Welcome to episode 8 of the Grace Cafe! This episode is a reflection of conversations we’ve had with friends over the last 10 days or so. Specifically, a conversation Mike had with AJ, a young man who is on a similar journey of examining past and current beliefs in light of a better understanding of grace and the gospel.
Paul told the Thessalonian assemblies to test everything and hold fast to what is good. That type of examination is healthy as our individual journeys unfold. Unfortunately, most organized systems of theology won’t let you question or have healthy conversations that might take you in a different direction from the the accepted norm. We’re afraid of change, yet the Christian life is seldom stagnate for long.
Join us as we begin talking about our own ongoing changes including the shifts in our view of Calvinism and how that is affecting our view of the Father in light of Jesus’ words, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” Is Calvinism an accurate reflection of the Father Jesus showed us? Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and join the conversation.
AJ, this episode is dedicated to you. Thank you for the honest and open dialog. I’m looking forward to more!
Christian, where is your identity? Who are you really? Are you the sum of your failures and fears? Are you the shame you receive from others? Who are you as a Christian? What does the Father think of you? Is he disappointed in you? How does God see you?
If your life is hidden with God in Christ (and it is), what are the implications of that? When I feel condemned, shamed, unworthy, worthless, useless, and defeated, what does it mean that my entire life is hidden with God in Christ? Christian, on your worst day, you are untouchable and beyond accusation and condemnation. That’s the grace that comes to you from outside of yourself. Your bad record in Adam is gone and the righteousness of Christ is yours and will never be taken away. Let’s talk about. Let’s talk about your identity in Jesus and what it means to be untouchable in him.
Welcome to episode 6 of The Grace Cafe Podcast with Mike and Susan Adams. Most of us are probably familiar with this verse from the New Testament letter of 1 John:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)
Most of us probably equate the fear John is talking about with the things we fear most in life, and rightly so. Things like death, cancer, the sudden loss of a loved one, disabling health issues, financial ruin, or loss of relationships.
But what about the day-to-day stuff? What about the things in life we don’t normally think of as fears but when they are challenged, we find ourselves zealously protecting them for fear of change or of being proven wrong in what we assumed was correct about them? Things like depression or mental illness, for example. What if you’ve embraced the idea that depression is somehow sinful and the cure is correct doctrine or better theology but then one day, depression shows up at your door, coming from nowhere, like a bruise, and your doctrine has no effect on it. What then?
What happens when the Holy Spirit begins a work in us to expose these kinds of prejudices that cause us to view people as issues to be fixed instead of human beings to be loved? What happens when the beliefs we thought were so secure and right, begin to crumble? Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 5 of the Grace Cafe Podcast! In this episode, we reach back to 2015 and pull over one of our favorites from the old Chief Sinner Podcast. The audio is a little rough because we were still trying to figure out how to podcast. What you are going to hear in this episode was originally episode 19 of the Chief Sinner Podcast, airing on October 19, 2015. In it, Susan and I talked about her the recent blog post, Out of My Chains and Into Your Mercy. If you haven’t read that post yet, you may want to read it before listening to this episode.
After 6 1/2 years of depression, anxiety, good counseling, and good friends, she made the decision to see a therapist. We talked a little more about our story and her time in both the counselor’s office and the therapist’s office in her struggle to overcome PTSD and the therapist’s use of EMDR as part of the cure. If you’re not familiar with those terms, the blog and podcast will explain them. In her blog post, Susan wrote:
“How old was I when I became convinced that in order to be acceptable to people, I needed to wear masks. When were the words spoken to me that had convinced me that I would be unacceptable and worthless if I were to remove those masks? That I was a disappointment to everyone around me and to God? I had to record how I felt at that moment. That moment when I confessed I had been diagnosed with severe depression, that I didn’t think I was a believer, and that I couldn’t keep being what everyone wanted me to be. How did I feel in that moment when I was told by my pastor that I was dragging the name of Jesus through the mud? Where did I feel it? In my stomach? in my brain? In my chest? Well, I can remember that moment with great clarity when all of my fears became true and all of my doubts were confirmed. The belief that God was not really pleased with me. That I was a disappointment to Him. That if I ever removed my masks and showed others who I really was, with all of my struggles, that people would be disappointed in me as well.”
Susan’s blog post that this episode is based on can be found here:
Welcome to episode 4 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s talk about mercy. The small letter of Jude in the New Testament closes by saying, “and have mercy on those who doubt.” This, in a letter that has strong words for those outside the faith who are attacking the purity of the gospel. If anything is added to, or taken away from the gospel, the gospel morphs into law. Jesus plus nothing equals everything, but Jesus plus anything becomes some form of law.
Jude tells us to contend for the faith – to fight for the purity of the gospel, but we often interpret his words to mean fight for our tribal doctrine – the things that make our group unique from other groups. It’s that mindset that gets us into trouble because when we start doing that, mercy falls off the radar and we lose sight of it, thinking instead that our goal is to win an argument.
It’s in the context of contending for the purity of the gospel that Jude reminds us to have mercy on those who doubt. Have you ever doubted the gospel? We have. Have you ever doubted your own salvation? We have. And when we do, we don’t need harsh reminders of tribal doctrine. We need to hear the gospel all over again and be comforted and built up by that message because that is the only message that produces and restores faith and hope. Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to the 3rd episode of the Grace Cafe Podcast, the podcast formerly known as the Known & Loved Podcast! In this episode, we take a closer look at the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy concerning women in the Christian assembly. Specifically, we talk about the words in 1 Timothy 2:8-15. This section of Scripture contains some weird verses concerning women that are normally taken to be an across-the-board instruction manual for “doing church.” Here are a few examples:
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Timothy was a resident of the city of Ephesus when he received this letter from Paul. The city of Ephesus had one of the largest pagan temples to the Greek goddess Artemis in Asia Minor. Acts 19 gives us some background to the culture there and the prominence of Artemis worship. Your Bible version may read “Diana” instead of Artemis. It’s okay, as either name is good. Artemis was the Greek name for this Greek goddess and Diana was her Latin name, so we would expect Rome to call her Diana.
But who was Artemis? That’s a loaded question with a complete answer far beyond what we can provide in this podcast description. In short, Artemis was a goddess of and a protector of women and she had hundreds of titles reflecting that. Those women in the Artemis culture looked to Artemis for divine help in childbirth, also believing that Artemis required them to wear their best clothes when in her presence, being more attentive to their requests if they dressed their best. Artemis was also looked upon as a woman’s protector in labor and childbirth.
Consequently, within the Artemisian culture, women were the dominate ones, often exercising dominance over the men. In the Artemisian culture in Sparta, men were often flogged as part of Artemis worship.
Far from being an across-the-board manual for how to “do church,” we believe Paul’s words to Timothy in the passage above were addressing the Artemis practices that were being brought into the church, not a manual for how women should dress and act in the Christian assembly.
Welcome to episode 2 of the Grace Cafe Podcast! Our conversation in this episode centered around legalism and the toxic side effects it brings to the party. We talk about two types of legalism; a legalism of “don’t” and a legalism of “do”. One says you’re defined by what you avoid and the other says you’re defined by how you appear to others. Both types of legalism are a form of behavior modification and moralism that cover up the real you and put a fake you on display. Both types put us in a pressure cooker of performancism that is just waiting to burst.
One of the toxic side effects of legalism is the view of sanctification it forces on us. Legalism demands your best life now through strict adherence to rule keeping and it views sanctification as an upward progression from bad behavior to good behavior in direct proportion to one’s ability to keep the rules, whatever those rules are. In this environment, failure to perform and keep the rules is an indication you may not be a believer. We believe legalism in any form is contrary to the freedom Christ died to provide us.
In this episode we talk about:
A legalism of “Do” and a legalism of “Don’t”.
What is fruit and is fruit another name for good works?
Living up to the expectation of others.
Is sanctification a life of upward progress and improved performance based on our best efforts?
Trials and bearing fruit in trials.
Tightwads and bad baseball analogies.
We reference the following verses in this episode:
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14, ESV)
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31, ESV)
So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. (Hebrews 13:12, ESV)
Welcome to the 1st episode of the Grace Cafe Podcast with Mike & Susan Adams. We’ve been podcasting for almost two years on the Chief Sinner Podcast and the Known & Loved Podcast. We recently decided to make a fresh podcasting start and launch something new. The Grace Cafe Podcast is the result of that decision. The Chief Sinner/Known & Loved podcast will still be available in your podcast app, but no new episodes will be added beyond episode 82. In addition to our regular episodes in the Grace Cafe, we have identified 30+ episodes from the Chief Sinner/Known & Loved podcast that we will be bringing over slowly as bonus episodes, marked as Chief Sinner/Known & Loved favorites.
In this inaugural episode, we talk about a subject that’s foundational to Christianity – the confession and forgiveness of sin. It’s a topic that gets muddled and confused sometimes. We read Bible passages like 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins” and come away with the mistaken belief that unless we keep accurate records of our sins and keep confessing them as they occur, we’ve fallen out of God’s good favor. In other words, we live in fear that in this type of ongoing sin confession, we might miss one and lose any hope of true forgiveness and eternal life.
But is that what this passage is saying? Is that the interpretation the Apostle John would want us to come away with? We don’t think so. Such an interpretation leads to false feelings of guilt, condemnation, and failure. Does our forgiveness of sin depend upon our ability to accurately and completely recollect them all and confess them all, leading to our forgiveness at that moment in time, only to be repeated at some future moment to experience forgiveness all over again up to that moment in time?
We can easily become neurotic about sin when we think forgiveness from God is based on our performance in this way. We start to think we have to clean ourselves up to a certain level of righteousness before God will accept us. But that’s a futile attempt to secure forgiveness and righteousness by works. Let’s talk about it.