H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Gap.
The Gap...As a young man in high school, when the guys would get together and kid around, we used to imitate talking like Elvis for laughs, I can still hear my friends trying to master the art of saying, "I'll ah, I'll have a big 'ole cheese bugga, and ken ya put a whole lotta mayo on that darlin'?" We cracked ourselves up thinking we were so clever and funny.

I mention this so that when I say that there is in many of us a "whole lotta" difference between what we intellectually agree to be true and what we put into practice.

Consider the following quote from Walter Marshall, first published in 1692:
Consider these things well, and you may easily perceive that our spirits are not in a fit frame for the doing of them, while we apprehend ourselves under the curse and wrath of God, or while we are under prevailing suspicions that God will prove an enemy to us at last.
What Marshall is saying here is that you can't really love God if you always hold onto the secret suspicion that God is really your enemy. The context (and you can go and read the whole book at the link) is that until a believer is convinced in a practical way that they are in fact reconciled to God, they will be unable to accept the truth that God loves them in any practical way.

I think the best path for discipleship is to identify the most common obstacles to (genuine) Christian growth, and deal with them first. But often new believers are either left to their own devices (worse case scenario), or given a brief and systematic overview of the core Christian beliefs and encouraged to study the bible and pray (a little better), or thoroughly indoctrinated into both the core beliefs of the Christian faith and a variety of denominationally appropriate theological dogma (magnificent, but still putting the cart before the horse).

You see, you can be a believer, and have your head filled with all the right interpretations of all the various doctrinal stances your theological persuasion allows - and all the while be hopelessly in bondage to sin because in spite of all your "learning" - you didn't believe some of the very first things you were supposed to learn. There is a "Gap" between what you know to be true intellectually, and what you see happening in your faith.

You know, for example, that God loves you. If someone asks you, you have the right answer - "Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so" - only deep down, you suspect that every time you failed to be perfect, God stopped loving you. Oh, it was your <whispering> deep, dark secret, </whispering> but you imagined that this doubt was either normative, or more likely, that your faith was somehow flawed, and that if you could just obey more genuinely it would go away. But it never did.

You see, the gap? They are trying to generate God's love by their genuine obedience. Oh it looks crazy when we drag it out into the light and look at it, but that is what can happen.

You see, unbelief is spiritual cancer, it grows over time and gets worse - and unless it is identified for what it is, a person may well wonder why they seem to be getting worse in their faith rather than better, why they seem farther away from God now, than ever before. The problem goes back to the basics:

=If= you are in Christ, you are acceptable to God right now, and no sin that you can ever commit will change that. You cannot make God love you by your "genuine obedience" - God's love cannot be purchased - it is freely given, and if you are in Christ, it is already yours.

You are reconciled - the gap between you and God has been filled entirely because you are in Christ. God loves you right now, and so long as you continue to imagine that God's love is conditioned upon your obedience, you will never be able to believe that God loves you. And though you must become a fool to understand this, since it goes against all our logic - THAT must come first. First you trust God's love, and when you do THEN obedience flows naturally out of you.

Brother, sister, are you convinced intellectually that God loves you? Do you find that secretly you aren't loving God? It is because you are wrongly prefacing God's love upon your obedience - and as long as your conscience refuses to trust in a perfect and completed reconciliation - you will never be released from the guilt of your sin, and until you are released thus, you will not be free to love God from your heart. Your mind may well agree that loving God is proper, but your heart won't be convinced.

So if this was written for you, let the Spirit witness that to you, and do something about it. Crack open your bible while it is still today and settle for yourself whether God prefaces his love towards you on your good works. Learn that God's love is real, and stop giving into unbelief. It is true that you are not worthy of this profound love that God has exercised towards you - but it is high time you excusing your guilty conscience as a pious thing - when your conscience is trained not by truth but by suspicion, it is an evil conscience - you must train it again with the truth, for such will set you free.

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posted by Daniel @ 8:51 AM  
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