James vs. Paul

There is a passage in James that is a classic stumbling block to serious belief in the radical grace of God that Paul teaches. Even Martin Luther wanted to excise this book from the canon of Scripture, because he viewed it as being so antithetical to the message of salvation by faith alone apart from […]

Be Careful what you Ask

Peter Rollins, my favorite heretic, in his book “The Fidelity of Betrayal,” shares the following story: There is an old anecdote that speaks of a couple planning to decorate their living room with attractive but expensive wallpaper. It so happens that one of their friends had recently decorated one of their rooms with a similar […]

Sermon on the Mount

I want to turn aside and take a look at Jesus’ famous teaching known to us as the sermon on the mount. It is one of the most penetrating explanations of God’s laws and ways ever given. I want to examine exactly what it says, and see how it fits with Paul’s teachings about the […]

By the Mercies of God

I need to put one thing to rest. I am not advocating sin. The last chapter was a shameless ploy to shock you into thinking. The apparent notion that I am just giving people license to sin seems to be everyone’s chief fear when I talk to them. Pastors, friends, close people, people who see […]

I advocate Evil

Yes, you read the title right. After lots of dialog with people about God’s grace and forgiveness, who ask, “are you saying people can just SIN,” and, “what about hell and damnation?!” and such, I’ve decided to come out and admit it – I advocate evil. Since I believe in grace and mercy, that means […]

Fear of God and Love of God

Tullian Tchavidjian recently posted this statement on his twitter feed: “What motivates our obedience determines whether or not it is a sacrifice of praise. Obedience to God’s commands prompted by fear or guilt is not true obedience.” This may be true, but it raises the question, what about all those verses about the fear of […]

John the Baptist and Jesus

“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.” Luke 1:5, NIV. Here we have a fairly obscure verse that shows us something very profound. John the Baptist is descended from the Levitical […]

Derrida on Forgiveness

Jaques Derrida was a French-Jewish philosopher who was a proponent of deconstructionism. Deconstructionism means that you follow a process whereby you take a ‘text’, which means everything in human experience since we experience the world through a verbal grid, and take it apart to reveal its hidden pieces and inconsistencies. The meaning of the text […]

R.C.’s Justification Equation

Once there was a great music teacher who only took a few of the most gifted and promising students. One of his students was a very disciplined young man, hard-working and eager to please. He had not at first wanted to play, but he realized it was something that pleased his mother, and because he […]

Martin Luther’s Conversion

In my reading I happened across this quote from Martin Luther describing his own conversion. This could have been a page right from this very book: “I greatly longed to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, “the justice of God,” because I took it to […]