Christ Jesus Came Into the World to Save Sinners (2)

MIS85-2TAs a follow up to this post I wanted to note that Rosaria Butterfield and the pastor who (by God’s providence) led her to Christ have recently been interviewed here. As Mrs. Butterfield states in the interview, the book that resulted from her conversion was written for believers. As I noted, you would do well to purchase it and read it. You may also view more resources at her website: http://rosariabutterfield.com/

Despite all this, I would caution us from being too captivated by this story and the ‘media’ that arisen as a result of her conversion. Now don’t misunderstand me: I do not doubt that Mrs. Butterfield’s conversion is of God, nor do I think she has done anything wrong by writing a book and promoting it. In fact I think she is doing a service to and for the Christian community and I applaud her for it. Rather, I caution the reader from being entranced by a conversion account, instead of the God who saves. We are to give glory to God for His Son, whom He has sent into this world to save fallen, wrecked and ruined people (you and I). In light of that, all His conversions are glorious and worthy of praise. Why, don’t the angels praise God every time even
just one sinner is saved? (Luke 15:10) We can and should do no less.

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Christ Jesus Came into the World to Save Sinners

In a previous post I recommended a few resources for you to pick up and read. One of these resources is a book written by a Reformed pastor’s wife (Rosaria Butterfield) who previously was lost but has been found (hence the title of this post). Recently I found a video link to an interview with her. Though I don’t encourage you to bypass the book by watching the video, you may find it engaging and helpful. Enjoy. 

Two Recommendations

Since an early 20th century dogmatics work is not everyone’s cup of tea, I thought I would recommend two resources that are help us to understand some contemporary issues that the church is facing. They both happen to be from similar sources but are from two different angles, if you will. 

The first is a paper written by a RPCNA (Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America) committee which was appointed “to provide guidance for congregations on the subject of homosexual orientation, not simply about the scriptural, scientific and moral issues, but also guidance for care and counsel to someone who believes their identity is homosexual” (quotation from here). This is an excellent resource for churches and Christians as it summarizes the main biblical arguments for a proper understanding and application of the seventh commandment in today’s world. We face a generation which is largely confused about issues of gender & ‘orientation’ and thus the church has a responsibility to properly identify & critically evaluate what these categories mean in light of scripture. Most importantly, this paper advises a compassionate approach to these issues, thus encouraging  Christians to firmly but fairly and above lovingly, witness to those who are caught up in these sins. Hence the title “Gospel & Sexual Orientation” (emphasis mine). This book can be purchased at Crown & Covenant Publications.

The second resource is also a book but one that is more convicting and challenging than the first. Written by a pastor’s wife (RPCNA), “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert” is part biography, part devotional and part hammer to the Christian’s conscience and the church’s record of witness to the fallen world. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield gives the reader a unique look into some communities that many Christian’s would fear to tread (to our detriment). But she does not write to expose the ‘evil’ or ‘awful’ intentions of those who oppose our faith, but rather for us to see those persons who oppose our faith as made in the image of God and, for that reason, worthy of our love and care. Indeed, most of the criticism in the book levied against the Christian community, and rightly so.

And yet this is not a book that is against our faith but a faithful proclamation of it. Formerly entrenched in and “of the world” Mrs. Butterfield’s remarkable conversion story seeks to tell us about God’s grace to sinners who desperately need His compassion. In short, if you want to read about what biblical conversion ‘looks like’, this book is for you. To whet your appetite, she let me quote a few gems:

Making a life commitment to Christ was not merely a philosophical shift. It was not a one-step process. It did not involve rearranging the surface prejudices and fickle loyalties of my life. Conversion didn’t “fit” my life. Conversion overhauled my soul and personality. It was arduous and intense. I experienced with great depth the power and authority of God in my life. In it I learned – and am learning – how to love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. When you die to yourself, you have nothing from your past to use as clay out of which to shape your future.

Later she argues (probably my favorite quote):

I didn’t choose Christ. Nobody chooses Christ. Christ chooses you or you’re dead. After Christ chooses you, you respond because you must. Period. It’s not a pretty story. 

As if this alone would not thoroughly captivate your interest, Mrs. Butterfield also shares her reflections on the challenges of home-schooling, being a pastor’s wife, adopting and fostering and even the Regulative Principle of Worship. These parts of the book are also well worth reading. 

I have been privileged to read a number of excellent books over the years and I can honestly say this is one of my favorites. In fact, I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. Available from Crown & Covenant Publications (Kindle version here)  and Reformation Heritage Books