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156 Responses

  1. alex says:

    ‘another ham scam’

    well, that’s slander if anything negative/critical said about eugene peterson is ‘slander’ lol

    one man’s slander is another man’s opinion and vice versa

  2. Xenia says:

    Ham Scam…. reminds me of the tax evasion escapades of Kent Hovind.

  3. Michael says:

    The amusing part of the Ham mess is that he severely miscalculated and will lose a big tax break from the state for going non profit.
    This is going to cost him big bucks…

  4. Xenia says:

    Josh Harris is very good at admitting his faults in public. Good for him. That “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” book might have worked in the Middle Ages or in an Amish community but unfortunately, it does not work well in our current social climate. This is because most kids will not follow their parents’ guidance in matters of romance and marriage. Those days a long gone. We are now stuck with what we’ve wrought. What is needed instead of the cultish “I Kissed Dating…” is some kind of guidance for how to conduct oneself as a Christian when dating. For this there’s nothing quite like weekly confessing with one’s pastor.

  5. I’m curious if Haddon Robinson had Marfan’s Syndrome. Does anybody know?

  6. Miss ODM says:

    The ministers uniform article is a load of crappola. A Catholic practicing priestcraft could have come up with that. If wearing Roman Catholic robes shows us to be ministers then every believer should wear it since we’re all ministers in Christ. And if we had that sort of dress code we would look as foolish as Muslims in their turbans and hijabs. The way I see it – the wearing of hierarchy robes is all about feigned religious seniority and stinks of pride.

  7. Michael says:

    The ultimate argument for ODM’s…it’s Catholic!
    Even when it isn’t…

  8. John 20:29 says:

    true saving faith is blasphemous?… nice hook, but not quite on target IMO
    because faith is not blasphemous at all…
    our lack of faith in a crisis is where God’s grace kicks in…
    if one is hurting or watching someone they love hurting and wants to throw a tantrum, throw it in God’s direction. I think honesty shows Him honor. He is big enough to take it and you may be surprised when He speaks and the power of the intimacy of His understanding…
    He knows our hearts and He knows our confusion… it is God that brings true saving faith, is it not? it is HIs love that bears with our weaknesses mental and physical…
    it’s not a time for platitudes, that much i agree with…
    it’s not always on the mountain top that we hear from Him – you may feel alone and pitiful… pray honestly, don’t try to talk yourself into a positive frame of mind (i think that’s called denial)
    the best thing we can do for someone under attack (and that’s what our miseries are, if we are Christians) is to pray for them…

    well, i’ve unpacked enough on the subject…

  9. Dan from Georgia says:

    I read Joshua Harris’ book IKDG during it’s heyday. I am glad Joshua is rethinking and inviting criticism of his book, as well as being critical himself of said book. I found three glaring problems after reading his book:

    1. The idea that dating is wrought with sexual immorality.

    My take: There are plenty of people out there who date and don’t get involved sexually. This may be true of many people, but not everyone.

    2. The idea that courting is preferable to dating.

    My take: Courtship is no guarantee of purity, and courting doesn’t necessarily lead to marriage, let alone healthy marriages.

    3. The idea that you need to guard your heart by not dating.

    My take: Life involves pain. Loving involves pain. You can’t love someone and hope to never have your heart broken. I am happily married and there has been pain along the way. You can’t hope to grow without pain.

  10. John 20:29 says:

    i think the cleric’s robe is lovely… i can remember my Presbyterian days when the pastor would be slightly behind the schedule and come to the pulpit, robe flying… i, and i was young admittedly, always saw the robe as a garb of humility… now our choir robes were a pain, but made us homogeneous … putting the choir upstairs behind the congregation is sound and would eliminate the expense of those robes… IMHO

  11. Dan from Georgia says:

    The Christian Hard Rock festival….

    I think I still have my Messiah Prophet ALBUM somewhere in my house….

  12. Xenia says:

    I have personally observed far more pride emanating from the Hawaiian shirt crowd than I ever saw from the vestment crowd.

  13. Jean says:

    My pastor where’s his collar when “at work” and I appreciate it, because it reminds me of his office which helps me maintain healthy boundaries. Boundaries as in (1) respect for his office, and (2) we’re not buddies, he’s my pastor. I haven’t asked him, but I assume he also derives benefits from wearing the collar.

    Regarding the vestments on Sundays, they signify the office of the ministry in the midst of the congregation, which emphasizes Christ, the Word and the Sacraments, while de-emphasizing the man behind the vestments.

    If I had more time, I could articulate many other practical benefits for both the pastor and the laity of a pastor wearing ministry attire (for lack of a better word).

  14. richard says:

    looks like someone had a talk with ken ham about math. He doesn’t want to lose 18 mil in tax breaks, so that $10 bill changed hands again. He sold it back from non-profit to profit, back to where it started.

  15. Papias says:

    I would have held out for $20. 🙂

    That won’t even get you in the door….

    Maybe he figured that no one would have paid if it was non-profit.

  16. alex says:

    ya, not a fan of the robes and veils etc, smacks of groups like islam and the kkk who love robes and face coverings.

    what’s the difference between a catholic nun wearing their garb and the muslim women in hijabs? pretty much look the same. the burqa takes it one step further

  17. alex says:

    what’s the diff in terms of making women hide themselves ^^

  18. Steve Wright says:

    I actually consider it quite a compliment when someone I speak with for awhile only later finds out I am a pastor and remarks “I did not know you were the pastor, here”.

    Of course, the cynic could interpret that the other way too….as if the pastor’s conduct and conversation is so worldly and beneath Christ that he could not possibly be the pastor.

    In either event, once the pastor is known to be the pastor, I personally have a hard time imagining that any type of clothing is needed for someone to be reminded of the office or show respect….unless the only respect we are talking about is forced in public and not from the heart, and thus worthless…..I mean, do people really forget?

    And who wants to receive a forced respect anyway?

    A lot of officers in the military have zero respect from the troops where it counts inwardly, though outwardly the symbols of rank are clearly displayed. And those officers who have earned that respect, earned it for reasons not directly due to the insignia on the shoulder sleeves.

  19. Michael says:

    I’m very excited that I will wear vestments…they provide continuity of the the office in the church so that the office and not the personality are what is important.

  20. alex says:

    agree with steve w and odm.

    jesus didn’t seem to be into that. the only robe jesus wore was the robe of a common man, all the pomp and circumstance came out of men creating a hierarchy

    “Do not be called teacher/leader, you are all brothers”

  21. alex says:

    but like with everything, people will pick the verses that support their way of doing things and have an argument for why it’s ok to do what they do, while all the other guys have it wrong and vice versa

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “ya, not a fan of the robes and veils etc, smacks of groups like islam and the kkk who love robes and face coverings.”

    Why give up a good thing because bad folks abuse it? I found out that Trump brushes his teeth – was I supposed to stop brushing mine?

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    To all of those railing against “ministerial dress”, robes, vestments, etc.:

    I’m sure that we have learned more in the last 100 years of the evangelical movement than in the previous 1900 years of the Christian tradition. Let’s see… Wesley wore them, Whitfield wore them, Jonathan Edwards wore them, Calvin wore them, Cranmer wore them, Luther wore them… but, of course, they did not have our wisdom and insight and we have a better understanding of the ministerial office than any of them…

    Not really an argument for or against, just a plea to consider the totality of the Christian tradition before making blanket judgements… it evidences a bit of humility when one does so.

  24. Jean says:

    “In either event, once the pastor is known to be the pastor, I personally have a hard time imagining that any type of clothing is needed for someone to be reminded of the office or show respect….unless the only respect we are talking about is forced in public and not from the heart, and thus worthless…..I mean, do people really forget?”

    I cop to all of it.
    I forget in the moment.
    My tongue often isn’t tamed.
    I struggle against the Old Adam.

    There’s a huge difference between being disciplined, which one takes with thanksgiving, and faking respect.

    Also, though Muslims worship a fake god, many of them appear to understand reverence and sacred things a lot better than many Christians.

    Also, when did wearing a habit become sin?

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I find it funny that the evangelicals here taking exception to vestments, comparing them to Muslims etc, would probably never take on a orthodox rabbi and tell him the same.

  26. Michael says:

    One of the dividing lines in Christendom is between those who value church traditions and those who don’t.

    As a recent convert to being one of those who do value it, I find it adds depth and richness to my faith.

    Your mileage may vary…like most things these days, debate is probably fruitless.

  27. Dan from Georgia says:

    Amen to comments 23-26

  28. John 20:29 says:

    i probably still am more Presbyterian than i know… the simple black robe with stripes on the sleeves (same color) designating the rank when in front of the congregation makes all the sense in the world to me… it shows humility and respect for the role played in the service in my humble opinion… out and about, the wearing of religious garb is just a prop… although in days gone by it may have been practical to dress nuns as such, considering what they did and where they went
    as my mother and step-father lived next door to the parish house of the nearby R.C. Cathedral i had an opportunity to watch those fellas (and some nuns a bit)… some of those men were clearly tolerating and condescending of my erring faith…
    there was one priest who didn’t need vestments to carry authority and he did so with Christian love and humility… Father H wasn’t “folksy” but he respected it – was very affirming to my husband and myself – he wore that robe of righteousness, not made of cloth

  29. Papias says:

    Michael @ 26 “One of the dividing lines in Christendom is between those who value church traditions and those who don’t.”

    I don’t know that I would frame a discussion about vestments so black and white.

    Unless the Anglicans have something similar to “Cage stage Calvinists”. LOL!

    Duanne – care to weigh in here?

  30. Michael says:


    I’m not trying to be overly simplistic.
    The Anglican church has had its own vestment controversies.

    The distinction I’m drawing is between evangelicalism and tradition oriented churches that use vestments, a historic liturgy, historic confessions, etc…

  31. Josh the Baptist says:

    I certainly don’t divide over fashion.

    That said, don’t like ceremonial garb. Sets the minister apart as holier than the congregation. I’d rather just be a normal guy.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    Hard to imagine my comment, which was a personal opinion, as “railing” against vestments or tradition in general. But maybe none of the followups were aimed at me…

    That said, my comment was meant to address more of what was worn outside the service, the other 6 days 23 hours, than the uniform of the liturgy.

  33. I heard Haddon Robinson preach once some 15 years ago. Chatted with him before the service and sat in the front row. He did a run-through of Philemon. I thought he did fine, but if didn’t know who he was I wouldn’t have categorized him as a “prince of preachers.”

    The story about Audiofeed was interesting. Cornerstone was definitely all about musicians who felt uncomfortable in the mainstream.

  34. Steve Wright says:

    Was thinking how interesting the many comments over the years here by some when the pastors defend their Spiritual authority in the church by virtue of the office…how quickly the “abuse” word is tossed out.

    Now contrasted with a different set of comments when it comes to the pastor wanting not to be specially set apart by emphasizing title, clothing, or academic credentials, just because of the office.

    Of course the pastoral authority is cited in Scripture, but the wardrobe commands are lacking…but I digress.

    Yeah Wesley and others wore special clothing. They also might decide on their own whim that abstaining (or doing) X, Y, or Z was now required In the name of holiness and subject all in their charge to the same rules or be booted. Talk about “abuse”!

    I’ve found the middle lane, when the critics are on either side, to be a good place to be. 🙂

    A regular guy with a high calling, daily needing the grace of God to fulfill that calling until we all are with the Lord Jesus. Just as every sinner at the foot of the cross needs God’s grace to fulfill his or her personal calling (vocation).

  35. Jean says:


    I wasn’t one using the “railing” terminology, nor did I think you were.

    Not to argue with your comments, but someone above said something that needs to be corrected.

    A pastor wearing black, with a white collar, for example (as Lutheran pastors do in the church office or when out and about serving in their vocation, are NOT claiming or displaying “holiness” or any claim to holiness.

    What their clothing communicates is exactly the opposite. The black communicates the sinner in the clothes. A pastor is a sinner, as much a sinner in the eyes of God as any other. The white collar represents his vocation to preach the Gospel. The Gospel is pure and white, washed by the blood of Christ. The collar covers the vocal cords, by with the pastor preaches the Gospel.

    That’s the history and intent of the pastor’s “work” clothes.

  36. Michael says:


    People grow over the years and growth brings change.
    I see this as a positive.
    There was no one here throwing stones or mentioning abuse in any way.
    People are expressing differences in ecclesiology and theology and , for the most part, doing so in a good spirit.

    I have come to believe that vestments are a good thing for a number of reasons… while understanding that others do not.

    It need not be a bone of contention.

  37. Michael says:


    Thank you @35…all my studies on the matter point toward humility and Christ being represented.

    I think that’s a good thing.

  38. Steve Wright says:

    It probably would be wise at this point to mention that each Sunday I wear dress slacks and shoes and a long sleeve dress shirt, and have done so each and every week for almost 10 years now (and also at prior Sunday ministry service the previous 13 years)…making me easily the most dressed up person (man at least) in the house except when an occasional first time visitor arrives in a coat and tie.

    I would not be caught dead in God’s pulpit on Sunday dressed as some of my CC brethren choose to….

  39. Miss ODM says:

    My CC pastor wears a coat and tie on occasion –

  40. Josh The Baptist says:

    Jean, I know that in most cases it is not the intended message, but is certainly the unspoken message that many understand. “I am a man of the cloth, I am separate from you…untouchable”.

    I know you don’t see it that way, and as I said, I wouldn’t separate over fashion. I would prefer the pastor be a regular guy like the rest of us, then it isn’t such a shocker when we find out he’s a sinner.

    A quick for instance here for all in the conversation – Saeed has taken to wearing a clerical collar. Would you guess that was for the sake of humility, or to say to anyone who sees him that he has authority, and is a legit minister?

  41. Steve Wright says:

    Miss ODM, I’m sure in other cities and churches I would too (I have in fact). Likewise, in Hawaii where even the governor addresses the people in a Hawaiian shirt, I too would dress down some. Respect for the pulpit is a factor but desire to communicate is primary.

  42. Jean says:

    I’m going to share some verses that should give anyone pause who is considering the vocation of pastor:

    “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”

    “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

    Pastors certainly are “regular guys” before God. But before man, pastors are set apart in that they are called to a higher standard of behavior and doctrinal truth. (This is not me speaking, but the Lord.)

    In my opinion, according to what I have learned in Scripture, the only way a pastor can fulfill his office properly over a period of time is in humility. Otherwise, the Lord humbles the haughty. If you don’t believe me, just look at the pastors who allow themselves to be put on pedestals. Who can stand?

    Clerical attire is not a fail safe. No one argues that it is. And there are pastors who do not wear clerical attire, I assume, who have been good and faithful servants of their office. Moreover, some pastors who wear clerical attire probably, one could assume, do it for the wrong reasons. But as someone above wrote, clerical attire served the church for most of its history, so it should not be discounted out of hand.

  43. Steve Wright says:

    “A regular guy” was half my statement. In full it read: “A regular guy with a high calling”

    Those verses Jean cited should be a regular reminder to all pastors, and especially wanna-be pastors. No question. And likewise, they should be the foundation for discipline and removal for pastors who go astray.

    I would though set them next to the words of Jesus, warning His servants to not be desirous of special greetings and privileges in regular society (i.e the markets) – about not wanting to be “seen by men” due to their clothing and such. Matthew 23

    Now, maybe for some men the collar or outer garb when they go to Costco or McDonalds is a means of accountability – they might be tempted to act a little differently to the cashier or waiter without them. However, to others (and a pretty good example was cited by Josh) it seems far more likely to be “seen by men”. It certainly would with me if I started to dress differently.

    Again, I am making a distinction between what is worn during services, and in everyday wear “out in the world”. From what I can gather, the clerical collar is a pretty recent invention considering almost 2000 years of Church History. Also, from what I can gather, the evolution of clerical clothing even in the service seems to be more of the Church resisting the styles of the world as they changed, rather than the Church Fathers feeling compelled to stand out at service. (Sounds a little like why the Amish dress the way they do).

    (Of course, that is just a couple hours or so online searching, but trying to find history from otherwise “pro-vestments” websites to churches and denominations. I’m certainly open to correction, with research links of course)

    I find it interesting that what seems to be established to make a clear distinction between the world and the clergy has gotten us to the point that I’ve seen plenty of folks in their collars, habits, or robes riding Space Mountain or at the local movie theater.

    So to my point – I repeat that our desired goal should be communication of the things of God (which is more than just the sermon). The pastor should not be guilty of behavior or dress during services that would affect this. In the older denominations, to NOT wear traditional attire would cause that….in more recent traditions, to wear them would breed miscommunication. Of course, I argue too that walking out in flip flops and a plain Hanes T-shirt is problematic as well, especially for visitors.

    And whether that emphasizes more the issue of “newer” traditions or just a change in social/cultural norms today, I don’t know. I know that relatively speaking, all the Reformation churches are to a large degree “new” (as Xenia I assume might affirm)

  44. Jean says:


    I didn’t recall you writing “regular guy.” I saw that in someone else’s comment, and responded to that other comment. I mention that just to clarify that I’m not singling your comments out for argumentation.

  45. Xenia says:

    all the Reformation churches are to a large degree “new” (as Xenia I assume might affirm)<<<

    Yes, I can affirm that. 🙂

    "new" is relative, I guess.

  46. Steve Wright says:

    (Thanks Jean and Xenia.)

    A concluding note…I’m reading several sites, both secular reference and church historical and I am repeatedly seeing that vestments were pretty nonexistent the first 3 centuries or so… I have yet to read even one reference to the contrary….FWIW. Interesting given the church history discussion in our other context today.

  47. Descended says:

    If what God has created is infinite (“forever and ever” repeated often in scripture) then it’s creator is infinite. Only the errancy crowd comes up with such … stuff.

    No beginning no end
    Alpha Omega,

  48. Duane Arnold says:

    Most vestments arose out of the common dress of mid to late antiquity. (Please excuse lack of specificity, but I’m having to do this from memory…) The alb reaches back to the 2nd century, but also seems to be related to white baptismal garments, and was considered normative by the 3rd-4th century. Other vestments arose out of Roman court life of late antiquity. There is very little online that is worthwhile. There are, however, a few very good books (Michael or I could provide references) available. (The Church Visible come to mind.)

    With regard to wearing a clerical collar, I would imagine that I am the only person here who has had the experience of doing so over the course of decades. It’s a mixed bag. I could cite evidence of innumerable times of people reaching out to me for help, advice or assistance because I was “wearing the uniform”. It is simply a visible sign of a calling. This includes police, parents, doctors in hospitals, etc. On the other hand, when the scandals broke in the RC Church regarding child abuse, you always wondered what people were thinking when they looked at you.

    I will say, however, when wearing a clerical collar, one is conscious of “representing” the Church. You tend to keep your political and social opinions to yourself and concentrate on the expertise or service required of you by those seeking your help or advice. It is a public/private reminder.

    Now, I never saw +Michael Ramsey without a clerical collar, but I never saw James Atkinson with one! It is not of the “esse” but perhaps of the “bene”.

    For those in religious or monastic orders, the habit signifies something different. Habits arose out the the common dress of the Middle Ages, but were plain in nature (without sumptuous fabrics). My dear friend, Ursula (now Sister Mary Owen), wears the Benedictine habit of black and white. Only her face shows. The veil that covers her hair indicates that she is wholly given to Christ in prayer and devotion. Her cincture has three knots tied in it – indicating poverty, chastity and obedience. It is a visible sign of the purpose of her life and every day, for eight hours a day, she prays. Could she live this life without the habit? Certainly. Yet the habit marks her as part of a community and a constant reminder of her vocation.

    At the end, this is not about some “rule” of what you wear or what you don’t. Too many of us like hard and fast rules. It is about a visible expression of the Church’s presence in society – a presence that is increasingly diminishing.

  49. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I saw that in someone else’s comment, and responded to that other comment. ”

    When did I become “the person who must not be named”? 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hilarious.

    Good discussion. Thanks Duane for the history info. Again, this is not something I would separate over. WAY down the list of important issues in the church…but it is the subject we are discussing so I must comment on this phrase:
    ” It is about a visible expression of the Church’s presence in society”

    Is that from the little little quoted gospel “And the world will know you by your fashion choices”?!?

  50. Since the NT is silent on the matter of vestments, neither condemning nor commanding, it seems to be a matter of personal preference.

  51. Josh the Baptist says:

    Also should point out the Saving Faith is Blasphemous article is very good. Well worth the read.

  52. Michael says:

    ” It is about a visible expression of the Church’s presence in society”

    Is that from the little little quoted gospel “And the world will know you by your fashion choices”?!?

    When I worked inside Costco, once a month the priests and nuns would come up from the Eastern Orthodox monastery to shop.

    They came wearing their vestments,and there was no mistaking who they were.

    They were indeed a visible expression of the churches presence among us.

    I found the juxtaposition of their ancient ways in the midst of modern commerce fascinating.

    It was a visible representation of being in the world,but not of the world.

    They were always wonderfully polite and seemed to be very aware that they were representing the church even as they shopped for staples in bulk or had me fix their cellphones.

    I think the article that started this conversation spoke clearly to why some parts of the church wear vestments.
    I could give other links and (thanks to Duane) could provide much more information.

    It wouldn’t move the needle.

    That’s ok.

    I’m still going to present different ways of “doing church”, especially those ways that have ancient tradition behind them.

    Some of us are convinced that we need to go back to get home.

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This does bring up a point – if pastors wear their clericals to be ‘a visible expression of the Church’s presence in society’ why don’t we as the laity do the same.
    I think of the Amish and the Hassidic Jews.

  54. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m good with all of it, just presenting my side of the discussion.

    Would a Christian T-shirt of Cross necklace suffice for a visible expression of the Church?

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    Maybe a WWJD bracelet?

  56. Michael says:


    That’s what those fish stickers on car bumpers are for…

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – no, those verify that the car is christian 😉

  58. Michael says:

    To my knowledge there is no historical precedent for uniforms for the laity except broad expectations in some holiness sects.

    I personally love all the symbolism invoked in vestments and even things like church furniture and architecture.
    It sets the church apart as a sacred and holy place from the world.

    I’ll probably even have an icon or two around…

  59. Michael says:


    That may be why the occupants of those cars are often the first ones to give you the finger on the freeway… the vehicle has been redeemed,but not the driver… 🙂

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    OK… just for a reality check, “Would all those who have actually worn a clerical collar over a period of years, raise your hand and discuss your experience, positive and negative?”

    Just returned from a visit to a favorite museums in Paris. It is nothing but art and decorative items from the Middle Ages housed in the old abbey of Cluny. It struck me that at one time the Church was a patron of the arts and of artists with the intent of providing visible signs and representations of the faith. Some was incredible, some not so good… But power corrupted and the visible signs were often corrupted with the institution.

  61. Xenia says:

    Michael, slight correction….

    They came wearing their vestments,and there was no mistaking who they were.<<<<

    They weren't exactly wearing vestments, they were wearing their habits and cassocks, their ordinary daily wear. Vestments proper are the highly decorated garments worn by priests and other clergy during a church service.

    An abbot I know told the story of an ongoing discussion he had with a Roman Catholic priest who declined to wear clerical garb in public. One day they went for a walk downtown and a very distressed young man came running up to them and seeing the Abbot's cassock and pectoral cross, beseeched him for help, which the abbot was able to provide. He ignored the RC priest who was dressed as a civilian. My own priest has an outside job where he can't wear his cassock, but he does wear it whenever possible.

    Greek and Syrian clergy will wear the white clerical collar/ shirt combo out in public but the Slavic churches never use them, opting to wear the black cassock instead.

  62. Michael says:


    Thank you for that correction.
    I miss those folks…they invited me to come visit with them and I may do so when all these medical issues are cleared.
    They represented very well…

  63. Xenia says:

    Was it the monastery in Etna?

  64. Michael says:


    I remember when visiting St. Pierre’s in Geneva that underneath the cathedral is all the art Calvin had removed from it.
    It is all in a pile covered with ancient dirt…

  65. Michael says:


    I believe so…I remember it being right over the border…

  66. Michael says:


    I’m trying to remember the last time I saw anyone wearing a collar in public here…it’s been years.
    Lots of years…

  67. Duane Arnold says:

    #64 Michael

    Yes, I remember us talking about both of us having similar reactions. Wish you had been here today.

  68. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane – Just curious – Did you ever read “Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts” by Steve Tuner?

  69. Duane Arnold says:


    I have it on my stack, but have not read it yet. Funnily enough, considering subsequent events, Franky Schaefer actually wrote a good book on the subject back in the day. It is something that needs to be addressed.

  70. Josh the Baptist says:

    Steve Turner’s is * I think* a fleshed out speech he gave. Easy read, but good stuff to think about.

  71. Dan from Georgia says:

    Josh, that is a good read! Read it years ago.

  72. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yes, been a while for me too, but for some reason it came to mind.

  73. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Duane … was that Frank Schaeffer book Addicted to Mediocrity? If so I’m afraid my experience of the book was that it mostly articulated its argument by example. 🙁

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Franky (as he was known in the day) had this book that spoke to the same issue.

    He was good at identifying the problems, but his own ventures into the arts did nothing to change the quality or perception.

  75. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I hope I kept the Schaeffer books – Francis, Franky and Edith.
    With my flood in April here in AZ half my books are still in ServPro storage and with my move from the OC to AZ the other half are in my storage. I threw away so many, now I don’t remember what I have.
    I have only 3 books in the house right now – I am used to having 2,000

  76. alex says:

    an old testament case can be made for vestments, but none in the new testament, in fact, the principles laid out and exampled in the new testament seem to teach against hierarchical things as well as honoring one over another and wearing the gold ring and the fine vestments etc.

    james ‘My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?’

    john the baptist, not a fashion symbol lol, jesus, a carpenter in regular clothes, apostles, a bunch of fishermen, not well dressed, etc.

    seems the vestments is a tradition that came well after the early church, that seems certain

  77. Jean says:

    Eisegesis + misunderstanding of the ministry = poor theology.

  78. Jean says:

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

    Regarding pastor, it’s not a matter of hierarchy, it’s a matter of vocation, and servant leadership. Hence the Lutheran pastor is a servant of the Word.

  79. alex says:

    “Eisegesis + misunderstanding of the ministry = poor theology.”

    Subjective. All depends on the particular Group and gurus you ascribe to and their “interpretation” of a particular version of the bible text you say is the real-deal and the correct one.

    The Theology/Doctrine is God guys always hang themselves with their own rope.

  80. alex says:

    an overemphasis on “I have the correct Theology! The rest of you have it wrong!” often results in pride and not the fruits of the Spirit.

  81. Michael says:

    I’m going to end the vestment controversy.
    Don’t wear them if you don’t want to.

    Those of us that do believe we have good reasons to do so.

    We could offer up an excellent apology for them.
    It wouldn’t matter.

    Moving on…

  82. Duane Arnold says:

    #82 Michael

    Agreed. BTW though, wondering about that Apostles Creed thing and, oh yeah, the Nicene Creed thing since they are not found in the NT? Oh yeah, an how about that thing we call the Old Testament, also not found listed out in the NT…

    I guess that I just forgot that we made a quantum leap from the apostles to 1968 with nothing in between… As you say, moving on…

    Hope you’re feeling better my brother…

  83. Michael says:



    I’m doing ok…and that’s good enough. 🙂

  84. Descended says:

    Child of God/ADD

    Something I struggle with, and the verses that promise I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Any parent of a special needs child can take comfort in

    Micah 4:

    5 Though all the peoples walk
                Each in the name of his god,
                As for us, we will walk
                In the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

          6 “In that day,” declares the LORD,
                “I will assemble the lame
                And gather the outcasts,
                Even those whom I have afflicted.

          7 “I will make the lame a remnant
                And the outcasts a strong nation,
                And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion
                From now on and forever.

  85. JoelG says:

    May the Lord be with you and help you in your struggle, Descended. What a beautiful verse.

  86. Josh the Baptist says:

    “wondering about that Apostles Creed thing and, oh yeah, the Nicene Creed thing since they are not found in the NT? Oh yeah, an how about that thing we call the Old Testament, also not found listed out in the NT…”

    Well, I’ve always been that infuriating “no creed but the bible” guy drives everyone around here crazy 🙂

    But why would you say the OT isn’t in the NT? It’s all over it.

  87. Descended says:

    NT = inspired commentary on the OT

  88. Descended says:

    Thanks JoelG

    He has and He does. He’s a beautiful God, isn’t He?

  89. John 20:29 says:

    i so want to say something regarding special clothing for clergy, but to honor Michael’s reasonable request… i won’t do so, sigh… but it was so mean and so good 🙂

    Descended’s verses from Micah four are beautiful… maybe they should be required memorization for all who enter into the Church…

  90. Descended says:

    John 20:29

    Absolutely! I think of Jesus’ parable about the Great Banquet in Luke 14. But I also see that nothing God has done is imperfect. I know He will keep His promises to the least of these whom He has afflicted, and to those whom we have afflicted.

  91. dusty says:

    John 20:29, are you being bad? Lol : ;):

  92. dusty says:

    Descended, may God bless you and bring you peace.

  93. dusty says:

    Michael, glad you are having a good day.

  94. dusty says:

    Alex said, “an overemphasis on “I have the correct Theology! The rest of you have it wrong!” often results in pride and not the fruits of the Spirit.”

    well said. we all could use a bit more fruit and less pride.. .

  95. dusty says:

    Josh said, ” I’ve always been that infuriating “no creed but the bible” guy drives everyone around here crazy ?”

    you don’t drive me crazy…..I like what you have to add here. You are one of the family.

  96. John 20:29 says:

    dusty, uhhh… ummm… maybe just a bit … 🙂

    Lord consider this my confession, so i can continue to read and pray with dusty’s prayer thread and, Lord, may You bless her for it

  97. dusty says:

    The creed – third day


    the creed – rich mullins

  98. dusty says:

    John 20:29, you are silly! Lol <3

  99. dusty says:

    I love that you are there, here, John20:29, you are special to me.

  100. Josh The Baptist says:

    Thank you Dusty, you are such an encouragement!

  101. Duane Arnold says:


    The canon of the OT as a book with agreed content does not happen until the second century… after the NT writers had completed their work. If we do not allow for the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in the Church – OT canon, NT canon, Creeds, etc., we make a nonsense of the whole process. Yes, OT references are all over the NT writers, but references to a collected body (that we would recognize) are not there…

  102. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, OK. I see your point. And yes, I would hope the Holy Spirit has never stopped working.

  103. alex says:

    ‘I’m going to end the vestment controversy.
    Don’t wear them if you don’t want to.

    Those of us that do believe we have good reasons to do so.

    We could offer up an excellent apology for them.
    It wouldn’t matter.’

    exactly the point i asserted and made

  104. alex says:

    that’s why there are so many denominations and flavors of christianity

  105. alex says:

    everyone is right…in their own eyes…and they congregate with others who largely agree with them

  106. Josh the Baptist says:

    alex@ 106 – True that.

    Off subject – Charles Finney – Everybody still hate him?

  107. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How could anyone hate the popularizer of Decision Theology”?

  108. Michael says:

    “Off subject – Charles Finney – Everybody still hate him?”

    Probably more than ever…being careful not to hate the man, but utterly loathe his theology.

  109. Josh the Baptist says:

    “How could anyone hate the popularizer of Decision Theology”?”

    By their own free will? 🙂

    Michael – I was just reading about him this morning. Hadn’t thought about him in a long time, probably since Phil Johnson used to write about his heresy on a regular basis. Fascinating figure if for nothing else, his work against slavery and for education.

  110. Xenia says:

    Michael, I am not very familiar with Charles Finney, other than knowing he was a big name in revivalism. What one or two theological points do you find to be most problematic?

  111. Michael says:


    The fascinating thing about Finney was that his aberrant soteriology led him to advocate for social principles that I think are far more congruent with the biblical witness than most with a biblical theology practice today.

  112. Michael says:


    He rejected any notion of substitutionary atonement and was the forerunner of those who believe that saving faith is mainly intellectual assent to doctrine…in Finney’s case it was actually intellectual assent to the Law.

    He also believed that a believer was lost again if they sinned…a form of perfectionism.

    He was a full blown Pelagian.

    My main objection is that he is the father of evangelical pragmatism which has been the devil’s toolbox…

  113. Xenia says:

    Thanks, Michael.

  114. alex says:

    no, that is not an accurate analysis of Finney, that is a Straw Man of his critics’ own making of what they say his Position is, but you will likely not be open to pushback on this one, nor have the patience to thoroughly examine what a truer representation of his Position is.

  115. Josh the Baptist says:

    alex – that is what I am curious about. Most of what i know about Finney came from his accusers. What resources did you use to find out “the other side”?

  116. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The fascinating thing about Finney was that his aberrant soteriology led him to advocate for social principles that I think are far more congruent with the biblical witness than most with a biblical theology practice today.”

    Yeah, that was my immediate thought when reading about him today.

    I also agree with you that his “ends justify the means” style of evangelism has been very harmful to the American church.

  117. Xenia says:

    I don’t believe in the typical Protestant view of substitutionary atonement, either. And I worry that unrepentant sinners may fall away from God and “lose” their salvation.


  118. Michael says:


    Finney’s Systematic Theology was required reading in at least two classes and I’ve read him myself.

    His own words are posted all over the internet and his writings are available for free.

    There is no misrepresentation here…if anything I’m being gracious.

  119. Michael says:


    Why the terminology may seem similar to you the underlying theology most certainly is not.

  120. Josh the Baptist says:

    Which one was Finney’s systematic? The Heart of Truth? I’ve only read little pieces of his autobiography, and even those pieces gave me questions.

  121. alex says:

    Josh, as with every “ism” out there, there are those who sign onto it and then there are the critics and opponents. Mormonism is similar, there is what the Anti-Mormons tell you it is, then there is what it really is, same goes for Calvinism, Southern Baptist’ism, Calvary Chapel’ism, Roman Catholicism (insert your ism here).

    I studied Finney when I was at Master’s College, he fascinated me. Master’s hated the guy LOL, but when I read the stuff for myself, it was different than the Straw Man they presented. Michael presents the Anti-Finney typical Straw Man…his stuff is much more nuanced and he was actually a pretty brilliant man. I’m not a Finney-ite, there is much to question and disagree with, but there is a lot to consider as well….and I don’t thing the word “heresy” applies or you have to label a big swath of Evangelical Christianity as “heresy”…but those who hate Evangelicalism have no problem doing so….just know they are biased and their analysis isn’t really true.

    From the Finney horse’s mouth:

  122. Xenia says:

    #120, Michael, I didn’t really think we had much in common. I am always interested in the various theories of the Atonement.

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Look no further than Calvary Chapel – their theology (I know someone will jump in and say their is no unified CC theology) is more Finney than it ever was Chuck Smith.

  124. Michael says:


    He actually published a “Systematic Theology”.

  125. Xenia says:

    I remember when I was preparing a teaching for our CC women’s ministry a few decades ago and I asked our pastor about Finney. He told me to read him with caution. Since I was strapped for time, I didn’t read him at all.

  126. alex says:

    Yes, much of Evangelicalism is Finney.

    If you say Finney is a heretic, you are essentially calling Evangelicals heretics, so be honest and upfront about that.

    I am a detecter of nuance and b.s. and I have studied broadly.

    This place says it is inclusive, yet you just called Evangelicals heretics w/o them realizing it LOL

  127. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 125 – Oh, Ok. Didn’t realize that. This is the first he’s come up in any of my classes, and it’s juts talking about his place in the 2nd Great Awakening. For some reason I had in my mind that he had only published a few major woks. From googling, it looks like Heart of Truth was a collection of lectures.

  128. Josh the Baptist says:

    I didn’t call him or anyone else a heretic. Phil Johnson used to write articles all the time claiming he was a heretic. That’s the only reference to heresy I remember reading here.

  129. Michael says:


    I have written quite a bit on the negative influence of Finney on modern evangelicalism.

    Because I do deal in nuance, I don’t impute all of Finney’s errors to evangelicalism as a whole.

    I do believe in substitutionary atonement (without discarding other views on the atonement) and I believe in the new birth being supernatural.

    Most evangelicals would agree with those views and even consider them fundamental to the faith.

    Finney rejected both.

  130. Michael says:


    All Reformed or Lutheran folk as well as many evangelicals would consider him at the very least aberrant at best and probably heretical.

    I think the only reason he’s accepted as widely as he is would be because much of his methodology has been accepted in revivalist circles and most of his theology unexamined.

  131. alex says:

    No, I strongly disagree. That is inaccurate.

  132. Xenia says:

    The more things change the more they remain the same.

  133. alex says:

    those issues are not completely understandable and we lack the ability, as humans, to explain them in a completely “correct’ manner which is what leads to Straw Men and labels like “heretic!” being tossed around. You misunderstand Finney’s philosophical position and most Evangelicals more agree with him than with your version of atonement etc.

  134. alex says:

    there is a good reason you are calvinist and now Anglican and not Evangelical.

  135. Michael says:


    The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is a Protestant doctrine, not a Calvinistic distinction.
    Substitutionary atonement is a Protestant doctrine, not a Calvinistic distinction.
    The new birth is a Protestant doctrine, not a Calvinistic distinction.
    Original sin is a doctrine of both The Roman and Protestant churches, not a Calvinistic distinction.

    The evangelicals who would reject these are few…in reality, I don’t think you can be evangelical without them.

    I have to go…appointments.

  136. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why do things need to be divided between ‘aberrant at best and probably heretical.’

    Is there no longer a category of just “he is wrong”?

  137. alex says:

    but a pastor at my Evangelical church calls calvinists ‘heretics’ b/c of doctrine/theology he believes is of the devil and leads people into sin and destruction etc, so every Group does it to the other.

    I’m in the Camp that is more cautious with the ‘heretic’ label and I accept that we truly “see through a glass darkly” and that the spiritual things really are mysterious and there’s a lot we don’t know for certain. But, we know God “is” and we believe in the Gospel and Jesus* though every Sect will dissect those things to death and give you their list of what “The TRUE Gospel!” and “The TRUE Jesus!” is and then we call the others heretics LOL. It’s the Circle of Religion.

  138. alex says:

    but, I’ll shut up now, I know critical thinking irritates people on here. Believe what you want, call others heretics w/o stating their positions correctly. It’s your blog.

  139. Josh the Baptist says:

    We’re all the way back to this stuff now? Man, it is a circle 🙂

  140. Josh the Baptist says:

    What else I’ve been doing this week: Interpreting Job 42:1-6.

    Man, that is one tough little passage of Hebrew. Also, some intricacies in interpretation could really affect. It’s amazing to me how uniform the English translations are for that passage. I think they copied each other’s papers. 🙂

  141. John 20:29 says:

    #141 – i guess this is why i’d never call myself a theologian as the Job passage referenced seems crystal clear to me… are you saying that the translation is tainted?

    seems to be a focus here today on sound doctrine (i’m all for it)
    can we be wrong about God and His redemption and still enter into the Kingdom? wouldn’t that depend on what we were wrong about? Jesus didn’t come to teach IMHO – did He teach? yes He did – how could He not teach those who were drawn to Him then? did He come to model how we should live? i don’t think so, but in living in perfect obedience to the Father, He did do that – we can’t and we shouldn’t think we have to – try, yes, but know that is what we are doing, our best effort to follow Him AFTER we confess that we can’t do what He could do, let alone what He did do…
    He was perfect – the last Adam, God incarnate, not as the first Adam made in the image of God, but God, Himself… why?

    (IMNSHO)because Satan issued a challenge to God – the exact challenge i don’t know, but Satan had elevated himself to the stature of God and expected to be recognized as equal to the most high God… i think we are the free will players in God’s meeting that challenge and i think there will be more mourning in Eternity for not recognizing that role than any other fact of our earthly lives, including rejection of the plan of redemption offered us – how awful to go into eternity as a rebel with no recourse… just MNSHO… i am no theologian… just a soul that rejoices in God’s merciful offer

  142. John 20:29 says:

    and my last paragraph – MNSHO – is why i think that we can’t lump the Mormon community in with the redeemed who follow some wrong doctrines… pray for them – pray hard for the good people in their midst to wake up

  143. Josh the Baptist says:

    Em – The Hebrew is rather vague in a couple of places, particularly in verse 3, 4 and 6. Not to say the translations are tainted, just to say there were several options for how to translate it and they all seemed to follow a certain tradition.

    The traditional reading brings us to Job finally repenting for sin, (which is odd, because God always said he was sinless). It can just as easily be interpreted to say that Job is repenting from dust and ashes. In other words, repenting from acting as if he had sinned.

    The rest of your post is very good, and I do agree about our Mormon friends.

  144. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I am asking because I can’t look it up – but does God actually call Job sinless or does he refer to him as righteous or something along that line?

  145. John 20:29 says:

    Thank you Josh … so much to learn and so worth the effort

  146. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – depending on translation, you will see blameless or perfect and upright. But kinda the point of the book is that the friends keep telling Job he has some hidden sin, but Job says that he doesn’t. The traditional interpretation of verse 42 seems to say that the friends were right all along, even though God rebukes them at the end. Like I said, it’s just a tough little passage to deal with.

  147. Jean says:


    The issue is not whether Job ever sinned or not. Both the OT and NT confirm that all men have sinned. Therefore, God never said that Job was without sin.

    The issue is that God pronounced Job “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job, by faith, was blameless and upright. Therefore, his sin was not imputed to Him.

    Later Job did repent: “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” That is what a blameless and upright man, one who fears God, does. He confesses his sin and is forgiven: “And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

  148. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If I remember correctly Moses was described in the same way, and some would make the leap that he was sinless – but one of the first things he did when the flood was over was make preparations and actually make sacrifice – sinless people do not need to do that.

    My copy is in storage but you should get a copy of The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text by the Jewish Publishing Society and se how they handle those verses. Here is a PDF. Job 42 is on P. 1165

  149. Josh the Baptist says:

    The question was not whether job sinned, but if his suffering was caused by it.

    “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

    That particular line is very ambiguous in Hebrew, which was kind of my only point really. I haven’t yet checked the Septuagint or the Vulgate to see how they translate that line, but my suspicion is that English commentators followed them.

    Again, just to be clear, I’m not saying the translations are wrong or corrupted, just that there is a lot that goes into Bible translation, especially something as old and obscure as Job. In this case, I’m betting English translations have followed tradition rather than a wooden word-for-word translation.

  150. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah MLD, I’m looking at the actual masoretic text. The masoretic notes are a lot tougher to understand than the text 🙂

    Moses was there after the flood? 🙂

    I want to point something out about Job 42:6 that Jean posted – NASB is always listed as the most literal word-for word translation. Here is how they translate verse 6 :
    Therefore I retract,
    And I repent in dust and ashes.

    The two issue in verse 6 are that most English translations add “myself” after retract or despise…NASB does not add that. There is no trace of “myself” in the Hebrew. That is a traditional addition to make sense of the choice of “despise”.

    The other thing is the word “in” could be translated in many other ways, including “from”.

  151. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Actually Moses was there AFTER the flood.

    Moses, Noah – they’re all the same 🙂

    Bible translation is tricky. No one does a word for word translation. I am sure you can find it somewhere online, but it a hoot to look at the word counts for the various translations. I forget how many but some bay vary by 20,000 words.or more
    The KJV = 783,137 words, but the NKJV lost some 13,000 words – what’s up there?

    Here, I found a word count;

  152. Josh The Baptist says:

    Well, true. Particularly with Hebrew, it wouldn’t add up. You have a root which is then augmented by prefixes and suffixes (or multiples) and that one word would equal an entire phrase in English. So true, “word for word” is a misnomer. The more formal translations you will see a clear correlation between the Hebrew word and the English word choices. In the less formal, more dynamic translations sometimes you will not see a correlation between the words at all. They call it “though for thought” but that requires explaining what the text means rather than just straight translation.

    Still, that isn’t to say that formal translation is always the best strategy for capturing the text in English. There are other things other than just words that go into the meaning of a language.

  153. Josh the Baptist says:

    I see no reason I can’t use an old Links thread for my own “What Josh is thinking at this very moment” thread. 🙂 Michael, let me know if I’m out of line.

    Yesterday was Finney – Today reading about D.L Moody. Have always loved and respected him. Not a scholar like Finney, so he didn’t leave behind a great volume of thought, but certainly a very influential revivalist preacher. Read one thing today that i had never seen –

    He says that after a meeting, two women prayed over him that he would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Later, he credited his success as an evangelist to this Holy Spirit baptism. This would have had to have been around 1870-ish.

  154. Jean says:

    Was Ellen White one of them?

  155. Josh the Baptist says:

    No. It’s from RA Torrey’s book, “Why God used D.L Moody”. Torrey calls them Fee Methodist women, Auntie Cook and Mrs. Snow.

    Here’s the passage of interest:

    These two women would come to Mr. Moody at the close of his meetings and say: “We are praying for you.” Finally, Mr. Moody became somewhat nettled and said to them one night: “Why are you praying for me? Why don’t you pray for the unsaved?” They replied: “We are praying that you may get the power.” Mr. Moody did not know what that meant, but he got to thinking about it, and then went to these women and said: “I wish you would tell me what you mean”; and they told him about the definite baptism with the Holy Ghost. Then he asked that he might pray with them and not they merely pray for him.

    Auntie Cook once told me of the intense fervor with which Mr. Moody prayed on that occasion. She told me in words that I scarcely dare repeat, though I have never forgotten them. And he not only prayed with them, but he also prayed alone.

    Not long after, one day on his way to England, he was walking up Wall Street in New York; (Mr. Moody very seldom told this and I almost hesitate to tell it) and in the midst of the bustle and hurry of that city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. He went out from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him

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