Justifying ourselves

I am reading a book that is blowing me away:  Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer, the contemporary German theologian who is sort of the Lutheran answer to radical orthodoxy.  Instead of reading it all, then writing a formal review, I am so excited by this book that I thought I would write posts about what I am finding so interesting as I am reading through it.

Bayer begins by showing that the concept of “justification” is not an arcane theological concept.  Rather, it’s something we are preoccupied with all the time.  We are always engaged in trying to justify ourselves.  We are always maintaining that we are right, particularly when other people say that we are wrong.  At work, in our casual conversations, in our relationships with others, we are always defending ourselves, making excuses, scoring points, and seeking approval.  I mean, you see it in the comments on this and other blogs. [Read more...]

Seeing with the eyes of faith

Like the Wise Men, Pastor Douthwaite last Sunday opened up treasures.  Not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but the treasures of God’s Word.  His Epiphany sermon had some gems that I want to contemplate the rest of this week.   He pointed out, for example, that the Wise Men saw merely a baby–not with the halos of the Christmas cards–but they saw Him with the eyes of faith, as we must, and thus knew Him as the Son of God. [Read more...]

When life contradicts God’s Word

Last Sunday, the sermon was about that puzzling passage in which Jesus seems at first to reject the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28).  Pastor Douthwaite solved that puzzle in a definitive way in a sermon that was incredibly profound and helpful. [Read more...]

How to see what is invisible

The final gem I want to share with you from last Sunday’s sermon at our church is this quote from the early church father Theodore of Mopsuestia: “We have eyes to see what is visible, and faith to see what is invisible.” [Read more...]

Faith & feelings

Are your emotions often out of synch with your faith?  Does God feel far away?  Do your dry feelings make you wonder  if you even have genuine faith?  Are you plagued with lingering guilt, dark thoughts, and spiritual depression?  Maybe you need to hear this presentation from Rod Rosenbladt.

The audio and the lecture notes are available free from New Reformation Press.  A summary after the jump. [Read more...]

More on the salvation of non-believers

In trying to explain Pope Francis’s statement about atheists that we blogged about, a Vatican spokesman, Father Thomas Rosica wrote a piece entitled Explanatory Note on the Meaning of ‘Salvation’ in Francis’ Daily Homily of May 22:  Reflections on Atheists, Christians, and Who Will Be Saved.  He nuanced what the pope said, but he didn’t explain it away, nor did he say, as we did in our discussion, that he was referring to meeting together in the realm of civil righteousness.  Rather, Father Rosica explained the sense in which atheists and other non-believers can, in fact, be saved:

4)  The great German Jesuit theolgian, Fr. Karl Rahner introduced the idea of “anonymous Christian” into theological reflection. Through this concept, offered to Christians, Rahner said that God desires all people to be saved, and cannot possibly consign all non-Christians to hell.  Secondly, Jesus Christ is God’s only means of salvation. This must mean that the non-Christians who end up in heaven must have received the grace of Christ without their realising it.   Hence the term – ‘anonymous Christian’. [Read more...]


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