Don’t give them the Gospel? 

We often assume that if we could only find the right way to reach those who are opposed to Christianity that we could win them over to the Gospel.  S. M. Hutchens, writing in the Touchstone blog, says that many of these folks don’t lack knowledge of Christ.  They are simply rejecting Him.

Good point.  But then he says that such overt enemies of God should not be given the Gospel, that they cannot be evangelized.

I would say that we are all by nature enemies of God.  And that, by the power of the Word, the Holy Spirit can bring even the worst enemy of God to salvation.  (I am thinking of St. Paul, who called himself “the worst of sinners” and was an overt persecutor of the Church and of Christ.)  Certainly, a person can’t be open to the Gospel without first being broken by the Law, which can happen in various ways.  But that is part of the process of evangelism, and everyone needs to be evangelized.  (We Lutherans believe in the universal atonement, that Christ died for everyone, so we cannot assume that any given person is one of the non-elect “reprobates.”)

But is there something in what Hutchens says?  Even if those who are purposefully rejecting God should still be evangelized, do we need to approach them and the trouble they give Christians differently than if they were merely ignorant?  Read his argument, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Clinton’s social gospel vs. Trump’s prosperity gospel

Bobby Ross brings together some religious reporting on both candidates and gives us one of those instantly clarifying paradigms.  I’ll summarize after the jump.

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“I am a nasty man with no heart”

When Russell Moore criticized Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee retaliated, as he always does.  He tweeted that Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, is “A nasty guy with no heart!”

I love Moore’s response on Meet the Press:  “I am a nasty guy with no heart, which is why I need forgiveness of sins and redemption through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” [Read more…]

He has come to you

The word “advent” derives from the past participle form of venire, the Latin word for “to come,” plus ad, which means “to.”  So the term literally means “has come to.”  The season of Advent, which we have now entered, means that Jesus “has come to” us, to you. [Read more…]

Pope will allow priests to forgive abortion

Pope Francis will allow priests to forgive the sin of abortion during the upcoming Holy Year, from December 8 to November 26.  Normally, abortion incurs automatic excommunication.  Bishops must give special permission before a priest can absolve a penitents of that particular sin.

That abortion cannot be forgiven, apart from an elaborate bureaucratic process, is another example of the Gospel-denying effects of the Roman Catholic penitential system.  Christ died for all sins, including abortion, and He bore every woman’s abortion in His body on the Cross.  So every woman who has committed this sin can know that she has forgiveness in Him.  Now for one year, such women can find forgiveness in the Roman Catholic Church.

But this action by Pope Francis is being interpreted as another example of the pontiff’s “tolerance” and will be taken as a weakening of the church’s position on abortion. [Read more…]

Beggars at the Temple gates

The reading for last Sunday at our church was about the lame beggar at the Temple gate who was healed by Peter (Acts 3:1-21).  You should see what our pastor did with that passage, showing how we are in the position of the beggar and how we too receive God’s grace at a different kind of Temple gate. [Read more…]