Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Agreeing with Dr. Boyd - Well, Sort of...

“If you get that God is love then you will realize why it is impossible – impossible, metaphysically impossible – for God to stop loving you on the basis of something you did or on the basis of something you’re doing or on the basis of that deep dark vile secret that you’ve got that no one knows about.” Greg Boyd, "God is Love" preached 4/18/2010

I whole-heartedly agree with this statement by Dr. Greg Boyd! This is a very important statement for me, because in the past I have been very critical of Dr. Boyd and his views. So to make absolutely clear what I mean, let me say a few more words. I completely agree that the Christian, the one who has been regenerated and saved by grace through faith in Christ, is totally secure in the love of God and there is no possibility of God stopping His love for this person on the basis of anything that is done or said.

But, Greg Boyd was not saying this. He was saying that God is disposed to all people (Christians and non-Christians, friends and enemies of God) of all time in this way. The paradigms of eternal reward for those counted righteous in Christ and eternal conscious torment for those who maintain their own righteousness are thrown out as unbiblical and atrocious. There is no eternal punishment for the wicked. You see, as far as Dr. Boyd is concerned, there is no more twisted view of a God of love than the one who eternally sets people on fire.

(Oops, I guess I don’t agree with Dr. Boyd after all. Or perhaps, I agree with Dr. Boyd’s statement the way that Dr. Boyd agrees with any statement in the Bible – ripped out of its context….)

But doesn’t God hate the sin in your life? Dr. Boyd would say that He does, “but if He hates all of that, and He does, it’s because He loves you.” Remember, Dr. Boyd is saying that this is true both for the rebel and for the friend of God. Becoming a friend of God will not change how much He loves you, but you will start to “have some benefit in your life.” In his elaboration on this topic, Dr. Boyd refers to the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary and says that He died for us while we were “lost” but doesn’t define (in this sermon or any I’ve heard, anyway) who the lost are or what it means to be “lost”.

In the historical sense, and I would argue that it is the Biblical sense as well, this word has referred to those people who were dead in their sins and under the impending condemnation of God (think “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” by Edwards). But this cannot be the meaning for Dr. Boyd since there is no impending condemnation for anyone. I didn’t know that Dr. Boyd had slipped further off of orthodoxy than his view of God’s openness. But leaving the issue of Open Theism aside for the moment, Dr. Boyd seems to be referring to a modern form of the heresy of universalism. This view is called the “wider mercy” view of God and His salvation.

I hope I’m wrong about this – but this heretical view would fit right in with other modern “evangelicals” like Tony Campolo and Rob Bell.

To My Friends:

Please – if you attend Dr. Boyd’s church please hear me; you must leave. I beg you.

Whatever good Dr. Boyd does, says, or encourages know that his theology is toxic and it is not Biblical. This is no small division as one over speaking in tongues today or on issues that good Christian theologians can disagree. This stance (again – I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am) takes Dr. Boyd out of the true Christianity and puts his “gospel” on the level of any other false and non-saving religious message.

6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another ; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Gal 1:6-9)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Falling Out of a Tree & Comfort from Above

Last night my four-year-old was exuberantly climbing a tree in our yard. He was so excited to show me how high he could go and he really wanted me to be proud of him for his accomplishment – and his expectation wasn’t disappointed. I think all fathers who love their children are excited when the children are excited about newfound skills, talents, or knowledge.

Well, getting down was a cinch…the first time. The second time he climbed up and then got down, he slid a bit too fast and received one long thin scrape on his inner forearm. This scrape set the next hour (or so) in motion. The initial crying in pain, the terrified sobbing at not wanting to have the scrape properly washed, the crying in (somewhat) imagined pain at the ever-so-gentle washing of the scrape, and the unstoppable sobbing for now real reason afterward.

It was very difficult to see my son go from excitement and joy to pain and fear. I know from experience that tree-climbing cuts are plentiful and a bit painful, but nothing serious enough to warrant the awe inspiring display that they usually do. I know that the cut hurts, and when you’re a child with a cut – the world seems to come to an end because this is the worst thing that could happen at this time. But I also know that he’ll be okay, that I am here to make sure the cut is properly taken care of, and that this is such a small thing in the scope of his life that to become overly exercised about it is unnecessary.

In the above experience, I was the father and I was able to calm my child because of who I am and because my son loves me, listens to me, and believes in me.

However, I’ve been dealing with my own scrape on the arm, as it were, and I am no less extreme in my reaction to it. The world seems to be closing in and this scrape is causing an internal, yet still somewhat of an all-consuming and hysterical, reaction of stress and anxiety. My heavenly Father has sent His Spirit into the world, and His ministry is present in times like this. Among other things, the Spirit is here to comfort the believer in times of trouble – even when the trouble may be imagined or accentuated because of my own imperfect and sinful response.

I can praise God today for the lesson that He is teaching me in this juxtaposition of my internal struggle and the minor scrape that my son received on his arm. Also, if nothing else, the scrape that my beloved son suffered last night has been used by God for my good and His glory (Rom 8:28) as it is helping to cause my eyes to focus heavenward. My son may never know how his scrape was the event that God used to correct his father’s heart. But the fact that he is unaware of how his painful situation has caused me to praise God and how it has influenced my teaching and leading of him is yet another lesson to me. These lessons are both all the more important as I deal with my own scrapes and cuts as I journey through this life.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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