Monday, June 16, 2008

straight truth from a southern baptist mouth

i ran across the following quote by jimmy draper, former president of the southern baptist convention, on the missio dei blog.

“We have reached a place that our spiritual forefathers feared. We need to admit that the problem with America today is not the government or the politicians. It is not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or John McCain. It’s not the senators or representatives. The problem is not the educational system or the economy. It’s not the liberals or the abortionists. The problem lies with us.

We conservatives claim to have the truth and we think we are rich in spiritual position and power, but yet we are cold, complacent, impotent and unattractive, and irrelevant to the world.

I hate to say it, but we are not plateaued. We’re not even just declining. We’re in a free fall. You know why we don’t win the lost? Because we don’t like them. They are different from us. We don’t care for them. We have no real love for them.

People just don’t touch eternity when they are around us. We’re too self-absorbed.”

i don't know about you, but when i read this my mis-formed jaw about hit the floor. i expect this kind of commentary from the will campbells and agent bs of the world. not from a former sbc president.

ht: missio dei and steve k's google recommendations.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

the ebb and flow of God's grace
submitted by: slowfo

You're probably not as heartless as I can be at times. But I've caught myself over the past several weeks not paying much attention to that earthquake over in China. Ya know, the one that killed at least 55,000 and left 80,000 missing. I haven't read one full article about it. Honest. You've probably read all about it and already sent money over to help but I haven't yet. Maybe it's because it's a natural disaster and there's no one to blame.......or because it's just so far away. It is, however, a horror that has left lives and families in tatters.

To put it in perspective, let's imagine the worst - that all 80,000 missing are also dead. That would result in as many deaths as Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Or let's hit closer to home - that's the equivalent of the Twin Towers bombing occurring in over 38 United States cities all at the same time. Read that again. Thirty-eight Twin Tower bombings. Where was God's grace? Why didn't He rescue these people? Or did He act and keep it from being hundreds of thousands of deaths?

I felt the anger over the Twin Towers incident. I had someone(s) to blame. But I haven't been angry about the earthquake. Should I have been? As our insurance companies would classify it, an earthquake is an act of God. You mean like the Twin Towers was an act of Osama Bin Laden??

I've always grown up with a foundation of gratitude to God for all good things in my life and on earth. To this day, "Thank you" are the first words out of my mouth when I pray. But the tragedies on earth, whether personal or global, lead me to a question I wrestle with at times. If we give God thanks for the good things that happen, do we also blame Him for the bad?

Whoa, wait a minute! God didn't create this world to be bad like it did that part. But, since sin entered the world, if God has occasionally intervened in order to avert disaster in the life of a person, city, country, etc., then there have also been many times when He has chosen not to intervened and has appeared to withhold his grace. And if He didn't act, then why not? It's not because He's too weak to act or is too busy. And in the same way, Jesus didn't heal every single illness or disease when He walked the earth. Of course, Jesus was gracious with His healing but confined somewhat by His humanity.

Grace means receiving the good things we don't deserve. Is God's grace ceaseless and never-ending? Is it as reliable as the rising of the sun each morning? In His mind, yes. I believe it is. In the minds of humanity, not so much.