Saturday, June 23, 2012

You’re Just Being Judgmental

I am not entirely sure what most people, especially liberals, are thinking when they say that you are being judgmental.  Perhaps they mean that you are looking upon another human being with disdain.  Or perhaps they mean that you are calling someone’s actions morally reprehensible.  That kind of a claim is often accompanied by a negative emotion aimed at the person you are condemning.

The most puzzling use of the term “judgmental” is when it is used to describe a person who is simply affirming something as true.  For example, if I simply say “I think Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven” I find it mind boggling that I would be called judgmental for simply stating my position.  In these cases, “judgmental” simply means, “you disagree with me, thus you are judgmental”.  If that was a legitimate use of the term “judgmental” then everyone is judgmental about something as we all disagree about lots of things.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Clement of Rome

Life (approximate): AD 30 - 100
Bishop of Rome (approximate): AD 90 / 91 - 100
Writings: Letter to the Corinthians

Early Sources Concerning Clement of Rome: (not a comprehensive list)
Paul - Philippians 4:3 (Eusebius claims that Paul is speaking about Clement here)
Irenaeus - Against Heresies: Book 3, Chapter 3
Eusebius - Church History: Book 3
Tertullian - Prescription Against Heretics

Timeline with Roman Emperors:


Clement of Rome, who according to the Roman Church is the fourth pope, is grouped among what are called the Apostolic Fathers.  Apostolic church fathers are early church fathers who had dealings with the apostles.  In the case of Clement, he is said to have been ordained by the Apostle Peter.  There isn't a single book that tells about his life and thought, rather we have glimpses of the man through various sources.  The only legitimate letter we have from him is his letter to the Corinthians which was read in many churches along with Scripture for several centuries.
"There is extant an epistle of this Clement which is acknowledged to be genuine and is of considerable length and of remarkable merit. He wrote it in the name of the church of Rome to the church of Corinth, when a sedition had arisen in the latter church. We know that this epistle also has been publicly used in a great many churches both in former times and in our own. And of the fact that a sedition did take place in the church of Corinth at the time referred to Hegesippus is a trustworthy witness." -Eusebius: Church History

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Elevating Experience

I began my search for the church that best exemplifies the life and teaching of Jesus Christ at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.  Elevation is one of the largest churches in the Charlotte area and is supposedly one of the fastest growing churches in the country.  When I arrived this morning, I was asked "How did you hear about Elevation?"  My answer: "You can't live in Charlotte without knowing about Elevation".  I can be in any part of the city or surrounding area and I will see an Elevation bumper sticker.  If I do a Google search that includes the word "church", Elevation is the first site that pops up.

So I decided to check out this mega-church to see what it was like.  To be completely honest, I am not a big fan of mega-churches.  I tend to lump them all together into the category of "seeker-sensitive churches that have lots of people but very little depth".  Be that as it may, I did my best to set aside my prejudices so that I could learn what this church was about.  In my search, I want to do my best to see the good in each church that I attend.  To be sure, I will be noting things that I disagree with or that I find problematic, but these things will not constitute the substance of my blog posts.  At this point, I am more concerned about what it is that draws people to one church or another.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Classical Arminianism and Total Depravity

In this post, I would like to explore similarities and differences in how classical Arminians and Calvinists view the doctrine of total depravity.  I say "classical Arminianism" because many people who claim to be Arminian do not understand Arminianism as it was stated by Arminius himself.  For example, the following website does NOT speak for the classical Arminian:
Free-will or human ability. ...Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists in his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation. (emphasis mine)
I understand why Calvinists react so strongly to these portrayals of Arminian theology.  Contrary to the quote above Arminius did not believe that faith is the sinner's gift to God.  Nor did he maintain that man's will, in his fallen state, is free from enslavement to sin.  In his book Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, Roger Olson writes the following:
Arminius could not have made clearer his belief that human beings are utterly helpless and totally dependent on grace for their salvation.
Roger E. Olson. Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (p. 142). Kindle Edition.