The Weekend Word

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56 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    Beautiful! Awesome! “Oh magnify the Lord with me”…… you have magnified the Lord and the Hope that there is IN HIM. Thank you!

  2. Jean says:

    Thanks MLD! Excellent outline.

  3. I would like to note that when I taught this class 3 years ago, we stopped and studied Rev 21 for one Sunday hour as I thought it important not to just pass over such an important topic when it was mentioned here. I would encourage you to stop and read it.

  4. Also we took time and discussed the LXX – the Septuagint which seems to have been the Bible of the many of the apostles and we discussed some of the variant readings and variant quotes in the New Testament.

  5. Jean says:

    For me, this section takes up an existential question for the Christian: If, as we confess, that Jesus is Lord (and not just of my heart, but of the whole world, in the present), then why don’t we “see everything in subjection to him”?

    This was a question for the “Hebrews” and it is a question for Christians today. Different church bodies and traditions answer this question differently. It makes a huge difference in how people answer the question “Who do people say that I am”? Or, “What do you want me to do for you”?

    The author begins his answer by shifting our look from ourselves and our immediate environment to Jesus, himself. “But we see him…” There is our answer, which he will unpack in much detail. In a nutshell, it is a theology of the cross, in which His followers follow their founder/ pioneer/author/head in a pilgrimage of suffering/humiliation/exaltation. We are baptized into His death so that just as He was raised from dead we too might walk in the newness of life.

    This is contrary to everything the world teaches us about living life. It’s just the kind of teaching that could get one killed. Oh, wait, that already happened.

  6. Jean,
    Very good point. And this is what separates the way some of us look at Jesus and look at the world and what should be. It is the reason I suggested the book I did yesterday on Open Blogging – a 180 degree turn from what the American church has been teaching for the past 150 yrs. Victorious Christian Living , not necessarily that particular book but everything you find in Christian media today (Christian bookstores, Christian TV and radio) and in most American pulpits. I identified it yesterday with the Chuck Swindol type books.

    But to answer your question “then why don’t we see everything in subjection to him”?” – because we don’t know what that should look like. We have been trained to think it should be Christians in control, Christians having success and you can fill in the blank – the Church prospering because Jesus won.

    No, if we look in the right place, we can see everything in subjection to him – where do we look? At the dead corpus hanging from the cross.

  7. Em says:

    gotta say…
    this is very foundational and critical teaching… we don’t seem to grasp the honor of our position in Christ; rather we cheapen it by looking to personality teachers who actually impose themselves on what they’re supposed to teach; are we looking for a model of prosperous Christian living to give us the formula for success and happiness?

    IMV the struggle here on the Phoenix Preacher has NOT been to play gotcha with sinning, compromising leaders of churches (it may be the case on other sites – dunno)… but to wake up the pew sitters to the reality of the Faith – the holiness of God

    of course, i don’t go along with all MLD’s blanket aspersions he casts on the churches, but the points he is making above are absolutely needed – teach on MLD

  8. Jean’s point (very perceptive) and my response deal with the distinction between the Thology of Glory vs The Theology of the Cross. Evangelicalism, because of their view on sanctification (which they are entitled too) has grown the theology of glory to new heights without realizing it. Any time someone say “God has blessed out church with great growth this past year” = theology of glory. When someone says “you must come to my church and hear my pastor he is so good” = theology of glory. When someone says “I have made great strides in my Christian life this year” = theology of glory.

    It is all around us, as I said almost 100% of Christian media id infested with this stuff.

  9. Em says:

    theology of glory is a term that i have not heard before… whose glory you talkin ’bout? glorification of men’s work? is there a fine line between celebration of and glorification of same?
    i’m not too focused on your #8, but getting our bearings regarding the positional relationship between God and man seems wise :smile;
    probably not too wise to reason with me this week as i’m living in a strange, burning world right now… down south i hear the inland valley in California has sunk 10 feet and the world i’m sitting in/on seems surreal, to say the least

  10. Steve Wright says:

    I read from 2 Peter today where we are exhorted to live holy lives here on earth. I see no problem sharing that exhortation to the church….

    And because our primary lesson was in Habakkak and I referenced the 3 mentions of “just shall live by faith” I came across Heb 10:39

    But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

    Not to restart the discussion of last week, but much was made by some of the author using “we” and it was concluded he felt the need to include himself in the warnings….Well, here the same author is using “we” to make it clear he and his (saved) readers are not going to draw back but will have saving faith unto salvation….i.e. perseverance of the saints

    (Good message this week, MLD…won’t add anything but wanted a coda to last week given it came up in my own message today)

  11. Em says:

    “What was in the cup? Death!! Jesus did not just sip at this cup – he gulped it down – he gulped down death for all.”
    that reference to the Son of God on the cross always sends shivers up my spine – even the victory is almost unfathomable … such a great salvation
    Matthew 27:46

  12. Jean says:

    “theology of glory is a term that i have not heard before… whose glory you talkin ’bout? glorification of men’s work? is there a fine line between celebration of and glorification of same?”

    Here is a simple definition of theologies of glory:

    Theologies of glory are approaches to Christianity and to life that acknowledge the cross, but view it primarily as a means to an end – an unpleasant but necessary step on the way to good things in the future. Examples can be found in the prosperity gospel, the purpose driven life/church and in books and seminars promising Christians awesome marriages, parenting, health, and other “life transforming” results. Because of this orientation to the faith, theologies of glory typically minimize the reality of sin, pain and suffering, and try to spin bad things into good things.

  13. Em says:

    theologies of glory, thank you for the explanation, Jean … seems a strange definition 🙂

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If you want to see the Theology of Glory in modern 21st century observe the Harvest Crusade next week. 100% theology of glory.

    Look who they will trot out to explain the effects of a Christian life.

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em – atr it’s root, the theology of glory stands opposed the the theology of the cross.
    The theology of glory tell you that you can tell your standing with God by looking at your own life. – for example (in addition to the simple ones I listed in my #8) would include when someone says “I really feel the holy spirit working in my life” = the theology of glory.

    I think people accept all of these examples as normative and good – but don’t like the term, the theology of glory.

  16. Josh the Baptist says:

    Would expecting life change from one who claims the New Birth be considered Theology of Glory?

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    No I don’t think so. I think our expectations of another person would be in a different category. However, and you would have to look again at my statement. If someone says “God is blessing me, look at my life changes – yes that is the theology of glory as they are claiming to know their standing or acceptance with God based on theoir behavior or actions.

    The biggest one I use with people and I have here is when the pastor says “God has blessed our church with great growth this year.” They are making a false claim – God’s acceptance based on some act. God may not have anything to do with it – but everyone amens and applauds.

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The theology of glory tell you that you can tell your standing with God by looking at your own life. ”

    Forgive the rabbit trail, I am just trying to understand.

    So according to the above statement, if I look at my own life and say, hey, I’m a drunk. I am involved in numerous affairs. I regularly cheat at work and take what’s not mine. Maybe God is not too pleased with the way I am living.

    Is that theology of glory?

  19. Steve Wright says:

    Curious MLD….If I were to apply for some formal position within a Lutheran organization, would all of the questions be solely about my doctrinal beliefs or would they ask me personal questions about my life (i.e. ever been divorced, if so, why, how many…ever been guilty of a crime, if so what and when etc.)

    I ask because my experience has ALWAYS been that in any application or evaluation process where the goal is to keep things exclusively Christian, it is a twofold process. Doctrinal and personal living (as a Christian).

    But then again I have never applied for anything within Lutheranism…

  20. Michael says:

    “Why don’t we see everything in subjection to Him”?

    Because the kingdom has come, but not yet.
    The kingdom has come, but not in it’s fullness.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, the point is would your answer be to show that you are worthy of the position because God accepts you based on those actions.

    Here is the point, and you can disagree because there is a huge divide in today’s church. I can do good works and I can have the warm fuzzies about my Christianity but none of it tells me how God is feeling about me.

    How do I know what God thinks of me? I look at the cross.

  22. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – the point is that nobody can say with 100% certainty that someone else is saved. Of course, we can have enough certainty to feel confident when we need to interact with someone who must be a Christian for that interaction to take place.

    Like hiring a church staff member.
    Like admission into a Bible college or seminary (assuming that is the desire of the school)
    How about before we marry….

    Anyone can rattle off a textbook sunday school answer of what it means to be a Christian.

    It is not about worthiness before God or any such thing…I ask you a pointblank question. Do the Lutherans evaluate the LIFE of a person in making a judgement on that person’s salvation when salvation is a prerequisite for the role under consideration.

    Yes or no.

  23. Jean says:

    “So according to the above statement, if I look at my own life and say, hey, I’m a drunk. I am involved in numerous affairs. I regularly cheat at work and take what’s not mine. Maybe God is not too pleased with the way I am living.

    Is that theology of glory?”

    I don’t think so, Josh. This sounds perhaps like a person with a penitent heart.

    Here’s another point to add to the mix. Many of us may know athiests, Jews, Hindu, or Muslims who are really kind people and do none of the things in your example. They may by outward appearances be more “godly” than a lot of Christians we know personally. If so, then how can we trust what we see in others or in ourself about our relationship with God?

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ” in making a judgement on that person’s salvation when salvation is a prerequisite for the role under consideration.”

    I would say based on Lutheran theology the answer should be no. Based humanly I would say it would be hard not to.

    I have never asked a person I have interviewed a lifestyle question. What would you ask? “do you sleep around?”

    But you have missed the whole point on the distinction between the theology of glory and the theology of the cross.

    Let me ask you – has God blessed your church with growth? If so how do you know?

  25. Josh the Baptist says:

    I couldn’t possibly understand this theology of glory/ theology of cross distinction.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh,
    “So according to the above statement, if I look at my own life and say, hey, I’m a drunk. I am involved in numerous affairs. I regularly cheat at work and take what’s not mine. Maybe God is not too pleased with the way I am living.”

    You keep bringing up examples that are not in the category we are discussing. I will ask point blank – can you tell what God thinks of you based on your good works and the exemplary lifestyle you live.?

    In Steve;s words it’s yes or no 😉

  27. Jean says:

    “It is not about worthiness before God or any such thing…I ask you a pointblank question. Do the Lutherans evaluate the LIFE of a person in making a judgement on that person’s salvation when salvation is a prerequisite for the role under consideration.

    Yes or no.”

    Steve, this is a “left hand kingdom” issue. Therefore, you have 2 things to go on: (1) the person’s confession and church affiliation; and (2) their resume and background check (depending on the position).

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I think I laid out the distinction very clearly. Look back at my #6. Most Christians have been taught that we can see how Jesus is victorious or as the statement was seeing all things under his submission by looking how well things are going for the church or for the church person. I say this tells us nothing.

    Only the cross shows all creation under his submission.

  29. Em says:

    God has blessed me so many times and in so many ways unrecognized by me – all glory belongs to Him, His attribute of love controlled by His righteousness is perfect – His glory is all His own – glory to God for holding the world together, for His inscrutable plans beyond our understanding and most of all i thank Him so much that He never, NEVER changes

    a theology or a doxology? not sure that we can’t have grateful hearts when things are good and praise Him … seems okay to me … sometimes, perhaps we try to fine tune things a bit too much – our hearts are, after all, deceitful and wicked – polluting our thoughts, no matter which way we turn

  30. Josh the Baptist says:

    So the theology of glory only extends to good works, but not bad ones?

    To answer your question I would say, No. You cannot tell what God thinks of you based on your exemplary life.

    It may be, however, that you can tell what you think of God based on how you live your life “If you love me, you will follow My Commands…”

  31. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t understand at all, and that’s fine.

    I like your notes on this passage.

  32. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I tried to explain this on the podcast today.

    The simplest way for me is to say that the theology of glory looks internally and at circumstance to assess the work of God in ones life while the theology of the cross looks only to the cross for the evidence of the work of God.

  33. Michael says:

    The passage about not seeing everything in subjection to Him yet is crucial in a time of hyper realized eschatology…

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    When Jesus teaches of knowing us by our fruit, or loving him by following commands…is He teaching a theology of glory?

  35. Steve Wright says:

    Let me ask you – has God blessed your church with growth? If so how do you know?
    —————————————————–
    This is not even remotely in the neighborhood of my discussion, nor something I wish to discuss. The discussion is on the individual person..nothing more or less.

    This is where things bog down so quickly. Josh quoted one example from Scripture and there are so many exhortations (to people who already are believers) to walk pleasing unto the Lord and so forth….it seems to me that Lutheranism is presented as if any exhortation to Godly living, and yes, victorious Christian living over temptation and lust is actually frowned upon. I just can’t imagine that is the case and I have to believe that if someone sought active participation in Lutheran ministry (assuming agreement with all doctrine) but had been divorced and remarried five times since becoming a believer, the overseers might reject such an application. I don’t see why this is a left hand kingdom issue…

    Bottom line…I believe a Christian witness involves both words and life. I can’t think I am along in that view.

  36. Josh the Baptist says:

    “in a time of hyper realized eschatology…”

    While I understand, and agree with, your frustration with the Wonks, it seems that among the New Testament writers, at least Paul and John thought the end was coming very soon.

  37. Michael says:

    Josh,

    That is a separate issue.

    Hyper realized or over realized eschatology is the expectation that the kingdom is already here in it’s fullness…thus healings, prophecies, visions, etc. should be the norm of the Christian life.

    Peter said we were in the last days and that the kingdom had arrived…but it is not yet manifest in it’s fullness, nor will it be until the King comes again.

  38. Josh the Baptist says:

    Gotcha. Misunderstood.

  39. Steve Wright says:

    The simplest way for me is to say that the theology of glory looks internally and at circumstance to assess the work of God in ones life while the theology of the cross looks only to the cross for the evidence of the work of God.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Well if this is MLD’s point…I have no doubt that as I look internally my life is radically different today than it was before I got saved…and of course that is made easier by not getting saved until the age of 25 when I had a few years under my belt of being on my own….

    The work of God is still the work of God, right?

    To God be the glory…not taking any credit personally. God puts a new heart and desire within, and God provides the means to pursue that new desire….

    I just don’t get why we can’t look both at the cross and the changes God has wrought within since belief in that finished cross work of the Savior.

    (Now if by “circumstance” (above definition) it is meant one’s health or wealth etc…obviously Josh, me, and probably anyone else reading would reject that immediately…surely MLD is not arguing that though….)

  40. Michael says:

    Steve,

    The problem comes when we look at what God has done in us and see how much more work He has to do.
    That can lead to despair if that is your only barometer.

    Lutherans draw a rigid line between law and Gospel…too rigid for us in the Reformed world, but it can be and is a helpful distinction to keep in mind.

  41. Jean says:

    “At present, we do not yet **see** everything in subjection to him. 9 But we **see** him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

    We can apply theology of glory to this week’s lesson. What might the Hebrews have been “looking for”? What were they expecting to **see**? The author just got done telling them that the Son was seated at God’s right hand in Heaven and that the world to come had been subjected to Him. Yet, they didn’t **see** and many of them were at risk of falling away.

    (1) Jesus had not returned yet. They were not seeing any benefits from following him. Maybe He wasn’t coming at all. Maybe they had thrown in with the wrong sect.

    (2) They had lost friends and/or family members from following Jesus. Hopefully, they could get them back if they went back to the synagogue. There is economic security in numbers. Things perhaps were pretty good at the synagogue. Good business connections and such.

    (4) They might be feeling opposition or persecution. Why endure opposition and/or persecution if there are no immediate benefits? They could go where there was strength in numbers.

    These are the same kinds of questions and issues that people today ask and consider when exploring spirituality. What can I get out of it? How will it benefit me or my family? I want measurable results. The cross, if its even a consideration, becomes a means to an end, which end is the benefits it brings me.

  42. Michael says:

    The other issue at play here is that Lutherans believe that sanctification is monergistic.

    This would seem to me to be in contradiction to their doctrine that salvation can be lost, as it would make God a failure in His work.

    Calvinists and most evangelicals believe sanctification to be synergistic.

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    Limitations with bodies:

    Can only be in one place at a time.

    My back hurts really bad right now. It is terribly distracting.

    My body needs food to keep functioning. Sleep, etc.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    That can lead to despair if that is your only barometer.
    ————————————————-
    Key word…only.

    A large part of my preaching is to exhort and encourage believers to keep looking to the cross…but at the same time to exhort to holy living as well.

    That’s the trouble I get into for reading them and teaching them the Bible verse by verse, book by book 😉

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    Despair can be a good thing, in proper doses.

  46. Michael says:

    Whereas introspection, whether it ends in euphoria or in the gloom of self-pity and self-despair, can become an expression of self-absorbed pride, self-examination is the fruit of God-centered humility, ever seeking to shake free of all that displeases the Father, dishonors the Son and grieves the Holy Spirit, so as to honor God more. Thus self-examination is a fundamentally healthy process, leading into repentance, where mere introspection can leave us just feeling sorry for ourselves.

    Storms, Sam (2015-06-30). Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 80). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

  47. Jean says:

    “A large part of my preaching is to exhort and encourage believers to keep looking to the cross…but at the same time to exhort to holy living as well.”

    Exhorting as part of preaching is not antithetical to theology of the cross and is totally biblical. It works within the theology of the cross insofar as Paul teaches our union with Christ in his death and resurrection through baptism.

    So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    Romans 6:11 ESV

    So we are exhorted to put away the deeds of the flesh.

  48. Michael says:

    Thus sanctification is both a gift (that is one side: God working in us to renew and transform us) and a task (the task of obedience, righteousness and pleasing God). And we must never so stress either of the two sides that we lose sight of the other. Think only of the task, and you will become a self-reliant legalist seeking to achieve righteousness in your own strength. You will not make any headway at all. Think only of the work of God in your life, and the chances are that Satan will trick you into not making the necessary effort and not maintaining the discipline of righteousness so that, in fact, even as you rejoice in the work of God in your life, you will be dishonouring it by your slackness. Hold both sides of the matter together in your mind, if you want your living to be right.

    Storms, Sam (2015-06-30). Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 97). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, it has nothing to do with good works – it has to do with can you tell what God thinks of you because your good works.

    Your refusal to answer about God blessing your church and sticking it all on the individual is ridiculous. The biggest abuses of the theology of glory is just that.

    Greg Laurie will make the claim this weekend, that God has blessed them with 100,000 people – when in fact God’s blessing may be going to the church of 50 that just had 10 members walk out. How many times do we hear, God is blessing us while other churches are dying.

    But as I said, this is a huge divide in today’s church in the past 150 yrs. Didn’t used to be that way.

    btw, you didn’t give examples of the questions you ask employees about their behavior that indicates to you that they are Christians.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The difference here is why you don’t hear testimonials in Lutheran Churches.

  51. Em says:

    “…..questions and issues that people today ask and consider when exploring spirituality. What can I get out of it? How will it benefit me or my family? I want measurable results. The cross, if its even a consideration, becomes a means to an end, which end is the benefits it brings me.”
    it seems to me that these are the people who fall away from the Faith, never having really been spiritually born…
    if something called a theology of glory confuses the born-again ones, then God help the shepherd who has taught such a material affirmation IMHO

  52. Jean says:

    “It seems to me that these are the people who fall away from the Faith, never having really been spiritually born…
    if something called a theology of glory confuses the born-again ones, then God help the shepherd who has taught such a material affirmation IMHO”

    Yes, precisely. That’s what is so dangerous about that theology and its promoters. It doesn’t prepare people for the inevitable failures, evil and injustices that all of us have or will experience at some point.

    Theology of the cross, on the other hand, provides us with an accurate view of the world and ourselves, which prepares us for those things.

  53. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – a church is a collection of people and not what we are talking about at all. What it means for God to “bless” a church is a topic in itself and has no objective (i.e. Biblical) standard. Why you quote Greg Laurie to me is beyond me.

    What God thinks of us?? Is that the whole point? God sees the believer in the righteousness of Christ…period..end of story…and yeah that all is the cross.

    But that is not the limit to your input on the discussion. I gave examples as far as marriage/divorce and so forth already.

    How does one confess their sins without some sort of self-evaluation?

    Maybe the real issue here is not with the evangelical but with the Lutheran who does not recognize the clear distinction in Scripture between our relationship with God and our fellowship with God.

  54. Jean says:

    “Despair can be a good thing, in proper doses.”

    Despair: To lose all hope or confidence.

    I’m not sure, Josh, what you have in mind here. but I think there is a better word to express what you might mean.

    Would you instead consider using the word “wretched”? St. Paul uses that description about himself. In another passage, he refers to himself as the foremost sinner. Yes, sin will always cling to our mortal bodies. This struggle we have, Spirit against the flesh, is a real struggle and a source of ups and downs.

    Blessedly, however, in our relationship with Jesus Christ, he became for us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He has done everything for us, so we have supreme hope and confidence in our salvation precisely because we don’t have to rely on our own works, which will never justify us in the eyes of God anyway.

  55. Steve, you are like that scene where the fish are in the water and another fish swims by and says “how’s the water?” and the one fish looks at the other and asks “what’s water.”

    You did it right there – “our relationship with God and our fellowship with God.”

    You put the emphasis on yourself – you can judge things by YOUR relationship and by YOUR fellowship. Look, as I mentioned to someone above, I don’t think you guys disagree with the distinction I make, I think you all believe it — you don’t like the term that has been applied – the theology of glory.

    Have you read Victorious Christian Living by Redpath? Have you read Chuck Swindoll?
    Jean has it right in his last post – I can look only to what Christ has done – NOT Improving my Serve, Dropping my Guard or whatever some of those other early Swindoll titles were.

  56. Michael, I just noticed a comment you made earlier this afternoon. I missed it.

    “Lutherans draw a rigid line between law and Gospel…”

    We don’t draw a line between them at all – we just teach that you need to properly distinguish between the 2. It is a preaching tool and too many times the pastor mixes the 2. To say “love your neighbor” and call that a gospel message just doesn’t rise to the occasion.(love your neighbor is a law passage – a command)

    We believe God speaks in his 2 words- (1) law and (2) gospel – We think that Paul in 2 Tim 2:15 is saying just that – when you preach, when you teach know when you are preaching the law and know when you are preaching the gospel – today much teaching is Golawspel. 🙂

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