God Is Good (All the time?)

One time a few years ago at church, a woman stood to give a testimony about how she had suffered from a physical ailment for a long time.  She was giving glory to God because she had not been having the problem for a while, and it seemed that she may have been healed from the ailment.  The preacher responded by saying, “Amen!  God is on His throne!”  I’m really not being critical of him; it was a fitting expression of praise.  But I did wonder if his response would have been the same, or at least as strong, had she testified that the ailment was growing worse, or if she’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

If we really do believe that God is in control, and that everything He does is good, just, and right on time, it will change how we evaluate and react to all of life’s situations.  Even those of us who affirm the sovereignty of God can have trouble remembering this when it moves from proposition to real life.  I am all too aware of how fickle my own heart is when things don’t happen like I expect or desire.  It is so easy for me to be thankful and offer abundant, wholehearted praise when things work out pleasantly, and especially when I do get my way.

But God IS good, all the time; it’s not just a cliche, it’s the truth.  He is always on his throne, and he does what he pleases (Psalm 115:3; 136:6).  And whether I really believe that doesn’t affect the reality of it one bit.  This cuts across the grain of much of modern “enlightened” thought, and even much of what you’ll hear in some churches.  Nevertheless, Romans 8:28 really is true:  all things really do work together for our good.  It’s not about understanding or being able to explain things; there are some things that we will never know the reasons for in this lifetime.  But it is about having the proper perspective, and allowing that to control how we react to all of life’s events.

May we be quick to give thanks in all things (Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18), to fully trust God’s omnipotence and righteousness, and to let the unbelieving world see us living it out with peace that passes understanding (Philip. 4:4-7).


Christ Satisfied Justice

“There was only one, and there will not need to be another, who bore the full weight of the divine judgment upon sin and bore it so as to end it. The lost will eternally suffer in the satisfaction of justice. But they will never satisfy it. Christ satisfied justice.”

—John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied

(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1955), 77

What Kind of Theologian Are You?

Demian Farnworth has an interesting article on his blog Fallen and Flawed.  He points out that everyone, even an atheist, is a theologian, because a theologian is anyone who thinks, talks, studies, debates, or argues about God.  If you have an opinion about God, you are a theologian.  He also lists 3 ways to be a bad theologian, and 3 ways to be a good theologian.

Read the entire article here.

Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?

In a thought-provoking article at Christian Communicators Worldwide, Jim Elliff examines the standard interpretation and application of John 1:12 as it’s often used in evangelism, and calls for a more biblical approach focused on belief and it’s evidences, rather than “asking Jesus into your heart”.  Referring to most evangelistic tracts, he says:

” . . . the booklets give you verse after verse about belief, and then, at the end of the presentation, make a bee-line to John 1:12 and Revelation 3:20, wrongly interpreted. They finalize the deal with a formulaic prayer. Don’t follow that pattern any longer. It is enough to instruct people to believe in Christ, with a sound repenting faith.”

Click here to read the entire article.

The Second Coming is Like Lightning and Vultures

caseOne of my goals for 2009 is to study the main eschatological views, to better understand them and to determine what I “really believe” about the end times.  Currently, I’m reading A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, by Kim Riddlebarger.  I’m not suggesting that John Piper is an amillenialist, but this post, from the Desiring God web site, reminds me of one of the key arguments against the rapture that most people are familiar with, i.e., a sudden, secret, “snatching away” of God’s people from earth, with those who do not belong to Him being “left behind” (hey – there’s a catchy title).

10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now


An article in Time magazine covers 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now, and I bet you’re going to be surprised at #3: “The New Calvinism”. The article gives shout-outs to John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Albert Mohler as examples of the growing evangelical Calvinist movement. David Crowder and Colin Hansen are also mentioned.  You can read the whole story here.

There May Be Hope Yet

Alvin Reid and Nathan Finn, both professors at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, have written excellent open letters addressing the issue of Calvinism and “non-Calvinism” in the SBC. They have also written an article together, with another article forthcoming. I believe that this is the kind of dialogue that can be very helpful in SBC life, and can help us get focused back where we should be – the Gospel.

“Though we disagree with each other concerning Calvinism, we are convinced that this issue does not have to be a source of division in the SBC. We know folks get tired of hearing this, but it is true: there has always been room in the SBC for both Calvinists and non-Calvinists.”

Click here to find links to their open letters, and to read the first article on the subject that they have written together.