Jeremy Myers (www.redeeminggod.com) has some interesting ideas that are worth looking at. Here’s one: Here’s the link
Another one from Don Francisco’s page on Facebook:
Roman crucifixion was an invention that demonstrated openly the darkest part of the soul of humanity. Yes, it was inevitable that Jesus died there, but it was only the means to an end– our adoption into the family of God. Until Jesus came, we were separated by a vast gulf from a God we constantly feared and misunderstood. Then God actually became one of us, and suddenly we were able to look at Him face to face.
The problem was, we couldn’t stand the sight: What shone so clearly in Him was incompatible with what we saw inside ourselves. It was that part of us that needed to die, but instead of realizing that, we killed Him. What we never imagined He’d do, though, was to take all that was in us into Himself and die with it.
And while enduring the worst of our sin, hatred and ugliness on the Cross, He prayed the most amazing prayer: “Father, forgive them. They have no idea what they’re doing.” Of course, the Father heard Him, and forgave us. But as the God of eternity, He already had. He sent Jesus because it had always been the Plan to bury our old, sinful nature and raise up a New Human. It had always been the Plan to share the eternal life and joy of the Father, Son and Spirit “by bringing many sons and daughters to glory”, by bringing us all into the circle in the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. You’re with/in Him now– He didn’t fail in His mission. He’s done it! Hallelujah!
– Posted by Don Francisco on Thursday, 2 April 2015
How can the ‘nice’, loving God of the New Testament, as exemplified and demonstrated by Jesus, be reconciled with the ‘Nasty’ God of the Old Testament? Here’s a link to a thought-provoking article on how a ‘nice’ God is ‘appeased’ by killing His own Son. Or is He?
And here’s some of the entrenched reaction to it. The great Christian musician and minister, Don Francisco, read the article, liked it, and declared that he agreed with it. The replies make for interesting reading: how people apparently secure in their faith can suddenly seem insecure when all their carefully-held beliefs are challenged; how someone who has served Jesus faithfully and sacrificially for decades can suddenly become the ‘bad guy’, in so many people’s eyes, simply by saying what he thinks; how all of a sudden all those years of faithful, prophetic service count for nothing in some people’s eyes – as far as they’re concerned, it’s all gone just like a burst soap bubble. Clicking the date part takes you straight to it:
Boy, posting that link the other day has shown me that after all these years I’m still very naive: I really didn’t…
And then, there’s even more. But Don stuck to his guns, bless him:
Since he derailed our parents in the Garden, it’s been our enemy’s goal to get us to believe that God’s character is…
Don has always been a prophet. In this, he’s saying to us what God is saying to our generation. Also, his wife Wendy has made pro-gay comments on some forums (I have read them); again this is what God is saying to the Church in these times. Time to accept gays, lesbians and all those who have felt alienated from the Church because of the Church’s entrenched attitudes. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!
In March of this year, the great Christian musician, Don Francisco, shared on Facebook one of the most profound postings I’ve ever seen. Click the date in the link below to be taken straight to it on Facebook. You may need a Facebook account to be able to read it; I’m not sure! And I’ve reproduced it in full here as well….
“Come to Me, all of you who struggle wearily and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) This verse means “….all of you who struggle under religious burdens….” It was a religious burden Jesus carried to Calvary– that heavy cross was put on Him by the religious system. Because of Jesus, all the world’s religious systems and their burdens are finished– there is no longer anything or anyone between you and God, no mediators, no set of rules. Some religions, calling themselves ‘Christian’, would try to add, “Well, now that you know the truth, you’ve got to do this or that….” I’m sure you can fill in those blanks yourself, but none of them are from Him; performance is not required. You were in Him when He was crucified and died, and you were in Him when He rose and ascended back to where He was before. God is your brother and your friend. And that’s that…. plus nothing.
I’ve heard it said that when Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-45, “ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven”, He meant that unless you love your enemies etc. then you will essentially be proving that you are not Children of God. Or, to put it another way, loving your enemies like this is a condition of sonship.
I would point out to these people that this kind of love is a fruit, not a condition of entry, or a qualification. Salvation – and thereby membership of the Family of God – is a free gift to all – all! – who are willing to receive it.
People who write stuff like that use the Bible versions that phrase Jesus’s words like this: “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” or “Then you will be children of your father in heaven”. They use it to imply that that this is a condition of us being children of God. That, unless you do love your enemies, there’s no way you’re a child of God.
These people need to be careful that their words do not lead their weaker brethren into condemnation!
You see, I believe that this passage means that by loving your enemies, you will be aligning yourself with the way the Father thinks. You will be acting like a member of His family. In other words, it’s not a condition of sonship, rather a fruit of sonship. Something that happens because you are His son or daughter.
And, like all fruits of the Spirit, it will be manifested in increasing measure in those who believe – not necessarily an overnight transformation, then, but a gradual process. So, don’t feel condemned or unworthy because you don’t feel like that. In fact it’s not a feeling at all.
Certainly, no-one who finds it hard to love their enemies should feel that struggling with this issue disqualifies them from sonship. Someone who is not a child of God would not even be trying to love their enemies in response to Jesus…..
Glad that’s been cleared up, then.
Finally, you might like to look at this short essay on a similar subject. Here’s one lady’s experience of what happens when she chooses to follow Jesus’s way and pray for her enemy: Here’s the link
I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I put on this blog. In fact, I fully expect that few people will agree with much of it, and nobody with all of it. I write things here that are the way I see things at the time of writing. Anyone with intelligence will be constantly modifying his/her views and beliefs in line with further study, prayer, contemplation, research and discussion. In the things of God, He is by nature never fully understandable by mere mortal flesh – we can approach knowledge, but it will never be complete until we see Him face to face – and even then I am sure there will be more of Him to explore and get to know, throughout all eternity. So it’s no wonder that we might occasionally change our views and beliefs.
Even for those who would claim that the Bible holds all the answers – well, yes, maybe it does*, but you really have to dig to find those answers. And again, people would often disagree on those findings; the answers you get from the Spirit’s interpretation of a particular passage may well be different from the interpretation someone else gets. It should come as no surprise, then, that there will be almost as many different views on Divine things as there are people expressing the views. And then when you take into account that some people have access to the ‘original Greek’ or whatever, it’s no surprise that God can speak different things to different people. And God’s cool with that! Just remember that He is the Author, and He knows what He meant – for you! – when He caused it to be written. This is what Jesus meant when He said in John 16:13, “when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth“.
God deals with each person in different ways. He speaks to us all in different ways, and the things He says to each of us will be different according to our personalities, needs and His purposes for us at that particular time. This is why it is critically important to have one ear – or preferably both! open to what the Spirit is saying as you read the Bible. And regarding finding all life’s answers, well, if we were supposed to know all the answers here and now, then the Bible would be black-and-white, the answers to all life’s great questions would be clearly stated, cut and dried, and life would be incredibly boring.
Remember that just because someone who says they are a Christian does not agree entirely with what you think a Christian ‘should’ believe, it does not make them either an unbeliever or a heretic. The Christian faith is a broad, deep and ancient faith whose adherents have had many different views down the centuries; it did not make these people any less Christian.
And it is not valid for anyone to try to destroy what God has indeed spoken to someone else. Discuss things, yes, but at the end of the day, what God has spoken to your heart must remain sacrosanct. Treasure it!
*Although I must confess that in response to one particularly vehement lady on a discussion forum, who wrote that the Bible contains the answer to every question, I did have to ask her where in the Bible it tells us when it is permissible to violate controlled airspace without a flight plan. An hyperbolic question to be sure, but I feel the point was made 😉