Here is a selection of blog posts I recently discovered that are consistent with the major themes of Jesus without Baggage:
- Loving the Father, ourselves, and others
- Escaping the burdens of harmful religious baggage
I hope you enjoy them! ~Tim
Michael East: Sinners
God knows the reasons for our sins, even of those who have turned against Him. We may be forgiven little, but those who are forgiven much will love much. As for those who have turned against God the reasons are to do with a false image of God which has been given to them by blind guides.
Nadia Bolz Weber: Sermon on Suicide, Caesar, and Beautiful Newborns
If someone you love suffers from mental illness and addiction and maybe could not see God’s image in themself, if the voices of self-hate and depression and despair drown out the sound of God’s promises and they take their own life, then that is devastating and unspeakably excruciating enough. So if you then have to navigate some kind of complete [trash] about their soul going to hell because the church, the institution that was supposed to assure you of God’s love and relationship to you instead filled your head with nonsense like how victims of suicide go to hell, then I am so sorry.
Jesse Dooley: How is Jesus an Atoning Sacrifice?
Why did the early Christians see Jesus’s death as somehow an atoning sacrifice? Was Jesus death to be seen as simply a carrying over of the Jewish tradition from the Pentateuch where bulls and goats and pigeons were sacrificed as a reprieve from guilt; although the goat in Leviticus that bore the sins of the people was never killed but let loose into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22)? Or was Jesus death the only real blood sacrifice that God accepted, meaning the slaughter of the animals only symbolized what Jesus would do? Did God want blood in order to forgive – in order to love everyone?
Escape to Reality: John 14:15 The Commands of Jesus
If God loves us unconditionally, how do we account for those scriptures that link His love with our obedience, like this one:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15)
“A legalist reads this backwards: “You will keep my commandments if you love me.” In other words, we must prove our love for God by doing what He commands. Commandment-keeping is our duty, a condition we must meet if we are to enjoy His love.
But someone who is walking in grace reads it just as Jesus said it. He understands that keeping His commands is a by-product of love.
Rachel Held Evans: God and Gay Christians in Romans 1
Same-sex relations in the first century were not thought to be the expression of an exclusive sexual orientation but were widely understood to be the product of excessive sexual desire wherein the one engaging in same-sex behavior did so out of an excess of lust that could not be satisfied. The most common forms of same-sex behavior in the Greco-Roman world, Matthew [Vines] notes, were pederasty and sex between masters and their slaves, and the majority of men who indulged in those practices also engaged in heterosexual behavior with their wives. So we’re not talking about committed, monogamous, sacrificial relationships here. Not by a long shot.
Citing the writings of Philo, Plato, and Dio Chyrysostom, Matthew notes that same-sex relations were not considered objectionable to these writers because partners shared the same anatomy, but “because they stemmed from hedonistic self-indulgence.”
Frank Viola: Origin of “Personal Savior” & The Idea of Having a “Personal Relationship” with Christ
The sinner’s prayer eventually replaced the biblical role of water baptism. Though it is touted as gospel today, this prayer developed only recently. D. L. Moody was the first to employ it.
Moody used this “model” of prayer when training his evangelistic coworkers. But it did not reach popular usage until the 1950s with Billy Graham’s Peace with God tract and later with Campus Crusade for Christ’s Four Spiritual Laws. There is nothing particularly wrong with it. Certainly, God will respond to the heartfelt prayers of any individual who reaches out to Him in faith. However, it should not replace water baptism as the outward instrument for conversion-initiation.
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/personalsavior/