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Archive for February, 2011

Reading Romans 1 recently, I was struck by the apparent linkage between Rom 1:15 – 18. Naturally, we would expect such linkages in sentences and words written so closely together. Yet at the same time most English Bibles will place those 4 verses in separate sections.

Verse 15 ends the section on Paul’s concern and eagerness to preach to the people of Rome. Verses 16-17 are famously set off as the summary of Paul’s message: the righteous shall live by faith–the ship that launched the Reformation. Verse 18, however, is much darker, announcing the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of human beings.

What if verse 16 explains Paul’s eagerness to go to Rome to preach the gospel? A gospel which announces that God’s righteousness is revealed, a righteousness from God that comes by grace (so verse 17) and a righteousness of God in punishing sin (so verse 18).

This gospel, then centers itself at the cross, where God’s righteous anger is revealed in all of it’s awful reality. While at the same time, the righteousness from God is purchased by His grace through Christ’s death in taking the full load of human sin on Himself as the revealed Son of God (verse 4).

If God’s anger at sin is fully exhausted on Christ at the cross, and the Cross is the full revelation of God’s righteousness (both moral and imputational), how does this change our reading of the rest of Romans 1? Verses 19ff all seem to be written in past tense, whereas verses 8-18 seem to be all present tense.

Could it be that Paul is laying out a case that all of these sins, as repugnant as they are to God, have been dealt with at the cross by God’s righteous grace? Would this make sense of the “Therefore” at the beginning of Chapter 2 as the reason we have no right to judge?

Just some food for thought. I need to go find my Greek New Testament and dig through the original language a bit more.

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No, I have not blogged about anything in a while. No, I’m not a political blogger and have no desire to be one.

Yes, I live in Wisconsin. Yes, the state is making national news for the protests over the new budget repair bill. Yes, those are serious concerns the governor is trying to address.

No, this is not a good way to fix the state’s budget problem. Here’s why.

Buried in the bill is a proposal to do away with legislative oversight of the Medicaid program. The decision making process of how the state’s Medicaid program works would fall to the state Secretary of Health. This post is currently held by Dennis Smith, a fellow at The Heritage Foundation think tank who has advocated for states completely pulling out of the Medicaid program altogether.

This would by-pass the legislative process completely and potentially create major changes in who is eligible to be served by the program. Medicaid isn’t designed for those who can afford their own medical insurance. It’s for those whose incomes and life situations prevent getting medical care. The people served are USUALLY THE POOR AND DISABLED.

Scott Walker isn’t merely trying to bust unions. His budget repair bill is going to create more problems down the road as the lowest rungs of society’s ladder get hit harder, especially the sick and mentally ill who often depend on Medicaid to get the treatment they need to get through each day.

I really thought hard about titling this post: Conservative Governor Favors Death Panels. But no one has died from being poor and not getting treatment. Yet.

Here’s a note from my local representative of the National Alliance on Mental Illness with some links to news stories about how this budget bill hits the neediest people the hardest:

The new Administration is moving at lightning speed to make sweeping changes and significant budget adjustments. Much press and attention has been paid to public employees and unions but another change in the budget bill is far more alarming. The Governor seems to be using Medicaid in his stance against the unions by saying its either dismantle the unions or bulldoze Medicaid. It clouds the issue.

The links below provide background on an item in Governor Walker’s budget repair bill that proposes a shift of power and decision making around the state’s Medicaid program. This action is of tremendous concern to NAMI. This opens the door to drastic cuts to Medicaid services without public input and debate. It is critical that you let your legislators know that you are opposed to unilateral decision making about benefits and services to those most vulnerable Wisconsin residents. It is not an acceptable solution to the budget crisis. Please contact your legislators today to voice your opposition. Attached is an action alert you can send to your membership and contact information for state Legislators. Prompt action is needed as the vote could come as early as this Thursday/Friday. Your legislators work for you and need to hear your concerns.

Capital Times

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Summary of the Budget Adjustment Legislation

Senate Bill 11

Jennifer Lowenberg

Advocacy and Training Specialist

NAMI Wisconsin, Inc

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