The Irresistibleness of Grace

Many objections have been voiced to me over my belief of irresistible grace. As I listen to the objections, I now realize that there is a complete misunderstanding on the part of my readers who object. Their arguments seem to go along the lines of “so, you believe God will drag some people kicking and screaming into heaven?” What they fail to see is the foolishness of their understanding of grace.
Grace is given to those who do not deserve it, in fact it is given to those who deserve the opposite. The Bible describes mankind as spiritually dead, blind to His glory and light. When God brings salvation to a human soul they are enlightened and see God in His glory for the first time. Their natural response is to gravitate to His glorious light. They are drawn as irresistibly to it as a moth is drawn to a light or a dog to bacon.
It isn’t that they are trying to resist and failing against their will – it is that they are so attracted to the holy pureness and love of God that they run to Him in response to His bringing of new life.
Perhaps it is because of a faulty understanding of salvation that people get confused. Humans do not decide to become “saved”. They are dead, spiritually. Dead people cannot respond to anything. I worked for some years at a funeral home. I took care of many dead people. None of them responded to any stimulus. They showed no initiative. In fact, they just laid there, staring unblinkingly at nothing. That is how the Bible describes people spiritually. Unresponsive, uncaring, unfeeling people who cannot come to God for salvation. So God comes to them and gives them a new heart. He “quickens” or makes the soul come alive. As this new life is imparted, the soul sees its Creator and responds in faith to the One who has just resurrected it. We respond just as Lazarus did. Laying in the tomb, cold, unfeeling, dead, Lazarus heard His Lord call him to life and the response was instantaneous. This is irresistible grace. This is why Scripture says we are saved by grace, through faith — not by faith through grace. Grace come first.

Ta Ethne is considering a relocation this summer to better serve Christian leaders. Since a majority of our efforts are focused overseas, it seems prudent to locate somewhere closer to an international airport than where we currently are in Montana. We are looking at the Mid-West or Southeast primarily. Another consideration is the desire to plant a church which has, as one of its core foundations, a mission-focus. By developing disciples with a Christian worldview and hands-on mission and ministry opportunities, we can better serve our brothers and sisters in the global Kingdom for many years to come. So many opportunities for us to help minister arrive weekly that we simply cannot meet them all without expanding.
Would you partner in prayer with us as we seek a new location to base Ta Ethne out of? Perhaps you know of an area that would be ideal or a group of people who are ready to commit to developing a deep relationship with believers overseas. Maybe you know of churches who would desire us to help teach and train their members and partner with us.
Keep us in prayer as we seek the new direction God would have us go in 2013 and thank you for being part of this exciting expansion of services!

Wednesday Book Reviews – East of Ashes, Dirty God

East of AshesEast of Ashes by Gideon Nieuwoudt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Such a promising beginning. My favorite time period, a book with good, solid, believable characters, a clear Christian message – so why only three stars? Actually would be 3.5 if I could do halves. The ending for me seemed truncated, cut off too soon. Its not that I didn’t like the ending, just that there didn’t seem to be the attention to detail that there was in the rest of the story. That’s too bad because the book was well written and I was hooked from the first few pages. I would read other books from this author in a heartbeat and do recommend this as a good read, just not a great one.
It is well worth your time though and I do respect how the clear Christian message was approached and executed. That aspect of the book gets 5 stars.
Give it a chance – I believe you will enjoy it.

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Dirty God: Jesus in the TrenchesDirty God: Jesus in the Trenches by Johnnie Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book and how the author illustrates the grace of God. What keeps this from getting 4 or 5 stars from me is that the message seems to get muddled a lot on the way. While it didn’t seem cohesive to me – perhaps better editing would have helped – what he had to say was good. I can see this book being helpful but rarely does the author use inclusive language “we”, “our”, etc.. so it reads kind of like a pep talk and not a conversation. Very useful for those confused about grace, Jesus and salvation or for brand new Christians just exploring their faith.

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Wednesday Book Reviews

9 partsNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic WomenNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book lifts the veil, so to speak, on the lives of women in Islamic culture. Written by a veteran journalist, it is both fascinating and disturbing. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to understand more about a culture that is still seen as mysterious and exotic by many in the West. Since it is a secular book, this book avoids religious biases and gives a clear picture of what the lives of Muslim women are like in different parts of the Arab world. I highly recommend this as a good read for any who seek to truly understand what goes on in a world hidden from view.

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c through marriageC Through Marriage: Revitalizing Your VowsC Through Marriage: Revitalizing Your Vows by Jim Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a definite must for pastors, marriage counselors and couples. It will go on my shelf as a great resource for pre-marital counseling and yet it will also be used to counsel couples in crisis. The book covers many subjects that come up in a marriage and tackles them all with tact and solid information from a Christian viewpoint. The author has a high view of marriage and this book will help couples solidify their relationship with their spouse. This would also make a great gift for newlyweds. I know, they will most likely put it on their bookshelf and forget about it, but when the inevitable problems arise, they might just pull it down and use it to help repair their marriage. I highly recommend this a good read.

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Book Giveaway Contest

During the month of March, Author David Herndon is holding a drawing giving away 5 free autographed copies of the book – Is Jesus Enough? To enter, post a comment on this blog post announcing the drawing. You can also earn more entries in the drawing by posting an announcement on your Facebook page, on LinkedIn, or other social media sites, and on your blog or website, encouraging your connections to enter the drawing. Be sure to include a link back to this post, and when you leave your comment, include links to your announcements so that I can verify them. You’ll have as many entries in the drawing as the number of announcements you posted, plus the regular entry for leaving a comment! The winners will be announced on Good Friday.
Is Jesus Enough?

WORLD | In defense of Richard Dawkins | Marvin Olasky | March 16, 2013

Another cowardly attempt to paint Christianity as evil and never address Islam. If we beheaded those who disparaged Christ would they stop their pathetic efforts to ridicule something they cannot possibly understand?
Why is it okay to slander Judaism and Christianity but not Islam? Dawkins is not only a fool (that’s what the Bible says about those who do not worship God) but an opportunistic coward. If he truly does not believe in a God, then it doesn’t matter what religion’s god is being talked about, Dawkins must show the same lack of belief in any of them to be consistent with his claim of being an atheist.
Of course, a true Muslim would be offended by his slander of the God of the Hebrews anyway – that is, if they read their Qur’an. So how about it Muslim world — any takers on defending God’s name?

WORLD | In defense of Richard Dawkins | Marvin Olasky | March 16, 2013.