Jean’s Gospel: Two Kingdoms Under God

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98 Responses

  1. Rick says:

    Jean, thank you–there is a tendency in our church culture, left or right, to equate political systems with the Kingdom of God. I think this passage is a great example of Jesus deemphasizing the identification of His people with the political culture of the day and emphasizing Kingdom life and identity.

    I love a quote attributed to Shane Claiborne in which he states (rough paraphrase) that the Church should get smaller and smaller until it takes over the world. I equate the word smaller with humility and faith–our help, our salvation comes from the Lord–never a political system or personality. When the world observes the church’s obsession with political power, I think they see it as a denial of Christ’s power and reality. We have become just another competing interest group in their view.

  2. Jean says:

    Hi Rick,

    You wrote: “there is a tendency in our church culture, left or right, to equate political systems with the Kingdom of God.”

    You make a very good observation. We should not equate, conflate, or confuse the two “governments” of the world. They are both God’s creation and serve His purposes, but in very different ways.

    Political systems work necessarily through systems of laws, some better than others. The Kingdom of God, by contrast, works through grace alone. You could never run a political system by grace alone, because there would be chaos; and Christ cannot rule His kingdom by the law, because none of us could gain admittance.

    So, Christians are citizens of both governments, and thus need to be careful how live wisely within both.

  3. John 20:29 says:

    “So, Christians are citizens of both governments, and thus need to be careful how live wisely within both.”
    that sums it up well, doesn’t it?
    perhaps those of us who are descended from Western culture have had our thinking colored over the centuries by the entanglement of the Roman Catholic Church with the kings and kingdoms that evolved?
    someone mentioned how little history our children are taught today… maybe, there is a need within the Church bodies to teach the two kingdoms with more depth… dunno
    here’s hoping this thread continues and is a teaching moment here on the PhxP –

  4. Josh the Baptist says:

    This is one of the places that I part ways with Lutherans (or at least what I see as the logical outcome of Two Kingdom Theology).

    Jean – Do you have a membership or something with an online theological library? I ask because of you access to so many commentaries. If so, there is an article on the two kingdoms I’d like you to take a look at.

  5. em... again says:

    all my theological knowledge of the two kingdoms comes from Rev. 11:15, so i probably am not correctly reading Jean here…

  6. JoelG says:

    Gotta be two Kingdoms….

    World kingdoms = Power, domination, win at all costs, my rights over others

    God’s Kingdom = Weakness is strength, die to self, put others first, lose for loves sake.

    Thank you Jean

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel,
    You are missing the point of the 2 Kingdoms.
    Both Kingdoms are God’s Kingdoms and both Kingdoms are used by God for his purposes. They are not in conflict nor are they opposed to each other.

    Jean said it right – God rules in the civil kingdom through law and he rules in the ‘church’ kingdom through grace.

  8. Jean says:

    Josh,

    I’m sure I have an article or 2 I can send you.

    However, you would do me and the readers a favor if you could identify any concerns with the article to allow for discussion. Thanks.

  9. JoelG says:

    MLD, Sometimes they are in conflict, probably more than we’d like to admit…

    “Sometimes it is difficult to discern and resolve when the command of an earthly ruler creates an irreconcilable conflict with the commands of God.”

    “Both Kingdoms are God’s Kingdoms and both Kingdoms are used by God for his purposes.”

    Hard to believe Nazi Germany would qualify for this statement. Hmmmm….

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel – people within the kingdom are corrupt. Hey, there are corrupt churches that try to corrupt the whole “God” kingdom thing. It does not take away that they are still God’s kingdoms for God’s purposes.

  11. Jean says:

    I see the concerns expressed by both Joel MLD. Hence the caveat in the following sentence:

    “Human government, properly exercised, provides order and peace on earth, by which Christians may enjoy God’s two other ordained temporal institutions of family and Church.”

  12. JoelG says:

    You’re right MLD. We are all corrupted by sin, although we, as Christians, can choose to yield to the Spirit.

    How God uses governments like Nazi Germany to bring about His purposes is puzzeling and a mystery but I accept Romans 13:1

  13. The New Victor says:

    Replace Nazi Germany and Hitler with Ancient Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar.

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps we confuse what we call ‘culture’ with God’s left hand civil kingdom. God’s civil kingdom marches along doing what God has set it up to do. Culture, like American culture, in itself may be fighting against both kingdoms – but we only notice it more as it enters the church.

  15. JoelG says:

    I see your point Victor.

    I’m sure this has been discussed here many times, but…. was Bonhoeffer justified in his actions against Germany based on this 2 Kingdom view? Or should he have meditated on Romans 13:1 a bit more? 🙂

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel,
    You don’t need to go to Nazi Germany – how about the American Revolution – under Romans 13 was that justified?

  17. JoelG says:

    I will leave that to the historians MLD. From where I stand I’m not sure how a Christ follower justifies any war. Still working through this…..

  18. The New Victor says:

    Isn’t it interesting that Jesus didn’t tell the Centurion, “go your way and soldier no more.”

  19. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – It’s just an article I thought you’d be interested in. Nevermind.

  20. Jean says:

    Josh,

    I don’t understand your #19. What article are you referring to that you thought I’d be interested in?

  21. JoelG says:

    Yes New Victor that’s true. But who knows how the Spirit moved him the rest of his life.

    When I read the Beatitudes, the Kingdoms rule book, I don’t see a whole lot in common with the way the world works. Yet God uses all for His Will. Wow….

  22. Josh the Baptist says:

    Read the last sentence of my #4.

  23. Jean says:

    Oh, yes, Josh, I would like to read it. My apologies. I misread and thought you wanted to know if I had any articles to share. I don’t have a membership to an online theological library, unfortunately. Can you share the article via email?

  24. JoelG says:

    Oops I should’ve said The Sermon on the Mount is the Kingdoms rule book, the Beatitudes being part of it.

  25. Jean says:

    Joel,

    The fruit of the Gospel are the good works of the Christian. The Law, besides showing us our sin and curbing our bad behavior, also shows us what good works God would have us do.

    It is in our individual vocations (i.e., callings) that we perform our good works. All callings have equal holiness in the eyes of God when they are done from faith. I believe, based on Romans 13 and other texts, that law enforcement officer and soldier are legitimate vocations for a Christian.

    That being said, all Christians cannot render unto Caesar the things of God, as I described in the article. This provides a check on an evil ruler, but it is a cross.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I have never heard the Sermon on the Mount called the kingdom rule book.

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    Possibly, Jean. I’ll check. Where do you get access to all those commentaries?

  28. JoelG says:

    Thank you Jean. Law Enforcement I get. A sniper taking out unsuspecting targets I find hard to stomach as an acceptable vocation as a Christian. I could be wrong.

    MLD, John Stott says it better than I can:

    “The followers of Jesus are to be different from both the nominal church and the secular world, different from both the religious and the irreligious. The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian counter-culture. Here is a Christian value-system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, lifestyle and network of relationships–all of which are totally at variance with those in the non-Christian world. And this Christian counter-culture is the life of the kingdom of God, a fully human life indeed but lived out under the divine rule.”

  29. Jean says:

    Josh,

    I’ve built a decent library over the years, some purchased some by gift.

    I’m extremely careful and picky when I purchase any theology book. I seek recommendations from people I know and I read reviews.

    The following link (and the site in general) is a great site for getting a good look at top of the line scholarly commentaries:

    https://www.bestcommentaries.com/library/615/new-testament-advanced-commentaries/

    However, what I’ve found is that great exegetical commentaries can also be very devoid of theology and pastoral value. What I mean is that they serve a very important purpose and can give you excellent exegesis of a passage. But, placing that exegesis in the service of proclamation is quite a different matter.

    Therefore, I find that commentaries are not enough. We also need great “theologians” to teach us the big picture and how any Scripture serves that big picture. And of course the big picture is plucking poor sinners out of darkness.

    I sometimes get the impression that today many scholars are so specialized that I wonder how many of them also can focus on the big picture. I’m sure a few of them do, but in my estimation not many.

    In my opinion, we should never let our study of the bible become primarily a bible study or intellectual exercise. That plays to the brain and mind, but not to the heart. I’m not saying anyone here does that, but just laying out my thoughts.

  30. em... again says:

    i don’t know about that sniper, but in general whatever the earthly government lays on us as duties and responsibilities we – Christians for want of a better term – are to comply unless the government demands that we break our commitment to the Faith as best we understand it… if our government is against our Faith or demanding us to go against it, we’re going to hurt
    seems pretty black and white for the most part
    the sniper? if that sniper is in the military and his target is a ‘bad guy,’ our enemy that seems fairly clear… if he’s randomly shooting at unknown persons in the hope of getting a bad one… uh oh, that’s a problem… black and white for the most part, but not all, i guess

  31. JoelG says:

    Hi Em I hear you. I guess it gets confusing when our Lord Jesus tells us to turn the other check and to love our enemies. Yes we can justify it by saying we are protecting innocent people. So where is the dividing line between Kingdoms? When we clock out of our vocations and go home? 🙂

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah, I agree with you Jean. I was just impressed by the amount and variety of commentaries you had access too. Most of what I have in my own physical library here is stuff I’ve had to buy for a class. Most is useful in some way or another. Through the seminary I have access to 100’s of thousands of ebooks and journals. It’s one of my favorite things about seminary, honestly.

    I know its a bit off topic, but I do appreciate you thoughts on bible study, head and heart…good stuff.

  33. Jean says:

    Hi Joel,

    It would be beyond the scope of the article and my competency to offer a solution to the great ethical dilemmas, which a Christian might face. However, I would like to point you here in Paul’s writing for further study:

    “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

    From here Paul moves into his discussion about civil government, where he calls the ruler the servant of God, “an avenger”. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that God carries out temporal vengeance through his human servants. This would mean that there are vocations which carry the sword.

  34. JoelG says:

    Ok thank you Jean. You are a good teacher and I appreciate your patience.

  35. The New Victor says:

    “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

    I believed this, and also Galatians 6:7.

    I saw both come true, including both the mother of my children, and recently, her soon-to-be ex husband (the interloper) ask for my forgiveness. The latter was very specific in a text, months after I’d interacted with him: “forgive me for trespassing against you.” I granted that to him, and meant it. I know he’ struggling. I wish I could reach out to counsel, but I leave him in the hands of The Lord. /end hijack

    Personally, I’d have trouble killing, even as a soldier, drafted or not. Thankfully, I’m past the draft. As long as males are required to register with the SS, the potential for it to return is always there.

  36. JoelG says:

    New Victor,

    That is magnificent that he asked and you forgave. The Lords Spirit at work….. Praise Him

  37. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Nice article. As a comment, rather than an argument, I find the Two Kingdoms doctrine a bit of a blunt instrument, sometimes not wholly adaptable in terms of human experience. For instance, at the Treaty of Augsburg, the civil authority outlined religious reality for much of northern Europe. By the Lutheran and Roman Catholic princes not allowing for Calvinists or Anabaptists in the settlement, it set the stage for state persecution of these groups. Under the Two Kingdom doctrine, this would be seen as acceptable.

    I prefer Augustine’s two cities in which The City of God and the City of Man, here on earth, tend to be mixed (so far as we can see) with the real separation between the two only evidenced in the eternal City of God, while the City of Man is cast away. It is a bit “messier” in that it is harder to “draw the lines”, but in my mind it is a bit more in keeping with political realities and human experience.

    Again, just a comment, not an argument.

  38. Jean says:

    Thanks Duane. I think what you cited, Treaty of Augsburg, is an example of a collusion between church and state. That can be a serious issue, but one not directly dealt with by Jesus and Paul.

    I don’t read either of them particularly concerned about religious pluralism, because I imagine they thought at least two religions exist everywhere: Christians and pagans. And true Christians are always going to be the minority and under pressure. What they absolutely cared about is that Christians limit their worship to the one God and remain loyal to His kingdom in the midst of a world opposed to Him.

    Duane, great input. Thanks.

  39. Jean says:

    Duane,

    I never feel like we’re arguing, even when we disagree. Your civility is a role model.

  40. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    “What they absolutely cared about is that Christians limit their worship to the one God and remain loyal to His kingdom in the midst of a world opposed to Him.”

    Agreed. Now, if your interested in Augustine’s “City of God” (it’s really where the Augustinian Friar, Martin Luther, got many of his ideas) I’d suggest Peter Brown’s superb biography of Augustine. It is a great and, oddly enough, easy read. He goes into the City of God at some depth.

    And, thanks for the compliment. I found a long time ago that those who only wish to argue are the ones who don’t want to learn… I’m still wanting to learn.

  41. Jean says:

    Thanks Duane. On your recommendation I found and ordered a used copy of Peter Brown’s book (the 1970 ed.) for a de minimis price. This should be interesting.

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    #41 Jean

    Great! You’ll enjoy it…

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Because of misunderstanding the 2 kingdoms get mixed and blended. As I said to someone above yesterday, both kingdoms – the realm of the civil and the realm of the church – are both God’s kingdoms, ruled by God for his own purposes.
    The kingdom of the right – the church is to forgive sin – pretty simple
    The kingdom of the left – the civil realm, God has set in place to maintain order so that citizens of the right kingdom may carry out their vocations in peace and order.

    The baker who left for work this morning to carry out his vocation of serving neighbor – baking your morning bagel that you eat on the way to your job (vocation of serving others) – can do so with protection of the state. This is why the talk in scriptures about obeying the rulers because they should be there to set the order … for bagel makers.

    There is care that needs to betaken in realizing we are not speaking of a doctrine of 2 kingdoms, but a distinction of the kingdoms.

    I find this article by James Nestingen to be helpful in navigating something that has become foreign in the American church.

    http://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/content/pdfs/19-3_Politics/19-3_Nestingen.pdf

  44. JoelG says:

    “Direct the leaders of our government;

    That they may act in accordance with your kingdom.”

    http://thetrinitymission.org/morningprayer/june-2nd-2017/

  45. Duane Arnold says:

    #43 MLD

    It is not that I do not understand the distinction, I simply disagree.

  46. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, Since you come from a tradition, where the crown I was placed over the church I understand your position and reluctance to make the distinction between the two.

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    #46 MLD

    You do not understand my position in any way whatsoever.

  48. em... again says:

    Matthew 17th chapter was my scheduled morning read… our Lord tells Peter that “we’ll pay the tribute requested in order to not offend” (wish i could get my taxes out of a fish)… but i think there’s a bit to think on here… can’t say what, i’m still thinking on it 🙂

  49. JoelG says:

    “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

    Now I may be a simpleton, but I don’t hear any distinction here.

  50. em... again says:

    #48 post script Q … weren’t the temple taxes paid in a different coinage than civil taxes at that time?

    reading JoelG’s #49 … while not kosher, when praying that prayer my mind always ‘thinks’ it thusly: “Thy kingdom come *until* Thy will is done on earth as it is in heaven” God understands, my mind causes us both trouble

  51. Jean says:

    Hi Joel,

    “’Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’
    Now I may be a simpleton, but I don’t hear any distinction here.”

    You’re not a simpleton; you’re asking just the right questions and helping by forcing us to look at a broad array of Jesus’ teaching.

    When we pray for His kingdom to come, (1) we pray that it may come to us, so that we may be found in it, (2) that it may come to those for whom we pray, that they may be converted, and (3) that it may come in its fullness on earth as it is today in heaven.

    In that fullness, Jesus is king! It is the eschatological fulfillment of his promise to come again to judge the living and the dead, to raise us with glorified bodies, and to bring the new heaven and new earth. It also is a petition to bring His kingdom quickly, so that He will banish all remaining evil, so that suffering will end on this earth.

    It’s nice to start Friday morning off thinking on these things.

  52. JoelG says:

    “God understands, my mind causes us both trouble.”

    Me too, Em.

    I understand it as we need to pay taxes as Jesus instructed. But if there’s one Kingdom of God that seems to contradict the other, why speak truth to power?

  53. Xenia says:

    I don’t see the need to make a big hairy doctrine out of this. All you need to know is the following:

    1. Obeying God trumps obeying man.
    2. As best you can without offending one’s God-given conscience, obey the government.

    I will add that if one decides to engage in civil disobedience, one must be prepared to accept the consequences.

  54. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    I wish I could write as succinctly and accurately as you do. Thanks.

  55. Duane Arnold says:

    #51 Jean

    “’Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

    Now, one step further. Many scholars believe that the Lord’s Prayer actually formed part of an early eucharistic prayer. To take your point, this could also reference the breaking in of the eschaton as Christ comes to us in the Eucharist… Just a thought.

  56. Duane Arnold says:

    #53 Xenia

    I do hope you used “trumps” in it’s generic meaning…

  57. Xenia says:

    Duane, I thought a bit before I used that word but then I decided it was a perfectly good word despite certain connotations.

  58. Jean says:

    Hi Duane,

    In the Didache, the Lord’s Prayer comes right before the Eucharist. In the Divine Service, the Lord’s Prayer comes during the Service of the Sacrament and just before the words of institution.

    In my research for a series I previously wrote here on the Lord’s Prayer, I found that some of the Fathers interpreted the petition for daily bread as encompassing the Bread of Life, with Eucharistic emphasis.

    Good stuff!

  59. Xenia says:

    In the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the Lord’s Prayer also comes just before the Eucharist.

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    #58 Jean

    Absolutely right… then add on to this the idea of the Eucharist as “realized eschatology” – the breaking in of the eternal kingdom in the temporal. That is what I consider very good theology…

  61. Duane Arnold says:

    #59 Xenia

    If I remember correctly, in one of the early Syrian liturgies, it is actually a part of the Eucharistic prayer proper… I’ll look it up tonight when I’m home.

  62. Duane Arnold says:

    #61

    “Syriac” not “Syrian”

  63. Josh the Baptist says:

    In the Baptist liturgy, the Lord’s Prayer comes just before Now I Lay Me Down to sleep 🙂

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia,
    “I don’t see the need to make a big hairy doctrine out of this. All you need to know is the following:”

    This is why I brought up in my #43 that we are not talking about a doctrine – but a distinction of kingdoms. The problem comes in when people make the distinction based on their felt needs and not the holy scriptures.

  65. Jean says:

    Duane, Xenia, et al.,

    If we look forward a couple days from today, we will be celebrating Pentecost.

    One of the traditional texts for Pentecost from John includes Jesus’ promise that He and the Father will come to us and make of us their abode.

    Just some food for thought. The kingdom! The Eucharist! What else?

  66. Duane Arnold says:

    #65 Jean/Xenia

    Yes… better yet, in many parts of the Orthodox tradition, the Eucharist is Trinitarian in structure – the priest stands in the stead of God the Father, bringing forth the Son through the work of the Holy Spirit in the words of institution. Truly, the breaking in of the kingdom…

  67. Xenia says:

    MLD, your fondness for making distinctions. 🙂

    I prefer a more holistic approach? No need to categorize everything?

    You have 3 uses of the Law, 2 Kingdoms and Law and Gospel and who knows what else you have.

    Nothing wrong with these, if they help you, I guess.

  68. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – without a proper distinction of Law & Gospel you end up with Golawspel.

    “and who knows what else you have.” The Truth 🙂

  69. em... again says:

    i love the Lord’s prayer and use it every time i pray to center my mind on the first things… that said, since it was an instruction given before there was a Church, i have to wonder if we don’t sidetrack a bit on placing our worship into the “correct” boxes… someone mentioned feelings not governing prayer and i must agree – that said, God knows exactly what we are feeling when we pray, so it would behoove us to work on lining our thoughts up to align with God’s – IMHO

    even tho there’s much to think on on this subject, IMV, Xenia’s #53 does distill the subject nicely (quit picking on Trump, tho… i suspect we’ll find eventually that he’s no worse than the rest)

  70. em... again says:

    ahem… Gospel trumps Law … Thank God for that fact 🙂

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em,
    Did Xenia say Gospel trumps Law? I must have missed that. I hope not because that would be false.

  72. JoelG says:

    “The kingdom! The Eucharist! What else?”

    I wonder what our Quaker brethren would say??

  73. Jean says:

    “i love the Lord’s prayer and use it every time i pray to center my mind on the first things… that said, since it was an instruction given before there was a Church, i have to wonder if we don’t sidetrack a bit on placing our worship into the “correct” boxes”

    First of all, that’s not correct. There has always been a Church, as in assembly of God. Second, it doesn’t matter when God gave a teaching; what matters is to whom is He speaking.

    Historically, the Church has received the Lord’s Prayer as the chief prayer of the Christian Church.

  74. Jean says:

    Joel,

    I know next to nothing about the Quakers. I do like oatmeal though. 🙂

  75. Duane Arnold says:

    Joel

    I think our Quaker brethren would quietly consider it… somewhat like I have to!

  76. Josh the Baptist says:

    “i love the Lord’s prayer and use it every time i pray to center my mind on the first things… that said, since it was an instruction given before there was a Church, i have to wonder if we don’t sidetrack a bit on placing our worship into the “correct” boxes”

    I think that’s a valid point.

  77. Michael says:

    I was very fond of two kingdom theology when I was among the Reformed.
    It delineates things neatly and in an orderly fashion that keeps things in separate lanes .

    Unfortunately, like most of our neat and orderly theologies, it doesn’t account for the mess of reality.

    There’s always socks sticking out of the well packed suitcase.

    For me, Augustines way is more in line with what I see…but I don’t object to people finding value in this paradigm…

  78. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Speaking of the “mess of reality”, Augustine at his death was revising The City of God as he listened to the Vandals laying siege to Hippo…

  79. Xenia says:

    Did Xenia say Gospel trumps Law?<<<<

    Nope, wasn't me because I don't use the word "Gospel" in that way.

    I said obeying God trumps obeying man.

  80. Duane Arnold says:

    #79 Xenia

    I was mentioning “The Physical Side of Being Spiritual” by Peter Gillquist to Michael yesterday. Are you familiar with it?

  81. Xenia says:

    Hi Duane, I have that book on my shelf but I have not read it yet.

  82. Duane Arnold says:

    #81 Xenia

    Peter wrote it as an evangelical before going to the Orthodox… I think it really has some value.

  83. Xenia says:

    Fr Peter (may his memory be eternal) was, as you know, part of that group of Campus Crusade for Christ people who converted en masse to Eastern Orthodoxy in the 1980’s. The parish our family attended for several years was a part of that same group of Campus Crusade converts. It’s a big part of their heritage and they still reference it often.

  84. Jean says:

    Duane,

    Someone should write an article on what happens to churches that reject the physical nature of Christianity, where it leads.

    Rejection of the Sacraments
    Enthusiasm as replacement spirituality
    Rejection of the earth and creatures
    Etc.

    We see what’s happening today and the thought leaders, and can trace it back.

  85. Duane Arnold says:

    #83 Xenia

    I met him a couple of times through John Michael Talbot, just after the time John went to Rome. It was a fascinating time. Our CC was exploring Lutheranism and Anglicanism, Bob Webber was at Wheaton going High Church, John had gone to Rome and the folk he used on “The Lord’s Supper” were heading toward the Antiochene Orthodox. Amazingly, we all were in touch and there was no acrimony in terms of the decision each person or group was making.

    #84 Jean

    Yes, and, unfortunately, many liturgical churches are taking evangelical mega-churches as their “models” of success…

  86. bob1 says:

    Speaking of John Michael Talbot…

    I remember, must’ve been 15-20 years ago that he and Michael Card, one of my favorite musicians (and something of a teacher of Scripture) were scheduled to tour together, but the evangelical churches got nervous apparently and cancelled. That’s about all I remember, but I thought it was quite parochial on the evangelical churches’ part.

  87. em... again says:

    probably unnecessary at this point, but yes, Xenia did say “obeying God trumps obeying man” – not “Gospel trumps Law” … my hasty reading before coffee error
    that said, i can’t amen MLD’s #71 because i see it thusly:

    God established the Law (Satan smiled, he knew us)
    Satan said, now i’ve got them [was going to say ‘got em’ but…], there’s not one law keeper among them!!!
    BUT the whole story is… there came the day, the day of God’s choosing when He said, “It’s time Son, Your incarnation is now” He fulfilled the demands of the Law and the Gospel story climaxes at that point, ahem, trumping the Law, not destroying the Law, not the same as abolishing it
    poor use of the English language? my apologies

  88. em... again says:

    #83 – Bill Bright loved our Lord with all his heart and mind and soul – of that i’m pretty sure – but Campus Crusade was/is, at best a shallow, somewhat pandering outreach – IMV – people who’ve really found Christ want to move deeper into their understanding of the Faith than some of the extra curricular efforts can take them and maybe therein lie the seeds of what we’re seeing in Evangelical churches today, the old accusation of a mile wide, inch deep understanding of the Faith… but the pendulum swings and the Holy Spirit moves and moves on, so i think i’m seeing signs of discernment among the sheep today – can sheep discern? probably so, if it involves the green pastures and cool waters and walking with their Shepherd in personal and One on one privilege in the quiet of the evening… (reminded me of a Young Life song of long ago)

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Paul said the law was holy and good – so why would it need to be trumped?

  90. Xenia says:

    em, I knew one of the leaders of the Campus Crusaders who converted to Orthodoxy quite well. (He was my husband’s godfather. May his memory be eternal.) He told us the reason he and his group became dissatisfied with Campus Crusade was there seemed to be no changed lives. They did all the activities and nothing really changed. They began to ask themselves if this is all there was to Christianity because if that’s all there was, it was a big disappointment. (Not that Jesus Himself was disappointing, of course.)

  91. em... again says:

    Xenia, sometimes i think that God does use organizations such as these – i was never involved with Campus Crusade, but my husband was a UCLA back then when there was such a surge of response to Bright and Mears and he was asked to serve as a counselor, he told them that he wasn’t qualified to do that – his studies were pretty demanding, too 🙂

    MLD, yes there’s nothing unholy about the Law – if it wasn’t good, it wouldn’t have come from God to us… you’re looking at this thing from a different viewpoint than me… again 🙂

  92. Duane Arnold says:

    “Until we, God’s people today, turn from our individualism and our arm’s-length attitudes toward sharing, giving, coming under the authority of the [historic] church, entering into godly worship and thanksgiving, and the rest of what His kingdom offers, we will not be satisfied. Here we are, running from one Christian seminar to the next, one speaker to the next, one study group to the next, one evangelism plan to the next, one new spiritual theme or fad to the next, and still we’re coming up cold, bored and hungry. It is a kind of escapism, and it has even the pastors on the run. And all the time God is saying, “Why not get off your merry-go-round and help Me restore My temple?”

    Peter Gillquist, The Physical Side of Being Spiritual, 1979

  93. Xenia says:

    …quit picking on Trump, tho…<<<<

    Em, I haven't even gotten started.

  94. Jean says:

    Hi Duane,

    There is a performance mentality involved in what that quote addresses. What I wonder sometimes is who we are performing for, God and/or each other? But, as your quote implies, our spirituality/performance is self-indulgent, since it often doesn’t serve anyone other ourselves. It doesn’t satisfy because it doesn’t bring us closer to God, but further away.

  95. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I think you’re right. More than that, what does it build of lasting value? I spent the last four summers building a brick patio at my house (the patio is large!). Thinking about it didn’t get it built… reading books about patios didn’t get it built… subscribing to outdoor hardscaping magazines didn’t get it built… Pouring the 14 yards of cement, mixing the mortar and laying 5,876 bricks did! You get my point… We need to get beyond the theory, planning, programming, etc., and get our hands dirty if we want to rebuild the church…

  96. em... again says:

    Xenia, #93… now i’m worried about you 🙂
    don’t catch Griffinitis LOL

    i think the world has far bigger problems than what we’ve elected to the Presidency now… problems that the U.S. cannot solve no matter who’s in the White House, as the previous administration proved
    actually, i am worried about the blow back to his election as he just may be the devil’s red herring…
    pray for the man and his administration as i’m sure you and i both do

  97. Anon says:

    #93

    You’re blind.

    Just like 40 million Frenchmen can be wrong…so were x million Trump voters.

    He’s managed to undo in a few months 70 years of post-WWII prosperity and growth.

    The guy’s a moral and intellectual disaster.

  98. em... again says:

    Anon, so i’ve been told before 🙂 usually, i’m right, tho, so it must be clairvoyance LOL

    … God keep – God keep us all through this turbulent time

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