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Stop Trying to Justify God

Our culture sees no need for the gospel - indeed, it seems more and more so-called evangelicals see no need for it, either - because we want the wrong person to be justified.  What I mean is this: we are so consumed with the "problem" of evil and suffering, and the injustice of it all, that we have missed the greatest problem of all, our own sin.  We spend our days either condemning or denying God on account of "injustices" that we no longer see our own condemnation and the infinitely heinous injustice we have perpetrated against God in our sin.  We think God needs to be justified.  We have forgotten that we are the ones who need to be justified.

Further, God does not need to justify his ways to us.  Why does he allow so much suffering?  Why did he allow sin to come into the world in the first place?  Of course, many will say that God must be either unloving or not sovereign.  God's own word tells a different story, of course, that leaves us with perplexing que…

How does justification relate to faith and obedience? Romans 4:9-12 Part 1

It can be shown that in Romans 4:1-8, Paul speaks of our justification in terms of the imputation of righteousness, through the phrase “faith counted for righteousness.”  In the verses under consideration, what Paul says is this: Abraham was justified many years before he was circumcised.  Therefore, circumcision has nothing whatever to do with justification.  And further, because one’s standing with God does not depend on circumcision, the blessing that David mentions is open to both Jews and non-Jews.
            That is the general scene before us.  However, we must not glaze over these words so quickly, because there are important lessons to be learned from them.  This is because in these verses are some plain lessons as to how justification relates both to faith and to obedience.  I am going to argue from these verses that Paul’s reasoning only makes sense if faith precedes justification and obedience follows justification.  That is, we believe in order to be justified and we ob…

Thoughts on Music in the Church

Last Sunday, some men in our church sat down to discuss Wayne Grudem's chapter on worship in his Systematic Theology.  Though Grudem hardly even mentions music, and does not discuss at all any of the contemporary issues dealing with music that are facing the church, it is not surprising that the conversation gravitated towards that very issue in our discussion.

I have been having some thoughts of my own recently on this issue, quite apart even from this before-mentioned conversation.  My conclusions will probably be considered radical by everyone, no matter what church they belong to.  I believe that the church of today needs to clean the instruments and musical productions out of the house and needs to go back to a much simpler worship style - preferably acapella.
But I have not come to this conclusion because I think that using musical instruments are wrong in and of themselves.  More to the point, I do not believe that the New Testament forbids the use of musical instruments i…

The Tragedy of the Church

I heard a heart-breaking story on Sunday of a man who did not know Christ.  A pastor (from Texas, I think) was recently leaving a conference in Chicago and hailed a cab.  The cab driver wanted to know what the conference was about.  The pastor explained, and this led to the man telling the pastor (in a thick accent) that he practiced voodoo, and that he worshiped and feared the devil.  Given such a marvelous opportunity to share Christ, the pastor did.  The response from the cab driver was astounding: he said he had never heard of this Christ, and where could he learn more?  He had never heard of Christ!    Of course, the pastor knew of several good churches in Chicago, and encouraged him to attend.  However, the cab driver said that he was afraid to go to a church, because he didn't have a lot of money, no nice clothes, and was afraid that he would be rejected by the church-goers.  The pastor still encouraged him to go, said that it didn't matter what he wore, and that he wou…