Tag Archives: Christianity

Looking Through the Windshield…

Lately, I have been finding myself in a bit of tension.  Not a tension that results from strife or aggravation with other people or situations, but a tension that results from being in ministry.

There is a reality that I can not minister to those God has graciously called me to minister to without spending time with the Lord.  Also, I take courses through Moody Bible Institute because my heart desires to being better equipped to minister to them.  Through these (personal study and academic study), it can become very easy to miss the point of them  to see, experience and savor God.

During my devotions this morning, I was struck by the words of Maurice Roberts in his book The Thought of God:

We emphasize knowledge; they (early Reformers) stressed faith.  We emphasize gifts; they insisted on grace.  We study to inform the head; they studied to reform the heart.  Our temptation is to neglect the soul-to fail in the cultivation of faith (Page 50).

Don’t get me wrong, studying is extremely beneficial and I love studying!  But, studying to get an A and thus finding my self-worth in that, or studying out of a sense of obligation because of my calling is not beneficial.  Studying reforms my heart to help cultivate faith (Roberts).  Studying brings me to the throne room of the Glorious God, in whose presence I long to be in continuously.

Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World is one that I highly recommend.  In it, Miller compares praying with driving in that “….focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it.”  I think the same danger applies to studying.  Last week I struggled doing my devotions and my life was thrown into a swirl.  I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t do anything.  I felt so lost and alone.  I need to study, not for intellect, grade, or obligation; but because through studying I am drawn closer to my Father and apart from Him I can do nothing.

Christ’s words in John 15 were a comfort to me this morning, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 ESV).  The sweetest fruit that I receive from abiding is more of Christ.  I want him more.  I long for a deeper intimacy with him. As it was for the church fathers, the Apostles, and Christ himself, I find that intimacy as I study His Word.

Thank you Father for Your Word.  Through it, I see You, know You, and I am drawn to You.

Is Rob Bell a universalist?

A friend on facebook posted an article by Justin Taylor of The Gospel Coalition.  I enjoy reading Mr. Taylor’s posts, though I don’t always agree with him.  The last few days his article has been bombarded by comments from both ends of the radical spectrum, seasoned with a few rationale voices.

Without having read Rob Bell’s new upcoming book, he makes the statement that Rob Bell is a universalist.  What is known as “Christian Universalism” can be summed up by Dr. Ken Allen as:

Christian Universalism”, in its simple and proper theological sense, is the doctrine of universal salvation; or in other words, of the final holiness and happiness of all mankind, to be effected by the grace of God, through the ministry of his Son, Jesus Christ.

The idea is that salvation (getting to be with God in heaven) happens through the death of Jesus Christ; but, people don’t have to believe in that to get in.  That God in His graciousness saves everyone from hell (living for eternity without Him) despite whatever they believe.

I don’t know if Bell is a universalist.  I admit that I do read his books and watched his Nooma series; but not because I agree with his theology.  I feel that I need to as I discuss with young adults who are so enraptured by his teachings where I believe what he is saying is contrary to Scripture.  I will be buying his next book and hope to have a better understanding of what he is trying to say.

Below is a promo clip for the video.  It does seem to indicate where he is at, but we won’t know for sure until the book comes out.

UPDATE:

Here is a link to Kevin DeYoung’s thoughts about all the “Rob Bell brouhaha”  created over the last few days.  Bloggers from both sides of the theological spectrum have been going at it and Kevin humbly, graciously, and boldly discusses it.  Thanks Tricia for the link.

UPDATE March 18, 2011:

Here is a video interview of Rob Bell concerning his book.  I don’t watch MSNBC so have no opinion of the interviewer Martin Bashir.  His first question on Japan has nothing to do with the book and I felt it was a bit unnecessary, like he was trying to bait him.

All things were created through Him and for Him…

Since some have asked, here is a clip that I used for my talk on Colossians 1:15-17 for Arrowsmith Youth last Friday night.

Think of this, if Jesus created everything and everything is created through him and he sustains all things, Jesus then is in a much better position to know what is best for everyone.  That includes knowing what is best for me and knowing what is best for you.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)