29 September 2010

From 2008: that troublemaker Jesus

by Frank Turk

Back in 2008, Dr. Piper said this:
Catch on to the affectional nature of Christianity, conversion. It is not merely a decision to believe a fact. It is a heart treasuring Christ and His glory more than football, sex, money, power, play, toys. You gotta make this an issue Sunday after Sunday so that they feel scared that they're not saved.

You know, I think some pastors are so afraid that somebody might walk up at the end of the service and say, "you really jostled my assurance this morning." If we don't -jostle- people's assurance when they're not saved, we send them to hell.

We must preach in such a way so that people can test -- Test Yourself! 2 Cor 13:5 says, "test yourself to see if you are in the faith". Well, one of the tests is do you love Football more than you love Jesus? Do you love Golf more than you love Christ? What does your heart say about Christ? Late at night, all alone, in front of an internet screen, mouse ready to click, what does your heart say about Christ over pornography?
And as I read the path of destruction at my blog, some parts of the internet sort of lost it over that very transparent statement.

What Dr. Piper did not say is that people should walk around the world wondering if they are saved or not – which is the impression one gets when one views that one sentence out of context, and is the impression guys like Sled Dog are giving in the meta.

Dr. Piper's point is the wholly-scriptural point that the believer is called to test himself, and see if the faith which he claims he has is a faith which is changing him. As someone pointed out in the meta, it's a matter of knowing by one's fruits what kind of branch one is.

But apparently that's out of line. Some will call it legalism, and others will call it "works-based faith", and some will simply turn their noses up at the idea that people ought to have a little bit of concern over whether what they say is actually what they mean. You know: when I say that I am a child of the living God, adopted into His Household rather than left for punishment where I belong – and that, bought at the price of the blood of God's one and only son – maybe I should act like that really happened and not like it's a political slogan, a talking point, or a t-shirt.

Maybe I should act like there's a real God who really did this stuff and I'm, at least, grateful.

Moses said it this way:
    And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God— lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.[Deu 6, ESV]
And this is interesting because when Jesus gets questioned about the greatest commandment, this is the one he cites, right? "Love the Lord your God"? Go open your Bible and check it out, in case you don't repeat the Sh'ma to yourself every morning.

It's Moses who starts that crazy idea that men owe their affections to God, and Jesus signs off on it.

So when Dr. Piper said that people who love football more than they love God might not have faith in the savior of men, maybe what he means is that Moses knew something about faith in God which the rest of us would do well to reconsider.

Listen: Hosea knew a little bit about love, and God told him to say this --
    For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Look at the comparison there: the burnt offerings are the requirements of the Law, and they are contrasted with what the KJV calls "mercy" and the ESV here calls "steadfast love".

God doesn’t want your penance, or your religious work, or your bulls and sheep and rams: God wants your love, dude. And love, it turns out, is not a fruity emotional cocktale – even in that little snippet from John Piper which is getting so many angry eyebrows this week. Setting our affections on God is not the same thing as sending Him a Valentines Card every day.

But here's the thing: that troublemaker Jesus was also on about how our affections relate to our standing before God. There are a couple of places I think this is demonstrated pretty clearly, but here's one that is simply to obvious to ignore.
    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [ESV, Mat 6]
Right? And this version of this statement is even less invasive than the parallel passage in Luke 12, amen?

Where your -treasure- is, there your -heart- will be. Jesus' words here say explicitly that your treasure -shows- where your heart is.

Think about this: if Donald Trump, who is a billionaire egoist, drove through your town and stopped at your house because he saw your posts on my blog, and he rang the doorbell, invited himself in, and handed you the closing papers on your house, the title for your car, and receipts for 10 years worth of utilities to your house paid in advance, what kind of person would you be?

That is, what would you feel? You'd feel something – maybe stunned at first, or embarrassed. But my guess is that you'd feel grateful. You'd feel grateful – and then the question is what to do about that.

And what Piper is asking here, exhorting here, is that Christ has done more for you than the billionaire egoist can do for you, and if you don't feel grateful, maybe you haven't really received the gift. It could be other things – maybe you haven’t considered the gift; maybe you haven’t examined the gift. But to do those things, you have to be somehow awakened to the fact that you ought to make sure you received the gift.

You know, I drove my first car for 14 years, and the morning it wouldn’t start anymore I was a little put out, but a couple of weeks later my wife bought me my new car. And you know something? Every time I get in it, I wonder if it's really mine, and if I deserve it, and if I will take care to show that I am grateful. Not to the car: to my wife – even though I'm the breadwinner in the house. And for the record, I thank God for his generosity that I have it.

For a car. How much more should we think that way about our salvation? And why on Earth would anyone think that challenging people to examine whether or not they are still grateful, and whether that gratitude has any spiritual bearing on them, is wrong? It's not hardly wrong.

Think about who you are this weekend. Be in the Lord's house with the Lord's people on the Lord's day and let your assurance be challenged – because unless your assurance is changing you, unless it is putting your treasure in things which cannot rust and thieves cannot steal, you have a false assurance.


Steve Berven said...

Yeah, what HE said.

Thomas Louw said...

‘Catch on to the affectional nature of Christianity, conversion. It is not merely a decision to believe a fact. It is a heart treasuring Christ and His glory more than football, sex, money, power, play, toys.”

Conversion sometimes becomes ‘stale” for some Christians. The reason being we tend to forget, that we have it so good. The day we are converted we seem to understand our sin, His love, His works but, as time goes by, things become cloudy through the dust of time and neglect.
Keeping faith fresh, revisiting the water hole gets lost between other activities.
We don’t treasure it, don’t put it in your pocket, rub it until its shines, and then rub it some more.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking a lot about repentance of late.

This post fits that so well, and is a great reminder, as you say, not to be paranoid about one's salvation, but to be sure about one's salvation.

Over the years, Frank, you and Dr. Piper both, have taught me to examine myself, as Scripture commands.


donsands said...

Nice words to hear this morn. Thanks.

"You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you"

I read this today in Deaut 30 and it seemed that our Lord's people needed to love God, obey God, and cleave to Him, the same God who was in their midst, in the Tabernacle. All the laws He gives is the every day things we do as Christians. We love one another, we pray, we live upright, and when we blow it, we have to have forgiveness.

Back in Deut. they had the whole Law.
Now we have Christ, who fulfilled the Law.
Evene the Law was a shadow of Christ really. Our faith, and thier faith was always in the true mercies of God.

So the bottom line is what you have brought out in this excellent post.

Have a grateful and loving heart for God. The world, our flesh, and the devils in this world will continually tempt and fight against us, and the Spirit in us. But if God is for us, who can be against us?
And Moses went on to say in Deut 31:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you....Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel,....It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.””

Stefan Ewing said...

This was a very good message, and very timely for me personally.

Do you—I mean, do I—really love the Lord God more than everything else in my life?

Because that really is the one and only Great Commandment, and half of the Ten Comnandments.

naturgesetz said...

Well put, both by Piper and you. I think the point is underlined by Matthew 25:31-46. If our faith doesn't make us the people described in verses 35-39, it's not real faith. (Of course, sanctification can be a life-long process that God works in us, but that begins to get off topic.)

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

It really is a matter of letting go of our thoughts and taking on the mind (thoughts) of Christ. Nothing is more pervasive than our thought life, if we fail to let God has His rightful domain there, then we truly miss the mark.

What we take in through God’s Word, should be seen as the internal state of affairs. If not, maybe the message was delivered to the wrong address.

Simply ask yourself, do you love Christ more than....?

Do you love God; the brethren?

Do you love the holiness of God?

Do you love God and treasure
God for all that He is in Christ Jesus?

Do you long to be holy as He is holy?

Do you obey Jesus?

Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness?

Do you love God's Word?

Do you long to see the face of God?

Do you love the attributes of God, specifically the holiness of God?

Pretty simple test!

Good article, Frank.

Anonymous said...


That's a good list.

The difficulty is that the correct answer to all of those is really "No".

A bigger question might be:

Because I fail at all of those things all of the time, I should be condemned. One what/who am I trusting for my salvation?

Kind of a Galatians, the main point of the law is to drive us to Christ, kind of a thing.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So...what your saying, is that we're saying the same thing.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...


This list is derived from Scripture. It has been cut in short from Scripture; John MacArthur's proof of a living faith; Jonathan Edwards book Religious Affections, and many of Piper's comments on a living faith, plus my own study.

They are proof that a living faith is indeed within us. If we are asked to look for proof (which we are, to examine ourselves), then these are the things that will be self-evident and cause us to have confidence that we are truly the elect.

Do we do any of these things perfectly? NO! That is why we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He lived a sinless life in our place.

If I find none of these things to be self evident, then I do well to question if I have any part of Christ.

jmb said...

Thanks for the post on an important subject.

You wrote, "And what Piper is asking here, exhorting here, is that Christ has done more for you than the billionaire egoist can do for you, and if you don't feel grateful, maybe you haven't really received the gift."

In his book, "Future Grace," Piper writes: "The Bible commands gratitude to God as one of our highest duties." (p. 32) Yet, two pages later, he writes: "The Bible rarely, if ever, makes gratitude the impulse of moral behavior, or ingratitude the explanation of immorality." He then goes on for several pages about the Bible commanding faith, not gratitude, as a response to what God has done for us and as a motivation for obedience.

This doesn't contradict what you wrote, and you noted that gratitude should "at least" be our response. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on what Piper says about gratitude.

Chris H said...

Legalism! Legalism!!!

Kidding. I just wanted to be the first... on the redux, anyway.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...


I have the book you mention by Piper. My take is that Piper is saying, that, yes, we should be grateful, but being grateful also denotes feeling obligated. And we should not love God out of a sense of obligation.

Just my thoughts.

FX Turk said...

I would ask Dr. Piper to consider Heb 12:28, especially in the context that there the author is speaking to the motives for worship -- in addition to the passages I have already provided.

DJP said...

That book (Future Grace) has done me a lot of good, personally — in spite of Piper.

What Piper tends to do is discover a truth that's a 6, and beat it over and over and over again as a 10, 10, 10, 10!!! Or (put another way) find a valuable truth, put an annoyingly idiomatic name on it, and dare people to get value from the truth in spite of his label.

In this case, it's "(Faith in) Future Grace" versus the "Debtor's Ethic." That's what he styles the teaching that we should live for Jesus out of gratitude. He does roundly reject it and insist that faith, not gratitude, should be our motivator.

Cue Riccardi.


Anonymous said...

It's true, we should obey out of gratitude or gratefulness or whatever.

But the reality is, none of us feel gratitude, I bet even the majority of the time.

Obligation may not always be ideal, but we're sinners, and we need to obey even when we don't feel anything.

Try loving your wife only when you feel like it.

And then by a new couch, 'cause the old one will get worn out real quick.

David Regier said...

O to grace, how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wand'ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Robert said...

"You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." (James 2:24) To keep from being accused of taking this out of context, I will point out the first two words, "You see" indicate that this is being justified before man, and not God. This is how we are to check ourselves and see if our assurance is valid. Just like the more popularly quoted verses in James say - "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, bing by itself." (James 2:17) and "But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless." (James 2:20)

Our works show that we love God more than the blessings He provides for us. If we have no works, then our faith is dead. Jesus is the Lord and Savior of Christians. I fear that many accept His role as Savior without taking any heed of Him being Lord. And I would say that Jesus doesn't really know such people. That should scare them in light of Matthew 7:21-23.

jmb said...

Thanks for the responses. I see, on p. 39, that Piper writes about a "true gratitude [that] does not give rise to the debtor's ethic because it gives rise to faith in future grace." So, yes, he implies that there's a false (or lesser?)gratitude, and he equates it with the debtor's ethic. He would have been clearer if he had made this distinction earlier.

Anonymous said...


The hymn is so me.

If He didn't bind my heart...well, you know.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...


Now you have me reading page 39.

Also, Daryl, true love is sacrificial. If I clean my mother's house out of obligation (begrudgingly) then how is that love?

If I do it sacrificially, because I want her happiness, and what’s best for her, then that is love.

Also, DJP, I know what you mean about labels (Christian Hedonism). I was a bit tired of hearing Christian Hedonism, over and over again.

DJP said...

Yep, MET; went on about that a bit here as well.

Mel said...

In my limited reading time of one year, this is probably your best post to date.
All around true, honest, winsome. If others can't see it then the problem lies with them, not you.

I was thinking about your Trump analogy and how many working Americans might actually get a little peeved that Trump might do that for them. The American culture exalts hard work and our own effort to such an end that many would be upset that someone did that for them. Not because they feel ungrateful, but because they are somewhat shamed and feel somehow "robbed" of the responsibility of doing it on their own. So, instead of a humble thank you, they pridefully reject the offer because "I'm better than that" or "I don't need a handout". That's pride.

And so it is with Christ. Many of those same people (especially upper middle WASPs) reject the idea of Christ's gift for the very same reason. PRIDE. My culture says that I'm successful, I've exceeded all of the right standards within my culture and for you to suggest that I somehow do not deserve these things or worse, that I am a filthy wretched sinner who is worse off than that filthy homeless man is offensive.
No thank you, I'll stick with my "American Jesus" who helps my kids get into college, win their football games, helps me make $200k a year.

Rachael Starke said...

Cue Riccardi.

Well, given that he appears to be away today, no doubt doing something more important, like ministry,

I'll cheerfully step in as his sidekick and fellow Piper fan. And Frank fan, and DJP fan and even JMB fan, for posing just the question I wanted to, but was headed out to Bible study and didn't have time to ask.

The one small modifier that throws me, Mike et al con Piper, is "at least". As in:

"Maybe I should act like there's a real God who really did this stuff and I'm, at least, grateful.

The impression I get from that statement is that gratitude, becomes the baseline, the primary motivator for our thoughts and actions. I agree completely that gratitude is an essential expression of a regenerate heart,

but I'm just wondering if it's foundational, all by itself.

Is it the number one in the list, or is the list even linear at all, but rather a circle, where other expressions of a regenerate heart - love, obedience, faith, JOY!!!!!, etc. are all connected. (The exclamation points are for those who are of Piper :) ). At different times we will sense various aspects ascending or descending in our sanctification, but, should we see evidence that any of them are totally absent, or that we find ourself wanting to eliminate them from the circle altogether, then the circle ceases to be a circle.

The (small) deficiency in the JOY!!!!! first argument is the way it seems to devalue obedience if it's not accompanied by joy.

But the (also) small deficiency in the "gratitude-first" argument is how it sometimes leads to the kind of preaching my husband refers to as "Wontcha Wontcha" preaching: "Look at what Jesus has done for you; now, wontcha wontcha go out and do something for Him?"

At least, that's the nice variety. The others involve lots of yelling.

It seems like what you're saying is that gratitude just needs to be in the sanctification circle, not that it's the bare minimum or the one element that drives the others. But if we're going to have another fun-filled shootout over a turn of phrase, (it's been a whole week since the last one - you guys are slipping!), this is one of my favorites.

FX Turk said...

Rachel --

All kinds of messages from the Bible which are actually right messages from the Bible can be and are leveraged into stupid, unbiblical demands.

However, the theme of gratitude runs deep in the Bible. I think that when we miss this, we miss that the Gospel is not just true facts laid out like some kind of intellectual jigsaw puzzle: the Bible is about God who is our Father making it possible for the rest of us who are his children to come back to his house and not merely be slaves and servant but true sons and daughters.

Will that lead someone to say "woncha do sumpan for Jesus now?" Of course it will -- and when they do, it misses the point broadly. It resounds like a trashcar down a stairwell.

Anonymous said...


I'd flip that around. If I clean my mom's house only when I'm all lovey dovey and want to bless her, well then that doesn't look like love to me.

What about when I don't feel anything?

donsands said...

"What about when I don't feel anything?" -Daryl

Or even mad perhaps.

I remember one time my wife and I had a loud disagreement. I exited the house with a desire to take a southbound train.
I sat in my truck, and talked with Christ, or prayed. I asked Him to help me, because of what Jesus has done for me.
He did help. I went and asked my wife to forgive me. And it took a while for the loving affection to come back, but the grace of God, and the Spirit's love in me now is what kept me from giving in to my flesh, the devils tempting me, and this dark realm.
(And I have to admit, my flesh is most likely a lot weaker than a lot of husbands in the Body of Christ. I have learned from their example as well.)

"By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything."

Mike Riccardi said...

So nice to be loved. :-)

Excellent post, Frank. I really enjoyed reading it, as I hadn't read it the first time. Amen.

Mary: Also, Daryl, true love is sacrificial. If I clean my mother's house out of obligation (begrudgingly) then how is that love?

Daryl: I'd flip that around. If I clean my mom's house only when I'm all lovey dovey and want to bless her, well then that doesn't look like love to me.

What about when I don't feel anything

I think it's necessary both to flip it around and answer the question as it stands. Mary's right. If we "love" begrudgingly, we're not truly loving. And Daryl's right. If we ever fail to love (e.g., don't clean the house because I don't feel like it), then in that failure we are not loving. It's important to note that it's never right not to obey because we don't feel like it.

But I would say that this statement:

Daryl: Obligation may not always be ideal, but we're sinners, and we need to obey even when we don't feel anything.

is not possible.

We cannot obey even when we don't feel anything. We may be able to do or not do external duties, but that is not the obedience that Christ and the NT calls us to, and it is not the obedience that God delights in. I've called the "do-it-anyway" kind of obedience, "Obedient Disobedience," and I develop in those four posts what I think about it. Basically the point is, God demands joyful obedience from the heart, and so a failure to want to obey (or, in the example, love) -- is a failure to obey period.

So what do we do when we don't feel like it? Well, I'd be honored if you read my posts, but for those who won't, I say: confess your obedient disobedience as sin, and ask for grace to obey from the heart. Tozer put it this way:

"O Lord, I have heard a good word inviting me to look away to Thee and be satisfied [i.e., to obey joyfully and willingly]. My heart longs to respond, but sin has clouded my vision till I see Thee but dimly [and so I don't feel like it]. Be pleased to cleanse me in Thine own precious blood, and make me inwardly pure, so that I may with unveiled eyes gaze upon Thee all the days of my earthly pilgrimage. Then shall I be prepared to behold Thee in full splendor in the day when Thou shalt appear to be glorified in Thy saints and admired in all them that believe. Amen."

Then, our obedience will be motivated not out of mere obligation, but out of the joyful faith that eagerly awaits that glorified vision. Then, our obedience wouldn't make much of our will power, but it would make much of the glory of God in the face of Christ, which, as we behold it, transforms us into Christlikeness.

Rob Bailey said...

Fear, then gratitude, then love, then obligation. These things do not exclude one another. And, they are continuous until glorification.

Mike Riccardi said...

Sorry, Rob, but doesn't love cast out fear?

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Wonderful comments, Mike R.

Also, think about this. “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3).P

Paul says here that any religious work done without a true motive of love is like doing nothing.

The motivating factor is love, not gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Riccardi and Mary,

I just realized something...I missed that word "begrudgingly".

I dunno how I missed it, but I did. And it changes everything.

I struggle with feeling obligated. I really do. I've always felt it and pushed against it. So, as you read in my earlier comment, I've learned to obey when I don't feel much gratitude.

Having said that. The begrudging thing is huge. Massive. And I agree. To obey grudgingly is not to obey.

I am ready to do my obligation when I don't feel anything. But I really do recognize that I even when I feel nothing, I need to be reminding myself that feelings or no, God deserves my all.

I mean He really does deserve it.

And so what often happens is that I obey, all the while repenting of my non-feelingness and asking that He help me be more grateful.

All that to say, I agree with you both. And when I factor in the begrudging bit, I disagree with what I wrote earlier...

See Mary. All we really needed is a really smart teacher/seminary student to lay it out, and it all makes sense, and we understand each other...

Thanks Mike. Really.

Anonymous said...


I bet Rob is talking about the fear of God.

I don't think anything drives that out. I'd be worried if it did.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the problem I have with Piper's soteriology is that its informed by Puritan or Precianist categories.

It offers a 'reflexive view of faith' which asks me to look at myself (and good works) before I can look at the one behind those good works, Jesus Christ. Of course historically this kind of thinking was only compounded by problems like 'temporary faith' and 'prepratory faith'. I can't find anywhere, in Scripture, where this kind of 'experimental predestinarianism' is presented.

Here's a description of the kind of informing theology that provides Piper with his interpretive conclusions:

"English penitential teaching expressly echoed and bolstered moral priorities. In contrast, again, to Luther, whose penitential teaching stressed the rueful sinner’s attainment of peace through acknowledgment of fault and trust in unconditional pardon, several of the English included a moment of moral renewal. In harmony with Reformed tendencies on the Continent and in unmistakable continuity with historic Catholic doctrine that tied “contrition, by definition, to the intention to amend,” they required an actual change in penitent. For them, a renewal of moral resolve was integral to the penitential experience, and a few included the manifest alteration of behavior. They agreed that moral will or effort cannot merit forgiveness, yet rang variations on the theme that repentance is “an inward . . . sorrow . . . whereunto is also added a . . . desire . . . to frame our life in all points according to the holy will of God expressed in the divine scriptures.” However qualified by reference to the divine initiative and by denial of efficacy to human works, such teaching underscored moral responsibility; it also adumbrated Puritan penitential and preparationist teaching of later decades." [italics mine] (Theodore Dwight Bozeman, “The Precisianist Strain . . . ,” 20-21)

Anyway, I know folks will disagree with me here; but on what basis I'm not sure.

Mike Riccardi said...

And so what often happens is that I obey, all the while repenting of my non-feelingness and asking that He help me be more grateful.

Amen, Daryl. Me too. I'd hate to give the impression that because I speak about these things objectively that I always obey fully and with joyful zeal. Alas, the flesh remains. Let us run the race with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Smart seminary student is right, Daryl. I just found Mike's blog the other day and am very impressed. I love it because he deals primarily with Christ-centered issues.

Btw, I actually do clean my mother's house, she is 84 and almost blind, and I admit, I do not always feel JOYFUL about it. But I can honestly say that I have made a huge leap from feeling obligated to, to doing it for her benefit. My flesh still struggles though, and will continue to do so until Christ returns.

I'm reading your articles, Mike. AWESOME!

Anonymous said...


No fear. If there's one thing trying to think Biblically has done, is clarified what all people are like.

Even you...:)

There's always a gap between how we talk about what should be, and what actually is.

I guess that would be one way that God is the God of the gaps...


FX Turk said...


I'd respond to you, but you obviously didn't read this post. Why should I believe you'd read my response to you -- let alone respond to it fairly or even in some way which would be meaningful?

DJP said...

Come come, Frank; if you were simply familiar with the collected works of von Kronkenhuffner, all would be pellucid to you.

Hit the books, man! Don't be such an Insegrevianist! What is this -- a Bible study?

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...


Sorry, I have to ask a stupid question. I know you have a great fondness for making up words, but I googled Von Kronkenhuffner, and found nothing. Is this person for real? If not, too funny!

naturgesetz said...

Concerning grudging obedience — see Matthew 21:28-31. Jesus is using the distinction to illustrate a point about entering the Kingdom, but I think the parable works because reluctant obedience is still obedience.

As for obeying out of love, I think in this context love of God (or neighbor) isn't a matter of emotion or feeling, but of the will. Love of neighbor is the will that the neighbor have what is good and to do what is for his ultimate good (as illustrated in the parable of the sheep and the goats at the final judgment), and love of God is the will to do what pleases him, gives him glory, and spreads his kingdom.

Anonymous said...


I read it. Give me a chance . . .

You laid out a challenge a while ago --- to anyone who would respond --- you said you would debate any 'non-Calvinist' at your debate blog. You never responded to my requests then; so who's being disingenous here. I'm serious, Frank, I don't see this as a game . . . it's definitely not a "Bible study" here either.

donsands said...

"...love of God is the will to do what pleases him, gives him glory, and spreads his kingdom." -natur

And it's having heartfelt affection for Christ, my Savior, whom I love, and have not seen. 1 Peter 1:8

His grace is incredible.

I love Him. However, it's only because He first loved me.

Thomas Louw said...

I’m jumping in here, far too late, but.
Does gratitude not require faith in Christ, is God’s gift of faith not the root out of witch gratitude grows. We have gratitude because we believe in Christ and what He has done. As our knowledge grows, being instructed by His word our eyes open and we see ourselves how we truly are and how He is changing us which leads to more gratitude.
Our life experiences open our eyes to His providence and love for us even in diffuclt times, this also grows our gratitude.
I think, just maybe gratitude is not the reason we love God more, trust Him more but that gratitude is the natural fruit of a faithful life empowered by God. His revelation to us, changes us and we see it and this leads to gratitude which leads to actions by us through His enablement, which leads to more growth

thomas4881 said...

Let Jesus Christ be exalted in my body, if by life or by death.

Steve Berven said...


Isn't the more operative question, do I clean my mom's house because I love her...

Or because I love God?

Acts of service made in the service of God are made of our love for HIM, regardless of how we sometimes "feel" about the recipient of the act.

How we may or may not feel towards the person is immaterial to the "nobility" of the act. If you resent "having" to clean your mom's house (just as an example), then the error is not in your attitutde towards you mom/friend/co-worker, but in your attitude about your willing obedience to God's call to be servant-hearted.

I guess my view would be that if you can't do it willingly, then don't do it. But examine deeply WHY you are unwilling, and to WHO you are accountable for the attitude.

We don't do these things so that people will feel thankful or greatful to US, but rather, that they will feel thankful that God has such servants in his employ!


Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

MET - ...I googled Von Kronkenhuffner, and found nothing. Is this person for real? If not, too funny!


Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Hi Steve B:

You are so right, Steve, sometimes I think things go without saying in Christian circles (meaning that I think most Christian's understand this).

It "IS" because of my love for God that changed my "attitude" about wanting to clean her house, or do anything in service for Him.

Before I became a Christian, I did everything out of a sense of duty, and for my own glory. Since coming to Christ, He is now the impetus for all that I do, and He gets all the glory. My mother just reaps the benefit of my love for God. I assume it is that way for most Christian's.

O.K., enough talk of my mother's house. I used it as an example and it looks like boasting, now.

God bless you, Steve,
Mary :)

I'm still laughing about Von Kronkenhuffner, silly Dan Phillips. Too funny!

Mel said...

I agree with MET. Too funny!
I read EC's post and rolled my eyes about a third of the way down before coming to the all-too common blog response of "Too Long, Didn't Read!"

But I like yours better.

Anonymous said...

Mary Elizabeth,

Why do you think mocking someone is funny and silly?

This blog ain't worth the time!

Peace out.

jmb said...


I'm shocked that you would use the word "insegrevianist" on what I presumed was a family website.

You, sir, are nothing less than a neologistic sesquipedalianist.

DJP said...

troo dat

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Dear evangelicalcalvinist.com:

You said: Mary Elizabeth,

Why do you think mocking someone is funny and silly?

This blog ain't worth the time!

Peace out.

Mary said: I was not mocking anyone. I just know how Dan Phillips likes to come up with silly words from time to time. It sorta helps make things a bit lighter. Right?

I was laughing at the silly name Von Krokenhufffffffur, nothing else.

I feel bad you do not think this blog is worth your time. I find Phil, Frank and Dan very, very interesting, and have learned a great deal from reading this blog.

I don't come here to have harsh words with anyone. So peace to you, as well.

God bless you,