Some Honest Answers for Michael Brown

Brown and Prince

CharismaNews has just published an article entitled “Some honest questions for Joseph Prince.” In it Michael Brown puts 11 questions to “Pastor Prince and those who embrace the modern grace message.” Unlike Pastor Prince, I’m not a busy man. I don’t have to preach four or five times this Sunday. So I have taken it upon myself to respond to these questions on behalf of all who embrace the gospel of grace. Regular readers will know that this is not the first time I have responded to something Michael Brown has written against the grace message. “Paul, why do you keep taking the bait?” Because … [Read more...]

Jesus and Divorce

Second Marriage

In the past year I’ve had a couple of friends go through divorce and each time it has torn our hearts. I won’t go into details, but what has struck me is how some in the church have responded to these divorces. Let’s just say there has been an aroma and it has not been the fragrance of Jesus. Divorce seems to bring out the ugly in some people. In a recent post I asked the question “Can divorced people remarry?” By the grace of God they can! (Whether one should remarry is a separate question.) While some may wag their fingers in judgment, the message I want divorced people to hear is … [Read more...]

Can Divorced People Remarry?

broken_heart_by_starry_eyedkid

Hmm, that’s a tough one. Let me see. Can sinners be forgiven? Can runaways come home? Can crooks get a second chance? Can the broken be made whole? No, it’s not a tough question. It’s an easy question. Of course divorced people can remarry! These questions are only tough because religion has told us that divorced people are unforgiveable sinners. They’re lepers who blight our perfect little churches. As long as they sit quietly and help with our programs, they are welcome. But the moment they start looking for love, they’ve crossed the line. They had their shot at love and they messed … [Read more...]

Husbands Hindered Prayers (1 Peter 3:7)

marriage agro

A man recently asked me about a troubling verse. “My wife says my prayers are hindered because I don’t respect her enough.” He was referring to this verse: Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7) What does it mean to hinder your prayers? Here is the wrong answer: “God doesn’t listen to jerks.” The good news is that God does hear the honest prayers of jerks and crooks and thieves and sinners (see Luke … [Read more...]

E2R’s New Scripture Index

Scripture Index badge

Here’s a Christmas riddle for you: What question have I been asked more than any other in 2014? It is this one: “Paul, have you written anything on (insert scripture reference)?” A close second is, “How do I read (insert troubling scripture) through the lens of grace?” In response to questions like these I have written hundreds of posts on hundreds of scriptures. Problem is they’re hard to find. E2R has grown so big that finding past posts has become a chore. Have you noticed? After five years and half a million words, the archives are stuffed to bursting, and many of you can’t figure out … [Read more...]

Labor to Enter His Rest (Hebrews 4:11)

Migrant-Mother-Dorothea-Lange

The other day a strange man approached a young girl and offered her candy if she would get in his car. Thankfully, the girl knew all about stranger danger and quickly walked to a shop where she was safe. I know you’ve heard this sort of story before but this was different for us because it happened on the street where we live and the girl was a classmate of one of my daughters. She was walking home when it happened so you can guess what every parent in our school is now thinking. That could’ve been my little girl! I mention this story because a few years ago this incident would’ve sent … [Read more...]

50 Scriptures Inclusionism Can’t Explain

girl-bible

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Heb 2:1) Being careless with God’s word can cause people to drift away. This is why I am opposed to the doctrine of inclusion for it distorts and twists scripture and, as a result, some have drifted away. Inclusionism teaches that Jesus died not as one of us but as all of us and that humanity was included in his resurrection and ascension. Since “all are in Christ,” everyone is now reconciled, justified, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit whether they believe it or not. … [Read more...]

Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy

Lazy-Homer

“Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians,” say the critics. “Grace promotes passivity and laziness.” It does? I guess somebody forgot to tell Paul: By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Cor. 15:10) This is not a Grammy speech. This is Paul giving us the secret to his success. Paul was a tough-as-nails church planter. He wrote letters that would shape the world for 2,000 years. How’d he do it? “I didn’t make this happen,” said Paul. “God and I did it … [Read more...]

How Do We Read the Commands of the New Testament?

House Rules

How should we read the commands of the New Testament? A legalist will insist we read them as commands that must be obeyed. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “If you love me, you will obey my commands?” He did, but he wasn’t preaching law-based obedience. He was saying obedience is a fruit, not a root, of a healthy, loving relationship. Live by the law – any law – and you fall from grace. You set aside the cross and trample the Son of God underfoot. It makes no difference whether you keep the law to be saved, sanctified, or sanctimonious. Being faithful to the law is being unfaithful to Jesus. … [Read more...]

Grace Disco – Out Today!

Grace Disco_med

In a couple of months Escape to Reality will be five years old. Five years isn’t a long time, but my goodness, a lot of water has gone under that bridge. Truly grace is a fast-flowing river that will take you a long way in a short time. Here’s a comment I received from a kind reader: “I have learned more truth in less than one month following E2R than I have learned in 21 years of religion.” Does this mean I am the world’s greatest teacher? Nope. But Jesus is the Truth I have written about in every article here on E2R. Indeed, he is the Reality in E2R. (Incidentally, I have a theory that … [Read more...]

Keep Plowing or Die! (Luke 9:62)

cow_plow

Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62) Is Jesus calling you to a life of unswerving service? Is he saying, “You’re here to work and work hard”? Well if he is, then he’s contradicting what he says here: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28) See the problem? In one verse Jesus exhorts us to “Plow” and in another he says “Rest.” Plowing is hard, back-breaking work. You can’t plow and rest at the same time, so which is it? “It’s both,” says the mixed-up … [Read more...]

Is it Wrong to Ask God for Forgiveness?

forgiveness

“Beware the grace Pharisees who jump on you if you dare to ask God for forgiveness. They will say you’re operating in unbelief and legalism.” This claim is sometimes made against those who preach grace. Because we say God has forgiven all your sins, apparently it’s wrong to ask him to forgive you. Apparently asking God to give what he has already provided is an insulting sin. But I don’t buy it. It’s true that God has forgiven you, but if asking helps you to receive, then by all means ask! There is nothing wrong in coming to the throne of grace in your hour of need to receive mercy … [Read more...]