"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Wm. Paul Young and "The Shack": A Review

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Now we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is (not) walking . . . in accord with the tradition you received from us. As for you, do not grow weary in doing good" (II Thessalonians 3:6,13).

One can't help but imagine what the disciples saw and felt when they observed Jesus move among sinners. From the adulteress women at the well, to the pagan tax collector hiding in the trees, Jesus taught the early disciples the power of transforming love. He himself declared, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." (John 13:35). It would seem that this tradition of loving people through unselfishly doing that which is good for others is the very mark of Jesus in us. Paul wrote to young Timothy and exhorted him to not associate with those Christians who used people for their own selfish purposes and who were filled with indulgent idleness. This kind of behavior is the opposite of the tradition which Timothy received from the early followers of Jesus. It's interesting to note that the Apostle Paul's concern for Timothy is not that he keep away from those brothers teaching differently, but from those brothers walking differently. Or, to put it in John's language, the world will know that we are Christians not by what we say but by how we love.

The Book "The Shack"

In 2008 I read Paul Young's book The Shack. It came recommended to me by my wife, my mother and my sister, all of whom shared with me the book "rocked their world." I read the book, and though I enjoyed it, it was not life changing for me. My wife would later tell me that for years she has heard me preach on the Father's unconditional love for His people - an eternal, personal and unrelenting love - so she felt the book didn't affect me deeply because it simply presented in different form the very core of my own belief system. She, of course, was right. My belief in God's unchanging love for me - a love that precedes Creation, my conversion, and carries me to and through eternity - is the very basis of my freedom and joy. Memorizing Psalm 139 when a child and reading God's Everlasting Love for His Elect by John Gill as a teenager, solidified in my heart and mind the truth of God's deep, personal and everlasting love for me.

However, tens of millions of sinners do not live in the joy of knowing God's love for their souls. Paul Young, author of The Shack, had a hard time believing God loved him from early in his childhood. The son of Christian Missionary Alliance missionaries in Indonesia, Paul was raised by native cannibals who repeatedly, forcibly and secretly molested him before he was six years of age. Combine that abuse with an angry natural father who taught Paul by His words and actions that God punishes people for their religious non-performance, Paul's image of God, even after coming to faith in Jesus, was that of a distant deity more interested in punishment than a loving Papa enjoying personal relationships.

In The Shack, Paul has used a creative metaphor to present "Papa," or God the Father, as the loving, kind and good Heavenly Father revealed to us in Scripture. Some have expressed outrage that Papa is metaphorically presented in Young's book as a loving African-American woman, as if Young literally believes God the Father is a loving, large black woman. Paul Young's metaphor of God the Father no more bothers me than David portraying God as a big bird ("hide me under the shadow of Thy wings" Psalm 17:8), or C.S. Lewis' imagery of God being "a lion" in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Intuitively I knew after reading The Shack that members of Emmanuel Baptist Church who have heard me preach for years on the love of God for His people would benefit from hearing Paul Young himself.

Paul Young at Emmanuel, Enid, April 4-5, 2009

Last weekend's services at Emmanuel, Enid with guest speaker Paul Young possessed more of the Spirit's gifts of renewal, cleansing and conversion than any weekend I can remember in twenty-five years of pastoral ministry. Several hundred gathered on Saturday night, then again in three services on Sunday morning, and for one final service on Sunday night. The gospel - the good news - was shared in all the services. Men for whom we have prayed for a long time came to faith in Jesus, some of whom will be baptized this Sunday. Addicts publicly expressed their choice to let go of their addictions and turn to God our Heavenly Father through trusting the work of Jesus for their souls. People sat for two hours, without moving, hearing gripping accounts from both Scripture and life of how Jesus sets captives free.

I came into the weekend believing Paul Young's view of the Trinity may be his weak point, but after all four services I now believe Paul Young's view of the Trinity is his strong point. One of the finest messages I have ever heard, a message saturated with the truth of Scripture, was preached in the 8:30 a.m. morning worship service. His explanation of the love relationship between the three Persons of the Trinity, all of whom possess the full and equal essence of the eternal Deity, is the foundation for Young's belief that the Father only does what He does out of a heart of love for relationship. We are putting all six hours of teaching on six CD's in a CD notebook, including six MP3 files, which will be available at our cost - $25.00. You may order by calling (580-237-0602).

Fellowship Supercedes Theological Differences

Paul Young believes that Papa was in Christ reconciling the world (i.e. "every single human being") to Himself. It is no secret that I believe the biblical word "world" does not encompass every single human being without exception, but rather an innumerable company of sinners from every tribe, every kindred, every nation and every family. In this Paul and I would differ. Yet, Paul agrees with me that the God's redemption of sinners is so powerful at the cross, that nothing negates the love of God the Father toward those for whom He lovingly sent His only begotten Son to die. We simply differ over whether those sinners God chooses to enter into a redeeming love relationship include every single sinner who has ever lived or an innumerable company of particular sinners whom God has chosen to redeem.

Some are now calling Paul a universalist. Not so. Paul believes in hell, but he believes hell cannot be comprehended apart from God's love. How God can eternally love people who experience His wrath in hell is explained by Paul using different human analogies which you can hear if you listen to the CD's. It is Paul's hope that every man will one day experience the love of God. Paul differs with me not in affirming the truth that God loves every human being, for I believe the Father does, but in my belief that God the Father has a special, distinguishing, redeeming love for particular sinners. For example, I might tell you that "I love my wife" and then tell you that "I love your wife." But I can guarantee you that I don't love your wife in the same manner in which I love my wife. Likewise, there is a Bride for the Trinity, and she is loved by God with a special, eternal and unconditional love, and the Father has done everything for this Bride to effectually bring to pass her redemption. Paul and I agree that this Bride of Christ is composed of those for whom Christ died - we just disagree that Christ died in the stead of every human being without exception.

Ironically, we both share in common a strong resistance to the legalism of religion. All religions, even some religionists of the Southern Baptist variety, tell you that you must do something to earn the love of God. But the good news of the gospel is that God's love cannot be earned, it rises from His heart of love like an artesian spring, needed nothing to draw it out. To trust and experience God's unconditional love, no matter one's earthly condition, is the basis for true freedom and joy. More importantly, when one's heart is full of the love of God, it overflows with love for others. I came away from this weekend not changing my theology of particular redemption one iota, but through Paul's life and message, recommitted to love every single sinner with whom I come in contact - from the hardest hearted sinner to the one who professes to be my most profound enemy.

Paul Young loves sinners like Jesus loves sinners. Paul signed hundreds of books this weekend, and after he signed each book with a unique personal message, Paul would then personally embrace the person. The lines would often stretch for hours, but Paul was never in a rush. Every single person was treated as a most important person. One could learn a great deal about the hurt sin causes and the healing Jesus brings by simply observing the tearful hugs and listening to soul wrenching conversations people had with Paul Young. Unlike many in the professionally religious world who want the admiration of others, Paul was genuinely humble, shockingly transparent (publicly confessing his own failures) and deeply concerned for the healing needed in the souls of others.

An Illustration of the Power of God's Love

One of our young ladies at Emmanuel has probably been through as much hurt as Paul. She is now seventeen. When she was ten, her father was killed with a shotgun by her mother and her mother's boyfriend. Our church member was then kidnapped along with her brother and taken to Mexico by her mother and her mother's lover the day of her father's funeral. Police eventually caught the murderer and she now sits on death row in Oklahoma. It has been difficult for our seventeen year old church member to trust adults, but as I told Paul her story and watched as he signed her book, whispered words of encouragement in her ear, and then give her a warm and affectionate embrace, it was evident that our church member had come to understand that the love of God cannot be measured by the absence of painful events or the abundance of temporal blessings in our lives. The message got through to this young lady, as evidenced by her tears and her willingess to converse with a strange adult man for the first time in over a decade, that God loves us the way we are and is powerful enough to deal with the ugly and destructive junk in our lives caused by sin.

Stories like this could be repeated over and over again from this past weekend, but because of time I wish to close this short review of Paul Young and his book. It has not been my desire in this post to answer every question you might have about The Shack, nor has it been my desire to defend the author - God is quite capable of doing both for you and Paul Young respectively. My desire is to give a modern illustration of applying the teaching of the Apostle Paul to young Timothy in the verse placed at the top of this post (II Thessalonians 3:6).

Some have suggested I should have "kept away" from Paul Young. Some Southern Baptists have volunteered that Paul Young should never have been invited to Emmanuel to speak. They suggest that he is teaching heresy in his Christian fiction book. I, however, will follow the instructions of the Apostle Paul. I will maintain a friendship and cooperation with my brother in Christ, Paul Young, because he practices the ancient tradition of the fathers of our faith - he genuinely loves sinners.

And I will keep away from those brothers who don't practice this love - no matter how much they agree with me theologically.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

590 comments:

1 – 200 of 590   Newer›   Newest»
Thy Peace said...

Amen

Robert said...

Wade
you said...
My wife would later tell me that for years she has heard me preach on the Father's unconditional love for His people - an eternal, personal and unrelenting love - so she felt the book didn't affect me deeply because it simply presented in different form the very core of my belief system.

The Scriptures do not teach unconditional love .....as R.C.Sproul said at T4G those who preach that should be defrocked......there is a reason its called forensic justification.


Robert from Geneva

Wade Burleson said...

Robert,

Forensic justification is accomplished by God BECAUSE of His unconditional, everlasting for His elect. In other words, there was no condition in US that caused God, in His love for us, to redeem us.

Further, it is NOT forensic justification that CAUSES God to love us. It is His love that CAUSES forensic justification.

So, Mr. Robert, I disagree with Sproul.

:)

Robert said...

In case anyone doubts this truth.

feel free to listen to R.C.Sprouls message
on the curse motif of the atonement.

http://t4g.org/08/media/#

Robert from Geneva

Robert said...

Wade,
Remind me to never sign a Covenant with you!

As an aside I realize you dont care but that would put you outside any Reformed understanding Grace.

Robert from Geneva

Wade Burleson said...

Robert,

It puts me outside the Presybterian, Edwardian "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" reformed view . . .

But smack dab in the middle of 18th Century Baptist particular redemptionists like Keach, Gill and Bunyan.

Blessings,

Wade

P.S. But, frankly, who cares? I don't

Robert said...

Wade ,
Can you give a electronic reference for that...Keach, Gill, Bunyan on unconditional love.

Robert from Geneva

Chris Ryan said...

Wade,
Great post.


Robert,
I am so glad that for you the Reformation is the be-all and end-all of theology. I'm glad that no important theological work has been done before or since. I'm glad that Calvin's interpretation of Scripture is the only one that has any real meaning for you. Really, I am.

Please stop trying to force the rest of us to think that way or insinuating we are heretics if we don't comply.

Wade Burleson said...

Read Gill's "God's Everlasting Love to His Elect." It is not on-line. Bunyan and Keach I have in my library. I don't have online links.

Robert said...

Chris Ryan,
I will remind you that I did not once quote Calvin on this post
2) The SBC was founded as a Calvinistic
organization of churches
3) The men that Wade quoted were all
Calvinist.


Please stop trying to force the rest of us to think that way or insinuating we are heretics if we don't comply.


Please reference the post in which I called you a heretic?
The only person I called a heretic was WPY for his writings in the Shack.
I am in fine company I do believe especially when I am on Gods side as defined by His Scripture.

Robert from Geneva

Yes even Arminians agree with me...see Ben Witherington.

Anonymous said...

http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2009/03/william-young-author-of-the-shack-outright-denies-the-penal-substitutionary-atonement.html

This was enough for me....

Chris Ryan said...

Robert,

I could not find the post. An hour of searching that I did not have and I came up short. Too much material back there.

However, the conversation went like this (much abrieveated):

Robert: truth is only propositions.

Me: Here I thought it was a person who claimed to be truth.

Robert (to someone else who asked a question): Chris is dangerous and you shouldn't talk with him (i.e. shun him as a heretic).


As for quoting Calvin, it isn't always what you say but what you imply.

Robert said...

Chris,
I dont recall that conversation at all.

are you sure it was me?

Robert from Geneva

Grigs said...

Thank you for your post however there is one thing that bugs me. First let me say I did not read the book in the original english but the French translation ( I live in French Canada and it was just easier for me to buy the french version than order the english one) and I am a reformed christian whose Church confessions the westminster standards, the heidleberg catechism and la confession de LaRochelle.

Now that those those side notes were said let me make my points. 1. I would never call the author a heretic nor accuse him of heresy. 2. It is fair to make the point that this book is not a systematic theology but is fiction and this needs to be kept in perspective. 3. Many persons have been helped or encouraged by it.

Those comments being said let me make my criticisms in light of your post and why I would critique your post with an attempt in humility. 1. While there is no question many persons have been helped by the literature, it paints the persons of the God-head in such a way that I fear idolatry is the necessary end result. My favourite author, J.I. Packer said it best in Knowing God, ''we take the second commandment-as in fact it has always been taken- as pointing us to the principle that (to quote Charles Hodge) 'idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God by images'. In its Christian application, this means that we are not to make use of visual or pictoral representations of the Triune God, or of any person of the Trinity''. While the purpose of the book was not to create characters to worship, because of the books emotional effects on many when we pray I fear that people will think of God as the character in a fictional book just as one may think of the Jesus of the passion or some old movie. We has humans desire by nature to associate experiences and emotions together and by the reading of the scriptures our mind will picture the Father in a different way because of the radical new way of picturing God the Father. My second point of criticism is that supporters of the book never deal directly with the criticism, that on principal it is wrong to picture God as something he has not revealed himself as. We are to not picture the Father as a black woman nor a white man! When we think of God we are meant to look at Christ and his work not some artist's rendition. Those in the Reformed tradition ought to remember that our confessions forbid the use of images and icons in worship but C.S. Lewis makes the point that without the grace of God each prayer is to an idol given our fallen minds and hearts. We are so wicked that even before the shack out minds try to contain the uncontainable. God has not revealed himself in such a way in scripture and thus it is wrong for us to write about it even in the name of fiction. One can write about anything and call it a christian book if we just say ''it's fiction''. If someone wrote were to act out the rape of Tamar and put it on film and publish it online could it be called a Christian film? By the same logic it could! There are things that God has forbidden in scripture and I think its our antinominian society that says because of grace we can do as we please. But I went off track a bit here ehh...my main argument for the second point is that whenever someone criticizes the Shaft all we get in return is ''It helped someone or it maked me feel closer to God, or something of that sort''. And we get the dramatic anecdotes like you gave which is all well and good however we all suffer. It is a part of being in this world. If someone needs something out side of God's ordained means of grace (scripture, expository preaching and the sacraments) to be nourished spiritually and '' experience'' the love of God (whatever that actually means) there problem is much greater than lack of feeling it's sin. The Bible are the very words of God and if I may sound arrogrant for just a second and say this flat out: if the shaft makes you feel more loved by God than the very words of Scripture or the sacraments with point back to the work of Christ you really need to get your priorities strait. The Bible is our spiritual bread not the confessions, not pilgrim's progress, not Brother Lawrence, not CS Lewis, not Michael Horton, not DA Carson, not the Shaft, not RC Sproul, ect... And while all those books are well and good if they do not bring us back to the scriptures ,as much as I agree with them, they become nothing more than satanic tools. My third complaint is that no matter how many times he talks about hell and God's love I just cannot help by think of neo-orthodoxy and Barth. The idea of a reprobation of love is just at odd with what the Bible teaches. I understand he is a modern day arminian and all and yes I consider them evangelical and orthodox however even Wesley would not argue that hell is an act of love for the sinner rather for those who choose him and his love for justice.

At the end of the day I thought the book, while brings much emotion and delightful thoughts, it's fruit in most persons I have meet have been: fan clubbing (like many calvinists club around Driscoll, Piper or Carson so many at campus crucade for christ promote this book), idolatry (in talking about the God-head in shack-like terms), a weak apolegetic that deals mainly with emotions and experience as opposed to the biblical and theological and finally an inbalance (just as there often is in most arminian literature) in the emphesis of the attributes of God and the lack of a clear Gospel presentation based on Christ's person and work, the sinfulness of mankind, Christ's vindication by the Father through the bodily resurrection, and justification by faith alone. Scripture was not cited and explained in the book.

But I hate to end on a negative note thus let me say what I personally got out of it:
1. The glory of the incarnation. The book helped me gain a stronger appreciation of the incarnation of the second person of the God-head.
2. We should never try to limit God. The truth is that sometimes, like many white americans living in french-canada, we tend to view God as he is ''one of us'' and that is one reason why there is such racial division in the body of Christ. That is one thing I love about being a member of my church. French (my second language) is the language used; the pastor is from Ontario and the number one growing ethnicity in our Church are those from Madasgcar! It is a little taste of Heaven each Sunday.
3. There is a need in Reformed theology to defend our propositional truths in such as way that the heart is moved. We are emotional beings and live by both mind and heart. We must have a balance and for all of us that is really difficult because by our nature we are inclined to one or another and sometimes also we try to go to the other extreme.

Sorry it was so long but I thought a thoughtful reply would be best appreciated.

Marty Duren said...

Robert-
Why is it that you cannot speak from the Bible? All you ever seem to be able to do is quote Calvin, Spurgeon, Luther, Sproul, Packer, et al. If you have to overlook the simple truth of scripture to argue your point, then you contradict that which you claim.

John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16, 4:10, et al, are enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Marty, YES! That's it. All I can ever think when this Robert character writes is that he is so full of it (himself). But what he is not full of is the Lord and His Word. Hey Robert, that's it. Go, and be filled. That way when you are bummped, you'll spill out good stuff.

Mary Burleson said...

Wade,
Having been in two of the four services and seeing the last one via the Internet, I had to write here after reading the first 15 comments on your post.

My personal reaction the morning after the first service as I awoke was literally: Oh, my. Oh, my. Oh, my!! Last night I didn't hear a message or theological exposition on a scripture about love, I experienced love. I was immediately reminded of the verse, "Did not our hearts burn within us?" I don't experience that very much.

It wasn't the man or any kind of hero worship or any thing of that nature. It was hearing, watching, observing, and experiencing something rare. The messenger was honest, transparent, not arrogant, not bragging, not shaming, loving, and didn't hinder his message with his personality.

And like Wade, watching the author interact at the supper table, with people having their book signed, with my kids and my grandkids, seeing that he was the same with everyone, loving, accepting, interested, not in a hurry, embracing, looking at each person directly and connecting and interacting. Rare indeed.

I'm a cynic, sorry to say. I grew up in a minister's family and I married a minister. I've met many speakers, several of whom are quite well known and famous. I've seen it all, at least a lot. I've even spoken at several conferences and have been quite disillusioned at what often goes on behind the scenes. The message and the life, way too often, do not jive.

An example: I was speaking at a women's conference and the main speaker was telling a story after a main session, just to the other speakers. It was totally contrary to the message she had spoken. Someone asked her about it and she said, "Oh this is just for you. It's not what I tell others or speak about." And everyone laughed. That's a common thing I've experienced with far too many public speakers.

So rare indeed, and did not my heart stir with a sense of reality when actually running into someone (outside my family) who walks the walk and walks the talk. Mr. Young blessed me and many others. I will always be grateful for having that opportunity.
MB

Tim Marsh said...

Robert,

I think that you would be on more solid ground to quote Calvin directly instead of Sproul. Who is he? (I do know)...What are his credentials?

On the mystery of God's love, does God love unrepentant sinners less because he did not choose them or they fail to respond?

Calvinism-Arminianism debate is summed up in regards to God's love and sovereignty. Calvinism insists that God's love must be defined in terms of God's total sovereignty. Thus divine love is limited. Arminianism insists that God's sovereignty is defined in terms of God's total love. Thus, God's sovereignty is limited.

Finally, I have not read the Shack yet, and hope to do so soon. However, if anyone here feels that it is OK to read the Left Behind series (filled with heresy) and reject the Shack, then I wonder where the theological standards of the SBC have gone. It is all about what sells and believing in the inerrancy of scripture while failing to actually read scripture.

Tim Marsh said...

Grigs,

Overall I agree with your premise that we should be moved by the Bible.

You said:

"If someone needs something out side of God's ordained means of grace (scripture, expository preaching and the sacraments) to be nourished spiritually and '' experience'' the love of God (whatever that actually means) there problem is much greater than lack of feeling it's sin. The Bible are the very words of God and if I may sound arrogrant for just a second and say this flat out: if the shaft makes you feel more loved by God than the very words of Scripture or the sacraments with point back to the work of Christ you really need to get your priorities strait. The Bible is our spiritual bread not the confessions, not pilgrim's progress, not Brother Lawrence, not CS Lewis, not Michael Horton, not DA Carson, not the Shaft, not RC Sproul, ect.."

My response would be, "What about preaching?" What about worship? I think that authors such as the ones mentioned above can be moving as they "open the scriptures" It took Jesus to open the eyes of the disciples on the Emmaus Road to scriptures (Luke 24).

Any time someone expounds on scripture, whether be Paul Young, Wade Burleson, your pastor, CS Lewis, or whoever, God moves to open our eyes.

I do agree that these folks should not be substitutes for reading scripture. But let's face it, some of the greatest heresy has been through reading the scripture by itself apart from the tradition of the church, and mentors in the faith (from the last 2000 years and in our own congregations) to open our eyes to the scripture.

From what I have heard about the Shack, I would liken it to a Parable of Jesus, such as The Rich Man and Lazarus. I do not use that parable to form a theology of the afterlife, but to understand the ethical implications of ministering to the needy in the present and God's post mortem justice. If you press the parables for theology, you may take them to places that Jesus never intended.

However, if you read the shack as a parable of how the Triune God ministers to those who are suffering and cannot see the justice of God, and do not press it for an Augustinian (or Biblical) view of the Trinity, then you may receive a blessing.

Fellow SBC'ers: It is OK and imperative to read those with whom you disagree. Orthodoxy developed in conversation, not isolocation.

Tim Marsh said...

"Isolation"

Sorry!

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Correction: (II Thessalonians 3:6, 13)

Other translations tell who we are to keep away from:

“…who live idle lives…” (NLT)

“…who loaf around and refuse to obey the instructions we gave you.” (Contemporary English)

“…who spends his days in laziness and does not follow the ideal of hard work we set up for you.” (Living)

I believe Paul is not contradicting the teachings of Jesus, and is not saying to stay away from sinners.

Paul is telling us to stay away from people who would influence us to spend ALL our time ________ (fill in the blank such as golf, blogging, sports, etc.) to the neglect of doing worthwhile things.

BTW, I haven’t read a book in a long time, but guess I’ll try this one. (Maybe the ‘blank’ I should fill in would be ‘work’.

P.S,
In my opinion, those that keep replying to Robert usually ruin Wade’s topic. Maybe that’s what II Thessalonians 3:6 is about.

Joe Blackmon said...

"I experienced love. I was immediately reminded of the verse, "Did not our hearts burn within us?" I don't experience that very much."

Oh give me a break. The Christian faith may have subjective elements but we do not define what is true or false by some sort of "burning in the bosom" but rather we have an objective faith based on the word of God which the venerable Mr. Young derides as reducing the voice of God to mere words on paper.

Besides, couldn't your burning heart have as much to do with that Nuclear sauce you had with your chicken at Zaxby's? You know it could. Don't front like you don't know.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

Mom and I are sitting here three feet apart each typing a comment on your thoughtful post. Is that not hilarious!!

My thoughts.

"The Shack" IS fiction.

I appreciate people who honestly and thoughtfully question the theology of any book that deals with God.

I DO NOT appreciate any person who attempts to demand another person should or should not do something they choose to do under a threat. That's cultic not christian.

I DO believe that "The Shack" may not be for everyone. It is a book that journals the honest repentant path back into pain, secrets, and sin [The Shack is Paul's] of the author and out into real Grace after seeing God [portrayed in ways that reveal characteristics of God heretofore hidden behind the face of abusers in Paul's mind and heart] in a fresh way in relation to the before mentioned pain and abuse, all of this metaphorically.

As I said some may not need to hear this journey. [I wonder about that to some degree in reality however.]

For others it screamed out "someone understands, I'm not alone in this." Then others awakened to the reality that God was there the whole time loving and caring with real purpose. How biblical is that!!!

I've talked to him. Paul DOES NOT believe that God is a large African-American woman. He does believe God is all out for His children and is lovingly connected to them in an eternal relationship and can be trusted to be there when all hell breaks loose in life expressing that love.

When you think about it to put that picture on God is a real compiment to Large African American Women. Paul was impacted by and knew someone who represented that to him. She looked like God to him. Maybe he's right. [I would hope some day someone writing their journey could picture God as a stout, [not fat] bald headed white guy.] :)

This book goes BEYOND sysematic theology [which I love] to a relational picture of a hurting person in union with the God of this universe [with whom I am] who can be trusted to be there no matter what.

My theology said that. I believed my scriptural theology. But I PERSONALLY needed this fresh look at what I easily forget about my relational journey with my Lord sometimes.

My theology stands intact. The scriptures are my guide. AND my heart stands blessed. My journey stands in a little better light. My 'Shack" is not as scary for me as before. My God is Sovereign. But I can call Him "Papa" with a little more ease because who Jesus is has come alive for me in a fresh way because of a little bitty fictional book.

So I simply say "thank you Lord for a tiny tiny gift called... "The Shack" and for a gutsy guy, who is my brother, who didn't condemn me for my shameful walk but turned a bit of a light on by sharing his own.

By the way.....I JUST read Mom's comment and shouted "amen." I also hope we haven't messed up your comment section by being here, your family and all that stuff you know. :)

Kendall said...

Wade,

Did Paul tell you that he does not believe in the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus?

debbiekaufman said...

Paul and Mary: I am so glad you chimed in because that is exactly as I saw it to. It did something in me that I can't explain. The inner healing that I felt and saw Sunday night was amazing. I'm convinced God was and is continuing to do something. I'm still processing it all.

debbiekaufman said...

See how overwhelmed I am? That should be too not to.

Joe Blackmon said...

Kendall

When your doctrinal stance is something akin to "It's all good" why would it matter?

As I understand it, Wade was fully aware of where WPY stands theologically.

happy gram said...

robert, you elevate my blood pressure. i'm trying to keep my mouth shut and trying to love you unconditionally.

Thy Peace said...

I'm a cynic, sorry to say. I grew up in a minister's family and I married a minister. I've met many speakers, several of whom are quite well known and famous. I've seen it all, at least a lot. I've even spoken at several conferences and have been quite disillusioned at what often goes on behind the scenes. The message and the life, way too often, do not jive.

This is in essence the cause of disillusionment in Christianity today. I do not wish to interject fbc jax saga here, but Lindsay's walked the walk. To some there, the contrast was too great with what happened after the Lindsay's.

I was immediately reminded of the verse, "Did not our hearts burn within us?" I don't experience that very much.

I have to admit WPY was transparent and appeared very genuine and approachable. One gets that way, when one looses everything and finds God, and they are secure in their love of God.

Kendall said...

Joe, you said, Kendall

When your doctrinal stance is something akin to "It's all good" why would it matter?


Could you please explain what you mean???

Joe Blackmon said...

Kendall

Any pastor that would invite a heretic to "preach the gospel" in their church knowing full-well that said heretic denies the penal substitutionary death of Christ must have a doctrinal statement that sounds something like "It's all good" or "Whatever floats your boat". However, it could be that I've got this nutty idea that God speaks to us today in the Bible and that scripture is not merely God's voice "reduced" to paper and ink.

debbiekaufman said...

One gets that way, when one looses everything and finds God, and they are secure in their love of God.

Exactly Thy Peace. That is so good. That's why it's not about performance, it is about relationship. If there is any performance it comes from the heart(so it's not really a performance but a change of heart, life, mind)it comes from the relationship we have with the Godhead.

Robert said...

Marty Duren,
If I quote John Piper who quotes the Bible : must I be more original?

please read my post to Bob Cleveland concerning Unity.

My purpose in giving the link to Sprouls sermon was so people could see the context of the message.

Marty ...you have been hounding me on this since you ran SBCOUTPOST.
I am sorry but you have not convinced me from Sripture that what I am doing is unbiblical.

Are you Lu Mynet or whatever Gereja used!

Robert from Geneva

Lydia said...

"feel free to listen to R.C.Sprouls message
on the curse motif of the atonement."

Robert, Sproul also teaches in his study bible that Christians should not take others to court. Yet he did. So does he practice what he teaches?

Kendall said...

Paul,

Paul Young has studied the gender issue for 25 years. There is a movement within the United Methodist Church to call the first person of the Trinity--Mother.

Here is line from one of their hymns:
Strong mother God, working night and day,
Planning all the wonders of creation,
Setting each equation, genius at play:
Hail and Hosanna, strong mother God!

also see FWS=Faith We Sing (UMC) “I Am Your Mother” FWS 2059

'Mother God' worshipped at group's gathering for CBF annual meeting Posted on Jun 29, 2001 | by Russell D. Moore
ATLANTA (BP)--With songs and prayers to "Mother God," an auxiliary organization of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship opened its annual meeting at the CBF General Assembly Thursday with a clear message -- the current controversy is about more than women pastors. The annual Baptist Women in Ministry breakfast was rife with stridently feminist God language, culminating in a litany read by BWIM members about their discomfort at calling God "Father," "Lord," and "King.“
The group sang a hymn to "strong mother God," whom the song praised as "working night and day, planning all the wonders of creation, setting each equation, genius at play." The hymn went on to designate the Deity as the "old aching God" and the "young, growing God" who is "eager, on the move."

So Mack meets the Trinity at the shack. “Mack decided to bang loudly and see what happened, but just as he raised his fist to do so, the door flew open, and he was looking directly into the face of a large beaming African-American woman”(pg. 82). Mack reflects on this and says, “Since there were three of them, maybe this was a Trinity sort of thing. But two women and a man and none of them white? Then again, why had he naturally assumed that God would be white?”(p.87). Now I could care less in this story what color of skin the Father has, the issue is how Pau l Young portrays God the Father as a woman. Mack asks the question, “Am I going crazy? Am I supposed to believe that God is a big black woman with a questionable sense of humor? Jesus laughed. “She’s a riot! You can always count on her to throw you a curve or two.” (pp. 88-89) Mack has a problem with this new view of God the Father and says, “I think it’d be easier to have this conversation if you weren’t wearing a dress” (p. 93). But what justification does Paul present in the book that would lead him to do such a thing as presenting God the Father as woman? On page 93 we read: “Mackenzie, I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or woman, it’s because I love you. For me to appear as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning” (p. 93). When you have God the Father always addressed in Scripture as Father and never called Mother, one would think that if the Father were going to show up in the flesh, he would be in a male form. Fathers are male and to have a Father presented as a woman wearing a dress is gender bending at its worst. Now Mack, “believed, in his head at least, that God was Spirit, neither male nor female, but in spite of that, he was embarrassed to admit to himself that all his visuals for God were very white and very male” (p.93). It is correct to say God the Father is neither male nor female because He is spirit (John 4:24). But the Fatherhood of God is fully and only masculine language and to have a person called Papa (Father) appear as a woman is a very confusing image that deconstructs the orthodox view of the Trinity. The author is saying that since God is spirit then he is neither male nor female so we can switch it around. Scripture never does this—ever.

Now Papa (the large African American woman), explains to Mack why she/he had to be revealed as a woman, “Hasn’t it always been a problem for you to embrace me as your father? And after what you’ve been through, you couldn’t very well handle a father right now, could you?” (p. 93) Mack asks, “why is there such an emphasis on you being a Father? I mean, it seems to be the way you most reveal yourself”(p. 94). He has only revealed himself as Father in Scripture, God is never called “Mother”.

So if Mack has a problem with religiously stereotyping God the Father as a white Gandalf, why trade that stereotype for a worse one? Having “the Father” appearing as a female is really bogus. Since Mack had a bad father figure in his life you would think that you would give him a perfect father modeled before him over the weekend at the shack . After the fall of Adam, there have always been flawed fathers to differing degrees. Why didn’t God mix the metaphor if that is what people needed? Here is reason as I see it: because he is eternally Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No biblical author calls the first person of Trinity mother or any feminine noun or pronoun. God is spirit (John 4:24) and the Father has never revealed himself in a bodily form (John 1:18; 5:37; 6:46). If God the Father were to appear in a human form, I am sure it would be what we think a father would look like, not a womanly, mother figure. Every New Testament author calls the first person of the Trinity—Father. God as Father is used over 200 times in the New Testament. Jesus prayed to the Father. Jesus said he had a glory with the Father before the world began (Jn 17:5). God (first person of the Blessed Trinity) is eternally the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scriptures were penned over 1,400 year span, composed by dozens of authors, and the resounding pronoun they used for God was—He. Thousands of times the pronoun used for God is he and is never she.

Here are some great articles that deal with the whole gender issue:


How Shall We Speak of God? Seven Reasons Why We Cannot Call God "Mother"
by Randy Stinson and Christopher W. Cowan

http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-13-No-2/How-Shall-We-Speak-of-God-Seven-Reasons-Why-We-Cannot-Call-God-Mother


Death of Father Language: Attacking the Heart of Christian Identity
by David Lyle Jeffrey
http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-4-No-4/Death-of-Father-Language


Our Mother Who Art in Heaven: A Brief Overview and Critique of Evangelical Feminists and the Use of Feminine God-Language
by Randy Stinson
http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-8-No-2/Our-Mother-Who-Art-in-Heaven


Father of the Fatherless: Women Approaching God as Father
by Mary Kassian
http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-4-No-4/Father-of-the-Fatherless


Mary Kassian has some great articles to check out here:
http://www.cbmw.org/component/option,com_metabrowse/browse,keyword/value,Mary%20Kassian/Itemid,116/


Tampering With the Trinity: Does the Son Submit to His Father?
by Bruce A. Ware
http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-6-No-1/Tampering-With-the-Trinity

Lydia said...

Robert, Here are some quotes from some of your 'heros':

"Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devils gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily Gods image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die." Tertullian

"What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any womanI fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children." Augustine of Hippo

"As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbe-gotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence." Thomas Aquinas

"If they [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, thats why they are there." Martin Luther

Robert, you are in good company.

Joe Blackmon said...

Lydia

Aren't you late for your monthly National Association of Gals meeting?

Josh in FL said...

Thy Peace beat me to it...

"Amen"


"Wisdom is proved right by her actions." It sounds like Paul Young is a pretty wise fellow.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe,

It could be, and I don't know for sure, that your attitude keeps a number of people away from Jesus rather than leading them toward Him. But then again, I could be wrong. It just seems statements like . . .

Any pastor that would invite a heretic to "preach the gospel" in their church knowing full-well that said heretic denies the penal substitutionary death of Christ must have a doctrinal statement that sounds something like "It's all good" or "Whatever floats your boat".

is not only a denial of the actual facts, but the intentional deceit is wrapped in a bow of hostility.

For what it is worth!

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Kendall,

You write:

So if Mack has a problem with religiously stereotyping God the Father as a white Gandalf, why trade that stereotype for a worse one?

It is only worse in your mind, not Mack's.

That's the point. The metaphor leads Mack to more of an understanding of God's love - if it does not yours, then stick with your more likeable Gandolph metaphor.

I personally like the metaphor of a lion.

Blessings,

Wade

Robert said...

The very essence of God is challenged when Young, quoting from Unitarian-Universalist, Buckminster Fuller, declares God to be a verb not a noun (pp. 194, 204). In a related statement, Young has Jesus say of the Holy Spirit, “She is Creativity; she is Action; she is Breathing of Life” (p. 110). Yet the Bible presents God as a person (noun) not an action (verb). When this truth is denied we are moving from the biblical understanding of a personal God to an Eastern understanding of God in everything.[1] Thus, we are not surprised when Mack asks the Holy Spirit if he will see her again he is told, “Of course, you might see me in a piece of art, or music, or silence, or through people, or in creation, or in your joy and sorrow” (p. 198). This is not biblical teaching. This idea seems repeated in a line from a song Missy creates, “Come kiss me wind and take my breath till you and I are one” (p. 233). At what point do we become one with creation? Again, this is an Eastern concept, not a biblical one. Young reinforces his Eastern leanings with a statement right out of New Age (New Spirituality) teachings: Papa tells Mack, “Just say it out loud. There is power in what my children declare” (p. 227). Ronda Byrne would echo this idea in her book, The Secret, but you will not find it in the Bible. Further, we are told Jesus “as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone” (p. 100). So how did he do so? By trusting in the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Spirit says, “is just the first to do it to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life within him…” (p. 100). There is enough truth here to be confusing but not accurate. Jesus, never ceasing to be fully God, had all Divine power dwelling within Him. That He chose to limit His use of that power and rely on the Holy Spirit while on earth in no way diminishes His essence. While Jesus is our example He is not a guru blazing a trail in which in this life we too can be like God. This idea smacks of New Age teaching, not Scripture. Jesus even tells Mack that “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things—ultimately emerging as the real” (p. 112). This is pure New Age spirituality.

A review from a pastor who was on the Board of the Bible Collge I attended in Omaha Nebraska. Also board memmber of Brazil Gospel Fellowship....a mission sending agency.

http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/22-contemporary-issues/536-the-shack-a-book-review

Robert from Geneva

Lydia said...

Hi Joe,

I am afraid I do not belong to NAGS. See, my husband and I do not do 'gender' focused groups. We believe that God created us both in His Image and we also believe that in Jesus Christ there is no male or female. Therefore, we believe that Jesus Christ transcends all the worldly legalism of non biological roles and rules for gender.

If this is not true, then how could a woman ever hope to be Christ-like since He came as a male?

Anonymous said...

Matthew 23:37 (NASB)
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

Jesus uses the description of a hen (female chicken) to identify His love for the people. I don't think Jesus was erring when He did such a thing. But that's me.

Anonymous said...

CORRECTED, My bad...

Matthew 23:37 (NASB)
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

Jesus uses the description of a hen (female chicken) to identify Him and His love for the people. I don't think Jesus was erring when He did such a thing. But that's me.

Wade Burleson said...

Robert,

You are reading Christian fiction as if it were Dagg's Systematic Theology textbook.

Your tendency for literalism when reading metaphors probably causes you to believe actual giant locusts are going to invade the world when Jesus returns.

Or, possibly you woke up this morning under the shadow of the Big Bird above your head (i.e. "hide me under the shadow of Your wings").

:) Smile.

I just can't resist.

My prayer for you, Robert, a brother in Christ who believes in particular, substitutionary, penal atonement and full redemption (as do I) . . . is that you lighten up and enjoy a bit more poetry.

It might help you see life with a little more color!

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous Hen,

Good one. I hope Robert is willing to eat your egg.

:)

Anonymous said...

Joe Blackmon,

Aren't you late for the Denny's all you can eat breakfast buffet?

Robert said...

Amazing what a PR agency can do for a person isnt it.

All the arguments are so robotic...even Wade is parrotting them.

Nothing like Wes Yoder agency to market your product.
Yes we still have "Michael Servetus" helpers here in Geneva.

Robert from Geneva

Joe Blackmon said...

Anon

Actually, no, I stopped by there on my way to work. The scrambled eggs were a little dry but the bacon and hash browns were particularly good. Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

Obviously:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUTR4HmRObI

Robert said...

Chuck Swindol recommends this review!

http://www.insight.org/site/PageServer?pagename=shack

Robert from Geneva

Kendall said...

Wade,

Do you believe that Father is eternally the Father? In Scripture God always has masculine personal pronouns.

I think Paul is hiding in the shack regarding his agenda. He has studied the gender issue for 25 years as it relates to God. He has no problem with persons praying or singing hymns to "Mother God", do you?

Joe Blackmon said...

Anon

Wow, now that was truly witty. If you really want to get my goat why don't you make some kinda crack about my mama. Here, I'll start you off...

"Your mama bref is so stank..."

Besides, that's just a fat suit I wear. Underneath that, I'm built like Brad Pitt. Ok, that's not true. It was funny, however.

Word verification: suprsiz
As in "supersized". Too funny.

Robert said...

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/job-and-bunyan-versus-the-shack/

there go Wade....comparison to John Bunyan himself.


thanks Kendall for all your good work on this book

Robert from Geneva

Lydia said...

"Do you believe that Father is eternally the Father? In Scripture God always has masculine personal pronouns. "

Kendall, What do you make of this passage describing Messiah?

Isaiah 9

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Robert said...

Can someone tell me what local Church Paul Young has been involved with all this time?

Robert from Geneva

Darby Livingston said...

Wade wrote,

"Your tendency for literalism when reading metaphors probably causes you to believe actual giant locusts are going to invade the world when Jesus returns."

I respect your opinion, Wade. Are you saying I can stop buying the 55 gallon drums of Raid?

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Oh my! in the mind of some orthodox Christians who are posting here it is heresy to "mix metaphors" to physically describe an indescribable God (we can describe God's attributes..of course... but even in that our lanquage is limited.)

Have we forgotten that were many intelligent orthodox religious folks that thought it heretical/blasphemous that a poor human jewish carpenter would claim to be equal with God all while choosing to hang around with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinners more than the religious elite! Well at least he was born as a Jewish male! (not a woman or Gentile)

Things get even worse when this God-in the flesh (hmm... a bizarre picture/mixed metaphor of God don't you think?) is tried, beaten, crucified, and buried.

At least the Bible claims to be an inspired account of true events/people...not just a work of fiction that just happens to presents some pretty powerful redemptive/relational/theological themes

Wade Burleson said...

Kendall,

You ask:

Do you believe that Father is eternally the Father? In Scripture God always has masculine personal pronouns.

Kendall - The Father is eternally immortal, invisible, and transcendent. He is a SPIRIT being who is beyond your ability to comprehend. He chose to condescend to us as the Son of Man.

To answer your question - OF COURSE! God possesses all the characteristics of the finest Father human minds can comprehend -and He possesses all the finest characteristics of the finest Mother that the human mind can comprehend - and He possesses all the finest characteristics of the greatest Lion that the human mind can comprehend - and you could go on and on with the Biblical metaphors.

It seems the Apostle Paul had no problem portraying feminine characteristics in describing the mystery of Christianity. He wrote:
"I want you to know how much I am struggling (agony) for you .... whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, ... (Colossians 2:1-2)



God is SPIRIT and they who worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. We must resist making God the Father into an icon, whether it be Gandolph, a large black woman, a bird ("under the shadow of His wings"), or a lion. Let's use these metaphors, including the metaphor of God being Papa (or Father) to help you understand the relationship of love we have with invisible Creator of this Universe through His only begotten Son Jesus.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Rodney,

Great word.

Wade Burleson said...

Darby,

Funny word.

:)

Kendall said...

Wade, are editing post of others?

I am sure that Lydia had more in her post in the following and then I responded to it...

Lydia said...
"Do you believe that Father is eternally the Father? In Scripture God always has masculine personal pronouns. "

Kendall, What do you make of this passage describing Messiah?

Isaiah 9

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Wade Burleson said...

Robert,

He is helping two of his friends with two new church starts in Oregon, particularly focusing no reaching the lost through small groups.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Kendall,

Blogger does not allow you to edit comments of others. I don't moderate or edit any comments.

For better or worse, this is an open forum where people are free to speak their minds.

Wade

Kendall said...

Wade,
You said,
"Kendall - The Father is eternally immortal, invisible, and transcendent. He is a SPIRIT being who is beyond your ability to comprehend. He chose to condescend to us as the Son of Man."

Wade, the Father did not condescend as the Son of Man.


You said, "It seems the Apostle Paul had no problem portraying feminine characteristics in describing the mystery of Christianity. He wrote:
"I want you to know how much I am struggling (agony) for you .... whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, ... (Colossians 2:1-2)"

Would you write a fiction book to teach your kids about the Apostle Paul and then have him appear as a woman?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Many of the comments from this post bring to mind the response of the Pharisees to the man born blind whom Jesus had healed. His response to their theological wrangling: "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. What I know is that I was blind but now I see." (John 9:25)

Peace,
Marshall Johnston

Kendall said...

Wade,

I stand corrected.... I am sorry . Lydia posted a same post in your father's blog and it had a few extra words etc...

Robert said...

Wade,
Yes that is now!
But for many years .....he has admitted nowhere...even after writing the book.
My point is not to bash is former life but to point out that there is a biblical adminission to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
Also no doctrinal accountability to the body of christ.

Robert from Geneva

Wade Burleson said...

Kendall,

What? God did not condescend as the Son of Man?

Are you Mormon? Jehovah's Witness?

Isaiah 9

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Who do you think this Child called Everlasting Father is, Ward Cleaver?

I seem to recall Jesus saying that he that saw Him saw the Father.

Smile.

Kendall said...

Wade, the eternal Son took upon flesh, not the Father.

Kendall said...

Wade,

Did Paul Young speak about his view of the cross?

Nate said...

Wade said:

"It is only worse in your mind, not Mack's.

That's the point. The metaphor leads Mack to more of an understanding of God's love - if it does not yours, then stick with your more likeable Gandolph metaphor."

"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is a movie that really connects with me when discussing these issues about metaphors of God. (I'm in no way recommending seeing this movie)

One character, Cal Naughton Jr., says "I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I'm here to party."

He also says "I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band and I'm in the front row and I'm hammered drunk!"

Another quote of Cal's is "I like to picture Jesus as a figure skater. He wears like a white outfit, and He does interpretive ice dances of my life's journey."

The Lead Character, Ricky Bobby, prays to baby Jesus.

Here is one of his quotes.

"Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces... new born infant jesus,don't even know a word yet."

Or here.

"Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin' there in your ghost manger, just lookin' at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors. I would like to thank you for bringin' me and my mama together, and also that my kids no longer sound like retarded gang-bangers."

How do these connect? Just because a particular image or metaphor speaks to a person does not mean that it is God honoring or Scripturally accurate. I'm sure there are some people who like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo shirt, or a rock star. I could see this giving you an idea that Jesus liked to have fun and enjoy life (both good things). But I say let's stick to the images God has given us in the Scripture. That way we know we haven't gone off base. Wade's comments about picking whichever image or picture speaks to you is dangerous ground.

Lydia said...

Kendall, You are purposely ignoring Isaiah 9.

What do you make of scripture referring to the future Incarnate Son as Everlasting Father?

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,

I agree with and enjoyed this article except the last sentence. I think you fellowship with and love those who do not walk in love, the problem is that they will not walk with you or anyone else.

I do not know if I am capable of putting what I sense into words concerning those who seem always so exceedingly negative. Somewhere, unformulated in the back of my mind is that those like Robert and Joe suffer from theological, generational inbreeding. Unless someone has not the Reformation tag on them or disagrees with them even in the slightest details they not only reject them and shun them but turn to attack them. After a while of reading only Calvinist and nothing but Calvinist, listening to Calvinist and nothing but Calvinist and fellowshipping with Calvinist and nothing but Calvinist, their system of theology becomes circular to the place they never have to think any more; after all, they have THE TRUTH; they reject anyone not agreeing with then, looking on them as an evil threat to penetrate the iron curtain they have pulled down over the mind; finally, as with most circular thinking, the circle becomes smaller and smaller until no one is left in the circle but themselves.

I forget the first line of this poem I read some fifty years ago, so I will create my own first line:

"An upset rebel, a thing to flout;
He drew a circle that shut me out;
But love and I had the chance to
win,
We drew a circle that shut him in."
unknown author.

Phil in Norman.

Kendall said...

Lydia, I will deal with it. Tell me why you brought that text up first? What do you believe it is saying?

Lydia said...

Wade,
Yes that is now!
But for many years .....he has admitted nowhere...even after writing the book.
My point is not to bash is former life but to point out that there is a biblical adminission to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
Also no doctrinal accountability to the body of christ.

Robert from Geneva

Wed Apr 08, 12:34:00 PM 2009

Robert, would this be in an instutitional church approved by you? Does that verse mean in an actual church building on Sunday only? With an actual 'pulpit' as you are so fond of saying.

Or does it mean being with other believers (anywhere) to worship, study and edify one another in the Lord?

Lydia said...

Lydia, I will deal with it. Tell me why you brought that text up first? What do you believe it is saying?

Wed Apr 08, 12:52:00 PM 2009

So, deal with it. I asked first. :o)

Dr. Mike Kear said...

After reading many of the comments here, I've come to wish that ignorance was painful.

SheMoff said...

Dr. Burleson,
I was wondering if you had seen this article yet. http://www.newsweek.com/id/192583?GT1=43002
If so, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for your commitment to the Kingdom and for sharing all you do.

Joyfully in Christ,
Sherrill Moffett

Wade Burleson said...

Nate,

I saw Talladega Nights. It's in my bottom five worst movies of all times. The metaphors for God used in the movie were silly, irreverant and led no one to brokenness over sin.

I saw Paul Young at Emmanuel for two nights and four services. The metaphors used for God were serious, reverent, and led to multiple people being broken over their sin of turning to things or others for their fulfillment rather than God.

Nate, it would seem to me that any comment comparing the two events borders on some very dangerous ground, particularly the comment in any form or fashion denigrates or blasphemes the work of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

Wade

Nate said...

Wade,

Valid. I never compared Mr. Youngs metaphors to those of Talledega nights. What I was saying is that your comment about taking whichever metaphor speaks more to you or to me is not the standard. The standard is the Word of God. Not whatever sounds best to me or you. We need to hold these earthly comparisions up to the Word of God and see if they stand. We should be striving to make sure that any metaphor or image we use to describe God actually describes him in accordance with how the Word of God describes him. Which is why I think I would stick with the metaphors the Scripture itself uses. Similar to the one you used about being under the shadow of His wings. Also I was showing that the metaphors used in the movie are absolutely not good! But I'm sure some walked away from it liking them. Hence my point just because they speak to us does not make the God honoring.

Blessings to you too.

Robert said...

Phil in Norman,
Why do you assume that everything I quote is Calvinist.
Gary Gilley is a Dispensationalist read his review of Mark Devers Nine Marks of a Heathy Church.
I dont believe Glenn Krieder is either.
Ben Witherington is a leader in the Wesleyan side. Asbury is pretty Weselyn.

Robert from Geneva

Christiane said...

Good morning, everyone.
It's me, L's

Wade, thank you.

Thank you for having the courage to allow Paul Young, someone with whom you differ on some doctrinal points, to come and bless all of us with his talks at your church, on your 'archives', and then on the CD's you are preparing.

Thank you for living what you preach for the SBC, when you allow the love of God to be central to what is shared among Christians.
We have a such a silent screaming need for the love of God to come and be the healing of our souls and of our brokeness.

Thank you, MOM and POP Burleson for being 'Family' to Wade. I love the gift of 'Family' and how it nurtures and strengthens. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you Paul Young for being God's instrument. I know you had to suffer greatly to become that.
But, Paul, look at the healing gift of God's love that was poured forth, through your testimony, to be shared with so many. So many.
More than you will ever know.

Thank you Robert. For not walking away and rejecting all of us who care about you. You are prayed for daily. I hope you know that.

Hi Joe Blackmon, who shares my love of 'elephants'. BTW, my daughter's dog made it through surgery and lives. God is good. :)

There is so much to be thankful for, in this Holy Week of
God's Gift of Love:
Our Lord Christ Who Saves
because 'we were loved with an age-old Love'

I hope, by Easter Sunrise, we all can join together to worship as Christians: 'to sing the praises of the Resurrection of the Slain Lamb'. May it be so.
Love, L's

Wade Burleson said...

Sherrill,

I have read it, both in print and online.

I, again, will have to disagree with my friend Dr. Mohler.

I believe a revival is coming to the world. A Great Awakening if you will.

Kendall said...

Here are some good articles on the whole Isaiah 9:6 issue:

http://www.carm.org/religious-movements/oneness-pentecostal/isaiah-96-jesus-everlasting-father

http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4222433/k.1070/Why_is_Jesus_called_the_Everlasting_Father_in_Isaiah_96.htm


http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/0724.htm

*See foot note #5 for below link
http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Isa&chapter=9&verse=6#

http://www.unionchurch.com/archive/121601.html

Anonymous said...

The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace

"Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 10:21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.

Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 22:22 "Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, When he opens no one will shut, When he shuts no one will open.

Isaiah 26:3 "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:12 LORD, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works.

Isaiah 28:29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.

Isaiah 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

Isaiah 54:10 "For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken," Says the LORD who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Isaiah 66:12 For thus says the LORD, "Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

1 Corinthians 15:25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet."

Kendall said...

Wade,

Did Paul Young speak about his view of the cross?

New BBC Open Forum said...

A man once explained men's and women's "roles" to me this way:

When the apostle Paul said that a woman should not "teach or exercise authority over a man" (1 Timothy 2:12), he did not follow that statement with a cultural argument. Rather he went all the way back to creation to show that women weren't intended to dominate men (vv. 13-14). The reasons he gave are that the woman was created after the man, and that she was deceived when acting independently of his leadership.

And as someone said the other day, giraffes were created before man.

Paul goes on to say in 1 Timothy 2:15 that "women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint." That verse is not talking about women's eternal destiny, but means that they are saved from being second-class citizens through the privilege of rearing children. God designed a woman to fulfill a role in the home that no man ever can (Proverbs 31:10-31; Titus 2:4-5).

So single and childless women are second-class citizens? I guess Augustine of Hippo was right. Women really were created for one thing and one thing only.

Our society's current thinking on the woman's role is contrary to the priorities revealed in the Bible. Genesis 3 explains why that conflict exists. After the Fall, God told the woman, "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). Genesis 4:7 helps us to understand what that verse means. There God told Cain, "Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." Exactly the same phrase is used in both passages.

WPY got it right here. Why do the Southern Baptists continue to get this wrong?

So in the same way sin tries to dominate us all, fallen women desire to overpower their husbands, and fallen men tend to oppress them (which is just as wrong) in the same way sin oppresses the sinner. The intended balance, of course, is achieved when men and women lead and submit in a godly manner (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Why is it that when a woman doesn't "submit" to the "authority" of all men in the way the men expect, it's assumed they desire to "dominate" men? Isn't there a happy medium between being a doormat and dominating?

Lydia said...

"Isaiah 63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand."

Yes! And this:

Malachi

6 “ A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the LORD of hosts

Kendall, The Lord of Hosts in the OT is the pre Incarnate Jesus.

We are not talking Modalism here as you have suggested by your links. Nice try.

We are talking about a Trinity that has ONE united Will and works in agreement and power.

For example, there are verses that say Jesus raised Himself from the dead, The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and the Father raised Him from the dead.

They are all true.

Alan Paul said...

This is perhaps the most profound post I have read here. Thanks for it.

Lydia said...

"And as someone said the other day, giraffes were created before man."

BBC, if we follow their logic about creation 'order' meaning authority, then why were humans created last? Using their logic of creation order for authority, Wouldn't that mean that Eve, being created last, means she has the authority?

There was NO authority for Eve to usurp except God's.

Robert said...

Some notes:

1. One of the big differences between Young and authors like CS Lewis is that Lewis is operating in metaphor whereas Young presents his characters as personifications. This is an issue because it both puts words directly into God's mouth instead of just being a picture and it violates the second commandment about making a graven image. Yes, we all know that Aslan is supposed to represent Christ (not the whole Trinity as earlier mentioned) but he never says, "I am Christ and this is what I say." This is an important difference.

2. Young didn't accidentally make God a woman. Everybody acts like Young was just writing and then, oh my goodness, God just turned out to be a woman, when actually this was a premediated idea trying to make a point. Yes, God is not gendered, but he is clearly presented as a father, something a black woman does not qualify for, no matter what you call her.

3. Call it heresy or not, there are themes expressed in "The Shack" which are clearly contrary to Scripture and are obviously put in to push an agenda. I'm not talking even about the "God as a woman" thing, nor "mistakes" on par with discrepencies in ecclesiology or soteriology. Take the idea of modalism. This is clearly inaccurate as the Bible expresses over and over that all three parts of the Trinity exist and are distinct at all times. Or the idea that hierarchy only exists because of sin and that the Trinity exists in some sort of sinless communism. Again, this is something that is said in order to push a communal/monastic type agenda of total egalitarianism which simply does not exist in the Bible. Maybe the word 'heresy' is too strong for some people's stomachs, but we still need to be able to stand up and say when something is utterly unbiblical.

Posted by: Todd Burus at June 17, 2008

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2008/06/taking_the_shac.html

Robert from Geneva

Joe Blackmon said...

L's

I had been wondering how the dog was doing. Glad to hear all is well.

Chris Ryan said...

Robert,

You write, "this is an Eastern concept, not a biblical one."

Let me just laugh while I remind you that the writers of the Bible were easterners and write with much of that mindset.

Paul has a great deal of critique of Western society as represented in Greece and Rome. Much of it could be leveled at the US, too.

As to the heretic thing, I am pretty sure (98%) it was you, but it may have been Joe Blackmon. But don't worry about it, I'm not holding a grudge. You just asked and I answered.

Robert said...

Chris Ryan,
Hearsay does not hold much water in my mind.

Robert from Geneva

Lydia said...

"This is clearly inaccurate as the Bible expresses over and over that all three parts of the Trinity exist and are distinct at all times. "

I don't disagree with this but what you are missing is that the 'Persons' in the Trinity many times do the same 'work' as we see expressed in scripture.

Was the Trinity involved in Creation?

What I object to is the notion that there is an eternal hierarchy in the Trinity past and future. What you guys want to do is to lessen the sacrfice on the Cross by suggesting Jesus was only following orders.

Robert said...

Chris Ryan,
That quote was actually from Gary Gilley pastor of Southern View chapel....A Independent Bible church

Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

It was refreshing to read that you did not find this book life changing. Neither did I, nor could I understand why some of my frineds were so profoundly affected by it. I think I found some clarity in your wife's statement to you about your core belief and your acknowledgement that you have always known God loves you unconditionally. That is my experience with God and what my pastor husband and I have always tried to convey to our childen regarding both our love for them and God's love.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Did Paul Young speak about his view of the cross?"

Kendall,

Why don't you just listen to the programs on Emmanuel's website? I honestly don't know if he did or not. The feed kept breaking up, and I missed quite a bit of it. Are you saying you expected him to cover every single area of his theology in the space of 3 or 4 hours? Do you devote every single sermon you preach to your view of the cross? I would hope in that space of time he did, but I haven't listened to it all yet.

Here's something that may shock you. I guess I've been living under a rock all these years, but I've been in Southern Baptist churches all my life and I had never heard of C.S. Lewis until a couple of years ago. I still haven't read any of his books, but I've read enough commentary on them that I have some general ideas about some of his writings. Why is it that no one seems to have a problem with Lewis's allegory depicting God as a lion, but WPY's allegory depicting God as a black woman is "heresy"? Frankly, I think both are kind of weird (I'm not particularly into allegories), but both seem to be conveying the same message. What's the difference? Is it because it's assumed the lion has a mane?

Robert said...

Anon,
I realize you may be trying to lead the discussion away from the Shack but what Scripture reference do you use to say that ......

God loves you unconditionally.

Robert from Geneva

Joe Blackmon said...

Why is it that no one seems to have a problem with Lewis's allegory depicting God as a lion, but WPY's allegory depicting God as a black woman is "heresy"

Wow, great question. It probably has something to do with the fact that Aslan never once ever in the book claims to be God. The beaming, matronly Papa says she is God. Therefore, the two are completely different.

Robert said...

Who is on LSD
or is Gods love unconditional.

UnConditional Love?

A Critical Review of a Pop Religious Truism

Scripture clearly teaches that God's love (phileo, agape, aheb, ahabah, etc.) is unfailing, undeserved, and unilateral (completely one-sided in initiation). But is God's love without condition--I.E.: UN-conditional?

On this we should consider three things: 1) Where did this idea come from? 2) Is it consistent with Scripture? and 3) Could this be a modern packaging of the age old message of false prophecy?

On 1), the words unconditional and love are not used in Scripture in either the Old or New Testaments, nor do any of the church fathers use the phrase. Readers have pointed out that it was first used in 1751 in negative reference to the Moravian heresy (hat tip: Devin R.), and more recently by Erich Fromm in the 1930s to describe the matricentric complex (vs. patricentric; hat tip: Mark Long). But these are arcane references.

The phrase unconditional love entered mainstream, pop-culture English during the 1960s LSD drug culture. What the flower-children originally meant by unconditional love had to do with "love the one you are with" in the sexual revolution sense. But the phrase did not last long even among the hippies because it is inherently contradictory: to love is to care deeply about the condition of the one loved. But "under the influence" a lot of things made sense that didn't later. After the drugs wore off, psychology flirted with the pop-phrase in the 1970's in the "transactional analysis" fad, but this was ephemeral and quickly dropped from view. Just about then a few susceptible christian teachers stepped in and took the baton, and the rest is history.

With this dubious modern pedigree we must ask the obvious question: is this an idea that comes from above, or from below? (John 8:23)

On 2), is the implicit idea that the phrase asserts consistent with Scripture? If we take the phrase in its plain-sense meaning, certainly not. If unconditional can cohabit the same phrase as love without canceling it (when not on LSD, that is), then why did Jesus bother declaring the conditions? "You must be born again." etc.

Think about it. In a typical teaching of Jesus, much of what he said were the life-giving conditions of moving out-of a position of wrath and into a loving relationship with the Father. The catch-phrase unconditional love strips these words right out of our Savior's mouth. "Hey Jesus, you can't say that! Don't you know that God's agape love is unconditional!"

John 8:31-32 (NIV) ...Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Get it? IF/THEN is a condition. So is UNLESS. And this is the kind of thing Jesus often said. Uh Oh!

On 3), we should consider the possibility that this new phrase might be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Could unconditional love be Satan's latest repackaging of the "peace, peace" message that has always been the essence of false prophecy? Of course, Satan would never be that clever, to deny the very words of God with a subtle twist of phrase? Would he?

Because of a Bible Study on our site which calls for repentance from witchcraft, we get a lot of "flames" from Wiccans and Pagans. A typical complaint is to lecture us that "God's love is unconditional", thus justifying witchcraft--or whatever--since "God loves everyone eternally no matter what they believe." By this way of thinking, "It makes no difference which 'god' you worship since God's unconditional love would never allow Him to send anyone to hell. Condemning people to hell is not exactly a loving thing to do for those so sent, is it? So, it does not matter what people think or believe or do. God's unconditional love means that we will all go to heaven."

Hearing this doctrine put forth with such piercing clarity from Pagans should give Christians pause in their enthusiasm to embrace it.

Often, when Christians say unconditional love we know they do not mean it in the exact, literal sense. So, we do not want to go overboard and say that anyone who uses the phrase is a universalist or heretic. We must look to the context and meaning for those who have not thought it through, giving them the benefit of the doubt. But, at the very least, we should be more circumspect about adoption of extra-biblical spurious terminology within the Church, and of teachers that unreflectingly jump on every bandwagon of pop phraseology that blows through.

God's love is truly amazing... God's love is unilateral: He loves the unlovable and gives His glory to them. God's love is completely undeserved. God's love is unfailing for those in whom He delights: who respond to Him and receive His Son. But, God's love is clearly not "unconditional"; for wrath and eternal damnation will come to those who reject His Messiah and His Gospel. Let us be sure to be found in the position of receiving God's love, and not His judgment. Let us heed the conditions clearly set forth by our Lord so that we can be at peace with Him. And let us shout the message of these conditions from the rooftops so that others might be saved, rather than retreat into thinly veiled license, universalism, or anything else that "sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2Cor 10:5).

Here are a few verses to salt your appetite for researching and considering this further.

Jer. 5:12-13 (NIV) "They have lied about the Lord; they said, 'He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine.' The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them..."

Jer. 8:6-9 (NIV) "I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' ...My people do not know the requirements of the Lord. How can you say, 'We are wise...' Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?"

Jer. 23:16-18 (NIV) This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The Lord says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.' But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?"

Jer. 23:21-22 (NIV) "I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds."

Lam 2:14 (NIV) "The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading."

Luke 3:7b (NIV) "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"

John 3:36 (NIV) "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

Rom 2:5,8 (NIV) But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed... For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Eph 2:3 (NIV) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

Eph 5:6 (NIV) Let no-one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

1Co 2:13 (NIV) This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

2 Tim 4:2-4 (TCN) Proclaim the Message, be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, encourage, never failing to instruct with forbearance. For a time will come when people will not tolerate sound teaching. They will follow their own wishes, and, in their itching for novelty, procure themselves a crowd of teachers. They will turn a deaf ear to the Truth, and give their attention to legends instead.

Heb 13:9 (NIV) Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.

Luke 13:3 (DVP) [Jesus:] "...If you do not repent, then you will all perish..."

http://www.acts17-11.com/cows_unlove.html

Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

God's unconditional love expressed...

Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


The one thing God turns His back on is sin, yet while we still full of it, He loved us so much He sent His One and Only Son...

If that is not unconditional love to you, I would recommend you get a better grasp on unconditional love.

Maybe a clearer answer could be...

Robert --- God loves you.

Now that would need to be unconditional.

Robert said...

Anon,
All that verse says is that God Loves Us ..says nothing about if it is conditional love or unconditional love

Still looking for correct Scriptural reference!

Robert from Geneva love town

ml said...

Hey Wade, didnt you do a four part series on the lies in the Da Vinci Code? Why did you scrutinize that piece of fiction. Many found solace in the Da Vinci Code, too. Why are you largely optimistic about the individual sentiments people have expressed in this work of fiction in spite of its clear theological difficulties? Just wondering how you differentiate between the two? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Robert said...

Good thing the Westminister Standards
or the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith are not in Wades church huh!!!!

Robert Masters

Anonymous said...

FOR ROBERT who wants to learn of God's unconditional love:

From "Psalm 139:7-10

7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven,
you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol,
you are there.

9 If I take
the wings of the morning
and settle
at the farthest limits of the sea,

10 even there
your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast."



HE WILL NOT ABANDON YOU, ROBERT,
NO MATTER WHAT. No matter what.
No conditions. Just love.
The only one who walks away from this relationship would have to be you, if you freely chose to do so.

He will not leave us to suffer alone in this place.
His love casts out fear. :)

Dienekes said...

Wade, good post. I regret to inform you, however (as if you don't know already) that while you may genuinely care about BOTH grace AND truth, some of your frequent commenters care only to talk about propositional truth but neglect the grace. To paraphrase James, their deeds betray their true theology, and it smells funny.

All,
I think everyone should read Tozer's "The Knowledge of the Holy".

Everything that is genuinely good is so because it is consistent with the attributes of He Who alone is original, uncreated Good. Therefore, everything good about a father comes from Him. EQUALLY, everything genuinely good about a mother comes from Him. He is not dishonored by our thinking of His "motherly" attributes. As Tozer says, however, we must be careful always to remember that anything we say He is like, He is always so much more. To say less is idolatry.

To say, "God is like a motherly woman in this way or that way," is just the finite mind trying to grasp Him Who is Infinite. We who are created can only learn by comparing to other created things. We have no other frame of reference within which to learn.

The idolatry, or heresy, comes when we say, "He is like this and this is ALL that He is", or when we say, "He is like this", but He is actually not.

Finally, I do not think God is dishonored by our honest grapplings to understand Him. He is, however, dishonored by our blatant disregard of the ways that He obviously is. When we speak gracelessly to each other as some do, we betray the character of Him Who has acted so graciously toward us "while we were yet sinners."

That is disgusting.

FWIW.

Lin said...

"If that is not unconditional love to you, I would recommend you get a better grasp on unconditional love."

There is the condition of repentance for salvation. He said, Repent and believe.

Wade, Do you have a projected date for the Sat morning talk to be aired on your church site?

Robert said...

Sounds like Gods effectual elective love
but says nothing pertaining to conditional or unconditional.

Robert from Geneva

Paul Burleson said...

Phil,

I have one thing to say to what you have said. "I wish I'd said that."

Robert said...

Thanks Lin.

Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

Dienekes:
Did your mother 'make' you in her womb? No.
You were 'knit together' by the Hand of the Lord within your mother's womb.
Your mother gave birth, but could not have done it, without the actions of the One Who formed you.

Lydia is right in her reference to
God like a 'hen gathering her chicks under her wing'.

Time to stop this male/female war.
God is spirit. We, both male AND female, are made in the image of God.

Anonymous said...

Joe (2:51 PM), see my 3:51 am post.
I strongly suggest people listen to the radio interview linked there.
In that interview, Young defends the idea that El Shaddai means the breasted one.
Now look at the Wiki for El Shaddai,
<"Shaddai meaning fertility"
Harriet Lutzky has presented evidence that Shaddai was an attribute of a Semitic goddess, linking the epithet Shaddai with the Hebrew šad meaning "breast", giving the meaning "the one of the Breast", as Asherah at Ugarit is "the one of the Womb".[9] A similar theory proposed by Albright is that the name Shaddai is connected to shadayim, the Hebrew word for "breasts". It may thus be connected to the notion of God’s gifts of fertility to human race.>

That's just one instance in that very telling interview where he expresses extremely twisted up ideas. The baggage from his past is all over his writing, and plain for all to see. Yes, it's fiction but it turned into a whole lot more than that, and he is accountable for those interpretations (especially if he cannot justify them in the Bible with his personal reasoning.
He also states that it cannot be determined if an unrepentant person will go to judgement or not. Then there's something about Jesus being in hell?
Does anyone care about the penal substitutionary atonement issue here? That's just one more thing.

And for another excellent sermon on this topic, if you like Dr. Michael Youssef--look in the archives:

http://www.apostles.org/

I think we had better get back to getting emotional about God's Word, and go about defending that, instead of works like this.
It's almost cultic, the way people have taken to defending this book.
Scary.

Anonymous said...

Robert, Calvin was a man. He was not given a personal revelation from God. He was a man. Not a prophet. Not beyond errors. Not infallible. He was no better or worse than anyone. He developed a man-made 'belief system' based on his own understanding of scripture and what he borrowed from others.
It was his opinion. People can agree with him totally. Or partially. Or not at all.

You do not need Calvin's permission to believe in a God of Love. You don't need Calvin.

You need the Father, the Lord Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Robert said...

Anon,

What in the world does this have to do with anything here...stick to the topic please.

Robert from Nashville

Anonymous said...

http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2009/03/william-young-author-of-the-shack-outright-denies-the-penal-substitutionary-atonement.html


Nashville, if you are talking to me (3:28 PM), you have to listen to this entire radio interview if not, I guess you meant the next Anon. post!

Anonymous said...

Robert,

I don't think you want God's love to be unconditional. I don't think it fits your personal belief system and that is OK with me but it does not change the fact that God loves us and that love is a holy love because God is a holy God, He could love us in no less a way than unconditionally.

Anonymous said...

'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

Unconditional love.

Robert said...

Anon,
I was talking to the anon who was lecturing me on calvinism.

waiting for the Scripture Anon on Gods unconditional love....hate me ......
listen to what Lin said

Robert from Geneva aka Nashville

Robert said...

Nope

Anonymous said...

A personal recommendation...

Don't waste your time trying to convince Robert of God's unconditional love --- it is just a game to him. If the precise words (unconditional love) are not being uttered through scripture it will not be found acceptable.

Robert does not seem able to grasp there is no sin, so great that God cannot and will not forgive if His dearest creation comes repenting...

For those who have given more than ample responses, thank you and I will try and love you unconditionally through my errant, but forgiven, life.

Robert said...

Anon,

Robert does not seem able to grasp there is no sin, so great that God cannot and will not forgive if His dearest creation comes repenting...

If you you have an IF clause then it is conditional...If/ Then


Thanks for making my point.

I love you!!!!

Robert from Geneva

Lin said...

Robert, Just remember that I do not agree with you on much.

But on this one about repentance being a condition of salvation, I do.

However, I wish you would stick with scripture instead of linking to so many humans. :o)

Piper, Gilley, etc.,are not my standards of truth.

Anonymous said...

I doubt any who believe God's love is unconditional would disagree that repentance is essential to salvation but unconditional love is not synonymous with salvation.

gereja said...

Wade,

What you called forensic justification as not caused by any condition in us is correct; but your affirmation that God's love as caused of our forensic justification is not biblically accurate.

Justification is the result of the imputed righteousness and NOT resulted from the unconditional love of God per se. Yes, unconditional love of God provided redemption but NOT the cause of forensic justification. It is the justice of God NOT the love of God that established forensic/legal justification.

Lu Mo Nyet

Kendall said...

Dear, New BBC Open Forum: You quoted me as asking..
"Did Paul Young speak about his view of the cross?"

YOU wrote,

"Kendall,
Why don't you just listen to the programs on Emmanuel's website? I honestly don't know if he did or not. The feed kept breaking up, and I missed quite a bit of it. Are you saying you expected him to cover every single area of his theology in the space of 3 or 4 hours? Do you devote every single sermon you preach to your view of the cross? I would hope in that space of time he did, but I haven't listened to it all yet."



New BBC Open Forum, the reason I asked about the cross is because Wade said the following:

"Paul Young believes that Papa was in Christ reconciling the world (i.e. "every single human being") to Himself. It is no secret that I believe the biblical word "world" does not encompass every single human being without exception, but rather an innumerable company of sinners from every tribe, every kindred, every nation and every family. In this Paul and I would differ. Yet, Paul agrees with me that the God's redemption of sinners is so powerful at the cross, that nothing negates the love of God the Father toward those for whom He lovingly sent His only begotten Son to die. We simply differ over whether those sinners God chooses to enter into a redeeming love relationship include every single sinner who has ever lived or an innumerable company of particular sinners whom God has chosen to redeem."

My simple question was, did Paul Young talk about his view of the cross? Yes, I listened to the two programs linked at the church and he didn't mention it, which is fine. It is just that Wade said, "Paul agrees with me that the God's redemption of sinners is so powerful at the cross..."

So was this conversation recorded?

I would like to hear more about Paul's view of the cross since he denies the penal substitutionary view of the atonement...

Paul Burleson said...

All.

Wade and Rachelle have been called out of state for emergency surgery required on their son. While not life threatening, it is major and will necessitate Wade's being out of pocket until at least Saturday.

He has left the comment section open but also requests that all of us maintain a respect for each other that is easily lost in debate.

Wade will check in ONLY if circumstances permit and trusts us to discuss all issues under discussion with grace.

Anonymous said...

Prayers are needed NOW.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the emergency surgery.
Now I agree, why isnt anyone questioning Young's views on the Cross any further? I think defenders of the book are sweeping anything like that under the rug and ignoring it, just as the question has been ignored here.
And Robert, I understand where you are coming from and know you are citing links and references which represent many of the views those of us hold who have opposed the book.
I think, you are the one not being shown any grace....
but you are not alone in what you are saying.

Alan Paul said...

Those who want to control others' beliefs are the ones creating the controversy over The Shack. If they want to say their piece, fine, let them - then they need to let people be grown ups and make their own choices based on their own criteria. Instead they continue to harass and harangue those who don't agree with them. I say off with their heads!

Seriously though... What they fail to realize is that the only thing they are creating is more sales of the very book they are denouncing.

Christiane said...

When my Down Syndrome son was a toddler, another child at the playground came over and shoved him down so he fell really hard, hurting his chin.

My son got up and walked over to the child who did this and hugged him and smiled at him.

All of us moms were amazed.

Some would say that Patrick was too dumb to know any better.

I would say we are too dumb to understand what he knows from God.

What is 'unconditional love' ?
A term?
Or a hug and a smile when it is not deserved?
Or that we were allowed to witness that hug, even though we 'don't get it' ?

Some lessons are beautiful to see.
They are not written anywhere but on our hearts. And when we see these lessons in action, we know we are blessed. I know it was Jesus Who came to teach us to how to love.
I think Patrick was born already knowing what we have so much trouble trying to learn.

When I think of unconditional love, I think of Patrick.
And I think of his Creator. :)

Patrick's Proud Mom, L's

P.S. Paul, I will ask the nuns to pray, keeping vigil for your grandson's recovery. Love, L's

Tim G said...

Wade,
You said "All religions, even some religionists of the Southern Baptist variety, tell you that you must do something to earn the love of God."

Who specifically?

gereja said...

Tim G,

As we all know: both the calvinists and the arminians belive the same thing regarding good works (e.g, sanctification). The Westminster calvinists teaches that if someone does not persevere in good works then the person is not saved from the beginning (false professor is their terms). Whereas arminians teach that if someone does not persevere in holiness at the end he/she will lose his/her salvation. For the calvinists the person is not saved from the start; for the arminians the person is not saved at the end. Both the arminians and the calvinists teach the same thing: salvation by grace through faith expressed in good works UNTIL the end of life. Just check John Piper's website: that is what he is saying about final salvation.

Lu Mo Nyet

Anonymous said...

L's:

That is a great story of your son's response to a hurtful act.

I know that raising him must have given you lots of joyful moments and sad ones, too.

Thanks for sharing that.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Paul:

Sorry to hear about the surgery.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this young man, you, Wade and the entire family.

Louis

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Just wondering out loud....

I wonder which one is more important? A right relationship with God or right theology about God.

Or maybe a better question is this:

Does right theology lead to right relationship or does a right relationship lead to right theology?

When I became a believer at 8 years old I am pretty sure some of my theology was wacked! Obviously I responded to God's revelation of Himself in Jesus through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But I did not have really good theology. I doubt if many of you did either.

Come to think of it many folks in the Bible and in Christian History did not always have good theology...but in the context of a relationship with a living God...they continued to learn and mature. Though I am absolutely sure that no one got it all right all of the time. Yet amazingly...God still worked in them and through them!

Imagine that! God uses imperfect people with less than perfect theology. there is hope for all of us yet!

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Just wondering out loud....

I wonder which one is more important? A right relationship with God or right theology about God.

Or maybe a better question is this:

Does right theology lead to right relationship or does a right relationship lead to right theology?

When I became a believer at 8 years old I am pretty sure some of my theology was wacked! Obviously I responded to God's revelation of Himself in Jesus through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But I did not have really good theology. I doubt if many of you did either.

Come to think of it many folks in the Bible and in Christian History did not always have good theology...but in the context of a relationship with a living God...they continued to learn and mature. Though I am absolutely sure that no one got it all right all of the time. Yet amazingly...God still worked in them and through them!

Imagine that! God uses imperfect people with less than perfect theology. there is hope for all of us yet!

Dienekes said...

Anon 3:26,

I think perhaps you read something in my words that I did not intend. Sorry for my poor communication.

I meant to indicate that I see no problem with William Paul Young likening some attributes of God to a tender, motherly African-American lady. In the same way, I see no problem with C.S. Lewis' likening Him to a lion. Or King David's likening Him to a bird. Or Solomon's likening Him to a groom.

I don't see a problem with any of these or a million other metaphors that show us attributes of Him. This is not idolatry, so long as we remember two things:

1. Our attempt to liken Him to something must be accurate. For example, we might helpfully understand some aspect of His love after observing the actions of Christiane's son, as she described above. That might help us accurately know some part of His character. We should not, however, try to understand His love by looking at the hormone-induced frenzy of teenage boys looking at the Playboy channel. God's love is NOT like that. That would be an inaccurate likeness of His love.

So our depictions, or likenings, or metaphors, must first of all be accurate.

2. ALL of our attempts to liken Him to anything created fall short. He is never "just like" anything we can imagine. He is always more. Infinitely more. We mere creatures must try to understand Him more and more, as indeed He desires us to employ all our faculties to know Him. But the creation will never ever ever understand the Creator fully.

You said,
"God is spirit. We, both male AND female, are made in the image of God."

I could not agree more. If I said anything that indicated otherwise, I misspoke.

Anonymous said...

Dienekes, sorry if i misinterpreted what you wrote.
My bad. Anon.

Christiane said...

A TIME OF GRACE

What happens to a human being when their much-loved innocent child is mercilessly and horribly slaughtered?

Can that person find peace with God and draw the grace to forgive from the deep eternal well-spring of God's unconditional love?


A horrific murder of children took place in a one-room schoolhouse. And there was unconditional love shown toward the murderer by the parents of those slaughtered children.

It wasn't fiction, sadly no.
It happened. It really did.

Nickel Mines Amish community lost many of its young girls to the slaughter of a deranged man, who then killed himself.

Almost immediately, he Amish went to this man's widow and children, bringing food and hugs and offers of help.
'We share the same suffering' said one of the Amish mothers.

There were more Amish at the murderer's funeral than any other people. They came to support his wife and children in their grief.

Unconditional love. Oh, yes.
So much so, that it made the world take notice. Because it wasn't the way of the world. It was the way of The Kingdom.
Another, better way.

Unconditional love. Given without being 'deserved' or even when harm has been done. Given freely.
And generously. In His Name.

If you do not understand how 'unconditional love' can flow from Christian people, look at the witness of these Amish parents.


Their witness is not fiction.
It happened. It really did.
Thanks Be To God. L's

gereja said...

Christiane,

I think Obama, when he was in Turkey was getting close to apologize to the Moslem world because of the supposedly America's arrogance. We have seen the Pope apologized to the Moslems. I wonder whether hugging Al Qaedas with unconditional love would be our better expression of Christian love?

Lu Mo Nyet

Christiane said...

You must pray to God for the answer for yourself.

Al Queda has fed on hatreds between the Abrahamic peoples.
Al Queda has grown in power on this hatred.

I have no answer for you.
You must seek your own answer from the Holy One.

For myself, I don't think the answer forward lies in more hatred among the Abrahamic peoples of this Earth.
I think that mutual respect for each other's humanity among the Abrahamic peoples must become a reality before there can be peace.
When there is no more hatred to feed upon, Al Queda will lose its power in this world.

What are your thoughts?

Love, L's

gereja said...

Christiane,

The Israelis , e.g. guys like Benyamin Netanyahu who continually live under the threat of annihilation can give a better answer. Because they are Abrahamic biologically. I wonder if Israel give up the whole land will bring peace or not? Which is impossible for them to do. Do you think the Bible teach that the church will bring international peace by social and political means?

Lu Mo Nyet

Christiane said...

I do not think that social and political means will bring peace.
I think it begins internally , within individuals, and flows outward.
This 'internal' change of heart comes from the Holy Spirit.

First one man, then another, then another, then a family, a community, a country, and then . .

Peace begins within. Then, people of peace can affect society and politics. Think about what happened at Pentecost: the cowering, frightened Apostles, hiding. Until the coming of the Holy Spirit, infusing them with His fire. They went out fearlessly to conquer the mighty Roman Empire and then, Christianity spread outward into the world.

Think about Gandhi. And Martin Luther King.

Can one inspired person make a change in this world for the better?

Anne Frank once said that she thought, in spite of everything, that people were really good at heart. She died in the Nazi Gas Chambers. Her witness has credibility with me. I will listen to her witness.

Can one person make a difference when there is so much evil in the world?

I think so, when they are inspired by the light of God.
There are weapons we have that are not made of steel. Great weapons.
If only we would use them.
Love, L's

Christiane said...

Once Mother Theresa of Calcutta was stopped at a check-point and asked if she was carrying any weapons.
She said, 'Yes' and showed them her scriptures and prayer books.

She answered honestly.

Anonymous said...

Wade wrote:
"Men for whom we have prayed for a long time came to faith in Jesus, some of whom will be baptized this Sunday.

Addicts publicly expressed their choice to let go of their addictions and turn to God our Heavenly Father through trusting the work of Jesus for their souls."

Does anyone doubt that the Spirit was present in that church in Enid? Look at the fruit. And then judge. :)

roger said...

L's
I appreciated your story of your son on the playground. I also have a handicapped child. I'm convinced that some on this blog need to quit wasting so much time "debating" and more time living. If they want to see unconditional love and true Christ like behavior they should go "worship" at Specail Olympics.These kids show true love to all of God's wonderful creation - color,race, or gender doesn't matter. They love first expecting nothing in return. There have been a number of times I've been moved to tears when God whispers in my ear or thumps me on the head and lets me know that I am the one with 'SPECIAL" needs - not my daughter. I look forward to our eternity in heavan with a new body and new mind.I trust the good Lord will let my daughter and me take a dip in the Jordan - without floaties.

gereja said...

Christiane,

President George Bush believes that war on terror is God's will; president Obama believes on the contrary; both claim to act according to their Christian faith. One is a Baptist in orientation and the other is Methodist in connection.

Lu Mo Nyet

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Gary Gilley is a Dispensationalist read his review of Mark Devers Nine Marks of a Heathy Church."

Robert,

Gary Gilley has never read a book that he DID like. His ministry is based on the tearing town of brothers and sisters in Christ.

K

PS: I learned a cute phrase today that could apply possibly as a "6th point" to Calvinism or at least an addendum: It is called the "cage-stage."

I laughed when I heard it, then immediately was convicted, even before the guy explained it. Reformed theology is a beautiful thing, but we need to learn to absorb it before we can rightly communicate it.

PSS: I get out in 6 months with good behavior. :)

Christiane said...

Dear ROGER,

It's me L's,

I am so glad you shared this with me:

". There have been a number of times I've been moved to tears when God whispers in my ear or thumps me on the head and lets me know that I am the one with 'SPECIAL" needs - not my daughter."

I have felt this way myself for many years. Our children teach us so much. They witness to us of something so beautiful that we cannot imagine it without them.

Yes. We are ones who are 'handicapped' and they are the ones who bless us. So very much.

Good to hear of your beautiful child. God Bless and Keep You Both, Love, L's

P.S. Roger, what is her Christian name, that I may pray for her in the way of my faith ?
Love, L's

Anonymous said...

Hi Gereja (Lu Mo Nyet)
It's me, L's

Yes. I had noticed a change in the philosophies of the two men. One spoke of Christian faith, yet approved of water-boarding. His response to the Katrina disaster was such that he lost moral credibility with many.

What happens to Obama's credibility we shall see. Many people in the world now see our country in a different light. Obama seems to bring out hope in many people, more than Bush did, although, on this site, Obama is despised by many. Not all, though.
L's

Anonymous said...

Hi KEVIN,

How are you? I hope you are well.
Love and prayers, L's

Kevin M. Crowder said...

L's,

Life is grand. Tomorrow is my birthday and next Friday is my last day of classes in my undergraduate career. Then seminary starts 7 weeks later.

Thanks for asking. Happy Holy Week and blessings to you and your's.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Interesting article...

Jeff said...

Wade,
Please put the messages from the "Shack" author as soon as possible. I talked with Tim Taylor and he tells me that the messages are absolutely incredible. Pege and I will be anxious to hear them.

We also will be visiting in May,we look forward to seeing beloved brothers and sisters. Rebekah is graduating from OU on May 15th. This is the reason for our visit.

Jeff Rogers
108 S. Garo Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80910

719-205-0746

prosthero@gimail.af.mil
http://prosthero@blogspot.com

happy gram said...

i'm confused. i thought that Gods love for us has NO condition. He loves us even when we sin. salvation IS conditional - we have to repent of our sins. but God loves us BEFORE we repent and we are saved AFTER we repent. "believe in me and you can be my disciples" has nothing to do with God's LOVE for us.

Chris Ryan said...

Happy Gram,

I don't understand it either, I'm the Arminian so I'm the one who is supposedly adding works to grace. Apparently some Calvinists believe that you have to do something before God saves you, too. You have to repent and get your life turned around and then God will love you. The first step of salvation rests on humanity, now.

Personally, I think that's hogwash.

Rex Ray said...

Rodney,
You asked, ‘which is more important: a right relationship with God or a right theology with God?’

In my opinion, a right relationship with God assures us of heaven, while the devil may know the right theology.

You also asked: “Does right theology leads to right relationship or does a right relationship lead to right theology?”

I believe neither one will always lead to the other.

Maybe a better answer for theology would be: ‘Knowing and obeying the right theology through faith and love will lead to a right relationship.’

If “right relationship” means ‘saved’, then ‘being saved’ does not lead to the right doctrine or all Christians would be Baptists. :)

Robert said...

God is too holy to even look at sin. His eyes are averted from His Son. The light of His countenance is turned off; all blessedness is removed from His Son whom He loves. And in its place is the full measure of the divine curse. All the imagery that portrays the historical event of the cross is the imagery of the curse. Jesus needed to be delivered into the hands of the gentiles so He could be crucified outside the camp so the full measure of the curse and the darkness could be visited upon Him. God adds to these details others—God turns out the light of the sun so as God turns His face, even the sun won’t shine on Calvary. Bearing the full measure of the curse Christ screams “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus did not merely feel forsaken; He was forsaken. He was utterly, totally and completely forsaken by the Father.

There is none of this to be found in the pseudo-gospels of our day. When we hear that Jesus loves us all unconditionally, it is a travesty. What pagan when he hears this does not hear that he has no need of repentance? He can continue in sin without fear knowing that all has been taken care of. There is a profound sense that God does love people even in their corruption, but they are still under his anathema. Even in this hall today there are many who are under the curse of God; who have not yet fled to the cross; who are still counting on this idea of the unconditional love of God.

When Jesus was forsaken by God, when He bore the curse, it was as if Jesus heard the words “God damn you.” This is what it means to be under the anathema of the curse. It is far worse, far more powerful, far more profound than we can know. We cannot understand this, but we know it is true. Everyone who has not been covered by the righteousness of Christ draws every breath under the curse of God. If you believe that, you will stop adding to the gospel and start preaching it with clarity and with boldness because it is the only hope we have. And it is hope enough.

From Tim Challies blog concerning RCSproul at T4G .

Robert from Geneva

Kevin M. Crowder said...

No Chris, it is not that one has to do something to obtain God's favor, but rather through His favor one is made to do something.

As for the idea of "unconditional love," those above who have called it into question are really correct from a biblical perspective. I completely understand how we want this to be true of our righteous, holy and loving God. And some take this to mean that we do not have to do a hand stand or perform a hat trick to make God love us--and they also would be correct. But to those who do not truly understand the technical implications of the linguistic end to which those two words draw, I can simply say that drawing your own conclusion to fit a preconceived idea of God is neither helpful to a better understanding of God, nor biblical. For the Bible to communicate such a statement, it must communicate either directly or indirectly the following idea: that God, by His inherent nature loves, with a love equally dispersed, all humans ever created by him--Adam, Eve, and their seed, and their seed's seed, and on to include every human born to life until the last human is born or conceived before the second resurrection.

I submit 2 things:
1. This doctrine of unconditional or universal love cannot be found in Scripture--ANYWHERE.
2. If God's love is unconditional, then it must also be universal. But that cannot be the case considering the gates of hell will be wider than the gates of glory (figuratively).

Please then I ask of those who hold to unconditional love, carry this idea into the pages of Scripture and test it.

Also, Psalms 5:5; and 11:5 need to be factored in somehow.



From a personal perspective, I am in awe and humbled by a God who loves me because of Christ. But it would not be so special if he loved the bowels of the earth in like manner.



Wade,

Touching story the OP is. I am reminded that we will know "them" by their fruits. I likely stand to be corrected and submit, based on your testimony, that PY is NOT one of them. That being said, I will be the first to condemn you if you have Anne Rice in your pulpit, and the first to rejoice over one soul saved as a result.

:)

Rex Ray said...

Rodney,
You said, “Many folks in the Bible…did not always have good theology…I am absolutely sure that no one got it all right all of the time. Yet amazingly…God still worked in them and through them! God uses imperfect people with less than perfect theology.”

Hey! You’re probably excluding the ‘writers’ of the Bible, or are you?

This old guy has been preaching that for many years…that is the Scripture (out of the mouth of God) is perfect but the ignorance of man and the lies of the devil and men are not perfect.

gereja said...

Mr. Crowder,

The calvinists with limited atonement (LA) frame is so man-centered in viewing the love of God. If you read John Murray's explanation of LA in Redemption Accomplished & Applied, it is so man-centered in limiting the atonement to the elect. Hence the LA narrows love to a verb towards man; and rejects the universality of God's love as a noun. Such a narrow theology claims to be the main one that properly glorifying God by limiting His love and limiting the atonement, but actuality it is a diminishing view of God's love which is His integrity.

Lu Mo Nyet

Anonymous said...

Good Luck Mr. Crowder on conversing with LuLu on who gets the glory for salvation...him or God.

It's a big, circular battle for such an easy topic.

Easy to me anyway.

Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Rex Ray said...

Robert,
I usually don’t read your comments, but what you quoted from Tim Challie’s blog, I agree 100% except:

“When we hear that Jesus loves us all unconditionally, it is a travesty. What pagan when he hears this does not hear that he has no need of repentance?”

I believe Jesus loves every soul in hell as much as he loves every soul in heaven. God does not love the actions of the souls in hell, and that’s why they are there.

Their actions (known or unknown by them) spit in his Son’s face by not asking Jesus to save them.

God requested his Son to suffer and pay the debt in hell for their sins as a gift. But that gift had to be accepted, and they spit on it.

We cannot fathom the pain it cause God to burn his Son in the lake of fire—to know every breath was a scream of anguish

That’s why God’s wrath is justified in burning their rejection of his Son forever.

And that’s why we need to do more than blog.

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

http://muffinsnow.com

Debbie Kaufman said...

Jesus loves us unconditionally. Salvation is unconditional. Repentance comes as a result of our changed life, being born again, not as condition of salvation.

Ephesians 2:8&9.

Doesn't Christ tell us to love unconditionally? "And love your neighbor as yourself".

BTW: The review of The Shack is not written by Chuck Swindoll, but Dr. Glenn R. Kreider.

Wade: We are praying for you and your family at this moment.

Grigs said...

the entire work of salvation is unconditional in the sense that humans contribute no meritious works to our justification and it starts in eternity past where our election was made unconditionally. However to receive the benefits a human must respond with saving faith. We must coporate in our sanctification. Christ told us to forgive others without limit and that loving our neighbor is the second greatest commandment however it was not Jesus who gave this law rather God through the prophet moses. Jesus called Loving God and neighbor the greatest commandments not because of some evaluation of each individual commandment rather because those two summarize all the moral law of God that he has given. To love one's neighbor is not just to do good deeds and live in tollerance but it means sharing the Gospel, calling him or her to repent of sin, challanging their idolatry, and in the context of the local church sometimes excommunication for the sake of love. We cannot define what love looks like outside of the commandments and example of scripture

Anonymous said...

"We cannot define what love looks like outside of the commandments and example of scripture"

Perhaps 'we' can. If 'we' include the fact that we are under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Love is written on our hearts by God and is not locked inside the pages of Scripture.

It is possible that anyone can respond to the laws which God has written on their hearts, even if they cannot read a word of scripture.

Jamie Steele said...

Paul sounds like Charlton Pearson. Both are dangerously wrong in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Chris - You calling the Doctrines of Grace "hogwash" puts you square in the camp of Falwell, Caner, and Rogers.

All universally recognized giants of theology...

NOT!

Some would even question Falwell and Caner's preaching prowess, but I digress.

However, it remains disappointing to read your disdain for it.

You are surely aware that some truly great theologians disagree with you.

Even though there are some that believed differently, they simply disagreed on the matter. They didn't call it "hogwash".

Your reaction to the Doctrines of Grace makes you look like a Calvinist that can't stand anyone not believing like he does so he starts calling them and it names.

Grow up and be accepting of others interpretation of scripture in this regard.

I won't even mention that it's not polite to come to Wade's blog and tell him that his theology is "hogwash".

Anonymous said...

Wade - You have really grown when you have muffin guru's "just running across" your blog.

Go boy!

Anonymous said...

"Once Mother Theresa of Calcutta was stopped at a check-point and asked if she was carrying any weapons."

I would like to see that go down in this day and age.

I can just see the mug shot of a bloodied Theresa now.

Lin said...

"Yes. I had noticed a change in the philosophies of the two men. One spoke of Christian faith, yet approved of water-boarding. His response to the Katrina disaster was such that he lost moral credibility with many."

I wanted to let this go but fear I cannot. I would think we would LOVE to have waterboarding done to us instead of beheadings, bombings in crowed marketplaces and planes flown into buildings.

As to his response to Katrina you are advocating that a president take over the governor and the mayor's job? He was to just cast them aside and take over for them?

"What happens to Obama's credibility we shall see. Many people in the world now see our country in a different light."

Yes, especially after this summit. I propose it is not good in what light they see us now.


" Obama seems to bring out hope in many people, more than Bush did, although, on this site, Obama is despised by many. Not all, though."

Hope for what? More born alive babies being put in soiled linen closets to die? That was something Obama fought hard for in Ill.

I am not familiar with anything else Obama has been know for while he was in the Senate for 173 days before running for President. Perhaps you can tell me.

I am just hoping the IRS will waive penalties and interest for all Americans like it was done for our new Treasury Secretary. Maybe there is hope.

L's, you are very sweet but extremely naive. If Obama is opposed to giving medical care to born alive aborted babies, why should we think he cares about us at all? Because born alive babies can't vote?

What does it say about a man that cares nothing about the least of these?

Joe Blackmon said...

"Repentance comes as a result of our changed life, being born again, not as condition of salvation."

Whatever.

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Luke 13:1-3 (NASB)

Praise God for the Conservative Resurrgence. I am so thankful the Mainstreamers don't have control of the SBC. Unfortunantly, I have to add to that last sentence "...control of the SBC yet."

Anonymous said...

To 'theresa-hating anon'


"I can just see the mug shot of a bloodied Theresa now."

too late, you won't have the pleasure, shes dead
go back to your doctrines of grace

Anonymous said...

Wade gets called away on an emergancy and you guys crawl out of the woodwork.

John Fariss said...

gereja@8:42 & Christine@9:41,

Your entries reminded me of a story that came out of Germany sometime in the 1960s. I don't vouch for its accuracy, but I loved it.

According to the story, one night the West Berliners heard the sounds of heavy equipment being operated just east of the Berlin Wall all through the night. Troops were on high alert, not knowing what the Communists might be up to. When dawn came, they saw that they had taken the city's trash and dumped it over the wall onto the West Berlin side. Of cours, that provoked tensions, and "everybody" wanted to do something in retalliation--dump garbage back, blow up the wall, all sorts of violent and escalating things. But the mayor of West Berlin (Willy Brandt, so I was told) had an idea. And all through the night one night east Berliners heard the sounds of heavy equipment operating just west of the Wall. When dawn came, they found that the West Berliners had dumped truckloads of fresh, cut flowers into communist East Berlin, and a banner proudly flew, with words something to the effect, "Each gives the best he has to offer." It was either a quote or a paraphrase of Matthew 12:35, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." Tensions immediately subsided, and it was the last time those east of the wall tried any such thing.

Wonder if it would work? Has it been tried anywhere else? Wonder how those so opposed to The Shack might apply it? Terrorists? I don't have answers here, just questions.

John Fariss

gereja said...

As you all know R.C. Sproul says that John Gerstner is his mentor. And they parrot and praise each other. On good works' role in salvation, Gerstner writes: "The question is not whether good works are necessary. As the inevitable outworking of saving faith, they are necessary for salvation. [Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism, p 210].

On the same page he wrote: Thus good works may be said to be a condition for obtaining salvation in that they inevitably accompany genuine faith. [Ibid., p 210]

In our church some classes are using John Piper's materials. Listen to his teaching online yourself.

John Piper says on the Judgement Seat of Christ: "Leading me to say to you... the [final] judgment is not simply to determine relative rewards. The judgment is [to] determine whether you pass through judgment into life or whether you pass through judgment into condemnation. And the evidence laid on the table in the court room will be good deeds... When you stand before the judgment... it will... be... according to works... Do you care about words? I care about biblical words!" in John Piper Audio File: What Happens When You Die?

It can be said with all fairness that today's calvinists affirm salvation by grace alone and turn around and affirm also that good works is a requirement of salvation. I read this in Charles Hodge, Arthur Pink, John MacArthur, John Owen to name a view.

That is why I said that the Limited Atonement guys view LA in relation to the love of God from a man-centered frame of reference while at the same time assuming that it is a God-glorifying teaching which in essense IS NOT so.

Basically it is a reading of the whole process of sanctification back into ELECTION & PREDESTINATION and down to ATONEMENT and now to the ASSURANCE of salvation.

In short it is a reading of human emotional love backward to God. Forgetting that most all expressions of emotions in God using human language is ANTHROPOPATHISM--using human emotion to potray God but it is a language of analogy.

One clear example of Calvinists' gross misunderstanding of this anthropopathism is the use of God loved Jacob and hate Esau to prove predestination. So wrong, so pathetically wrong. Hatred is sin. God does not hate. God does not have emotion. It is just is: using human emotion to explain the evil choice of Esau and his standing in the decree of God which includes the free choice of man.

Calvinists are reading sanctification backward into God's nature and God's protocol (also in the case of Esau and Jacob).

You can hug all the people of the world and call it the love of God, but that does not make it so; also you don't see God so emotional like that when the Bible teach of LOVE OF GOD and LOVE FOR GOD. The love of God does not cancel but affirm God's perfect righteousness; The policy of God's love is expressed through God's JUSTICE ant NOT directly to sinners. That is Romans 5:8. That policy of love is expressed by judging sins on the cross. NOT directly to sinners. It is a blasphemy to tell a sinner that God loves him/her.

A clear illustration of God's love is His loving treatment of Israel [saved people] from the exilic era until today (Rom 9-11).

Love of God for the sinful world is His policy = His integrity of perfect righteousness, His perfect justice and His strategy of Grace. God loves sinners DOES NOT mean personal relationship; DOES NOT mean emotional love at all. And DOES NOT expressed in violation of His integrity (righteousness and justice).

Believers have personal relationship with God by virtue of the justice of Cross (Rm5:8). Israel's long term discipline/judgment is a family matter; so is Heb 12:5-6. The high integrity love of God is shown in Saul: killed by Phillistines, killed himself; and killed by God Himself by means of the volition and free will of the Phillistines and Saul himself (the death and the means of Saul's death by means of his choice has been in the decree of God billions of years ago). Oh how God loved Israel; how He loved Saul; how He so loved the world and gave His only Son . . . (Jn3:16).

Lu Mo Nyet



God's love does NOT entail emotion at all.

Lu Mo Nyet

Lu Mo Nyet

Kendall said...

Jeff, they way I understand it is that two of the messages are online but the rest you will have to purchase....

Lin said...

"One clear example of Calvinists' gross misunderstanding of this anthropopathism is the use of God loved Jacob and hate Esau to prove predestination. So wrong, so pathetically wrong. Hatred is sin. God does not hate. God does not have emotion. It is just is: using human emotion to explain the evil choice of Esau and his standing in the decree of God which includes the free choice of man."

God said this before Esau was born:

22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?|” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
23 And the LORD said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”

roger said...

L's
Thanks for the kind reply - my daughters name is Casey

To all the others who "fight" for the truth - I would recommend reading The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. I know all too often I am the older brother. I am often left out of the welcome home feast.

gereja said...

Lin,

The scriptures you cited speaks of God's omniscienc & His foreknowledge which in calvinism is twisted to mean determinism without free choice; which is against God's nature, against Scripture and against reality.

Lu Mo Nyet

Lin said...

"The scriptures you cited speaks of God's omniscienc & His foreknowledge which in calvinism is twisted to mean determinism without free choice; which is against God's nature, against Scripture and against reality."

Let me begin by saying I am not a Calvinist. I don't even think Calvin was a "Calvinist" as it is presented today! :o)

But what you are saying is that Esau had a choice whether or not to become a separate nation, a choice of whether or not the older would serve the younger, etc.

Lin said...

John Fariss, That was a great story. I hope it is true! :o)

BTW: Any word on Wade's son?

Chris Ryan said...

Anon 8:54,

It was not the doctrines of grace I referred to as hogwash. It was the idea of human conditions being placed on salvation. I disagree with Calvinists, but am good friends with many and have even worked with pastors who are. The Calvinist and I can work together in peace.

But the one who adds human works to God's grace will find their position called "hogwash" on more than one occasion.

Lydia said...

Robert, Check this out about your hero, Challies.


http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/announcement/tim-challies-time-to-clarify/

Only By His Grace said...

Lin,

It is not just the difference in waterboarding and other tortures. It is the difference in all the lying, the broken promises, the total disregard for Constitutional rights, the arrogance, a three to four trillion dollar preemptive war to the hurting of a war we should have been fighting in Afghanistan, the selfish grasping of more money for himself and the filthy rich, the further deterioration of health care, education, the military and on and on it could go. Bush was crass in every sense of the word crass as if he owned crassness itself.

L's can fight her own battle, but this one you should have let pass for you have no foundation on which to stand, none at all. The Republicans could have run the board for the next twenty years beginning in 2000, but Bush has put the Democrats in control for the next twenty years, especially if they straighten out this mess with the economy and the foreign affairs.

Obama may not solve the mess he inherited from Bush, but he is not to blame for it. Bush had eight years with six of those years under absolute Republican control in both the House and Senate. As far as abortion, nothing changed whatsoever concerning Roe VS Wade as nothing will change concerning Roe VS Wade under Obama either.

Will things change under Obama? I like all his moves so far concerning foreign policy and the economy; however, it is revolting to see that he is continuing the breaking of laws in our right to privacy by being able to tap into our telephones and emails without search warrants. We are America because of our Bill of Rights not despite them. I hope Congress or the Supreme Court will correct his error.

Lin, you are very nice, but extremely naive concerning politics

Phil.

Robert said...

Thirteen Heresies in The Shack-By Dr. Michael Youssef

September 6, 2008

I know I’m kind of becoming a book critic, but because this book is sweeping the Christians of this nation just like the Twilight series and is just as deadly, I thought I should post Michael Youssef’s Thirteen Heresies in The Shack. He read the book and was completely taken in by the emotions it stirred in him, but he soon figured out how wrong the book was. He preached a sermon on it and wrote this.

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.

Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.

The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.

Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.

Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

6. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.

The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).

7. God submits to human wishes and choices.

Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).

8. Justice will never take place because of love.

The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).

9. There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.

Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).

10. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.

Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).

12. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).

13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.

The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation. If you want to read more about the place of Christ in the Scripture, read “We Preach Christ” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Anonymous said...

"But the one who adds human works to God's grace will find their position called "hogwash" on more than one occasion."

Are you sure you are not a Calvinist?

Those words sound good to me bro..

And every Calvinist reading this is breathing easier now knowing that you actually have Calvinist friends and (gasp) can actually work with them!

Maybe you could share a word with LuLu because he still doesn't get it.

He is too busy telling every Calvinists out there what they believe.

And Lu, you have absolutely no chance of having a substantive conversation with any serious theology student as long as you make idiotic statements like "God doesn't hate".

I am so overwhelmed with examples from the bible that I am not even going to leave one. You search it out. You need it.

Of course, in the greek I am sure the word "hate" means "love", right?

By the way, Gerstner and Sproul are correct, you just don't have the ability to understand what they are saying because of your hatred for what they believe.

I can't believe you go to a church where Piper material is used. You better leave. Change is a comin'!

Anonymous said...

Theresa is dead? No way! When?

By the way, if you don't think they react differently now to people joking around about weapons at security points, try it next time you are near one.

Seriously, try it.

Theresa would have looked like Forrest Griffin after his last MMA fight.

Grigs said...

Thank you for your kind words Anonymous ,

As a proud Calvinist in the Hugeonut tradition, I work with arminian friends in Campus for Christ all the time in evangelisation, good works, ect... I find personally the best defense of Calvinism is not RC SProul's Choosen by God (though a great book) rather its to evangelize by proclaiming the Holiness of God, the centrality of the cross, the sufficiency of the active and passive obedience of Christ and justification by faith alone and offer Christ freely. In that scenario most arminians forget they believe all those things and ask them selves ''why do I make Jesus more of a pain killing friend as opposed to the Lord?''. Also putting the emphesis on the local church, supporting missionaries and honouring the sabbath is the best way to convince arminians they are wrong. Actions speak louder than Paul Washer any day.

Anonymous said...

Robert, do you believe in the
Incarnation?

Anonymous said...

Anon, yes, she's dead. Now go celebrate.

Anonymous said...

Did Calvin believe that there was no trinity, just God, then the subordinates under him, Jesus and the holy ghost?

Grigs said...

Calvin was a trinitarian. I have no idea who said he wasnt however he or she is either a liar or an idiot. Read the Athanasian Creed and the Institutes to find out what Calvin taught. Or if you dont wanna read the institutes (just that section) read the Reformed Confessions for a nice summary.

Anonymous said...

If Calvin was a trinitarian why did Robert say God didn't die on the cros ?

Tom Parker said...

Robert:

Is there even the remotest chance you just might be wrong? Have you read the Shack?

Grigs said...

Because God did not die on the Cross. It is called the hypostatic union. There was never a moment God the son ceased to be God. It was Jesus as a man who died. Jesus was fully God AND fully man. As God Jesus could never be really tempted in the same way we are, could die, ect... but as man his temptation was real and he did die to reconcile the world to God. Also Robert may not have been clear. But by deffinition God cannot die or else it is not God. It is a logical contradiction. The hypostatic union makes the Gospel possible.

Anonymous said...

Is the hypostatic union in the Bible?

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