It’s that time again you, guys. Time for another Ask Anything theology episode! I low-key love these episodes so much… because I love anything that’s rapid fire and I can get through a lot at once! Which is probably saying a little bit about my personality – I feel you get more bang for your buck because you’re getting multiple topics in short, little snippets each episode. You feel me?
This episode shares some quick responses on:
- The phrase “a sinner saved by grace:
- What our Sabbath looks like
- Prayer at meal times
- Sharing the gospel with kids and guests
- Women ministers as a secondary issue
We’re going to cruise through as many as I can get through these questions. I have answered these on my Instagram before, but I wanted to have a more permanent place to put these, and then maybe I’ll add a little bit of a bonus personal question and answer towards the end. Let’s start with this question.
If we are in Christ, do we no longer have the identity of a sinner in need of grace? I think this is a really good question, and it really goes back to your theological perspective. Typically, where we see a lot of this discussion of a sinner in need of grace or we’re seeing a sinner saved by grace in your Instagram profile, etc., is in the Reformed or Calvinistic community. That’s a lot to do with their salvation theology, which is total depravity, meaning total inability. Little review, if you haven’t listened to the Calvinism episode, but Calvinists believe in total depravity, which is more than just original sin. It also means you are totally unable to respond to God’s call for salvation because of your sin. Whereas,a classical Armenian or provisionist would say, “No, God in His sovereignty has bestowed you with the ability to respond to his call,” a Calvinist would disagree. Because of that, there tends to be more of an emphasis on your state as a sinner. There are other elements of course, too, but that’s a big part of it.
That would be why this narrative – I’m a sinner saved by grace – I could never have responded to God at all, because I’m a sinner. He saved me purely by grace. There was nothing in me whatsoever that was able to respond to Him. That’s where that phrase usually comes from. As someone who is a Reformed Arminian, I do not agree with this statement, because I think that consistently throughout the New Testament we see that we have a changed identity: that we’re adopted as sons, that we are wearing the righteousness of Christ. And if we are wearing the righteousness of Christ, we are greeted as saints, as Paul was greeting people in Christ as saints. That’s my identity. I would rather say it as: I’m a saint who sometimes sins, and when I do sin, I have access to the Father, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is it longer? Yes. Is it not as cute on an Instagram profile? Probably. Is it more accurate? In my opinion, yes.
The next question is: Do you practice Sabbath, and what does that look like for you? Yes, Josh and I, our family, we do practice Sabbath. Part of the importance of practicing Sabbath is to us that it is one of the Ten Commandments. It did not pass away, it just changed when Jesus came as the fulfilment of the theocratic law. When Jesus came, He took the law to a new level. He fulfilled it within Himself, and yet at the same time, in the ushering in of the church, you had a change in how that was practiced. Very early on, as the non-Jews began to join the Christian church, because of course, it started among the Jews. As the non-Jews or Gentiles began to join the church, you end up with a change in how the Sabbath is celebrated. Eventually, to celebrate Resurrection Day, the day Jesus rose from the dead, Sunday became the day where you gathered for church and became the day of rest. By the time we get to the Puritans, it’s still Sunday that’s being celebrated in a very strict Sabbath observance on Sunday. I mean that you go all the way up into the 1950s, most things were closed on Sundays.
All this to say, we observe our Sabbath on Sunday for church history reasons, and part of what we do is we attend church together. It’s really important, especially as we come out of COVID, to begin connecting with your local church body. I cannot stress that enough how important it is to get back into real life community. Online church is not church. It’s a sermon, it’s teaching, but it’s not church, because church is meant to be lived in real-life community. We’ve tried to make that a priority. We’ve been back in church since November, but specifically January, because November was a little spotty. After church, we come home, and we usually read, make some lunch, rest around the house, sometimes we’ll watch The Chosen, or the girls can watch a Bible story. We go outside, we might have people over. We might go to the beach, just really quiet relaxing things that we can all do together, and then in the evening, Josh and I will plan for the week after the sun has set.
The next question is: What is your family’s routine for praying at mealtimes? Who says grace? We all can say grace. We can all pray at mealtimes. Sometimes it’s Josh, sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s Adeline or Eva, or maybe it’s all of us. We will all take turns. It just depends on the day. We want to create a culture where prayer is very normal. We want to create a culture where everyone is able to pray and feels comfortable talking to the Lord, and that’s not just at mealtimes, that’s anytime. That’s bedtime, that’s throughout the day. We teach our girls that anytime they’re frustrated, or angry, or upset, or hurting that they can talk to Jesus about that. So, that carries over to our meal times too.
Another question about kids. It says, “You’ve talked about how you focus on heaven and not hell with your kids. Is this in a Highlight?” Yes, it is on Instagram, I have a highlight where I talk about how we present the gospel to our kids. Why we don’t use the Ask Jesus into your heart terminology – It’s right on my Instagram. But regarding “heaven not hell” – yes, I have talked about this, also on Instagram, and I do think it is in that same highlight. The first thing I want to say is: I adhere to an orthodox interpretation of hell. That means that I think it’s a biblical concept. I think there are things we don’t know about hell, but we for sure know that Jesus spoke of a place of separation. He did not affirm the idea that every single person in the world would be saved regardless of whether or not they follow Jesus. He rejected that both in the gospels and later on in Revelation. So, there is some kind of separation from God, whatever that may look like. Josh and I do affirm that.
But here’s the thing. When I came to Christ as a child in a Christian home, hell was never presented to me as the reason to be saved. Salvation was never presented to me as something fearful. I didn’t come to Jesus because I was afraid of hell. I came to Jesus because he was so good – because my parents lived a faith in front of me, that was attractive and beautiful, and they gave me answers to my questions. Now, not everything was solved. I had more questions later on in my 20s. I’ve had questions since then in my 30s. But as a general rule, my coming to Christ had nothing to do with fear of hell. Growing up in the churches I was in, I can tell you maybe one time that I was preached at about a fear of hell and I was at an Independent Fundamental Baptist revival with a friend. So I definitely did not grow up in that context, and I have a lot of compassion on people who did.
All this to say: When we teach our kids about salvation, we’re teaching them about the nature of Jesus. We’re teaching them about who he is. About God. About the Holy Spirit. About who they are, and how they work, and what they’re doing in the world. If they ask what happens when people don’t follow Jesus, as we say, well, they remain in their wrath. They get to choose to remain there or they get to choose to respond to Jesus’ call to them. Do we talk about it? If they ask, but we’re not going into super detail. They’re five and three years old. It’s something that they can learn about in more detail as they get older. But what they need to know right now is that Jesus is the King, and if they want to live a life that has eternal value and meaning, then He’s the one they need to connect with, rather than scaring them into salvation, because of hell. That’s how we go about it.
Okay, next question is, is it necessary to share the gospel as part of hospitality? This is because I was talking a lot about hospitality recently and why it’s important as a gospel mandate. But does that mean that every time you have somebody over for cookies and tea, you have to share the gospel? No. The gospel should be such a part of who you are as a person, that you can talk about it casually, this is the part of who you are, but you’re not feeling like you’re forcing it. The Holy Spirit will lead that naturally if it comes up in the conversation. What you need to do is, be in the Word, be growing in your faith, be in relationship, and then as the Lord wants to bring that up or plant a seed in someone’s life, they’ll use you to do it. But you don’t have to make it weird.
Next question is: how to cope when the Book of Revelation scares you? Avoiding it isn’t okay. I would agree, avoiding isn’t okay, because this book is in the Bible for a reason, and you really want to nail down why it scares you. What about Revelation scares you? I bet even without knowing you, I have the answer. You’ve probably were taught Revelation in a very specific context or with a very specific end times theology. If you haven’t listened to the episode about end times theology, go back and listen to that. I have broken down for different views of it. If you’re scared of Revelation, it may be because you were taught a view that the end times are coming right now, there’s going to be massive suffering and war, you’re going to be intensely persecuted, kind of the left behind narrative.
The reality is that’s only one of four different options of interpretation for Revelation. Left Behind is not accurate to Revelation. It’s a fictionalized version of one particular view. Someone who believes that the end times are imminent should be the most hopeful and peaceful person you ever meet. If they’re not, they don’t have their end times theology straight. All of this to say, if you are afraid, how you were taught probably was not biblical. It’s not your fault. It’s that you were taught an unbiblical interpretation of Revelation, and I would recommend hopping in our shop and grabbing my brand-new inductive Revelation Bible study.
Last question is– well, second to last, because I am going to answer a question about our Marvel movie marathon that we’ve been doing, but almost last question: Women as ministers, is this a secondary issue? We’ve talked about first, secondary, and third tier issues. Just the previous episode where we talked about determining core doctrine, so if you want to know about secondary issues, go back and listen to that. Are women as ministers, secondary issue. I’ve done a lot of thinking and research on this, a lot of watching different cultural movements and denominations, how they’re going about this. I’ve heard every argument from every side I feel like, and here is what I think I would offer for some brain food, if you will.
If you argue for women ministers based on the idea that the Bible proposes no gender distinctions whatsoever and if you’re arguing women can minister, because you affirm a progressive sexual ethic that denies what has been taught in orthodoxy for 2000 years, and that is your grounds for saying that a woman can be ordained, or a woman can be a minister, or if it’s woven in there somehow, there is a greater error at play. There is a greater issue at play. The issue is not women being ordained. It’s the sexual ethic, and how that’s being arrived at biblically. If the conclusion is women can be ministers or women can be ordained because there are no gender distinctions, and because God endorses, this rearranged sexual ethic, then I would say, that’s a primary issue, and it is an error, major error.
However, if you argue for women ministers on the basis of 1 Corinthians and Acts, and the myriad times that women are mentioned as co-laborers in Christ and Scripture, or the fact that women were prophets in the Old Testament, then I would say it’s a secondary issue because it’s being arrived at through the lens of orthodoxy, and through the lens of devotion to scripture, and saying, yes, this woman can minister, because we see in 1 Corinthians that women were prophesying in the church. That’s why there’s a whole lecture from Paul on covering your head in that context. We’re seeing that Deborah was a leader, we’re seeing that Huldah was a prophetess, we’re seeing that Anna was a prophetess. What does that mean for today? What does that look like? If you end up drawing the conclusion, one church draws a conclusion that yes, women can minister, because the meaning of the word ‘authority’ has to be contextualized alongside these other passages from Paul, I think you can arrive at that conclusion and remain within orthodoxy. You can also arrive at a different conclusion and be more complementarian in your approach.
But the reality is that, there are many orthodox sound teaching churches that have women pastors, women co-pastoring alongside their husbands, associate pastors that are women, doing all sorts of things. In fact, most of your non-denominational churches have women who are pastoring under a different name. Under the name, children’s director, worship leader, etc. There are many churches, especially charismatic churches actually, that are complementarian. They believe in gender distinctions. They will even believe in a form of complementarianism where the husband is the head of the home, and they will still ordain women ministers and women pastors. So riddle me that one.
All right, I’ve got to answer my last question, which is our Marvel movie marathon. Josh and I had been watching through all of the Marvel movies. He had seen them all, I had not. I saw Captain America, and Infinity Wars, which, as you may imagine, leaves a few gaps. [laughs] We rewatched them in chronological order, which is very helpful to me. I have now watched all of the Harry Potter movies, except the last one. I, of course, watched Lord of the Rings many, many times, including the extended editions. Then, we watched through Star Wars chronologically. I don’t want to hear from you Star Wars fans what a sin that is. I needed it for my own brain. My own brain needed a timeline. We watched all of that over the course of the last three years.
Now, we’re almost done with the Marvel series. Josh got this nice little chart that outlined which ones to watch when, and so, we just finished End Game, and I’ve already seen WandaVision, but I think we’re watching it again. But I want to skip it, and just watch the new Loki show, because Loki is low key my favorite character. Sorry, I had to do that.
All right, you guys. Thanks for joining me for this episode. I appreciate you hanging out with me and chatting through these questions. I’m always so grateful when you send them into my Instagram, and I can answer them on Mondays. It’s the highlight of my week to see what you’re thinking about. See what you want to hear more about, and hopefully getting these in audio format is additionally helpful. I hope you have an awesome week.