from Grace to You
At some point, whether in an argument or a debate, you’ve probably been shut down with the popular, dismissive response, “That’s just your opinion.”
That abrupt statement has become a handy tool in recent years, as postmodernity has gained a foothold in our regular discourse. It’s sometimes deployed as an exit ramp from confrontations and other uncomfortable conversations. And while it can be an effective way to deflect unnecessary conflict, it’s most often used as an offensive weapon, not a shield.
And while that argumentative tactic doesn’t work in every setting—criminals would be wise to avoid it with judges—it has a growing and problematic presence in the realm of theology.
from Ligonier Ministries
In the early fifth century, a theological controversy occurred that would forever shape the thinking of the church. In his Confessions, Augustine of Hippo wrote in the form of a prayer the words, “Give what Thou commandest and command what Thou will.” The British monk Pelagius was upset by these words, believing that they would give Christians an excuse for not obeying God. Pelagius believed that if God commanded something, man was naturally (apart from grace) able to do it. He believed that this was possible because he also believed that Adam’s sin had only affected Adam. All human beings are born in the same state in which Adam was born, capable of either obeying God or disobeying Him. If they obey, their good works merit salvation. If not, they deserve God’s punishment.
Just think of the importance of a little word of encouragement! Mark Twain said, ”I can live for a month on a compliment.” Why not speak a nice word to your preacher— give a small gift to a friend— visit briefly with a shut-in or give a good hug to an elderly person (and remember I am old, too).
Jacob told his sons to bring the king of Egypt “a little honey” (Genesis 43:11). Proverbs 30:24-28 speaks of “little animals” that teach powerful lessons— Luke 19 tells of a “little man’” who climbed up in a tree to see Jesus. Just remember a lot of people and a lot of things and a lot of churches that appear to be small or insignificant are very valuable, important and big in the sight of God.
There is a wonderful song entitled, “Little Is Much If God Is In It.” One verse states:
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There is a crown and you can win it;
If you go in Jesus Name.”
Pat Loftin has served as a Baptist minister for some 62 years and resides in Epps, LA where he has been the husband of Kathy for 59 years, the father of 3, grandfather of 6 and great-grandfather of 3 more. His hobbies include fishing but his passion is for preaching, teaching and writing. To contact Bro. Pat Loftin, you may email him through our contact page here