Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Be strong in this grace: God reaches out to us! Part 3

Sorry to take so long to finish this series! My daughter has been sick with one thing after another since February 22nd, but is finally on the mend.

Part I: Popular explanations concerning our natural human condition and what does the Bible say about our natural human condition?

Part II: Three Answers to our natural human condition

Part III: Some thoughts from Walther and Senkbeil

Walther

"Having this doctrine, what exceedingly happy and blessed people (we) are! This teaching takes us to Christ by a straight route. It opens heavens to us when we feel hell in our hearts. It enables us to obtain grace at any moment without losing time by following a wrong way, striving for grace by our own effort, as we sometimes do with a good intention. We can approach Christ directly and say, "Lord Jesus, I am a poor sinner; I know it; that has been my experience. But Thou has called me by Thy Gospel. I come to Thee just as I am; for I could not come any other way. That is the saving doctrine which (we) have learned from Christ and the apostles."

Senkbeil

"In our relativistic age, the validity of any concept is not in its truth by some objective standard, but its meaning for the individual. A wide variety of goods ranging from hamburgers to automobiles, are advertised with an appeal to personal self-interest. The consumer is reminded that what is best for him is best. Our society appears to be more concerned with subjective meaning than objective truth, even when it comes to moral values. Instead of searching for objective standards upon which to base action in achieving a consensus of opinion. "I feel" has been substituted for "I think". The obvious subjective thrust of Evangelical theology is tremendously attractive to such a world view. The individual who has "invited Jesus to come into his heart" has no need to substantiate the truth of his convictions. He "feels" like a Christian, and for him that is the most important part of believing. The ultimate absurdity of this approach to the Christian faith is best expressed in the words of the old Gospel hymn: You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart. Whether the focus is on speaking in tongues or conquering a pet sin, Evangelical Christianity regards these human actions as a demonstration of God's reality in the human experience. In our subjective age, the attraction of this brand of demonstratable Christianity can hardly be underestimated.

Senkbeil, Sanctification: Christ in Action, pages 9 and 10

" In our pragmatic age, people are much more prone to ask "Does it work?" than "Is it true?" The assumption is made that if it works, then it must be true. More fascinated with results than theory, contemporary Americans are understandably impressed with Evangelicalism. Here is a theory which seems to work; here is a theology which appears to bring results. God is at work in the world; the believer only has to look to his own life to see the reality in his commitment to Christ working its way out in the lives of his people. This is no "paper god"; this is the living Lord of heaven and earth! In the lives of his people, it is held, God demonstrates his power in living reality.

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