Saturday, March 04, 2006

Charles Mallie quote:



"Some Christians are always looking for some sort of calculus or catchphrase to guide them through each day and help them with all of their decisions. I hear this in my own congregation, "Just give me a Christian principle I can put into practice!" I'm sorry, but life in Christ doesn't work that way. Coke or Pepsi? What would Jesus do? Boxers or briefs? What would Jesus do?...I don't know what Jesus would do, but I do know he wouldn't do it in an SUV! Do you see why this breaks down? The real answer to What would Jesus do? is what Jesus has already done. He died for us. He died to rescue us from the eternal punishment that our sin and rebellion deserves. He died to give us life and life more abundantly. He died to set us free.

"In Christ, we are free from worrying about how our life measures up or whether we are making the right decision about this or that. Christianity is not about us, it is for us. The real answer to 'How do I live a God-pleasing life?' is not about behavior. If you are a Christian, then your life is God-pleasing because God is pleased with the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf, which you wear like a Teflon suit. There is nothing we can do to impress him. Nothing! Remember? His sacrifice is so gracious that even on our worst days -- the days that we seem to make every wrong decision there is -- we can rejoice that Christ died for the whole mess of it. The truth of the Gospel is a radical message of forgiveness that actually saves sinners, eases consciences, and soothes souls. This is a God I would enjoy hearing more about, how about you?"



p.s., photo: David Mancuso, current idol of mine. The ballons represent imputed righteousness, despite his very "human"-looking appearance...his "teflon suit".

17 comments:

dz and cw said...

comment

Anonymous said...

I have a question in regards to the imputation/infusion discussion (I'm not very good with e-mail so I decided just to post it on the blog). Is it anachronistic to argue Augustine supported the notion of infused righteousness?

Thanks,
Steve

mattie said...

Steve,

Anachronistic? Perhaps. I think that, all things considered, Augustine sides more with infusion than imputation. I'm sure the "Lutherans" (the quotation marks are because most of them aren't denominationally Lutheran, but intellectually Luther-an) on the blog will disagree with me.

The reason I think anachronistic is probably accurate is because Augustine didn't use the artificial categories of imputation and infusion. It's like saying that Augustine was a misogynist (and many do say that). Huh? There was no such thing as a misogynist in 5th century Africa. Similarly there was so such thing as imputation/infusion then. There was the mystery of salvation through Christ.

I think it is probably most accurate to say that Augustine supported some sort of initial imputation followed by a gradual infusion.

Mattie

Tim Galebach said...

Did somebody say infusion/imputation?

John Camp is back in business!

Jeff Dean said...

Mattie,

According to Alistair McGrath, your interpretation is pretty much spot on. Augustine likely believed that God counted righteous those who would become righteous by the factative inpartation of his grace.

This, incidentally, is what McGrath considers characteristic of many English Reformers....

bpzahl said...

Hey Tim - we heard a sermon the other night talking about "running the good race" and we thought of you.

For everyone else:
The sermon was also about how we should hunger for God, and that He should be the only thing that we hunger for. The mark of a person who is being sanctified by God so much so that he hungers for God all the time. The question for me was, isn't hunger a natural thing? I mean, I can't make myself hungry unless I starve myself...so do I starve myself of God? Was a little uncertain of how one could hunger for God _more_.

eve said...

Yeah, but think of all of the things we "hunger" for that aren't food....

CEW said...

Ultimately, I think I would say that most of the time the hunger that I have for God coincides with my hunger for forgiveness, healing, relief of guilt, and redemption. Since it is only the Lord that can bring me these things, in a sense, I guess I hunger for God... And in regards to the notion of starving in order to hunger, I would say that we are not called to starve, but rather, are starved. Because of my sin, I am continually starving myself or being "spiritually anorexic", if you will (and I will!). In fact, I think that eating disorders accurately illustrate the situation: like the person who seeks control and does so by manipulating what he/she eats, the relationship I have with God involves my constant attempt to control it, using methods such as denial, justification, masochism, etc. More specifically, often times I choose to wallow in the hopelessness of lacking the ability to do "right" and indulge in self-pity because, in this weird way, I enjoy doing so. Usually, hatred of oneself somehow masks the fact that it is a truly genuine form of narcissism.

Of course, you can only go so long before you need food. This is when I hit rock bottom, call out to the Father and asked to be fed. This is not to say that He is not feeding me all throughout this time- of course He is. But the times when I feel hungry for God usually are in those all to frequent moments of despair and need for rescue... I long for the day when my "hunger for Him" goes beyond this!

trevor g said...

How'd you bust into my skull, C-Dub?

Eve said...

Perfect, Cate.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes God's "Spiritual Milk" gives me "Spiritual Gas". Does that make me "Spiritually Lactose Intolerant"?

eve said...

Please, JAZ, post something soon....the level of discourse is fizzling fast! (or maybe those are just gas bubbles)

Tim Galebach said...

Poop gassy poop!

JDK said...

Mattie,
It's true that the majority of Augustine's writings support an idea of infusion; however, at the end of his life he seemed to leave the door open to imputation in a retraction he wrote regarding his interpretation of Romans 7. (Furthermore, his law/gospel distinction which is clearly laid out in "Spirit & the Letter" ultimately supports imputaiton rather than infusion) Luther picked up on this and certinaly went farther than Augustine did in his statement of the "simul," which McGrath rightly notes as a Luther "innovation.". . . Of course, there are those who would say that Luther was a superior exegete and more faithful to the Pauline witness than Augustine. . . at least early Augustine. . .

In all of this it's helpful to add a dose of reality regarding the verifiability of infusion vs. imputation. I'd point you back to Simeon's wonderful insight about the nature of "partial infusion" vs. the experienced reality of imputation. If anything in this discussion comes close to a "fiction" then it's the idea of infusion.

Joshua Corrigan said...

If I remember correctly I thought that I read a translation of the bible in which the word imputation is found throughout the pauline letters. If so, is imputation, at least, not really artificial in any biblical analysis?

JDK said...

Josh! Hope you are doing well!

What I mean to say (which I'm not even sure you're questioning) about Luther's "innovation" is that he simply picked up something that is hopefullly (for my sake) Biblical through examining the life of Jesus through the theology of Paul.

Joshua Corrigan said...

Likewise brother!

to clarify: I was addressing the comment posted by Mattie.

I am mostly on the outside looking in when it comes to Augustine's writings.

See you this summer!