Is It Proper to Love Demons?

“What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists.”

St. Isaac the Syrian

Anytime I’ve ever heard a pastor or Christian or some kind of church talk about loving one’s enemies, I’ve never heard them include Satan or the demonic powers in this category.

But Christ commanded us to love our enemies, so I’m going to pose the question here: is it right or wrong to love demons?

Sound off in the comments!

Evangelicals and Marginalizing the Eucharist

From Peter Leithart, who makes several good points. Among them:

In my judgment, the biggest cultural challenge is not “out there” in “the culture” but internal–I almost said, “inherent”–to Evangelicalism: the persistent marginalization of the Eucharist in Evangelical church life, piety, and political engagement. Evangelicals will be incapable of responding to the specific challenges of our time with any steadiness or effect until the Eucharist becomes the criterion of all Christian cultural thinking and the source from which all genuinely Christian cultural engagement springs.

[…]

Sharing the Supper forges us into a corporate body that participates in Christ through the Spirit. By the Spirit, we become what we receive: “We are one body because we partake of one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). In practice, Evangelicals don’t partake, and so we aren’t a body. When we do partake, we don’t partake together. We aren’t a body with many members so much as an aggregation of individuals. There’s little point in asking what “message” the “church” needs to proclaim unless we can speak of a church with something resembling a message.

God Will Judge Your Gratitude (or Lack Thereof)

“One will have to give account in the judgment day of every good thing which one might have enjoyed and did not.”

The Talmud

Why Some People *Actually* Hate Calvinism

Kevin DeYoung has a piece on his Gospel Coalition blog in which he examines whether Calvinists are jerks. His response: yes, some of them are, just as there are liberal jerks and social-justice jerks and so on.

On this particular point, I agree with him: the problem is human pride and you don’t have to be a Calvinist in order to be full of yourself. So for this, I’m glad DeYoung has written this piece and pushed back against the stereotype, because there are a good number of Calvinists who put the love of Christ on display and don’t deserve to be identified with the jerks in their camp.

However, there is a part of DeYoung’s argument that I think misunderstands why some people aren’t fans of Calvinism:

Some people hate Calvinism because they hate the truth. That’s their problem. But some hate the ugliness they see in Calvinists. That’s our problem. It happens to be the problem with a lot of people who have a cause, hold to a belief, or think they see something others don’t see.

So I feel the need to clarify: a good number of us don’t hate (or at the very least, disagree with) Calvinism because it’s true. And we wouldn’t be willing to agree with that theological system if its adherents would just be nicer (although it wouldn’t kill anyone of any doctrinal stripe to be nicer.)

We aren’t Calvinists because of the image it presents of God. We find no biblical support for the idea that God has chosen only some people to have faith in Christ and so be saved, while He withholds the ability to believe from the rest of humanity and then proceeds to hold those sinners guilty for not choosing Christ, even when He knew they didn’t have the power to choose him in the first place. We don’t see how a God like that can be good, let alone worthy of worship.

Personally speaking, I’m not a Calvinist anymore because I find that most of the supposed biblical arguments for that system to be based on verses and concepts that have been removed from their actual context. For example, Romans 9 is not about God choosing some people to believe and be saved and leaving the rest to be damned. That chapter, when left in its actual context, is Paul’s argument as to why Israel now found itself on the outs with God: because they were continuing to pursue righteousness by the Law, while the Gentiles pursued it by faith. And in case there was any doubt to Paul’s meaning, he says this very thing in verses 30-33. And this interpretation shouldn’t be a novel one or come as a surprise, because it’s what Paul had been saying throughout that book.

So again: it’s not how Calvinists present their beliefs about predestination that’s the main problem. (There are many nice and respectful Calvinists with whom I continue to disagree.)

It’s the beliefs themselves with which we take issue.

Why Christian Booksellers are Scared of One Little Word

Chaplain Mike gets it right in his analysis of why Rachel Evans was told her book wouldn’t be carried by Christian stores if it had the word “vagina” in it.

Mark Driscoll is the Christian bookseller’s dream (read Skye Jethani’s recent articles). There’s not an ounce of thoughtfulness, nuance, or mystery about him. It’s either blackest black or whitest white, expressed in monosyllabic, in your face, turn or burn PREACHIN’™. He can say vagina or penis or oral sex or anal sex or any word or phrase he likes because he is a Reformission Rev in pagan freakin’ Seattle and he is REACHING THE LOST™.

But Rachel, well, she has a vagina and it would be shameful for her to talk about it or even use the word in public. She’s not a pastor or LEADER™ (God forbid!). Furthermore, she’s trying to rewrite WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS™ about a woman’s place. How do we know? Well, she believes in evolution for one thing. She doesn’t even go to church anymore!

Loved First

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Before you made a step, you were loved.

Before you struggled to make friends, you were accepted.

Before you came to the painful realization that you are not the put-together person you pretend to be, you were the affection of Someone who only wanted you, not your act.

There is no corner of your life that you’ve turned in which the love of the Divine wasn’t waiting for you on the other side. There is no hole that you could dig that would be deep enough to escape it.

And there was never a time when you attempted to form in your own heart the fountain from which the eternal virtue springs and did not have, in those sacred moments, the assistance of Love to help you do just that.