The Way I see it…Ricky is tricky.

12 09 2006

twisi_cups.jpgI was recently enjoying a hot cup of anniversary blend of Starbucks when I glanced at the commentary on the back of the cup. And who do I find on my cup but the pop-evangelical pope himself, Rick Warren. So as you can imagine I was eager to read what ‘Dr.’ Warren said.

In reading the words an amazing thing happened: I agreed with him. He didn’t write anything heretical or blasphemous, in fact he took aim at selfishness. So for a matter of a brief few seconds I found myself ok with Rick.

Then in what seemed like taking an extra aggressive sip from a extremely hot beverage and burning my mouth I recoiled with extreme disappointment in myself.

I read the words:

You are not an accident. Your parents may have not planned you but God did….You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.

I immediately nodded my head in agreement. But you know what? So would the Catholic, the Mormon, the Muslim, the Jehovah’s witness and pretty much any other theist. Pretty much everyone except the local athesist chapter would agree with these statements.

Why?

Because Rick Warren has neglected to use the word that carves biblical Christianity out as distinct. He omits the name of Jesus.

Anyone can toss the word God around and engage in God talk. In our post-modern culture God has been de-godded and re-godded in every corner. This is why the Muslim, Catholic, Morman, Methodist, Jew, and liberal evangelical can hold hands and pray to ‘God’ in the name of tolerance and acceptance. The term God has so many bumper stickers on it these days that you can barely see any distinctive contours.

However, the name of Jesus is different. Just imagine what would have happened if Warren would have written this:

“You were made by Jesus and for Jesus. He made you for his own pleasure. When we rebel against him it makes him angry. But Jesus, being so loving, came and became a man and lived and died to fully satisfy the Father’s anger in the place of sinners like you and me.

Jesus is now commanding everyman to understand God’s purpose in their life, which is simply to submit to Jesus as the ultimate authority and Lord and stop rebelling against him.

With every day that we refuse to do this Jesus is getting more and more ticked off. And one day he is going to come back, this time he won’t be a baby but an insulted King, with your spit in his eye, ready to take vengeance on rebels. Only by submitting to Jesus now as our King and agreeing with him in obedience do we find our purpose in life.”

The way I see it, if you are going to be on a Starbucks cup you might as well speak your mind….and…well perhaps Rick did.

Warren’s books and sermons are no different. His venti cup of vagueness mixed with a double shot of semi-pelagianism while holding the name and power of ‘Jesus’ is a lethal tonic for the spiritually blind. Rick Warren dances on graves with his Christological omissions.

And the way I see it, this is regrettable. Because the last time I checked, God is pretty much obsessed with Jesus being preeminent. And really the only thing that matters is The Way GOD sees it!

So shame on Rick Warren for forgetting to mention Jesus when he had the chance to be biblical and exclusive; the Starbucks cup may have sold a few more books, made him more popular and perhaps even made a few more friends along the broad road.

signature.jpg

Advertisements

Actions

Information

100 responses

12 09 2006
mpad75

You are very right!! Thank you for encouraging me to think through simple statements that seem to have the glory of God at the heart of them. You are right, Erik, if it doesn’t have Jesus at the center there isn’t a distinction between us and idolaters. We also must be called out as people that have offended an eternal, holy, righteous, jealous God. We don’t, can’t meet the standard of perfect holiness as He requires!!! Awesome…thank you for this encouraging meditation.

12 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

I did the 40 days of Purpose Driven Life a couple of years ago. That quote is from that book. I was excited about doing the 40 days because several of my church friends were all over it. Some were using it in their small groups. So…I did it. I got to day 6 and pretty much could have quit right then. After that I was not really into it anymore. What I had got from the first six days had very little to do with the content of book. What I started doing as part of the PDL was to start a prayer journal. I still do this and I think it helps me pray better. So, I have Rick Warren to thank for getting me start using a prayer journal, but for the life of me, I can’t remember very much at all about the content of that book. On the other had, I read my Bible everyday and God is teaching me volumes from it. I pray, I worship and I study my Bible. My focus is on God and His glory alone. I got none of that from the Purpose Driven Life. My life is driven by seeking for God to be glorified in me in all I do and think. We must obey Him in all things for this to be so. Of course all of this is found freely in God’s Word. We don’t need Christian gurus to show us this. The Holy Spirit does a fine job.

Also, you are 100% correct about the preeminence of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Holy Spirit points us to Him. God the Father wills that this be so. This really is an affront to the world and every false version of Christianity.

Thanks for the great post!

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

12 09 2006
Gomarus

Thanks for a great post. I found it referenced at the Slice (although not linked) and googled “Irish Calvinist” to find it . . . and your blog. I’ll keep the link. 🙂

It’s easy to nod approvingly at Warren’s statement. However, your critical assessment is right on the mark.

Your fellow pilgrim,
Jim
a.k.a. Gomarus

12 09 2006
erik

Mike,

As has been observed by others, it is not so much what Warren says in his book but what he doesn’t say! There is no purpose in life without understanding and applying the cross. Also, I am still not clear on who the book is written to: believers or unbelievers? Its vagueness is troubling.

God is so kind to give us so many varied tests for our own discernment. I learn and love Christ’s gospel more and more as I see & hear the knock offs.

thanks for the encouragement.

::erik

12 09 2006
Charlene

I like that he chose”God” instead of “Jesus” because he sounds more inclusive that way. About 80% of the world believe in some sort of higher power, so it is nice to try to get as large of an audience as possiblr.

12 09 2006
cavman

Hmmm, “inclusive”. Jesus wasn’t too inclusive (no one comes to the Father but thru me). This quote, taken from his book, can entrench many in their pop spirituality, rather than calling them to faith & repentance. He already has the audience… but is he squandering opportunities?

13 09 2006
Rachel

Great post Eric!,

Ricky is Tricky. Isn’t he just so clever, using “God” and not “Jesus”. Just think, if he were to use the name “Jesus” he would never be invited back to the Jewish synagogues to increase their attendance. And really, that just says it all. If someone will help increase the numbers in a synagogue where souls won’t hear the name Jesus, knowing that that is the only name under heaven by which man can be saved, then the person doing the “helping” is either not saved himself or the evilest of evil. I love that you have been given the discernment to see what this tool of the devil is doing.

Your Sister in Christ,
Rachel

13 09 2006
Ayaz

You are very right!
Pakcar

13 09 2006
sarah

Good post and good insight. I would be worried if Starbucks wanted to put any of my words on their cup since they are very pro-homosexual and every other liberal ideas. Christ says that if you’re friends with the world then you’re no friend of His.

13 09 2006
anonymous

It’s bad enough having Starbucks coffee rammed down your throat, let alone God in all his beatific non-existent wondrousness.

13 09 2006
Linda

Was the purpose of Jesus’ ministry to be inclusive? It is his stated desire that all come to him, but it is on HIS terms. He did not soften his message to enlarge his following. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” Bam! That’s it. No attempt, there, at being inclusive!

13 09 2006
Tyler

Surprised to see so many affirmative comments on this post. I thought you’d draw the ire of the seekers as you did from the SBC post. Anyway, I like your revised message, but can’t we edit it down a little so it’ll fit on a Starbucks’ tall cup. Otherwise, I have to drop $5 each time buying your message on the VENTI chai tea. 🙂 Oh, and thanks for letting me back in your club again…..

13 09 2006
erik

anonymous: who is ramming anything down your throat?

it is amazing to me that your hatred for God is so strong that you feel compelled to leave these insult pellets for God on my site as if you can somehow affect him negatively. listen, God is not mocked, he made you, he owns you, and he is pretty ticked that you do not recognize and submit to his authority. it is exactly this type of rebellion that Jesus came and died for. know that in your willful opposition to God you join in the mocking of Jesus. it is Jesus alone who is qualified to remove God’s anger for sinners like you and me. if you continue to oppose him and mock his work and love for rebels like you and me then you will stand on your own merit in the ring with Jesus and be forced to defend yourself. And this time he won’t be a baby in a manger but a king with a sword and a huge tattoo on his leg and a lot of built up anger for your mocking. so my anonymous friend, stop mocking Jesus and start worshipping him, lest his patience run dry and his anger burn hot upon you. come to Jesus.

/perhaps this is ramming Jesus down your throat, but i think that is what God would be pleased to have me say to you, come to him through Jesus/

13 09 2006
anonymous

Wow. You’re really screwed up. God owns me, and he’s annoyed that I don’t submit to him? I’ll be forced to defend myself against an all new King Jesus with an attitude, a sword, and a tattoo on his leg? Are you aware how much that makes you sound like a flaming grade ‘A’ honking nutjob?

For the record, I don’t hate God, I hate the people who think they’re better than everyone else because they love God.

13 09 2006
Lazaro

Anonymous,
Who thinks they’re better than everyone because they love God? Do you also hate people who think they’re better than everyone because they don’t believe in God?

13 09 2006
erik

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

–thanks for the compliment man, if people think my theology makes me ‘a flaming grade ‘A’ honking nutjob’ i guess i’m in good company. Jesus was not looked at as the most sane individual when he walked around here on earth.

When i say owning, i mean that God is the creator and sustainor of life, the authority, refusal to submit to God’s will as revealed in the Bible makes you a rebel and so therefore under God’s stern displeasure, which will be finally carried out in the judgment of Jesus who is the King.

for the record, i don’t think i am better than you. i think i am the biggest sinner i know. i spent most of my life hating, insulting, and mocking God. Don’t play the self righteous card on me, my heart condemns me, this is why Jesus is so beautiful. i know that i stood in the crosshairs of divine fury and Jesus removed this wrath therefore i proclaim his message on his authority because he said to.

btw, if you hate people God says you are a murderer>
1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Matt. 5.21-22: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

This is why we need a Savior and this is why i plead with you.

You may call me a nut job…but don’t stamp me as self-righteous, that is the opposite of what i am communicating.

13 09 2006
anonymous

Atheists, by and large, tend to be more sarcastic than vengeful — the majority of the damage done in the world is caused by those who worship a God, so I have few problems with arrogant atheists, just arrogant religious types who claim my atheism will cause Jesus to unleash burning hot anger upon me.

By the way — what’s the tattoo on Jesus’s leg? Does it say ‘Spice Girls forever’?

13 09 2006
erik

I get it man, you are the authority and judge…errr…God. As long as you are making the rules you are good….this is why you don’t like the God of the Bible he has no room or desire to worship you.

the tattoo:
Revelation 19:13-16 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

>>Psalm 2:11-12 11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

13 09 2006
eric (who spells his name correctly)

“Warren’s books and sermons are no different. His venti cup of vagueness mixed with a double shot of semi-pelagianism while holding the ‘Jesus’ is a lethal tonic for the spiritually blind. ”

The truth of this bothers me, but what bothers me even more is that Warren is not vague when it comes to his proclaiming the “good news” of the “dignity” of mankind. (And I won’t speak for you, but am guessing that you agree.)

Warren has taken a page from Oprah’s playbook when he appeals directly to his audience’s emotions by saying “You are not an accident.” I attended his lecture at Saddleback on March 5 (full disclosure–I was there with you) when Warren discussed “Where did we come from?” In fact, I have my notes right in front of me. I still remember him saying, “I don’t care what your parents told you, you are not an accident!” I was sitting too far away to see if he made the effect more poignant by adding tears. Here are his application points: My life has sanctity, My identity has dignity, My days have a destiny, My problems have intentionality and My future is eternity. Hmm. Care to guess who’s being emphasized?

He wrapped it all up by saying, “God is going to throw a party for his children.” Really? I can only assume that Warren was referring to the 19th chapter of the Revelation in which John wrote, “And a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.’ Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.'”

God will not be giving praise to us, but He mercifully will allow His children to reach their true fulfillment; being united forever with the Son whom He loves perfectly. We yearn for that day to be soon but also recognize why God has waited, for as Peter wrote:”The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

As you have rightly said, this is the message that needs to be shared while God shows His patience.

13 09 2006
anonymous

Okay, so according to your wonderful God I will experience his burning hot anger, I will have to face a hippy with a sword, and I’m a murderer. Sounds like a great guy. He must be a card at parties.

I don’t know where you get the idea I’m the authority and judge. It’s this kind of illogical babbling that’s the mark of an extremist.

13 09 2006
pickleshane

Have you sipped from the cup bearing a quote by Armistead Maupin? Apparently that one caused quite a ruckus.

13 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

Hey anonymous,

First, why the anonimity? What do you have to hide? I suggest you listen to this: click here

13 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

Well the link didn’t work the way I posted it. Try this: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonssource&sermonID=52206203622

13 09 2006
Lazaro

anonymous said: “the majority of the damage done in the world is caused by those who worship a God”

Are you aware that Josef Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Adolf Hitler were atheists? These 3 were responsible for more deaths (and this within the same 50 years) than those who believe in God have been through human existence!

your ignorance of these matters is irresponsible… you might want to snuggle up with a good history book my friend

13 09 2006
anonymous

Really, Lazaro? Were they atheists? Well, bugger me backwards. I never knew that. You must know that us atheists are just dumb old boys. Religion has been the cause of more deaths over the centuries than atheism. I’m not ignorant in these matters, and I’m not your friend.

And “Mike Ratcliff” — I have nothing to hide. I’m right here, I’m responding to comments. My name has nothing to do with what I’m saying.

I’m baiting you, you idiots. I know better than to argue with fanatics, and you should too.

13 09 2006
Lazaro

Those 3 guys alone were responsible for probably 100 million deaths, you honestly believe that Christianity has been responsible for more? Other religions are not any of my concern…

LOL, who’s baiting who? Rationality is usually the first victim of emotionalism as you have so gallantly proved…

13 09 2006
Tyler

Looks like “anonymous” wouldn’t even stand a chance in the ring if the opposition were the tag team of evangelicals that have come to the support of the Irish Calvinist.

13 09 2006
erik

anonymous-

i’m not here to argue with you and this site is not about arguing. But rather it is about promoting Jesus. So I am saying to you that I am no better than you, we are both sinners, rebels who have offended our Creator. i am not looking down my nose at you but humbly obeying Jesus, who is commanding all men to stop rebelling and start submitting to him. listen, the cross of Jesus shows how God feels about sin–he hates it, enough to punish and kill Jesus for it, —it shows his love, to judge Jesus in the place of sinners so thereby making a way, in fact the only way, to pardon us—it shows his justice…he won’t compromise, —it shows his faithfulness..he will not backdown from his word….

so don’t get the wrong idea, i do not enjoy arguing or debating with you or anyone, but rather i enjoy pleading with you to stop playing games and come to Jesus on his terms, submit to him and receive forgiveness and the joy of KNOWING for certain that God’s anger has been satisfied by his Son’s substitionary death in the place of a sinner like you.

This is my point. I will not sit here and defend fallible men throughout history, instead i will promote the infallible, perfect, and only savior, Jesus Christ and his glorious gospel.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

:erik:

13 09 2006
Lazaro

Thank you Erik for bringing us back to what it’s all about. We do forget that it’s not about winning arguments.

13 09 2006
erik

eriC–thanks for the purpose drivel recap. i had forgotten about the party that God was going to throw…didn’t he say something about being on the A list or the B list?

“God will not be giving praise to us, but He mercifully will allow His children to reach their true fulfillment; being united forever with the Son whom He loves perfectly.”

Awesome. That perfect love is amazing and convicting even as i am again reminded that it is unconditional. Thank you for this exhortation brother.

13 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

anonymous,

You say we are idiots. We are idiots because we care about you? What an odd way to respond to people who want nothing but the best for you! I agree with Erik, I hate arguing. Debating is okay, but I still I prefer to teach. On the other hand, you said some pretty ugly things about my savior. I will not EVER let something like that go without responding with the truth. We have given you the truth and you have responded with sarcasm. We have done what we are called to do. Your blood is on your own head.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

14 09 2006
anonymous

Mike Ratcliff > Shut up, you sanctimonious…….“original edited” (removed by editor)…. What you responded with was pious and subjective, not the truth. You don’t get to tell me what the truth is when your evidence is a 2000 year old fairy-tale.

To say you lot want the best for me is a joke. Am I not able to decide what’s best for me? Apparently not, because once you’ve found God you know better than everyone else. What’s best for me is for you lot to stop trying to convert people. Worship God, fine. Just don’t get so enraptured by the warm fuzzy love of the little baby Jesus that you try and force it on others.

And what you’re doing isn’t teaching, it’s lecturing.

14 09 2006
Charlene

Witchhunts, the Inquistion, the Church’s silent allowance for the continuance of the Holocaust (which I believe the statistics are very exaggerated)…wars that continued for centuries and still today between the Protestants and Catholics, the Crusades.

Hmmm, Christianity as a whole killed more people than Athiests. Hitler was a member of some strange occult that did follow their own version of a God. Mao was Confuscist, which dealt more with ethics than religion, I think he may have believed in some deist Chinese. And Stalin I don’t know because Cold War politics and history I never studied much and really don’t give two craps about.

And let us not result to name calling, it shows immaturity and an inability to show we are beyond that point.

14 09 2006
Travis Carden

I think that blaming the atrocities of the centuries categorically on Christians is very much akin to blaming black oppression in the past categorically on whites. It neither of necessity true a) that all people who oppressed blacks in the past were white, nor that b) all white people necessarily participated in said oppression. There is nothing of racial oppression that belongs properly and exclusively to whites, and it would be a confusion of categories to argue the guilt of an ethnic group on that basis. It is a similar error to blame the Inquisition or witch hunts or what-have-you on Christians. All of those things are substantively incompatible with the teachings of Christ, which means that those who perpetrated them either were hypocritical professors who had not been supernaturally converted at all or they were Christians living in disobedience to God. In either case the problem is not with Christianity in its fundamental character, but with those who forsake it. As if you were to denounce education because you had an abusive teacher or justice because you met a crooked cop or food because you had burned toast. You are making a judgment about a thing on the basis of something aberrant to it character.

There are some similarly interesting inconsistencies in that thinking of which Anonymous is prototypical. “Worship your God, but don’t try to force Him on others” (where “force him” is an expression I will accept only for the sake of argument) is a self-defeating imperative when the Bible says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15), “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), and “save others, snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). “Forcing God on others,” which is Anonymous’ way of saying “evangelism,” belongs to and is inseparable from biblical worship of God. It would be as if you said, “Be a police officer, but don’t go pushing your social values on everyone else,” or “be a judge, but don’t you dare tell anybody what to do.” The two are inextricably connected. So it is not what we do with our beliefs with which Anonymous has a problem, it is not how we proclaim our gospel that he hates but our gospel itself, and yes, our God.

But the greater and more ironic inconsistency is this: that such as Anonymous does precisely what he berates you for doing. Because he says, “Don’t push your values on me,” even though it is his value that says you shouldn’t do so, which he is seeking to impose upon you. Is he not then trying to force you to observe his viewpoint? Is he not forcing his opinion on you? And if he says, “Well, you can hold whatever views you want that don’t get in the way of other people holding theirs,” is that itself not but another standard which he has erected which he expects you to adopt simply because he prefers it? And who is the arrogant one then? He is not arrogant, for example, who thwarts a rape and performs a citizen’s arrest of the criminal. That one, though he has imposed himself on the criminal and stepped on his “freedom,” was in fact the humble one, who was not so bold as to cast off the authority over him and break the law. Likewise, he is not the arrogant one who proclaims the law of God to the transgressor-especially when he calls him to escape punishment!-he is the righteous one. What Anonymous is calling for is not harmony and mutual respect. He is calling for anarchy, and more than anarchy, he is calling for his own rulership and complaining that we have not submitted to his reign. Thus Anonymous oppresses in the name of tolerance, out of pride accuses us of arrogance, and with duplicity derides us for hypocrisy. He would do well to realize that we are all alike rebels against God and ask, not, “Do I like the Christian God?” but “Is He the true God?” and find salvation in Him from his own sins as we have found for ours.

14 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

anonymous,

Thank you for proving my point with your foolishness. 🙂

14 09 2006
bygrace

anonymous,

Would you answer a question honestly? Have you ever told a lie? Hated? Stole anything?

14 09 2006
Daijinryuu

Thank goodness for my ability to retain much of the Christian dogma that was imposed upon me as a child…

It is written in the bible, specifically at the end of Matthew, that all of the followers of the avatar Jesus are to go into the world and spread his message, and two wipe the dust of those who refuse the Gospel off their feet, a symbol to show they will suffer a fate worse than that of Sodom and Ghommorah.

Vaishnava, and in the context of the larger whole of Hinduism, despite current problems with Islam’s bloody border and a warlike history, also has a history of tolerance, accepting all religions as valid. I am not as learned about history on the Indian subcontinent as I am with Occidental civilization. One of the five main yogas, or ways to union with God, is yoga of philosophy, which allows for great Scriptural study yet also to discuss in a friendly manner with imposing beliefs. I am trying my to be tolerant of all except for those who insist on religious imposing.

14 09 2006
erik

Let me try to respond to 2 comments with 1 comment (i apologize for the length, not the content)-

anonymous: way to reach back to 5th grade and play the famous “shut up!!” card when someone says something you don’t agree with.

What is truth? Who decides? Based upon what? Is it something that you are the final arbitrator of? What did people do before you the cranky blog commentor was born?

Truth is eternal, unchanging, external to you and transcendently derived. The Bible is a fairy tale? What do you base that on? Because you say it is? And we are supposed to submit to you?! You want your view reign as the ultimate authority but you have no basis for supporting this outside of your own desire. You want to be autonomously anonymous.

The only worldview that presents a God who is uncompromisingly concerned about his character is biblical Christianity. It is in biblical Christianity alone where you find a God who is just (punishing evil justly) and lovingly forgiving. All other worldviews are banking on a God who either is to far sighted to see sin or otherwise unconcerned with sin against him. It is only in Christianity where Jesus is completely judged in the place of sinners where God is proven to be just, holy, good, loving and forgiving.

Your god is either impotent (can’t punish sin), blind (can’t see sin), indifferent (doesn’t care about sin), or on the take (takes bribes to pay of sin). In any and all cases you depend on a god who is weak. And this god is no god at all but your imagination. Such a concept is itself a fairy tale. And this is not my own appraisal but rather it is the appraisal of the holy, just, loving, perfect creator and sustainer of all life:

Romans 1:21-23 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man

And as far as evangelism to folks like you (&Daijinryuu)… Jesus is an exclusivist. He is the one who commands all of his followers to bring THE message of forgiveness to all people. Jesus is not a pluralist, a post-modern, or a relativist, he is an exclusivist.

In your plea for tolerance of all except those who are intolerant of your own view you are being intolerant!!

It is love and obedience that fuels biblical evangelism not self-righteousness. Jesus is in charge, he out ranks us so we submit to him and plead him to you.

You are rejecting Jesus Christ, mocking his death by judging it unworthy and in so doing rejecting the only means of obtaining forgiveness from the God who will not compromise.

I lovingly urge you to stop playing games with Jesus and submit to his authority (for more see here). Anonymous, you may comfort yourself with visions of a baby in a manger, but as we have discussed before, when you see him he won’t have a rattle but a sword and a holy scowl for your refusal to honor him. This is terrifying indeed.

14 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

Amen Erik!

14 09 2006
Deines

“Warren’s books and sermons are no different. His venti cup of vagueness mixed with a double shot of semi-pelagianism while holding the ‘Jesus’ is a lethal tonic for the spiritually blind. Rick Warren dances on graves with his Christological omissions.”

What a great quote. Having just read the PDL, Warren’s quote that “Jesus isn’t going to ask you about doctrine when you die” is one of the most harmful statements that one can make. To de-emphasize doctrine is to de-emphasize who God is, that being the glorious Trinity, three in one and one in three. Warren just wants people to have purpose. That statement presupposes having a correct anthropology and hamartiology so we know the plight that we are in because of sin, but Warren doesn’t want to speak about doctrine. That just doesn’t make sense. His book is on sanctification. Guess what? That’s doctrine!

14 09 2006
Daijinryuu

Jesus dies and is reborn. Sounds a little Hindu to me. A deity who creates an eternal punishment for people who did even minor, miniscule sins? That sounds crazier than the ideas of reincarnation, that we are to be reborn and live out the consequences of our actions before reaching God.

14 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

Daijinryuu,

No Jesus was not reborn. He didn’t become another creature and go from babyhood to adulthood again. He died, but being God He was RESURRECTED. No matter what Hinduism or Buddhism teaches there is no reincarnation. Nor was Jesus an Avatar. He is God. All sin is a matter of life or death. There are no minor sins. Jesus death was to pay the penalty for the people’s sin whom He came to save from the Wrath of God against ALL SIN. The crucifixion was God pouring His wrath against OUR sin, but placing that wrath on Christ. He could pay the price or penalty for OUR sin because He was and is sinless. By-the way, God saves His people, we don’t save ourselves. Those who are saved are reborn SPIRITUALLY. This enables them to live lives of repentance.

14 09 2006
Daijinryuu

So I am guessing that the people in remotes parts of the world like the heart of Africa or as-of unreached islands in Polynesia are going to hell for their inability to know God thru the avatar, er son, Jesus. Yea, sounds right to me. ::sounding sarcastic::

At least general Hinduism teaches that no matter what path you follow, if you are good you become one with God eventually, if you are bad you separate from God somewhat for a little while and are allowed to connect again with him in another life.

Oh, and one does not need to be physically reborn to be reincarnated. Ever heard of out-of-body experience? When you return to your body, you are reincarnated, but your soul re-enters the body it temporarily left.

Otherwise, may God send me to the Inferno, because I rather have that than go thru the contradiction and hell that I went thru while growing up Christian.

14 09 2006
Mike Ratliff

Daijinyuu

You are making an assumption that all men are basically good. No one is good except God. God elected those who are His. Salvation has nothing to do with what men do or don’t do. Salvation comes to people when the Gospel is preached to them or they are witnessed to. This is why Jesus commanded that the Church must go into all parts of the world to preach the gospel and make disciples from every nation. Why? Because God has His people all over the world. He is sovereign and when He is ready for the gospel to presented to His people in Boliva or Kansas or Manitoba or Malta or Tazmania then He will send them there. There are Christians all over the World. There are more Christians in China than there are people in the United States.

There are no out of body experiences unless they are counterfeited by demons working with the gullible. The Bible is very clear that when the Soul leaves the body then the body dies and the soul either goes to stand before God or goes to separation from God depending upon whether the person is a son of God or not. No son, you do not want to go to the inferno. Whatever lousy religious experiences you grew up with does not alter the truth. I personally hate religion. I hate what has happend to Christianity in America. It is not Biblical anymore. Please don’t equate what most Calvinists believe with what you are rebelling against.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

14 09 2006
Justin

In light of Daijinryuu’s last comment, I would like to share some thoughts specifically with regards to the knowledge of God, sin, and the destiny of all mankind.

First, in regard to your assertion that people “are going to hell for their inability to know God thru … Jesus.” The bible clearly teaches that no one will go to hell for their failure to know God. In fact, Romans 1:19 says “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Everyone who is currently alive on this planet knows about God (the God who has revealed Himself in scripture).

In fact, it is our knowledge of God that serves as the basis of our condemnation. We all know about God, we know that He has certain moral standards, and we even know that those who practice wicked deeds deserve to die. “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Rom. 1:28-32).

You see the reason that God has condemned man kind is because, we have all decided that “an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures” is more desirable than “the glory of the incorruptible God” (Rom. 1:23). And I want to make clear that when I say ALL, I am no limiting it to those who are non-Christians, but to Christians as well. If we all continued to have our way we would whole hearted devote our entire lives to doing away with God. Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” For the longest time I thought that they were foolish simply because they tried to deny God’s existance (which is foolish), but I have come to believe that they even greater folly is to exchange the glory of the eternal, immutable, incorruptable God for temperal, variable, corruptable things. What kind of fool exchanges that which of the infinte good for somethine less?

So the end result is that “ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE” (Rom. 3:12). God’s testimony about mankind is not “if you are good you become one with God eventually,” but none of us are good and none deserve to be any where near to God, including Christians.

There is only one group of people in the end that will enjoy an eternity with God and will not suffer the penalty that their rebellioned has earned. These are the ones for who Christ has satisfied the wrath of God that their rebellion has earned (Rom. 3:25-26) and fullfilled the righteous requirements of God’s law that they could not (Rom. 8:3-4).
The only means by which one may be found to be a part of this chosen people is by trusting in God, and by pleading with Him to be faithful to His promise that those who trust in Him shall be saved. (Rom. 10)

My closing remarks are for Anonymous and Daijinryuu. I have no clue who either of you are, we have never met (and probably never will), but I know that your Maker knows you both. And while His anger and His wrath may be kindled toward you, know to that He has shown and is showing His kindness to you each day. He has allowed the sun to rise and set each day of your life, He has give you a life to live and to enjoy for His glory. And He has made possible your reconciliation to Him. It is my hope that you will one day see “the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

15 09 2006
anonymous

“He has allowed the sun to rise and set each day of your life,”

It’s that kind of relinquishing of free will and general basic intelligence that frustrates me to the point of coronary.

Still waiting for the big guy with the sword. No sign of him yet.

15 09 2006
Daijinryuu

Here are my final posts on this thread. Believe what you want to believe, I will continue to believe what I believe because for me Truth lied not in Christianity but un Vaishnava. People had imposed, rebuked, scorned, verbally assaulted and harassed, and damned me because of my persistence to believe that Krishna is God instead of “He is who is called ‘I Am'”. Dharma, karma, rebirth, the sangha, the Triple Gem – these are what I believe in, to me These are Truth. All beliefs are valid so long as their basis is on love and compassion for sentient beings.

And by the way, animals and plants, like humans, do have souls.

Namaste, and may we meet during the great play we call life.

15 09 2006
erik

“Believe what you want to believe, I will continue to believe what I believe because for me Truth lied not in Christianity but un Vaishnava.”

:: just as long as you remember that according to you, you are the final authority on truth. Truth does not lie in something because you say it does, truth is external from you and is sustained with or without your approval. don’t you see that your God looks exactly like you? it (they) have no demands on anyone, love universally, are hypocritically tolerant and logically inconsistent. you worship them because they give you no accountability and make no demands for conforminty to a transcendent will. you are just obligated to do what ever you want to do w/o accountability…sounds like the gods worship you. this is regrettable because one day you will die and find out you were were worshipping a vapor and you will have missed the whole point. These gods you have imagined did not make you but Jesus Christ did and it is he that pleads to you from the merits of his blood stained cross to submit to his authority and stop worshipping yourself.

“All beliefs are valid so long as their basis is on love and compassion for sentient beings.”

:: would not the muslim extremists say that love is their motive? what about Hitler? He loved his cause? your logic doesn’t work. your view of love doesn’t work because this world is full of evil. love must be informed by justice and holiness otherwise it is selfishly motivated, foolishly contrived, and logically puzzling.

Anon-
“Still waiting for the big guy with the sword. No sign of him yet.”

::you do have some friends here—you are pretty much quoting the bible:
2 Peter 3:3-10 3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

man, you need to stop, you are storing up wrath for the day of wrath.

::erik::

17 09 2006
javaguy

“preaching the truth in love.” Man, Ilove you. . . BUT YOURE SUCH AN IDIOT! But really, you should submit to Jesus . . . SO YOU CAN BE LIKE ME! No wonder athiests don’t listen to Christians. If this were the example of Christian that I had to follow, I would probably be athiest too. Bravo Travis for saying something intelligent and truthfull. I would encourage everyone to re-read all these comments and look at the duplicity you are showing. Anonymous, what can I say, I am incredibly proud to be a Christian. That Jesus would care about someone like me just blows me away and there is no way to describe with words what that is like until you have experienced it. The Christ I know is not tollerant, but he is accepting. He does not compromise, but he will guide. There is truth to what these people say. I just don’t agree with following up Christ’s teachings with behavior that is very un-christ-like. God is the only one who can truly change a person’s heart and sometimes all that means for us as Christians is to make sure that we let as many people see Christ in us as possible and let God work on the hearts of those who are seeking or not seeking. I’m not here to shove anything down anyone’s throat. but here is the spoon if you would like a taste.

18 09 2006
Christian Curious?

Good point: followers of Christ shouldn’t allow “GOD” to be used as a one-size-fits all concept. It’s a missed opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

19 09 2006
Daijinryuu

I still say I will not create, because how can one believe in a god who infinitely punishes one for a finite sin?

19 09 2006
Daijinryuu

I mean convert, again, as always, I spaced out while writing…sorry!!…

19 09 2006
erik

Daijinryuu- I think you have stumbled onto something here. It would make no sense at all to have an eternal punishment for a finite offense…you are right! However, the God of the Bible is eternally & infinitly perfect (boundless in holiness) and so therefore infinite and eternally intolerant of anything less than his perfect standard. So one sin, one act of disobedience (which we have an infinite number…not merely one!) deserves (by nature of the character of God) an eternal punishment…his perfect character demands it.

So for God to be consistent and faithful to who he is he must punish sinners for eternity in hell and hell must last forever because his insult will never be completely atoned for (eradicated or covered)…

So what does God do? He does not compromise, but instead he demonstrates his perfection and intolerance for sin by making his eternally perfect and holy son to be sin for sinners, or to take the place in satisfying divine wrath. See only Jesus, the perfect son, can merit actual forgiveness because it is only Jesus that is eternally perfect and has infinite value…so Jesus offers himself on the cross as the sacrifice for sinners, he is our substitute, bearing God’s anger at us for us…and since he is the only one who is qualified we find him gloriously beautiful upon belief.

This is why the christian message is exlcusive, for it is only Jesus and his cross that maintains a consisitent deity and a way for men and women to be forgiven. And it is not true because it logically all works out but because the Bible says it then it is true and then of course, being true, it all works out logically. Hopefully this helps. You kind of intimated that if you understood justice then you would ‘convert’ do you still maintain this?

You have got to admit a God who is infinitely perfect in all of his dealings and the provider of a perfect substitute for all of your sin, even the secret stuff that only you and God know about, this is pretty appealing to your conscience. And to know that ALL of this sin, ALL of this guilt, ALL of this anger has been removed, not by a compromising God but a faithful, just, loving and holy God…isn’t this good?!

/erik//

21 09 2006
Riskable

What a bizarre thread. For reference, I stumbled here from here: http://spiritualkungfu.blogspot.com/2006/09/one-thing-world-loves.html

To summarize what I’ve read so far:

1. Original poster complains about spiritual message on the back of a Starbucks cup because it is too ambiguous and doesn’t mention _his_ God.
2. People agree with him.
3. Anonymous atheist posts sarcastic comment regarding the pro-theism message on the Starbucks cup.
4. Erik replies, extremely offended, with immediate straw man statement declaring that the anonymous poster has a hatred of God. Erik then declares that Anonymous is “owned” by God. Rams Jesus and Christian religious myths down Anonymous throat (his own words =).
5. Anonymous calls Erik a “nutjob” for said comments.
6. Erik follows up with some choice quotes from his favorite sacred text.
7. Anonymous again sarcastically replies sarcastically.
8. Erik explains his stance by interpreting Anonymous existence through his religious myths and quoting more of his sacred texts.
9. Anonymous declares himself sarcastic and says he has problems with arrogant religious types.
10. Erik quotes an excellent piece of his sacred text (Revelation 19:13-16) that says his god will gather his armies and conquer the world wearing fine, white linens and then rule it with a metal rod (i.e. beatings). He follows up with Psalm 2:11-12 which can be summarized, “Fear God and worship him or you will suffer his wrath! He will kill you for not worshiping Him.” (which is just classic Christian values apparently!)
11. Anonymous points out the hilarity in the above religious myths, which further angers Erik and most of the other posters.

…from there the conversation seems to have devolved into everyone defending their beliefs and pointing out the faults of others and lots of quoting religious text as if they were authoritative on, well, everything. What a grand old time. I have a couple of points to make:

* You’ll never convince a non-theist to believe in your god with threats that they don’t believe in (i.e. hell or fury from a supreme being which they do not believe in).
* The Bible isn’t authoritative on anything. Every Christian sect interprets it in their own way and base their beliefs on that interpretation. You can’t quote 1 John 3:15 (where it declares anyone who hates their brother a murderer) as if it were fact when elsewhere in the same book it contradicts that statement, Luke 14:25-26, “25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”
* The only final authority on truth is evidence. As in, real-world evidence. Anything that cannot be proved or disproved via evidence and/or testing and re-testing is either fabricated/erroneous or exists only as an idea.
* You can’t prove or disprove that an omniscient, all-powerful being exists. It exists as only an idea. You either believe in that idea despite the lack of evidence (faith) or you don’t (atheist/agnostic).
* The Bible is full of contradictions (already pointed one out, there’s many, many more), atrocities, and absurdities. If you want, I’ll reply with a whole bunch that are testable and/or lack evidence to even remotely suggest they are not absurd. If you want me to do this, it would be helpful to know which sect you belong to so I don’t quote some section that has been declared meaningless or heresy =)
* Declaring religious claims as true and all other beliefs to be false is the heart of an oppressor.

“A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports the myth.” -Edward De Bono, consultant, writer, and speaker (1933- )

-Riskable
http://riskable.com
“I have a license to kill -9”

21 09 2006
erik

i do appreciate the recap riskable…

for the record…i was not angry, offended or appealing to ‘straw men’ in any of my posts. God views the Bible as authoritative, it is the supreme and ultimate authority (trouncing my own and your own) and so therefore i appeal to it. It is actually a refreshing joy to explain the gospel and how sinners find life and pleasure in Jesus.

You are right about one thing: I could never convert an atheist…first off because there is no such thing. everyone believes in God, the truth is stamped with an indellible trademark in you…instead embracing the truth and submitting to the truth it is supressed and exchanged for lies even to the end that the truth trader is rendered foolish.

Romans 1:20-23 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man

-as an aside i find it comical that you would appeal to the (apparant) contradictions in the bible while you litter this thread logical contradictions that would make most atheists…errr…supressing theists cringe.

21 09 2006
Wayne

Wow! I am impressed by the intense dialogue that is being developed here.

I have a question for Riskable, however, regarding one of his comments. Riskable, you write, “The only final authority on truth is evidence. As in, real-world evidence. Anything that cannot be proved or disproved via evidence and/or testing and re-testing is either fabricated/erroneous or exists only as an idea.”

Does this include the laws of logic and reason? Based on your statement, what role do these concepts play in your thinking? What is the foundation or preconditions necessary that exist for you to validate your claims?

22 09 2006
Bill

Jesus loves YOU!

22 09 2006
tohu va bohu » Blog Archive » Venti Cup of Vagueness

[…] How about this as a response to a Starbucks cup? This man’s “books and sermons are no different. His venti cup of vagueness mixed with a double shot of semi-pelagianism while holding the ‘Jesus’ is a lethal tonic for the spiritually blind.” And I thought the way I saw things was tough. (HT: weekend roundup) Sep 22 […]

22 09 2006
Bill

Wayne let me help you

One day (Let me preface this by saying that about 70 yrs ago the earth was believed to be in the 100’s of millions of years old now it is the countless billions and aging quickly-by scientific ‘standards’) an organism of yet unknown origin crawled out of the pri-mordial ooze and has since mutated into life as we know it today. There is absolutely no evidence to support this theory as scientists have not been able to find any of the prior generation species that mutated into what we now know as present species. In fact as they continue to compute the infinite mutations it would have taken to get to ‘me’-the scientific community is faced with ‘eternity’ to explain it. The theory is mathematically incomprehensible. Not to mention that the sun would have been too big (it’s been burning itself out for probably trillions of years? Sorry-theory) and too hot for the earth to sustain any form of life that would eventually become ‘me’. It will never be proven so I have come to the conclusion that whether they look to the past or we look to the future we all face eternity. The wisdom of man-from the GOO to the ZOO to YOU! I will say this for anonymous and others-I am jealous of their faith! If I had but a fraction of the faith (in the Creator of the Universe) as they have in nothing, I could move mountains! Glory be to God, HE loves me anyway.

It may sound sarcastic, but I really do desire that kind of faith.

Jesus loves YOU!

22 09 2006
Bill

Daijinryuu,

You’re choice not His.

22 09 2006
Riskable

Erik, since you are not easily offended, I am going to share my unfettered opinion with you. Hopefully it will give you pause to think…

You wrote, “God views the Bible as authoritative, it is the supreme and ultimate authority (trouncing my own and your own) and so therefore i appeal to it.”

When I read this I immediately remembered a quote by Richard Francis Burton,

“The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.”

Replace “God” with “I” in your statement and think about how you use the Bible. Are you using it to spread the word of your religion, or are you using it as a crutch to justify every little thing you say and do? Just something to think about.

Moving on, you also wrote, “I could never convert an atheist…first off because there is no such thing. everyone believes in God, the truth is stamped with an indellible trademark in you…instead [of] embracing the truth and submitting to the truth it is supressed and exchanged for lies even to the end that the truth trader is rendered foolish.”

I look forward to your campaign to have the word “atheist” removed from the dictionary. It should be… Interesting. I have taken careful consideration to your words and, well, I think you’ve inspired me! No, not to become a theist. I’ve been inspired to invent a new word: disatheist, n.
One who does not believe that atheists exist. See noncompos mentis.

Also, I find it hilariously ironic that you claim the truth to be trademarked. I’m sorry but I have to shoot down this claim. I’ve never received a cease and desist letter from the entity you call “God”; therefore we must assume there is no such trademark since clearly I’m using it in violation of the terms defined in your sacred texts. Either that or he is not as omnipresent as you think.

An existence that demands the insertion and spread of its message is known as a virus. Keep this in mind next time you think someone should “submit” to your God and/or your religion.

Now, a final message regarding logic and reason: In the very same post that you said, “as an aside i find it comical that you would appeal to the (apparant) contradictions in the bible while you litter this thread logical contradictions that would make most atheists…errr…supressing theists cringe.”, you quoted Romans 1:20…

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

His invisible attributes… have been clearly seen? I guess they’re not so invisible. Besides that, I do think there is great wisdom in Romans 1:22-23 if you only reverse it. First, the original: “22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man.” An atheist believes in precisely the opposite of this message. Think of this as my version of a snippet from an imaginary atheist bible that, like all invisible, intangible things, doesn’t really exist:

Riskable 1:22-23, “22 Professing to be wise, the believers became fools, 23 and exchanged compassion and caring for their fellow man with the inconsequence of worship and the fear that their impossosible beliefs are actually real.”

Wayne, I will follow up this post with a reply to yours.

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” -Albert Einstein

-Riskable
http://riskable.com

22 09 2006
Riskable

Wayne wrote, “I have a question for Riskable, however, regarding one of his comments. Riskable, you write, “The only final authority on truth is evidence. As in, real-world evidence. Anything that cannot be proved or disproved via evidence and/or testing and re-testing is either fabricated/erroneous or exists only as an idea.”
Does this include the laws of logic and reason? Based on your statement, what role do these concepts play in your thinking? What is the foundation or preconditions necessary that exist for you to validate your claims?”

Logic and reason are as absolute as one’s knowledge of the natural universe. One cannot reason that an action will provoke any given effect without first having a basic understanding of what you’re working with. Subsequently, the logic of a thing depends entirely on an understanding of the elements that make it up. If a belief cannot be tested in any tangible way it is logical to assume that it is not true. Consequently, it is logical to not believe in something that is untestable because it is based on the unknowable.

If you base your beliefs on the pretense that a god of unknowable components created the universe, all else will appear–logically–to be created as the god meant it to be. A devoutly religious person might argue that a scientist views the world through the education he received from science books just as a religious person views the world through the revelations he received from religious books. However, there is one large difference: Only the beliefs of the scientist can stand up to rigorous testing. The reason for this was best summarized by Robert King Merton…

“Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.”

The role of logic is to predict or ensure outcomes. It is fueled by knowledge.
The role of reason is to understand or solve outcomes. It is fueled by logic.
True wisdom only comes when logic and reason intersect.

-Riskable
http://riskable.com
“A fool may provoke an animal and believe he has experienced nature while a wise person will recognize that such stupidity is part of the nature of experience.”

22 09 2006
erik

Riskable said: “If a belief cannot be tested in any tangible way it is logical to assume that it is not true. Consequently, it is logical to not believe in something that is untestable because it is based on the unknowable.”
Can I test that? How can I test your statement? It is surely not empiracal…and so then your own standards that you have set up tell me to reject any subsequent evaluations you make because they are untestable. Do you really live like this? Surely you see this contradiction.

23 09 2006
Johnny

i hope you told the person at the coffee counter that Jesus loves them and that Hes the only way to heaven because if you didnt, delete this post and stop trying to pin one Christian against another.

read more about Jesus. try to act more like Him.

Johnny

23 09 2006
Bill

Oops! Your choice not His

23 09 2006
Bill

Good question Erik. Riskable, explain existence-if “only the beliefs of the scientist can stand up to rigorous testing.”

23 09 2006
erik

Johnny- the barista guy at Starbucks is actually a professing Christian whom I have given tracts to and talked about Jesus with in the past. I did not notice that Tricky Ricky was on my cup until about 30 minutes after my meeting was done (1 hr after being served up the coffee), otherwise I would have talked even more with the dude at starbucks.

i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are just a guy who hates hypocrisy in the church and are speaking, albeit a bit presumptiously, but speaking against it nonetheless.

your last statement is pretty much my life objective and even the purpose of this blog…to be more impressed with and so therefore more like Jesus.

:erik

23 09 2006
Pulpit Magazine » Blog Archive » The Weekend Roundup

[…] The Irish Calvinist highlights our creation discussion, and also gives his commentary on the Rick Warren Starbucks cup. […]

23 09 2006
Wayne

First, a comment to Bill; thanks for evangelizing me! That was actually good to see and I appreciate your heart. To be honest and not play word games, I am a Christian. I believe that the Christian God, the only God, created this world, that we sinned against His holy nature, that in His love, he sent Jesus Christ into this world, born of a virgin, to live a human life and provide a perfect sacrifice on the cross to satisfy the just wrath of God on sinners, that He rose from the grave three days later, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God and is presently living and ruling over all creation. I believe in His imminent return and that He will judge those who refuse to call upon Him and relinquish their own supposed autonomy to His Kingship.

Now, for Riskable. I walked you right into a trap and you snagged the bait. You failed to provide a coherent explanation of your wordlview, betraying your professed convictions. Allow me to demonstrate. You write:

“Logic and reason are as absolute as one’s knowledge of the natural universe. One cannot reason that an action will provoke any given effect without first having a basic understanding of what you’re working with. Subsequently, the logic of a thing depends entirely on an understanding of the elements that make it up. If a belief cannot be tested in any tangible way it is logical to assume that it is not true. Consequently, it is logical to not believe in something that is untestable because it is based on the unknowable…The role of logic is to predict or ensure outcomes. It is fueled by knowledge…The role of reason is to understand or solve outcomes. It is fueled by logic. True wisdom only comes when logic and reason intersect.”

First question for you. If you hold to your first supposed presupposition written by you previously and of which I question you in my previous post, then how can you claim that Logic and Reason are absolute? You can’t, because logic and reason are excluded form being tested. They are not tangible principles that can be tested by the scientist. We will all admit that science utilizes logic and reason, yet you still cannot provide a coherent epistemological defense of your supposed presupposition. Furthermore, you are being illogical in your very response. Logic itself, as a principle, should not be proven by utilizing “a priori” and “a posteriori”reasoning at the same time, because the principle thus trying to be proved is cancelled out. You have, in essense, committed a logical fallacy, attempting to rest a conclusion upon an appeal to premises which prove (if anything) something else altogether. You are aslo using a double standard, attempting to prove logic through science and science through logic at the same time. It doesn’t work.

Finally, you walked yourself right into a logical fallacy and contradiction, the contradictions Erik was speaking of, when you appealed to ethics by quoting Einstein: “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” -Albert Einstein”

If the principles by which we live in society are governed by logic and reason, and that logic and reason need to be empirically verified through science as you have purported, you have quite the predictament on your hands. Ethics cannot be empirically verified by science through the use of logic and reason. Therefore, based upon your first supposed presuppostion, anything not verified as truth throguh the use of testing through science must be rejected. Therefore, since ethics cannot be empirically verified in an atheist universe, you have no standing ground on which to question the ethics people hold. You cannot condemn murder. You cannot condemn Adolf Hitler and his slaughter of jews and other ethnic groups. You cannot condemn genocide, rape, or any other atrocity that “logic” and “reason” would condemn, simply because the truth of those statements cannot be verified. As an atheist, you cannot claim any universal moral principles. You are a relativist. Therefore, it is invalid for you, in your culture, to condemn the activities of another culture. So I ask you, was it appropriate for the Allied forces in WWII to condemn the activities the Nazi atrocities against the Jews? Your relativism fails to be true.

You see, you lack a cogent worldview. The problem with ethics is really not a problem for the believer in Christ, it is really a problem for you, the unbeliever. For you to use the arguments you have against Christianity, particularly when you appeal to ethics, you must be able to demonstrate that your judgements on ethics are meaningful and this is precisely what you as an unbeliever in your supposed worldview are unable to accomplish. You cannot account for the foundation of your worldview. You cannot account for the rules of logic and reason. You cannot account, ultimately, even for your ability to think rationally. In order for you to think, you are stealing from my worldview as a Christian, as demonstrated through your use of ethics. You are living on the borrowed capital of Christian Theism. This is why we, as Christians, can tell you that you are not truly an atheist, because you do not follow through cogently on your own suposed worldview. You live in a pretended autonomy, and autonomy you don’t possess. You see, we argue cogently for the truth of Christianity based on the impossibility f the contrary. You are a would-be autonomous man and you are duluded in your thinking becasue you are supressing the truth, which is before your eyes, in unrighteouness.

You are created by a magnificent God. You have rebelled against Him and I am pleading with you to repent. The evidence is there and you are suppressing it. Your professed presuppositions fail you on your own terms. You have a serious cancer and that cancer is sin. As Christians, we seek for you to be restored.

“You are a patient and you have received the opinions of two doctors. You may like the doctor who tells you that your disease may be cured by external applications and you may dislike the doctor who tells you that you may need a major internal operation. Yet the latter doctor may be right in his diagnosis” – Cornelius Van Til.

23 09 2006
Bill

Sorry Wayne for the misuderstanding as it was not directed at you, but more of an added commentary to the point you were getting to. I wholly understand where you are coming from.

23 09 2006
Riskable

Wayne, your whole post appears to be based off of an assumption that logic and reason are tangible things. They are not. They exist only as ideas; therefore they cannot be tested. You can only test the application of logic and reason.

That is an awful lot of text to write based on an incorrect assumption. The important part is at the start,

“First question for you. If you hold to your first supposed presupposition written by you previously and of which I question you in my previous post, then how can you claim that Logic and Reason are absolute? You can’t, because logic and reason are excluded form being tested.”

I never did claim that logic and reason are absolute. I stated, “Logic and reason are *as* absolute as one’s knowledge of the natural universe.”

Meaning, if you don’t have appropriate knowledge it is likely that your logic will be flawed.

Moving on, you wrote:

“Finally, you walked yourself right into a logical fallacy and contradiction, the contradictions Erik was speaking of, when you appealed to ethics by quoting Einstein”

I didn’t “appeal” to anything. I included that quote because I felt like it. If I was going to use it as the basis of some sort of argument I would have referenced it as such. If you look above you’ll see that my post ended a few lines above Einstein’s wise words.

Speaking of logical fallacies, you’ve created a straw man argument:

“If the principles by which we live in society are governed by logic and reason, and that logic and reason need to be empirically verified through science as you have purported, you have quite the predictament on your hands. Ethics cannot be empirically verified by science through the use of logic and reason. Therefore, based upon your first supposed presuppostion, anything not verified as truth throguh the use of testing through science must be rejected.”

I never stated that the principals we live by are governed by logic and reason. As evidence that this is not the case, I have only to point to your arguments (hah!). In fact, I’ve never stated *anything* in these comments regarding my views on ethics or morals. I find it quite ironic that after using my quote from Einstein you stated:

“The problem with ethics is really not a problem for the believer in Christ, it is really a problem for you, the unbeliever. For you to use the arguments you have against Christianity, particularly when you appeal to ethics, you must be able to demonstrate that your judgements on ethics are meaningful and this is precisely what you as an unbeliever in your supposed worldview are unable to accomplish. You cannot account for the foundation of your worldview. You cannot account for the rules of logic and reason. You cannot account, ultimately, even for your ability to think rationally. In order for you to think, you are stealing from my worldview as a Christian, as demonstrated through your use of ethics.”

So to summarize, you think my views are completely null and void because I’m an atheist. This is what is known as an Ad Hominem attack (one of the logical fallacies). You might have well said, “Clearly nothing you say can possibly make sense because the entire basis of all of your arguments are merely founded in the natural world and do not account for the supernatural!” Oh, Cardinal Richelieu would be proud.

Since we’re on the topic of ethics, if you want to know how I think ethics are framed, I’ll share with you something I wrote earlier this week (here: https://beta.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=25895131&postID=4430900291034537077&isPopup=true)…

“Are we loving, kind, and generally all-around good people because the Bible says so? Hell no! We’re those things because they’re wise and we’ve built our society and culture out of many generations that have long since learned these lessons.

A Christian would say we have those traits because a supreme deity created us that way. I say we have those things because those traits enabled us to survive through an ice age and numerous other calamities that have befallen homo sapiens.”

Don’t be good because you think a deity will punish you, be good for goodness sake! “He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.” -Confucius

-Riskable
http://riskable.com
“If you elect leaders that act irresponsibly towards nature, you’ll find that irresponsibility is the nature of your leaders.”

23 09 2006
Wayne

Riskable, read more closely and don’t mince your words for lack of a response.

First, I never assumed logic and reason to be material or tangible in nature. They are immaterial. Whether you have stated them to be absolute or “”as” absolute as one’s knowledge of the natural universe” does not change my arguments so my typing was not in vein.

Furthermore, if logic and reason are not absolute for you, do not appeal to them.

Also, when you include a quote at the bottom of something you submit as a thesis, do not deny the outcome of it on the basis of your feeling, being that you included that “just because you felt like it.” That is no different than saying “nanny nanny boo boo” to someone. It is not intelligent.

You included the quote, a quote which is inextricably linked to one’s philosophy of ethics. I read your other post on the other blog site regarding ethics and that further demonstrates that you lack the epistemological foundation for your belief structure. You appeal to society with no foundation of ethics for that society. Furthermore, you lack coherence to answer the question of ethics based on your presuppositions of that blog. If society governs ethics, you still have no answer for human atrocity in large societies that differ from your own. If your worldview is taken to its ultimate end, we again have no basis to condemn “evil”, however you define evil, though in an atheist universe evil cannot exist. It’s just an “idea”.

Furthermore, I have by no means built a straw man argument. I simply, “for argument sake”, took your own presuppositions to their final end. The Christian worldview has an answer for evil, it has an answer for why “bad things happen to good people.”

Your worldview lacks this answer. Your worldview cannot account for evil. Your worldview cannot account for good. In fact, in an atheist universe, good cannot exist and neither can evil. An atheist unverse would exclude statements that say things such as, “the ice cream tastes good,” because in an atheist universe there can be no standard of good, because good is immaterial and cannot be verified.

Riskable, demonstrate to me a cogent atheistic worldview that can account for such “ideas.” You have no such epistemology. You cannot account for the knowledge you have. This is why your argument has been reduced to absudity.

The Christian recognizes that they are created beings, beings created to worship and glorify God, the creator. We recognize that we rebelled against him and at one time were like you, a rebellios creature who seeks his/her own supposed autonomy. We recognize that in Christ we can be restored in a proper relationship to God, that God does indeed forgive us on the basis of Christ merit. We recognize that the evil which exists in this world will be dealt with by the Creator, God. We further recognize that those who do not submit to Him are under condemnation and will suffer eternal retribution in hell. Those who are His children, again based on Christ finished work, will spend eternity with him, an eternity where “evil” is banished, and the goodness and majesty of God reign.

You, again, have provided no answer against the Christian worldview. Your worldview is wrong due to the impossibility of the contrary. You lack the preconditions necessary for logic. The Christian does not. This is what we call the transcendental argument.

Riskable, you have no answers. You look to yourself for those answers. You are the “would-be autonomous man.” You worship yourself and express faith in yourself as a finite man. This is why we can call your faith in yourself a religion. This is why atheism is a religion. It takes faith to believe that you are autonomous in a finite universe. You have expressed nothing through this blog except a Nietzean will to power. You are supressing the truth of God and that is a dangerous place to be in. Christians worship the infinite God, the Christian God.

23 09 2006
johnny

right.
i just call them how i see them erik. i love to talk about pastors behind their backs with groups of other “Christians”.

especially when Christ is using that pastor to reach millions of people.
none of that matters because he said God on a starbucks cup because they wouldnt let him put a salvation message on there.

for some reason im having difficulty believing that rick warren is afraid to say the name Jesus.

23 09 2006
Riskable

Wayne, oh my! The things you say are absolutely hilarious. I think I’m going to save some of this. Is there an alias you go by that is a bit more descriptive than “Wayne” so when someone sees the quote in my blog it won’t be so ambiguous? “Wayne X.” would suffice.

Anyway, on to my real response: You wrote:

“The Christian worldview has an answer for evil, it has an answer for why ‘bad things happen to good people’… Your worldview lacks this answer. Your worldview cannot account for evil. Your worldview cannot account for good.”

You know something, you’re almost right! Praise human intelligence! Where you’re right is that my worldview doesn’t have an absolute evil or an absolute good. Those things are entirely personal to me and are based off of my studies and life experiences. It must be terribly irritating for someone like you (who believes in absolute good and evil based on a popular religion) to have to deal with someone like me who makes up their own mind on what is right and what is wrong! As if the Bible’s examples of what is right and what is wrong were actually ethical. The Bible says we should kill unbelievers for Christ’s sake (hah, I kill me!)!

Furthermore, you seem to love absolutes. Absolute good, absolute evil, absolute morals, absolute religion. They make understanding things so easy, don’t they? Fortunately (or unfortunately for you), the universe does not have many absolutes and your moral absolutism (forged from religious fundamentalism) is one of the most dangerous beliefs that has ever befallen mankind. Don’t worry, I’ll qualify that last sentence…

The hijackers of 9/11 also believed in moral absolutism.
So did the perpetrators of the Spanish inquisition.

…and I have yet another quote:

“Everything you’ve learned in school as `obvious’ becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.” -R. Buckminster Fuller

If you base what you believe as right and wrong off of a religious text, you’re putting the onus on the religious text to not just be perfect in a moral sense, but to be perfect in a general sense as well (authoritarian). Since we can factually prove that the Bible is flawed in many ways (e.g. 1 Kings 7:23), it is not perfect. If the Bible is not perfect, it seems reasonable that other aspects of it are not perfect as well. Since this is the case, don’t you think it is a bit illogical to base your entire beliefs of right from wrong on it?

“If the Bible is mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust it to tell us where we’re going?” -Justin Brown

When a believer comes to see everything through the words of his sacred book, the book becomes his master. Even the greatest and most obvious of absurdities will be believed if the book says it is so. It is for this reason that I believe religion is a path that only leads away from truth. The believer that chains himself to his sacred book may think that it he has latched on to vehicle that will carry him to paradise, but the truth is that he has only added a weight that holds him back.

-Riskable
http://riskable.com
“I believe that no belief has a right to be free from criticism. Even this one.”

24 09 2006
Fred

“Don’t be good because you think a deity will punish you, be good for goodness sake! “He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.” -Confucius

If one holds to a naturalist view, where does good come from? What differentiates it from evil? Why can not evil be good and good evil and who has the right to absolutise either and defining either?

24 09 2006
Justin

In light of one of Riskables earlier comments:

“Riskable 1:22-23, ’22 Professing to be wise, the believers became fools, 23 and exchanged compassion and caring for their fellow man with the inconsequence of worship and the fear that their impossosible beliefs are actually real.'”

I thought I would make a couple of quick observations:

First, in regard to “compassion and caring for their fellow man.” Riskable would have us believe that their is no God and therefore no day when every man will be called to account for there deed. At least he is then consistant enough to be moved out of “compassion” and “caring” for his fellow man and tell them that they should do the same. That they should leave off obedience to God and do what ever they think to be right.

Yet he condemns the Christian for the same consistancy. The Christian believes in both God and the judgment that will be rendered to each man for the deeds they have done (all wicked). They also believe that God has paid the penalty of the sins of those who believe in Him and has declared them to be righteous based on the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, for the Christian the “compassionate” and “caring” thing to do is to tell others of the hope that exists in Christ and to call them to repentance that God might have mercy on them and passover their sins at the final judgment.

Second, is in regards to Riskable’s claim “that their impossosible beliefs are actually real.” This statement lacks any backbone because he cannot actually prove them to be unreal. This is backed by his believe that somethings must be tangibly tested in order for them to be real. It is ironic that the testing of these real objects presupposes that those objects already are actually real (or he could not test them). But he cannot show that his approach for proving the validity of a belief system is correct, because he cannot tangibly test his own ideas. He has nothing to test them against. He could claim to test them against himself, but his beliefs have changed over time and will continue to change. He could claim to test them by society, however, society’s approach to testing reality has changed over time and likely will continue to. In fact, he cannot prove the reality of his own beliefs, because he has nothing to test them with. For all I know this person’s ideas are simply a figment of my imagination and while they are here today they will be gone tomorrow.

For the Christian on the other hand, God has revealed the truth about reality to him in the Scriptures, thus he has something to test this own thinking against. For the Christian the Word of God serves as the means of testing the perception of wisdom (those who are wise in their own eyes) against the reality of wisdom (those who see things through God’s eyes).

24 09 2006
The Way I see it… « Musings of a Random Nature

[…]  Irish Calvinist has some insight about what could be wrong with a popular Christian pastor’s thoughts on a Starbucks cup? It really comes down to the the “J-word” – i.e., “Jesus.” A young man we are interviewing for a position on our youth team said much the same thing this morning as he spoke to our High School students. Most people will let you say lots of things about God, but if you say something about Jesus it just might bring some strong words and feelings. I’m reminded that we really do need to make it clear that the God of whom we speak is Jesus … the one who rose from the dead, the one who said he was the only way to heaven, the one in whom we must believe. […]

25 09 2006
Wisecarver

The name above all names. Jesus. I serve in the USAF Chaplaincy (for 2 more weeks). I receive phone calls asking for prayer at a Ret. Ceremony, or a Change of Command, etc. You can be 100% positive that they will want a brief review of what my prayer will sound like. If the name of Jesus is anywhere mentioned, they are the first to throw it out. A risk to offend. Let’s not go into the Christmas season which is now referred to, “Ramahannaqwansmas.” As Rick Warren seems so worried about. He wants to evanglize, but apart from Christ. Remove the name, and somehow that makes everything acceptable. Drink the kool-aide. The water-downed gospel. I was fed this stuff for 5 years. I feel like a newborn all over again. Shame on those Pastors who waste everyones time sitting in those pews preaching this “Self Help” gospel. If Christ is offensive to you. Good. I love you. But good.

26 09 2006
erik

Well we would all like to thank ‘Riskable’ for voluntarily coming in to IrishCalvinist.com and demonstrating for all of the precision of Romans 1. You my friend played the part of a suppressing theist to a ‘T’. I could not have described or demonstrated the characteristics of one who hates God and his authority with such accuracy and irreverent vehemence.

At the end of the day this is extremely sad though. For the purpose of the Christian is never to win arguments but to win glory for Jesus. This blog is no different. While I feel that arguments made by theists and Riskable’s lack of a response to each were encouraging to a degree they were also extremely discouraging.

I therefore plead with you Riskable not with an argument, wisdom or rebuttal, but rather with the foolishness of the gospel. The crucified King of the world who was delivered up for sinners like me and you. I plead Jesus Christ and his substitionary death, the only means by which rebellion is punished. I plead his loving sacrifice, his merciful patience, his gracious salvation and his impending return, I plead these to you. I know, based upon John 3, that you will not come to him because you love sin rather than him, and I understand that this must be broken down and through by divine grace. So Riskable God has been plead to you, and we will continue to plead you to God. For the aim of this conversation has been to glorify God with aim toward your conversion. I will continue to pray for you that God would open your heart to believe the truth of Christ, that you would be haunted with the insecurity and inconsistency of your worldview, that your lack of hope would become evident to you , that you would stop exchanging the truth of God for a lie as you suppress the truth in unrighteousness, even as you grab to the floating philosophical driftwood (which can never save you!!), and that you look away from yourself and to Jesus who alone is qualified, able and willing to pardon a humbled sinner who finds his need for a Savior.

for Jesus sake-

::erik

26 09 2006
javaguy

Has anyone ever been to Rick Warren’s church? I would be interested to find out if he uses the name Jesus in his home church. I will venture a guess though. I’m thinking, yes, he does talk about Jesus in his church. I know the response that people on this site are thinking is, “sure, where it’s safe. What about out in the world?” My answer is this – when you meet a person on the street and feel God leading you to share the gospel with them, how do you go about it? Do you slam the whole gospel in their face and give them every bit of the bad with every bit of the good? Do you fill them in on all the little points of doctrine? Do you tell them that they must choose Jesus right at that moment or burn in Hell? If the person is ready for it, this approach might actually work. However, I seriously doubt that many people who are hearing the gospel for the first time are ready for all that. Some might be ready to hear about God’s wrath. Some might be ready to accept Jesus at that moment. Some might not. If they aren’t ready for all that, do we go ahead and tell them everything so that we can’t be criticized for holding back and being vague? No, we interact with each individual individually. The advantage of being able to share the gospel with someone one on one is that you can individualize your testimony to each individual. Rick Warren, unfortunately cannot individualize each Starbucks’ cup to each and every person who buys a cup of coffee. What he can do, is plant the seed. People read his quote and think, “who is this Rick Warren guy? Maybe I should check him out some more.” When that happens, the gospel is opened up to them. Maybe they buy a book, maybe they go to his church, maybe they find some other church to go to. As Calvinists, I’m sure you all believe that God will draw his chosen ones to Him. Could it be that God might possibly be able to use Rick Warren to plant the seed that God can use to draw that person or is Rick just a failure whom God has cast away because he doesn’t evangelize right? Call Rick. E-mail him. Write him a letter. Ask him who the God is that he serves. Maybe, if you who are so opposed to him are unfortunate enough, he might actually tell you about Jesus. The Pharasees used to say the same things about Jesus himself.
Side observation: there have been no responses to anyone who does not agree with eriks’ accusations of Rick except to defend their own behind. Odd.

26 09 2006
erik

java- I give people the gospel because it is the gospel that saves (Rom. 1.16). at the end of the day no amount of strategizing, coercing, cajoling, priming or manipulating will bring about salvation, only the gospel…so with my aim in evangelism being the glory of God through the salvation of lost people you bet I give them the gospel.

Warren’s vagueness has been his trademark. And actually I have been to his church. I painfully sat through Warren telling me that I was the end for which God created the world (you might see Eric’s comments above for a complete outline of the recent evening at Saddleback).

So if I am a Pharisee then tricky ricky is….Jesus?

26 09 2006
Angie

I dont have the gift of putting my thoughts clearly into words like so many here have been able to do (well, some might not be defined as clearly), but I have to make a point. Why does someone who claims they don’t believe in God feel so compelled to seek out Chrisitan dialoges and try to prove their point? It seems to me that the knowledge of God is very evident in them, how can you hate what supposedly ‘doesn’t exisit’? You can’t, you can hate the reality that God does exist and you are not Him. So to the ‘atheists’ who try so hard to supress the truth, you are proving it all the more through your words and actions. Thank you for proving all the more that the Word of God is True!

26 09 2006
javaguy

Erik,
do you honestly fill in every person with the FULL gospel, and everything on your first encounter with them no matter what their condition, disposition, or emotional state? I’m not talking about this blog site, I am talking about face to face meetings with people. Do you cover absolutely everything in your first meeting with them on the bus or on the street or in the store, or do you offer what you think they need at the time, then follow up with more meetings? Are you the perfect example of evangelism? Should everyone evangelize exactly like you do, or is there room for uniqueness? Would some listen to the message of one person where they would turn up their nose at the message of another? And the BIG q uestion: Can you say with absolute certainty that no one has come to know Christ because of Rick Warren’s ministry? If the answer to that question is no, how can you judge his ministry when the average layperson may only bring one or two people to Christ in their lifetime. I realize it is not about numbers, but if only one person has been saved because of his ministry, can you say that God is displeased with it?

26 09 2006
erik

javaguy-

first and foremost, no sarcasm intended, i am not the standard.

And further, we are not talking about personal evangelistic encounters we are talking about a Starbucks cup. The guy has the opportunity to have his thoughts captured on a cup and he is regrettably vague, cultural acceptable and ecumenicaly friendly. All of which the gospel of Jesus is not. So don’t pin this down to evangelistic practices. Which btw, if the Lord allows me time to talk with someone and I am able to share Christ you better believe I lovingly explain Jesus’ gospel to them…it is not mine to edit or hide. But again I am not the standard to be met, I am just trying to meet the standard. If Starbucks gave me a shot at a cup I sure as heck wouldn’t sell out like a chump. But perhaps it is selling out that gets you the Starbucks deal in the first place.

To your second question or the BIG q:
“And the BIG q uestion: Can you say with absolute certainty that no one has come to know Christ because of Rick Warren’s ministry? If the answer to that question is no, how can you judge his ministry when the average layperson may only bring one or two people to Christ in their lifetime. I realize it is not about numbers, but if only one person has been saved because of his ministry, can you say that God is displeased with it?”

This may be a fundamental difference between you and I Javaguy. It appears by your words that you are governed by pragmatism…the ends justifying the means.

So Tricky Ricky is biblical because of the numbers?! Well the Mormon church is pretty popular…are they biblical? Islam is growing at record rates…are they right?

See when you toss out objective revelation as your ultimate guide in favor of results you not only look like the contemporary business model but you look very unbiblical. Are you prepared to say that Jeremiah was a failure? How many converts did he have in 50 years? The apostle Paul seems to be the very opposite of a pragmatist. In 1 cor. 1 & 2 you see him giving the Corinthians exactly what they did not want…even though he knew it would ‘work’…the Jews wanted a sign and the Greeks wisdom…but what did he give them? Jesus Christ and him crucified…foolishness. Paul was not governed by pragmatism but rather what honored God. Think of Jesus. He gathered quite a crowd going into John 6. But what does he do, pacify the crowd? No gives them revelation which causes them to withdraw from him (Jn. 6.66). So was Jesus a bad evangelist? A bad marketer? Or was he ignorant? How about slow? No, he was none of these. He is the perfect omniscient son of God and he did what was pleasing to the Father (cf. 8.29) and we see them leave. From a pragmatic approach he was not very successful was he Javaguy? Unless success is characterized not like a fortune 500 company but rather by what glorifies God.

For you to say that because Rick Warren has a crowd and a following he is biblical is extremely shortsighted and biblically naive.

Perhaps if you spent a bit more time falling in love with the gospel of Jesus Christ you would be a bit slower to defend and justify those who edit it.

26 09 2006
Jim

Javaguy,
While it is not possible to share every doctrinal point with most people on the first meeting, it is necessary to share the points that are core to the gospel. This includes who God is, the sin of man, God’s attributes including but not limited to wrath, and who JESUS is. If I don’t tell them that Jesus is the only way, then I have really wasted my time. Jesus is the very core of the gospel. Jesus is the One who we start preaching about, continue preaching about, and end in preaching about. There is no other name worthy of preaching about.
You ask if Erik preaches the gospel perfectly. He would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t do it perfectly, but he does focus on the glory of Jesus Christ and telling people the whole truth which many people shrink back from. Erik is a good yet imperfect example of faithfully preaching the only gospel for the glory of the only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We can wonder all day long about whether or not some have come to faith in part through the ‘ministry’ of Rick Warren, but in the end it does not matter. It does not matter if people come to faith through a person’s ministry (look at Jeremiah). What does matter is if the person faithfully preaches Jesus Christ. God can bless any ‘ministry’ that He wants by granting conversions as faith is His gift not the gift of the evangelist. Christians need to preach the truth of who God is in faithfully presenting the gospel and leave the conversion to God.

27 09 2006
javaguy

Finally! Some dialogue. Erik, I am not saying your ministry has to be perfect in order to have an opinion. My point was that God does not expect each and every Christian to have the same evangelistic approach. Testimonies vary. Approaches vary. We see people parading around with sandwich boards saying “Repent or burn in Hell!” I personally don’t care for that one, but has is brought anyone to Christ? Can we say that those people aren’t Christian? I know a person who worked with someone who was a Christian. That Christian didn’t put Jesus in anybody’s face. They didn’t quote scripture. They simply lived a life pleasing to God and demonstrated Gods’ love through her actions and relationships. Years later, this person who worked with that Christian had the opportunity to be shown the gospel. This person told me that it was then that the Christian womans’ life made sense to him. Her example of a Christian life and the happiness she glowed with is what made him open to hearing the gospel. Did she preach Jesus Christ? No. Did she lay the gospel out for everyone to hear? No. Yet this person still says today that it was her example that ultimately brought him to faith. Not all sinners respond to the same thing. That is why God gives each of us unique experiences with him, so that we can uniquely share with those who may only respond to our unique testimony.
I am also MOST DEFINITELY NOT saying it is about numbers. Read my quote again.
“I realize it is not about numbers, but if only one person has been saved because of his ministry, can you say that God is displeased with it?”
I am talking about one soul. God is thoroghly and absolutely absorbed in one soul; each and every soul individually. One soul is just as important as another to God. I apologize if I was unclear. I tried to get it across that it didn’t matter how many souls are saved because of a particular ministry. Obviously, from the better part of your response, you didn’t understand that. What I was trying to say, and I fully take blame for not being quite as eloquent as some (unsarcastic) is that if even one soul is brought to God because of a ministry, do you think God would think any less of that soul? Or would he chastize the minister who gave that soul their first taste of the gospel? I honestly cannot see God saying to that person, “well, thanks for showing John Smith the gospel and directing him to me, but I am sorry to say that your ministry is no good to me.” ONE SOUL. Not 50 compared to my 1. Not 200 compared to John Calvin’s 5,000. Simply, the one soul that God cares about as much as any other soul.
Do the ends justify the means? That is a very good question. I think for the most part, no. However, if Ricks’ ministry is, in fact, leading people to Christ, doesn’t that in itself say that God approves? I don’t have a Bible in front of me and I don’t remember where it is found, but there is a story in the Bible where Jesus disciples came across a man who was casting out demons in Jesus name. They didn’t know who this man was, so they asked Jesus if they should stop him. Jesus answered that he who is not against me, is with me. We know from scripture that sinful man is unable to please God. Again, I ask: Do you think God is displeased with a soul being won for Him? I know your response is going to be to point out “in Jesus’ name.” That point is valid and maybe this isn’t the best example to use, but what I am trying to say is that God doesn’t follow the forms of man. As you said, maybe Rick had to be vague in order to get his words on the cup. Does that mean he should have passed up that opportunity to at least get the word out there to thousands of people? You might say yes, I would say no. He is, after all, getting the word out.
Erik, I sincerely think you misunderstood just about everything I was trying to say. It is not about numbers. It is not about standardized evangelism or comparing evangelistic styles but quite the opposite. Again, I am sorry I wasn’t able to state it more clearly.
Jim, I appreciate your comments. What we have to realize is that Rick was indeed given this opportunity to have his words put on a Starbucks cup. And that is what it is. It is not a one on one encounter with the opportunity to preach all the fundamental aspects of the gospel. By the reasoning we are seeing demonstrated, we should be condemning any Christian bumber stickers that don’t contain all of those points. If they aren’t evangelizing the way they should be then they are either misleading people like Rick Warren, or are simply bringing glory to the driver of the vehicle. It might as well say, “I’m a Christian and you’re not so nah nah nah nana nah!” Now, just so that I am not misunderstood again. That is NOT what I think. That is what we must say if we are to condemn evangelistic words on a coffee cup. It is the same principle.
I realize that God can grant conversions of faith in any way he wants to. I agree with your statement there 100%. But we also know that he does count on us to spread the word. Does he need us to? No, but he does. Doesn’t it matter to God that someone is bringing souls to him? “Peter, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, you know I do.” “Feed my sheep.” I believe it does matter to God.
I am honestly greatfull to both of you for responding.

27 09 2006
erik

i think you misunderstand me. My problem with Rick Warren is that HE DOES NOT PREACH THE GOSPEL. As I have said repeatedly he hides, edits and manipulates. I do not know his motives and cannot judge them, but I do see his actions and can judge them through the floodlight of Scripture which is the ultimate authority. Rick Warren is a public figure and a poster child for the atheological, anemic, intentionally vague wing of the evangelical movement, so I will continue to aim to be a good servant of Jesus Christ and point these things out: 1 Timothy 4:6 6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

and btw you continue to justify yourself with pragmatics….

I believe I have been clear with you and do not have any misunderstandings. We disagree. I do not have the time to repeat myself over and over again, particularly regarding tricky ricky.

:erik

as an aside Jim and bumper stickers is like tricky ricky and vagueness….

27 09 2006
tecmorose

Jesus needs to be in there. You are correct on that one. Not that saying God is wrong, but in this age of postmodernism, you have to be specific, bc everyone has their own “Truth”, and if you don’t delineate yours from theirs, then people won’t know where you really stand. Sounds like some slick rhetoric on his part., for slightly less serious subject matter, Check out my blog at, http://underdogs.wordpress.com , for some satire on pretty much anything and everything.

Ryan

27 09 2006
Tim Brown

Daijinryuu Says:

September 19th, 2006 at 3:42 am
I still say I will not create, because how can one believe in a god who infinitely punishes one for a finite sin?

****
The problem is that you are forgetting, or are unaware, that the issue is WHO the sin is against. It is against an infinitely holy God. One must respond to God by Faith. If you don’t do it in this life, you won’t be able to do it in the next. You will know reality in its fullness. No opportunity for “faith” or repentance.

Again, the severity of punishment is reflected in the degree of character that has been offended. Since God is infinitely holy, punishment never ends. It will be punitive, not restorative.

27 09 2006
Justin

I have enjoyed reading the dialogue between Erik and Javaguy, so I would like to add a couple of thoughts. First, keep in mind it is the gospel that saves (Rom. 1:16), specifically through believing the word of God (Rom. 10, Jam. 1:18). In light of this I think it is important to note that any where the word of God is read or studied, there exists the possibility of someone being saved. The question is how do you measure the quality of a ministry. It seems clear to me that a quality of a ministry depends upon its faithfulness to the word of God. When it comes to a preacher, they are to preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2) with out adulterating it (2 Cor 4:2).

As for the comment that “We see people parading around with sandwich boards saying “Repent or burn in Hell!”” I say praise God. Any gospel that does not include the concept of hell is not the real gospel. This was the message that John the Baptist preached, “So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham” (Luke 3:7-8). It was the message that Jesus preached, “And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:2-3). And it was the message that Christ commanded his followers to preach, “and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins (which deserve death, wrath, hell – you pick a word) would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:46-47). If the concept of eternal judgment for our sins is not understood..what exactly do we think that we are being saved from?

27 09 2006
Tim Brown

To get back to the topic at hand; Rick Warren is presenting a message that appeals to everyone but saves no one. The true message is “Repent and Believe”. Jesus preached it. The apostles preached it. And I have studied Rick Warren enough over the past months to know that he doesn’t preach it. It can’t be preached from behind a “seeker sensitive” pulpit because “Saddleback Sam” might be offended. So, if anyone comes to faith as a result of his ministry, it isn’t because of it, it is in spite of it. Warrenism also includes elements of New Age. Don’t walk from Rick Warren, run from him.

Doubt me? Go do your own study. Listen to Bob DeWaay’s series on “Redefining Christianity” among other worthy works.
http://www.cicministry.org/. The Sacred Sandwich has a page where they show how he abuses the scriptures for his own “purpose”.

As far as the others (the skeptics, so-called athiests, over the years I’ve learned that debating those who are dedicated to unbelief is really unfruitful. As the Word says, “The message of the Cross is foolishness to them who don’t believe…” Without the Spirit, they can’t understand the scriptures, so they run with wooden literalism and say verses contradict themselves when there is no contradiction. Explanations never help. Sound hermeneutics don’t help their cause, so no explanation of supposed “contradictions” will satisfy them. Only by the Grace of God will they ever have their eyes opened. I pray for them.

The Gate is Narrow. The Way is Narrow. We in America have been fed a social gospel so long we no longer can handle the truth. Denial of self. Preferring Christ over our familial brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. Rick Warren’s “gospel” wouldn’t fly with the believers in China, North Korea or the myriad other places where true faith is shown in the face of real persecution. But that’s going to change as Christianity becomes outlawed in our country. I say bring it on.

The Psalmist said “When the foundations are being destroyed what shall the righteous do”?

The implied answer is trust in the Lord. He sees what is going on. He knows the wickedness of the human heart. That comforts someone like me who feels like they need to “fix everything”. We can’t. We aren’t supposed to. The battle is the Lord’s. All we need to do is proclaim the truth. Let it fly. No apologies.

Period.

27 09 2006
Tim Brown

I failed to list the link to the article at “The Sacred Sandwich” in my previous post. You will find the documentation there. It’s http://www.sacredsandwich.com/warren_scripture.htm.

28 09 2006
javaguy

Erik,
Yes, you did misunderstand me. Your response to me was proof. As I said, I am not the best at putting my thoughts down so everyone can understand. I take blame for your misunderstanding, but you did misunderstand. I place NO emphasis on numbers. 1,5, 50, it doesn’t matter. Your response was: “So Tricky Ricky is biblical because of the numbers?!” and you went off on that, then ended with “For you to say that because Rick Warren has a crowd and a following he is biblical is extremely shortsighted and biblically naive.” That is the exact opposite of what I was trying to say, and I tried to explain that to you, but you insist that you did not misunderstand me. What you have done, however, is avoid or are vaque about any question that might be a little sticky for you.
“but if only one person has been saved because of his ministry, can you say that God is displeased with it?” – your response was based on misunderstanding my thoughts on numbers of converts and did nothing to answer this question.
“However, if Ricks’ ministry is, in fact, leading people to Christ, doesn’t that in itself say that God approves?” – your response: “and btw you continue to justify yourself with pragmatics….”
“As you said, maybe Rick had to be vague in order to get his words on the cup. Does that mean he should have passed up that opportunity to at least get the word out there to thousands of people?” – your response: ???
What do you mean by “as an aside Jim and bumper stickers is like tricky ricky and vagueness….”? Are you saying you agree with me on that or are you saying my thinking on it is vague?
You call me pragmatic. I am not as pragmatic as these posts may make me appear. I believe just as firmly as you do that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. I believe his importance is just like you tell it. The biggest difference between you and me is not that I’m pragmatic, it is our difference in what we think God can use to spread the gospel. Romans 1:20 – “For since the creation on the world his invisible attributes his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
Where does this say “Jesus Christ?” God holds us accountable whether or not the name Jesus comes into play. His creation is enough to do that. Has anyone come to know Christ because they have witnessed a miracle? Maybe someone was there to invoke Jesus’ name and maybe not. JESUS IS GOD. The person who witnesses a miracle could not become saved excetp through Jesus, however, was the name Jesus included in the miracle that caused that person to start seeking? Is is so, absolutely wrong to spread the word about God to thousands of people and not use the name Jesus if God himself can simply use creation? Again, I am not talking about recieving salvation without Jesus, I am just talking about planting seeds which lead to Jesus.
Erik, quit being so vague and answer some questions directly instead of going off on things that you are misunderstanding. I know you don’t have time to repeat yourself and this is good because I don’t want to hear what you have already said. I want to hear your thoughts on these subjects.

Tim, I honestly am not trying to attack anyone, not even erik. I have asked some simple questions, made some heart-felt observations, and received tangents in response, thus, the beginning part of this post. However, I checked out your link. Let me quote – “I will be discussing two alternative definitions of free will. The first is the typical definition demanded by Arminians (those who believe that a free will choice to believe brings about salvation):” This is incredibly misleading and is not true. A free will choice to believe does NOT in any way bring about salvation. A free will choice accepts God’s gift of salvation. To the Calvinist, there may not be much difference, but to the Arminian, there is a HUGE difference and he has horribly mis-represented our belief. If a person is going to tell others what someone else believes, they better get it right. Next, in reference to Warren, let me first quote what this guy quotes Warren saying – ““It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart. . . . It may take some time to identify it. But the most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs.”1 (Rick Warren)” Then, his quote about this quote – “Rick Warren says that anybody can be won to Christ if we discover a message that will interest them through promising to meet their felt needs. ” Where does Rick promise to MEET their felt needs? He says to identify it. BIG DIFFERENCE! Interest them? Where does it talk about getting them interested? Discovering where their heart lies and interesting them with false promises are two totally different things. Yes, their heart lies where their interests are, that doesn’t mean that we are supposed to compose a message that interests them, it means we are supposed to address it. Sometimes it may mean throwing the gospel at them in a way that may be painful to them, but will be the truth. Warren is saying nothing about appealing to their interests, he is talking about addressing them. I’m sorry, but these are the only two articles I read on this guy’s site and both of them started out with him misrepresenting beliefs in an effort to discredit them. I don’ honor that kind of ministry.

I guess that is what this whole thing is about for me. Rick Warren, Eric, Billy Graham, all the rest. I see people misrepresenting things in an effort to discredit them and it drives me nuts! If you are going to tell the bad, tell the good with it. If you are going to tell the good, tell the bad with it. Picking and choosing quotes then interpreting them differently than they were intended is plain and simple misleading.

You can call me pragmatic, you can call me vague, you can call me a heretic, but I am confident of my faith and my salvation through Jesus Christ and let him be my judge.

28 09 2006
javaguy

I know that was long, but I have just a couple of other thoughts.
I am not as Pro-Ricky as I may seem. You may be right. I can’t honestly say that I have done enough research to fully put my heart into defending him. I just am tired of people, spreading things about others based on a few things that may or may not be true. I believe in going to the source and finding out the truth first before spreading info. to the masses. You seem to think you know the truth and I applaud you in your conviction and hope for your sake and the sake of your readers that you are right. I also hope that you are wrong for the sake of Rick Warren and the people who listen to him. You quoted Romans to back up why you are saying all of this and you are right in following your call to do this. However, the Bible also teaches that we should first approach the person in question twice and bring a witness then if that doesn’t work, bring it before the elders.(again, I’m sorry, I don’t have my Bible to tell where this is found. I do most of this on my work computer) Suffice it to say that I hope for your sake that you are right because the consequences of what you are doing if you are wrong are not pretty.

29 09 2006
Justin

Javaguy,

In light of your comment about Arminianism in which you made sure to clarify the teaching by saying, “A free will choice to believe does NOT in any way bring about salvation. A free will choice accepts God’s gift of salvation.”

I would like to point out that the bible teaches that salvation has NOTHING to do with the MAN’S WILL (even if it were free and not enslaved to sin as Romans 6:17 says). Man does not will to believe and man does not will to accept salvation either, “For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then It DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE MAN WHO WILLS or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “for this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that My Name might be proclaimed throughour the whole earth.” (Romans 9:15-17)

Salvation in the end depends solely on God, and those to whom God saves live their life in a position of dependence on (or faith in) God. You see if our actions have anything to do with salvation their can be no guarantee that anyone has or ever will be saved, but Paul testifys that “it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be GUARANTEED to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16).

29 09 2006
javaguy

Justin,
I spent two years studying, praying, reading, and heartseeking this subject with a very open mind. I read books by Sproul, Doug Wilson, and some Spurgeon and came to realize that while I came to a conclusion for myself, this debate will go on . . . and on . . . etc. I would be happy to discuss it with you more if you would like because I have honestly yearned to have an actual person to discuss it with rather than just books and the internet. My point in my previous post was not to put a plug in for arminianism, but to point out that the web site previously refered to did a very poor job of “speaking the truth.” He twisted words to make them imply something that they don’t and based his argument against Rick on things that he read into his quote that weren’t actually there. Not only is this wrong and unbiblical, it is also leading who knows how many people to believe things that aren’t true. Again, if you would like to discuss Reformed/Non-Reformed with me, feel free to let me know how.

Thanks.

29 09 2006
Justin

javaguy,

I would be more than happy to discuss and interact with any questions that you might have. You can either email me at justinpotts@msn.com or just post your thoughts on your blog and we can interact that way.

As to your point about Rick Warren, I understood what you were driving at, and I appreciate your desire to see people confront others directly. I cannot speak with any authority on Warren’s ministry, however, I have talked to others, including Erik, who have read his works and/or attended his services. Men who have demonstrated themselves to be mature and discerning believers, so I am inclined to listen to their council. As a pastor part of Erik’s responsibilities include, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). If he has taken note of another individuals message and discovers that it protrays another gosepl, he bears a responsibility to protect the flock which has been entrust to him.

29 09 2006
javaguy

Justin,
Thank you for your thougthts. With regards to Rick Warren, I picked up my copy of “The Purpose Driven Life” last night and in the first 20 pages, Rick talked about Jesus at least 9 or 10 times. Refering to Eri”c”s’ comments above, “Here are his application points: My life has sanctity, My identity has dignity, My days have a destiny, My problems have intentionality and My future is eternity. Hmm. Care to guess who’s being emphasized?”
At the end of each chapter, Rick has points to remember or some such thing and the very first point at the end of the very first chapter says “It is not about me.” Warren is not emphasizing “ME” with these things, he is pointing out that I have value in God’s eyes. He has a plan for me and he will use me. I am not just another worthless soul that he decided to save simply because . . . I am valuable to him and as a result, I can use the gifts he has given me to further his Kingdom. There is nothing wrong with saying that God will rejoice when a soul comes home to him. What is the parable of the prodigal son about? Yes, we are wretched sinners. That doesn’t mean we are worthless to God. I don’t think that Warren was trying to say that we should puff up with pride. I think he was saying we can have confidence and self worth because God does have a plan and a use for us.
With regards to Erik and his ministry, I hope that I have shown through various comments throughout my posts that I think his ministry is valid and important and that I don’t intend to bring it down. I honestly respect and admire people like Erik who are called to hold people accountable and shepherd the flock. I mean no disrespect to him or his ministry. In fact, it is because I respect him that I present these things to him.
As a side note, what value would his ministry have in a Calvinistic society? God will draw his chosen ones to him regardless of false prophets etc. What is the danger of them if not the risk of losing souls. Sorry. Had to make a plug.

2 10 2006
Justin

javaguy,

I apprecaite your willingness to go back to the source, I wish I had read “The Purpose Driven Life” so I could speak directly to it, but I haven’t so I will limit myself to your evaluation. You said, “He has a plan for me and he will use me. I am not just another worthless soul that he decided to save simply because . . . I am valuable to him and as a result, I can use the gifts he has given me to further his Kingdom.” I would have to disagree.

The bible seems to indicate that we are worthless when God decides to save us. I believe this to be true based on the following considerations:

1) Fallen men are described as enemies of God (Rom. 5:8), children of the devil (1 Jn 3:10), as lacking understanding (Rom. 3:11), as lacking any righteousness (Rom. 3:10), and as failing to do good (Rom. 3:12). In light of these truths, what value does man have in the sight of God? It seems they only have enough “value” to merit the wrath of God (Eph. 2:3, Rom. 1:18)

2) God’s choice of those whom he will save is never based on anything of worth in the object. This is most clearly seen in the example of God’s choice of Jacob over Esau (Rom9:11). In fact, Hosea 1:2, which Paul references in Romans 9:13, makes clear that Israel was to look to God’s sovereign choice of Jacob over Esau as evidence of God’s love to them.

3) The notion of only believer having a worth to God is also somewhat incorrect. Every person that now lives and breaths was created to give glory to God. And God will either be glorified in the demonstration of His grace upon them in this life or He will be glorified through the demonstration of His power and wrath (Rom. 9:22-23). In the end, everyone has a purpose in God’s creation, but He is the one who decides which purpose each person will fulfill, “For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION” (Rom. 9:15).

Finally, what value would the ministry of a false teacher or a false prophet serve? First, it is a means of testing to see who will remain faithful to the truth and who will abandon the truth (Deut 13). Those who pass the test give evidence to the genuineness of their faith and those who fail demonstrate their lack of genuine faith (1 Jn. 2:19). Second, it serves to purify the church by drawing out of it those who have not been truly born again by the grace of God.

8 10 2006
javaguy

Justin, I don’t think you and I are too far off in our thinking when it comes to worth. I wrote worthless simply in an effort to make a point without really thinking about the deeper implications that might be taken from it. I agree with your assesment of our worthlessness as sinners yet still having purpose in God. That is kind of my point. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I think Rick Warren is trying to explain what I personally feel. When I think about my sins and worthlessness in the big picture, I am prone to self degredation and the result, with certainty, would be deep depression, a feeling of uselessness, and utter lack of any self-worth. It is only when I see God using me, giving me purpose, that I see that I do actually have value in God’s eyes. I have experienced several occassions recently where I have been in a situation that under normal conditions, I would be left either blabbing incoherently or just simply left speachless. Yet, somehow, I found the right words to say. I was able to discern what I should not have been able to. I spoke fluently and coherently. Did I do this on my own? Did I somehow have a moment of personal clarity where I was able to draw on my inner self and use it to draw the respect of others for myself? No, not at all. Let me rephrase that: NOT IN EVEN THE SMALLEST WAY. It was God and only God who worked through me to speak to others when they needed it. Not only did it help those I was speaking to, it gave me an overwhelming feeling of comfort knowing that God valued me enough to use me to minister to those people. I believe that this is what Rick is trying to explain to people. Yes, we are sinners. Yes, we are worthless human beings if left to our own abilities, but that doesn’t mean we have to dive into depression. We can have the comfort of knowing that God can use even someone like me, who sometimes miscommunicates, and causes us to have value to his purpose. Rick is not trying to say that we should puff up with pride because of our own self-worth. He is not trying to emphasise “ME.” He spends the whole first chapter of his book titled “It’s not about Me” explaining this. That is why I have a hard time accepting the testimony of people who simply quote the things that will make Rick look bad when twisted by their own intentions. Such as Eric (with a “C”) did above. I’m sure he wasn’t intentionally making an effort to twist Rick’s words to suit his own purpose, but neither do I think he gave Rick’s words the context and intent that they deserved.
I am sorry it took so long to reply, I have been extremely busy and have not been able to use my computer late at night like I usually do because of a house-guest. Ditto with regards to my reply on Calvinism. It will come.
In reference to your final paragraph: You are very right. Thank you for that insight.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: