Wednesday, March 07, 2012
A Seventh Sola "Primer"
Now and then, I do get a comment from someone disgruntled about what I say here, or how I say it. Some don't like my conservative political viewpoint. Others don't like my conservative Christian theology. Some don't like either. And that's okay. In the history of this blog, I believe I have only banned two people for crossing the line into abusiveness. I have deleted others for posting either spam or obscenity/profanity. But in general, I'm pretty tolerant of what people post. My general rules are visible in the sidebar to the right.
I've been doing this since 2005, so I thought it might be good for a short bullet point refresher about me and what the purpose of this blog is.
As indicated in my masthead, I observe events around the U.S. and the world, and comment on them from my perspective, which happens to be politically conservative. I am also biblically conservative with a Reformed bent. Note: when I say "Reformed," I do not mean that I am a member of the Reformed Church. It means that I adhere to a largely Calvinistic view of soteriology, Christology and the Godhead. I do not share the amillennialism of Reformed Theology. I am premillennial. If you don't know what those terms mean, look them up. I won't define them in this post. Now, some points:
1. My posts generally deal with the following issues, with some exceptions occasionally: Global/geopolitical issues, arts and entertainment, U.S. politics, theology, theological controversies in the church universal, theological controversies in specific denominations including my own when they arise, and Christian lifestyle.
2. The views I express on all of the above issues are filtered through the lens of what I hope and pray is a biblical worldview.
3. I try to write with clarity and passion, occasionally with forcefulness when I think an important issue is at stake.
4. While I don't ever want to go out of my way to be purposefully hurtful to someone from a motive of malice, I will on occasion use sharp rhetoric to make a point. This includes dealing with false teachers in the church who disseminate their teachings publicly. Matthew 18 does not apply to this. Matthew 18 deals with personal offenses, not false teachers. Scripture indicates that false teachers are to be confronted and corrected. Ideally by their local churches, and personally when possible. However, in this day and age of media - that is not always possible. Books are written. People have television and radio programs. Some have shielded themselves with layers of protection so they don't have to deal with those who would lovingly confront and correct their errors. Cult leaders are notoriously hard to deal with in person due to the levels of shielding they put up around themselves. So we have to take other public routes of dealing with publicly disseminated error.
5. As the Apostle Paul demonstrated with the Apostle Peter in public, no one is above being corrected. Sometimes such correction has to be communicated severely. That is quite biblical, straight from Paul himself. The Lord Jesus also demonstrated it from time to time. There is a difference between dealing with someone who is unregenerate and untaught. That calls for patience and gentleness in witnessing. But false teachers are a different animal altogether. When I am dealing with theological error, I will not mince words and will make no apologies.
6. Many Christians often display a complete misunderstanding of the word "love." You have Christians all over the fence on this. Some call themselves "grace" Christians and you'll hear nary a word about sin pass their lips. Joel Osteen is a good example of this. In fact, I have a hard time acknowledging what he does as true Christian ministry because he really doesn't preach a full Gospel. These types get very, very upset with anyone who uses any sort of confrontational mode in dealing with people. This is a serious unbalance biblicly. You can't have a Savior without knowing you need one. You can't come to Christ in saving faith without acknowledging and repenting of your sin.
Case in point. With this narcissistic culture, if you say "Jesus loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life," the response you will get will be, "Well, of course Jesus loves me! What's not to love?" Or you might even get a "Whatever." Salvation will not come through that route.
On the other hand, you have those whose sole focus is hellfire and damnation. Harold Camping was once like that until he totally went off his rocker. There have been others. Their attitude is "God might take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but I certainly do!!" There is no grace, mercy, kindness, patience or love displayed in these types. It's all judgment. That is not biblical. Yes, there will be judgment and damnation for all who refuse Christ, but the glorious Good News is that no one has to face that judgment because of what the Lord Jesus did on the cross. He died for our sins and rose again from the dead for our justification. That's good news, wonderful news. And the fact is, I - or anyone else as a believer - has no right to sit in a superior attitude toward anyone. We're beggars, but we know where the bread is, as Bob Bennett used to sing.
A biblical position is balanced between the two. Recognizing that God's wrath, judgment, love, mercy and grace are all part of His righteous character. I have been on occasion mistakenly put in that second category, which is unfortunate. And the charge usually comes from the "grace" Christians, or sometimes universalist heretics. I have also gotten it from people who think I'm too kind and charitable. The time I congratulated nearly 100-year-old George Beverly Shea on his birthday and for decades of service to Christ comes to mind. I really got in trouble from someone on the judgment/wrath side because Shea works with Billy Graham, and Graham has made some really, really dumb comments theologically through the years. But that's another subject for another day. Simply using it as illustration.
7. There are times that I will not discuss theology on here, or geopolitics. Sometimes I will post things that grab my attention from other blogs, news sites etc. Sometimes I will post little fun things that I find amusing. You don't have to. It is my blog, after all.
I could go on, but there are the basics. If you really find me all that offensive, then by all means don't disturb your peace of mind. Go read or listen to Osteen or watch old Disney movies. I won't be your cup of tea.
Same thing if I am not legalistic or hardcore enough. I like rock and play guitar/bass/keyboards - all very badly. I like to watch old movies from the 1930s and 40s. I read books when I have time. I have a sardonic sense of humor, as dry as the Mojave Desert. Some people get me. Some don't. But I am who I am. I don't wear highwater pants, horn-rim glasses, use Brylcream or any other type of oil, gel or pomade in my hair. When I preach or teach, I don't yell, scream, perform any sorts of histrionics or spit into the third row. I'm calm and deliberate. I might put you to sleep. So if any of those things bother you, by all means go listen to old Jack Hyles sermons. I'm not your cup of tea or Postum.
But if you don't mind reading the scattered thoughts and reflections of a middle-aged Christian with a jaundiced eye on some matters, come on in. The water's fine. I always hope to be faithful to the Bible and my Savior. You might not always agree with my approach, but I do try to make an effort not to promote falsehood. Sometimes I do find out some stories I link end up being bogus, and I have to correct the record. But I do try to be careful, recognizing that in politics, one person's fact is another person's lie or distortion, or selective telling of the truth. Christians ought to have a higher standard than that, and I try. Don't always succeed.
So welcome to the world of The Seventh Sola. I hope you understand and enjoy my posts, or at least are challenged and made to think. I hope you get amused and convicted. I hope you laugh and cry at the right places. If you get honked off and bolt for the door, my prayers and best wishes go with you. Pray for me, as I will for you. The Lord promised to complete the work He began in His people, and he's still filing and whittling on me.