The Gates Are Open

November 2014

Why I Don’t Care if Millennials are Leaving the Church

phonesI’m not convinced the Millennial generation is leaving the church in any great numbers. Thom Rainer and others have done studies, but their techniques fall short of scientific standards for statistical analysis. Rather, I believe church leaders are expressing  their gut reaction as to whether Millennials are leaving. They often base this from knowing a 20-something relative that is turned off by church and has said “I am never going back.

Or they may have read one of the 5,000 articles on the subject and become convinced that with this much smoke, there must be a raging inferno nearby.

Personally, I’m not convinced that Millennials are leaving church as dramatically as some fear. But for the sake of argument, let’s say they are. Why should I care?

When I pose that question, some of you immediately rise up with indignation based upon your Theology of Church,  and claim “The role of the church is to reach all people with the Gospel. To leave out an entire generation is unconscionable”. If the role of the church is to reach all people with the Gospel–and I agree it is, according to the Great Commission–then it is wrong to ignore a generation.

Many people have observed that “Christianity is always one generation away from extinction.” Though the Bible assures us that will never happen, it is certainly a possibility. At least, it makes for a good fear-based mission statement. I do understand that my generation is responsible to pass on the Good News of Jesus to the next generation. But that is not enough reason to make me care if Millennials are leaving church.

Others of you–parents, teachers, youth pastors–desperately want to see the Millennials you know go back to church as soon as possible. I can empathize with that; I have three children who are all Millennials, and who all wrestle with what they want out of church. But even that is still not enough to make me care if Millennials are leaving church.

Pastors may look at declining attendance in that age demographic and do the logical projections in their mind. They may ask “If they stop coming to church, will my church even exist in 20 years?” And that has merit, if two conditions remain the same. First, if the Millennials who are leaving now never come back. And, second, if no other generations coming after them go to church. I’m trained as a pastor, and I completely understand those projections and the terror they invoke. But it is still not enough to cause me to care that Millennials are leaving church.

Let me explain why.

Twenty-somethings have always been leaving church. Always. You cannot find a generation of twenty-somethings that wanted to readily adopt the traditions and patterns of their elders. Emerging generations always want to re-invent the wheel. And bless them for wanting that. We would have almost no new inventions, no new theories, no radical changes in life practice, if an emerging generation did not challenge the status quo.

For instance, we are told that in the field of Mathematics and Physics all the most revolutionary and ground-breaking theories have been proposed by people in their teens and twenties.

Some young Christians see glaring deficiencies in church and think they can change things from the inside. Others see those same deficiencies and conclude that hierarchical organizations cannot change. So they leave church, hoping to join with other malcontents to form something truly different.

Here is a recent example. Around the year 2000, we began to see people who called themselves the Emerging Church. Then, as it gained steam, it began to be called the Emergent Church. Then, it morphed into the Emerged Church. At that point, most of the changes they proposed began to show up in existing churches. Many of the “Emerging” group decided to give church a try again. These days, it is old news to talk about any of that. This movement was an attempt to force Christianity in North America to be more missional, socially conscious, and diverse. And a lot of churches incorporated at least some of these features into their personas.

And then I think back to my conversion in the late 60s, and I realize that many of the Sixties Generation were leaving church in droves. We pondered new types of worship music, new expressions of affection, new approaches at evangelism–remember the Coffee Shops we opened and preached the Gospel at–new ways of doing community. For a decade, we traveled on the fringes of church. None of us took out membership, none of us bought their books and tapes. We tuned out and felt superior.

Then something funky happened. We came back. And we brought our drums, our Serendipity Bible Studies, our Coffee ministry, our short-term missions trips, our Youth Ministry, our cell group ministry, our respect for the gifts and callings of women, minorities and young people. All in all, we brought both improvements and some questionable ideas back to those churches we said we would never enter.

Now, thirty years later, all our ideas are mainstream. Many churches have readily adopted our musical expressions. We have space set aside for counseling. Every church has small groups.

Now it is the turn for our children to take a critical eye at what we changed and say “Yeah, but the Church has to change a lot more before I’m satisfied.” Good for them. Some of them will stay in the church and work patiently to tweak what is here. Others will leave for a decade or more and then come back with some “blow-your-mind” ideas that none of us saw coming.

What does the church of today need to be concerned about? I don’t think we need to give one thought about Millennials leaving. Bless them. The question is not whether we need to change anything to please them, but rather, do we need to change anything to please God. If a church is doing what Holy Spirit is leading them to do, they shouldn’t be concerned if Millennials don’t like it. Who cares if they aren’t satisfied? That’s their job to question everything. When and if they return to church in the years to come, we hope they bring the Word of the Lord to help us continue to follow God’s plan for His Body.

I just hope you remember these things 40 years from now, when the blog articles all ask “Why are the kids of the Thirties leaving church?”

Interpreting Difficult Bible Passages (Teachers Part 2)

Dr. Bruce Waltke was one of the lead translators of the New International Version bible. I attended a seminar he hosted back in 1994 on the subject I am dealing with in this article. He asked us to give him any passage of Scripture and he would apply rules of interpretation to that passage. Then he looked at us and said, “I am going to disqualify one verse. I refuse to explain 1 Timothy 2:15”.

Of course, from that point on, we kept begging him to return to that verse. After dealing with about 20 troublesome passages, he finally looked at us and said “There is a reason I don’t want to tackle 1 Timothy 2:15. We don’t know enough to take it on. Every explanation that has been given through the ages falls flat and does not satisfy the most elementary of hermeneutical principles. We may never know what it means. But these principles you learned today will work on every other part of the Bible. Of that I can assure you.”

So, since that day, I have tried to disprove Dr. Waltke’s theory about 1 Timothy 2:15. I have come to find out he is correct. There is no good explanation for it. But the following five principles will work in interpreting difficult or archaic passages of Scripture. These are laid out in the order I perform them.

  1. Use Jesus as Your Arbiter. In Hebrews 1:1 we read, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom also he made the universe.” As we saw last time, it is important to note contrasts in Scripture verses. This verse is laid out in two ideas that contrast with each other:
    1. In the past – that is, in the Old Testament.
    2. But now – that is, since Jesus lived on this earth.

Jesus is the one who gives us the complete revelation of God. When the Old Testament says one thing and the New Testament contradicts that, the life of Jesus and the testimony and teaching of Jesus are the arbiter to determine how to interpret. For instance, the Old Testament says that everyone is to keep the Sabbath day (Saturday) and set it apart as special. But Paul says that every day can be treated alike. And Hebrews tells us that the Sabbath is a picture of the sanctified life in God. How are we to determine which is true? Jesus shows us in his life. In Jesus’ actions, he worked on the Sabbath. He healed on the Sabbath. He traveled on the Sabbath. He did all the things the Law forbade on the Sabbath. Finally, when he was confronted, he told them “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” He is claiming that his authority supersedes that of even a commandment.

Colossians 2:16-17 says this:

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

All of the things that Paul mentions in verse 16, he then calls “shadows”. Unfortunately, this is the problem with interpreting portions of the Old Testament. They are not even the fullest revelation of God. They are shadows of what is to come. And what was coming is Jesus Himself. There is no meaning to the ceremonies of the Law if Jesus did not become a man. They are just empty ceremonies without him. But his life fulfilled all of these things. Only those aspects of the Law that Jesus gives meaning to should be kept. For instance, we are told in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus declares all foods clean. This was a radical departure from the Old Testament. There are people today who cling to Old Testament teachings to base their Christian lives upon. This is foolish and shows poor hermeneutics.

At the same time, Jesus does help us keep certain truths in tension. The idea that God is gracious and compassionate, but still is the Judge of the Universe seem to present conflicting ideas. But Jesus held onto both ideas and only in his life do we see how that tension plays out in a godly way. If you study Jesus and make Him the focus of theology, then all difficult bible passages take on a clearer perspective.

  1. Determining Cultural Context. Sometimes a Bible passage is difficult for a good reason. Within that passage, there are references to things that are culturally discerned and rooted. A good example of this is found in 1 Corinthians 11:1-6. This is the part about head coverings for women. If you don’t understand some elements about Corinthian culture, you can make the mistake of pulling something out of one culture and making it mean something completely different in another place. In Corinth, the only women who didn’t wear a shawl were temple prostitutes. In addition, in secular Greek culture, when a woman married, she was not really allowed to leave her home or the grounds of her estate. But the church began to free women up from this homebound rule. With this newfound freedom, women were going to church and leaving home quite happily. But some of them took this freedom one step too far. Many of them reasoned that since the Gospel freed them up from the strictures about staying home, they could uncover their heads as well. This probably came from the defiant attitude that was common in Corinth in the ancient world. Therefore, these women could easily be mistaken for temple prostitutes. Paul’s solution was easy. Wear a head covering and don’t disgrace your husband and family by parading around like a hooker. Once you know that background, this becomes an easier passage to wrestle with. More about this passage in a later rule. Bible Dictionaries, commentaries and other books of this sort will help you find the background material you need. A wonderful resource is William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible. Though he himself struggled with his faith, he did an admirable job of researching the archeological background of so much of Scripture. When determining the cultural context, keep in mind the following:
    1. The time period they lived in
    2. The cultures dominant at that time
    3. What the original readers of this Scripture would have heard when it was read.
  2. Decide on the Universal Truth. There are some bible interpreters who completely miss this stage on purpose. They believe that everything the Bible says should be taken at its face value and should not be interpreted any further. They use this approach to justify ethnic cleansing, racial superiority, slavery, abuse of children, archaic practices in worship services (such as snake handling, head coverings and silence of women). When you are studying a passage, it is good to prepare a mental summary of the inductive observations. For instance, you may study the passage about head coverings and conclude that Paul is teaching that wives need to honor their husbands by wearing a head covering when they’re in public. Is that then the final truth? Hardly; although there are Mennonite groups that believe it is. A good teacher will take the Inductive Truth and determine the Universal Truth. You do this by stripping away any cultural or time period anachronisms and then decide how this truth can apply to all peoples at all times. In our day, head coverings are mostly meaningless. But there are many other things which are meaningful. A woman should not flirt with other men. A man should not kiss other women on the lips. These are things in our culture which would be unacceptable for a married person to do in public. This then would be the final Universal Truth of that passage: “don’t do anything which would dishonor your spouse in public.” If you are working through difficult passages, always keep the Universal Truth forefront in your approach.
  3. Just as it is important to determine what is being said in a difficult passage, it is just as important once you’ve determined that to know what to do with it. There are many teachers who take an academic approach to the Bible. They want to find all the nuances and vagaries of the text without realizing the main purpose of our teaching is to change lives. And you change lives by suggesting ways the listeners can live out what they’re hearing. This is true even of difficult passages. It is often the point where the most revelation comes to you as a teacher when you begin to ask “How can someone live out this truth?” In our example above, how does one live out the truth about the head coverings? If the Universal Truth is that we ought to honor our spouses in public, it is essential that we ask ourselves “what ways might we dishonor our spouses?” As I thought about this a while ago, it occurred to me I was doing something that did not honor my wife. That passage, through its thorough study, led me to change a habit I had developed. The best Bible teachers always have the application in mind. If you can’t apply a Scripture, you haven’t done enough work on it yet.
  4. Theology and Historical Doctrine. The church has been studying the Bible for 2000 years. Though we haven’t always got it right, there are insights and conclusions that people have drawn which will help in interpreting the Bible. I saved this one for last, because we need to do the other work first before resorting to tradition and traditional explanations. I know my Reformed, Orthodox and Episcopal friends will disagree with putting this rule so far down on the list, but I believe this is where it belongs. I think the Creeds of the Churches—and there are many of them—do give us things to reflect upon that help us interpret difficult Scriptures.

 

If, after reading this list, you feel like despairing of ever understanding what the Bible says, keep a couple of things in mind. First, Paul makes it clear that not everyone should ascribe to be a teacher. Teachers will be held to a higher standard than the average person in Church. These rules of hermeneutics show that this is hard work and is supposed to be so. Second, would you trust an engineer, a doctor, an airline pilot, a bus driver, a lawyer, a nurse, a policeman who didn’t know all the details of their job? Of course you wouldn’t. Then why trust Bible teachers who don’t do the work necessary to teach good and helpful doctrine? I read a lot of Christian books, and I am becoming agitated at how flippantly many authors give their interpretations of what the Bible says when they have not taken the time to do even the most elementary of studies.

I challenge my readers, if you want to be a good and healthy teacher, to do your work. Or, if these sound too hard, to consider those who do this work as worthy of respect.

Principles of Bible Interpretation for Teachers

I was sitting with a group of Christians at a conference a few years ago, and we were encouraged to gather in small groups to pray with each other. The five of us who shuffled our chairs randomly to somehow gather together introduced ourselves. Then one very dear saint reminded us before we started praying: “We don’t need a big group. After all, the Bible says that “if two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them.”

I started to open my mouth and then quickly closed it. It wasn’t worth it. But I so wanted to instruct this person that they were using a Bible verse completely out of context. But the reason I didn’t bother is that they were just trying to encourage us, and their point was well taken, even if they were misusing the Bible to do it. After all, it isn’t like they were teaching a congregation.

But when I hear Bible teachers misuse the Bible, I don’t keep my mouth closed. I watched a video two years ago from a Sunday evening service in a large church in America. The pastor and his wife were answering questions from the congregation. One young man sent his question to the pastor and it basically sounded like this: “My wife and I just had a baby earlier this year. We decided that she should continue working and I would stay home with the baby since her job pays twice as much as mine. Did we do the right thing?”

This pastor and his wife spent the next twenty minutes tearing this guy to shreds. They told him (he was anonymous in his questioning, by the way) that if they ever found out who he was they would remove him from membership. Then, as a basis for this drastic action, they quoted a verse from one of the books of Paul to Timothy: “If a man does not take care of his own family, he is worse than a heathen.” I was already angry at the foolish way they were addressing this sincere question. But when they taught this, I started to sputter and shake my fist at the computer screen.

Yes, I realize how silly that probably looked. But I was so angry. This is a so-called Bible teacher completely taking that verse out of its context to back up his stupid bias. The verse is speaking of families that will not provide for their widowed mothers, choosing instead to rely on the church’s help when they could just as easily provide it for her. This is NOT talking about whether men or women should be the primary breadwinner.

I wish I could say this was the only incident. But because bible knowledge as a whole is diminishing among Christians, bible teachers are getting away with these sort of egregious errors.

It is one thing to study the Bible for your own edification. You don’t necessarily have to know all the rules of interpretation to enjoy the truths of the Bible. But perhaps it would be good for all of us to know the rules of biblical hermeneutics (the rules of interpretation). Yes, these can get technical, and yes, this does take work. But if  you want to really know what the Bible says, these are the accepted rules that all good teachers follow when they study the Bible.

1. Begin with Inductive Study.  I highly recommend the book by Kay Arthur “How to Study Your Bible”. In that book, she lays out the principles of Inductive study quite clearly. Summarizing, the method teaches to ask the five W questions (who, what, where, when and why) and How in order to get a systematized view of what the passage is saying, In addition, you should note contrasts (using the words “but” or “rather”) and conclusions (using “therefore” and “knowing that” etc.) If you do an inductive study of a passage of the bible, you at least can teach with certainty that you have looked at the evidence of what is being taught clearly.

2. Context Within the Chapter. Every book of the Bible has a train of thought that runs through it (with the exception of Proverbs, which are a collection of pithy and spiritual sayings). Therefore, to understand a verse or a series of verses, you should read the entire chapter to get an idea of the train of thought. That would have saved the little old lady in my prayer group. What she thought was referring to worship or prayer was actually referencing times of confrontation. Study the chapter and find out what the author is getting at. It will make the verse you want to teach more understandable.

3. Background of the book and writer. Once you have understood the chapter that your passage comes from, it is then good to spend a few moments learning the name of the writer, their historical place and why the book was written. Most authors of Bible books give statements as to why the book was written. John’s Gospel, for instance, tells us that “these things were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” It would be good to know that Paul wrote Philippians in jail or that John wrote Revelation while he was imprisoned on an island. It will help you to interpret some of the teachings.

4. Other Places in the Bible. When you are interpreting a difficult passage of the Bible that is hard to understand, you might need to go to other places in the Bible to help you understand it. This can be done in three ways.

a. A Word study. The Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek (with a tiny bit in Aramaic). It would be helpful to get a Word Study book that contains all the original words and look up where some of the more difficult words of your passage are found in other parts of the Bible.

b. Theme Study: A Bible dictionary can tell you where certain concepts can be found in other places in the Bible. So can commentaries and Bible encyclopedias. These helps can aid you in seeing the bigger picture for your passage.

c. Other books by the same author. The most powerful resource to help understand one book is another book by the same author. The five books of Moses for instance, carry certain themes and therefore it is good to get an entire picture of Moses when looking at difficult truths. Paul’s letters, Luke’s Gospel and Acts, John and Revelation. Each author has similar truths they are putting forth, and to read other places where that author writes can shed light on the passage you are studying.

If you follow these basic rules of interpretation, you should be able to interpret about  95% of the Bible accurately. But what do you do with the other 5%? In the next article, I will lay out what resources you can use to work through hard teachings.

Stealing Ministry

Jerry cookMy friend Jerry Cook passed away last year and I am still sad. He was a great man of God and contributed significantly to my understanding of God’s grace. He also was an excellent writer and speaker, and I aspire some day to have the skill in both that he had.

He and I served on a couple of boards together and we even shared a condo on occasion. No one was better at casual conversation than Jerry. He had a way of probing into your life so gently that you felt like telling him all your secrets. But he never pried. And when he shared stories from his life, they were a treat. I remember one of those stories to this day and I want to use it to illustrate a point. Here is the gist: A good church leader will coach members of God’s church to do ministry. Unfortunately, too many think it is their right to steal ministry from church members.

Here is Jerry’s story. He was a pastor in Gresham, Oregon when this story took place, and one morning was working on some office administration stuff. His phone rang. On the other end was a salesman who attended his church. The guy was calling from a pay phone in a restaurant. He was talking to a client and had begun sharing about his faith in Christ. The client was intrigued and wanted to know more. So the salesman decided to call Jerry and ask him to meet the two of them down at the restaurant.

You want me to come down there? What for?”

“Pastor Jerry, in my business, we have several different types of sales people. I’m the kind that makes new contacts and presses them to consider our product. But when they get interested, I pass them on to someone else who makes the sale. We call those salespeople “closers”. Pastor Jerry, you’re my closer. I need you to come and close this deal for me and God.

This made sense to Jerry, so he hopped into the car and drove down to the restaurant. Halfway there, he stopped to get gas. That’s when God spoke to him.

Jerry, what are you doing?”

“God, I’m helping out my friend. I’m going to lead someone into faith with you.”

“Stop it Jerry. This is not your job. Why do you want to rob my son from the privilege of sharing his faith and leading another person to me?”

“Jerry, you are stealing from him if you do this.”

Jerry Cook realized the truth of what God was saying. There is no feeling in the world like sharing your faith with another person and seeing their life transformed by Christ. Jerry had experienced this many times in his life. Now, because he was this so-called expert, he was planning on taking this experience away from another Christian. It was wrong.

He went to a pay phone and called the restaurant. When his friend answered, he told him straight: “Listen, I won’t be coming to be with the two of you after all. But what I will do is this. I will tell you how to lead him to Christ. I will tell you how to close the deal.”

His church friend was nervous but agreed to do it. After teaching him how to help the man become a follower of Christ, Jerry got back in his car and drove to the church. He went back to work knowing he had done the right thing.

Two hours later, two men walked into his office. One was the salesman who had called him on the phone. The other was a man Jerry didn’t recognize. The church member introduced his friend and after giving his name said this, “He is now part of the family of God, Pastor Jerry. He just prayed to receive the forgiveness of Christ. And I was able to help him.”

Jerry said he would never forget the satisfied smile on both their faces. The three of them talked for a while and then they had to leave. On the way out, his parishioner stopped and took Jerry aside. “Pastor, thanks for not coming to the restaurant. It means the world to me.”

God gave pastors, evangelists and teachers to the Body of Christ to train everyone for ministry; not to steal it from them. Can you imagine a coach running out on the field as his player is about to score a touchdown, taking the ball away and running the last ten yards? Can you imagine an acting coach trying to take the Oscar when their students wins? Can you imagine a parent attending college classes for his son instead of allowing him to go? No; there is a reason we can’t imagine those preposterous actions–they are out of character. A coach succeeds when the players do. The parent succeeds when the child keeps trying.

But we have almost conditioned pastors to do everything for the congregation. Instead of training and equipping people to do the work of the  ministry, we refer to pastors as Ministers. By this, we imply they are the only ones who know what’s going on. How many churches have seen this kind of ministry theft? Way too many from my observations.

I would rather hear “Thank you for not showing up and letting me do it” than “Wow, we could never have done this if you hadn’t taken over.”

 

God the Bully and Other Myths

bully-1In a poignant scene in the 1981 Academy Award winning movie “Chariots of Fire” two of the main characters are walking out of a Scottish church on a Sunday morning. They are discussing the sermon.. The skeptic makes this observation: “So, your description of God is that he is a dictator.” The other person, an older saint–a retired missionary–says “Aye, he is. But a benign, loving dictator.” They go on their way, both satisfied with that answer.

It is a good Reformed church answer. And for several hundred years, it has satisfied those who sometimes refer to themselves as Calvinists. Even those Christians who do not believe in the concept of God as “dictator” acknowledge that this position is at least tenable and plausible.

But enter the Calvinists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. No longer do they believe in a God who is gentle and benign. They still believe God is a dictator, but now God is the other type: Virile, cruel and capricious. In essence, to the neo-Calvinist, God is The Bully.

John Piper, long the banner-waver for this doctrine, recently said this about the killing of schoolchildren and other innocents:

“It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die. God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand.”

He is claiming that God wanted every one of these children dead. Look at his statement for a second. He admitted in his question/answer session  that most people would struggle with his teaching. But he reminded his listeners that if you accept the absolute sovereignty of God, then you have to accept that God wanted those children dead. Nothing happens in this world, according to the neo-Calvinist, that God does not actively desire. God’s desires are always done, they claim.

In essence, if children died, God wanted that to happen. The old Calvinists would say that God permitted it to happen but did not actively desire it. Today’s Calvinists find that position to be weak and namby-pamby. If you’re going to have a sovereign God, they claim, then God needs to be sovereign over all things.

I could give many, many examples of how R. C. Sproule, C. J. Mahaney, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and others present God as a dictator, as a sovereign ruler who controls and orders all things to happen as God wants. They paint a picture of God whose will is never thwarted, whose plans always go forth, whose every whim and dictate is law.

My contention is that if all of this is true, then God is the author of sin, the author of lies and the author of murder. But the neo-Calvinist has a ready answer for this. They would claim that, as God, He can do whatever He wants, and when God does it, it is righteous. Everything God does is right; therefore, if God does it, it cannot be wrong. God does whatever He wants, and no person can say anything about it.

They are adamant about this. What they don’t realize–or perhaps they do, I can’t decide–is that God is a Bully. Since no one can stand against God, and God can do anything he wants to us, and because God is so powerful that no one can stand against him…well, that is the classic definition of a bully. A person who uses their power and authority to take away all power from others. After all, if all things are determined and we cannot make a decision that goes against God’s will, then God always gets his way and no one is strong enough to stand against Him

That is a bully.

What is not surprising is that those who espouse this position often become bullies themselves. Mahaney and Driscoll have both been removed from their pulpits because they bullied staff and congregation members at will (yes, I know both of them resigned, but it was only after they realized they couldn’t keep doing what they were doing without being fired or punished).  Piper was put on a leave of absence two years ago for the same reason. Each of them has a unique way of teaching neo-Calvinist doctrine, but all of them used their positions of authority to bully others.

In this, they are mirroring their own view of God.

This has always been the case. If we view God as the bully, we become bullies. If we view God as meek and lowly of heart, that is what we will be. If we see God as a God of vengeance, it is easy to forget that this is forbidden territory to us and we will then strive to get even with others. If we view God as gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness, that is now we will act.

As Arminians, we recognize God’s sovereignty. God can do anything God wants. But we also believe that God is Self-Limiting. What that means is that no one can limit or place restrictions on God. But God can and does place restrictions on Himself. God cannot sin. God will not be involved with injustice. God won’t violate our freedom of choice. God chooses to forgive even before we ask (just as God asked us to do).

If you are a neo-Calvinist, look at your view of God. Put down the rhetoric and the arguments for a second and look at the logical conclusion of your belief system.

Can you really love and follow God the Bully any longer?

 

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