Linkathon!

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161 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    Link #1-I grew up as an adolescent young adult Christian with Mike Warnke, the Colgate Palmolive “demonic” seal that raised a boycott, the many false conspiracies around Madeline Murray O’Hare, the Satanic Panic (including my friend who had me on the phone for two hours explaining how her parents had sacrificed her numerous times in different rituals)…and on it went. I wasn’t looking for that information. People just wanted to make sure I was informed. At one point, when I just said I didn’t believe something, the informant got very angry with me and questioned my salvation. I sometimes think Barnum said a sucker is born every minute for many of us who belong to the Christian church.

  2. Captain Kevin says:

    My stomach hurts after reading the article about Wilson’s “church.” Actually, I couldn’t even finish reading it.

  3. Michael says:

    CK,

    It’s pretty brutal…

  4. Dread says:

    I’ve always had affinity with the eyesight issue for Paul — like this author charismatics dislike the idea of God authoring sickness. While that’s never troubled me I am still interested in all the conceptions of this.

    I think maybe the Judaizers fit the bill or perhaps just those of the synagogue who persecuted him. But it’s a fascinating study.

  5. Jean says:

    I want to applaud the curation and thank the curator(s) for this week’s links. Time and health permitting, I would love to comment on several of the articles. Tonight I would like to focus on just one (not even my favorite):

    “What Was Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh?”

    If you read 2 Cor. 12: 7f, you will notice that Paul does not tell us what his thorn was. Paul easily could have told us exactly what his thorn was. But he didn’t! You should, however, recall that Christ was given a crown of thorns.

    In the Psalms, typically, the psalmist does not tell us the specific enemies or other afflictions he is dealing with. He could have, but didn’t. Why?

    If Paul told us what his thorn was, or if the psalmist identified his enemy or particular historical affliction, the Scripture would be specific to him and would not readily invite us into his place to give us understanding, comfort and/or words of prayer.

    In other words, Paul says that a messenger of Satan could give any one of us (Christians) a thorn in our flesh. Ours may or may not be the same kind of thorn that Paul had. Similarly, when David prayed, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Ps. 32:1-2), the Holy Spirit invites us to pray this prayer, not for David’s sin (which he doesn’t disclose here), but for our sins, whatever that may be. These Scriptures are non-specific so that we may apply them to our own circumstances

    The author of the article calls Gal. 6:11 a clue: “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.”

    First, what is Scripture exegesis, the Da Vinci Code? Is Paul creating an Easter Egg Hunt? Why on earth would Paul not tell us what his thorn is and then give us clues to figure it out? This is why the laity are afraid to read the Bible for themselves. Every week, I hear a good Christian confess, “The Bible is so complicated.” Look what we’ve done!

    If you read Galatians, you will observe, unique from all Paul’s other letters, that he includes no thanksgiving for the Galatians in his introduction. In addition, he is unusually harsh towards the Galatians throughout the letter. I believe it is far more likely that Paul uses the term “large letters” either literally or figuratively to emphasize the seriousness of his warnings to the Galatian church. And, unlike most of his other letters, Paul here notes that he has written the letter by his own hand, rather than by a scribe, to again emphasize the seriousness of his warnings to them. He is Christ’s apostle. He speaks and writes in the stead and by the command of Christ.

    The next part of the article is even worse, but my word count is running up:

    “Rather, I tend to look at it in the sense that, in everyone’s life, ‘Sh*t happens,” and that, when it does, God works with us and through us to bring good out of that suffering.”

    This is deist and absolutely unbiblical. What kind of omnipotent, loving, Father would allow sh*t to just happen to his children? God is not a snowflake; He does not need you or me to make excuses for Him. God governs everything that happens to everyone, everywhere. Everything.

    But here is the comfort that we, dear Christians, have: That God has a plan (a foreknown and predestined plan) to get each one of us heaven. And that plan is his perfect gift to us. Nothing happens to us apart from His will. God is never surprised. His plan is never contingent. And nothing in heaven or on earth can intervene to thwart God’s purpose of each one of us.

    So, let’s reject the “Sh*t happens” theology of the deists.

  6. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I ran into articles this week speaking of noble things parts of the church are doing…I hope that is noted.

  7. Jean says:

    Michael, “Young evangelicals for climate action,” certainly struck a hopeful note for me. I think if the planet is going to be sustainable for human and nature flourishing, it’s going to be our youth. My generation has failed miserably.

  8. Em says:

    Having had a flat up here in the mountains, i had to drive out on the “spare.” I was instructed to not go above 30 mph. I put my flashers on and drove slooow. This upsets the new crowd who go through here at 10 mph above the speed limit (45 mph). However, two young people, 20 somethings, pulled up alongside and asked me if i needed help… There may be hope. Pray for the younguns.
    Yes i pulled over and let the lead-footers zoom past. ☺

  9. The New Victor says:

    Jean, I was going to wait for open blogging, but what do you know of the LCMC? From what I can glean from a local church’s website is that they’re not ECLA, but kind of seem leaning a little away from my experiences over 35 years ago with the Missouri synod affiliated church. I attended the church school from 4.5th through 6th grade. LCMC seems geared towards missions, locally or remote.

  10. Nathan Priddis says:

    I had to stop the Wilson article as well. There’s been a few, but increasing times I have to turn off or close out a page.

    I have mentioned a few thoughts, but not in a concise way. My thoughts are becoming dark in regards to the future of yhe Church, both here, and after the Resurrection. I expect vast numbers of Wilsons to rise from the dead. That expectation is very dark indeed.

  11. Steve says:

    Jean,. I must give you a big Amen but I must also say you sound quite reformed in your rhetoric. I like it but it’s hard to synthesize when just a few weeks ago you were bashing the OSAS doctrine as the biggest problem in the church. Either God saves us fully or he doesn’t save us at all because God’s plans are not contingent. And although I won’t divide over you with this doctrine, I merely point this out to show some inconsistency that seems quite obvious to me. Anyhow, God bless you. Don’t mean at all to be contentious.

  12. Jean says:

    Steve,

    Thank you for responding. I can see how my 5:25 pm response might sound Reformed. to anyone not familiar with Lutheran theology. I am not an expert on Reformed doctrine, so I don’t want to misrepresent it. I will focus on a Lutheran view below.

    God governs creation and has a plan for His Christians (in Christ), but He doesn’t reveal everything He is doing to us. He doesn’t invite us to read the tea leaves or look for signs apart from His Word. He intentionally hides many things about His governance of creation, so that we will know Him only in the person, words and works of His Son, Jesus Christ. He is a gracious God only in Christ. He wills to save us only in Christ.

    In His Word, God provides us (Christians) with both promises and warnings. The warnings are typically given to Christians – baptized Christians. Those warnings speak of eternal consequences. If a child read the warnings written to Christians given in the NT, he/she would understand perfectly well what is at stake. It is only the scholar who attempts to explain away the straightforward reading, as many also do with baptism.

    God’s plan, where our salvation is concerned, is that we believe His promises and heed His warnings. He even gives us faith and the Holy Spirit in order that we believe. Instead of tea leaves to read, God gives us the Gospel, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and Confession/Absolution. Again, a child will easily understand what is given in these Sacraments; it is the scholar who rejects the straightforward reading. But the Sacraments are the means by which God carries out His plans for His Christians. Notice it is His plan, His gifts and His works.

    Regarding our temporal life, that is, our physical health and material wealth, where we are born and what our calling in life is, God governs that life as well as our Father in heaven. We trust in His governance, live by faith and not by sight, and often suffer His governance. His plan is operative over our temporal life too.

    OSAS is a manmade doctrine. You will not find it anywhere in Scripture. In order to make it work, one must explain away the voluminous warnings in Scripture given to Christians. You must explain away the righteousness of faith. You must downgrade the Sacraments from Gospel to law, from creative things to symbols. Worst of all, you either produce presumptuous, often barren Christians, or despairing ones who are never sure that their self-willed entrance into God’s kingdom was authentic.

  13. Nathan Priddis says:

    BD. I never thought about Paul’s thorn as a potential physical abnormality, that would result in discomfort for Charasmatics. I take it this thorn issue is skirted around?

    I think I like the Judiazer possibility.

  14. Dan from Georgia says:

    Nathan and BD, regarding Paul’s thorn, I too am in agreement that it may be a physical issue (pain, abnormality). Seems like many commentaters (sp?) believe this to be the case. Some suggested he has a problem with his vision.

  15. JD says:

    Some people joke that the thorn in the flesh was his wife. LOL
    And only some are saved to the uddermost. HAHA
    Biblical dairy humor: go ahead, shoot me. I’m just a milk and honey christian anyway, gorging on strong meats gives me indigestion.

  16. josh hamrick says:

    “OSAS is a manmade doctrine. You will not find it anywhere in Scripture.”

    Incorrect.

  17. josh hamrick says:

    Obviously false, overstated hyperbole like that is unhelpful to anyone. I could probably give 100 proof texts for eternal security off the top of my head. Now, can Jean’s view also be found in Scripture? Sure, I’ve seen the justification. When I way the two views against the whole of Scritpure, I come to the conclusion that Once Saved Always Saved is the correct view.

  18. Michael says:

    I can make a case “from Scripture” for almost any orthodox doctrinal variant.
    We settle on the ones that most alighn with our personal preferences and experiences.

    Then we claim we received them from Sinai… 🙂

  19. josh hamrick says:

    A lot of truth to that. My upbringing was steeped in OSAS, so it is hard for me to see the Scriptures any different way. My objection was to the patently false “You will not find it anywhere in Scripture.”

  20. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ve heard it suggested that his thorn in the flesh was migraine headaches because apparently, that’s what it feels like in your head.

    No one really knows for sure what it was. Ironically, this is where a lot of discussions and Bible studies go awry.They argue or debate or discuss from silence.

    Kind of a waste of time, really…but admittedly, it’s fun! Provided we don’t take it too seriously

  21. Michael says:

    “My objection was to the patently false “You will not find it anywhere in Scripture.””

    I just laugh at that these days…as I said you can make a case for any orthodox variant…I don’t need that kind of certainty about a doctrine.

  22. josh hamrick says:

    “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me”

    You don’t think that could be a person who opposed Paul? A literal messenger of Satan?

  23. Michael says:

    I’ve always thought the thorn was his vision issue…seems like the simplest explanation.

    I’ve also always thought that the nature of the thorn wasn’t the point…the point was the grace of God given when a prayer goes unanswered in the affirmative…

  24. josh hamrick says:

    Even completely heretical views are often found somewhere in Scripture, even if just a trace or a twisting.

  25. Michael says:

    “You don’t think that could be a person who opposed Paul?”

    I think it’s possible…

  26. Jean says:

    Josh,

    Let’s begin with the “O” in OSAS. In your doctrine’s view tell us where in Scripture the “O” takes place and how. Surely the OSAS Christian can look back to the “O”, right? Can you give us a citation to Scripture for that?

  27. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ve been around for a while and am in a cohort that discusses issues like eternal security. I wonder is there really such a thing as eternal security? Here’s my thinking (admittedly it may be off). In Calvinism, Jesus died for the elect. They are the only ones who will be regenerated and as a result “saved”.

    But how does one know they are elect? If a person, has the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5, it is assume he is regenerated and thus, permanently “Saved”.

    The Arminian says, that one accepts Christ’s forgiveness and is the regenerated. They may display some of the fruit of he Spirit but can step away from faith—or “lose their salvation.

    In Calvinism, even after years (theoretically) of displaying evidence of regeneration, if one steps away from the faith, it is concluded he was never saved in the first place.

    So while I agree philosophically with eternal security, the question for me is how do we know for sure that we are elect? Whether it’s the Calvinist view of never saved in the first place, or lose Salvation his do we know we are truly Elect.

    (Again, Calvinist banks heavily on the sovereignty of God and says that he determined who would be saved. Arminians believe God is sovereign but bank heavily on the omniscience of God saying, he didn’t determine who would be saved but somehow looked into the future (if that is possible) and just say who would acknowledge Jesus as Savior, and then wrote their names in the Book of Life).

    It’s all very confusing to me!

  28. steve says:

    Josh, I’m with you on this one. I can understand their are different views on this. That is fine, but it was only a few short weeks ago that apparently OSAS was the BIGGEST doctrinal crisis facing the church. Jean has some great insight from Keith Giles article that I don’t want to take away from but this is important too. Thanks though for standing for truth. I’m glad I’m not the only one that believes in the perseverance of the saints.

  29. Michael says:

    “So while I agree philosophically with eternal security, the question for me is how do we know for sure that we are elect?”

    If you want to be, you are.
    I’m here to help… 🙂

  30. josh hamrick says:

    Jean – Sort of a silly game you are playing, and I could literally play it all day. I’ll start with John 3:16 just for giggles.

  31. josh hamrick says:

    “OSAS was the BIGGEST doctrinal crisis facing the church.”

    Yeah, our friend may given to hyperbole on occasion 🙂

  32. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I have no clue when I was saved…except where it says it happened before the foundation of the world…where I was not present to the best of my recollection.
    I’ve always known God from my earliest memories.
    The only thing I know I received at my baptism was pneumonia…

  33. Officerhoppy says:

    Seems to me the assurance of salvation whether Calvinist or Arminian boiled down to a simple thought: I am saved as long as I want to be.
    I’ll let the Theolog determine whether I was elected or chose to be accept Jesus’s forgiveness.

  34. josh hamrick says:

    Jesus found me on November 28. 1993. 4 days before my 19th birthday, so I did have a conversion experience. I’m glad for people who believed from a very early age, but we also see conversion experiences in the NT, so I know they are valid too.

  35. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    I came to the same conclusion as you can see in the above post! And I wrote it about the same time you were posing !!haha

  36. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    We’d be better off if we stopped with limiting the categories to Calvinism or Arminianism.
    Lutherans are neither…and many Anglicans aren’t either.
    I think your conclusion is accurate, though…

  37. josh hamrick says:

    Most Baptists are not on that spectrum either. I think what Hoppy is hinting at is the fact that the exact particulars of someone passing from death into life are know to God alone. We can do our best to understand that which has been revealed in Scripture, but our best system is still going to fall far short of the truth in Christ.

  38. Jean says:

    Officerhoppy,

    What you are describing is doing theology from above. That never brings assurance because it leads to speculation rather than the solid foundation of God’s revealed will. You can’t fight the accusations of the devil with speculation. One needs the sure foundation of God’s word to fight with the devil.

    There is another way to do theology: from below. Notice the text from one of the primary sources for election:

    “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

    What a Lutheran focuses on is God’s call. If one has been called then (a) he/she was predestined and foreknown, and (b) he/she is justified and glorified. So, everything depends on the call.

    The call is below. It is graspable by by a sinner through faith. A Christian can grasp onto his/her call and have assurance that he/she is elect. God’s hidden foreknowledge and predestination are not graspable by faith, because they are not revealed to us independently.

    But if we know how God calls a sinner, and God calls us, then there we have a sure, solid and unshakable foundation for faith and hope and assurance.

    The problem is that sinners despise God’s call. They want something grander, especially they want to control the call and actually want to call on Him, so that they have some say in such an important matter such as their salvation. Moreover, they don’t particularly like the fact that God calls them through other sinning human beings.

    God’s call raises the dead to life. There is no work, merit, contribution from a dead person. This runs contrary to the American work ethic. We like to work for rewards. We like to distinguish ourselves from the mass of humanity by religiosity.

    Here is how God calls sinners to salvation:

    “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”

    Imagine that: God calls sinners to salvation by means of baptism. Baptism is an objective call and gift of salvation that one can grasp. There are many, many promises associated with baptism that one can grasp onto for assurance and to fight against the accusations of the devil. It is God’s Word.

  39. Michael says:

    I don’t have any concerns about what happens when I die…I have too much concern over how I’m living…

  40. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’m glad you found a system that fits…that’s my hope for everyone.

  41. CM says:

    In this whole before the foundation of the world thing and this OSAS debate, people tend to forget that linear time (past – present – future) and Cause and Effect are constructs of this universe and space-time. God is outside of that as he created it. Since we are creatures in this universe and are constrained by such, it is mind boggling to try and harmonize things.

    Let me give you 2 very crude analogies in a follow-up post.

  42. Em says:

    I think. 🙆
    The best instruction we have on Eternal security comes from the parables of the seeds……
    What sort of soil did that “seed” of understanding fall in?

  43. Jean says:

    When Jesus was tempted by the devil, what was His defense? It was the Word of God. Man lives by the word of God. In fact, nn John, Jesus says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” His body and blood for a Christian to eat are another sure sign that one is elect. These are tangible, graspable pledges of God’s grace, similar to baptism.

    The fact that so many evangelicals get re-baptized multiple times (for the wrong reasons, however), is because whenever the fall into sin or fall away and come back, they doubt the sincerity or authenticity of their conversion experience. To be honest, God wants you to build your spiritual house on the Rock, not on your subjective experience, which is sand.

  44. Michael says:

    My spiritual house is built on the person and work of Jesus, not Bible interpretations.

  45. Jean says:

    Michael,
    If theological discussion are unwelcome, just say so. I am happy to obey your blog rules. The Bible is my only source of knowledge of Christ and the Gospel. It’s all I have for a discussion. If you don’t want it here, just say so.

  46. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’m fine with the theological discussions.
    My problem with confessional Lutherans and the Reformed is that they believe that they are so right…thus, everyone else is wrong.
    I think a little humility would go a long way…because it’s really just another interpretation among many.

  47. Michael says:

    On the other hand, I’m so near heretical that I’m buying NLT Study Bibles for gifts… 🙂

  48. josh hamrick says:

    “The Bible is my only source of knowledge of Christ and the Gospel. ”

    As viewed through the Lutheran blinders. Please don’t pretend that you haven’t been greatly influenced by your choice of denomination.

  49. Jean says:

    One of the marks of OSAS is the assurance it purports to give to a Christian. I remember so many Billy Graham crusades where he encouraged his audience to make the biggest most important decision of their lives, and how it would change the direction of their eternal destiny.

    When a confessional Lutheran believes fervently in his/her confession of faith, i.e., the doctrines of the Lutheran Confessions, the purpose is not to bully someone else or be prideful, but for his/her assurance of being right with God and salvation.

    In that limited way, the doctrine of OSAS and a Lutheran’s confessions are both strongly held beliefs. They are just different beliefs.

  50. josh hamrick says:

    Of course they are both strongly held, and yes, they are different.

    You just made the claim that OSAS is nowhere to be found in the bible, which is easily falsifiable.

  51. Jean says:

    Josh,

    I can read between the lines and a debate would not be welcome. I actually like theological discussion, but do not like causing anyone annoyance. So, if I cannot to one without the other, then I would rather do neither. However, I stand behind what I said and wonder why it took over 1,500 years for someone to find OSAS in the Bible.

  52. Em says:

    Once saved, always saved? Well, yes, but sadly there is seed that falls on soil that kills the seed – shallow, rocky, etc…

  53. Kevin H says:

    Of course, Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Why are we having such a silly discussion.

  54. Kevin H says:

    But you can find it on Google. 😉

  55. josh hamrick says:

    Why does it matter how long it took, if you can just look right at it and see it today?
    (It was there all along, didn’t take 1500 years. More hyperbole.)

    Why not just say, “OSAS has verses and passages that back their view, but I believe the majority of Scripture points a different way?”

    The need for the absolute in the obvious lack thereof is strange.

  56. josh hamrick says:

    Such an overstatement of your point, that my view is found nowhere in Scripture, doesn’t really leave room for debate though, does it? I provide one scripture, you loose the debate. Doesn’t make my view right and yours wrong, it just shows that you way overstated your case to a point that you couldn’t possibly back it up.

  57. steve says:

    Josh, we don’t need to convince Jean. He actually believes in OSAS if he stands by his own words @ 5:25

    “But here is the comfort that we, dear Christians, have: That God has a plan (a foreknown and predestined plan) to get each one of us heaven. And that plan is his perfect gift to us. Nothing happens to us apart from His will. God is never surprised. His plan is never contingent. And nothing in heaven or on earth can intervene to thwart God’s purpose of each one of us.”

    I put ourselves in the nothing camp. In other words, not even our selves can thwart God’s purpose towards us.

  58. Jean says:

    Josh,

    You’re right… if you could provide one scripture…

  59. josh hamrick says:

    OK Jean, John 3:16. You lose, I win.

    And I remember why I stopped coming here 🙂

    Good seeing yall today.

  60. Jean says:

    The word “believes” in 3:16 is a present tense verb. So, no it doesn’t support OSAS.

  61. Xenia says:

    “The Bible is my only source of knowledge of Christ and the Gospel. ”

    This seems sad and impoverished to me.

  62. Officerhoppy says:

    Jean
    Not to be contentious but πιστεύων is a participle. I am not a Greek scholar but I studied for a while with Dr. H Wayne House.

    I think, the present participle πιστεύων speaks of an action or event occurring at the present time. In thE case of John 3:16, the focus seems to be the “act of believing” itself.

    Whether or not it is continuous is not specified by being a present participle, so it does not always correspond to the English continuous participle “believing”. The article , “ο πιστευων” just means “the [one] who believes” and “πας ο πιστευων” means “every [one] who believes”. Just saying…you may know more than me.

  63. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Here are two.
    Pretty straightforward.
    I’m sure you’ll wrangle them, but at face value, they are clear.
    Why do Lutherans think insulting the intelligence of other believers is a form of apologetics?
    Josh has a Masters in his field…and you?

    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.””
    (John 10:27–30 ESV)

    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.””
    (John 6:37–40 ESV)

  64. Michael says:

    The point I’m making is that Josh is studied in his theology and can certainly defend it.
    Asking for “proof tests”is the lowest form of theological discussion…I refuse to engage in it.

  65. Thatoneguy777 says:

    I’d like to throw a bit of weight behind CM’s point because it’s one I’ve made with other Christians before. God’s perspective on time is different than ours. Even saying things like “He sees the beginning and the end” or “he was there before the foundations of the Earth” almost certainly don’t capture what God’s view of the universe is like. When we look at any passage in the Bible regarding salvation, we are seeing a limited and flawed human being writing their best understanding of the divine perspective. Maybe God included these apparently “clashing” scriptures in the texts because He knew no matter how it was presented, we would find a way to be confused and argue about it. Some explanation is often better than none when you are guiding children to maturity even if they don’t fully grasp it at the time. In this case maybe we will never understand.

  66. Officerhoppy says:

    BTW—i6’s not what the Bible says that is at issue. What is at issue is what one thinks is it says!

  67. Michael says:

    “What is at issue is what one thinks is it says!”

    Exactly…

  68. Jean says:

    Officerhoppy,

    Your 4:27pm is correct.

    Michael,
    I did not insult Josh’s intelligence. One could interpret his responses to me as insulting mine. However, I endeavor to bear with people. I just look right past the insults.

    Michael, I won’t respond to your citations because I recall you saying that you find discussing theology with me as drudgery. Moreover, what would it accomplish? If I understand your current beliefs, they are somewhat independent of strict Bible interpretations; am I representing you accurately? If not then I apologize.

    I will say that I miss the days when we could debate theology without all the hurt feelings. Unlike politics, there is nothing more important for a Christian that a right understanding of God’s revealed Word.

  69. Michael says:

    “If I understand your current beliefs, they are somewhat independent of strict Bible interpretations;”

    I simply acknowledge that there are multiple interpretations of the scripture and do so without rancor or concern.

    “Unlike politics, there is nothing more important for a Christian that a right understanding of God’s revealed Word.”

    I’m not sure there is a “right” understanding this side of the eschaton. Every system has holes every interpretation its challenges.
    I’m certain of little but Jesus.

  70. Jean says:

    John 3:16 is a wonderful gospel verse. It is good news every time it is read. It is good news every time you believe it.

    Some how, many Christians think it is only good news once; then it recedes into the rear view mirror. No, that not what John 3:16 does. It is good news right now for everyone who hears it and believes it.

    If tomorrow I hear it and don’t believe it, I sin against the Holy Spirit.

  71. Nancy Holmes says:

    I’m no theologian, but at nearly 80 years old, I can safely say that as I look back on my life thus far…God has been saving me all along and He continues to save me (and grow me) every day. That is more than good enough for me!!

  72. Michael says:

    Nancy,

    That’s a fine theological statement…

  73. josh hamrick says:

    “believe” isn’t the word that makes John 3:16 a proof text for OSAS.

    But John 3:16 isn’t the only proof-text, they are throughout the NT. Michael listed a couple. I could list a bunch more. Doesn’t matter, because Jean will tell us what the Greek “really” means.

    There is biblical support for Jean’s view, however, given the whole of Scripture, I think Lutheran’s are way off base in this. We could discuss those reasons, and THAT would be a theological discussion, but you guys know the level of discourse from certain sectors.

    Any who, the SBC stuff is more complicated than you’d think. Its sort of impossible to explain why to outsiders, but it does make us look bad. Some of that is deserved, some not.

  74. Em says:

    Rpmans 5:1. amd following, too, perhaps

  75. Nathan Priddis says:

    I’m not ready to throw in the towel this side of death. I believe we can decipher information of the other World, while still in this cosmos. Further, this is possible without any reliance on any form of forbidden craft.

    …it is the glory of Kings to search a matter out.. We are able to do this.

    Will anybody succeed in doing so? Absolutely. Advanced knowledge will be common in the future as it says..
    …many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased…

    What I don’t believe is this represents a reference to modern international travel.

  76. Jean says:

    Steve,

    “He actually believes in OSAS if he stands by his own words @ 5:25”

    OSAS is larger than having a concept of eternal security.

    It begins with entrance into Christianity, the “O” in OSAS. This O is typically based on decision theology. Some call it a profession of faith. Others know it as praying a sinner’s prayer. Still others may know it as coming forward to “accept Christ.”

    This of course would exclude babies and small children. So, as not to damn them all to hell, OSAS Christians must come up with a loop hole for them, since OSAS typically rejects biblical baptism. Some call it the age of consent; others deny original sin.

    From there, OSAS then places its assurance on its profession of faith. If it was once saved, then it will always be saved.

    The warnings in the NT are interpreted away. Take this one from Ephesians, for example:

    “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

    Paul is clearly speaking to Christians: “now you are light in the Lord.” Yet, he warns these Christians: “everyone who…has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

    Then, OSAS minimizes or ignores faith altogether. Isn’t it faith, not my decision, that appropriates the Gospel? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes….”

    What does OSAS do when their friend or neighbor who walked the aisle, was a rock star new convert, later falls away, stops going to church and begins living in manifest sin? Do you say, the profession of faith was false? Do you say, the friend’s falling away doesn’t matter? How do they resolve it?

    Part of the problem is that OSAS doesn’t meet God where and how He has planned for us to meet and know Him and be saved by Him. Part of the problem is that the verbs are shifted from God saving us to our decision saving us. Part of the problem is that OSAS does not address the crucial aspect of life between entering Christianity and entering glory.

    Someone here may say, “Jean, that’s not the OSAS that I believe in.” Okay, fine. I’m just giving an example of the typical OSAS theology, which I don’t believe is biblical. I admit to a sad and impoverished view that my knowledge of Christ and the Gospel is limited to what is written in the Bible. However, from my perspective, it reveals an astonishingly gracious and merciful God, who has provided us with peace, rest for our souls and a road to redemption and eternal life with Him, our Lord Jesus and the saints of all time.

  77. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    even for those who didn’t finish or couldn’t finish the VIce article … this may come as no surprise–Wilson views it as free publicity so long as his name is spelled correctly and he plugs the 2nd edition of A JUstice Primer (the 1st having been rescinded after plagiarism was found in it).

    https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/a-taste-of-november-in-the-air.html

    It’s not as bad as Frank Schaeffer using the death of Nelson Mandela as a chance to plug for his new novel but it’s in the zone.

  78. josh hamrick says:

    Jean, you have tied up everything you dislike about non-sacramental Christianity with the phrase “Once Saved Always Saved”. I doubt you could find one person who holds to OSAS that would confirm your last post. That probably means that you don’t understand the belief.

    Once Saved Always Saved IS simply a belief in eternal security. Lots of sacramentalists are OSAS. Lots of non-sacramentalist do not believe in OSAS. Those two are unrelated.

    The only type of baptism explicitly shown in the New Testament is Believer’s Baptism. Paedo baptism came later (but maybe not very much later.)

    I’d like to go through that post, point by point, but your terms are so confused and off base its hard to even decipher.

  79. josh hamrick says:

    “This of course would exclude babies and small children. So, as not to damn them all to hell, OSAS Christians must come up with a loop hole for them, since OSAS typically rejects biblical baptism. Some call it the age of consent; others deny original sin.”

    You exchange one loophole for another. Is your view that all non-baptised babies go to hell? All aborted babies?

    “Then, OSAS minimizes or ignores faith altogether. Isn’t it faith, not my decision, that appropriates the Gospel? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes….””

    I have no clue what this could even be talking about. All the OSAS people I know, and that number is in the hundreds, believe in “Faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone.” The heavy decision based folks are generally of Wesleyan or Methodist persuasion, who do believe that one can lose their salvation. WAY off base in this one, Jean

    “What does OSAS do when their friend or neighbor who walked the aisle, was a rock star new convert, later falls away, stops going to church and begins living in manifest sin? ”

    We try to lovingly correct them, help them in their walk towards Christ. Only God knows who’s faith is sincere and who’s salvation is secure. What do non-OSAS do when this happens?

    “Part of the problem is that OSAS doesn’t meet God where and how He has planned for us to meet and know Him and be saved by Him. ”

    This is a reference to the Sacraments, but that is completely unrelated. One can be OSAS and sacramental, and vice versa.

    “my knowledge of Christ and the Gospel is limited to what is written in the Bible.”

    This is arrogant and untrue. You read the bible before you were Lutheran and understood things in a different way. Your views are more colored by Lutheran doctrine than just a plain reading of Scripture.

    “It reveals an astonishingly gracious and merciful God, who has provided us with peace, rest for our souls and a road to redemption and eternal life with Him, our Lord Jesus and the saints of all time.”

    Me too! So why can’t we celebrate this? That God is doing His miraculous work among different people, with different understandings, and different traditions around the world? God is meeting you in a language you understand and has done the same for me. What a wonderful God we serve.

  80. Nathan Priddis says:

    Wilson and the whole Moscow and beyond faction, are a glimpse past the Eschaton. It is a faction or tribe today, as it will be in the life to come.

    Wilson says he has…theology that bites back. That’s what he will do in the afterlife.

    Wilson denotes himself with the ensign of a barking domestic dog. John specifically tells us that dogs are found in the afterlife. Of course they will be. They also are part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Wilson will be the biting and barking part, as his home page discribes.

    This is inevitable, as was foretold in Scripture, including by Jesus Christ.

  81. Michael says:

    “my knowledge of Christ and the Gospel is limited to what is written in the Bible.”
    Every one of the 20,000 + Protestant denominations and evangelical Anglicans would say the same thing…and I chuckle every time anyone writes that.

    Your knowledge of Christ and the Bible is based on how one Lutheran sect interprets the Bible.

    And that’s ok…

  82. Michael says:

    “Me too! So why can’t we celebrate this? That God is doing His miraculous work among different people, with different understandings, and different traditions around the world? God is meeting you in a language you understand and has done the same for me. What a wonderful God we serve.”

    And all God’s children should say amen…

  83. Steve says:

    Jean, Josh understands this well and it would behoove you to try to learn from someone outside your tradition. In reality I’m closer in my own understanding to Lutheran theology than Baptist theology, but I’m learning a lot right now from Josh.. Jean you are swimming in your own bath water. You are trying to complicate and turn OSAS into something much more than it’s common understanding. I reject decision theology on its face and embrace Christ alone, faith alone, grace alone. I’m with Josh that every OSAS person I know would not agree with your post. And again I would agree with Josh that the decision based folks you are referencing are not OSAS and would come from a more Methodist Wesleyan persuasion with perhaps a lot of Charles Finney influence. You are completely off base in your assessments. I apologize if I derailed this post with my original response to you. I hope these conversations though have been helpful.

  84. Jean says:

    “my knowledge of Christ and the Gospel is limited to what is written in the Bible.”

    This is most certainly true for me and many other Christians.

    My tradition’s interpretation of the Bible is either correct or incorrect. If it’s correct, then it provides me with knowledge of Christ and the Gospel. If it’s incorrect, then it does not provide me with knowledge of Christ or the Gospel, because its in error. Erroneous knowledge is not real knowledge at all. It is fake or false knowledge. No one would say that the Heretics of the first 4 centuries had knowledge of Christ or the Gospel if that knowledge was heresy.

    Look how Paul described unbelieving Jews: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” Their interpretations of the same Scriptures that Paul had, believed and interpreted, did not provide the unbelieving Jews with knowledge of God and the Gospel.

    Whatever knowledge that I have of Christ and the Gospel is from the Bible. That is my sole source. Apparently to some that is a sad and impoverished spiritual state. But it is all I have and is the Rock of my faith and hope.

  85. josh hamrick says:

    “My tradition’s interpretation of the Bible is either correct or incorrect.”

    Or the scary truth – It is correct in some aspects and incorrect in others.

    “Whatever knowledge that I have of Christ and the Gospel is from the Bible. That is my sole source.”

    Its just not true Jean. When I quoted a verse to you yesterday you attempted to correct me with a note on verb tense from the Greek. That was not from the bible, but from some different tool, like a lexicon. A fine tool, like so many others that you use to understand the Bible. You haven’t reached the pinnacle yet, man. You are on the journey, just like the rest of us, and will need help with your understanding all the way along.

  86. Michael says:

    Steve Brown once said that he thought half of what he believed was wrong, he just didn’t know which half…
    I’m with Steve…

  87. Jean says:

    Steve,
    From my perspective you did not derail the post and I find the conversations to be helpful.

    Josh, your wrote (in response to the first paragraph below):

    “What does OSAS do when their friend or neighbor who walked the aisle, was a rock star new convert, later falls away, stops going to church and begins living in manifest sin? ”

    “We try to lovingly correct them, help them in their walk towards Christ. Only God knows who’s faith is sincere and who’s salvation is secure. What do non-OSAS do when this happens?”

    Your answer doesn’t address the theological issue: Is repentance and faith still operative for the backslidden OSAS individual or is the OSAS Christian saved from a past experience despite the falling away from faith and into manifest sin?

    If only God knows who’s faith is sincere and who’s salvation is secure, then are you saying that the OSAS Christian has no assurance at all, since he is not God?

    If God only knows, should the OSAS Christian who falls away, re-accept Christ in a new profession of faith? Since he might have been insincere the first time, should he re-do his conversion?

    I can’t speak for all non-OSAS Christians. What my tradition would teach is the warnings in Scripture to fallen away individual. I quoted from Eph. 5 earlier. But there are many others in the NT.

  88. Xenia says:

    The trouble I had with OSAS and what is being called “decision” theology is that it all seemed to be based on my own sincerity. As a shallow person, I had good reason to doubt my sincerity when I walked the aisle in the Baptist church of my youth or, consumed with doubt, re-prayed the sinner’s prayer over and over. You may object that it was not based on my sincerity, but every salvation message I ever heard ended with the phrase: “And if you really meant it….” Did I really mean it? Who knows? If God knew, He wasn’t offering me any assurance. The song “Blessed Assurance” filled me with dread. Plus, there were some things that happened in my life as an evangelical that caused me to doubt my salvation big time. If our old friend Steve W. was here, he’d gaslight me by saying I misunderstood everything, blah blah blah but the fact is, I never felt secure in Christ until I left the OSAS folks, God bless them, and joined a group, the Orthodox, who believe you can certainly “lose” your salvation if you aren’t attentive to the faith. Ironic, isn’t it?

  89. josh hamrick says:

    You have a misguided view embedded in your understanding of OSAS, and so I feel like I’m not sure what you are getting at in some instances, but I appreciate the breif Q & A format, so I’ll do my best to answer, assuming charity on your part, and not “Gotcha” on some technicality.

    “Is repentance and faith still operative for the backslidden OSAS individual”
    Yes, repentance and faith are the daily marks of any Christian. Show me a Christian who isn’t constantly repenting, and I’ll show you one way off base.

    “or is the OSAS Christian saved from a past experience ”
    He is saved by Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross. Period.

    ” then are you saying that the OSAS Christian has no assurance at all,”
    No. Our assurance is based on Christ’s sacrifice, once for all. Our confidence is in His ability to keep us, not our ability to stay. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it”…

    “re-accept Christ”
    Impossible.

    “should he re-do his conversion?”
    Again, a contradiction in terms of OSAS. If one was never saved, he was never converted, and thus, couldn’t possible reconvert. Now, we don’t teach that sin cancels your salvation, so I would guess many people were saved as children, lived in sin for a time, and then upon deciding to follow Jesus in sincerity, want to seal it with some sort of public profession. What is the exact moment that person passed from death into life? That is beyond me. While any sort of public statement may be unnecessary in terms of granting salvation, I would still celebrate their new found commitment to the Gospel. If this person were under my pastoral care, and felt the need to constantly renew their Salvation, I would do my best to assure them of God’s love for them, the finality of his work on the cross, and that they could rest in His finished work.

  90. josh hamrick says:

    “And if you really meant it….”

    Yeah, I’ve definitely heard some of that stuff, and could imagine how it might make some doubt.

    I’m so glad you found the right home for you!

  91. Em says:

    IF YOU ARE SAVED?
    Well, if you are, rest assured that God does not forget His own and you will be pursued(sp?)
    We are sheep, but we have a very good shepherd

  92. josh hamrick says:

    He leaves the 99.

  93. Xenia says:

    Thanks, Josh. You’re the best!

    Here’s one small example of something that caused me considerable torment:

    I was part of Calvary Chapel’s women’s ministry leadership. One night I dreamed that the whole team was dressed in white clothing, right down to white shoes, and were going off to some holy event. I could not find my white dress, much less any white shoes, and I remember frantically searching through trunks of clothing looking for white clothing so I could go with them. They were telling me to hurry up, and eventually they were gone into the mist, to whatever holy life awaited them and I woke up from the dream quite upset. This dream obviously reflected what I believed was the state of my salvation. I was the unsaved guest who had no wedding garment. My life as a Christian was a fraud, I believed.

    This was just one of many little occurrences in my life that tortured me. For example, every who asked was supposed to get Tongues because God would not give his children a snake if they asked for bread. All I got was snakes. And tears.

    Happily, those days are over for me.

  94. josh hamrick says:

    I will say, I tried the Charismatic thing for a couple of years, too, and felt the same performance pressure that Xenia speaks of. I never spoke in tongues or anything, really, but was always made to feel that if I was a REAL Christian, than these amazing things should be happening to me. I would beg and beg God, but it just wouldn’t happen. It was a harrowing time, for sure.

  95. Steve says:

    Xenia, my hunch with Calvary Chapel is they have been heavily influenced by Charles Finney who is the father of decision theology and are anti reformed and not OSAS at all. Calvary Chapel also seems to be gnostic where the anointed ones appear to have secret knowledge and unless you are part of their group they can easily make you believe you are not saved if you don’t fall in line and have any criticism of them. It always was cringe worthy to me when a pastor would preach that its harder to get one unsaved than it is to get one saved. I would always think why don’t you let God do the unsaving if that’s His priority instead of saying such a stupid thing. It’s impossible for me to get a senior anointed Calvary Chapel pastor unsaved, but the fruit this movement has put out makes me really wonder how many of the pastors are saved. I will never know.

  96. Xenia says:

    Hi Steve, my troubles began amongst my childhood/early adult sojourn with the Baptists and continued with Calvary Chapel. Apart from the tongues thing, there wasn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between them. My CC pastor told me that if I was going to read Finney, I’d better use caution so he was no fan. They all thought I was saved, that is for certain. My struggles were all interior.

    All to say, I don’t think CC is special in this regard. I was always the most tortured by the yearly televised Billy Graham crusades that my parents watched.

    As far as decisions go, unless one is a baby or small child, I think most of us do make some kind of decision to become a Christian. I made a decision to become Orthodox, which seems to me to be the beginning of my salvation, or at least, the beginning of being happy about it.

    Salvation is viewed differently in Orthodoxy than it is in evangelicalism/Protestantism anyway.

  97. Xenia says:

    Well, if you are, rest assured that God does not forget His own and you will be pursued(sp?)<<<

    God will not forget us but we can forget God.

  98. Steve says:

    Xenia, could you share more how salvation is viewed in orthodoxy? I don’t no anyone other than you and Hank Hanegraeff that converted.

  99. Officerhoppy says:

    “ Whatever knowledge that I have of Christ and the Gospel is from the Bible”

    Regardless one’s position, theologically, I think we would all say the same thing. Which underscores my previous statement: “it’s not what the Bible says that is the issue but what we think it says” 🙂

  100. Xenia says:

    Hi Steve,

    Well, there is the similarity that heaven is the destination for all Christians, and hell is the default locale for those who knowingly, I’ll say, resist God. So we have that in common.

    At the risk of being simplistic, the evangelical way to heaven was to make the decision to accept Jesus as your Savior, and *if you were sincere,* heaven is assured. The Christian life mostly consisted of Bible study. Good works were good as long as you didn’t get too Catholicky about them because they certainly had no bearing on your salvation because that was all settled when you said the Prayer. It was encouraged to live a moral life, with certain sins being especially important, but avoiding worldliness was considered legalistic because after all, we are free in Christ so don’t get bogged down with trying to live a holy life because you can’t. Why Jesus said holiness should be our goal, who knows. He didn’t really mean it. In fact, the Beatitudes were not really meant for us so don’t worry about them.

    For the Orthodox, salvation begins at baptism and the Holy Spirit is received by an anointing with oil at that time. If you are an adult or older child, obviously some decision was made but babies are brought into the Church by their parents. As a new Christian, this is only the beginning, it’s only the starting line of a trek through life to heaven, with the goal of being conformed to the image of Christ. Being conformed to the image of Christ (Theosis) is the goal of the Orthodox Christian. It starts here on earth and continues in heaven. So there’s a “royal path ” as we call it, that helps us become like Christ. The Church has many things to keep us on that path: Communion, confession, almsgiving, fasting, reading, prayer, etc. The path leads from our baptism straight to heaven, if we stay on it. Even if we choose to wander off, there’s always repentance and we are always welcomed back. So we see salvation more as a journey than as a one-time event. We are being saved. We never ask a person “Are you saved?” because who knows what the person will choose to do in ten years; s/he could become a monastic or s/he could completely walk away from the faith. When we look around Church on a Sunday morning, we see our traveling companions and it’s our job to help them stay on the path with kindness and encouragement. We believe the Sermon on the Mount is for us today and we sing the Beatitudes every Sunday morning.

    We believe that, in a sense, our good works do have a part in our salvation because when we do a good thing (showing love for a neighbor, for example) we are cooperating with God and the more we cooperate with Someone, the more we become like Them. An unbeliever who does good things will not be saved by them; a believer who does good things, in cooperation with God (synergism) will become more like Him. I’ve written an allegory here in the past about this called “Baking Cookies with Grandma Xenia” if I could find it! The Church is the ark of salvation; the things we need for our salvation are found therein.

    So that’s it in a very simplistic nutshell.

  101. Xenia says:

    There’s a lot more I could have said but my post is too long as it is.

  102. Michael says:

    Well done, Xenia.
    Many Anglicans have an affinity for Orthodoxy…including me.

  103. DH says:

    Xenia,
    When will you know you’re saved?
    After death?

  104. Xenia says:

    DH, if I am walking with Jesus, I am being saved. The walk will continue in heaven.

  105. Em says:

    Ah yes. As the old saying goes for the Redeemed ones “Absent from the body ( of flesh), present with the Lord.
    Sometimes i feel a mite sorry for those who have been led into false religions – especially those expecting a contingent of virgins awaiting them in the afterlife….. or expectig to be a god of their very own planet. .

  106. Jean says:

    What do the OSAS Christians do with the warning passages in Scripture? I will reference again Eph. 5:3-11. (However, there are many, many others written specifically to Christians.) Do you teach these passages or hear them in your churches? Do they mean what they grammatically say? Or do they mean something else? What do they mean to you?

    Josh, you wrote:

    “Jean, you have tied up everything you dislike about non-sacramental Christianity with the phrase “Once Saved Always Saved”.”

    What OSAS Christians, who reject sacramental theology should know is that sacramental Christians believe there is a close nexus between the Sacraments and the Gospel. In other words, the Sacraments are never an add on, option, or minor issue. To us, the Sacraments are of paramount importance, because Christ saves us by them. Therefore, they come up on conversation, not because we want to rehash a tangential issue, but because they are part of the conversation.

    A Sacrament can be defined as a means by which God calls, brings to faith and saves a sinner, consisting of a biblical gospel promise wrapped in a tangible thing of creation.

    In the OT, two examples are first, the blood that the Israelites were commanded to apply to their doorposts to save them from the destroying angel who went throughout Egypt killing the first born males of the humans beings and the animals. The second example is the brazen serpent that Moses made that the people who were bitten by venomous snakes were commanded to look at to heal them from the venom.

    To be frank, although Baptists and most evangelicals reject the Sacraments, they and all Christians have their own sacraments. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, every Christian needs something to look at for healing and assurance. I look at Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and my pastor’s absolution (exercising the keys in Matthew and John). OSAS look at something else. What is it? Is it your profession of faith? Your subjective view of your obedience or good works? Is it a manifestation of the Spirit? What is it? If you’re willing to peal the onion back, you will find your sacrament.

    The question for every Christian should be: Are you placing your faith and assurance in the rock on in sand? The bible is replete with passages about trusting in what your heart tells you. I don’t recommend looking there.

  107. Jean says:

    The ultimate Sacrament, greater than even the fruit of the tree of life, is the Son, himself, who, for us and for our salvation, took upon himself, permanently, human flesh, so we have a graspable God, one each one of us can see with eyes of faith and taste with the senses of faith.

    Why would anyone prefer unintelligible tongues, when Jesus Christ offers you His body and blood on your tongue for the forgiveness of your sins?

  108. josh hamrick says:

    “What is it? ”

    I already answered that; It is the Cross.

    And yes, I know that Lutherans see the Sacraments (speaking of Lord’s Supper and Baptism) as central to everything. It’s all you guys ever talk about, how could we miss it.
    I still don’t see a specific beef with once saved always saved in your last comment. Your beef really just appears to be with non-sacramentalists. And true, we have vastly different views. OSAS, though, is not what you are arguing against.

  109. steve says:

    Jean, I view OSAS as synonymous as regeneration or being born again. As a father, I discipline my daughter because I love her. God does the same with his elect. It doesn’t make sense to think of being unborn again. God will never leave us or forsake us. Now that’s just my reformed perspective which I lean too. I could definitely be wrong about all of this. I view the atonement as something in a judicial sense that was accomplished over 2000 years ago. I was saved then and applied to me when I believed and I do sort of go back to my infant baptism as a sign and when I was 11 and said the sinners prayer. I was baptized again as a young adult in AoG church but don’t tie much significance to that at all. I didn’t understand what I was doing then. I am being saved now in practical terms kind of like the way Xenia explained it but I believe in monergism where God is doing his good works in me. I can take no credit. I call that sanctification and when its all said and done in the future, we will be perfected with our glorified bodies in heaven.

  110. EricL says:

    Josh,
    You might have better luck reaching Jean with words of wisdom from Martin Luther:
    https://ergofabulous.org/luther/
    (Martin Luther insults)
    🙂

  111. Em says:

    Jeremiah observed:
    “The heart is deceitful above all things
    Desperatelynwicked…”
    I doubt many here trust their hearts to lead them
    We renew our minds, at least this evangelical tries to.

  112. Jean says:

    Steve,
    Thank you for an answer.

  113. Michael says:

    On one of the survivor groups I’m on there are numerous fundamentalist evangelicals who are utterly sure of all their doctrines.

    They will not stand for questioning or only up to a point…then it’s basically the pit for you.

    It offends me so much I’ve thought about leaving the group.

    I’m certain that I’m an Anglican…because Anglicanism allows me to eat at the buffet table of faith and enjoy all the dishes…or just pass them by knowing someone else will find them tasty.

    My aversion to certainty about everything past the ancient creeds is growing into revulsion.

    That may or may not be a problem.

  114. Just one of His lambs says:

    “I’m certain that I’m an Anglican…because Anglicanism allows me to eat at the buffet table of faith and enjoy all the dishes…or just pass them by knowing someone else will find them tasty.
    My aversion to certainty about everything past the ancient creeds is growing into revulsion.
    That may or may not be a problem.” Yes!! This! Resting in the finished work of Jesus is a place of peace and security.

  115. Michael says:

    JOHL,

    Exactly.
    My assurance is in Him…He told me it’s all going to work out.
    End of story…

  116. DH says:

    Xenia, That sounds like all the other religious systems without the grading or showing your tax returns…

  117. DH says:

    Also, You gave the best definition I’ve heard for synergism.

  118. Michael says:

    The two most ancient Christian traditions are synergistic…

  119. Muff Potter says:

    Em wrote:
    “I doubt many here trust their hearts to lead them…”

    Respectfully Em, Jeremiah 17:9 is one of the most used and abused verses (helicoptered out of context) in all of Scripture.
    I am also fearfully and wonderfully made with a heart like L. Frank Baum’s tin woodman.
    I’ve learned to trust my heart and inner gut feelings for a great many things.

  120. Jean says:

    Earlier in this discussion, I said that OSAS is a manmade doctrine. As we fleshed out the doctrine, I asked repeatedly how the warnings in the NT are to be regarded by Christians. Twice I made reference to Eph. 5:3-11.

    The closest anyone in the OSAS camp came to responding to my question (unless I inadvertently missed it) was Steve at 5:06pm (Thank you for responding Steve.). He was unable or unwilling to account for Paul’s warning: “you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Would we agree that having no inheritance in God’s kingdom is far more serious than the concept of discipline?

    In Romans Three, Paul wrote: “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

    How do OSAS Christians uphold the law in the case where the OSAS Christian falls away or falls into manifest and unrepentant sin?

    When I say that OSAS Christianity is a big problem for the church, it is not to be tribal or prideful, but because of what it can produce, that is, what its fruit can be in the life of a Christian.

    For one thing, what I have found in OSAS sermons is a dearth of the Gospel, and where it is still preached to Christians, it is a substantial minority percentage of the sermon time; most of the time is spent, not on the theological preaching of the law, but on self-improvement; what some people might call sanctification or growing in holiness. But does that work? Since an individual is saved ONCE (as the doctrine teaches), there is no purpose to repeatedly preach the Gospel. Therefore, there is just the law. So as the Gospel recedes into the background of the Christian life, guess what – so does faith.

    I find myself asking over and over again, Why would cross carrying, “conservative” Christians assault the Nation’s capital and police? Why would the same type of Christians rebel against government rules and regulations pertaining to the fight against Covid? Why would their preachers use their pulpits to preach against vaccines and masks? Why would they buy into unproven conspiracy theories about a stolen election? Is this what is left for Christians once they are saved and no longer need the Gospel? At least Rick Warren offered the Daniel diet some years ago.

    In my opinion, the root of the problem is an antinomian view of God’s law. I’m not saying that every OSAS Christian is antinomian or that antinomians are only found among the OSAS group. However, antinomianism is almost implicit in OSAS and it can lead to really bad fruit.

  121. Michael says:

    There’s not many doctrines that are not, in some sense, “man made’.
    Scholars on every side of every argument use the Scriptures to make their cases.
    Having made their case, they spend the remaining years prior to eternity telling us why everyone else is wrong.
    It’s wearisome to me.
    Now that I am old and have collected voluminous resources I can argue any position from almost any tradition to perfection.
    I would rather step on a nail.

  122. Michael says:

    I’m going to make a new rule.
    Any shots at Rick or Kay Warren will result in instant moderation or banishment.

    I’m not a Baptist, nor an evangelical…but both have been nothing but kind and supportive to me over the years and they have been such to my friends as well.

    In other words, they have shown love of God and neighbor…which is really how you fulfill the law.

  123. Michael says:

    The Bible is full of paradox…tribes settle on one side of the paradox and explain away the other….which also has a tribe representing it somewhere.

    I left the Reformed tribe because I got tired of defending one side of the paradox and acting like the other tribes were either stupid or evil…or both.

    Well then…How do you teach the Bible?

    With much help from Dr. Duane Arnold…I realized it’s not my job to resolve the paradoxes.

    So where the Bible says something that sounds like eternal security, I preach what it says.
    When it gives warnings not to fall away…I preach the warnings.

    That’s an oversimplification of the process…but I’m finding that (for me) it’s the only honest way to deal with the sacred text.

  124. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Every week you typically publish at least two articles criticizing one or more aspects of the American church. Those criticisms are almost always insightful and true. They focus on the fruit churches bear, such as abuse, nationalism, politicalism, leadership without traditional pastoral training and education, and charismatic performance based worship.

    Don’t you think it would be worthwhile to occasionally explore where this fruit comes from? I don’t think it originates in a vacuum apart from the doctrines of a church. For example, the Moses model pastor is a doctrine which, hypothetically, could be analyzed by reference to the Bible, and the reception of pastoral theology in tradition.

    Point taken on the Warrens.

  125. Jean says:

    With much help from Dr. Duane Arnold…I realized it’s not my job to resolve the paradoxes.

    “So where the Bible says something that sounds like eternal security, I preach what it says.
    When it gives warnings not to fall away…I preach the warnings.

    That’s an oversimplification of the process…but I’m finding that (for me) it’s the only honest way to deal with the sacred text.”

    Amen!. It’s not only honest, but submissive to the text, and acknowledges that God knew what He was doing (and what’s best for His redeemed children) when He inspired the texts.

  126. Michael says:

    Jean,

    The issues that I address are unfortunately found across denominational and doctrinal lines.
    There are many doctrines that various tribes have put together using scripture and tradition that may or may not be what God intended….but I suspect He receives them in the manner they are offered.

    If I could point the finger at one issue it would be the almost complete lack of instruction on the nature of the kingdom and the lack of understanding that biblical love of God and neighbor is sacrificial love.

    That isn’t solved by a proper understanding of the nature of sacraments.

    Pretending that one tribe has it all nailed down is , as I’ve said, alternately amusing and annoying.

    Your own denomination and it’s main media outlet are very politically active and far enough to the right to merit worry about falling into the Atlantic…by the way…and that’s ok.

  127. josh hamrick says:

    Now the Capital attack is because of OSAS?!? Oh my word. That’s beyond a stretch. Could there have been somewhere there that believed that? Sure. What about Lutherans? Yep. They could be there too. Those were people deceived by a political conspiracy theory, not people convinced of any doctrine.

    Jean, you write long posts asking tons of questions. I answer many of those questions, which you never interact with, then you act like I’m dodging your questions.

    So, in reference to the warning passages: I find the few in Hebrews harder to deal with than Ephesians or anywhere else to be honest. I suspect that I deal with them the same way you deal with OSAS passages. I see them in light of the greater push of Scripture, and discern that they can’t mean a true believer would lose his salvation. I take them seriously. They are certainly a call to holiness, and a warning against straying from the path. I don’t they they negate everlasting lif for the believer, or pluch a sheep from his hand, or separate you from the love of God in Christ. They are God’s Word. They are sobering. They should be troubling.

  128. Jean says:

    Michael,

    When I moved my household, I changed from LCMS to WELS. However, I agree with your point about my former synod. To me it’s a means to attract listeners by tickling their ears.

  129. Xenia says:

    OSAS had nothing whatsoever to do with the Capital attack. Dispensationalism might have had some influence, I can’t say. I will say that I have found many Orthodox and Catholic people who are neither OSAS or Dispensationalist who believe all the vaccine/election/etc conspiracies with just as much gusto as the OSAS/Dispensational crowd. I don’t see a correlation. I do see a correlation with OSAS teaching as regards to living a holy life, but I see this in all Protestant “positional” theologies where we are already perfect because of our “position” in Christ.

  130. Michael says:

    In summary…I think the Lord helps us find our places in the kingdom based on a number of factors.
    One size does not fit all.

    Jean has obviously found a home.
    Xenia has found a home.
    Josh has his home and I have mine.

    We’ve all spent time in other homes and it didn’t work.

    Theologically we could consider each other aberrant or heretical….but I think God has received all of us as His own.

  131. Dan from Georgia says:

    Amen Michael (your 9:27am comment)!

  132. Michael says:

    Thanks, Dan…it’s where I’ve landed these days.

  133. Jean says:

    I don’t really have anything more to add, unless anyone else wants to keep the conversation going. I do appreciate the interactions with Michael, Steve, Officerhoppy, Josh and Xenia. If nothing else, I know where you’re coming from on these topics and how you read your Bible on these topics.

    I remember a rather surprising admonishment from Jesus to His disciples rather late in His time with them:

    “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn [“change” NIV NASB, “be converted” KJV, NKJV, D-R,] and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)

    Kind of a rough message to the men Jesus called, who left everything behind to follow Jesus in lives of relative poverty and disrepute among their own people, don’t you think?

    This admonishment, like so many others in the Scriptures, drives me to church weekly to confess my sins, hear the Gospel over and over again, and receive the Eucharist. If I didn’t think Jesus meant it, I might stay home or look for something else in a church. But I think He means it.

  134. Xenia says:

    Jean, it almost sounds like you think we all need to be converted.

    Since we are all already Christians, are you saying Jesus was saying we need to convert to Lutheranism or we won’t see the Kingdom of Heaven????

    Nah, you can’t mean that. I must have misunderstood.

  135. Michael says:

    I’m actually chuckling at this piece of Bible interpretation.

    In context, it’s a call to humility and trust, not a statement about religious conversion.

    For me being like a child means a complete trust in the Father…and asking questions until I wear him out, if such a thing was possible…

  136. Jean says:

    Xenia, I’m certainly not saying you need to convert to Lutheranism.

    Jesus used the words, Michael has the context. However, it does speak of a turning around or conversion of a sort. Perhaps it’s pride to humility; or vanity to modesty; self-sufficiency to being needy.

    Whatever it is, it is spoken to Christians with a warning having eternal consequences.

  137. Michael says:

    Jean,

    This is why I find Lutheranism to be as synergistic as those they throw rocks at for synergysim.
    Unless you do the right things at the right time, you too will be lost…

  138. Dread says:

    I’d chime in but it would sound like tongues. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  139. Jean says:

    Michael,

    “This is why I find Lutheranism to be as synergistic as those they throw rocks at for synergysim.”

    I understand the confusion and could explain how this works in Lutheranism, but I suspect no one really cares, so perhaps instead we could entreat Dread to chime in – in tongues (hopefully angelic tongues).

  140. Michael says:

    Dread,

    We could use those today…if you bring the interpretation… 🙂

  141. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’m not confused at all.
    I was studying this stuff while you were a happy Methodist…the explanations fall short…but if they satisfy you, I’m good with that.

  142. Jean says:

    Well, you can call it what you want, but if you think Lutherans are synergists then something is off. Of course, like everything else, one must agree on the definitions.

    To me synergism means humans contribute to (i) their salvation and/or (ii) their sanctification. Lutherans don’t believe in that.

    There is such a thing, however, as cooperation. So, I cooperate with the leading of the Spirit when I attend church, where the Spirit justifies and sanctifies me. I don’t consider that cooperation as synergism, but it is cooperation nonetheless. There are other ways in which a Lutheran cooperates with the Spirit, but which we do not define as synergism.

  143. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I think that is semantic sophistry at its finest.
    If you don’t “cooperate”… you lose your salvation.
    If you do, you hang on for another week.

    That is classic synergism…

  144. josh hamrick says:

    Xenia, I do see a weird, extreme dispensationalism somewhere in that Jan. 6 group. Of course, all the reputable dispies condemned it, but you are right, there was something going on there.

    Sacramentalism sound like another hoop I have to jump through, one more thinkg I’ve gotta check off to be REALLY saved. Like tongues and other things were earlier. Sure, you love the Lord and have tried to live the last 20 years in his service, but if you don’t do this one next thing…not really a true Christian. I’m just done with jumping through hoops. I believe Jesus jumped through all the hoops needed for my salvation, and I am resting in His finished work.

  145. Jean says:

    Josh,

    “Like tongues and other things were earlier. Sure, you love the Lord and have tried to live the last 20 years in his service, but if you don’t do this one next thing…not really a true Christian.”

    First, no sacramental Christian denies the Christianity of a Christian who doesn’t believe in the Sacramental promises.

    Second, sacraments are not something you “do”; they are God’s work given and done to you.

    Third, unlike tongues which carry no salvific promise from God, the sacraments (from a Lutheran perspective) are instituted to save you.

  146. Steve says:

    Jean,. It’s been a pleasure interacting with you @5:32, those warnings in scripture condemn me. I don’t know about you, but every single day I probably have some kind of lustful thought. Jesus said that if a man lusts after a woman he has already committed adultery in his heart. These warnings in scripture are basically the law. They drive me to Christ. And I agree with you that I need to hear the gospel every Sunday. It’s for Christians just as much as it is non Christians. Regarding synergism, I do think we are but only with the new regenerate man. The old man still in side us can not cooperate with God. It is at war with Him. So we are 100% sinner and 100%saint. OSAS is kind of a silly moniker but I wouldn’t get bent out of shape with it. To me it only means the new man can now cooperate with God. We seek to please God in light of the gospel.

  147. Jean says:

    Steve,

    “So we are 100% sinner and 100%saint.”

    This anthropology is so important in so many ways. I’m very happy you picked it up and shared it here. It is a sort of hermeneutical key to both Scripture and the Christian life.

  148. josh hamrick says:

    “First, no sacramental Christian denies the Christianity of a Christian who doesn’t believe in the Sacramental promises.”
    Awesome! Thank you for that affirmation. It doesn’t always sound that way.

    “Second, sacraments are not something you “do”; they are God’s work given and done to you.”
    Since it hasn’t been done to me, and its not something I can do, I guess its not my fault. Maybe one day God will do this to me.

    “Third, unlike tongues which carry no salvific promise from God, the sacraments (from a Lutheran perspective) are instituted to save you.”

    Tongues are often seen as evidence of salvation, so I think their is a relation to that extent.

    Good talking to you Jean, Hope things are going well for you.

  149. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    At the risk of being the ex-Pentecostal who went Presbyterian, my sense has been that Lutherans seem monergist about how you “get in” but synergist about how you ” stay in” and they believe that makes all the difference between them and more official synergists who affirm synergism from start to finish.

    That’s the sense I’ve gotten but I am not very well steeped in Lutheranism so I’m asking if my impression, per Michael’s observation about how there’s a kind of backdoor synergism in Lutheranism, is correct or not. But even Calvinists affirm “union with Christ” so I have wondered whether or not some of the post-conversion categories of cleaving to Christ can include some hair-splitting differences that reflect nomenclature and traditions that can make it harder to detect that a lot of Christian traditions affirm that you DO something to continually be a disciple of Christ.

  150. Nathan Priddis says:

    If one is adopted as a son, then you are a son. And if a son, then an heir. And if an heir, then one, is an heir and it can not be revoked. In another place, it says that he gave gifts to men. The precipant has been set, that gifts and calling are without repentance.

    So then, there are those who say, OSAS. This is hardly the case, but the situation can be confusing.

    What if a Sovereign, having once made a declaration, later regrets that declaration? Is he bound? Can an irrevocable declaration be revoked?

    My understanding of the Faith is an absolute yes, a Sovereign can act to overturn a previous declaration. And I would cite two precidents:

    Daniel six. Daniel survived the ordeal, by the hand of God. The Sovereign was then free to kill the petitioners. The declaration could not be altered, but nothing in the granting of the petition prohibited the murdering of the petitioners. The the crux of the matter was not the wording of the petition, but could Daniel survive the ordeal.

    Sons of God. …I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High…..

    Again, the gifts and calling are without repentance. And further, the Sons of God are immortal. They can not die, yet they do. The fate of the matter will be determined by the ability of God to arrange the death of certain of his children. The Sons of God have no heirs. If their deaths can be engineered, they leave behind no potential claim. Their estate reverts to the Father, who killed them.

    A Sovereign can eliminate a right, by eliminating the holder of that right.

  151. Jean says:

    WTH,

    “so I’m asking if my impression, per Michael’s observation about how there’s a kind of backdoor synergism in Lutheranism, is correct or not.”

    Let’s dive a bit deeper and consider the following:

    First, what is sanctification. If you think that sanctification is principally about moral living, then you will be forced to admit that there are tons of Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, etc., who are way more sanctified than me or I would venture to say the average Christian. Is any Christian willing to say that that these non-Christians are sanctified? Therefore, no one can actually tell by observing Christian moral behavior if he/she is sanctified.

    Second, the word sanctification and sanctify are Latin cognates of the word Sanctus. For some reason (probably for liturgical purposes) Bible translators into English did not translate in most cases the Greek word, hagiasmos, as holiness but they retained the Latin word, sanctification. One prominent exception is the Lord’s prayer where many English translations use the verb form of the greek word to render it “hallowed.”

    Once we understand that sanctification is talking about holiness, then we should (a) acknowledge that holiness is a unique attribute of God, found no where in creation apart from what God declares holy, such as a piece of ground, a day of the week, a person or even a nation; and (b) investigate what is the prominent way that God speaks about Christians regarding holiness.

    In First Corinthians One, Paul writes that that “in Christ” he “became to us…sanctification [i.e., holiness]….” In First Peter Two, he describes Christians as a “holy nation.”

    Holiness describes someone who has been set apart by (or for) God. Paul and Peter do not say become sanctified or become a holy nation, but Christ is our sanctification or in Christ we are a holy nation. Holy is what we are in Christ.

    In other words, God has done it. In Christ we are sanctified/holy. Why? or How? Because He has created us new from above (John One), or married us spiritually (becoming one flesh with us) by which he give us what is his and takes from us what is ours (Eph Five), or we have put him on like a spotless garment covering our filthy garment (Gal Three). How on earth could we add or contribute to these works?

    One thing you don’t find in the writings of the apostles is the artificial division we impose between justification and sanctification. They are both gifts and indivisibly connected.

    When Paul says things like:

    “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” or

    “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” or

    “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”,

    Paul is not saying make yourself holy or become something your not or help God complete what he started. He is saying appropriate in and for your life who you already are in Christ. See yourself as God sees you in Christ. Have the same mind among yourself which is yours in Christ Jesus.

    So, it’s not a ladder to God or a quest for holiness, but a recognition and grasping the good news of the redemption that is ours in Christ Jesus. Only when you fully grasp by faith that you are a new creation in Christ, already seated with Him in heaven, can you down here mock sin and death and the devil and offer your life as a living sacrifice to your neighbor.

  152. The New Victor says:

    Hi Jean,

    Can you tell me why you left the LCMS for WELS? I have both churches in my area, and both seem to mix traditional with contemporary type services (though the WELS church has two separate services). I’m familiar with Missouri Synod (I think that is LCMS) from my time at a Lutheran school and church in the early 80s, 4th-6th grades.

  153. Jean says:

    Hi The New Victor,

    It is a geographical reason. I have a liturgical, confessional, WELS congregation 5 minutes from my house. Especially in the winter here, it’s nice to have a solid church nearby.

  154. Nathan Priddis says:

    …”Only when you fully grasp by faith that you are a new creation in Christ, already seated with Him in heaven, can you down here..”..

    Jean.
    I purposely ended your quote mid sentence. But up to the cut off, do hold you to this statement literally, or more like a literary device? Are there two Jeans?

  155. Jean says:

    Nathan,
    Definitely not a literary device.

    I am old man, offspring of Adam, fleshy Jean, baptized into the death of Christ; and I am new man, raised with Christ in baptism, created after the likeness of God in Christ, born of water and the Spirit.

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

  156. Nathan Priddis says:

    Does this mean a second person composed of spirit that is located in the upper World, and is seated in an actual seat?

  157. Jean says:

    Nathan are you asking me to explain the mystery of a Christian’s union with Christ?

  158. Nancy Holmes says:

    Jean

    I would like to ask you an informational question. In the Lutheran service, are the communion elements passed thru the congregation or individually received at the altar? Also is the “blood” wine or grape juice?

  159. Nancy Holmes says:

    I would like to share a small anecdote. As a single mom, I had to practice many small economies. I did not realize the consequence of one of those economies until my son and I were visiting another family and they happened to serve Welch’s grape juice as a beverage. My 10 year old son asked me in a whisper if it was okay to drink it because he recognized the beverage as the same one used for communion. He was a sincere young believer and did not want to offend the Lord. Needless to say, I decided we could afford to buy a can of condensed grape juice once in awhile–he apparently had never had it other than in the Baptist (of course!!) communion service.

  160. Jean says:

    Hi Nancy,
    It is customary to come forward to the altar to receive communion. Wine is traditionally served.

  161. CM says:

    Jean,

    The PCA church I attended many, many years ago, communion was offered once a week, we came forward and they offered either wine or non-alcoholic wine. It was definitely more “high-church” and “low-church”

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