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Posts tagged "Sanctification"

Hopelessly Devoted: On Muscular Christianity

Hopelessly Devoted: On Muscular Christianity

Grateful to start the week with this reflection from Alex Chapota: Like many people in ministry, I receive a lot of Christian-related forwards via Facebook and WhatsApp messenger. Friends usually expect me to comment or even forward these messages onward. Plenty of them are insightful and even inspirational. Other times they kick off a debate, […]

The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

We’ve all had influential people in our lives who remain unaware of the impact they had on us. An elementary school teacher who inspired us to dedicate our lives to educating others. An older friend of our family whose kindness and generosity we’ve tried to emulate. Maybe it’s a random stranger who, like a guardian […]

Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon

In this most prestigious breakout session from the 11th annual Mockingbird conference, Nick Lannon discusses the paradox of sanctification. Subtopics include: dentistry mishaps, good deeds, Han Solo, and the caverns of the heart.

Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – A Conference Break-Out Preview

This breakout preview comes from longtime Mockingbird contributor Nick Lannon, who is also the Associate Rector of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY.

If you’re reading a post on (or reposted from) the Mockingbird website, chances are pretty good that, at one point or another, you’ve been accused of being “weak on sanctification.” I’ve even had a staff member of a previous church casually refer to the alleged fact that I “don’t believe in sanctification.”

Is that true? What is certainly true is that most discussion of Christian growth rubs me the wrong way, depresses me, or makes me the kind of angry that I got when I heard they were remaking Point Break. But God is at work in us! He promised he would be!

Clearly, some clarification is in order.

For people who have, like thirsty vagrants crawling out of the desert, come to the fount of the Good News of the Gospel—that “it is finished” on account of Christ—sanctification can become, at best, a difficult subject to deal with, and, at worst, a dirty word. How can we talk about the work that God is doing in our lives without making it just another law? Is there a way to celebrate the activity of the Holy Spirit without becoming self-righteous Pharisees? Does talk of “sanctification” or “Christian maturity” necessarily lead to a ranked order of Christians stretching from Mother Teresa and Billy Graham at the top to death-row converts and your back-slidden college roommate at the bottom?

At this break-out session, I’ll try to find a helpful way to talk about sanctification. There is a paradigm through which Christian growth can be discussed, believed in, and even celebrated. Spiritual maturity is neither unicorn nor bogeyman, but it does seem to work itself out in the exact opposite way of that which we are hard-wired to expect.

So join me…afterwards, you can tell all your friends that you’re a more mature Christian than they are. Or not. Wait and see.

You can still register for the 2018 Mockingbird Conference: The Grace of God in Divided Times. Click here to check out the full schedule. We hope to see you there!


Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

When I was a kid attending Sunday School in a very traditional Baptist church in the Midwest, we learned Bible stories… I became familiar with the regular cast of characters like Adam and Eve, Noah, David, Moses, etc. I could tell you that Moses parted the Red Sea; Adam and Eve ate an apple; David […]

Identity and Summer Selfies: A Reminder

Identity and Summer Selfies: A Reminder

It’s that time of year again, when all of us at some level look at our bodies and realize that we’ve been more, let’s say, “relaxed” about our health during the colder months. We also see — well, some of us do, anyway — our offensively pale skin or winter-weight and dread the first day […]

From the Archives - Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

From the Archives – Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

This comes from Mockingbird Magician-in-Chief, Jim McNeely. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who […]

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel: A Conference Breakout with Jim McNeely

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel: A Conference Breakout with Jim McNeely

I am very excited about the upcoming Mockingbird Conference! First, and possibly most importantly, I have been asked to do a few magic tricks at the conference. If you come, you will be one of the few humans ever to witness a one-time demonstration of the power of the amazing Cords of Shastri, which have […]

Gerhard Forde on the Language of Grace

Another gem from theologian Gerhard Forde, via one of his responses in Five Views of Sanctification, pg 192:

The language of grace must be a language that comes totally from without. It does not call on the old self, not even the inner life of the old self, to somehow traverse a new way. It announces him who is the Way. It is thus a use of language which does not call on the old self to “surrender”; rather it is a use of language which through its very givenness slays the old by the absolute unconditionality of the gift itself… the Word does not call on our old being to die. It simply announces that we have died, and sanctification occurs to the degree that we get used to that fact…

Love is the source and goal of sanctification, but the only way to bring that about is to simply announce, “I love you.” The word of grace must bring the old unlovely and unloving existence to an end by the sheer strength of the promise, the gift, which breaks into our dreary lives and just announces flat-out that the old has passed away and the new is here.

A Skeptic of the Transformation Enterprise

A Skeptic of the Transformation Enterprise

Good News for the weary Advent Amazon shopper. An amazing bit from Phillip Cary’s Good News for Anxious Christians, which I am unashamedly speed-reading this Advent. Consumerist? No way! Cary here is talking about the false, consumerist focus on change, and how that focus has bled into the way we think about our very souls. […]

Karl Barth Brings Good News for the Saints

Karl-Barth-2“We say this even of the saints who are all very obviously and palpably sinners, in whose lives there is continually to be found much that is very different from this lifting up of themselves, who clearly continue to make use of very different freedoms and permissions from those given them by the divine direction; of all kinds of supposed freedoms and permissions which they think they can and should give themselves, but which are in fact illusory. The total, unlimited, sovereign freedom of the Spirit is given them even though they are still in the world like all other men. Their being as sinners is radically assailed, but not destroyed. They still think and speak and act as those who are not free, but who, according to the classical formula of the Heidelberg Catechism, are ‘inclined by nature to hate God and my neighbours.’ What would become of the freedom of the saints if it had to be guaranteed by the use they make of it; if its possession were dependent on the power with which they exercise it? They do indeed have to use and exercise it. How can they receive it if they do not do this? But the freedom of the saints is grounded and enclosed, not in the dignity and power of this reception, but in the dignity and power of the gift made, or rather of the Giver of this gift, in the freedom of the royal man Jesus to whom they are summoned to look. They do not look to him very well. But they are made free, and are free, only in the fact that it is He to whom they look. They are saints only in the fact that He sanctified them.”