Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013)
This morning I was searching the interwebs and I happened upon Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013). He passed away September 6th. I had just recently found his writings and been liking them below there are some excerpts from some of his writings.
was an American Episcopal priest and author. He was born in Jackson Heights, Queens in 1925. A lifelong New Yorker, for almost thirty years Capon was a full-time parish priest in Port Jefferson, New York. In 1965, he published his first book, Bed and Board, and in 1977 he left the full-time ministry to devote more time to his writing career. He authored a total of twenty books, including Between Noon and Three, The Supper of the Lamb, Genesis: The Movie, and a trilogy onJesus’ parables: The Parables of Grace, The Parables of the Kingdom, and The Parables of Judgment.
Capon described himself in the introduction to one of his books as an “old-fashioned high churchmanand a Thomist to boot.” One of Capon’s primary themes is the radical grace of God. Capon summarizes his broad view of salvation as follows:
“I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not.”
“But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning.”
From Kingdom, Grace, Judgment:
Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus:
What role have I left for religion? None. And I have left none because the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leaves none. Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion.
Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshiping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God. About those things, Christianity has only two comments to make. The first is that none of them ever had the least chance of doing the trick: the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (see the Epistle to the Hebrews) and no effort of ours to keep the law of God can ever finally succeed (see the Epistle to the Romans). The second is that everything religion tried (and failed) to do has been perfectly done, once and for all, by Jesus in his death and resurrection. For Christians, therefore, the entire religion shop has been closed, boarded up, and forgotten. The church is not in the religion business. It never has been and it never will be, in spite of all the ecclesiastical turkeys through two thousand years who have acted as if religion was their stock in trade. The church, instead, is in the Gospel-proclaiming business. It is not here to bring the world the bad news that God will think kindly about us only after we have gone through certain creedal, liturgical and ethical wickets; it is here to bring the world the Good News that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.” It is here, in short, for no religious purpose at all, only to announce the Gospel of free grace.
From Between Noon and Three:
The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.
From The Foolishness of Preaching:
I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills…and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship with God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross-and then be brave enough to stick around while [the congregation] goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms. But preachers can’t be that naughty or brave unless they’re free from their own need for the dope of acceptance. And they wont be free of their need until they can trust the God who has already accepted them, in advance and dead as door-nails, in Jesus.
Ergo, the absolute indispensability of trust in Jesus’ passion. Unless the faith of preachers is in that alone-and not in any other person, ecclesiastical institution, theological system, moral prescription, or master recipe for human loveliness-they will be of very little use in the pulpit.
From The Foolishness of Preaching:
If we are ever to enter fully into the glorious liberty of the children of God, we are going to have to spend more time thinking about freedom than we do. The church, by and large, has had a poor record of encouraging freedom. It has spent so much time inculcating in us the fear of making mistakes that it has made us like ill-taught piano students: we play our pieces, but we never really hear them because our main concern is not to make music but to avoid some flub that will get us in trouble. The church, having put itself in loco parentis (in the place of a parent), has been so afraid we will lose sight of the need to do it right that it has made us care more about how we look than about who Jesus is. It has made us act more like subjects of a police state than fellow citizens of the saints.
From Between Noon and Three:
Saint Paul has not said to you, “Think how it would be if there were no condemnation”; he has said, “There istherefore now none.” He has made an unconditional statement, not a conditional one-a flat assertion, not a parabolic one. He has not said, “God has done this and that and the other thing; and if by dint of imagination you can manage to pull it all together, you may be able to experience a little solace in the prison of your days.” No. He has simply said, “You are free. Your services are no longer required. The salt mine has been closed. You have fallen under the ultimate statute of limitation. You are out from under everything: Shame, Guilt, Blame. It all rolls off your back like rain off a tombstone.”It is essential that you see this clearly. The Apostle is saying that you and I have been sprung. Right now; not next week or at the end of the world. And unconditionally, with no probation officer to report to. But that means that we have finally come face to face with the one question we have scrupulously ducked every time it got within a mile of us: You are free. What do you plan to do? One of the problems with any authentic pronouncement of the gospel is that it introduces us to freedom.
From The Romance of the Word:
The Epistle to the Romans has sat around in the church since the first century like a bomb ticking away the death of religion; and every time it’s been picked up, the ear-splitting freedom in it has gone off with a roar.
The only sad thing is that the church as an institution has spent most of its time playing bomb squad and trying to defuse it. For your comfort, though, it can’t be done. Your freedom remains as close to your life as Jesus and as available to your understanding as the nearest copy. Like Augustine, therefore, tolle lege, take and read: tolle the one, lege the other-and then hold onto your hat. Compared to that explosion, the clap of doom sounds like a cap pistol.And this prayer, brilliantly articulating our grace-averse hearts from Between Noon And Three:Lord, please restore to us the comfort of merit and demerit. Show us that there is at least something we can do. Tell us that at the end of the day there will at least be one redeeming card of our very own. Lord, if it is not too much to ask, send us to bed with a few shreds of self-respect upon which we can congratulate ourselves. But whatever you do, do not preach grace. Give us something to do, anything; but spare us the indignity of this indiscriminate acceptance.
The Changing Face of Christianity
A must read from a friend of mine
It has always happened… and it’s happening now. This current shift / change is not your average garden variety, though. It is an epic change from one Biblical age to the next age. Sound too grandiose? Listen to what the Bible says about this:
“… that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Eph 2:7
According to this verse, there must be at least two more ages beyond the age in which the book of Ephesians was written. And so, even if you don’t think it’s probable, it’s still possible to have an age shift in our day.
So what are the hallmarks at the transition of ages?
I believe a change of ages always involves a radical shift from what God was doing… to what His new order of things. For…
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Religion started in the garden and it ain’t a good thing…
We’ve all heard the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. I have wrote on this previously but numerous people have brought it up this past week so I thought I would revisit it.
Adam walked with God. He (and Eve as well) were made in God’s image. They walked upright face to face with their creator.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
So if I get this right, man was ruler of this domain we call our world. He was walking with God, relating with God…. so what else could he have had?
Enter the snake. …
The devil slithers in in the body of a snake (bunny trail, anyone else notice a talking snake! ?!) and says to Eve “if you eat of this tree you will be like God.”
Lie number 1, 2, 3, and 4 all at once!
1. You can be like God if…
2. God wants to keep you below Him
3. You are not like Him
4. If you work at this and do _____ you can become like Him
By eating the apple they put mankind under the law.
In the Bible the law is is based off a set of commandments or rules. In a sense this was a legal contract. It required action on mankind to meet the standard.
The law was unattainable, the only man who was able to meet the law was Jesus.
What is religion?
re = to bind,
ligion = along the lines of legal or legislation
So to be bound up by the law (legalism).
A set of religious beliefs to adhere to or be controlled by.
Religion is a man made plan to (by works) attain a place or favor with/before God. It is impossible to do so!
If I could attain righteousness on my own the cross wouldn’t have had to happen. ..
What if? I have learned a lot about looking at churches and people. Don’t!
There is a God that has already provided the breakthrough. He had a plan and finished that plan prior to Genesis. He completed his work and has been resting ever since. He asks us to enter His rest as well. That is all. He (being outside of time) planned the fall, the cross, the redemption, and the grace for it all to happen. Adam’s fall was not a mistake. I have or am entering into the realization of this and it is beyond liberating and captivating. I also have gotten beyond looking to a person or group to speak my past, present, or future identity. My bi-polar Christianity is a thing of the past. The only view God will ever have of me is that of forgiven, holy, pure…. this has set my spirit free.
Therefore there is now no more condemnation fir sin for those who are (found) in Christ Jesus.
Now the decisive conclusion is this: every bit of condemning evidence against us is canceled. My identity is (and can only be) found in Him.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
The Lord and the Spirit are one; his Lordship sanctions our freedom. A freedom from rules chiseled in stone to the voice of our redeemed design echoing in our hearts! The days of window-shopping are over! In him every face is unveiled. In gazing with wonder at the blueprint likeness of God displayed in human form, we suddenly realize that we are looking at ourselves! Every feature of his image is mirrored in us! This is the most radical transformation engineered by the Spirit of the Lord; we are lead from an inferior mindset to the revealed endorsement of our authentic identity. Mankind is his glory!
I look back at all the years I looked to people to tell me who I was. I look back at all the years I strove to try to attain a footing before God. The years (30+) where my bipolar relationship with God was based on my works. Looking in a mirror shows not the past or the future but what is in front of it at that exact moment. “Every feature of his image is mirrored in us!” We were made in his image. I am complete in him NOW. We can believe that by praying over our food it is sanctified immediately. We believe that if we pray and accept Christ we are saved on the spot. Why do we continue to think that our sanctification, our justification, or or righteousness has to be a long drawn out process. If I can believe for food to be sanctified immediately why not people?
His appointment with death was once-off. As far as sin is concerned, he is dead. The reason for his death was to take away the sin of the world; his life now exhibits our union with the life of God.
This reasoning is equally relevant to you. Calculate the cross; there can only be one logical conclusion: he died your death; that means you died unto sin, and now live unto God. Sin-consciousness can never again feature in your future! You are in Christ Jesus; his lordship is the authority of this union.
He doesn’t have to be crucified again every time someone sins. He died once for all sins. He forgave them all one time never to look back at them or see them again. He only sees man forgiven (forever and ever). That is his only view of you! To be found in him is the key here. Looking at Romans 3:18 we are found in him because he is found in us. Man is made in his image we are the only being compatible for him to be in. His image is our identity. He is my identity. I am his address. He is my blueprint.
“What’s true of him, is true of you.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones
“He is the I am in you.”
Francois Du Toit
“He’s not an example for you but of you.”
Through the work of the cross we were given our original identity back, the curse of the law was broken. We were co-crucified, co-buried, co-resurrected, and given the free gift if our redeemed innocence. We can do nothing to attain it, it is a gift freely given. Enter into his rest.
Plyers and cell phones
I have heard these two analogies numerous times, as I was mowing the lawn on Labor Day I was thinking about them and going over them in my head.
A man was given a plyers, but over time he started to use it as if it were a hammer. He used it clumsily to pound nails and beat tgings into alignment. The plyers, even though it was used like a hammer never became a hammer. It’s identity was still that of a plyer. It’s owner may be confused but that confusion does not change the plyers original design. The blueprint that it was cast to meet the standards for a plyers was and forever will be its design. Its purpose and design was cast prior to its creation.
If you owned a cell phone and had it stolen from you, who is the owner? The thief never actually owns it. He may have it but it is never actually his. Youbare the rightful owner. No matter hiw much the thief tries to pretend it is his, he will never have a legal claim to it.
Take these two analogies and think about them and how they relate to you. What is your original identity? What did yor original blueprint show? Who do you say you are? Are you a son/daughter of God made in his image? Genesis 1:26 says you were created in his image before the foundation of stuff. He is your identity. He is your creator and father.
You are not just a number, you are unique and memorable to God. You are a son or a daughter. He has set you up as his address made in his image. You are the only vessel that is compatible for him to dwell in. You are incomparably welcome to be a part of him.
We don’t have to generate our value. We are already defined and given value. We are compared to a pearl of great worth.
Ask yourself daily, am I a plyer who has chosen to be deluded into thinking you are a hammer? If so you might be banging yourself up way more thsn you ought to be…
Deconstruction of working
“The cardinal error into which many tend to fall is to think of ourselves as Christians in terms of our believing and our holding on, instead of looking at ourselves in the way in which Scripture always presents the position to us… There has been so much emphasis upon decision, receiving, yielding, being willing, and giving ourselves that salvation is regarded almost exclusively in terms of our activity… Many are in trouble simply because they do not realize the truth concerning the new birth… Nothing is more glorious than the doctrine of the rebirth; and this is obviously the work of God in us through the Spirit. We do not give birth to ourselves, we are not reborn because we believe. We believe because we are reborn.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans – The Perseverance Of The Saints)
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Christianity cannot be bought through works or doing. Man cannot on any effort of his own do anything to acquire salvation, sanctification, righteousness, forgiveness, etc. They are all freely given. They were given by God pre-Genesis. Provision has already happened. The faith to enter into His rest has already been gifted. Enter his rest.