Monday, September 26, 2016

Does God forgive AND forget? Q&A with Greg Albrecht

Q: While attending a Bible study one night in a church I used to attend the pastor stated, "when we ask forgiveness of God, he does forgive us but he never really does forget." He was "clarifying" Hebrews 10:17. The pastor said, "After all, he is God, he knows everything, it would be impossible for him to forget." I find myself angry at this minister even today and I haven't seen him in years. I believe God does forget—however in the back of my mind this minister's comments still haunt me. Please, tell me, does God forget or not?

A: I think I know what the minister may have meant. Part of what he may have been trying to say might be true, but as you remember what he said, his statement is not the gospel—it is not good news. The unexplained implication of what he did say is not only problematic, it leads us away from a relationship with God rather than closer to the love and intimacy he offers us.

On one hand, God is not limited to what humans dogmatically believe about him. Nothing is impossible for God (see Luke 1:37). He has all power. He can do anything he wants. That's an academic, theological consideration. However, the other side is what he reveals to us in Scripture—in terms of what he chooses to do, out of his love and grace. God does not need to forgive us. He is not obligated. We don't earn his grace. He loves us anyway, not because of our performance. He loves us out of his goodness. 

To your point. Does God forget? In one sense, he does—he chooses to set our sins aside, not because he is forgetful—not because he has senior-itis—but because he chooses not to recall them. He can recall them, but chooses not to. See Psalm 103:11-12.

Press Release: THE REMNANT - new novel by Monte Wolverton

the Apocalypse came and went,
but Jesus didn't show up?

The Remnant is both inspiring and satirical—it's a physical and spiritual expedition through a dystopian world. Avoiding been-there, done-that predictable conclusions, it offers hope against the backdrop of a real, perplexing and challenging world of spiritual and physical dysfunction. 

In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn't show up. Instead, a cataclysmic war left a totalitarian government ruling the world, and it had banned all forms of religion. Those who insist on practicing religion are imprisoned in work camps around the world.

An inmate in a North Dakota work camp, Grant Cochrin, hears rumors of isolated Christian communities in the lawless Wilderness. He escapes with his family and friends on a quest for a utopian Christian community. They are guided by a single Bible page—a remnant of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant's grandparents.
On their long, dangerous and sometimes violent journey, the Cochrins and their friends encounter a series of bizarre religious communities, but none of them seem right. Finally, just as they are ready to abort their quest and plant their own community, they are ambushed by a gang of human traffickers. At the last minute, World Federation security forces inexplicably intervene. Expecting imprisonment, Cochrin and his team are stunned to be whisked off to the world capital of Carthage, Tunisia, where they are received by World President Mehdi Kazdaghli.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A More Christlike God - Brad Jersak & Roger Mitchell (Sparks 2016 Workshop)

"A More Christ-like God" - Brad Jersak's Workshop at SPARKS

Brad Jersak is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC. He is on faculty at Westminster Theological Centre (Cheltenham, UK), and is also the editor in chief of CWR (Christianity Without the Religion) Magazine.

Brad’s most recent book, "A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel," seeks to detoxify our images of God to present the Incarnation of Christ as our clearest vision of the nature of God as love.
“SPARKS” 2016 was a weekend of conversation and discovery at Ashburnham Place to explore the following theme: “How to remain present, faith-filled, and resilient in the challenge and change of today”.

This video was produced by Michael Lafleur and The INFUSION NETWORK on behalf of SPARKS and it’s organizers © 2016.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Five Stages of Religious Violence - Greg Albrecht

"It all begins with the religious delusion to which humans so easily fall for: the glorification of human performance."

Stage One — Acceptance:

Acceptance of the belief that keeping rules, regulations and rituals determines our standing before God is the first stage that actually lays the groundwork for religious violence. Within Christendom, Christ-less religion is the belief that our performance of prescribed rules and rituals is the only way to please or appease God, and that our standing with God is dependent upon the quality of our performance. The idea that what we do enhances or improves our standing with God, so that he will love us more because of our performance (more than he would have had we not put forth the effort) is the un-grace of religion. This “philosophy” by definition involves no grace, no relationship, and therefore no Jesus. This “philosophy” is religion—rules and performance. Performance-based religion itself is the foundation that can lead to violence and bloodshed.

CLICK HERE to continue

Grace Alone - Greg Albrecht

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.—Romans 3:21-26
In a previous article titled In Need of Grace, we discussed our need of God's amazing grace. We started by discussing this passage:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, "The righteous will live by faith."—Romans 1:16-17
Along with a longer initial passage in Romans (2:1-3:20) we then discussed Paul's careful development of his argument that any and all of our human efforts are insufficient to bring us into relationship with God.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Enter to win: "The Remnant" - a Novel by Monte Wolverton

Enter to win a free copy of The Remnant, by award-winning author, Monte Wolverton

(giveaway only available in the US and Canada)

The Remnant
In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn't show up, as some expected. Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth's population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia.

Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps. 

Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community.

Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant's grandparents.