That “obey your leaders and submit to their authority” Scripture: examining Hebrews 13:17

For anyone who still wants to follow Jesus after having been treated devilishly by those who claim to be His followers (His shepherds, even!), Hebrews 13:17 might stick in the craw.

Jim Jones, one of the most famous cult leaders ever, none of whose followers can learn about Hebrews 13:17 now because they all drank the Kool-aid. Literally.

Continue reading “That “obey your leaders and submit to their authority” Scripture: examining Hebrews 13:17”

Why you need to listen to your emotions

My friend Kristi Wetzel wrote:

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In his book Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, Christian author Matthew Elliott asserts,

The problem is that we’re taught by the church and our culture that emotions are not reliable indicators of truth. As a result, we are conditioned to believe that our feelings are trivial and useless.

Then, he tells two very thought-provoking (and emotion-provoking!) stories.

The first is about the penalty phase of the trial of convicted terrorist Moussaoui (tried and convicted as a 9/11 conspirator). Continue reading “Why you need to listen to your emotions”

“Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue

When I was a young graduate assistant working at Bob Jones University (learning publishing at BJU Press), like all the other employees I was given certain odious assignments to fulfill each semester, such as monitoring the “dating parlor” for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

One Sunday after I had finished that odious assignment, my replacement came along, a BJU lifer, Miss Potts. She asked me if I was going to obediently head on over to Vespers (the University’s drama program presented on Sunday afternoons).

“No,” I responded somewhat defiantly. “I’m going to church.”

Miss Potts was an old Southern lady with an absolutely perfect Southern drawl.

“The Univuhsity,” she said, “would want you to go to Vespuhs.” Continue reading ““Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue”

Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality

If you’ve blogged for over ten years as I have, you probably have scores of jotted ideas, half-baked posts, drafts, and . . . what do you know it, full posts that somehow never got posted.

Today, when I had a few moments but wanted to avoid listening to the news that literally put me to bed yesterday on Pentecost Sunday, I began scrolling through my files and files of blog ideas. 

And then, there before me was a complete post about Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy that I never had posted. And since Gothard—a man that I, along with many thousands of others, used to adore—has been in the news again recently, and since his teaching promotes complete compliance to abusive authorities (talk about being pertinent to the news!) I’m posting it now.

My previous blog post about the Umbrella Heresy is here. Continue reading “Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality”

Is God glorified through our suffering?

Recently I received a question from my friend Ana Harris. She said,

When people’s prayers for God to be glorified in my suffering are disconnected from his goodness and love, they start to sound rather cruel, almost like God is using me and taking pleasure in my pain. Does God cause my pain and suffering for his own glory? Why would he need our suffering to get glory for himself? Doesn’t he already possess glory because of who he is?

What is your answer to this? How do we truly glorify God? What is glory anyway?

Continue reading “Is God glorified through our suffering?”

Here’s what’s wrong with God looking through the “filter” of Jesus to see His children

It’s supposed to be encouraging when we hear that God the Father sees His children through the filter of His Son Jesus Christ. I’ve seen Christians almost come to tears when they talk about how God the Father is wearing “blood-colored glasses” to look at us, seeing the righteousness of His Son instead of our sinfulness.

christian3400 www.deviantart.com

 

So, we are told, He sees His blood-bought children as holy instead of the unrighteous, filthy, utterly degraded, deceitfully wicked, totally sinful vile creatures we actually are. Continue reading “Here’s what’s wrong with God looking through the “filter” of Jesus to see His children”

“Your greatest problem is your own sin” (guest post by Valerie Jacobsen)

Religious Pharisees will tell believing children of God,

“No matter what you’re suffering, your greatest problem is your own sin.”

The ones I have known meant it this way:

Oh? You just heard that your child, or spouse, or parent is dead? Well, that’s very sad, but your greater problem is your own personal sin. Oh? Your husband is abusing you and your children? Well, that’s pretty bad—if it’s true—but your greater problem is your own personal sin.

I have heard this said to saints in the chains of slavery and oppression, to saints at the unexpected graveside, to saints in the most severe distress, suffering the greatest persecutions. Continue reading ““Your greatest problem is your own sin” (guest post by Valerie Jacobsen)”

What does “loving your enemies” look like with an abuser?

Recently I received a note from a friend, Rochelle Sadie (whose blog about recovering from domestic abuse is here).

The verse that the enemy likes to use against me to guilt trip me is Luke 6:32 when Jesus said “anyone can love someone who is nice to them, but it’s better to love your enemy.” Basically I feel so much condemnation, like I’m taking the easy way out by avoiding my abuser, and God is disappointed in me that I would not seek to “love my enemies” or just try to work around their “shortcomings.”

I wonder – if you might help me understand Jesus’ true intentions with this statement. What is the heart of God regarding our attitude toward our abusers and sometimes toward those who pressure us to return to an abuser and/or a chronically unfaithful man?

Here is my reply. Continue reading “What does “loving your enemies” look like with an abuser?”

“Look to the cross more”: a response to the “gospel-centered” movement

Last week I received a letter from my friend Ana. The first part of her first question read:

In the Reformed/Gospel-centered movement, the focus seems to be on how sinful and wicked and powerless we all are and how comforted and relieved we should be when we look to the cross. It seems like the answer to most problems is to look to the cross more. I don’t even know exactly what that means. For me, it encouraged a miserable cycle of wallowing in how awful I am and basing the Christian life on the feelings I get when I think of Jesus dying for me.

Here is my reply: Continue reading ““Look to the cross more”: a response to the “gospel-centered” movement”