Thoughts on Welcoming the Weak

In wider cultural circles, Christians often come under attack for failing to express to one another those virtues which we say are so important. I’m talking about things like love, sympathy, acceptance, and showing undeserved kindness.

This is, in one sense, a decoy topic for someone who has refused to consider the claims of Jesus. All too often their reasons amount to nothing more than excuses which avoid, rather than seriously engage, the truth claims of the faith.

Think about it. Don’t deep divides within the fields of evolutionary biology about just how the world came to be separate the most scholarly in the field? Yet such divides are not singled out for forming a reasonable basis for rejecting evolutionary biology. The same goes for politics. Deep divides within the a political party in American society are not a sound basis for rejecting said political party, or politics, as a whole.

In fact, in every area of public life, quarrels over fairly minor points are disputed between friends: “You like the NFL, I like the NFL; you like the AFC, I like the AFC; you like the AFC East, I like the AFC East; you like the Cowboys, I…click.” You get the idea.

Yet, I suspect that Christians are singled out in a special way for hypocrisy here because of the claims of the Christian faith itself: Continue reading

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Trying to Earn God’s Favor is Silly…

…because you don’t have to.

After all, if I needed to earn God’s favor why did Jesus have to die?

I was amazed to hear that the woman who waited on my table yesterday said “I pray for everyone I meet.” I asked her how she did that and she said, “I just bless everyone–God bless you, and God bless you, and God bless you…”

I asked her, “do you know how that works?” “How what works,” she asked.

I said, “What I mean is, do you know how God blesses people?” She said, “He blesses people when we do good.” Which seemed to me to undermine the whole idea of asking God to bless someone if it requires them to be doing good in the first place.

The point is this: God doesn’t bless anyone just because someone asks for it. Blessing comes from God in and through Jesus Christ alone. As I said, if I needed to earn God’s favor, Jesus didn’t have to die. All other ground (as the hymn says) is “sinking sand.” Or, to put it another way, all other ground is the basis for cursing, not blessing. Continue reading