In HOPE

  In HOPE 7.10                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

Dan Gilliam's God Touches: Finding Faith in the Cracks and Spaces of My Life (Standard Publishing, 2007: 186 pages) will bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye, and a challenge to your heart. The stories of his personal faith, homelessness, near-self-destruction, and restoration, weave together a tapestry that delights and inspires. You'll enjoy his colorful writing, good humor, occasional jabs, and spiritual insights for the Journey.  

Hope Happenings

On Saturday, May 5, 2007, the Music Department of Hope International University presents a celebratory concert, Let the People Praise Him in the campus Auditorium. This presentation features the Hope Chorale, Jazz Ensemble, International Percussion Ensemble, and the Aineo Christian Orchestra.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

"Instead of genuine forgiveness, our generation has been taught the vague notion of 'tolerance'. This is, at best, a low-grade parody of forgiveness. At worst, it's a way of sweeping the real issues in human life under the carpet." -- N.T. Wright, The Lord & His Prayer


Whatever

Armchair sociologists call us the "whatever generation." It's not a technical term, but accurate. Whatever you want; whatever suits you; whatever you think. We may disagree, but ... whatever. I may have hurt you, but ... whatever.

This laid-back approach to life produces indifference and indolence. But the consequences run far deeper. Like a seeping appendix, it poisons us.

"Whatever" grows out of relativism - that rampant philosophy that defies biblical moral absolutes. In its simplest form, relativism insists that what is true for you is well and good, but don't force your standards on me. As long as we act sincerely and with tolerance toward each other ... whatever.

But this insipid mindset has a high cost.

Only absolutes can evoke authentic absolution and genuine grace. No absolutes; no forgiveness; no grace.

We wallow in pain and shame, and our culture's only consolation is a single word: "Whatever!" It fails entirely to heal, reconcile, redeem, or restore. Instead, it exacerbates our isolation and despair.

The veneer of freedom in our culture -- whereby we can do basically whatever we like -- only enslaves us. True freedom does not mean lack of restraint. Just the opposite. Authentic freedom comes from the decision to live within godly boundaries and forgive those who violate them. We cannot dismiss or modify those standards, but grace allows the fallen to return. In contrast, "whatever" casts us adrift, without moorings, without hope.

The philosophical arm-wrestle between absolute ethics and relativistic ethics has grace-based implications. The irony is obvious. Relativism begets bondage. Absolutes lead to life.

God always seems distant and remote to those with no culpability. On the other hand, John Newton could write of Amazing Grace because its light shone in the darkness of his acknowledged depravity. No "whatever" for him.

Without awareness of our sin and guilt, we cannot enter salvation and grace as fully as the Father intends. 

Grace emerges from absolute standards, not the feeble 'whatever' philosophy of our times. The  Lord's statutes do more than sustain society. His principles pave the pathway to grace and life for each of us.

No more "whatevers" ... please.

In HOPE -

David

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For back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) go to http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.