Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Saturday, June 06, 2009

cursing from the pulpit

From the Associated Baptist Press:

A former Southern Baptist Convention officer who on June 2 called the death of abortion provider George Tiller an answer to prayer said later in the day he is also praying "imprecatory prayer" against President Obama.

The pastor, Wiley Drake, made the remarks in an interview with Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio. Later in the interview, Colmes tried to clarify:

Colmes: Are you praying for his death?

Drake: Yes.

Colmes: So you're praying for the death of the president of the United States?

Drake: Yes.

Drake says his cursing is justified because:

I don't just preach part of it. I don't just preach the soft, fuzzy, warm stuff where we're supposed to be nice to everybody. I preach the whole Bible.

Apparently he is using a Bible translation that does not contain Romans 12:14, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them."

Now to be honest, I'd like to call down a few curses against Wiley Drake. In my heart, I'm no better than he is. That's not the direction I really wanted to go with this post, but there it is.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

on grace

Grace, which is charity, contains in itself all virtues in a hidden and potential manner, like the leaves and the branches of the oak hidden in the meat of an acorn.

- Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

in defense of arminianism

A blogger who uses the name "The Preacher" has an interesting post entitled Making Jehovah into a Lovesick Girl. He asks, "Can I submit to you, that this is exactly what we do when we preach an Arminian gospel?"

The answer is no. Perhaps that's how it appears to Calvinists. And, truth be told, I think I actually heard the gospel presented like this once or twice by well-intentioned but misguided youth leaders back in my teenage years. But to reduce God to a lovestruck girl hoping to be invited to prom, waiting for us to make the first move -- that's a distortion of genuine Arminian theology.

Part of the problem, I think, is that Arminianism is often defined in opposition to Calvinism. Calvinism, as I understand it, teaches that we have no say in our salvation, that it's completely God's decision. Perhaps a Calvinist might assume, by contrast, that Arminians believe that salvation is entirely in our own hands.

But defining any idea solely in relation to a competing idea is the easiest way to distort it. In fact, Arminianism shares with Calvinism the foundation that human nature is sinful, and that, left to our own devices, we could never achieve righteousness.

Arminians departs with Calvinists on the extent of God's grace. Calvinists believe that God's grace is limited to a predetermined group of people, the elect. Anyone not in this group is doomed.

Arminians believe, along with 1 Timothy 2:4, that God "desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." We believe, along with Titus 2:11, that "the grace of God has appeared to all." We believe, along with Romans 2:4, that "God's kindness is meant to lead [us] to repentance." We believe, along with Philippians 2:12-13 that as we "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling," we recognize that "it is God at work within [us]."

Arminianism is not the opposite of Calvinism. Arminians don't believe we are the authors of our own salvation. We don't believe God's love is merely a product of pubescent hormones running wild. We don't believe God is so helpless as to pine over unrequited love.

Instead, we see God's grace at work in the world. This grace that has appeared to all, not just to a select few, is known as prevenient grace. That's not the grace that saves us, but it does enable us to respond to God. So even though we don't have it within our nature to choose God, we have something within us that is not part of our own nature.

Our very ability to choose God is itself a gift from God.

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