California lifts Covid19 limitations from churches…
Beth Moore left the SBC after the SBC left women to fend for themselves…
Why women are opting out of religion…
The age of deconstruction and the future of the church…
Stumbling Into Heaven: Emeth, Aslan, and The Last Battle
Calling on the overturning God…
Behind the black umbrellas…antifa and the Proud Boys…
Why the church is losing the next generation…
Your friends don’t need you to fix them…
Why the death penalty came back…
Why the transgender conversation is changing…
Protestants join Catholics helping immigrants at the border…
The real issues in the baptism debate…
What’s the difference between a liberal Christian and a progressive Christian?
We are so happy to be back at church here in California. It was so good to see everyone again! Still, I leave as soon as the Liturgy is over to avoid political conversations and conspiracy talk. But that’s ok, I love these guys anyway and they appear to still love us, even though they know we are not in agreement about some things. Glory to God for all things!
I wonder if we’ll ever heal from the conspiracy theories and politics…
The Last Battle has always been my favorite book out of Chronicles, even when I was little, and my love for it has grown once I realized that Susan was not written out of the story (a child asked Lewis about her, and he wrote to her saying that Susan could find her way back to Narnia). Lewis and MacDonald have taught me so much about the character and lovingkindness of God. Such a beautiful article! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Gabby!
Thank you again Roger Olsen.
He gave incredible clarity on the distinctions he asserted. Liberal churches are the likely refuge of progressives but neither are heralds of the cross of Christ in the apostolic sense.
Hope he writes his book.
Neither has any influence to speak of other than on social media…
Russell Moore nails it…hard.
I wonder if anyone who leaves the church does so because they are actually unregenerate.
We constantly analyze the socio-political reasons for defection but seldom consider the theology or the question of whether our churches are new creation communities.
Empathy is the consistent lever of extraction but we hear nothing of the one who saved us and will not let us go.
Of course some leave because they are unregenerate.
What Moore is saying (in what I believe is the best outside piece we’ve posted in a decade) is what I’ve been saying for twenty years about the scandals and in the last few about the politics.
If I were young and Jesus had not found me…there is no way in hell I would consider the church.
“But what happens when people reject the church because they think we reject Jesus and the gospel? If people leave the church because they want to gratify the flesh with abandon, such has always been the case, but what happens when people leave because they believe the church exists to gratify the flesh—whether in orgies of sex or orgies of anger or orgies of materialism? That’s a far different problem. And what if people don’t leave the church because they disapprove of Jesus, but because they’ve read the Bible and have come to the conclusion that the church itself would disapprove of Jesus? That’s a crisis.”
This one will get him canned…
I used to hear how judgmental Fundamentalist were now no one dares speak of being judgment-free in that the sins that are targeted have shifted as dramatically as the affiliations.
It’s really interesting. Judging has become a spiritual path.
Self-righteousness is simply the assertion that we are in the right by our own actions.
It has new clothes.
Nothing New Under the Sun Dread
So…what is your explanation for the shrinking church?
All props to Russell Moore. Yeah, he will most likely pay for the Gospel and truth here, but it needs to be said and said now and forcefully. This garbage of conspiracies and fear-mongering (of which some has been posted here) HAS TO STOP. We evangelicals, and in general, Christians, are becoming the target of much rage out there, and it’s not because of Jesus.
Moore won’t get canned and his article was powerful but we’ve lost an interest in justification unless it is self-justification
My take away quote from Moore…
“A religion that calls people away from Western modernity will have to say, with credibility, “Take up your cross and follow me,” not “Come with us, and we’ll own the libs.” One can do the latter on YouTube and one needn’t even give up a Sunday morning.”
From Moore’s piece (very well done, BTW:
And it’s due to the fact that listening to Christian music led me to a Christian bookstore where I found, amidst all the kitsch, a copy of Christianity Today magazine, where I found columns by Philip Yancey and J.I. Packer and John Stott and Chuck Colson.
I’d like to dovetail that with some happy news: Phil Yancey’s coming out with a memoir this fall Can’t wait. I’ve been reading his stuff since he was editor of Campus Life when I was a teenager. Always worth reading, iMHO.
My opinion on the shrinking number of people who attend Christian church services:
The Enlightenment won. It succeeded in eradicating a belief in the supernatural in the face of a belief in God, angels, and demons, which is so unscientific, and science is everything to most people today; everything else is backwards superstition. If I were to ask a a random non-church-goer why s/he doesn’t attend church, the most common answer is probably something along the lines of “I don’t believe in the supernatural idea of a god.”
Or if they do believe in the supernatural, they don’t want a version of supernatural belief that claims we are sinners and need forgiveness. After decades of telling kids they are perfect just as they are and their truth is their truth and participation awards and smiley stickers on everyone’s paper, people believe they are darn near perfect. They might make a few “mistakes,” with underlying excuses based on bad childhood experiences, but by no means are they sinners, which is so condemning. After all, if there is a heaven, we all certainly deserve to be there or else this is not a God that I care to worship, they say.
So for some who do believe in God but not too heavy on the sin and forgiveness aspect of Christianity, all that’s left is to engage in do-gooder-ism and join the cause of one’s choice, be it global warming, social justice, etc. But you don’t really need church for that so why not stay home or go out for a nice breakfast?
And some I’ve encountered believe God is the Calvinist god and find Him to be repugnant. They don’t know enough Christian theology to realized that only a small fraction of the world’s Christians are Calvinists.
So, to summarize:
1. Many are devotees of scientism and don’t believe in the supernatural and joke about the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
2. Some believe in a Deity, but, because of social conditioning, don’t believe they are sinners who need God to forgive them. And the Bible is sexist, racist, etc.
3. Some people call themselves Christians but since they’ve discarded all the Truth out of Christianity, all that’s left is good works and you don’t need church to do good works.
4. And there’s a few who hate the Calvinist view of God (and who blames them for that).
And I concede that some may leave a particular church because of it’s focus on politics. I would leave that sort of church too, but I would quickly find a better church, of which there are still a remnant I am sure, and is what a genuine Christian must do.
I’d offer one additional point. Many churches specialize in certainties and have thereby destroyed mystery…
I see this as a repeat of the antics of the Circumcision Group that Paul struggled against. I also feel that we have read the Pauline Epistles and Acts so much, we treat the text as empty words.
The CG was obsessed with genitals. Completely, totally and ready to riot obsessed. I think it slips our notice when Paul spoke of his opponents spy on their liberty, it’s just polite talk of voyeurism. The CG was a bunch of penis peekers. Where ever the spying was taking place, there’s no other word to discribe what was going on. Paul used a word meaning come alongside in Gal 2:4. That sounds like a wide stance down at the public toilet or bath. I think the CG sounds like they creeped.
How is this different than the emerging transgender debate? Do I as a believer need to worry about what’s down somebody’s pants?
Third day people will prevail
That’s really a very strange and untenable claim.
Circumcision was not about perverse obsessions.
What are talking about?
That’s really a very strange and untenable claim.
Circumcision was not about perverse obsessions.
What are you talking about?
The Russel Moore article is so telling. What he writes about us exactly why my husband and I left Calvary Chapel after attending twice a week for over 30 years. About the kids – I think the kids will be alright. When I left Calvary I told my eldest daughter that I was nervous and afraid of committing to another church because I felt betrayed by Calvary Chapel. She and her husband were attending a church in Texas at the time while her husband was stationed in the Army at Fort Hood. They loved their church there and she told me, “Mom, don’t give up – there are really good churches out there, like ours. You have to just keep looking!” ” Good churches” will rise up and be filled with the Spirit and hungry people will flock to them. The young people were driven away from evengelical, political, faithless churches. After the way so many churches embraced Trump, can anyone blame people for running away in horror from those churches?
Dread, Trump’s behavior was perverted as well. An editorial from Christianity Today said that Trump not only sins with abandon but also ” glories in his sin”. ( brags about it) Raping and sexually assaulting and customizing women is definitely perverted. Jesus also hates philandering adulterous husbands, and men who leave the ” wives of their youth”. Trump did all that, too, and yet he and gets a pass from evangelicals . Heck, even pastors who do that usually get a pass, and all the Christian men sitting in the pews definitely are given a pass for adultery, divorcing their wives and breaking up their families, etc. Why are we just obsessed and worried about the private sexual behavior of just 2% of the population, and ignoring the sin that displeases Jesus so much and is happening every day inside His church?
Dread. It’s an accurate description of the mindset Paul fought against.
An entire identity was based on what a person’s male anatomy looked like. It’s why Paul said he wished his opponents would go ” apokoptō” themselves. Gal 5:12. Paul’s comment is totally logical. If a trim makes you godly, then total amputation would certainly be more so.
The growing controversies make no sense. Saying that godliness can be achieved by genital state or status would clash with the Five Solas, as an example.
Nathan at 3:20 pm,
Please take note that your opinion of Paul’s opponents in his letter to the Galatians is out of the mainstream and possibly the view of a tiny fringe. If someone alerted me that I held a fringe opinion, I would take note, be concerned and further study the matter. 99% of fringe opinions are false.
Jean. I can’t identity the nearest street to my residence. If I saw a smoke plume from a house fire, I would have to generally discribe the location to 911 dispatch. But, couldn’t identify by name.
It’s because I drive by it everyday, and it’s now mentally invisible. My brain does it automatically. Our brains do it constantly by deciding what info we need to see.
The references to the Pharesees/CG/Judiazers is so common, we tune it out.
Let m paraphrase the quote below:
…A group of fraternal group of religious devotees called Pharesees walk/ride about 300 miles to tell random strangers from another culture that God is going to damm them to hell unless they trim their foreskins. It gets so heated that the first Church Council is called to talk about…wait…foreskins….
..”And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question..”..
This is the definition of an obsession.
BoC why are you addressing me about Trump ?🤷🏻♂️
Nathan — stop that’s insanity. That’s making stuff up. That’s conflating at the most obscene level.
Yep you got one
You feel I made up the Council of Jerusalem?
Or that it’s sorta 600 miles round trip to Antioch and back?
That both Pharesees and Priest had joined the Church?
The transgender issue is important on a number of fronts.
First, it is part of a movement that seeks to redefine what it means to be human and the family.
Second, it is promoting what in my opinion is the grossest form of child abuse since child labor laws were enacted.
Third, it promotes a deviation that affects an infinitesimal group of people as normative.
I hate the cultural wars, but this is attacking things that make up the very fibers of society.
Please note that there are transgenders due to genetics (an XXY for example) and chromosome abnormalities. The passage in the NT regarding eunuchs from birth would be one example where this is recognized.
That being said, there is a cultural imprint one what is considered “male” work and what is considered “female” work, just like in regards to clothing types, colors, etc. A simple but real-world example was that in the early 20th century, pinks and light reds were considered colors for men and baby boys. But by the mid to late 20th century, pink was a “girl” color.
The problem is that many Fundies and Evangelicals tend to sight of the cultural imprint on “male” and “female” gender-specific work roles, clothing, etc.
For those of who say it is effeminate to wear men to wear a dress and carry a purse, I dare you to shout that out loud in the middle of a Highland Games festival. You will become the first human Caber in the Caber toss event, along with subjected to many other excruciating painful forms of injury and death.
I dare you to go to the Highland Games and call a kilt a dress.
CM. When I read eunoch anywhere in Scripture, it refers to the wide practice of a purposely castrated male. I associate it with service to nobility, but I imagine it was practiced by the wealthy as well. Daniel and his associates would have been eunochs. Herod the Great employed one and they are mentioned in the tumultuous Herodian saga..
You raised several types of aspects.
The most straightforward potential aspect would be a custodial parent deciding to castrate a child too young to express an informed opinion of desire. The non- custodial parents or family objects in court.
That example would be a simple revision to existing state law, resulting from changing medical science.
However, I don’t see any of these aspects as being ” Christian” or a calling on the Church. As a product of Fundamentalist schooling and parenting, I am taught to recoil from anything related to sex. Therefore it’s a logical progression to recoil from individuals wanting amputation of their thing, or comparable procedures. But personal taste aside, I can’t claim a Scriptural basis.
I think it’s unclear what pronouncement God would make when he sets his Kingdom on Earth. I see the culture warriors as wanting to hand down a verdict, when this is to be God alone. Thus my hostility towards the culture warriors.
That the most part makes sense.
But the verse in Matthew 19 about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb” by Jesus indicates that they were born that way. An XXY condition would make them eunuchs for all intents purposes when it comes to procreation. Since Jesus according to Scriptures is fully divine, then presumably he would know about genetic abnormalities and what causes them.
We all know about circumcision and the Jerusalem Council. What we know is that male circumcision was a covenantal sign that marked out God’s people making them relational and not exclusively racial.
We know it had theological and not sexual significance. That you are turning it into some kind of fetishized expression of sexuality is beyond imagination.
To equate transgender identity with covenantal identity — where do you get this?
Is this the sort of mutilation we can expect with the text. Did you read some strange book that brought you to this madness.
No one thinks the Pharisees were obsessed with genitalia in a sexual manner. Least of all Paul.
Madness Madness Madness Dread
CM. I meant to say royalty, not nobility. But based on Jesus’s statement, I assume castration of domestic servants was still being practiced in later antiquity. It actually makes sense really. The head of a household doesn’t want to concern himself with what the servants are doing all day after he leaves the house, so he puts a stop to that sorta thing permanently.
I didn’t include Matt 19 because the impetus of Jesus’s comment was an argument over the focus on marriage, second-class status of women in the Pharesees’s doctrine.
Here, yes Jesus us applying a broad interpretation to eunoch, meaning any person voluntarily or non, that will not have functing married status as the result of some event.
I think Augustine covered the inability to be married, in a fully functional way, and fully devote oneself to God at the same time.
I wouldn’t call myself a culture warrior…unless it’s the church culture.
I have been and am a parent…and the confusion regarding gender that has been introduced into the culture is deadly to the development of young people.
Much less significant is the unholy farce that allows transgender men to compete against women in athletics, particularly in high school and college.
Some things don’t need a whole lot of science because they’ve been obvious since creation…and we don’t pass legislation based on the perceived needs of less than one half of one percent of the population.
This whole narrative is bs in my opinion…
Also in recent years many business install “family” restrooms which anybody can use. I suspect the original intent was for the mom or dad to take their young child of the opposite gender to the bathroom without having them going with them to the bathroom of that parent’s gender.
I’m trying to be relatively irenic…and I really dislike sounding like an evangelical culture warrior.
Having said that…the bathroom nonsense chaps my backside as well…I’m glad I’m old and ill because the temptation to knock hell out of a man going into a women’s bathroom is overwhelming.
Every now and then there’s a guy wearing a dress and faux pearls at the local Wal-mart…and my thoughts are less than charitable.
I grew up in a different era…and never had an issue knowing my gender…
My question, is why don’t they use the family unisex bathroom (like all Wal-Marts have) if they are supposedly gender confused? A woman who gender identifies as a male can’t very well use the urinal in the men’s room (unless she has had major, major surgery). Thinking yourself one does not make you one (for gender or anything else for that matter).
…not exclusively racial..
BD. In the mind of the Pharesees, that was not the case. I disagree with your take on the what the leaders of the people where teaching. It’s not what happened at Cornelius’s house.
This is what I claim as the triggering event the brought about the Circumcision turmoil, the Antioch circumcision mission, Council of Jerusalem and Paul’s opposition. (The Grecian widow dust-up was in my narrative a sign of underlying racism, even though these where greek speaking Jews. There was contemp for Greek culture, particularly since the Hasmonean wars. But, I don’t see it as the trigger event)
..”And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean..”..
Peter’s associates response- 10:45
..”And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost..”..
Peter arrives back in Jerusalem – 11:2-3
..”..And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them..”..
This not relational, it’s racism in an ultra religious form. The CG now begins undermining the Apostles’ doctrine and pressuring the Apostles themselves.
In my opinion, a new test of salvation is being created in the Religious Right. It’s the same old Pharesee doctrines repackaged for today. Just as the 80’s-2000’s Purity Movement, repackaged Pharesee’s view of women having sexual objectification, and a domestic servant status related to males.
Herd mentality? Phooey ! ! !
We are individuals and we mature at different times… Some never do, mentally, i guess.
Much of our gender identity is psychological, driven by our own hormones. I was devastated when i realised that i wasn’t going to look like Elisabeth Taylor… But that did not affect my gender identity. We are fools to try to guide small children into roles and awareness that God did not intend for them
Okay, an 84 year old commenting on gender development should not shut down this thread
Yes, i know I’ve borrowed the phrase “herd mentality.”. LOL
Sorry…had to get a Walmart order…
I agree ,Em…
Babylon’s Dread, I read many of your posts here. For the most part they are an interesting perspective. You introduced the word “perversion” into the discussion. I have noticed that evengelicals use this word often when referring to gays or trans, but that they rarely call rape or child molestation of underage girls ” perverted”. My point is this – I am only interested in what the Bible says about sin and ” perversion”. What does the Bible say that Jesus HATES? Divorce. Also hurting and exploiting the weakest among us. ” Better to have a millstone hung around your neck than to hurt one of these, the least among us , ” Jesus warned.. He wasn’t talking about two adult men here( or circumcision) .. He was talking about the exploitation of the weak by the powerful. Shouldn’t we be talking about what JESUS thinks is important?
Gotta think that God weeps over the abuses of power by the strong against the weak in the Church, that can maim and cripple for life. That’s real perversion.
Before swishing our holy skirts about what defines perversion, might be best to first address these sins that are so common in today’s church.
I’ve been talking about those things online for over twenty years…many here have paid their dues with me.
We’ll talk about what we damn well please.
You (and others) have certainly done that have the cred to back it up.
“You introduced the word “perversion” into the discussion. I have noticed that evengelicals use this word often when referring to gays or trans, but that they rarely call rape or child molestation of underage girls ” perverted”. “
I did not use the word ‘perversion.’ I said that Priddis was turning circumcision into a sexual discussion which was amiss. “Circumcision was not about perverse obsessions.”
Your statement can stand for itself as something I was not addressing. I do think Nathan was far afield.
Circumcision marked out the people of God as a sign of the covenant with God. Thus once’s race was significant but not determinative in identifying God’s people. We are talking past on another. Of course the Jew/Gentile chasm existed but Gentiles could become part of the covenant via the covenant rituals and observances. Christ of course, changed it all.
What you seemed to do was strangely equate the circumcision debate with transgenderism and make both about genitalia obsession. That was a perversion (BoC) of the facts.
You lost us all (I hope)with that diatribe.
Roger Olson’s article was very good, one of the reasons is because he made clear definitions between Liberal and Progressive Christians, and in the comments made it clear he was not talking about political liberals and progressives.
I wish that would happen more when talking about Evangelicals or Neo this or Neo that… It makes understanding each other much easier.
Women opting out of reigion? Considering the likes of Mary Baker Eddy that’s probably a good thing, but…..
I belong to the group who don’t think the Christian Faith IS a “religion!”