Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Law, Gospel, and Feminization of the Church

Recently Issues Etc had a radio program talking about how the church is becoming feminized, and how the Law had to be preached in all it's stern-ness, and the and Gospel in all it's sweetness.

Out of curiosity, I did a search of Scriptures, and couldn't find either the Law or the Gospel described that way. In fact, I would submit these rather relational terms are indicative of just how "feminized" the language of the church has become.

So I wrote them a letter to that effect, quotes of which I'm posting below. You can find the link here and the MP3 recording of the session here.

We'll see what happens. :)

Greetings Gentlemen -

I listened to your program on how the church has been feminized, and I think one of the more insidious ways it's been "feminized" is how the Law and Gospel have been stated in more or less relational terms - ie the law is "stern" while the Gospel is "sweet".

Unfortunately, I was completely unable to find any of this kind of language used in Scripture to describe either the Law or the Gospel. Specifically

The Gospel is described as being the power of God:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages. Romans 16:25
...because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
1 Thessalonians 1:5
As for the Law, Scripture says it's a good thing!

Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:19
So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
Matt 12:12
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 22:36
But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'
John 15:25
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
Romans 4:15
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."
Romans 7:7
So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Romans 7:12
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
Romans 7:14
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
Romans 7:16
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1 Corinthians 15:56
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:24
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
1 Timothy 1:8ff

I'd submit, if there's any "stern-ness", it's not from the Law itself, but from the knowledge that it's impossible to keep it. If there's any "sweetness" to the Gospel, I'd submit it's in the God-given knowledge through faith that all our sins are covered, that we're safe from the condemnation we deserve, and will be spending eternity with our Creator.

Thank you for your ongoing programming. I only listen to bits and pieces when I have time, if you respond to this on the air, I hope it'll be in the "talkback" segment or the segment's appropriately titled.

I also keep a blog, and I've posted my letter here:

Yours in Christ,

Why the Gospel is Veiled

Here's another good explanation on why people don't understand the Gospel, much less believe it:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001, Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Christians" persecuting Christians

This is an instructive little passage on why Christians are persecuted by supposed "members" of the body of Christ:
They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. (John 16:2-)
This teaching follows a similar thought which Scriptures discusses in the New Testament, namely that being a Christian means having the Spirit of God within you, to seal the faith that's been worked in the believer. It also shows that being a "member" of a church or synagogue is no guarantee that a person is a believer with the Father dwelling inside them.

So if a faithful believer - or pastor - is persecuted by members of his church, this is probably one of the reasons why.

All quotes from The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Race according to the rules

I think this citation stands well all by itself:

An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
2 Timothy 2:5
This is something we all need to keep in mind when one is tempted to try and do God's work in a way other than He has instructed us to go.