May 31, 2021
The Proper 5B Sermon Starters include commentary and illustration ideas for Mark 3:20-35 from the Lectionary Gospel; 1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15) from the Old Testament Lectionary; Psalm 130 from the Lectionary Psalms; and 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1 from the Lectionary Epistle.
Related Reformed confession: OT Lectionary: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 9 (Lord’s Day 4)
Author: Scott Hoezee
“You can’t see the forest for the trees.” The idea behind this saying is that sometimes we become so wrapped up in one thing that we lose sight of the larger picture. Sometimes this can be humorous. So on a TV show you may see a man who is obsessed with getting his tie knotted just so. Hence, he spends an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror until the tie is perfect and he has achieved that small crease just below the knot. Satisfied that he now looks good, he walks out of the house totally oblivious to the fact that his pants have a big rip right on his backside!
Viewed from the right angle, something like this has happened when it comes to Mark 3. Many people have walked away from this chapter fretting to the depths of their soul the so-called “unpardonable sin.” We worry what the precise contours of that sin may be. We worry that someone we know may have been guilty of it. We worry that we may have accidentally committed this very sin ourselves. So in the past we preachers have tried to address this matter very often through the traditional line, “If you are worried about this sin, then you didn’t commit it.” Others of us have suggested that this most perilous of sins isn’t a one-time lapse. For the consequences to be this eternally dire, the person in question must be a hardcore anti-God figure who never accepts the Lord’s work even for a moment.
But however we deal with this pastorally and theologically as preachers, the point is that we need to remember that many people have become obsessed with this particular part of the chapter very nearly to the exclusion of all else. Hence, what we sometimes come close to forgetting is that there are two rejections of Jesus in Mark 3. But when we become obsessed with the ins and outs of the unpardonable sin, we tend to ignore the fact that Mark 3 shows us also another unhappy way to view Jesus and that we need to avoid that attitude, too. To see this other rejection, we need to look at Jesus’ family and the role it plays here.
Jesus’ mother and brothers have apparently not yet become members of Jesus’ band of disciples. They have been following Jesus in a literal sense but not in the more important sense of discipleship—they are more stalking him to figure out what is going on than following to learn from his teachings. But the result of that kind of following is a dire conclusion: Jesus is off his rocker! He has become something of a family embarrassment, a public spectacle that they are eager to whisk out of sight. They want to take Jesus home, put him to bed, keep him quiet for a while, and then see if all this talk about casting out demons and the kingdom of his Father abates.
As some commentators have pointed out, it appears that it was particularly Jesus’ engagement with the demonic that was causing Mary and Jesus’ brothers to arch their eyebrows the sharpest. It all seemed a little bizarre to them. In verse 21 they say literally that they had to get him on home because Jesus was exeste, a word meaning to stand outside of yourself. Even today we may refer to a person who is an emotional wreck as being “beside himself” with grief. The idea is that someone has taken leave of his senses (or his senses have taken leave of him) and so what remains for the time being is a person whose emotions are unchecked and unregulated. This is the family’s assessment of Jesus.
Apparently all Jesus’ talk about invisible kingdoms of God and the casting out of demons led members of his own family to the conclusion that Jesus was seeing things that no one else could see and the reason was simple: he was out of his everloving mind!
We probably can give the family a break—no one in history, after all, had ever before had to deal with having the Son of God as a close family member. Still, to look at Jesus and chalk up his words as delusional, incorrect, incoherent—that is a pretty bad thing to do, too. It’s maybe not an unpardonable sin but it may well be a sin in which we sometimes participate. Whenever we pick and choose from among our Savior’s words, deciding on our own which to take seriously and which to chalk up as no more than metaphor or something that doesn’t apply to us in the modern age, aren’t we essentially saying that sometimes Jesus said things that no one can take seriously? Mark 3 shows us that there is indeed more than one way to reject Jesus. We do well to pay attention to the lesser one sometimes and not let undue worries about the big one eclipse this for us.
Because in this case the forest we might miss for the sake of the trees is a really important forest! It is called The Kingdom of God.
How easily we preachers can sometimes miss the wider context in our narrow focus on the lection at hand. In the case of this passage in Mark 3, it is vital to notice the frame Mark placed around this incident (Mark does this a lot, after all—it is called intercalation or Marcan Sandwiching). Just prior to this in Mark 3:13-19, we find Jesus appointing the twelve disciples as Apostles, as the “sent ones” who would one day become his heralds in bringing the gospel to the world. Then, immediately following this incident, we encounter the well-known “Parable of the Sower” in Mark 4 that reminds us that the seed of the gospel will inevitably fall on many kinds of soil, the majority of which (alas) will prove to be unreceptive to the subsequent growth and flourishing of that seed. Plunked down in between those two incidents is this scene of terrible rejection of Jesus by both his family and, less surprisingly, by the religious leaders. If the disciples-cum-apostles want a preview of what will face them in the future as they go forth to sow the seed of the gospel, they need look no further than how their Lord and Master is treated here! We ought to expect no less today.
The key question in Mark 3 is easy to spy: what is the so-called unpardonable sin? Apparently it has to do with morally inverting the world to the point where darkness is light and light darkness. And that is no run-of-the-mill sin. You do not live this way and talk this way and view the world this way due to some little mistake or a momentary lapse of judgment.
What can be done for people who insist on looking at the world that way? This is the essence of blasphemy. Blasphemy is at bottom a form of theft. Blasphemers steal holy language and symbols, associate them then with ugly and awful things, and so rob God of the chance to get through to us via his chosen form of revelation. So if the KKK can take the symbol of the cross and transform it into a symbol of racial hatred instead of what it really is (namely, a sign of reconciliation among all races and between God and the entire world), then God loses a key piece of how he wants to convey his love to us.
Maybe that is why this “sin” is unpardonable: the ones who need the grace that could pardon it reject that same grace as sheer poison. And what can be done for one such as that?
I Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15)
Author: Stan Mast
After our celebrations of the mighty acts of God from Advent to Pentecost, the prospect of entering Ordinary Time might seem like a bit of a downer. But the Old Testament readings for the next couple of months plunge us right into the kind of social and political turmoil that characterizes our own time. To that point, our text for today raises questions about profound issues, like the relationship between divine sovereignty and human authority and the tension between cultural accommodation and covenantal faithfulness. All of which leads us to this central question: how we can follow King Jesus in times that are anything but ordinary.
For hundreds of years, Israel had been a theocracy, directly ruled by God who worked through charismatic leaders like Moses and Joshua. When those superstars died off, God raised up temporary lesser leaders in the persons of the Judges. The era of the Judges lasted for 200 chaotic years.
Here that era comes to an end, as the people demand a king. Theocracy is replaced by monarchy, but that shift did not produce the brave new world the people envisioned. Instead, the chaos continues, as the kings did exactly what God told Israel they would do.
Let’s get to the details of this old story, in order to address the larger issues of our time. On a human level, the period of the Judges comes to an end because Samuel, the best of Israel’s Judges, was getting old (probably about 86). And his sons, whom he had appointed to succeed him, were unworthy of the job. They had already failed morally and spiritually, so they are sure to fail politically once Samuel was gone. In a play on words, our text says that the Judges (shapat) were not doing justice (mishpat).
In our day, we might call this a constitutional crisis. Who will govern Israel? It’s a reasonable question and the elders of Israel have a reasonable answer: “appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” They’ve been wandering among and doing battle with “the other nations” for hundreds of years now, and they’ve seen how the world works out there. So, even though they have survived and even conquered those nations under God’s leadership, they ask for a king “such as all the other nations have.” That is, at once, a perfectly reasonable and a profoundly foolish demand.
Samuel sees the folly and the insult of their request immediately. He takes his displeasure to God in prayer. We aren’t specifically told why he was displeased or what he said to God, but it isn’t hard to guess, given how God responded to his prayer.
Some of Samuel’s pique is personal. Why didn’t they ask him to be king? He had never asked to be king, but now that they were looking, why not him? And how could they reject his sons so summarily? His fatherly heart was hurt. That’s why God says in effect, “It’s not about you.”
But some of Samuel’s irritation undoubtedly stemmed from the central fact of Israel’s existence; they were not like the other nations. They were God’s covenant nation, chosen from among the nations of the earth to be God’s holy people for the sake of the nations. The elders’ request ignored that special status. Thus, their demand for a human king was, finally, a rejection of God as their King; “they have rejected me as their king.”
That was profoundly foolish, given how God had ruled them for hundreds of years. In the previous chapter we have a graphic example of God’s gracious and powerful rule. The Philistines had stolen the ark of the covenant, thinking in their pagan way that, if they had that central object of Israel’s religion, they would automatically have the power of Israel’s god. But Samuel defeated the Philistines, because “the Lord thundered against the Philistines and they were routed (7:10-11). After the battle, Samuel raised up a stone as a memorial. He called it Ebenezer, which means, “Thus far, the Lord helped us.” Yes, he had, again and again and again. Their King had always helped them and had promised to do that for all the generations to come. Why would they need a human king?
That’s part of what Samuel was thinking when he took his displeasure to God in prayer. Surprisingly, God didn’t seem to be thinking that way. God says, “Listen to the people.” Indeed, he says that 3 times, because Samuel wasn’t inclined to listen to them. But, says God, “Listen to them, and give them what they want.”
Did God speak in anger or is there a tone of resignation in God’s words Is God speaking the way a weary parent finally gives in to a petulantly persistent toddler. God says, they have been doing to me for centuries now, ever since I took them out of bondage in Egypt and brought them here to the Promised Land. They have been forsaking me for other gods. That’s what this amounts to—replacing me, their divine King, with a merely human king who will function like a god in their lives.
So, “listen to them.” “Give what they want.” Why would God give in like this? Because God was angry or weary, or because God is wise? I think it was the latter. Israel has been tugging in this direction for centuries and God knew they weren’t going to stop. So, he gave them what they wanted in order to show them definitively that what they wanted would ruin them. As Paul put it in Romans 1, God “gave them up to their sin.” This was as much chastisement as punishment, both punitive and corrective.
I think this is an act of wise love, because of the way God warns them of the consequences of their demand for a king. Out of the details of Samuel’s warning emerges a clear message. This king will demand from you what I ask of you—a tenth,of everything and your whole life. “You will become his slaves.”
Israel might have protested that they were already slaves of Yahweh, so what was the difference. At least they could see this human king. God shows them the difference between God as King and a human king in a simple verb repeated four times. This human king will “take, take, take, take.” Yahweh gives, gives, gives and gives.
What Yahweh asks back as a sign of love and loyalty he gave in the first place. What the human kings will demand are God’s gifts to Israel. Yahweh liberated Israel and made them rich in every way. Their new king will make them poorer and less free. Ironically, the elders of Israel were seeking the justice Samuel’s sons could not give, but what they will get instead is a royal abuse of power, something their real King would never do.
So, says their divine King, give them what they want, but warn them that it will not make life better. Indeed, the day will come when they realize the folly of their choice. Then they will beg God for relief, but “I will not answer you in that day.” Why will God be so hard hearted? Because God knows that sometimes the only way to get through to a stiff necked, hard hearted people is to let them suffer the consequences of their sins. Only that will finally break their hearts so that they repent and come back to God with all their hearts. Is Israel that hard hearted? Listen to their answer to Samuel’s warning. “No! We want a king over us. Then we will be like the other nations with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
God responds with grace and wisdom and fatherly firmness. “Listen to them and give them a king.” But Samuel, with only human wisdom and a father’s broken heart snaps at the people, “Get away from me. Everyone go back to his town.” Samuel won’t give them what God tells him to give them, because he is only a man, not God.
That’s how one era ended and another began. It was a tectonic shift in Israel’s life, not merely a shift from the judges to the kings, but a shift from a theocracy where God is in charge to a democracy where the people are in charge. That puts our ancient text in modern terms and raises difficult questions for us as followers of Christ the King. I’ll deal with just two of them.
First, Israel’s desire to be “like the nations” raises the question of cultural conformity versus covenantal faithfulness. How much are we shaped by the conventions and customs of the culture in which the church is placed? In Romans 12, Paul says, “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds.” That’s easy to say, but the power of culture is immense. When everyone around you is living a certain way, how can we resist being swept into that current? How do live by the values of the covenant (love, justice, peace, compassion, and the centrality of God) when the culture has different values (self-interest and self-fulfillment, political and military power, acquisition and consumption)?
Second, Israel’s desire to have an earthly leader when they already had a heavenly leader illustrates the complexity of the relationship between divine sovereignty and human authority. To put it in Christian terms, Jesus is Lord of all nations and we are members of a particular nation. When does trust in human power become a rejection of divine power? When does patriotism become idolatry? How does our recognition of divine authority relate to our recognition of human authority? In a word, how do citizenship and discipleship interact? These are complicated questions to which you may not be able to give simple answers. But raising them in the climate of our culture is important to do. It all comes down to one issue. To what degree have we let our trust in human authority overshadow our trust in God?
Grappling with the whole matter of cultural conformity, especially in political matters, is fraught with tension in the US today. You can barely raise the issue of faith versus culture without being identified as a fan or foe of former President Trump. So, use an example that is so clear and egregious that no one can argue. Ask if anyone can think of a church that so accommodated itself to evil in the name of patriotism that it became a servant/slave of a tyrannical regime. That would be the vast majority of the German church in the days of Nazi Germany. When that church gave in to Hitler’s barbaric policies in the name of nationalism, it became complicit in the evils of Nazism.
The idea that God in his loving wisdom gave Israel what it wanted even though it was bad for them has many everyday parallels. Here’s one from my childhood. At the age of 8 I loved peppermint ice cream. I just couldn’t get enough. In fact, I whined about it all the time. So, one day, my parents gave me a gallon of the stuff, which I promptly devoured. I got so sick that I’ve never eaten it since. What kind of parents would give their child something they knew was bad for him? Parents who were wise and loving enough to give me what I wanted so I would get over my sickening desire once and for all.
Author: Scott Hoezee
This poem is labeled a “Psalm of Ascent” but it starts as a Psalm of Descent. It is called De Profundis in older Bibles—the Latin for “from the depths.” It is certainly a curious, perhaps an almost stark, way to begin 2021’s Season of Ordinary Time! And yet this psalm fits this time, these past 16 months that for most of us have been anything but ordinary.
To some degree or another, we have been in the depths for a long time. We have been unsettled, disoriented, and feeling very much in extremis. So what a profound time it is to let Psalm 130’s simple message sink in: put your trust and your hope in the Lord. No, this is not easy. This is no counted-cross-stich moment, no Precious Moments time where pithy lines lifted out of the Psalms can get loosely tossed out as though some pious panacea for everything.
The depths are at once the place where we need to trust in God the most and also the time when doing precisely that is the hardest. In the depths we are as likely to throw pious bromides of assurance right back into the face of the well-meaning person who proffers them to us. Saccharine words that might roll right off us in ordinary (much less good) times can sting us like blowing sand in a desert storm when times are anything but ordinary or good.
So we preachers proffer Psalm 130’s call to trust pastorally, gingerly, with all due acknowledgment of why this is not easy. And maybe one way to do that is to take seriously the heart-wrenching yearning in this psalm. You can feel the poet’s agony, his straining to locate and see God through the murky gloom. He is like a watchman yearning for the first hint of pink and orange lighting up the eastern horizon after a very long, very frightening nighttime of watching for enemies in the pitch dark from the ramparts of a city.
Indeed, this yearning is so fierce that in verse 6 the psalmist does something pretty rare in the Hebrew Psalter: instead of engaging in the standard Hebrew poetic parallelism in which you repeat a line with slightly altered words (“God is our refuge and strength / An ever-present help in trouble”), instead here the line just gets repeated for emphasis.
More than watchmen wait for the morning / More than watchmen wait for the morning.
Can you hear the intensity of that? Can we acknowledge in our sermons how awful that kind of longing can feel? How long nights in the hospital can feel when we are at the bedside of a sick child? How long the nights are when sleep will not come because our minds cannot stop racing in worry about this or that issue in our life?
The depths really can be that bad. In fact, they usually are. So let’s admit it. Let’s admit that this is the voice of faith articulating both this desperation and this longing. These are not the words of a person with little faith but of a person with strong faith. It is what Walter Brueggemann has called “the Friday voice of faith.” Lament. Longing.
Even so and in the midst of the travail, put your hope in God. He is the cosmic source of chesed, of unfailing love and grace. He has redeemed us from our sins. He has rescued this world from the grip of evil darkness. And as Christians we can now affirm in this Lenten Season that he has won the decisive victory in Jesus Christ. And because that victory had to go from de profundis first (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!!??”), we can be assured that this salvation reaches us in all our deep and dark places too.
It is in the end a simple message. Not an easy message. Not a message to be delivered tritely or lightly. But maybe just maybe it is the word we all need to hear in this COVID-19 time. O Church of Jesus Christ: put your hope in the Lord.
I have watched The Shawshank Redemption so often—all of it or parts of it when I run across it on cable—that there are few subjects in life that I cannot link to some scene or another in the film! And so also for Psalm 130. In the scene you can view here, Andy has made a fateful decision: this was to be the night of his long-planned escape from Shawshank Prison. But Andy’s friend, Red (Morgan Freeman) fears that Andy is in despair and is going to hang himself in his cell. Red’s description of his long night of deep worry when time “draws out like a blade” matches the mood of being in the depths a la Psalm 130 as well as a deep, deep longing for the morning light to come.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Author: Doug Bratt
The COVID-19 global pandemic has taken away more things than we can count. It has robbed countless people of their lives and livelihoods, as well as mental and physical health. But one loss that’s easy to overlook is our loss of funerals and memorial services that are attended by more than about 10-15 people.
That may sound like a strange loss on which to focus. But is it? During this pandemic, society has had much opportunity to focus on what Paul calls “wasting away” (4:16), “momentary troubles” (17) and the destruction of our “earthly tents” (5:1). However, by being largely unable to gather for Christian funerals, we haven’t come together to be reminded of our “renewal day by day” (16), the “eternal glory that far outweighs” our troubles (17) and the “eternal house in heaven” (5:1).
The first time a funeral pointed me to heavenly glory took place when I was about 10 years old. As a dear member of our church, Tony Brouwer, was dying of cancer, his family made a kind of documentary in which he helped plan his funeral. The film Tony’s family released after his death was a powerful testimony to his refusal to “lose heart” in the face of great suffering.
However, I’ve had mixed feelings about allowing people who are dying to have much input into their funeral services. While funerals are worship services that honor those who have died, they are, after all, for the living. Too much focus on the deceased can draw attention away from the God whom Christian mourners worship in Jesus Christ.
But as I prepare to gather with friends and family members for my recently deceased dad’s memorial service, I’ve begun to think a bit differently about the role those who are dying play in planning their funeral or memorial service. I’ve at least begun to recognize that dying Christians’ planning of their funeral is an act of deliberate anticipation and hopeful remembrance of the “eternal glory” that, by God’s grace, awaits us. As my dad made some suggestions about elements of his funeral, I can imagine his heart filled with joy as they reminded him of God’s eternal care for him.
This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s Paul’s candor about his suffering helps his readers and hearers to be candid about our own struggles. He insists he doesn’t “lose heart.” Why? Verse 16’s “therefore” links his “heartiness” to what precedes his description of it. The heartbeat of Paul’s hopefulness lies in verse 14’s, “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.”
So if Paul’s life were a book, it’s as if he’s jumped ahead to its final chapter, even though our text’s apostle is still living the midst of the book. He knows not just how the book that is his life is unfolding, full of joy, mystery and heartache, but also how and where it ends, in God’s eternal presence, by God’s amazing grace.
I sometimes wonder if some 21st century churches and pastors have responded to earlier obsessions with the new creation by imposing radio silence about it in most of our church life. We may have become so afraid of “pie in the sky” theology that seems to have little to say about life on this side of heaven that we no longer talk much about “the sky” that is the new earth and heaven.
But I’d suggest that inadvertently serves to effectively cut off the second part of the long string of contrasts that Paul draws in 2 Corinthians 4 and 5. When we refuse to talk about the new earth and heaven, we speak of, for example, of “the light and momentary troubles” without talking about “the eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (17).
Those who proclaim this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson have the opportunity to display and examine “both sides of the coin.” We have the chance to publicly recognize and unpack both the temporary misery we see and the eternal glory we don’t yet see (18).
Our text’s proclaimers might adopt one of several strategies in our proclamation of it. Those, for example, whom Paul Scott Wilson’s “Four Pages of the Sermon” approach to preaching has influenced might begin with the first half of the several contrasts’ “trouble in the text” and world. We might then move from there to the second half of the contrasts’ “grace in the text” and world.
The inspired Paul was certainly a master wordsmith with an artistic bent. So he once again packs especially verses 16-5:1 with vivid images of both pain and glory. The apostle’s image of “wasting away” (16) brings to mind children’s distended bellies that signal their starvation. Perhaps even more vivid is the image of an “earthly tent” being “destroyed” (5:1). Campers whose tents have been caught in destructive storms don’t have to work hard to imagine what destructive winds can do to human lives.
In fact, in an earlier Sermon Starter on this text Scott Hoezee vividly paraphrases the apostle as writing, “My outward tent is wasting away. The fabric is torn, rain gets in, the more vibrant color of the original tent fabric long ago faded away to now some dull gray, pale looking thing. I’ve lost half my tent pegs and two of the supporting cord ropes have frayed to almost nothing. One strong gust of wind could knock this old tent down to a flattened mess.”
Those who proclaim this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson won’t have to work very hard to identify examples of crumbling “tents.” But as usual, we’ll want to be local and global, individual and communal in our examples of such trouble in our world.
Yet since Paul doesn’t get stuck in that personal and societal, physical and emotional morass, neither should those who proclaim 2 Corinthians 4 and 5. Those who proclaim the gospel want to join my colleague Stan Mast in looking not just at but also past our misery. In an earlier Sermon Starter he quotes a Christian who suffered much as saying, “In the light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth, a life filled with the most atrocious torture, will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel.”
That suffering Christian echoes the apostle’s vivid imagery that describes the hope God gives to all Christian sufferers. Our daily “renewal” (16) is reminiscent of skilled craftsmen remodeling a run-down home. “Eternal glory” (17) reminds Christians of the glory of God that was so radiant that mere mortals trembled to see it. And, of course, perhaps most vividly of all, “the eternal house in heaven not built by human hands” (5:1) brings to mind the most splendid mansions that, on earth, remain the purview of the very wealthy.
2 Corinthians’ proclaimers will need to use some imagination to help our hearers think about contemporary imagery of the new earth and heaven. Yet few gospel proclaimers did that better than the 20th century’s C.S. Lewis.
At the end of his The Last Battle, Narnia’s children learn that they were actually killed in a train wreck. But while the lion Aslan admits they’re dead, he describes their fate as, “The term is over; the holidays have begun. The dream is ended; this is the morning.”
Lewis then writes about Narnia’s children: “For them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in his world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page. Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth had ever read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before (italics mine).”
“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven actually never went.” Thus begins businessinsider.com’s Shane Ferro’s poignant January 16, 2015 piece. In it he reflects on how Alex Malarkey, a young boy who co-authored a book with his father about going to heaven and returning to earth, wrote an open letter to Christian publishers retracting his story.
In 2004, Malarkey and his father, a Christian therapist, were in a terrible car accident that left the six-year-old boy paralyzed and in a coma. According to the book’s Amazon page, “When Alex awoke from a coma two months later, he had an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels who took him through the gates of Heaven itself. And, most amazing of all … of meeting and talking with Jesus.”
The letter that Alex, who was 16 when Ferro wrote his article, wrote to publishers says he made the whole thing up: “I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough.”
Alex’s mother, Beth Malarkey, also later admitted that the book was untrue. She implied as well that Alex had not received the proceeds from the book sales: “It is both puzzling and painful to watch the book The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven not only continue to sell, but also continue, for the most part, not be questioned … The ones making money from the book are NOT the ones staying up through the night, struggling for their breath, nor were they the ones at six years old, waking up unable to move or breathe and in a strange place after last remember seeing a car coming right at the car he was riding in.”
Some who proclaim the gospel do not join the apostle Paul in talking about the eternal glory that outweighs our temporary troubles. Yet when we do so, we allow those who peddle extra-biblical accounts of the new creation not only to exist, but also, in some cases to flourish.