from one of my favotite apologetics teachers
from Rick Iannielo
I’ll admit it, I’m a John Piper fan-boy; and while it’s rare, I find I have disagreed with him. Adrian Warnock just posted on one of those. The below is Warnock’s post with a lot of great links worth following.
The three sessions in Romans with John Piper yesterday were food for the soul. They were enjoyable, engaging, and illuminating. In fact they were life-changing. Nothing I am going to say in this article should in an way take away from that. And I would urge everyone reading this article to take the time to watch the entire series of five talks from this conference online. Three of them are available already:
What is crucial about these talks is that Piper opens the lid on how he approaches the text. These will not only teach you doctrine, they will teach you how to learn doctrine direct from the Bible. And crucially you don’t have to agree with him on every point to benefit from listening. I have already spoken about the strong impact that the first talk had on me.
The fact that I am not sure I agree on who the man of Romans 7 is doesn’t detract from the value of these talks one iota. When it comes to considering whether Paul is talking about his past, a hypothetical person, or himself as a mature Christian there are two dangers in my view. And they centre on the wretchedness of the man, crying out for deliverance. The key phrase reads as follows
“Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God!”
The question is at its core, is has this deliverance already happened? Or is Paul still in a state of wretchedness waiting for it?
There are some who do not think Paul is speaking of his current self, like me and heroes of mine like Terry Virgo and Lloyd-Jones. Our risk that we run is that we so want to focus on the deliverance, the new identity of the believer, and the victory against sin that Jesus has achieved, that we might neglect to mention that believers still do have a battle against sin.
Fellow Patheosian Theology in the raw also recently posted an article arguing for the position that I do tend to hold, that Romans 7 cannot be describing a mature believer.
The risk for those, like Piper, who think Romans 7 is as good as it gets, is that it can lead to the sense that even mature Christians can only expect to know defeat in their battle against sin.
However, Piper did not fall into that trap this weekend. In his talk Free from Judgment, Fighting Sin, Full Assurance, just as when he spoke previously about Romans 7 he made it very clear that he believes the Christian has been given a victory against sin. So he said, for example, ““Christ took my condemnation to set me free so that I might walk by his Spirit.” and ““Our victory in Christ is not a deliverance from the battle, but an assurance that we will win.””
So whilst I do disagree with Piper, it is mainly because I want to ensure Christians do not think being defeated by sin is the best they can hope for. And Piper does not believe that. He does believe that at conversion there is both a legal chance “there is therefore now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1) AND a genuine transformation, “set you free” (Romans 8:2).
This conversation about Romans 7 is worth having, mostly because of the errors we can be at risk of falling into on both sides. The conclusions you come to on this matter need not themselves lead to either error. And as I said when I first wrote about this matter,
Romans 7 and Romans 8 seem to be setting forth two different life styles that are mutually inconsistent. The man who knows no freedom in Romans 7 has been set free from the law in Romans 8. While it is true that without the Spirit we can have the will to do good, but lack the ability to do it, with the Spirit it is no longer true that we cannot carry out good. Paul seems to almost yell at us in Romans 8—you CAN do it! I am no believer in Christians becoming perfect, but I do so hope that your view of Romans 7 doesn’t lead you to a feeling of despair against ever enjoying living a victorious Christian life. READ THE REST
I hope you will follow the links in this article and enjoy studying this. Theology is not merely of academic interest, but it can help us in our walk with Christ.
from Blogging Theologically by–
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of stories come to light about evangelical churches practicing “shunning” as part of church discipline. This typically happens as part of the final stage of church discipline, when a congregation member persists in unrepentant sin is excommunicated—and then cut off socially, with friends (and sometimes family!) actively distancing themselves socially.
And herein lies the problem.
The key passages on church discipline
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
The first deals with personal sin in general, while the second deals explicitly with sexual immorality (specifically, a church member who was having [a possibly incestuous, but regardless incredibly icky] adultery with his father’s wife).
There is a simple point here: habitual, unrepentant sin in all its forms should not associated with the people of God. Whether someone is a perpetual gossip, slanderer, malcontent, fornicator or adulterer, these things should not be known of among us, at least, not if we are to be people who are above reproach.
About the gentile and the tax collector…
from Everyone has a story
Saturday, I had to take our eleven year-old German shepherd, Jake, to the vet to be put down. Besides the usual ailments that come with aging, he had tumors growing on his stomach, and severe hip dysplasia. Rebekkah and I agonized over the right time to do this. His quality of life had been decreasing a lot lately, and his suffering had increased. It was time to end his suffering.
Obviously, the whole thing, from the decision it was time to say good-bye, all the way up to burying him, was very, very sad and I am flooded with grief, and questions about the souls of the animals we have loved so deeply. If the soul of the animal goes on existing, then my decision for Jake was only one of complete mercy and knowing he is happier gives me peace.
However, if these souls of our pets simply cease to exist at the moment of the death of their body, then it just seems cruel to have ever let them live and love us at all, laboring and suffering under the human’s curse, and coming into a shadowed sense of self-awareness that the wild animals never seem to attain, all without the offering of hope in our next life that He has offered all of mankind? The animals’ breath, like ours, was God’s breath. He gave us life in the same way.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
~ Psalms 118:8 ~
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
~ Luke 18:27 ~
Hello friends. (smile) To have faith and trust in The Lord is a beautiful thing. Trust.
Once upon a time, I had trust issues with everything and everyone, until I learned to put my trust in God, through His Son, Jesus. Trust.
Broken trust can devastate anyone. Having faith to trustGod because there is nothing nor anyone bigger than Him brings comfort. Trust.
Trust that He always provides and protects.
Trust His love.
Trust that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
Trust that we can do all things in Christ that strengthens us.
Trust in His mercy and His grace.
Trust that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Trust in His plan for our lives.
Trust that He works out all things.
Trust – to put one’s confidence in. Scriptures on trust:
Trust not to be placed in:
Wealth – Psalm 49:6, 7
Leaders – Psalm 146:3
Man – Jeremiah 17:5
Works – Jeremiah 48:7
One’s own righteousness – Ezekiel 33:13
Trust to be placed in:
God’s name – Psalm 33:21
God’s Word – Psalm 119:42
Christ – Matthew 12:17-21
Benefits of Trust:
Joy – Psalm 5:11
Deliverance – Psalm 22:4, 5
Triumph – Psalm 25:2, 3
God’s goodness – Psalm 31:19
Mercy – Psalm 32:10
Provision – Psalm 37:3, 5
Blessedness – Psalm 40:4
Safety – Psalm 56:4, 11
Usefulness – Psalm 73:28
Guidance – Proverbs 3, 5, 6
Inheritance – Isaiah 57:13
Blessings, my friends, by faith, as we trust God and thankful in all that He does for us! (smile)
from Desiring God by Jonathan Parnell
You can never just read the Bible.
There is something deep happening. It’s something more glorious than the universe. Whether you open these pages before dawn, over midmorning coffee, or at the dinner table with family, whenever you read the Bible something miraculous is happening. After all, you are not just any ordinary person, and the Bible isn’t just any old book.
You are, if you are trusting in Jesus, a redeemed son or daughter of God. The Bible is his very word. And yet, as clear as this is to us on paper and in theory, it can easily slip our minds when we step in and out of the normal routine of daily Bible reading. But it doesn’t have to. It shouldn’t.