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134 Responses

  1. First. I’m saddened that James MacDonald seems to have taken the path of so many other megachurch pastors.

  2. “…even when we stop, we can rest assured that God is still on the move—redeeming, restoring, healing, renewing, strengthening, rescuing and saving.” Love this!

  3. Bob Sweat says:

    “I just want to remind you that God has entrusted spiritual authority to the local church. And every local church has an authority under God. We believe that the Bible teaches that the authority is invested in the elders. And when the elders speak collectively, in agreement, the elders speak for God to our church.”

    Wow!!! Don’t the Catholics have a name for that type of doctrine! This sickens me!! Sometimes I wonder what it takes for people to wake up and rid the church of this type of thinking. But this is a result of power, when leaders become legends in their own minds.

  4. “The delete button isn’t just about avoiding mistakes. It’s about operating with a spirit humility and forgiveness.

    And ultimately, it’s about us demonstrating our gratitude for the sacrifice Jesus made in pressing the delete button on our sins.”


  5. Nonnie says:

    Lay offs at the big ministries in Colo. Springs: I agree with one of the comments as to the cold and clinical tone of the ministries and the article, considering that the people who have worked and served in these ministries have now lost their jobs.

    The comment, in part, says,
    “the fact that the ministries mentioned did not express any human sorrow, or sadness, about the human casualties of job and income loss that have brought those who survived the enormous lay offs to a point of continued income and ministry. It was as though the article was peppered with nothing but cheering for the process that laid off hundreds of faithful employees. I did not feel one ounce of sorrow for those who were severed from the ministries involved. Certainly, those who survived the “cuts” could have done much better than that!!!”

  6. erunner says:

    “Thirty-five percent agree with the statement, “With just Bible study and prayer, ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia could overcome mental illness.”

    Thanks for posting links and giving visibility to the topic of mental illness. That is such a scary statement. Hopefully the 35% will plummet.

  7. Alot of people believe that God cures cancer as well, though. I wonder if the survey would look similar for other diseases.

  8. Layoffs are tough – I have been on both ends. 2 weeks ago my wife and I laid off 1/3rd of our staff … but it had to be done for the survival of the company and to protect the jobs of the remaining 2/3rds.

    We got called names and were given hand signs as some people left.

    My surprise is that Focus had 1,400 employees and one time and that Navpress had only 29

  9. erunner says:

    Josh, No. If the criteria was for prayer and bible study alone as the cure. Those folks would be seen as loons.

  10. e- trust me, I know the stigma attached to mental illness.

    I’m just wondering, with so much of evangelical growth being in the charismatic world…I don’t know how much different those numbers would be.

  11. Nonnie says:

    MLD, yes lay offs happen, but when making a public statement about them I would think there would be compassion and care expressed over putting someone’s life in turmoil.

  12. Rick Dawson says:

    Another perspective on the mental illness item – written late last night, well before I read the Lifeway article:

  13. Nonnie, I didn’t see a press release about the layoffs, just the Tyndaye / NavPress joint venture.
    The comments about the layoffs were from a reporter.

    But then I did my layoffs with no press.

  14. Nonnie says:

    MLD, The article says they announced the layoffs shortly after announcing the joint venture. I guess I was reading the glowing press release of the joint venture as their way without any compassion for those who just lost their jobs. I took it that the “joint venture” was the reason for the lay offs. (perhaps I am mistaken in that?) In the entire article there is no mention of sorrow over lost jobs or concern over those now out of work. That is my complaint.

    I’m guessing it was a difficult decision for you to make with laying off people. I know it has to be done at times, but unless the employees are lousy workers with stinky attitudes, it must be hard to do.

  15. Nonnie, I once laid off my 3 grown kids with families of their own, one at a time over an 18 month period. Now that’s tough.

  16. Nonnie says:

    MLD….I’m sure it was very tough.

  17. Abortion clinics closing…excellent! We only have one in MS, in Jackson, and the work continues to try to get it shutdown.

    Sorry, my fear of nukes shutdown in the 90’s.

    So, if half of evangelicals believe cancer can be cured by prayer, is that bad?
    Sorry, I know that the first thing in illness or mental illness is to to turn to professionals, but to deride those who have faith in God through prayer seems to me to be a part of that walking through the grocery store hitting yourself…you know the body fighting itself that was mentioned yesterday.
    Do we now sneer at Christians who actually have faith in prayer?
    If that is the direction this argument leads us, I don’t want to go there with everyone else.

  18. In fact the whole tone of that article seems to set the power of God on the back burner as just a bit of “soul care”‘

    That is what aggravates me about this kind of stuff. To read this it just sounds like prayer is quaint and changes you, but it doesn’t really produce any visible changes.

    I have seen God in action in prayer and, believe me, sometimes He steps in and intervenes and sometimes He doesn’t. But we should never get the attitude that He can’t initiate and sustain life changing events, both physically and mentally, in our lives and the lives of others.
    Seek help, but not just from doctors. The biggest Physician of all may have a cure for you that will trump all the other.

  19. Xenia says:

    That article on Our Most Glorious Lady, The Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary is just horrible.

  20. Ricky Bobby says:

    “How Blogging And Twitter Are Making Us Smarter”

    Agreed. Well some of us anyway.

  21. Jim says:

    Mohler… meh

    “Can chaplains committed to historic biblical Christianity serve in the United States military? That question, though inconceivable to our nation’s founders,…”

    Should have written the two sentences above and quit, although his perspective on the founders is based on mythology. Read the father of the constitution below:

  22. justme says:

    I thought on much of what was said in those links. The one that struck me the most was Rick Warren and the death of his son. It was touching. I know this will come off as my usual whining and sniveling about all the evils how I was treated. OK I get that I use a way of posting that is dramatic and from what some said getting tiresome. OK I grant that. My mother lost two children before she died in extremely tragic events, on the court I lived in of the 15 houses that were on that block almost 25 % of those kids died very tragic deaths. When I was burned as a kid and on the burn unit I was the only one that survived of the other kids admitted near the same time, though my memory is cloudy being I was only six. In my job I lose alot of people younger then myself and usually in very tragic and painful situations. I know these people and spend a great deal of time with them. So I think I can sort of relate to what Pastor Warren is going through in one way. In another way the fact that he is actually allowed to speak about it and even share about his loss mystifies me. I cant relate to that.

    In my personal limited experience talking to much about a loss, say a week after it happened or more then two times in a group is way to much and you are seeking attention and using it as an excuse. I was in the house when one of the young neighbors killed himself, walking home from school I stopped by. He stuck a hose from an exhaust to the window of the car in the Garage and suffocated, not to long after by brother died. I walked home and told my mom who called and she heard the message, a message I heard alot in my house. Someone had passed away. My brother looked at me and the very first words out of his mouth was you are not going to the funeral all you want to do is miss a day of school. Now I did try to miss school alot because I hated being tortured and beat up all the time, a weakness on my part and I mean that if I had been a real man I would have taken the bullies out with out a tear. I failed in that, but that is another post.

    That seems to be a theme in my life that I use the loss of a person in some manipulative sense seeking attention and such. I was able to bury my sister, mother and many students and never once shed a tear, not ever, never ask for prayer, lean on people and of all the deaths in my family I missed maybe 5 days of work. Other then these two small blogs I do not bring this stuff up to anyone ever so I know I come off as a drama queen at times but it really is one of my few outlets. I dont know what to do with this stuff. Am I such an vile piece of garbage that I would use the death of a loved one to manipulate? I try really hard not to do that I really do. I do not expect people to offer condolences prayers or any other support, I even thought about putting in my will a condition that there was to be no memorial service to make sure even in my death I did not manipulate. I did not because that is just stupid. My point Pastor Warren can share his grief and people are touched and I am glad about that and wish him well. But if some of us share grief even a little bit it is seen as some type of pathetic attempt to manipulate people. I have literally gotten ill in avoiding sharing. You know what would have really helped me, someone letting me cry and just listening. I will not ever expect that nor would I accept it, to much water under the bridge but it would have helped. And no IM not playing some game do people actually think it is easy to share this stuff with people on line, I am not that much of a creep. Offered for what its worth. I know others struggle with similar situations. Shared under an alias just because.

  23. justme says:

    Jim thank you for that much of what Dr. Mohler writes is based on mythology. Also I think you totally refuted his article meh amen.

  24. Shocking, I know, but I think Mohler is right.

  25. Jim says:

    Josh, I’m shocked.. 🙂

  26. I was just reading the mental illness article at the top and I think that the author made a good point in who believes what – again this should be a dagger into the heart of American Evangelicalism. The author states “and nearly half of evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians believe prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness, according to a recent survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research.”

    Half of American evangelicals??? Why is it that those of us who don’t consider ourselves “evangelical” (although the word was hijacked from the Lutherans who were the original evangelicals), fundamentalists or born again christians (why that “born again” distinction?) – seem to have a healthier view on this matter and escape the statistical black eye.

    Those of us who are creedal, confessional and liturgical have a broader view of life. I think it can be covered under the first article, that God is a God of creation and he created everything good and for good. Therefore, doctors are part of that creation, and are a gift from God for our good.

    I always get the feeling that much of the “born again” crowd still pits man against God as if the two are not a part of each other.

    Prayer = God’s way … Doctors = man’s way.

  27. First Article in my previous post does not equal the first article above, but the first article of the Apostles’ Creed.

  28. Rob Murphy says:

    There is no standard fix all for mental illness. There is for those who are suffering a ‘perfect storm’ of physiological turmoil, struggle and need; there is a troubled soul who would ‘fix’ what is going wrong very quickly and willingly and there is the component of living in a world that is filled with terrible things that are heart breaking and joy taking. I know no one who is struggling who wouldn’t willingly step out of every troubled moment.
    There is no panacea in pharmacology or counseling – spiritual or secular – or any one set of treatments. I do find it interesting that there’s a bias toward pharmacological solutions and there is mountains of money being made by drug manufacturers – and they do not offer a cure, only a hopeful maintenance.
    It seems there’s only a one way questioning of motives toward the ‘evangelical’s’ purported ignorance towards the needs of mental illness while there’s a blithe acceptance of the allegedly pure motives of pharmacology.
    That’s a little odd to me.

  29. jamesk says:

    @19 Not sure I understand Ever-virgin Mary seeing how the scripture is clear about Jesus having earthly siblings.

  30. Michael says:

    The key words in the mental illness article are “serious” and “alone”.
    Serious mental illness is healed by prayer at about the same rate as serious diabetes, cancer, thyroid, and other organic diseases.


    Does it happen?
    Yes…but it’s the only organic disease that a large part of the church believes can be healed by a change in attitude or repentance.

    That…is dangerous.

    I deal with a mentally ill loved one daily.
    I pray for healing.
    I thank God for medication.

  31. Again, the survey is kind of meaningless if not contrasted with something like cancer. The way the question is phrased, I’d have to answer yes as well. “With just Bible study and prayer, ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can overcome mental illness.”
    How can any believer in God’s supernatural power disagree with that statement. Likely? No. Possible? Yes.
    Poorly worded survey for what they were trying to learn.

  32. Michael says:

    I would answer a very loud “no”.
    The percentage of people healed by prayer of anything is so low as to make it almost irrelevant.

  33. crownedone1 says:

    Michael @ 31 “Yes…but it’s the only organic disease that a large part of the church believes can be healed by a change in attitude or repentance.

    That…is dangerous.”

    It is. My grandfather is on more meds than I can count to deal with the mental trauma he suffered from witnessed atrocities in Vietnam (2 tours). He literally cannot live without meds.

    He went over a happy, normal person and came back schitzophrenic, paranoid & suicidal.

    War destroys more than lives. He will not talk about anything he witnessed there.

  34. Michael says:


    I have a dear friend in the same shape for the same reason.

  35. Xenia says:

    JamesK, they were his step brothers. St. Joseph was a widower and had children from his first wife. (No, it’s not in the Bible. There are history books other than the Bible.)

  36. I have not witnessed any miraculous healing ever.

    I have been on medication for depression for 14 years.

    CAN God heal mental illness with prayer alone? Absolutely. IF He is God, he better be able to.

    CAN God heal cancer? Yep. If He can not, He is not much of a God.

  37. Michael says:

    He can…but I’m sending people to the doctor right after I lay hands on them and pray.

  38. That wasn’t the how the question was phrased. In essence, you just agreed with the statement by saying “He can”. That’s why surveys are dangerous. Or how they are interpreted anyway.

    Couldn’t you just as easily say “65% of socalled believers don’t think that God has the ability to heal mental illness”?

  39. Now, about James Macdonald…did anyone sit through that video without getting up and leaving that church forever?!?! Wow.That was bizarre. I would really think it was a spoof if I didn’t already know better.

  40. jamesk says:

    @36 Can you let me know those history books? I have never heard that.

  41. jamesk says:

    So, Joseph and Mary never had sex? Even though they were good Jews and it is almost commanded that you do in a good Jewish marriage?

  42. Ricky Bobby says:

    I guess they didn’t pray hard enough or didn’t have enough faith?

  43. Michael says:

    They are idiots.

  44. Xenia says:

    So, Joseph and Mary never had sex?

    That is correct.

  45. Jim says:

    #44- some things only require a simple explanation.

  46. Xenia says:

    Only in today’s overly sexualized culture, where one’s sexual identity and fulfillment is the most important thing there is, it is impossible to imagine that a couple could be content living as brother and sister, being satisfied with being the Mother and guardian of our Lord.

  47. Steve Wright says:

    Where is a link to the actual survey? I’ve seen this a million times in political surveys and it is absolutely essential to see the entire survey, what questions were asked, how people self-identify and so forth before any real conclusions can be drawn.

    Usually in the political world, partisanship will hide the actual survey from which they pontificate – but you can dig it out eventually, especially if it is making enough noise in the news.

    Then again, these folks get paid and often the full results are only available to paid subscribers. Is that the case here?

    (One example – maybe a bunch of people self-identify as evangelicals, but then when asked how often they attend church they say rarely or never – so hard to blame the church’s teachings for that part of the survey.)

  48. Jim says:

    Xenia, I have no interest in arguing the point, and would encourage others to refrain, as no one’s mind will be changed. I have a question.

    I’m half Greek, but only went to Greek Orthodox weddings and funerals growing up. Does the Greek Ortho church believe this about Mary? Is the Marian view the same as Roman Catholic?

    Again, I won’t argue, I’m just curious. I don’t know much about “my people” 🙂

  49. jamesk says:

    @49 I am not trying to argue, I have just never heard this, even from Roman Catholics. I am just curious where a teaching like this comes from.

  50. Jim says:

    I know Catholics who believe that Mary remained a virgin.

  51. Steve Wright says:

    My rebuttal, without looking to argue either, is that

    1) The text of Scripture includes the word “until” – Joseph did not have relations UNTIL Mary gave birth. Matt 1:25

    2) Jesus entrusting the care of Mary to John makes less sense if He was not the oldest son who otherwise would have that responsibility.

    3) Marriage is definitely the place for sexual relations and the Bible encourages people to stay single rather than marry if they can abstain sexually. That has nothing to do with an over-sexed culture but with the design and creation and purpose of God. It would be odd to me that God would choose marriage if the purpose was a brotherly/sisterly relationship to raise the Child.

    4) Silence from the Scripture on the widower theory, the perpetual virginity etc.

    I’m sure there one can offer an explanation for each of these as I’m sure I am not the first to mention them. But item #1 really cinches the deal for me – that conjunction is just not open to a lot of different translations.

  52. Xenia says:

    Steve, look up other uses of the word “until” in the scriptures and you will discover that it may not mean what you think it means in this passage.

    But, i got work to do today and can only pop in every once in a while. There will be no convincing you fine folks of the truth of this matter, but if you are interested, read some Orthodox explanations on the internet. No point me copying and pasting arguments from someone’s articles.

    The Church has believed this for 2000 years. It still does.

    Jim, yes, the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox all believe in Mary’s continued virginity. The Anglicans used to, still might. I think Luther did, too.

    But you are right, no point in arguing.

  53. Xenia says:

    Well, I’ll save you some trouble:

    The Meaning of “Until”

    Another objection to the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity is that the Scriptures use the word “until” or “till” in Matthew 1:25: “. . . and [Joseph] did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Whereas in English the word “until” necessarily indicates change after the fact, in the ancient languages of the Bible this is simply not the case. For instance, if we read Deuteronomy 34:6, 2 Samuel 6:23, Psalm 72:7 and 110:1 (as interpreted by Jesus in Matthew 22:42-46), Matthew 11:23 and 28:20, Romans 8:22, and 1 Timothy 4:13, to reference just a few examples, we will see that in none of these passages does the word “until” indicate a necessary change. If it did, then apparently among other things we would be meant to understand that Jesus will at some point stop sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that on some unhappy date in the future He intends to abandon the Church! The use of “until” in Matthew 1:25, then, is purely to indicate that Christ was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, not conceived by Joseph and Mary, since they did not “know” each other “until” the birth. In this context “until” is really synonymous with “before.” If on the contrary it were meant in its full contemporary English sense. That is, if it really meant that Joseph and Mary’s chaste relationship changed after the birth then the stylistics present another big problem: the reader would have to believe that Matthew was actually inviting contemplation of the couple’s later sexual activity. This is doubtful to say the least.


  54. Xenia says:

    I usually don’t talk about things like this here on the PhxP because it pertains to the inner devotional life of the Church and is baffling and incredible to others. I only mentioned it at all because Michael posted a link to an article on the topic.

  55. Lutheran says:

    Yes, Luther believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

  56. Ixtlan says:

    ” the reader would have to believe that Matthew was actually inviting contemplation of the couple’s later sexual activity.”

    Matthew is inviting the reader to contemplate the uniqueness of the Son of Man, which, is intricately woven into the sexuality of Mary and later, Joseph, just as our own being is interwoven into the sexuality of our birth parents. The Scriptures in other areas are not shy about sexuality and surely Matthew here isn’t either.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    With all due respect to the traditions of Church history. There is a Greek word in the inspired New Testament text. A conjunction, chosen by the Holy Spirit from the list of all available Koine Greek conjunctions to express the Truth of God that He wants the Church to know and understand.

    The issue is not English. It is never English. The Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker lexicon is a Greek lexicon. Not a commentary on Scripture.

    But even to grant the premise, let’s translate it “before” – that just moves the text from a place of clear contrast to the Catholic/Orthodox view, to a place of silence. Nobody argues Jospeh and Mary refrained before the Birth. So there still is zero support in Scripture for perpetual virginity.

    Which gets us back to the starting point. To some Christians, saying there is zero support in Scripture means something, to other Christians it does not as long as there is tradition going back far enough.

    Which is why we will not change convictions on this one teaching here – because there is a far greater disagreement on the table, for which we already have agreed to disagree and remain brothers and sisters.

  58. Rob Murphy says:

    @ Josh, 32. I think that’s a great point, matching up/ comparing with something like cancer. This is not to grind a point, or use anecdote for debate, but I found a series of articles on ‘how doctors die’ and it deals with cancer and I would find it very interesting to see how medical professionals treat less than lethal but chronic conditions. This raised some big questions about how I ask questions about all my medical needs.

    I can’t find all the links, but here’s one that is just interesting – not hard science, but an interesting view on how a medical professional dealt with cancer.

  59. Xenia says:

    Steve, yes, the issue is not really Mary’s perpetual virginity. It is, as always in these kinds of discussions, the question of authority.

    I Timothy 3:15

    so that you may know how to behave in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

    I think if we were to ask most Evangelical Christians the question, “What is the pillar and foundation of the truth?” most would give a speedy reply: “The Bible, of course.”

    Yet according to Saint Paul, it’s the church.

    The only reason I am wading into these dangerous waters here is because (a) since Michael posted a link, it’s up for discussion and (b) while I have no delusions that I would change anyone’s mind, I do like to show folks that there is more to these doctrines than they might think and that the ancient Christians didn’t just invent these things out of the blue.

    Also…. the ancient Christians spoke Greek, the same kind of Greek the NT was written in. Yet reading what they read, they interpreted “until” to mean something quite different than some people do today.

    How were the New Testament books canonized? What rule did the Church use to determine what books were to go into the NT? This: Was it believed everywhere, at all times, by everyone? Likewise, he doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary has been believed everywhere, at all times (until recently) and by everyone (until recently.)

  60. Xenia says:

    By the way, I just had a scary thing happen. I am winterizing the garden and I disassembled the chicken coop so I could give it a good cleaning and when I took off the roof I discovered that it contained a huge colony of brown recluse spiders and they all began marching towards me with grim determination. I grabbed the hose and gave it a good squirt but I still feel like their might be spiders on me so I am going to take a serious shower now, talk to you all later!!!!

  61. Jim says:

    This is interesting to me, as a whole side of my family is Greek Orthodox. My Greek grandfather came here at age two in 1903. He was president of their Church in Wash DC, staying their until the building was completed in the 60’s, before retiring to Florida.

    My parents divorced when I was 5, so I lived with my mother, who was Scots-Irish, with American ancestry that dates back to the colonies. She was the one who tried interest me in my Greek heritage, while I was much more interested her side of the families history. She was an atheist, and used to mock the Virgin birth, but was was obsessed with Greek/American culture, and never mocked the GO church. It’ll be interesting to study what they believe.

    I was in a hospital while in my 20’s, and a GO priest had seen my name and stopped in to visit. I guess he noticed my blond hair and blue eyes, as the first thing he said was, “are you protestant?”. I said, “yes, but you could still pray for me.” He pulled a card out of his pocket, read something in greek and left.

    I thank God for my Greek/Scots-Irish bloodline, as all my friends have told me that I’m the most stubborn person they’ve ever met. Someone has to go down fighting…

  62. Lutheran says:

    There are plenty of Protestants who affirm the Bible’s authority who also believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    John Wesley: “I believe He (Jesus Christ) was born of the blessed Virgin who, as well after she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.”

    Not only the early church fathers, but Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, and the classic Anglican theologians all affirmed it.

    Like most theological subjects, the Internet doesn’t provide the forum necessary for nuancing these issues. But if we just focus narrowly on whether Mary was “really” a virgin or not her whole life, I think we’re missing the boat. This is where knowing what those who came before us believe is essential.

    Here’s a debate about the subject between a Roman Catholic and an evangelical that looks to be an excellent discussion.

    In a chapter devoted to Mary’s perpetual virginity, it’s pointed out that to the early Christians, Mary’s virginity referred to far more than just sexual. It described her essential nature (I Cor. 7-34) of purity and devotion to Christ, which continued until her death.

  63. fyi says:

    Xenia@61; I HATE spiders!!! After reading your post, I wanted the shower. Ugh! I cannot imagine something worse. Praying for God to wipe your brain from the memeory.

  64. Xenia says:

    Jim, Greeks from northern Greece (Macedonia) sometimes have blond hair and blue eyes. Were you baptized as a baby, do you think?

    Both sides of my family are Scots-Irish-English, here since the 1600’s, in North Carolina. My aunt researched the whole thing but I didn’t pay much attention to her findings at the time. I am going to sign up with and see how far back we can go. I remember she said she had located a relative from the year 1000 in Scotland but I don’t know how reliable that is.

  65. Xenia says:

    Lutheran, that is interesting information! I am going to read your link, thank you.

    I think I am safely de-spidered. I hope.

  66. Xenia says:

    I still feel a little creepy-crawly 🙁

  67. Jim says:


    I wasn’t baptized as an infant. My mother stood up to a large group of men who she respected and killed the deal. She really didn’t like God.

    My mom told me the same thing about northern greeks, although all my relatives looked really greeky and came from Kalamata.

  68. Nonnie says:

    Jim, you just made me hungry for olives. 😉

  69. I think the convo I heard on here about the power of God to answer prayer just made me think even less of the American church.

    You know, the Word of Faith movement goes to far, but so can all this pragmatic realism.

    I swear some Christians are so busy being pragmatic realists that they never think God can answer a prayer and that is why they are never answered.

  70. Josh’s #37 spoke a lot of truth.

  71. Michael says:


    I’m well aware that God can answer prayer and I’m also well aware that if mine are answered it’s usually in the negative.
    This is a very painful reality that myself and others deal with…sometimes it’s good to know you have company.
    God is sovereign and does as He sees fit…but it hurts like hell at times.

  72. Between awareness and faith sometimes lies a gap.

  73. Michael says:

    That’s probably the problem.
    I’ll step away from this.

  74. Ricky Bobby Clinton says:

    “The Meaning of “Until””

    LOL, if that doesn’t illustrate the subjective nature of bible interpretation…

    Depends on what your definition of the word “is” is. –Bill Clinton.

  75. brian says:

    I laughed for over ten minutes on this one.

  76. Reuben says:

    “I swear some Christians are so busy being pragmatic realists that they never think God can answer a prayer and that is why they are never answered”

    So, just believe enough? Not there with that at all. Sorry. Its Pelagianism. Heresy.

  77. Ricky Bobby Clinton says:

    Ergun Caner is like a bad WWF/WWE character. What a fraud. I’ll will give him this, he’s very entertaining. It’s a great act.

  78. Sorry, Reuben, would you please read all that I wrote in context.
    Is that what I said altogether?
    No it isn’t.
    Some people on here are just looking for soundbites.

  79. You know I commented on this more than once on this thread. Go read a bit more.

  80. And I am through for the night…find someone else to proclaim a heretic, just like the ODM’s who you proclaim to despise.

  81. Plus, Pelagianism? Was that one just pulled out of thin air because of anger.

  82. Reuben says:


    You got to your point, and the point was “pragmatists” dont believe enough. I have no problem saying it, thats horse poop.

    If you really believe that, I beg, reevaluate.

  83. Reuben says:

    If I just believe enough, if I just do enough, if I just die to self enough, if I just tithe more, if I just do more ministry, if I just save more souls…

    Surely God will then…

    That is all a lie. An evil lie. I lie I believed, a lie I taught, a lie I preached from pulpits. A lie I have to live with perpetuating. A lie that almost destroyed my life.

    I beg, dont buy the lie.

  84. Sorry, when did I say “believe enough” you are putting words in my mouth.
    I specifically said Word of Faith wasn’t right, was that not enough.
    Must I denounce all the power God can do that you want to believe you were taught “wrongly” about?

    This crap gets ridiculous.
    You post something and someone reads what they want to hear you say into it.
    This place is the best place to come and get offended by something someone didn’t say.

  85. I guess I was right.
    Some in American Christianity have abandoned God working in this world.
    If it isn’t “me” doing it, then it must be wrong or part of someone’s imagination.
    I never said God cures all our ills and solves all our problems.
    I basically said that we are shamed because we don’t seem to believe He does anything at all.
    I have seen the miraculous. I have seen a situation where I should have been a red smear on an Iraqi road, but God spared me.
    I have seen God’s providence in action.

    Shame on those who say he does nothing at all.

    Now fo’ reals good night!

  86. Michael says:


    I confess that I thought that’s what you were saying as well…that if prayers were unanswered, it was the fault of the one praying.
    There is no doubt that God has the ability to do anything…but the reality is that we don’t see much healing of organic disease.
    I’ve said many times that prayer is both the biggest mystery and largest grief to me spiritually, but I don’t doubt God’s ability to answer or my responsibility to ask.
    For some, the benefit of this site is the ability to be open about doubts, fears, and frustrations in the faith…they find strength in knowing they are not alone in their struggles.

  87. Michael says:

    “I basically said that we are shamed because we don’t seem to believe He does anything at all.”

    No one on this thread has said anything remotely like that.

  88. Fair enough, no one has said anything on this thread remotely like that.
    But this isn’t the only thread and I wasn’t just jumping in to a conversation that hasn’t been going on for a while.
    Also, the whole undercurrent of that article was “Those silly Christians who believe in God’s power. Don’t they realize we live in the modern age.”
    I haven’t seen the modern age conquer death or mental illness.
    Has anyone on here seen that?
    And no, advances in medicine and mental health are not evidence of that.
    People still get sick and die.
    People still stay mentally ill until they shoot up a Naval Yard, a movie theater or an elementary school.
    And we as a church seem to be saying, well prayer is quaint, but it doesn’t solve anything.
    All that is needed is some good mental health care and everything will be okey dokey. Well real life tells me that don;t always work out.
    And if you dare to speak up for God still having some power in this dark world of death and mental illness, you are called a heretic and your words are skewed to this fact.
    Christians in America WANT a powerless God, because it confirms their own faith in themselves.

  89. I really have nothing more to say.
    Just sort of disgusted.

  90. Michael says:


    First of all, many in the church don’t believe that either psychology or psychiatry are legitimate sciences.
    For a taste of that go read the late Dave Hunts site.
    The mentally ill often get a second beating in the church by those who believe such.
    That’s what the poll (however imprecisely) was attempting to address.
    My last comment on this will be on your last sentence.
    I lost confidence in my own ability to make things better for myself or anyone else a long time ago.
    No one here is more keenly aware of needing a God who answers prayer more than me.
    As I’ve watched my own health deteriorate and my financial world destroyed I feel that need every day.
    Many of those reading here are in the same boat…and it’s a painful struggle of faith to stay afloat.
    I’m sorry that that disgusts you…but I would rather be honest before God and help others to do the same than just repeat pious words that cover the pain.
    Some of us are holding on to the goodness of God in providence…meaning we choose to have faith even as things unravel.

  91. Reuben says:


    I have precisely zero faith in myself. As a pretty staunch Calvinist, my first claim is total depravity.

  92. Bryan says:

    Thank you Michael for linking to my site post of the comment. I have gotten to know Vishal Mangalwadi as a friend this summer, and he has become a mentor to me in the same strain as Os Guinness, Francis Schaeffer, James Packer, and Wendell Berry. I hope people will take the time to view of few of his lectures, and read his latest book, The Book That Made Your World. Excellent read.

  93. Ricky Bobby says:

    I know Bryan and Eric, great guys, great family.

    Not sure if my endorsement is good for bad for them LOL, but wanted to offer that. Good to see them writing. Will have to put their blog on my regular reading.

  94. Muff Potter says:

    Blogging and tweeting are making us smarter? It was truly hard to keep a straight face while reading the article. NPR must be in a kind of Ming dynasty Chinese famine for articles if they have to post something by an author who cannot distinguish between real smarts and pablum for the masses.

  95. Muff Potter says:

    And what would you do with all of us heretics who don’t believe as you do? Have us burnt at the stake?

  96. brian says:

    ” I’ll will give him this, he’s very entertaining. It’s a great act.” That is divine fiat He is a good act that alone justifies anything he does, it always will, Always. I could list many more which would mean nothing what so ever and I get that.

    And what would you do with all of us heretics who don’t believe as you do? Have us burnt at the stake?”

    Burning at the stake is not very efficient and people do not suffer enough, more like an atomic war where H Bombs are going off and 2/3’rds of the world is wiped out only to be recreated in perfect bodies and then be condemned to conscious eternal punishment. I have known people who think like this whats a few billion here or there to prove a prophecy. Its in the numbers sort of like numerology or say voodoo. I dont believe in voodoo myself.

  97. You know what I will quit trying.
    Obviously, everyone here is able to see deep things into every word I said that isn’t there. Even into interpreting exactly what I meant by disgusted.
    Can I not just be tired and disgusted in general?
    Does it have to specifically be about you, Michael?
    You see this is exactly what I said earlier.
    This place is the best place to come and get offended by something someone didn’t say.

    People on here seem to prove RB right in their interpreting of other people’s posts.

    What would that be called “selective offense”?

  98. The ODM’s would be very proud.

  99. Light that fire big!

    I want to be like a beacon in the night to warn away wary travelers on the road of life.

    Still not getting the Pelagian thing, Reuben.

    If it had been G, coming on here being declared a heretic, I am sure the outrage would have been great and all would have come by to pat him on the back and say “Poor dear” and have declared the pronouncer a very demon from the pits of hell.

    “Selective offense”

  100. Reuben says:

    Muff, of course not. It is a stupid question.

    I would beg that you reconsider your understanding, as I have..

  101. Reuben says:


    Pelagianism, because everything becomes based on your performance. Example: “If I just pray hard enough with the right heart, maybe God will answer my prayers…?”

    Believing you have control in these matters is a lie. If the Lord wills, I will even live through the day. This is because the wages of sin is death. There is no out-performing the will of God.

    Since I believe I am incapable of good, righteousness, right standing with God, then there is only grace. How God chooses to impart that is out of my hands. It is horrendously insulting to see a brother claim that prayers are not answered because one is depraved. I am depraved, you are depraved, God is God.

    I believe that my “righteousness” is filthy. Apart from the blood of Christ, I am dung. What Dread calls “wormology”.

  102. Nonnie says:

    Caner is starting to look like Todd Bentley.

  103. Jim says:


    Doesn’t total depravity = total inability, meaning that one is incapable of belief unto salvation without a prior work of God?

    Is it proper for Christians to see themselves as totally depraved?

  104. Jim says:

    For the Heidelberg Catechism:

    “Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?

    Indeed we are; except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.”

  105. Jim says:


  106. Michael says:


    You’ve been offended for quite some time now.
    I tried to explain where I was coming from, you want to throw some more insults.
    You took great offense on the non violence thread and you’ve been critical of me ever since.
    That’s fine, but you might at least listen to what someone is is saying.

  107. In fairness, Reuben did call him a heretic.

  108. Derek,
    Good morning.
    You posted,

    “If it had been G, coming on here being declared a heretic, I am sure the outrage would have been great and all would have come by to pat him on the back and say “Poor dear” and have declared the pronouncer a very demon from the pits of hell.”

    For the record, I came to PhxP years ago, and I was an ass.

    Over time I listened to others, created some relationships, worked hard to put Jesus’ teachings and examples into practice, sometimes failing, more than less thankfully people chose to be patient with me.

    I will not ask anyone to do anything for you. You have to earn these relationships. These who are here who are gracious toward me, I thank and do not take them for granted, not for a moment.

    Excuse me, now, I have a daughter getting married and thank my friends here for the many years of patient love.

  109. Michael says:


    That’s true and that was not helpful or correct.

  110. Reuben says:


    I dont know Derek’s heart, nor would I presume to. What he said is in my not so humble opinion wrong on so many levels that if I just let it slide, like people did for me for over 12 years of teaching ministry, I would be a damned fool.

    I know that there are probably millions of saved people who are works based believers. It troubles me. If it is better for you, or anyone else, that I simply closet my conviction, thats fine.

    I dont tend to get ambitious about drawing lines in the sand anymore. There is little that I would defend doctrinaly to the death. But this is one of those things.

  111. Jim says:

    I wonder if grace can be shown to others here, based on… well, if not just grace…. recognizing that no one has perfect comprehension skills, but more importantly, many of us have poor communication skills. Michael is an excellent communicator, and should earn a more than decent living producing written content. “Should”, meaning in Jim’s world of what ought to be.

    I’ve been in burn out since 2008, and can see evidence of a declining ability to communicate as clearly as I would like to. although I frequently do not show the same grace I’d like to receive, I’ll throw this out anyway.

    Perhaps someone says something that could easily be understood in a way that was not the writer’s intent. I just wonder if we could chill a bit, extend more grace, and love one another.

    At least until I pick my next fight… 🙂

  112. Michael says:


    Well said…thank you for the kind words as well.
    If I can overcome my own burn out and write something decent, we may have a chance at making a living.

  113. Ricky Bobby says:

    Muff, I find myself rarely disagreeing with you…but I think the thesis of that article was that blogging, tweeting, etc, forces us to communicate through writing which forces us to formulate thoughts, formulate theses and forces us to support those theses…as often our public expressions are challenged by a wide range of other opinions.

    For me personally, it has been like a kid in a candy store. I love the mediums and the ability to read a broad range of opinions on a particular issue and the opportunities to test various issues and positions against a broad range of disagreement.

  114. covered says:

    Reuben, I would ask you to consider MP’s thought @ #96. This is how you seen to come off many times. I don’t know if you realize it or not but you often bring a gun to a knife fight and after being a witness to it for a couple of years now, it’s still abrasive.

  115. covered says:

    seem not seen

  116. Reuben, first of all, Derek’s comment was not Pelagianism. Even what you inferred from his comment would still have to be interpreted in the worst possible way to be considered a Pelagian thought. Even then, Derek would not have been condemned for that comment in the 5th century.

    For all your talk of unity, I’ve seen you condemn tons of people.

  117. OK, now let’s be careful not to let this turn into a pile-on-Reuben session.

    Even if he was wrong. 🙂

  118. covered says:

    CK, it won’t be a Reuben “bash fest”. Reuben is much loved.

  119. Michael says:

    Reuben is my right hand…

  120. Xenia says:

    What Derek has written here is not Pelagianism. It’s not even semi-pelagianism.

  121. Reuben tossed out “I know that there are probably millions of saved people who are works based believers.”

    I am proudly one of them – my works are grounded in my beliefs.Now is that so bad?

  122. Muff Potter says:

    Ricky Bobby @ # 114,
    Agreed. On 2nd thought, mayhap I was being a bit too provincial & snooty concerning twitter & social media.

  123. Muff Potter says:

    And Reuben,
    My comment was an uncalled for jab at your religion & belief system and I apologize.

  124. Well, thanks for those that actually realized that what I said beared no resemblance to Pelagianism.
    Michael I have listened, but you just want an amen choir on some things and sorry I ain’t the one for that.
    I see people with an awareness of the power of God, but it seems to be lip service mainly.
    This statement perfectly sums this up:
    “There is no doubt that God has the ability to do anything…but the reality is that we don’t see much healing of organic disease.”
    Like I said, pragmatic realism. It is like a disease entering the church and is destructive of faith. THis would seem to explain your problems with prayer.
    Since I can’t see it, it must not happen.

    But, here is a bit of a hypocrisy lesson from the whole heretic thing.
    Michael posts a list of simple things that he feels that if you agree to then you can be called a Christian.
    Hate to say it, but Pelagianism actually falls within his list.
    Now, if I was a Pelagian, which I am not, then when Reuben called me a heretic, there should have been outrage and whatnot as we see for others.
    But, didn’t happen, which tells me that some are defended and others are on their own, especially when another moderator is involved.
    Well, except when real Pelagians speak up, then it is okey dokey.

    Once you start running counter to the way the argument is supposed to go, well then your words are picked apart, taken out of context and the usual suspects blow up.

    Don’t really have much else to say on this.

  125. Michael says:

    “This statement perfectly sums this up:
    “There is no doubt that God has the ability to do anything…but the reality is that we don’t see much healing of organic disease.”

    Evidently you see a hell of lot more of it than most of us.
    Many have of us see more suffering than we can handle and it helps to talk about it.

    “Like I said, pragmatic realism. It is like a disease entering the church and is destructive of faith. THis would seem to explain your problems with prayer.”

    That’s the kind of judgmental accusation that I thought you were offering, but was hoping for better.
    Nothing like pouring in some salt…empathy and compassion for hurting people must offend you.

  126. Michael says:

    Furthermore…it’s not destructive of faith to be honest.
    It’s destructive and dishonest to have to speak Christian platitudes when you’re watching friends and loved ones suffer with no relief in sight.
    You might think you’re defending God…but God needs no defense.
    I cannot see why He does what He does and He never said that we would…we can only cry out and know that somehow, some way what is happening will work for good and His glory.
    What I will never do is blame someone for unanswered prayer and speaking of the pain that accompanies it.

  127. brian says:

    I am still laughing this is fun

  128. brian says:

    “empathy and compassion for hurting people must offend you.”

    I dont know why but there is a side of me that is offended by me showing those two traits at times to anyone. I never quite got why I think that way.

  129. Reuben says:

    Derek, I hope you got my private message. I apologize for calling you a heretic.

    Muff, nothing of the sort was perceived I was being an ass. You responded as I would have.

    I don’t have the energy to make the pelagian connection. I tried. It was not clear, and I am almost never clearer than mud.

  130. Very cool Reuben!

  131. covered says:

    Well done Reuben

  132. brian says:

    Now me and MLD will never really agree, we come from two different pedigrees but this statement really (I dont much like this phrase) resonated with me.

    “I am proudly one of them – my works are grounded in my beliefs.Now is that so bad?”

    I dont consider anything I do a “work” in the sense that every breath I get is an act of grace but I do think works are grounded in belief and they go hand in hand. The reward thing I dont want, I have told that to God on many occasions, im content, sort of, if God does not wipe me out the next second and that He lets me and mine into heaven.

  133. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Xenias breaking down of the word “until” is a little too granular for my taste, I agree with Ricky Bobby on that one. Prayer is powerful, the bible puts so much emphasis on it. Pray without ceasing. Pchyscology is considered junk science by many real scientists and Doctors. Its also a vain philosophy of men Colossians 2:8. I also agtee with Michael that too many times Christians speak in platitudes when dealing with real crisis, struggle and pain. It seems as tho they don’t know what to say and are uncomfortable so they just throw out the obligatory christianese as if to say “shut up and stop complaining”. Many in the church have been Fed the lie that we always have to have our plastered smiles on amd be happy and that real agonizong pain physical or emotional must mean we are not being faithful enough. Have brothers and sisters ask me how I am doing at times and when I’m real and say that I am doing awful and feel like crap they don’t know how to respond and it makes them uncomfortable so they just throw out the requisite christian catch phrase of the day instead of doing the work amd trying to find out what is wrong. To me that is just christian laziness.

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