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Religion: Check off Jedi Knight

Who are we in Christ?

Our identity in Christ… That sounds like it’s the most important thing we could learn about ourselves, but we’re all carrying around too much baggage to get it, unless we learn something really simple: Power does not necessarily equal Good.

Second thing is this: The world religions are lying to you. They have no power they can give you. Nothing. Only in Christ are you identified with power, and that power is Christ alone.


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Religion: Check off Jedi Knight

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A Reckless Confidence in Christ, Part 2

By the Power of Greyskull!

In this edition of Radical Grace Radio, we first answer the error that says that Jesus is not God with Colosians 2:9, “for all the fullness of the Diety dwells in him in bodily form”… Hmm… Sounds like God to me.

But we have to pick up on this idea that we can have a “reckless confidence in Christ”… Listen as Tyrel Bramwell of Reformation Underground calls in to join the discussion.


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A Reckless Confidence in Christ, Part 2

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Not going well…

I guess it depends on who you are. Really. I mean, if you’re the kind of person who likes to see debate shut out, and narrow margin adoption of resolutions, and people tearing their hair out, then I guess this Convention is for you.

See, during the convention, we have a standing rule that states that, when there is a “con” statement made during a debate, then it MUST be followed by a “Pro” statement. So the chair gets to spend several minutes skipping over people who are waiting to speak their minds to a specific resolution in search of a pro or con statement, till a time limit is up where the chair gets to call the question on the resolution. Then the chair asks a bunch of disgruntled people (namely us delegates) to decided to end the debate and vote, which everyone does for whatever reason… then the resolution passes by a narrow margin (somewhere in the range of 51 percent to 49 percent)…

So are things going well here today? No. People are getting frustrated. Oh yeah. I am, the people next to me are getting frustrated… It’s getting old quick.

But tomorrow is the synodical presidential election. Perhaps this will be the bright spot.

This delegate, however, is beginning to realize we’ve been talking to the wrong group. We thought that Evangelicals needed help finding the way forward… it turns out it’s our own synod that needs help in knowing which way is forward.

Unity and Division

I’m often surprised to hear things said such as this: We should learn to be more tolerant of the diversity we have among us.

Now, on it’s face, it looks like this is a good statement. After all, there is a lot of diversity in the LCMS. But for some reason I don’t thing that’s what they mean when they say we need to be more tolerant. I think what they are saying is, “we feel threatened when you talk to us about churchly matters”. Which, to be honest, is a valid thing to say. Now don’t get me wrong when I say this. It’s hard sometimes when you’re talking to someone about things such as Divine Worship, styles of music, and things of that nature who obviously knows some things about it that you don’t. That is not me saying there’s a lot of stupid people out there. No, not at all. But there is a tendency amongst people who call themselves “confessional” to be a little bit smug about themselves because they’ve read all the latest literature about why we shouldn’t be adopting modern worship styles and instrumentation. Face facts here. Confessionals are sometimes rabid about the subject.

However, there is something more disturbing about the statement about being more tolerant of diversity among us. It smacks of something reprehensible. There’s a way in which it’s a bit over the top, suggesting not so good intentions on the part of those deemed “intolerant”. If, for instance, someone says that it’s an act of Satan to divide us over matters like these, isn’t that just a bit over the top? Doesn’t it suggest that those who are “intolerant” are seeking to divide us? And by definition in league with Satan?

See, there’s a way in which even those who want unity at all costs are making trouble for everyone. I guess what I’m asking is this: When are we all going to own up to our intolerance? Why can’t I speak up that I think it would be better is we observed the Divine Service rather than make up some loose set of rules of worship and not get called intolerant? I’m a bit of musicologist, so I know something about ancient worship practices and music from the second temple era that would surprise most people on both sides of the isle… yet in the current climate I get pegged as intolerant because I’m either not “missional” enough or “confessional” enough.

It’s been an eye opener here at the convention so far. Keep in mind, the blog posts I’m putting up right now are mainly train of thought stuff… call it me debriefing and decompressing at the end of the day.

The Law of Piety? Or the law of love?

Navel Gazing Gone Wild

Oh the things the Word of Faithers will say to make their followers think so highly of themselves. Pastor Fred Price provides this edition’s “fatal error”.

But on this edition of Radical Grace Radio we revisit the “Lukewarm Christian Test” and divide Law and Gospel this way: which is more important? The law of piety? Or the law of love?
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The Law of Piety? Or the law of love?

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Judged by our works?

Law vs. Gospel? Is that right?

On this edition of Radical Grace radio, we talk in the first half hour about a listener email that asks:

“At what point is my sin deliberate? I know I will commit tomorrow, the same sin(s)I committed today. I recite the Lord’s prayer every night. I have guilt, but that doesn’t matter. I know it’s a sin, but yet I keep doing it. Is this not deliberately sinning against God, thus losing my salvation?”

Then on the second half of the hour we talk about Judgment day, and why it seems that scripture is of two minds with regards to how we are saved.
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Judged by our works?

“The Big If”

Holy Spirit,Image by kelsey_lovefusionphoto via Flickr

I spend a lot of time listening to the radio when I’m in my car, and most of the time I keep the radio tuned to WMIE. I like listening to the station we pay to broadcast on locally because it gives me an idea of what’s going on out there in the evangelical wasteland. Nothing jumps out as entirely out in left field, but I do hear the same set of weird statements and suggestions repeatedly. I heard one pastor the other morning state clearly to his congregation that he wanted them to take the “ninety day Malachi challenge” and start tithing ten percent of their income, and he offered each and every person who did so a money back guarantee! Yes. He told them that if any of them fell into financial hard times during the ninety day period, the church would return the money to them no questions asked. The pastor stated quite clearly that he wasn’t in it for the money, but that he wanted to teach his congregation a “lesson” about tithing: If you test God in these matters of tithing, God will reveal Himself to you to be real.

OBERAMMERGAU, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 28:  Jesus pe...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

On another program I heard a word of faith teacher tell his congregation, quite plainly, that Jesus’ name is a talisman that, when used properly, brings health and prosperity. I heard still another word of faith teacher tell me that if I used the name of Jesus regularly I could have victory over all my circumstances in life… If I used his name properly.

Ok, there are a lot of “ifs” out there with regard to Bible teaching. Lots of them. But I’m talking about “The Big If”. Here is the big one. “Jesus has won victory over death and Satan, and his victory is yours, if you believe and repent of your sin”.

There it is. And what’s more, people… Christians believe this schlock. They buy it hook line and sinker. Yes, the Bible does have passages where, when someone is confronted with their sin, they ask “what shall I do”. Yes, the answer that is given often times is “believe the Gospel”. Yes, people do regularly think that they somehow drum up faith within themselves. But that last thing about drumming up faith inside yourself?

Can’t happen. Impossible. Never in a million years. Not part of God’s plan. You don’t manufacture faith. You don’t. I’ll assert it again. You don’t drum up faith. There’s no spark of divinity in you that you can use to drum up faith. There is a part of you wants to hate God. That part of you hates God because it wants to be obedient. It wants to be obedient to God. It wants to obey because it thinks it has to. It hates God, not due to the fact that it’s helpless. Not because it perceives its falleness. No, rather it hates God because it doesn’t get to obey like it wants to, but rather God chose His only son to come into our human flesh, obey His righteous demands perfectly and make atonement for us. There’s a part of you that hates that. It hates the fact that Jesus is the one who get’s all praise and honor and glory for what he has done. It hates that it can’t make amends for the sins that it has committed.

There’s a part of you that hates that.

But it loves “The Big If”. It loves The Big If because that kind of teaching holds out the possibility that you can somehow contribute to Jesus’ work. You don’t want to receive all the benefits of Christ as a gift, but you’d rather earn it. The Big If leaves room for your works to somehow impress God. It leaves room for a Holy Spirit driven work that you did can be more lovely in God’s sight instead of Jesus’ works. It leaves room for improvement of self by self motivation.

I know all of you love “The Big If”. You do. You love to go out and buy books like “Purpose Driven Life”, or listen to Beth Moore teach you how to get rid of your insecurities. It’s because we all think too highly of ourselves. We think highly of ourselves by thinking that we’re ambulatory; able to move around as we please under our own power spiritually. What we don’t perceive is that this is a dream. It’s a dream where we can get up and move around and do spiritual stuff under our own power. What we don’t realize is that we’re lying on a gurney in a hospital ward, in triage, waiting for our physician to come administer to us the needed medical procedures and medicines that will keep us from dying…

I’m talking to YOU dear Christian. Where before you were spiritually dead, and now you’ve been raised to life, you are still not ambulatory. You are still crippled. You still have sin in you. You are still at times hateful to God. You are hateful to God in the same way a patient is hateful to their physician when he or she tells them the prognosis. You still can’t move. You’re paralyzed and can only speak. You want to move, but you can’t. The prognosis hits your ears and you start thinking about what you can do, but it’s to no avail. Your situation is hopeless. But you refuse to admit it.

Now, imagine a doctor saying to you, “this medicine will keep you alive, IF”… If what? If the medicine works? What could the IF possibly be? Do you feel like you’re going to live when the doctor himself isn’t even sure that it will help? You might live? You might die? This is how the Gospel is presented to you, week after week, bad sermon after bad sermon. Because it makes worldly sense that you should be adding some work of your own to the work Jesus has already completed on the cross, you believe a mixed up Gospel with all your heart never realizing how hopeless your situation really is. You are told, literally, “physician, heal thyself”.

Well, how about this, dear crippled Christians. Your Physician has acquired everything needed to keep you alive! And He promises to do exactly that! In Jesus Christ, you will live! He will raise you up in the last day! He is the resurrection and the life! He IS the way, the truth, and the life! He has become your Ransom! His promises are sure! His life is yours! You have life! And life more abundant!

No “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts”.

“But what do I do?” You ask?

Stop squirming.

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Live at Christ Lutheran In Cape Canaveral:Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons

In this live studio audience edition of Radical Grace Radio, we talked about Angels and Demons, and what they do in our lives. And we talked about the Angel of the Lord.
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Live at Christ Lutheran In Cape Canaveral:Angels and Demons

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