Is God Good?

I confess, this is a question I struggle with and sometimes it is hard.  I mean, academically, I know the answer is yes, of course God is good.  But we don’t live in a world of academic rhetoric; our world is practical.  And from a practical point of view, it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the academic “God is good” with the experience of my daily struggles.

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Rules for Interpreting your Bible

bibleIn December of 2013, the final two White Horse Inn broadcasts for the month covered ten rules for interpreting the Bible.  If we fail to follow proper rules for interpretation, we can stray very widely from the intent of the scripture.  I know I did for decades.  Not everything in scripture is equally clear either, but without studying the things we can know, we will never understand exactly why we believe what we believe.  These two conversations were very helpful to me, so I’m sharing the ten rules with a little commentary.

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Church, Culture and World

Very late tonight, and I haven’t posted yet.  I was listening to the White Horse Inn bonus program on Cain and Abel from August of 1997.  (This is the bonus program on the November 10th, 2013 CD.)  They are discussing Cain not being executed for the murder of Abel as an example of God’s mercy and patience.  Then, when they speak of Cain founding his city, Michael Horton says:

“The ‘city of man’ is Cain’s city of refuge, governed not by saving grace but by common grace, designed to protect sinners from each other but not from God.”

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Evangelical Egotism

I’ve had my first missed day yesterday.  Sorry about that.  If you, kindest of readers, will accept my apology, we will consider the failure covered by grace and move on.  If not, we can both wait here until you will accept my apology.  (I will wait patiently for you.) Read the rest of this entry »

Theology Thursday: The Prodigal

So I have been struggling with what and how to post on Thursdays.  I don’t really want to change my writing style, but sometimes writing about theology or doctrine stuff can be a bit different.  (That is why today is late.)  Rather than go through a systematic theology discussion I’m just going to write what God is teaching me.  Hopefully it will be a blessing.

A few days ago a friend hinted at needing to be a part of “Legalists Anonymous” because of falling into that Pharisee trap.  I agreed and it got me thinking about a book I read recently, Prodigal God by Tim Keller.

The book looks at the story of the Prodigal son from a somewhat different perspective.  As Christ tells the story, we all agree and can empathize with the younger son because we can relate to being lost in our sin and needing rescue.  We can relate to the wonder and glory of the mercy and grace of the father because we have experienced the same from our Heavenly Father.

We see the reaction of the elder son, though, and we get upset, frustrated, and even angry.  How can he be so unforgiving?  How can he be so ungracious?  We don’t like the elder brother and are very offended by his reaction.  Boom!  That’s when it should hit us, we are the elder brother.  We started the story as the younger brother, and now as the focus shifts to the elder brother, so do we.  We are unforgiving of his attitude, we are ungracious with him, and we react poorly to him.  Generally, we are too caught up in our offense toward the elder brother to notice that we have shifted from being the younger son to being the elder son.

Then, boom again!  Christ turns the table and the mercy and grace that were given to the younger son are now granted by the father to the elder son.  That’s when we get to the real point of the story.  The grace and mercy of the father is abundant towards both of his sons.  He forgives their faults and failures and he graciously offers them entrance to the feast.

The Gospel is exactly the same.  God offers grace and mercy to us all, licentious and legalist alike.  He mercifully forgives our rotten attitudes and our disrespect of Him.  He graciously offers us a place at the feast He is preparing, a feast we have no right or reason to expect to attend.  But because of the “real” elder brother, Christ, and His work on the cross, we are granted the right and ability to attend.  Because of Christ, we belong at the feast.  Praise God for the glorious message of the Gospel.