The Christian Life is Like a Draft of Guinness Stout

guinnessIf you pour a glass of Guinness Stout, you will see some very dark beer.  Blacker than Black.  If poured properly you will have a nice, thin layer of white head on top.  This whiteness is pure as snow in comparison to the depths of the darkness below.

How is this like the Christian life?

Our lives are dark and stained with sin.

In faith in Christ, when God the Father looks down at us, He does not see the darkness of our lives.  The darkness that demands his wrath.  Instead, He sees the cleanliness in the pure whiteness of the righteousness of his Son, Jesus, that covers us and justifies us as being in a right relationship with God.

This simple analogy has left out any long and detailed explanations of sin and the effects of sin.  It has assumed that everyone understands that Jesus is God and that the Father is God, and that there is another person in the nature of God, and he is the Holy Spirit.  These three persons are distinctly different, but still there is only one God.  Now I’m probably confusing matters worse to state this, but I also didn’t give a definition for righteousness or explain how a loving God has to punish sinners, because he is also just and holy.  I didn’t explain or prove any of this from the Bible, science, philosophy, or logic.  This analogy simply states that our lives are dark and deep with evil, wholly depraved, but that nonetheless, the depths of our depravity are covered and made clean through the perfect life and work of Jesus.  That’s why I can say that . . .

The Christian Life is like a Draft of Guinness Stout!

74. A Different Kind of Election

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doctrine-of-election-button-300x292

The presidential election for 2016 is over!

So it’s time to talk about a different kind of election, the election of sinners by God to salvation. Andy shares the five points of Calvinism and Arminianism, the two common theological systems that are debated and compared when discussing God’s role in salvation.  But then the curveball comes, the Lutheran position on election is presented, a position which rarely discussed in the predestination debate among Christians.  The Lutheran understanding of single-predestination is by far a different election from Calvin’s double-predestination.

Some show notes:

Five Points of Calvinism

T – otal Depravity
U – nconditional Election
L – imited Atonement
I – irresistible Grace
P – reservation of the Saints

Five Points of Arminianism

  1. Free-will, human-ability
  2. Conditional Election (Election is Foreknowledge)
  3. General Atonement (Objective Justification)
  4. The Holy Spirit can be resisted.
  5. Falling from Grace

Lutherans hold to 1.5 points of Calvinism and 3 Points of Arminianism

Total Depravity and Predestination for Salvation
General Atonement, Grace is Resistible, and Falling from Faith

We are saved by grace through faith.  

John 3:16
Ephesians 2:8-9
Romans 4:5

Faith is not our work but the work of the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5

1 Corinthians 12:3
John 1:13
Ephesians 2:8-9
Ephesians 2:5 “God makes us alive.”
Romans 9:16
John 6:29

We are incapable of deciding to have faith.

1 Corinthians 12:3
Ephesians 2:1 “We are dead in our sins and trespasses.”
John 1:13
John 6:441 Corinthians 2:14 “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Any verse about being born again indicates this also, for what role do we play in our natural birth?  None!

Since faith is purely a gift of God and we play no role in our conversion, then it could be assumed that God then chooses who will be saved, and also chooses who will not be saved.

Here’s what Scripture says on the matter:

God elects/predestines to salvation!

Ephesians 1:3-13, 4:3-5
John 1:13
Ephesians 2:4-5 “God made us alive (spiritually).
Romans 8:29-30
2 Timothy 1:8-9

It is the will of God that no man should perish!

1 Timothy 1:3-4
2 Peter 3:8-9

 

 

 

 

 

65. Adam4d’s “Jesus is David”

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Adam Ford is the man behind the prolific and often viral producing online comic-strip Adam4d.  He’s a Christian, a husband, and father of three young boys.  Back in 2014, he quit his job to create comic strips full-time.

Since launching the Contradict – They Can’t All Be True Facebook page to help promote my book by that title, I have regularly found myself sharing Ford’s work.  Those posts generally draw many likes and shares.  His strips are often times found on many other Christian social media pages, typically groups or individuals who accept that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God, by groups and individuals who are not labeled as liberal Christians or heretics!

When he’s not using presuppositional apologetics to tear down false-worldviews, or picking apart the lies of Darwinian Evolution, Ford is typically highlighting the pitfalls of legalism and self-justification within Christian circles, or the way verses are often times ripped out of their context and twisted to mean something that was never implied within the text.

The Gospel typically has predominance in his doctrinal and homiletical comic strips, so he gains many fans who recognize that we truly are saved solely by the work of God that faith really is a gift and work of the Holy Spirit.

But sometimes, even when we are pointing to Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith, the only one who works in our conversion and salvation, we can still twist Scripture.  And when Jesus and his saving work is front and center, it’s easier for us conservative mongergists to clap, clap, clap and share, share, share, however, at times the Scriptures aren’t accurately divided between Law and Gospel and we shouldn’t click that button.

I think Adam Ford took a misstep when he was taking a swing at the prosperity Gospel preachers in his strip entitled, “Good News: We Are Not David.”  I saw many people share this strip, people I personally know, but I couldn’t hit the like button this time, and I couldn’t hit the share button without posting a critique.

For this episode, I gathered Conni Schramm, back from episodes 7 and 64, Jon Rutherford, back from some recent episodes, and Jonathan Platt, who was sitting on the wall like a fly, but kept  hopping on a mic to interject questions.

Here are the extensive show notes that are almost a direct transcript if you can’t devote yourself to listening for an hour: Podcast David Comic.

56. Building Bridges Part 2

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Building_Bridges

Episode 16 of Reconnect featured guest, Ken Chitwood, sharing an article he wrote entitled, “Building Bridges: Toward Constructing a Christian Foundation for Inter-Religious Relationships in the Shift from Religious Privilege to Spiritual Plurality”.  The key points for inter-religious dialog that Ken suggests are: pay attention, find, and form, friendships, listen and learn, dine, dialog, and do together, discern, and witness to the worldview.

While I agree with many of Ken’s points to approaching inter-religious dialog, I have a different application of the term “building bridges”.  I explain this approach in an article that I wrote for Reformation 21: “Embracing Religious Contradictions to Proclaim Christ Crucified: Tolerance and Coexistence”.   Looking at Acts 17, I see how Paul knew the beliefs and culture of those he was sharing the Gospel of Jesus.  He made the presentation of the Gospel from starting within their belief system with a point of contact that he could use to make a connection to the Biblical narrative of salvation.  I was given the opportunity to share this approach to evangelism at Brookfield Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.  This episode contains that sermon message. 

Senior pastor at Brookfield Lutheran Church, Robert Mrosko, was a guest on Reconnect Episode 39, discussing Star Wars.

The building bridges technique I am advocating for is also shared in Episode 34: “Storytelling Evangelism”.

45. Government Redistribution of Wealth

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Don't Steal
Is government redistribution of wealth stealing?

Show Links:

“A Fork to Feed, a Scalpel to Heal, or a Sword to Protect?” by Wes Bareford

Martin Luther’s Large Catechism – “The Seventh Commandment”

“A Voter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments” by Bryan Wolfmueller

Virtue in the Wasteland – a podcast co-hosted by Wes’ professor for Theology 565, Jeff Mallinson.

“How Do I Know I am a Christian?” – Reconnect Episode 19 with Wes and George