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

The Path to Happiness In Life May Surprise You

A person whose life has 'crashed and burned' because of poor choices made told my wife and me that they'd just finished reading my book Happiness Doesn't Just Happen.

"I never understood the gospel," this person said.

"I've been in church all my life and never comprehended who I am by God's grace. I've been looking for something from other people. Truth is, I've had what I've needed from my heavenly Father all along, but I made other people my source, looking for happiness from them. I've now realized that what I was looking I had all along in my relationship with God."

Pretty powerful stuff.

One of the truths this person came to understand through reading my book is this:

"I am justified."


What Is Justification?


Justification is a big word almost better described than defined. Let me give you some descriptive ideas to help understand the concept of justification. 

The word itself carries as its root the word "just" or "justified." If you type on the computer you have an option that allows you to "justify" the margin --- this means to make straight.

To be justified means to be straight as opposed to crooked (see Phil. 4:15 for the use of "crooked" in terms of evil).

To be justified also means to be right. If I were to say to you that the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl because of their deep talent, you might say I was dreaming. But if the Cowboys actually won the Super Bowl next January you would say I was "justified" in what I said last October.

So again, when I am justified, I am right and straight instead of wrong and crooked.

Justification carries with it the idea of being as you ought to be. The Puritans would use "oughtness" as a synonym for "righteousness." So, when I am justified, I am declared by God to be righteous or as "I ought to be."

So, combining all the descriptive ideas from above, let's give a working definition for justification.
Justification --- is the declaration of God that I am as I ought to be; that I am considered by my Creator as "right, straight, and perfectly rightteous."

 How Can I Be Justified? 


The problem with justification is that truly honest people know that they aren't as they are never as they ought to be.

I will never be one-hundred percent the best pastor, the best father, the best man I could be. Ever. "There is no one righteous (e.g. "as they ought to be"), no not one" (Romans 3:10).

So how does God declare me something I'm not?

Here is the key:
“Abram believed in the Lord; and God counted it to him for righteousness”  (Genesis 15:6). 
This one verse is repeated several times throughout the Bible “Therefore, it [faith] was credited to him [Abraham] as righteousness” (Romans 4:22). “Abraham believed God and it [his believing] was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3), and “faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 5:3). What does this verse, repeated several times in Scripture, mean?

Abram is called by the Apostle Paul "the father of all them that believe" (Romans 4:11).

What happened to Abram when he believed God, is exactly the same thing that happens to us when we believe what God says about us in Christ.

Listen to what Paul says:
"Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more I consider everthing a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not have a righteousness of my own that comes from my obedience to the law, but a righteousness that comes from God and is by the faith of Christ. . . " (Phil. 3:7-9 NIV).
Does it mean my faith in God becomes my righteousness? 

Absolutely not. Our righteousness is Christ's righteousness credited to us by God. We have no righteousness of our own.

Does it mean the kind of faith you have in God determines the amount of your righteousness?

Heaven's no. Then you would have different levels of "spirituality" in the church (by the way, this is exactly what happens in 'works' oriented congregations).

The verse "Abram believed in the Lord and he credited it to him for righteousness" means that my faith in God is my connection to God’s righteousness which is in Christ.
"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

What Happens When I Understand "I am justified"? 


 Dr. John Gill used to say, "God sees no sin in His people because of the righteousness of Christ." 

Dr. Gill did not mean that God's people have no sin experientially because we all do. He that says he does not sin deceives himself (I John 1:8). 

Dr. Gill also was also not saying that God doesn't see sin with His omniscient eyes and takes disciplinary steps to correct or discipline His children because of it. 

In fact, if any person is without this chastening from God, that person is not God's child. 

But according to Gill, the discipline of God's children has not one ounce of God's judicial or righteous wrath in it --- His discipline is laced with love and joy, is always corrective and compassionate in nature, and is never punitive, hateful or condemning.

Gill was simply saying that a holy God absolutely delights and enjoys the presence of His people because they have been connected to the righteousness of Christ by faith.

The wrath of God has been propitiated, and for those who are "in Christ," a righteousness that is outside of them (Christ's righteousness) is given to them as a gift. This is what enables God to declare them "justified;" believing sinners are "righteous" in the eyes of God, and He relates to them with the same joy and acceptance as He relates to His eternal Son.

Until people can come to the place that they give up ALL HOPE of being right with God by their own personal obedience, they will never fully enjoy the benefits of being justified by God

Here are a few of the delights of justification:

1. The understanding that "I am justified"  gives me incredible PEACE.

Luther said understanding justification was like entering a paradise of peace with God. He called it the foundational doctrine of the church. Paul said, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 8:1).

2. The understanding that "I am justified" gives me SECURITY.

"He [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

My righteousness does not shift like the sands of the seashore. It is not dependent upon my temperament, my faithfulness, or my good works. It is found "in Christ."

Some ridicule justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ by calling it "imputed nonsense" (John Wesley), and come up with "methods" or "methodical" ways (methodism) that people can become more righteous.

The great Methodist George Whitefield opposed Wesley's method of progressive righteousness and preached the gospel of the righteousness of Christ and the doctrine of justification by God's grace all along the colonial seaboard in the 18th Century. His preaching led to what we know as The Great Awakening.

We need another awakening in evangelicalism.

3. The understanding that "I am justified" gives me FREEDOM.
“You will not need the approval of others. You will not need the ego-supports of wealth or power or revenge. You will be free. You will overflow with love. You will lay down your life in the cause of Christ for the joy that is set for you. Look to Christ and trust him for your righteousness” John Piper.
John Bunyan, the writer of Pilgrim's Progress, struggled terribly before he came to a settled faith in Christ. Here's what he wrote:
"One day as I was passing into the field . . . this sentence fell upon my soul. Thy righteousness is in heaven. And methought, withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God's right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, he wants [lacks] my righteousness, for that was just before [in front of] him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, "The same yesterday, today and, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
"Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God." (John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, [Hertfordshire: Evangelical Press, 1978, orig. 1666], pp. 90-91)

4. The understanding that "I am justified" allows me to FORGIVE. 

The reason forgiveness is so difficult for many is because there's not a sense within of being forgiven and fully justified.

If I know God has wiped my slate clean, then I can freely wipe the slate clean of the one I love.

God warmly embraces the sinner who trusts Him. God enjoys the presence of the ungodly who are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. As my father loves to say, "God has your picture on His refrigerator door." You are as you ought to be in His eyes.

The evidence of how much you believe in God's warm embrace of you is how warmly you embrace other sinners who express that their faith and their hope is in Christ.

But some will surely object by saying, "God hates SIN, and so do I."

The Bible tells us God loves sinners and embraces those who embrace Him. This is a faithful saying and worthy of your full acceptance (I Timothy 1:15).

God embraces you. Yes, He will always gently, efficiently and eventually remove you from your sin with Divine tenderness --- because sin is a destructive and deadening influence in your life --- but He warmly embraces you and sings over you with joy.

Your sin has already been dealt with by Him.

"If I believed what you just taught, I'd live like the devil."

No. Just the opposite.

No person ever fully grasps the eternal love of God for His people in Christ Jesus and comes away unmoved. It is the love of God for us through Christ which constrains from sin internally.

Rather than trust the work of God in the justification, the legalist will place emphasis on extrabiblical and external rules out of fear.

But the graced believer who enjoys his justification by God's grace is quite comfortable in the righteousness of Christ and will resist any attempt to add duties or laws to be "holy," or maintain "righteousness" in the eyes of God.

I am a child of Abraham.

My faith in Christ "is credited to me as righteousness."

I rest in Him.


42 comments:

Christiane said...

From the Holy Gospel of St. Luke (chapter 18), a teaching about justification before God:



"11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed,
‘God, I thank You that I am not like the other men—swindlers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I receive.’

13But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’

14 I tell you, this man, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”



(In this chapter of the "kata Loukan evangelion", Our Lord was speaking to some "who trusted in their own righteousness and viewed others with contempt".)

Bob Cleveland said...

It seems simple, to me:

1) I am justified ... God's decision, by the way ... in light of my faith. Done deal. I no longer fear the end result, or the daily trials, of being unjustified.

2) In light of that, I am enabled to lead a life of faith.

Knowing that God loves me (Calvary proved that), I need to look to the instructions that came from my manufacturer, to see what I ought to be doing. And, since He loves me, it seems obvious that what He tells me to do is for my happiness, not for His.

And happy? There are, depending on the translation, 22 to 28 references to "happy" in scripture, and it's obvious He wants us happy. So, connect the dots: DO WHAT HE RECOMMENDS WE DO.

The results are stunningly obvious to me...

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Back from the hospital. I was on one cane; now I’m on two canes. Four days earlier, I was replacing broken zip ties on rope lighting of a star 50 foot in the air, but they wouldn’t let me walk ten feet to the bathroom without an escort. If I even sat up in bed an alarm would go off that would wake the dead. The bed was a ‘brick-bat’ that killed my back. After begging, they let me sit in a reclining chair. They even put an alarm on it. They took a culture that takes five days for results. I wanted to leave and come back when the culture would tell what antibiotics I needed, but they said no. (Hospitals don’t make money if the patient is home.) After three days, a “good” doctor convinced them to let me leave. He’ll give me the right antibiotics next Monday.

Your “Let me give you…” reminds me of a T-shirt given to my brother that said, “I’m not arguing with you, I’m explaining why you’re wrong.”

You said, “To be justified means to be straight as opposed to crooked (see Phil. 4:15 for the use of “crooked” in terms of evil).”
“As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help…no other church did this.” (Phil. 4:15 NLT) It’s obvious Phil. 4:15 is not the reference you meant.

Let me rewrite you saying: “…truly honest people know that they aren’t as they are never as they ought to be.”

‘…truly honest people know they will never be as they ought to be.’ :)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” (Romans 8:1) “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

“He [God] made Him who knew no sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21)
“For God made Christ who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

“The same yesterday, today and, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (NLT)

“The Bible tells us God loves sinners and embraces those who embrace Him. This is a faithful saying and worthy of your full acceptance.” (1Timothy 1:15)
“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”---and I am the worst of them all.” (NLT)

Your mentioning football reminds me of a true story of the coach telling his team that his father was seriously ill in the hospital and would be watching the game on TV; a win would lift his spirits.
Toward the end of the game and down 36-0, one player in the huddle said, “Well, the coaches father is probably dead by now.” :)

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

thanks for the update on your ankle troubles . . . glad you were allowed to escape the hospital and yes, they WILL try to keep people who are insured longer than it seems necessary, at least I think so. . . .

I hope this new antibiotic takes effect and helps your problem. And if not, I hope they keep trying to find what will. Try to stay out of trouble with being 50 feet in the air until you get better, and as I read about your work with the ties and the star at that height, I thought 'yep, he's not behaving'. :)


As to the discussion of 'justification', this:
I think about 'being as we ought to be' and about St. Francis of Assisi who had a visceral aversion to lepers which kept him from going among them and ministering to them. Then something happened, an 'intervention' and Francis wrote this:
"The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them."

I found this also, which followed up on how Francis was transformed to 'oughtness' (Wade's Pilgrim phrase describing a state of 'justification'):

"Francis was like everybody in his society in ignoring, marginalizing and dismissing the outcasts left to survive outside the city gates. His cultural expectations were to not interact with the lepers, yet Francis is moved by something — love, the Holy Spirit — to shirk the cultural expectations in order to enter into a new way of living in the world.

Francis, in embracing the leper, demonstrates yet another example of breaking ties with his social class and previous worldview. It demanded something of him, more than he might have realized early on in his conversion experience. What would ultimately culminate with the public rejection of his father began with the smaller breaks with a way of life, with a culture, with a worldview that separated people from one another and supported a system of willful ignorance in the face of the plight of others.

What Francis reminds us today is that, in order to follow more perfectly the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (as the Franciscan Rule begins), we might have to stand against our culture by standing with others, the lepers of today: the forgotten and the voiceless and the poor."
https://datinggod.org/2011/04/02/embracing-the-leper-standing-against-the-culture-by-standing-with-others/

So, my own understanding of the word 'justification' is that it has SOMETHING IMPORTANT to do with that phrase of Francis' 'and the Lord Himself led me'

so before Francis could go among the lepers, Our Lord first healed him :)

This, I understand :)
and it corresponds with Wade's phrase ' a righteousness that comes from God '

Do I understand perfectly the Baptist concept of 'righteousness'? Probably not. But in my way, I can see something in it that is meaningful to me and not surprisingly, what is meaningful is centered on Christ Who shepherds us beyond our fears.

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

Thanks again for your insight.

On the subject of lepers. The missionary pastor was absent in the Tokyo Baptist Church. The looks of his substitute made me think we were going to hear a ‘cut and dry’ sermon. But he told of preaching at a church in a country of persecution. It was at night and the only light was a few candles. Everyone had a hood over their face. Afterwards, he stood by a narrow exit door and extended his hand but no one shook it, so he gave each a hug.

Later he said to the pastor, “I noticed all the people were women.”

“Yes, they’re from a leper colony. Your hug was the first time they’ve been touched in years.”

With the voice of an angel, the substitute started singing, “He touched me.”

I don’t feel good about giving Wade a hard time. I guess I was in a bad mood. Have an appointment with a chiropractor today about my back.

Christiane said...

REX, a very beautiful story about the substitute missionary pastor and the women lepers. Thank you.

Chiropractor Day, hmmmmm . . . . you're having quite a week, my friend.

All this trouble doesn't seem to put a damper on your ability to tell a good story, though. That is a blessing for sure. :)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

My father had a saying, “If a person had five friends in life, they were a success.

I count you as one of mine.

Romycat Black said...

Wow that is a whole lot of something.

To be honest, how in the world did I get along in my Christian walk without ever thinking about that?

I'm going to be blunt.

Doesn't the idea of justificatiin give people some holier than thou attitude about being right?

And doesn't that get misconstrued as I am right, I can sin I am forgiven, and I am justified through faith, so screw you , I am better than those around me, and especially sinners?

Because to be perfectly honest what this all translates to me is , I can say I am christian be justified by faith, screw around, make big huge sins in my life, treat others like crap, point to people sins and "call them out" just because I am justified? And I am right about it.

I see lots of people doing this. I see lots of people claiming this and you know what? They stink. They have a cloud of self righteousness floating around them that stinks.


And I am going to go further out on a limb and say this whole thing , this whole, well God came for sinners thus I sin but I am made clean as a whistle so God forgive me, and all is good is what is wrong in the church. It doesn't leave room for I am bankrupt before God understanding. And heaven forbid grow true humility in understanding that concept.

I am wondering out loud here, and wondering if this idea has made the church as filthy as it is.

Because Wade what you write might be true but it sure isn't what people do.

And I don't even know if it is all true.

Because, Iam outside the church, this is what I see,

Pastors, who rape, molest their tiniest sheep.
Pastors who use and abuse women inthe church through so many different avenues.
Pastors who love money.
Pastors who love fame.
Pastors who love thesound of their own voice and words.
Pastors who build massive monumental buildings .
Pastors who have leadership everything, as opposed to making disciples.

Pastors who love p,anes, cars,massive homes, etc.
Pastors who lie. Lie through ommissiin, lie through the abuse of doctrine.
Pastors who justify themselves when caught in sin.

The list goes on forever.

So then how is this justification theory working when it comes down to how shepherds use it in the church to justify all these things?
And this is at the top of the chain. What happens as this filters down?

Seriously, all I can think of are lousy Christian's calling out the sins of the unsaved all the while using this theory to sin it up behind closed doors and even open ones.

And where is the humility in that? If anything most christian churches have zero idea of humility. If you carefully digest The beatitudes each one builds on the other, poor in spirit, and understanding and weeping over understanding how the state of the church is, thus mourning with thowe who mourn. It is an entirely introspective study on the state of our hearts and humility.

I really think this justification thing blinds the church to how they really behave
.
And I don't think you will be able to see it unless you left the church for a couple of years and see what others see. Because if you remain inside it, you can't see it at all.
And a little caveat, there are a handful of churches out there with pastors not like the above.
This was an overview of what we see who don't go to the club but which watch from the sidelines.






"The Bible tells us God loves sinners and embraces those who embrace Him. This is a faithful saying and worthy of your full acceptance (I Timothy 1:15)."

I always thought this was addressing 'sinnners' as the unsaved who had not been transformed, not christians who perpetually sin, because they can and get away with it.

Just my thoughts.

It's okay if nobody agrees with this.

Rex Ray said...

Romycat,

Everyone has a ‘filter’ in their brain that is as different as our fingerprints. All ‘things’ go through our filters for processing. For instance my ‘filter’ is ‘sex for marriage only’. Our filters are shaped by people and circumstances that we have experienced. Your experiences as a child are horrible and will always affect your thinking.

I believe if you’d been rescued as those in this story, your filter would be very different.


CHRISTIANE,

Speaking of stories, some may not have read this one.

Were Angels Watching?
by Rex Ray

In 2006, my cousin, from Bonham, Texas; Gary Hicks, and his grown son, Jared, went on a mission trip to Colorado with a large group. Gary and Jared did a lot of mountain climbing.

On the way back, Gary felt they should return to their ‘meeting town’ a shorter way, but it was a small mountain road with no guardrails. Everyone else went back the long way.

Going up a steep hill, they thought they saw a shaft of ‘smoke’ shoot up in the sky and disappear. They didn’t realize the ‘smoke’ was steam caused by hot metal that lasted for a few seconds.

Curious; they stopped at the top and walked to the edge of an 80-foot cliff. They saw a van upside down in a river.

They got their ropes and repelled down the cliff. A family of four were trapped by seatbelts and trying to breathe in a foot of airspace.

The father who had gone to sleep driving was injured. Two young boys were in the back seat.

They got them out and to the road. The first car by was a paramedic on vacation. The next was a patrol car who called a helicopter that took them to a hospital.

Gary and Jared were eating pizza when the others drove into town.

Christiane said...

Hey to REX RAY,

love your story about the Providence of God!

the older I get, the less I think things are not 'connected' but that story hits a lot of marks for the Good Lord working in not so mysterious ways . . . the thing about His Providence is that it's likely there a thousand times for every one time we recognize it and give thanks


Hello to Romy. I HEAR YOU!
I don't comprehend the language of evangelical Christianity very well, so I don't pretend to understand Wade's post completely. I just hope to glean something from it to increase my own understanding a bit, and I have done, so I am grateful.

There are some sites where your comment fits, though. One is SBCtoday which has hosted the most dreadful articles condemning trans people and others with gender issues . . . painful to read. It's too much for me . . . there are some people there who are SO negative towards 'those other sinners' that I do believe they inspired one administrator to tweet some dreadful comments even about Wade and the administrator has since apologized, thank God.
Yes. There your comment would likely fit rather well on that blog. They need to hear you.

I do know this: the Christian witness of humble people like Wade and Bob Cleveland and Rex Ray outshines any failure on my part to understand their 'doctrinal expressions' on 'justification'.
If you only knew how much these people have cared for those in difficulties, you would realize that much in your comment doesn't apply to these men and those like them. It's like the truth of that Franciscan saying:

'Preach the Good News at all times,
if necessary, use words'

When witnesses show forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit in how they treat others who are in difficulty or suffering or in need of ministry,
then you can trust the evidence of their loving-kindness to 'explain' that they are rooted in Christ and depend on Him. Wade, Bob, and Rex are humble witnesses to the GOOD News in how they have lived their faith.

So, where am I? Well, this Catholic gets the teaching from St. Luke's Holy Gospel about the Pharisee and the tax collector about 'justificationl;
so I absolutely get what you are saying about the IMPRESSION coming from self-righteous judgmental people who speak about their own 'justification' while pointing the finger and showing contempt for 'those other sinners'. I more than get it, and I too am disgusted, having seen my own tendency to sometimes fall into that pit......

But for Wade, and Bob, and Rex, there is a Christ-like humility that doesn't fit the Pharisee pattern. :) I can speak for them in good conscience.


(doesn't mean I agree with some of the politics or Rex's conspiracy theories !!!! LOL)

Thanks for being a needed voice, Romycat.



Romycat Black said...

Oh hey, yah my view is tainted for sure.
But is that bad? I mean I am willing to immerse myself in these truths and not look away and pretend they don't exist, or aren't as bad as it looks.

But a lot of my views have come from observance as an adult since 2008.
And a lots of it stems from the loudest voices out there proclaiming one thing and doing another.

I have spent a good deal of years infact studying the evangelical patterns and fruit from it. Simply because I wanted to KNOW why such sin abounds in the church. I wanted to KNOW what types of teachings or lack thereof that produces such a rich soil for such sin to grow in the church.

So yes my own experiences tell me such sin exists and flourishes in a church environment, but what I am after is what is in the soil that makes sin flourish? What kind of ground is it?

And it is a very complex issue. It's not one thing but many things.

There is one consistent attribute that I have noticed that allows sin to flourish.

Arrogance/pride

Arrogance is an incredibly sneaky hidden problem. It can be so rooted and deep seated and manifests itself in the most subtle ways.

So do I understand there are some people out there who live a life of humilty? Off course.

But I am making a blanket statement about the over all church in the west.

And it occurred to me that this "justification" while I theologically understand it, somewhere I think it has gone wayward.

I just dont think I or even others really have a clue about the depth of meaning of justification.
Paul had a deep deep transformation and in that understood his complete and utter humanity because he knew and realized and felt the utter depths of his own arrogance in thinking he was justified in killing Christians.

And when the realization of who Christ was and what he did to Christ's followers must have shredded himself inside, a man who was at the top of his education, followed the letter of the law faithfully understood how all that arrogance was rubbish. He must have had such anguish to the depths of his soul.

This is what I and the majority of us don't have. I mean I brush off my own sin. when have I actually allowed God to take of my own blinders? Even now as I write this.

Do I have arrogance? Yes, probably far deeper than I can comprehend. Or want to admidt to myself, nevermind anyone else.

When Paul writes, and when I look at his life experiences, especially how he was so careful not to taint the gospel, devalue it, or make it null and void by his own actions it freaks me out. It is so deep. He understood something far deeper than we do.

Then I look at the church. And I just think my God we are so not there. We dont have a clue.

Plus it doesn't help that I get a daily dose of convicted pastors and youth workers caught in heinus acts in my news feed. And if they are this wayward what about those under them?

What about the most visible christians in the media saying and doing atrocious things?
I swing back and forth looking at the holy rolling christians, to the fundamentalists, to the wild and crazy Bill Johnson types. To the Mark Driscol's and John McArthur to the Todd Bentley's. Back to Doug Phillips, Jimbob Duggar. Michael Pearl.

And there are so many more!!!

Who in this day and age cares for the reputation of the gospel so much their whole life revolves around their actions so as to not sully or discredit what Christ has done?


This is reality.

Rex Ray said...

Romycat,

More fuel for your impression of some Christians is this link:

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/5/31/next-act-in-southern-baptist-drama-judge-paul-pressler-still-fighting-closet-accusations

David Flick in 2006 wrote: “30 people, 2 Boards, 4 Seminary Trustees, 2 Committees, and 1 News Service who Screwed up the Southern Baptist Convention.”

First on the list of people was Paul Pressler who was a judge and wrote a book “On a Hill which to Die”. His book was the guide for Fundamentalists to high-jack the Southern Baptist Convention. (I believe his book title should be, On a Hill which to Kill.)

Later, it became know he sexually abused many boys. His life size picture is on stain glass that decorates the chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas.

In the same chapel, is the picture of Paige Patterson. He was president of SWBTS for 15 years. He was recently fired for covering up sexual rape of a student.

Romycat Black said...

Rex Ray thanks, ugh that first book sounds so awful.
How is it ok to mount a life sized stained glass of someone so vile?

It reeks of self elevation. Ugh. I am just baffled how this is viewed ok by the church? Something is so wrong in the mindset of Christians.

This behaviour just cannot be reconciled with the life of Christ and his disciples.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Jesus said John the baptist was the greatest man, and John the Baptist said I must decrease so he must increase.

This is our example.

Christiane said...

"Jesus said John the baptist was the greatest man, and John the Baptist said I must decrease so he must increase.

This is our example."


Romy, the words of John the Baptist are not much understood by the likes of those who erect stained glass windows to themselves in a Church, no. Nor is 'humility' (although the Eastern Christians get the concept better than us Western Christians).

But the man who did these things also hurt someone very badly, and Wade, Bob, and others came to her assistance (Wade did this at a terrible cost to himself), and they did not abandon her. This example for me tells me that they HAVE UNDERSTOOD what St. John was saying in that scripture . . . . they stood up for someone being persecuted and they did not abandon her to her fate. The lady was Dr. Shari Klouda who was fired from SWBTS (South Western Baptist Theological Seminary) when Patterson took control because she was a woman. She was an honored teacher of Hebrew, much recognized for her excellent work. At the time, she had a husband with severe heart trouble and a daughter still in high school.

So I know from this that some evangelical people 'get it' about humility before the Lord, yes.

Romy, google up Istoria Ministries and Dr. Shari Klouda, and read about what happened.
Then you can see what I saw. It reads like an epic tale worthy of a novel or a documentary. Wade wrote many many posts about this and it is something I wish was far more widely known and read about in the Christian world, yes.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

"Who in this day and age cares for the reputation of the gospel so much their whole life revolves around their actions so as to not sully or discredit what Christ has done?"

Romy, I think when people do for others out of the love of Christ, they forget about themselves and are freed to dwell in God's grace without fear of letting Christ down.

Example: Lottie Moon, a Southern Baptist missionary to China, who in a famine gave her own food away to her beloved Chinese and died of the effects of starvation weighing only sixty pounds.

We need our 'saints' examples for the times when the rest of us let Him down out of fear or out of lack of love for others, or out of selfishness . . . their witness tells us what is possible when 'self' is laid aside so that Our Lord may 'increase'.

There are saints out there, but they are a humble lot, and only in passing may we here their stories these days . . . like those women of all faiths who helped a refugee woman get to her child to be reunited by organizing a 'relay' across country for her. Like those people during the hurricanes and the floods who went out to help others at their own peril.
This is not something done by these people for 'credit' or for 'pay' or for a 'photo op', no. It is done out of 'love' because these acts are done for the good of others without thought of one's own costs or well-being. Self is 'laid aside' for others. Out of love for them. It's happening. And the people doing these things are humble, not seeking to be known or recognized. They want only to help.

Christiane said...

"This is the move, the turning around, we all called to make, every day of our lives, and the move that with grace we can always make:
to turn from the world to God,
and so to see God in the world, where He has always been."

"there is a sequence here, a blessed sequence–because first we humble ourselves . . .
and then suddenly our burden lightens and we realize we’re loved,
we are forgiven, we can just live in the world, in reality, free and easy and at home
along with everyone else who is intimately and infinitely loved."
(Deacon Chris Anderson)

http://deaconchrisanderson.com/tag/dorothy-day/


From Deacon Anderson, comes some quotes that I think are the closest I can get to comprehending the nexus of Wade's post with the sacred Scriptures from St. Luke's Gospel.

(glad I found these quotes by Deacon Anderson, who is also, like me, a devotee of that beloved imperfect saint, Dorothy Day)

Romycat Black said...

Christiane.

I appreciate your defense of those on here and others. I am listening to you, I understand what you are writing.

I'm not worried about those deeds and acts you don't hear about. That is the way it is to be. You don't announce your good works before men. You don't know what your left or right hand is doing.

Those unsung heros just go about doing their thing, not looking for any pats on the back.
The world doesn't notice those. And I think that is kind of how it was meant to be.

I'm talking about the very visible church. The one which claims a higher holier standard who pushes a heaavy burden on it's followers but who dont lift a finger themselves. Unless they do and want the world to know.

The church especially the evangelical church does not seem to grasp the idea that it is turning people away in droves because of it's hypocrisy.

Because of an entitled cheap grace, cheap forgiveness all the while pointing fingers at ther sin. It's very entitled justification. That's okay I'm justified and God sees me as righteous. So I can go sin er up.

I have listened to Ronnie Floyd speak a terrible sermon based out of fear, and judgement against homosexuality and other issues. And yet his good old boys club is full of sexual immorality.

His SBC pastors are turning out pedophiles, rapists at an alarming rate. Then it defends the rapists and beats the beaten battered sheep.
This is the visible church. This is what people in the US and beyond see and hear. Heck, I don't even live in the USA and I know about these guys.

This double standard is not going to turn out well for the church.
This deception and sin is tainting the gospel.

The average unchurched person does not undestand denominations . They see a hypocritical religion full of sexual immorality calling out others sin of immorality.

They are going to lump the unsung humble, christian along with the other ones who are ruining it.

OR they themselves ( the church) are gonna throw the ones who are righteous under the bus. Like it has happened before historically.

My friend has a boyfriend who is completely unchurched. Doesn't know a thing about religion except that they pilfer money, abuse the church for money to make assets for themselves.

He says I know that is wrong. I would never do that. So why would I belong to an organization who does it?

And this is a guy who has Hells Angels for friends. So you know he hangs with guys or used to with a very different moral code.

Guitar Hack said...

Romycat,
Though in the last couple of years I've read almost all of these blog posts going back to 2008 or so (by the way, great blog, Wade!), I've never commented, but I felt I needed to now... Not because I have an answer for you, but just to say, I think you are right on. As Christiane wrote, there are some truly humble servants of Jesus out there, but it seems most of us are stuck in some sort of complacent, smug, comfortable alternate Christian universe that is far from, and many times the opposite of, the self-sacrificing, treating others as more important than ourselves Christianity found in the Bible. Once again, no answer, just lots of thoughts... is it our rich society, lack of persecution, teaching one theological idea to the exclusion of others, over-emphasis on learning more and lack of emphasis on doing what we know to do (ie the foolish man building his house on the sand)??? I just don't know, and the answer is probably way above my pay grade.

But in the middle of all of this, I decided one thing: I was the problem, and I desperately needed God to help me to change. I couldn't gripe about other Christians, especially if I was doing the same thing. Over quite a period of time I prayed some uncomfortable prayers (almost hoping God wouldn't answer... such as for more faith, more humility, that he would break me out of this luke warm comfort zone to which I was accustomed). Reading and rereading Phillipians 2 hit me hard, and maybe a tiny bit started sinking in...I am the servant of every person I meet! Yikes! And then I had to put it into action, not just know it. Because I am the problem.

But if I'm the problem, then maybe, with God's strength, I can be a part of the solution. No big heroics for me, that's for sure. But maybe I can give up some free time to help a neighbor, or stop the car and help someone broken down beside the road. It could be having enough humility to ask for forgiveness. Maybe it's something as little as giving the harried mother on the airplane a reassuring smile, just to let her know not EVERYONE on the plane hates her and her screaming child! :))))) A lot of times, that's all I've got!


Guitar Hack said...

Continued...
But I hope it all comes with a tiny dose of humility, knowing that all my good works are like a pile of nasty rags, and that as a treasonous rebel against the rightful King, I am SO deserving of capital punishment... and instead of doing what every king on earth would rightfully do, He sent His own Son to die, instead of me. Then He adopted me, the rebel, the traitor, the condemned, as His son ... not just put off to the side, and saved from destruction, but given all the rights and privileges of His son, even the privilege of being an ambassador, a representative of His kingdom, so that even that little smile at the harried mother, feeble, insignificant thing that it is, has great meaning, because for that split second, I was the person the King put there, at that moment, at that particular place, to be His representative. What a great honor, to one so undeserving!

So Romycat, that's why I don't think this idea of justification is necessarily the problem, because a correct view of justification requires a gritty, awful view of the rebellion and sin we were justified FROM. I could be wrong, though.

What I do know is, I am the problem, so if I can take every opportunity I can to respond in humility instead of in pride, or to serve instead of to be served, or to respond to sin with love and care as a fellow sinner, instead of with self-righteousness or condemnation, maybe God will fan that tiny flame into something bigger, so that my wife and kids may catch on, and maybe my neighbors, and on and on. It may just be foolishness on my part to hope for that, because at this point in my life, I really do not feel capable of doing much worthwhile, but ... "Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NET

It's much too late here to be writing anything important, so good night y'all, from France.
Nolan

Christiane said...

Romycat, thank you for responding.

you wrote, "My friend has a boyfriend who is completely unchurched. Doesn't know a thing about religion except that they pilfer money, abuse the church for money to make assets for themselves.

He says I know that is wrong. I would never do that. So why would I belong to an organization who does it?"

maybe the improbably and impossible collection of imperfect people that make up 'the Church' aren't the only part of it . . . and sometimes evil folks take advantage and rise to positions of 'authority' and a lot of times, there are those communities of faith that preach hatred for LBGT people in the way of the Pharisee in spite of Our Lord's teaching, which they have either dismissed, or forgotten, or even more likely maybe never fully understood, in which case it might be easier to 'forgive' their blindness because we ourselves are no so far removed from imperfection.

But if we didn't have the Church, how much worse would things be??? And why are things so bad in the Church as it has had five hundred years to recover from the time of the Great Plague that killed 80 plus percent of priests and nuns who ministered to the sick and dying. After that, the Church continued with the dregs of those who would not minister to the dying out of fear of contamination. (Sounds like modern times, this)

Recently, I had my heart broken by the plight of the caged border babies and children, with their sad cries for their parents. What made me even more sad was that the Church in too many quarters demanded that folks 'be silent' because it was felt that the situation was 'political'.
In my world, the crying of innocent children caused by the whim of a political leader is NOT a 'political' act, no; it is an INHUMANE act, against which Christian people MUST speak, against which the Church MUST speak. Yes, I know from imperfect, and yet we are told 'the gates of hell shall not prevail'.

I like the question of your friend who hangs out with the H. Angels. He wouldn't understand 'perfect' Church ladies, no. But I think he might get someone like a Dorothy Day who was as imperfect as they come and yet, and yet . . . :)


I can imagine Dorothy Day going up to a Ronnie Floyd type and saying to him:
"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love the least." (Dorothy Day)

Would he 'get it'? Nope. But a seed would have been planted. And that is a beginning.

For some time, I tried to believe that all the hatred expressed towards 'the others' was because people didn't know any better. But then along came the bully Trump and I knew when he was so completely embraced by a sector of Church people, just how worse the problem was and how, if it weren't for the imperfect saints like the Dorothy Days of this world planting their seeds, the Church might seem to be overcome by the depth of the hatred of the Ronnie Floyd types.

Don't look for good to come quickly.
The Trump thing has encouraged some very bad behaviors and we can look towards some dark days of severe suffering on the part of his victims. How can be said of 'righteousness' about the taking an infant from its mother's arms to the painful cries of that infant ???
I believe there is shame and sadness among many in Trump country over this inhumanity.

And, in time, the tide WILL change.

And when it does, we will see the pendulum swing very far in another direction towards the light again. It will happen. It WILL happen. :) Thanks for listening to my rant.

Romycat Black said...

Christiane
I grew up in a mennonite church . It was not old order at all. In fact my community is consuder the Bible belt. It encompases a large majority of mennonite churches.
A scattering of Dutch Reformed a couple of Lutheren. And one Catholic.

I would say I was told Catholics were unsaved and not Christian.

Fast forward to 9 years into my marriage. We were in a new community. I hsd a friend who I knew previous and she introduced me to her non christian group of ladies.
I was kind of freaked out. I was very well schooled in the fact that Christians only associate with Christians. If you had non Christian friends they were a bad influence and you were thought to be backslidden.

So meeting these ladies was a shocker. I was 30 yrs old and never associsted outside christian circles.

During that same time frame I was looking for a good school for my kids and wandered into the Catholic school.

Unannounced. I recieved tge biggest welcome. My kids in tow we got a on the spot tour.
I was in a place where I hated the church and Christians. Our two years spent there were the best two years we had. St. Edwards embraced us , loved us unconditionally. My husband lost his job and we were going to leave because we could not afford the tuition. The principal approached me and saud we were not leaving. My 4 childrens tuition was covered until we didnt need it any longer. I sat in his office and balled my head off.

St. Edwards was a tiny congregation. The overwhelming catholic community loved us. That broke me. I called up the christian school and asked if we could not afford tuition what would happen. She told me we would be asked to leave. No money no school.

Since then I have gone to some services at the catholic church. Diff. Communities.Mostly at christmas eve.
I noticed the charity into the community was a big thing. A big focus on the poor,and meeting their needs.
The difference between the mennonite and catholic focus is very different. They do missions, but there is little to no fucus on the community or outsiders. The churches in my community growing up were inward focused.

Christiane, I see in your writings that same focus and am blessed by it.

One of my favourite movies as a teen was Brother sun, Sister moon. About St Francis of Assisi.
I think the anti Catholic rhetoric of the evangelical church is very narrow minded. God will meet and indwell anyone who wants him. And some of his saints at Queen of Angels school were mightily used by him.

And through them restored my faith in humanity and the church.( Previous to this we had just been badly burned by so called homegroup friends.) I will never ever forget their kindness (school and church) to my family and the memories swell my heart everytime I think of it.

I think I am very hard on the evangelical church because I have received much more mercy and grace, understanding and acceptance from Catholics, and non believers than those within my own evangelical roots.

Christiane said...

Romy,
thank you for sharing that

my father, of blessed memory, was Canadian by birth, from St. Armand, Canada . . . he came to this country not speaking any English, and my memere (grandmother) made a deal with the nuns to sew and wash and iron and scrub for them in exchange for the children to attend school, where the nuns taught in English in the mornings and in French in the afternoons . . . and so my father learned.

Years later, my father worked three jobs and so we went to Catholic schools, and in time, my own children went and I, myself, worked as a teacher for grades 6,7, and 8 in a Catholic school in Paterson NJ.

Not all people have a good experience in Catholic schools, but reading about yours sounds so special, like the whole community was filled with a welcoming spirit that embraced people even if they had problems . . . so important, this.

Wade is someone who has a ministry for troubled people and I think he is also one who has said 'if you need to take something from the collection plate, it's okay' . . . so much for greed in his Church.

I don't know how it is that some Churches 'reach out' and care, while others reject and stand behind closed doors looking down on those who "don't belong, they are not 'our kind'"

I think it has something to do with the Holy Spirit and with people who are open to God's grace which never comes to proud judgemental types.

I don't see labeling much helps in the Church, as we find all kinds of people have come to it, for reasons that are their own, with needs we may not know . . . I just want to see less of the hate shown which is called 'truth in love' but it isn't, is it? No. Even children know the difference when they see it.

I had a Southern Baptist grandmother who was a beautiful person and I bless her memory. Not all Catholics are good people and not all evangelical people are rejecting of others who are different from themselves. I think we need to get to know people directly and as far as their faith is concerned, listen less to their 'doctrines' and look more at how they treat people, even strangers. Then we have a chance to understand. The 'Church' is more than denominations, yes. I believe that.

Thanks again for sharing about your experiences. I too would have bawled like a baby at the kindness of that principal. I once took my son with Down Syndrome to a Jewish dentist who was so gentle and kind to him that I cried all the way home, the tears just flowed. Kindness opens up our deepest wounds and lets them drain and then heal.

Romycat Black said...

I once took my son with Down Syndrome to a Jewish dentist who was so gentle and kind to him that I cried all the way home, the tears just flowed. Kindness opens up our deepest wounds and lets them drain and then heal.

Yes and yes.

Oh I believe with all my heart this is what is meant when Paul speaks of love and without it you are a sounding gong.

Love melts away the hardest heart.

Love is an interesting thing. I have tried to contrive love for people. It never works.
But I have experienced an overwhelming love that seems very ethereal and definitley not me. I have experienced that dealing with my mean nasty MIL.

It freaked me out. But I believe that is what kind of Love is described in scripture.

And yes, I am of the camp that doesn't believe in denominations or one being superior to another .God overrides all that crap for anyone who chooses him and does his work through them.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE, and Romycat
This is what Christians should do.

Our father, Dave Ray, was in World War I, and felt called to be a Chaplin in World War II. He was in Patton’s 4th Armored Division that landed three days after D-day. He stayed on the front until the war ended. His medals, including the Bronze Star, showed he was accustomed to going beyond the call of duty.
When the war ended in 1945, the 4th was stationed at Rothenburg. As the days passed, he and others made friends by playing soccer with children. One little girl about five was drawn to him. Her smiling face, blond hair, and good cheer made Monika Beyer everyone’s friend. She was the youngest of several children in her family. Nearly every day she troubled Dave by asking, “When is my daddy coming home?”
Her father, John Beyer (town’s best doctor) was a doctor in the German army. In 1942, he was in the battle at Stalingrad which started the end for Hitler. Germans had 85% casualties of a million men. 90,000 were captured, and because of food shortage and harsh treatment by the Russians only 5,000 survived. The chance of her father being alive was not good.
He always answered Monika’s question: “Your daddy is coming home real soon. You will see him in the big meadow by the oak tree with the rope swing. He will be calling your name.” Her face would light up and she kept telling her family Chaplain Ray’s good news. It wasn’t long until Monika’s mother, Helen Beyer, spoke to him. “I’ve accepted my husband’s death. All my children with the exception of Monika have also. I must ask you, Chaplain, never again say her father is coming home. You’re going to break my little girl’s heart!”
He told her about his brother being reported killed in World War I. His mother had eight young children when her husband died and she remained a widow 38 years. She believed God would save her son. After the war, Dave was in the barn’s hay loft and saw a man walking on the road to their house. His brother was coming home. The army lost track of him when he was hospitalized from Mustard gas.
With tears down her face, Helen asked, “Oh Chaplain Ray, what am I to do? I’ve never heard a single word from my husband in three years. If he were alive, he would move heaven and earth to find us. I remain here, alone, and without hope.”
“If he’s alive, I’ll find your husband.”
Her tears began anew, “I don’t think I can do this. The children will be torn apart, our hopes dashed once more.” Catching her hands, he prayed.
“But where will you go? If my husband can’t find us, and he knows where to look, how can you possibly find him?
“I’ll search the four sectors of prisoners that Allies have in Berlin.”
“Before you go, I want you to have something.” She returned with a picture of her husband and a lock of hair. “The last time we said goodbye Monika was asleep. I cut some of her hair and my husband said he would carry his half always. If you find a man that claims to be my husband, ask him for Monika’s hair. The children and I will pray for you every day.”
His jeep engine was new. An 88 shell had missed him by inches and destroyed the old one. It was 340 miles to Berlin. He searched the Russian, French, British, and American prison camps with millions of POWs in large open fields with barbwire without success. The American camp was last and as he was driving away disappointed, he heard a GI yell, “Wait!”

Rex Ray said...

A GI was running after him. He asked if he wanted a ride. “No Sir, but I may know something. I overheard your story to the Captain. I have a friend in the British Sector that knows about a German surgeon that’s extremely talented. He doesn’t know his name but the British kidnapped him from the Russians to save a British soldier near death. Since then, they’ve kept him hid.”
Returning to the British prison camp with renewed hope, he told the guard he had orders to find Dr. John Beyer. He retraced his steps with an interpreter, but no luck. “What’s that small building way over there?”
“That’s a destroyed jail. It’s deserted and is going to be torn down.”
“Let’s take a look anyway.”
One undamaged cell had four men on their knees. They looked like they were gambling, but they were praying. None looked like the picture, but the interpreter hoped they might know something. “The American Chaplain is looking for Dr. John Beyer. He has good news. Do you know where he can be found?”
Slowly, a man stood and spoke in English. “I’m John Beyer. My family and village are lost. I’ve been a prisoner three years. What possible good news could an American have for me?”
“You’re too old for me to believe you unless you can match this lock of hair.”
Producing a lock of hair, he grabbed Dave through the bars. “Does my family live?”
Loud praises to God drowned his reply because his smile gave the answer. Hearing there were God’s orders to take him home, their praises were so contagious everyone started shouting.
The British Commander said Dr. Beyer was needed and denied his release, but they could talk more after lunch. “You go ahead, I’m going to stay here and pray.”
“If that’s the way you feel, you can take him home.”
Our father was always a fast driver and had many wrecks. He slowed down when Dr. Beyer said, “I don’t think God saved me from prison to die in a jeep wreck.”
At Rothenburg, they stopped at the meadow. “We’ll talk again, but your daughter comes here ever afternoon to see if this will be the day her daddy comes home,”
Not trusting himself to speak, Dr. Beyer shook hands and turned toward the meadow where a little girl was swinging. He ran towards the big oak. “Monika! Monika! I’m your daddy!”
There was fantastic joy when he arrived home with Monika on his shoulders.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_labor_of_Germans_after_World_War_II states German prisoners were not allowed to return home, but were used as forced labor to repair war damage in Russia, France, and England. Two years after the war, one million had died, and four million were still prisoners.
But at Rothenburg, the town had a large celebration for their doctor where Monika’s mother said, “I’m going to kiss the Chaplain.”
Dr. Beyer said, “If you don’t I am!”

In 1947, our parents taught school to American children in Germany. We met the Beyers but didn’t understand their joy to see our father because we didn’t know the story at that time.

Rex Ray said...

The story below was not told until 23 years later in 1968 when my brother, Hez, was in the process of moving an abandoned aircraft hangar 150 miles to Fairbanks, Alaska to give a place for kids to play instead of going the drug route as many had died.

He had gotten our Dad, to come from Texas to be a ‘night-watchman’ to keep Indians from stealing lumber for firewood. (The Indians believed it belonged to them as they had used it for many years.) When forty-five 18-wheeler trucks (the longest convoy in Alaska ever) were loaded and ready to roll, Hez saw their many bedrolls on fire.

Hez and Dad ran to put the fire out, but as they got close bullets began exploding because Indians had put a lot of bullets on the bedrolls. They dived behind a 3-foot concrete wall. Hez asked why Dad was laughing. “Just like World War two.”

They laid there a long time and that’s when Dad told the story of Monika.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

You have outdone yourself with this story . . . thank you so much.
Your father's patient and kind search for the captured German doctor was a Christian work of mercy. And his fore-knowledge that the little girl would see her father again one day in the meadow by the tree with the swing, that is something very special indeed.

Yes. Christians should reach out to help children in all times when children are suffering. The sadness of abuses in Pennsylvania and the plight of the border babies who weep for their parents, all this tells us that the worst of our kind targets the innocent. But the patience of a chaplain at the end of WWII in helping a little girl find her lost father, that is a healing story. Thank you for this. Much needed.

And today, I am in thanksgiving also for the good President Jimmy Carter who has stood up and spoken out openly against Trump by name . . . maybe it was the plight of the sorrowing children that encouraged President Carter to speak . . . I am so thankful that this good man has stood up and spoken. More healing for me. I am grateful, as the little ones had no voice other than their tears to ask for our help against the evil.

I suppose there is so much GOOD in the world we never hear about. So many stories untold. So many brave and humble acts of mercy done. Today I have reason to be thankful. :) The promised renewal of the Resurrection is underway and has been and will be to come.

Christiane said...

Thank you, President Jimmy Carter, for standing up today for what is right.
God Bless you, sir.


https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/analysis/how-a-childs-cry-beat-the-bullyboy-us-president-850648.html

Romycat Black said...

Rex Ray

Your father was an incredibly selfless man full of compassion and humility. Wow. If we could be more like that.

Thank you for telling us.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Hez wrote a book, “The Big Dipper; A dream is Born”. It’s the story of the many trials of an ‘impossible task’. The kids he taught in High School would do their school work one week ahead, and go with him to work to disassemble the huge hanger. It was 150 feet wide, 200 feet long and 55 feet high. The first job was to remove snow off the roof with snow shovels.

Looking up they could see large holes in the roof that had rotted but were covered by snow.

Chapter 6: Disaster Strikes

I huddled my boys together with our arms wrapped about each other shoulders. I reviewed all the important danger points. Doug Benn, a big quiet kid, said, “Coach Ray, you have scared us enough! Let’s go do it!”
He took a step back and disappeared! His screams ripped our hearts out. They were the most terrifying sounds I had ever heard.

Ten feet below Doug was hanging in the air upside down with his shoe caught in a brace. He was yelling, “My foot is slipping out of my shoe.”

Doug is weeping. “Help me! I’m going to fall. Dear God, help me! Coach Ray, don’t leave me!”

Barney, you and I are going in. Mark you and Charlie are the strongest. You’ll have to handle our weight. The rest of you get a death grip on them; we’re making a chain.

Doug here we come!

Hurry Coach, my foot is slipping out of my shoe! You’ve got to hurry!
Give me one more foot! I can’t reach him yet.

Doug screams as his foot slips out and I grab his ankle while it’s in the air. Bring us up! They all struggle in dragging us out of the hole. We lay exhausted.

The spell of silence was finally broken when Gibby said to Doug, “I love you, big boy! But you got to lose some weight!”

Doug said, “Coach, when my foot slipped out of my shoe, I knew I was a goner! I’ll never know how you caught my ankle!”

I held my hand up, “Fellows, you are the greatest “A” team I’ve ever had! The Lord has been good to us! This experience is over, but it will last us the rest of our lives.”



I might add that 20 years later, Hez and his wife were flown back to Fairbanks when the “Big Dipper” was named “Hez Ray Recreation Center”. One man said, “Do you know me?”
“No.’
“You grabbed my leg.”
“Doug Benn!”

Rex Ray said...

Oops,

Make that about 10 years later; not 20. Hez and his wife had moved to Texas. The ‘youth’ had gown to be leaders in Fairbanks, and when the “Big Dipper” was finally finished with an ice rink, adjacent tennis, soccer, and baseball fields, they remembered their coach.

They sent plane tickets, and rolled out a red carpet as Hez and his wife entered. On one wall there was a large plaque with his picture and history.

Curious Thinker said...

Great post. I'm been watching seminars by pastor Joseph Prince and reading his books the third one I'm reading is "Grace Revolution" which discusses a lot of what you mentioned in your post regarding being justified. I'm understanding the difference between being under law and being under grace which has been a help for me during my struggles with my walk with Christ. Thanks for your great explanation. God Bless.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Hay! I just ran into this link on Google that proves Jesus had no DNA from Mary that she was a surrogate mother.

https://trumpet-call.org/2016/02/05/mary-was-a-surrogate-mother/

Felix Immanuel / February 5, 2016
We are all familiar with the verse that says, the Word became Flesh.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
I never had a problem in understanding what the above verse states. It is plain and simple which says what it says.
But, after having conversation with some good bible believing pastors, I am amazed to find that they believe Mary contributed to that flesh. It was really shocking to me and I felt the need to address this issue using scriptures by showing you 7 important reasons and prove to you that Mary had no contribution of flesh or DNA to Jesus Christ.
1. Flesh taken out of dust is cursed

Gen 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
If God can save mankind through someone made from dust, then there is no need for Christ. However, God had to send someone who is not made of dust to avoid the curse spoken by God which never returns to Him void. So, God sent His own Son, the Word who was God and was with God became Flesh and this Flesh does not return to dust.
Acts 2:31 .. nor did His flesh see corruption.
Hence, Jesus Christ’s Flesh has no part of Mary’s cursed flesh which becomes dust.
2. Without blemish, without spot
1Pet 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Is the precious blood of Christ have from DNA from Mary? How blasphemous it is? How can Christ be without blemish and without spot if He had inherited flesh from Mary?
Luke 1:46-47 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
All including Mary had sinned. She even prays that she requires a Savior so that she can be saved. Hence, Mary is not sinless. If Mary had contributed flesh or DNA to Jesus Christ, then His blood is neither precious nor without blemish.
3. Not of this world
John 8:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
Jesus Christ plainly said, He is not of this world. He didn’t even hinted that He has some part of this world. How plain language could this be?
4. Denied being David’s son
Matt 22:41-46 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’ ? “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
Jesus plainly denied Himself being David’s son.
Luke 2:49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
He is always ‘Son of God’ and never considered Himself to be ‘son of David’.
5. Not a demi-God
Phil 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus Christ who is fully God did not inherit half of Mary’s DNA or flesh to become a demi-god. Instead, Mary was just carrying baby Jesus Christ, who being fully God who had come in the likeness of men to become fully man.

Rex Ray said...

6. Stopped Mary being referred as mother

Matt 12:47-50 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
How plain is the above language? If Jesus had flesh or DNA from Mary, why should He stop others calling Mary as His mother?
John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”
Further, Jesus never referred Mary as mother anytime but always as woman.

7. Had flesh even before Mary

Gen 32:24-28 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Jesus Christ had flesh even before He was born on this world. In fact, He visited Abraham and wrestled with Jacob.
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
1Tim 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
It is not God the Father who visited both Abraham and Jacob because no man has seen or can see. Hence, Jesus had flesh even before Mary was born.
Seed of Woman
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
Seed of woman simply means offspring, not necessarily blood related. If you think that Jesus Christ must be blood related to Mary (or) inherit some flesh from Mary for Him to be a seed of woman, then how about the snake’s seed mentioned in the same verse?
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.
Is the man of lawlessness (or Antichrist) born of a snake or must have some snake flesh?

Conclusion
Mary had no contribution of her flesh or her DNA to Jesus Christ. The Word became Flesh and dwelt among men. The Word didn’t mix with men. Hence, Mary was just a surrogate who carried Jesus Christ in her womb.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,
had an interesting day at the hospital with my husband (all is now well) and it was good to come back to a great story and also one of your strange theories.

I've heard that story before some years ago on Wade's site, but it is always a joy to read it again.

As for your 'The Word didn't mix with men', it doesn't come from the teachings handed down from the Apostles and preserved and passed on down through the centuries. Now I have come to see that many Christian people do not view the Incarnation in the same way, but your ideas sound more like one of your favorite conspiracy theories (which I know you love) than something similar to what a Southern Baptist might believe.
So, where did you get this idea? :)

The old teaching is that Our Lord humbled Himself and took to Himself (assumed) our wounded humanity (our human nature) so that He could heal it. In my Church, we still all kneel at the reading of "and The Word became flesh".

The Gospel of St. Luke tells us the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, these:
"31 Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son. . . "

So we believed from early days in the Church that Christ was fully God and fully man, even while He was in the womb of Mary, as is the testament of St. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist:

When Elizabeth was six months pregnant with St. John, newly-pregnant Mary came to visit her cousin. The sacred Scriptures tell us of their meeting:

"…41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 In a loud voice she exclaimed,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43 And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
(from the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 1)


REX RAY, take a look at some of the writings of the Cappadocian fathers on the Incarnation before you fall for a modern day theory, please! Their writings on the Incarnation put light on the mystery in a way that the Church has valued for many centuries.

On this note, I will say that the mystery of God With Us IS simply that: mystery.
We will not 'get it' that He Who was God in the flesh walked on the waters, and yet when St. Peter came to Him and floundered and sank in fear, it was a solid strong Hand that reached out and saved Peter. Even in those days, men asked 'Who is this that can calm the seas with a word?' 'Who is this???'
St. Peter Himself, received from the Holy Spirit, the answer: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God'
and St.John, only six months formed in the womb, lept with joy when Mary came to see Elizabeth,
And St. Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Spirit and, and only because of this, recognized 'Who He Was' even as Our Lord had just been conceived in the womb of Mary, by the overshadowing of the Spirit.

REX RAY, even now, twenty centuries later, it is said that for those of us who 'recognize' Him as Lord, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us that enables us to believe this.

Mystery ..... yes. But that's okay, because we are talking about that which is very far above what we can 'reason' with theories, aren't we? :)
Think about it. Read St. Luke's Gospel again (Chapter 1); and read the prologue of St. John's Gospel. Come back to the Scriptures and search them again and let the Spirit speak to you through them.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

there WERE some very early Christians who thought more along the lines of your theory:

" Valentinus and others admitted that Jesus had a body, but a something heavenly and ethereal; hence Jesus was not born of Mary, but His airy body passed through her virgin body. The Apollinarists admitted that Jesus had an ordinary body, but denied Him a human soul; the Divine nature took the place of the rational mind."

I'm not sure about it, but if these ideas look good to you, then you might have got yourself a touch of 'Gnosticism' . . . a very old set of teachings which the early Church opposed

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Before I knew how babies were made, I believed God sent his Son to earth to die for us. Maybe that’s all I need to know now.

Christiane said...

Rex Ray, I don't 'worry' about how you are safely in Our Lord's care. :)

Now, there are OTHER worries concerning you that I have, sure . . . but not that one, thank God.


Christiane said...

REX RAY, a favorite quote of mine, which always puts me in my place:

"“I didn't need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.” (Anne Lamott)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6tc5EEJbsg

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Your link is great about redwood trees. One reason these trees are so great is because we can touch them. Think how great it would be if we could touch the stars.

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