Half Truths by Adam Hamilton–Book Review

In this book, Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton explains why a number of the statements Christians regard as “the gospel truth” are really only half true at best. They are:

*Everything happens for a reason

*God helps those who help themselves

*God won’t give you more than you can handle

*God said it, I believe it, that settles it

*Love the sinner, hate the sin

I agree with many of Pastor Hamilton’s conclusions. For example, these platitudes are often used in ways that are not helpful or comforting. They attempt to reduce difficult theological issues to a slogan. They are not actually in the Bible and should not be given the same weight as Scripture. However, I have serious disagreements with the theology he uses to support his opinions (as would most conservative Lutherans — and conservatives in some other denominations as well).

Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn't Say

One issue concerns the doctrine of predestination Lutherans stand with the Calvinists here, at least in the matter of salvation. We believe that God choses us, we do not choose Him.

Another problematic area is the inerrancy of Scripture. Pastor Hamilton rejects this concept, preferring to take the Bible “seriously.”

In both of these cases, the author offers an overly simplified version of the opposing view and sometimes selects examples from Scripture that would not be used by those who adhere to those views. In fairness, his presentation is intended to educate the laity, and is not an academic treatise. However, in my opinion, he gives an incomplete explanation of the doctrines he doesn’t accept. He is correct is saying we all interpret the Scripture, but conservatives and liberals disagree on the “how” that interpretation works.

VERDICT: 2 STARS. I would not recommend this book for Lutherans to use for a group study, but it may be helpful in understanding the belief system of more liberal Christians,

For more information on predestination see:

Predestination — A Difficult Word!

Predestination?

Can We Pick & Choose?

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Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I implore you– Part 2

Part 2 (first and final measure)

What does the Bible say?

Revelation 21:

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

A long-awaited day. A day awe and joy so full you cry with relief. A day that reinforces all the promises, validates all the heartache, and ends the unnecessary. In this season of Lent as we look toward the day our King died for His people, His loves . . . this vision comforts. His love is so great; that like a hen covering her chicks, He took the disgusted spit in the face that we deserved. He took the slap that was for our shame, the angry clenched fist bruised and broke His skin instead of ours. The lashes meant for the criminal he willingly accepted. So much so that His countenance no longer resembled the Lord and Teacher His disciples came to know.

This Christ, the same Christ we put to death and who defeated it Is the Christ I follow. This Christ who says to me truly, truly; is the Christ Lord Jesus that is not just a swear word to me. He is my teacher, my confidant and loving Abba, Father. This is what the title Christian means and represents. I bring shame if I carry it carelessly. Therefore, I expect any church I attend to take this title and responsibility with the same seriousness. I expect any church that claims the title of Christ to believe in EVERY, SINGLE, TRUTH, written down and handed down to us in the Holy Bible. The true word of God. Anyone that selects as they wish, or adds a meaning without context, or intentionally disregards anything; should take a good long look at Revelation 22: 18 & 19.

Churches, Pastors, remember please. Remember your duty. Your sacred job to tell the truth. Your job is not to pander, it is not to spare feelings. (Re-read the new testament if you think Jesus did.) Your job is to unburden the burdened. To free the trapped. Your job is to warn those who blindly go. To warn the ignorant and hope they return to God and away from worldly temptations. And your job is the most important job on the planet.

John 14:

 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 ` Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

 

For this reason, God’s word must be the Christians first and final measure.  The rule by which we test all things. The standard for all templates of worship must follow the instruction, the guidebook and sacred history that is the Bible. It proves itself true time and time again. It shows us truths of heaven that are but shadows on this earth. Just as Jesus said.

 

John 14:

“They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

 

 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian* Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*Christian: the ancient text reads “catholic,” meaning the whole Church as it confesses the wholeness of Christian doctrine.