Trying to Make Sense of What God Allows: Good and Evil

 

How do we make sense of what God allows in our lives?  Are we responsible for our own outcomes or is God? How does this fit in with abuse?

 by Julie Anne

Someone sent me a tweet yesterday and I cannot get it out of mind.  As you might guess, what comes in my mind often becomes a post.  Interestingly, as my mind was on this topic, I started seeing it all over the place.

I need help understanding about God and what He allows or allowed, both good and negative outcomes. This may be my own personal issue in not fully understanding scripture.  All I know is when I read some of these tweets, sometimes they don’t bother me.  Other times, I cringe inside.

Sometimes these phrases cause me to question my knowledge of scripture, my faith, and all I know is I end up feeling like a lowly worm that can never measure up. The reality is I know that none of us can ever measure up and that is why we needed Christ’s death on the cross so that we can enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise.  (And there — I go back to singing again.)

Here is the first tweet that got this thought process rolling. It comes from Tony Miano who most likely tweeted this from an abortion mill where he was street evangelizing. (Actually, I wouldn’t really call it street evangelizing, but that’s a whole other topic and I don’t want to go there now.):

 

Miano also sent this one on the same day:

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Ok, so in the above tweets, Tony is saying that the Lord has chosen or allowed a second child to be saved from the abortion mill.  I should be happy, right?  But where does this take me?  It takes me to the logical conclusion that if the Lord allowed two children to be saved, then it also means that He allowed others to be killed.  That messes with my head and makes God an abuser, or even a murderer.

This is heavy stuff. Especially for someone who has endured abuse because then it means that I have to follow along with that logic that God allowed me to go through abuse, that it was His plan, He allowed it, and I need to suck it up. I can’t let my brain remain with this thought for long. It is just too painful.

Moving along . . . I remembered another tweet from Tony not too long ago and thought he had worded it in a funny way, so I dug it up.  Sure enough, he used the same “God allowed” as I had remembered:

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So, God is the one that allowed Tony to finish climbing Mt. Baldy. If Tony didn’t succeed in climbing Mt. Baldy because he was out of shape, would it then be: “God did not allow me to climb Mt. Baldy?”   Or . . . does it become, “Because I am out of shape, I was unsuccessful in climbing Mt. Baldy.”

When does God get the credit and when does Miano get the credit?  In both of these tweets, Miano gives God the credit for good. Interestingly, his buddy and my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal, tweeted this about the saving babies at abortion clinics:

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It appears from O’Neal’s interpretation of things that people get the credit for rescuing babies, not God, right?  Do you see how this is confusing?  How does one determine when God gets the credit for saving babies or people get the credit?

I then searched and found some more “God allowed” or “Lord allowed” tweets.  Here’s one:

 

 

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Whoa, I thought Pat Robertson was the one who said stuff like that. Here we have “God allowed” killing of innocent people because of sin. More heavy stuff.
Now this one, I like and can connect with.  With bacon, all things are possible . . . . well, sort of:

 YUMMMM!!

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photo credit: anokarina via photopin cc

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Back to more serious tweets, here’s one from Pastor Tim Keller:

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This one works for me. I don’t expect my life or anyone’s life to be rosy. Scripture talks about personal trials all over the place.  Here another one from a pastor I’m unfamiliar with, Andy Thompson. It’s encouraging and I like it:

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Now the following one is another tough one. Someone’s obviously struggling with the same kind of questions I’ve brought up in this tweet:
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I found the following “God allows” tweet disturbing. I need to give more of the background so you can see it in context. Janet Mefferd sent out a tweet which I thought was not only funny, but truthful about Mark Driscoll:

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Say what?  He has found encouragement that God allows false teachers to remain because God is testing us to know whether we love the Lord with all our heart?   He then scolded Janet for speaking up. So this means just shut up about abuse?
Thankfully, Janet did a great job responding:

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Do you see this battle we face within our own?  I guess in Adam’s world (who comments in a tweet above), we should just be thankful for abuse because it causes us to get closer to God and tests our faith.  To heck with all of those blind sheep who haven’t been able to see the truth because they’ve been drinking purple KoolAid. People like Mefferd and all other bloggers who call out wolves in sheep’s clothing should just shut up and be thankful?  I think not.

Do you see how this kind of God-allowed thinking can be used in church leadership to excuse abuse or silence abuse? Pastors can label a church sex abuse situation as a God-allowed incident and since God allowed it, then it’s a church issue and the sin remains in the church – – no need to report to authorities- – it’s all under control. God’s got this one. He knows. He’s in control. He allowed it.

Or . . .since God allowed it, He’s using it to test our faith to see if we really love Him with all of our heart.

And what happens to the perpetrator when this line of thinking is in place?

This stuff makes me scream.

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149 comments on “Trying to Make Sense of What God Allows: Good and Evil

  1. I think they’re blaming God. What I mean is, they are attributing everything that happens in this world, whether good or bad, as being caused by God’s decision. I think that’s wrong. God gave us free choice to make our own decisions. He didn’t make mindless puppets. The choices we make produce consequences…..cause and effect. You can’t willfully choose to do something and then blame the consequences of your choice on God allowing something to happen.

    Example: Let’s say I got pregnant and was considering an abortion. But prior to going through with it, I changed my mind and decided to carry the baby to term and give the baby to a family yearningto adopt. It has nothing to do with God allowing a baby to be saved, it was (in this hypothetical situation) the consequence or result of my own decision to change my mind about aborting it.

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  2. I have a hard time with this too. I have a harder time with people changing it from God allowing things to God actually causing things, to test us, or as a wake-up call, etc. However, something that has helped me is to arrive at the conclusion that we live in a crappy fallen world, and people make choices all the time that affect others.

    I believe that God sees our lives in full, from beginning to end. It’s like he’s hovering in a helicopter above a parade, and that parade is my life, your life, each and every one’s life. He sees the beginning, he sees the things that happen to us, he sees the end, and he is not bound by time so can ‘touch down’ in any place, at any time. He knows all, He sees all… the abuse that happened in secret, he was there and he wept, His heart broken. That one I can guarantee you.

    He only wants us to bring our hurts and our wounds to him so he can heal us. He receives glory from a broken life that has been redeemed. He didn’t cause it or allow it, but He will redeem it and for sure will use it for good, and for His glory.

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  3. Sam, welcome to SSB. I really like your helicopter illustration. I can receive that much more than I can “God allowed my abuse to happen and stood by as a bystander.”

    He didn’t cause it or allow it, but He will redeem it and for sure will use it for good, and for His glory.

    This works for me.

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  4. “Because Deut. 13:3”? Are you kidding me? Because bacon? Because Mark Driscoll? I’ll tell you what: This “Because+noun” with no preposition thing is driving me nuts! But I believe God is allowing it is a judgment on us and our language because we have not “shepherded” it properly (ouch: the nominal verb; that’s another judgment, but I digress…)

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  5. I suspect that many people who constantly say or write “God allowed me to [do something successfully, do something positive, etc.]” are trying to impress people with how holy and humble they are. And if they say, for example, “God allowed me to fail the test,” they are subtly implicating God in the failure.

    Since Deut 13:3 says nothing about whether or not to scold the false prophet, I don’t know why that guy draws the conclusion that we are not to scold him. But there are many places in Scripture where believers are encouraged to publicly expose false prophets or teachers. Since this verse speaks of a false prophet, he is to be exposed.

    However, in this passage we are told to do more than expose him; we are to put him to death (vs. 5). Since we don’t do that today, I think that we’re on safe ground if we expose him. We definitely are not to do nothing.

    Julie Anne, I have found that when the subject you are proposing is discussed on this blog and others, many people get upset. They get upset if it is even hinted that God may have anything to do with bad things happening (unless it happens to mass murderers, etc.) as well as with good things happening. After hundreds of comments, there is hardly ever any meeting of the minds, just people more entrenched than ever in their particular beliefs.

    Just one more thing. You ended a comment with “This works for me.” With all due respect, it is irrelevant if something works for you or for anyone else. What matters is if it is true. This holds true for the more comforting parts of the Bible as well as the more disturbing ones. For instance, staying on the present subject, Rom 8:28 is the well-known verse that says: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God; those who are called according to His purpose.” This “works” for most of us. That’s nice. But it has nothing to do with whether or not it is true.

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  6. Good morning, Julie Anne!

    You might be interested to realize that this very topic – why the Christian god gets credit for all the GOOD things, but doesn’t get the responsibility for the bad things – is what makes MANY people eventually come to the conclusion that religion is a man-created, Bronze-Age myth. Definitely not what you want to hear, I”m sure, but the cognitive dissonance you are experiencing is very common among questioning, logical, thinking humans. It’s one of the big reasons I am no longer a believer.

    The question, for me, became – do I accept the Biblical explanation (which is completely far-fetched, non-sensible, and contradictory)?, or do I actually do some research and figure it out on my own, using my brain, provable facts, reading what others have to say about the topic, and sound reasoning over emotion and ‘faith’.

    Good sense and logical reasoning prevailed.

    The bottom line, as I see it, is this. YOU are a wonderful person because you make good choices about what you say, write, and think. You’ll remain who you are, with or without a god.

    I think you rock, heathen that I now am. .. grin. . . xx

    Carmen

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  7. Julie Anne, I have had the same thoughts. I attribute those mind sets to a very popular doctrine. I am possibly leaving another church that subscribes to this doctrine. They like to say God is sovereign…He controls all, causes all, allows all. Here’s the problem with that kind of thinking summed up in a quote I heard recently. “any definition of God’s sovereignty that allows evil to exist as a part of His will and purpose is an immoral definition of sovereignty”.
    Here is another I heard recently that may help you. It certainly helped me. “You will never have peace until you understand you will never fully understand God.” People like to use doctrines and words and explanations that fit into their nice little view of God. They wrap Him up in this neat little box, so they think ‘they understand’ God more than the rest of us…and that’s nothing but pride and false humility, as a previous commentator stated. I don’t think we are supposed to completely understand God…it would make us god. Those who think they do,they want to feel like they are in control. I think they have these doctrines because the fact they couldn’t fully understand God scares the heck out them. It takes away their power

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  8. . .. .and Julie Anne, that “lowly worm who can never measure up” business? Absolutely the worst suggestion, and one which I REALLY object to. It’s that idea, more than any other, that keeps women in submission and the feeling that they are getting what they deserve. . .abhorrent thinking which needs to be banished completely. I’m not even going to go into what I think of those male preachers who get off on that kind of power trip. It STINKS and needs to be thoroughly rejected by everyone. It’s destructive thinking and no one should even go there.

    I know, I know . . . enough from the heathen.

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  9. Lynette, There is a terrible thing in Christianity, and it is a total misconception of the idea of sovereignty. A human ruler who has total sovereignty does not get everything he wants! Rather, he has the authority to make decisions and to attempt to enforce his decisions by whatever means he has. A dictator can only do what he does by virtue of the obedience to his wishes by other people.

    God’s sovereignty is mediated by and through his love, his opting to grant us freedom to choose whether to love and serve him, and by his justice and holiness. All of these are generally misunderstood and/or misapplied in our human thinking as people make careers of trying the impossible: understanding the true nature of God. They create and elaborate theories about God and develop arcane language to communicate and argue with others about those theories (hence people with Ph.D.s in theology, and 1000s of denominations).

    God gave us minds to choose or not to choose him. His interventions in our loves are subtle, not detectable by science! Therefore, people who run around saying God allowed evil are misinterpreting God. God gave humans freedom and some abuse that freedom and harm others. And the natural laws God created also have consequences that, in part, have to do with our choices and whether we worship him.

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  10. Sam, I love your response and your analogy so logical. God is sovereign. He knows all, he sees all, he knows the very intermost feelings of our hearts. He weeps when a child is aborted, he weeps when a child is born and abused, he weeps when adult women are abused by their own husbands. He doesn’t cause these things to happen, but he knows they will and he weeps. He did not cause Adam and Eve to follow the serpent, but they did. The result as we all know is a fallen world. No more wonderful garden where all is beautiful and lovely. A world where fammin in the land will cause the crops to die and storms to take many lives took its place.

    The only one who lived this life perfectly is Jesus. We all can turn to Him for salvation, but God knows who will and who won’t. That doesn’t make us worms. We need to keep seeking him. He who seeks Him will find Him. There is no one that doesn’t have doubts. That would make us perfect and only Jesus was perfect.

    The man with the quote about bacon has a point. In the OT many animals were not allowed and considered unclean. As time went on there was nothing off limits. Pork would have been allowed around the time that the gospel was spread to the Gentiles.

    Go Janet. This man didn’t have any particular liking for Mark Driscoll, but he wanted to chastise her for her feelings on the subject. The word Hypocrite comes to mind. And to get in my 2 cents worth. Mark Driscoll’s books should be burned and he should have been removed from the pulpit a long time ago and don’t even get me started on John Piper. I know he wasn’t mentioned here, but in my experience with him he is on the same level as MD.

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  11. JeffB, you said: ‘Just one more thing. You ended a comment with “This works for me.” With all due respect, it is irrelevant if something works for you or for anyone else. What matters is if it is true.’

    I agree with both you and Julie Anne at the same time. The severity of the issue being discussed lies, in my opinion, in a rational and justifiable (and inevitable, if you are truly seeking to know God intimately) cognitive dissonance. How can a being whose essence consists of perfect love (and justice, and mercy, etc) create beings in his image for the express purpose of being tormented forever? Or who allows us to suffer intolerably because we are still getting more than we deserve?

    How can you trust a being whose will for you is hostile at worst and passive at best? I believe that being given the mind of Christ must allow us understanding into God’s motives. If the fullness of father dwells in the son, then we Christians should have a problem when we see the father (or the spirit, whatever), acting in a way which appears contrary to the son’s immeasurable sacrifice/gift to us.

    My quest is to dig and pray (actually be like a Berean, which no longer means reading my MacArthur bible study notes!) until I arrive at this point: I find the truth, which must work for me (that is, make sense within the confines of my human intellect), given that I have the mind of Christ and God desires my trust and true intimacy with me. Just my two cents. 🙂

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  12. Great job pointing out the inconsistencies… Funny how those with differing theologies/doctrines that are more consistent with the way we see God act and the way we see things in the world are branded “heretics” because their view of God’s sovereignty doesn’t match up…

    I’m thinking I stick with the “heretics”.

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  13. It offends people’s logical categories, but it’s no problem to any biblical writer that God is sovereign and yet allows a world in which things are not done his way. A lot of how that works is seen in Job 1 and 2.

    Jesus told us to pray that our Father’s will be done in earth as it is in heaven because we don’t have that yet. Examining the Psalms or pretty much anywhere else in the Bible, it’s not that this paradox has gone unnoticed or unexamined there.

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  14. I don’t know why bad things happen. I’ve lost one child shortly after birth. I was abused as a child. Neither time did I “deserve” those awful things. I do know that somehow God works things for good. I do know that I can now comfort those who go through similar things better than Job’s buddies could comfort him. And I know that God is the healer of hearts, and weeps with us.

    Our pastor likens God’s sovereignty like a ship on the sea, and God is the captain. He doesn’t control every activity and action on the ship, but He knows the starting point and ending point, and is in charge of the ship’s direction.

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  15. The reason why so many have trouble with God being all sovereign in His creation is due to fact that they refuse to bow humbly before Him and forsake the idols of self-determination and “free-will” that are responsible for constructing a god of many paths, all of which lead to destruction. They will claim that this makes them a “robot” but it is just an excuse to absolve their guilt before God as their conscience continues to raise alarms. Every one has their own “take” on this and they are similar only in the fact that God is relegated to second class and man tells God the character He must possess if they are to believe in Him and allow Him to be God—and not necessarily their God. Accusations against the Sovereign Lord fly with little restraint and then people wonder why their life is in a shambles, it’s called SIN, rebellion and hatred for the God who would save them from their sins as they continue (and worsen) in their sin demanding that God fit their notions of what a “real” god should be like. You’ve got a miserable life? Let’s blame God instead of taking responsibility for our own sin and seeking the forgiveness provided in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ (the Sovereign Lord). Let’s tell God how cruel it was of Him to subject His Son to the ravages of the cross and that He had no business “allowing” such a thing to happen (if He were the loving God He claims to be), but should instead just wink at the sins of man and give him a pass because He is a “loving” God. This kind of thinking is due to total ignorance of the Word of God and His character. Isaiah 53:10 says “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him (or crush Him); He has put Him to grief (on purpose), when You make His soul an offering for sin…” The love of God is shown ONLY in the suffering sacrifice of His Son for the sins of those who believe on Him. God was and is under no obligation to save any man, but He has provided His Son as the Savior of those who believe on Him through repentance and faith. But man in general would rather point the finger at God for their troubles rather than bow before Him seeking His mercy and forgiveness. Man deserves every bad thing that comes his way because of his sin and refusal to humble himself before the only Sovereign God. Only the lost seek to absolve themselves of their guilty conscience by accusing God of doing wrong.

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  16. “Man deserves every bad thing that comes his way . . . ” How insensitive, cruel and twisted. . .. parroting that kind of nonsense is horrible and undeserving of belief.

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  17. Regarding that Miano tweet about God CHOOSING one baby to die and not another-

    What a hard heart this man must have. Doesn’t he realize when he words tweets like this, it makes God out to be cruel? If I were a non-Christian, I would be appalled at the portrayal of God like this and surely would not want to know more about Him. How does Miano presume to KNOW that God is choosing this baby over another to save from death? Good grief…Miano needs to get an actual JOB to keep his mind occupied elsewhere.

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  18. There has always been a tension here. There is the tension of a finite mind not capable of understanding an infinite God. Sovereignty vs. free will has always been a source of tension. These same questions have come up through history and no matter what answer we come up with, it never seems quite adequate.

    Why does God send “blessings” to some and not to others? Why do the evil triumph while the righteous suffer? Exactly which bad thing in my life was caused/allowed by God and when was it a result of my own sin? Often, there are no easy answers.

    Yes, we live in a fallen world. Sin entered into what God created for good and perverted it, interrupting God’s plan and sending the entire human race down a path of suffering and eventually death. Yet, did it really interrupt God’s plan as, if He is as we believe, omniscient, then He would have known it from the beginning and allowed it. If that is the case, then why did He? What was in His mind? Why go through millenia of this, instead of just wiping the slate and starting over?

    It boils down to the fact that we cannot comprehend Him with our limited capacity. It is just impossible. To try too hard will tear you apart inside.

    Eventually, it boils down to a choice each has to make. To one commenter here, he stated that he chose “good sense and logical approach”, yet is that really that logical? To him, it appears so, yet there are so many things in life that defy logic. How can one look at the order of the universe and not see that an intelligence would have to design it (whether you believe in OEC, YEC, or whatever)? The worldview mentioned above requires a certain amount of faith, whether one wants to admit it or not.

    The other choice is the one I have made and that is to admit that I don’t know the ins and outs. I cannot adequately explain the things that JA has brought up. I must choose to have trust in the God I do not fully understand. Today we see through a mirror darkly, but when we see Him face to face, we will finally understand.

    Job’s friends did not have a clue what God was doing in Job’s life. They thought they did and gave some bad advice. Job did not really know either and had some misconceptions that God had to clear up, but when it counted, Job had to rely on his faith in God’s plan for him.

    Remember when the disciples asked Jesus who sinned and caused the blind man to be blind? His answer was that no one sinned, but that he was that way to show the glory of God, then proceeded to heal him. It was a sovereign act of God, but no one could explain exactly why that man at that place.

    Does this answer Julie Anne’s questions? Probably not, but I guess my point is that we cannot always know the answers to them. We can let that fact tear us up, run from God or have faith that He knows the answers when we don’t.

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  19. “Funny how those with differing theologies/doctrines that are more consistent with the way we see God act and the way we see things in the world are branded “heretics” because their view of God’s sovereignty doesn’t match up…”

    Well, as Miano, who is SO special to God (and let’s us know that) that God controlled his legs and made him walk up that mountain, says:

    “God is good when babies die at abortuaries. God is good when He chooses not to allow that to happen. These seemingly paradoxical truths confuse and trouble only those who are either babes in the Christian faith and those who are not Christians.”

    We are babes if we do not agree. But more importantly, If God is good when He chooses to have babies die at abortuaries, why the outcry against abortion? He is saying that a good God allows abortion and a good God saves some from abortion.
    Is abortion good or bad?

    If God is choosing a baby here and there to be saved from abortion and lets most of them be aborted, how is that portrayal…good?

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  20. “Man deserves every bad thing that comes his way because of his sin and refusal to humble himself before the only Sovereign God.”

    How about believers…those who profess and live for Christ. Do they deserve every bad thing that comes?

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  21. It boils down to the fact that we cannot comprehend Him with our limited capacity. It is just impossible. To try too hard will tear you apart inside.

    I agree, Wendell. Those that say God chose this baby to save over that one (like Miano does in his tweet with his God chose to save THIS baby today) make me shake my head. Does he and others really KNOW for certain God is picking one baby over another?

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  22. God is not the one choosing babies to die in abortuaries, nor picking and choosing the ones who are rescued from those places. It is those going into those abortuaries who choose to destroy or save those babies. God had nothing to do with it. He gave humans free will to make those choices, whether life or death.

    We can’t blame God for us choosing to make our own bad choices. He doesn’t do our choosing for us. We have to live with and accept the consequences of the choices we make in life, whether good or bad. Sinful people oftentimes make sinful choices.

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  23. “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” [Lk 13:2-5]”

    This would have been a great time for Jesus to tell his disciples– yes, I cause these calamities (bridge collapses, tornados, fires, falling towers) to come upon you sinners because you are, well, sinning really badly. But He doesn’t say that. He doesn’t give an answer as to why that tower fell, but focuses on repenting. They weren’t worse sinners than the other Galileans or others who lived in Jerusalem-yet the tower fell on them. Why didn’t Jesus give an answer as to why the tower fell? That God caused, allowed, predetermined, made, authored, ordained the tower to fall for a specific reason is not addressed here. Jesus says NO- their actions or lack of actions did not cause the tower to fall. The focus is on repenting, examining your life for the time is now to repent. That’s the answer they got and I get.

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  24. @Carmen:

    “Man deserves every bad thing that comes his way . . . ” How insensitive, cruel and twisted. . .. parroting that kind of nonsense is horrible and undeserving of belief.

    And obviously Twittered by a twit who has NEVER had anything bad happen to him personally. (polish halo….) The Arrogance of God’s Anointed Pet.

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  25. “Funny how those with differing theologies/doctrines that are more consistent with the way we see God act and the way we see things in the world are branded “heretics” because their view of God’s sovereignty doesn’t match up…”

    Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
    Purity of Ideology.

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  26. Sorry, Carmen. I was skimming through so fast that when I scrolled back up to see who had written that, I didn’t go all the way back to the name. No offense intended.

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  27. Love the ship analogy!!

    I think in the final analysis, God gets blamed for and credited with a whole lot of stuff that he had absolutely nothing to do with. In the light of eternity, I don’t know how concerned he would be as to whether I find a good parking spot or not.

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  28. Wendell, none taken! Besides, I just got done polishing MY halo. . ..:)

    Carmen, send me a picture of that halo. Lol. I’m so glad you are here, btw. You call yourself a heathen, but I see more love coming from you than others who claim to be Christian.

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  29. “How about believers…those who profess and live for Christ. Do they deserve every bad thing that comes?”

    Even this, Diane, is a back door complaint against God with the suggestion that He acts cruelly. We are not commanded to understand, we are commanded to trust and know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose—even the bad things. Don’t you know that the trials believers face (the bad things in life) come our way as a testing of our faith (will we trust Him to do for our good or complain and accuse Him of doing wrong and being cruel?) as stated by Peter in 1 Peter 1:7. Is it not an honor to suffer for the sake of Christ, no matter what form the suffering may take (1 Peter 3:14)? Should we grip and complain against the One who loved us and gave Himself for us, or submit to Him and whatever providence (God acting sovereignly) may come our way? Do we seriously think that God will reveal the “why” of any event when we refuse to simply trust Him? He is not obligated to do so, but we are obligated to trust Him. Asking the question “why” in itself is not wrong if the heart is right. Is the question born from a broken heart or one that is more interested in finding fault with our Maker?

    Simply, we will never have all our questions answered of things in this life and likely not in eternity either (some things God will reserve to Himself). Answered questions does not equal saving faith. A broken and contrite heart before Him, the bowing to His sovereign will in all things, the seeking of mercy and forgiveness on His terms DOES! For the man or woman who truly trusts Him the “why” is not nearly so important as a right heart before Him. The lost will continue to demand the answers they seek and when the answers do not come (or are unsatisfactory to them) they will continue to find fault and accuse the Almighty One. For the Christian the “why” will eventually give way to ‘not my will, thine be done’ and the heart will settle in the full assurance that God is sovereign even in my heart-ach, that in spite of what comes my way that He always has my best and eternal interests in mind.

    Darrel

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  30. Jeff said:

    You ended a comment with “This works for me.” With all due respect, it is irrelevant if something works for you or for anyone else. What matters is if it is true.

    I said “it works for me” for a reason – it is because that is the conclusion I have come to based on my knowledge/understanding of God (from scripture, God speaking through others, to me, etc). The reality is that you can also come to different conclusions based on what you know to be true, too. Isn’t that why there are so many debates when it comes to the Bible/doctrine/religion?

    Another reality for me is that if I had to believe what some believe (God chose one baby to live over another), that smacks of abuse/murder and if that were the case, I would be forced to abandon my faith. I cannot love a God who is an abuser.

    I have come to other conclusions, too. Based on scripture that tells me how wide and deep and vast is His love for me, I know that He knows what abuse I have endured and what makes me unable to accept difficult aspects of doctrine that others hold. I believe in the basic tenants of Christianity and these other issues are just other issues. I think God is big enough to say: “you’re ok, JA, I get why you came to your conclusions and I’m just glad you are part of my family. Come on up and spend eternity with me.”

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  31. Note to dear readers: It’s me in a witches’ costume- you’re all nodding your heads and saying, “YUP!, that’s her!” 🙂

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  32. Reading this thread is like trying to cross six furious lanes of traffic on foot without getting hit. Or like dodging cars on a busy intersection in India during rush hour.

    “This is heavy stuff. Especially for someone who has endured abuse because then it means that I have to follow along with that logic that God allowed me to go through abuse, that it was His plan, He allowed it, and I need to suck it up. I can’t let my brain remain with this thought for long. It is just too painful.”

    It sure is, and not many people are going to understand why it all stops here, regardless of anything else, for some of us. God gets it, though, and we are free and able to listen to the Holy Spirit and come to our own conclusions, which are entirely relevant to us. I can say that for me, those lies have been more painful than anything else in my life, even more than the abuse itself and its aftereffects. They only intensified the pain and proved to be unbearable and impossible to accept.

    There came a point in time when I had to step down off of that crazy train. It took me through the darkest tunnel, over and over again, until I realized what was happening. I see now that it was a train of thought. The only solution to end the despair and repair my broken relationship with God was to stop letting that train take me for a ride. Easier said than done, but the only option in sight, and the only valid one as far as I am concerned. Same old story… 🙂

    Our view of God is everything. And it truly should be found by looking at Jesus. God is revealed in Jesus. I see no reason to blaspheme God, even if every bozo, their grandmother and their dog might. No need to torture myself by interpreting what I read through the most painful etc. filter imaginable, either.

    So…for reasons here and there, I do not believe God is “sovereign” (as it is usually defined) or in meticulous control, either allowing or disallowing every single event in history. Human beings are really human beings, made in the image of God, with everything that implies. What comes from God is good and perfect. Evil is by definition not good. God is holy and pure, and is light, with no darkness inside at all. God is Love, the most important thing of all.

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  33. I can say that for me, those lies have been more painful than anything else in my life, even more than the abuse itself and its aftereffects. They only intensified the pain and proved to be unbearable and impossible to accept.

    Oasis, you and I have discussed this topic before. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the time we discussed it before and how deep this stuff can get when one has our kind of background because my default mode is to go to “angry-God” mode. Angry-God mode is my life’s foundation with angry fathers, angry pastors, etc. It’s difficult for me to receive/comprehend/understand His love for me.

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  34. Can someone please try to help me understand this:

    In Tony Miano’s world where God gets to choose which babies live or die, God gets to allow Tony to hike up Mt. Baldy or not, why would Tony bother “street evangelizing” since God is the one making everything work the way He wants? Why does he need to do it? Why does he need to go to Europe to street evangelize? Isn’t God sovereign?

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  35. JA – I apologize for not making it clear at the outset that I meant that what “works” for us is irrelevant *only* with respect to what the Bible clearly presents as being true. (Admittedly, some truths are clearer than others.) I think it’s also true that God wants us to be comforted by His truths, even if the comfort isn’t immediate. So what “works” for us clearly has its place.

    I know first-hand that the comfort isn’t always immediate. I’ve gone through a lot of suffering in my life, and there were times when, as a believer, I was angry at God for permitting it. My reading of Scripture didn’t allow me to think that God had nothing to do with my suffering. After a struggle, I am now comforted by verses like Romans 8:28.

    I do not pretend to know exactly how God’s sovereignty and human will interact, but I know a few things. One is that the “all things” in Romans 8:28 never includes more than we can bear, even though at times we may feel that it is. Another is that God doesn’t take a sadistic pleasure at seeing us suffer. When it says that He was “pleased” to see His Son suffer, I believe that He was pleased at what it would accomplish, just as He is pleased at what our suffering will accomplish.

    I realize that these are hard truths that go against what we naturally believe about good and evil. But we are dealing with a God Who saves us by allowing His Son to suffer and die in the cruelest way possible. Is this what even our greatest thinkers would come up with? I think not. His ways are simply not ours.

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  36. JA – The answer is, simply, that God, in His Sciptures, tells us to evangelize. God ordains the means as well as the ends. He wants us to participate in achieving His purposes, but, ultimately, it is He who achieves them. No one’s eternal destiny depends on what we do or not do, despite what Rick Warren and others say, but God wants us to have a part in it.

    There are those, such as Hyper-Calvinists, who choose to ignore God’s telling us to tell others about our faith, because they believe that we are pretty much machines acted upon by God. I realize that it might seem that all Calvinists believe that, but it is not so. Calvin – and, more important, Scripture – says that man has a genuine measure of free will, though not the kind that God enjoys. Again, the exact intersection of God’s sovereignty and human free will is impossible for us to locate.

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  37. Calvin is not in the Bible, why is he part of this discussion, Jeff? If we are Christian, our first source should be Christ and scripture, not Calvin. Calvin was a man like you and me with the same access to God and same access to Scripture.

    Methinks people know more about Calvin and his ways than Christ and His ways. If there was a church leader on the Arminian side who got as much credit as Calvin, I’d be naming him, too.

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  38. I have the “why does God allow?” conversation with a friend occasionally. She struggles with believing in a loving God who can allow a child to be raped. Honestly, I understand her struggle and often wonder that myself.

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  39. Oasis, As Carolyn Custis James wrote: We are all theologians. But you, Oasis, are the best Theologian I have read in ages.

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  40. When these conversations come up I have a different view. My view is, “What are our responsibility concerning these horrors?”

    Why is God always the focus?

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  41. Perhaps we need to recall the life of Job. Did God allow all that happened to Job to come to pass? Sure He did; our finite minds cannot grasp fully the infinite wisdom and mind of God and His purposes. Just because evil happens doesn’t mean God is less sovereign. God is indeed sovereign, and man is wicked, sinful and evil. The Almighty’s thoughts and ways are not like ours, which is why we may need to respond just as Job did, ‘Then Job answered the LORD and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
    Tony Miano doesn’t understand the sovereignty of God any more than most of us do, he should refrain from tweeting things referring to such.

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  42. What bugs me about the stupid things that people say is that Paul says clearly, over and over again, that we are to speak that which is edifying only so that it ministers grace to those who can hear us. (Though I aspire to this, I fail at it like everyone else, though I hope that I’m making progress as I grow.) Much of this stuff is an academic discussion to “make the math work.” That has no place at a baby’s funeral — when a minister brings up the Calvinist debate about whether babies go to heaven (ignoring the words of King David who said that he would see his son again). The five points of Calvinism are not an evangelism tool, unless you’re trying to recruit people who are already Christian and are sick of the anti-intellectualism that many other types of Christians espouse.

    Someone else’s pain is never an excuse for anyone to go on some theodicy. However, there are many Christians who cannot stand any ambiguity and expect to understand every mystery on this side of the veil. It’s ridiculous.

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  43. If James Dobson really said that, I am disappointed. I’ve long had a measure of respect for the man, even when I didn’t agree with him about something. As far as claiming to understand why God allowed or sent such-and-such natural disaster, whether Pat Robertson, or John Piper making comments about tornadoes, or Doug Wilson and co. saying “God Struck America” on 9/11 for legalized abortion, this is just so much claiming to know the mind of the Lord or having been His counselor because of certain favorite sins they like to rail against.

    Miano’s tweets remind me of pastors thinking God must be blessing their efforts any time a church is numerically growing. Just look at the size of Joel Osteen’s church. Or Steve Furtick’s, or Mars Hill, or SGM in years past. If something is growing or outwardly successful, it is assumed that it has God’s blessing just by that very fact. Conversely, if something is in decline or people are suffering, it must be God’s judgement. The Bible itself testifies to the fact that this way of thinking goes back to our earliest history—and also to the fact that it ain’t necessarily so. Natural consequences of our choices may be true as a general rule, but exceptions do exist.

    Someone mentioned Job and his trials. I go back and reread that book every so often because I can identify with Job’s temptation in the midst of his worst suffering to question God’s love, or even whether God still cared about what happened to him either way. It’s a reminder of how weak my faith really is, but also of how strong He is and how far His love really goes.

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  44. Tony Miano’s “miraculous” God-allowing climb did not produce a “Praise God!” from me. Just the longest, mom-powered eye roll that I could produce. I’m very proficient at the eye roll that God allows me to accomplish.

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  45. Lyn, “man is wicked, sinful and evil”. . . sigh. . as long as you keep believing this drivel, there’ll be a masterful minister who’s able to keep you quaking in your boots (and also keeping your money in the coffers). Honestly, give your head a shake.

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  46. NJ – good points. It seem so arrogant to me to presume to know why God does what they attribute to God: tornadoes, 9/11, mass shootings. How did they get into the “in” group where they have access to this knowledge? They are setting themselves up on a pedestal above everyone else by doing so. Isn’t that pride? Last I heard, God hates pride.

    Did God drop a note to these folks and tell them? Who do they think they are?

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  47. Just the longest, mom-powered eye roll that I could produce. I’m very proficient at the eye roll that God allows me to accomplish.

    LOL, Kathi. And as a mom of teens, both you and I have that eye roll down!! haha 🙂

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  48. Now if Miano had managed to scale Everest on his first try with no Sherpas helping him and no setbacks whatsoever…

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  49. “Did God allow all that happened to Job to come to pass? Sure He did; our finite minds cannot grasp fully the infinite wisdom and mind of God and His purposes’

    Actually we accept a variation of that view when truth is most of us have never been offered a scholarly look at that ancient near East genre. We do the same with Genesis and most of the OT.

    Here is something to consider

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2013/08/worshiping-god-because-he-is-god-some-thoughts-on-job-by-choon-leong-seow/

    There is nothing sinful about educating ourselves on other views.

    And I do think we can ascertain God’s purpose. He wants relationship with us and everything else proceeds from there

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  50. “NJ – good points. It seem so arrogant to me to presume to know why God does what they attribute to God: tornadoes, 9/11, mass shootings. How did they get into the “in” group where they have access to this knowledge? They are setting themselves up on a pedestal above everyone else by doing so. Isn’t that pride? Last I heard, God hates pride.

    Did God drop a note to these folks and tell them? Who do they think they are? ”

    They are Gnostics. They plead a special knowledge/understanding you don’t have. And it is a way to have power over others. The question is, why do so many people believe them?

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  51. Try to imagine Jesus Christ making a pact with Satan to see how an individual would respond and watching it all happen. Can you imagine it? If not,

    Perhaps we have the meaning and genre of Job wrong?

    Perhaps we read Ancient Near East literature through Western eyes?

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  52. Carmen,

    So, you disagree with the word of God? “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ” Genesis 6:5
    “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” Psalm 53:2-3
    “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
    It is the lack of understanding by many who seem to think God doesn’t mean what He says concerning man’s wickedness. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

    Can you show, from Scripture, where God says man is not wicked and sinful?

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  53. lyn,

    Not all who post here identify as believers. We have a very mixed group, but the common bond which we all seem to have is the disgust for abuse that we see in church. We welcome all here: believers, those who are not sure where they are in faith, and those who identify as agnostic or atheist.

    I’ve said it many times, but some of my biggest supporters during my lawsuit were self-proclaimed atheists who had once identified as Christian, but were hurt in church. So sad 😦 There is too much hurt and pain in church.

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  54. I won’t speak for Carmen, but I don’t disagree with God, in fact I agree that I am a new creature in Christ. The old has passed away. So no, I am not still wicked and sinful. If, after Christ’s death and ressurection you still believe that you are wicked, sinful etc…you are trampling on the blood of Jesus.

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  55. Lyn, that’s an easy one to answer. The bible is the word of MAN, not God. Sorry, too much information suggests this to be true. See, told ya I was a heathen.
    And if there IS a God, I’m sure s/he’s much more concerned that I am a good person and doing the best I can do at all times, than whose cosmic butt I kiss. (or whether I can quote scripture or not)

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  56. Lyn,

    I don’t think the question is whether some are wicked or not. But whether they have the ability to NOT be wicked. It is chilling when we present wickedness as something people cannot help but be, even when proclaiming Christ. That is scary because it means the Cross/Resurrection had no power. And we often overlook Jesus Christ and His actual humanity while here as showing us the way. Believing the “right” thing is not enough. Even the demons believe Jesus was God in the Flesh.

    The other problem with that view is that many times atheists act with more grace, justice and compassion than professing believers do. So what are we to make of that?

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  57. The next time one of those know it all ‘theologians’ tweets that a mass shooting or a tornado is God’s judgment against whatever sin said theologian likes to rail about, maybe we should ask them whether it might be God’s judgment against false teachers. (Of course it is neither).

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  58. “So, you disagree with the word of God?”

    Not to be nit picky but the “word” of God is Jesus Christ as used in scripture. What you might have meant is if one disagrees with scripture. Many disagree on interpretations and understanding. Which is why there are thousands of denominations! :o)

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  59. Lynette,

    Where did I state believers are wicked and sinful? I stated ‘man is wicked and sinful’. I assumed most would understand I was referring to the unregenerate. I was referring to those who do evil things, like kill babies, or abuse others sexually, verbally, physically, or any other kind of sin that’s forbidden. Yes, believers still sin, but that wasn’t my reference of wicked and evil.

    Julie Anne,

    Thank you for clarifying; I hope this comment clears up any confusion.

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  60. Lydia,

    your point is well taken, thank you. Yes, the number of denominations is phenomenal, which is why I refuse to get caught up in that whole mess. Christ calls us to follow Him, not man’s numerous denominations.

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  61. ” The bible is the word of MAN, not God. Sorry, too much information suggests this to be true. See, told ya I was a heathen.
    And if there IS a God, I’m sure s/he’s much more concerned that I am a good person and doing the best I can do at all times, than whose cosmic butt I kiss. (or whether I can quote scripture or not)”

    Carmen, the whole idea of inerrancy has been so ingrained that I fear it has turned into biblolatry. Worshiping a book. Was it inspired is probably the best question. But it was never meant to be a manual for life. It is a collection of books. Some wisdom, some poetry, some narrative, etc. We are blessed to have it and freedom to read it. However, it does not replace a personal relationship with our Savior. Can we say that those throughout history who could not read (reliance on a priest) or those who were not allowed to read it could not have a relationship with God? Even the early Christians did not have NT scripture for several centuries. And the OT meant little to the Gentiles. What are we to make of that? Not to mention the books that were left out of the canon due to man’s decisions. Some of the historical books are very instructive. But even the Book of Esther never once mentions Yahweh but was included. Strange.

    Even the Jews had to go somewhere to hear Torah. They did not have those huge scrolls sitting in a corner of their adobe hut. :o)

    And yes, I agree Yahweh is pleased you are doing the best you can at all times. I believe He is especially pleased when we seek justice for those oppressed.

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  62. “Christ calls us to follow Him, not man’s numerous denominations.”

    Yes! Nor the many gurus or celebrities who are throwing out His Name.

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  63. I had this discussion the other day, and someone mentioned this scripture-
    John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life ; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
    The Bible is supposed to lead us to Christ. I think we’d see a radical shift in christianity if we actually went to Jesus instead of trying to prove our doctrine with the word.

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  64. @gracealone1
    Pertaining to your June 18, 2014 @ 8:08 AM reply:

    Deserved, That’s the word I was asking you about…not whether I accept or reject that bad things happen to believers.

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  65. Lydia, we’re definitely on the ‘same page’ (pun intended) when it comes to understanding the purpose of the bible.

    It’s too bad so many people consider it to be a rule-listing manual for life and wave it in the air as permission to browbeat and intimidate others. You know what I mean – those who marginalize LGBTQ people and repeat that tiresome phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, because. . . “Bible”. (They somehow miss the judgment they just passed) Or the ones who insist on teaching Creationism in schools, because. . . “Bible”. That ‘holier than thou’ attitude is insufferable. Not to mention, antiquated.

    It seems to me that telling people they are worthless worms is intimidating, destructive, and leads to a diminished sense of self. Most people know by now that you don’t get to feel better about yourself by tearing someone else down. Unfortunately, some of the ‘leaders’ Julie Anne exposes on her Blog haven’t quite got this message yet. But then again, they’ve got people in the pews eating this stuff up . .. sad, sad, sad. I don’t get it.

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  66. “Oasis, you and I have discussed this topic before. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the time we discussed it before and how deep this stuff can get when one has our kind of background because my default mode is to go to “angry-God” mode. Angry-God mode is my life’s foundation with angry fathers, angry pastors, etc. It’s difficult for me to receive/comprehend/understand His love for me.”

    I hear you. This is why we have to be strong and look at Jesus, and no one else, for reprogramming. He gives us reasons to celebrate. He is safe (wow!)…and no one can take him away from us. Nothing and no one.

    And…if you ask me, pretty sure our loving God is angry but not angry-God. For one, he is angry at those who choose to beat and/or rape children, since he is holy and pure, and opposed to evil. I also believe he is angry at those who attribute such horrible evil to him and poison the minds of people like you and me, causing severe spiritual damage.

    (I told myself yesterday that I was done with commenting on these issues on blogs…then this post appeared some hours later, and…well…I…I…)

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  67. Carmen,

    For me ,it is about “sides” and I am weary of “sides”. Just to give an example would be that England just passed a law that Creationism cannot be taught in schools. I think that is just as bad as only Creationism taught in schools. Both sides want thought control and to indoctrinate.

    Both left and right want control in some area of our lives and we tend to gravitate to the issues we like and be on that side. I just cannot do that anymore. I am all for freedom of thought, choices and ideas. I hate tyranny no matter where it rears its ugly head whether left or right, fundy or liberal. I cannot stand Oligarchs whether at church or in government.

    As for the bible it seems to be totally irrelevant or a life manual to the respective “sides”. I cannot be on either side. Which is why I don’t do movements or officially join groups anymore.

    I am like a woman without a country. :o)

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  68. What is sad is to see God blamed for beliefs that belong to Plato. Reformed theology ( as well as secular political beliefs) : the incompetence of man, and the need of a select few ( the enlightened ones with gnosis) to rule over the masses.

    Gnosticism finds its root in the philosophy of Plato. Augustine was the father of Reformation doctrine, and he had little use for the Bible without Platonist insight and considered Plato a pre-Christianity Christian.

    Without realizing this, how can a person read the New Testament and understand the attack of gnosticism in the first century church?

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  69. Could God make so much bacon that He wouldn’t be able to eat it all? That’s what I want to know.

    Cindy, I believe the theologically correct answer to this is that God cannot do anything that is contrary to His nature, and His nature is omnipotent. However, we know His nature is also Love, and love essentially seeks not its own, so it is well within His abilities and loving nature to, of His own volition and free will, self restrict…so that others may enjoy His bacon with Him. 🙂

    Thus it was said, “Let there be bacon! And chocolate. Let there be chocolate!”

    And the people rejoiced and there was much rejoicing. The people exchanged gifts, each with his neighbor; one giving bacon and another giving chocolate. And there were celebrations throughout the land with bacon and chocolate and chocolate covered bacon. And so it was for many days. 🙂

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  70. In our culture, MYSTERY is hard to tolerate. (I include myself in this statement!) Maybe we can’t figure out the “whys” of suffering, but that doesn’t excuse us from coming along side those who hurt and being present with them. Man’s biggest fear is, “Am I alone in my pain?” By offering an ear, a practical helping hand, or just a quiet hug, we can answer, “No, you are loved. You matter”. By being a quiet witness of God’s unfathomable love to others, we can (imperfectly) reflect the love of God. Sometimes this has to be enough, for us to embrace the mystery together. Milano and O’Neil talk too much and their opinions have nothing to do with God.

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  71. Ann,

    This is beautiful.

    There are very few characteristics of people who get caught up in cults. They are usually good, moral, idealistic people. They’re a bit off balance for some reason (such as after the death of a loved one or after relocating) when they get involved. And they tend to be uncomfortable with ambiguity (which tends to come about when you’re more inflexible because of some other big stressor in your life that knocks you off balance). These “God in a box” theologies that offer some kind of solution to solve the mystery problem give people the illusion that there really are no mysteries. At its root, that is original sin: You shall be like God.

    I don’t think that I like ambiguity any more than the next guy, but that ambiguity drives me to Jesus. Without Him we can do nothing, and we have our being in Him. In Him, the mystery is glorious and a cause to worship. But when you’re trying to be like God and striving for power, it’s a cause for fear. (You know deep down that you don’t have the power to be in control of everything, so you scramble to fill in the gaps with your own ideas instead of filling the gaps with faith and the Holy Spirit.)

    How beautiful to “embrace the mystery together” in love for God and one another — and in awe of how great God is. I don’t want a God who is on par with me or any other man.

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  72. Diane, thanks for the clarification of the question, I misunderstood your point. Therefore my “backdoor complaint” comment does not fit. I hope the rest of the same comment I made helps to answer your question, but if not I’ll try again.

    Darrel

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  73. One of the aspects I find pertinent is, even though bad things happen, and even to good people, regardless if God is behind it, or can be said to allow it or not, do you still trust God, do you still have faith in God, and think highly of his character?

    The Bible never comes right out and tells us we will get answers to the problem of evil for every instance in this lifetime, but God seems concerned to me in the Bible that we still trust him.

    Adam and Eve blew that in that garden by accepting the serpent’s spin on things, and they disbelieved God and God’s character.

    The picture I take away from the Bible is that God admits that things look bad from our perspective at times, but he asks to us to trust that he is loving and has our best interest at heart, though it sure as heck does not appear or feel so at times.

    Also, if you look at the Pslams and some of the other biblical books, people threw these questions in God’s face a lot, so God is aware how humanity views him and these situations. Interestingly, the questions just sit there but God doesn’t directly answer them (not in Pslams).

    As Headless Unicorn Guy and myself were discussing at Internet Monk the other day, I’m not always a big fan of “pie in the sky” theology, but it does appear God says in the Bible you will be more than rewarded in the hereafter for whatever heartache you’ve endured in the meantime.

    Romans 8:18
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    However, as it is written:
    “What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
    and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

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  74. Chocolate covered bacon and chocolate wrapped with bacon. Surely someone must have tried this somewhere. It’s got the wonderful sweet and salty combination.

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  75. More seriously, regarding Miano in particular, there is something about the way he says things that sounds like his praise of God is really more about him. I agree with JeffB at the beginning of the thread when he said people who do this are really trying to impress others with how holy and humble they are. For one thing, it’s overdone. Ironically, that ends up taking away the effect Miano theoretically is trying to produce: exalting God. Instead it makes God’s praise banal.

    It isn’t always the case at all that when someone gives credit to God for something I automatically think it’s really about them and not God. Sometimes God really is the actual focus and where my thoughts are turned. But when people like Miano do it, I find they themselves are the real focus, and it leaves a bad taste.

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  76. @Barnabas:

    More seriously, regarding Miano in particular, there is something about the way he says things that sounds like his praise of God is really more about him.

    Backhanded way of polishing his own halo?
    (Or flattering God into polishing his halo for him?)

    I agree with JeffB at the beginning of the thread when he said people who do this are really trying to impress others with how holy and humble they are.

    Remind you of anyone (chuckle chuckle) who’s come up on both this blog AND Wartburg Watch?

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  77. As far as God allowing things and how that can be used against victims, I remember the pastor of a church I used to attend who asked me why I thought God had allowed something to happen to me that was unfortunate. I thought the questions was audacious because it seemed almost like he was looking for me to confess something, as though God had allowed the thing as punishment. I’m not sure if that is what he actually meant* but the question was not the right one to ask at that time. Anyway, I told him I had no idea why God allowed it and I figured if I needed to know that He’d tell me. (I still don’t know, incidentally.) That put an end to that line of inquiry and we went on to discuss more practical aspects of the matter.

    *And then you find you can’t even ask because that could easily be taken as indication of guilt, if that’s what they want/expect to find. Since they didn’t say that is what they meant, why would you think that except that you had a guilty conscience? If you see what I mean. Plus it opens the door to that sort of discussion, which can be quite the rabbit hole to Wonderland.

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  78. JA – You wrote: “In Tony Miano’s world where God gets to choose which babies live or die, God gets to allow Tony to hike up Mt. Baldy or not, why would Tony bother “street evangelizing” since God is the one making everything work the way He wants? Why does he need to do it? Why does he need to go to Europe to street evangelize? Isn’t God sovereign?”

    It seemed to me that this is a view of pre-destination that is often attributed to Calvin. That’s why I mentioned him, even though you didn’t have him in mind. The important thing, though, is that this view is against Scripture. (I know it’s not your view.)

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  79. Remind you of anyone (chuckle chuckle) who’s come up on both this blog AND Wartburg Watch?

    Someone else who’s last name also starts with an M?

    Like

  80. MOUNT BALDY?

    If that was Mt Baldy above San Bernardino, it’s not that bad a climb. Tallest mountain in the area (3000m), very spectacular in winter with its big snowcap, but it’s no Everest or K2. Far from it.

    That’s like bragging about scaling Mt Whitney’s “western face”. (For those who’ve never seen Mt Whitney, all the spectacular pictures of its crags are taken from Lone Pine to the east. Like most of the High Sierras, Whitney’s “western face” is a much easier gradual slope. Almost 4500m so it IS a climb, but there’s no obstacles or difficulties.)

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  81. I have not been following this thread that closely(board of Supervisor meeting, and Grand Jury business to attend to), so I am not being repetitious of what has been said before. I hate this verse as a Christian Platitude, but think it can safely be applied here. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”. Because of two of our sons becoming juvenile delinquents, drug addicts and alcoholics, we started a Parent Support group for Christiian parents. Non Christans were welcome as well. So many people were helped through that ministry. We led it for 18 years. Several people came to the Lord. 8 years ago son #1 had his road to Damascus moment, has straightened up his life, gotten sober and is in church weekly with his Christian wife and two sweet daughters. Son #2 has also had a change in lifestyle and is doing much better. If we had not had to deal with the pain of it all we would not have started such a support. Beauty from ashes. And the knowledge that God has used us to show His power.

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  82. “One of the aspects I find pertinent is, even though bad things happen, and even to good people, regardless if God is behind it, or can be said to allow it or not, do you still trust God, do you still have faith in God, and think highly of his character?”

    Daisy, not that you were asking…but if God is the man behind the curtain, controlling all things, including every instance of…oh, say, child rape (because it is an approved means to so-called “GOOD”?!) then for me it is a no, no and no. In that scenario, I want nothing at all to do with this contradictory, “mysterious” being, and I in fact no longer believe in him. But…God has not hidden his character from us, and that is something to hold onto…

    I am so horrified right now at what passes for Christianity.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. Oasis, I also am horrified and appaled at what passes for Christianity today. So many toxic churches and teachings.

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  84. @ Oasis. Based on my reading of the Bible, God is all good and all loving, and God asks people to trust him and not to assume the worst of him, such as, assuming he causes or approves of things such as child rape.

    The Bible teaches we are living in a fallen world, tainted by sin, where people hurt each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. I’m having a difficult time right now trying to figure out all this “God allowed” stuff. Mom had her first radiation appointment today. They examined her and interviewed her to get her history, then informed her what to expect next. They didn’t seem optimistic at all. They said she had a form of cancer that was very dangerous and that at her age and health conditions, was not a good candidate for chemo, and that the cancer was probably gonna return. Ok, is this happening because God is allowing it?

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  86. HUG said,
    “Backhanded way of polishing his own halo?”

    Every time I see the word “polishing,” I unfortunately am reminded of Jack Schaap and his shaft. He has forever ruined that word for me.

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  87. Leslie, think a lot of us are horrified!

    Daisy, totally agree with you. I think it is my responsibility to think more highly of God than that, and by doing so he remains the God I know, the God I can love and trust.

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  88. The song “Do I Trust You?” by Twila Paris speaks to me on this topic…

    Sometimes my little heart can’t understand
    What’s in Your will, what’s in Your plan.
    So many times I’m tempted to ask You why,
    But I can never forget it for long.
    Lord, what You do could not be wrong.
    So I believe You, even when I must cry.
    Do I trust You, Lord?
    Does the river flow?
    Do I trust You, Lord?
    Does the north wind blow?
    You can see my heart,
    You can read my mind,
    And You got to know
    That I would rather die
    Than to lose my faith
    In the One I love.
    Do I trust You, Lord?
    Do I trust You?

    I know the answers, I’ve given them all.
    But suddenly now, I feel so small.
    Shaken down to the cavity in my soul.
    I know the doctrine and theology,
    But right now they don’t mean much to me.
    This time there’s only one thing I’ve got to know.

    Do I trust You, Lord?
    Does the robin sing?
    Do I trust You, Lord?
    Does it rain in spring?
    You can see my heart,
    You can read my mind,
    And You got to know
    That I would rather die
    Than to lose my faith
    In the One I love.
    Do I trust You, Lord?
    Do I trust You?

    I will trust You, Lord, when I don’t know why.
    I will trust You, Lord, till the day I die.
    I will trust You, Lord, when I’m blind with pain!
    You were God before, and You’ll never change.
    I will trust You.
    I will trust You.
    I will trust You, Lord.
    I will trust You.

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  89. And there’s this anonymous quote:
    “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

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  90. James Dobson casts God as a mean kid in his room with an ant farm and a magnifying glass with sun streaming through the window. If there’s anything to praise God for, let it be that he ain’t James Dobson.

    Liked by 1 person

  91. Very sorry to hear about your mom, waitingforthetrumpet2. Hope the doctors are wrong. Not that you should care what I think, and of course you are free to come to your own conclusions, but in my opinion, there is no concrete reason to assume God has anything to do with it.

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  92. WFTT2:

    I’m very sorry to hear this new news. That was not what we had hoped for. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I will tell you what I think. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and also is God. Now, we can read some really yucky stuff about innocent people being killed in the Old Testament, even the thought of Abraham almost sacrificing his own son is gruesome. But That was Old Testament. What do I see in the NT? I see Jesus healing the sick, he wept, he connected with people who were hurting, who were downtrodden and comforted those who were hurting. That tells me He has a heart of compassion and love and would not want your mother to be sick. I don’t have all the whys as to why your precious mom is sick, but I have to believe what I read in the New Testament about a loving God who loves us deeply and intimately.

    Liked by 1 person

  93. They will be giving her localized radiation treatments for 20 minutes per day, 5 days a week for 5-6 weeks. Then for the last two weeks they will insert some sort of radiation pellets pelvically, for an hour per day for ten days. After that is over, all anyone can dp is wait, watch and pray.

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  94. Whoa, I thought Pat Robertson was the one who said stuff like that. Here we have “God allowed” killing of innocent people because of sin. More heavy stuff.

    “Remember James Dobson? Did a lot of good things before fear of homosexuals drove him off a cliff with most of his constituency in the car.”
    — comment on Internet Monk

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  95. Interrupting regular programming….

    If anyone in the DC or NOVA area is free on July 2nd at 2PM, there’s going to be a great workshop geared at pastors at the Sheraton in Silver Spring. It’s to help people understand the needs of the spiritually abused and how to best respond to them. Anyone can come to it, but it is geared to be a ministry outreach to pastors.

    I would love to see people from SGM show up, and if you want to come, let me know. There’s a tuition, but I’ve asked for it to be waved or to get scholarships if there are any takers.

    More info here:
    http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2014/06/an-educational-workshop-about.html

    Okay, back to regular programming, pondering our loss of transcendence as fallen humans in a fallen world and what it means to be wooed to repentance by His kindness in the midst of it. I am in awe at the great respect God shows to us in all of these things, letting us make our choices in life without coercion, though that comes along with consequences. On this side of the veil, it doesn’t always make sense. But that’s okay.

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  96. “And there’s this anonymous quote:
    “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.””

    Bingo!

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  97. “James Dobson casts God as a mean kid in his room with an ant farm and a magnifying glass with sun streaming through the window. If there’s anything to praise God for, let it be that he ain’t James Dobson.”

    Sheesh! Has Dobson never heard of Jesus Christ? Oh, don’t get me started on Dobson.

    Liked by 1 person

  98. This just came through my Twitter feed:

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  99. “My reading of Scripture didn’t allow me to think that God had nothing to do with my suffering. After a struggle, I am now comforted by verses like Romans 8:28.”

    Jeff, I don’t want to be contrary but there are different ways to understand Romans. It is not about individual election but about the Israel/Esau (Edom) dichotomy for believers in the New Covenant. Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ. Paul is making a big argument and Romans is not a good book to proof text.

    What Romans 8 is communicating is that because of Jesus Christ WE can bring about good. We are to live out our hope to the world. It is confusing because everyone reads it with only justification eyes and think there is no sanctification involved.

    The suffering in the world was already here because of human choices. We have power to alleviate some of this suffering. Look at this verse:

    18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.

    My goodness. All of creation waits for us in eager expectation for us to be revealed. Wow.

    Too many think this means we will be revealed on that “J-day”. No we are to be revealed now and we are revealed by how we live now, what we do as believers now.

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  100. So let me get this straight. According to him, God predetermined some women to get pregnant, and put it into their minds to not want their babies, and planted into their thoughts to have abortions so that those innocent lives would be destroyed all for His glory? So why would idiots like Miano even bother showing up at abortuaries in an effort to derail God’s ordained plan?

    Sheesh

    Liked by 1 person

  101. Lydia – It is true that an important sub-theme in Romans, esp. in 9-11, are the roles that Jews and Gentiles play in the outworking of God’s purposes. But even those chapters have passages that are relevant to individual believers, in my opinion.

    Chapter 8 follows the part of chapter 7 that deals with the struggle that occurs in every believer between the spirit and the flesh. Chapter 8 continues to deal with the individual believer, whether Jew or Gentile. The first verse discusses what sets “you” (some mss read “me”) “free from the law of sin and of death.” Likewise, vs. 28 deals with all believers as individuals, “those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” It deals with God’s providence.

    Chptrs. 9-11 concern Jewish and Gentile (and, though you would disagree, individual) election, and ch. 9 with the “Israel/Esau (Edom) dichotomy.”

    A little research reveals that “in us” in 8:18 can also be translated as “to us” or “for us,” but, in any case, God glorifies us, not we ourselves. But, yes, the “all things” in vs. 28 can include what we are and what we do.

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  102. Julie Anne and Lydia – I’ve often gone on record as opposing things that Piper has said or written, but I don’t see a problem with his Tweet. Isn’t he saying pretty much what it says in Col 1:15-17?:

    He is the image of the invisible God,
    the firstborn over all creation.
    For everything was created by Him,
    in heaven and on earth,
    the visible and the invisible,
    whether thrones or dominions
    or rulers or authorities—
    all things have been created through Him and for Him.
    He is before all things,
    and by Him all things hold together.

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  103. waitingforthetrumpet2 – I will pray for your Mom.

    Concerning your 9:59 AM comment, God never causes or even tempts anyone to sin.

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  104. Thanks, Jeff.

    You and I both know He never causes or tempts anyone to sin, but do Piper and his ilk know that? They’re under the impression that God micromanages every micron on earth and the universe. Like we are mere robotic, mindless puppets in His pre-destined, pre-ordained before the foundation of the world screen-play, and He is the Master Puppeteer manipulating those strings. Like we have no brains or wills of our own.

    Liked by 1 person

  105. “Ok, so in the above tweets, Tony is saying that the Lord has chosen or allowed a second child to be saved from the abortion mill. I should be happy, right? But where does this take me? It takes me to the logical conclusion that if the Lord allowed two children to be saved, then it also means that He allowed others to be killed. That messes with my head and makes God an abuser, or even a murderer.”

    Yep… this is one of the rabbit holes that ultimately lead to my deconversion. Why would God allow a tornado to tear through a community and kill some, but leave others unharmed? Why would God allow a tsunami to wipeout over 200,000 in south east Asia? Why would God fail to answer the prayers of a starving child while the rich continue to get richer?

    When you dwell on these things for long enough, the answer becomes crystal clear.

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  106. Exactly, Matt.
    Or, why does god make sure Miano gets to the top of whatever mountain he goes to and allows kids to starve?. .. I think it’s the height of narcissism to hear anyone say something like that. And I hear it all the time. A friend put on Noseybook one time, “Jogged 10 km this morning – with God’s help” I wrote and suggested that SHE was the one who trained hard, SHE was the one who did all the sweating, SHE was the one who kept her legs moving. . . blah, blah, blah. . I honestly find it the height of lunacy, to be honest.

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  107. Matt and Carmen,

    It’s funny (or not so funny) how Miano calls himself an evangelist, yet it sounds like he has become a stumbling block to what he is attempting to do by his behavior.

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  108. I won’t tell you what I think he is – you don’t like that kind of language. . . 🙂 (Bet you can guess, though!)

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  109. JeffB, You are right. I disagree with most of your analysis.

    “God glorifies us, not we ourselves.”

    I never know what that means in practical terms.

    “But, yes, the “all things” in vs. 28 can include what we are and what we do.”

    “Can” include? I say what we actually “do” is what reveals us as followers of Christ, children of God. What else would?

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  110. “Isn’t he saying pretty much what it says in Col 1:15-17?: ”

    You mean Pipers rewriting/abbreviating of a passage he did not reference for context but made it sound like his translation? Why not reference the passage?

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  111. waitingforthetrumpet2 – If Piper really thought that, he and his ilk would not be criticized so much for laying down the law. It would be pointless to tell people without brains or wills what to do.

    OTOH, it does sometimes seem that Piper and his ilk behave as if they are Hyper-Calvinists, who really do think the way you described in your comment. I would bet the rent money that they would be shocked to be told that they did not believe in human free will. Going by what they write, they certainly do.

    The problem is that there is something of a disconnect sometimes – especially with Mahaney – between what they believe and what they say and do. I’m not minimizing this; it’s particularly serious among people who are influential. But it’s also human – we all do it from time to time.

    Part of the problem is the existence of things like Twitter – very short messages with little or no context. They are so easy to misunderstand. They are often written with the assumption that the readers will be able to fill in the blanks.

    I’m not whitewashing these guys; they have a lot to answer for. But there really is a difference between Calvinists (sorry, Julie Anne) and Hyper-Calvinists.

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  112. “The problem is that there is something of a disconnect sometimes – especially with Mahaney – between what they believe and what they say and do. I’m not minimizing this; it’s particularly serious among people who are influential. But it’s also human – we all do it from time to time.”

    We all do what from time to time? Make big names for ourselves off Jesus garnering followers after ourselves? Seek to become public teachers of scripture and teach such things as women should take abuse for a season, God brought a tornado to punish us or that child molesters should not be reported and blackmail perfectly acceptable?

    Those are pretty big “disconnects”

    We ALL do this from time to time? Is this the part where I am to believe that all sins are the same so even the ones done in the Name of Jesus by those who claim they are teaching HIs ways……are not that big of a deal cos we are all human?

    To be “human” as in “image bearer” is to be more like Jesus Christ than the deciever.

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  113. “Part of the problem is the existence of things like Twitter – very short messages with little or no context. They are so easy to misunderstand. They are often written with the assumption that the readers will be able to fill in the blanks.”

    Actually, Twitter, blogs, etc have been wonderful at showing us who these “men of God” really are. Before they were santized with a stage persona or in a book. I am thankful for social media to open the door to demystifying the stage personas and public images they carefully crafted. Now we know.

    So if Piper is not mature enough not to tweet that tornados are sent as a punishment from God as people are digging their family out then perhaps he is someone we should not trust. If we are wise we question every single thing he says or tweets because he seems to think he is some 21st Century Calvin global apostle. Did you see his retirement vid shot in Geneva? Or how about his bizarre video from Dubai about the tower? The man has lost it. Anyone who thinks he has credibilty is suspect to me. Same for many of those guys from TGC or T4G. All of them are implicit in helping to protect those who protect child molesters. Where is their concern for truth and the victims? It is about them and their “position”. They are frauds. I find them vile and scary.

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  114. “‘God glorifies us, not we ourselves.’

    I never know what that means in practical terms.”

    Since it’s in the future for each believer, it’s hard to write about it in practical terms. It’s when God removes from us all spiritual and physical defects as we enter God’s Kingdom. I know you disagree.

    “‘But, yes, the “all things” in vs. 28 can include what we are and what we do.’

    ‘Can” include? I say what we actually ‘do’ is what reveals us as followers of Christ, children of God. What else would?”

    Why do you think that “all things” only means all things that we are and do as followers of Christ? It also means all things that are beyond our control; all circumstances.

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  115. So, Lydia, everything you say and do is always perfectly consonant with what you believe? Do you believe that anger is good, coveting is good, stealing is good? Or maybe you have done none of these things. Do you think not loving people is good? Or have you never been unloving? Ever made a theological statement that you later regretted?

    Did you really think that I meant that we all commit the exact same sins that the Big Dogs do, or merely that we all betray our beliefs from time to time? I made it clear – I think – that it’s especially serious among people of influence. The consequences are worse.

    Sometimes I think that you like being outraged.

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  116. Anger is not a sin. What you do with that anger may be a sin, but not always. Be angry and sin not.

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  117. I have lost respect for all those who have continually supported Mahaney. I agree that Piper, who is one of those who support Mahaney, has gotten weird and may now be untrustworthy. But he used to be a good scholar and I have learned from him in the past. (Insert snarky comment here.)

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  118. In my case, often. If you only knew what I’ve endured and not sought revenge but gave up my right for vengeance to God in our behalf.

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  119. “So, Lydia, everything you say and do is always perfectly consonant with what you believe? Do you believe that anger is good, coveting is good, stealing is good? Or maybe you have done none of these things. Do you think not loving people is good? Or have you never been unloving? Ever made a theological statement that you later regretted?”

    Jeff, First of all we can only judge each other by deeds/words. And that makes it very easy for the stage persona’s who craft images and people follow them without even knowing them or testing their teachings. No mere human has any say at all concerning my relationship with my Savior. They can judge me based upon deeds/words. And I understand many Christians are really into judging words deciding what in a discussion is a sin or not. I get that. Basic disagreement these days is considered a great sin among Christians.

    And, I am not in the “lets navel gaze about our sin” camp. I am about looking to the resurrection and what that means in terms of living out the kingdom now no matter where we are. We don’t need to be in ministry to live out the Kingdom of God now. That is what the Cross/resurrection was all about.

    I do not know what you mean about “not loving people”. What exactly does that look like to you? That is so vague and nebulous. My idea of loving people is to be fair and just which can look “mean” to others. (The celebs hope we are quite partial to them and overlook certain patterns of behavior and not question their teaching in social media. They feel entitled)

    “Did you really think that I meant that we all commit the exact same sins that the Big Dogs do, or merely that we all betray our beliefs from time to time? I made it clear – I think – that it’s especially serious among people of influence. The consequences are worse.”

    I think you were attempting to paint all wrong doing the same with the typical “we are all humans and we know all humans sin” argument which is getting old. The same old “sinless perfection or we are all equal sinners” dichotomy. You said this: “But it’s also human – we all do it from time to time.” Was that not an attempt to downplay it? Were you not hinting that we should be careful about discussing their hypocrisy because “we all do it”. Well, I don’t make a living off Jesus garnering followers after myself which I think changes the score. That is my opinion. And I think it is a good one. My focus is to encourage people to follow Christ and not some guru.

    ‘Sometimes I think that you like being outraged”

    I wish more people were. We might have fewer child molester protector pastors and fellow travellors who cover for them. It would not work if there were more “outrage” amongst the peasants in the pews. I think children who are molested at church are worthy of our outrage and actions toward justice. I think that pleases Jesus Christ who was “outraged” with the Pharisees. Can I call them white washed tombs, too? Those frauds masquerading as pastors? Oh, and we might have fewer Mark Driscoll clones. etc.

    You know what is the last refuge of scoundral celebrity pastors? Saying our anger toward them is a sin. Accusing one of being “unloving” for daring to call them out. When, truth is, they treat people unjustly all the time mostly to protect their precious public image. I feel about them the same way it is recorded that Jesus felt about the religious leaders of His tribe during His time.

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  120. “But how often is our anger righteous?”

    Who decides? If there is no violent or negative deed involved then who gets to decide?

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  121. My overriding point is that teachers of the faith have an enormous responsibility because they are most likely influencing others (believers and non-) more intensely and in greater numbers than do “ordinary” believers. Also, it’s easier to spot their hypocrisy because their deepest beliefs are read and heard by many people. When they behave or speak contrarily to these, their hypocrisy is clear.

    It’s even worse when done by teachers who have very large followings, and are – rightly or wrongly – considered to be leaders – or, at least, celebs. People like Driscoll, Mahaney, etc., want all the perks of leadership but little or none of the responsibility. They are inexcusably sloppy at best and self-worshiping at worst.

    I do not believe that all sins are equal. Even for the “ordinary” believer, the consequences of some of their sins are much greater than those of others. To put it crudely, molesting a child has far worse consequences than imagining molesting a child, for instance. A leader’s sins can have particularly enormous consequences. If they don’t know that, they have no business being a leader.

    Concerning being loving or unloving: I think most people reading this blog, including myself, would consider those leaders who publicly support Mahaney, in the face of so much evidence of child molestation at a church under his leadership, to be unloving. We might even consider leaders who don’t say a word about it, one way or the other, to be unloving. But I doubt that anyone expects every believer (at least) to publicly express disapproval. We expect more from leaders/celebs – at least until they disillusion us.

    “You said this: ‘But it’s also human – we all do it from time to time.’ Was that not an attempt to downplay it? Were you not hinting that we should be careful about discussing their hypocrisy because ‘we all do it.'”

    I wrote that as an after-thought; it would probably have been better if I hadn’t. it’s banal at best. Concerning the hypocrisy of the BD: I’m a major “discusser” of their hypocrisy. I’m all for discussing it.

    I’m also all for being outraged at things that are outrageous, like child molestation.

    I despise the accusation that anger toward a celebrity pastor, who is sinning egregiously without any repentance, is a sin. But it might become a sin if the anger turns into full-blown hate, and I think I’ve been guilty of this. Admittedly, there can be a thin line between righteous anger toward sin and unrighteous anger that, say, desires that something terrible happen to the sinner. Who decides? God, of course. We don’t always know.

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  122. For what it’s worth, Jeff, in my books IMAGINING molesting a child is tantamount to molesting her. Either one, in my opinion, is a sick. .. fill in the blank.

    Liked by 1 person

  123. Carmen, I have to agree with Jeff. If someone is attracted to a child, it is better that they not act on those feelings than if they do.

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  124. . .. and I’ll repeat, Marsha – the next logical step to thinking of molesting a child is doing it. BOTH of them are sick _____(s).

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  125. JeffB,

    How about child molestation by a family member, plus brutal beatings with fists and hard objects including metal rods plus attempted strangulation by family member while being between the ages of 4-16? How about sexual assault by a deacon inside the church building? How about rape by a fellow soldier while in the military? How about physical, emotional and sadistic sexual abuse by a spouse? How about suffering false allegations and perjurous testimony in court, resulting in your young child being ripped out of your arms and given to the perjurous person with an agenda and the money to get away with it?

    Would any of these situations be enough to warrant righteous anger?

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  126. And yet I did not sin against them in my anger. I surrendered my right for vengeance to God, and let Him deal with them.

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  127. No you didn’t WFTT and you have never hardened your heart either but instead show kindness to others who are in need of it.

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  128. “Admittedly, there can be a thin line between righteous anger toward sin and unrighteous anger that, say, desires that something terrible happen to the sinner.”

    Jeff, Many would say it is unrighteous anger that desires they lose their ministry influence and financial gain from it. They would consider that “terrible”. I would consider it a good thing. I would see it as justice and grace.

    “Who decides? God, of course. We don’t always know.”

    Of course we do unless we believe all the people who try to convince us we can’t know as if not knowing ourselves is a pious thing or something. Why is it that so many people want to convince us that we cannot know ourselves, our motives, etc. I find that bizarre. And scary. It makes me not trust people who think that about themselves. But it is a good excuse that many people in evangelicalism accept. I think it is really about people wanting to make something a sin they are uncomfortable with: Anger because of evil done to innocents.

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  129. waitingforthetrumpet2: So sorry those terrible things were done to you!

    “No we are to be revealed now and we are revealed by how we live now, what we do as believers now.”

    Wow! What an awesome thought, Lydia. Never looked at “revealed” that way before – revealed “now.” But it makes perfect sense.

    We are to be like God, right? Think, say…do, all as he does/would do, resembling him more and more as time goes on, as we grow? Then numerous times every day we should be purposely choosing evil over good, right? Making decisions like he does, very often considering the most horrendous evil to be NECESSARY and the BETTER choice, over good? Doing as our Father does, since he is really the one calling each and every shot?

    But seriously, very inspiring.

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  130. Oasis,

    I highly recommend Andy Young’s session 1 at Paulspassingthoughts. He does an indepth analysis on what it means be to be Holy and what Sanctification means. It goes right along with us being “revealed”.

    Some might think Holy means the opposite of sin. It doesn’t. The meaning is more toward us being distinct from the ordinary, the common. That is how one is “set apart”. One is disinct from the ordinary, common around them.

    A lot of folks out there suggesting that Christians are no different from the world…they just have right beliefs. Simply not true. Then some will be accused of believing in sinless perfection which is thrown into the mix as if we are evil instead.

    Andy goes into the definitions pretty deeply of Justification/Sanctification/Holiness. Good stuff. He explains it better than I have seen. He is pretty close to what I have heard NT Wright teach.

    http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/06/20/andy-young-session-one-tanc-2014/

    I also recommend John Immels two sessions on same site. He traces the historical culture of sin/death in Christendom from Greek Pagans to Augustine and on to Calvin

    Like

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