‘If God is Love’ #5

I want to start off by saying that If God Is Love has quickly become one of my favorite books. It has challenged me in several ways, and while it may not have drastically changed my belief system, it has certainly shared its enormous wealth of wisdom. I do believe that it has already affected my interactions with others and forced me to at least recognize that I need to be more gracious towards them.

This may be the most difficult of my writings about our study group, as I wasn’t able to attend the class meeting last week. I also didn’t get any questions to ponder and don’t feel inspired to come up with my own. Therefore, I will simply discuss some of my favorite quotes and elaborate on them.

We’re comfortable with Christian exclusivity unless we’re the ones left out.

This statement refers to a branch of Christianity that claims to have a monopoly on what it means to be a Christian and to be superior to other denominations. We have seen evidence of this line of thinking in a recent statement signed by Pope Benedict claiming that Catholicism is the only true church. Gracious Christianity rejects this type of discourse.

One of my critics asked, “If everyone is going to be saved, why bother with Jesus?” In a moment of rare spontaneous inspiration, I answered answered, “I’ve never considered Jesus a bother.”

The author goes on to explain that imitating Jesus is the same thing as imitating God, and it allows us to participate in God’s work in the world.

The inconsistencies in Jesus’s life aren’t reason to ignore him, but encouragement for taking him seriously.

The passages of scripture are recalled about Jesus being downright rude to the Pharisees, cursing and insulting them. While the author considers that this could have been a real possibility, since Jesus was human, there is much literary and historic evidence pointing towards the early church intentionally portraying the Pharisees as the enemies of Jesus.

The author states that he doesn’t “think Jesus acted this way towards his opponents because he taught me not to act that way toward mine… How we treat our enemies is the clearest indication of our theology.”

God changes his mind. This is a humble God, open to critique and input.

The story of the Israelis building a golden calf and triggering the anger of God is retold. God wants to destroy the people and start over, but Moses intercedes on their behalf and asks God to change His mind. He does.

Jesus referred to a Gentile woman as a “dog”, after she asked him to heal her daughter. His reply was both racist and exclusive, but the author says that we shouldn’t try to make excuses for him. He should be allowed to grow and learn. He was willing to listen to the woman and decided to heal her child after all.

Even if we believe God will welcome some to heaven and reject others, we have no excuse for excluding some here on earth.

Perhaps the most poignant line from this reading, it struck me in a profound and personal way. The author is specifically referring to homosexuals and compares the treatment of them to the way the church responded to issues like segragation and racism – using scripture to justify rejection of an entire group of people.

Church is a gathering of wounded and broken people relying on the grace of God as they struggle to heal and grow.

Another beautiful sentiment that I’ve personally found to be true. Look around any church gathering and you will find people damaged by life, searching for something to fill the void and restore their soul.

A gracious church is a place where people can come with questions, doubts, and struggles without fear of being condemned. Our focus is not on supplying quick and easy answers to difficult problems, but creating the space to think and explore.

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

6 thoughts on “‘If God is Love’ #5”

  1. I don’t think it is right to have a title, “If God is Love.”

    This raises some doubts more so as it started with the word If.

    God is truly is Love. There is no argument about it.

    Now, as the laid down how he loved the book as it shares wisdom, how come that book can share a wisdom when it was written with the author’s own interpretation. Are there biblical passages that support his claims? He categorised Christianity by calling it Gracious Christianity. The Bible imparts that we neither should add nor subtract information found in it or you shall receive a curse. HOw come it become gracious? Is it because it is able to let people do what they want and not condemn those who deserves condemning? This is hypocritical way of thinking. If that church is really gracious, then it could have really focused on supplying quick and easy answers to difficult problems and at the same time creating the space to think and explore, not a dash of this and a little of that.

    And to add to his deceitfulness, he claims that there are inconsistencies in Jesus’ life. Prove it then! There is no inconsistencies in the bible, the author just do not know where to find the answers.

    Authors like him will say something differently, even statements that directly opposes the context of the scriptures just to sell their book.

  2. elmantheman,

    The book is called If God Is Love because its point is “if we truly believe that God is love, then we must change our ways of thinking”.

    We have no right to judge or condemn others, and to do so is to ignore direct commandments from Christ.

    Also, you claim there are no inconsistencies in the Bible. There are many inconsistencies in the Bible and you can find some of them listed here.

  3. “Well said!” It really gives doubt to the readers. It is just ridiculous to know that you do not want to condemn other people because it is part of the commandments from Christ. But then again, your idea, which you taught of or learned from false teachers about inconsistencies in the bible are the ones that are inconsistent or directly opposes of what the bible says about itself:

    Isaiah 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

    If you think there are inconsistencies, I want to invite you “again” to continously read at
    [link removed]

    and continously put your questions. Please, stop attending the church that you are into right now, you are just learning adulterated facts about the bible. They give you doubts instead of the truth. Can’t you feel it?

    We have bible studies and we can prove that those verses that you think contradicts each other, do not.

    Just give yourself time to digest them like the time you spent with your current teachers.

    I am sorry to say this but this is how I see you:

    2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    I am glad that you are seeking the truth:

    Isaiah 1:18-20 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

    If you are willing and be obedient you shall be as white as snow.

    Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

    Let us read, hear the words of the prophecy, and keep
    those things
    which are written therein!

  4. People tend to pick which commandments they will obey and follow. But do you know that Jesus Christ commanded to the apostles to teach all things whatsoever he commanded them?

    Matthew 28:

    16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

    20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    It says everything, not whatever you just like to follow.
    So, those false teachers, since they do not want that their listeners be angry at them, they do not teach all the commandments but a little of something or none at all, or they are just the anti-Christ who deceive so many people.

    Don’t be deceived, read a lot.

    Isaiah 29:10

    Search for the reader. Let us reader altogether.

    [link removed]

  5. elmantheman,

    I find it disrespectful that you advise me to quit my church because I’m being deceived, while continuously suggesting that I read and study the writings of your pastor. Hmmmm……

    Perhaps you put too much trust in one man.

    Psalm 118:8 – “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”

    Also, it seems that you haven’t been paying close attention to my discussions on this book, as I have plainly stated on several occasions that I don’t necessarily agree with the theology that is presented in it.

  6. Well, what can I do if you see my comments as “disrespectful” because I have said something about what truly hurting you, your pride.

    But I am just helping you to realise that as a homosexual and having the freewill, we are not to succumb to the lust of the flesh. And this kind of information that we most of the time question becomes the target of false teachers. They tend to say that by following the heart, sex, even to the same gender becomes honorable.

    As of now, since you cannot be dissuade of continuing to read the sort of books you prefer and the preachers you seem to trust, I hope you will always remember this passage:

    2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

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