Monday, May 26, 2008

Why does God allow Evil?

We all know evil is real, and we all have personally experienced it in one way or another. But, a problem arises in the field of theology and philosophy. The question arises: if God is all-powerful and all loving, then why does He permit evil and suffering in the world? Why won’t God just put a stop to evil?

In various religious and secular circles, Evil has been described as “vice,” or something that is “depraved,” meaning morally objectionable. It is a malignant or malevolent principle, behavior, or deed that influences and practices; it brings about harm, destruction, and misfortune to others by direct action or inaction of the perpetrator. In most classic Christian thinking, Evil is anything that is not of God. From a biblical, theological construct, evil is sin and a form of adultery! It is adultery to God from our willful, moral rebellion against God. It is literally cheating on Him with our desires, lusts, and sins from what He has called and planned for us. It is humans’ seeking that which is contrary to His will such as hatred and bigotry (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:3; Rev. 21:4).

There are two, main kinds of evil; one is natural evil (floods, storms, famines, etc.) that comes from the corruption of sin in the world. The other is moral evil (such as murder, sexual abuse, adultery, idolatry, etc.). However, many theologians say there is only one form of evil because natural evil is a result of our moral evil because of “Original Sin”—the sin that affects all of creation (people and planets)—the result of Adam's sin entering the world, allowing natural disasters such as fires, floods, storms, famines, etc.

As sin is rebellion against God, spiritual betrayal, and being disobedient (Jer. 31:32; Hosea, chaps 1-3; Eph. 4:30; James 2:23), we are not as bad as we could be. We are not utterly depraved as we still have, as Calvin said, “civil good.” This means we are capable of doing good works because we have a conscience, even though we are still corrupted by sin (Luke 11:39-44; Rom. 2:12-16; 14:23; Titus 1:15). Evil, meaning malevolence or extreme vice, goes further than sin. It means to have malicious and spiteful desires, and it comes about from the exploits of a “self absorbed” mindset in a person who has no regard for others and/or no fear of God (Rom. 3:10-18). Evil is badness, cruelty, ruthlessness, depravity, debauchery, and immorality—out of control. It is being merciless and unscrupulous in our dealings toward others. Evil is not merely a psychological disorder such as being a sociopath; it is a condition of the soul (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 1:18-32). It is an act of “playing God” or being self-indulgent, so we think we have the final authority, and then we act on it out of spite. Only God has the final authority (Eph. 6:12; James 4: 13-17)! We have to realize that our lives are far better in His arms of love and care than with our whims and limited ideas (2 Cor. 5:16-17)!

Evil is man being so arrogant that he ignores God, His love, and His plan! To ignore what Christ has done for us is considered evil, both for the Christian and the non-Christian! We have the ability to ignore the heart of the cross, but we do not have the right to ignore God. This also includes ignoring what Christ did on the cross on our behalf (1 John 4:4)!

More at:,,PTID34418%7CCHID137699%7CCIID1967238,00.html

What do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

God’s Call to the Emerging Church

Psalm 34 is an excellent call to make sure what we do honors and pleases Jesus Christ. It is His Church we build, and our local, creative congregation is a way to show His Way to others. It must be set in the reality and functionality of the precepts from His Word and Holy Spirit. It must be always pointing to the Work and Role of Christ and never a stage for us as its leaders; rather, it is to be a place of love and care for those who need to know Him. Being creative, being cutting edge is all OK as long as we keep the main thing the main thing: being a Church of Jesus Christ, LORD and Savior! This means Christ’s name is honored and His precepts are not watered down and not diluted seeking to please someone. Why? Because we are primarily His display case, His witness; we share Christ by showing Christ. We can’t do that if we seek to neuter our One True God! God is the One we exhort and extol and His lost sheep are the one we shepherd to Him with kindness and care. Going where they are in love and guiding them on a voyage of life to Know Him.

This emergent or youth oriented church is to know Christ first, to be radiant as this Psalm calls us to do. This means we reflect God with joy by our sincere devotion to Him, and our authentic love and hospitality to those we reach. We show His presence by being in His presence. If we do not, we are in darkness; in the shame of our depravity and dysfunction, we try to run a church without a guide trying to show others the way when we can’t seem to find it ourselves. This makes a church, even an Emerging Church, void of purpose or on a mission that is flawed, fake, and/or wrong, just what those we seek to invite do not need or are already running from. We should not seek to make more obstacles and dysfunction; they already have enough of that. We must bring reconciliation and the love of Christ instead. We must seek Christ in prayer and in His Word to make sure what we are doing or want to do is right and honoring to His name.
If we get too carried away with our ideas and miss Him, what are we really doing and who are we really serving (Psalm 31:16)?

Every generation of Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age. It cannot be solved without an understanding of the changing existential situation which it faces. If we are to communicate the Christian faith effectively, therefore, we must know and understand the thought forms of our own generation.--Francis A. Schaeffer (Escape From Reason, Introduction)

What do you think?

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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Rate of Love

Did you know if you want to be successful as a church you must be willing and able to love?

And… real love takes us beyond ourselves!

What love does cost is our will; the first thing that we must do for true love is sacrifice our strong-willed, self-centered selves and focus on the person and work of Christ, and what He has done for us. Once we realize that life is about sacrifice and costs as much as it is about the experience of love and relationships, then we will have a better understanding of life and comprehend how we must live. The Bible tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs; Christ keeps no record of our wrongs. When we become a Christian, saved by His Grace, our sinful nature is covered and hidden. God is not up there writing it all down; if we have repented, we're clean. So, what happens when we go around in church and society with a little notebook, writing down every single record of others wrongdoing and harboring, escalating, and milking them for all they’re worth? They become the bullets of destruction we carefully craft and hone for our targets of opportunity. But, those opportunities become mixed up and confused as we skew the targets from glorifying God and expanding His kingdom, preferring instead to satisfy our lust for power and revenge. How does this affect our love relationship with Christ? Is this how we are to live? Is this the right way to use ammunition? What about focusing collective Christian behavior in a unified force so that we can be more effective to the people around us?

Churches are crippled because members go around harboring a list of wrongs. The lists turn into resentment that grows and grows until the church is filled with people harboring resentment and all attacking one another as if they were soldiers of war with their guns of truth loaded with bullets, each one a record of the wrong they may have received.

When we are not exercising our faith, we will be consumed with doubt and distrust—the opposite of God’s call and plan for us. This, in turn, becomes a turn off to those outside the Church.

What do you think?

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