Thursday, December 29, 2016

Q & R - The Ethics of the Trinity - Brad Jersak


I've been reading your A More Christlike God.  On page 102 you discuss "Trinitarian love". I've always taken the Trinity as a "given," and never really looked into its implications. But as I've read Jason Pratt's Sword to the Heart, I've come to see that the Trinity has significant ethical implications; God Self-Begetting (the Father) and God Self-Begotten (the Son) always treat One another lovingly. If a Person of God were to rebel against another Person of God, all existence would cease. This gets around the "Euthyphro dilemma" in a way that I do not think unitarian faiths can.  What are your thoughts?  


You are exactly right. Perhaps more than you even realize.

The doctrine of the Trinity explains how God can be One and God can be Love in God's very nature. If not for the Trinitarian relationship of persons within the One God, then God could not be eternal love. God-as-love would only begin with the creation of an object of that love. But a three-personal God means that God is love, even prior to any created object of that love beyond Godself. 

And we must insist that Trinitarian Christianity remains monotheism. We don't worship three Gods. Orthodoxy proclaims the One God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided. Note: forever undivided. This is a significant problem for any atonement theory that imagines Father turning from Son. Love ceases? Never. Union of the Godhead is interrupted? Not for a nano-second! 

You mention the "Euthyphro dilemma" ... named after Socrates' dialogue with Euthyphro in Plato's work, Euthyphro. I'm glad you caught that. Spot on. In Socrates' words, "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” In modern lingo, the essence of the dilemma is "Does God will only to do good because he is the Good? Or is the good called good because God wills it?"

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Greg Albrecht

Albrecht - Most Wonderful Time of the Year from Plain Truth Ministries on Vimeo.

The Visitor - Greg Albrecht

There are two biblical stories about the birth of Jesus. One is the factual story of who did what, when and where, given to us by Matthew and Luke. The other story occurs in our keynote passage.

The "other story" concerns itself with the profound significance of what happened at the intersection of time and eternity, when God in the person of Jesus came into our world to be one of us. The first 18 verses of the first chapter of the Gospel of John is powerful, majestic, and in some ways mysterious. As literature, this passage ranks among the most profoundly meaningful essays of a similar length. It is one of those biblical passages which encapsulates the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our passage tells us that God came, in the person of Jesus, to be one of us, as the God-man. Let's just take a moment and try to get our heads around this extraordinary claim of Scripture. The first ten words of verse 14 is a distillation of the gospel; The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

God became a human, while obviously remaining divine, for by definition God never stops being God. He is the Word, the Eternal Son of God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Author of the gospel and the main subject of the gospel, the Lamb of God, the Prince of peace, the King of kings, Lord of lords …as verse 18 calls him, God the One and Only.

Monday, December 12, 2016

What if God was one of us? - Greg Albrecht

"Stop Acting Like God. Start Acting Like Jesus." The message, on a poster being waved during a rally in support of a minority group, confronted and challenged me. It seemed to be directed at me and my fellow Christians. 

If they really knew Jesus, I thought, they would know that he is God and he was God in the flesh! 

I continued to ponder the poster until a free translation of its intended meaning occurred to me: "Jesus, save us from your followers who seem to be acting like our stereotype of the Old Testament God." 

It was obvious they had a vague notion that Jesus didn't hurt people, that Jesus didn't abuse people, and that Jesus forgave people. 

Maybe you have similar ideas about God the Father, and some stereotypes of Jesus. Maybe some of what you have been told is correct, and some undoubtedly isn't. You might even have been led to think there are two Gods, one harsh and judgmental, the other kind and forgiving.

Rediscovering the Trinity - Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr - Rediscovery of the Trinity from Plain Truth Ministries on Vimeo.

Herod Was Religious - Lazar Puhalo

Editor’s note: While many believers celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas day, millions of others extend the celebration of the Incarnation through what they call ‘The Feast of the Nativity’ well into January. In so doing, they think of the Incarnation as encompassing, not only the birth of Christ, but his whole life as God-made-human.

These are the days of the Nativity of our Lord God and Savior, the Incarnation of the living God, the Incarnation of co-suffering Love. The Sunday after the feast, the Gospel story of Herod and the Magi always holds a great revelation for us.

I was asked recently asked online, “Does evidence disprove religion?” Perhaps it doesn't disprove it so much as it exposes it. Remember, we always try to caution that religion and faith are not the same things.

Herod, you know, was a genuine believer. He was very strict about keeping the kosher laws and the other laws of his religion. Even Caesar makes note of the fact that when Herod would come to Rome—as he had to periodically to promise his fealty to the Emperor—he always refused to eat any kind of pork. And he was very careful about the kosher laws. So we could say he was a religious person.

Of course, he also had several wives and he even killed a few of them. He had numerous children both in and out of wedlock. Yet he was very religious! But this doesn't mean he had any faith.

So when the Magi came and told Herod, “Look, the prophecies of your religion are being fulfilled and we have come to venerate the one who has been born according to the word of the holy prophets,” Herod believed. He knew the word of the holy prophets. Yes, he was very religious. He knew and he could consult exactly where the Messiah was to be born. But he understood that the Messiah was to be a military ruler, a military king who would take over the land of Israel and rule it and make it great again.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What Women’s Ministries Lack - Kelsi Klembara

The lights in the large auditorium dim as quiet worship music plays in the background and a hushed buzz spreads throughout the room full of women. I look hesitantly at the two women sitting next to me. The speaker has just told us since Christian sisterhood is all about authenticity, it’s time to spill our guts to a neighbor we’ve never met. I’ve been through this before: share your story, make sure to emphasize the sin that used to be in your life and the growing holiness that is taking it’s place. That’s encouragement, right? I guess only if you can prove it.
The women in front of me are both moms from a city on the opposite side of the state. They are quiet and sweet. They tell me they have recently started a ministry together for the homeless in their community. They are working on making it sustainable while raising their own families, keeping their houses clean and caring for their husbands. And yet, they don’t know if it is enough. It’s as if a physical weight rests on their shoulders (which are quite literally sagging) from the guilt that what they are not doing constantly outweighs everything else in life. They ask for prayer to be able to do more and be more.
This post first appeared on

Monday, December 5, 2016

Deconstruction? Or Integration! - Cindy Brandt

Sometimes it feels like people view my deconstruction as exchanging one outfit for another. Like I took off my conservative clothing and put on a new progressive/liberal label. 
But it is so much more than that. 
It's like I was merely a shadow before--ephemeral, flimsy, like a ghost. Slowly, and with intention, I've become less and less satisfied with a limited capacity to feel, and instead demanded solid flesh and blood, with a fullness to see, touch, sing, love and make things; to feel my heart pulsating to the beat of my very own rhythm; to move through the world wildly whole. 
So much of my spirituality was conjured up out of thin air. I knew the right things to say, the right way to pretend to feel, the right time to do the right things. But those experiences floated through my previously ghost-like self. I never engaged with it, wrestled with it, made contact with my body/mind/soul.
Slowly, I'm learning to pull together loose molecules, scattered pieces of myself, and knit them into integrity. I started to demand truth and authenticity and beauty and refused to pretend for anything less than that. People began saying I'm liberal or progressive and I said, okay! Whatever this is, this is what I want. In fact, I simply cannot ever settle for less, or go back to the way it used to be.

The Gift of Time - Greg Albrecht

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.—Isaiah 55:6
Time is the enemy of teachers, speakers and preachers—we are always battling with the clock. In the context of formal church services, this battle goes back to the so-called olden days when preachers walked up and took their place behind the pulpit. At the beginning of the sermon an hour glass of sand was turned on its end. The passing of time was determined as small quantities of sand passed from the upper chamber, which at the beginning of the hour was full, to the lower chamber. 

When the last grains of sand filtered through the hour glass into the lower chamber, the sermon was finished. Or not, in some cases! But, preachers were on notice—those who consistently ignored the passage of time did so at their own risk.