Friday, December 15, 2017

How Do God’s Love and God’s Wrath Relate?

One evangelical cliché has it that God hates the sin but loves the sinner.
There is a small element of truth in these words: God has nothing but hate for the sin, but this cannot be said with respect to how God sees the sinner.
Nevertheless, the cliché is false on the face of it, and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, the psalmists state that God hates the sinner, that His wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible, the wrath of God rests on both the sin (Rom. 1:18–23) and the sinner (1:24–32; 2:5; John 3:36).
Our problem in part is that in human experience wrath and love normally abide in mutually exclusive compartments. Love drives wrath out, or wrath drives love out. We come closest to bringing them together, perhaps, in our responses to a wayward act by one of our children, but normally we do not think that a wrathful person is loving.
But this is not the way it is with God. God’s wrath is not an implacable blind rage. However emotional it may be, it is an entirely reasonable and willed response to offenses against His holiness. At the same time, His love wells up amidst His perfections and is not generated by the loveliness of the loved. Thus there is nothing intrinsically impossible about wrath and love being directed toward the same individual or people at once. God in His perfections must be wrathful against His rebel image-bearers, for they have offended Him; God in His perfections must be loving toward His rebel image-bearers, for He is that kind of God. . . .
The reality is that the Old Testament displays the grace and love of God in experience and types, and these realities become all the clearer in the New Testament. Similarly, the Old Testament displays the righteous wrath of God in experience and types, and these realities become all the clearer in the New Testament. In other words, both God’s love and God’s wrath are ratcheted up in the move from the Old Testament to the New. These themes barrel along through redemptive history, unresolved, until they come to a resounding climax in the Cross. 
Do you wish to see God’s love? Look at the Cross.  Do you wish to see God’s wrath? Look at the Cross. —D.A. Carson, “God’s Love and God’s Wrath,” Bibliotheca Sacra 156 (1999): 388–390.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

God's Love and God's Wrath

Wrath, unlike love, is not one of the intrinsic perfections of God. Rather, it is a function of God's holiness against sin. Where there is no sin, there is no wrath-but there will always be love in God. Where God in His holiness confronts His image-bearers in their rebellion, there must be wrath, or God is not the jealous God He claims to be, and His holiness is impugned. The price of diluting God's wrath is diminishing God's holiness.  DA Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p. 67. 

Monday, December 11, 2017


From Facts & Trends. . . .

In addition to the obvious no-no’s, such as profanity, heresy, racism, sexism, and the like, no pastor should ever be heard to utter any of the following from the pulpit.

1. “I’m thinking of quitting. I haven’t decided. Pray for me.”

Say that once, and the congregation is stunned. Say it twice, and a group will rise up to make it a reality.

2. “I’m no theologian.”

My pastor, who also teaches at seminary, puts this at the top of his list of irritating preacher comments. To the pastor who says this, he says, “Then shut up and sit down!”

The truth is every pastor should function as the resident theologian for his congregation.

3. “God told me to tell you … “

If you say, “Thus saith the Lord,” your next words had better be Scripture.

4. “The board (deacons or other leadership group) and I are in serious disagreement over this.”

Show some class, preacher, and do not bring arguments into the congregation where they will divide the body and where you have an unfair advantage.

5. “My wife is so dumb … “

I’m sorry to say, friend, it’s been said before—supposedly in jest, followed by a bit of silliness. But this has no place in the pulpit.

Such a preacher deserves all the trouble he’s going to get when he returns home.

6. “If you love Jesus, you will be at this meeting today at 2 o’clock.”

Can you say “manipulative”? File this foolishness under the heading of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

7. “I have not had time to prepare today’s sermon as thoroughly as I should have.”

Confess such failures to the Lord, but the congregation does not need to hear this.

8. “I’m the pastor. God put me in charge. I’ll be making these decisions.”

1 Peter 5:2-3 has your name all over it, pastor. “Shepherd the flock of God … not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”

9. “If you don’t [fill in the blank], I will leave.”

Never give a congregation an ultimatum, or you will find yourself on the losing end of that proposition.

10. “In closing. Finally.” (For the 5th time)

Never tell the congregation you’re almost through. They will not hear another word you say. But if you do, keep your promise.

11. “That reminds me of a joke.”

Some may debate whether to pulpit is the place for jokes, but, regardless, it’s almost always true that one you impulsively grab on the spur of the moment will get you in hot water.

12. “God has called me here until I die or retire.”

No pastor makes these decisions alone. This statement is a direct challenge to some, friend or foe, who think the minister’s tenure should have an expiration date at some point.

13. “Well! It’s good to see some of you who have not been here since last Christmas (or Easter)!”

Why would a pastor want to berate people for coming to church? Instead, welcome them and give them reasons to return.

Previous from McKeever: A Pastor’s Greatest Regret After a Lifetime of Ministry

JOE MCKEEVER ( has been in ministry for more than 50 years. He has been writing articles and drawing cartoons for religious publications more than 40 years.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Oden on The Divine and Human will in Christ

Jesus’ divine and human wills were both involved in every decision that he made: “Just as there are two wills in Christ, we are also led by the texts to hypothesize that there are two actions without division or confusion, a divine action and a human action, hence two operations (Honorius, Two Wills and Operations...). The two wills do not act contrary to each other (Agatho, Roman Council . . . ), the divine action constantly enabling the human action of the one divine-human person” ~ Thomas Oden, 192.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christology: The Relationship Between the Two Natures in Christ

I have been doing some reading on Christology and the distinction of the Divine and Human natures within Jesus Christ and how they relate to one another.  The issue I am struggling with are the statement in Scripture that Jesus casts out demons by the Holy Spirit (Mat 12:28) yet in other places, his miracles are because of his divinity (Jn 2:11).  I found this quote by AH Strong in a journal article that was enlightening. 

“In this state of humiliation, the communication of the contents of his divine nature to the human was mediated by the Holy Spirit. The God-man, in his servant-form, knew and taught and performed only what the Spirit permitted and directed (Matt. 3:16; John 3:34; Acts 1:2 10:38; Hebrews 9:14). But when thus permitted, he knew, taught, and performed, not, like the prophets, by power communicated from without, but by virtue of his own inner divine energy (Mat.17:2; Mark 5:41; Luke 5:20;21; 6:19; John 2:11,24,25; 3:13; 20:19). [Strong, 696].

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Rise of the Digisexual

This is the fruit of striving for individual freedom without any grounding ethical truth.  By James White. . .

In Meet Generation Z, I wrote that one of the defining marks of Generation Z was the embrace of sexual fluidity.

Here's a sampling from that work:

Generation Z has become sexually and relationally amorphous. Consider the influential statements by outspoken young celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevingne. Stewart, when asked about her sexuality said, "I think in three or four years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don't think it's necessary to figure out if you're gay or straight. It's like, just do your thing." And from Miley Cyrus: "[I don't] relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."

They are not alone.

A recent U.K. study revealed that nearly half of all young people don't think they are exclusively heterosexual. The YouGov survey revealed that 49% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 identified as something other than 100% heterosexual. This despite the repeated findings that only about 4% of the entire adult population are actually homosexual. What is being revealed is an increasing "sexual fluidity" … Sexuality should be set free of any and all restrictions and allowed to follow its desire, moment by moment.

Why? Because the greatest value for this generation is nothing less than individual freedom.

From this, a new cultural dictionary has exploded onto the scene dealing with all things sexual such as the rise of the "digisexual."

Lost you?

You're not alone.

Here's a quick primer on some new words you might want to familiarize yourself with:

Androsexual – primarily attracted to men

Asexual – experiencing little or no attraction to others

Bicurious – curiosity about having attraction to people of the same gender/sex

Cisgender – a person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth align

Demisexual – little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic or emotional connection is formed

Digisexual – primary sexual identity coming through the use of technology

Gynesexual – primary attracted to women

Pansexual – a person who experiences attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions

Skoliosexual – being primarily attracted to genderqueer, transgender, transsexual and non-binary people

Third gender – a person who does not identify with either man or woman

Transgender – a person who lives as a member of a gender other than that assigned at birth based on anatomical sex

Transsexual – a person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth

That pretty much covers it. Except you should notice one category that has gone missing. It's no longer in fashion and rather passé, but it might be worth mentioning in passing:

… heterosexual.

James Emery White


James Emery White, Meet Generation Z (Baker).

Sarah Knapton, "Rise of the 'Digisexual' as Virtual Reality Bypasses Need for Human Intimacy," The Telegraph, November 26, 2017, read online.