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

Never Too Late for Grace; Never Too Old to Change

The old saying "you can't teach old dogs new tricks"--though possibly challenged as to its veracity by The Dog Whisperer--is a common assumption by most.

Many feel that the older a person becomes, the less likely he will ever change. Cynicism only deepens when an older person faces imminent death and "comes to Christ."

 Many Christians feel that "jailhouse" or "fox-hole" conversions can't be real. Professed changes of character late in life, or minutes from death, seem to create cynicism.

But we who believe that the grace of God is often given in different seasons of life point to "the thief on the cross." Just hours before his death, he was converted to faith in Christ. However, even we who believe it's never too late to change don't fully understand the dramatic change that occurred in the thief within the last few hours of his death.

We often point out that of the two thieves crucified beside Christ, one mocked Him and was condemned, and the other one believed on Him and was taken to paradise upon death. But we don't see how bad off both were in the last hours of their lives.

When both thieves were initially hung on the crosses beside Christ, BOTH mocked him. Mark 15:32 says:
"And they that were crucified with him reviled him"
Something happened to one of the thieves. He who had mocked Christ at the 9:00 a.m. hour (Mark 15:32) came to the place by the afternoon where he rebuked the other thief for his mocking of Christ, saying:
Do you not fear God, seeing that you are experiencing the same condemnation? And we deserve our sentence of condemnation, a just punishment for our actions. But this man has done nothing wrong. Then he turned to Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
The story of the TWO thieves on the cross, who both mocked Christ at the beginning of the crucifixion, is testimony to us all that one is never too old, nor is it ever too late, to change.

In His Grace,

Wade

50 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

I saw a quotation once that made a lot of sense. It said "Those who are too old to learn were probably always too old to learn."

Lot of truth to that .. and it'd explain why some people don't see the plain truth of their actions, after years and years and years of people pointing them out.

Christiane said...

sometimes it takes a crucible to wake us up

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

“Many Christians feel that…“fox-hole” conversions can’t be real.”

They never heard the dying words of a soldier my father was holding in his arms:

“Yesterday, I thought I would be killed. I asked Jesus to save me. He stepped into my heart and I was so happy, I thought I’d live forever. I don’t know why I was hit today, but tell my mother I’ll met her in Heaven.”

My father’s letter arrived much later after a telegram was sent to his parents.

His mother wrote, “You’ll never know how much your letter meant to us.”

Scott Shaver said...

Bart Barber maintains that he resigned as an adjunct at SWBTS upon his appointment to its board of trustees. True?

Scott Shaver said...

Question of trustee appointment process is a separate question.

Wade Burleson said...


Scott,

News to me. I opposed his appointment from the floor of the Convention because he was an adjunct. I made Bart and a few of his friends upset over my oppositiong, but if he did resign, good for him.

Scott Shaver said...

Now we can discuss the nature of committee appointments in the SBC.

Personally, based on my experience of Patterson-Pressler mechanics in an age gone by (currently under reexamination) the hardball religion aspect if this particular scenario remains subject to question.

i.e. If the annual meeting approves the slate of trustee appointments, any adjuncts or "aspiring SBC polity wonks" or former SWBTS/student-acolytes of Patterson resign their employed status with a smile on their faces and the bigger political picture in mind.

One can always return to the classroom.

Scott Shaver said...

I am open to criticism that you can only "judge motives by your own stinking heart and motives" (Richard Jackson).

My point is that political appointments and "board/committee" process was the declared and documented modus operandai of Patterson-Pressler from the beginning. Mohler was a key ally.

Scott Shaver said...

"Aspiring polity wonk" is a self-description by Bart Barber at SBCVoices before Miller scrubs it😎

Scott Shaver said...
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Scott Shaver said...

Just look at the current composition of SBC Committees by vocation and/or curriculum vitae

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Anonymous said...

Wade,
Does the Bible teach us to be happy when justice is applied?

Christiane said...

"Justice" has to do with 'right' and 'wrong'; not with power and control, but lately that idea has got confused among good people and if it does not return to a good place, we will have lost something precious in our land

The many definitions of 'social justice' that have to do with power and control are usually pro the powerful, of course. And those the powerful see as their 'opponents' are then labeled 'the bad guys' and are seen as threatening the status quo.

But there is another definition of 'social justice' and it has to do with restoring respect for 'right' and in this definition, there is a thought that a powerful person or group doesn't have the 'right' to hurt the rest of us because they can, because of their greed, because they can lawfully poison the water and the air for whole communities where they would not set foot themselves. . . .

It is the group that destroys for greed that usually bad-mouths 'social justice' because they fear losing money if their schemes to make it at all costs, even human safety and health, are halted for the sake of 'the common good'. 'The common good'? A socialist term?
No. It means that NO government or group of wealthy politicians EVER has the right to poison innocent citizens so that the powerful can increase their wealth. It means American citizens, regardless of their status, have the right not to be poisoned with bad, lead-tainted water and 'social justice' means that those who have knowingly done the poisoning must be held accountable to clean it up. God will deal with those who knowingly support the ones who poisoned the innocent for profit. But for those of us with consciences, best avoid the greedy powerful interests who 'promise' but never deliver 'justice' for the unborn, while making the lives of living children hell on Earth.

some thoughts about 'justice'

A long time ago it was said that you could tell the goodness of a people from how they cared for the children of their COMMUNITY, how they cared for the sick, how they cared for those unable to care for themselves because of advanced age, or disability. So if we want to take our temperature as a nation, we need to look at the well-being of them which cannot survive without our care...... even if it costs us time and effort and money, for the sake of the One for Whom we witness before the watching world. The Good News never was 'I'm saved and I don't need to do anything to help the suffering people around me, so I won't.'

The Good News tells of a Savior Who teaches us to give of ourselves abundantly to those He places in our paths who are in great need of our kindness. In giving, we receive. There is no 'gospel' of selfish self-centered greed in a world where suffering is.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Christiane.

I assume that you have a great appreciation for confession. Here is a Baptist confession.

The “justice “ question was motivated by my guilty feelings over not feeling proper compassion for Pressler and Patterson in their
current situations.

Christiane said...

Hi Anonymous,

thanks for the 'confession' (I would call it more of a clarification, but I'm sorry I bounced off of your comment without comprehending the jist of it, so I appreciate your reply).

Yeah, I'm one who believes in the twinge people get when they are pointing to 'those other sinners' and saying 'thank God I'm not like them', which of course I do way too often and when the twinge comes, I also have a 'mea culpa' to pray, knowing I am also a sinner on whom God has looked.

It is said that Pressler's 'problem' was widely known, and yet people (even Christian friends) did not confront him???? I think they bear some responsibility now for not intervening or at least trying to help him overcome his burden . . . that he became a 'predator' is something that all of us are in horror of, yes, but we have to be horrified by the sickness of it and still, somehow, want this man to come to repent for the harm he has done to so many. . . .

And Patterson. I get sick thinking about the torment he put Dr. Klouda through and yet, I need to pull up and stop the 'pharisee' pointing and hope that this man gets some help so that he can properly repent and come to make peace and ask forgiveness of those people he harmed also.

As long as we hope for the healing of a person's soul, I think we can have those other feelings of revulsion for certain acts that caused harm to innocent people. But we must never stop praying 'Lord be merciful to me, a sinner' or we lose the perspective we need every day of our lives: to kneel at the foot of the Cross, rather than to throw stones down on 'those other sinners' . . . . it's a perspective that keeps us humble before the Lord and enables us to offer prayers for the souls of all of us together who need healing and forgiveness from Christ.

Anonymous said...

Christiane, you are a kind and wise Christian, even if you are a woman and a Catholic. Smiley faces with hearts.

Anonymous said...

Reality check: in today's world, politicized social justice means support for abortion on demand, for gay marriage, for p c speech along the lines of Canada's penalties for using the wrong pronoun, and for redistributing wealth by force.

Nothing Christlike about it.

Linda

Scott Shaver said...

Excellent points.

Scott Shaver said...

I see that the "aspiring polity wonk" Bart Barber has not answered the question about the timing and resignation of his role as an adjunct teacher and is allowing the King of Pravda to defend his virtue by proxy.

That's about as weak as it gets IMO. Miller as a character reference...πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Christiane said...

something for 'Linda' to think about:

in Trumpworld, the reapportioning of the tax burden by lowering taxes on the most wealthy and by increasing the tax burden on the lowest class (the working poor), is not the whole Trump economic position one of moving wealth upward?

and no one believes in 'trickle down' economics anymore, so that doesn't work as a come-back, especially as there are no stats to prove it works from the past and goodness knows it has certainly been tried before

'social justice' is a strong religious Christian idea . . . . and even though our early American ancestors were strong individuals, they still pulled together in communities to help when needed . . . . that IS a part of our American heritage and it IS based on our Judeo-Christian values, most certainly

I agree with Dwight McKissic over on SBCtoday. I think he was terribly attacked there with name-calling and I am surprised that the name-calling was permitted by administration. I thought they were better than that and that they permitted different ideas and encouraged respect. I am extremely disappointed in the administrators of SBCtoday for permitting the name-calling and abuse toward Dr. McKissic.

Christiane said...
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Scott Shaver said...

Christianne. With all due respect. This isn't high school and you're not a hall monitor. Mind your own business and I'll take care of mine. Especially when it comes to one Dave Miller.

Scott Shaver said...

Poor McMissic. Bless his race-baiting and persecuted little heart.

RB Kuter said...

Christiane refers to social injustices of the "trumpworld". That is laughable given the alternative she is likely to propose, which I would guess would be for us to defer to the socialist, abortionist, anti-Christian, immoralists of past communist ideologists. I guess you can put lipstick on any pig and call it beautiful. If I am wrong, wonder what her proposal would be for another political alternative.

See where Trump is pushing to defund all clinics propagating abortion. No other issue comes close to rising to the level of social injustice as abortion.

Christiane said...
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Christiane said...
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Scott Shaver said...

Bingo RB. Christian Science is neither "Christian" nor "scientific". Grape Nuts are neither grapes nor nuts.

And the brands of "social justice" articulated by MCkissic and our Catholic friend here are neither social or "just".

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne. I have watched you target baptist blogs for years. Your quest for for a Knights of Columbus Jr G-Man Badge does not qualify your opinions as either level-headed or factually based. Of this I have "NO doubt".

Scott Shaver said...

Notice that St Christianne is wholly unprepared to offer empirical evidence that the tax cuts are hurting the working class poor. Why?

Because its a lie. Pure and simple.

Scott Shaver said...

Mckissic loves to be attacked. He plays to that as a sick sort of self-righteous justification for his vascillating diatribe.

Just my observation.

Scott Shaver said...

I AM the working class poor. Tax cuts have certainly been a help to our family.

Scott Shaver said...

You scrubbed your comment Christianne. No courage? No principles?

Scott Shaver said...

You missed scrubbing this comment Christianne. Remember, "cleanliness is next to godliness" LOL

RB Kuter said...

Scott, we are together on this but I am guessing Wade would prefer that we avoid getting involved in political party campaigning. I got caught up in Christiane's introduction of a debate on secular politics but decided to erase my additional response on past administrations' move to manipulate equalization of income levels.

Scott Shaver said...

Wade can censor me if he likes RB. I have been tossed out blogs before. Very often indicates that one is either hopelessly off subject or hitting too close to home.

Perhaps we just chalk it all up as "Kingdom Politics"

Scott Shaver said...

Perhaps Christianne would consider reading "Up from Slavery" by Booker T Washington. Washington scalded black preachers who utilize the codified approach of McKissic.

Scott Shaver said...

Making a bee line for politically charged discussions is Christianne's MO, RB.

Homey don't play that.

Christiane said...

"Many Christians feel that "jailhouse" or "fox-hole" conversions can't be real. Professed changes of character late in life, or minutes from death, seem to create cynicism"


Wade, I think this is much like the story of the workers who came early and the ones who came later all receiving the same pay . . . those people who have lived their whole lives in friendship with God sometimes wonder about 'that other sinner' who converts in the blink of an eye before death . . . people wonder about the 'fairness' of this;
but for those who not pharisee-proud of their own life-long 'goodness', they are the ones who may come to Our Lord BECAUSE of His mercy to sinners . . . so grace is given to the humble and also an understanding of how it is that the Good Thief's humility opened his eyes to Who Our Lord was. . .

Yes, at some point after St. Dismas “reviled him,” and, before he asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom, Dismus the Good Thief 'changed' in a solemn dispay of humility before Our Lord, and Jesus was merciful to him . . . the humble thief


"There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored."
(Flannery O'Connor)

Debbie Kaufman said...

"Wade can censor me if he likes RB. I have been tossed out blogs before. Very often indicates that one is either hopelessly off subject or hitting too close to home. "


I would say you are hopelessly off topic but like most blogs that do, Wade usually doesn't toss people off, giving them freedom to comment, even if they are wrong and you are wrong about Dr. McKissic. Very, very wrong.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Scott: I think Christianne is very correct and you seem to be simply echoing arguments from Lydia who I think is wrong as well. Up From Slavery does no such thing. Booker Washington was speaking to whites and blacks but he was convincing both(rightfully so) that blacks could, should and are educated. Booker Washington spoke in such a way as to not anger the white people who back in that day were lynching and rioting against blacks who spoke out before him. He was not trying to incite a riot. His book was a best seller to whites and blacks. But he was not chewing anyone out. He was the son of slaves. He knew the horrors of slavery and of being black and kept down by the white people. He sought to change that without violence. He succeeded. But that is not the topic of this thread, so that is all I will say.

Christiane said...

Hello Debbie,

you said to the person who identifies as 'Scott', this:
"you seem to be simply echoing arguments from Lydia"

it seems 'Lydia' has a way of showing up through various entities with different names and it is strange to me how similar many of these comments are in the venom they express, but I have a real problem with how they are now targeting Dr. McKissic. They have crossed over a line and entered into something profoundly evil, in my opinion. But why? What did that good man ever do to stir up that kind of malevolence? Sometimes, Debbie, I think the malevolence was already there and just looking for a target but there is something different about it this time. And I cannot stand by and see the verbal bullying of Dr. McKissic without comment.

What is going on that that good man has to be victimized by such hatred and contempt?
BTW, thank you for your support of him on SBCtoday. Time for prayers has come, I think.
Never too late for grace to intervene but I think that this time, there is real ill-will being shown in the degree of malevolence towards Dr. McKissic and I am concerned for any who have encouraged that malevolence which can't get any worse in my opinion.

Rex Ray said...

On the subject of ‘death-bed salvation’ why did Emperor Constantine wait until his death to be baptized?

BTW, who is Dr. McKissic?

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

I think Constantine's excuse for putting baptism off was that he wanted to be baptize in the Jordan River, as Our Lord had been;
but then, when he was approaching death, he went ahead and had a bishop baptize him. Of course no one knows what was in his heart, but it is known that his mother Helena was a very Christian woman and perhaps he sought baptism in her honor. (?)

Dr. McKissic is a Southern Baptist preacher, Rex. He has been badly attacked for opposing a 'resolution' that you can read over on SBCtoday blog. But I think, because of the terrible degree of the attacks which are malicious, it has gone beyond 'disagreement' into something far worse, I fear. I stand by Dr. McKissic because I think he has integrity and is a decent Christian person. You might know him as 'Dwight McKissic'.

Have a good Sunday, and stay well.

Scott Shaver said...

Typical Debbie Kaufman logic. It was the evil white devils who MADE Booker T Washington express such thoughts.

No way she has read the work, much less ingested the man’s ideas. And the idea that Washington only worked, wrote or spoke what would be palatable to “evil” white folks like myself is far more racially denigrating than anything I’ve said about the race-baiter Mckissic.

Congratulations ladies (Debbie and Christianne) you win the Sunday morning award for crass ignorance on display, Louis Farrakhan would be proud. Fitting pair ...Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumber.

Scott Shaver said...

The thread that comprises the “attack” on Mckissic is found, I understand, at SBC Voices. Looks to me like McKissic was the one who came charging in on attack mode and the British gentleman handled his rhetoric of division and discord about as well as I’ve ever seen it handled. McKissic departed the conversation unable to substantially offer a defense for his deplorable ideas and accusations.

Don’t take the word of these two sorely misguided ladies over the actual dialogue. Read it for yourself and formulate your own conclusions.

As far as McKissic’s continuing antics, I’m delighted to see people of good will and biblical focus calling upon him to substantiate his rhetoric.

Scott Shaver said...

In fact, Dr Kaufman, as I read the comment thread in question (SBC Today not Voices), you offered your denigrating view of Booker T Washington at the time to George Washington Carver who died in 1940s. You had to have it pointed out that you weren’t even discussing the correct historical figure. LOL.

Pick a subject or figure from history, any subject, facts don’t matter because the propaganda and shtick of your “crusade” is one size fits all.

As an egalitarian, I am willing to address such ignorance indiscriminately whether the source be male or female. And when it comes to racially divisive and non-biblical attitudes, am willing to call them out regardless of the racist’s skin color or even his/her public professional status as a “minister of the gospel”.

Scott Shaver said...
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Scott Shaver said...

So the position of Ms Kaufman is that Booker T Washington was "Uncle Tom" personified.

Glad it was her and not me implying such.

Even us "evil" white guys know where to draw the line.

Scott Shaver said...

The commenter who "identifies" as "Scott Shaver", "Christianne" does so because that is my actual name.

I'm not hiding here in The Woodlands TX" and very easy to find regarding personal information online.

Does the same hold true for the online identity of one "Christianne"?