The counter cultural drama of Ash Wednesday…
How Ash Wednesday offers hope…
Don’t diminish Zacharias’ abuse with “we’re all sinners”…
What a plague and a pandemic have in common…
How should Christians talk about God?
Jordan’s Orthodox archbishop calls evangelicals a danger to society…
The gratuitous abundance of books…
Tamar’s Story as a Blessing during #MeToo/#ChurchToo..
The Linkathon often gets fewer comments but I find it to be a gold mine always.
Politico exposed my tribe – and it is accurate; https://apple.news/AgWiAzZJnRzeXbaguFhPikw
Your tribe has been exposed before..but is impervious to such.
It is not alone…the machine pop Christianity grinds on and it grinds the faithful first…
While I have never totally understood your continued association with your tribe, I have always respected your integrity and forthrightness.
The question that has long been in my head is at what point do we consider calling anathema on it all with so many “prophets” or “healers” whose prophecies prove to be untrue or healings that prove to not have actually taken place? This has really been exacerbated in recent times with a large swath of “prophets” falsely prophesying about Trump winning and retaining the presidency.
I know that there are legitimate miraculous healings that happen and prophecies (or maybe they’re just accurate predictions) that come true. But at what point does the amount of fraudulence become so overwhelming that the whole construct should be torn down? Or at the very least, every “prophet” who has ever given a false prophecy and every “healer” who has claimed a false healing is kicked out of the movement? What is then left?
Pentecostalism laid the groundwork for anti-science, QAnon and Trumpism.
Traditionally mankind is had two sources of truth, the Word of God and Empirical Science. Enter Pentecostalism and you have a 3rd source, heavenly prophets.
Now, any charismatic or gifted and entertaining speaker, with a hunch, suspicion or revelation can override the Word of God and/or Science. Repeat the nonsense enough and it takes on the airs of truth in the eyes of the ignorant.
Why else would anyone listen to the Covid treatment remedies of the former president over the FDA? Why would else would anyone listen to a charismatic pastor’s advice or pronouncements regarding wearing a mask or social distancing over the CDC? Why else would someone listen to the My Pillow CEO or Eric Metaxas regarding the results of an election over the voluminous courts, Secretaries of State, Governors, and Justice Departments at the local, State and Federal levels.
Basically, IMO, pentecostalism has done more to harm the church and society as almost any other false doctrine in history.
The NDA link should hit every Christian hard… It is one thing to not gossip, but quite another to tolerate behaviors that we know, as the letters to the seven churches example, are NOT to e tolerated
I would dispute this.
The anti-intellectualism strain came from fundamentalism around the early 20th century in response to German liberalism and evolution.
I am not a Pentecostal, but I started in that camp…and it’s as valid an expression of Christianity as any other flavor of orthodoxy.
Science, too, has its share of ego driven false conclusions. We must pray for discernment…… IMV, of course….. .😇
I will say that the charismatic/Pentecostal movement has been source of all manner of nonsense because it allows a measure of subjective input “from the Spirit”.
I still prefer that risk to being fenced in to my sects interpretation of a translators interpretation of Scripture…
It may be splitting hairs to separate Pentacostalism from Fundamentalism. Both are early 20th century, both breed anti-intellectualism, maybe for different reasons. But yes, both are valid expressions of the faith, though rife with a silliness that I’m not sure can be separated from any branch of our faith.
Science doesn’t have an ego; it doesn’t make conclusions. Science pertains to the methodologies for weighing evidence and deriving knowledge of the natural world.
It is hard to find any without a measure of silliness these days…silliness taken very seriously.
I split the hairs because fundy sects usually loathe Pentecostals…
Jean, true, but there is also much goofiness that takes place in the name of science.
Pentacostalism denies enough of the core tenants of what I embrace as orthodoxy that I can’t join Michael and Josh in considering it either valid or orthodox. However, I won’t argue the point or belabor the point.
I see Pentecostals as a certain type of Fundamentalist. In my neck of the woods, the only difference between the Baptist fundies and Pentecostals is tongues. Everything else is virtually identical. Historically, there are theological differences, but neither camp is informed enough to tell you what those differences are today.
But yes, in general, we are a silly people. Unbelievably gullible and given to mass hysteria. Sometimes you stop saying “yes, but”, and just look around and say “this is us.”
I judge orthodoxy by the ancient creeds and most Pentecostals would affirm those basic tenets.
I’m going back to Dread’s comment about his tribe being exposed. I think it pertains to all of us to a greater or lesser degree. I’m an Episcopalian and three quarters of my tribe are basically nuts (a good theological term). If I were a Baptist, I would shudder over some of the things that come out of the SBC. Decades ago, LCMS almost became a bridge between evangelicals and an historic tradition. Then LCMS took a hard right turn. I mentor a Methodist pastor who feels like a stranger in his denomination. If I were just a moderate run of the mill evangelical, I can’t imagine what I would make of the “God and Country” folk… It seems nowadays we are all strangers in a strange land to a lesser or greater degree… and I don’t see a solution.
With all do respect (and I’m not being snarky), what we have found in past conversations on the blog is that different traditions are able to affirm the ecumenical creeds while holding very different interpretations. That to me is not any sort of agreement or affirmation of basic tenants.
Let’s, for example, look at one small clause from the Nicene Creed:
“I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins”
I imagine that no one here would say they have any problem at all with this clause. However, it would mean polar opposites for some of us. What does “one” mean? What does “Baptism” mean? How does Baptism correspond to “for the remission of sins?” All of these words have to do with basic tenants IMO.
I’m not asking for anyone’s answers, and I’m not promoting any one interpretation of this clause, but in creedal Christianity, all these words have specific meanings and a historical background. So, in my case I would want to dig into the creeds before saying someone affirms the basic tenants.
Well said, Duane…
I understand…I used to feel the same way, though my tribe and yours disagreed even then.
At this point in my life, I’m much more focused on the person and work of Christ than the doctrines around the same.
I may be too minamilist, but it’s where I find life.
I respect that Michael. I respect the other opinions too. I’m not hear anymore to proselytize. I do miss the theology discussions a lot though! But I suppose, since opinions vary so much, they are not as fruitful as I was expecting.
“If I were a Baptist, I would shudder over some of the things that come out of the SBC.”
If certain votes go the way they seem to be headed this summer, I will no longer be SBC.
I think they may be fruitful in terms of helping people find a tradition that fits them.
I am always going to be grateful for my Pentecostal brothers and sisters as they were the ones who nursed me out of the world into the ministry.
I had an “experience” in the church that I can neither explain or deny.
To be honest, I saw love and holiness in that church I’ve never seen elsewhere.
How would that affect your employment?
That’s scary ground…
I could probably survive at my local church for a period of time. The writing is on the wall though for me and the SBC in terms of distant plans. I may be perceiving the tides incorrectly, but the SBC that many seem to want does not include me. My hope is to last about two more years and then reassess.
Again, there is a change that the J.D. Greears and Russell Moores could be reaffirmed this summer, and what I have seen is just a loud minority. I would very grateful for that surprise.
You are a man of conscience…not easy in your position…
So sorry. All of us, it seems, are in difficult positions these days. As I said, it’s hard to see a solution…
I understand your frustration in wanting agreement on basic tenets. On the other hand, the two of us likely agree on 99.5%… and we are still separated. It is all dysfunctional… or at least it seems that way to me…
Thanks guys, and I agree Duane. So Dysfunctional. The whole thing.
Jean, @ 10:03
Are we talking science or scientists? If you don’t believe that many scientists have big egos, I’d have to ask you if you know any? ? ?
What Jean said about science is true.
Sure, scientists have egos…just like the rest of us. Big deal. A scientist having a big ego doesn’t invalidate the science. Every profession contains egomaniacs.
IOW, if you’re saying scentists with big egos should be suspected of conducting bad science, I disagree.
If a scientist is presenting false science to meet an agenda, whether on the left or right, they’ll be found out, sooner or later. By peers or others.
That’s been my observation over the years.
Science is a human endeavor with plenty of ego, corruption and politics just like religion.
The scientific method may be pure but so is divine revelation. When these pass through human filters they are magically transformed.
It is however, true that my church affirms the ecumenical creeds of the faith as our foundation and an additional statement of faith that includes statements affirming continuationism.
The statement about baptism is indeed open to all kinds of interpretations.
Are you concerned about the opposition to critical race theory within the SBC? Are there another bundle of issues? Al Mohler is now considered left by his critics but I’m not clear on all the drama.
When they forbade women in ministry and charismatic practice among missionaries that was our demise.
Jean seems to agree with the old epithet that Pentecostalism is the last spit of Satan
I am not a Pentecostal but accept the accusation in the same way that I accept the aspersions over evangelicalism.
This blog is where my flagellation is accomplished. So there’s potential merit in that 🤷🏻♂️
I work in a life sciences company. I work with scientists every day. The vast majority of scientists are devoted to discovering objective facts and truths. Most scientific fields have a process of peer review of studies and discoveries. Peer review provides an added layer of objectivity to scientific work.
Human reason, employed in the field of science, is a gift from God. Science got man to the moon. It has cured countless diseases. It has created modern conveniences. It has contributed to the feeding of the world. (It has also created weapons of mass destruction.)
Until the Enlightenment, the colleges of science and theology were neighbors in major universities. The coexisted together. Today, there is a spirit amongst some theologians who would delegitimize science or subordinate it to theology.
Science cannot prove or disprove God. Theology cannot prove or disprove science. I would contend that theologians should stay in their lane, while scientists should stay in their lane. Both lanes are needed; both are valid; both are performed by sinful human begins, so neither endeavor is conducted infallibly.
Peer reviews are very compromised by ideology. It’s simply the times we’re in. Objectivity is the Sasquatch of academia these days. I know that’s controversial but I didn’t learn it from Christians but from liberal atheists of all kinds. Strange days.
Peer reviews are very compromised by ideology
Proof? Sources? Articles?
Jean, Your 1:21 post is so well thought out, and so true. Thank you for stating the truth so succinctly. I have to admit that the article about Tamar’s sexual abuse was difficult for me to read, as I am in the # Me too camp and the abuser in my case was a trusted older family member ( thankfully outside of my immediate family). I never told anyone for years and I just recently found out that he did the same thing to my sister. We both suffered in shame and silence,afraid to tell anyone bevause the family membrr was a respectef patriarch and highly esteemed and we were worth nothing, we thought at the time- something to be used by powerful men.The author of that article is RIGHT. If that story is in the Bible than God wants us to pay attention to how men abuse women in their midst. Even in their churches ,even in their own familes, as in my case. Abuse by a family member is the most damaging to the victim, because the abuser is someone the victim trusted to protect them. My abuse happened during a summer spent with relatives when my father’s job called him overseas for a period of time. I have noticed that my former church often overlooked any story in the Bible that makes men uncomfortable, or makes men look bad compared to the woman in any scriptute or story. God obviously put that story in the Bible to warn women, and to expose the the evil in mens’ hearts in their dealings with women. Yet my church made those stories ‘taboo’ and yet my church taught that every word in the Bible was inspired by God and useful for the edification of the saints. They did not practice what they taught from the pulpit, however. They were probably afraid that women might begin to realize that have rights as God’s precious daughters, and that women need to beware of the wolves in their midst. All my church cared about , Calvary Chapel, was that women submit to men in all circumstances,seven if it meant giving up their legal, human rights. ( I was counseled this way during a rough patch in my marriage when we sought Calgary Chapel marriage counseling). It’s no wonder that there is never an end to the constant stream of stories about mens’ abuses of women in our churches. See this weeks post about this exact subject. Thank you for posting the article, Michael, even if it did trigger painful memories for me.( I was 13 at the time).
James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, Peter Boghossian
I am preparing a return to the tribe that I left 30 years ago. That preparation has included making sure that my opposition to the evangelicalism that was represented in our last election is clearly understood. Even so, I am walking carefully.
I hope it all works out for you…
Bride of Christ
Your story is one echoing in my pastoral care far too many times. Additionally I am the lone brother of 8. — a very blended family. They had far too many horror stories. One relative assaulted 3 of my sisters separately. None of them told while he lived. He would not have received pastoral kindness at my hands.
I’ve not read the Tamar story yet but she remains one of my most admired Biblical persons. And her reward remains eternally. Her story redefines biblical righteousness – I’ll be interested if the author notes that.
Grace peace and mercy upon you.
Thank you for hearing. It means so much just to be heard finally.
I’m sorry and outraged that this happened to you.
Commented before reading… bad mistake. My
mind went to Tamar of Gen 38 and her condemnation for sexual misconduct in the covenant story of the seed of Abraham… she too was a victim of the sexual predations of male desire but not rape. Ironically the author of the article confesses to having made the same error in her thinking.
The article was powerful and provided ground for Bride of Christ to appeal to us via her own story.
“Peer reviews are very compromised by ideology. It’s simply the times we’re in. Objectivity is the Sasquatch of academia these days.”
Either we are going to have agreed upon methods of analyzing data and making informed decisions, or we are going to go back to what we just got rid of, a charismatic political leader who says, “I’ve heard this,” “I know more than the scientists,” “Trust me,” etc.
A functioning society must decide, where to build a power plant, what pollution mitigation equipment will be installed, if and where to build a pipeline, how much logging of a forest is sustainable, what should and should not go into landfills, how close to residences should power lines be installed, what level of sewage can safely be piped into a waterway, and the list goes on and on. In all these decisions, the ecological, environmental, economic and impact on human life must be measured.
We need to move beyond suspicion or throwing our hands up with “we can’t make data driven objective decisions and revert back to “Trust me.”
So, how about some suggestions for reforming peer review? What do you see wrong and how would you fix it? Or, can you think of a better way for decisions makers to make decisions involving the above list?
Jean: “It has created modern conveniences.” I for one are grateful for those! https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/19/alaska-woman-outhouse-attacked-bear
We can fix anything if we have a will to do so. Universities have a purpose (telos). In America most had a telos of the propagation of revealed truth. Slowly enlightenment thinking caused the telos to shift to discovering truth. Liberal universities are now giving way to postmodernity and the telos of social justice. Truth and social justice do not cohere one or the other must give way. Our university system is dominated by this new value. Additionally justice was focused on equality, social justice is centered upon equity. When the telos shifts every system must serve the new telos. Peer review is serving social justice rather than truth.
Return universities to the pursuit of truth and the scientific method will still work. That’s my suggestion.
Your 8:03am is about as insightful to me as glossalalia.
” Truth and social justice do not cohere one or the other must give way.”
As with the other blanket assertions, some of us might disagree… especially having taught in such places.
Social justice? Sometimes it is in the eyes of the beholder…… 😏
No doubt the case is not universal. I’ll cite Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff who have widely trumpeted this position.
Jean here’s the interpretation said better than I can.
Of course if you are a social justice person this won’t make you happy.
This wearies me.
I don’t like the definitions and I don’t like the political overlay.
I’ve heard enough and seen enough to know that there is an issue in our social institutions.
The gender and identity issues cast a pall over everything.
It doesn’t matter to me as much as it should.
What does matter to me is that even a basic reading of the OT prophets and the Gospels show God’s deep and abiding concern for the poor, the oppressed, and the stranger among us.
Our inheritance includes sharing and acting on those concerns.
The religious right has made these political issues so as to not have to deal with them at all.
The religious left has loaded them down with issues our sacred text does not address…or even denies.
Perhaps we need to receive our inheritance with clean hands so we can instruct the world better and more honestly…
By the way, this is another reason why America can’t be a “Christian” nation…a nation operating on Christian principles couldn’t survive long without the assurance of God’s blessing for acting according to His ways.
For example…the issues with immigrants wouldn’t be how many we received, but if the ones we received would assimilate to the ways and God of the nation.
The problem of the poor and hungry would be how do we feed them and help them find ways to be self supporting and vital parts of the community.
I could go on…
The kingdom can’t be realized in full until the king is here…the question for me is how close can we get beforehand if we become what we have been called to be?
You misunderstand me. Justice and mercy prevail. My opposition is very specifically against the kind of social justice that is increasingly socialist/Marxist in bent.
Immigration justice YES care for the poor absolutely. Biblical justice is a very different thing from what the universities are pandering. The sex and gender things are huge but only a segment of the actual concerns.
My conversation here is specific and carefully framed.
Your concern with some universities has merit. I think, however, that at least from what I have witnessed the issue of equal outcomes (which I do not agree with) is a bit more nuanced. When I first taught at a university level some 40 years ago, students were students, grades were grades and they were not granted on a curve! While there were expenses involved, Pell grants and the like made a considerable dent in what was generally low tuition. As tuition and assorted costs began a steep rise and large student loans came into the mainstream, students increasingly became “customers”. Catering to a “customer”, grades were increasingly given on a curve. When Gen Z arrived grade inflation and degree inflation had arrived… “Everyone wins and everyone gets prizes”. Equal outcomes was as much a matter of economics as it was of social engineering.
I still hold to equal opportunity being a part of social justice, but we cannot promise equal outcomes without being blatantly dishonest… at least in my opinion/
I feel the concern. It’s agonizing. And tuition costs soar because of administration not actual education.
A Perspective From the Real World:
American Universities are the envy of the world. The vast majority of American youth, both Christian and non-Christian, will prosper or flounder in the American economy on the basis of whether or not they succeed in American Universities. They will participate in God’s blessings by achieving in American Universities.
“the envy of the world.” “the world.” American Universities are not the kingdom of God, nor are they instruments of God’s kingdom. American Universities are the result of God’s creative blessings for the world (Gen. 1). They are in the left hand kingdom (or City of Man). I don’t care what agenda some of their leaders have; I don’t care how affirming of gay or transgender rights they may be; they are preparing young men and women of this country to participate in the economy of the future and compete in the world.
I sent my children to public Big Ten university to learn a livelihood, and neither came back gay or in transition. I guarantee you that there is more heterosexual immorality, drinking and drug use, occurring in any university by straights than what the homos are up to. If you want to condemn your youth to ignorance and a substandard standard of living, keeping them from American Universities is a tried and true method.
Lastly, take a University like the University of Iowa. Say there are 21,000 undergraduates. Out of that number, if a student wants to go into medicine, law, engineering, physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing, education, or any number of specialties, those class sizes range anywhere from 35 – 225 students. Admission at the specialty level is intensely, brutally, competitive. So, trust me, there is no “everyone wins and everyone gets prizes.”
I find this conversation about education fascinating. Still weighing out most of the comments, as my experience is limited to private (Christian) institutions.
I would like to hear Jean unpack this a bit more.
“If you want to condemn your youth to ignorance and a substandard standard of living, keeping them from American Universities is a tried and true method.”
I question whether American public universities provide the atmosphere of exploration to allow students to develop their own worldview. All institutions, public and private have a bias. Professors, have a bias. Admittedly, some schools and profs really want their students to think, others, are more interested in passing on their agenda. I would suggest that a way to help people to learn to think is to give them a classical education, steeped in literature and philosophy.
“Professors, have a bias. Admittedly, some schools and profs really want their students to think, others, are more interested in passing on their agenda.”
That’s why I’m glad I majored in civil engineering. Regardless of my engineering professors’ political leanings, it never came out in class, and the classes and exams represented that. In my general education classes, however, especially the history and political science classes, the professors’ positions were made clear from the beginning, and I learned really quick that if I wanted the “A” on the midterm, and final, I needed to regurgitate what I knew he wanted to hear, regardless if I thought it true or right. Of all of the political science classes I took (and I took several just because I enjoyed the subject and there were a few quarters that I needed the extra units for financial aid) only one professor stated the first day, “I’m on the left, but I don’t care if you’re not, I’m not here to change you’re mind, I want you to learn how to think about these issues and to be able to have a reasonable defense for whatever side you fall on.” Best P.S. class ever.
Some statistics on grade inflation… https://www.gradeinflation.com
Degree inflation in the UK… https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/nov/19/students-england-awarded-first-class-degrees-grade-inflation
I don’t deny grade inflation. However, neither can anyone deny the super competitiveness of obtaining entrance into specialty and advanced degree programs.
Perhaps one factor is that manty or most such specialty programs require a standardized test for entrance in addition to a great GPA. In the field of law, the test is the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). To enter an MBA program, the test is the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). and there are others for other programs.
Regarding high school grade inflation (which also exists), I would note that college admissions officers are pretty adept at discerning grade inflation and adjusting for it. Some weigh the type of courses, distinguishing AP high school courses from regular courses. Many give credit to work experience and extra-curricular activities. Many weigh the student’s entrance essay. Some colleges have student interviews. Others strongly weigh SAT or ACT scores.
The biggest negative that I have seen regarding grade inflation is the false sense of accomplishment that some students gain from grade inflation. I can give an example: We had a neighbor who took 3 years of high school Spanish. When she got to college, because she did not have 4 years of high school foreign language, she had to take 1 year of college foreign language. She signed up for 1st year Spanish, thinking it would be a piece of cake. Within two weeks, she realized she had learned practically nothing in her high school Spanish classes despite receiving decent grades. She ended up having a very challenging first year college semester.
“I would like to hear Jean unpack this a bit more.
‘If you want to condemn your youth to ignorance and a substandard standard of living, keeping them from American Universities is a tried and true method.’
Thank your for asking! The primary point I am making is that, while not universally true (there are exceptions, e.g., trust fund kids, entrepreneurs, artists and children who go into the family business), for the vast majority of workers studies show a significant disparity in both household income and unemployment between workers who do not have a college education (lower income and higher unemployment) and those who have a college education.
“I question whether American public universities provide the atmosphere of exploration to allow students to develop their own worldview.”
I did not send my children to college to develop their own worldview. I believe that it is the parents’ responsibility to instill a worldview in their children. Nothing is more important IMO to this task than wholesome Christian teaching.
Two other brief points:
We may overestimate the influence of a University. I’m not a sociologist, so take this point with a grain of salt: Youth have many sources for their worldview. They have peers; they have social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok. They have video game communities and U Tube. By the time they are a freshman in college, they could have fairly mature worldviews already, which influence the university they choose, classes they take and the professors they sign up for. I don’t really know for sure, but I think our parental assumptions might need to be updated for the proliferation of social media and technology. It seems that a lot of youth are way ahead of us (older folks) in the evolution of media and technology
If I change “worldview” to “view of the world”, we might see something different worth visiting:
If a young adult is going to be successful in the modern economy (here again we a few small exceptions), they are going to find themselves working over, under and along side of people of color, of different religions, of different nationalities and first languages, of different genders, of different sexual orientations. Those people are there for the same reason our youth are: To make a living and support themselves and/or others.
We need their support, their loyalty, their gifts, their cooperation, their respect, just as they need ours. In the vast majority of businesses, success of any one person requires support and teamwork from others. So, IMO it’s very important that we understand and acknowledge that people who don’t share our worldview or morality can nevertheless be our friends and colleagues. I may privately mourn and pray for a lost soul, whether it is the serial adulterer, the alcoholic, or the openly gay, but, one, I’ve got my own issues to worry about without trying to fix my colleague, and two, as long as we unite around the common objectives and tasks of our employment, then we are a team.
Back in my misspent youth, I took all three – GRE, GMAT and LSAT! (Obviously confused 😁)
The problem with both grade inflation and degree inflation, as I see it, is that many graduates have unrealistic expectations as they enter the workforce. I think a return to students being students rather than consumers would go a long way in educational course correction…
Talented people are often confused by almost endless possibilities. Legend has it (can you confirm?) that da Vince only partially completed many of his projects, as his imagination led him from one thing to another. I suspect you are in good company.
I agree with you regarding grade and degree inflation. I do think that universities are under tremendous financial pressure, as States have withdrawn public support for higher education over the past couple of decades. Large undergraduate populations may provide the financial means to support the graduate schools and specialty programs. I’m not suggesting this is right or good, but just acknowledging what I perceive to be potentially happening.
The university conversation diverged. So here’s the original claim. American universities have shifted their telos from the pursuit of truth to the proliferation of social justice activism. The humanities departments are completely progressive left and intolerant of conservative viewpoints. They are also increasingly intolerant of the classical liberal viewpoint.
Posted were links attesting these things exclusively by classically liberal voices.
The stem disciplines have been the most resistant to these ideologies. However, “follow the science” is a canard of those who are determined submerge those disciplines under the sway of progressive ideology.
Universities are now “in business” trying to figure out how to survive in a radically changed social and economic environment. Almost three-quarters of faculty are adjunct. Tenure track positions are rare. While some of what you say may be true, I believe much of it to be over-stated…
God upholds and governs the world in two spheres. Creedal Christians acknowledge this in the apostles Creed:
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” In this sphere of creation, God gives (i.e., gifts) human beings the facility of reason. Human reason applies science and indeed makes progress and follows the science. In the sphere of creation, human beings have made incredible strides (i.e., progress) following the science, which have given us modern conveniences, launched rockets to Mars, cured many diseases and have aided in the feeding of billions of people. Human progress in creation is not devoid of God’s provenance. Man may not give God the glory, but then man is not sovereign.
The other sphere of God’s governance is the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Here, humans make no progress. In this sphere, the sinful nature is put to death and a new man is born (the work and gift of God). In Christ’s kingdom, human beings only receive. We receive the forgiveness of sins, the righteousness of Christ, holiness and life in the age to come.
Jean, I agree with your 4:06 post. Most of my upper middle class friends sent their children to universities for higher education. The only one who was raped while at her university went to a Christian University. She came home, was hospitalized in a mental ward for a period if time, and she now claims that she is gay. No wonder, right? She is a stunningly beautiful girl that I have known since her birth, As her mother is one of my closest friends. Pray for her, her name us Hannah.
Bride of Christ,
That’s a very sad story.
She returned to her school in Texas , Texas Christian University, and graduated. Her older brother was a student there, also, and I think that helped. She is now a family therapist and counselor, after going to graduate school here in California. She has told mom and dad, staunch Christians, that she thinks she’s gay. My two daughters can hardly believe it, because she went to private Christian schools her whole life, and she is such a beautiful girl. This may be partly why I get upset when people are so ugly and mean to gay people. My friend’s daughter is a beautiful, sweet, Christian young woman. I know her well, and I know it’s true. I don’t know what her future holds, but I know God loves her and her parents both very much.
Bride of Christ,
In the Lutheran Tradition, we have a doctrine, based on Romans 7, Galatians 5 (and other texts), known by the abbreviation SIMUL. It means Simultaneously (and wholly) righteous and sinner. Christians are at the same time justified/righteous by faith, while sinners in the flesh.
The consequence of this existence, having one foot in the age to come by faith, while the other foot is in this fallen world according to the flesh, is that we cannot escape sin or the fallen world, because we, Christians, take sin and the fallen world with us wherever we go. We simply cannot escape ourselves.
I empathize with a Christian parent who wishes to shelter their children from the world, but I also realize, as a Lutheran, that even the best Christian college is full of sinners (justified and non-justified). Therefore, even at a Christian school, I think students still have to be as prudent as they would at any other institution, maybe even more so, because where the reality of sin is not acknowledged and confessed, you are likely to find a lot of hypocrites and and secret sinners.
Jean, This little girl was certainly sheltered. She was home schooled by her mother, who had taught in the public schools for many years before having children. Then she went to a Christian private high school and then on to TCU in Texas. I sometimes wonder if she was a bit too sheltered and naive when she left San Diego and attended a huge university so far away ( even though her brother was also there). She may have naively put herself into a situation she should not have been in; I never heard the exact details of her assault. There is a lesson for other parents in her story, however, and this is why I have posted it here. Perhaps it can save others from the same heartbreak.
“Are you concerned about the opposition to critical race theory within the SBC? Are there another bundle of issues? ”
I don’t care about CRT per se. It is not an issue in the SBC. There is no one who is proclaiming its goodness. Most who are speaking about it have no clue what it actually is. Mohler’s condemnation of CRT was only a signal to a certain political group, because Mohler wants to be SBC president. He tried the “leftist” SBC waters, didn’t get the boost he wanted, and has now swung back to the far-right.
After his condemnation, signed by all the Seminary presidents, and endorsed by JD Greear (who later admitted it was a mistake and apologized), most of our prominent Black churches left the convention immediately. Those churches are not proponents of CRT. They understood the signal.
The same people behind the anti-CRT political movement are also causing problems elsewhere. A church plant in FL, doing great things, was planted by a young man and his wife. The wife was listed on the website as some kind of pastor, though the husband was clearly the preacher / lead pastor guy. These people blasted them on social media and had the church kicked out of the convention quicker than I knew was possible. The couple will be fine. We needed them a lot more than they needed us.
Meanwhile, we still have sexual abusers in pulpits across the country, but somehow nothing can be done.
There is always this next “conservative” hoop you have to jump through, and these guys will never be satisfied. One of these factious men, not Mohler, is running for SBC President. If he gets the nod, it will tell me that I am no longer welcome.
Sounds like yet another power grab/McCarthyesque witch-hunt by the SBC leaders and elsewhere. Sad.
Sounds like a McCarthyesque witchhunt in the SBC and elsewhere
“To understand the impact of something like Critical Theory you must not only read lots of its theorists but you must also know face to face and work with the political and activist practitioners inspired by it (who are far less nuanced.) Don’t just read its critics.”
Since I am 21 years persona non grata in SBC I cannot assess what you say with any authority. When we left the SBC we knew that the search for bogeymen would not cease as even your post noted. It has saddened me to see the old family flailing and retracting as the old line churches did. It amuses me to see Mohler as prey rather than hunter…
The pure Gospel of Jesus expressed in the beautiful epistle to the Ephesians brings us together in a way the present tribalism can never achieve.
As for hoops… there is no end to who will ask you to jump. That is not a conservative reserve.
My brother JD spoke to my heart last night. Prophetic, even. This is the SBC I want to be a part of:
JD is trying to thread a needle. I wish him well. Nuance seldom works as well as propagandist narratives and those abound. You desperately need people of good will on all sides. That is what new creation produces but …
JD is ending his term as convention Pres. Nothing to lose. His bread and butter is his mega-church, and I’d assume he’ll be happy to get back to tending faithfully to those sheep.
That needle he’s trying to thread is my only hope for staying.
God upholds and governs the world in two spheres. Creedal Christians acknowledge this in the apostles Creed:
Jean, your partial quote of a creed, I don’t see explaining these two spheres. Where are you getting that from? It seems to me your second sphere “Jesus’ kingdom” would include the first one which is kind of nebulous to me from your explanation. (human progress, etc…). However, I do see the Bible speak about a another kingdom which is really where Satan rules where he is called the prince of this world. That contrast between Jesus’ kingdom and Satan’s kingdom makes more sense to me than what you articulated with spheres. By by the way it seems both kingdoms are under Gods providence.
Satan does not have a kingdom. He is called a prince of demons and a prince of the power of the air. But, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to the exalted Jesus (Mt. 28).
God rules creation according to the law, providentially. He rules the kingdom of God
according to grace through faith in His Son.
The Apostle’s Creed is explained by Lutherans as follows:
Article I: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth….”
What does this mean:
“I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods….” (Small Catechism)
God is active in creation, with respect to all living things.
Article II: “And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
What does this mean?
“I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won [delivered] me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”
Christ is active in and through the Church in His Word and in the Sacraments He instituted during His earthly ministry.
The 3rd Article pertains focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Jean. I certainly believe the Apostles creed and I don’t seem to have any issues with the Lutheran interpretation you quoted, but to me it’s a leap to get to what you wrote at 4:52 about 2 distinct spheres of Gods governance. (Creation and Jesus’ kingdom). I get the law/ gospel distinctions Lutherans make and I also get general and special revelation but honestly it appears that you are imposing something quite different here. First Jesus entered into creation and has a human body like ours so not sure how you separate creation from Jesus’ kingdom and second there is a new creation or re-creation that would imply that creation and Jesus’ kingdom are not separated into spheres. I still think if you want to separate things into spheres: light vs dark, evil vs good, is a better way to look at it. We have a 3-fold enemy: the world, the flesh and the devil. We probably can agree about the flesh and the devil but what about the world? I think this is where some environmental kooks have gone off the rails. As Christians I believe we should be good stewards of creation but at what cost? Is landing rockets on Mars making human progress? Seriously. Is creating the hydrogen bomb making progress?
Was Moses saved by an Egyptian princess? Did she defy the edict of the King of Egypt and raise Moses in the King’s court, educating him in all the wisdom of Egypt?
Did a Priest of MIdian give his daughter to Moses in marriage? Did he welcome Moses into his family for 40 years?
Does God not work in and through the world to bring good to his people? This is God working in creation, not in the sphere of His Church.
Jean. Jesus instituted the church in the NT but the examples you gave are from the OT so a little bit like comparing apples and oranges if you will. Christ is the promise of all those OT stories, shadows etc.. Now I look at the tower of babel as a comparable to our modern day Mars rockets. Not exactly something God was too impressed with if you will. Of course God works through creation but is there truly a good work outside of Christ that mankind is capable of?
Our theologies are so different that IMO it would be a misuse of this thread to devote it to the thorough and lengthy discussion of the differences that would be necessary to continue.
If you simply looked at the Greek word for church and see that in the OT the same Greek word is used in the LXX for the OT Israelite assembly, you might find that not only has God always had a church, but that the wording in the Greek is actually the same in Scripture in both the OT and NT. It is only in the dispensational traditions where an artificial division was made.
When Jesus talked about building His church (Mt. 16:18), He is saying that God’s people will no longer worship God at the Temple but on the rock, which may refer to the foundation of the apostles and/or His Word. I think it may be better to read it as a both/and, rather than one or the other.
I think we will just have to acknowledge the differences in our theology and wish one another well.
Ah, but today’s Church is a unique body of Spirit born people, not just an assembly of the masses
Jean, my theology is not as developed as yours and still trying to figure where we differ. I’m certainly not dispensational and I only see one people of God not two. However, I do see a new covenant and spirit filled and sealed believers and the body of Christ and the kingdom of God at hand that wasn’t so apparent in the OT. Not saying it wasn’t there but more of a mystery hidden. But you actually are making my point in your example that there are not really two spheres but one. I still don’t get how you are separating creation into one sphere and Jesus’ kingdom into the other. Seems like an artificial boundary. Maybe you are imposing a secular philosophy of some sort like a sacred vs profane dichotomy but I just haven’t figured it out yet. But I’m happy to let this go it’s just you haven’t really answered the question.