Psychological salvation

“The reason why the widespread contemporary understanding of faith differs so much from the biblical understanding is that “faith” in the Bible is a covenantal concept while today it has largely become a psychological concept.” — Greg Boyd, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God 

 

The moral voice, part 2

Greg Boyd is about as controversial as it can get in the evangelical church. Over the years he’s managed to constantly say something that has upset a lot of evangelical thought. But he raises some incredible points as he shares his personal journey in this video.

 

Kingdom power is NOT about this world’s power

We keep refusing to understand the kingdoms of this world in an unredeemed state don’t operate under what we want to have as “true morality.” I got another email about some legislation where we need to “pray this doesn’t pass.” I understand that, but to try and force a world power to act like the kingdom of God may or may not work. It’s uneven.

And WE operate IN this world, but it’s under the authority of the Kingdom of God. This should be why Christianity is truly a threat, especially in totalitarian regimes.

This longer post has a great discussion on the ACTION of the true Kingdom, but here is one good quote:

Kingdom of God, instead of aligning with already existing political powers, created a new kind of kingdom with a new king, a new rule and redemption, a new people, a new law and a new sense of place. The ethic of the kingdom is for those people living under that king not for the public sector living under other kings.

We need these reminders no matter where we are on the theological spectrum. I find “liberals” and “conservatives” constantly trying to make a secular government act like the Kingdom of God and both sides keep getting frustrated. Maybe we need to keep learning new lessons about the true Kingdom.

Reformation Day — One Point of Discussion

I know it’s not Reformation Day yet. But, almost.

Luther nailed the points of discussion on the door in Wittenberg. We have blogs.

My one point of discussion this year would be the Church wanting the government to do the will of God. Even Luther had trouble with this one. He thought it was okay (as long as it was his theological view they were upholding).

And therein lies the rub.

Greg Boyd has some really nice thoughts on this point.

I grew up in a very conservative household and back then God was Republican. I am watching a new generation come of age as Christians, and now God is turning into a Democrat.

Democrats who are Christians want the government to act like the Church. Republicans who are Christians say they want the government to “shrink,” but they still want the government to act like they want. When we shift too hard to one political party or another we can tend to act like the government needs to be an extension of the Church.

My one point of discussion in this REFORMATION SEASON is this: knock it off and live prophetically

I’m yelling at me, too.

No matter who is in charge, our call as believers is to pray for those in authority.

I will put this prediction out there, and I know I’m not the first, but here it goes: No matter who is in power, there will be times when the will of the government and the will of the people will clash with the will of the Kingdom of God. And in that day, where will your allegiance lie?

Even in these United States, where we so “cherish” the “freedom of religion,” there will be clashes against that very “freedom,” and we will be challenged as believers on whose allegiance we follow.

Christianity isn’t about a set of propositional truths that you ascent to mentally and then hope everything else works out. Christianity is the love of the Savior calling out for your wholehearted allegiance. You follow with everything in you. (By the way everything around us calls for our allegiance.)

My tiny piece of paper nailed to the ether world church door. It’ll get lost in the shuffle, but here it is. And here I stand.

HELLBOUND

The only time I feel comfortable writing those words without feeling like I’m cursing is when it has to do with a title. This one does.

It’s a new documentary coming out to limited screens, including one in my metro area. There will also be a follow up time with the filmmaker and local pastor Greg Boyd, who is in the documentary.

Mark Galli isn’t impressed with the film. For some reason he thinks the filmmaker leaves too many questions out there. For some reason Galli thinks the film isn’t decided about the issue. It IS decisive on the issue. All you have to do is watch clips of Mark Driscoll foaming at the mouth with his “classical” Reformed view of hell, then switch to a very calm, very sedated universalist who quietly explains his or her position and why it’s worth considering and you know exactly what the filmmaker thinks on this issue.

That said, it may be something worth watching and then discussing. The film opens Friday in a local Twin Cities theater, along with other limited showings across the country.

Book Review — Present Perfect by Greg Boyd

I live and pastor in the Twin Cities, so I get somewhat of a front row seat to two very opposite biblical scholars/pastors: Greg Boyd and John Piper. The big Open Theism debate of several years features these two heavy weights. Ironically, I love both of them for their ability to communicate the Scriptures.

Greg Boyd’s latest book, Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now veers off from Boyd’s instructional style. It is mystical. He takes the writings and spiritual practices of J.P. de Caussade, Frank Laubach, and Brother Lawrence and puts them in modern meditations. They  are his own meditations as he has tried for over 20 years to bring the practice of the presence of God into his own life.

This is not a book for speed readers. It is to be taken slowly. Very slowly. Practice it. Find those times when you can digest a chapter, then put it into practice. This is not about method. It is about being aware. Do not compartmentalize your life. (“Oh, I’ve had my devotions, now I will run off to work and forget what I just read.”) This is a challenge to be aware of the very presence of God at any given moment in your day.

This is a refreshing read. Books on spiritual formation are like water on parched ground for me. I soak them up. I get tired of the mental gymnastics of a lot of theological books. (I love them, but my brain isn’t geared to run that way all the time.) We need a holisitic approach to our lives again. Don’t “do” devotions. Don’t “exegete” a text. It’s not just about someone examining the text. It is allowing the text to examine them. What is your hurry?

Boyd’s call is to celebrate the moment. This moment. Sense God here. Now. What’s your hurry. Are you awake? God is there. Do you see it?

(In the spirit of full disclosure, this book was sent to my wife so SHE could write a review, but I snagged it from her first. This book was free, and I think Zondervan sent it to us. I am under no obligation to write a good review, though.)

If you are looking for Boyd’s tough apologetic style, it’s there… in the appendix. He defends this book against claims of being like Eckhart Tolle. It’s good reading, too.

But, really. Take a break from your intellectual idolatry. Rest. Find God here. Now. Breathe.

Quick Hits

There are moments of refreshing. Times when you are thankful for God’s grace in that moment.

There are moments when it is grace. You think, “Did someone take a break from bashing another person or organization? What got into them?” But it can happen.

Kristof and the NY Times took a break from bashing the Vatican to comment on the real work of the church in the Sudan.

I am reading Greg Boyd’s newest book, Present Perfect, and it’s like water to dry ground. He takes a break from theological musing to plunge into spiritual formation and those books always bring water to my soul. (I should have a review coming soon.)

The semester is finishing at the college where I am adjunct. While this semester has been tough, I have had some bright spots. While I am disappointed in the extreme lack of effort by some students, I am encouraged by the passion of others. Such is life.