Christ Alone Part 3

“Like other theological liberals, [Rob] Bell reinterprets Scripture’s stern warnings about hell until they fit the modern idea of what a loving God must do, And so he produces an indulgent, nonjudgmental God who sounds exactly like the god of popular culture.

This is the Achilles’ heel of theological liberalism. The culture may be initially attracted to the liberal gospel of human reason and individual autonomy–finally we have a group of Christians who get it!–but soon enough, people realize that this weak-kneed version of Christianity is simply redundant. Most people think they are basically good–certainly good enough to earn their way into heaven, though they probably should try harder to love their neighbor. This is essentially the liberal message, with Jesus thrown in for morally good but not biblically sound measure.

Eventually the broader culture realizes that liberal churches are not saying anything that hasn’t already been said a hundred times on Oprah. So why bother telling the “Jesus story”? They logically ask, “If Jesus is nothing more than the way Christians talk about loving their neighbor, then why can’t we love our neighbor without the Jesus talk? And so liberal churches decline, for people won’t make the effort to get up and go to church when they can sleep in and hear the same moral and uplifting message on television.” (pp. 59-60)

“Jesus’ death on the cross is an act of love only if it actually accomplishes something.” (p.95)

“The Christian faith is primarily not about principles or general truths but about a person, Jesus Christ.” (p.106)

Wittmer, Michael, Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins, 2011

Without the gospel, hell, God’s wrath, Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, and the whole story, God’s love because sentimental, meaningless and unnecessary. We must proclaim Christ crucified for our sin, risen and coming again to judge. There will be no second chance. “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” Hebrews 9:27

God’s love and holiness

“God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He is neither more loving than he is holy, nor more holy than loving. God’s love is holy, and his holiness is love. He is holy love and loving holiness.”

“Love without holiness becomes a squishy sentimentality, and holiness without love becomes an unholy focus on keeping the rules.”

In Romans 9-11 “Paul pondered how a loving and just God could save Jacob but not Esau, and after wrestling with the issue he concluded that he could only bow before the mystery of God. God is both loving and just, though he could not explain how. Paul simply worshiped: ‘Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!’ (Romans 11:33).”

Michael E Wittmer, Christ Alone, 2011, pp 17-18

Problem of Evil

“If you sense that as you answer your theological question your reach exceeds your grasp, there is good chance that you are talking about God.”

“We don’t know. The fall and its consequences are like a misshaped jigsaw puzzle piece. No matter how hard we twist and cram, we can’t fit its angular and grotesque form into our picture of God. It’s not supposed to fit, because it’s the fall. The fall is evil, and for that reason it should never make sense. As Cornelius Plantinga Jr. explains in his breviary of sin, the fall and its devastating effects are simply ‘not the way it’s supposed to be.’ The fall and its consequences are damnable, tragic, and out of sync with what even our hearts tell us of a life of love, joy, and peace should be like. If we could ever wrap our minds around evil and declare, ‘I get it now! I understand why the fall occurred and why God allows everlasting torment in hell,’ we would only prove that we are no longer talking about evil. We would be chattering about a weak, domesticated evil, a superficial evil that makes sense only because of our foolish belief that if we can somehow identify it, understand it, and limit it we can then deal with it–apart from God.”

“When it comes to the problem of evil–If God is all-powerful and all good, why is there evil?–we must choose whether we are going to loosen up one of God’s perfections–usually his power–to explain the existence of evil. Many people say that God does not want evil but he risked it when he granted us freedom. There is truth in this–God does not desire evil and we are genuinely free–but the situation is undoubtedly more complex If we solves the problem of evil by saying the omnipotent God cannot guarantee what his creatures freely choose, then we have saddled ourselves with an even larger God problem. Better to believe that God is all-powerful and all-loving and wrestle with evil than to weaken one aspect of God to make room for evil.”

Michael E. Wittmer, Christ Alone, 2011, pp 12-14

Christ Alone Highlights Pt. 1

“Jesus is an immense God and the Bible is a spacious book, so there is bound to be a rather large remainder every time we do our theological division.” (p.6)

“No child thinks they earned their present because they took it-and no Christian thinks they earned their salvation because they put their faith in Christ.” (p.12)

Michael E. Wittmer, Christ Alone, 2011