IX. Of Original or Birth-Sin.

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244 Responses

  1. If I find time I want to comment some here. I have some interest in dialoging about how spirituality is affected by this doctrine. My issue is not that I protest the idea that all have sinned or that all are in reality dealing with sin. Rather the issue is one that considers sonship as our identity and sinner as our former status.

    Catholic and Protestant spirituality is so dependent here upon obsessing over the ‘desperately wicked’ heart. Puritan spirituality thrived upon this as completely as medieval catholicism. Now I don’t wish to inspire a knee jerk reaction. What I wish to inspire is a fruitful dialogue about whether centralizing sinfulness over sonship has reduced our spirituality to an incessant search for leaven and thereby turned a grace movement into something quite opposite.

    I have all kinds of examples in mind not least the idea that we grovel to come into his presence rather than coming boldly before the throne of his grace. We crawl to our father’s presence rather than enter with joy. It is not as if we are daily the prodigal on the run driven by desperation to find home or die. We quite often actually live in genuine fellowship as sons who have not left the father’s house.

  2. 1.) This article is very hard to read. This makes the King James version look like the NLT. 🙂
    2.) Reuben, I think maybe you’ve gone to an unhealthy extreme as a reaction to your unhealthy upbringing in the other extreme. Which is understandable, I guess, but I’m curious where the next phase of your journey will lead you.

    3.) We are certainly all in sin. That fact is not even debatable. I understand the backlash against morality preaching and hope that it is being sprinkled with grace, but you can barely read any page in the bible without a morality lesson. Yes, it is God alone who is capable of producing the good works, but he uses us to do so.

    I love and agree with most of what Dread has said. We are a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation belonging to our God (1 Peter 2:9). I have also seen the extreme version of this view lead to irreverence and abuse, but probably not any more so than in the extreme view of Total Depravity.

  3. There is good reason for the term “total” depravity. Without regeneration and the influence of the indwelling Spirit of God, I am “totally” depraved. One cannot see how good the Good News really is without realizing how much sin reigns in the human heart and flesh. Yet, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and that fact should take us from Theology to Doxology!

  4. Papias says:

    This is where the old language does us more of a disservice, as one has to muddle through some old expressions to attempt a meaning. These statements should be crystal clear and leave little to try and decypher.

    That being said, if I understand the statement correctly, I agree with it:

    1. Our sin nature is our own and passed down from Adam.

    2. Our sin nature remains, even after we are regenerated.

    3. In spite of still having my sin nature, I have a new nature from God, and am in no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Praise be to God!

    Dread, the son who stayed home is the same one who would not enter the house after the Fathers invitation. The story ends with him on the outside of the house.

  5. This is why Lutherans claim for ourselves that we are 100% righteous and 100% sinner – while the rest claim that we are (for example only) 50% sinner 50% righteous – but if we work at it we can flip that to 40% sinner and 60% righteous and go on and on tipping the scale towards righteousness as we become “better” christians.

  6. Shaun Sells says:

    “Chuck told the story countless times about how he was afraid to be found watching a movie when the Lord returned.”

    In defense of this statement from Chuck, it is always given as an example of how he lived before he understood that grace changes everything.

  7. Kevin H says:

    I think I might agree with this article, but as stated by some others already, it sure is hard to understand the Old English to really know exactly what this is saying.

  8. Shaun Sells says:

    Total Depravity is clearly Biblical and believed by both the Calvinist and the Arminian. The difference is how each responds to it.

    To the Calvinist if you accept Total Depravity/Inability you must accept the other points of the TULIP. The Calvinist would say because of our state of total depravity God must first regenerate us – so election is unconditional (this will be the biggest area of disagreement between the two groups). God chooses who is saved (and some say by extension those who are not). If our election is unconditional and caused by Him regenerating us, then by logical extension His grace is irresistible. And, since only those who are elected or chosen by God to be saved then the atonement is limited to those who are elected. And, if God elected you and grace is irresistible there is no possible way you could ever leave the faith so you will persevere as a saint.

    To the Arminian God must still take the first initiative in our faith by calling all people to repent and believe and graciously enabling them to respond positively if they so chose, but His election is conditional based on whosoever will believe in Him (some say individually and some say corporately). If that is the case, then atonement is available for all, but only effective for those who receive Him by faith. So, God’s grace is not irresistible, but available. By this regeneration always follows faith, not the other way around. The security is debated amongst some Arminians, some saying that since salvation is through faith, you must maintain that faith to persevere – others say the Holy Spirit empowers all who have faith to persevere by protecting us from any outside irresistible force from snatching our faith from us.

    The big rub is are we regenerated before or after faith? The scripture seems unclear as the word is only used twice in the Bible (Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5). The Matthew passage speaks of a future regeneration and the Titus passage seems to lean towards a current regeneration potentially (although not clearly) pre faith.

    Most Christians live squarely somewhere between those two camps.

    The part I struggle with is when we speak of believers in the present tense as being depraved, that is not who we are – it is who we were!

  9. Papias… the son in the story is guilty of living below his status… nowhere did I assume that as a necessity and the point of new covenant is new status… elevated

    So survey the word sinner as it is applied to people in the text and ask yourselves if we use the word sinner the way the text of scripture uses it… especially if we in our spiritual focus use it proportionally as the text does.

    Seems to me that one result of original sin as it plays out in Catholic and reformed spirituality is that there is an inordinate focus on our ONGOING sinfulness as opposed to our redeemed status.

    Romans 7 will inevitably rise in this discussion… let it be said up front that we have widely divergent views as to whether Paul was professing his own state or that of the Jew under the law… when the latter view was presented to me it liberated the text to serve the context.

  10. Michael says:

    Dread is speaking to the Reformed doctrine of “wormology”…we are worms in the sight of God despite our regeneration.

    I reject this doctrine and find it to be an enemy of grace.
    I’m off to work now.

  11. Papias says:

    Ah… Romans 7. I mentioned on another thread that I’m taking a class on NT Backgrounds, and the prof is grinding an axe on this passage.

    JI Packer on Rom 7:

    Packer gently leaned over the table, looked me in the eye, and said, “Young man, Paul wasn’t struggling with sin because he was such a sinner. Paul was struggling because he was such a saint. Sin makes you numb. People who sin over and over again become desensitized to sin. The reason Paul’s “struggle” was so intense was not because he was caught in a web of sin, or because he thought of himself as hopelessly doomed to giving into the temptations that he faced. Rather, it was because Paul lived a life so sensitive to the Holy Spirit and passionate about the glory of God that he intensely felt his sins whenever he became aware that he had committed a sin (since he was not, of course, sinlessly perfect).”


  12. Xenia says:


    I don’t believe in total depravity, original sin or wormology and I think Chuck should have kept to his original thoughts about movies and the Second Coming! But I’m off to church- today is the feast day of the Elevation of the Cross. Be back in a few hours…

  13. Reuben says:

    In defense of what I said, Shaun, be always followed the statement with, “Be about the Lord’s business…” or something to that effect. Always. So he perpetually shot it down, and then built it right back up.

  14. But…we should be about the Lord’s business. Why is there fault in that?

  15. Shaun Sells says:

    I will trust you on that Reuben. I have never heard him say it in a sermon, only read it in one of his books. The tie goes to the witness.

  16. Shaun Sells says:

    I am sure I am the only one who did not know, but I googled it just in case others are unsure what feast Xenia is talking about:


  17. Em says:

    Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. KJV

    the more i learn of the mind (and the brain) the more i appreciate Paul’s exhortation to renew our minds – we’re never told to renew our (corrupt) flesh are we? how would we do that? what i find interesting is that our mind can make use of our flesh (body of death) to serve a holy God in time – the freedom that everyone is crying for now (thinking it will make them prosperous and smart) is in Christ – and that’s fact, not “opinion” 🙂

    mostly i agree with BD’s first post up there especially his 3rd paragraph

  18. Nonnie says:

    I like Dread’s post; the attitude of being accepted and being joyful in our Father’s presence. Yes, and amen!

    However, I cannot say that I go even a day without a thought or action of which I am not ashamed and have to run into the throne room of grace…..but not as a squirming worm, shaking in fear of a vengeful god…but rather as a beloved child who wants to confess my sin and be embraced in the Father’s forgiveness.

  19. Michael gets it… Steve Brown is completely bereft of this idea and if the Reformed church were riven with Brown’s understanding of grace it would be a big blessing to the body of Christ.

    I spent years loving the Puritans and finally jettisoned the endless examination of motives in favor of the goodness and mercy of God.

    But like I said I did not really have a serious bone to pick with this doctrine unless it is overexposed and place at too central a locale…

    peace to all

  20. Another Voice says:

    As I recall the story to the best of my ability (for it has been many years but I did hear it multiple times), Chuck was told that movies were evil by his parents and the church he grew up in, and that he would miss the rapture if he was sitting in one when the rapture took place.

    He went to see a Disney movie (I believe it was Snow White) as a kid without parental permission and was scared the whole time that the rapture might happen.

    Yes, this was before he understood that grace changes everything. To my knowledge, I never heard him teach of the possibility of a Christian missing the rapture because they were in an act of sin at the time (much less missing because of some legalistic point like being in a movie).

    I know that in the School of Ministry I attended there, the partial rapture theory was most definitely rejected.

    But obviously I can’t vouch for every word ever said or written by the man.

  21. Em says:

    i think when you really focus on Christ, you don’t lose fact of the need to confess sins, you just know what to do … confess it/them, refocus back onto the Lord and move on … i suspect we all do this in our travels – the alternatives are discouragement or smug, self righteousness aaand a troubled mind

  22. Another Voice says:

    My only beef with the theological point at hand is when others in the Body of Christ claim to speak on behalf of a point of view they personally reject, by misrepresenting the view (i.e strawman).

    I believe in total depravity, and I would ‘amen’ every single word in the above Article IX (which may be a first – as to the ‘every word’ part of these articles)

    However, I also believe that God’s Spirit puts a person in place to choose or reject God. Now, in saying that I am often bombarded (including by some who used to post here) that I really don’t PROPERLY believe in total depravity, or that I am proposing a contradiction.

    Well, if I am, then so too is the Anglican – for as I wrote, I ‘amen’ every word above on total depravity. I may not ‘amen’ someone else’s ADDITIONAL words that THEY feel are required by the term.

  23. Papias says:

    “Yes, this was before he understood that grace changes everything. To my knowledge, I never heard him teach of the possibility of a Christian missing the rapture because they were in an act of sin at the time (much less missing because of some legalistic point like being in a movie).”

    I have heard Raul preach this though.

  24. Another Voice says:

    Papias, I stopped listening to Raul about 2 weeks into my salvation.

  25. Em says:

    sometimes i think that theology tries to be robotic all ‘yes’ or all ‘no’
    instead of the “yes, but”s, this morning i think i see that it should be “yes and”
    there is a reason that Paul prayed that our *hearts* aaand our “minds” would be kept … our hearts feel (affections and griefs), but our mind know, or can know, Christ – strengthening and guiding us along
    i may not make sense, but so it seems to me

  26. Xenia says:

    This particular teaching of total depravity and the idea that you have to be regenerated before you can even seek God- this is one of the greatest divisions between eastern and western theology. It’s a fork in the road, with Blessed Augustine pointing the west in the wrong direction.

    A few thoughts:

    1. When Adam and Eve fell, God did not obliterate His image in them or in us. It is marred but not destroyed. We can all seek after God. He calls us all. We have the free will to say Yes or No to God. We keep saying Yes the rest of our lives and a No is sin that must be repented of. As we become conformed to Christ the image of God is restored in us.

    2. We are not guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve. Because of their action, death was the consequence and has entered the world. While I have the seed of corruption within me, I am not a sinner until I commit my first sin, which of course I will.

    3. I believe I am the worst of all sinners. We are to think this about ourselves but not about others.

    4. I have heard Pastor Chuck talk about the Rapture and the movies many times on his tapes. I guess he has decided “grace” changed things. What a shame! It’s not that the movie was so bad (although most are) but that he was disobeying his parents and being mindful of God, (and the 2nd coming) he was uncomfortable, as he should have been.

    From the Morning Prayers:

    May we not be found fallen and idle, but watching, and upright in activity, ready to accompany Him into the joy and divine palace of His glory, where there is the ceaseless sound of those that keep festival, and the unspeakable delight of those that behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance.

  27. ” I am not a sinner until I commit my first sin, which of course I will. ”

    How is this different from the depravity issue? If you can not NOT sin, then you must not be as able to choose YES as you seem to indicate.

    If in fact we can NOT sin, why did Jesus need to die?

  28. Xenia says:

    We will all sin.

  29. Another Voice says:

    that you have to be regenerated before you can even seek God-
    I don’t know if ‘regenerated’ has different meanings but I certainly do not believe or teach that, and the wording within the above Article does not either.

    In point of fact, that is the most common “addition” that I was referencing in my earlier #22.

  30. Xenia says:

    If anyone is interested in digging further in the the east/ west differences on the topic of original vs ancestral sin, here is a rather long article. If you are only casually interested or not interested at all, you may not wish to spend a lot of time (or any) on it and I won’t hold it against you. 🙂


  31. Em says:

    i won’t presume to answer points made here on accountability (to God) and original sin (imputed to us by our bloodline) but anyone who thinks a child doesn’t have a bent to sin just as soon as he is able to function has never worked in a church nursery – some little wee ones are worse than others, but it’s in there from day one … when we become accountable for that bent is another issue – one that i leave up to God – the overly cautious and fearful parent baptizes their ‘issue’ asap and that’s okay, i leave that up to God, also – lol

  32. Reuben says:

    I did not even know there was a doctrine of “wormology”.

    I guess I could say that I think it is really hard to understand grace without understanding depravity. I figured that was synonymous with salvation.

    For once, the highly respected and esteemed Xenia and I have do disagree. MLD sums up well in comment 27.

    I simply don’t buy choice in salvation. No one can even be inclined to such things unless the Holy Spirit draws, who, by the way is God. So theres that… So Xenia’s first point @ 26 is lost on me.

    I don’t think my view of total depravity is extreme. But I am always wrong…

    I know I am loved, with a love that cannot be defined in human/earthly terms.

    I also know that regardless of my state (saved or not) there are not enough grannies in the universe to walk across the street or carry groceries for, that will earn me right standing with God. I fear that Pelagian mentality dictates that salvation is earned. So when the pendulum swings to an almost entirely works based walk, relying/depending on those things to please God, I think the REAL extreme has been reached at that point.

    We are known to God because of Christ. We never had the ability to earn that favor. We never will.

    Shaun, to answer your question way back @8, We are known before we were even formed. So the question of “when” is probably outside our grasp. The point is that we are known, we are drawn, and we are saved.

  33. Reuben says:

    But to show how mad I have gone, I am seriously contemplating water boarding my son… and I don’t even think he is an “issue”…

  34. Em says:

    of course he’s an issue, your issue Reuben 🙂 “issue”- children of one’s own – just playing with the language
    and i have great respect for those who post here, who see baptizing their little ‘issues’ as having a salvific consequence … even if i don’t “get it” –
    God looks at the heart of the one participating in the sacraments – IMHO and that’s where the transaction occurs – so how can i know that it doesn’t save the little one? i don’t know

  35. Em,
    If salvation depends on my heart… well, before salvation it wasn’t that good, and afterwards not much better.
    Your comment puts salvation at my own feet – not in God’s work.

    Reuben, this is the big hurdle to get over – who does the work in baptism? Who does the work in salvation? When you present your son for baptism it’s all God.

    Em, when you were saved, did you contribute anything more to your salvation than Reuben’s little James will or a 2 month old baby? If you answer yes, that you contributed more than a 2 month old… well there is an issue in there somewhere. If God can change your heart, why can’t he change the heart of a 2 month old?

    Wish I could continue, but I have a board meeting at church I need to go to.

  36. Xenia says:

    Reuben, I think we are going to be in a rough patch over the next few Articles.

  37. Reuben says:

    I can live through it! You are still priceless! 😀

  38. Xenia says:

    It will certainly give us something to talk about!

    This Article, and the next few, kind of get to the root of the differences between East and West.

  39. Em says:

    #35 – sigh – can i change/sanctify my own heart? of course not!
    but it is my heart that searches or does not search, that responds to God’s Truth or does not
    if the parent’s heart is one of obedience to God, can the unintentional (on the part of the infant) sacrament sanctify the baby? i won’t presume to answer that one – but, then, i can’t see that baptism is essential to redemption – and there’s the difference
    MLD asked (rhetorically, i’m sure) if i contributed anything to my salvation, more than little James will … yes, i, confessed and willingly submitted to God’s call and His Truth … along with his parents i pray that James will also and then his willful participating in the sacraments is pleasing to God … of that much i’m certain … vicarious obedience? God knows, i don’t

  40. Reuben says:

    I am as certain that you cannot choose Christ as I am certain that David Gilmour is the greatest musician ever.

    I am also as certain that salvation is entirely God’s work as I am certain that Pink Floyd is the greatest band ever.

    I am as certain that it is only the Holy Spirit who gives you the ability to seek God as I am certain that the LA Dodgers are offspring of Satan’s fornicating with Sadam Hussein.


  41. Em says:

    i agree with Reuben that one cannot choose Christ, in that God initiates the courtship and works the work … but

    this thread compels a question: can a person be redeemed against their will? or passively?

    one can be brought to *consider* Christ as a Redeemer *against* their will, many of us were … but at some point, at some point we *submit* to the Truth or we don’t and that is a response, … some seem determined to call that response a *work* …?… and it does interfere with saving babies by baptizing them, i guess – dunno

    yes, it takes a Holy God, a Triune God, to initiate to each one of us and to work the work of our salvation – more “work” than we’ll appreciate this side of Eternity – there is much to enjoy on this subject … did God propose? yes! did i accept? yes … after He got in my face a few times … He took over from there and now looking back, it was a lovely courtship

    God keep all close and comforted

  42. em,
    Believe me, I am not taking issue with you personally, but your words are just so “evangelical”

    “MLD asked (rhetorically, i’m sure) if i contributed anything to my salvation, more than little James will … yes, i, confessed and willingly submitted to God’s call and His Truth …”

    Think about it – when did you confess and willingly submit – before or after God saved you? If you say before then you are saying that a non Christian can say “Jesus Christ is Lord” – which I think Paul might have issue with.

    If you say after God saved you, then you are in the same position as the 2 month old baby, who in this case cannot verbalize that confession of faith, but none the less has it because that faith comes from God and not something we muster up ourselves – and your willing submission “after” God’s work, really isn’t so willing as much as a product of God’s work.

    If you look how Jesus used little children (in Luke, even using the word for babies / infants) in his examples, it is just not imaginable that (1) he doesn’t want to save kids, at their kid age and (2) that folks today wanted to do Just what the disciples tried to do – keep kids away from Jesus… until they are old enough.

  43. MLD, your #42, which i don’t take personally, is presumptive and illogical – peppered with distortion, false premise and malicious conclusion (thank heavens for my on-line dictionary) IMNSHO

    that said, may God continue to honor your determined understanding of our salvation – for all i know, the ancient designs of worship followed by clans with very intelligent, responsible folk today may be right and necessary for some … it probably can’t hoit

  44. “this thread compels a question: can a person be redeemed against their will? or passively?”

    Ask the apostle Paul, he didn’t want any part of Jesus, Jesus’ people or any of it. Ask me, God did not whoo me, he did not court me – he gave me his word and through that word he changed me. By the time I noticed anything, he had already done all of the work – without me even knowing he was doing anything.

    By the time that I confessed “Jesus as Lord” it had already been done. And i was saved in a CC, but even from the very first day, I knew that God had hijacked me without my permission.

  45. How can sin be an offense if there is no choice involved?

    The whole Bible is about choice, starting with Adam and Eve. Either God has granted human beings free choice, and if He is all-powerful He could certainly do so, or he has made it seem exactly like we have a choice. Either way, I don’t see how God will fault us for believing we have a choice when, one way or the other, He is the one who made it that way.

  46. Em,
    That is why I put up the initial disclaimer. What you state in your comment is an accurate commentary on evangelical beliefs about shared duties in the salvation process. You, Rick Warren, Chuck Smith, Charles Stanley and millions of others stand in the same position.

    That position is, “God cannot save someone who will not cooperate”

  47. Josh,
    Adam, Eve and Jesus are the only one’s who have ever had “free” choice when it comes to things of God. The rest, before regeneration are bound by their will – which is always to choose against God.
    I think Paul, quoting the OT said that “no one seeks after God”

  48. MLD, I don’t know if it is so much “God cannot”, but maybe more “God will not”. It seems to go against his character to force himself upon people.

  49. MLD @ 47 – I disagree. Every choice we make is colored by our sinful nature, but lost sinners make right choices, sometimes. They go against their own nature.
    Regenerated people also defy their new nature a lot of the times and make decisions that go against God.

  50. “It seems to go against his character to force himself upon people.”

    Check with Paul. 🙂

  51. “but lost sinners make right choices, sometimes. They go against their own nature.”

    I disagree, Good works done by lost sinners is always for the wrong motive – it is for their own selfish reasons (give to the poor = tax write off for example) anything, not done in faith is sin.

    That’s what makes sin so bad. Luther in his Heildleberg Disputation makes the case that most of the “good works” of Christians are sin because they are done with wrong motives.

  52. “Check with Paul. ”
    So God forced Paul to persecute Christians?

    Re: your #51 – While that is normally true, a lost sinner can certainly make at least 1 selfless choice. Think about a guy sacrificing himself to save a child he doesn’t know from a burning building. He had to go against his own nature to accomplish that.

  53. “So God forced Paul to persecute Christians?”
    No, but he forced him to BE a Christian.

  54. Another Voice says:

    Josh’s 52 is a point Lewis makes in Mere Christianity in the early stages of his argument. A very solid point I would add.

    Lacking in the discussion so far is the conscience given all mankind by God. I didn’t get saved until I was 25, and I was never baptized as a baby either.

    But you bet, I knew right from wrong.

  55. My argument is not about right and wrong. It’s about the realm of God and if unregenerated man can choose for God on his own. That is the area that we do not have “free will” or freedom of choice, however you want to word it.

    The other angle is that we are not free to NOT sin – and this is why, at least in the case of my pastor every message is about God’s forgiveness FOR me

  56. “So God forced Paul to persecute Christians?”
    No, but he forced him to BE a Christian.”

    Why could he not do that with everyone then? Is the Lutheran God not strong enough?

  57. Another Voice says:

    Your argument(s) are all over the map. Josh said the sinner on occasion can go against his sin nature and do what is right. You said that was wrong because the motive would always be wrong. A sinner can never do what is right.

  58. Another Voice says:

    Jesus said He wanted to gather the people of Jerusalem like a hen her chicks, but THEY were not WILLING.

    And as a result, judgement would come to them.

    Jesus is God, right? Even in Lutheran circles…

  59. My argument is not all over the place. Josh’s point was that people can change their own nature – that those who are opposed to God can then change by themselves and now be for God just like (and this was his purpose in using the example) the person who chooses to go against his sin nature and do good.

    I say no, evangelicals say yes.

  60. AV,
    You mistaken me for a Calvinist – I didn’t say that Grace is irrisitible – but are you going to tell me Paul had a choice on the Damascus road? Jesus laid out his plan and told Paul – hey get back to me with your decision..

  61. I should clarify – God’s grace is not irresistible… unless he wants it to be.

  62. Another Voice says:

    Just reread every Josh post and he said nothing like what you just accused in the context of salvation. I know I have been clear (here and before) that “as an evangelical” God must draw us to Himself and that we do not seek God without His conviction and draw. I’m pretty sure Josh is going to be in that same ballpark.

    Now, you keep talking about Paul – a very unique person, who, as an apostle, saw the risen Christ yet AFTER the ascension. But even looking past that as your chief example (ignoring the entire evangelistic testimony of Acts besides that one event) – you neglect that Jesus referenced the conviction (kicking against the pricks) that Paul had been going through since the death of Stephen. So even with Paul, God was working on Him before that unique appearance.

  63. “Josh’s point was that people can change their own nature”

    Ummm. No.

  64. AV,
    You really surprise me – is that how you read Paul’s letters – just read what he says with no looking to see what those words respond to.

    I was talking about salvation issues, free will, choice etc with Em, when Josh entered the conversation. He brought up that God cannot fault us for thinking we had chosen him, because God made us that way.

    Going down further, he brought up that we can change our nature or go against our nature in doing good vs bad. The only purpose for this being brought up in a salvation discussion must be to show we can change our nature towards God.

    If not, we were having 2 completely different conversations.

  65. Another Voice says:

    Yeah, I’ve read Paul’s letters. How about Romans One?

    The problem is that whereas I am clear in saying that God’s Spirit brings us to a point where our human will makes a meaningful decision…Giving God the glory and making the sinner no different than the drowning man grabbing the life perserver…

    You say you deny irrestible grace, but then reject the idea that God can be resisted.

    Now maybe I am wrong. But Josh’s point (and mine) is that throughout the Scripture (especially Acts) we see some believe and some don’t – to the very same reasoning from the Scriptures by the apostles. So I trust God will forgive me if I am misrepresenting Him all these years of ministry, as I likewise urge others to come to Christ, trusting the Spirit is at work in their lives and through the preaching of the Word.

  66. “You say you deny irresistible grace, but then reject the idea that God can be resisted.”

    You will need to show me where I said that, other than the Paul situation. I think you need to go back up and pick up the context starting with my comments to and about Em. The whole unsaved world resists God’s grace

    My comments follow comments about “choosing” God and or, in even a small way contributing to one’s own salvation.

    But, for fun, I don’t think Paul would lead the choir in “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

  67. Another Voice says:

    You will need to show me where I said that, other than the Paul situation
    LOL!! He’s been the poster boy for your entire argument. Something I already pointed out…

  68. Another Voice says:

    MLD – Honest, sincere question.

    Does your pastor each week address those in your congregation who may not be born again? Who may not be saved. I mean speaking to them directly, (and in that moment NOT speaking to the rest of you who are saved).

    If not, then fine. I think that is wrong, but fine.

    If so, then what does he say?

  69. No, not at all and once again, this is a big difference between our tribes.

    We believe that God’s same word is for both the saved and the unsaved. This is what I said earlier, my pastor talks weekly about sin, Jesus and forgivness – but, and I know you will deny it, but the gospel message is also for the Christian – just as much as it is for the unbeliever.

    I am going to go look for an article on this topic and get back to you. In the mean time, you can tell me why you think that the message to the unsaved is different than the message to the saved… at least from the pulpit.

  70. “in even a small way contributing to one’s own salvation.”

    This is also a bit of a mis-characterization. Because God grants us a choice does not imply that we hold any power in the situation. Remove God from the equation, and we are lost with no hope.

  71. Another Voice says:

    Since I believe in the security of the believer, I think a constant diet of ‘you need to come to Jesus’ is a guarantee to keep the congregation immature. I think I am on solid Biblical ground in that belief.

    Of course, that is the ONLY message for the lost sinner. He needs Jesus. The cross.

    got to run now

  72. AV,
    Here is the article “Christ died for the sins of Christians too.”

    I like this one statement from the article, because this is what is preached in my church weekly.

    ” The preaching was not, as it should have been, a proclamation of God’s grace to them because of the finished and atoning death of Christ—God’s grace for them as Christians.”

    But I ask you, if you knew that there were no non Christians in your audience, would you preach this message – and if you would preach this message to your audience, why is it not effective to the ears of a non Christian? Why do they need their own message?


  73. Lutheran says:

    Does your pastor each week address those in your congregation who may not be born again?

    I can answer that, AV —


    Not directly. The Lutheran Divine Service is for believers. Just like the Early Church, where actually they would shut the doors to unbelievers before the Mystery of the Eucharist.

    If nonbelievers are there, more power to them. But they won’t be addressed directly. We believe that God works in the various forms of His Word to bring people to faith.

    In our churches, there’s a lot of emphasis on teaching and catechesis with new converts. Often new members come in through current members. For example, there’s a young guy at my church, a mechanic. He got serious with a young lady who was raised Roman Catholic. So the pastor met with her and went over what the church teaches and confesses. She confessed Christ, joined the church — and also married the guy.

    That’s how it works a lot.

  74. The message is not ” a constant diet of ‘you need to come to Jesus’” We never, and I mean never have a come to Jesus message. That is strictly an evangelical thought,. Lutherans know that we do not come to Jesus, he comes to us.

    Now try to listen to the message as “let me tell you again what Jesus has done for you and why you need to receive those free gifts he offers over and over again. (not the one and done of evangelicals)

  75. Lutheran says:


    Actually, in a Lutheran service, the message isn’t “you need to come to Jesus,” but,the opposite “Jesus comes to you” — in His Word, His sacraments, and His absolution.

  76. Lutheran says:

    There was a discussion on here the other day about the term evangelical.

    The Lutherans were the first evangelicals. They’ve been called evangelicals since Reformation times. There are many Lutheran churches here in the US with “Evangelical” in their title.

    But in modern America, evangelical has been identified with a movement that started in the mid-20th Century. If you want a book-length historical look, I’d recommend “Deconstructing Evangelicalism: Conservative Protestantism in the Age of Billy Graham” by DG Hart. Or any of Mark Noll’s books.

  77. Xenia says:

    The EO Divine Liturgy still has the place in it where the catechumens are told to “depart.” We don’t make them depart anymore but the idea is still there that the first half of the Liturgy is somewhat educational: Psalms, general prayers for the country, etc, Gospel and epistle readings go here, too. After this, the catechumens are traditionally told to depart. Then comes the part of the Liturgy for the baptized believers: the reciting of the Creed, the Eucharist, and so on. Traditionally, while the faithful were participating in the 2nd half of the Liturgy, the catechumens were off with an elder being catechized. So yes, there’s still a place in the morning service where the deacon intones “As many as are catechumens, depart.”

    The homily can be given right after the Gospel reading or at the very end of the Liturgy. It is always directed at believers. The Divine Liturgy is for believers. There are other venues for winning converts: missionary outreaches, charity outreaches, Internet radio, Bible classes and of course, the best method of all, friendship evangelism.

    This precludes the need to gear the morning service to appeal to unbelievers.

  78. Em says:

    MLD picked this from #43
    “this thread compels a question: can a person be redeemed against their will? or passively?”
    and MLD responded:
    “Ask the apostle Paul, he didn’t want any part of Jesus, Jesus’ people or any of it. Ask me, God did not whoo [sic] me, he did not court me – he gave me his word and through that word he changed me.”

    MLD ignored the next sentence in #42:
    “one can be brought to *consider* Christ as a Redeemer *against* their will, many of us were … but at some point, at some point we *submit* to the Truth or we don’t and that is a response, … some seem determined to call that response a *work*

    to MLD’s response to my #42 i would say that the above included the Apostle Paul and God WAS courting MLD with His Word to which MLD eventually responded: “Yes!”

    i don’t call what happened to Paul when he was knocked to the ground and blinded, his redemption, that event got His attention – but the moment of his redemption? that i don’t know – could have been sooner, back when he was persecuting what he thought were heretics, perhaps … or later … when God was able to use Ananias to lead Saul to his new life in Christ

    i think MLD does what some (bad) preachers do who cherry pick out of context to make their point

    God keep

    time for my nap 😐

  79. I guess I will just go back to my original point on this topic. I object to anyone who says in the salvation experience / process that they contribute, participate or whatever you want to call it, any more than a 2 month old baby being brought to baptism.

    God does the same work for the infant that he does for the adult.

    Some people disagree with me on that.

  80. Xenia says:

    Trying to pinpoint the *exact moment* when a person is “saved” is always going to cause problems.

    For the Sinner’s Prayer crowd, were they saved (as in, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and enrolled in OSAS) when they said Amen to the prayer, or when the idea to say the prayer entered their heads, or earlier that day when they wondered about it, or when they were sitting in the pew feeling convicted, etc? See, even the Decisionists can’t really point to the exact moment when they were “saved,” that is, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. One day they think they might be interested in believing, the next day the idea strengthens, then they are pretty sure, they they make a mental “Ok! I believe the Gospel!” then they say a prayer, either at home or at church. When does this person actually become a believer? What if the person was raised in a Christian home and *always* believed? When is this child indwelt with the Holy Spirit and enrolled among the OSAS?

    In the book of Acts, the deacon Philip preached and baptized a crowd of Samaritans, I think it was. Yet they did not receive the Holy Spirit at that time. Are you really a Christian if you are not indwelt with the Holy Spirit? I don’t think so. Two Apostles, Peter and John I think it was, had to come lay hands on these folks so they could receive the Holy Spirit and become Christians.

    Do evangelicals have anything that corresponds to this biblical practice?

  81. Is belief needed for Salvation?

  82. Em says:

    almost nap-time, but this morning i read:
    John 18:37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

    i think that is what we who are redeemed do: ‘listen’ as in hear and respond – the salvific work is all God’s … if we ask one to “accept Christ as Lord and Savior” and the answer is “i do,” are they saved? if the response is an affirmation, they have accepted Christ – period,

    but, if they are liars – not of the Truth, just mouthing the words? that does not save – we ought to all agree on that and some preachers do need a talking to – don’t label that evangelical or fundamental – it’s sloppy teaching at best and false security

  83. Xenia says:

    Is belief needed for Salvation?<<<

    Ultimately, yes. Unbelievers are not saved persons. Little babies, to anticipate your next question, are not unbelievers. If all goes well, they will be raised in a believing home environment and will blossom into believers just as naturally as a flower bud blossoms into a full-grown bloom. But it is not guaranteed!

  84. If it is not guaranteed, then the baptism failed.

  85. Josh,
    “Is belief needed for Salvation?”

    Just for clarificaion (no tricks on my part) Are you using belief as different than faith?

  86. Xenia says:

    If it is not guaranteed, then the baptism failed.<<<

    No, baptism is not a magic talisman. If that were true, all babies should be subject to a forced baptism and that would guarantee their salvation. No more need for anything else to be done!

    I am not MLD, I believe we do have to cooperate with God (synergy) to work out our salvation. Baptism is the starting line of a life-long race. If you stay at the starting line you will not finish the race. If you run in the opposite direction you surely will not finish the race!

  87. No, I’m using it as in “Whosoever believes in Him…”

  88. So, if we can say “Is faith needed for salvation?” – I give a hardy YES!

    Then the question turns to, where does one get this faith that you need? My position is that God delivers this faith to us and we receive it passively.

  89. MLD, if you kissed the girl you were courting and she received it ‘passively,’ wouldn’t you at some point give up on her?

    somehow i think this is all dancing around a semantic bonfire …

    Rueben said, “At any rate, go nuts!” … i think everyone did pretty well seeking and presenting their understanding on this one – i gained some ground in my own understanding – even if i don’t understand MLD very well

  90. MLD – I think by “passively” you must mean “unconsciously”. I agree that our part in Salvation is passive. However, how can you “believeth in” something, but not know that you believe in it?

  91. Another Voice says:

    My position is that God delivers this faith to us and we receive it passively.
    Is it possible then to reject this delivered faith (passively or actively)? Or is it irrestible once God decides to give it to you?

  92. Another Voice says:

    If that were true, all babies should be subject to a forced baptism
    Well, all babies ARE forced into their baptism, aren’t they? They have no say in the matter.

    You would be better to say all PARENTS would be forced to baptize their babies. The babies, no matter what the view of the parent, have zero say in the matter.

    Which is the constant point made by those of us who do not see value in infant baptism.

  93. Josh,
    That is why I asked if the word faith were appropriate. Why can’t an infant have faith, which is trust. You have kids – I remember when mine were kids. My youngest as a 6 month old had faith / trusted his older sister. She spoke softly, loved on him and treated him gently. Now, his older brother was a different story. He treated the baby rougher, used his outdoor voice around the baby and would grab and pinch.Whenever older brother came around, you could see the baby get uncomfortable.

    The point is that the faith / trust that the baby had in his sister had nothing to do with him. That faith was put in him by his sister.

    It’s the same with God – God give the faith and we respond back – just as a baby does.

    Another example – does the baby love mom? Even though the baby can’t confess love in mom?

  94. So you are saying the object of the faith does not matter, as long as any faith is present? Doesn’t the faith HAVE to be in JEsus?

  95. AV,
    Again, because you do not understand baptism as a work done by God. You do not believe that God works through means.

    Again, you hold baptism to be no more meaningful that a witnessing bumper sticker on someone’s car. In fact the bumper sticker actually witnesses to more people of a changed life than does the water baptism witnessed by only 20 people.

    I will bet that you forced your kids to be dedicated to God against their will. But then you also deny that has any affect or value and is just your ritual.

  96. yes the object is important. I was just giving you an example that babies do respond in faith. I was trying to put it in something that you can see for yourself with your kids.

    Here was the point – the baby didn’t have to “understand” anything to be able to trust in someone and to respond to that love. But this is what you are saying that babies are incapable of.

  97. No, you are saying that. You are saying they are born with an inborn faith in Jesus. It’s called predestination. I know you don’t like those words cause you are supposed to be Lutheran, but what you are saying is absolutely no different than the Calvinist.

  98. Oy Vey – where did I say they were born with an inborn faith? I have been saying all along that God gives the faith (faith come by hearing God’s word) – baptism is mixed with God’s word, plenty of it, you should attend a baby baptism to see what it is.

    What I am trying to show you is that babies can respond with faith.

    Did your babies not show faith / trust in mom? Did they understand mom? No! but they were able to respond in faith.

    But if you want to teach your kids that they by their own reason must figure it all out before they can be save… well have at it but you are wrong.

  99. So, again, why doesn’t God give every baby faith?

    And here again, you are gonna sound exactly like a Calvinist.

  100. Another Voice says:

    MLD – All you repeatedly point to is infant baptism. Does any adult EVER get saved in a Lutheran church besides the babies of other Lutherans? I know your testimony of salvation had nothing to do with the Lutheran Church. Is that the case for the rest of you?

    As for baby dedications. I freely admit, I pray for little children like my own (and others) and yes, those little kids have no say in the matter. I’m praying for them because I want to pray for them. I also pray that their parents will be led by God in raising their children – which is something the parents ask me to do (i.e. not forced).

    I find your baby examples of trust when given unconditional love by a Mom or sister to be quite a distinction to what you suggest about infant baptism – namely that God will give that faith only if the parents are obedient and do the baptism. About as far from unconditional love as an example as one could posit.

    (got to run)

  101. AV,
    In the Lutheran church, adults get saved pretty much the same way as a CC. But they come to that salvation in several ways, through the word, both spoken and written and the sacraments – but without the cajoling to accept Christ… they just receive..

    As to why God doesn’t give all kids faith, it’s the same reason he doesn’t give all adults faith. If you are not exposed to the means of grace, you don’t get the faith. But you believe the same thing. If no one has heard God’s word, he does not get saved.

    The point of infant baptism is that is the one place where we see that the who thing is one way – from God to man. The baby is just a receiving blob.

    I just think it’s terrible to look at your 1 year old and say “too bad he is unsaved and can’t be saved.”

  102. “And here again, you are gonna sound exactly like a Calvinist.”

    I don’t know how many times I can repeat myself. It must have to do with you not understanding that God works through means.

  103. Xenia says:

    I am having a little trouble distinguishing MLD’s beliefs from Calvinism, too. There must be some subtle difference that I am missing but I am missing it for sure.

    To recap the Orthodox view:

    1. The image of God in us is marred but not destroyed. There’s enough left that we still hunger for God, whether we realize that’s the cause of our hunger or not.

    2. God calls us all to salvation. He desires that all be saved.

    3. Part of being created in the image of God is the gift of free will. Our free will is not unlimited- God will do what God plans to do- but as far as our own little lives are concerned, we have the free will to say Yes or No to God’s call.

    4. God saves us. His salvation is His gift to mankind. Like all gifts, we have to unwrap it and use it. That’s our part. Like the parable of the talents, God gives us salvation but we have to do something with it or else we will be cast out like the guy who was given the talent but chose not to use it.

    5. Many things contribute to our salvation, which is to say, God gives us many ways to cooperate with Him. Baptism is the first step in the life of the new Christian. He walks, hand in hand, with God to the end of his life. It is a lifetime of being saved. We were saved at the Cross, we are being saved in this life but we won’t be completely saved until the end.

    Think of a mom baking cookies. (I’ve told this allegory before here.) As a mom, I could make all the cookies I wanted perfectly and efficiently. However, I love my children and I want them to love me. I want them to become exactly like me. (Well, not really but stick with it for the sake of the allegory.) I invite them to bake cookies with me. I invite them all. Some want to spend time with me and come and help. It’s messy. The cookies are misshapen at first, but I am a patient mother and we work together (synergy) as long as the child is willing. This child is being conformed to my image. This child loves me and is continually saying “yes” to me. For the sake of the allegory, this child is saved.

    Some of my other children my choose to watch cartoons instead. They benefit from the cookie-baking (they eat them) but spend very little time in the kitchen. They hardly know me. To them, I am a remote figure that dishes out cookies and punishments willy nilly. They are not being conformed to my image. They hardly know me and I hardly know them. But they haven’t left the house so maybe they will be saved in the end.

    Another child might get angry with the whole set-up and leave home. He can always come back but if he doesn’t, he’s damned. His choice.

    As the mother in the story, I gave birth to them (Creator role, for this story) and I set up the conditions for salvation (Redeemer role, for this story.) Redemption is my free gift to all my children. I wish they would all come. I have warned them what will happen if they don’t come. It’s up to them. I will not go into the livingroom and say “Ok, Fred and Sally, you two come help me in the kitchen. Joe and Liz, just stay and watch cartoons.” I invite all four of them, a sincere invitation, not some kind of “I invited you all but I tied two of you up so you can’t really come.” No. Since I love my family I want them all to come and I make it possible for them all to come, they just have to cooperate, just a little even. But if they want to spend the rest of their lives watching cartoons, that’s their choice.

  104. Xenia,
    “I am having a little trouble distinguishing MLD’s beliefs from Calvinism, too. There must be some subtle difference that I am missing but I am missing it for sure.”

    I don’t see why you are confused – all I have ever said, in it’s entirety, is that anyone who hears the word and receives the sacraments receives faith from God (that’s God’s promise, not my made up statement). I just don’t make a distinction of age – others do.

    It’s God that works with that faith, and he keeps adding to it each time someone hears.

  105. Xenia says:

    Well MLD, if that all you have ever said, in its entirety, then I agree with you!

  106. Xenia,
    And the funny thing is, that we believe that a person can walk away from the salvation that is given to them.

  107. Another Voice says:

    MLD – Re: The means of grace being the word of God. Faith comes by hearing the word of God – so far, so good.

    Question – Why can’t you just preach at your baby then? Why the need for the baptism. Or for that matter, are you again speaking from both sides of the mouth and saying the adults in the congrgeation do not get saved from the preaching of the word UNTIL they too get baptized?

    As far as baby salvation. I think you know the understanding we have of accountability of babies. If you think I look at a 1-year old and think they aren’t and can’t go to heaven if they die tragically, you are mistaken.

    However, my question back is to the Lutheran parents who have a terrible car accident on the way home from the hospital (or for that matter, on the drive to church for the baptism) – what a shame indeed to say “So close. But the baby is damned because we didn’t get the baptism done”

    And if you DON’T say that, then you believe as I do and of course show that the baptism is really not relevant.

  108. AV,
    First I never brought up who can be saved and who isn’t. I haven’t even talked that much about the different ways people are saved. God is just and merciful.

    Never have I said that someone who is not baptized cannot be saved. I just say that one of the ways God saves is through baptism (as the Bible states on several occasions) and that this opportunity is all inclusive – without regard to age.

    You on the other hand have dictated strongly ways that God cannot save and have set a limit on who can be saved.

    I do not agree with you but I do know that your position is as you state; “and of course show that the baptism is really not relevant.”

  109. Another Voice says:

    You on the other hand have dictated strongly ways that God cannot save and have set a limit on who can be saved.
    Actually, I don’t. Unlike some evangelicals, I am not willing to say that everyone who does not have a chance to even hear the gospel is damned. I rest in the mercy and goodness and justice of God.

    I know nobody is saved apart from Jesus’ blood applied to their sins, including little babies (to get back to the original sin issue)

    And to be clear – Yes, baptism is irrelevant for SALVATION, but is not only relevant but essential for SANCTIFICATION.

    No problem us having different beliefs, as long as we don’t deliberately misrepresent those beliefs. I may misrepresent you out of ignorance on occasion, but never deliberately.


  110. Just out of curiosity, because I can’t recall – can you refer me to a verse that ties water baptism to sanctification?

  111. I agree that it doesn’t have to be about right or wrong. I said way up the thread, that my point is to show that there is a difference. I don’t go for discussion where after debating huge differences, the other person says “well, I think we are actually saying the same thing, using different words.”

  112. Em says:

    my nap-time is over …
    something happens at baptism; it is an act of obedience to God IMHO – it isn’t just a ceremonial ritual – like the washing your hands and feet of some religions

    i strongly feel (strong enough to stick my neck out and declare it here) that it involves the Holy Spirit, His entrance into the personal drama of a life in Christ … now i think there’s more, but i’m not called by God to expound on the subject … if you were baptized as a baby and have gone on in the Faith, is there no call to submit to baptism on your own later in life? i truly don’t know – but some dry Christians might just try it

  113. I wonder if any Jews get re circumcised when they get older – you know, “now that it has meaning.”. It misses the point of baptism.

    I find it funny that those who place no efficacy in baptism are the ones who lobby for rebaptism.

    I remember CC told my wife she had to be rebaptized and when we joined a Baptist church they didn’t want to accept our CC baptism.

  114. Another Voice says:

    Equating circumcision with baptism is about as supported in Scripture as making Sunday the new Sabbath.

    And there is certainly a difference between rejecting infant baptism from whatever church source, and rejecting a baptism because it was not done under one’s personal church brand.

  115. Reuben says:

    I am loving MLD’s arguments here. On this topic, I doubt that there is anything we would disagree on. But then I go on to the U, L, and it all falls apart.

    Thanks for the good interaction here, keep going!

  116. Reuben,
    Take a short break from watching the Rockies losing to the Dodgers 5- 0 and answer this.

    What is the U.L. ?

  117. Another Voice says:

    T.U.L.I.P You guys are sympatico on the T.

  118. Em says:

    hmmm – as a Law keeping Jew, one circumcises one’s son, not one’s daughter … i hope – the males do have always in front of them a lifetime, ever present reminder of the Law, tho

    FWIW, i must agree with AV totally on this – the only validity to the comparison of circumcision to infant baptism is the argument that neither little one has a say in the matter and there’s no scripture … i thought the N.T. allegorical mention of circumcision involved the heart: “But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” from Romans chapter 2 … is there a mystical operation of the Holy Spirit on the little baptized baby? i can’t see why, but Faith overcomes logic on many occasions

    i worry about Reuben loving MLD’s arguments, tho … lol

    God keep

  119. AV, I didn’t equate circumcision with baptism – that was some guy named Paul… but he was only one of those black letter guys and not to be trusted.

    Col 2:11-12 “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

    Now circumcision was done 2 ways – when a child was 8 days old (infant circumcision) and those kids later affirmed their faith at their Bar Mitzvah (confirmation).
    Now the 2nd way circumcision was carried out was adults coming into the people of Israel later in life (believer’s circumcision) – they affirm their faith first and are circumcised.

    Now I know you will come along and show how Paul didn’t mean to compare circumcision to baptism, he meant something totally different as we have seen many times the “this baptism now saves you” and “this is my body” don’t mean what they say either.

    Anyway, back to my initial light hearted comparison – I just wondered if their are people who tell modern day Jews, that their circumcision would be more meaningful if the had it redone, now that they know why they are doing, versus being forced as a child – that wwas the point.

    Jews don’t do it because they know that it is silly and they know that it was God who presided over their initial circumcision, just as we know today, it it God who is in charge of a baby being baptized.

  120. AV,
    As you may know, Lutherans do not think in terms of the TULIP, so it is hard to make a one on one comparison. However, I am well versed enough in it so when forced to talk the ling, I would say that Lutherans are 1.5 pointers, but 0% Calvinist. 🙂

    We are right there with them on the T and we are right there with them on the first half of the U.

  121. You can’t tell me that after a 100 generations of parents standing in for their little Jewish children and having them circumcised, that when the new covenant came along that they would not just assume that their children belonged to this new covenant also and that they entered this covenant through baptism, just as the adults did.

    But assuming they were wrong in this assumption, where is the correction, the epistle to the waywad children baptizers? We see nothing like that… it was just a natural flow.

    Surely someone would have say “what the heck are you doing baptizing your baby?”

  122. I always liked reading in Acts 16 where Lydia was baptized and what did it say? oh yes, “and her household, except the rug rats.”

  123. Another Voice says:

    The exegesis of that Colossians passage is challenging, as seen in various understandings of the original – it certainly is not a clear cut equality like you make it out to be. That is the problem with prooftexting like you try there – Paul is not giving a doctrinal teaching on baptism there, but it fits in the large picture of his Colossians letter. But I know you have no interest in what God wrote in the original language…so I won’t discuss some of the challenges further.

    We can let that slide for now – like I said there is debate. I’ve even read those who support infant baptism speak against those two verses as a prooftext – much like I might speak against some spiritual gift prooftexts that float around my movement – though I believe in the gifts, I will say that a certain verse does not clearly teach what some would suggest.

    But if only you could step back and see how weak any argument for infant baptism is based on Lydia. Her household does not even have to be family members. It could be simply the servants. Of course it might be other relatives, but no certainty that would include children. Then again it might include children, but certainly no certainty one or more of those children were infants. But since the Bible is utterly silent on an actual infant baptism taking place, I can see why you try to shoehorn one in at Lydia’s place.

    But seriously, can’t you see how weak the Lydia argument is?

    A stronger argument actually for Lydia is that she was not married. Her husband is not mentioned anywhere, and it would be very unlikely a wife would allow male visitors to stay without her husband’s permission. She of course was a merchant, which again, would be very rare if not almost unheard of for a married woman EPECIALLY one with infant children (These are the days before Moms began to run online stores from their kitchens while they change diapers you know).

    Plus she was a TRAVELLING merchant as well – again, the idea such a woman would have some infant children is hard to believe.

    However, I’m not willing to go to the mat on any of that. They are all reasonable suggestions from what very little we know about the woman.

    You on the other hand point to her repeatedly as your proof case for an infant baptism. Laughable.

  124. Another Voice says:

    An example of faulty prooftexting for gifts that I hear in my circles.

    “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever”

    “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance”

    (That’s what you’re doing with the Colossians verses)

  125. AV,
    First, you did exactly what i said you would do – deny that the Colossians text says what it says. Not only did you deny it, but you did the famous CC cloaking of the passage saying to the effect “if you knew what it said in the original Greek, you would understand”. How laughable and insulting. I compared 10 versions and they all said the same thing – so take up your issue with the translation committees.

    Next, you purposely narrowed my comments to infant baptism, EVEN after I purposely expanded my comments to include the comparison between adult conversion to Judaism (circumcision) and believer’s baptism – making my point that Paul was comparing circumcision of the old covenant to baptism of the new covenant.

    Even a couple of verses down he talks about “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” You can see the comparison between uncircumcised and circumcised and baptized and unbaptized.

    Look, I know how to play the game – I even looked for translator foot notes on these verses and found none.

  126. I will let the Lydia stuff go because I threw it out a comic relief. But what you say is in the couple of times it is mentioned that someone got baptized including their household that those households probably did not include kids may be true… no one knows, but they could have and in Acts 2 Peter said that the promise included in your baptism was for you and your children – so if your include the kids in baptism, they get all the promises.

    But you will find some reason to say that the Greek there means only age of consent kids. 🙂

  127. But my biggest beef is that you totally ignored my comments at my #122 – which if I may say so I made a very strong powerful argument.

    We know that Jews would expect to baptize just like they circumcised. We know for a fact that the very early church baptized their babies. The NT warns about all kinds of errors that had popped up in the church.. yet we hear not one biblical word warning or correcting people about baptizing their children – not a single word.

    Isn’t that worth some comment on your part?

  128. Em says:

    it seems to me – for what that’s worth – that the contention is not one of who gets baptized, but why … if it is a volitional thing, personal obedience, then baptizing babies makes very little sense … if there is a sanctifying event of Divine origin that is triggered by the one doing the baptizing then let’s baptize our babies (and anybody else’s that we can get our hands on) … that said, since i believe submission to baptism is an act of personal faith and obedience, it maybe, might be effectual to tell one’s child, “you’ve been baptized, don’t walk away from that” … dunno – but the discussion should stay theoretical and let the jury (hearers) decide? IMHO

  129. “but the discussion should stay theoretical and let the jury (hearers) decide? IMHO”

    That’s a nice thought, right up there with G’s red letter reading

    But it is not my folks who make the divide – we accept all baptisms, regardless of age, or mode of baptism. I doubt you will find preaching about bad baptisms on my side, but they are aplenty on the other side – so that eliminates the theoretical.

    Em, as you have said, the question of baptism seems to be is it for justification (me) or sanctification (AV)

    I am teaching through Galatians, and although I won’t get to it for a couple of weeks, I guess I can give a preview of the end of chapter 3.

    “24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

    This whole conversation is about justification – it talks of our justification by faith in Christ being the justifying factor – and v.26 explains how we are placed in Christ… through baptism we have put on Christ.God uses physical means to save people.

    Baptism is not a sanctification issue

  130. Xenia says:

    In Ortholandia we believe that the community of the faithful has a significant role in salvation. When a baby is baptized, the community is responsible to see that the child is nurtured in the faith so the seed that was planted at baptism will flourish. The responsibility lies with the parents and other close relatives, the godparents, the clergy and all the people in the parish, either directly or by prayers. It takes a church to raise a Christian.

    Therefore, grabbing random babies off the street and baptizing them outside the environment of the church would not avail much…. although you never know!

  131. Xenia says:

    By “you never know” I am thinking of stories of babies who were secretly baptized by their faithful grandmothers during Soviet times who, when communism fell, woke up to the fact that they believed! So I don’t discount anything. With God, all things are possible.

  132. Saying an amen to Xenia’s post. Lutheran’s also make baptism an event an responsibility for the whole church body. An quick explanation from Chaplain Mike over at the Internet Monk.


  133. One of the commenters on the article I just posted says it well in talking about baptism as gift.

    “I love the rite of baptism in my Lutheran church, especially the understanding of it as a gift given to us as an infant, before we can do anything that makes it seem as we earned it.”

  134. Another Voice says:

    before we can do anything that makes it seem as we earned it.”
    That’s the silliness I object to. When an adult sinner gets saved and baptized (in that order) the thrill of the free gift of God’s grace is evident. There is no thought of “I earned this”.

    None at all.

  135. Em says:

    as you all know (better than i) there is disagreement on the baptism referred to in Galations – the translation to English isn’t as clear as the Greek, but i imagine one can make one’s argument that the baptism of the Holy Spirit IS the result of the water event … so … we can all pray for the children to enter into Christ – in agreement on the prayer part, perhaps …?… and, perhaps also agree on the point that we who have acknowledged Christ are to be/have been baptized at some point

    ” … ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home…”

  136. AV, Except from those who place conditions to be hurdled before you can be baptized – the things I have to do before I can receive the “free” gift.

    You don’t think baptism is a free gift at all, so you are running on a different track than those of us who do.

  137. Em, we spoke last week that this same Paul who wrote Galatians, is the one who says that there is only one baptism – and all the things that people think flow from “many” baptisms are missing the reality that all the benefits flow from the one.

  138. Xenia says:

    Well… While I do understand that no Christian of any variety believes they ever earned their salvation, all a baby can do at his baptism is gurgle while at every CC baptism I ever attended the person being baptized is expected to say a few words about how they came to the Lord. No, I don’t think in their heart of hearts they believe they earned salvation but you would never come to this conclusion by listening to what they often say. It’s “I” this and “I” that.

  139. Another Voice says:

    Nonsense once more. The Bible gives us examples of those who believe the word and then the question is ‘Where is the water!!” (Cornelius for one very clear example – there are certainly others)

    You can call that a “condition”, or a “work” but you do so not because you are supported by Scripture but because you seek some justification for a practice that has zero Biblical examples.

    At least be like Xenia and give the credit for infant baptism to the traditions of the church throughout history. (I assume I am not misrepresenting you there Xenia).

    Of course, being a Lutheran, hard to jibe that with the Sola Scriptura I guess, thus your insistence to twist the Bible to wring out stuff it is silent upon.

  140. Another Voice says:

    My ‘nonsense’ was to MLD, not Xenia.

    Xenia, just so you know, at our baptisms I once more repeat the gospel, and ask those who believe and have not been baptized to come forward.

    The only thing I have them say at all, is to tell the crowd their name – being baptism is a public declaration of the faith. No testimony time.

  141. AV, sorry , I thought I had included a 😉 on my last post to you.

    My point was the commenter had said baptism was the gift – which we hold in that case that baptism and salvation are the same. You hold that salvation is the gift and baptism… well perhaps it’s a gift we give to God.

  142. AV, could you comment on my #12 – even if just to say NONSENSE.

  143. Sorry – my #122

  144. Xenia says:

    # 141 That’s pretty good.

  145. Xenia says:

    AV, the order of salvation is different for practically everyone in the book of Acts. Some hear and are baptized by a “mere” deacon, some hear, are baptized but need an Apostle to lay hands on them, some hear, start speaking in tongues, and then receive baptism, etc. Yes, it’s Tradition (given to us by God) that has allowed us to “regularize” the way we receive people into the Church so everything’s done decently and in order.

    I think some of those “irregular” conversions were permitted to demonstrate different things. For example:

    1. The Ethiopian’s conversion showed that Isaiah was talking about the Lord Jesus and that Ethiopians can be saved.

    2. The Centurion pretty much had to speak in tongues or else St. Peter would never have had baptized him, being rather shocked, as he was, that salvation was also for gentiles.

    3. The case of the group that was baptized by St. Philip but needed the Apostles to come lay hands on them…. I think that was making the case for apostolic authority.

    But now we all know these things so the normal way a person is brought into the Church is by baptism and chrismation (receiving the Holy Spirit.)

  146. victorious says:

    I appreciate Dread’s opening comments and every addition to the focus on the status of sonship. In ministering to people I try to discern the evidence of sonship in their life.

    If their is a struggle with the security of the new identity, then the comfort of status is embellished in our conversation or in my prayers.

    On the other hand, there may be those who need an exhortation and admonition about the stewardship of sonship.

    The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus starts with the comfort of sonship and extends to the stewardship of sonship in Christ. Often we need both and receive both in differing mixtures through the inward ministry of the Spirit and the providential activities of our Father that surround us. Christ, in His understandig intercession ties it all together.

    Hopefully in our interactions with one another we underscore this Trinitarian activity of love and affirm it to one another in word , deed and prayer.

  147. victorious says:

    I do not see my prior comment that I was typing between #122 and that latest.

  148. victorious says:

    Xenia. I do not know if any of the Baptisms you went to were at Lovers Point. Maybe the sharing before others on the shore focuse more on the I part of responding to the Lord but I was present right beside many out in the water and there was an immersion in the love of God in those moments along with the water.

  149. Xenia says:

    Victorious, I know you were present at some of the same baptisms I also witnessed.

    All I can say is that now I have a completely different view of baptism and I regard those CC baptisms from a different perspective now than I did then. Coming now from a sacramental POV I may notice things that a non-sacramentalist might not notice.

    The beach environment made it difficult to give one’s testimony. I was thinking of some of the non-beach baptisms.

  150. Xenia says:

    By the way, even though most evangelical churches sneer (yes, sneer) at baby baptisms or a sprinkling/ pouring baptism or any kind of RC/ EO/Lutheran baptism and insist that it must be done again by them if you want to join their church or whatever, I see MLD telling us that his church will accept any trinitarian baptism and even my own church will accept a trinitarian baptism if it is completed by Orthodox chrismation. So we think God saves even through heterodox baptisms. We ascribe more significance to evangelical baptisms than you yourselves do!

  151. Xenia says:

    In my own case, I was baptized at age 12 in Lake Erie which had barely thawed that spring. I assume Pastor Oland said “In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” but I was too cold to notice. There was no laying on of hands right afterwards to receive the Holy Spirit, as is the biblical pattern. Did I ever receive the Holy Spirit? Who knows! This is something I wonder about. I do know that I had absolutely no ability to resist sin and never felt “saved.” But God sees the future and knew where all this was heading.

    Ten years ago I was received into the Holy Orthodox Church by means of chrismation. I was anointed with oil and at the time I received the gift of the Holy Spirit, whether for the first time or not, I cannot honestly say. All I know is that I was a radically different person after my chrismation.

    To tell you the truth, I am not sure what to make of all this.

  152. Another Voice says:

    MLD – Your 122, in addition to being yet another one of your arguments from silence, also takes us down the road of discussing Christ-believing (i.e Messianic) Jewish people. We’ve been down that road before and it is rather ugly from my perspective (especially since I’m married to one and so I take the insults rather personally).

    Very quickly, the church became mostly Gentiles. Surely even you see that in the NT record. The churches in the cities the epistles were written were largely Gentile and the letters typically deal with Gentile problems. Yet you wonder why Paul didn’t write to all the Jews that somehow were confusing baptism with circumcision of their babies? Hey, maybe they WEREN’T making that error.

    Just as Peter and John still went to the temple to pray, there is ZERO evidence the Jews stopped circumcising their male children. (EM has pointed out well in the past your argument also falls very flat since you eliminate half the Christian population).

    Messianic Jewish believers still support circumcision today for their male children, and have for 2000 years – but like I said, your beliefs have been expressed here before that the moment a Jew becomes a Christian he/she better be willing to scarf down a ham sandwhich with a shrimp cocktail at lunchbreak on Saturday as you put in a full day’s work at the store – or that salvation profession is meaningless.

  153. In order to make a point, you totally ignored what I wrote in my #122 and told your own story..

    1.) First I never said in the post that anyone was confusing circumcision with baptism. I just pointed out that 100 centuries of Jewish parents circumcising the kids as an entry way to God would most likely assume that baptism did the same.The fact is that the early church overwhelmingly was baptizing babies.

    We also know that there was still a strong early church influence discussing the role of circumcision – many evangelical teachers fail to teach that these Judaiszers were Christians – Christians in error, but still Christians. So, the debate was on.

    2.) I never asked why Paul, the apostle to the gentiles didn’t write letters about what the Jews did – you just inserted that. Why didn’t the writer to the Hebrews or Peter write about it. Are you saying that out of all the doctrinal troubles written about in the epistles that baptism was the only thing not misunderstood. Come on.

    3.) I never made a one on one comparison of circumcision and baptism – Paul dis… but you already said that the passage does not mean what it says.

    4.) Your comment about the messianic Jews is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t care what they do or don’t do – just as Paul didn’t care if Peter ate with gentiles or not. All he cared about was that Paul was being hypocritical – and that is my point with the M.Jew – they talk Christian freedom but will not release their converts to freedom.

    Scripture is on my side – I can affirm every single verse that ties baptism and salvation and in the absence of any scripture limiting it by age, I am on good footing. I won’t say you… but those who hold your views have to deny those scriptures or twist the very clear meaning of what they say about baptism / salvation.

    Just for fun here – not really continuing that conversation above, but I watched a Mark Driscoll video clip and he came to the Peter passage where Peter says “and this baptism now saves you” – it was on his big screen monitor right behind him and his exact words were “this verse does not mean that baptism saves you.” – I was rolling on the floor, he actually said it with a straight face. 🙂

    Hey, have a blessed Sunday tomorrow – I know you have a lot of preaching to do. You are still my buddy – even though I can’t count on you to baptize my grandkids. 😉

  154. Another Voice says:

    Missing in this discussion throughout is the issue of eternal security. MLD, I seem to recall you reject eternal security. I believe Xenia does as well.

    I don’t reject eternal security.

    Why does this matter. Well, if a baby is saved because of baptism, and then turns out to be a run-of-the-mill atheist when he grows up, and dies in that unbelief. You can insist the baby was saved at baptism but tossed away that salvation.

    Those like me will just repeat that the baby baptism, while certainly a noble effort by the parents, was in fact meaningless as to the kid’s eternal destiny.

    This is no small issue to the discussion.

    (P.S. I wish you would learn to discuss Greek so you don’t continue to say outlandish things like your point 3. At least to know it well enough to converse with the commentaries when they discuss difficult passages so as to see things aren’t just cut and dried because your take on the English says it to be)

  155. Another Voice says:

    Oh yes, as to Driscoll’s comments on Peter. Agreed, they are not relevant to us.

    You recall what is relevant is I emailed you my exegetical paper on just that one passage, where we looked at each word and the passage as a whole in the original. Again, when multiple scholars differ as to how to translate (much less interpret) a given passage, it should be a cause for humility before the text as we seek to grapple with it.

    (And where on earth did you think I wouldn’t baptize your grandkids? I baptize a lot of grandkids! 😉 )

  156. Xenia says:

    If you want good Greek attend a Greek Church.

  157. “At least to know it well enough to converse with the commentaries when they discuss difficult passages so as to see things aren’t just cut and dried because your take on the English says it to be)”

    “Again, when multiple scholars differ as to how to translate ”

    I am open to be educated. I will concede to you that there are various ways to translate these passages. So, if you will show me a translation version, done by a translating committee (we know what happens when we let just one man do it – we end up with The Message) I will consider that translation.

    I have yet to find one – I just know how all the major ones translate the Col 2 passage and the 1 Peter passage.

  158. Xenia says:

    Seriously, the Greek Church understood theses scriptures at the time they were written. Ask them what these verses mean.

  159. As to the “eternal security” question, perhaps we each translate that differently. I have said many times that it is the most difficult thing to do to eventually totally walk away from your faith.

    I believe that people are eternally secure if they do the thing that it takes to be eternally secure, I am sure that you would agree that “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” is a good place to start.

    But I think we have had this discussion before, that you believe that unbelievers will be in heaven – they did the one and done, have now walked totally away from their faith but are still secure. NOTE: I am not talking about doubts or those who have chosen to walk in the far country.

  160. I know that it is probably just a translation error, but what do you think Paul meant in Acts 22:16 – “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’”?

    I knew when I was going to read v.17 that Paul was going to say “Ananias, you need to go to the Men’s Bible study on Tuesday night to learn that baptism does not wash away sin – baptism is only a witness to the fact that I am now a Christian”

    But alas, that is not what verse 17 said.

  161. AV,
    I am listening to your Bible study on 1 Peter 3 – 22min in, you get to the baptism part and the first thing you do, is set your folks up to deny what scripture says.

    You quoted “baptism now saves us?” and the next thing you say is, “Wow,is that true? Is that what God’s word is telling us? We say wait a minute that doesn’t sound right.”

    I hate to break it to you, but for 2,000 years, that sounded perfectly clear to almost all Christians. 😉

  162. Another Voice says:

    I believe salvation is a supernatural event, a regeneration, a new birth by the power of the Spirit of God. Not a get out of hell free card that I can choose to cash in for some sin or different ideology at a later date.

    I believe that once regeneration has taken place, God is powerful enough to keep someone in that condition. THAT is what the baptism of the Spirit is all about – placing someone from being “in Adam” to being “in Christ” – which of course are the only two camps.

    The irony in all this is the criticism fielded for saying man must respond by faith to God’s call, by someone who then says that man has no say in salvation, but CAN choose to reject God AFTER salvation (which of course sure gives the word ‘eternal’ as in ‘eternal life’ a whole new meaning).

  163. At 29 min you put up a big strawman and describe baptism as “just getting in the water. That is the evangelical description of baptism – no confessional person would describe baptism that way..

    To a confessional person, we know that baptism is the way that God delivers the salvation won on the cross – but the baptism is not just water – but water mixed with the word of God.

  164. Em says:

    not saying those Greeks don’t know their own language … but it might be a bit like asking one of our scholars to expound on Old English – FWIW – a few years back i did have a Greek (born and raised in the land as Orthodox) teaching a series, who taught on the very subject of the meanings of the word we translate as ‘baptise’

    it just may be that those of us whose roots are among the anglo saxon savages need a less fine tuned, less liturgical Faith 😐 dunno Jesus is Lord and i believe

  165. AV, towards the end you say that Peter makes it clear that baptism is not like wasing away dirt on your body – and then you dismiss the efficacy of the water baptism.

    But what Peter meant was it not just taking a bath – it’s what Paul talked about in Acts 22:16 (see my 160) not washing away dirt – but the, wait for it… the washing away of your sins”

    This sounds prescriptive to me – not just descriptive.

  166. Another Voice says:

    Exegesis is an art and a science. I am barely in rookie ball but I am awed by the scholarship of the men and women I read. I am also reminded how often these scholars disagree, and not because of some theological bent they bring to the table.

    That is why I speak of humility. And how silly it is to simply say “Paul said it” when dealing with a very difficult passage to exegete.

    As to translations and such, there actually is a difference even in English between saying “you were buried” and “having been buried” – both of which are used in multiple English translations.

    Why? Because you are dealing with trying to understand the meaning of an aorist, adverbial, temporal participle in connection with an aorist main verb. There is not one cut-and-dry understanding. Wallace has PAGES about the participle and still concludes with how challenging they are for sound exegesis and all that needs to be considered.

    Plus, the whole context of the text and whether the interpretation of the translation is solid. An example for you on this MLD is the whole 1000 years of the millennium. There is no debate the Greek words are translated correctly – the debate then is if this is a literal 1000 years or not. Of course, part of that answer depends on how one interprets the book of Revelation – it’s theme and so forth (Note to Colossians there too)

    As an example of what I spoke of yesterday. I find an author, Mark Ross, contributor to ‘The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism’. His section is titled ‘Baptism and Circumcision as Signs and Seals’ He is fully arguing for infant baptism and making the connection you make.

    Unfortunately, even though firmly in your camp for not only baptism but also the connection to circumcision, he writes of the Colossians’ passage “It is important to say at this point that in both verse 11 and verse 12 Paul is not speaking of any physical rite or ceremony. The baptism in view in verse 12 is just as spiritual as the circumcision in verse 11 ”

    WHOA! A spiritual baptism! That’s possible? Of COURSE it’s possible and I argue (with Ross) that it is the preferred understanding. The point being that there should be humility in coming to the word. Maybe being forced to preach on it twice a week aids that humility, because I know NONE of us wants to be guilty before God of wrongly dividing the word of truth.

    A final note before I retire. We have not mentioned Paul and his Romans letter. In chapter 4 he makes clear Abraham was declared righteous by god through faith and THEN God gave him the sign of circumcision. Paul sort of makes a big deal about the timing being AFTER his salvation….(even in Greek).


  167. Another Voice says:

    Koine Greek (the NT Greek) began to change to Byzantine Greek at the time of Constantine. It was a slow evolution of course, as with all languages, but a change nonetheless.

    I have no doubt the vast majority of the Latin Church Fathers understood Koine Greek as well as the Greek Church Fathers. (I tend to use around the 5th or 6th century for my cutoff as to Church Fathers – though certainly there were scholars after those years too)

  168. AV,
    I understand what you say about difficult passages, and i know that several are very difficult- but here is my issue – when it’s difficult, you default to either denying the passage as stated or take the most difficult path.

    Why not just say “it’s a difficult passage, so in the mean time I will take it at it’s word?

    Like you, I have to go to bed – I need to be at church at 7:30 and then later in the morning teach my class – whoa to those 70 people who have to put up with my views on the scriptures. 🙂

  169. Xenia says:

    Sure the Greek language changed over the years. But the original interpretations were handed down by the Greek people over the years as the language evolved. The language may have changed but the meaning did not.

    It’s not as if people who wrote and spoke NT Greek went into hiding somewhere while the language evolved and emerged in the 21st century clueless. These are the descendants of those Koine-speaking Greeks of 2000 years ago. It’s the same Church, the Church of the people who wrote the NT in the first place. Go to the oldest continually operating church in the world, the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem. Ask them what these verses mean and they’ll tell you what they have always meant. They won’t need a Greek dictionary, either.

  170. Although I will have one less in class tomorrow. The NFL referees going back to work cost me one of my members who is an NFL ref. I guess I won’t see him in class again until Feb

  171. Going back a bit to the topic of eternal security, I had to give it some thought and I realized that get into a bind in some of these conversations, because evangelicals do not understand the concept of living in tension between 2 sides of a doctrine. I understand that, because I was trained that way for 25 yrs that you can hold only singular view on an issue. Therefore, the challenge, you either believe in eternal salvation or you believe people can fall away.

    Lutheran theology is not like that – we get stuck and can go only so far with doctrinal views.
    The Bible teaches eternal salvation and a Lutheran says amen! In fact we can say amen as loudly as the evangelical.
    However, the Bible also teaches apostasy – and the Lutheran says amen.

    Now here is the problem – the evangelical says that you can’t believe both – so they either deny apostasy or they redefine the term.

    So yes, then in these discussion, according to the evangelicals, I look silly because I say that people are eternally secure and I also say that people can fall away. It’s funny that it seems silly to some when you just affirm what the Bible teaches – and live in the tension.

  172. It’s kind of like in the Arminian / Calvinism debate – and Lutherans are gratefully excluded. But each side has taken a side and in the process had to eliminate part of the scriptures.

    Take Unconditional Election. When asked the question “why are some saved and not others” The Calvinist jumps in and says GOD! The Arminian jumps in and says MAN!

    Well we all know, but don’t seem to want to admit, that the scriptures say both. The Lutheran answer is weak – in fact we even hate to jump in, it is called “Crux Theologorum” The Theologians’ Cross. We look at these things and just cannot jump boldly – so what is our answer
    Why are some saved = GOD
    Why are some not saved = MAN

    Again we end up with 2 answers in tension – and we live in that tension.

  173. So what happens when we discuss the efficacy of baptism?
    Does the Bible say that we are saved by faith alone in Jesus? YES
    Does the Bible teach that baptism saves? YES

    Right now, an evangelical is going nuts – he has to resolve one or the other – the tension is too much, his head is going to explode – he must reconcile the two.

    No, just live in the tension.

  174. the real question is, what authority over the life and understanding of the Faith do the Early Church fathers retain? are the prescribed ancient rituals necessary and efficacious for all who believe? the sum total?
    live in the tension of what we can’t grasp? a workable solution when that tension is from faith and not simply dismissive
    i believe that the Book is alive … as God’s plan unfolds the Word, **without changing or contradicting itself**, reveals more …
    we still have men – standing on the shoulders of their predecessors – men anointed by God with the discipline and intelligence to make a life work of gaining more insight and application – as the plan of God unfolds, their task is to deepen our understanding also – a gift from the Father for the times … IMHO

  175. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,”

    “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

    You have to guess – are these statements from a fortune cookie or Pauline theology?

  176. I took up my own counsel – since I am teaching a Sunday morning class on Galatians, I took the first half of class to talk about what I wrote above this morning about “living with the tension”

    I have a class of about 70 raving maniac Lutherans and many came up to me afterwards and thanked me for allowing them to live with scriptural paradox. Several of those were like myself, evangelical converts and their eyes were bulging, having never been exposed before.

    I did that on the fly – I decided to include it at 7am for my 9:15 class. So I came home and pulled out 2 of my evangelical commentaries and began searching verses – I can’t name the number of commentaries that give their version of the verse and have to include something to the effect of “Paul was not saying… (and there you fill in the exact words Paul used.”)

  177. Xenia says:

    MLD is so right.

    After being told for 50 years that:

    1. Baptism didn’t really accomplish anything for me
    2. Communion didn’t really accomplish anything for me
    3. Attempting to live a holy life didn’t really accomplish anything for me

    I concluding that evangelicalism didn’t really accomplish anything for me and left.

  178. MLD & Xenia, may God bless you and those who look like you – from your descriptions of your pasts, you are right where you should be now – IMHO … i have learned some and gained appreciation for your journeys …

    that said, for the record (and i feel absolutely no offense whatsoever) – i must say that the blanket accusations you post that have been gathered from your previous personal experiences in the Faith do not fit the ground where any of my tribe pitch their tents – evangelical or not

  179. PP Vet says:

    Senior saints X&MLD find that evangelicalism does not meet the needs of their Golden Years.

    I understand.

    By analogy, you probably have some physical ailments that you do not trust to a pediatrician.

    But evangelicals, and pediatricians, still do a lot of good. In your cases, you probably just cannot remember back that far. 🙂

    I got saved, and coddled and swaddled, in American evangelicalism, and I am eternally grateful. Also, maybe, manipulated and exploited a little, but who cares.

    It is certainly true that it is not easy to find constructive, fulfilling, meaningful, rewarding, genuinely esteemed roles for us “more mature” saints in the day care center that is evangelicalism.

    But ultimately the way you each present your newly found religious distinctive as superior is just as immature as the evangelicalism you have disowned.

  180. PP Vet,
    If you consider comparing various theologies to acting superior or immature, I guess you may be correct.
    But you need to consider, that Xenia and I only relay the conversations we have in today’s evangelical world. It is not us who act superior, but infact the evangelicals, who at every turn say that liturgical, creedal, confessional and sacramental churches are doing it wrong… and they even preach it from the pulpit.

    But, hey, this is a theological thread – it’s meant to be a place for tough people.

  181. Xenia says:

    This is a thread that Reuben puts up every Thursday so we all can discuss theology. Like MLD, I am going to present my case the best I can.

    When I was an evangelical, I continually heard from the pulpit the evils of “dead” liturgical churches. When we studied the 7 churches of Revelation, this was the pastor’s chance to really lay it on thick. And not just my pastor but every evangelical tape and radio program I ever heard. The evangelicals were Philadelphia; the liturgical/ sacramentalists all represented the apostate churches, O God how we thank Thee that we are that we are not like them. For fifty years I heard nothing but liturgical church bashing, from the pulpit, from the radio, from the bookstores that still sell Jack Chick tracts and from the lips of just about every evangelical I ever met (in real life) with a very few exceptions. (Just recently a group of Baptists told me I was going to hell.) Members of liturgical churches were consistently viewed a people who needed to have missionaries sent to them.

    My current experience is that the evangelicals I meet up with are shocked that I can muster up any scriptural support whatsoever for Orthodoxy since they have been taught all their lives that such churches are pagan and not Christian. So I imagine some folks here on the PP are also surprised that MLD and I can present biblical evidence for our beliefs since most evangelicals had it drilled into their heads that no such evidence exists. But when people believe 2000 years of apostolic doctrine can be naysayed by someone with a Greek dictionary, yes, it is frustrating.

    Personally, I appreciate the PP very much. It is unique among online communities in that the six or seven traditions represented here can have generally peaceful discussions. I know that however much MLD and AV fuss at each other, they will still sit down over coffee and remain good friends. (I call that maturity.)

    Reuben sets up these Anglican articles so we can have these discussions. They appear to be the most popular threads on the PP these days. I appreciate the opportunity to tell my side of the story. If my writings appear immature to you, that’s just the way it is.

  182. Xenia says:

    Only in the youth-oriented world of American Christianity would someone’s age and experience be held against them.

  183. Obviously, as one of the differing opinions, I appreciate the input of Xenia and MLD on these discussions.

    No one ever learns anything if he only interacts with things he already believes.

  184. Reuben says:

    Agreed with the last 3 comments. These threads are open to all traditions and backgrounds. I am indebted to Xenia and MLD for their participations. Josh is dead on. There is no value in limiting exposure to likeminded folks.

  185. Xenia says:

    In Vet’s defense, I am guessing that s/he is not so much irritated that MLD and I participate but that we do it with so much glee! Yes, I can say a few mea culpas about that, sorry folks. Triumphalism is never attractive.

  186. j2theperson says:

    ***Senior saints X&MLD find that evangelicalism does not meet the needs of their Golden Years.

    I understand.

    By analogy, you probably have some physical ailments that you do not trust to a pediatrician.

    But evangelicals, and pediatricians, still do a lot of good. In your cases, you probably just cannot remember back that far. 🙂 ***

    Wow. I would say I can’t believe you just basically said they don’t like evangelicalism because they’re old, but I have to believe it because I read it with my own two eyes.

    That’s ridiculous and insulting.

    I’m 31 years old–probably too old now for evangelicals to care about me, but, at the same time, not old. Evangelicalism doesn’t meet my needs. It didn’t meet them when I was 20, nor when I was 10, nor when I was 5. Really, it didn’t meet my needs at any point in my life. Age had nothing to do with it.

    One of the reasons why I am still a christian now and did not cast it all aside as being nothing but unworthwhile and painful is because I was baptized as a baby. I could look back at and hold on to a moment when I was accepted by God and the Church not for anything I had done or said or accomplished but simply because He and they wanted to accept me. There was peace and sanity–basically hope–outside of the rat-race of the evangelical churches and organizations my parents joined and I became a participant in. I don’t know if baptism saves, per se, but, in my case, it kind of did–if only because it gave me a reason to not turn my back on christianity completely because evangelicalism, in my case, turned out to be horribly traumatic and of little value.

    My daughter just got baptised on Sunday. If I really believed baptism conferred salvation I wouldn’t have waited until she was almost 4 months to do it, but, at the same time, my experience has led me to believe that it is a very important thing to do and I didn’t want her to wait until she was 10 years old and chose to do it herself–or not, or maybe she did but partly because it seemed like something she should do, or she wanted to but she wasn’t sure her motives were pure, or she didn’t want to but then felt really guilty about not doing it, and she worried that whether she did or she didn’t it still wouldn’t be quite right and she would end up going to hell when she died.

  187. j2theperson says:

    I wish we could click “like” on people’s comments. I would totally do that to Xenia’s 186. 😛

  188. PP Vet (AKA Skip Franklin AKA Dansk) says:

    Personally, I would never say a bad word about the LCMS (Lutheran Church, Mostly Seniors). 🙂

    Or about the EOCs- Empty Orthodox Churches (also known as “Easter Or Christmas”). 🙂

    Seriously, the Christian life is impossible enough that I hope everyone finds every source of life and strength wherever they can.

  189. Em says:

    j2, “My daughter just got baptised on Sunday.” it didn’t hoit – God bless your little sweet girl baby with health and love and security and truth and adventures enough to keep her confident in her God given gifts

  190. Xenia says:

    Empty? My current parish and the one we left because of excessive driving distance are both packed every Sunday.

  191. “LCMS (Lutheran Church, Mostly Seniors).”

    You are probably right, they get baptized and confirmed at a young age, and then take their inheritance (the free gift of salvation) and go off into the far country (at an evangelical church) like the prodigal son only one day to wake up in their later years and realize they have been eating with the hogs (here is a 😉 so no one gets mad.) and they go back to their father’s house… the LCMS 🙂 .

  192. Another Voice says:

    Xenia, isn’t attendance down over the last 2-3 decades though. I read a EO priest saying as much a few weeks ago. Not sure if I can dig it up again…

    (And please note – I in no way am equating numbers with faithfulness, truth or anything like that.)

  193. A Believer says:

    Hey MLD,

    As an ex-Lutheran who is approaching 60, I was wondering what the cut-off for “their later years” is?

    Corn-fed Believer

  194. AB,
    I think Red Hill Lutheran was dusting your seat off. 🙂

    btw, there is no such thing as an ex Lutheran – just Lutherans in exile.

  195. Another Voice says:

    Population is aging…Lutheran attendance is declining…MLD’s thesis does not wash.

  196. Reuben says:

    I have a theory. More and more “young” believers, who have been to the personality driven churches, and seen the dark side, are going to trend towards far more orthodox churches.

    Our Anglican church is relatively young. It is not big, but young. Loads of little kids too.

    IMHO, if I were a younger person, having been through the spineless theology churches in an information age, being driven to go home and read my Bible, and as a result questioning the doctrines of “middle of the road” churches, and having had my fill of personalities vomiting behind the pulpit, I would be looking for a place that is community minded, with strong stands on specifics. I would find a place that fit my strong theological stands, and get in.

    For me, the Anglican church is always looking increasingly like home. I am 38.

    Now I don’t know about the rest of the world, but there are some HUGE Lutheran churches in our area. Likewise, there is a resurgence of extremely conservative Anglican plants around. PCAs are doing quite well. I read other blogs, and find people as young as their 20s are even going way out east, to Xenia’s delight. Most of these people are fed up with mindless blathering about pointless horse poop from behind the pulpit, and have typically read themselves to the point that they could probably teach more accurately than the idiot at “pastor so and so’s church”.

    This is just a theory, mind you.

  197. Xenia says:

    AV, I don’t know but here’s some links:



    EO churches are not consistent in how they count people.

    If you count everyone baptized Orthodox, you have a larger number.
    If you count families (as is common) then you have a smaller number.

    Some jurisdictions are in decline whereas some are experiencing growth, both through converts and new arrivals from the Old Country.

    Our parish has experience probably a six-fold growth. When I first visited ten years ago there were just a few people. Now it’s packed. Same priest. God heard his faithful prayers!

  198. Xenia says:

    Oops- I had a few links in my last post so it’s awaiting moderation.

  199. Reuben says:

    But sure, there are always going to be more younger folks at “Mars Hill” type joints. We see that they get pissed and leave. Where do they go? I don’t know. There needs to be a sort of public service specifically designed to point you in the direction of a church more suited to your beliefs.

    I know for a fact that many YRR types would be happy to settle in an Anglican fellowship after they chill out for a minute or two, love their wife like a real man, and stop worshiping the almighty misogynist Mark.

  200. Reuben says:

    Got it X.

  201. Xenia says:

    Orthodox appeals to hipsters. It’s odd, it’s exotic, it’s ascetic, you can dress like a Bulgarian peasant, you get to read obscure books, there’s a dietary code that is baffling to outsiders, you can say “we had candles and incense before it was cool,” etc.

  202. Another Voice says:


    Xenia – found the article. It was connected to the GOP convention (how I managed to find it). I think the priest makes some strong points about the problems in our nation but he did include some words about the denomination.
    A recent census of Orthodox Christianity has revealed a MUCH smaller presence in America than we had been “taking credit for” in recent decades. Our Churches remain ¾’s empty on most Sunday. On average only ¼ of all known Orthodox Christians are in Church on a given Sunday. At least in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese we have experienced an actual decline in membership and attendance in the past 25 years when you consider birth rate and compared to attendance.

    Sounds like your church’s experience is an exception – if the man is correct.

  203. Xenia says:

    I don’t know AV, my when my husband and I travel we always visit the local Orthodox church and they were all full with only one exception. My parish previous to our current one was also full and growing, full of families with little kids.

  204. Reuben says:

    I wish OBS were here to explain why he thinks more CC folks would find home at the OPC…

  205. Xenia says:

    Isn’t OBS Jason S? I always thought he was……

  206. AV,
    I am sure that you are right about church decline. It’s hard to compete with “the show.”

    Parents aren’t committed – they would rather take Jr to the church with the skate park so they can sit in the coffee cafe

  207. Reuben says:

    Orthodox Britney Spears is a fine man named Rev. Jesse A. Pirschel. I miss him. He was one of the only non CC voices at SMP.

  208. Xenia says:

    I don’t expect the Orthodox Church to ever have a huge presence here in the USA. The Russians sent actual missionaries to Alaska and down to California but on the east coast, it was all immigrant churches full of homesick Greeks and Eastern Europeans who were not terribly interested in evangelizing. God was not going to put up with that attitude forever and caused a large group of evangelicals and Anglicans to convert. These cheerful, noisy, zealous converts have been both a shot in the arm and a pain in the…. rump. But it’s what the Church needed to pull it out of its ethnic doldrums. So now we have radio stations, coffee shops, bookstores, correspondence courses, missions, and so on and so forth, mostly started by converts but also supported by the cradle Orthodox. How long this will last I cannot say but I am not expecting the Orthodox Church to become large here. It’s making itself known and is available for those who are interested.

  209. Xenia says:

    Reuben, thanks for clearing that up. I was wrong all those years.

  210. Reuben says:

    I wish Jason S. would hang here. He would have a wealth of stuff to contribute. I also wish I could interview him, impartially for once. Allow him to be heard out.

  211. Em says:

    i don’t know if it is still the case, but corporations used to periodically shuffle all their departments, their locations and their desks on the theory that it woke people up and increased their productivity …
    maybe God’s people cycle also … in my understanding the biggest flaw that developed in the old, mainline Anglican, Lutheran etc and, maybe the Orthodoxes, too was that they became the bailiwick of the prosperous, privileged and influential for their own purposes … the common man was marginalized and the role of the church was, for all purposes, ceremonial … so the Lord gave those common people their own rude and crude and sincere gatherings, which seem now to be accused of a prosperity focus and corruption – perhaps the cycle comes round now again – to the sublime, but not so restricted as it was, formal church again … dunno … but could be 🙄

  212. Xenia says:

    For a few hopeful weeks I though Jason might be planning to convert to Orthodoxy but nope, he chose the Catholics, which is probably a better fit for him. He likes to have all the answers nailed down and Orthodoxy is probably too vague. We like “It’s a mystery! It’s a paradox!”

  213. PP Vet says:

    Unfortunately, for all its romance and allure, all in the EOC have to live in the cognitive dissonance associated with being in a group that claims to be the only true church. Not just “available for those who are interested.”

    Like “World’s Best Coffee”, it is an utterly bogus claim, everybody knows it, but has to pretend to believe it in order to belong.

    (Similarly the price of membership in LDS, for example, is having to pretend to sign off on a much more outrageous amount of hokum.)

    MLD on the other hand appears to claim to be in the group that does Christianity correctly, not one that is uniquely and genealogically, so to speak, the chosen few.

  214. Reuben says:

    I think Anglicans are the best. C. S. Lewis and J. I. Packer are Anglicans. So was George Washington. I am pretty sure Captain America is Anglican. I know Batman is.

  215. PP,
    If we were honest, I think we would all have to agree that we think our church is the one true church – the others although being a little off are still acceptable.

    If you look at CC in the 80s they were very isolationist and had zero association with other church bodies. Even today, they will do a little (very little) hob nobbing with individuals outside of CC, but I doubt that they have a single Joint Declaration with anyone else stating that they are in fellowship with another group..

  216. Reuben says:

    CC wouldn’t even have anything to do with Vineyard, and heck, Wimber came from CC.

  217. Another Voice says:

    MLD, At our men’s conference, besides the speakers associated with our church, we invited three local guest pastors. Two of the three were not CC.

  218. Reuben says:

    AV, total anomaly. “Mens Conference” is not leadership grade stuff. It is absolutely not normative for CC to associate with outsiders, and you know it.

  219. Reuben says:

    Although, I will say this, Greg inviting the likes of Rick Warren to loosely associated events is light years beyond the typical CC leadership mentality, and probably did more to entrench the dove idolators than anything else in the history of the movement.

  220. Another Voice says:

    No Outsiders? So are all those guest speakers on prophecy and so forth all attending CCs somewhere?

    Maybe Xenia and MLD can share how often their churches “associate” with the CC pastors. They both know how to get ahold of me if interested.

    And I know our mens conference was just held at our local church, and not some convention center like the big boys, but it was packed and the best turnout we’ve ever had. So either God was pleased or the devil was punishing us for inviting non-CC guys to preach.

    As always, I only, ONLY speak for what we do at our place.

    P.S. Thanks for rolling over this weekend and giving the Dodgers a little hope – unfortunately, they have to end the season with a real team and can’t just have a 6-game series with the Rockies.

  221. Xenia says:

    We don’t “associate” with anyone except other Orthodox churches, depending on what you mean by “associate.” As in having a CC pastor come deliver a homily? Never going to happen. As in cooperating with a food pantry or Walk for Life? Happens all the time.

  222. A Believer says:

    “the dove idolators”.

    Now there’s an irenic comment if I ever heard one.


    I always thought Anglicanism was known for it’s bridge building rather than it’s bridge burning.

  223. Reuben says:

    I will admit that you would not find a run of the mill CC pastor at the helm of an Anglican church even on a temporary basis. Too much “verse, thought on verse, repeat…” going on for an Anglican to tolerate.

    The Dodgers just broke .500, did they not? We might beat you in games lost, working towards 100 for the season.

  224. Xenia says:

    We have been beating each other up a little too intensely lately. I am going to back off a little and aim for more amiability.

  225. Reuben says:

    AB, it is in fact a reality that anything outside the dove is all but damnable heresy for quite a few CC guys. I call it dove idolatry. These same guys will praise MacArthur, but condemn the whole of the Presbyterian Church, and only because it is cool in CC to read all his commentary except for that one special book that he is dead wrong on…

  226. Reuben says:

    Xenia, you can say whatever you want. You are the only Eastern Orthodox I know, and I thrive on your discussions here.

  227. Reuben says:

    AB, I will not consider myself a real Anglican until I complete the catechism, and a thorough examination of the 39.

    Heck, I might be a Baptist by the end of the year. But I think my wife might have something to say about that…

  228. Xenia says:

    Reuben, I’ve been a little sarcastic lately. I can tell my side of the story with a little less snark, I think. (We’ll see how long that lasts!) Thanks, by the way.

  229. Reuben says:

    This is totally off the subject, but I am partly responsible for getting it there anyway…

    I was at a CC conference years ago, and sat next to a pastor for some coffee talk way early in the morning. We talked about the normal stuff for a while. How many go to your church. etc. He then proceeded to tell me that satan had attacked his church with parents allowing their kids to read Harry Potter books. He told me that he put a sign up on the door explaining that he condemned such actions, and would not allow these kids, or parents to infiltrate the church. He told me he lost a number of families, but it was worth the cost serving the Lord.

    I choked on my coffee, even then, and moved on to the next Hawaiian shirt guy.

    He explained to me that Rick Warren was the catalyst for the anti-christ.

    Next Hawaiian shirt guy, and he asked me if I had ever read “What Love is This”

    True story.

  230. PP Vet says:

    If there is anything this site is about, it is about identifying abusive leadership.

    I agree that it is common, although often subtle, for the leadership of a group to promote the true-church lie.

    But I hope we can all agree that it is abuse and manipulation.

  231. Xenia says:

    But I hope we can all agree<<<


  232. My point of bringing up the isolationism is to point out that we each think our church is the one true church.

    AV, note that I specified the 80s and I did say that they now sometimes associate with individuals… but they are not in fellowship with any other organized group. Just like the LCMS – because we cannot be in (especially) table fellowship with those we do not agree with.

    The ELCA is in pulpit and table fellowship with the UCC, the PCUSA and Xhrist Reformed Church – but as we know, they have gone to seed.. But that is what I was talking about – CCis exclusive too – and for the same reason.

  233. A Believer says:

    Okay Reuben,

    Now my true story. I worked closely with Roger Oakland when he was closely affiliated with CC. You would probably be hard pressed to find a more strident ODM mentality than existed in Roger.

    At lunch with him one day I asked him if he felt Rick Warren was a christian.

    His answer was, “yes”. He then went on to tell me about how much error our brother in Christ was spreading.

    The question is does Roger have a right to promote what he feels is right thinking? And to speak against what he sees as error?

    I would say he has as much a right as any group to believe his perspectives are right and true and to promote them as such. We all do it. MLD does it. Dread does it. Xenia does it.

    While it’s admirable to move on as you grow beyond the perspectives of your youth, it’s not so much if on your way out you thumb your nose at our fellow brothers in supposed error while firing a few shots across the bow. It is understandable, especially if you have gotten hurt along the way.

    It’s just that when you do that, you minimize the chance of still dialoguing with the group you have left which is still a part of the larger body of Christ.

    Civility in discussion is still a virtue. We need to be articulate in addressing what we see as problems within the larger body. But we need to speak the truth in love with graciousness.

    An acerbic tone does not serve well when trying to educate.

    Proverbs 16:21 (ESV)-
    “The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”

  234. Oh, all this “let’s make nice” makes me want to barf. 🙂

    Let me put it this way, everyone here thinks their church is at least tied for first as the true church.

    Does anyone here think that another church has better truth, doctrine or practice than their own, but you choose not to go to that church?

  235. A Believer says:

    Nobody mingles their attempts to teach with such winsome sweetness as MLD. 😯

    It just happens to be mingled with a fast track to the table and the baptismal fount, and an uber dose of tenacity….. lol. 🙂

  236. Another Voice says:

    There is a difference between ‘the true church’ and each thinking they “do” church the right way and teach the right things. I think MLD is speaking to the latter though saying the former.

    However, even there, I would disagree – because I believe God has made us different as individuals and we worship differently and would be quite uncomfortable in settings that other believers are right at home within.

    I believe this…but it is not original with me. The first guy I heard say that is a guy named Chuck Smith.

    You see, that’s the thing. If Chuck is the final say on the teachings within the movement, as so many say, then Chuck can’t be blamed for isolation and a CC-only mentality. Nope, too many sermons did I hear (and tapes) where he says the enemy is not the church down the street. The whole we are not against denominations per se and focus on love thing on every CCCM bulletin.

    Now, of COURSE, there are many CC pastors who don’t exhibit this in practice, and I’m sure Reuben, Xenia, MLD and others have their examples. The point is that was not what we, as CC pastors were TAUGHT.

    One of my best friends is a guy I went to seminary with and he pastors a non-CC church, and he is friends and fellowships with more CC pastors in his area than I think I do.

    We do church the right way for the people God brings to us. That’s all that matters. I regularly tell people that the enemy is not the church down the street. I learned that from my first pastor.

  237. PP Vet says:

    Being in the true church is like rooting for the best quarterback.

    If you think your church is the true church based on, say, integrity of leadership, doctrine, and practice, then you might believe the best QB is, say, Tom Brady or Eli Manning, based on Super Bowls won, leadership, stats, etc.

    If you think your church is the true church based on succession from the apostles, then you might in turn say the best QB is Nate Montana, because he is the son of Joe Montana, the greatest of all time.

    Personally, I do not want to be in the best church, any more than I want to drive the best car, or root for the best QB.

    I just want to be in the church where I am called to be, driving the car I am supposed to be driving, and rooting for Tim Tebow.

    When after relocating I decided to start attending a certain Calvary Chapel, it was because the Lord spoke to me very explicitly about a specific church, by name.

    I had never heard of it and had to go out and drive around to find it, because they got left out of the phone book that year.

    It had nothing to do with comparison shopping or wanting the best church. It had to do with the call of God.

  238. “Now, of COURSE, there are many CC pastors who don’t exhibit this in practice, and I’m sure Reuben, Xenia, MLD and others have their examples.”

    I just want to keep the record straight, I have never had a problem with a single CC pastor. Never been abused by one and never met one I couldn’t talk to and have a good time – and I have met several.

    My ONLY point in bringing up CC isolationism back in my #216 was to rebut PP Vet’s idea that the EO isolates itself because they think they are the true church. We all do it, but everyone thinks it is limited to just denominations and this is not so – so I brought up the CCs of the 80s – you will not find a more closed off, inbred, tight-nit group who thought it was “us four now close the door” attitude.

    But I have a thought to add – if as group spends 40 yrs saying “We are not against denominations, eh, perhaps they are.” 🙂 so many CC even put that wording in or close to their statement of faith still all these years later.

  239. Reuben says:

    There are wonderful CC pastors. I even blogged about one.

  240. Em says:

    i’m not convinced that Rick Warren’s approach is “a show” – it well may be an island of community in a troubled sea of lost humanity – a welcoming place to come and consider Him – a non-threatening place where Christ can be heard above the clamor of a distracting world – the courtyard of the gentiles, maybe? … dunno

  241. Em says:

    if my #241 (241 comments? wow) seems off the wall, i was reacting to something MLD said up the line and now i can’t find where his comment about “the show” was posted – oh well … on to other threads 🙂

  242. Lutheran says:


    To add to your list of great Anglicans — writers at least.

    Michael Green, Alister McGrath, Father Robert Capon and Paul Zahl, who wrote 2 amazing books, “2000 Years of Amazing Grace,” and “Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life.”


  243. Em, it was my #207… but funny that you connected it to Rick Warren. 🙂

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