, and I’m glad criminals and hypocrites are being exposed. It’s the hypocrisy itself I grow weary of.

Bill Hybels

The hypocrisy was especially brought it to my attention this time in an article my husband told me about a couple of days ago, which defended one of the recently accused, Bill Hybels (who has been accused of long-term adultery as well as attempts at seduction, allegations against whom can be found here and here and here).

The article I’m replying to, published by Christian Today (not Christianity Today) is hereContinue reading “Are all Christians hypocrites? A response to a Bill Hybels supporter”

No more karma Christianity

The other day I received a request to comment on the topic of God punishing us for our sins in a seemingly random way:

It was ingrained heavily when I was a child that God punishes us for things long after we’ve repented.  Any “bad” sin leads to year and years of punishment, even if it’s been repented of fully.  My parents will say this often, that someone (even their own child) is being punished because of a very bad [unrelated] sin.  I’ve felt an incredible amount of guilt and shame over my child’s health problems and always wonder if it was because of my sin.

Continue reading “No more karma Christianity”

How to handle those “forgive and forget” Scriptures

Occasionally I’ve talked with friends who have feared they haven’t really forgiven the person who harmed them. “I keep thinking about the harm,” she might say. “It keeps hurting. So that makes me think I haven’t really forgiven.”

It’s not only a common feeling, but also a common accusation.

“You’re still talking about that? You must not have forgiven. You must just be bitter.

After all, forgive and forget. Continue reading “How to handle those “forgive and forget” Scriptures”

Should you love yourself? A response to Desiring God

Before the Rachael Denhollander news stories, before the Turpin family tragedy broke,  I received a letter from a young woman, Lyndall Cave,  sending me a Desiring God article called “Do You Love Yourself Enough?” (link).

She said,

[One book I’m reading] talks a lot about loving yourself. Every time I read that phrase, I flinch, because my theology in the past has been based on the idea that I’m sinful and thus there’s nothing about myself to love. This article from Desiring God [“Do You Love Yourself Enough?”] sums up the viewpoint perfectly.  

 But what about God’s grace? What about the work of Jesus on the cross, that purifies us, and our new natures now that we’re in Christ? I’m conflicted at the moment. Where does self-love fit with the Gospel? Am I sinful? Am I a worthless worm? Is there really nothing good in me? What about “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”?  

Continue reading “Should you love yourself? A response to Desiring God”