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57 Responses

  1. covered says:

    As much as I like Keller, I’m not so sure that we will learn much from his book on Prayer. He seems to cover every base as to what we are to do as Christians. I guess I was hoping for something more.

    Oh, and FIRST!

  2. Bob Sweat says:

    Johnny Mac needs to add Philip Yancy’s book Why Grace Changes Everything to his list of influential books. 😉

  3. Daniel says:

    Regarding L vs. C, I couldn’t disagree more fervently. If the opposite of Libertarianism is increasing govt control and intrusion into our everyday lives (which is what we have these days), then I’d like to ask the author of the article how that’s working out for the Catholic Church? Espeically in light of the (celibate) nuns in this country who are being forced to pay for birth control. The author (as many others do) misunderstands Libertarianism. A person can be in favor of community and helping out other people, and still be opposed to a corrupt and highly inefficient govt trying to take control of everything. I thought that was rather obvious. The fact is that Libertarians make great Christians.

  4. Jim says:

    I consider the major tenants of libertarianism to be blatantly Christian. Ron Paul has summed libertarian thought in the non aggression principle. Kibbe’s libertarianism for dummies is titled, “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff”.

  5. Xenia says:

    Why would you want to mock the 15 Signs of the Times article? I pretty much agree with it.

    Recommended reading: Nihilism: The Root of Revolution of the Modern Age by Eugene Rose (Fr. Seraphim of Platina)

  6. Xenia says:

    I’ve never been too keen on libertarianism. I always think about Ayn Rand, even though I realize most libertarians would not agree with her views. At least, I hope they wouldn’t. I guess libertarianism, is a lot better than some other ideologies, as long as you stay away from the Ayn Rand extreme selfishness. I was alarmed to see that some conservative Christians I know were starting to read Rand as if she were a guide. That trend seems to have died down, thank God! I saw Gene Simmons on TV last week promoting libertarian ideas. It wasn’t very appealing.

    I have a sandwich.

    The libertarian wants to keep his sandwich (for whatever purpose) but won’t steal yours.
    The Socialist will take your sandwich away from you and give it to somebody else.
    The Christian will voluntarily give his sandwich to a hungry person.

    In this day and age, the libertarian and Christian view looks a lot alike but the libertarian may not feel morally compelled by God to feed the poor whereas the Christian is. There is nothing inherently Christian about libertarianism, although it is an understandable reaction to the rampant socialism. You can be an atheist and a libertarian at the same time. In fact, as in the case of Rand and Simmons the atheist makes the most consistent libertarian.

    You can sum up libertarianism with the attitude that exemplifies many people:

    “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to do.”

    That’s not an especially Christian attitude, though, is it?

  7. Jean says:

    I respect Keller, but am not a fan of his views on prayer.

  8. Jean says:

    I don’t think libertarianism and Christianity go together, because Christians don’t believe that what they have is theirs to do with as they please.

  9. Steve Wright says:

    Thanks for posting the link to my message, Michael.

    As far as the libertarian discussion. Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of a VERY famous speech given by Ronald Reagan in 1964 – arguably the speech that did for his political career what Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democrat Presidential convention did for him. (Although I think the accomplishments Reagan had in the 16 years until the Presidency far exceeded the 4 years for Obama)

    The speech is about liberty, freedom. And I think it is a slight contrast to what libertarianism is as espoused today (at least capital L, libertarianism). Yeah it had a lot of “red meat” since it was a partisan speech a week before the Presidential election, so there is a different tone to Reagan than the “Morning in America” Reagan of 1984.

    Then again, the role of government has changed dramatically so who knows what sort of speech he would give 50 years later. He might be more the capital L sort today too.

  10. Reagan’s speech lost out to Johnson’s Great Society. It totally snuffed out Reagan’s voice until this very day.
    We like to dream that Reagan was heard … but he wasn’t.

  11. Steve Wright says:

    We like to dream that Reagan was heard … but he wasn’t.
    Nah…no dreams here. It just reminds me of Samuel explaining to the people what getting a king like all the other nations would mean, and the people still shouted for that king. Deaf ears indeed

    Goldwater still lost…huge. Then Reagan matched the 1964 landslide with his own landslide in 1980, then topped it with a great margin in 1984.

    (Trivia – read that Reagan raised a lot of money for Goldwater in that speech, most all of it never spent since donations were done by mail and the process was too slow for it to make a difference)

  12. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – if voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it. 😉

  13. Finished says:

    Johnson re-defined boring! Besides, he was the biggest crook till Nixon came along.

  14. Bob Sweat says:

    Another pot stirrer!

  15. Em says:

    Finished, were you there? Johnson wasn’t boring – IMV… he was unsavory, like most of politics
    Nixon was in the wrong business… not sure what he should have been… he did have a nice brother, tho

    agreeing with Xenia today and off to make some good old black Lipton tea – it’s soggy and rainy here

  16. Jim says:

    “Christians don’t believe that what they have is theirs to do with as they please.”

    Neither do atheist libertarians.

  17. Francisco Nunez says:

    Good message Steve on 1Tim3.
    Listened to it while waiting for my surgery today. Thx for posting Michael.

  18. Jim says:


    I would just say that a Christian who is libertarian is above all philosophy and political views a Christian. I don’t know any Christians who care what Gene Simmons thinks about anything.

  19. Finished says:


    I’m 69 years old, I suffered through 6+ years of Johnson! All I could think of while listening to him give a speech was, “Land the plane!”. Besides, he was horrible to beagles.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    #12 …classic MLD…

    The 15 signs of the times judgment thing is like saying a pile is the sign of a dog. Those things aren’t judgment they are fallenness. They are not a sign of losing our way they are a sign of having our way.

    I actually was ALSO impacted by MacArthur’s book list but I never went to seed on the camp that spawned those books. It was a nice frame but the horizons were too predictable. When you read John M himself all you need is to have the 5 Points at you right hand and every verse can be gerrymandered accordingly. It is surprisingly helpful to have an inerrant grid to filter your texts. The result is that sometimes I laugh aloud at how JM and others tell the apostles what they wrote.

  21. Rob says:

    Can we still believe the Bible?

    I’m currently reading Bart Ehrman’s “How Jesus Became God”. It’s interesting and adds some historical perspective to the theological issues the church has wrestled with. So far, I’d recommend it.

  22. tbro says:

    I read, with interest, the softer face of Calvinism. Is it a necessity of Reformed soteriology to hold to regeneration before faith or is there some latitude in this among the Reformed family?

  23. Michael says:


    There have been a few scattered guys who tried to make the case for faith before regeneration from inside the camp…they don’t get much traction.

  24. Q says:

    Hey tbro,

    It seems there would be no wiggle room or it opposes their definition of Total Depravity, something must take place to allow the ability to believe, in this case regeneration.

    Don’t the scriptures teach belief before regeneration?

    Isn’t being born again the same as regeneration and both being salvation.

  25. tbro says:

    @24 Hi, Q –

    Yes, regeneration is the same as being born again and are to be seen as aspects of salvation – justification being the forensic side of it.

    You ask: Don’t the Scriptures teach belief before regeneration?

    Yes, I believe that to be accurate. The Reformed believe that the Scriptures teach regeneration before faith. For me, this is the Continental Divide between Reformed and CC. I think that more than what one thinks about this or that of the five points of TULIP, this is the dividing line.

  26. Em says:

    while some things are beyond understanding, over the years i have found scripture (where else does God talk?) to be logical… theology, while necessary – a bit of it anyway – is similar to seeing how long you can hold your breath underwater…
    it isn’t logical to say, essentially, I got hit from behind – dunno what it was, but it regenerated me and now I believe that Christ did it… when I didn’t know it…

    just killing time here… pondering again… and learning

  27. Daniel says:

    Xenia, in response to your comment (#6), since I am a Libertarian, let me better explain it to you. The L may in fact want to share it with a poor person. What he’s opposed to is the govt coming and forcibly taking away his sandwich, then eating 1/4 of it, throwing in the trash 1/2 of it, and then giving the last 1/4 to the poor person.

  28. Andrew says:

    “The Reformed believe that the Scriptures teach regeneration before faith. For me, this is the Continental Divide between Reformed and CC”.
    Interesting, although not sure its always understood exactly this way. Considering from my own experience that most of the Reformed I’ve encountered also practice infant baptism. However, this is a huge no no in CC since CC folks think an infant cannot have faith and therefor cannot be regenerated with CC logic and consequently should not be baptized. So go figure….I am lead to believe that either infants are all innocent and have no sin or they are all going to hell because they can’t have faith. Which one is it? I know CC pastors doesn’t think like this, but neither do I think this is a Continental Divide.

  29. Daniel says:

    I found the “Ehrman Errant” article to be a great refutation of Bart Ehrman. Probably a good book to pick up.

  30. Em says:

    coming up for air here after the long theological dive….
    the business of death link is worth the read… the man is well grounded IMO – funny anecdotes about a funeral director’s child-rearing…
    I know that it says that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” but lately and, perhaps un-theologically, I’ve become aware of how very much God hates death… it is antithetical to who He is… as such thots must conclude, so does mine: “there is much we don’t understand…”

  31. Thanks for posting Steve’s teaching!

    I enjoyed his gift in the Lord.

  32. Jean says:

    What set apart early Christians?

    I liked this article. I think I read somewhere that early Christianity attracted a lot of single women because of its sexual ethic and its ethic against infanticide (of which girls were a disproportionate target), which in turn attracted single men looking for a good wife.

  33. Xenia says:

    Daniel, you noted:

    >>>What he’s opposed to is the govt coming and forcibly taking away his sandwich, then eating 1/4 of it, throwing in the trash 1/2 of it, and then giving the last 1/4 to the poor person.<<<

    Sure, but you don't have to be a Libertarian to be opposed to that.

  34. Q says:

    Daniel made a good point –

    “What he’s opposed to is the govt coming and forcibly taking away his sandwich, then eating 1/4 of it, throwing in the trash 1/2 of it, and then giving the last 1/4 to the poor person.”

    Xenia also as usual made a good point –

    “Sure, but you don’t have to be a Libertarian to be opposed to that.”

  35. Q says:


    I believe the “Continental Divide between Reformed and CC”, or the, as Micheal say’s, if he likes you, “the traditionalists”, if he doesn’t, you are a fundamentalist (so I guess he likes you [or he sees you helpful or least not harmful]) is biblical hermeneutics and it includes soteriology, eschatology, which leads to how one lives today.

    CC and TGC aren’t that far apart today.

    They both have a great desire to be relevant, I think Michael does too.

  36. filbertz says:

    one can see from Johnny Mac’s list where he got his people skills.

    evangelicals are like how my friend describes my wife: “often wrong, but never in doubt.” We collect beliefs like a horder collects junk, and use them about as often.

  37. Q says:

    Oh, and Tim Keller, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler et al., are all idiots, as are all those who get rich off the gospel, JM, BG, FG, GL, plus the obvious, maybe JM.

    $400k a year plus…

    They all have a lot to answer to, including PN, SF, MD…..

  38. Q says:

    It’s another day to prey on the weak, as we pass the tray, or bucket, I mean the gift box is located at the back as you leave.

  39. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Well, this is a new development in the Puget Sound/Mars Hill area

    Tompkins has issued an open letter apologizing for being part of a church that has leadership that’s run with an ad hominem narrative against any internal critique and has publicly stated he was wrong to participate in the 2007 events. This would make Tompkins the only current MH pastor to have issued such a statement.

    It’s not clear whether MH is going to manage to survive but this is an interesting development.

  40. Q says:

    Mark Driscoll always wants to break someone’s nose or throw them off the bus, I think he would not fair well with me or the people I play with.

    Or in my opinion Steve Wright or Alex.

    We are nicer.

    Sorry for this last rant.

  41. brian says:

    I wont go into it but I do not like John MacArthur at all and it is very personal and I really dont know why, other than I think he is extremely arrogant. I am sure it is partly or mainly me but he just ticks me off.

  42. brian says:

    Q said “Oh, and Tim Keller, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler et al., are all idiots, as are all those who get rich off the gospel, JM, BG, FG, GL, plus the obvious, maybe JM.

    $400k a year plus…”

    Ok good so far this is holy.

    “They all have a lot to answer to, including PN, SF, MD…..”

    Yes why they did not make more money and have more power. That will be a hard one to answer for.

  43. brian says:

    This is good news I hope to delve into this more, it really helped me. I thank the Pope for this. Its about time.

  44. Bob says:

    Did I really read that in 2012 the MH board recommended raising Mark D’s salary to $650,000.00 for 2013?

    Wow! The truth is most CEOs do not receive that kind of compensation directly. A large portion of CEO compensation is tied to stock, options, and performance numbers. The only people making that kind of money directly are sports, entertainment, coaches, some doctors, and a few others.

    The average person doesn’t make a tenth of that! Is this what they mean by “tithing?”

    Additionally the average 401K plan balance in 2014 was $89,000 and in the same article:

    “People on the verge of retirement, ages 55 to 64 years old, saw their nest eggs grow to an average balance of $165,200 from $143,300 in 2012, Fidelity said. Savers with both a 401(k) plan and Individual Retirement Account managed by Fidelity had larger nest eggs, with an average balance of $261,400, up from $225,600 in 2012. “

  45. Bob says:

    Here’s the quote on MD’s salary:

    “In the August 2012 memo, Turner wrote:

    I would like to put forth a recommendation to raise Pastor Mark Driscoll’s salary to$650,000 for financial year 2013 based on the following:”

    Wow! I want to be a Mars Hill Senior Pastor!


  46. Jean says:

    My memory of this is foggy now, but I recall that that same article said somewhere that MD also received a $200,000 housing allowance from the church. And, we don’t know, as far as I can tell, what MD’s share might have been from outside speaking fees and book deals.

  47. Em says:

    the over compensation of big wig pastors discussed above? it seems to me proves the point that their flocks see them as celebrities and think of their salaries as just a small fraction of what a superstar athlete or entertainer gets… if those pastors draw their salaries from, say 100,000 people, isn’t that just 6.50 per head? and one ticket to a Seahawks game costs how much? not saying it’s right, none of it is…
    right now i’m looking at my old winter coats and thinking that i’m content with the “food and raiment” i’ve got… i always, to soothe my conscience, add shelter – must have meant shelter also…

  48. Steve Wright says:

    Yeah…the “not greedy of filthy lucre and not coveting” parts are going to be included in part two of that 1 Timothy message, given this Sunday.

    What an abomination that level of compensation is….

  49. Bob Sweat says:

    Whatever happened to the motto that I heard for years during my time in pastoral ministry? “Lord, you keep him humble and we’ll keep him poor.”

  50. Bob Sweat says:

    I left pastoral ministry in 1991. My salary at that time was $39,000 per year, which included housing and auto allowances. I was among the highest paid in my denomination. I not sure with inflation how much that would be today, but I’m sure it would not be close to what many of these guys make.

  51. Bob says:

    There are zero acceptable reasons to pay Mark D or any other “ministry” head that amount of money. Even when comparing Mark D to the highest CEO’s and self-made entrepreneurs that kind of salary and allowances are just out of line.

    He makes the Sadducee and Pharisee who loved money look like paupers.

    Maybe he is really more akin to pre-conversion Zacheous than post road trip Paul.

  52. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    one of the recurring mysteries within Mars Hill was basically 1) how much is Mark paid? 2) HOW is he paid? Even within the leadership circles of Mars Hill it was not at all clear how much Driscoll made or even how the payment/compensation as done. The memo sent by Turner regarding Driscoll’s possible pay raise suggests that both the amount and the nature of compensation for the executive leadership of Mars Hill was kept a secret even from the rest of the church. Nobody could object to how much Driscoll was making if they couldn’t figure out how much or how he was paid. I’ve started to wonder if some third party company was used that Mars Hill paid and which then compensated the executive elders in some way.

    So tempting as it may be to blame the whole congregation for letting things happen (and that’s understandable) it’s become increasingly likely from the evidence available that the top dogs at MH worked hard to make finding out how much they made and how they were paid as impossible for anyone beneath them to figure out as possible. Alternate explanations are welcome if people have extra evidence to draw on, though.

  53. brian says:

    Bob I agree with you totally but MD did fulfill one extremely important spiritual function, he made money, generated income, raked in the cash ……. That is what trumps any concern. What got MD the boot was he no longer could generate revenue and the brand was being hurt, those are awful sins. So he resigned to do the only godly thing he could. Look for a new market and he will find one and he will be back in the saddle real soon, that is more sure than gravity.

  54. Andrew says:

    What an abomination that level of compensation is….
    Maybe excessive Steve, but what makes it an abomination? It is all relative and if you compare it to some of the biggest name megastar pastor’s salary past and present (some of them CC) its probably similar. But the average Joe would never know if there is not transparent finances. The abomination I think is really the lack of transparency to the local members if they even bother to have a formal membership role.

  55. Francisco Nunez says:

    Hi Bob,
    In response to #50 , adjusted for inflation $39K in 1991 assuming an annual inflation rate of 3% CPI would equal $76.9K in today’s dollars (2014). Still very modest compensation especially for many California communities.

    Btw I was blessed by the Falling and Restoration message you gave at CCGP. I’m sure many other under shepherds would also be blessed by listening it as well.

  56. Bob Sweat says:

    Wow! I wish I was making $77,000! Francisco, thank you for your comment. We need to touch bases sometime soon, we’re not that far apart.

  57. Francisco Nunez says:

    Amen. Yes look forward to it!

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