“Essentials” : Tertullian “The Apology” by Dr. Duane Arnold, PhD

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276 Responses

  1. Babylon’s Dread says:

    As a charismatic amillennialist with partial preterist permutations I thank you.

    Semi-Montanist Dread

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I must have misread the article title – I thought this was the latest apology from Tullian Tchividjian 🙂

  3. Duane Arnold says:


    Ecc. 1:9

  4. Michael says:

    This tendency to narrow down broad orthodoxy to a specific set of sectarian rules will never leave us,it seems…we talk about each other the way that Tertullian talks about the government of his time…

  5. Michael says:

    For the sake of the conversations here I define orthodox as those who can affirm the early creeds and confessions of the church.

    We all hang things of differing veracity off that fundamental tree…

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s interesting that Montanism was not really declared “heretical” for some centuries, by which time it had morphed into something very different from that of Tertullian’s time.

    Additionally, Irenaeus specifically asked that no actions by other churches be taken against the Montanists of Asia Minor. There was a bit broader acceptance than we generally acknowledge in the early church.

  7. Jean says:

    When churches that follow church tradition are under constant assault and are being raided continually by seeker sensitive and/or emotion and entertainment driven churches, the former may see a need to define orthodoxy in a more detailed manner than may please some folks.

    Some aberrations may seem benign or even invisible at first glance, and people deserve an early warning. Wolves usually come disguised, do they not?

  8. Josh the Baptist says:

    The gates of Hell MIGHT prevail, if they have a good band?

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    I think that an inclusive orthodoxy practiced with a large heart might be best. I don’t see creedal communities of faith being assaulted and raided, as much as I see people making choices to go in another direction. Perhaps it is for us to ask ourselves the very simple question, “Why?”. Instead of blaming other, I think we should first look at ourselves. For myself, I’d rather teach the love of the Shepherd, rather than the fear of the wolves… but that is just me.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    #8 Josh

    How did you know I was listening to the new U2 album? Now, there’s a praise band…

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    🙂 It is a good album. Better than the last few.

  12. Michael says:


    In “traditional”churches there is diversity of opinion about the “traditions”.

    The Lutherans, the Anglicans, and the Reformed are sacramental, but differ on many points about the sacraments themselves.

    Then there are differences between all those traditions and the Roman Catholic and Eastern traditions who differ from each other.

    Our non sacramental brethren are an entirely different group.

    I find labeling any of them wolves according to my own tradition to be beyond my pay grade…

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think what Jean is getting at is that the “essentials” of the creeds are not enough. Everyone can say I believe in Jesus and recite the whole 2nd article – but when they refine their doctrine, you find that they take a chip back.When you ask questions and dig a little deeper, well perhaps they don’t hold the same view of who Jesus is and what he does.

    This is what we see with the views on baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Without realizing it, they take away from Jesus himself when they say such things as Jesus does not save through baptism or that Jesus is not bodily present in the Lord’s Supper.

    No one likes to hear that in polite conversation and we know that no one will own up to it – but that is what is happening. So yes, we press deeper than what is “just” orthodox because we feel the orthodoxy chipping away.

    But we take the hit and don’t mind, we rope off the Eucharist and we take the chants that we are so narrow minded that we can look through a keyhole with both eyes.

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In simpler terms, non Lutherans look at baptism in baptism only terms and the Eucharist in Eucharist only terms. We see them in terms of Jesus, who he is and what he does.

  15. Josh the Baptist says:

    Sunday morning, my 9 year old son will be baptized in a non-sacramental church, and will receive his first memorialist Lord’s Supper.

    I couldn’t imagine anything more meaningful.

  16. Michael says:

    Congratulations, Josh!

  17. John 20:29 says:

    it seems to me that those here who see Jesus’ power and presence in the communion and in baptism would believe that those who don’t interpret Scripture in the same way, but still believe that baptism and communion are required would not be bothered by the difference in viewpoint because….
    if the power and presence ARE there in those two acts then all who partake receive it because….
    if it were to take the mind and will of the recipient to achieve said infusion, it has become an act of human virtue, not God’s…
    may God bless and keep Josh’s son as he begins his walk with God

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    We’ll be remembering you and your family in prayer on a very special day…

  19. Michael says:

    The risk is that we believe that our sect and our sect alone is the final arbiter of truth.
    Everyone claims the Scriptures and some claim both Scripture and tradition.

    I simply don’t have what it takes to believe my group is the last word on Christianity…and I don’t want what it would take to do so.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    #13 MLD

    “When you ask questions and dig a little deeper, well perhaps they don’t hold the same view of who Jesus is and what he does.”

    Or, they hold a slightly different view than yours, while retaining full faith in the Creed…

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    #19 Michael

    We passed in cyberspace, but the sentiment is the same…

  22. Michael says:


    Yes, it is… 🙂

  23. Michael says:

    “It was an effort to shape the entire life of the church in keeping with the expectation of the return of Christ, immediately at hand; to define the essence of true Christianity from this point of view; and to oppose everything by which conditions in the church were to acquire a permanent form for the purpose of entering upon a longer historical development.”

    Which reminds me how many times I’ve been consigned to the pit for not believing in a pre trib rapture…and how a non denominational denomination just split over this “essential”…

  24. Jean says:

    Here is another source of our disagreements, and this is a cordial discussion so everyone should be happy. I’m using Duane’s comment, but just as a discussion topic:

    Duane at #9: “I don’t see creedal communities of faith being assaulted and raided, as much as I see people making choices to go in another direction. Perhaps it is for us to ask ourselves the very simple question, “Why?”. Instead of blaming other, I think we should first look at ourselves. For myself, I’d rather teach the love of the Shepherd, rather than the fear of the wolves… but that is just me.”

    (1) The only “choice” people make is to deny Christ. People who follow Christ are “converted” to Him. Their will is converted from following the prince of this world to following Christ. Therefore, when churches manipulate people’s emotions, sensuality or reason to gain members, they are actually giving people a choice they are often unable to resist.

    (2) “Instead of blaming other, I think we should first look at ourselves.” I agree with this. Repentance is the mark of the Christian. However, when we look at ourselves, it is to make sure that we haven’t also bought in to the pattern of the world. It creeps in everywhere and one can never be too diligent. This is precisely why the creeds are not sufficient. The creeds dealt with specific doctrinal issues, which still exist often, but do not cover all the issues that have come down through history. Thus, we also have our confessions.

    (3) “For myself, I’d rather teach the love of the Shepherd, rather than the fear of the wolves… but that is just me.” It’s a both/and, however, I agree that the love of the Shepherd is number one.

    However, there is a big something missing from (3) above. A preacher doesn’t just teach, he dispenses the love of the Shepherd. Jesus gave the Church the power of the keys and the Sacraments to administer. Would a pastor be proclaiming the love of the Shepherd to his full stewardship if he denies and therefore is unwilling to stand in the stead and at the command of Christ to absolve sins and administer the Sacraments? I say “no.”

    Where is the power Paul spoke of? Is it in the Gospel handed down, or is it in the lecture hall, the celebrity speakers, the charismatic manifestations, the youth groups and mission trips, the seductive music, the free will, etc.?

  25. Kevin H says:

    Setting aside the baptism and Lord’s Supper topics for the moment as they have been debated ad nauseam on this blog and we know that we’re never going to come to full agreement on them, here are my thoughts:

    While some may cross the line (and defining that line probably varies to some degree to each and every one of us), I do not think that many of the evangelical churches that do get caught up in seeker sensitive and entertainment oriented ambitions are heretical or are wolves. I think these things can become unhealthy and significant distractors in keeping focus on Christ and the Gospel. These things, however, I would think are often more methodological as opposed to theological. Now, of course, there can be some cross-over between the two categories, but I would think heresies usually deal more with theology than methodology. For instance, a heavy emphasis on developing and keeping a “cool” rock band can be detrimental to where a church’s focus should be, but theologically, I would think the heretical or orthodox-deserting implications would be significantly lesser than say a church that starts messing with the nature or divinity of Christ in their teaching.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane,#20 – “Or, they hold a slightly different view than yours, while retaining full faith in the Creed…”

    But do they have the faith in the same Jesus — or at least in person and work of Jesus. This is what I meant when I said they could recite the entire 2nd article and still be denying, at least what we hold as critical.

    Look, the Formula of Concord is famous for this – and I follow their pattern.
    1.) here is the issue – the disagreement
    2.) this is what we believe teach and confess
    3.) This is the aberration taught by others — and at each point it goes on to name name – the Papists – the Calvinists – the Anabaptist.

    Some think the differences are of no consequence — some of us have issues.

  27. Michael says:


    Well said!

  28. Michael says:

    3.) This is the aberration taught by others — and at each point it goes on to name name – the Papists – the Calvinists – the Anabaptist.”

    Because the Lutherans alone have all truth.

    Except if you’re not a Lutheran and come to different conclusions.

    I’m thankful to God that I don’t have to sign off on a list of “aberrations” to be an Anglican…

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    I honestly don’t know why a MS Lutheran would fellowship at a place like this except to evangelize.

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    #24 Jean

    I am afraid you are attaching way too much “metaphysical content” to my comment, although I take your points.

    My comment in plain language is that the people who leave for the mega church down the road have not be taken by wolves. They have made a choice to attend “there” rather than “here”. We should be asking ourselves, “Why?”, instead of blaming either the people who have left or the mega church. It may be an issue of their own preference, or it may have something to do with us…

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    #25 Kevin

    A “spot on” comment, as our UK cousins would say…

  32. Michael says:

    “Would a pastor be proclaiming the love of the Shepherd to his full stewardship if he denies and therefore is unwilling to stand in the stead and at the command of Christ to absolve sins and administer the Sacraments? I say “no.”

    I say possibly.

    Let me give an example.

    I am on record as not being a fan of Calvary Chapel.
    However, the last revival this country has experienced involved these churches.
    The fruit has endured , even from churches I would not walk in if I had to use the restroom.
    God isn’t bound by my attitude toward other expressions of His work…

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael & Josh – you assume I am casting someone into the pit – the charge that comes up whenever there is a discussion. I am not – I just explain what the issue is – where others see no issue.
    If you invited me, as a friend, I would show up at your son’s baptism.

  34. Duane Arnold says:

    #26 MLD

    Like Elizabeth I, I do not have a window into people’s souls…

    I’ll stick with a simple affirmation of the Creed… as the Church did for 1600 years…

  35. Michael says:


    I’m glad they’re here…I enjoy diversity, even when it’s uncomfortable. 🙂

  36. Michael says:


    Unless you’ve embraced the pretrib position, I wasn’t talking about you.
    If you have, we’ve got a scoop… 🙂

  37. Duane Arnold says:

    #29 Josh

    I would second that query…

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I didn’t know we were “fellowshiping” here – I thought we were discussing ancient theology.

  39. Michael says:

    If the day comes when we all agree, I’ll close the site and move on…I would like to see more affirmation of common ground, however.

  40. Ron says:

    Among us there is nothing to be said, nothing to be seen, nothing to be heard, of the madness of the circus, the immodesty of the theater, the brutality of the arena, and of the vanity of physical culture. (38, 4)…When I read and pondered these words I find myself at times be afraid of being regarded as a……legalist.

    Before the exposure of actors and movie moguls and big wigs, I had a mix of boredom, and disdain for most of what comes out of Hollywood. The lack of creativity, the advancement of sexual deviancy, ridicule of the nuclear family.

    I also examined myself personally, and felt I should stop watching MMA fights. At first, I witnessed a modicum of respect combatants had for each other, that many in martial arts have for themselves. It has rapidly degenerated into vitriolic nonsense, and the level of violence made me quite uneasy.

    At times I wonder What Would Jesus THINK, when I click on a concert video of Rush, or SRV, or The Who, or whatever guitar shredder I want to play like. Instead of a worship video, and play or sing.

    I am ponder, I think, is my heart still concerned with being entertained by things that aren’t pure. lovely, good, honoring to God, or can I enjoy these things without being tainted by culture that is hostile to the things of God, and His Gospel of Shalom.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    OK, let’s get down to some common affirmation.
    I believe in Jesus Christ

  42. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, I’m glad they are here, too. I certainly am more of an outsider than they are. Its just that there boundaries are so rigid, I sometimes wonder.

    My son is being baptized Sunday because he is convinced (after a LOT of struggle on his part) that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died, was buried, and rose on the third day. And that He is the only way to God.

    If there are any more hoops that he needs to jump through, I’m not gonna tell him.

  43. Michael says:


    I can’t watch MMA, but I still watch football.
    I’m waiting for God to drop the hammer on me about that…I’m hoping it’s after the Vikings win the Super Bowl… 🙂

  44. Michael says:


    There are Anglican churches that will both baptist infants and allow parents to wait until the child makes a profession of faith.
    I will do likewise.

    There are lots of ways to get to the one Christ…who is really coming to us,anyway.

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I didn’t know we were “fellowshiping” here – I thought we were discussing ancient theology.”

    I would not spend any time discussing ancient theology with Mormons, JW’s, etc.

    Unless I saw it as a way to introduce them to Christ.

  46. Duane Arnold says:

    #42 Josh

    I certainly don’t consider you an “outsider”. You remind us all of the the evangelical heart that we need to retain in our varied journeys of faith.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – your boundaries are probably just as rigid as mine – just not so finely expressed.
    If I invited you to my 3 month old grandson’s infant baptism are you going to celebrate with us in his entry into his salvation and eternal new life? or will you smile, greet us and walk away shaking your head?

  48. Michael says:

    I’m struck again of the impact of eschatology on doctrine and practice, and on how Christians interact with culture.

    It seems that in light of eschatology, the early church was far more separatist than the church is today.
    Conversely, many evangelicals believe they are able to affect eschatology by political involvement.

    I’m wondering who has it right…

  49. Duane Arnold says:

    #48 Michael

    There is an unspoken question with regard to Tertullian… He does not seem to have continued his involvement in the secular public square following his conversion – even in his catholic period. In other patristic writers, public officials were actually apparently required to resign their position upon conversion. It seemed to be the norm until the fourth century. Was it tied to their eschatological views? Or to the building of a “parallel” society?

  50. Jean says:

    “It seems that in light of eschatology, the early church was far more separatist than the church is today.”

    You cannot fruitfully engage this issue if you do not set it within a context in which Christians are a definite minority, of a preponderance of the lower classes, and are under various degrees of pressure from the culture.

  51. Duane Arnold says:

    It is interesting that in Tertullian, we really have the first instance of a writer inveighing against the “luxuries” that many Christians enjoyed. He was certainly not the only member of the privileged class to convert. I wonder if his attraction to the more rigorous Montanists was in part a reaction to the “gentrification” of the Church in some communities…

  52. John 20:29 says:

    My impression of the early Church is their expectation of the Lord’s return at any moment?
    It is interesting that down thru time we’ve seemed to ebb and flow in that regard, but by God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, we’ve never given up the hope – human wisdom would say, “it’s been over 2,000 years – give it up” we can’t do that, in God’s time it’s just been two eye blinks….

    God is in control of history – period! But I do wonder if the Christian’s participation in the nuts and bolts of it don’t vary as time and place progress – dunno

  53. Michael says:

    I’ve yet to read a single piece from the early church that didn’t expect the coming of Anti-Christ first…or that was as systematic as some would like them to be on eschatology.

  54. Josh The Baptist says:

    In large, the early church expects a future millennial kingdom. If we are arguning from the point of the early church, amillenialism is out.

    Now, I don’t see church history as authoritative, so that is not a convincing argument for me.

  55. Michael says:


    I don’t think it’s authoritative, but it informs us as part of the great tradition.

  56. Josh The Baptist says:

    True, but early church = no amillenialism.

  57. Michael says:

    No pretrib rapture either…and the idea that many of us were sold that amillennialism was absent from the early church is error also.

    You can se it as early as the end of the second, beginning of the third century.

  58. Josh The Baptist says:

    Ehh, amillenialists probably see it everywhere, much like pre-tribbers see that on the very pages of scripture, explicitly.

    Truth is, neither are there. If are eschatological argument is based on the early churh, we have to do away with those two systems. But all of us can look back and find our own beliefs wherever we want.

  59. Michael says:


    I’m a tweener…former premill, not quite convinced amil.
    The only thing I’ll argue (privately) is that pretrib is made out of whole cloth…but I’ll save that for those who live here. 🙂

  60. Josh The Baptist says:

    I’m pre-trib, disagree that it is anymore made-up than amillenialism, but I fully admit that no one really knows what is going to happen in the future. If someone does there best to interpret scripture, and I can see the argument, i can respect that even in disagreement.

    The only eschatological view that would get much heat from me would be a denial of the bodily return of Christ.

  61. Michael says:


    We will agree to disagree.
    I have such deep feelings on this topic I’m better staying out of the fray online.

  62. Josh The Baptist says:

    All good. And I haven’t pushed either view, only making the point that constant calls back to the early church are not making a case for amillenialism.

    But if you or anyone else wants to believe that, it won’t cause me any grief. Surely we can all admit there is a good bit of guessing that goes on when trying to predict specific future events.

  63. Michael says:


    My 53 was clear that there isn’t a systematic eschatology of the early church.

  64. Josh The Baptist says:

    Yeah, I’m not disagreeing. Just trying to bring consistency on this one point.

  65. Josh The Baptist says:

    Duane, I may have asked before, and if so I apologize. What is your Phd in? (I’m just looking at programs and what they offer.) Didn’t your degree have something to do with early church?

  66. Josh The Baptist says:

    @47 – I would rejoice that he had a family that was trying to raise him to be a Christian. I would hope that he would one day profess faith in Christ on his own, too, as I’m sure you would.

  67. John 20:29 says:

    I have read the argument for a pre-wrath (start about Rev 15) removal of the Church from earth … that puts us going out somewhere in the midst of the intensified heating up of tribulation… For my part, I cannot find one single “yes, but…” in the scenario. ..
    That said, I am willing to see almost anyone’s interpretation come to pass… ? soon, Lord?
    Millenium? Looks good to me… fits the concept of of a very thorough God… BTW that scenario begins with mortal humans, not glorified Saints as someone here posited a while back
    But I’m not spending any energy promoting or debating anyone’s take – unless they want me to sell everything I’ve got and join them in a mountain top somewhere

  68. Michael says:


    At one time I was a certified teacher of the pre wrath position.
    The pre wrath rapture is at the end of the sixth seal.

    Pre wrath makes more biblical sense than pre trib…but the idea of an end times temple making sacrifices is problematic in so many ways in all these schemes.

  69. Michael says:


    Duanes doctorate is in the patristics…

  70. Josh The Baptist says:

    “Pre wrath makes more biblical sense than pre trib…”

    (To Michael and a few other people, but not the vast majority of Christians throughout history who never mentioned pre-wrath.)

  71. Duane Arnold says:

    #65 Josh

    My PhD was in Patristics. My supervisor (secondly) was Gerald Bonner (Augustinian). Henry Chadwick and Rowan Williams examined my thesis. My great mentor here in the US, was Charles Kannengiesser at Notre Dame. David Thomas did the oversight of my work on papyri.

  72. Josh The Baptist says:

    @ 69 – OK, I thought he had told me something like that before. Very cool.

  73. Josh The Baptist says:

    Awesome, Duane. I think I have asked that before. Much admiration for the perseverance that takes.

  74. Michael says:

    (To Michael and a few other people, but not the vast majority of Christians throughout history who never mentioned pre-wrath.)

    The early church millennialists actually had something close to a pre wrath view.

    If you read them, they all believe the Anti-Christ would come first…many believed he was already present.

    If you want to talk about eschatology that was unheard of in church history, I’d commend a different starting place…

  75. Josh The Baptist says:

    “The early church millennialists actually had something close to a pre wrath view.”

    Of course. Like I said, each person sees their own beliefs everywhere. But you know pre-wrath is relatively recent view and is held by a tiny minority of Christians. You know that. There is nothing even to argue about that.

    But that doesn’t make it wrong. If it is right, it is right regardless of popularity.

  76. Duane Arnold says:


    I think eschatology is a blind alley from which there is no escape. My eschatology is simply that “Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.” In these past few years, I have lost so many friends and mentors that it is all that makes sense to me. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” is no longer abstract, but a present reality and comfort. In the meantime, eschatological constructs inform me not at all. My job, as I see it, is to love God and my neighbor. When Christ comes, he will come. I only desire to be faithful and worthy to stand (or bow) in his presence. All else, in my opinion, is speculation….

  77. Josh The Baptist says:

    My point is one that you taught me years ago. Doctrine developed over time. Particularly in eschatology, early church history is not a good indicator of what is correct. I would argue that doctrine is still developing and we won’t know for sure until it happens. As we are closer to the end than the early church, we should have a more developed doctrine of the end times than someone two thousand years ago.

  78. Michael says:


    I would hope you have a higher view of study than this.
    I’m not defending any position…I hope someone comes along to fully persuade me of the amill view…
    I find a lot to commend in amillennialism and there is good biblical support for pre wrath…to a point.
    It’s no secret I find no evidence for pretrib anywhere even after holding the view as a young person.

  79. Josh The Baptist says:

    Duane @ 76 – Practically, I am exactly like you say. My life is informed by eschatology in the same way yours is. Theoretically, pre-mil is my best effort to understand scripture, but I really don’t see why it matters so much.

  80. Michael says:

    Duane, you’re probably right.
    This subject makes me very cranky…so I should avoid it like the plague…

  81. Josh The Baptist says:

    “I would hope you have a higher view of study than this.”

    What do you mean? I’ve studied the views ad-nauseum, particularly last semester, and only see the pre-trib view in Scripture. What is my low view of study?

  82. Michael says:

    On the other hand…we have politics fueled by this eschatological system.
    I lost count of how many people think Trump is fighting back the New World Order…

  83. Josh The Baptist says:

    Well, Trump sucks. From a bonafied pre-miller.

  84. Michael says:


    I got over trying to find source material to overlay my convictions a very long time ago.
    I don’t study to find support for doctrines I want to keep,but to find facts…

  85. Duane Arnold says:

    #77 Josh

    You sound like John Henry Cardinal Newman…. consider that a high compliment…

  86. Josh The Baptist says:

    Sorry Michael, we missed each other somewhere there. I would hope that we all study with a mind open to the truth, whatever that may be, but to think we don’t all bring our biases to whatever we read…well, I think we do. And I think recognizing that is important to overcoming it.

    But the truth is, you’ve had some wounding from pre-trib eschatology, and that will always color how you view it. I understand that. I’ve had the same with Calvinism, that I try to overcome even today. It’s Ok though. I don’t think rejecting pre-trib is going to get you left behind, and I don’t think my believing pre-trib is going to help my status in any way. Just two dudes doing their best to understand what God has revealed to us. It’s flawed, but its all we can do.

  87. Josh The Baptist says:

    Googling John Henry Cardinal Newman…*don’t let him be a Mormon, don’t let him be a Mormon…* Yes! He’s just an Anglican – Catholic. I can live with that 🙂

    I’ll have to check him out Duane.

  88. Duane Arnold says:

    I think the issue of eschatology can sometimes blind us to the current situation. The “least of these” are still among us needing our care and help. The Gospel has not changed. Week by week the opportunity to worship is still laid before us. While we fuss and fume over vagaries of faith and practice, there is still a world that needs to hear the Good News. When we allow our speculation to narrow our vision, we lose the opportunity for witness and service that is at the very heart of Christ’s message. Just my opinion, but I think Tertullian lost that when he sought a narrow system that answered his personal needs and desires…

  89. Josh The Baptist says:

    Duane, I think you are 100% correct.

    And of course, the fault of the pre-tribbers is escapism. Jesus is coming to get us, why worry about all of this junk? Of course, that was against his explicit command.

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well the creeds are 100% amil in that the next event seems to be the return of Christ for judgement day (scripturally supported by Jesus’own testimony in Matt 25:31-46). Which eliminates rapture theology of any kind.

    Since Michael and Duane say you must confess the creeds at minimum to be considered orthodox, I would suggest you all convert to amil – right away.

    There, I gave you creeds and scriptures.

  91. Duane Arnold says:

    #90 MLD

    …and down another rabbit hole. I’m more interested in the life in Christ we live here. However Christ wishes to come for us, is just fine with me.

  92. Duane Arnold says:


    If you want to delve into Newman, this is a good start… http://www.newmanreader.org/works/development/

  93. Matt 25:31-46… sounds like Law.

  94. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, that’s noble, but the previous 20 comments above mine were offshoots on eschatology.

  95. Duane Arnold says:

    #94 MLD

    Not mine…

  96. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Victor, it is law to those who are condemned – the goats. Definitly gospel to the sheep.

  97. John 20:29 says:

    I guess the end scenario would make me cranky, too if I had to debate or defend any one interpretation… for me it is a ponder… some views seem mindless, some absurd, some have real merit from a number of arguments… I think I know the correct overview, but I don’t know that I know…
    should we pray that God the Holy Spirit enlighten us? Get us all in the same page? Maybe… Probably not… After the fact we’ll know. ?
    Amen to no. 88 … and 84

  98. I’m cranky because I don’t have a definitive answer on whether or not to tell me kids of they need to be rebaptized later, whether Judah Iscariot will be in heaven assuming he was baptized, and whether by ex bother in law, pretty much an atheist (though baptized in the RCC), is saved.

    All in all, I’m not worried about the rapture or or not. Sufficient is the evil of the day thereof. Focus on the present.

  99. Duane Arnold says:

    Looking at Matt. 25:31-46, one cannot help but notice that it is set in the immediate context of two parables. While we’re looking for the description of some future “event” (with the why, where, when and how), is it possible that the real point of the passage is simply that we will be judged on how we treat “the least of these”? It’s just possible that by picturing The Last Judgement as it appears in the Sistine Chapel, we’re missing what Christ wanted us to take away from his discourse – i.e. what we do in the here and now…

  100. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, for the sake of this discussion I will grant your position that Judgement Day is a total works oriented judgement (not my view but it will help move the conversation along.)

    The 3 parables in chapter 25 have a similar ring to them. The anticipation of the soon return of Jesus or the lack of preparation of his return. My point, and I think the point Jesus is making is that his next return is to earth (no rapture type return of taking the sheep out) and at that return, the judgement happens and the recipients of each kind of judgement are dispatched to their eternal destination – no one is ushered into a millennial kingdom here on earth. (sounds like an mail scheme to me 🙂 )

    Now to doing good works in this life? Count me in – But remember, the sheep were not even conscious that they had done good works

  101. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Darn, it auto corrected my ‘an amil scheme’ to ‘an mail scheme’.
    How did the apostle Paul write Romans on his phone with none of these auto correct error? 🙂

  102. Duane Arnold says:


    My question is more fundamental and not related to a Law/Gospel hermeneutic. Was this meant to be understood in terms of an event in time, or is it effectively an extension of the two previous parables…

  103. Jean says:

    We keep feeling the cross winds blowing. One minute “what is essential?” by which the implication is “not as much as you think”. The next minute “show your Christianity with your works.” So, I ask: Is good works “the” essential doctrine?

    Paul and Luther never doubted that a good tree bears good fruit. Thus they preached and taught an uncompromising Word which alone has the power to plant, water and nourish a good tree.

    I honestly don’t understand how sowing doubt about this or that doctrine or about the clarity of Scripture on various doctrines week after week is nourishing. Should the church become post doctrine and just focus on “kingdom building?”

    I am somewhat cutting to the chase, because I would like to understand the agenda.

  104. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, I will once again for the sake of discussion grant your works oriented judgement day scenario. So, what Jesus could have said / should have said “when I return in the sky to remove my own for 7 years, the determining factor will be who is doing good to the poor and needy.”
    But no, he spoke of his actual return – not the imaginary one.

    It may be the secondary point in the parable, but it is an important event to note.

  105. Kevin H says:

    Speaking as one who attends a church where there is a strong emphasis on the Rapture and reading the “signs of the times” and an expressed certainty that we are in the very last “Last Days”, I can say that getting caught up in the escapism can be a distraction but it is not a guarantee of being blinded to our current situation and ignoring the needs of those around us. Despite all the hoopla of looking for the Rapture that must be just around the corner and an anxiousness for it to happen and to “get out of here”, there is still plenty of good work done by the church and people individually from the church in reaching out and caring for the “least of these” and others in need and also in trying to spread the Gospel.

    On one hand, the impetus that Christ’s return must be just about here seems to spur people onto good works. On the other hand, I have also seen the attitude expressed of, “well, we can’t do anything about that because things are only going to get worse so why bother.” The “fears” generated of things last days-related can also have a detrimental effect in causing unhealthy and harmful fears of current day circumstances. Also, I must wonder about all the time that is spent teaching on and trying to figure out the “signs of the times” and matching them up with current day events would not be better spent teaching about and spending time on things that are much more beneficial to God’s kingdom.

    As for the political implications, this would also seem to be a mixed bag of cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, there is the belief that things are only going to keep getting worse and there is nothing we can do about it. On the other hand, despite that belief, there still is often an emphasis on trying to make things better through the political process. And, of course, you get the whole Israel issue that gets wrapped up in things and sometimes it would seem that the highest priority of all things for our government to do is to support Israel.

  106. Duane Arnold says:


    No agenda as far as I know… As to what is “essential” there are differences of opinion, as we’ve seen. For instance, I find the Creeds essential, but not the Book of Concord. That is not to say that there are not valuable insights in the Book of Concord, but I do not place it at the level of an essential in terms of faith and doctrine. I would, however, say it is essential in an understanding of the history and thought of the Reformation Era.

    Are good works “the essential doctrine”? No. Are good works “an essential part” of the Christian life? I would say, yes.

    Not all of us require absolute certainties in every area of faith and doctrine. If you do, well and good. I think, however, transferring your personal desire for such certainty to others is mistaken. We do not all walk in “lock step” and there are many issues in faith, doctrine and practice in which people of good heart and faith can see things differently.

  107. Duane Arnold says:


    I think that is a really balanced approach.

  108. Josh the Baptist says:

    “God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.”

    BFM2000 – Article X

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, that is the amil position in its entirety, now if you would shed the extra stuff, you would have it right.

  110. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, we just interpret the “extra stuff” in different ways.

    I posted that to show that most of us very much agree on the essentials of eschatology, but get really bent out of shape about a few details.

  111. Jean says:


    “Not all of us require absolute certainties in every area of faith and doctrine. If you do, well and good. I think, however, transferring your personal desire for such certainty to others is mistaken. We do not all walk in “lock step” and there are many issues in faith, doctrine and practice in which people of good heart and faith can see things differently.”

    I haven’t read where anyone has required certainties in every area of faith and doctrine, certainly not me. What I have been taught is that faith is a gift, and that actually faith, hope and love are gifts.

    “I think, however, transferring your personal desire for such certainty to others is mistaken.” What I share are the salutary effects of having strong faith, knowing what you believe and why. I share that confidence in biblical doctrines is achievable through study, good teachers and a heart open to the Spirit. Is my faith perfect? No. Am I fallible? Yes.

    But, and don’t take this personally, because it might not be your intent, but I actually think that some of your and Michael’s comments and writing appear to be trying to transfer your personal desire that the readers have less certainty than they may have today or to not worry about the fact that they have a lot of uncertainty. I do not think “uncertainty” is a good pace to make a home.

    Over the past several weeks, the following topics have been thrown around by some as perhaps non-essential:

    (1) Does one have to be a Christian to be saved? Or to put it another way, does one have to believe in Jesus Christ as resurrected Lord and Savior to be saved?

    (2) Has Jesus given His Church means of grace by which a person knows his sins are forgiven?

    (3) Is prayer effective?

    (4) Is the Bible God’s Word?

    (5) Has the Holy Spirit bound himself to the Word or does He work apart from the Word?

    (6) Is the Old Covenant with its temple and sacrifices over, or is it just on standby?

    (7) Is the Church being taken to heaven, or is Christ bringing a new heaven and earth for the Church?

    I suppose a person can confess the Nicene Creed and hold that all 1-6 are non-essential. I don’t know, however, how one can ever promote unity with so many, some would say, critical doctrines up for grabs.

  112. Duane Arnold says:

    #110 Josh

    Nicely said…

  113. Josh the Baptist says:

    Man, Jean’s 7 questions are really interesting. Some of them are easy to answer, but not all.

  114. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A Mormon, it they were confessional, could affirm the Apostles Creed with absolutely no issue. This is why the Church through the Fathers demanded more certainty through the Nicene Creed. When people developed ‘work arounds’ to that, they put on the heat even more demanding more and more certainty in the Athanasian Creed – even to the point of saying you had better be certain or you will go to hell.
    Certainty can be a good thing – I am certain the universalism is wrong. Perhaps we can start a list of the things Christians should be certain of but because of the rebellious sin nature boldly question and deny.

  115. Duane Arnold says:


    I was not involved (I don’t believe) in all those threads. Yet, as I remember,

    1) Was discussing CS Lewis and differing views of those who have not heard the Gospel. There is a wide variation of opinion on this subject.
    2) Means of Grace was a discussion of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Again a wide variety of opinion.
    3) Prayer – I think the issue of prayer, answered prayers, how and why we pray, are questions that have been written about for around the last 2000 years. It is one of those mysteries that believers in all ages have struggled to understand.
    4) If were talking inerrancy, there are even differences of opinions among those who hold to that view – plenary inspiration, inerrant in the original autographs, etc.
    5) I do not remember this one, but in my view is worth discussing. Especially as the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and holds all the attributes of God – omnipotence, omniscience, etc.
    6) I, for one, am not waiting for the third temple…
    7) This, of course, is the rapture. Is it enough to say that there are different views?

    All of these, or at least, many of these are points of discussion and have been since the time of the early Church. We engage in respectful discussion not to convince, but to learn, to share insights from varying traditions (including yours) and thereby to strengthen our faith and understanding. At least, that’s what I hope all of us are seeking to do…

  116. JoelG says:

    If I may “pop in” real quick…. I don’t think anyone who agreed with Lewis was saying make doctrine out of his theory. It was more hope than anything else. I don’t see why even the most steadfast Lutheran couldn’t ponder the mysteries of God while also holding to certainty in His Word.

  117. Jean says:


    Happy holidays and soon Merry Christmas!

    I don’t know how hold your children are, but imagine they’re 5 or 6 years old and every day you walk them to school. On the way to school, you have to cross several busy intersections. There are a lot of cars around and a lot of other children of various ages around.

    When you’re at those intersections, deciding when to cross, etc., do you want them listening carefully to your voice? Do you want them paying careful attention to your words and any hand motions you may give them about when to walk, when to stop, when to hurry, etc.

    That’s how I feel about the Word of God, when it comes to my salvation and the salvation of my family and friends, and you and the other readers here. For me, there are too many distractions and potential pitfalls to listen to anything else, much less the musings of my imagination.

  118. The New Victor says:

    The Mormon’s wouldn’t agree to the NC. Jesus isn’t the only begotten son, and they believe in one church, not catholic: theirs.

  119. Josh the Baptist says:

    “That’s how I feel about the Word of God, when it comes to my salvation and the salvation of my family and friends, and you and the other readers here. For me, there are too many distractions and potential pitfalls to listen to anything else, much less the musings of my imagination.”

    Jean, me too. I don’t rely on imagination, creeds, the early church, or anything else except the bible. But I’m betting you think our interpretations of scripture are so different because I don’t believe the bible and you do.

  120. JoelG says:

    Merry Christmas to you Jean and all here and thank you. I’ve got one kid in college and 2 in high school. They barely listen to me about anything anymore. 😉

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. I cannot ultimately find Truth outside of His Word. However, what shall I tell those who ask questions about how God relates to those who don’t hear His Word. Or ask why science finds evidence of an old earth when so many think that questioning a young earth interpretation of Genesis is tantamount to unbelief?

    I suppose “I don’t know” is a good enough answer.

  121. Jean says:


    “Jean, me too. I don’t rely on imagination, creeds, the early church, or anything else except the bible. But I’m betting you think our interpretations of scripture are so different because I don’t believe the bible and you do.”

    What you’ve aptly described is the difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura.

  122. Josh the Baptist says:

    SOLO Scriptura isn’t a real thing. It’s just a phrase used as an insult, and another hoop added to the “you’re not as saved as me” gospel.

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Victor, this is why I said the Apostles Creed. The Nicene Creed was developed because some who could confess the AP were still heretics.

  124. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – Why don’t you give us the right answers to your questions in #111. That could be fun.

  125. Michael says:

    “I honestly don’t understand how sowing doubt about this or that doctrine or about the clarity of Scripture on various doctrines week after week is nourishing. Should the church become post doctrine and just focus on “kingdom building?”

    I am somewhat cutting to the chase, because I would like to understand the agenda.”

    I’m going to try to be polite, though I find the accusation of an “agenda” more than a little offensive… way more than a little.

    What Lutherans don’t seem to understand is why everyone isn’t a Lutheran in lockstep with Lutheran doctrine.

    It may be because there was a church for 1500 years before Luther and there have been many more expressions of it in the 500 years since.

    All of the orthodox sects have developed theologies that are every bit as “biblical” as Lutheranism, but disagree on some points.

    Melanchthon and Calvin were very close friends…

    For me to dismiss the work of the Holy Spirit in Calvin, Edwards, Wesley, Simons, Spurgeon,etc, and a host of Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican scholars because they question my understanding would be the height of both arrogance and folly.

    As I’m arrogant enough in other areas and folly seems to be a constant companion, I will tread lightly in this area.

    Now that I think about it, I’ve always had the same agenda, which has been to give voice to the voiceless and allow questioning of authority without condemnation.

    You can be sure you’re right…but I’m not sure you are.
    We see through a glass darkly…and we’ve all been given the same glass.

    I have a lot of company.

  126. JD says:

    A Lutheran and an Ex-Lutheran walk into a bar. The Lutheran sits down and orders a glass of wine. The Ex-Lutheran orders some grape juice. Everything is fine until they argue about who is going to pay the tab.
    Each insists that they will pay the whole amount, no way will he allow the other to incur the expense. Their mutual stubborn generosity is lost on the bartender, who just wants his money, and possibly a tip. The argument goes on as each is determined that the other’s money is “no good” here, and they both stubbornly refuse to let the other pay.
    Just when it seems that things are hopeless, a stranger offers to pay for the tab entirely. Who is going to refuse that? They both immediately recognize the stranger is Jesus, and they walk out joyously with His arms about them, full of gratitude for the One who intervened in their behalf.

  127. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t understand why you can be certain about the things in the Bible you are certain about (that are not in the Creeds, and that you give no one any slack if they disagree, but we aren’t allowed to hold to our certainties just as firmly.

  128. Michael says:

    (1) Does one have to be a Christian to be saved? Or to put it another way, does one have to believe in Jesus Christ as resurrected Lord and Savior to be saved?

    We know that this is the normative way that one gets “saved”. Some of us hope that Jesus (being God and all) might have a way to reach those who have never heard or or unable to understand what they hear. We make exceptions for those who die in infancy and those who are mentally incapacitated even though they would fall outside a strict interpretation of this doctrine, though such is nowhere in Scriptures. Perhaps there are other exceptions in the grace and mercy of God. Perhaps…

    (2) Has Jesus given His Church means of grace by which a person knows his sins are forgiven?

    I think so…but there are those who have as much or more of the Spirit than I do who differ or find “assurance” in different formulations..

    (3) Is prayer effective?

    Define “effective”. Unless 97% of my prayers have been answered with a “no” I have some doubts. The history of the church shows that I’m not only not alone, I have lots of company with many saints who’ve struggled with prayer. I think it’s healthy to talk about it…

    (4) Is the Bible God’s Word?

    Yes. We simply disagree on what that means and in what way it is God’s word.

    (5) Has the Holy Spirit bound himself to the Word or does He work apart from the Word?

    God can do whatever He pleases. We hear of Him coming to Muslims in dreams and visions…

    (6) Is the Old Covenant with its temple and sacrifices over, or is it just on standby?

    An end times temple is odd to me…but if you read the best dispensational scholars they believe they make a “biblical” case for it. It’s a non essential.

    (7) Is the Church being taken to heaven, or is Christ bringing a new heaven and earth for the Church?

    Neither and both. At death we we absent from the body and present with the Lord. In the end , God makes heaven and earth one place…sort of like Oregon.

  129. Michael says:


    You can hold whatever you choose.
    I not only respect your views, I give you and Jean place to teach them.
    What I don’t respect is a demand to affirm them and the scorn we receive when we don’t.

  130. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “What I don’t respect is a demand to affirm them and the scorn we receive when we don’t.”

    But that is my point – you do the same on you biblical certainties. You pour kerosene and light the match on fellow Christians who do not hold to your certainties on social justice – caring for the poor etc or how a Christian is instructed in the Bible to care for the alien. I have yet to see in one of your articles the compromise to those who don’t, and hold a different view – “well we all see through a glass darkly.”

    And I do appreciate greatly the opportunities you give and allow here.

  131. JD says:

    “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things charity……..

  132. Jean says:


    “What I don’t respect is a demand to affirm them and the scorn we receive when we don’t.”

    Neither MLD nor I, nor others that I’m aware of here, demand anyone agree with us. The only argument I’m really making is that we differ in essentials and we should be mature enough to admit it. That means we don’t worship together, but can still be good friends and celebrate what we believe in common, while lamenting the fact that unity is aspirational in a sin filled world.

  133. Duane Arnold says:


    “I do want to say that both faith and reason are God given and are not mutually exclusive.” Maybe for PhDs, but here in the small town Midwest, we subordinate our reason to the Word of God.

    I would call that scorn…

  134. Michael says:


    I haven’t believed anyone here differs on the essentials.
    Evidently, we don’t agree on what the essentials are…

  135. Michael says:


    I’m passionate about social justice and immigration and refugee issues because I believe that the Bible is as well.

    I also have open comments on every one of those threads for those who differ.

  136. Duane Arnold says:


    We do not disagree in “essentials” – we do disagree with regard to the Book of Concord, as you would disagree with The 39 Articles or The Westminster Confession (if you have read them). I don’t believe that the “essentials” are in the documents that delineate our particular tribe…

  137. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – “Evidently, we don’t agree on what the essentials are…”
    or perhaps we don’t agree on the number of them – and who gets to decide?

  138. Michael says:


    There are all sorts of ways to delineate doctrinal differences.

    Because of the broadness of church history, the work of the Holy Spirit in diverse tribes, and the recognition of my own fallen nature, I have chosen to keep it simple.

    I hold on to the kerygma of the New Testament and the creeds and confessions of the early church.

    I look for common ground…

  139. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I also have open comments on every one of those threads for those who differ.”

    I also post my comments and thoughts on threads that have open comments for people to disagree with my thoughts, say on the essentials of baptism and the real presence – however, if someone came on and said they were a Christian who in their understanding of the Bible thought our immigration laws should be followed and administered sternly as they are written, your reply would not be a neutral “we see through a glass darkly – my point is that you hold to your ‘certainties just as closely as those you criticize for doing the same. ,

  140. Josh the Baptist says:

    To me, essential are first level issues ; you are in or out, saved or unsaved based on these. There are only a few of these items

    2nd level issues wouldn’t affect salvation, but would affect our ability to worship together.
    There are lots of these. Charismatic gifts, Sacraments…there are quite a few things that are serious enough to keep Christian brothers from worshiping together.

    3rd level issues are serious, but don’t affect salvation or corporate worship. There are millions of these, probably. Eschatology is largely a 3rd level issue. I see no reason that amil, premil, and post-mil couldn’t all exist in the same congregation.

  141. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, ” I don’t believe that the “essentials” are in the documents that delineate our particular tribe…”

    But that is exactly what the Fathers were doing in the early years with the creeds and council – delineating their tribe (which they considered truth and faithful) from others they considered, heretical or off base. You know the groups and their heresies that were addressed by the councils better than I do so I will not go through the efforts of listing them.

    So the Book of Concord did the same in a time that was just as theologically challenging – and where needed, they called out the Papists, the Calvinists and the Anabaptist.

    Theological pruning didn’t begin and end with the Fathers.

  142. Michael says:

    “Theological pruning didn’t begin and end with the Fathers.”
    Or with Luther…

  143. Josh the Baptist says:

    So you really do think everyone outside of LCMS is a heretic. Wow, that’s fascinating.

    For everyone else, I don’t view the Baptist Faith and Message in that way at all.

  144. Duane Arnold says:


    I think you would like to prune the tree until only one branch was left… yours.

  145. Michael says:

    Let us pause and wish our brother Jean a very happy birthday…

  146. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh I didn’t say that – I was responding to the thought that the Fathers did the heavy lifting.

  147. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I think you would like to prune the tree until only one branch was left… yours.”

    And so did the Fathers – this is why they whittled away everyone who had variant beliefs. At least I never called together a council to cut them off at the knees. 🙂

  148. Josh the Baptist says:

    “delineating their tribe (which they considered truth and faithful) from others they considered, heretical ”

    “So the Book of Concord did the same”

  149. John 20:29 says:

    pontification warning…

    as the years add up for me here, i am seeing more and more clearly why God says He hates pride… humility isn’t well understood as has been observed here in the past… but as the saying goes, if you think you’re humble, you’re probably not…

    if i have all my doctrines lined up after trying very hard to do so over the years and they are my focus because i’m concerned that i walk correctly – according to the rules i do run the risk of walking right past God – of not enjoying Him

    we use analogies here rather lamely IMHO, so i’ll add another to the list of lame analogies 🙂
    many cars today have the capability to give you travel directions, “turn left at the next intersection,” etc. now then, it might be a good idea to keep your eye on the road as you follow those directions… i suspect that our Bible works on the same principle… we won’t always avoid accidents and wrong turns, but God never intended for us to mindlessly follow directions, not watching where we’re going, not being vigilant, not enjoying the scenery… if one is able to do all this while following a systematic, rigidly defined set of spiritual obligations, that is a wonderful thing – do it!…

    for my part, i wouldn’t like the person that i’d become as i followed my Christian book of etiquette – i cannot separate heart attitude from an obedient walk with God (that is why i respect MLD and Michael both – they are different and yet they both are God’s men – as many who post here – as are Xenia and London, and many others here women of Faith… IMHO)

    if i, as a good and faithful Presbyterian, conclude that the baptism i received as an infant meant nothing to me and i decide now that i’m 50 years old, that i want to, of my own volition, submit to the instruction to be baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in obedience to God… i have not one doubt that God will smile and say, “well done.”

    pontification attack over… God keep

  150. Jean says:

    Thank you Michael.

  151. John 20:29 says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Jean… Happy Birthday to you 🙂

    (i have an uncle Gene and a daughter Jeanne, your parents chose a good name IMHO )

  152. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – you would need to read the BoC – it is an expression of what we believe, teach and confess. At the same time, in some areas they called out error on whatever level it was at – some of it heresey.

    I think they did a pretty good job on the errors of the Papacy and the actions of the medieval church. You may not. But I will ask you this – do you see any heresies in the American christian church – or is it all equal but different views of the same thing? If you do see heresy, would you speak out? If so, then what makes you different?

  153. Duane Arnold says:

    #147 MLD

    Actually, that was not the case with the councils. There was great specificity in what they addressed and they were especially cautious when it came to regional practices and the particular traditions of certain metropolitan sees.

    I have read the Book of Concord, as well as the current brief doctrinal statement of LCMS –

    “As to the Antichrist we teach that the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist, 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18, have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion. All the features of the Antichrist as drawn in these prophecies, including the most abominable and horrible ones, for example, that the Antichrist “as God sitteth in the temple of God,” 2 Thess. 2:4…”

  154. Michael says:

    I think the early fathers did do the heavy lifting…all modern heresy is just a repackaging of the same heresies they defeated.

  155. Josh the Baptist says:

    “you would need to read the BoC ”

    I have. I was just referring to your characterization of it, not the content of the book itself.

    Heresy is a funny word for protestants to use. It’s meaningless outside of a powerful ruling church body. If I ever did use it, it would be aimed at people who I do not think are saved.So, heresy is the American Christian church? I don’t know. According to Catholics every single person on this board is a heretic. Who cares?

    I have always called out error, but there is a difference in humbly discussing disagreements among brothers and setting up your doctrinal boundaries to mark the others as heretics.

  156. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    That anti christ stuff is good. You should copy and paste it into your documents also. 🙂

  157. JoelG says:

    Jean, a thought from Buechner for you…

    “The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.”

    Happy Birthday

  158. Duane Arnold says:

    #156 MLD

    Well, speaking of pruning, there go 1.2 billion…

  159. Josh the Baptist says:

    OF course, the idea that there is an inspired book outside of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments would be heresy to a Southern baptist…

  160. Duane Arnold says:

    #155 Josh

    Actually, the RCC does not consider us heretics, but “separated brethren” and they would consider your son’s baptism this Sunday to be wholly valid.

  161. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I think the early fathers did do the heavy lifting…”

    Where as I think the Apostles did the heavy lifting.

  162. Josh the Baptist says:

    Did they rescind the 2nd council of Trent?

  163. Michael says:

    “Where as I think the Apostles did the heavy lifting.”

    As did the fathers of every heresy the church fathers refuted…using the work of the same apostles.

  164. Duane Arnold says:

    #162 Josh

    Vatican II…

  165. Josh the Baptist says:

    What is the 2nd council of Trent? Trying to type quick – Should have just been The Council of Trent.

  166. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 164 – Am I getting the 2 confused?

    No, Trent called Sola Fide heresy…I am pretty sure.

  167. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 163 – My comment came off smart-alecy. Wasn’t intended in that way. Just typing quick and doing other things right now.

    My point was to tie into the earlier conversation of Sola Scriptura. I always go back to the bible. Some go back to the Creeds, and some go back to Luther.

  168. Duane Arnold says:

    #166 Josh

    Ecumenical relationships were reexamined at Vatican II. Baptized Christians are recognized as separated brethren. Of course, my Anglican ordination is still considered “null and void”!

  169. Michael says:


    We would all claim we go back to the bible…

  170. Jean says:


    “Well, speaking of pruning, there go 1.2 billion…”

    You know better, Bro.

  171. Josh the Baptist says:

    @168 – Ok. Gotcha. I’m sure my SBC ordination doesn’t mean much to many people 🙂

    @ 169 – I know, Michael. Again I was being quick, and trying to tie in a point and it sounded like I was condemning others. I apologize.

    By saying “no creed but the Bible” it doesn’t mean that I don’t greatly value many other writings and teachings throughout history. I do think the creeds are great, the early church is fascinating and very profitable for study, there is a remnant of true Gospel throughout Roman Catholic Church, and the Reformation dug up old smoldering coals, almost forgotten. Teachings outside of the bible have brought me closer to Christ over the years and helped me to understand things in Scripture I would have never grasped on my own.

  172. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If I remember, the canons of Trent that anathematize followers of justification by faith alone are still in place and I think still addressed in the RCC catechism published in the late 20th century.
    Perhaps the protestants who do not hold to justification by faith alone are elevated to separated brothers – but me and my clan are still on the list.

  173. Jean says:

    Here’s an interesting thought that came to mind:

    MLD and I share a relatively comprehensive confession of faith, but when it comes to politics and social issues we’re polar opposites.

    Michael and I share social and political opinions very closely, yet we diverge significantly on matters of Christian doctrine.

    What does that say? There really are 2 kingdoms.

  174. Duane Arnold says:

    #170 Josh

    Just responding to MLD @156…

  175. Duane Arnold says:

    RCC Catechism –

    2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.

    2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.

    2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.

    2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God’s mercy.

  176. Michael says:


    I don’t think we differ nearly as much as you do…but it only takes one of us to believe the differences are significant.

    Perhaps it’s simply that I don’t attach much significance to the differences…

  177. Jean says:

    No Duane,

    Even if the Pope is an anti Christ, that never in Lutheran theology damned all Catholics, because they still have the Word read in their churches.

  178. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael.

  179. Jean says:

    If one believes that (1) the Gospel is under continual attack by Satan, the world and our own flesh, and (2) it is the pearl of great price, then he or she is going to be as careful as possible to proclaim, preserve and protect it.

  180. Duane Arnold says:

    #177 Jean

    Indeed… the actual position of LCMS speaks of error, not “pruning” heresy…

    “While Lutherans believe that any doctrinal error has the potential to distort or deny Scripture’s teaching regarding salvation, we also believe that anyone (regardless of denominational affiliation) who truly believes in Jesus Christ as Savior will be saved.”

  181. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Reading the RCC Catechism the us = them (the catholics), not us the protestants.

  182. Duane Arnold says:

    #181 MLD

    They would regard even your baptism as valid 🙂

  183. Michael says:


    Define “The Gospel”.

    I define it as the good news that Christ has reconciled the world to God…through His birth, death, resurrection, ascension and promise to return. (1 Cor 15)

    I think all orthodox sects preach this Gospel…

  184. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Lutherans regard your baptism as valid – we don’t re baptize because we understand that a baptism done in the name of the trinity is God saving and bringing souls into his kingdom by that very process. What we would disagree with is those who after their baptism deny what God just did – the actual saving work.

    You also quoted – “we also believe that anyone (regardless of denominational affiliation) who truly believes in Jesus Christ as Savior will be saved.” Have Jean or I ever said anything different than this? – but is there an actual meaning to the term “believes in Jesus Christ as Savior.”?

  185. Duane Arnold says:

    #184 MLD

    Let me guess… you have a list of 28 items that will constitute what the simple term “believes in Jesus Christ as Savior” really means… please, spare me…

  186. Jean says:


    You’re asking for an article in the comments.

    Evangelicals have a decent grasp of “news.” Problem is no one was ever saved by news. A sinner must be made part of the news.

    Let’s start here:

    “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.’ ”

    News doesn’t restore sight or open ears, etc. Christ does!

    The preacher must give his congregation Christ! Christ for you, for the forgiveness of your sins, this is the Gospel. On your head, down your throat, and into your ears.

    We’re not the judges, to evaluate God’s offer or news, we’re sheep who need a Shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep, who leads us out and brings us in. That is the Gospel.

  187. Michael says:

    I give up.

  188. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – no not at all, but trusting the words of that Jesus may be one of them. You don’t know people who are cultural christians, who say praise Jesus and know nothing of him.
    How about our Mormon and JW brothers? They will confess Jesus all day long as lord and savior
    Perhaps I do have 28 – how about Benny Hinn?
    This is what I have been saying for the past 2 days, there are plenty of people who can confess the creeds with wholly different meanings in mind.

  189. Jean says:

    Don’t give up Michael. You bring up some great topics.

  190. Duane Arnold says:

    #187 MLD

    … and you (and LCMS) are the ones to make this judgement? Really?!?!?
    Hey, I know this guy named Montanus. You two really ought to get together…

  191. Michael says:

    I am more convinced than ever before that God allows division for the sake of human personalities.

    I am as happy as can be in Anglicanism and we have others who feel the same way in their sects.

    May the Lord bless all those who love Him wherever they go to church.

    I’m done now.

  192. Jean says:

    “I know this guy named Montanus.”

    Heck of a quarterback!

  193. Duane Arnold says:

    Happy Birthday, Jean… Many years!

  194. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, well there you go – the Mormon is in by saying Jesus is Lord regardless of who his Jesus is and who his dad Adam is and what planet he was born on – but …

    I dig deeper – or perhaps I should say me and Joe MontanaI prune back some. Anglicans on the other hand, not so much.

  195. Duane Arnold says:

    #194 MLD

    You are simply seeking to misrepresent what is said, as well as that which has not been said… as you know…

  196. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane #195 – no I don’t. There are biblical warnings, especially from Jesus himself that there are wolves in the Church. They sit for years proclaiming ‘Jesus is Lord’ and at the same time working to drag the flock away. I am dealing with a couple of them now – I will not give in for the sake of kumbaya.

  197. Michael says:

    Will all those who affirm Mormonism as orthodoxy please stand up?

    Nobody here…just as we all knew.

    I have been very careful to speak only about orthodox expressions of the Christian faith and I believe everyone here has done so as well.

  198. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But how do you know orthodox in you church unless you ask people what do you believe?
    This is why we catechize new adult members and transfers from other sects. So we can sit down for 12 weeks and go through what Lutherans believe and let the folks tell us what they believe – we want to be open because when people hear what we believe they may want to go run for the hills.

    I said last week that the very first words spoken in our church are “we are gathered here in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” because we want people to know what they are in for.

  199. Michael says:

    “But how do you know orthodox in you church unless you ask people what do you believe?”

    Somehow you assume we don’t…which is assuming a lot.

    “This is why we catechize new adult members and transfers from other sects.”

    So do Anglicans, Methodists, Reformed, Roman Catholics,and probably more I am missing.

    My only point was to stop with the crap that anyone here is affirming Mormonism.

  200. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well I guess we will just leave it at that. You don’t need to understand why Lutherans take the stand we do.

  201. John 20:29 says:

    For the record::
    Jesus IS our Lord… He is also God incarnate, the Christ, son of the living God
    “Lord” involves mental assent in time here on earth (and will in Christ’s millennial reign)… In eternity all is absolute

    It seems that the question that cannot be resolved on this thread is, what are the things He has said we Believers here in time are to do to maintain our position in Christ?

    MLD is convinced he is right? He wants all the rest of us to come to his conclusions for the sake of our souls? That is a noble pursuit – however…
    The rest of us in our varying views are not compromising, as our more grace oriented conclusions are being interpreted(?), for the sake of kumbaya feel good moments either

  202. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, “He wants all the rest of us to come to his conclusions for the sake of our souls?”

    I have never question anyone’s salvation here – well at least the regulars. I have taken issue with a few flyovers here who I did not think they were actually believers.

    However, wrong doctrine is wrong doctrine and if it is allowed to be spread unchallenged, well that is sin on my part if I do not engage it. Others may think it polite to remain silent – not me.
    Kumbaya for the sake of kumbaya is sin.

  203. John 20:29 says:

    MLD, for you to give assent to the possibility that there could be a valid tenant of the Faith that has not run through Lutheran adjudication would,I suspect, be a kumaya compromise – that would indeed be wrong

  204. Josh the Baptist says:

    The good threads always get a little more heated than we would like, but this was a good one.

  205. Duane Arnold says:

    #204 Josh

    I wish there was more light than heat…

  206. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think there was. You did well Duane. You guided us very important thoughts, and that’s gonna lead to some contentious exchanges.

  207. Dan from Georgia says:

    I’ve always liked the phrase “Light without heat”!

    Heck, it’s even stated at the beginning of Steve Vai’s “Where The Wild Things Are” concert video!


  208. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I thought there was an enormous amount of light, and I think this only comes to the front with the expenditure of heat.

    When the dust settled, we all expressed our views on a variety of topics. There should be no question of what we agree on, what we disagree on and what consequence we each think the variety of views brings.

    You can’t get much more light than that.

  209. JoelG says:

    “Light without heat”…

    LCMS Lutherans always bring the “heat”. I’ve been reading here and over at Imonk for years and it’s the case in both places. While the intentions are good, if someone who loves Jesus walks away frustrated and angry what’s the point. Our relationship is with a Person who (I believe) doesn’t limit himself to a particular precise theology. It’s more about relationship than correct relationship. I think there is more correct theology in kindness to a neighbor than having the right doctrine.

    Exclusivism sucks. I would make a terrible LCMS Lutheran.

  210. JoelG says:

    It’s more about relationship than correct DOCTRINE.

  211. Duane Arnold says:

    #210 Joel

    Whenever a body or a person is exclusionary at the core, the idea of relationship tends to be a casualty… I’m still looking in Matt. 25 for that lost section where we’re asked for correct answers to catechism questions… I know it’s got to be there somewhere 🙂

  212. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “It’s more about relationship than correct DOCTRINE.”

    Not even close my friend. Paul had this exact situation in dealing with folks who had a different doctrine. Did he try to build a relationship, or did he bring the heat?

    Gal 5:12 – “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!”

  213. JoelG says:

    I don’t recall Jesus talking that way to anyone. Yes, people peeled off when said difficult things. But if you believe He is God where else are we going to go. He treats each one of us uniquely and in love. He will teach us over time. No one is in the same place in this journey. No need to lambast folks who love and trust Jesus.

  214. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Remember when the rich young man and Jesus had a difference over the doctrine of how to gain heaven – and Jesus said “it doesn’t matter my friend you are a good guy, let’s do lunch.

    Or the time Jesus in John 6 was telling the folks he was the bread of life and how they needed to incorporate that right and true doctrine into their life if they wanted to follow him – and they disagreed and Jesus said, “well, I tried but for the sake of unity, come, let’s do lunch!”

  215. Jean says:

    “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – Jesus

    He often brought heat. Maybe that’s exactly what light brings when it encounters the opposite.

  216. Duane Arnold says:

    WARNING… another LCMS hijacking taking place…

  217. Jean says:

    Was Jesus LCMS?

  218. Michael says:

    There is a harshness that comes whenever any sect is fully convinced that they are the final arbiter of truth.
    You’ll see it in some independent Baptist sects and the many of the “truly Reformed” as well.

    It’s a bridge too far for me to believe that everyone else in Christendom for all of history has been in grave error except for me and my little remnant of holy ones.

    That takes faith I just can’t muster…

  219. Duane Arnold says:

    #218 Michael


  220. JoelG says:

    Do you think Jesus just gave up on the Rich Young Man? I doubt it.

    Do you really think that anyone here believes He isn’t the Bread of Life? I think all Christians -Evangelical, Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Quakers – believe He is the Bread of Life.

    I get there are bad teachings from Osteen, Hinn and such that need to be corrected. But nobody here needs to be constantly questioned. Look at the exchange between Michael and Jean above regarding what the Gospel is. Michael proceeded to answer correctly about Jesus’ life and Jean “corrected” him.

    Goodness gracious!

  221. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You guys do not think this is a harsh statement?

    “It’s more about relationship than correct DOCTRINE.”

    This is a throw your bibles in the trash moment. I find support of this statement to be appalling – but I won’t say it for the sake of kumbaya.

  222. Duane Arnold says:

    #220 Joel

    They “correct” everyone… it is in their DNA…

  223. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, “They “correct” everyone… it is in their DNA…”

    The ad Ad hominems just roll from your finger tips.

    We correct only those who are wrong – just as you seem to be doing here with Lutherans. – do we have a pot / kettle situation here?

  224. Michael says:

    “You guys do not think this is a harsh statement?

    “It’s more about relationship than correct DOCTRINE.”

    The entire NT talks of adoption and sonship…which is all relational.
    The Bible I fished out of the trash says that God so “loved ” the world that He gave His son…so now we have emotion and relationship.

    Sound doctrine is the offspring of renewed relationship.

    Both are necessary for a healthy faith…

  225. Josh the Baptist says:

    Too late to amend my #204? 🙂

  226. Duane Arnold says:

    #225 Josh

    Was wondering the same thing…

  227. Michael says:

    I’m an Anglican by choice.

    I think we have a bunch of stuff right.

    It won’t bother me to find out we’re wrong about some stuff, because we’re right about enough to get me home safely.

    I feel the same way about every orthodox sect.

    If a person is in “right” relationship with Jesus the rest is window dressing…

  228. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Sound doctrine is the offspring of renewed relationship.” You can believe this.

    Both are true and needed but I see that it is sound doctrine that joins us in fellowship.
    Now we may be unique, and I am beginning to think we are, but this is why we cannot commune (have intimate fellowship) with those who deny what we hold as true.

    The idea the fellowship trumps sound doctrine is the issue we see in the ELCA, the UCC and the Episcopal churches.

  229. Josh the Baptist says:

    Something Jean said has had me thinking.

    To all :

    Do you think The Gospel is “The Pearl of Great Price”?

  230. JoelG says:

    Sorry to stir up the pot guys. I just don’ think some Lutherans understand how, when trying to convert everyone to their tribe, they manage to bec discouraged by and question the love of the very Savior they and I need.

  231. Michael says:

    Having said all that I appreciate the Lutherans though I have no desire to join them.

    They remind us of the importance of the Word and the place of the sacraments in church life.
    They are monergists and liturgists and I am thankful for that.
    They represent an important tradition and time in the history of the church.
    I’m thankful for them.

    They bring their gifts to the table and we can dine on them or just go for dessert… 🙂

  232. Duane Arnold says:

    #230 Joel

    No need to apologize… you speak for more than you know…

  233. JoelG says:

    I can’t even type correctly… I think Lutherans need to know that while trying to get folks to understand the Gospel through Lutheran lenses they may be inadvertently driving a wedge between people and their Savior. I appreciate the intention, not the results. I will now retreat back to the evangelical nether regions with my wife and kids and hope for Grace.

  234. The New Victor says:

    The adherence to strict doctrine has its place. I just checked the main UCC page (to make sure), and they affirm The Creeds and even have links to other things which they seem to approve of (Luther’s Small Catechism). So is the straying of doctrine from the top-down, bottom up, or lack of the former? Or is it a lie by omission, much like LDS converts don’t know what the church really believes until they get deeper into it?

  235. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Or is it a lie by omission, much like LDS converts don’t know what the church really believes until they get deeper into it?”


  236. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The ELCA keeps the Book of Concord but they do not subscribe to it as holding any theological truth – only that it contains historical Lutheran doctrines.

  237. Michael says:

    “Both are true and needed but I see that it is sound doctrine that joins us in fellowship.”

    On a basic level there’s some truth to that.
    On the next level it’s relationship that matters once “sound” doctrine is established.

    Let me give an example.
    We have diversity in conservative Anglicanism.

    I lean toward the Reformed side of the group, Duane toward the Anglo-Catholic side of the group.

    My mentor and his mentor disagreed on a bunch of stuff.

    We’ve never had anything even remotely resembling a rift over doctrine.

    To even think of such would seem preposterous on its face.

    We have Jesus in common and a common liturgy and prayer book.

    I’ve learned far more from him than he ever will from me and what I’ve learned has been offered in grace and a spirit of Christian brotherhood.

    Thus, I’ve been able to receive it with joy.

    I lean back and forth now…but mainly we lean toward Christ together.

    Go and do likewise… 🙂

  238. JoelG says:

    One of my favorite writers is an ELCA Lutheran.

  239. Michael says:

      If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    1Cor. 13:4   Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    1Cor. 13:8   Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

  240. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – you don’t understand how much you do this, but you mess with the chips – you always hold something back. Let me give you a couple of examples just from the conversation today.

    Your use of what I will quote is similar to the zero and double zero on the roulette wheel – there solely to give the house the advantage.
    “We have diversity in conservative Anglicanism.”
    “I feel the same way about every orthodox sect.”

    Well do you feel the same about those in non conservative Anglican churches – the very liberal ones – or do you just accept as no harm no foul their flaws in their theology / doctrine that allows some of the things they do?

    In the same way do you feel the same about those Christian churches that are not considered orthodox?

    I can say the same – we have diversity in the LCMS and can learn and dialogue with each other – the current hot topic is over the existence of a 3rd use of the law and how it applies – in fact I think Jean and I have some disagreement in this area – but we can still fellowship together. But then you have those Lutheran groups that have tossed the Bible in the trash for the sake of ‘fellowship’ and I can hardly recognize them as Christian groups any longer.

  241. Duane Arnold says:


    Michael lied in this thread… and I have proof!!!

    “I’ve learned far more from him than he ever will from me…” @237

    I’ve learned much from Michael, and our discussions every week enrich me beyond measure. So, please “pile on” and tell Michael not to lie… 🙂

  242. Michael says:


    I do not feel the same way about non orthodox groups.

    However, I have no need to tell other orthodox groups that they are in grave error or do not understand the Gospel or are a threat to the Gospel.

    I probably disagree doctrinally with Josh more than with you and Jean…but I believe Josh is a fine pastor, a worthy representative of Christ, and I rejoice in what he’s doing and will do.

    I don’t play roulette so you have me at a disadvantage…

  243. John 20:29 says:

    interesting morning here…
    kind of a male version of the Mary and Martha story… can’t decide which side is which, tho
    from my angle our Lutes are Marthas and the rest are Marys – dunno 🙂

    God keep

  244. Josh the Baptist says:

    For the record, In Jesus’ parable about the Pearl for Great Price, I do not believe that the pearl is “the gospel.”

  245. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    An Anglican example because I know at one time you were playing with the ACNA.
    They had doctrinal issues with their main body that led to issues in practice to the point they could no longer “fellowship”. If I remember correctly they even bounced the archbishop and moved their submission the Archbishop in Africa (one who did not put up with what many thought we harmful practices. Also if I remember correctly the issues were so serious, they left behind their church properties and form a new union – ACNA.

    Was their break in fellowship warranted? Are there times such actions are needed even with orthodox Christian groups?

  246. Duane Arnold says:

    I think part of the issue is that there are many here who wish to learn, not be convinced, but learn. Learning has at its core the idea that we don’t know it all and that others may have something of value to impart. They may be in our tradition or outside of it. For instance, at present I am finding much to value in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and the writings of Yves Congar. When, however, we think we know it all and that ours is the only theological system that possesses truth, there is no exchange of ideas, no valuing of another perspective. There is only the desire to convince and correct. That is not learning… it is indoctrination…

  247. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 246 – That’s a good point. I could certainly find an SBC forum if I wanted. I like picking up bits and pieces from all around. Most bring great value to the Kingdom.

  248. Duane Arnold says:

    #247 Josh

    So it’s not lost, what do you consider The Pearl of Great Price to be?

  249. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think the church. You?

  250. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think God is the Merchant
    The Church is the pearl
    and “sold it all” is giving Jesus.

  251. JoelG says:

    “I think part of the issue is that there are many here who wish to learn, not be convinced, but learn.”


    I will always appreciate Jean and MLDs teaching, but not to the exclusion of other authors, teachers and preachers.

  252. Duane Arnold says:

    #250 Josh

    That’s a very “high church” approach, but I like it. Let me ponder…

  253. Jean says:

    Just a word of caution: Bringing up the words or acronyms “Lutheran” “LCMS” “fundamentalist,” “sectarian,” etc., are convenient red herrings designed to avoid issue at hand.

    Why not just address the topics, discuss, debate them, etc., without the diversionary tactics? If you think you are giving a salutary teaching, it should stand on its own and under the Word of God.

  254. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wanted to ask when does teaching become convincing?
    If I brought up at an appropriate time that one needs to be baptized to be save, and a reply comes back and says “this is not true – what about the thief on the cross?” If I reply, have I moved past teaching into convincing? If I answer at this point am I indoctrinating?

    This is more confusing than trying to figure out the rules for dating today.

  255. Josh the Baptist says:

    What do you think about the pearl?

  256. Duane Arnold says:

    #255 Josh

    Chrysostom says it is the Gospel, Origen says it is Christ himself, but I think I like your view best of all…

  257. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’ve since seen a few commentators who mention my view, but it just kind of jumped out at me preparing a sermon a few years ago.

  258. Duane Arnold says:

    #257 Josh

    By the way, John Henry Newman often referred to the Church as the pearl of great price, both before and after his move to Rome. Even more interesting, he once said to his old Anglican friend, Keble, that he also “had found the pearl of great price, and should not dare let it go…”

  259. Josh the Baptist says:

    Also interesting, I’ve been reading through The Ragamuffin Gospel (for the fortieth time 🙂 ) And he mentions John Henry Newman in one of the later chapters. Thought it was weird that a guy I’ve never heard of has come up 3 times in a week.

  260. Jean says:

    I would be happy with either Christ or the Gospel, in the context of the pearl.

    “you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

    Though, , though I prefer the Gospel because the Church has a stewardship over it (or an entrustment of it).

    “The glory and beauty of God’s mercy in the Gospel is so great and precious that all else sinks into insignificance beside it. The pearl of the Christians is the greatest treasure in the kingdom of God, the salvation in Christ. He who has learned to know this priceless gift will gladly renounce all goods, joys, and delights of this world, and consider all human wisdom and righteousness as loss, in order to gain Christ.” – Paul Kretzmann

    “For Christians especially the sacred doctrines of Christ are the precious pearls on the ring of His mercy. To cast these before dogs and swine, before people to whom nothing is sacred, that blaspheme everything holy, is to expose the most sacred beauty to coarseness.” – Paul Kretzmann

  261. Josh the Baptist says:

    So you see man as the merchant, the gospel as the pearl, and giving up everything as the man giving up his own life?

  262. Duane Arnold says:

    #259 Josh

    Newman on the Development of Doctrine is a bit foundational. All the Tractarians, however, are of real interest – Pusey, Keble, etc.
    I think Keble was my favorite. He considered one of his highest duties was to clear snow from the walk that led to his church so his people could worship with dry shoes!

  263. Jean says:


    Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

    Here in the similitude, he says: “the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls”

    It’s ultimately most literally about the kingdom of heaven. But that is entered through the Gospel, brought by Christ, experienced on the earth in the Church.

    But the point was the great value the merchant placed in it when he found it and that he gave up everything else to obtain it. Now someone could make an application out of it, like I did, which would work with the “seek first the kingdom of God….”

    But, if you read the similitude very carefully, you might find that Christ is the merchant who gave up His life to purchase you for His kingdom! If I was preaching the similitude, that would be my message.

  264. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks Jean. Good tie-in of Matthew 6:33 there. And yes, your last paragraph describes my take.

  265. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I go with Jesus is the merchant and the church (specifically just the church and not humankind).

    Taking a christological view – Jesus always must be the actor – the action figure.

  266. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    missed a phrase
    I go with Jesus is the merchant and the church (specifically just the church and not humankind) is the pearl of great price.

  267. Josh the Baptist says:

    Me and MLD agree.

    …and the rest of you are heretics!!!

  268. Jean says:

    Go Calvin Go…

  269. Michael says:

    “I wanted to ask when does teaching become convincing?”

    I think the bare essentials are communicated and received by faith.

    Other doctrines are subjective, whether we like to admit it or not.

    For example, there are many different doctrines of election…all of which have some biblical foundation.

    For me, I feel free enough in the Gospel to read and study from a variety of perspectives and consider the best of them all without being too dogmatic about any.

    Back later…lots of appointments today…

  270. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The best I can figure is that my agreeing with Josh brought on the rapture and I have been left behind.
    I will be on the run as I try to hook up with Rayford Steele. 😉

  271. Michael says:

    It did get quiet in a hurry…

  272. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD- I’ve come back to tell you you’ll be visited by three ghosts…

  273. Duane Arnold says:

    #271 Michael

    After all the noise, silence can be nice….

  274. John 20:29 says:

    #272 – You can come back? ?
    Since I’m a mid-trib adherent, I’m pretty sure we’re still all here HOWEVER this was day that made the case for the Great Tribulation having begun … God was good and it’s ending well, tho…. so… dunno…. Thank You, Lord

    there’s been some publicity given lately to UFOs – heard a career Navy pilot saying that he and some of his fellow pilots had been ordered to check out something off the coast of San Diego a few years ago and his conclusion was that it was “not of this world”… What strikes me as funny is all the non Christians who are spooked by this…

    Off topic – I apologize. ?

  275. I wonder where this clergy/laitity distinction comes from? Is it essentially paid help vs volunteer? I don’t see it in the N.T. Maybe I missed something, but it seems to me rach believer has a calling and gifting and is invited or compelled to act. Would any 2nd or 3rd century believer even relate to a discussion like this? Any full time christian worker who promotes this division, in my opinion sets themself up for failure.

  276. Duane Arnold says:

    #275 Richard

    There does seem to be offices of pastoral oversight as early as the Didache (end of the 1st century), but they were plainly “offices of service” to a local community of believers. By the time of Tertullian, such offices had become more hierarchical, which may help to explain the attraction Tertullian had to the Montanists.

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