Systematic Theology on a Cross?

May 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

I once tried to explain “systematic theology” to a Russian pastor of the Underground Church, who had never seen a whole New Testament.  Systematically, I began to explain to him the teaching about the Godhead, about its unity in three Persons, the teaching about original sin, about the Fall, about salvation, about the Church, about the sacraments, about the Bible as infallible revelation.

He listened attentively.  When I had finished, he asked me a most surprising question:  “Have those who thought out these theological systems and wrote them down in such perfect order ever carried a cross?”  He went on.  “A man cannot think systematically even when he has a bad toothache.  How can a man who is carrying a cross think systematically?  But a Christian has to be more than the bearer of a heavy cross: he shares Christ’s crucifixion.  The pains of Christ are his, and the pains of all creation.  There is no grief and no suffering in the whole world which should not grieve him also.  If a man is crucified with Christ, how can he think systematically?  Can there be that kind of thought on a cross?

“Jesus Himself thought unsystematically on the cross.  He began with forgiveness; He spoke of a paradise in which even a robber had a place; then He despaired that perhaps there might be no place in paradise even for Him, the Son of God.  He felt Himself forsaken.  His thirst was so unbearable that He asked for water.  Then He surrendered His spirit into His Father’s hand.  But there followed no serenity, only a loud cry.  Thank you for what you have been trying to teach me.  I have the impression that you were only repeating, without much conviction, what others have taught you.”

~Richard Wurmbrand, 1909-2001, founder of VOM, “With God in Solitary Confinement

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Share this Post

Permalink 4 Comments

Love Means a Cross

March 2, 2010 at 1:51 am (Attitudes, Love, W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

When you are not yet married, or when your marriage is over and you look back on those years with longing, it is without doubt quite possible to idealize it.  But there is one thing which enters into all of life, one thing which will keep us from idealizing life’s best and will make bearable life’s worst, and that is the Cross.  The Cross must enter into marriage.  “Who loveth suffereth too.”

The Cross enters the moment you recognize a relationship as a gift.  The One who gives it may withdraw it at any time, and knowing this, you give thanks in the receiving.  Desiring above all else to do the will of God, you offer back to Him this greatest of all earthly gifts as an oblation, lifted up in worship and praise, with faith that in the offering it will be transformed for the good of others.

This is what sacrifice means.  This is why the Cross of Christ “towers o’er the wrecks of time.”  Love is sacrificial.  Sacrifice is giving, and offering up, and the meaning of sacrifice in the Bible is the giving of life to another.

~ Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be A Woman, 1976

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Share this Post

Permalink 2 Comments

Seven Steps

February 22, 2010 at 1:25 am (Attitudes, Food for Thought, Purity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

Seven Awful Steps Downward

Step one: Adopting a careless attitude toward sin.

Step two: Giving in to sin.

Step three: Habitually giving in to sin.

Step four: Surrendering to sin.

Step five: Abandoning God for a life of sin.

Step six: Becoming a tool of Satan to temp others to sin.

Step seven: Hell.  And you do not have to die in order to get there.  Hell is character as well as location.  The person who hates everything that God loves is in hell now, and hell is in him or her.

Seven Glorious Steps Upward

Step one: Developing a resistant attitude toward sin—determining that sin will not gain control over you.

Step two: Overcoming sin by faith in Christ.  Successfully fleeing from temptation—saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin.

Step three: A lifestyle of victory over sin.  Habitually saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin.  The strength that comes from one victory helps in overcoming the next temptation.

Step four: Discovering the “abiding life,” the “victorious life,” the “exchanged life.”  It has been termed many things by many different Christians through the ages, but in short, it is a life of intimate acquaintance with the grace of Christ and the empowerment that comes when His Spirit gains full access to your life.

Step five: Entrance into even deeper fellowship with Christ.  It started with your trusting God—now God entrusts His kingdom treasures to you.  You are set apart for His enjoyment and for His service.

Step six: Becoming one whom God calls on to do great and mighty things for His kingdom.  A set-apart existence that values Christ over life itself and is willing even to suffer and die to carry out the King’s bidding.

Step seven: Heaven.  And you do not have to die in order to get there.  Heaven is character as well as location.  The person who devotedly loves everything that God loves is in heaven now, and heaven is in him or her.

Paraphrased from John Stam, missionary/martyr to China, 1907-1934

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Share this Post

Permalink 1 Comment

Fire and Light

December 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

Remember this.  When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold.  When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness.  This is also the case when people withdraw from God.  ~Augustine

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Permalink 2 Comments

God gave you a brain…

February 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

Galileo Galilei

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Permalink 2 Comments

The definition of “Obstacle”

January 21, 2009 at 6:38 am (Food for Thought) (, , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

– Henry Ford (1863-1947)

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Permalink 4 Comments

Thou Shalt Not Touch

December 30, 2008 at 1:55 pm (Food for Thought, Purity) (, , , , , , )

food-for-thoughtChew on this one…

A man from Yemen was here in the states, working on an assembly line in a food-processing plant and sending money home for his family. When his wife back home gave birth to a baby, news spread quickly throughout the man’s assembly line. Soon his supervisor, who was a woman, came over to offer her congratulations and extended her hand for a handshake. The Yemenese man shrank away, avoiding any touch. Offended, the supervisor asked the managers to implement discipline for the man’s public disrespect. However, a mediator spoke with the man and discovered his conviction: that to even touch any woman aside from his wife was unfaithfulness to his wife.

…and tell us what you think.thess-5


Permalink 5 Comments

Hide and Seek

December 18, 2008 at 5:59 am (Food for Thought) (, , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this one…

“We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him [God], we need no longer seek Him.”

~A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5


Permalink 5 Comments