Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Follow up to last post (Oswald Chambers)

It was a few days ago that I scheduled the Oswald Chambers devotional to post today. I forgot that I wanted to add: What do you think of these words of Chambers? On the one hand it sounds like universalism, but on the other hand he's talking about Christ and Christ alone, and justification by faith.

For some reason, this specific date from My Utmost For His Highest has stuck out to me for years, because of the focus on Christ.

29 comments:

  1. At first I thought he was just saying that our faith doesn't save us, Jesus does. I thought he was saying faith just receives the gift, but it doesn't seem that way. He says, "We realize we're saved by by faith." I don't believe that. That sounds very universalistic to me. I don't know if I could bring myself to believe that someone who believes such a lie has the truth in them at all. It is a corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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  2. BTW,

    I would NEVER put anyone through the embarrassment of those stupid happy birthday songs at restaurants. I absolutely despise that!!! I make empty threats. But my cat is not a joke. She is known to charge at random. She will whip her tail through the air to alert that you are in her territory and she throws her ears back. It's at those times when you have to be EXTRA careful. She is not to be trifled with.

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  3. I don't think Chambers is speaking of universalism. Universalism says all are more than reconciled,that all are spiritually alive right?

    Chambers says here that "When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals... (this) rushes me into a right relationship."

    I think he is making the argument that ALL are reconciled and that the Work is finished but he goes on to say," men and women CAN BE" born again and "CAN BE" changed, not that they are already. When he says it's not by repentence or belief, I think he means that our doing doesn't make it happen for God, it already is finished, but our belief does "rush us into a right relationship." That's my take. :)

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  4. Yeah guys, I went back and forth on this. There are certain statements made that just don't sound right! But then looking at the rest of it, he is either contradicting himself or is making statements that all add up correctly in his own mind. The way you worded it, Jamie, really does seem to be the point he is making. I have a hard time, though, getting past the sentence that Matthew quoted, because it just doesn't sound correct to me.

    Anyway, I used to read My Utmost For His Highest quite often, almost daily, and some of it confused me (probably just his old style of speaking/writing), and some of it was really great stuff and some of it seemed to lean towards legalism! I ended up stopping reading it, but like I said, I always seem to remember this one in particular.

    Usually you remember dates for people's birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I remember Oct 28 because of this devotional! LOL

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  5. You da man, Joel. You da man.

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  6. I found Ozzy great at the time.

    It is like anyone I have come across

    No one's doctrine is perfect.

    It is more important to focus on our relationship with Jesus...if you have questions..ask His Spirit to reveal it to you...it is His Job description.

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  7. WC,

    Excellent. I should probably clarify what I said. I used to read Chambers when I was still essentially a legalist. Then I began reading it in the context of my life being turned upsidedown by grace, and at the time it caused me to be so up and down in my understanding and foundation in grace, that I had to stop reading it. It's true that I was depending on the words of man and not God. I've still got several copies of the book (received most of them as gifts) and I imagine that I'll venture through the pages again now that I'm more settled in God's word.

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  8. I should also add that now that you've called him Ozzy, you just might have put more sick/silly ideas into my head...

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  9. Hey I just discovered your blog and am really enjoying your insights. I've got to pick up 'Utmost' again.

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  10. I am with RJW on this. But at the same time, I don't know for sure everything 'Ozzy' (LOL!) believes. I haven't read any of his writings.

    But one thing I would suggest - let's check the original GREEK! :)

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  11. I also used to read Chambers daily. In those days I felt I needed a good spiritual kick in the butt and Mr. Chambers obliged me. Now that the gospel of grace is penetrating more and more of my understanding, writers like this interest me less and less. There always seem to be so much “you ought to be doing such and such if you are really going to be spiritual.” After thirty plus years of “you ought to’s” and “you should be’s” while I covered my end of the church pew, I am done. At least, I am done with that stuff.

    However, when I read this particular writing of Chambers’ on your blog, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find this particular point of view coming from him. What struck me was his recognition of something so completely basic to grace, yet something the vast evangelical world has missed. It is the idea that believing opens you up to something that was already yours. The way he put it was, “It is my obedience that puts me right with God, my consecration. NEVER! I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died.”

    I take this even further because I believe that when Christ died and rose from the dead, it was then that we were put right with God… righteousness was imputed to mankind then and there. Most of us just don’t know it yet. We think it depends on us to do something.

    Now, I have been struck by Paul making the same case. He writes in two places (Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) about the comparison between Adam and Jesus. Through one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) death passed upon all mankind. And then, through the obedience on one man (Jesus), all men have been given the justification of life, which is redemption.

    Thus, I believe the redemption of the world was accomplished at the cross through our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the will of God totally triumphing over sin, hell, and the grave without man’s will having any say whatsoever. It is finished there at Calvary.

    When I heard the gospel of God’s grace, yes, I believed! And in that awesome moment I could begin to see this great salvation. Paul put it like this… “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor. 2:12)

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  12. Abraham, there obedience on our part. It's the obedience of faith. We must believe. "Whoever does not believe is condemned already."

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  13. Yes, there are a few verses that, taken alone, appear to say that all are saved. But when you take the whole 'counsel' of Paul's epistles, and other New Testament writings, that case just doesn't stand.

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  14. Matt (@ The Church of No People),

    Thanks for stopping by! Glad to have another Matt aboard. :) I'll be checking out your blog.

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  15. Bino,

    It's ALL Greek to me... LOL... :)

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  16. Doesn't even the TITLE suggest legalism? MY Utmost for HIS Highest?

    Sounds like my old pastor. ;-)

    I was surprised when I read a couple of devotions of his lately and thought they sounded very legalistic.

    Shows what a different mindset can do.

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  17. Yeah, John, I was all gung ho about the book back in the days when I used to read it all the time. So many people recommended it, and I received it as a gift at least three times, so in my naive mind I thought the man was "it." When I read the book, I really did see a lot of 'shoulds' and 'oughts,' and at the time that was what I was taught in church, and I thought it was great stuff.

    Then when I came to grace, I read specific devotionals such as this one and I was so overjoyed that he 'got' it. But then of course I'd read other legalistic type devotions in the book, and I think the law-grace mixture really confused me and pulled me down.

    It goes back to what Alvin (Walking Church) said... focusing on Jesus, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal truth.

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  18. I was waiting for someone to comment on the book's title. Ryan read it; I never did. MY UTMOST For His Highest?...puhleaze...HIS UTMOST FOR MY NOTHINGNESS...a VERY inequitable deal: I get all the benefit with none of the payment, heh, heh, my favorite kind of deal!! :)

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  19. John and Jamie,

    I think you both are right on the mark. I'd bet that just the title of the book has thrown a lot of people off of the reality of the gospel. Truly we esteem Him, but only as He alone has given His utmost for us.

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  20. I have a hard time with Chambers, we got that book several years ago and used to read the devotionals at bed time. They always made us go "Hmmm" a bit too often. When we started to lay somewhat a hold of the grace message, we could no longer read it even though we tried, it just had to be put away. I see what you are saying, but on the other hand I wonder if he is really putting the emphasis on Christ and his finished work or am I just wanting to see it that way. That struggle is what made me lay it by the wayside.
    BTW Joel, with all of this Chambers/universalizm talk, this thread just may challenge the length of RJW's "get together" thread LOL.

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  21. I don't know, Ron... RJW's post is 55 comments strong at the moment. ;) That'll be hard to beat!

    But yeah, as for this particular devotion of Chambers (Oct 28), overall I think it's a great devotional but parts of it strike me the wrong way. The rest of his stuff is sometimes agreeable, but often not agreeable with me. I'm sure many say the same with things I write. =)

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  22. What is this? Thread envy? :P

    I'm doing my part here, Joel!

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  23. Maybe I'm a little thick but it didn't sound like universalism to me. I saw it the same way RJW did.

    I've never really gotten into Oswald Chambers teachings. Maybe it was because of the old sounding style but I just never particularly enjoyed reading them.

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  24. RJDubya,

    Puhleeaase... I'm not jealous, no not at all.

    But we're gonna BEAT YOU!! Haha! So there!

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  25. Aida,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I realize the futility of over-thinking what one man is saying, so I'm thankful for you and others for keeping it simple... :)

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  26. Joel,can't comment on Chambers generally. I think it would be fair to say he's no universalist? Perhaps he's actually picking up on a tendency of Keswick-type sanctification folks-that of making faith a work,rather than a rest-a new law rather than a ceasing from law-works. He's saying that all the work for man's reconciliation to God has been laid up in the risen Christ-people become partakers of its benefits when they look to Christ,appreciating its worth. But more than that,perhaps he is saying that the faith that appropriates a full and free forgiveness and imputed righteousness is itself a particular gift of God's grace. And he's linking that to a particular intent in the atonement for the elect,who can discern the same retrospectively. Not sure if he was a calvinist,tho. He certainly seems to be saying this is a unilateral Covenant right through :) The eye of faith perceives his grace for us,and is a product of his grace for us,it does not make or maintain his grace for us.

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  27. Oh, wow, Dubya???? I might have to seek office. Vice President Of Doodly Squat. :P

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  28. Chambers never seems to inspire or push me forward. Instead his writings pull me down and like the post above twist the concept of faith for me. Like many of you I have read countless Christian writer's. Manning, Bunyan, Murray, Tozer, Buechner, Nouwen, Lewis, Augustine, Luther, Knee and on and on. I always think of the scripture in revelation "They overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony" I guess I read because (like that line from the C.S Lewis movie The ShadowLands) "We read to know we are not alone" Those who have gone on before us and those walking with us today have a testimony I need to hear. I wonder if we all run the legalist side of the road now and again, if not with other's at-least with ourselves. I guess like so many I just don't want to miss the Kingdom. And when Chambers says things like "You could be lost like Judas was a man who lived with Jesus for three years but groveled to his enemies" ...That kinda stuff sends my mind down the legalist rabbit hole..And you all know why...So much of our spiritual conversations are comparing the tangible to the non tangible...example...this seed...is the word...or can I ask? what are the unseen enemies of Jesus...As easy as it is for me to go there, thats why I agree with the post above . That this is about relationship with Jesus.

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  29. Enjoyed reading this. Today's devotional made me Google if OC is a universalist. I feel better after reading some of the opinions shared.

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