Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Good Quote on Parenting


Blogger Tit for Tat said...

Good Morning Steve

Heres another way to look at God. And it fits with you parenting post.

The idea that divine justice requires forgiveness accords very well with the New Testament analogy between God and a loving parent. It also illuminates in an intriguing way the nature of Gods opposition to sin. As the Augustinians see it, God opposes sin enough to punish it, but not enough to destroy it altogether; instead of destroying sin altogether, he merely confines it to a specially prepared region of his creation, known as hell, where he keeps it alive for an eternity. According to our alternative picture, however, God forgives sin for this very reason: In no other way could he oppose it with his entire being. For as the St. Paul saw so clearly, our specific sins express a sinful condition, and the latter is a form of spiritual death; it is simply our condition of being separated or estranged or alienated from God and from each other. So the opposite of a sinful condition is a state of reconciliation; and if that is so, then God cannot be against sin, cannot oppose it with his entire being, unless he is for reconciliation. And he can hardly be for reconciliation unless he is prepared to forgive others even as he has commanded us to forgive them. Indeed, if God should refuse to forgive someone, as is not even possible given his loving nature, he would then separate himself from this person; and that is the very essence of sin as Paul himself understood it.
Thomas Talbott …The inescapable Love of God

December 8, 2008 at 3:51 AM  
Anonymous steve martin said...

I agree with Tit for Tat.

God forgives all. Jesus death on the cross was for all and He forgave the whole world.(that is everyone)

Not everyone will believe, however. Not everyone will access this forgiveness through faith. Some will, some won't.

God has elected some to believe. Why? Who knows? If we knew then we'd be on His level and we are not.

This is THE MYSTERY of the Christian faith...why some believe it...and some don't.

December 8, 2008 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...

Stevo m.

You so missed the point of what the author was saying. He was trying to show you that God and his nature are forgiving...REGARDLESS of what people believe.

December 8, 2008 at 7:48 AM  
Anonymous steve martin said...

Tit for Tat,

Faith matters.

Otherwise, the whole of scripture (so many scripture key scripture verses) that speaks of faith accounting for righteousness, is a joke and the cross was entirely unecessary.

December 8, 2008 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Good afternoon, gentlemen!

Welcome to my humble little blog!

Talbott's take is simply a form of universalism, and as with all forms of universalism, ignores a whole lot of Scripture, not the least of which is Paul's.

Paul painstakingly makes the case in Romans 1-5 that we are sinners in need of a savior. If Talbott's take on Paul and God is true, then what on earth was the cross for? What does the term "savior' mean? Why is Jesus known as the Lamb of God?

If everyone winds up forgiven - if that was what the cross was for - then why all the evangelism and suffering and martyrdom in the NT and throughout church history? Why did the Apostles bother to preach? Just take it easy if Jesus' death covered everything! No need to preach at all!

Jesus' death was sufficient for the world, but is effective only for those who exercise faith in the person and work of Jesus. If that is not the message of the entire New Testament, then the NT has no message. One has to go through a great deal of theological acrobatics to wind up anywhere else.

I'm not trying to be a smartypants, TitforTat, honestly. And I think I understand, at least emotionally, how we get to Universalism. But it simply doesn't square with Scripture nor with anything resembling a historical understanding of Christianity.

I don't even think it's a matter of how bad humans are or aren't. I think any given person can find someone "better" or "worse" that them. Other humans aren't the standard; God is, and nobody measures up. I think understanding God's holiness (which I don't pretend to do, but I'm trying) puts us in a position to see how horrific sin is. Any sin. It is the majesty of the Lawgiver that is the issue, in my mind, nit the magnitude of the law broken.

December 8, 2008 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Oh - another thought.

God is clearly for reconciliation e.g. 2 Cor. 5). It is precisely the sacrifice of Christ that enables God to be true to the loving, merciful aspect of His character, and so people are forgiven and reconciled who appropriate said forgiveness and reconciliation through faith in Christ.

But God is not merely merciful and loving. He is equally just and holy. All those things need to be seen together, in tension as they are. we cannot separate one from the rest.

He would be untrue to His esssential character if His wrath was not exacted on sin. You may answer that this is what the cross accomplished, and I would agree if you did, but not all people appropriate the cross, and so are lost.

Wow... this is quite a way to begin my blogging day!

December 8, 2008 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Christopher B. Brooks said...

If God offers blanket forgiveness, as has been suggested, then why do Missions (local or Global)? If ultimately God's universal love is coupled with universal forgiveness, then the Gospel can actually be a liability - giving already "forgiven" people judgment through proclamation.

I believe that Scripture presents a slightly different picture, where proclamation of Christ that leads to repentance is central to forgiveness. Jesus did not forgive the whole world. He died so that reconciliation with God would be directly possible for all of humanity. Maybe I just splitting hairs...

December 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

No... I think your point is great.

December 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous steve martin said...

C. Brooks,

I think the scriptures say that Christ died for the sins of the whole world.

If I got that wrong, please forgive me. But I think that is what scripture actually says.

December 8, 2008 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous steve martin said...

C. Brooks,

Here's my viewpoint (the Lutheran view actually) :

Christ died for and forgives the whole world, but that forgiveness is rejected by us unless we are called and chosen by God.

So if we are saved, all glory and honor go to God and if we are lost, it is our fault.

December 8, 2008 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I agree with the quote my Ben Patterson. Completely. Many parents that are not Christians think they are great parents because they support their child's academic and extra curricular activities. As a nanny, I saw several parents that provided more than adequately for their child yet I felt bad for the child since Christ had ZERO place in their home. But Ben Patterson did not take it far enough, instead of character I would say they arent interested in exemplifying a relationship with Jesus for their child. That requires them to not only have a right relationship but to model it as well.

After reading the comments on this post, I was a little confused and thought I had missed something since so few have to do with the actual post! Way to incite thoughtful and fervent discussion Steve!

I agree also with Chris that forgiveness can be available for all but not all receive it because all do not accept Christ. To receive God's outpouring of grace as forgiveness and love, we need to embrace Christ and the significance of his death on the cross.

December 8, 2008 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

ok so now i read all those comments and I have to say yes Steve, it does NOT matter how bad humans are or are not for scripture says WE ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Thats it. You can pause there and end that argument because nothing else matters. We are all sinners and all bad.

And To Mr. Steve Martin, in this last case you are almost saying the same thing. When Chris speaks to say "jesus did not forgive the whole world" I believe he means to say that jesus died so that there is a bridge to God, the bridge was out due to our human sinfulness. Jesus restored that bridge that we can cross and enter into the presence of God so None can come to the father except through the Son. So Jesus himself did not forgive the sins but indeed made it possible.
Same idea but I think we all trippin on words!

December 8, 2008 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...

for scripture says WE ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.(Sarah)


If you decide to have a child or more children if you already have one, dont forget when they are born to look at your Husband and remind him of how sinful your child is. It doesnt matter that he/she is created in Gods image because St. Paul has made it clear that all are born into sin and are sinful. lmao. What a load of crap. I would respect your faith so much more if you would just say its Christians that are born into sin rather than lumping the whole world into "your" faith.

December 9, 2008 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Greetings, all!

It seems we have a fundamental difference in the way we view the world, TitforTat. You see our doctrines as "lumping the whole world into our religion", while we see our doctrines as expressing the truth that God has revealed to all mankind. Subtle but profound difference there...

If Christianity is but one among many religions, and all have equal validity (which is the core tenet of modern Tolerance) then we are insane to try to convince people of other faiths that their views are flawed. At most, our evangelism should consist of inviting people to try a different item in the smorgasbord.

Of course, we don't see it that way. We see mankind as sinful and separated from God as a result of both sin and sinfulness, and we have both experienced God's reconciliation and been charged in our Scriptures with making the possibility of reconciliation known. If we really believe that, we must act upon that or have no integrity.

Of course, there are some slightly alternate views among us. One of my profs - a dedicated Romans scholar, conservative and a Calvinist, was very open to the idea that we inherit a sinful nature but not inherent guilt from Adam. In other words, babies do not go to hell if they are aborted or die, but rather are not accountable until they are able to consciously sin.

If the way you frame the world is "right" (despite your apparent aversion to that concept) then I am guilty of all you charge me of. If the way we frame the world is right, then we have some work to do.

Sin is a big deal. God is holy and sin is profoundly offensive to Him, and it is toxic and fatal to us at numerous levels - spiritual, relational, and ultimately physical. We live in an age where the concept of sin is pooh-poohed as a primitive religious construct, but I remain convinced that it is one of the most relevant realities in our universe.

I do think you are hitting at the heart of the matter, TitforTat, and for that you deserve our gratitude. Dialogue is superficial otherwise.

December 9, 2008 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...


Thanks for the input, just curious what you think the age of accountability should be ;)

How does that saying go.

Show me your Jesus, if necessary use words.

something like that?

The bulk of the Christians I have met, fit a certain mold. Hypocrites. Now there are many that help its just unfortunate that so many espouse a certain belief and behind the scenes live another life. This song sums it up perfectly. For those who are adverse to profanity dont listen to it.

December 9, 2008 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

"Preach the Gospel at all times; use words when necessary." (St. Francis of Asissi)

Point well taken, TitforTat.

What has passed for Christianity in the West is its own worst enemy. This is the main problem, in my view, of culturally acceptable and socially enshrined Christianity. Anyone can claim to be a Christian.

Those days are over in many places in the West, and quickly coming to a close here. We'll see what happens when there is a social price for claiming Christ.

December 9, 2008 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Tit for tat:

Hi. I am happy I could bring you joy (your lmao comment).

Also, it would not be necesary to remind my husband that our precious child would be sinful. As a Christian (which is the only man I would ever consider marrying) he would be fully aware of the sinfulness evident in the baby's new born flesh. I think its obvious even babies are sinful.... What is more selfish than a baby? Always crying and wanting something and not caring about anyone else? Self absorbed = sin.

I am being slightly humorous here (or trying to be) but in every jest lies an element of truth!

December 9, 2008 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...


You want to hear a really funny one. Judaism, which Christians base their original beliefs on, dont espouse the belief in "Original Sin". Now that is funny, not only did Christians plagiarize a lot of the writings, they didnt even get it right, go figure.

December 10, 2008 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Honest question, TitforTat...

How do Orthodox Jews view sin and atonement, in perhaps contrast to Conservative and Reform Jews?

What I mean is, if you were dialoguing with more liberal Christians, you would be having a very different discussion. I might even say that liberal Protestants are more like Reform Jews in many ways than they are like conservative Protestants.

I'm woefully ignorant of the finer points of Judaism, and I am really wondering how the various strains would see this issue differently.

Even more - I wonder how a First Century Jew (depending on party) or better yet, an ancient Jew (United Kingdom period, let's say,) would view sin and atonement.

I think that would be a fascinating study.

Do you know anything about this?

December 10, 2008 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...


Good questions, if you are genuinely interested I would suggest discussing it with a friend of mine named Yael. She shows up once in a while on my blog and Societyvs. For that matter he even has good links for your questions on Judaism. Tell me something, what do you think of Martin Luther?

December 10, 2008 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Like a lot of significant historical figures, he did some great things - like rediscover the doctrine of justification. His record with the Anabaptists (or at least what his followes did) and with the Jews is abysmal.

I think a lot of historical figures, who thought in a frame very different than ours, create paradoxes like that. Stonewall Jackson is an example from American history that comes to mind.

I plan on blogging on this at some point. Guys like Luther and Ulrich Zwingli are both examples of what I'm talking about, and perhaps Zwingli is an even better example, since he was a Christian who personally executed another Christian (Felix Manz) over the issue of baptism.


It's absolutely inexcusable, yet if one can peer into their mindset, which was just emerging from Medeival thinking, and understand how they came to such conclusions, it helps to process.

This is why I really want to understand how people who see things differently than me actually think. It gives me a framework to process more accurately.

December 10, 2008 at 1:05 PM  
Anonymous steve martin said...

Luther was a real sinner...that's for sure.

But boy, did he ever know the gospel!!

December 10, 2008 at 11:12 PM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...

Steve M

He sure did, looks by some of his writings he was masterful at sharing the good news, especially with the Jews. Geez, sometimes I wonder.

December 11, 2008 at 2:58 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

One of the most powerful quotes I ever read was when I was first embarking on the journey with Christ and had some real concerns about myself and more importantly (at the time) others who called themselves Christian.

Anyway in Philip Yancey's book "Dissappointment with God" he says this...

"Don't judge God by man's inability to serve Him."

Everybody throughout history has a laundry list that we could all point to that seemed to contradict the gospel message but at the same time this isn't an indictment on God or His Gospel.

Trust me I am the worst at calling or heroes out on their sins. Especially if it has to do with racism or injustice. But since it is Christmas I am going to put that away and say that God uses...

"Rocks and Donkeys" to tell truth to the world. :)

I hate it that Martin Luther was a bigot but God used him to reintroduce/refocus the greatest hope of mankind... Grace!

December 12, 2008 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...

I hate it that Martin Luther was a bigot but God used him to reintroduce/refocus the greatest hope of mankind... Grace!(Aaron)

I wonder if you would be barking the same tune if it was Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot, that was professing the "Grace" of God.Puh leazeee, call a spade a spade. Luther was Whacked. Im sure God will use his "reap what you sow" on him.

December 12, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

So was Martin Luther Bad enough that he needed saving?


Or was he TOO bad?

December 14, 2008 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Tit for Tat said...

Nope, Martin Luther was bad enough that he needed someone to kick his ass, and tell him to grow up and stop thinking he was talking for a loving creator.

December 14, 2008 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

um...the quote.

but, if you would talk to any teacher, you might find that many do not support the education of their child either.

school for many children is just day care.

and when they go home they are pretty much on their own.

it happens very easily..even to believers that are caught up in ministry and works outside of the home.

the family comes last, if at all.

i would go so far as to say that everyone does this to some degree.

children need time with parents.
parents need to spend the time with their children.

this is not it?

just look around.

December 17, 2008 at 9:01 AM  

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