Four reasons the early church did not believe that hell lasts forever…
Prayer isn’t a gumball machine…
Babel and more speaking in tongues…
Taking on the missional movement…
Russell Moore on the “social Gospel”…
Six proofs of Christ’s resurrection…
3 questions for discerning your calling…
The conviction of things not seen…
You’re not fine just the way you are…
Gospel of Matthew study with Ben Withrington…
Gene Veith on Josh Harris leaving the faith…
Managing the dangers of chronic anxiety…
There is no escape from the justice of God…
New book on celibate, gay Christians…
1. AOG elects first woman to leadership team (CT)
2. Great Century of Missions is over a century ago… will this one be known at the Century of Omission ? (CT)
3. Preaching about Racism is not a distraction from the Gospel (CT)
4. Why Muslims love Mary (CT)
5. The distracted pastor (CT)
6. Insults by Luther… because sometimes we need his earthy words (ergofabulous)
7. Village Church and generational demons (Wartburg Watch)
8. The unbearable pressure to do great things for God (CT)
9. Watershed Difference between Calvinism and Arminianism (Roger Olson)
10. A Green Bible? (Jesus Creed)
11. Pastoral reflection on MIssissippi ICE raids (SBC Voices)
Big thanks as always to EricL…support him at top right and pray that his sinus infection goes way away…
Apostasy happens when
1. Intimidation from the beastly state uses pain and death to break the will
2. Imitation fools us in the form of false revelations and beastly prophets of demonic powers
3. Seduction from the whorish influences defiles the conscience suffocating life
4. Deception of overt lies countermand even the clearest admonitions of heaven
5. Inculturation overwhelms the capacity to stand alone or apart
This list is not exhaustive but we are seeing all of these.
We seriously have entered a vast apostasy that we are not sure how to face or how expansive its power will extend.
We certainly have played a part – with the moral and ethical collapse of our leadership – with doctrines whose function was to create results and whose outcomes is to create exposure of those same results as vacuous.
How to respond? Ha! Like Trump’s Twitter feed? Or shall we just keep drawing circles so large that even the most recalcitrant cannot escape.
It is a sadly humorous that some are making the theologies that include even those who refuse to be included. Our delusions simply morph they do not relent.
While we argue over whether these apostate converts were real lets please get about the task of actually understanding and declaring our own Gospel.
I find all the discussions about apostasy incomplete and unsatisfying because they do not state where the starting point is.
What does it mean to be “saved”?
Is it a new spiritual birth and thus supernatural?
Is it intellectual assent to proper doctrine? Proper by which standard?
If someone has been “born again” then apostatizes, does God abort what He begat?
“We certainly have played a part – with the moral and ethical collapse of our leadership – with doctrines whose function was to create results and whose outcomes is to create exposure of those same results as vacuous.”
This is almost a throw away line…but I wonder if I knew then what I know now about the state of “Christian” leadership if I would have even considered the faith anything but a haven for con men and the dullards they fleece.
Add to all of this the various theologies and different Jesus’s being portrayed as the one and it’s a wonder anyone can follow along.
Maybe Josh Harris woke up one morning with a lust for other men…or maybe he’d seen too much…
I still believe…more so now than ever…but what I believe is much different than when I started…
Re the article on hell. First, I have never understood why folks think the Fathers had a handle on whatever topic they discuss – such as hell.
This statement “Hell, from this viewpoint then, was a rocky but redemptive journey to repentance and restoration. Hell was still seen as infinitely intense and unimaginably painful – – just not eternal.” – brings to mind the question – (1) what is the difference between hell and purgatory. (2) if the Holy Spirit and persuasion fair, God resorts to the torture chamber to enact compliance? (3) is heaven just as temporal? If you screw up on your cloud while playing your harp, are you out?
For the most part, the Fathers many times are just as screwy as what we would find on a Lifeways “Christian Living” bookshelf – variety, but mostly non sense.
Walter Martin used to say that cults were the “unpaid bills of the Church” – The Victorian Church was sexually oppressive, along come Mormonism; The Church lacked much teaching on eschatology, along come the JWs, etc.
I’m wondering if the much publicized “apostasies” are similar, although in a different manner. Who set up Mr. Harris to be an authority on sexuality as well as a celebrity in his early twenties? Who set the Hillsong musicians on platforms as leaders and celebrities? Who set aside the normal requirements of education and maturity when setting people up as leaders? These questions are for us, as much as for those who, for whatever reason, have left us…
The Fathers only codified the cardinal doctrines of the church and the canon…but other than that…
I find that view of hell to be very compelling and may adopt it as my own….it has scripture and tradition, as well as a consistent view of Christ to commend it.
“Who set aside the normal requirements of education and maturity when setting people up as leaders?”
I’ll add…how the hell did pastors become marriage counselors, psychologists, and a host of other vocations outside ministry by virtue of ordination?
“If someone has been “born again” then apostatizes, does God abort what He begat?”
No, the apostate aborts himself. God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Since the born from above language comes from the Gospel of John, I would commend readers to John Chapter VIII, verses thirty-one to thirty two for further study.
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise”
Amen. 1 billion times amen.
The Dylan article is good. Don’t know why I haven’t watched that documentary yet.
The “we all go to heaven” doctrine pretty much cancels out the doctrine of election — unless election is those who go straight to heaven, bypassing the torture chamber you stay in until you say uncle.
It creates difficulties with some doctrines of election…and works quite well with others. There is no single doctrine of election…
Apostasy – with Josh Harris and now the Hillsong guy, will now be what all the evangelical cool kids will do. Skinny jeans and forearm tattoos were not enough to sustain their faith.
Best definition of election i ever heard – the omniscient God knows who will attend the marriage supper and He prepares accordingly – doesn’t conflict with free will and works for us simple minded pew sitters ?
I prefer the omnipotent God.
I agree with John Cooper in his assessment about the apostates – who gives a rip if they leave? But don’t be confused, this has happened since the New Testament times. Jesus couldn’t hang on to 99% of his followers.
When Rob Bell left there was handwriting. Who cares? I remember in the mid 80s when Bob Dylan and BJ Thomas left – who cares? We need to care for those who stay.
The Josh Harris thing is like watching a slow train wreck. With each week another shoe drops. Divorce (in a home with kids), then deconstruction of faith, and most recently immersion into gay culture. All slow-released on Instagram. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Oh for a God who is able to save. May we know more of His mercy and grace.
This statement “Hell, from this viewpoint then, was a rocky but redemptive journey to repentance and restoration.”
If Hell is the redemptive journey, what exactly are people being redeemed from? Did Jesus just save us from the journey or did he restore us to Himself. Hell is separation from God and no journey for any length of time will ever restore the relationship without Christ’s atonement with saves fully. So this understanding of He’ll is wacky at best and outright deviously deceptive at worst. I’ll stick with my fundamentalist view.
Every doctrinal outline of hell has major biblical and ethical issues.
It’s not the first time I’ve been called wacky, but I’ll keep studying all the options…
I must stop going to Patheos pages on my phone. Too many ads and it crashes my browser more often than not.
The article on hell is very interesting. Thank you. There’s a lot there to revisit as time allows. No matter ones view of hell, I don’t see why we can’t pray for God to bring the souls who have departed without apparent faith in Christ home to His Presence. God is merciful and good. Why not ask?
Joel G – the Bible says you die and you are judged. Praying for the dead does no good.
Understood MLD. I read and reread this article often (among other Fr Freeman articles:
It is interesting to learn how this ancient Tradition views this subject. I find this hopeful, is all.
I appreciate you caring enough to correct me. ?
I read a 70s book in the 80s called Inferno. By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, sci-fi authors. The protagonist is guided through their version of Dante’s Hell. I read it several times, not because I was a Universalist, but because it was a good book, though kind of Universalist.
The Skillet link was great. Thanks for posting it.
Just to say, the Patristic section of Murray’s article is sound and accurate…
That’s a great article…thanks for sharing it.
It informs how I’m thinking about this subject.
Those who believe all things were settled in the 1500’s aren’t going to appreciate it…and I care thissss much…
I don’t know who thinks things were settled in the 1500’s, but I, personally, believe the Holy Spirit settled Christian doctrine in the 1st Century in the inspired writings of the New Testament.
That’s historically incorrect.
Doctrine developed over the centuries…the Holy Spirit took His time…still is…
Men’s doctrines may develop, but that does not impact at all what Jesus, Peter, Paul and the others taught. What Jesus and the apostles taught and wrote is Christian doctrine. That is what my tradition confesses as “truth.” To the extent that human teaching, of whatever generation, lines up with truth, it is salutary.
Paul says there is “one” faith.
He says that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
Notice that he doesn’t say “all doctrine” is breathed out…. he commends the teaching of Scripture, which, with respect to the New Testament, was written by the end of the 1st Century.
I, personally, do not create a gap between Scripture and doctrine. I believe they are one and the same.
IT sounds like Jean is saying “No creed but the bible”, but that is my line.
I’m not opposed to creeds per se. In my comment at 6:59 am, I wrote: “To the extent that human teaching, of whatever generation, lines up with truth, it is salutary.” If we go too far with “no creed but the Bible,” one would have to rule out the sermon.
However, how can one go wrong simply listening to Paul: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” I think in many cases modernity has drilled into our minds that Scripture is to be interpreted with the mind, rather than believed with the heart.
“However, how can one go wrong simply listening to Paul: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
That’s my creed.
This is laughable.
Two different traditions claiming to have been born in their fullness in the first century.
The fact that they don’t agree on numerous points is irrelevant I guess…
Scripture is subject to interpretation and interpreted differently by different traditions.
Doctrine has developed over the centuries, not received as a download in the first century.
Since doctrine is developing continuously through the Holy Spirit, I am looking forward to Trinity 2.0 – this should be a gas.
I read Joel G’s article. Funny, we see nothing in scripture that tells us to pray for the dead, let alone those in hell – we see nothing that that speaks of a restorative value that takes place in hell and we see absolutely no teaching in the scriptures that describes movement from hell to heaven after a given time.
This is nothing more than a theology set up to take the edge off of God judgement and make him a nice guy – easier to sell on the open market.
I’ve noticed in personal conversations with Christians that often times what many Christians mean by “interpretation,” is “I don’t like what Scripture says” this or that topic, so I am going to interpret it to say something more to my liking.
“This is nothing more than a theology set up to take the edge off of God judgement and make him a nice guy – easier to sell on the open market.”
Actually, it’s people already committed to the faith wrestling with the Scriptures and doctrine.
I pray for and with the dead…because they’re not …dead.
“I’ve noticed in personal conversations with Christians that often times what many Christians mean by “interpretation,” is “I don’t like what Scripture says” this or that topic, so I am going to interpret it to say something more to my liking.”
I’ve noticed that certain sects like to pretend that these debates haven’t been going on for centuries because they want to believe that they have the truth beyond questioning…so they disparage other believers for engaging the debate…
I was very intrigued by the article about the early church fathers’ views on hell. The language argument is persuasive to me…why would we think we know how to exegete the New Testament better than those who were much more immersed in NT Greek (any would seem therefore to have a much better handle on the nuances of meaning of the NT authors)? Hmmm, good point…
Is this accurate that only one group (Rome/Carthage…this is Augustine, right?) viewed hell as eternal punishment? If so, why did this become the dominant view of the church moving forward?
Jean,. You may deny this but I think you were one ? f the guys that disagreed with MLD on the definition of a day in Genesis. Could it be your own understanding of scripture has been influenced by modern evolutionary science. Some of us actually believe what you are saying about scripture now but I’m curious if you actually believe what you are saying now?
As power was increasingly centered in Rome, Rome set the standard for doctrine and dogma.
I can’t help but also believe that the doctrine of hell was one of great value in controlling the masses…
I believe there is a place of punishment…or perhaps purification… that lasts as long as necessary.
In that way the victory of Christ is complete, every knee shall bow, and Christ will be all in all…
I’m certainly not dogmatic on this, but it is worth thinking through…
The development of doctrine, properly stated, is not that we come up with “new” doctrine. It holds that the doctrine may be found in a nascent manner in Scripture and the writings of the early Fathers of the Church. This would be true, for instance, with the doctrine of the Trinity. While the Scripture does not contain the developed doctrinal definitions of Nicaea or Chalcedon, it contains the potential for such definitions. Additionally, the development of doctrine also allows for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ.. the Church. It is not a “new” revelation, but the continued unwrapping of the revelation already given…
Unwrapping of a revelation. Or put another way a revelation of what’s inside a wrapping…:)
Augustine tended to set the standard for the Western Church, while the Eastern Church was more influenced by the other schools of thought. Additionally, some have pointed out that Latin is the language of law, with sharp definitions, while Greek is the language of mystery with much more nuance…
John Chrysostom is an important early Church Father in the East. I understand he authored the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
I was just recently reading one of his Christmas homilies (on John 1:3-5), where he said:
“Let us then flee a life so painful, especially since after this painfulness shall follow death; a deathless death, for of the punishment in that place there will be no end; and in this life they (who sin) are no better than madmen, in that they are dreaming of things that have no existence.” – John Chrysostom
Thanks, Duane. So then do the majority of the Eastern Orthodox today view hell as temporary/remedial as opposed to external punishment?
Michael…I like your thinking here ( “every knee shall bow…Christ will be all in all”)….and also in the past where you have talked about holding a hopeful optimism that all will be saved, while not sacrificing scriptural authority. Very encouraging!
Sorry, that was supposed to read “eternal punishment”…wow, even my kindle has difficulty with that concept…lol
“John Chrysostom is an important early Church Father in the East. I understand he authored the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.”
What was your first clue? 🙂
In the East there is a more nuanced view as I understand it from my reading. The Harrowing of Hell does have significance beyond the three days Christ was in the tomb as a I have come to understand it…
“You may deny this but I think you were one ? f the guys that disagreed with MLD on the definition of a day in Genesis.”
No, Steve, not exactly, but you’re close and MLD and I do have a disagreement about Genesis 1-2. I think that Genesis 1 is a liturgical text that portrays creation in a week of six days of evening and morning, followed by a seventh day (unending) of rest. Where MLD and I disagree is on the genre of the book. Is it a a historical narrative of natural history? A a poem (as Tim Keller has said)? A liturgical text of God building a temple (as John Walton has written on)?
One thing 2 Timothy does not say Scripture is to be used for is a science book.
I think that’s the right word…hopeful.
Among the many things that have not made sense to me about the traditional doctrine of hell is that the punishments are seemingly out of proportion to the crime.
In the OT, God is careful to instruct that in matters of civil law that punishments fit the crime, “an eye for an eye”…yet when He exacts His justice, it’s eternal torment for one life lived.
Add to that the fact that every spiritual criminal I’ve profiled here allegedly enjoys the felicity of heaven, while “noble pagans” burn forever…I’m looking for better things…
Are you suggesting that God on trial is a hermeneutic?
“Are you suggesting that God on trial is a hermeneutic?”
If your knees jerk any harder you’re going to tear something.
In no way is God on trial…the best hermeneutic is one that takes in the whole narrative of Scripture, not just random “proof texts”.
When we look at the entire narrative of Scripture, especially where it concerns the mission, work, and heart of Christ , it should raise questions about this doctrine.
I like asking questions and will continue to do so despite the disparagements of the certain.
“Two different traditions claiming to have been born in their fullness in the first century.”
Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, RCC? Certainly not what I said. SBC started in the 1850’s.
Well I do not see the Bible as a science book by any means in any place. I do see it as God’s information / revelation center where he tells us what is.
I do not look for naturalistic explanations for God’s creation or his creative powers.
In addition to a literal / natural 6 days, I also believe Adam & Eve were literally the first people and were created by God just the way the text explains.
I will admit, I am not the modern man.
I agree with MLD. If science is a competing view with what is recorded in the Bible, who should we trust? Science has wondered into the rhelm of theology.
Steve, science and the Bible are only competing, when we place them in competition against one another. However, in reality they are two different epistemological systems. One operates by faith; the other by sight. Both systems are God given. One makes a man wise temporally; the other makes a man wise unto eternal life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
“However, in reality they are two different epistemological systems.”
Jean your own analysys of these very distinct epistemological systems is a man made rubric or lense that you have chosen to view truth from. I don’t fault you but only caution you that these systems of thought aren’t necessarily inspired and certainly not the only way to view things.
Thank you for the caution, Steve. I respect your interest in this topic.
Let me put what I said earlier in a different way: Can we start with the premises that God is the creator and Lord of heaven and earth? Assuming this to be the case, then all truth, whether pertaining to temporal matters or eternal matters is God’s truth.
The question becomes how does God reveal truth to human beings?
We would probably agree that in matters pertaining to salvation, God reveals that truth in His Son, through the inspired Holy Scriptures. Without the Scriptures, we live totally in the darkness (the darkness of sin, death and the devil). Only in the light of Scripture does God speak with us. Christ speaks with us today in His Word and Sacraments and no where else. Only in Christ, the eternal Word of God, is there life, and that life is the light of men.
But what about truth revealed in what is created? Paul wrote: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
So, according to the Apostle, we have a rudimentary revelation of God, just from observing creation. We can’t acquire knowledge of Christ through the observation of creation (e.g., going up to a mountain top and pondering God), but we can perceive that God created the world.
But God also said to man and woman, who he created in His image and likeness, rule and have dominion. And for that, he gave us a brain and human reason. Our intelligence is also a gift of God. It is not an intelligence or reason by which we can attain the knowledge of Christ or salvation, but it is suitable for living in creation. From that we have developed modern medicine, space travel, computers and cell phones. This type of God given intelligence and knowledge works on the basis of empirical evidence (i.e., science).
Empirical science, that which is based on and works with natural laws, such as physical, biological and chemical laws (which are all laws of God) is not antithetical to God given truth in Scripture. These distinct categories of truth serve two different purposes.
Jean,. You have explained this well. However what is being passed As science today is nothing more than speculation, philosophy, conjecture Scientology and even religion. Too me good science starts with God rather than pretending God doesn’t exist and it’s here where these two systems you mentioned both converge.
I don’t disagree with your critique of some science. But, I also think there is horrible theology being marketed as truth. I am wary of both.
That’s true Jean. So is it fair to say that science can inform our theology but also that theology can inform our science or do they have to be kept distinct even though they have common author God?
“Christ speaks with us today in His Word and Sacraments and no where else.”
Science offers no intrinsic ethic. For that reason alone, I believe Christian theology should inform science. For example, just because man can do something, should he?
Not to mention that Christian theology teaches that we are vocationally guided by the love of God and neighbor. For a scientist, his field of science is his vocation.
“If science is a competing view with what is recorded in the Bible, who should we trust? ”
Depends on how good the science is…
“Science offers no intrinsic ethic. ”
Kind of the reason why I don’t agree with any climate change science on either side of the isle. It’s more politics than science. Iits more about power and control than truth. It’s ashamed but I can’t trust any of the science on either side. The same goes for almost every politically controversial issue where science is brought in as the arbitration.
Don’t give up Steve. If Christians abandon the empirical sciences, I think the world will be a far darker place. Just don’t look for your theology there; leave theology to theologians and science to scientists.
Good discussion Jean. However, many folks today are bivocational. Not always easy to put people into discreet vocational buckets. Perhaps that can be viewed both good and bad.
I have not had a chance to go through the links much. But as I scanned the comments about Hell, I guess I would ask first of the understanding of time.
What does the concept of eternal mean?
…”Electric word life it means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you there’s something else (Go crazy)…”..
How many Christians have the same concept of time as Prince? This is a rigid concept that had not advanced since the Theory of Relativity. If I said “Relativity” does anyone react and say, oh yes, space/time is like a rubber sheet that can be stretched. It’s not fixed, but relative to the observer, and all other matter.
Does this factor into formation of theology, or is it detached? Two fields, as it where, and they do not interact?
I am drawn back to my original thought about apostasy. A public figure has repented of his life, marriage, faith, vocation… pretty much everything. So we ought to ask if he got where he is by following Jesus. He took a look and said that clearly he is not following Jesus.
One should always ask if they arrived where they are by following Jesus.
We might also consider who “promoted” such a person to celebrity status…
Michael re your 4:53 yesterday about Jean’s nonsense.
My wife spent last week in CA at her mom’s house. When I arrived to bring her home, there she was reading her mom’s copy of Jesus Calling.
So I had to sit her and her mom down and explain why Sarah Young’s book was so dangerous. Short answer, because it was all based on her hearing from God directly – specifically outside of God’s word.
Her claim is that she used to journal what she was reading in the Bible but became dissatisfied with Bible only and that she knew that if she listened Jesus would speak to her directly – so she did and Jesus did – and she wrote it down.
This is not just nonsense but is dangerous – so you may wish to reconsider as I am assuming you support this position even though in her case you may still consider her off her rocker.
MLD, that book has always felt a bit creepy to me.
All of the arguments I have heard about scripture is that it was perfect and inspired in the originals. But no one has the originals and there is no perfect translation I am aware if. It would only makes sense that there is revelation outside to make up for the missing pieces even if we are 99% confident there is still the 1% we need help with. Am I off here?
Just one of His lambs, The theology behind it is more creepy – it is just manifest clearly in the book..
Steve, if God is ready and willing to give edits and corrections directly why didn’t he just superintend over the passing down of the scriptures over the years? It seems that would be easier.
MLD,. You have to ask God that. Maybe He will give you the answer. It seems in some churches they infact do believe exactly what you are saying with the King James version. CC in some quarters has somewhat leaned in that direction.
Steve, since we don’t know where the errors are or don’t know where most are, why read the Bible? Why not sit and have God give a direct download of the correct version into your mind via direct revelation?
But aside from that, i must ask – have you had these direct revelations from God outside of his word?
One could speculate about why God did what he did regarding the transmission of the Word down through history, but two observations come to mind:
(1) We aren’t tempted to venerate the Bible in an idolatrous fashion, because we don’t have an original; and
(2) We aren’t tempted to declare an official biblical language. The Bible is just as much God’s Word and just as Spirit filled in English, as it is in German, Latin, Greek or French. Make disciples of all nations includes in all of our respective tongues.
You have stated the flaws in innerency. My understanding is the word does not appear in dictionary listings in 1836, and first known use is late 1830’s.
As a doctrinal position, it gained traction during the Niagra Bible Conferences 1870’s – latter century. Theology positions of Niagara significantly became Fundamentism.
Yes, it opens the door for degrading of yhe text. Innerency transfers the authority of Scripture from reliance upon God, to reliance upon proper doctrinal interpretation.(theologians) in practice, Innerency is nothing but a weapon to use against Christian deemed worthy of attack as un-biblical. It has been used that way during the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC.
MLD,. Before I answer your question can you tell me the perfect version of the Bible you read and if not perfect can you at least tell me exactly what the errors are so I know how to interpret it perfectly. I await your perfect answer.
Steve, I read the same bibles you do. I do not make a claim for perfection and no errors – but almost all questions of such have been pointed out, noted and explained – even critically noted in the better bibles.
You can get a good listing from someone like Bart Erhman, no friend of Christanity – it’s not like they are a secret.
Now tell me your experiences where God communicated with you directly outside of his word.
Steve the idea of 100% error free originals as the description is basically, in my opinion, misdirection and an excuse to cover someone’s interpretation of what it means for scripture to be inspired.
Like the woman, mentioned above, who gave up on the bible and rather heard (or thought she heard) directly from God (god) many are seeking book of potions and spells, a Harry Potter experience, where they will find some magical thing that will solve all their problems or maybe make them wealthy and wise.
Personally I like this description of the whole Bible (OT – NT). The first five books are the base, they are the teacher of origins, faith and basic instructions about life from God, the rest is commentary.
Why do I like this? Because the rest of the text is essentially a narrative of people, good, bad and evil, who struggle with God and how to live out their relationship with Him. Just step back and take a look, after one has faith the rest of life is about walking with Him.
Consider Abraham, just as soon as God does that righteous thing he asks God for proof about the future. Just after Jesus’ is killed by men and raised by God his disciples are in shambles wanting to know what’s next.
Basically what I’m trying to write is what Timothy was told, the idea isn’t inerrant as in typographical or grammatical errors, it is about no errors in life with and through God. 2 Tim 3:15-17.
Sadly many would rather have a Harry Potter experience.
When I was a child…
The idea that God limits His communications to a book when dealing with multi sensory creatures in a world He created is nonsense.
It would be like the only communication between a husband and wife was limited to passing notes back and forth.
God promises to also communicate though dreams and visions…and I believe a host of other more mundane ways.
Limiting communication to a book dependent on human interpretation makes no sense unless you think you and yours have the one correct way…
Michael – I said nothing about a book.
But tell me about your experience with direct revelation from God. It comes through preaching, in the “for you” of the sacrament, and by the command in the absolution.
So far I know 5 people who claim such communication:
The president if the Mormon Church, Sarah Young, Todd Bentley (when God told him to kick that lady) – you and Steve.
Michael these days anyone who says “God told me…” and then tries to impose that on me or anyone else reminds me of this, “run Forest run!”
Yes God speaks though all the things around us, including relationships, politics and such, but the question is how do we struggle with these inputs?
That answer is simple, but not simple to work through (it’s a real struggle in fact), the same thing Timothy was told.
I believe the idea is, as we read the bible we need to hold it up and use it as a filter or explanation of life around us.
He is our mirror for this life and we learn about Him through our knowledge of what others have written about and have gone before us.
But my opinions are no better than anyone else.
Attempting to walk the walk in a fallen, delusional, self justifying world without the Book makes absolutely no sense to me
(Yes, God has spoken to me – never contradicting His written word – always situational)
Spare me the “direct revelation” crap.
Communication with God is a constant experience and He reveals Himself and speaks to us through many, many, venues.
Last week I had to put down our 22 year old cat.
I’ll spare you the details but to say that I don’t handle such well is a massive understatement.
Jesus was with me.
Walking me through.
Speaking to my heart by His Spirit.
He brought peace to everyone in that place, including my cat.
On the way home, He spoke to me about why I take these losses so hard.
I don’t give a hoot in hell whether you believe that or not, but I know what happened.
I never saw that movie.
There is not a single aspect of Christianity that hasn’t been corrupted, abused, or defiled, by some asshat somewhere.
That doesn’t mean I end my relationship with God or limit His input to a Lutheran (or any other sects) interpretation of Scripture.
But tell me about your experience with direct revelation from God. <<<<
Only if he (we) want to be mocked.
Michael, don’t get too uppity in your fundamentalist view. You fire the opening round calling Jean’s view nonsense.
It’s a good day now… 🙂
It is nonsense and nothing more than a religious control tactic.
We’re in a relationship with the living God and He’ll speak as He pleases.
If you want to argue that He normatively communicates through Scripture or that Scripture is a different sort of revelation, I’m good with that…but God does not limit Himself in talking to His kids.
MLD,. God speaks to me through convictions. It’s usually something I need to stop doing or something I should be doing. Never contradicting the Bible. I’ll give you an example. God spoke to me about my health when I was around 40 years old. I listened to Him and started exercising. You have a problem obeying convictions from the Holy Spirit?
I probably shouldn’t go here, but I will anyway.
Miss Kitty has been unwell for a while, but I was broke from the last cat and couldn’t afford to take her in until I saved up some money.
She came in this morning and told me loud and clear that she needed to go to the doctor now.
Just as I was about to explain all that and pray for her the phone rang… my friend just called to tell me that if Miss Kitty needed to go to a doctor she’d cover it until I could.
I scooped up my baby and to the vet we went.
Now, you can do what you want with that…I don’t care.
Seriously don’t care.
To make it happen God had to speak to me, my friend, and my cat, all within a two minute period.
Oh, and the vet had to have one appointment open…in 15 minutes. He did.
Missy is smart, but she so far refuses to participate in morning devotions or the Daily Office…
That’s God saying a whole lot…without a Bible ever being opened.
I want to clarify something I wrote to Steve last night, which Michael said is “nonsense.”
“We would probably agree that in matters pertaining to salvation, God reveals that truth in His Son, through the inspired Holy Scriptures. Without the Scriptures, we live totally in the darkness (the darkness of sin, death and the devil). Only in the light of Scripture does God speak with us. Christ speaks with us today in His Word and Sacraments and no where else.”
What I am concerned with is the doctrine of salvation. That is the context. In connection with that, it is written in Jude:
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
I believe that the doctrine of Christ: who He is, what He accomplished for mankind, How He delivers salvation, and what we are to believe about Him, is completely revealed in the written words of Scripture and no where else. We are saved by the same Gospel as Peter and Paul. I think it would be nonsense (actually worse than nonsense) to think that anyone today is receiving new revelation from God regarding the doctrine of Christ.
Now, what Em wrote at 10:18 am, Michael at 10:19 am, and Steve at 10:49 am, I would not deny, and in fact could echo their comments with my own experiences; the Holy Spirit is called the “Comforter” for a reason. However, I would just give four caveats:
(1) We have no promise that God speaks to us outside His word; therefore, if you are a Christian and say to me that you hear God only through His Word, I don’t think you are a deficient Christian in any respect. You are no less, and no more. We all share the same Word and the same Spirit, which is given to everyone, but we are all individuals and therefore, our subjective receptions of God’s work in us can have some variation within the scope of orthodoxy. The Spirit gives to each of us what we each need for the purpose of redeeming us and working through us (not to make us spiritual superstars though).
(2) All direct nudging or other inkling of divine communication should be tested by Scripture and discarded if contradictory. There is more than one spirit angling for your ear!
(3) Any direct revelation contradicting Scripture is not from God; it may be spiritual, but it is from a demonic spirit.
(4) The Scriptures that we have are completely sufficient to save sinners and grant the Church and every Christian everything necessary for salvation, sanctification and eternal life. Therefore, God’s Word should be held in the highest esteem by Christians and prized above every other category of wisdom.
Wells said, Jean.
I would contend that in every generation God sends teachers full of the Holy Spirit to increase our understanding of biblical truth.
This is not “further revelation”, but “more illumination”…
“Communication with God is a constant experience and He reveals Himself and speaks to us through many, many, venues.”
” God had to speak to me, my friend, and my cat, all within a two minute period. Oh, and the vet had to have one appointment open…in 15 minutes. He did.”
Thank you, Michael, for sharing your moving experience.
We're taking a pause to breathe with you, and experience
The Divine Presence, recognizing all that was woven together
for you to receive such sweet comfort.
Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh
True. For instance, a couple of generations ago, he sent Lewis Sperry Chafer.
🙂 😛 🙂
Are you trying to trigger me, Josh? 🙂
Thank you, G-Man!
That’s funny, but fascinating.
Chafer has been a celebrated influence on some sectors of the church, while others would find his influence pernicious at best.
We could say the same about N.T. Wright in this generation.
If we say that God raised both men up…then we have to ask why he raised up two men with contradictory messages.
I say God did raise both up…and there’s a mystery there I can’t solve…
I just think that neither of them has the full truth, (or full understanding of the truth). Both made contributions to the body, but both probably got some things wrong as well.
I had to run out for a couple of hours for a church finance meeting.
So to my original challenge I would need to give my stamp of approval to the Jesus Calling book as who of us could bring in to question what God has told Sarah Young and face God’s wrath because we are questioning his communication?
Even if it does not match current scripture, Steve laid out the case that God uses such communications to correct errors in scriptures.
Over the top as usual…
I haven’t read the Young book, but it’s irrelevant.
If it’s in contradiction to the Scriptures and tradition, I would reject it.
It simply may not be a word for me.
“Pilgrims Progress” was…
No one has spoken of the wrath of God…you live your faith however you’re led.
I don’t think God is correcting errors, just helping someone make their own application…
If “God speaks to you” and it goes against Scripture, ? well…
you just may be the next Mary Baker Eddy. ?
Yes, it is a good day when Xenia posts! I had been worried about her as she hadn’t posted in awhile…
Can we at least agree that there is such a thing as “natural revelation”?
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
I was out of town for a bit and I was also swamped with school work. Thanks for the concern, Catherine!
You’ll get no argument from me, but then, I talk to cats… 🙂
There was a general sigh of relief from the blogosphere when your name came up. 🙂
Actually, Thomas Aquinas took care of most of this in the 13th century…
Michael, I am sorry to hear about Mama Cat. 🙁
Yes. A huge agree.
And. Psalm 19 is written as a two sided psalm.
Natural revelation, is a counter-party to the Law in verse seven onward. Paul later quotes this and ask , have they not heard?
They heard from the created celestial things. As it said, in them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.
No one here has denied natural revelation; to the contrary I have affirmed it. What many of us deny is that Christ, the Gospel and the means of salvation are revealed in nature. Animism seeks spirituality through nature.
MLD, I said missing pieces not necessarily errors. I think even your own Chris Rosebrough if I’m not mistaken was intrigued with some Muslims having dreams and coming to Christ and starting to go to the Lutheran churches in Europe.
Soeaking of Muslim folks…
This article from CT about Muslims and their attraction to Mother Mary, I found fascinating…
In fact, Mary is mentioned more times in the Qu’ran than in the NT!
As Karl Barth said…God is free. If He deigns to use Mary as a bridge to Muslims,
He certainly can and will.
As I said, Aquinas did a pretty good job of sorting our the different modes of revelation… over 700 years ago.
N.T. Wright and Chafer have this in common. They both tried to be innovators to the solid firm foundation of the faith once given. Not sure why we need new novel ways of understanding. I would say what is desperately needed now is basic Bible literacy, church history and trinitarian doctrine taught, practiced and emphasized. Let’s get back to the basics in other words. I’m not condemning these guys but not sure I’m at the point saying that they were somehow specially used or anointed by God anymore than my butcher at the local ACME.
“Let’s get back to the basics in other words. ”
Which sects basics do we all have to go back to?
“Not sure why we need new novel ways of understanding”
That’s what Rome said in 1517…
Is your butcher producing peer reviewed theological papers that influence the church greatly? He ‘s gifted…
Innovators? I don’t know. I think both would say they were trying to rediscover ancient truth that has been obfuscated by centuries of errant tradition. I don’t think either gets it exactly right, but I don’t think either made up anything new.
That being said, theologians have to be fearless of being called a heretic. When exploring God, His history with man, and scripture, someone is going to disagree with you about some very important matters. Every theologian is someone’s dangerous heretic.
Michael, maybe it’s because you’re a West Coast guy and are unaware, but ACME is a supermarket chain here in the Northeast that requires it butchers to have, at a minimum, an MDiv degree. Working in the bakery is even tougher, that requires a doctorate. 🙂
That is the funniest thing you’ve ever written…and you’ve written some gold.
Good way to start my day… 🙂
I guess I can retire now. Go out on a high note. 🙂
I’m not calling these guys heretics and I’m not saying they were not influential. I just don’t have a way to measure how important or not important their influence is in terms of good or bad. I don’t hold it a mystery that they both are right when they say opposite things. More likely they are both wrong. The average person has no clue about church history but before we teach them about this we go down a rapid trail in teaching about the 7 dispensations, etc and about the futuristic literal interpretation of revelation. Or we need to discover the NEW perspective of Paul? How about learning some more solid history from the Reformation which the average folk has no clue on as well. We are in the age of innovation. Seminary education is treated like scientific discovery. If we have new and great ideas, let us get a grant and funding and write endless books and see what sticks. I’m a bit synical.
Kevin is being silly but my butcher is great at serving the best cuts if meat in town. He even serves clean and prepped fish. I can see Jesus and his disciples doing that. Maybe not so much doing peer reviews in some academic seminary. Something to consider before we start putting certified and approved MDiv labels on all our products including meat.
Anti-intellectualism is alive and well in the church…
Steve makes some good observations worth considering.
Publishing houses exist to publish books and make money. Authors must bring something new and interesting, groundbreaking if possible, to sell their books, become best sellers, get speaking engagements, etc. The odds are that their “new” is either old re-hashed, and/or error.
The idea of “improving” our knowledge or understanding of the Scriptures is an enlightenment era, philosophical presupposition, in which human minds are evolving towards greater intelligence and wisdom. Before long, modern man will be wiser and more advanced than the apostles. We’ve already ventured that far in some circles.
I will never understand how people who draw their theological confession from a 16th century “innovation” can say that biblical and theological understanding doesn’t change with time.
I can’t comment on Chafer, but I can on Wright.
His book on the resurrection will be a standard 100 years from now.
His eschatological formulations have been a revelation to me and a source of much joy.
Do I agree with everything he writes?
Does he make me think more clearly about biblical issues?
That…is a gift.
Being silly? What are you talking about? Whenever I have to catch up on postmodern epistemology or the latest in the cessationism vs. continuationism debate, I always swing by my local neighborhood ACME. While I’m there, I’ll usually pick up some cold cuts, too. 🙂
I always thought in the East, PhDs were cab drivers… the bakery sounds like a better gig! ?
It’s only in New York and Boston where the cab drivers must have PhD’s. In Philly, it’s the bakers. 🙂
Where do you see innovation in the Reformation?
Michael,. I see your point. We live in different and difficult times. We live in a cesspool of post modern philosophical thought where the assurance of the gospel has a hard time permeating the stence of our narcisim. I think we ought to all go over to the ACME and talk this through with the butcher over a Philly hoagie. Kevin can you take care of dessert with the baker?
Steve, I’ll pick up a some cannoli and whoopie pies from the bakery. I’ll also grab some tastykakes and woorder (water) ice. Do you want to bring the pretzels and cheesesteaks (both wit and witout), too?
Kevin, I’ll stop by both Pat’s and Gino steaks and pick up some cheese whiz as well. We could meet at the art museum steps near Rocky Balboa’s statue and take a jog to Pauli’s meat locker and pound some beef like a real butcher.
“Authors must bring something new and interesting, groundbreaking if possible, to sell their books,”
I understand why one would think the Christian publishing industry works this way, but I don’t think it is correct. The vast majority of money coming in to the industry is through very soft, easy-listening, same-old same-old stuff by well-known non-controversial authors.
The “innovations” usually come out in academic pursuits that bring in no money. I’ll take Chafer or Wright, with some real thought whether I agree not, over the glut of Mommy empowerment literature on the current best-sellers list.
Late to the conversation. I find the conditional eternal life approach to hell (annihilationism) the most compelling among the alternatives.
God will judge once and it is after our appointment with death. He will do this fairly. The worst sinners will pay in the worst ways. However, the second death will be the ultimate end for those who are not His children. I believe Olson has called universalism the least heretical of all heresies. It offers hope in a way that the Bible does not teach.
“I can’t comment on Chafer, but I can on Wright.
His book on the resurrection will be a standard 100 years from now.”
Of course, Chafer has some 100 year old books that are standards now, and will continue for the perceivable future.
I’ve read a good bit of Chafer. I’d say all Orthodox Christians would agree with 90+% of everything he writes. It’s really good stuff. Obviously, many violently disagree with his end-times views.
That said, I like those following Chafer better than Chafer himself. I like Ryrie and Walvoord much more than Chafer. I like Bock and Blaising much better than Ryrie and Walvoord. But it looks like a good tree to me. Producing good fruit.
“It offers hope in a way that the Bible does not teach.”
So does heroin.
“Where do you see innovation in the Reformation?”
I’m going to assume that you didn’t write that with a straight face…
That’s the deal though Michael, every group thinks they rediscovered the one, true faith.
I would be disappointed by any Protestant who doubts that the Reformers had just cause to severely critique the papacy of the 16th century.
TULIP is a fabrication of the Reformation.
I’d say all Orthodox Christians would agree with 90+% of everything he writes. It’s really good stuff. Obviously, many violently disagree with his end-times views.
Josh converting out of dispensationalism is not just about end times views but rather an entire approach and hermeneutic in interpreting everything in the Bible. A previous pastor of mine who was a graduate from Dallas told me the same thing. He had to relearn everything he was taught in seminary. I guess some of the very basics cross over but it’s not as nearly as simple as just ignoring end times views. Much much more involved.
I used to engage this stuff, but I find it boring at this juncture.
History clearly shows the development of doctrine and progressive insights theologically that define and refine various sects.
Some want to believe all that was finished in it’s fullness in the 16th century.
Whatever comforts them is ok with me…but I will not concur with their position.
Steve – Obviously, I know this. I’m the dispy here. Dispensationalism offers a helpful hermeneutic of the bible. A way to categorize and understand difficult passages from different times.
So, if you ignored the end-times stuff, what is your biggest disagreement with dispensationalism?
“Some want to believe all that was finished in it’s fullness in the 16th century.”
That is a caricature of the Reformation, or at least one or more Reformation traditions.
Josh,. My biggest concern with dispensationalism has to do with it’s understanding of Israel and how salvation is understood. The people of God is the church today. I disagree that there are two peoples of God the church and residents with a Jewish political religious ethic living in Isreal with no faith in Jesus. I can not come to terms with that and find it unbiblical.
With all due respect, I am not going to be lectured by you or MLD on the Reformation.
I spent over twenty tears studying it in great depth and can hold my own quite well, thank you.
Steve – you are correct, that is unbiblical. To the degree that any dispensationalist taught that, they were wrong.
Everything I’ve heard from dispies (including Chafer) is that Jews must have a relationship with Jesus to be saved. Some have certainly stressed a continuing special relationship between God and Israel more than others. I think most today would just say the the nation of Israel plays a part in God’s End-times plan.
I think calling any orthodox sect “unbiblical” is “unbiblical”…
Thousands of divergent sects believe they are the correct interpreters of the book…
Josh,. I can agree with what you just wrote but I don’t see the biblical significance of modern day Isreal any more or less than I see biblical significance of the USA. What would happen if Isreal once again ceased being a nation. Would you still be a dispy?
Michael, why can you lecture us on your version of the Reformation, but you get upset if we respond with a different view and question yours?
It’s a sign of your fundamentalist belief that you are right. Just as yesterday when you called out our opposing view on a different topic as nonsense – not even allowing for it to be a legitimate, but different view.
“Just as yesterday when you called out our opposing view on a different topic as nonsense – not even allowing for it to be a legitimate, but different view.”
You have a point.
After years of arguing with you (and now Jean) I’ve concluded that you are both theological bullies and have to be engaged with as such.
Frankly, I find most people in the LCMS to have the same trait and after trying to be irenic to no avail, I’ve decided to fight fire with fire.
That may be something I need to think more about…it may not be fair.
Steve – Any reading of Revelation or Daniel would seem to point towards Israel being involved in the end-times. You may disagree, but surely you could see why some would think that. Would I stop being a dispy if Israel were to cease? No, because:
1. My dispensationalism is much more related to the hermeneutic grid than the end-times interpretation. Though I am pre-trib, all end-times talk is somehwat speculative. I could be completely wrong, as we all could. I still see value in the grid, helping to understand how God dealt with man at different times.
2. Because Israel stopped being a country wouldn’t mean the people stopped existing. It also doesn’t mean the nation wouldn’t be reborn, again.
“Michael, why can you lecture us on your version of the Reformation, but you get upset if we respond with a different view and question yours?”
I don’t have a “version” of the Reformation. I have hundreds of books about the historical Reformation.
There may be different perspectives on the time (Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, Roman) but the historical record overall is what it is.
Even if we were bullies that does not make our views wrong on those grounds. You however react as if they were.
You still have not offered up anything (let’s just limit it to the Lutheran Reformation) that was innovated in the Reformation – as opposed to a return to the biblical position of old.
Things like withholding one of the elements of the Supper by Rome was returned to the way Jesus had originally instituted the sacrament. Everything was done in that manner.
Where Rome was right, the Lutherans left it alone.
“Even if we were bullies that does not make our views wrong on those grounds. You however react as if they were.”
I think you’re wrong about a lot of things…I’m not a Lutheran.
The Reformation (lets deal with the whole thing) overturned centuries of doctrine and practice.
Both Lutherans and Calvinists believed and argued that they were simply restoring what was…which is open to debate and dependent on how those sects interpreted both scripture and tradition, as well as the Fathers.
Centuries of incorrect doctrines and practices. Anyone who wants to read the Lutheran Reformation, I invite you to read the Augsburg Confession – a simple read – it’s all there.
Speaking for the Lutheran Reformers, they were at the time aware of the charge of innovation. Therefore, in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Philip Melanchthon draws in the early Church Fathers to support the confession as a reform, as opposed to an innovation.
Here is one such example, which in and of itself is such a beautiful sermon, that it not only preaches, but warms the heart:
“Here and there among the Fathers similar testimonies are extant. For Ambrose says in his letter to a certain Irenaeus: Moreover, the world was subject to Him by the Law for the reason that, according to the command of the Law, all are indicted, and yet, by the works of the Law, no one is justified, i.e., because, by the Law, sin is perceived, but guilt is not discharged. The Law, which made all sinners, seemed to have done injury, but when the Lord Jesus Christ came, He forgave to all sin which no one could avoid, and, by the shedding of His own blood, blotted out the handwriting which was against us. This is what he says in [cit omit.]: ‘The Law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ Because after the whole world became subject, He took away the sin of the whole world, as he [John] testified, saying [cit. omit.]: ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ And on this account let no one boast of works, because no one is justified by his deeds. But he who is righteous has it given him because he was justified after the laver [of Baptism]. Faith, therefore, is that which frees through the blood of Christ, because he is blessed ‘whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,’ [cit. omit.] These are the words of Ambrose, which clearly favor our doctrine; he denies justification to works, and ascribes to faith that it sets us free through the blood of Christ.”
The Reformation was a restoration of specific doctrines. Starting with, the just shall live by his faith.
The problem is not with the Reformation, so-called. The problem is with those confessions that grew out of the Reformation and have become set in stone by subsequent generations…
I hope that we can agree that the church militant, in all its expressions, exists on a scale of somewhere between “we are all redeemed sinners” and la la land. You may have a problem with confessions, but in comparison to anything else going, they’ve served their adherents well.
You can go for total independence (good luck). You critique it every week.
You can try a magisterium and deal with the consequences of placing one or a small group of sinner/saints in a position of unquestionable power.
You use creeds and/or liturgies to regulate unity and orthodoxy, and these are not bad if enforceable, but they are more or less the same things as confessions, but lighter.
So, in the end, I think confessions are a good thing.
Spare us. Please.
Speaking for the Lutheran Reformers,
Spare us. Please.
To quote an old friend, “Christianity is more than any confessional statement and must certainly grow in its response to the world in which it is set. Christendom should not be confined to such structures [region, historical period, political structure, etc.] as are implicit in confessionalism: it could disappear with them.”
Isn’t calling oneself a Missouri Synod Lutheran just another modification or “reform” of the original or do you two really believe your true to the “original?”
Same thing with modern Calvinist, how close are you all to the author and how many denominations are there calling themselves true to those original doctrines.
Reform is a way of time and life, why else do you all think the gay and gender subject has become the topic these days.
The only thing true about the Reformation is it hasn’t ended. To this day the process of seeking the “true” faith hasn’t ended and will continue with every generation.
Michael’s observations are correct.
That’s a point of view. Another point of view is that your friend is either in error or the quotation lifted out of its context is giving off a misimpression of your friends thought. He may even be Lutheran.
I know no one, much less any confessional Lutheran, who has ever claimed that Christianity is nothing more than a confessional statement.
The idea that “Christianity…must certainly grow in response to the world” is ambiguous at best. I would take issue with the proposition that that “the world” determines the teachings of the Church. The major teaching of Jesus is liberation from sin and a kingdom not of this world. What many churches have taken in from the world over the last 100 years is doing far more damage to Christianity than any confession.
As to the last point about structures, at least in confessional Lutheransim, I can’t speak for all interpreters, but in my reading and that of others who I respect, I don’t see them confined to 16th century German structures.
Christendom may disappear, but the Church never will. We have that on Christ’s authority.
At the end of the day, for anyone unfamiliar with confessions, confessions are nothing more than one or more statements of the doctrinal teachings of a church. Christians agree to the confessions of a church as an outward sign of agreement with one another that they believe the same things about God. This is the essence of a communion. They agree that pastors will teach and preach according to their shared confession. They are a means of preventing heretics, schismatics and sectarians from invading and harming the proclamation of Christ and the Gospel and harming the church and its people.
Confessions are poison to church entrepreneurs, innovators, church growth leaders and hirelings.
“Isn’t calling oneself a Missouri Synod Lutheran just another modification or ‘reform’ of the original or do you two really believe your true to the ‘original?’ ”
I don’t call myself a Missouri Synod Lutheran; I call myself a Christian. I identify myself publicly as belonging to a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
There are dozens of church bodies worldwide, which, like mine, adhere to the Book of Concord as a faithful compendium of Christian doctrine.
When you ask, “do you two really believe your true to the ‘original?’,” think about the alternative. Should Christians worship in doubt? Doesn’t the Bible commend trust and assurance that the Word of God is truth and that its promises are irrevocable?
I would hope that every Christian is in a church where he or she believes the truth is being preached and taught. I would hope that every Christian is a Berean and honestly tests various teachings against the Word of God. I would hope that every Christian takes pains to submit their flesh to the truth of Scripture, where to human wisdom the Gospel appears scandalous and foolish. But, I hope that Christians believe that what believe and worship is true to the original. Yes.
I too don’t understand Duane’s friend’s statement or Duane’s support for it – other than he does come from an anti confessional tradition – we also get this a quite often from our Baptist friends.
Because we are confessional and in the LCMS and several other Lutheran bodies the pastor do indeed make an aquia subscription to the Book of Concord, does not mean that the actions of the church do not progress beyond the confessions. I would point out that the daily life of the church does expand and adjust to the culture and society however without denouncing or adjusting those confessions.
I would point you to the 1932 Brief Statement, and the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) for all of the special reports documenting our position on several church and society issues.
Also, just last month at the LCMS Synodical Convention, resolutions were passed on several current and societal issue – such as racism, care for immigrants, gender identity, creationism, relationships with other churches and mission work. All of these address current issues and require no changes to our confessions
The Augsburg Confession is THE confessional statement of the Lutheran Church – I just wonder what some would choose us to change to be more “in step” with today’s culture – [region, historical period, political structure, etc.] – as quoted from above?
The friend I quoted was Prof. James Atkinson, the noted Luther authority and one of the editors of Luther’s Works…
Duane – So?
We have the ELCA today because of their rejection of the Book of Concord as a theological source and their current confession of today’s culture – and look at the craziness there.
So we see the result of your scholarly friend’s thinking.
To quote further…
“Professor K.E. Skydsgaard of Copenhagen, in his book on Tradition and Traditions (1972), for instance, reminds us that to call a church ‘Lutheran’ was to Luther himself an absolute abomination. Luther permitted the adjective ‘papist’ in reference to the Catholic Church because its members acknowledged the pope as their infallible head., whereas the Church is Christ’s, and ought to have no other appellation. There can only be one Church, the holy, catholic or apostolic Church, the true Christian Church, the regnum dei, which is always under attack from the false church, the regnum diaboli. Skydsgaard goes on to say that the break from Rome did not happen all at once, but transpired in stages, until there existed various confessions, which stood as more or less finished and final statements. What are confessions? he asks. Confession means ‘a church defined and delimited’. It means a collection of variously formulated opinions and doctrinal statements, whereby a Church knows how to distinguish itself from other churches. A confession can then assume the character of a static and authoritative final statement, closed for all time. Churches of a confession can take on the nature of structures now final and closed, and be lordly masters of their own doctrines. The danger here is that such a church moves around one spot. In this sense a confession takes on rather a gloomy role, and if understood in this way, makes it quite impossible to accept in any Christian sense. Skydsgaard argues that that is exactly what the West European and American confessional churches have suffered and indeed still suffer. Many of the factors that come into play in the making of a confession are thoroughly nontheological. Confessional statements may become identified with a city or a particular culture at a particular time.”
We can shine a light on confessionalism and probe its pros and cons. I have no problem with that. I’m sure they can be misused and/or interpreted too narrowly. I am also willing to compare confessionalism with any other structure (any!) intended to preserve orthodox Christian faith and practice according to the creedal statement: ”one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”
Perhaps you or others would like to propose another structure better fitted to such purpose for comparison?
I’m just looking at the question of “confessions” – Reformed, Lutheran and others…
Very well, Duane. No problem at all.
I think MLD alluded to something above, when he may have compared the LCMS to the ELCA. You have today two church bodies, which both originated from European Lutheran roots. One church body kept the Lutheran confessions, while the other body came to view the confessions as a historical artifact with little to no contemporary relevance and no binding authority. Look where they are today. The ELCA is about the most pagan denomination in America. The LCMS is at the other end of the spectrum. Wisdom is known by her deeds.
As a for instance… the Lutheran Confessions call for a certain form of worship – The Mass, observing the majority of “rites and ceremonies” current at the time in the Roman Church. The Confessions explicitly state, “there is nothing here that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church or the Church of Rome, in so far as the ancient church is known to us through its writers… Among us all the ancient rites are for the most part diligently observed…”
This does not seem to be the case in the practice of most confessional Lutheran churches today. Why, or why not? The Confessions speak of a major portion of the Mass still being said in Latin. This is not the case today. Why or why not? In fact, if we went by the Confessions, Lutheran worship would be a slightly reformed pre-Tridentine Mass with only a bit of the vernacular used and the addition of some vernacular hymns. This is not the case. Why or why not? It is that parts of the Lutheran confessions are held “more closely” than others… and who decides? It now becomes a matter of interpretation…
Duane – I still raise the question – what would you have us change in our confession that you seem harmful to The Church in today’s point of history? (this was the claim of your original quote)
This is simple – you have made a point of good familiarity with Lutheran doctrine from your time at Ft Wayne.
If there are none, then I guess we can remove Lutherans from you claim and dwell on other confession holders.
By the way, Arthur Carl Piepkorn was of the opinion that if confessional Lutherans adopted the forms of worship expressed in the Confessions, they would have had the most beautiful and unique liturgy in the Western Church…
I’m not a confessional Lutheran… those questions are for the scholars of your own tribe. It is merely to say, that no confessional formula is 100% correct and/or free from interpretation, for good or for ill…
Duane – I don’t think the confession says what you said it says.
Article 24 on the mass – #1 – “1] Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among 2] us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added 3] to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned 4] be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. And not only has Paul commanded to use in the church a language understood by the people 1 Cor. 14:2-9, but it has also been so ordained by man’s law.”
It says that the bulk of the mass is retained – I would guess the bulk of the mass is retained in your church also – not all of it was wrong. There is no command to say the mass in Latin in the Lutheran church as claim – it says some has been retain but also speaks of using the common language and even quotes Paul claiming the same.
I know in my church visitors have asked me “are you guys Catholics?” This is the difference between the Lutheran reformation and the total destruction of the RCC mass and influence of the radical reformers – the Calvinists and the Anabaptists.
I’m not a liturgics expert or historian. My understanding is that Luther translated the mass into German, as well as reforming the Latin version. Further, I trust those with far more liturgics education than me when they commend the orders of service in the LSB. At my congregation, we typically use Divine Service Setting 3, which I understand is the most historical of the 4 options. However, in every option, you have an order of service which is consistent with the confessions.
Duane, did someone say that confessions are free from interpretation?
Duane – you said “I’m not a confessional Lutheran… those questions are for the scholars of your own tribe.”
yet you began this discussion based on a quote from a non Lutheran. From Wiki – “James Atkinson was a Church of England priest and academic…” now he may be correct but it does put a cloud on your last statement.
“Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved…”
“… Nothing here that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church or the Church of Rome, in so far as the ancient church is known from its writers. Among us all the ancient rites are for the most part diligently observed…”
“We keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of lessons, prayers, vestments, etc.”
We are talking here about a pre-Tridentine Latin Mass with only a revised Offertory and the inclusion of some hymns and parts in the vernacular.
I’m merely saying, using this as a particular example, that the Lutheran Confessions (as with the Reformed) are a product of their age and subject to interpretation, for good or for ill…
” now he may be correct but it does put a cloud on your last statement…”
James was a life long Luther scholar, but, here he chose, in this instance, to quote and extensively use the Danish theologian K.E. Skydsgaard… no cloud, just bright sunshine… the purpose of real scholarship…
BTW, one of James’ later books was “Martin Luther. Prophet to the Church Catholic”… well worth reading.
“We are talking here about a pre-Tridentine Latin Mass with only a revised Offertory and the inclusion of some hymns and parts in the vernacular.”
Perhaps you need to read the Apology to the Augsburg Confession. Rome made these same accusations against the Lutherans in the Confutation – so the Lutherans had to answer the silliness with – let me put it this way…”
Again, from the anti confessional position of your church, I can see how you have come to your conclusion.
Duane – the Lutheran church is still very close to RCC theology – much closer than to Evangelicalism. We have removed the Middle Ages error – We consider ourselves ‘Catholic done right’
Actually, I was quoting from both the Augsburg Confession and the Apology…
Duane if you want to understand the scope for variance in worship in Lutheran churches, you would have to also read the Formula of Concord, Article on Adiaphora. There is to covered in its most direct manner.
“the Lutheran church is still very close to RCC theology”
If only they would:
Discover justification by grace through faith apart from works;
Jettison papal infallibility, indulgences, purgatory, and praying to the saints.
Get rid of the bloodless sacrifice.
I have read it… but let’s now say it again, there is wide scope for interpretation. As Piepkorn pointed out, when no clear prohibition or specific direction is given in the Confessional writings, then what is assumed by the writers is the normal worship and usage of the Western Church in the early to mid 1500s. This would apply to vestments, ceremonial, church buildings, furnishings and the general conduct of the service.
Now, this is his interpretation of the Confessions. Most, however, interpret the statements of Augsburg and the Apology in the light of the Article on Adiaphora. Again, however, it is an interpretation. So, who decides on the correct interpretation? Regardless, it is clear that the Lutheran Confessions, as with the Reformed, are subject to interpretation…
So who decides on the interpretation of the Creeds? Do we toss them? update them? relegate them to ‘just the read if you have nothing else to do pile’?
Are they not also just subject to interpretation? (they are a part of our Confessions)
The Creeds are called Ecumenical for a reason… The Lutheran Confessions are distinctly “Lutheran”…
Actually not – they are distinctly Christian as the Augsburg Confession was addressed to the Church and the Emperor to show that they were Christian and not some strange sect as was the charge of some.
The Augsburg Confession was almost universally accepted in the Reformation world – even your 39 Articles are a knockoff from Augustana. Through the splintering off of others it became labeled as a Lutheran document – but not in origin.
Preface to the Emperor Charles V. does a magnificent job of making this case.
But to not shy away from the charge – I do agree, we seem to be the last ones standing on these truths of the confessions.
To be clear, yes, the Augsburg Confession was addressed to the Western Church. The remainder of the Book of Concord became increasingly distinctly Lutheran by definition…
Not to disagree, but to add something for anyone who is unfamiliar with confessions, we have a hermaneutic for interpreting them, which gives them the following order of authority:
1) Scripture is the highest and infallable authority.
2) Then the 3 Creeds, which are read in conformity with Scripture.
3) Then the other confessions, which are read in conformity with the creeds and Scripture. The confessions themselves are read beginning with the oldest and each newer one is read in conformity with those that precede it.
“…we have a hermaneutic [sic] for interpreting them…”
Yes, and that is LCMS’s particular hermeneutic and, even elevating the totality of the Confessions in this manner: “Those desiring to be admitted into the public ministry of the Lutheran Church pledge themselves to teach according to the symbols not “in so far as,” but “because,” the symbols agree with Scripture.” That is, all of the Confessions as found in the Book of Concord…
You may find that acceptable, for me it is “a bridge too far” as a claim of authority…
To each his own. But, that’s what a confession is. And here, the prospective pastor should study the BOC and determine for himself if it agrees with Scripture. (A pastor should always seek to have a good conscience before both God and man.) If the man does not find the BOC in agreement with Scripture, then the honest thing to do is to not confess it as such, which means not seek ordination in the LCMS. On the other hand, if he finds it in agreement with Scripture, then he can uphold it with a good conscience.
This is what drove me nuts in the United Methodist Church. It has what is called The Book of Discipline. My understanding is that ordained ministers take an oath to uphold it. However, very few do; most ignore it or intentionally violate it, and there is no ecclesial supervision and discipline. They have ruined their tradition and mock the good name of John Wesley and his brother Charles.
I have very good friends in the Roman Catholic Church whom I know to be godly men and women. I used to lecture with a godly, devout man named Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Benedict XVI. Then I read this:
“This being the case, all Christians ought to beware of becoming partakers of the godless doctrine, blasphemies, and unjust cruelty of the Pope. On this account they ought to desert and execrate the Pope with his adherents as the kingdom of Antichrist; just as Christ has commanded, Matt. 7:15: Beware of false prophets. And Paul commands that godless teachers should be avoided and execrated as cursed, Gal. 1:8; Titus 3:10. And he says, 2 Cor. 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what communion hath light with darkness?”
Now, I am to pledge myself to this statement “because” it agrees with scripture? I think not… Of course the other option is to interpret it in another manner such as “it really doesn’t mean what you think it means… it actually means ______________ ” (fill in the blank).
In my mind, this is the issue that is created when we take such formulas and place them as “a static and authoritative final statement, closed for all time.”
Be sure to share your view with Jan Hus, John Wycliffe and William Tyndale. I will take their witness over yours regarding the papacy. By the way, has the papacy repented of its crimes against humanity, or were they among the infallable matters? That would be a start towards reconciliation.
If it is speaking of the office of the pope, which I am sure it is, then I agree to that statement. The individuals who hold the position, even if they are nice people and we’ll educated are deceived, and are indeed false teachers.
“Be sure to share your view with Jan Hus, John Wycliffe and William Tyndale.”
Exactly! It is a document for the 16th century, not the 21st century.
“If it is speaking of the office of the pope, which I am sure it is…”
Thank you for filling in the blank and providing the interpretation…
If you want to talk about the 21st century, we could talk about the current Pope’s correction of Jesus words in the Lord’s Prayer. That is anti-Christ behavior.
“ ‘I was shocked and appalled,’ he told the Seattle Times. ‘This is the Lord’s Prayer. It is not, and has never been, the pope’s prayer, and we have the very words of Jesus in the New Testament. It is those very words that the pope proposes to change. It is not only deeply problematic, it’s almost breathtaking.’ ” – Albert Mohler
Duane, how can you say the confession when dealing with Hus and Wycliffe etc is for the 16th century only and not for a similar 21st century abuse.
Look, if the Anglican Church were to withhold one of the communion elements, my confession would address it today just as it did with the Pope in the 16th century.
You are also wrong about the pope / office of the papacy statement. It was said of popes for over 2 centuries so it could not have been a singular pope – it was the office.
You always like to quote people and drop names – let me try. A good friend once said “context, context , context.” I will let you use that for free.
I detect ranting in the air….
“…it was the office…”
Yes, another interpretation…
The thing that puzzles me about you is that I tend to agree with many of your complaints about the contemporary church in America, and when I read your various critiques, I find that many of them could be organized as an apologetic FOR confessional Christianity.
However, when it comes to the Lutheran confessions, you give the impression that they produce a worse form of Christianity than what you complain about almost every week. Otherwise, one would think that you would be able to find at least a few positive things to say about confessional Christianity.
Duane, LOL – you are only giving your interpretation of my words. Why should your comments be trusted?
All you have done is deconstruct conversation.
With both comments, I have no problem with confessional statements unless we place them as magisterial rules by which all theology is measured and evaluated. These are 16th century documents which need to be interpreted in the light of their particular context and time. For me, (and I speak only for myself) they cannot be regarded as authoritative or placed on the same level as scripture or the ecumenical creeds. I repeat… There are numerous issues that are created when we take such formulas and place them as “a static and authoritative final statement, closed for all time.”
Duane, that is fine, but have you ever heard anyone make that claim? I would guess the answer is no.
What Lutherans say is that the confessions are true to scripture and the best interpretation of those scriptures – there has never been a claim they rise to the level or bound over scripture.
“What Lutherans say is that the confessions are true to scripture and the best interpretation of those scriptures…”
And we would disagree… Off to church.
Are you disagreeing that Lutherans say this or do you disagree that the confessions are true or do you disagree that they are the proper interpretation of scripture?
1. All Lutherans do not say this (ELCA, European Lutheran Churches, etc)
2. “Best interpretation of those scriptures…” Disagree
3. “Proper interpretation of Scripture” A value judgement, disagree.
“there has never been a claim they rise to the level or bound over scripture.”
Mld – are you saying that the Book of Concord is NOT inspired?
Josh, yes inspired by men of great theological thought who were putting these great writings up against the RCC and the Holy Roman Empire.
Now, whether the BOC was inspired by God I couldn’t say – the claim was never made.
You posted a video here many years ago that made the claim.
I don’t think so. It has never been my thought nor the Lutheran church’s thought – but it is damn good and correct! 🙂
It was by Jonathon Fisk, and featured a Cheers clip where Woody said that Concord and the Bible were on the same level. Fisk went on to explain why Woody was correct. You posted this as an explanation of your view. Have you changed?
I would have to go back and review. I know the Woody comment as he was speaking about his girlfriend being LCA (the forerunner of the ELCA) and their disdain for the BoC – however, in defending Woody’s ‘side’ of the issue, I am sure that Fisk came short of claiming the BoC was equal to the Bible. (usually I post that video clip to tease Lutherans.
I will look to find it.
I couldn’t find it, but maybe it was just inter-Lutheran inside joking that I misunderstood.
Here’s something to consider:
Every one of our personal confessions (i.e., what we believe), to the extent that they adhere to the Word of God, are inspired by the Holy Spirit.
I am sure I can find the Cheers site, but I can’t find it on any Fisk site. A couple of years ago he unincorporated his Worldview Everlasting site and some atheist group took it so he lost much of his old programming.
But hey – Woody did say it.
“to the extent that they adhere to the Word of God, are inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
That could be said of absolutely anything, though, right?
Not exactly, Josh. The Apostle Paul writes that no one can say “Jesus is Lord ” except in the Holy Spirit.
I think you misunderstood what I meant, besides I’m sure an actor could utter those three words without the infilling of the Spirit. May not be exactly what Paul meant there.
You say your confessions are inspired as far as they adhere to the Scriptures. Couldn’t the same be said for a sermon, song, or prayer? Or any other number of things?
I have often wondered when a singer says “the Lord gave me this song.” – do I print out the sheet music and put it in my Bible as the inspired word of God?
Right, and the same for your confessions then, or at least as Jean describes them.
“You say your confessions are inspired as far as they adhere to the Scriptures.” What I said is that every Christian’s person confession of faith is inspired as long as it adheres to the Scriptures. In the word “confession,” it is assumed to be genuine.
A song, sermon or prayer which incorporates the Word of God is certainly Spirited. “All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Bear in mind that for Lutherans, the Word of God is living and active. It convicts the world of sin, and engenders faith in Jesus Christ where there previously was none.
Sorry, I did miss that,Jean. We are probably using different definitions for Inspired right now, so I’lljust ask you:
Is the Book of Concord Inspired (capital “I”) by the Holy Spirit?
Josh – you have great confusion. Because something is inspired of God does not make it scripture.
Then why is it a problem when a singer says God gave him a song?
Josh – I was teasing about that. Evangelical singers are famous for that comment.
However, you think if we thing the BOC is inspired that somehow we equate it with scripture.
Josh, let me reiterate what MLD wrote earlier.
No knowledgeable Lutheran would ever say that the Book of Concord is Scripture or is to be treated as Scripture or on the same level as the Bible. What they would say is that in matters of doctrine which are covered therein, the Book of Concord provides an accurate exposition of those doctrines.
“Then why is it a problem when a singer says God gave him a song?”
The Holy Spirit equips Christians with gifts which are needful for faithfully carrying out their vocations. Therefore, I would not argue with someone who said that God gave them a song. Why should I?
However, I am advised to test the song against Holy Scripture to see if the song writer is accurate or in error and if it builds up the church or not and if it glorifies Christ or not. If it meets the criteria for a Christian worship song, then well and good. If not, then the song writer was mistaken about his inspiration.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Cheers video – here it is. Laugh boldly! 🙂
Then, to be clear, when Woody says at about 1:18 that Concord is on level with Scriptures, you guys disagree?
Because Fisk went through this thing about when he looks at BOC he sees Scripture and Vise Versa, so Woody is right.
It is a funny video, but apparently has caused me misunderstanding about what most LCMS folks believe.
First, if Fisk said (and I don’t know what he said) that “when he looks at BOC he sees Scripture and Vise Versa,” maybe that’s because he literally does. The doctrinal content of the BOC is supported by extensive Scripture citations.
Also, be careful about saying things like “what most LCMS folks believe,” unless you actually have data to make such a claim.
So you disagree with Woody that BOC is on the same level as Scripture?
And why would I need data to say that i had a “misunderstanding about what most LCMS folks believe.”?
The data required to make that statement would be my own personal understanding of LCMS belief, and if I got it wrong, I could accurately make the statement in question.
Josh, actually discussing the BOC with you is fruitless. You are much like the atheist who claims the Bible is full of contradictions. When asked to point one out, his response is, “I have never read it as it is full of contradictions.”
You might want to check it out if you question if it lines up with scripture. I posted the Augsburg Confession the other day (this really is our confession and everything else is supporting and explanatory information).
I asked where do people disagree – Duane had to go all the way to the 24th article to find some obscure phrase that he erroneously took to mean the mass was to be done in Latin – even though the scriptural reference was from Paul in Roman emphasizing the use of the common language.
You should read it – in actuality it is the foundational document of the Reformation.
“Josh, actually discussing the BOC with you is fruitless. You are much like the atheist who claims the Bible is full of contradictions. When asked to point one out, his response is, “I have never read it as it is full of contradictions.””
That’s funny. I never made any claims about the contents of the BOC. I only asked how you guys view it. Is it, as Woody says, on the same level as Scripture? I think you are saying “no”, but you are being unnecessarily sly aboutit.
What did I say at 10:07 am?
And why you would extrapolate your own personal understanding of LCMS belief to the point of claiming to understand what most LCMS folks believe? Most LCMS Lutherans have little to know interaction with the Book of Concord outside Luther’s Small Catechism. It is mainly a tool for ensuring consistency of practice and faithfulness to the Scriptures of pastors who are called to preach and teach in the Lutheran Church.
You guys are testy and love to obfuscate.
1. – MLD posted the video years ago. He was the LCMS voice that I knew, and he linked another LCMS pastor saying that “Woody is right”, and then explaining why. That day, apparently, gave me the wrong impression that LCMS held BOC on level with Scriptures. I would be glad to find that isn’t true.
2. – “to the point of claiming to understand what most LCMS folks believe? ” I did not claim to understand. Read again. I claimed to MISUNDERSTAND what most LCMS folks believe. World of difference there.
3 – “little to no interaction with BOC” is certainly news to me. I thought it was your second Holy Book. Honestly. Glad that I was, apparently, wrong.
Josh, MLD is correct, it is fruitless.
There is no obfuscation in what I wrote you.
Unless you think you know what most LCMS folks believe, how could you claim to misunderstand them? But, perhaps you’re right, because you’ve proven that you don’t know Shinola about what we believe.
That you even entertained the thought that we consider the BOC a “second Holy Book” is completely ignorant.
Let me know if you actually have something intelligent to say and discuss.
Josh, Although I don’t remember the Risk video, I am sure that what he was in agreement about with Woody is that Lutheran groups who reject the BOC are a different religion – and hang on to the name Lutheran only for the street cred.
I look at it this way. The BOC represents the very best and authentic representation of biblical teaching – for all, not just Lutherans. It is what we believe, teach and confess.
If other groups choose to ignore this and go off teaching contrary to this – well I can’t stop those with lesser views.
The BOC represents the very best and authentic representation of biblical teaching – for all, not just Lutherans.<<<
Meanwhile, happy Transfiguration Day, everybody!
Xenia – well yes it does but you just have not come to that light yet. 🙂
On a serious note – I am sure that you stand by Orthodoxy as being THE one true (not just one of many) and that your writings best represent biblical teaching – and I bet you do this with no apology just as I do.
Do you have any recommendations on reading about the doctrine of apocatastasis?
Let me know if you actually have something intelligent to say and discuss.
What an arrogant ass.
bob 1 – it is really funny – we have been having 3 days of conversation on this topic – a cordial exchange of ideas, and no one has called the other names —- and then you pop in with nothing to offer but to drop a turd and run.
Michael, not really. Orthodoxy teaches a literal eternal hell, but our hearts aren’t really in it. We aren’t universalists in public, but there’s a lot of private universalists, I suspect.
There’s the “River of Fire” theory that many like, which says God’s love is a river of fire that the righteous experience as love and the unrighteous experience as torment. I used to believe this theory, but I don’t think it really comports with biblical or church teaching.
We pray for dead people, which gives us hope that God in His mercy might accept some unlikely candidates for heaven. “Lord, have mercy on the soul of ________.”
Orthodox worship a gentler God than the God I was familiar with as I grew up in the Protestant world. Very little talk of wrath, etc. The exception is the Sunday of the Last Judgment which occurs in Lent when out comes the icons of the sinners (mostly clergy) being tossed into the Lake of Fire.
I personally have trouble believing that the Jesus of the New Testament is ok with eternal torment for those who never had a chance to hear the Gospel. Just doesn’t sound like Him.
BUT, if that’s how it is, then that’s how it is. It’s not like I get to make the rules.
I’m fascinated with the God of the Orthodox…and the willingness to think deeply about the love and mercy of God.
Reading some of the Orthodox theologians it does seem that many would affirm some sort of eventual reconciliation if you were in their living room…
if one hangs onto the assertion that God is holy – with all that expresses – then there should be no concern for the souls who have died never hearing the Gospel… in my human logic it does not SEEM that God is going to say “ignorance is no excuse.” That said, He knows hearts and He knows how an ignorant soul would have responded had it heard the salvation provision – the unspeakable gift… it isn’t a stretch to think that you will be judged accurately according to what the One who knows us all sees righteously and fair … rest in the holiness of God … or so it seems to me
bob1 is correct regarding Jean’s comment, BTW 🙂 a slight slip back into the OSN, maybe?
I don’t understand the need to demand that ones theology is the only right and true theology…it hurts conversation and causes division without edification.
“I asked where do people disagree – Duane had to go all the way to the 24th article to find some obscure phrase…”
Actually, there were more than that. In fact, I have a large list… but that’s the one I like the most…?
Mld shares a video years ago insinuating that boc is equal with scripture. I get the wrong idea from his sharing of that video. I admit that i was wrong. Jean jumps my case for being wrong ??? That guy is a trip.
I’ve read boc, but haven’t given it a thought in years. I thought it was fine, but obviously less than scripture.
“I don’t understand the need to demand that ones theology is the only right and true theology”
For Lutherans, that demand is only relevant to pastors applying of ordination in a confessional church body.
Here on the blog, I haven’t seen anyone make a demand on anyone else.
I’ve never yet encountered a church website where on the “What we believe” page there is the caveat “but we’re not sure.”
Should anyone make a demand on anyone else that they not firmly believe their own theology?
“I’m fascinated with the God of the Orthodox”
How many God’s are there?
Different sects have very different concepts of God…different emphasis of different attributes…