652 results for author: Brad Jersak


Q&R: How do you understand John 3:16?

Question I was reading the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3. The famous John 3:16 came to mind. I find your theology very fascinating. I was just wondering how this particular passage works with your theology? Response If we read John 3:16 in the context of both verse 17 and the whole chapter and the whole book, it seems to me that Jesus is talking about perishing and eternal life in this present life, what we are already experiencing: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did ...

Are We Actually Alienated from God … or Is It All in Your Head? Brad Jersak

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight (Col. 1:19-22). The following rather brilliant question arrived today from a friend of mine, and after giving it some thought, felt it was worth sharing with our CWR blog readers. Alienated from God? Col. 1:21 Q: Does this ...

Punisher or Pushover? How Is Wrath “God’s” – Brad Jersak

How, why or when is 'wrath' God's?  Why does the Bible talk about 'the wrath of God'?  As we continue to preach and teach the NT message that "God is Infinite Love," embodied in Christ and revealed on the Cross, it is right that we should continually challenge and be challenged by "the wrath of God." That challenge requires us to keep returning to the Scriptures and to the Lord for greater clarity, because such great potential for error persists. We dare not slander God, either as a violent punisher or a spineless pushover, because such images serve as stumbling blocks, especially to those suffering under the consequences of their poor choices or ...

Christ-centered faith vs Christless religion/spirituality – Brad Jersak

Lately, I’ve been noticing subtle differences between the popular ‘spirituality vs. religion’ and ‘faith vs. religion' Some prefer ‘spirituality’ because it only implies one’s own spiritual self or soul (sans any god at all). So hiking the mountains is ‘spiritual’ because it nurtures the soul. True enough. However,  I personally prefer to speak of ‘faith’ because my spiritual self or my soul has been freed and fed by a Love greater than my own … and indeed, faith freed me from religion in a way that spirituality hadn’t. As one Orthodox priest says, ‘Religion is a neurological disease and faith is its cure.’ I’m ...

CWR Video – Grace by Buechner

Video on grace by Frederick Buechner.

God, who are you? I want to know you! Brad Jersak

God who are you? I want to know you! When we restrict our inquiry into the nature of God to the Bible, we are likely to find just the kind of God that we want to find. If we want a God of peace, he’s there. If we want a God of war, he’s there. If we want a compassionate God, he’s there. If we want a vindictive God, he’s there. If we want an egalitarian God, he’s there. If we want an ethnocentric God, he’s there. If we want a God demanding blood sacrifice, he’s there. If we want a God abolishing blood sacrifice, he’s there. Sometimes the Bible is like a Rorschach test— it reveals more about the reader than the eternal I AM. The ...

What do we mean by ‘contemplation’? – with Richard Rohr

5 minute video on “Contemplation” by Richard Rohr

Q&R: What is the gospel of the kingdom? And where is it now?

A Conversation Reader: I'm really trying to hone in on simple definitions of "The Gospel" and "Kingdom of God." Do you have a couple of go-to definitions? Brad: The New Testament says that Jesus preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom, which he says is “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent [turn around and toward] and believe [trust with your will and your life] the good news [that God loves you and welcomes you to participate]!” What we discover as he continues is that this Kingdom has come near in the person of Jesus, through his ministry of liberation (Mark 1:15). We discover through the Gospels that ...

Q&R with Brad – “Banished to Outer Darkness?”

Question My wife and I are doing our best to understand how the heck to interpret what we read in the Bible, now that we understand that Jesus is our filter. In reading Matthew 22:11-13 there is a curious detail.  Who is this guy and why is he “banished into outer darkness?” The kingdom of heaven can be compared to this story? “Many are called but few are chosen?” Isn’t that separation and not inclusion? Where is the “love” in this story? Response This is certainly a difficult passage when read at face value and in its most immediate context. Let's start there. Some VERY important interpretive keys are missing ...

Clenched Fists, Limp Wrists or Open Hands – Brad Jersak

How do I wait when God seems to wait? When do I act as God's hands?  How do we wait for God's grace when we are called to be agents of God's grace?  "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." (Hab. 2:3) "God sees the truth, but waits." Leo Tolstoy To me, this is a very difficult question, because rather than just asking God for a direct answer, the question itself puts us into a posture or place of waiting... potentially awkward or even painful waiting. But here's a little prayer exercise that may lead you into seeing ...

Q&R: What’s with ‘spiritual warfare’?

Question I've been thinking about this idea of war. Is there any space for 'war' in God's heart? I think absolutely not. Just peacemaking, and laying life down, and endless mercy and love, etc. But what about spiritual warfare? What about the spiritual battle language so prevalent in the church. Is that not a form of war against...the devil, demons, etc? Is that appropriate. Are they not also God's creatures whom he cannot hate? Will he not forgive them in the end? Or is spiritual warfare just a metaphor to help us make sense of things? If so, I feel like it's really problematic for our war-mongering, us vs. them culture. Can we hold on ...

Q&R with Brad: How do predictions of OT events also point to Christ?

QUESTION I'm onto your new book, A More Christlike Word. I am no longer stuck on all the Old Testament violence. My reaction is now, "How in the world did I not know ANY of this growing up in the church?" But when I got to page 65 in your book, I paused and thought back to my childhood and Christmas Eve services when we would read aloud from Genesis, Isaiah, and then the NT birth of Christ. My new understanding is that Isaiah was not literally predicting the birth of Christ, but then how do these passages point to Christ? Do they still deserve a place in a Christmas Eve worship service in that they "point" to the birth of Christ? Or are we ...