Ask R.C.

Ask RC: Where Are Evangelicals Wrong On The Bible?

Ask R.C., Blog

The evangelical position on the Bible, that it is inspired, inerrant, and infallible, true in all that it teaches is true, from top to bottom. Our orthodoxy (right doctrine) on the Bible is orthodox. It is our orthopraxy (right practice) where we fail. Here then are several ways we in this camp tend to practice wrongly what we rightly confess. First, we tend to believe the whole Bible is not for us. The great bulk of evangelicals are practical Marcionites. Marcion was an ancient heretic who wanted to excise from the Bible the mean and nasty God of the Old Testament. We, thankfully, do not go that far. We simply ignore the Old Testament, seeing it as a helpful collection of religious stories that, when it embarrasses us, can be safely swept away. Second, we tend to see the Bible as a religious book from which we should glean our…

Ask RC: What Are The Most Important Qualities In A Leader?

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I confess that the subject of “leadership” is something of a mystery to me. I do not believe I am anything close to a natural born leader, but have found myself from time to time  in positions of leadership. I lead my family. I have lead, through my work, departments, churches, ministries, even movements. As such I tend, at least at first, to pay attention when people speak or write on leadership, looking not just for clues on how to do it, but clues to understand if, and how, I do “leadership.” I haven’t, however, read a book or attended a seminar on that theme and frankly can’t begin to understand what I might find there.  What follows then are not the 5 Ironclad Laws of Leadership. That’s a little bold for my style, at least on this theme. Instead here are a few principles I believe might help. First,…

Ask R.C: Does God Want Me to Be Happy?

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The Bible is replete with warnings. Those yet outside of His grace are warned of the certainty of judgment. Those weighing life and death are warned to consider the cost before taking up the cross. And those born from above are warned of persecution, hatred, and the many troubles of this world. We all walk the via Dolorosa. Knowing these biblical doctrines, we are rightly put out by purveyors of popcorn prosperity. Whether it’s vapid promises of health and wealth or smiling faces offering you your best life now, we scorn the notion that God wants us to be happy. There is a certain charlatan appeal to the merry mongers. Who doesn’t want to believe not only that they can be happy, but that someone will provide them a map? But there’s another reason this dark distortion of God’s Word won’t die and go away- God’s Word. The same Word…

Ask R.C: What Counsel Would You Give A Family Considering Adoption?

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First, examine closely your motives. While there are a few cranks out there by and large adoption is perceived as a good thing done by good people. What it actually is, is a good thing done by sinful people. As such we are given to fooling ourselves. Rather than being heroes coming to the rescue of the downtrodden we are sometimes cads wanting to be seen as heroes coming to the rescue of the downtrodden. If an honest appraisal reveals you want to adopt as a notch on your belt in the pro-life movement, repent. If an honest appraisal reveals that you want to adopt in order to rescue the downtrodden, repent. When children become a means to an end, however they might be brought into our families, we are doing it wrong. We are forgetting that they are children, and that children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm…

Ask R.C.: How Should We Respond to the Recent Scandal Regarding Josh Duggar?

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We shouldn’t. Sorry to burst the bubble, but unless you are his family, his employer, his elders or his church, it’s none of your business. I am none of those things. Yet I find myself reading about it, praying about it, thinking about it. I get that people are interested. This, after all, is quite a moral train wreck. Given both the high public profile of the Duggar clan, given their public espousal of counter-cultural sexual ethics, and given the previous scandal it is no surprise that the world is fascinated by this. Indeed perhaps the most discouraging fallout for me has been watching the world dance around Josh’s grave like a pack of hyenas. Some believers, though I have seen precious little of this, seem to be so invested in the Duggars that they are utterly disheartened, or worse, desperately seeking some excuse, some rationalization.

Ask R.C.: What is “Cage­ Stage” Calvinism, and What Causes It?

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Cage­-Stage describes an all too common phenomenon wherein a believer comes to embrace the doctrines of grace, and for a time becomes an obnoxious lout in defending the doctrines to all comers, whether they are interested or not. It suggests that such a newbie should spend some time in a cage until they calm down. If you are a Calvinist you likely have been through this stage. If you are not, you surely have encountered those who were infected.

Ask R.C.: Is It a Sin To Be Wealthy?

Ask R.C., Blog, General

No. One can certainly get wealthy by sinning. One can certainly sin while being wealthy. But it is surely not a sin to be wealthy. Though few would be so crass as to express such a sentiment, it nevertheless often reveals itself, ironically among the wealthy. Wealth, remember, is a relative term. Most of us like to think of ourselves as somewhere safely in the middle. But I suspect 99% of you reading this are, in terms of wealth, in the 1% of the wealthiest humans to ever walk on this planet.

Ask R.C.: Why Does It Seem like the World Is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket When Jesus Reigns Over All Things?

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Last Sunday I was blessed to preach at Ascension Presbyterian Church from Hosea chapter 2. Like many prophetic books Hosea is a bit of good news, mixed with what looks like bad news, but is really good news. Most of us, when we think of Hosea have a rather simple summary- yuck. The prophet is called to live through rather dramatic prophetic theater, by marrying Gomer, a prostitute. God is telling His people that they are like Gomer, whoring after other gods. God’s promise is that He will redeem His bride, that they will once again be His people.  But first comes the judgment.

Ask R.C.: Why Do We Have Such a Hard Time Grasping Grace?

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Because we need it. I mean that in two ways. First, we have a hard time grasping grace because we are sinners, and sin begins with pride. All of us, from the most pious saint to the most egregious sinner have within us a little Pelagius. We think ourselves, even when our lips confess otherwise, essentially good. Sure, we sin, who doesn’t? But by any reasonable standard, we think in the secret places of our hearts, we’d pass the test. Those other people, the ones who score below us on the test, they’re the ones in need of grace. And of course, those who score higher than us, they’re the self-righteous ones. If only everyone were like me, recognizing my own lack of perfection, but striving to do well, well then, the world would be a happy place.

Ask R.C.: What Would You Tell Someone Who Has Had or Encouraged an Abortion?

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A great deal would depend on what that someone had to say first. The most important question is, is this person repentant. To such a one I would encourage them to remember that Jesus suffered the wrath of God that was due to us for our sins, that those who rest in the finished work of Christ are not only forgiven, but that their sins have been removed from them as far as the east is from the west, that they are not only forgiven but immutably and infinitely loved of their Father, who because of Christ loves them as much as He loves His Son.