Sunday Walk 50 – Good At Heart?

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10, King James Bible 1769

When I was a teenager my family and I watched the 1959 film The Diary of Anne Frank in our living room. Anne died in a Nazi concentration camp, but she left behind a diary of the events that occurred while her family was in hiding. A memorable part of the movie was when she expressed her belief that people were good at heart.

George Barna of the Cultural Research Center wrote recently that one of the top 10 most seductive unbiblical ideas embraced by Americans is ‘the idea that people are “basically good”’. That suggests that the memorable part of the movie about Anne Frank was seductively unbiblical.

The reason the idea that we are good at heart is wrong is because it is sentimental. It is a false form of consolation, because it looks for goodness in the wrong place. Rather than acknowledging that God is good, it claims that somewhere deep down inside of us we are.

To a society that rejects Jesus, we mythologize the Kingdom of God rather than preach it. To a society that blatantly intimidates with sexual addiction, we downplay the need for repentance. Alisa Childers wrote that one of the five signs that one’s church was becoming progressive is “[t]he heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice”.

I’m still trying to figure this out. You are welcome to tell me what you think about people being good at heart.


I am grateful to Michael Wilson for presenting George Barna’s research and to Bruce Cooper for pointing out Alisa Childers’ criticism of progressive Christianity.

Final thought: After David impregnated Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed to avoid scandal, and was called out for it by Nathan (2 Samuel 11-12), he didn’t think much of his heart. He wanted God to create in him a clean one (Psalm 51).


Weekly Bible Reading:  Joshua (Audio), Judges (Audio), Ruth (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Joshua, Part 2 of 2, Judges and Ruth, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

View From the Top
View From the Top

Sunday Walk 41 – Abortion and Communion

תועבת יהוה דרך רשׁע ומרדף צדקה יאהב

Proverbs 15:9 Masoretic Text with various translations

I learned from Michael Wilson’s blog that the San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone had called on the Catholic Church to deny Communion to prominent pro-abortion Catholics.

I agree with Archbishop Cordileone, but would add a twist to his call making it relevant even for non-Catholics: All Christians should advise those who are pro-abortion to refrain from Communion until they have repented.

Does that sound harsh?

What would be harsh would be Satan’s accusations full of finger-pointing and despair with no hope of forgiveness on the other side. However, this call is different. It is a call to the discomfort of repentance and the liberation of change where pardon replaces that crash into the brick wall.

Selah, Before the Throne of God Above
Patched Brick Wall

Extraordinary

Does an extraordinary claim require extraordinary evidence? If one thinks of ordinary as natural, something one can see, touch or measure, and one thinks of extra as super, then it might make sense to transform extraordinary into supernatural just to help us see what’s at stake. From that new perspective, a supernatural claim would seem to require supernatural evidence.

True, some proudly deny the supernatural entirely. They might as well deny the extraordinary itself, but such a denial would itself be an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary or supernatural evidence to justify it.

Pause for a moment.

Without the supernatural there would be no words to describe the ordinary if the ordinary could exist at all. That we take words for granted does not mean they are ordinary or can be completely reduced to something natural. We are just used to the extraordinary, the supernatural, pervading our lives in spite of our denials.

Furthermore, we use these words that are extraordinary to form presuppositions, or believed assumptions that cannot be reduced to the ordinary, in order to rationalize those very denials.

Those presuppositions are part of our spiritual environment. Can we change our minds? From this environment do we produce wholesome fruit worth offering to our loved ones? Can we repent if that fruit is rotten? Can we be forgiven?

We sink into the waters aware of those presuppositions, those mundane, questionable, unwholesome, but extraordinary claims. As we are brought back up, having repented, having changed our minds, the Lord renews in us a right spirit and creates in us a clean heart.

Now that’s extraordinary.


My thoughts expressed here were motivated from reading Michael Wilson’s post Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence? which led me to Frank Turek’s podcast. When Eugenia offered the word “extraordinary” for this week’s prompt I figured the coincidence was significant.

לב טהור ברא לי אלהים ורוח נכון חדשׁ בקרבי

Psalm 51:10 Masoretic Text with various translations
All of the Above and Some Birds
Eugenia’s Prompt Image