Archive for 'Blog'
Posted on 04. Apr, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
Rob Bell asks good questions. In the middle of Love Wins he devotes a whole chapter to one of his better ones: “Does God Get What God Wants?” On the surface this appears to be a simple, straightforward question with an obvious answer. Despite misunderstanding the complexity of the question, Bell, surprisingly, gets the answer right, but for the wrong reason. And he proves that love does indeed win, but not in the way he thinks
Posted on 27. Mar, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
When Jesus referred to Hell as Gehenna He had a lot more in mind than the municipal garbage dump. Gehenna was not only physically disgusting, it was spiritually terrifying. Think of a haunted house. Think of Freddie Kruger and Hannibal Lekter rooming with Ted Bundy in that house and you are getting the picture. It was a place of horrific evil where the abominable demon-god Moloch was worshiped. It is a place that you would not risk going to for a minute, not for all the pleasure in Las Vegas or all the riches in Saudi Arabia.
Posted on 24. Mar, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
Recently, a thoughtful young man asked a question that jarred me. This was how the question was posed: “What’s so special about the moment of death that it suddenly cuts off the availability of God’s grace?” I had no good anwer until I happened to read through the story of the encounter between Jesus and a demonized Jewish synagogue attendee. What he screams at Jesus wipes off any ironic, postmodern smirk and reveals a lot about the irrevocable line between life and death.
Posted on 19. Mar, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
Something has been steadily seeping out of our discourse over several decades–the gripping awareness of God’s majesty. It is in this generation that the resultant lightness of God’s being is becoming impossible to ignore. There was a time when men and women lived in a world drenched with God, they blazed with a white-hot devotion. As I read Love Wins I was compelled to pick up a book by such a man: Knowledge of the Holy. It shows us why where there is no doxology Hell makes no sense.
Posted on 28. Feb, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
While the outcome of the Egyptian revolt was still very much in doubt, Hosam Khalaf, a 50-year-old engineer brought his wife and daughter to Tahrir Square to join the protesters. “When we meet God,” he said, “we will at least be able to say: ‘We tried to do something.” Those fearless words made me wonder: What I have risked for Jesus? When I look into “the eyes of Him to whom we must give account,” what will He see in me? Will there be exposed a long, unbroken history of fearful timidity, commitment to ease, security and avoidance of pain? Will there be any record at all of heroic obedience, costly sacrifice and courageous devotion? Will I have done anything of significance for Christ?
Posted on 08. Dec, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
“The insolent man ruthlessly defaces all the beauty of charity, overwhelms his neighbor with innumerable evils, and stirs up life-long hatreds–driving off the peace which God so desires and giving the devil strategic beach heads from which to effectively attack.” St. Chrysostom is reminding us of the crushing power of the tongue. But it can also restore hope and break the back of despair. This is the immense power of blessing. Presents are forgotten, gifts lose their luster, but a gentle, life-giving word of affirmation can seal a destiny and heal a hundred wounds. It can light a flame that can give light and warmth to thousands.
Posted on 01. Dec, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Let’s be honest. All of us yearn to be powerful, effective, significant and successful. (Being well compensated doesn’t hurt either.) The assurance that God wants me to be free from serious suffering and heart-breaking disappointment is delicious. It is intoxicating for people raised under the national mythology of inevitable progress and the Constitutional right to happiness. But what to do when you find out the promises are not being kept? Who do you blame when the One you believed issued the guarantees seems to be intentionally dishonoring each one?
Posted on 02. Nov, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
It is only a matter of time, Tickle affirms, before the church, out of compassion, adjusts its stance over homosexuality. “What is really at issue [in this debate]is the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura.” When this issue is ultimately decided (in favor), “the Reformation’s understanding of Scripture as it had been taught by Protestantism for almost five centuries will be dead.” For this reason the battle over sexual identity “has to be the bitterest, because once it is lost. . . .It is finished.” Perhaps this is not such a bad thing. Maybe it was time for it to die.
Posted on 19. Oct, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Last Day: It is the end of the tour and there is one interchange of the hundreds that sticks with me. It occurred in Detroit when a Conservative Jewish Rabbi turned to Sami Awad, a Palestinian Christian, and said: “I respect everything you say. I look at you and I know that with you I have a partner.” A Jewish Rabbi declaring his unqualified support for what an evangelical Christian is saying. Is Sami showing us a new apologetic? Demonstrate the Gospel before you proclaim it. Seems like that is what Jesus did–heal, deliver and then speak. Maybe what we need to pray for courage to love, and power to heal, and then the words to speak.
Posted on 19. Oct, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Day Ten: Dr. Ralph Fertig, who marched during the civil rights days and is President of the Humanitarian Law Project tells us, “What Martin Luther King taught was the need to love the enemy. The flipside of fear is not fearlessness, it is the capacity to see the enemy as a person and appeal to him as such. Violence only begets more violence, whereas nonviolence enables the capacity to love.” This is only the second time during this cross-country tour that nonviolence has been linked to love rather than to pragmatism and politics. Both comments were from non-Christians. I find that intriguing.
Posted on 15. Oct, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Day Nine: There is more news about the boarding of Yonatan’s boat en route to Gaza. An official is quoted as claiming that Yonatan, “has joined the ranks of Hamas.” The source also states that Reuven Moskovitz, the 82-year old Holocaust survivor on board “has probably not learned anything from the terrible past.”
Clearly, the response to that harsh accusation, I should think, is that Mr. Mokovitz apparently learned the most important lesson of all from his suffering–how to forgive. And therein lies the only hope for a lasting and a just peace in the Middle East.