What questions have you been chewing on?

What are some of the questions you have been chewing on lately regarding your faith?

Keep in mind, I don’t believe I have the answers…and I’m not looking to give you any answers either.  I’d just like to hear what questions you are chewing on lately.  I’m open to input regarding my questions, but I’m not looking for twenty links to your favorite pastors or theology professors or apologists.  Sorry, I’m just not.

It might not be fair, but speak plainly.

To get the ball rolling, here are a few I have been chewing on lately:

Which is more powerful: the work of Adam or the Work of Christ?

If “all” of God’s wrath was absorbed in Christ, how is there still some wrath left over for unbelievers…didn’t he take all of it for us while we were still dead in our sins?

If you study and preach exegetically, can you still be wrong if you don’t study/preach in light of what Christ was supposed to have accomplished?  If not, why not?

If God made us new creations up to and including our hearts, there is hope. If not, and our heart is still wicked after salvation, what hope is there in this life of living a life that is free, whole and holy?

What questions have you been chewing on lately?

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22 thoughts on “What questions have you been chewing on?

  1. Re: your last question, DO we have new hearts in this life? I read Paul in Romans 7, “Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” I’ve heard some say that this section is Paul pre-conversion, and that the believer’s life should be characterized by more and more obedience. Methodistic teaching, I believe, says that one can be fully sin-free in this life. …and I think that conversely, if sin remains then we’re not really believers.

    I think we have to look to Christ and his work on our behalf. He fulfilled the Law wholly. We can’t. We should still do good works, but I don’t know if good works can be viewed as a sign of the heart’s condition. I know I don’t have pure motives for good works I do. This may not answer your question.

    For me, I’ve been going through questions about how I read scripture. I’ve been learning more about Lutheran teaching, and the reading of scripture as it is, without adding my (fallen) reason to it. What does scripture really say in it plain reading, and how different it was in my Methodistic upbringing…

    So there ya go.

  2. Just a follow up: I was reading about this recently and found this quote: “Now, when we enter Christ’s kingdom, this corruption must daily decrease so that the longer we live, the more gentle, patient, and meek we become, and the more we break away from greed, hatred, envy, and pride.”

    1. Good question. Although it rhymes, I don’t think meek means weak. Without looking it up, I thought it has to do with humility. However, a quick search on Bing ruffles my feathers a bit:

      1. humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
      2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
      3. Obsolete . gentle; kind

      I can agree with humble, gentle and kind…

      But docile, overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame….

      Yeah…no.

  3. “overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.” is what most Christian men understand the term to mean.

    Meek actually equates to a powerful force under rational control. Take the Lord’s cleansing of the Temple of the money changers. Imagine, for a moment, if you will, Christ Jesus walking in and seeing the blasphemy. He doesn’t lose it, grab a cord and start to incoherently whip people….there were guards there, at least according to Jewish tradition.

    No, rather, imagine the Lord looking around, righteous anger building, while he fashions a rope with his very, very strong hands (remember, he was a carpenter, and things built back then were very, very heavy and rustic in design). He looks while fashioning his whip, then when he’s ready, he purposely begins to overturn these same tables whose construction he’s intimately familiar, and beats, with purpose, the idolaters and blasphemers from His Father’s house. His calculated wrath (His power…under control) is what set the idiots in flight mode….He didn’t go in and play ‘Mr. Rogers’ with them….

    Same thing today with a Christian man who is meek: He should not be a weakling, pablum speaking waif. Rather, he should be strong, intelligent, and dangerous in the sense that should his power be required to protect an innocent, he can release that ‘power under control’ to rescue or otherwise save the innocent from harm.

    Patience is a virtue; we should learn to be patient as possible. However, being a doormat and mistaking that as being meek, in my opinion, is an insult to what God intended us to be: created in His image. That means powerful, strong, just, loving, kind, and when necessary, able to lay waste.

    But that’s me. Any discussion on the above opinion is entirely welcome.

  4. An even better description of power under control might be where Christ Jesus gives a clear warning on harming the ‘little ones’. Imagine Him again…..looking at those men and saying through half-gritted teeth, “Better you tied a mill stone around your neck and be cast in the deepest part of the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble….”

    If THAT isn’t POWER under control, I don’t know what is…. 🙂

    1. I didn’t know that about the word meek. I looked it up and could only find one resource, ONE, that referred to meekness in this way.

      http://biblehub.com/greek/4239.htm

      Cognate: 4239 praýs (also listed as 4239a/praupathia in NAS dictionary) – meek. See 4236 (praótēs).

      This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than “meek.” Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.

      [The English term “meek” often lacks this blend – i.e. of gentleness (reserve) and strength.]

      Everything else seems to take the docile route. The only other definition I find is in regards to “Meekness toward God”, and it is defined as “that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.” Which, to me, seems to lead towards the sense that EVERYTHING that happens to us, is of/from God, and therefore, since his dealings with us are good, we should just accept it.

      Both of these – the docile and hyper-calvinist – cause me to have even more questions.

      Specifically on the “docile” side, why would it get translated as such, if it isn’t the correct definition; is it control?

      On the hyper-calvinist side where everything that happens is from God…it just makes him seem more like a pagan diety controlling everyside of the board….

      Aaaaaah!…didn’t someone say sometimes I think too much?

      😉

      1. You’re quite welcome; I appreciate your tolerance of the opinion.

        Words have always been used by those with an agenda to control people who are truthfully trying to do as they understand God’s instruction. Using that as a filter, you might be able to see how all but one definition defines ‘meek’ as docile.

        Let’s use ‘meek toward God’ for a good example of how submitting to the Lord God of the Universe is not necessarily in conflict with my previous descriptions by taking a look at David. He was ‘meek toward God’ as he was, “a man after God’s own heart.” But I dare say he didn’t fit the picture of ‘docile’…..yes, he sinned and sinned greatly, but so don’t we all. David was also a very upright, dangerous man. A warrior, highly intelligent, and not afraid to bruise feelings (or cut heads off if necessary). He didn’t sit around simpering and asking for communal input whether or not he should do one thing or another. He figured it out and acted.

        And yes, someone did say you think too much. 🙂

        Consider not getting too caught up in doctrine (Arminianism, Calvinism, etc), for one primary reason: Each and every ‘doctrine,’ save for the plain text of the Bible, is nothing more than the opinion of the man who initiated the doctrine. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong; it just means that since it’s from a man, it will not be unfiltered or purely correct. Therefore, any doctrine can only be a tool used by the believer after God’s instruction through the Holy Spirit.

        Take me, for example, I’m kind of an Arminian-Calvinist (figure that one out) in my personal way of viewing Biblical instruction and salvation. But, as a way, way imperfect man, I can only use what reasoning ability God has granted me to sift out the garbage of the two main doctrinal influences concerning faith.

        For anyone reading who might not know what Arminianism or Calvinism is, here’s some highlights:

        Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius ( 1560- 1609) and his historic followers, the Remonstrants.

        Salvation is possible only by God’s grace, which cannot be merited. No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation. God’s election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christ’s atonement was made on behalf of all people. God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ. Salvation can be lost, as continued salvation is conditional upon continued faith.

        Calvinism is, and I’m sure many know this, where the concept of pre-destination comes from, which is in direct conflict of the Arminianist belief of ‘free will’. Me? I think we are pre-destined to have the free will to choose the Gift of salvation or not. Figure THAT one out. 🙂 Calvin (unlike Luther, who liked the serf/lord system) accepted the newborn capitalism and encouraged trade and production, at the same time opposing the abuses of exploitation and self-indulgence.

        Anyway, you got more than you bargained for on this one. Enjoyed the discussion.

  5. A few VERY small tidbits to chew on form a pure biblicist such as myself ;).

    1. Hyper-Calvinism doesn’t adhere to the “everything comes from God” bit, good ole fashioned regular Calvinism holds to this, not a hyper position. Just generally speaking this is rooted in scripture such as Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” (Ephesians 1:11). Paul writes that God works ALL things to the counsel of HIS WILL. Good, bad, neutral, all things. Which I realize brings up about 297497208 other questions as well. This is just a tidbit though I said! I heard a man once say that there are “no maverick molecules.” If there is anything anywhere anytime that is not under God’s control and outside of HIs providence then he ceases to be God. I could go on but I just want to throw in my 2C as Tom puts it.

    2. Someone also wrote: “Calvinism is, and I’m sure many know this, where the concept of pre-destination comes from, which is in direct conflict of the Arminianist belief of ‘free will’.” This is a bit of misinformation and I am sure it’s not intentional. The concept of predestination comes form the Bible, not Calvinism. It’s all over the Bible, no need for me to list a bunch of verses, just wanted to point that out. Also, another misconception is that Calvinism doesn’t adhere to “free will,” which it does. Calvinism does now and has always historically held to what some call a “compatibilist free will”, meaning that every choice every man/woman makes is their own choice, not forced or contrived but made by them freely. We make our own choices voluntarily, which are dictated by our human nature. This is not the same however as “libertarian free-will” which says that we can make any choice we want between two opposite outcomes, etc. Basically, libertarian free-will is what it sounds like: it means that our choices aren’t hindered or informed by our nature. So the real debate (not to get into a treatise on Calvinism here) must take place in the realm of human nature, not “free-will” (e.g. how can a spiritually dead, deaf, and blind man choose, hear, or see, anything unless his nature is regenerated (i.e. his spiritual eyes are opened) first by God?). Dead men don;t do anything. Babies don’t “choose” to be born. A blind man can;t see anything. A deaf man can’t hear. These things are addressed all throughout the New Testament. The new birth/regeneration is something that happens to us. Sure we participate, but our role is passive, while God’s is active. This is the real debate, choice is a byproduct. Ok I’ll shut up now.

    3. One of Tom’s original questions stuck out to me too: “If “all” of God’s wrath was absorbed in Christ, how is there still some wrath left over for unbelievers…didn’t he take all of it for us while we were still dead in our sins?” The question I would ask, is “For whose sins did Christ die? Many Christians say he died to bear the sins of the elect only in a salvific way. If he bore the wrath of the sins of every human being everywhere, this naturally leads to the universalist position as no man can be punished in hell for something that was already paid for previously, this would make God unjust. However, if Christ died to redeem his people only (i.e. the Elect) then it naturally follows that those whose sins he did not pay for will incur the wrath of God on judgement day. Again, I realize this brings up about 2979479665875687587597569 questions but they won’t be answered in this forum or anytime soon as it takes years of prayer and study to dissect these type of issues no matter what side you end up landing on. But for the burning questions that still remain, I think Paul addresses many of the questions that might have popped into your head just now nicely in Romans Ch. 9 🙂

    Ok I’m out. Time to play in the snow.

    1. Enjoy your time in the snow man, we sure have gotten a nice “sprinkling” to say the least! Haha. Hopefully when i get home from work I can enjoy some coffee and watch the kiddos play!

      I definitely appreciate you throwing your 2c into the matter as well.

      What you brought to the table does bring up more questions, but that’s O.K.. I can get a bit pre-occupied with the questions side of things sometimes. Like you said, prayer, time, and studying.

      Thanks man! 🙂

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