“Sanctification is not about something that I either have to do to make myself better, or for which I have to feel guilty about not being good enough. It is a ‘work of God’s grace.’ Entire sanctification is really nothing more than
God’s grace freeing us from everything that has kept us chained to sin and death. The Triune God has given his children everything they need to live the kind of life for which they were created, in this life. And this is not only for spiritual elites or super Christians.”
Jesus often did things that drew – or repelled – people towards or away from himself. Once he grabbed their attention, Jesus would frequently respond with parables. That Jesus spoke in parables is highly significant. Jesus didn’t speak theological jargon; one of his primary forms of communication was…parables. He acted in highly symbolic fashion, eliciting questions, to which he told strange, cryptic stories about how God’s dominion was making its impact on earth.
For Wesleyans, the Bible matters, becoming more and more like Jesus Christ matters, the freedom to exercise the will matters, the means of grace matter, and people matter, from the least and the last to the prominent and powerful: it is full-orbed, Spirit-driven engagement with the Word of God and the world, soup and Scripture, Ebola medication and intercessory prayer.
In short, we need more Arminians with an edge. These are Arminians who understand that the claims of Calvinism and Arminianism are mutually exclusive, and they cannot both be right. They understand that there are important issues at stake and that there are large practical implications. Not the least of these is the very character and love of God. Does God truly love all persons, and do we have a gospel of good news for all persons?
The central question for Abraham was never, “Are you circumcised?” The central question was, “Is your circumcision a reflection of walking blamelessly and faithfully before God?” The central question for the church, then, is, “In doing these things [baptism, accepting Jesus, or taking Communion] are they expressions of faithfulness and an awareness and a pursuit of the terms and conditions of a covenant relationship with God?” It is not, “Do you call yourself a Christian?” It is, “Do you live a life worthy of that name?”
I have been thinking a lot lately about Methodism. What made Methodism so attractive? Why did so many people in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries join the Methodist movement? What did Methodists say that people found compelling? What, if anything, constituted the heart of the Methodist message? I believe these questions can be answered in one word: transformation.
I believe that Wesley can help us steer clear of the problem of moralistic therapeutic deism, as well as other barriers to renewal, so we stay on track in providing solid biblical teaching and preaching. He can do this with his robust vision of the Christian life, at once grace-filled and rigorous, communal and personal, leading to the goal of Christian perfection in God’s holy love. That vision is one of the treasures of our theological heritage, which is a heritage that has the power to help renew the church today.
Piero della Francesca gets thunderingly right what so many Christians get so stunning wrong. Raised on the first day of the week – a day any faithful Jew would understand as the first day of creation – God in Christ has begun the re-creation of this world. This work of making all things new is not complete, but it has begun.
The Son of God had a major impact upon our world and is the foundation of our faith. God, indeed, is not dead. Because of these things, let’s spend more time deepening our own faith and understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and stop arguing about movies.
“You can do anything you put your mind to” does not take seriously the problem of sin and our inability to save ourselves. A key conviction of historical Christian orthodoxy is that we are not enough. We cannot ever be the source of our own salvation. Putting your mind to being a better person, from the Christian perspective will fail every time. It is pure works righteousness.
The Trinity is, in my experience, the ultimate collector’s plate. A gilded, limited edition Charles and Diana Wedding commemorative. Purely for admiring. Never for serious use … This is a problem … Because we love what we use. Can we really love the beauty of the Trinity if we never talk about it?