The Church's One Foundation
The Church's One Foundation Podcast
Podcast #30: The Love of God
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Podcast #30: The Love of God

God's love is not man's love.

Dear Friends,

I trust you had a joyous and relaxing 4th of July with family and friends!

This week’s podcast, “The Love of God,” extends our “Love is Love” and “Amazing Love” podcasts from two and four weeks ago, respectively, which were extensions of “The Divided/United Methodist Church, Parts 1 & 2,” focusing in on the schism taking place in the United Methodist Church and the emerging Global Methodist Church, and the Church at large.

At the time, I did not see it as a six-part “series,” but it certainly has turned out that way. In two weeks there will be a “final” one yet (at least for now!)—an informative episode focusing on the latest studies coming in from Europe on the efficacy of “gender-affirming care.” With so much mis- and disinformation out there, we believers need to equip ourselves with the World of God and the most reliable sources available.

Also, I’m looking to squeeze in a few vacation days soon, so I’ll keep you posted. I hope you’ll find some room for a little R & R this summer as well.

Thanks for sharing this podcast with a friend if you feel so inclined. I’m grateful for your support, and you remain in my prayers. Keep me in yours. I feel them!

Pressing On,

D. Paul


THE LOVE OF GOD!

In Jesus Christ, the most valuable gift in the world is offered—the love of God. Whether recognized or not, the desire for God’s love constitutes the deepest cry of the human heart. Neither fame nor fortune can satisfy this primordial cry. No vain philosophies or charismatic personalities can replace it. No elixir or earthly love can substitute for it. As the old hymn says it: “Nothing satisfies like Jesus, Bread of Life to mortals given.” (Words & Music by Lelia N. Morris, 1907.)

With churches throughout the country flying the Gay Pride Flag that endorses the false ethos of “love is love,” a deceptively feel-good bromide has replaced the real thing—the transforming power of the love of Jesus Christ. You can go to the website of any progressive church and read the same, feel-good buzz words, including the following ones from a new United Methodist “church plant” just five miles down the road from where I sit: “All are welcome,” of course, and “affirming,” “open,” “inclusive,” “unconditionally loved,” and, lest anyone feel threatened, “a safe space.”

The theatre, which for centuries has relied upon the element of surprise to frighten and shock its audience in hopes of “transforming” them (if not keeping them awake!), is now under constant pressure to post “trigger” or “content warnings,” alerting theater goers of potentially “disturbing” scenes, much to the dismay of most of our finest playwrights. Wouldn’t it be great if just one Bible-believing-preaching church had the courage (or would it be foolishness) to post the following “trigger warning” on its outdoor sign: “Warning: You are welcome here, but enter at your own risk. You may be convicted, challenged, and radically changed.” It’s hardly extreme. Is there a more radical transformation than being “born again” and becoming a “new creation” in Christ Jesus? Talk about a surprise—a new birth!—and all in the twinkling of an eye by saying “yes” to the risen Lord Jesus. But my new, neighborhood church chooses to focus its attention elsewhere, assuring us under its “Who We Are” section that they “…affirm the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary persons (LGBTQIA+) in the church's life and ministries…. We welcome you with unconditional love - exactly how Jesus does.

Well, my dear friends, as most of the subscribers to The Church’s One Foundation know by now, I am not a theologian but a dramavangelist, so we’ll not get bogged down in the differences between eros, philia, and agape love, nor will we assume to be flawless vessels perfectly embodying “unconditional love - exactly how Jesus does.” Putting aggrandizement aside, our human love, with its many good virtues, is not God’s love, and it is only the immeasurable love of God that woos us, convicts us, redeems us, restores us, heals, and sanctifies us. And therein is God’s “grace upon grace” at work: While Christ loves and receives us just as we are, He never leaves us just as we are, but is always in the process of making us holy, “even as [He is] holy.” And so we are “…confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ASV). Christ’s transforming love is the real, radically welcoming message of the Church, not “love is love,” or “I’m OK, you’re OK.” Friends, we’re not OK, at least I’m not, and from the Church’s inception, this truth has been the Gospel message: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, KJB). The Church was never intended to be my personalized, self-affirming support group, but rather a transforming center of holy fire—of God’s redemptive Holy Love—a Holy Love emanating from a Holy God. The “false teachers” of today water down this “Holy Love” to accommodate and affirm our sinful, self-idolatrous lives. And for the thousands of vulnerable who have bought into their specious teaching, the words of Christ must sound as if they’re from a distant galaxy: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24 NIV).

Well, this rebellious self-idolatry is nothing new, of course. It is Eve and Adam defying God, wanting to be like Him, and eating the forbidden fruit. Culturally, the Enlightenment helped to shape it, and as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great author and Soviet dissident points out in his commencement address, A World Split Apart, given at Harvard in June of 1978: It “…could be called humanistic autonomy…with man seen as the center of all.” This “…humanistic way of thinking,” Solzhenitsyn continues, “which had proclaimed itself our guide, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man, nor did it see any task higher than the attainment of happiness on earth.” In many ways, Solzhenitsyn’s prophetic voice presaged a “church split apart,” where “love is love” has become our unwritten doctrine and man, not the Lord Jesus Christ, the measure of all things.

It is time, past time, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, for the faithful, en masse, to purposefully and forcefully speak out against this “love is love” heresy. I’m reminded, as I write this morning, of those words the Spirit spoke to the Church in Ephesus: “But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love….” “…if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:4-5, Berean Standard Bible). As we witness this great schism within the Church, the lampstands are being removed in church after church after church.

At the risk of appearing somewhat … redundant, will you permit me one more trigger warning? In truth, it is meant as a “welcoming invitation.” With your leave, I submit it for your consideration:

TRIGGER WARNING! The following content may be disturbing:

Welcome to the Church! Of this you can be assured—you are loved here and will always be loved here! Yet, your being received in love doesn’t mean that you will be “affirmed” under any and all circumstances. While it is not ours to judge your life or pry, if you are like what we once were, you may be a sinner in rebellion against God and in desperate need of his redemption, a redemption that can only be found in the love of Jesus Christ. It is God’s great gift to you, and it is yours, gratis, for the asking. So, we freely encourage you today to confess your sins and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He stands at your heart’s door gently knocking, patiently eager to come in and “dine” with you. Open that door today and your life will be changed forever, knowing this promise is true: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12, KJB). Imagine, you are now God’s son or daughter! This new, adopted sonship, this new daughtership (with all the inherited, full benefits of life abundant and life eternal), will be your new identity—not an identity of self-realization but of Christ-realization—your life now animated by the living Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit within you. This new life in Christ will grant you a profound meaning and purpose, and you will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJB). Hallelujah!

Amen!

A sweet Bible-believing church my wife and I attended last Sunday, where my Uncle, Ernest Thomas, was once pastor. It was completed in 1853 as a Methodist church, and is now independent and under the leadership of the Rev. David Cottrell, located in Carmel, Indiana.

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The Church's One Foundation
The Church's One Foundation Podcast
Dramatist, D.Paul Thomas, writes and podcasts on the Church's one foundation--Jesus Christ her Lord!