Tuesday, December 7, 2010


"The Bible is a collection of fantastic legends without scientific support."-- The Communist Dictionary issued by the Soviet State Publishing

Well now that I've given the atheists their say, let's move on to a Christian understanding of Scripture (though I am open to conversation about the authenticity of Scripture this entry will come from a Christian understanding and will function as a conversation within Christianity so I will simply agree with Sir Isaac Newton when he says "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history"). I've been thinking about what Scripture is and how we should take it for a little over a week now, and it seems to me that we all agree (within Christendom I speak) that it's the Word of God. But what does that mean. Allow me to set the stage so you can see where I come from. I was recently at an EMC New Leaders Orientation, as I've begun serving in an EMC church. As part of this retreat we had a session about Anabaptist theology, in which the centrality of Christ was focused on. In the explanation of the centrality of Christ biblical understand and hermeneutic was discussed. Several ways were mentioned, flat understanding, progressive, Paul strong, dispensationalism, and finally the words of Christ as standing primary. It is this last stance that the presenter favoured and on the surface it seems quite convincing, Christ is God incarnate, the words of Christ are therefore the very words of God, so of course we should put emphasis on them, or as was said we should interpret Scripture with the words of Christ. I couldn't help but be drawn to reformers' idea of Sacra Scriptura sui interpres, Sacred Scripture is its own interpreter. If Scripture is its own interpreter should that not include more then just Christ's words are Scripture's interpreter, I believe an early reformer would say yes.

So here's the real question I had... If Christ's words are separated as above the remainder of Scripture, what does that mean for our understanding of the inspiration of Scripture?

In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with "Thus saith the Lord". --C.S. Lewis

Perhaps C.S. Lewis has it right, or perhaps not. If Scripture is the inspired, God breathed Word of the Lord, then I think Lewis is pretty close... let's just remove his "most parts of" and I think he's got it! If we truly believe as followers of Christ that the words written in the Bible are the very words of God, then I see no need to set apart the words of Christ as special or extra inspired. In fact I think in doing so we take away from the authority and inspiration of Scripture. I think by doing this we set out that there is something more authentically the Word of God then the remainder of Scripture. How can we on one hand say that all the Bible is the Word of God and on the other say only the words of Christ are the true words of God; how devastating is that for Scripture?

I am a creature of a day. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God. I want to know one thing: the way to heaven. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. He has written it down in a book. Oh, give me that book! At any price give me the book of God. Let me be a man of one book.--John Wesley

Wesley seems to understand the power and capacity of Scripture to connect with God, but this falls short if we do not see every word of that Scripture as the inspired word of God. Should we think that God would inspire words but not to the fullness of His desire? Should we determine that God could not use humans other then the incarnate Christ to communicate? Maybe we should remember that even the words of Christ are recorded by purely human hands; they are not the writes of Christ himself. An inspired Word would be one that goes beyond the understanding of the writers themselves and holds truth that comes straight from the mouth of God.

Now let's not assume that I am making attempt to discount the divinity of Christ or degrade the fact that He is fully divine and fully human. Rather I am say yes, He is God incarnate, the words he speaks are those of God; what I am saying is that likewise the Holy Spirit is fully God. The words which the Spirit speaks true the inspiration of the biblical writers ought also be give that same credit.

Allow then to conclude with this, that Scripture, the God-breathed words written in their original are the inerrant words of the Lord our God, YHWH, the creator of the world. And as such we should seek to know them, as a revelation of God, from God. Their inspiration which of the Holy Spirit gives them all authority on earth as the words of Christ incarnate. Therefore as we grow in faith let us continue to be amazed by depths of breadth that they contain and seek to learn more of the God we serve with ever reading of them.

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." --Mark Twain

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Well it's been quite sometime since I've written here, but I feel the need to write something; so let's see where this ends up.

Well life has change a lot the last few weeks, in fact there was a weekend that seemed like everything became new. From Friday to Monday life was changed for me. But let's start with the Sunday. I was introduced at Braeside EMC that day, with the title of Associate Pastor of Youth Ministry. I'm not sure what that all means, or really why I'm there but I suppose I can say that it's where God has called me. Sometimes I feel pretty inadequate at the position. I mean, me, a pastor, really? Should a youth pastor be the guy with the earring and goatee who's got all the energy in the world; but that's not me. I mean sure I have some energy, I can keep up in most situation, but I'm certainly not the loud, high energy guy that normally wields the title. I'm pretty quiet, pretty reserved, an introvert at heart. Add to that the one committed youth sponsor, and all in all I'm starting to feel like this could be a flop. So we kicked off youth Friday night and there was about 15 people there, and some pizza, and we played sardines and it was a decent time. Then we sat down and talked about some things that they, the youth wanted to do over the next year; but then came joy. I sat down in front of them and introduced the book of Colossians. Mouths went quiet, eyes focused on me, and they took in information. Discussion wasn't the most lively, but when I talked about what the Bible said, set out the background, they took interest in the word of God. And I guess that's why I'm here. I don't have all the answers, I'm not the wisest man around, or the most silly, 'fun' youth pastor one could have; but I love, love stretching people, especially youth, to know God better, to learn about Him, and focus their lives on Him. Discipleship, thats where my passion lies. My hope and prayer is that God would call out leaders from the church to help this ministry and to disciple these youth to a mature Christian faith.

The day after that Sunday I started a second new job, this one a bit more familiar. I stayed on with Youth for Christ this year after the summer at camp to fill the role of Guy's Follow-Up Co-ordinator; another fancy title that I'm really not sure what it is. I organize nights for guy's to come out and have some fun; but why? How do we take a night of video games, and turn it into something that reveals the glory of God to these guys. How do we show a world that is so focused on themselves, on temporary pleasures, on greed, on fame, on sex; that there is something so much more, so much better, true love that they are missing. I don't have an answer, only a prayer, that God would be at work.

Two new jobs, both seemly enough work to be more then full time; squeezing each into part time and trying to make them strong ministries, one of which is dependent on my ability to find supporters to donate my salary. Stress.

But there is peace and comfort that came that weekend too! The kind that both comforts and scares me; that relieves my stress and adds new elements of concern.

This is life, always changing, never easy, and striving for God's glory and grace

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is it sinful...

How often have you heard this question? Or asked it yourself?
It comes in many forms: Is it wrong to drink? Is it ok watch R rated movies? How far can my boyfriend and I go? Is it sinful to...? What about...? Can I...? What does God think about...?
But what kind of question is that to ask; it's a misguided, poorly focused one, that misses the point.
What we need to ask comes from a completely different mindset, a whole new view on life. The true question to ask, and the answer to all these questions is:
How does it glorify God?
How do the actions we partake in, the way we behave, our deeds, how do they display the glory of the almighty God who sent His one and only begotten son to die for your sins. How does what you do show the world and those around you and even yourself the awesome glory of the creator of the universe. Once we've moved to the point of a genuine relationship with Christ, as we strive to walk our lives with him, our goal needs to be to bring optimum glory to the saviour of our souls.
Don't focus on avoid the bad, or defining the line; rather strive to bring yourself as close as you can to Christ, and be so far from the line that it appears as but a spec in the distance.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Late Night Churchill

After some time on my back porch and a walk around Wolsley at 530 am I realized something... life is short.
I looked back on the past year and a bit of my life, what have I done? As my eyes watered I recalled funerals, faces lost, and friends who did not know how cherished they were... are.
I arrived one morning to class and an RCMP cruiser was in front of the school; that doesn't happen at Prov. As class went on we were told there would be a mandatory assembly at 11 in the chapel. I made my way to the student centre between the times and said to a friend "This isn't good." We learned of the suicide of a beloved member of our student body, a dorm-mate, a friend.
A few months later I arrived home from a long draw-out church meeting, it was my birthday, but had obligations and work to do. I opened my computer and check my e-mail; thats odd, he doesn't usually e-mail me. As I opened the e-mail I read that a close friend from highschool had passed away. A few phone calls and internet clicks later I had a flight to Toronto booked and still reeling from the last funeral.
As it turns out a year is still not enough to stop that reeling. Healing has transpired, acceptance has come, the pain isn't constant, but it is gone.
The hardest day of my life was October 8, 2008. As the parents of my friend sat down with a group of maybe 20 and read allowed the note that he had left before place has head on railroad tracks and awaited a train. Much is a blur but I recall sitting with tears running down my face, looking across the room and see a friend, alone, her face buried in her lap. I moved across the room sat down and simply rub her back with one hand, offering what little comfort it was worth as tears continued down my face and no words were needed, or perhaps no words had meaning.
Over a year later, I've completed school with marks that display my pain and loss of focus that year, served at a camp where I met great people and did my part to share the Gospel, sat unemployed for a few months and now offer shelter and rest to those who have no other beds to go to.
So why do I feel so lost?
I've tried to serve the God I say I love, but my actions fail to show it. I've tried to dig myself out of sin, but my hands continue in ways I tell them not to. I try to put Christ at the for front of my thoughts, to follow his call, to serve his will, to love as he has loved first; I try and I fail. Friends share their struggles and I try to help, try to listen, try to love, try to comfort, try to offer truth, try to direct towards God, but I fail. Sometimes I look like I've got things together, but I'm a mess, a pure, simple mess.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Well it seems like its been a while since my last post, perhaps something a bit lighter will do today.
So we're moving, our little family is leaving St. Vital to become Wolsleyites. It came about quite quickly; as of Friday it was made official and we move in Saturday. In the process of packing and such I've realized just how blessed I truly am. And yes I mean blessed as in financially, which is a concept you will rarely here me talk about accept when I rag on the Prosperity Gospel preachers... which might just be my next post.
But after packing my library of books and several suitcases of clothing and as I type this on a Macbook, it's hard to deny that I have truly been blessed. Or perhaps I'm just greedy. I think however, that it goes far beyond the walls of my apartment and into all of this land. I think our country and many like ours have been blessed by God who decides when powers shall rise and fall.
What are we to do with blessings? Well use them to further the kingdom of God, bless those around us, bless the world, share the love of Christ with the nations, praise the name of YHWH, glorify the God of the nations. Perhaps its time we all take heed of that.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ye Olde Debate

Well here it is folks. It seems to be a hot button issue around discussions lately so here is a relatively length explanation of where I lie in ye olde predestination debate. Allow to Open by stating again that this is a debate internal to Christianity and should not be a distraction or detraction from our striving for one catholic unified church.


The purpose here is to both explore and reveal my stances and beliefs on the ever-raging debate between “Calvinism” and “Arminianism”. Of course the terms here need to be understood as not representative of all who would be classified under them but rather in this exploration will be viewed as their overall beliefs. For this it seems most effective and logical to compare the two based on their opposing five point systems; the acronyms TULIP and DAISY respectively. After a brief exploration of each point it is the intent to take a stance either for, against or perhaps offer something a bit different and then justify said stance. Before further exploration it must be noted that these issues at hand are internal ones within the Christian faith. That is to say that neither position falls outside Christianity and thus should not be an issue that puts people at odds with one another, rather should be addressed as a conversation aimed to further our understanding and knowledge of God.

Total Depravity vs. Diminished Depravity

The Calvinistic view here is that the human being is so corrupted by sin that it is completely unable to make a good decision. Human nature itself is simply not capable of siding with God opposed to the sinful world. This is rooted in the fall of humanity in Genesis, and thus every person needs a new nature brought about by the Spirit in order to be on the side of God. Opposing this is the concept of diminished depravity or free will. Here, though the fall had serious implications on the human, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God then enables people the chance to be saved but does not interfere in their free will by forcing salvation upon them. A part of that free will is the ability to choice either good or evil.

In looking at this, one must go back to the doctrine of Imagio Dei and the effects of the fall on that image. As creatures created in the image of God humans are made in his likeness. The fall then distorted that image and corrupted human nature. Sin infiltrated every part of the human nature, including its free will. However, that does not change the fact that people are created in his image, but rather it adds to this the fallenness of humanity. Therefore the image of God is still a part of humanity buried beneath the sin that covers it, the only thing that is more powerful then sin and death is God himself, who’s call has the power and might to drive the good of humanity through its covering of sin.

Unconditional Election vs. Abrogated Election

The five point Calvinist here sets out that God’s election is based solely on his own will completely set apart from the will of the sinners. God’s sovereign will reigns supreme over the will of man. Abrogated election on-the-other-hand states that God’s election is based on his foreknowledge of how the sinner would react to his call. Election therefore is based not on God’s choice but on man’s free choice of accepting the gospel as it was presented to him.

Abrogated election falls short in its ability to answer the challenge of the middle knowledge of God. Simply put, middle knowledge is God’s knowledge of what would happen if he were to act differently. Thus God would know not just who would respond to his call, but who would respond to every infinite degree of strength of the call they receive. Therefore God must have the ability to act as he sees fit and should abrogated election stand true God must first choose the degree to which he is going to act before he knows every reaction of humanity. However if God is truly omniscient God then part of his very being is that of full knowledge. Since his being must exist before his action, even his act of deciding how he will act, he must know all, including his middle knowledge, before he decides; thus his decision is based on or at least is done with his knowledge of all things. This leads back to the sovereignty of God. Since he knows how a sinner will react to every degree of his call on their life and he decides the degree to which that call falls upon them election must be based on his will.

Limited Atonement vs Impersonal Atonement

Limited atonement it the concept that the death of Christ on the cross was intended to save the elect. Not only did Christ death work in a substitutionary way to cover the sins of the elect but it worked out all necessities for their salvation including their faith in Christ. Conversely impersonal atonement holds that the death of Christ on the cross made possible the atonement of all the sins of the world but did not secure the salvation of anyone; only those who indeed come to faith in Christ receive that atoning grace. Thus Christ made it possible for everyone to be saved.

The notion that the atoning work of Christ is not sufficient for all of humanity is ridiculous, thus the Calvinist must contend that it is sufficient for all but not open or intended for all. However, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8) and “Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:10). Grace is available to all of humanity, but has been rejected by a fallen world. Even the wicked have been show grace which could be theirs, but they deny that grace that is more then sufficient for all the sins of the world. If Christ is God and God is infinite then the death of Christ must be all covering. Further more since "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17) then it must be the world that saving grace has been offered to and had rejected by this sinful world.

Irresistible Grace vs Sedentary Grace

The Calvinistic irresistible grace concept is that the elect receive the grace of God as an inward call that cannot be ignored, denied or otherwise rejected. This means that God does not rely on the acceptance of a sinner to enact salvation work in their life but freely and fully saves his elect. On the contrary sedentary grace is that the Spirit does indeed call people inwardly, but he calls all those who are called outwardly. On top of that human free will stands over that call as the deciding force in salvation.

Well certainly God’s sovereignty cannot be over-ridden by the human will as humanity is fallen and every aspect of humanity has been infested with sin. The call of God must be one on the inner person and that rules over the fallen human nature. It must call out the to the image of good that resides under our covering of sin and pull that through to a level of faith. But, in the last section it was said that grace functions as a power capable of redeeming all the sins of the world, and that grace has been rejected by humanity. Grace has been resisted, but grace is not what calls us to faith, rather grace makes faith possible. Grace allows the broken sinful people of the world to be in the presence of the eternal King of Heaven, all powerful Lord, Prince of Peace, God of glory. Exodus 14:4 states that, “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." Second Chronicles 7:3, “all the Israelites saw...the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD.” Ezekiel 1:28b “ This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” The list goes on and on: Leviticus 9:23-24, Habakkuk 2:14, John 11:40-44, Romans 6:4-5, Colossians 1:27, 2 Peter 1:3, Revelation 21:23-24. Perhaps John puts it best “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). It is not grace that calls us to faith but grace that makes faith possible, rather the call to that faith comes from the revelation of the glory of God to a sinner. The glory of God is so majestic that none who see it can deny it, and as God determines his revelation to people and knows all including what revelation will bring about faith his glory is irresistibly affective in bring his elect to faith. It is to his elect to his disciples that God reveals his glory and adopts as his children. After Christ reveals that glory by turning water to wine the disciples place their faith in him, “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him” (John 2:11).

Persistence of the Saints vs Yielding Eternal Uncertainty

This is the debate of whether a sinner can lose their salvation or not. The Calvinist simple sets out that since it is entirely the work of God that saves then no work of human can interfere with that salvation or bring about it loss, thus once saved, always saved. Here it must be noted that even among Arminian stances this point is perhaps the most contended but those who fall into the category of belief in yielding eternal uncertainty set out that because salvation is based on human choice and free will that sinner can at any time choice otherwise and freely lose that salvation.

Regardless of whose choice it is to bring a person to a saving faith in Christ if God is eternal he must exist outside of time. If God exist outside of time and salvation is a union of man and God then salvation must also be atemporal. A person cannot ‘fool’ God into incorporating them into his family at one point in time just to deny that faith at another. Salvation when properly understood is not a point in time but a union to God in eternity.


So how does this all tie together in the end? No flower quite describes it but to title the five point it would read FURUT: Fully fallen images of God, Unconditional election, Rejected atonement, Undeniable glory, and Timeless salvation. It is not that God plucks people screaming and crying out of the pits of hell, but rather offers them a bridge out thats call is his revelation of glory. Those who are shown his glory cannot deny it and freely choose to follow it as he has determined it to be. God is sovereign, eternal, omniscient and loving; his glory surpasses our understanding and is so amazing that none can ignore it when revealed to their souls. Allow this metaphor perhaps, or reject it if it is of no benefit as it does fall short as all metaphors do: two child in a convenience store are buying chocolate bars, but as they are making the purchases a man offers one a different chocolate bar that the other child is not offered. Not only that, but the man knows that the child loves this chocolate bar so much that he will not pass it up for the other bar that the boy sees now as worthless. Of course the bar was always in the store, but the children did not see it until the man offered it only to the one. Now the child did have the free will to reject it, but the man knew it was so good that he would not do so. Perhaps this helps in gaining insight in what was been argued for in this exploration. In Exodus 33:19 the Lord says, “I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” To the God be all glory for it is only by his grace that we are saved whether we freely accept that or have it thrust upon us.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So the other day at work I heard something that would defy all the worldly logic and all the prosperity teaching that exists. I was walking down the line of people waiting to enter the shelter for the night, men who had been standing there for perhaps an hour by this point. The wind was blowing at a speed beyond measure, or at least it felt that way, the snow was falling, and I was glad I didn't have to wait out in this. As we walked down the line I was talking to some of the guys as I usually do, asking how their days were and such things, often I'll revisit these short conversations once we get people settled inside if it seems like a person could use a listening ear or two.
This time I heard the words that most people don't expect to hear from a man who spends his nights in a shelter... "I am so blessed."
It's hard to comprehend in a world that views success and reward as money and property that someone with none of that would be blessed. So then what can it mean to be blessed? What is blessing? If it's not the things of this world, it must be something much more; something beyond this world.
Sometimes I wish I had more then I do, and then I here something like this and wonder why I even care about these things when there's so much more to strive for; and so much more that Christ has to offer us.