Thursday, March 06, 2008


I just wanted to say Thanks to those who participated in my last post.

I was exposing myself in a way that I haven't necessarily exposed myself on this blog before, in that I knew that what I was saying could be taken wrong, even by those who normally see eye to eye with me. I knew that what I was saying could be taken as "finger pointing" or something like that, but I think you all understood that I was just speaking about some concerns I've had, and more than that, I was asking YOU for your input. And I thank you for your input! I really, deeply appreciate the authors of the books I mentioned, and their own unique "ministries," and I know that since many of you have shared about them in a very positive way, that you feel the same too. Since I was sharing a few concerns about thoughts they have shared in their books and interactions I've had with one of them, I realize that my positive thoughts about them could have been missed.

Some of the stuff still concerns me, but you've also helped to eliminate some of those concerns or to put some of them in a different perspective.

Along the lines of what Aida said in a comment, I really appreciate the way this small discussion has taken place. Not that I ever want to bring up topics for the purpose of pushing people's buttons, but if I have some legitimate thoughts on my heart I don't want to have to tip toe around those issues or refrain from bringing them up for fear of being pounced upon. :) I'd just like some honest, heartfelt discussion, whether everyone sees things exactly the same way or not.

I was part of a small group for the past four years. While I was able to be myself and speak my heart at times, as well as listen to a variety of ways of thinking, I also did a lot of tip toeing in this group. Many of my friends in this group probably thought I was pretty radical in the things I would say, but what they didn't know was how much I was holding back! Well, a few months ago I shared some things from the deep parts of my heart (it would take too long to explain the whole thing), and I'm sad to say that even after four years with this group, I couldn't speak my true heart without it causing a ruckus.

So I appreciate you letting me speak my heart, and I appreciate you all for speaking yours too. In the end this isn't about the authors or the books. This is about discussing the issues of life, and I think the authors and the books simply sparked discussion of the issues.


  1. Joel,

    This is a great place to speak your heart my friend, and I personally think it is better than a live group because here we have some room to think before we do our say. I like the live groups as well but both has its own pros and cons. To me the bottom line is people expressing their thoughts regardless of the fear of rejection by others. And I think it is a sign of freedom in Christ.

    I did read your last post. Instead of posting a comment I wrote a post itself with my thoughts on it.
    I still have a neutral stand on both the books, not that I am trying to be diplomatic, but thats truly what I think. Usually I pick books based on some suggestions from the 'grace community' and these days I am very careful to pick any book. I have a stack of books at home which I bought before the 'grace period' and now I don't know how to get rid of them.
    The reason I addressed the issue of universal salvation is because it can be a very deceptive theology.
    All the other details are non-issues to me, such as: the way Trinity is being represented in the shack, real Vs. fiction, finding the love of Christ through unbelievers etc... If a fiction novel start to set my theologies then I am in danger. Sprinkling bible verses here and there is not going to make a book a Christian book either regardless of the title and the content. If a book is a good read and bringing liberation than bondage and not breaking the foundations of God's love and Grace, I would give it a try and If I can agree to 50% of what the author says its worth the time.

    Ok, enough said :)

    I would encourage to use your blog to speak freely based on your conviction and I think it is okay if people disagree. For some reason these days I don't have a problem when people disagree with me. In fact thats one thing I expect from my brothers and sisters in Christ that if they disagree pls. let me know. Who can claim that they are always right? Disagreement is not a discouragement to me; in fact silence is a discouragement to me. I enjoyed the discussion on your blog and it was interesting to see the different perspectives. As you often say, one of the sign of true fellowship is agreeing to disagree.

  2. Hi Bino... I read your blog post earlier but haven't had a chance to comment there yet.

    Yep I too think there are pros and cons of both live groups and groups like this.

    In writing, sometimes it's hard to catch the true heart of what is being said, without the advantage of facial expressions, body language, etc. I think written communication is taken more literally and seriously, even in cases where lightheartedness is meant. I had this problem when I was discussing some thoughts with a couple of pastors via email last year. I know that I was misunderstood in what I was sharing.

    On the other hand, like you say, in written communication we can think before we speak and it's not necessarily just talking by our gut reactions. There is more time for words to sink in and for thoughts to form. Etc.

    In this case, I didn't say anything for a whole year, partly out of fear of being misunderstood and out of fear of looking as if I was pointing fingers. I didn't want to put a negative connotation on either of the books or authors. I know there are a lot of people who truly enjoy the books I mentioned, and to bring a negative aspect to an overall positive thing can make you look like you're on some sort of nasty inquisition, which is not at ALL what I had in mind. Really, all I was wanting was to express what was going on in my heart and to discuss it with others. I'm very glad I did this and I'm very glad people responded with their true thoughts. It's been very enlightening and edifying.

    And indeed, you said it right. We don't all see things the same way, and it's ok to agree to disagree. That doesn't mean fellowship has to be broken or that any of the people who disagrees are "right" or "wrong."

    If someone loses any love for me when I say something they disagree with, then that in and of itself shows that they have no right to judge me. :)

  3. We are to be a transparent community of love. Encouraging and spurring one another along. Iron sharpening Iron. . . almost sounds scriptural...but not legalistic..giggle...I have found that one's gut can be right more oft than not. Trying to gain consensus with any group of free thinkin folk will cause division....hard to find the Unity in Him.

    Jesus didn't toss Peter for pulling a sword and doing some surgery...why would we toss U bra?

  4. Joel,

    I'm glad you posted it to be honest. I wasn't sure if I was the only one in our grace fellowship who gets that bad feeling when I hear talk of universalism. Of course I tend to be a little blunt on the fact that I absolutely despise it.

    I love the transparency everyone is starting to have in our fellowship! I love realness, bluntness and sincerity. There is no room for growing in love without being more and more transparent with each other.

    Let's keep it going! Or should I say growing? I'm excited about all of us. I'm proud to call everyone in our fellowship of blogging soldiers of grace brothers and sisters. I'm especially fond of you all because of the like-mindedness I guess. I feel free and open around people who receive God's unconditional love and grace in Christ Jesus.

  5. There I go bein' all sentimental 'n stuff. Shucks...Somebody get me a violin.

  6. Joel!

    Sorry I didn't pitch in my two senses. I guess I was a little hesitant because of where the conversation was going! I am not big on debating and I don't like to prove to anyone that I am right over any one else, if that makes sense. I am not saying that, that is what was going on at all, but some of these topics had that potential. What I said over at Aida's blog and also on Bino's new blog post is how I feel, but it is only my opinion on the book and on the whole 'universalism' topic. In those specific comments, I didn't mean to sound rude or judgmental by saying that there was any arguing taking place, but that I think speaking the Truth in Love and spreading peace in our blog community is what I want to be involved in. I am a little shy when it comes to controversial issues, and perhaps that is a prideful issue on my part and for that I am sorry. I want you and anyone else to feel free to share what is on their hearts even if it may not agree with everybody. I too, want that freedom, and hope that I don’t show anyone that they can’t be real with me. This is what it is all about; freedom to express ourselves and be vulnerable in what Father is showing each and every one of us as a community of brothers and sisters! I am glad you brought these topics up to shore.

    In Freedom, Nicole!

  7. Thanks again, everyone, for the encouragement in being transparent, violins and all!

    Nicole, I've been kind of the same in that I've been a little uneasy sharing some things, especially when it comes to controversial subjects. Like Alvin said, among free thinking people we're not always going to find consensus. That can be a very good thing, in the iron sharpening iron sense. That's really what I hope comes out of stuff like this. I realize it can also press the buttons of sensitive people, but most free thinking people have dealt with opposition in many ways so I think most people here can handle differences of opinions. :)

    I think today's politically correct culture has lost lost that ability, at least to a degree.

    That said, I will say that my purpose in blogging is much more along the lines of providing a forum for mutual encouragement among people who are growing in grace and who are able to positively build one another up in the grace and unconditional love of God.

    I fully realize that the biblically based stuff that is "encouraging" for us here, is heresy for law-based, legalistic people, and my purpose here isn't to hash things out with them. A lot of what we share on our blogs is considered on the edge or over the edge by many Christians, but really we're just sharing what we believe to be truth, and I've been very encouraged in my interactions in the blogging community.

    I hope and pray for that to continue, as we build one another up, and as we are transparent with one another, even when we disagree, knowing that we're all in this to help one another grow in grace.

  8. You have articulated yourself well brother Joel. I agree strongly with you and Matthew. You are an encouraging witness to me. Satan has blinded hearts and minds in so many law and performanced based religions that it is regrettable that most of the known world will be lost in pursuit of trying to please and butter up a God and sacrifice to him what will never be excepted. It is hard and impossible outside of the work of the Holy Spirit to open the eyes from the darkness of Satans domain of "If" you bow before me, then I will give you this.

    To believe that we can accept the sacrifice that God has made on our behalf flys in the face of most of the known world. I wish it wasnt so, but that is why Japan is 99 percent buddhist and 1 percent Christian and the same statistics unfortunately exist in Islamic countries who bow and set their hopes for Mecca pilgrimages to work to absolve them of sin or to compensate for the evil they know they have done. It is true also for those who travel to the Vatican as well as those who set their hopes in Tibet.

    It is most unfortunate and a truth that we cannot compromise. Only those who have received the work of the Cross as a finished work on their behalf will rise again one day in the same hope of the resurrection as we live from that life that already works within us until that final day.

    I am thankful that you bore your heart and were willing if need be to stand alone.

    Have you ever thought about what walking miracles we are to believe this truth when the world regrettably rejects it. How can it be an accident. It is to miraculous not to be. He has done it and apart from anything I or you have done. I regrett that this seems arrogant as I know it can often be perceived that way, but it is the truth. He came after us as He did Mephibosheth.

    We are His Ben Melekh. Sons of intimacy. The sons of Ziba will continue to grow angrier towards the coming day because of the simplicity of this wonderful inheritance that only can be received and not worked for as Ziba tried to and tried to deceive as the servant of David against Mephibosheths solid standing before Him.

    Those without Christs righteous robes will indeed be cast out. Matthew 22 in referance to the performanced based Sanhedran which can also be seen in how other false performanced based religions also reject the wonderful work of Christ and His person on their behalf.

    What a tragedy, but it is so very true indeed.

    Grace upon grace,


  9. BTW, other believers outside of grace fellowships have started to have univeralistic sympathies down through the years. Even Puritans like Baxter I understood began to drift in that direction and it was CS Lewis who began to take up a wider gate theory considering these false religions to be the mind opening the door to Christ without them realizing it. Billy Graham sort of took that idea and implimented it into his evangelistic crusades and opened doors that some of his other brethren encouraged him not to open. I think we all can get sort of a willy nilly feeling at times including myself who actually can be a basket case more often than not, but in the end I take heart because, as a church sign I once read says, "Dont give up, Moses was once a basket case"

    I do pray for the will of God to be done and he is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance. We can hope as Abraham hoped for God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah, but the day of reckoning did indeed come.

    If I do sound arrogant or something then I do apologize. He is still working on me and I have ever been to rough around the edges at times. Like Matthew...when this subject comes up I feel a fire within me rise, but I know it is right because Christ suffered so much on our behalf that if that is rejected then men truly will have to face the wrath of God as Jesus did on our behalf, only its eternality will be a reality for them. A good reason to pray for missions.

    Grace upon grace,


  10. Brian... I don't think you're being arrogant at all. To be honest with the truth is not arrogance, unless of course someone is 'lording' the truth over someone else, which is not what you are doing.

    You said, "Have you ever thought about what walking miracles we are to believe this truth when the world regrettably rejects it. How can it be an accident. It is to miraculous not to be. He has done it and apart from anything I or you have done."

    This is very humbling, to know that God has done this work in us and that it's by nothing we've done or purposely sought after. He has brought us in, and has covered us with His wings and has given us the privilege and honor of royal children of the King. We are very blessed, and it's no less than a miracle indeed.

  11. Amen...we are truly blessed.