By Dr. Jim Parker, Associate Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Associate Vice President for Facilities at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
C. S. Lewis once remarked that “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have someone to forgive. “ We always want to be forgiven when we are the offenders, but what about when we have received an offense or someone has hurt us? We are never as quick to give forgiveness as we are to want it.
Some determine the speed with which forgiveness is given or the depth of the forgiveness extended based on the perceived severity of the offense. The severity of the offense is usually based on the consequential damage of the offense. For instance, it is easier, we feel, to forgive someone for stealing $20 from us than someone who has perhaps murdered a family member. Based on the severity of consequences then, we feel we are able to delay forgiveness until such a time as we deem is appropriate or in some cases (I fear many cases) we withhold it altogether. This just seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it?
In 1998 a professing Christian man that was performing a professional service for me literally stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from me. At first I was in denial about it and believed that this man would not really do this to me, a friend, a brother in Christ. Soon it became apparent that he had done it and was doing everything he could to avoid me and my attempts to get my money back. Weeks turned to months and months to years. I was forced to go through the processes of law to try and recover my money, paying out even more money to a legal system that ultimately failed to help me. I never got one dime of the money that was stolen. If anyone ever had a reason to withhold forgiveness, certainly it was me and surely these circumstances dictated that I do so. Don’t you think so?
This is a list of recent blog posts which we found interesting. That we found them interesting doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or endorse the ideas presented in the posts, but that we found them to be intriguing and thought-provoking. (They are listed in no particular order of interest). Please post your comments to discuss any article that strikes your interest. If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to email@example.com.
About the SBC
“Southern Baptists, Immigration, and Ducks,” by Howell Scott on the From Law to Grace blog, expressing concern about the resolution on immigration approved by the SBC Phoenix.
“Deporting Compassion, the Gospel, and Illegals,” by Andrew Wencl on the SBC Impact blog, with further commentary on the SBC Phoenix resolution on immigration.
“Al Mohler, Homosexuality, and Continued Moral Confusion, Part 1 and Part 2,” by Peter Lumpkins, with further reflection on Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality at and after the SBC convention in Phoenix.
“Help Me Understand, Dr. Mohler,” by Tim Rogers at the Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, with further conversation about Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality.
“Mohler on Homosexuality: Read and Comprehend,” by Matt Svoboda on the SBC Voices blog, with further conversation about Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality.
Theological Vocabulary Thursday
Libertarian Free Will: Jesus’ Reaction to Jerusalem’s Rejection Reflects the Father’s Reaction
By L. Manning Garrett III, Ph.D., Pastor, East Laurel Baptist Church, Jackson, TN
Regarding last week’s article, “Two Versions of Free Will in Southern Baptist Life,” there were several comments pertaining to my reference to Jesus’ reaction to Jerusalem’s rejection of Him in Matthew 23: 37-39 and Luke 13:34-35. One respondent observed that it is not clear why nonCalvinists think this episode in Jesus’ life counts against Calvinism. I will show why I think this text supports the idea that Jesus believed that the Jerusalemites had libertarian free will — they rejected Him but could have accepted Him.
Calvinist compatibilists will argue that the Jerusalemites are responsible for rejecting Jesus because they were acting on their deepest desire: they wanted to reject Jesus. Further they will argue that the Jerusalemites “could not have accepted Jesus,” while libertarians claim that the Jerusalemites had the real option to accept Jesus but chose to reject Him. NonCalvinist libertarians and Calvinist compatibilists differ with respect to whether or not the Jerusalemites had the real option “to desire to accept Jesus.”
Monday Sermon Workshop:
Joy in the Midst of Tribulation (James 1:1-4)
By Craig Price, Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek, occupying the Bob Hamblin Chair of New Testament Exposition, and Associate Dean of Online Learning at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
SBC Today will offer three step-by-step expositions by Dr. Price to assist pastors and other church leaders in developing sermon ideas or Bible studies for their ministries.
Reasons to Be Joyful in the Middle of Trials (James 1:1-4)
The little book of James has been one of the most encouraging letters in the New Testament for believers going through trials and tribulations. In this series of lessons, we will examine the letter from a different perspective. We will use William Mounce’s technique of “phrasing” in order to derive the outline for the text. These lessons will serve more as “starter” lessons for busy pastors and teachers to get a jump-start on the upcoming sermon or lesson.
The Text: James 1:1-4 (HSCB)
1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion. Greetings. 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
By Greg Tomlin, President of Christus Films
Note: This article is a response to a recently published Harvard University study which claimed to prove, among other things, that persons attending Fourth of July parades tended to be more patriotic and to vote Republican, whereas those who didn’t tend to be Democrats.
The title of this little essay is not indicative of my position. It is what I can only imagine is the mercurial rant of liberal New England, socialist elite parents who recently had their fears confirmed that 4th of July parades and other exhibitions of patriotism breed Republicans.
After all, Harvard confirmed it in a new study, timed for release just before our nation’s most profound and sacred holiday.
I’m not “joshing” here, as the patriotic folk in rural Texas say. The press release for the Harvard study claims, “Attending one Fourth of July [parade/event] before age 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent and voting for the Republican candidate by 4 percent. It also increases voter turnout by 0.9 percent and boosts political campaign contributions by 3 percent.” In an era of narrow voting margins, we can’t have that, now can we?