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WHI-1216 | Extravagant Grace

Posted by on in 2014 Show Archive
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We'll be concluding our series with a focus on sin as a condition that often results in various forms of addiction, depression, and despair. How should we counsel those who are young in the faith, who have a newfound desire to walk with God, but who often find that they don't have the ability to live the life they desire to live? Joining me in this discussion is Barbara Duguid, author of Extravagant Grace: God's Glory Displayed in Our Weakness. We'll be concluding our series with a focus on sin as a condition that often results in various forms of addiction, depression, and despair. How should we counsel those who are young in the faith, who have a newfound desire to walk with God, but who often find that they don't have the ability to live the life they desire to live? Joining me in this discussion is Barbara Duguid, author of Extravagant Grace: God's Glory Displayed in Our Weakness.


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PROGRAM AUDIO

[audio src="http://www.whitehorseinn.org/whiarchives/2014whi1216jul27.mp3" width="250"]
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Extravagant Grace
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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Susan Vader,

    While your recent announcement that you would not post here anymore appears to have lapsed, your desire to simultaneously keep feet in both Roman Catholic and apostolically/scripturally faithful churches--without acknowledging their utter irreconcilability at crucial points--seems as strong as ever. Since you normally assume a teaching role at this site, I at least hope that you have heavily weighed the consequences of your promulgation of that inconsistency.

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  • Guest - Susan

    Hello Paul,

    I must have forgotten that I said that I wouldn't post here anymore, because I didn't feel a tinge of conscience that I was going back on a promise nor embarrassment that I was eating my words. Maybe my concern for Paul was over riding anything selfish or prideful, pushing me to say something.

    Actually I am fully aware that Reformed doctrine and Catholic doctrine differ on crucial points.
    Did you read the Kreeft article? Did you read JP II's encyclical? Pray, tell. What is unscriptural about it? If it doesn't fit the Reformed schema that doesn't mean that it's unbiblical. You just assume that scripture supports a Reformed schema, but that's begging the question(assuming what is in question and still needs to be proved).
    Feel free to throw scripture at it to debunk it. And feel free to see what tradition(prior to the Reformation)concurs with the scripture you are using. I'm sure that you will find that the two will nicely harmonize.
    Paul, if someone is searching for the truth that makes sense of the whole of scripture they aren't going to throw out what appears to be peculiarly "Catholic" in order to maintain a peculiarly Reformed schema.
    I would really love to know on what(purely) scriptural basis you disagree with the interpretation of the late Pope John Paul II regarding suffering.The scripture he utilizes, especially having a fitting place for Col.1:24, to bring the whole theme together, tells me his hermeneutic precepts are able to unearth the Divine character of sacred writing. I seriously have never read anything more beautiful or more profound on the subject, and it helped grow my faith which is a "spiritual work of mercy"

    Peace to you,
    Susan

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  • Guest - Mark McClure

    Thanks sister Barbara for giving such a gracious explanation to how things were for me from age 21 to age 35. For there were many question marks on my life in Christ that I did not understand, nor did anyone else until the now. I appreciate having to you and brother Mike taking me back to the Potter's house and seeing the lesson of God's Omnipotent hand shaping me into the vessel as it seems good for the Potter to make. Peace always in Christ Jesus our Redeemer and King and the JUSTIFIER OF THE UNGODLY. (no one else can wear that title belt)

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Susan Vader,

    My point was that your lengthy response to John, which lacked any overt reference--apart from 2 words in links at the very end (for those who read that far and care to either click links or read URLs)--to your speaking as a Roman Catholic apologist on a clearly Reformed site, strikes at least this reader as sailing very near the waters of dissemblance; that perception is only strengthened by your cheery references to all that is good about the non-true churches of the Reformation.

    Also, to be probed for "(purely) scriptural" citations after your stating (as you must) that "the Roman Catholic Church never claimed to be subordinate to scripture" is a game I'd rather not play. I'm happy to spend teach anyone who loves the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ enough to be willing to be cleansed of any perversion of the same, but those who knowingly step into a rotten-bottomed boat and refuse at all costs to turn back to harbor are not best served by calls from shore to test the rigging.

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  • Guest - Susan

    Paul,

    I think you are right about the way I jumped in and addressed John without overt references to his struggle. I sincerely did not intend to be crass and I apologize if it appears that I merely jumped in here to engage in polemics, rather than having feeling towards a fellow human soul. John(and Paul), please forgive me if you thought me condescending. The "cheery" references that I've made about what is good in Reformed theologies weren't offered as sugar coating, but spoken sincerely. Spoken, to add onto what this "papist" sees as theological nearsightedness; but nonetheless,spoken with goodwill. And the links were meant to offer help. Take any of it as you will.

    Susan

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    John Bauman,

    I'm glad you re-posted. For several days I thought of replying to your first, but it was hard to find a stationary target.

    When we face questions involving faith and doubt, the Bible clearly directs us to categorize and prioritize, learning to distinguish and settle--as one of my pastors puts it, "getting a stranglehold on"--certain non-negotiable issues first. So, knowing that God exists and rewards those who seek him is of infinitely more objective importance than seeking a sense of assurance that one is pursuing, say, a God-approved apartment or job or spouse. Similarly, that he reveals himself truly, authoritatively, covenantally and (for our sake) necessarily in his Word; that he must be known through and only through Jesus Christ, that I must be reconciled to him through and only through Jesus Christ, and other such watershed credal articles, are of such vast moment as to admit no unresolved doubt: the Christian Scriptures, at least, describe each person as either having such faith or not:

    Chaper XIV: Of Saving Faith
    1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of the seals, prayer, and other means, it is increased and strengthened.

    2. By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein, and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are, accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

    3. This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it (as is all other saving grace) from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.

    Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order (1658)
    (Note paragraph 3's exclusionary extension of the WCF's original language)

    Beyond that, of course, for all of us begins the life of attaining "to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes", which includes growth in distinguishing a million variations of what a living faith in this-God-who-is-now-my-God looks like in the life he has extravagantly and graciously given me. Am I receiving unexpected favor? He is my loving Father, through Christ my Savior. Am I receiving discipline? He is my loving Father, through Christ my Savior. Neither? He is my loving Father, through Christ my Savior. I can't tell? He is my loving Father, through Christ my Savior. The darkness around me or in me is so thick I can't even see far enough to care? A distant memory, echoed by an understanding body, sealed by the transcendent-immanent Holy Spirit, reverberates that he is my loving Father, through Christ my Savior.

    More sound pastoral wisdom from 1658:
    Chapter XVIII: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
    4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished and intermitted; as by negligence in preserving of it; by falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation; by God's withdrawing the light of his countenance; suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness, and to have no light; yet are they neither utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which by the operation of the Spirit this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which in the meantime they are supported from utter despair.

    John, clinging to John 6:58 is absolutely the right place to be. Just don't forget that Peter went on "and we have believed, and have come to know". The 11 knew--even though it took them long enough--that they needed a Savior; they were not running subjective infinite loops of "Is it faith? Is it doubt? Is it magic? Is it wish-fulfillment desires?" They knew enough to know--as do we all--that their only safety lay in crying "I believe; help my unbelief!"

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Susan Vader,

    For the record, I had no thought of nor did I imply either crassness or condescension on your part. More importantly, my reference to a lack of "overt references" on your part had nothing to do with John but everything to do with your not having clearly self-identified as a Roman Catholic apologist on a prominent Reformed site. Not that I have any motivation for frequenting Catholic sites, but if I did, I am quite sure the norm would be for me to be asked to do the same.

    For me, Susan, it's not just a matter of manners or protocol--and yes, I am not a WHI site official--there's a merely mechanical issue: it appears that site searches exclude user names. My concern is that a visitor who lacks any of prior exposure to a user, a long memory, and the willingness to plow through the archives sitting on CTRL-F one thread at a time, simply cannot find that user's comment history. So my personal preference would be that commenters who arrive in "answer mode" rather than "question mode", and who know that their answers are at serious variance with the purpose of the site, in order to avoid the appearance of duplicity, at least briefly identify their platform in their first comment per thread.


    I think you are right about the way I jumped in and addressed John without overt references to his struggle. I sincerely did not intend to be crass and I apologize if it appears that I merely jumped in here to engage in polemics, rather than having feeling towards a fellow human soul. John(and Paul), please forgive me if you thought me condescending. The “cheery” references that I’ve made about what is good in Reformed theologies weren’t offered as sugar coating, but spoken sincerely. Spoken, to add onto what this “papist” sees as theological nearsightedness; but nonetheless,spoken with goodwill. And the links were meant to offer help. Take any of it as you will.

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Hah! How strange is it that after mentioning infinite loops above I introduce a Strange Loop? That will teach me to jump to Captcha before cleaning up comments pasted in for reference.

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  • Guest - John Bauman

    "...not content to do what scripture says and let His strength be strong in me. To let Him be strong in me requires humility; "

    What does that mean?

    I'm willing to accept your indictment of my character -- that I lack humility. But I still don't understand what you mean. I don't understand what this passivity is, means, or how it functions....or even what its goal or end result is. I really don't.

    Are you talking specifically about some sort of spiritual well-being that transcends our material well-being, such that we...what?....don't need to work any more than, say, the lilies of the field do?

    Sure, they don't toil or spin. But they also don't have to buy groceries or pay a mortgage.

    I'm sorry to sound so cross and cynical, but I'm having more trouble living these fine, ethereal, Oswald-chamber-of-horrors, devotionalist sentiments when I am in the midst of losing my house, my job, and all that I own....and my wife is asking me where God is in all this.

    So, "letting go and letting God" doesn't seem to me to be a matter of humility so much as (perhaps) an audacious missunderstanding of what God said He was willing to provide us in the first place.

    Maybe all the "care for you" passages about the hairs on our heads and the falling sparrows are for pastors only. I mean, essentially God left himself with the ultimate "out" in the equation when he said that, though all things work together for good.....they only do so toward His purposes. So, if making a living and surviving a tough economy without losing all I own and not ending up destitute isn't part of His purposes, I get it: I'm screwed.

    Just exactly how passive was I supposed to have been? Should I have given up working and relied *humbly* on God to provide?

    Whence the passivity?

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  • Guest - Susan

    John,

    Platitudes are good for no one. The only thing that keeps me sane is the knowledge that God is Good and that He is Love. That's it. But that's everything.
    Just now, I saw on FB that a friend posted that Hamas is beheading children. I seriously pray for a 1000 angels to swoop in and carry these precious children to safety. Like some miracle out of the bible. But I know that this isn't the first time in the world's history that evil has been permitted to have the upper hand.There is a Christian genocide going on and I'm worried about that my husband will find a job. He's out of work, and this week we have eaten mostly rice. I don't know what God is going to do, I only know that we are not a cosmic accident, and that beauty, truth and goodness are absolute. I will be praying for you.
    Check out "Veritatis Splendor" too. It helps.

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