perceptions, while maybe not reality, must be addressed, and maybe in a different way than they have been addressed in the past. after all, those ways seem to not be working.
thatbradguy,From previous comments you have made and the link that you have supplied it seems clear that you have been hurt by people who are reformed in their doctrine. I am truly sorry for that. People like myself who believe "the doctrines of grace" ought to BE very gracious. Of course that does not mean we should abandon our convictions and not champion what we are convinced God has clearly revealed in His Word. We must speak the truth even when it offends. Indeed, the most precious truths of all will offend the most severly. The message of the cross is foolishness and a stumbling block. However, if an offense is to come then it must not be from the messenger himself. He should be full of grace. I have met people of all stripes who are arrogant and hateful while defending their doctrinal positions. I have personnally been savaged by a number of Arminian brothers and sisters who showed as little Christian charity as I have ever seen. So, I don't think it is helpful to say, "You Calvinists need to be more nice." I don't think it is helpful when Roger Olsen or Ben Witherington decry those mean Calvinists and at the same time say things like, "Your God reminds me of Satan." I think we could all use a dose of humility.
I have never heard of this book or Dale Lyons, but I liked what he had to say. Christians are called to engage the culture, while at the same time being mindful of how they set forth doing so. Just as Christ himself engaged the culture, so we must to be full of grace and truth.
I haven't heard of Gabe Lyons either. :)
I am reading "unChristian" and so far it is very insightful. It is a good reminder that if people are going to be offended then it better be because of the age-old offense of the cross and not because of the goofiness of Christians.
I don't think we should worry about how the world perceives us. Jesus said the world will hate us. We must strive to be loving, compassionate Christ followers and genuinely care for the lost. I think even if we do every thing right(ie. as Christ did) the world will still hate us.It seems to me all this worry about how it percieves us smacks of more seeker friendly speak and will lead us to compromise the truth to appease people. So I think we need to be out there trying to meet peoples tangible and spiritual needs and never grow weary in doing good and am confident the world will still continue to perceive us as hypocritical,bigoted and selfrighteous.
Joe & JillYou are saying the very same thing I am saying. There will be offense for the message of the cross is offensive. Paul even calls it a frangrance of death to those who are perishing.The concern is that we don't become offensive ourselves through lack of love and flagrant hypocrisy. How sad it is when the Gospel is obscured by the antics of well-known and not so well-known Christians.
The points Gabe Lyons made were absolutely right. I think the most powerful statement is "be in the culture." I also thought the comment about converts being a product was striking. As I grow in my understanding of God's sovereignty, I have found myself drawn to witness to the lost primarily to glorify Him and His righteousness, not to get that "notch in the belt." Converting is God's job; mine is to declare Him.
Noel,I could not agree more. The idea that evangelism and missions was first for God's glory was revolutionary to me. But is this not why God converts the lost? "For the praise of His glorious grace."? An excellent book on the subject is "A Vision for Missions" by Tom Wells published by Banner of Truth. It is an outstanding little book about the centrality of God's glory in missions. He makes the point that the only motivation that will truly sustain us in the sometimes frustrating and painful work of evangelizing is a commitment to God's glory.
apparently i am terribly unclear when i comment. as i said in my previous comments, they really had nothing to do with calvnism/reformed theology. as for my comment above, i only linked to the statement by abraham piper because i felt that he was basically addressing the same issue, only in a much more narrow context (i.e. calvinism only vs. christianity in general). do you not find what he has written to be applicable to this situation as well?i haven't been hurt by anyone who is reformed, though i wouldn't say that i would describe myself as reformed...and yes...we all need more humility.
thatbradguy,You probably were clear. It would not be unlike me to be a little dense. I had read the post by Abraham Piper when it first appeared and I believed then and believe now that his words and warnings are wise.I didn't intend to alliterate in that last sentence. It just came out that way.
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