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85 Responses

  1. John 20:29 says:

    there are those of us who are stirred when we hear that old drinking song played by a military grade band… seldom stirred by the one singing the words (usually a bit lamely IMO) and that’s too bad as the words do have a message about who and what built the United States… what unites us…

    that said, can it become an idol? … was Adam making an idol of Eve when he chose to follow her lead, overriding God’s instruction? … i guess if putting the Star Spangled Banner above common sense and God, if that’s an idol, then i guess the answer to the question in the first link would be yes… i’d rather think the tune is iconic, however

    and, i think, when in public, in a group when the anthem is played, to do other than stand (taking a knee indicates prayer? aw come on) is to say that the music has no meaning to me…

    i was once profiled, walking into the Capitol building as a middle aged lady touring Washington for a week by myself while my husband was there on business, going up the steps with another woman on the tour, i was pulled aside by the guard at the door and searched – the other woman wasn’t – i could have taken offense, but i didn’t as it was at the time some middle aged lady had taken a shot at the President and i was carrying a rather large handbag 🙂

    i fully understand the wounds and painful memories (yes, i do), the sense of not really being seen as an equal, and the desire for more progress, but i also think that most of us are blind now to the progress we’ve made and the nation who’s structure has made it possible…
    stand for the music and then go do something about the problems worrying you… you live in a nation where you can do that

    pontification attack over – God keep

  2. j2theperson says:

    I don’t really understand why the clergy housing benefit was ever okay to begin with. Why don’t pastors just get a regular salary like everyone else and have to pay for their own stuff like everyone else? Why do they get a compensation package composed of multiple benefits instead of just a regular salary?

  3. Babylon's Dread says:

    The Jesus People Movement succeeded and was sustained because that generation of young people actually read the Bible after their conversions. The millennial collapse of faith is at least partly because criticism of the church changes in culture have profoundly diminished actual personal engagement of the text.

    If you actually read the Bible the likelihood of sustained faith is profoundly different. We met Jesus and dove into the text of scripture and it changed us.

  4. Jean says:

    :We met Jesus and dove into the text of scripture and it changed us.”

    That’s what it’s for!

  5. John 20:29 says:

    #3 – as usual, Pastor Dread is right on target… how can one grow without good food?

  6. JoelG says:

    “So, can you be a Christian and not go to church? If avoiding church is the goal, then the answer has to be, no.”


    If one has social anxiety church can be hellish.

    Things are so simple outside of the Christian bubble.

  7. JoelG says:

    Aren’t so simple….

  8. Ron Larson says:

    I have listened to the video with Justin Peters and Costi Hinn, and honestly I believe it was a very well laid out argument against so much of the apostasy that surrounds the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation, the latter which is gaining in significance many professing believers. I can’t help wonder, with all of the well documented heresies, written and proclaimed on air, by those who adhere to the blasphemies that publish their “sermons: and teachings on You Tube, why more leaders in that identify as “reformers” will not publicly rebuke and distance themselves from these churches and alleged apostles and prophets. I have a Right Now media account, and have enjoyed Frances Chan, but how he can even consider sharing the pulpit with a Todd White, or accept an invitation from Mike Bickle from IHOP in Kansas City, is beyond my understanding.

    When someone accepts this, or an invitation to be used by TBN hosts, it makes the adherents of these heretical movements appear legitimate, and I fear that more and more people as prophesied in scripture, men whom I have appreciated there call to the body to be zealous for His word, and good works, would even consider associating with these groups.

  9. John 20:29 says:

    all the comments here (mine excepted) make cogent observations on what is lacking in churches… we desperately need to be mature in the Word as the devil is very good at the “peace and friendship” utopia – declaring that men, who are inherently good, can and must construct… we just need a few more laws and less religion, eh? NOT

    i think we should take on the anti-Christian crowd from the standpoint of agreeing with their criticisms of what they see us as being today – at least we can pray that God will raise up a tough minded teacher who tells it like it really is… and give that guy a prime time TV venue 🙂

    we are of another kingdom, an everlasting kingdom that won’t occur until the King returns and sets it up …

    thanks for another linkathon full things to think on again

  10. John 20:29 says:

    well, i gotta comment again, sorry
    just read, admittedly quickly, thru the unarmed empire link and one thing seemed to be overlooked and that is that we do have weapons and we’re supposed to be skilled in their use and that’s what’s been discussed on this thread, i think… dunno

    thinking on the housing allowance thing … once upon a time didn’t every church come with a manse of some sort or a parish house that belonged to the church, not the occupying pastor or priest?
    my old Presbyterian pastor and his wife retired to a condo … on their own dime, i suspect … pay the pastor a decent salary and leave up to him to save up for a house when he leaves the ministry or retires … housing allowance? more creeping corporatism methinks

  11. Jean says:

    Just Admit It…You Stink

    “I don’t think it’s that the world of people outside of our faith expect us to be perfect, but more that we go about our lives pretending as though that were true. We try very hard to stay upwind from ourselves, enjoying our denial and calling it godliness, but that doesn’t stop the stench from wafting into the noses of everyone around us.”

    – Sarah Taras

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My understanding of the housing allowance, at least how Lutherans do it, is that it is not an add on to salary, but a designation of salary.

    Pay your pastor $50,000 – he then can designate a certain amount of that $50,000 as housing allowance – say $10,000 which then he does not claim as taxable income. Now what the pastor does need to do is show that he did indeed spend that amount on his housing expense. So it’s not like he gets $50K in salary and an additional $10K to call housing and do what he wants with it.
    Over the years this has been an offset for churches that pay their pastor as a contract employee who then gets hit paying both sides of the employment taxes – which adds up. Churches do this so that they do not have to pay the employment taxes.

  13. Eric says:

    I often see articles along the lines of “Do I have to go to church to be Christian?”. While I agree with much of what they say, they end up suggesting that a faithful Christian ought to go to an organised church like the one in which the writer is a paid minister.

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think the important thingto consider is that we all have a role in church. Its not about what we get out of it or if it is fulfilling – but what we deliver to others … even if it is to sit around and tell others why you hate going to church but why you come anyway – -it is an encouragement to others who are thinking of dropping out.

  15. JoelG says:

    I don’t think my grandma went to church the last 30 years of her life and she pointed me to Jesus growing up as much as my church-going parents. I met believers in at outreach downtown who struggled with addictions and depression and Id be surprised if they ever set foot in church again. I believe they’ll be in heaven because of Jesus, not their churchmanship. Now I understand the importance of hearing the Gospel and receiving the sacraments. It’s everything else that’s difficult for me. I hope that changes within me.

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    #12 MLD

    I used the parsonage allowance for years… Yes, it is a tax dodge.

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, my point was that housing allowance is not an add on to salary. Most people think you get $50k salary and another $20k for housing.

  18. covered says:

    MLD, your #12 is correct. I receive a salary and the portion of that salary that I pay toward rent or mortgage as well as utilities directly related to the home, is not taxable income. So, if my salary is $3000 per month and my rent and utilities total $1500 per month, then I pay income taxes on $1500 per month.

    I do not receive one check for salary and another check for housing allowance or anything else. I also pay for my own vehicle and cell phone. My wife and I also also have to provide our own medical insurance.

    There are many clergy who have taken advantage of the current system but I would say that for the most part, it’s the way I laid it out.

  19. JoelG says:

    Let’s pretend in order to be a Christian you have to walk on a high wire 10 stories up between 2 buildings. And let’s say a person loves Jesus but is afraid of heights.

    That’s what it’s like having social anxiety and having such a large part of the Christian life being social. Small groups, loud Sunday services, being part of a community where chit chat is central. It can be exhausting.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What’s really funny is that all of us who own homes take a housing allowance (tax dodge) when we take our interest and taxes deduction. Many of us have additionally written off use of home for business purposes.

  21. JoelG says:

    I don’t know why I feel the need to spill my guts here. It’s probably better that I leave rather than trying to justify myself to the religious. Thanks for all the good insights.

  22. j2theperson says:

    ***What’s really funny is that all of us who own homes take a housing allowance (tax dodge) when we take our interest and taxes deduction. Many of us have additionally written off use of home for business purposes.***

    Why not just have pastors use those. I don’t understand why they get separate, special, clergy specific allowances and write offs. This is not something I’m offended by or up in arms over, but it is something I legitimately just don’t understand. Why does it exist?

  23. bob1 says:

    Why does it exist?

    A couple of guesses:

    — Churches are seen as a social good, with clergy seen as the professionals in this realm.

    — Many pastors have a tough time making ends meet. This helps many of them, along with their congregations, of course.

  24. John 20:29 says:

    i haven’t, over my lifetime found very many churches that really make you feel that the Lord was in their midst… i don’t think that it was always that way… when times were slower and communities were smaller and one felt that “the Lord was in His Holy Temple” when in church… dunno

    i do think that it is wrong to assume that one has to be IN church to walk with the Lord… not so sure He’s on the golf course or at the ball game, tho … might be … dunno

    praying that those who are worn out from church games would be given the gift that our family received, so different in composition from what Xenia received, but the result in both instances, was finding a place to grow deeper in the nurture of the Lord and in His wisdom or so it seems to me…

    a praise of sorts:
    up late because our 19 year old cat decided to dislocate his shoulder trying to get up onto the sofa (“his” sofa) – his whole leg looked grotesquely skewed, so thinking we’d be putting him down, right after she’d gotten in from a 14 hour shift, my nurse daughter was back in the car on an emergency run in to the vet… an hour’s trip one way… the vet gave Axle pain meds, popped his shoulder back in place – and all is well for my cat loving daughter, who is now heading for a good night’s sleep… and, therefore, me too – it was an answer to prayer, thank You, Lord

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    J2, why is there any consideration for anyone in the tax code? Why is the tax code thousands of pages.
    Taxes are a weapon used by the government / society to shape behavior. If we want to get people to smoke less we raise taxes. If we want to increase homeownership we give tax breaks to people who buy homes. Why do people who have kids get a tax break and those who choose not to have kids don’t?
    I am sure it is the same with clergy taxes – it benefited some politicians to gain votes. It may be archaic and time to go.

  26. Xenia says:

    Hi Em,

    I want to make a little clarification. I didn’t leave Calvary Chapel and the evangelical world because I was worn out, tired of church, disappointed, etc. I didn’t leave because CC was “bad,” I left because *I* was bad and getting worse with each passing year. I don’t believe I fit into the category of many people who left the world of churches for the reasons we often discuss here.

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    #22 JT

    The housing allowance was originally intended to reflect the fact that people in ministry had to live close to their job – there were other professions that were given this perquisite such as certain members of the military. It also reflected the fact that many clergy had provided parsonages. Over the past few decades, most clergy have preferred to have their own homes (building equity) and few parsonages remain. The tax free housing allowance has remained, which effectively increases a pastoral salary as a benefit. This perquisite now extends to clergy involved outside of parish work – denominational administrators, clergy in teaching positions, etc.

    I hope this helps…

  28. John 20:29 says:

    #26, i appreciate the important clarification, Xenia … didn’t mean to imply that i knew “why” you pulled away … sorry
    but, still, it does point to the fact that so many of the Redeemed today are starving spirits, does it not? … as i think on it, are churches trying to feed the old man or the new?

  29. Dan from Georgia says:

    Listening to ya JoelG!

  30. Michael says:


    We post all these different articles not necessarily because I’m in agreement with them,but because they will provoke thought and discussion.

    I spill my guts a lot here, so that others will feel comfortable doing likewise…that’s how we learn that we have more in common with others than we knew.

    Nobody believes in the importance of church more than I do…but if I wasn’t preaching, I’d have a hard time attending…

  31. BryonM says:


    Thank you for linking to my article. I’m honored, friend.


  32. j2theperson says:

    Thanks Duane. It sounds like it’s not very relevant anymore. It probably should be gotten rid of.

  33. Ron Larson says:

    I personally have never understood that fascination with Luther. People gloss over the sad fact, that his teaching on baptism was sadly the same as apostate Rome. He also was as most know, was an utter anti-Semite, and that hatred has spawned the vicious attitude many still have towards Jews to this day. He wanted the book of James removed from the cannon of scripture, because of his imballanced understanding of saving faith and works. He advocated for the death penalty of Anabaptists. Sadly, today, like Rome, many that call themselves Lutheran believe they came into a right relationship with Christ because of their infant baptism, and that heresy has infected the Lutheran Church to large degree with adherents and leadership to compromise with the cultural regarding homosexual deviancy, and women who have authority and oversight as Pastors. It is certainly arguable that while some of what Luther taught was sound theologically, his character and other doctrinal flaws indicate he very well have been unregenated.

  34. Michael says:


    I won’t address the “errors” in your comment now, but when you speak of Luther’s doctrinal flaws what is your standard you measure him against?

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I would just point out a few things related to your post.
    1.) If Lutheran teaching on baptism is sadly the same as apostate Rome, is it fair for me to point out that your teachings on the Trinity, the virgin birth, the diety of Christ and many others are also the same as the apostate Rome?
    2.) Luther did not propose to have the book of James removed from the canon – check out the Luther Bible – he translated James and included it. He had concerns – but he was not the only one and there is a whole field of study of the Antilegomena and the Homologoumena. Luther wasn’t alone and James was not the only book.
    3.) Although some may ignorantly state that they are saved because of their infant baptism, the proper Lutheran teaching is that they came to salvation through their baptism – and Lutherans properly define baptism as God word wash in the water. I will point to something you may be familiar with in your circles – those who said they were saved because of an altar call (in a place that not only does not have an altar, but forbids them.

    But that’s just a beginning.

  36. Ron Larson says:

    Tell me what errors….In what has been published out of his own mouth was a virulent anti-semite, and his error regarding the Doctrine of Baptism certainly lead him to advance the state should condemn those whom he disagreed with. Their is no doctrine of “paedo-baptism,” except for one that man has invented. Not one scripture, and please don’t give me the “covenant” argument. People are called to repent and be baptized, not parents adhering to a man made ritual, and then add another man made ritual in the act of confirmation. The man was foul and beligerent on many occasions. I do appreciate his courage against apostate Rome, but he wanted reform, but Roman Catholicism is “unreformable” then and now.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I do love when people make charges against Luther – and he was a rascal. I think the late Dr. Gene Scott would be close to Luther in temperment, personality and attitude.

    But everyone brings up the book of James – not because they have studied it, but because they have heard and passed on stories. There were several books in question and a division was made between the Homologoumena, the accepted writings and the Antilegomena, the disputed writings.
    Hebrews – James – 2 Peter – 2 & 3 John – Jude and Revelation. Now if you are going to argue the case for Luther being a bad theologian, I have given you some fodder. 😉

  38. John 20:29 says:

    Just musing….
    “Altar” … how did that physical object become a required piece of church furniture?
    or am I mistaken in my definition of altar as a location for sacrifices?

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Ron, Lutherans are not covenantal. We would argue that baptism saves, baptism is the washing of regeneration and a whole bunch of other passages saying the same thing. From that point we would argue that there is no age restriction. Can you find the age restriction?
    We know infants can communicate and respond to God – check out John the Baptist and David at his mother’s breast.
    I don’t even need to use the whole household argument — but I guess I just did. 😉

    So tell us how your altar call saved you.

  40. John 20:29 says:

    While my instinct is to run from Lutheranism (not necessarily from Lutherans ? ), I believe that the very earthy, to the point of rude and crude, mannerisms of old Martin Luther was the accepted conduct of his German contemporaries… it had nothing to do with intellectual capacity or piety.. dunno, tho, do i?

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, you are correct there – it was a more polemic time and it was 300 yrs before the Victorian era of politeness and men wearing silk pedal pushers.

  42. John 20:29 says:

    Jumping in the middle of this conversation again – apologies
    An altar call doesn’t save anything (certainly not time), but the response to an invitation to declare publicly that you are choosing to respond to the Holy Spirit and follow Christ, accepting the salvation in Christ is the beginning – the new birth – a holy thing…
    been there, done that, ordered my wedding T shirt
    bending the intent to invite “inquirers” to come “forward” changes the meaning of the act… but pragmatically, it does allow interested people to declare their interest and be steered to a local church… with mixed results

  43. Jean says:

    I’m shocked, but not surprised, that people criticize Lutherans for believing God’s Word. If the Bible says baptism now saves you, and someone believes what the Bible says, people condemn faith in God’s promises.

    What do they replace it with: “the response to an invitation to declare publicly that you are choosing to respond to the Holy Spirit and follow Christ, accepting the salvation in Christ is the beginning – the new birth – a holy thing”.

    Wonderful, birth yourself. No thanks. I’ll stick with the Gospel “folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

  44. John 20:29 says:

    Well,Jean, that’s not the way it is in my part of the Kingdom
    Water baptism is IMV a requirement of the Redeemed, not the redeeming act .. if one choses to receive a water baptism, there’s a pretty good chance that one has received the new birth by the work of The Holy Spirit (the baptism of the Holy Spirit)
    Think on it a bit… who is doing the “birthing” if it is achieved by the means of H2O?
    Interestingly I think we both would argue that it, this new birth, is the Work of the Holy Spirit
    What you are believing is your chosen interpretation of the meaning of the instruction and, since God judges hearts, im not concerned for your standing before God, nor mine
    But I know you fear God and would never distort another’s interpretation just to make a point. ?

  45. Jean says:


    You don’t have to sugar coat anything. Here is but one of dozens of baptism references:

    “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you” Is that a requirement of the redeemed? Of course not. It is not a requirement at all, but it is an explanation of the grace which is imparted in baptism.

    Second, the Bible is full of examples where God commanded that grace be imparted through physical means, including in an ark, the River Jordan, a bronze serpent, circumcision, etc. If God says “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” who are you to mock H2O or His Word?

    This is not my chosen interpretation, but was the interpretation of the Church for at least the first 4 Centuries and perhaps many more centuries (perhaps Duane could shed some life on the history).

  46. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, I’m not getting into a silly baptism debate with you – men more devout, honest and educated than you and, most certainly, me have made their arguments in favor of both sides of this…
    your parting shot was, “birth yourself” … ? …. well, argue with yourself, dear Jean – list proof texts till you faint from the strain and then sleep soundly tonight wrapped up in them!
    no sugar? ?

  47. Jean says:


    You entered into the thread with your new birth process (at #43). You are entitled to do that, but others can respond with a counterpoint. You say I proof text, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter what Bible references I could produce, you won’t listen. Again that’s fine. It happens all the time. But if you don’t want a counterpoint, don’t comment on something as fundamental to the Christian faith as baptism, because if you do, you will get a counterpoint.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, Water, in the original Greek = Amniotic fluid
    That’s what they say. LOL 🙂

  49. Duane Arnold says:

    #46 Jean

    Water baptism, for all members of the family – infant to adults – was common by the second century of the common era. There is validity to the covenant argument in that early Christianity was concerned with the family, the community. Even circumcision may come into play. All that being said, the early archeological evidence,initially indicates baptisteries for adults. Sorry to throw this wrench into the works, but I have to be honest with the evidence.

  50. Jean says:


    That wasn’t my question. When did baptism cease to be a means of grace?

  51. Michael says:

    I recommend Ferguson’s “Baptism In The Early Church” for those interested in this topic.

    You need to be really interested as the book is both massive and expensive… 🙂

  52. John 20:29 says:

    Jean, I usually just let the teaching and doctrinal positions posted here, on which I have come to a different conclusion, go without a response

    As one of the teachers here on Michael’s blog , that is your prerogative…

    Not at all bothered by counterpoint BTW – although I suspect I come in handy for that purpose here at times ? … this isn’t one of them

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Once again, Duane’s eyes, reason and experience trumps scriptures.
    I am still going through my concordance page by page looking for the age restriction for baptism.
    Archeology, 2,000 yrs from now will dig up many adult baptistries – that only shows they dug in SBC territory in the Bible Belt. 🙂

  54. Michael says:


    No need for insults.
    Church history shows that infant baptism didn’t become common until late in the 3rd century.
    That’s just a simple fact.

    There is excellent scholarship supporting both forms of baptism by people equally committed to Scripture.

  55. Jean says:


    Maybe you have an idea, when did the idea arise that baptism does not convey the remission of sins?

  56. John 20:29 says:

    On the baptism subject, I was sprinkled as a Presbyterian and then married a Baptist and, after praying much, chose to be immersed, more for family continuity… putting on a white smock and getting dunked, coming up soaking wet goes a long way to elimination of self importance, I gained some humility, I think – God approves of humility … Maybe no one should be baptised until they’re in their 20s? ?

    Redemption, however, is about as sacred a subject as we Christians have – I apologize if I have been dismissive of anyone’s induction into the Family

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So, do I follow scripture or do I follow archaeology?
    Who is to say that parents didn’t walk their children into the baptistry?
    What about the whole household stuff?

  58. Michael says:


    I can only guess and my guess would be that it would have been the Anabaptists or the fore runners of the same.

  59. Jean says:


    What about the whole: let the little children come to Me stuff?

  60. Michael says:

    “So, do I follow scripture or do I follow archaeology?”

    I would expect that you would follow your interpretation of Scripture according to conscience.

    At least here, I expect that you’ll respect others who disagree doing likewise.

  61. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael. That would have been my guess. So, to some, the Church was wrong for the first 1,500 years.

  62. Michael says:


    In some areas Luther thought the church was wrong for 1500 years…

    All the different sects believe they are committed to Scripture and have compelling arguments from church and tradition.

    We pick the one we have an affinity for.

    I respect them all and understand that everyone is interpreting…no one is speaking from Sinai.

  63. Duane Arnold says:


    The whole issue of sacramental life was brought into question by the early Anabaptists, inclusive of baptism. Owing to the high regard afforded baptism by the early church (they did believe that it conferred the remission of sins) there are numerous examples of people delaying baptism until late in life as they were concerned with post-baptismal sins. The most famous example being Constantine. Sacramental theology is one of those areas where the doctrine developed over the first four centuries of the church.

    The denial of baptism as a means of grace does not really arise until the Radical Reformation. That being said, “covenant theology” is not sacramental theology, so you would have to place the vast majority of Reformed as not embracing baptism as a means of grace, even among those who practice infant baptism.

    By the way, using Scripture, Reason and Tradition is rather normative in the approach to most of these topics… at least for anyone who is actually wishes to engage in learning and research as opposed to simply shouting slogans. Additionally, I might add that I indicated the archeological evidence in order to be honest. As a result I was immediately accused of some sort of departure from the faith. If you want to ask me what I believe, do so and I will tell you. If you want to ask about some aspect of Church History or the history of doctrine, you are asking for the best evidence and research or my opinion about the same. Attacking a person’s faith or faith system as a result of them offering historical evidence is simply wrong.

  64. Jean says:


    Thanks for your insights. Your #64 appears to be responding to two different people here. I love archaeology.

    I am not aware of any Christian denominations or nondenominational church which believes baptism confers the grace of God for adults but not infants. The opponents of baptism as a means of grace bring up infant baptism in a vain attempt to make a rational argument. But either way, infant or adult, they don’t believe that baptism confers the remission of sins.

    Because once someone realizes that it is God doing the baptizing, that it is His grace to give, that He has commanded how it is to be given and administered, that His Word and Spirit added to the water are strong enough to do what the Word says, then such a person should realize that God can save anyone and wishes to save everyone. The mentally impaired, the young, the old, the smart, the simple…everyone. Jesus went out of his way to give grace to the powerless, children, sinners and outcasts, but it is only the sophisticates of this age who want to fence out certain types of people from the grace of God.

  65. Duane Arnold says:

    #65 Jean

    Sacramental theology, not surprisingly, is restricted to sacramental churches – RCC, EO, Lutherans, Anglicans, Copts, etc. On the Protestant side, most (if not all) do not see physical actions as a means of grace, i.e. conferring grace. Some, however, would say that such actions “reflect” grace (covenant theology, etc.) which is wholly different.

  66. Duane Arnold says:

    #66 Addendum


    There is an additional issue that goes along with this – When should children be admitted to and receive the Eucharist?

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Technically children could should be able to participate right after baptism. In many cases for church order it’s delayed.

  68. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Going back to scripture, archaeology and history. From my experience, I see scripture so often losing out to what I call “look around theology”. It is usually some form of scripture vs what we see around us or reason. I first used this when discussing the binding of satan. Folks would say “Yes I know that Jesus claims to have bound satan, such as Matt 12 – ‘but look around’ – we know that satan cannot be bound at this time.”

    I think we see the same here – yeah scripture says this but archaeology says something else – but I won’t argue that point as it will go nowhere. So let me give that the 2nd century church was not baptizing babies – how does that override the scriptures? We know that the churches in the first 2 or 3 centuries were making all kinds of error which needed correction – hence we had centuries of councils and development of creeds. Perhaps the lack of infant baptism was one of those errors.

    Now we do know from church history that the church was baptizing babies by the early 3rd century and as many who deny the sacramental efficacy of baptism have often said, it was out of superstition since so many babies were dying the parents made this up. Let me give that for a minute – why wasn’t that corrected in the councils?

  69. Duane Arnold says:

    I think we have indications in Scripture warranting infant baptism, but nothing that is explicit in terms of example or instruction. I know all the so-called “proof texts”, but there is nothing as explicit as, for instance, the Lord’s Supper. For me, that is not a problem as I believe in the development of doctrine under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For others, relying only on Scripture, there is ambiguity.

  70. Duane Arnold says:


    Many view Confirmation as having arrived at the “age of accountability” for admission to the Eucharist… which, in my view, is a slippery slope.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well I certainly do believe in an age of accountability – like the Bible, I put it at birth – perhaps even before 😉

  72. Duane Arnold says:

    You might inform some of your Lutheran brethren… I’ve had many (LCMS) speak of an age of accountability, which is a very inconsistent theology.

  73. Xenia says:

    Baptized Orthodox babies receive the Eucharist. Their first Communion happens at their baptism, which is triple immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When my godson was a baby I used to carry him up to the Chalice. He’s old enough to go up by himself now.

  74. Xenia says:

    Complete immersion of newborn babies! Now that takes faith!

  75. Duane Arnold says:

    #74 Xenia

    Indeed, the EO have been consistent with their theology in this matter – all the rest of us… not so much!

  76. Xenia says:

    MLD, I don’t quite get what you mean by “church order.”

    Orthodox Eucharist is served from the Chalice on a spoon. That prevents any mishap that might occur with babies and little cups, etc. The priest gets a tiny piece of the Bread and some of the (warm) wine on a spoon and slips it into the baby’s mouth. No muss or fuss and nothing spilled and no children monkeying around with the elements. Works great!

  77. Xenia says:

    Here’s a picture of a cute baby receiving Communion:

  78. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – So folks have wayward theologies within the LCMS — so what? Age of accountability is not found in the Bible nor the Confessions – This is why they are ‘wayward theologies’

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – church order is not about rowdiness – it is just how the church has decided to do something. I don’t always agree with church order – but in the end I am not going to be disruptive. When I open my own Lutheran church we will serve the children.

  80. Xenia says:

    Ah, ok. Thanks.

  81. Xenia says:

    I was basically wondering if the decision not to serve babies Communion was a matter of theology or a matter of practicality.

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – I cannot see what the theology is. Confirmation itself is kind of a made up order and is the reason we do not include it as a sacrament. It gets fuzzy there. I would think it a Lutheran church wanted to serve infant communion, they could do it.

  83. Duane Arnold says:

    #82 Xenia

    I think there are two issues here (at least) –

    1) In the West when Confirmation (reception of the Holy Spirit) became a Sacrament in the RCC it served as the gateway to full participation as an adult in the life of the church.

    2) As there was a higher and higher view of the Eucharist, eventually moving toward reception in one kind, it was a matter of practicality in terms of children.

    Now that the prayers have been changed and chrismation taking place at baptism (rather than, or in addition to confirmation) it has left a bit of a confused theology in Western Sacramental churches…

    There is also the social/rite of passage element of “first communion” that many are unwilling to abandon.

  84. John 20:29 says:

    i have enjoyed, if that’s the right term, reading the thots of those here who have chosen to follow, to affirm the teachings, in Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy – Roman Catholicism gets a good word occasionally ….
    at the end of this thread now i am thinking that God accepts our way of getting in line as we understand what is required of us… (even if we’ve concluded that our way is the only way) – the formalized orders of worship give structure, data points and focus to follow Him day in and day out….
    so long as we avoid putting our denomination’s label above the label of “Redeemed,” i.e., to say that i am redeemed because i am Roman Catholic, Anglican, etc. IMV, would be wrong… on the other hand, if i say, i am Roman Catholic because i am redeemed … that i can honor

    just pondering on everyone’s good thots … again

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