Is exposing evildoers a violation of the ninth commandment? a response to Tim Challies (part one)

A few days ago Tim Challies posted two blog posts about the ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” here and here. He focused on how the ninth commandment applies in a day of social media.

Tim Challies and I go way back. Just kidding; he doesn’t know who I am, except as the author of a devotional book he had his daughter read and promoted in the video I referred to in my explanation of awkwardness in this Facebook post. (The awkwardness is born of the crossover between my two fields of writing: first, missionary books and biographies, and then, abuse in the worlds of fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism, which is Tim Challies’s world.) Continue reading “Is exposing evildoers a violation of the ninth commandment? a response to Tim Challies (part one)”

“Why are you so negative?” A response to “positive” people

Not long ago someone told me about her pastor’s sermons, almost all of which scolded his listeners for being “so negative” and urged them to be “more positive.” That led me to post a question about the topic on Facebook that led to an excellent discussion.

When I posted my question, I wanted to be spurred in my own thinking by my friends, and I wanted to hear the experiences of others. Mostly I wanted to think Biblically about discerning good from evil, warning others about evil, asking for help regarding evil, grieving evil, and other necessary kinds of speech that could be interpreted as “critical” or “negative.” Continue reading ““Why are you so negative?” A response to “positive” people”

Cleanse your guilty conscience, get grace, and other solutions to the noisy soul (a response to Jim Berg, Part 3)

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

In Quieting a Noisy Soul, author Jim Berg declares that the cause of the noisy soul is your sin: your unbelief, your discontent, and your guilty conscience (and as it turns out, your pride and your stubbornness). Throughout his nouthetic counseling teachings (nowadays called “Biblical counseling”), he assumes that the situation or person the counselee would have thought was causing the noisy soul is not a legitimate concern, but is instead simply the catalyst for sin in the heart, “a lust for more.” Continue reading “Cleanse your guilty conscience, get grace, and other solutions to the noisy soul (a response to Jim Berg, Part 3)”

The Solutions to the Noisy Soul – a response to Jim Berg – (Part 2)

Jim Berg claims that this nouthetic counseling program Quieting a Noisy Soul presents the solutions to anxiety, despair, obsessive compulsive behavior, panic attacks, anorexia, bulimia, and other problems.

Part 1 of this series covered the Problem (the noisy soul) and the Cause of the problem according to Jim Berg’s nouthetic counseling: your sin, specifically, your unbelief and your guilty conscience. “Noisy souls,” says Berg, “are self-absorbed souls.”  Continue reading “The Solutions to the Noisy Soul – a response to Jim Berg – (Part 2)”

“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”