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  1. Xenia says:

    Well, what some people, like this MacArthur, want to say is Salvation is by Reformed Theology Alone. Us Orthodox and those Catholicks- we ALL believe that NO ONE is saved unless they have faith in Jesus Christ. Any good works are the result of our faith in Him.

    I remember seven years ago when I was first looking into Orthodoxy I let loose a few trial balloons among the CC leadership to see what they’d say. With one exception, they all said “Those people are trying to work their way to heaven. It is so sad.” (This came from the mouths of people who were extremely overworked at that church.)

    So after I converted, I kept my eyes peeled for any evidence of “Salvation by Works” and I haven’t seen any yet and I’ve never had such a peaceful, relaxed experience in my entire five decades as a Christian. I brought this up to some old CC leaders whose general response was a variation on the following: “Yes, we work hard for the Lord because we love Him so much and we are grateful. You think by your hard work God will let you into heaven.”

    In other words, their motives for working for the Lord were pure and 100% altruistic and everyone else’s motives were selfish.

    Besides, you all know the only place in the scriptures where the phrase “faith alone” is, right?

    I guess some people want to call Baptism and Communion “works,” but I reject that notion. Both are methods of communicating with God. Is Prayer also a work? Is reading one’s Bible a work? As far as I can tell, Bible-reading is an acceptable work in some circles.

    To repeat, all Christians believe they are saved because of their faith in Christ.

  2. MDSF says:

    However, to say that it is an absolute necessity for salvation sends Roman Catholics and the Orthodox to hell.

    I’m not ready to make that jump…you?

    Isn’t this what the Reformation was all about?

  3. Xenia says:

    By the way, since I am the only PP regular who falls into this MacArthur’s “going straight to hell” category, I certainly hope this thread isn’t going to be about “Is Xenia saved or not.”

  4. Michael says:

    MDSF,

    The Reformation covered a broad area of issues and the reclamation of justification was one of them.

    My question is more around the area of belief…does one have to believe a certain doctrinal formation of justification to be saved or does one simply need to believe in Christ as their Savior from sin?

    I know folks in both Romanism and Orthodoxy who love God more than I do…

  5. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I certainly don’t want to go there…I have never doubted your faith.

    I’m more interested in thinking about the things we use to damn and divide from each other.

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia,
    “…and I’ve never had such a peaceful, relaxed experience in my entire five decades as a Christian.”

    Such a true statement – but it has nothing to do with “justification alone”. As one who believes strongly in the ‘Alones’ I too have the exact same peaceful experience, since leaving the ‘works treadmill’ of CC.

    So, perhaps that is the common denominator. 🙂

  7. Xenia says:

    Michael, I have always known that you believe I am a Christian. Thank you, dear friend.

  8. Xenia says:

    MLD, maybe so! The Baptists pretty much wore me out too, though.

    But I understand what you are saying. The culture of particular churches isn’t really connected to what one believes about justification…. or is it? Maybe it is, more than we think.

  9. MDSF says:

    Michael —

    What I think I hear from Reformed types in this area is something along the lines of this:

    1. No, they don’t love God. Not the true God. They’re deceived, in rebellion, etc. and love a God of their own making.
    2. Of course you need to believe the Reformed doctrinal formulation of justification to be saved. Jesus may not have preached that, but Paul certainly cleared it all up.
    3. Christianity is all about doctrine. It’s about believing the right thing in your head. That’s why Paul is canonical and James not so much.

  10. centorian says:

    “I’m not ready to make that jump…you?”

    this is a loaded question…. it is one that I would turn to the Bible and the Bible alone for my answers. This is too big to miss.

    Salvation by faith in the finished work of Christ alone…. What concerns me is that people are too attached to their system as a means to get them into heaven and I fear that attachment will not save them.

    Rom 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

  11. Michael says:

    MDSF,

    All three…and I would have agreed with those assertions not long ago.

  12. Michael says:

    Centy,

    It’s those verses I think we do need to examine.

    If you confess with your mouth and believe…but you also believe a bunch of “error”…does that negate the fact that you have confessed and believed in Christ?

    I don’t think so anymore…but it’s worthy of discussion.

  13. MDSF says:

    Michael —

    My best guess on stuff like this is that the Early Church would have understood believing one way, while the Reformers understood it a different way, and modern people (and postmodern people) understand it differently from both groups. I don’t honestly believe that Paul meant “agree with a given truth claim” when he said “believe” in Romans 10. But I suspect that’s how many/most modern people understand what he’s saying there.

    I do not see a good way out of this cul-de-sac, though. One lives in one’s time, after all.

  14. Rob Murphy says:

    for the tech aspect of the post -the affordability of the mac system is a bit daunting – how is the mini mac? I see those available in my budget constraints, is there an upside/downside that I should be aware of before considering, or something that should remove that from my considerations?
    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE rebooting my computer six different times per update and any time the Vista doesn’t manage memory well. You know, every two hours or so…. I’m not that bitter.
    Yesyesiam.
    I’d really like to get into the Mac stuff, but my o my the money leaving my wallet :O

  15. Sister Christian says:

    …”or does one simply need to believe in Christ as their Savior from sin?”

    Didnt Jesus, John the Baptist and also the Apostle Paul spoke of “Repent and Believe”?
    Repentance is part in parcel with belief…

    Perhaps much of this depends upon ones definition of what it means to believe?
    and what ones definition is upon what it means to Repent…

    Not only that, Faith works… Faith without works is dead
    What good then is a dead faith, a dead believing?

    James also said in the
    NLV James 2:24 as:
    You see we are made right with God by what we do, not by faith alone
    KJV as: Ye see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only

    In a glance at the parable of the 1O virgins, each who anticipated the arrival of the bridegroom… surely their was some level of belief in each, yet was what the difference?

    5 were foolish
    5 were wise

    5 did not prepare for the Lords delay,
    5 Did prepare and were filled with an added measure of the Holy Spirit, good works, repentance from

    From this and cross referencing with other passages of this nature,
    it may not be wise to continue to look at things in terms of “good” or “Bad” as everything has some measure of good mixed with bad to greater or lesser degrees
    but rather to view things more in light of what is wise and what is foolish.
    There is much that surrounds and distracts us from the work of the Kingdom, Love of the Father,
    from being about His business, that is not necessarily bad, but foolish and of no profit in our walk…

    Just some thoughts to consider

    Xenia, great explanation!

  16. Michael says:

    Rob,

    The only issues with switching are about how much software you use that you may have to replace.
    Long term, Macs last longer, perform wonderfully, and the return on investment is much greater in my opinion.

  17. centorian says:

    I had this discussion with a Mormon missionary once. He was quite heated ( I enjoyed it) and wanted to assure me that he would be “ok”, since he had confessed Jesus. While many people, probably all, do not have a great understanding of doctrine when the profess Jesus as Lord, regeneration by the Spirit has to be considered and is evidenced by the path which people later chose. Like any doctrine, you cannot completely hang your hat on one particular set of verses, although I think what is being addressed in Romans 10 come pretty close…

    What is of interest to me is in my brief exposure to early church writings seems to indicate a faith that was wrapped around works, that is, a willful, voluntary submission to actively participate in the life practices of the church.

  18. Sister Christian says:

    “If you confess with your mouth and believe…but you also believe a bunch of “error”…does that negate the fact that you have confessed and believed in Christ?”

    “I don’t think so anymore…but it’s worthy of discussion.”

    How many new believers have a perfect view of Christ without any error?
    Its about learning and growing in love and obedience to Christ and His words and towards the body of believers, through the Grace God imparts to us.

    belief it seems has to do with not only hearing, but heeding the words of Our Lord
    The Holy Spirit leading us into truth and teaching us, warning us against error

    Dont you think Michael, this is something that is developed, a process that we through Gods grace grow in through our walk and beliving in Him,
    Abiding in Christ, as we partake of Him and He indwells in us

  19. MDSF says:

    What is of interest to me is in my brief exposure to early church writings seems to indicate a faith that was wrapped around works, that is, a willful, voluntary submission to actively participate in the life practices of the church.

    My understanding here is something similar: that for most of Church history, one’s salvation involved being constituted in some sort of federal headship under an authority figure. And that constitution involved some sort of obedience/communion/what-have-you.

    As a citizen (not a subject) of a modern nation-state I tend to find this repulsive, and wonder why simply being so constituted “in Christ” shouldn’t be enough.

  20. Michael says:

    Sis, Centy,

    When you read the patristics and the Reformers, and the Puritans…a faith without some evidence of repentance and sanctification in progress was not considered a true faith.

    We’ve lost that somewhere…

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I just listened to Johnnie Mac. Pretty long list of things that you have to ‘believe’ to get to “Justification Alone”.

    One thing I do know, is that Mac does not believe that we are saved by ‘justification alone’. He is the leading advocate of Lordship Salvation which means to be saved, YOU have to make Jesus the Lord of YOUR life. So, there seems to be something other than the work of Christ on the Cross that God used to reconcile the world to Himself.

  22. Michael says:

    Sis,

    Those are excellent questions and I think for the most part I would agree with your conclusions.

    The other thing I would love to really encourage is people reading outside their own traditions…not fearing contamination, but seeking the wisdom of 2000 years of diverse orthodoxy.

    For me to even pose the question I did would make me anathema in my own tribe…and that would really upset me if I wasn’t anathema to them already. 🙂

  23. Michael says:

    I hope I’m the second leading advocate of Lordship Salvation.

    You a Zane Hodges fan, MLD?

  24. Psalm62 says:

    MSDF,”one lives in ones time” agreed and all the breakthroughs and movements since Early Church times were reactions to overemphasis or wrong teaching on some point of sound doctrine IMO
    the justification by works? evidentiary, perhaps, to our fellow Believers? dunno

    i would so much rather stay here and be edified than go back to wasting time on a printer that i’m close to returning from whence it came – like the little old lady in that old tire commercial, i’ll throw it right thru their front window 😆

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    “You a Zane Hodges fan, MLD?”

    No, not at all. But it is like the Calvin / Arminian debate – just because you disagree with one does not make you agree with the other – we think in different categories.

    But, as a defender of Lordship Salvation, think about what you also advocate – that the work on the cross was not enough, but I also must believe ‘something’ other than the promise of Christ’s death on the Cross FOR ME, to be saved. It might be a good response to Zane Hodges, Robert Lightner, Roy Zuck and the boys over at DTS, but it is pretty poor theology.

    I don’t know if you read his 1st edition of The Gospel According to Jesus” in 1988, but it was terrible. Michael Horton had to have a come to Jesus meeting with him to get him to rewrite the errors – hence the 2nd edition.

    My point, anything other than the saving work of Jesus on the cross takes away from “Justification Alone”

  26. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I agree…what I would hasten to add is that truly regenerate people will evidence a new birth…and I think that is a lost doctrine.

  27. MDSF says:

    The other thing I would love to really encourage is people reading outside their own traditions…not fearing contamination, but seeking the wisdom of 2000 years of diverse orthodoxy.

    Or you could just pick up and read a copy of Brian McLaren’s book A Generous Orthodoxy.

  28. Michael says:

    I would never recommend McLaren…he evidences no understanding of either history or orthodoxy.

  29. MDSF says:

    Psalm62 —

    I am not entirely sure the church has made any breakthroughs. I suspect it rather accommodates itself to whatever the outside world believes at the time, then tries to patch up its theology when a crisis arises.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I agree also with your 12:12 🙂 – but I also know that we probably are not the best ones to evaluate that evidence in others.

  31. Michael says:

    I don’t read MacArthur anymore to be honest…J.I. Packer and others have written on the subject and it is to them I turn for reasonable discussions of theology.

    MacArthur has a prophetic gift…but doesn’t read much other than his own work anymore.

  32. Josh Hamrick says:

    I think Macauthor is correct that justification is through faith alone. However, I think his definition ofwhat that means is probably alot tighter than my definition would be. I’m pretty sure he would also condemn most arminians. After all, they add the work of making a decision to their faith in Christ. I think in the end, we’ll find alot of the remnant coming from many differnt traditions and probably some from no tradition at all. To assume that everyone from the reformed tradition, and noone from the Catholic tradition will be saved seems a little unrealistic to me.

  33. Pineapple Head says:

    My reading of The Gospel According to Jesus didn’t lead me to think it was teaching faith + something, but rather faith WILL produce something.

    I went to MacArthur’s church years ago, and later got a degree from a full-on full grace seminary. I found both thier views to be unnecessarily extreme…often talking past each other.

    Galatians makes a strong case that the message of salvation must not include any works.

    James paints the picture that faith will produce works consistent with salvation.

    How God sorts it all out in our hearts is beyond me. I certainly did not know much of anything about theology when I received Christ. All I knew was God was holy, and I wasn’t (which there was plenty evidence!), but Christ died from my sins. To receive God’s gift of salvation I needed to confess my sin and believe on Christ. That’s all I knew. It was enough.

    Has anyone ever seen John MacArthur smile? 🙂

  34. Pineapple Head says:

    I can’t imagine that JM would condemn an arminian as not being a believer. But he’d probably want that issue sorted out really soon!

  35. Michael says:

    PH,

    Well said…the whole thing. 🙂

    Josh…I agree.

    It’s getting too agreeable around here. 🙂

  36. Sister Christian says:

    “When you read the patristics and the Reformers, and the Puritans…a faith without some evidence of repentance and sanctification in progress was not considered a true faith.

    We’ve lost that somewhere…”

    Yes it oft times seems we have. The tender balance is understanding, while being able to discern walking in the light, truth, justice, mercy and grace God has entrusted to and growing us in and those who have an air of religion those would lay heavy burdens of the traditions of men upon others.

    “what I would hasten to add is that truly regenerate people will evidence a new birth…and I think that is a lost doctrine.”

    Without conversion, a new birth, no one is saved…
    again we have a difficult time distinguishing between those who have airs of religion
    and those who are yet babes in Christ, who only have tender shoots of new life breaking forth from hardened ground.

    “The other thing I would love to really encourage is people reading outside their own traditions…not fearing contamination, but seeking the wisdom of 2000 years of diverse orthodoxy.”

    This one thing has been most helpful in the growth of my faith, and that of my family.
    Saints who have gone before us, and seeing, reading of elements of faith that have been almost completely lost in the modern day institutional churches.
    Currently I am completing ” A serious call to a devout and holy life” William Law
    It was a gift from a retired Pastor from Kidderminster. As he instructs its not to chastise in whats evil or foolish, but to commend in those practices that are beneficial in our walk with Christ, beneficial to the state of our souls both temporal and eternal…

  37. Michael says:

    I’ll go out on a limb here…the longer I meditate on these matters the more I’m convinced that the presence of sin in someone is not the issue.
    The issue is the lack of repentance.
    There is no sin that I’m not capable of doing…and probably enjoying.
    If I feel no guilt that leads to repentance…then my soul is in great danger no matter my profession.

    That’s what I think today…

  38. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m not sure that either is essential to salvation. I think they are a by-product of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Evidence, not active in.

  39. BrianD says:

    After reading thru many of the comments, I don’t want to hear MacArthur.

    Can I listen to the White Horse Inn guys instead?

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I agree with you about the repentance, however, not about our active sin. I think that we need to repent of our sinful being.

    How many here have visited someone in prison today or has fed a hungry person today or even has it on their calendar for the week end? That is what should be driving our repentance. Our moral acts are minor in comparison.

  41. Psalm62 says:

    Michael,”I’ll go out on a limb here…the longer I meditate on these matters the more I’m convinced that the presence of sin in someone is not the issue”

    it’s gotta be that way or else no one that i’ve ever known is in the family of God – the less sin there is, the better society functions in this life and our sin should concern us both before our Redeemer and before our fellow man – speaking for myself, the less a person sins the nicer they are to be around – that said, the less a person ‘thinks’ they sin the more awful they are to be around

    made sense to me when it left my keyboard 😉

  42. centorian says:

    re McLaren:

    A Generous Orthodoxy is neither.

  43. Sister Christian says:

    In the latter portion of the aforementioned book, the author gives an example of a fathers instruction to his son. Here is a small excerpt:

    “I am teaching you Latin and Greek, not that you should desire to be a great critic, a fine poet or eloquent orator,: I would not have your heart feel any of those desires, for the desires of these accomplishments is a vanity of the mind, and the masters of them are generally vain men.

    But I teach you these languages so that at the proper times you may look into the history of past ages and learn the methods of Gods providence over the world; That reading the writings of the ancient sages, you may see how wisdom and virtue have been the praise of great men of all ages and thereby you will fortify your mind by their wise sayings.

    Let truth and simplicity/plainness therefore be the only ornament of your language, and study nothing but how to think of all things as they deserve, live according to reason and order, and to act in every part of your life in conformity to the will of God.”

    I mention this as a book first published in 1728, which encourages the reading of writings of the sages of past ages.

    Another strong reinforcement of the faith is reading through Church history and lives of saints of different countries and seeing the providence of God at work. For example the Huguenot movement in France as a result of John Calvins work… and then even prior, in 1400 something; Gods calling upon Joan of Arc to deliver France from The English (further research is needed on my part, but I think at that time England was a very dark heathen nation with despicably wicked practices, late 1500s to the 1600s was a time of great awakening,spiritual reform)yet prior to this,… The young girl 19 years of age, Jean de Arc… a peasant unable to read nor write, but who had Gods hand upon her to deliver a nation out of bondage is both inspiring and compelling

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will clarify one thing from my 1:10pm – I did feed the hungry today – I made lunch for my wife and I – does that count? 🙂

  45. ( | o )====::: says:

    sorry MLD, by telling us you lost your reward… 😉

  46. Sister Christian says:

    Michael

    very good!

    what I have been meditating upon is the more we delight and fall in love with God and honor Him as the Lord of our lives, as we as best as our feeble souls are able to obey and abide in Him; with Gods help as one can attain to love the brethren;

    The more all the enticements of the world, the pleasures of sin ( and it is pleasurable for a season), pride, envy, lust, position power and greed and the like look more like a heap of garbage, a sewer pit of death and destruction, and we will less likely to be attracted to it, but rather run like Joseph at the sight and stench of it…seeing it for what it truly is.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    g,
    Again, more reason for me to repent. 🙂

    Luther used to claim in the Heidelberg Disputation that even most of our good works were mortal sin.

  48. Sister Christian says:

    well if any of my posts sounds a little jumbled or rambling, please forgive my sleep deprived jet lagged weary soul… hope the thoughts and ideas come across, in spite of typo technicalities and grammar discrepancies…
    prayerfully some are still able to find encouragement therein.

    have a great night all
    be blessed and greatly encouraged in Christ!

  49. Xenia says:

    I’ve heard sermons (not at CC) where the preacher made comments like “If you aren’t out there witnessing I have to wonder if you are saved.” Lots of questions to the congregation like “How many souls have you brought to the Lord?” Also sermons where the preacher said “How many chapters in your Bible do you read each day? I have to wonder if a person is saved if they don’t read their Bibles everyday.” Man, those sermons made me squirm. I didn’t hear stuff like this at my old CC but I heard it quite a bit as a Baptist. I agree w/ MLD- this stuff is terrible.

  50. Sister Christian says:

    “even most of our good works were mortal sin.”

    Maybe you left out “if they were a source of pride” and not acts of love from a humble heart to instruct and encourage others in the Love of Christ.

    Be zealous for good works,
    encourage one another unto good works,
    these are profitable to men

    thats what the Bible tells us

    sweet dreams

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sister,
    That was Luther’s point – is that most of our good works are out of wrong motives. The biggest and most overlooked is when you do a good work because you feel compelled by the Law to do it.

  52. ( | o )====::: says:

    after reading today I am convinced that doing good, unexamined, is it’s own reward. if it comes from God, cool, if it comes from me, ok, I’m made in God’s image so there’s that connection too, but if I do poorly, it’s because I choose poorly, regardless of the reason, and God and I get to commune further, to allow Him to change me, for the better, in His time.

  53. Lutheran says:

    Anyone on here foolish/narrow/dumb enough to condemn Xenia because she’s Orthodox…

    Well, they’re anathema.

    🙂

  54. Josh Hamrick says:

    If I new anything about Orthodox, or if I was God…I might take up that challenge:)

  55. Dusty says:

    but if you knew anything about Xenia you would not take up that challenge. 😛

  56. Xenia says:

    Aw, thanks, Lutheran. 🙂

    As to not doing a good work because one feels compelled, I must object, as this little true story will illustrate. (I’ve told it here before.)

    I used to know an elderly lady who needed a lot of help. She needed people to take her to church, people to take her to her numerous doctors’ appts, needed people to help her with her bath, etc. She had a roster of helpers. I was the person who took her grocery shopping. I felt rather burdened by even this little task as it was all a bit of an ordeal, but I did it anyway because who would take her if not me? My internal grumblings aside, the lady had a legitimate need.

    One Saturday she called me and said the lady who gave her her bath couldn’t make it and could I please come over and help her bathe so she could attend church the next morning? Well, this was completely outside my comfort zone and after some hemming and hawing, I declined. She said “Well ok but I sure would like to be able to go to church tomorrow.”

    Well, I was very discomforted by all this. I did not want to bathe the old lady but if I didn’t, who would? And even if I did it, I told myself, it wouldn’t be out of pure motives but out of guilt. But still, I felt God was a little ticked off at me for not helping out one of the Least of These. So I called her back and said I was coming over, she said she knew I would, and I gave her a bath and it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.

    Moral of this story: It doesn’t MATTER what my motive was for doing this good deed, the good deed needing doing and I was was the one who had to do it. It isn’t all about me- in this case, it was about Mrs. B who needed some help no matter what mental convolutions I was going through. Some times you just need to do a good deed, period and forget the luxury of getting your motives in order. Just do it. And I think this is ultimately pleasing to God, especially if we learn a few things in the process.

  57. Xenia says:

    Dusty 🙂

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia,
    Your story is touching, however, ALL good works are for our neighbor and need to be done regardless of motive. What I am talking about are good deeds that people think that they are doing FOR God (which works really do not exist).

    think of the division of the Sheep and the Goats. Works were done and recognized by God but not by the people doing them. What was their response when God started ticking off the Good Works? Was it “gee God, we thought you missed those, but I guess we are lucky that you were paying attention.”? Or was it “what good works?” Now it appears that the goats thought that what they had been doing were good works and when God said that they had not done xy or z, their response was “when did we not do those?” They thought they had done good deeds that God would notice – but if the works were actually done, their motives canceled them out.

  59. Believe says:

    Michael, your 12:53pm…I agree…except the enjoying part…enjoying maybe for a season…but very much not “enjoying” when you are on your face before God under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    Capable…yes. Actually sinning…yes. Staying in it your entire life without true repentance…no.

    Salvation = Faith, repentance, belief. That is manifested (and evidenced) by the power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life and continual conviction and repentance of sin.

    If that isn’t there…I’d be concerned. When I mean “I’d” that means me, for me personally.

  60. Lutheran says:

    I just think it’s not very wise to limit how God brings folks into the Kingdom.

    We like our little formulas.

    But the truth is, God is God.

    Why not just rejoice…then like Eenia, let’s get to work helping our neighbor!

    It’s not really that complicated…unless we want it to be.

  61. Lutheran says:

    Sorry, Xenia, for misspelling your name.

  62. Jessica Menn says:

    Doing good works is depressing and overwhelming. I feel like there’s constant pressure from so many different people, places, and organizations to help and contribute, and there’s never a break. The Haiti earthquake happened and there was a huge call to help or contribute or both. Then the Chile earthquake happens and again everybody’s called to help out. Poverty and terrible situations exist and horrible things are constantly happening all over the world, then, on top of that, there are all the local problem–battered women and homeless people–and we’re supposed to care about every single struggling person. And I end up not caring about any of them.

    I try to help out people I know–to be available to my family and my friends and, to a lesser degree, my acquaintances. That’s the most I’ve found I can manage without going crazy and becoming overwhelmed. But I feel like that is considered selfish and not good enough by the church–that for a good work to be deemed acceptable it must be exercised on behalf of someone you either don’t know or outright dislike.

    I feel a lot of times like why bother doing anything when you’re just going to be told your good work isn’t good enough.

  63. Xenia says:

    MLD, I think the Goats went to Hell not because they were confused as to Who or who the good works were done for but because they did them as non-believers who had no faith in Christ, because that’s what sends a person to Hell- unbelief. I think we all agree that none of the good works done by unbelievers will get ’em into heaven.

    My Mrs. B story was a breakthrough in my life as a Christian because at that time I had heard many teachings that said “If your motives aren’t right, no point in doing it” and this little story taught me that my motives were very secondary to the real need at hand and I needed to get over myself. I think I mistakenly thought you were saying what my old preacher was saying- I’m sorry, I misunderstood you, I think.

    Good works help us grow as Christians. As we do stuff with Christ we become more like Him, just as when my children were little and did stuff with me- gardening, baking cookies, knitting, etc- they became more like me. But apart from our own personal growth, it’s just good to do good! And all this analyzing of it will probably cause London to pop in say “quit talking about it and do it!”

  64. Xenia says:

    Jessica, I feel overwhelmed by world tragedies, too. I know what you mean. In olden days before TV and other modern media we were able to help our own smalls world in a real way by taking dinner to a shut in, by helping watch a neighbor’s baby, by inviting poor folks over for dinner, etc. How in the world can we do anything meaningful for the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile??? Even a simple prayer of “Lord, have mercy” seems inadequate but that’s what we must do, if nothing else.

  65. Believe says:

    I’m not going to tell someone like X that she isn’t “saved”…because her “Theology” or “doctrine” doesn’t match up with mine.

    The evidence of one’s Salvation is a changed life and the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through them…not a profession of specific doctrine or Theology (within a belief system that has Jesus as Messiah and Faith in Him).

    If any Orthodox, Catholic or Mormon (yes, I said it…I have a Mormon friend who I believe is saved…there are important details…so don’t jump to conclusions) has Faith in Jesus Christ and repents and believes and has been regenerated and the Holy Spirit works in and through them…they’re saved.

    Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, He is the Stumbling Block. If you believe Jesus is the Son of God and that Salvation is through Him…and you confess, repent and “bow your knee”…you are saved…and you will “change” and you will bear true “good fruit” and you will have victory over sin (through continual repentance…turning away from it)…and ultimate victory upon your physical death.

  66. Psalm62 says:

    Believe,”If any Orthodox, Catholic or Mormon (yes, I said it…I have a Mormon friend who I believe is saved…there are important details…so don’t jump to conclusions) has Faith in Jesus Christ and repents and believes and has been regenerated and the Holy Spirit works in and through them…they’re saved”

    i tell the young mormon men who come to my door that there may come a day when they come to the conclusion that their theology is goofy and when and if that happens, don’t give up on Jesus Christ because He is who He says He is…

    BTW just heard on the radio that Merlin Olson just died and that he went to Utah State ? I thot he was a USC star back in the day (mine) – before he became an LA Ram

  67. Another Voice says:

    What translation you all looking at with your sheep/goats discussion. The goats did no works in that account, not works with the wrong motive.

    Full disclosure – I recognize my dispensational understanding of that account will differ with some here, but I am not arguing the interpretation so much as where you see the details you include in the above discussion.

    Clarification?? Thanks.

  68. Psalm62 says:

    for the record just cleared up my confusion on olson w/ a google search… reacting to Believe’s post on a mormon friend as the announcement of the death came over the radio and just rabbit trailed … again

  69. beard snolybab says:

    Am I the only one that wonders if JMac is saved?

    Just kidding… or not…

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Another Voice,
    At least for my side of the discussion let me try to explain.
    1.) the passage has nothing to do with works that save – since there are none.
    2.) everyone does ‘good works’ in the eyes of men. My trash man does great works for mankind regardless of his faith.
    3.) God only counts as ‘good’ those works that are done in faith.
    4.) Some who are standing with the goats have done great, great works in man’s eyes, but because they were not in the faith, God does not count them as good works. Perhaps some of those standing with the goats, who will be perplexed and wondering “when did we not do…” will be Gandhi and Jonas Salk.

  71. Another Voice says:

    MLD,
    1) No questions..100% agreement
    2) Understand your point clearly (might take exception to the ‘everyone’ part but that is to quiblle)
    3) Again, understand, though the semantics of “in faith” or ‘with faith towards God” could be quibbled over. So agreed here too. Also, by ‘counts’ I infer for the rewards to come, since as you note, salvation is not earned.
    4) I agree with this premise, for it is certainly true and will be shown at that day when every knee will bow. I just don’t see how you connect these goats to such people. These goats did NO works…

    There are verses where God rebukes those who do their religious works, but not unto Him, especially in the OT prophets, but I don’t see how you include the goats who are told by the Lord they DIDN’T do any works. If they did works but just not in faith, wouldn’t they be described in that way?

    Frankly..the dispensational interpretation eliminates these questions. 😉

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    AV,
    I think it may depend on the tone that you read v. 44.
    “”Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'”

    “…and did not take care of You?'”

    I think that these people thought that they had their bases covered with their works that they did out of self righteousness. They are dumbfounded that Jesus could point to something that they missed. Almost as they would be saying “whoa, how can you say that if we had seen you suffering that we wouldn’t have taken care of you?”

    Actually my main thrust in my 2:06 to Xenia was the dumbfounded reaction of the sheep.

  73. Another Voice says:

    OK..I see where you are going now. Thanks.

    Don’t agree…but thanks. 🙂

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    AV,
    That’s good – better than we usually wind up. 😉

  75. Augustine says:

    As much as I respect Dr. MacArthur, I’ve never thought that a proper understanding of “how” we come to faith is the deciding factor in true salvation.

  76. Josh Hamrick says:

    This has been a very amicable thread, and I hate to break that, but I feel that in our efforts for peace we may be veering towards relativism.

    Simply stated, with the most grace I can muster, Mormons are absolutely not saved. If they believe far enough apart from the Mormon faith to be saved, then they are no longer Mormon. Mormon’s are the most kind, moral people I have ever met. I have a few Mormons friends that are far “better” humans than I am. The fact is though, Mormans do not believe in the Jesus we believe in. They don’t believe He is God. They don’t trust in Him alone for their salvation. They are wonderful people and acknowledge the name “Jesus” in some of their teachings, but it is absolutely not the real Jesus. If you have Mormon freinds, pray day and night that God will open their eyes and change their hearts. Pray that he will lead them out of the cult. If you are truly a friend, the loving thing to do is do whatever it takes to lead them to the truth.

  77. Josh Hamrick says:

    Now, the odd thing that I have always thought about guys like MacArthur talking about what doctrine someone must hold to truly be saved:

    If his theology is correct, then the predestined person is saved from the beginning. If the person is predestined to Hell, no ammount of good theology will save them. Just an odd little bit of inconsistancy from him.

    That being said, I love MacAthur and think he is a wonderful man of God. I think it is important that he keep doing what he is doing. The things that he gets right are completely vital for the world to hear. In the things he gets wrong, hopefully he is open to the holy spirits work in his life to be corrected. Either way, God’s grace is big enough to cover his sin.

  78. Linnea says:

    I’ve run in a lot of Christian circles in the last ten years, and I’m starting to see some patterns.

    Xenia…I knew a CC family who left for the Orthodox church (and I remembered how horrified I was– I was young in the Lord and didn’t understand). They loved the Lord and they believed the Orthodox church was the best expression of that. By theyway, this blog has been instrumental in getting me to examine the essentials of doctrine and the differences and more importantly, the foundational similarities of belonging to Christ. I suppose that revelation, for me, was something akin to Paul’s Emmaus road experience– the journey just took a little longer.

    One thing I’m beginning to see in some Christian circles, is the emphasis on the justification piece of our faith. Granted, without that piece, none of the others are relevant. But, once someone is justified, the focus shifts to Sanctification as long as we occupy this body on earth. I’m with Sister Christian….how many new believers exhibit all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control every waking minute of the day? How many of us who’ve known the Lord for some time exhibit all these traits consistently?

    My son has been attending a Bible study for college students at another church. The young man who heads up the study is Reformed and is attending a reformed seminary, though the Pastor of the church is probably more Arminian in doctrine. The young man speaks of the marks of the Holy Spirit each week — he exhorts each person to examine the marks of the Holy Spirit in others to see if they be of the faith. And, if not, get away from them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we get all of the Holy Spirit when we believe, but our “jars of clay” are cracked and leak? Justification is a one time event, but sanctification is a process. We’re all someplace on that sanctification continuum, but our destination is all the same. I think I’d rather spend time examining myself rather than examining others– it’s more fruit filled.

  79. Linnea says:

    Oh, and Dread, we attended a friend’s father’s funeral yesterday and the “reception” afterward was at Koinonia Coffee House. I talked with the pastor for awhile and he mentioned that he knows and gets together with you…. it’ s so great that you meet with all these pastors throughout the city and that you encourage them in their ministries 🙂

  80. Believe says:

    We limit the power of the Gospel message when we start dictating the proper way to understand how “it” (Salvation) happens.

    The reference to my Mormon friend being saved (at least IMO)…and Hamrick pretty much nails it…I just spoke with the person last night…and they describe themselves now as a Christian…and they attend a mainstream “Christian” church now…while participating with family on a limited basis at the Mormon church.

    Here’s the interesting part…this person was exposed to the Gospel while a fully immersed Mormon. They have the Bible and the Book of Mormon…and this person read the Gospel and Jesus’s words in the Gospels. They were able to discern all the wacky stuff AFTER being “saved”…and they were “saved” from their exposure to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I still believe that their are Mormons…this day…who are saved, through Faith in Jesus Christ…because they are exposed to the Gospel…even in the Mormon church.

    Many, sadly, are not saved and are distracted by the Mormon doctrines and Theology…imagine that, distracted by too much emphasis on doctrines and Theology…and missing the simple Gospel message.

    Psalmy, what you tell those nice young Mormon men is wonderful. These are human beings who need the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the Gospel that is right under their very noses each day they read the Bible)…the same Gospel that saved all of us.

    If God is Sovereign…and I believe he is as a significant part of the balance in Scripture…then isn’t it presumptuous to say that a person’s must completely understand “how” he or she was saved to be saved? If one believes in predestination…then couldn’t God save whomever He wants…in whatever situation they are in…without having a complete understanding of Him and how it all works?

    The Thief on the cross had no idea about doctrine or Theology…except the the Theology of the Gospel message…that Jesus Christ is God and paid the price for our sin in the Garden as an innocent man. This Thief confessed, believed…bowed his knee…and Jesus confirmed that he is in paradise this day.

    Ephesians 2:8-10

    Salvation is the “gift” of God.

    To me, then, overemphasizing correct “doctrine” and “Theology” as Salvific can actually be a form of “Works Salvation”…if one must have it all systematically correct in order to be “saved”.

  81. Believe says:

    I went to TMC, attended Grace Church, I believed (for a time) exactly as McArthur states…my Theology was “correct”…however, I wasn’t “saved”.

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believe,
    “We limit the power of the Gospel message when we start dictating the proper way to understand how “it” (Salvation) happens.”

    But don’t you do the exact same thing when you dictate the degree of “sanctification” – “changed life” – “bowing the knee” – all of these things that you seem to have worked out in your own mind that you impose on others to “prove” that they are either saved or still “serving another master”?

    You seem to show that there is no stand alone power in the gospel other than the offer of salvation and if the individual chooses to do follow all of the correct steps, they too can be worthy of salvation.

  83. Josh Hamrick says:

    Believe, your 7:14 seems absolutely correct to me. I have no doubt that God can save who He wants to save, whenever He wants to save them, and by whichever means He deems necessary.

  84. Believe says:

    MLD…you don’t have to prove Salvation…we are called to “work out our own Salvation” and “examine ourselves to make sure we are in the Faith”.

    However, there is “proof” OF Salvation…if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

    I’ve had “correct” Theology…I wasn’t saved.

    I’ve said the sinner’s prayer a million times…I wasn’t saved.

    I’ve attended all kinds of different churches…gone to Christian college…and especially CC’s and Grace…I wasn’t saved.

    A lot of people….myself included…confess with our lips that Jesus Christ is “Lord”…regeneration doesn’t occur, in my experience, until you “bow your knee”…”every knee shall bow”…that is a submission of one’s will to Christ.

    Sanctification is a process (IMO) and the Holy Spirit…now present in one’s life…is the driving force in that process. The “Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”…the “Spirit” in that verse is the Holy Spirit…not man’s spirit.

    When you are “saved” it is evidenced by the fruits of the Spirit. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying (not saying you are on purpose, just the dynamic of communication)…many try to “prove” their salvation…they mimic the “good fruit” and spend their lives striving to generate their own “good fruit”…they fail, continually…because their tree is rotten.

    I used to do that. I knew all the bad fruit I had by the truckload…but I’d rationalize and say, “well, there’s this little piece of good fruit over here…and that little piece over there…so I’m a “good tree”…I’m OK…got my fire insurance…saved by grace”.

    I do not say these things so we can “prove” our salvation…I say these things introspectively so that one may “know” he is saved…and not be deceived.

    If in your heart of hearts you are submitted to Jesus as Lord of your life…and you have gotten off your throne and are not “god”…but He is God…and you have the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and victory over sin…then you’ve probably got a lot of assurance.

    If you’re like I used to be…and you examine your heart and realize that even though you’ve prayed the sinner’s prayer a million times…gone to church a million times…read the Bible a million times…prayed a million times…and you’ve had “correct” Theology…and you were saved by Grace, etc etc…but your heart is still wicked and you are a slave to sin…and you are still “god” in your life and your faith and trust is in material possessions and how well life is going…and you fear everything earthly…then I pray you consider praying to God to give you belief and forgive you for your unbelief…and beg God to save you and empty yourself before God and tell him you’re done being “god”…to fill you with His Holy Spirit and do with you whatever it is He wills and wants to do.

  85. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believe,
    But you keep looking at your own fruits. I maintain that we cannot evaluate our own fruit or good works. In fact as we look inward, instead of to Christ and HIS promise to save us, we see that we are still dark. I have said this many times, after almost 30 yrs of being in the faith, I have more sin to confess and repent of than the day I was saved.

    However, while I still see my darkness, others can see my fruit. So, what I am saying is that I do not think that it is wise to tell someone to look inward for proof of their own salvation, but to just look to Christ and hang on to His promises.

    When you witness to people, do you share the promise and offer of salvation ALONG with giving the laundry list of all the changes that must be made in a person’s life to “seal the deal”?

  86. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “When you are “saved” it is evidenced by the fruits of the Spirit. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying (not saying you are on purpose, just the dynamic of communication)…many try to “prove” their salvation…they mimic the “good fruit” and spend their lives striving to generate their own “good fruit”…they fail, continually…because their tree is rotten.”

    1.) so, today do you display the ‘fruit of the spirit’ the way God wants you to?
    2.) many try to “prove” their salvation. Why would anyone try to prove their salvation, unless someone is pressuring them with some artificial demands. In the Bible, I don’t see anyone trying to “prove” their salvation – they walk in their salvation.
    3.) they mimic the “good fruit” – the only reason they do this is because someone has ladened them with false expectations – that any fruit that they do have is not good enough, you need more and healthier – follow my plan. This is where I have my biggest problem with people like John MacArthur. Every time he preaches it is to believers and he tells them that they are not doing it right, because they have not toed the line like he thinks they should. The folks in his church carry around a great weight – Jesus’ burden is light – the burden put on us by American Evangelicals is crushing.

  87. Believe says:

    MLD…those are good points you make.

    There are many in “the mission field”…

    Each of our experiences, I believe, God uses to spread the Gospel to different people in different circumstances…in different ways.

    I believe there are many PK’s, many “churched” people playing the game week in and week out…who aren’t saved.

    They have not “bowed their knee”…they have a belief that is like the demons.

    When I witness to people (now)…I used to “witness” to people while I was unsaved and shared words only…but my real witness (who I was) was an abomination…I tell them of the work Christ has done in my life…and that there is hope.

    I also witness to them by “Being”…I believe our best witness is often who we “are” rather than saying all the right words. God has been blessing me with the opportunity to “witness” to many around me…and it is by the power of the Holy Spirit…not anything I can manufacture on my own…however, I continually submit to the Spirit…there is a “war”…a spiritual battle going on daily…”put on” the armor…”pick up your cross and follow Me”…etc etc.

    The other “witness” is how I treat my wife and kids and family members and friends and co-workers and neighbors. “Being” is a powerful witness. Your words mean NOTHING if you aren’t authentic (not self-manufactured authentic, but walking in the Spirit authentic).

    My step-dad is a great example. I won’t say his name (London :smile:). He says all the words, preaches them with authority…his true “witness” is in opposition to his words and stumbles many.

    So to specifically answer your question, it depends on who I am witnessing to (as the Holy Spirit leads and gives me discernment). I don’t know who needs to hear what…I’m just “Being” and relying on the Holy Spirit to give me the words…and relying on the Holy Spirit to continue the good work that He (God) has begun in me…unto completion.

  88. Believe says:

    MLD…I’ve got to jam off to work…let’s (please) continue the discussion…I’ll be able to respond a little later (hopefully in an hour or so).

  89. David says:

    Then where is the line drawn, at which someone has to be considered unsaved, doctrinally? I’ve now read that orthodox, catholic, mormon, lordship salvation, and others all can fall into the category of saved somehow. So where is the line to be drawn when someone is clearly not saved? Where is the line doctrinally? And if we cannot answer that question, then how can anyone here preach anything to anyone?

    There has to be a line, doctrinaly, somewhere. If we cannot say where that line is, then how can anyone with any Godly conscience, preach to anybody:

    James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

    There must be a line:

    Matthew 7:13-14, the way is truly narrow. And the other way is broad and inclusive.

    Please don’t bash me over the head for asking. It is a genuine question. 🙂

  90. Michael says:

    David,

    For me the lines are drawn where Scripture draws them.
    Jesus asked “Who do they say I am”?
    Answering that question correctly, then putting ones trust in Him for salvation…believing and confessing….seems to me to be the critical part.
    A Mormon answers the question of Christ incorrectly and is outside salvation.

  91. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know how many remember the old lighted sign that was atop the Church of the Open Door in downtown LA (J. Vernon McGee’s church – “JESUS SAVES” – well, does He or does our theology, our works, our sincerity – or as the old sign says “JESUS Saves”

  92. David says:

    Michael,

    Fair enough, but then we could say that those adding works, are violating Romans 4:5. So there is more Scripture to draw from than just “Who do men say that I am?”. Some could then argue that the works for salvation are a denial of faith in Jesus for salvation, and that would disqualify many groups, would it not?

  93. Michael says:

    David,

    Perhaps…but there is not a sect of Christianity that does not add some requirements to simple faith in Christ alone.

    You also must draw a distinction between official dogma and the individual beliefs of people.

    Catholic dogma is grave error…but there are many Catholics who have been saved by Christ.

  94. David says:

    Michael,

    I agree with that, you have to look at it on an individual level. The individual is saved, not a church group.

    But I know a lot of non-denominational Bible teaching churches that simply present Acts 16:31 to a person to be saved. Just for an example. They don’t add anything. If Paul could present it that way, we can too. We don’t have to come with a list. We can just come with believing in Jesus.

    But using catholicism as the example, there’s the official position of the leadership that water baptism saves, or that infant baptism pays for certain sins, or that purgatory cleanses from sins, or confession to priests brings absolution, or a pattern of good works in the life is required for salvation. That is a far cry away from Acts 16:31. Paul was woefully deficient in his preaching, or even Jesus in John 11:25-27 as well, according to catholic leadership.

    If an individual catholic sitting in the pews thinks what they hear from the leadership is wrong, and simply believes in Jesus for salvation, then they are saved. But the leadership of these groups sure isn’t teaching that. And how many catholics sitting in the pews believe what they hear from their leadership? Sadly, I believe it is most of them.

  95. Psalm62 says:

    MLD re: Jonas Salk – he’s among those saying, ‘omg, You really are real. expletive, expletive, expletive’ just guessin

  96. Michael says:

    “But I know a lot of non-denominational Bible teaching churches that simply present Acts 16:31 to a person to be saved. Just for an example. They don’t add anything.”

    Horse puckey.

    Everyone adds something…whether it is eschatology, worship style…or who you need to hate (Calvinists, emergents, etc.)

    By the way…most Protestants believe they are “Bible teaching churches”.

  97. David says:

    “Everyone adds something…whether it is eschatology, worship style…or who you need to hate (Calvinists, emergents, etc.)”

    They add those things as part of getting into heaven? Not from my experience 🙂

    Perhaps you have experienced something different than me.

    Those things are important, but I’ve never heard them added as entrance to heaven requirements.

  98. Michael says:

    Now I have to vent…
    When I read the phrases ‘Bible teaching” or “Bible believing” in reference to a particular sect I want to hurl.

    Calvary Chapel believes the Bible as exegeted by Chuck Smith.
    I believe it as exegeted by the Reformers.
    Lutherans by Luther.
    Methodists by Wesley…on and on.

    There is no pure doctrine or sect on the planet.
    Period.

  99. Michael says:

    David,

    People have been “damned” here for rejecting the pre-trib rapture theory…

  100. David says:

    Michael,

    Oh, well if people are saying you cannot get into heaven without believing in the pre-trib rapture, then that is of course wrong. I’ve never had someone tell me that, but if there are people saying it, that is pretty whacked out. I believe in the pre-trib rapture, but I can’t imagine how Jesus would respond to a person adding it as a prerequisite for entering heaven.

    I still think the way is narrow as Jesus said, and few find it, but I guess it all comes down to how a person defines narrow and few. If John 3:16 is clearly stated as is, that’s good enough for me, at least 🙂 I run into the problem of groups always saying that believing in Jesus is simply not sufficient, that it is too easy somehow. Oh well. I’ll stick with it anyway. 🙂

  101. Believe says:

    2 Corinthians 3:1-18

    Read it, please.

    I agree with Michael completely. There is no “pure” doctrine or Theology…except that which is “written on our hearts”…that is the critical issue, IMO…”Being”…

    Not you “proving”…but as a result of Salvation, Regeneration…”Being”…you evidence the fruit because you “are”…you do not manufacture the fruit so you can say “you are”.

    There are saved and unsaved…Wheat and Tares…The Parable of the Sower…the Parable of the Talents…in every “denomination” and non-denomination denomination. Judas was an “Apostle” a “Disciple”…he wasn’t “saved”…yet he “knew the Master”…he had a belief as the demons believe…his knee hadn’t bowed. His tongue confessed…but his knee didn’t bow.

    It is not one’s doctrine or Theology that “saves” them…it is Christ on the cross and regeneration…”born again” upon the work of Salvation that is by Faith…and how that works out practically…the “man’s responsibility” part, IMO, is the “knee shall bow”. When the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes upon you…do you “bow your knee”? When you do in true repentance and belief, you are regenerated by God. It is God who does the work…we are responsible to “bow”…in repentance and belief…a belief beyond the demon’s belief.

  102. Psalm62 says:

    i am more and more convinced (convicted?) that what determines one’s salvation is determined by an attitude – it was, perhaps, expressed differently in OT times than it is today when one can see the event that paid the price of atonement:
    God be merciful to me. i am a sinful being and You are altogether righteous and holy. i love Your holiness and i hate my corrupt condition. Please, Lord God, save me!
    humility is a mindset that is an absolute requirement – whatever a church teaches
    and we go from there… learning more of Him is wonderful, defending His integrity should be a knee-jerk reaction.
    However, defending our theologies should continue with humility … IMO there’s where we work out our salvation with ‘fear and trembling’

    just sayin again – mossy rock theology 😉

  103. David says:

    “…a belief beyond the demon’s belief”

    I knew that was coming. Not the first time I’ve been accused of having “demon belief”. So believing in Jesus isn’t enough. Okay. I suppose all who name Jesus are Christian, except people like me. Oh well. 🙂 Mormons, catholics, orthodox, everyone, but me 🙂

    Thanks for the conversation.

  104. Believe says:

    Michael, your 9:12am…I agree.

    The Belief System of the RCC is most likely in error…yet the Gospel is there, underneath all the Dogma. There are “Catholics” who are saved…no doubt in my mind.

    To follow Mac’s logic (if I’m interpreting it correctly) if you have one point wrong in your doctrine or Theology, yours is a false belief.

    THAT is Salvation by works, to me.

    The angels and demons (even lucifer himself) have perfect Theology…they know the situation…yet they reject and hate God.

    The Thief on the cross knew nothing of doctrine or Theology, yet in his heart of hearts he Believed…and Christ confirms he is in heaven.

    We can’t, without doubt, point and tell who is and who isn’t saved…and that’s not my point in discussing all of this…examine yourself to make sure you are “in the Faith”…and “work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling”.

    The individual is more important than the collective Belief System they “church” in.

    Our common bond is Christ and the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.

  105. Believe says:

    David, I’m not saying you aren’t “saved”…only God knows your heart.

    I’d be concerned (as I was about myself) if you are a slave to sin and have no victory over sin in your life. I’d be concerned if you do not exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit consistently in your life…but that is between you and the Lord.

    Jesus said, “You are forgiven, now go and sin no more…”

    How can that be? Dwell on it…what was Christ saying there.

    There’s the example of the Rich Young Ruler…read it and dwell on it. “We” can’t do it. We can’t stop being slaves to sin…no matter how hard “we” try.

    We ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden…and became “like” God. That (like lucifer) I believe is our greatest sin…and the unpardonable sin…”we” are “god”…when we resist the Holy Spirit’s calling us. At Judgment…”Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” When we respond to God’s drawing us by submitting to Him…and giving up our “godhood”…I believe that is when regeneration occurs. God does the drawing, He does the work of Salvation…it is a “gift”…we are responsible to give up our throne in submission through Faith.

    You don’t have to “prove” your Faith to me. However, if you are under conviction from the Holy Spirit, I’d encourage you to repent and Believe and beg God to save you and to forgive you for your unbelief…and to submit yourself to His will, whatever that is.

  106. Xenia says:

    For me, the Nicene Creed tells us what we need to believe. Interestingly, the Creed doesn’t have anything to say about the Order of Salvation, or what you must do and in what order (or what is done unto you, and in what order.) It’s all about the Holy Trinity and what is true about God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. No explanation of the Atonement really, except in this phrase:

    Who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man…

    The Son came down from heaven for our salvation.

    When you read the NT and the Early Church Fathers there is no clear doctrine of the Atonement. You can put phrases together like a Rubric’s Cube and come up with some theories of the Atonement and over the centuries, many theories have been popular, such as the Ransom Theory, the Satisfaction Theory, the Juridical Theory, the “Jesus came to be a good role-model” Theory and the Christus Victor Theory. You can find evidence for aspects of all these theories in the NT and the early writings.

    I have never found any of these theories to make any sense except the Christus Victor Theory and even that one has me scratching my head. All the theories leave me asking “But why? But why?”

    So I conclude that it is a mystery and that it is enough that I believe that the Son came down from heaven for our salvation and in the process of his death and resurrection He defeated sin, death and the devil and offers us sinners Eternal Life.

    (I apologize for the use of the word “theory” which some object to but I can’t think of a better word.)

  107. David says:

    Believe, I was going to just go away, but since you replied, 🙂

    I already said that I believe in Jesus. Shouldn’t that be enough? All saved believers are still sinners, so I don’t know how to make sure that I’m somehow sinless enough. I already have all my sins paid for by Jesus. I don’t know how I can help Him with that. I can try to sin less. When do I know it is good enough to be saved?

    That’s the breakdown point of these theologies. You can argue in your post before the one you replied to me in, that theologies don’t save, but only Jesus saves. I agree with that. But then you unloaded all your theology on me 🙂

    Go and sin no more. I agree. But I still sin. So do you. In the context of that verse, go and sin no more, because next time they might stone you to death. It isn’t clearly saying that she might go to hell. You wrote that in by your theology. But the text doesn’t clearly say that.

    And you brought up the thief on the cross as a demonstration of faith alone, but then later contradicted it by a good enough lifestyle theology.

    By that way of thinking, then the best thing that could happen to a person, is to believe in Jesus, and immediately have a piano fall on their head, killing them instantly 🙂

    Just understand that you are also subject to your theology, as everyone is. So who is right? The way is narrow, and few find it. I’m trusting not in a church, a theological system, a confession, a dogma, a set of distinctives, but in Jesus alone to save me. And He has done so, praise Him! I’m 100% positive that I will be in heaven, no matter what. That’s what matters, right? 🙂

  108. Believe says:

    David said, “And you brought up the thief on the cross as a demonstration of faith alone, but then later contradicted it by a good enough lifestyle theology.”

    Yes. You’re beginning to understand what I’m communicating.

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believe,
    “We can’t, without doubt, point and tell who is and who isn’t saved…and that’s not my point in discussing all of this…examine yourself to make sure you are “in the Faith”…and “work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling”.

    I still do not see how this works out. Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. So, I take that as the standard to see how I am doing. (hang on, I am checking myself out – OK, I am still failing.)

    So I will ask you this, Believe, look in your heart and tell me if you “are in the faith”
    1.) have you perfectly mastered the fruit of the spirit? If not, what makes you more sanctified than the person who is outwardly struggling with daily repetition of sin?
    2.) have you worked out your salvation?
    3.) I don’t see in the scripture where it comes in increments – I just see where it is suppose to be there.

    I may live my life trying, but it is not based on my effort (God gives no credit for effort). I am complete and I am perfect because Christ has done it all for me. It is the reason Christ did everything – it’s the reason for His baptism, His temptation, His perfect living etc, etc – because I will not and cannot do it.

  110. David says:

    “Yes. You’re beginning to understand what I’m communicating.”

    Well, the problem with many (not all) in groups like lordship salvation, catholic, orthodox, etc, is that they daily declare people like me unsaved. They really do. I get the opportunity every day by the Lord’s grace, to discuss the Bible with people in all those camps, and many (not all) consider me a non-Christian, because I don’t necessarily have the specific list of works that they each demand. And all their lists are different.

    So perhaps your discussion should be with them, and not with me 🙂

  111. Xenia says:

    David, the Orthodox would not declare you to be unsaved. Our position is that God is the lover of mankind and is not willing that any should perish and that we are not to question the salvation status of those outside our Church. We do believe that the Orthodox Church contains the fullness of the faith but I think all groups believe that of themselves, to a certain extent, eh?

  112. David says:

    Xenia, that was why I said many, not all. In discussing belief systems with people, I’ve found that the majority haven’t much information about what their group actually adheres to and asserts as truth. Catholics that haven’t read the catechism, for instance. I can discuss with two catholics about various issues, and get them arguing with each other about which is right, and sometimes both are contrary to what the catechism says.

    Again it always comes down to an individual level. Jesus says “I never knew you”, not, “Why weren’t you orthodox?”. I haven’t studied that much about what orthodox says, like I have studied the catholic catechism, so I cannot converse with you about that. I only know what orthodox people have told me, and I can’t get through a conversation with nearly any orthodox people, without them knocking me down for saying faith alone in Jesus without adding any of our own works. They knock me as wrong on that, every time.

  113. Believe says:

    David, that’s awesome. Keep a discussion with them and “Be”…it’s not about lists. You know in your heart of hearts if you have submitted your life to Christ…and that He is Lord…and you Know Him and He Knows you.

    This earthly life really is a vapor…there is eternity. None of these earthly worries really matter…they are a distraction.

    What matters is the Spiritual.

    “Know the Master”…really “know”…not just “know of”…or “know about”…really “know”…Believe.

    Fear God, not man.

    My discussion is with anyone who will discuss with me…and I pray that God uses me however He wishes…and gives me the words to say to whoever He puts before me.

    I (the flesh…which includes one’s brain and intellect) don’t have it all figured out…and I don’t have to…when Jesus is Lord…He’ll complete the work and the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) will win the battle over the flesh.

    There are by-products of the Faith. Many, IMO, are fooled into focusing on the by-products and manufacturing the fruit to “prove” their salvation…rather than having become a “new creation” and “Being” saved.

    The Way is narrow…because people are distracted by man-made lists and systems of Theology…it’s narrow, IMO, because of all the distractions in this earthly life to having Jesus as Lord.

  114. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believe,
    UGM

  115. Michael says:

    I believe in Lordship salvation…but can’t recall ever damning anyone who doesn’t.

    I think it’s serious error, not being apostate.

  116. Believe says:

    Hey MLD, not ignoring you…just need time to thougtfully answer your questions. I’ll check my mail. 🙂

  117. David says:

    Believe,

    Just my opinion, but even the term submitting my life to Christ, how do I know if I am submitted enough? I think I have, when it is good enough to be saved?

    That is why I personally choose to stick with the terminology, believe in Jesus. 🙂 The word believe is used hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times in the New Testament. Submit, rarely, and usually in the context of submitting to one another, etc. Not in the context of getting into heaven.

    If the word believe is good enough for Jesus and the apostles, then that is the word I want to use 🙂

    I’m only saying that as a point of discussion, that is all 🙂

  118. Believe says:

    MLD…UGM back at ya.

  119. Another Voice says:

    Michael, I can join you in the venting depending on the context, but I find myself often using the term ‘Bible-believing’ and ‘Bible-teaching’ as to churches. I do so in this fashion:

    Bible-believing speaks to those who hold to inerrancy – which of course far too many churches today do not.

    Bible-teaching speaks to those who, in already holding to inerrancy, also make a commitment to expository preaching. Not all Bible-believing churches have this commitment or emphasis.

    Now, when said from a place of pride as if they were the only ones doing so (i.e. we at CC teach the Bible!) then, as noted, I will join you in the vent.

  120. Sister Christian says:

    Believe,

    Thank you for what you have shared at 8:03 and 8:33
    God has been showing me much of these very things…
    someone very close to me has a testimony very similar to yours.

  121. Michael says:

    AV,

    My concern is that “Bible believing” and “Bible teaching” are now buzzwords that point primarily to churches with a pretribulational eschatology and a hatred of anything that looks “catholic”.

    Calvin was preaching expository sermons in the 1500’s and Chrysostom hundreds of years before that…it’s nothing new and has nothing to do with eschatology.

  122. Another Voice says:

    I agree eschatology has nothing to do with it. I did not know that was the issue. I may have to remember that when I use the terms in the future, for I do believe the terms have value, if used as I state above.

  123. Michael says:

    AV,

    Check out any of the online discernment ministries…they equate “Bible believing” only with an acceptance of their eschatological schemes.

    Makes me…furious…

  124. Believe says:

    MLD said, “But you keep looking at your own fruits. I maintain that we cannot evaluate our own fruit or good works. In fact as we look inward, instead of to Christ and HIS promise to save us, we see that we are still dark. I have said this many times, after almost 30 yrs of being in the faith, I have more sin to confess and repent of than the day I was saved.”

    I am not looking at “my” fruits…I am looking to see if the Holy Spirit’s fruits are evident in my life.

    They weren’t before…they are now.

    If you continually struggle with the same besetting sin…if you are a habitual liar, a habitual fornicator, a habitual abuser, a habitual glutton, etc etc etc…and you don’t repent…you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    You cannot be a “new Creation” and remain “in” sin…a slave to sin.

    The only Way to overcome sin’s power…is through regeneration through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The only Way, I believe, that regeneration happens is when one responds to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and “bows their knee” in submission to God and Jesus as Lord.

    After you’ve been regenerated and the Holy Spirit dwells in you…the fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life.

    There’s a big difference (at least to me) in becoming more and more sensitive to sin…and sinning more and more.

    If your increasing sensitivity to sin leads to repentance…then that, I believe, is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life…you are being Sanctified…and if the Holy Spirit is working in your life Sanctifying you…then you must be a servant of the Master.

  125. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believe,
    You went right past the point. Where do you see that this “new behavior” is incremental? Everywhere I read in the NT it says that the believer will be… If you are a “new Creation” why haven’t we stopped sinning (you still parse terms like besetting, “in” sin, a slave to sin.) I say, as a challenge to your position, that if you are still sinning (even if it is 100 sins only once each) that you are still a slave to sin and not a new creation.

    Unless the new creation means something else – that we are not free from sin or we are not sin free or that we are not even besetting sin. Perhaps it means that we are a new creation because we are no longer under the condemnation of sin – that we are free from the penalty of sin.

    “After you’ve been regenerated and the Holy Spirit dwells in you…the fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life.” Do you exhibit perfectly 100% of the time this evidence? I cannot see why not if the spirit is in you and directing you – again, I don’t see where you are allowed to be a new creation in Christ and allowed to exhibit partial fruits, partial love and partial obedience.

  126. Sister Christian says:

    Believe~

    You have so eloquently spoken my sentiments … you make the points so clear!

    Especially these two:

    “I am not looking at “my” fruits…I am looking to see if the Holy Spirit’s fruits are evident in my life.”

    “There’s a big difference (at least to me) in becoming more and more sensitive to sin…and sinning more and more.”

  127. Sister Christian says:

    In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest
    the children of God, wheat,, the children of the devil are tares…

    Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God
    nor is he who does not love his brother

    We know that we have passed from death to life
    because we love the brethren

    My little children
    let us not love in word and tongue
    but in deed and truth
    By this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

    Now he who keeps His commandments,
    abides in Him and He in him
    and by this we know that He abides in us

    If we love one another God abides in us
    and His love is perfected in us

    God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him

    For this is the love of God,
    that we keep his commandments,
    and His commandments are not burdensome.

  128. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am wondering why we keep the focus on “sins of morality”? The conversation continues to revolve around what we struggle with and then with laser like focus, we judge one another’s salvation by what we do.

    Rarely, if ever, do we focus on what does not get done. I asked this the other day, has anyone here visited someone in prison today, or has it on their calender for the week end? Who here has gone out this week to visit the widow or the orphan – or has it on their calender for this weekend. Who here has personally fed a hungry person today or has it on their calender for this weekend. What if you cannot remember the last time you did any of these things, on purpose and not to just give someone money so that they will leave you alone? Is this not “besetting sin”, being “in sin” or “still serving another master”??

    Why is it that if you can give up smoking, drinking, porn or ‘fill in the blank’ that you have the Holy Spirit in you and you are producing fruit? I say baloney – if you haven’t done the things I listed you are just as guilty of sin as the town drug addict.

    Folks, we sin because we are sinners – you cannot get out of it in this life time. Every attempt is failure.

    Happier thoughts – I am off to Costco. Sad thought, no hot dog since I gave up red meat for Lent.

  129. Another Voice says:

    Re: The search engine post. Rather than embarrassment, it would just be a hastle to try and ‘explain’ my searches. A lot of searches that would seem odd, sinful, or hypocritical to be done by a pastor are truly for research.

    Note – this is not of the VISUAL variety, as is often the excuse of the pornographer who gets caught, especially the pedophile. Photos and video are not the issue here.

    But I’m sure I googled something like ‘gay coming out challenge’ when I was looking up some research. That could easily be misunderstood.

    Plus, there are the searches I might do in aid of someone else I know, trying to learn more about (or for) them and their situation.

    Likewise, I try to stay somewhat relevant with pop culture today. That can lead to some strange searches. There usually is a sermon point in there somewhere.

    Seems to me, as with so many other things, do we walk with God or not. Or do we walk with God only when others are watching, or might find out?

  130. David says:

    I’d have to agree with MLD on this. If I use the Book of 1 John as a test to see if I’m saved, then I’m trying to earn heaven. I have to be good enough, after all. I have to pass all these tests, and then I might make it.

    But if I see 1 John as written to already saved believers that are going to heaven, and simply exhorting them to correct attitude on various topics, then we know whether we are walking, in experience, closely with the Lord or not, whether my fellowship with the Lord is close, or if I’m not close at all (1 John 1:3). That’s what 1 John is trying to do for us, not to test us to see if we’re going to heaven or not. Going to heaven was dealt with by Jesus dying on the cross, and our reaction, John 3:16.

    1 John is written to already saved believers. Not to unbelievers.

    And as MLD pointed out, I can say that nearly nobody in the Christian world is going to heaven, if Matthew 25 were used as the basis of salvation. I can do the same with 1 John, or with Galatians chapter 5, etc. But these chapters are there to exhort already saved believers to what is right, not to test us to see if we’re going to hell. If works and behavior could save, or if they were one of the determining factors for salvation, then Jesus died in vain. He then wouldn’t be a Savior. He’d be a co-savior with us as the other saviors.

    That’s where lordship salvation breaks down, in my opinion. It is constantly looking to find out if you’re unsaved, instead of knowing that you’re saved, and enjoying new life in Jesus. It’s one thing to examine yourself to see if you’re walking rightly, to have a good experience at the Bema Seat of Christ for rewards. That’s fine. It’s altogether another thing to assume that, well, I believe in Jesus, but maybe I’m still not saved. That’s a position of unbelief.

  131. Believe says:

    MLD said, ““We can’t, without doubt, point and tell who is and who isn’t saved…and that’s not my point in discussing all of this…examine yourself to make sure you are “in the Faith”…and “work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling”.

    I still do not see how this works out. Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. So, I take that as the standard to see how I am doing. (hang on, I am checking myself out – OK, I am still failing.)

    So I will ask you this, Believe, look in your heart and tell me if you “are in the faith”
    1.) have you perfectly mastered the fruit of the spirit? If not, what makes you more sanctified than the person who is outwardly struggling with daily repetition of sin?
    2.) have you worked out your salvation?
    3.) I don’t see in the scripture where it comes in increments – I just see where it is suppose to be there.

    I may live my life trying, but it is not based on my effort (God gives no credit for effort). I am complete and I am perfect because Christ has done it all for me. It is the reason Christ did everything – it’s the reason for His baptism, His temptation, His perfect living etc, etc – because I will not and cannot do it.”

    I’m glad you acknowledge the living life “trying”…which to me manifests itself as denying self…daily. Submitting. Picking up your cross. Walking in the Spirit…which can only be done successfully once one is regenerated…saved. You can “try” all you want, pre-saved…and you won’t have any victory over sin.

    I believe we are told to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect for this reason…to continually challenge us and remind us that we are not “God”…to rely on the Spirit who dwells in us…once the Spirit actually dwells in you. The Spirit is willing. How can one be perfect? How can one be “forgiven” and “go and sin no more”…through Christ…by continual submission to the will of God…through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why I believe there is duality/balance/paradox whatever the term, in Scripture regarding man’s responsibility. You say, “God gives no credit for effort”…but He requires it…we are commanded to “walk”, “put off”, “put on”, “serve”, “love your neighbor”, “live”…

    Answers to your questions:

    1. “I” have not mastered the fruit of the Spirit…the Spirit has “Mastered” me…I daily ask God to fill me with His Holy Spirit and to give me belief and forgive me for my unbelief and to give me the power (through the Holy Spirit) to deny self…pick up my cross and follow Him.

    2. Work out your own Salvation is active…continual…part of the “process” of Sanctification. So my answer is, I am WORKING out my own Salvation in fear and trembling.

    3. See #2. There are many places in Scripture where we are challenged to “put on the armor”…that we are in a “battle”…that the Spirit and the flesh war against each other, are in conflict…so many examples…we must “walk”…active…not “done”…continual…in the Spirit…completed (and “done”) upon physical death…”to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

    Galations 5:13-25

    Let me know your thoughts on this passage…the sin nature (flesh) and the Spirit are in “conflict”…he then lists the acts of the sinful nature…and says if you live like this you will not inherit the Kingdom of God…there is no law if you walk in the Spirit…we have crucified the sinful nature on the cross…keep step in the Spirit.

    All this from the Apostle Paul…who wrote Romans…

  132. Believe says:

    Galatians 5:13-25

    Goofed above…

  133. Believe says:

    David said, “1 John is written to already saved believers. Not to unbelievers.”

    Then how do you explain:

    Galatians 5:13-25

    When Paul says “I warn you, as I warned you before…that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God”…isn’t he speaking to “believers”?

  134. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Let me show you how simple this is – I will show you that you do not do or live the way that you say you do. Pretty bold of me heh? 🙂

    Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Do you live up to this command the way that you are supposed to? Not, “well I try” or not “well I ask the spirit to help me” or, “well, some days are better than others.”

    Look at what is being required – the summation of the whole law (the entire will of God for man) wrapped up in one simple request from God to us. He isn’t saying give it the old college try – he s saying to do it completely or your flesh will win the battle and you will be living in the following list and there is no inheritance of the kingdom for you.

    Is this Good News? No, it is Law and the Law brings death – why would you, not only want to live under such Law commands, but to require others to do the same?

    But what about my comment that those who haven’t visited a prisoner, a widow or an orphan this week are in besetting sin, in sin and are serving another master? Why is the list always pointed to the morality actions?

  135. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    When you toss out a verse and say; Then how do you explain: Galatians 5:13-25

    I would ask you how you explain Paul in Romans 7 where he explains the reality of his Christian life and finishes it with;

    “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
    So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
    8:1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”

    We sin and we continue to sin (yes, even the Christian) and yet who rescues us? Jesus – and who refuses to condemn us? Jesus.

  136. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why is my 5:36 in moderation? Have I reached my quota for the week?

  137. David says:

    Believer wrote: “Then how do you explain: When Paul says “I warn you, as I warned you before…that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God”…isn’t he speaking to “believers”?”

    There is a difference between entering the kingdom of God, and inheriting it. Do a study on inheriting things in the kingdom, you’ll see that it’s not the same as inheriting. Privileges to rule and reign under Christ are forfeited when the believer is unfaithful, but the believer will still be in heaven. Like the example in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, where the person has everything burn up, but they themselves are saved.

    You’re mixing salvation and discipleship, but lordship salvation always does that.

    Entering heaven? Free gift by faith in Jesus.

    Inheriting all the Lord wants for believers? Faithfulness in walking with the Lord. Discipleship.

    It is two different issues.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s use your interpretation. Even things like jealousy, anger, “normal everyday” stuff as some would put it, you put all that away, perfectly? You have a perfect expression of the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

    Of course you don’t. You’ll come up with some acceptable level of sinlessness that gives you a passing grade, but fails someone else that you presume to teach about these things. The whole thing becomes kind of funny in that way.

    That’s why I had to study these things for myself, and see other views than the typical lordship salvation view, that turns every verse into the Bible as some requirement for getting into heaven and avoiding hell.

  138. Another Voice says:

    Why is my 5:36 in moderation? Have I reached my quota for the week?
    ————————————-
    That’s hilarious.

    I just figured you were being punished for violating your oath and having one of those Costco hotdogs.

    On second thought, that would assume those hotdogs have ‘meat’ in them, so if you did, you probably are still OK.

  139. David says:

    By the way, the entering heaven vs. inheriting the kingdom issue, separating the two via separating salvation from discipleship (instead of lumping the two together), is the subject of a new book by Chuck Missler, I cannot recall the name of it now. But Missler draws off Jody Dillow’s “Reign of the Servant Kings” to make his points. Dillow’s text on this issue makes a strong case, of course I don’t know how you feel about Missler, but either way, this is a topic that is getting more attention in the past, as more and more people challenge the lordship salvation view.

  140. Another Voice says:

    David, Missler is a brother in the Lord, but not an exegete, and trying to make a theological point using English words is not very wise. He has done this for years. In fact, when he tries to reference some Greek it shows how little he actually knows, and that he likely is just repeating what he has read elsewhere – knowing that most Calvarys where he does most of his speaking would not know the difference. I have often heard him not even pronounce the words properly. I have no assurance he even knows the alphabet.

    Paul uses ‘inherit’ the kingdom and never uses the term ‘enter’ the kingdom. If you wish to check this sort of stuff, at minimum you need a Greek concordance, so as to see the use of the Greek word no matter how it is translated in English.

    Different writers use different vocabulary and Missler gets so carried away with the ‘one Author, namely the Holy Spirit’ that he forgets (or does not realize) that inspiration allows the different writers to use their own vocabularies. Thus, Luke uses so many medical words not found by other authors of Scripture.

    Inherit the kingdom is used of simple salvation too, both by Paul and elsewhere. Check out 1 Cor 15:50 for an example.

  141. Michael says:

    “Missler is a brother in the Lord, but not an exegete”

    That is one of the all time understatements….

  142. Isaiah56:1 says:

    I like Missler as a person, even as a brother in the Lord, but the best time I ever heard him speak was one night years ago when he was on the Art Bell show. A friend was driving a late stretch, heard him, and called a bunch of us. I laughed myself silly. Before that when I heard him speak, something in my head always ran the Twilight Zone soundtrack, that night it was confirmed. A grain of salt…

  143. Believe says:

    MLD and David…this will answer both of your questions…

    Romans 8:1-17

  144. David says:

    Another Voice,

    I have dug into the Greek, and I will continue to do so, and I only brought up Missler as an example of one that studies this way, and as I pointed out, it wasn’t originally his material anyway. There are others, like Charles Stanley, and there are countless others I could name even more, but I’m assured that you will dismiss them too 🙂

    It is well-known that no amount of debate will convince some lordship salvation proponents, and I don’t know you at all of course, so I’m not saying you’re in that category. But I’m fully convinced that there is much more there, than just assuming all verses in the Bible refer to heaven and hell, as lordship nearly always forces.

    There is a separation between salvation and discipleship, that is my belief. I know that it is the minority position by a vast margin, but popularity never determines truth, as we both know.

    And 1 Corinthians 15:50 is not a deciding verse on this issue one way or the other, not to me anyway.

  145. Isaiah56:1 says:

    I found the archive of the Coast to Coast interview with Chuck Missler. I was wrong though, the host was George Noory. I mix the two up sometimes. Whatevery you think of Missler, it’s hard to take anyone seriously on Coast to Coast…

    UFOs & the Bible
    Wednesday January 28, 2004

    The whole UFO area makes no sense “unless you put it into a biblical context,” said author Dr. Chuck Missler (khouse.org), Wednesday’s main guest. His studies have led him to conclude that UFOs are “hyperdimensional” in origin…
    Host: George Noory
    Guest(s): Chuck Missler, Steve Quayle

  146. Michael says:

    David,

    You just tripped my trigger…
    AV showed clearly that you were basing some part of your argument on an exegetical fallacy.
    You can’t just blow that off.
    “It is well-known that no amount of debate will convince some lordship salvation proponents,”

    Straw Man Alert!

    That is not going to fly…I hold the position I do not because of skillful debaters but because of Biblical truth.
    Your first shot at exegesis proved fallacious…thanks for playing.

  147. Another Voice says:

    You can just dismiss me, or take this as a possible learning opportunity. You’re right, you don’t know me. Because I don’t advocate Lordship salvation. (I recognize your caveat above).

    I do encourage sound exegesis, which is why I commented on Missler. So yes, no amount of non-exegetes (like Stanley) arguing with English words is going to convince me – no matter how big their TV ministry might be.

    I am glad to hear you are digging into the Greek. Good for you. Start with finding all the times the word ‘disciple’ appears in the New Testament epistles. Since you are seeking to build a doctrine on the difference between disciples and simple Christians.

    As a church historian, Michael will attest to this. The church has forgotten the Bible was written in Greek and Hebrew, and now most seminaries do not even bother to teach the original languages to any depth – much less the averahe Christian in the pew. Quite sad, and quite a difference from the centuries past.

    You need to find some solid Biblical reasoning to declare that one can be born again and not a disciple. The weight of the Bible sure seems to say otherwise. Start with Acts 11:26.

    Blessings.

  148. David says:

    Michael,

    I’m not trying to “play”. Why turn it into that?

    The word “saved” in the Bible, sozo in Greek, is used in countless contexts. By lordship argument, every use should mean “saved from hell”. That would put childless women in hell, though (1 Timothy 2:15 using a form of sozo).

    So the context of every use of every word, must be considered. If you don’t have context, then you have nothing. How the same word is used in one place, isn’t necessarily the same usage in another place. And I believe that this example of “inherit” is being used in two different contexts.

    Let’s not try to “win a game”, and just have a nice chat, no? 🙂 If that’s not possible, I’ll gladly bow out.

  149. Psalm62 says:

    ok, i’m going to brave asking another question here (apologizing if i’ve overlooked a reference)

    what is ‘lordship salvation?’

  150. David says:

    Another Voice, okay, if discipleship is required for salvation, please explain to me when you know that you’re saved.

    Can you know? When are you good enough in your discipleship, to be saved?

    I’m asking sincerely. I’m not playing anything. If I want to play a game, a friend of mine on Facebook is still trying to talk me into Scrabble 🙂

  151. Another Voice says:

    Not playing either. Nor am I saying ‘discipleship’ is REQUIRED. You are a disciple by definition the moment you believe.

    Have you looked up all the uses of disciple yet in the epistles? It will be an important discovery for you – and you can use a Strongs English concordance for this one too.

  152. Michael says:

    Psalm62,

    Heres a brief definition:
    Those who affirm “Lordship” salvation oppose the idea that one may have saving faith without submitting to the Lordship of Jesus in daily obedience. We are saved by faith alone, but not by the faith which is alone (Sola fides iustificat, sed non fides quae est sola).

    Saving faith is a working faith. That faith by means of which we are justified is the kind or quality of faith that produces obedience and the fruit of the Spirit. In the absence of obedience, in the absence of fruit, in the absence of submission to the lordship of Jesus, there is doubt whether the faith is saving.

    Opponents of lordship salvation insist that such a view introduces works into the gospel and compromises grace. Faith should, but may not, produce works of obedience. According to this view, you can be a Christian without necessarily being a disciple; you can receive Jesus as Savior without necessarily submitting to Him as Lord. How you live and what you believe after you profess faith in Christ has no bearing on whether you really believed in Him in the first place.

    Sam Storms

  153. David says:

    Another Voice, so I am a disciple, the moment I believe. Then what I need, is to back up my new identity with, what? In other words, how does this relate to my salvation? Do I prove that I might not have salvation, based upon something lacking?

    How does this relate to a simple message in something like, John 3:16? And, lest I be accused of being an antinomian, I believe that all believers should be disciples. I do reject wholesale that I can “prove” myself unsaved by failed discipleship.

  154. Psalm62 says:

    Michael, thank you

  155. Another Voice says:

    David, I am not sure why you ask the questions.

    I’m guessing you haven’t taken up my exegetical challenge yet…

  156. David says:

    Another Voice, no, I haven’t taken up the challenge right now, because I want time to sit down with this in quietness, and study.

    I’m asking what you believe, maybe just out of curiosity.

  157. Another Voice says:

    And, lest I be accused of being an antinomian, I believe that all believers should be disciples
    ————————————————-
    Here is the difference from an exegetical standpoint.

    You state what you do above, and I state that all believers ARE disciples (not ‘should be’)

    So then the issue is, what saith the Scripture? Can you find me even one verse that basically states All believers ‘should be’ disciples?

    I already gave you one for my view (Acts 11:26), and I could give you more.

  158. David says:

    So how does failed discipleship affect salvation?

  159. Another Voice says:

    Take some time? It takes three seconds.

    Fine, here is a link to a Greek concordance of the word ‘disciple’

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3101&t=KJV

  160. David says:

    If all believers are disciples, then how does this relate to faith vs. works? That is what I’m looking for. You won’t answer the question.

  161. Believe says:

    Romans 14:1-12

  162. David says:

    I guess the other issue would be, to define the word disciple.

  163. David says:

    We’d also have to explain why some disciples turned out to be those who abandoned Jesus:

    John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    But then we get into the debate of whether a person can lose salvation or not, or prove they were never saved in the first place. But these people were disciples. Same Greek word as in Acts 11:26.

    So again, I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as you believe. There’s more to it. That was my point.

    And since I’m the only one talking at the moment, I’ll leave off doing so 🙂

  164. Michael says:

    The real issue is…what is the nature of faith?

    Is it merely a one time intellectual assent to the Gospel or does faith contain intellectual, emotional, and volitional aspects?

    I have to study for tomorrow, so I may not be here later…

  165. David says:

    I like to think of faith as, the way Jesus defined it in John chapter 3. Using the comparison to the bronze serpent. It starts with that I have a problem, and, the Lord made the full solution. So I look to Him for salvation. Look to the bronze serpent and you’re healed, equals, believe in Jesus and you’re saved.

    That’s just my belief about it 🙂

    And I do also have to study to give a message, 1 Peter chapter 4.

  166. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Lordship salvation fails in that they require people to submit to the Lordship of Christ – as if that is a choice, as if by my own will I can do that. The whole thing is a false and made up argument – there is no such category. Christ enters us a Lord, it has nothing to do with our will or our knowledge of submitting.

    Now, as to timing for salvation, I have witnessed many altar calls and I do not remember seeing a one where the requirement “to come” was to recognize and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Billy Graham always told people to “come just as you are.”

    A person has to first be saved to even know that Jesus is Lord.

    Sam Storm’s comment; “Those who affirm “Lordship” salvation oppose the idea that one may have saving faith without submitting to the Lordship of Jesus in daily obedience.” Is he actually saying that there are people who daily submit in obedience? That would mean no sin – and if there is sin, then there is no obedience. Some of these people just think too much.

  167. Another Voice says:

    David, I had to depart and now it looks like others have departed, and maybe you as well. You are throwing unrelated questions at me, some of which are not even valid questions from my perspective.

    You asked at 7:54 how does ‘failed discipleship’ affect salvation. That is like asking how does cold arithmetic affect addition. Failed and discipleship can’t be joined. One can be a poor disciple, if one is not growing in sanctification, but can’t FAIL, unless you want to argue against eternal security which I will not do (nor do I imagine you are).

    You asked an important question, what is a disciple, and the answer explains your question about John 6. A disciple is a STUDENT, in the basic sense of the word. In those days a disciple would commonly join himself to his teacher (rabbi) That is how it is used in John 6, a bunch of followers who decide not to follow this rabbi anymore. This is before the cross, the resurrection and Pentecost of Acts 2 when the church began. You don’t want to make doctrinal points on ecclesiology from verses before the church even existed.

    To get into the whole faith vs. works issue is a totally different matter. My purpose has been to first show that this idea that only some believers are disciples is not Biblical. This began with the premise that there was a distinction between ‘inherit’ the kingdom (for disciples) and ‘enter’ the kingdom, for the non-disciple Christian. Also..not supported by Scripture.

  168. Another Voice says:

    (I am trying again to see if this goes through without moderation. Please delete the duplicate post).

    David, I had to depart and now it looks like others have departed, and maybe you as well. You are throwing unrelated questions at me, some of which are not even valid questions from my perspective.

    You asked at 7:54 how does ‘failed discipleship’ affect salvation. That is like asking how does cold arithmetic affect addition. Failed and discipleship can’t be joined. One can be a poor disciple, if one is not growing in sanctification, but can’t FAIL, unless you want to argue against eternal security which I will not do (nor do I imagine you are).

    You asked an important question, what is a disciple, and the answer explains your question about John 6:66. A disciple is a STUDENT, in the basic sense of the word. In those days a disciple would commonly join himself to his teacher (rabbi) That is how it is used in John 6:66, a bunch of followers who decide not to follow this rabbi anymore. This is before the cross, the resurrection and Pentecost when the church began. You don’t want to make doctrinal points on ecclesiology from verses before the church even existed.

    To get into the whole faith vs. works issue is a totally different matter. My purpose has been to first show that this idea that only some believers are disciples is not Biblical. This began with the premise that there was a distinction between ‘inherit’ the kingdom (for disciples) and ‘enter’ the kingdom, for the non-disciple Christian. Also..not supported by Scripture.

  169. Psalm62 says:

    MLD,” if there is sin, then there is no obedience. Some of these people just think too much….”

    sure there is [obedience] when one is in training, one misses the mark many times as they obediently **attempt** to follow the instructor’s directions and work toward the goal of mastering a little more of whatever it is they’re training for… been doing it all my life 🙂

    God keep all close (& comforted) this night

  170. Psalm62 says:

    my 9:28? if anyone says “that’s works oriented,” nope that’s grace oriented – so grateful for God’s amazing unfailing grace – what a privilege to press harder into the faith thru His beautiful nurture and admonition

    now i’m gone

  171. Believe says:

    MLD…I believe there are three parts that make up our humanity once we are “saved”.

    There is the eternal part of us…our heart/mind/soul/spirit, there is the physical part of us, the flesh, and there is the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us and works through us.

    When Jesus says, “You are forgiven, now go and sin no more…”

    How can this be? We cannot “sin no more”…yes we can…our heart/mind/soul/spirit can “sin no more”…by loving righteousness and hating sin…and warring against it…and repenting continually when convicted by the Holy Spirit.

    When we are saved/regenerated we are a “new Creation”…our heart/mind/soul/spirit…the eternal part of us…is made perfect in Christ…we (that part of us) now cannot dwell with sin.

    It is our flesh (which contains the sin nature) that wars against our spirit…and the Holy Spirit…and vise versa.

    We, the eternal part of “us”, don’t want to sin anymore…yet we do because of the flesh (sin nature). That is what Paul expresses so much in Romans, Corinthians and Galatians.

    When you are unregenerate/unsaved, the eternal part of you wants to sin…your heart/mind/soul/spirit is in complete cooperation with your flesh (sin nature) and is desperately wicked. There is no “war”…and there is no Holy Spirit working in you and through you…you are literally a “slave” to sin.

    Paul warns “believers” not to walk in the flesh…but to walk in the Spirit…or they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus says the same thing in the Gospels. Sin cannot abound…you cannot be a “slave” to sin and be saved. You cannot serve two masters. Your heart/mind/soul/spirit cannot love sin and hate righteousness. Your flesh can, your spirit cannot.

    Our will…our heart/mind/soul/spirit is critically involved. When your spirit is submitted to Christ…and you are walking in the Spirit…you are not under the law…however, when your spirit is not submitted to Christ and you are walking in the flesh you are in opposition to God…you will not inherit the Kingdom of God…and since we are “heirs” of Christ, sons of God…inherit means you don’t go to the Kingdom.

    Therefore, Jesus must be Lord continually for you to inherit the Kingdom of God…if He is not Lord…if you are not walking in the Spirit…if your spirit wants to sin and hates righteousness…you are not saved…you are in the flesh and subject to the law and eternal punishment.

    So, when we sin…even daily…it is our flesh (sin nature). As long as your heart/mind/soul/spirit hates the sin and loves righteousness…and you repent and respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit continually…then the eternal part of you is obeying the command to “sin no more.” It is your heart/mind/spirit/soul that is the critical issue.

    Salvation is by grace, through Faith…and it is a gift from God…not of works. You cannot “save” yourself…God does the actual “saving”…the regeneration…provides the Salvific work…through Christ. We…our heart/mind/soul/spirit are to have Faith by repenting and believing. By believing, we obey. By obeying we love what is good and hate what is evil…our heart/mind/soul/spirit. Our flesh (with the sin nature in tow) is still corrupt…hence the internal “war”…and sin after Salvation.

    It fits with the example of the Pharisees…how they did outward acts of righteousness, but their hearts (minds/soul/spirit) were wicked. It fits with Jesus’ teaching that if you even look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart…which points to the natural reaction of the flesh…and the example of King David illustrates this point:

    King David saw Bathsheba bathing…his flesh responded as the flesh will…his heart/mind/soul/spirit/will made the decision to act on the sinful desire of the flesh. He pursued the sin…in his heart and then in his flesh. His sin led to more sin. He was confronted by Nathan (a foreshadowing, I believe, of the Holy Spirit working in us to convict us of sin to come)…and David responded in confession and repentance. He was a man after God’s own heart…he didn’t remain in sin…when he was confronted by Nathan (for us the Holy Spirit).

    The New Testament and the Gospels emphasize the heart (mind/soul/spirit)…which is the eternal part of us. It wasn’t the physical actions that were emphasized…it was the heart/mind/soul/spirit.

    The law points out sin. Sin separates “us” from God. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin…when we repent and believe and are regenerated, we are a “new Creation” in Christ…our heart/mind/soul/spirit is “changed”…”transformed into the image of Christ”…the “law is written on our hearts”…”the Holy Spirit dwells in us and works through us”…

    We are still attached to our “flesh” which contains the sin nature. So, though our spirit no longer wants to sin…and hates sin…we still sin (like Paul laments). However, we repent continually when we are convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit. As long as our heart/mind/soul/spirit does not return to loving sin and hating God (and the Gospel) which is “resisting the Holy Spirit” or “blaspheming the Holy Spirit”…the unpardonable sin…then we are saved.

    I believe that is consistent with Paul’s teachings in Romans, Corinthians and Galatians…and many other issues we’ve wrestled with.

    Have at it… 🙂

  172. Believe says:

    one addition…when we die physically…the flesh dies…our heart/mind/soul/spirit lives on in eternity…having been perfected with Christ…and we receive a new sinless Glorified body.

  173. Linnea says:

    A wise man once said… “I love the older saints….they’ve had all the rough edges knocked off ….” We are most useful when we dwell in the place that Jesus noted…love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself…

  174. Xenia says:

    >>>and we receive a new sinless Glorified body.<<<

    You don't believe in the resurrection of the body, then? Was not Christ's body resurrected? Won't the sea give up its dead? Did not the tombs open up around the time of Christ's resurrection and the bodies of the Old Testament saints come forth?

  175. Think of good things says:

    The term is “receiving” in scripture the Lord ship of Jesus Christ. We don’t make Him Lord, he is Lord, something that all, both the lost and His, will see someday face to face. However, after “receiving” there is a voluntary sacrifice to that Lordship as Paul speaks of in Romans 12.

    Never forget Israel was first saved from the Egyptian gods and then the Law was given. God made the way first and then His people voluntarily said, “we will.” The pattern is the same through out scripture, old and new.

  176. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “God made the way first and then His people voluntarily said, “we will.””

    And then they didn’t! 😉

  177. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I said this a couple of days ago that our covenant with Jesus is not the same as the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant was offered to the people and they verbally agreed to live up to all of the Laws requirements.

    With the new covenant, we accept God’s salvation with no strings attached. How we are changed after that is a whole separate scenario – but it is not as Believe and others have portrayed that come Judgment Day at the Pearly Gates that Saint Peter will have you stand at the Morality Bar to see if you are tall enough to get in.

  178. Psalm62 says:

    Xenia, the resurrection body is an interesting ponder – flesh and bone, but no blood? will we be unhindered by physical matter such as walls? – i hope they serve and we enjoy gobs and gobs of pasta at the marriage supper without putting on a single pound 😉

    something must remain at the site of our death, or our internment, as you noted… could be this time and space thing that the physicists ponder – dunno

    there’s a whole lot of ‘wow’ factors coming – remember the brag about ‘shock and awe?’ we haven’t seen anything yet…

  179. Psalm62 says:

    MLD.” it is not as Believe and others have portrayed that come Judgment Day at the Pearly Gates that Saint Peter will have you stand at the Morality Bar to see if you are tall enough to get in.” amen

    i’m glad you made that point – dunno, tho, if believe said the other 😕

  180. Think of good things says:

    Of course they said one thing and then do another, nothing has changed has it!

    The glory is God hasn’t changed, He made the covenant, He delivered people from the gods of Egypt and He delivers people today from the gods of their life.

    A church organization or individual has no say in any way in this process, we receive what He has done.

    Jesus is Lord (whether I want to believe it or not)!

  181. Xenia says:

    I knew, I KNEW that MLD was gonna post those exact words!!!

    I love this place because we all know each other so well. 🙂

    Jesus was resurrected in His own body, but it was glorified- able to pass through walls, etc, yet still retained some features of the pre-glorified body- nail-holes, etc. Sometimes people recognized Him right away, sometimes they didn’t. We will be like Him, with our same body, only it will be a body made fit for heaven.

    I know the “I can’t wait to get rid of this old tent when I die” line is popular in the CC world but it’s not the Christian view of the Resurrection of the dead.

    Many gnostic groups in the past viewed the body (and the material world in general) as evil and unredeemable, such groups as the Cathars, etc. The goal was to escape the body at death. But this is not Christian teaching. God created matter and called it Good. He sanctified matter further by His incarnation, by uniting Himself with the very matter that He created. He did not just inhabit His body, His body was a real part of who He was and He still has that body, now transformed, in heaven.

    How the atoms will be collected- who knows. God knows. This is why the Orthodox don’t cremate the bodies of the departed, out of respect for the future resurrection of that very body. Sure, it will decompose soon enough, but reverent burial is a nod to the fact that we expect that body to resurrect someday, even if the atoms have grown into daisies.

  182. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Good things,
    You and i are in agreement. 🙂

  183. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia,
    You mean about the Morality Bar don’t you? Not about the resurrected body – that wasn’t my comment. I agree with you that I am getting these molecules back.

  184. Another Voice says:

    I know the “I can’t wait to get rid of this old tent when I die” line is popular in the CC world but it’s not the Christian view of the Resurrection of the dead.
    ————————————————
    We probably agree in our views, but I would not express it this way (and no, its not a defense of CC)

    But Paul was groaning over this very same desire. 2 Cor 5:1-4

    I think it is very much a Christian view, and we are in good company with Paul.

  185. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Good word about the resurrection of the body…

  186. Xenia says:

    MLD, yep, I was talking about “And they ddn’t.”

    I’m going to a funeral this afternoon, at an Evangelical church. There will be no body present- who knows where it is. In an urn somewhere? The last several Evangelical funerals I attended (actually, “celebrations of the life of so-and-so”) had no bodies present and no mention of where the bodies might even be because there was no mention of the cemetery or anything at all that would cause you to think the deceased actually had a body. And these ceremonies take place weeks after the person dies. There is almost zero connection between the deceased and his body at these affairs. This is not even traditional Protestantism.

  187. Another Voice says:

    Xenia, I really do hear you. But I don’t get some of your concerns. I doubt people need to be told the deceased had a body. What purpose would telling people where the cemetery is? Do we want people going to the grave and talking to the deceased (as many do)

    The gospel is that our loved one is NOT in that body/tent anymore. Making that point to an audience, especially one of unbelievers, is a lot easier if they aren’t looking at a body (dressed and looking often better than in the last days of life) while hearing that gospel message.

    Many families want the burial to be private. There has been no disrespect in my experience to the body. And a funeral SHOULD be a celebration. We sorrow, but not as others who have no hope. Christ has risen! He has conquered death! That is what we proclaim. The person is not waiting around in that body for years until the trump sounds. The person is enjoying the presence of the Lord NOW.

  188. Michael says:

    I had no idea how widespread this pernicious “no lordship” doctrine was…I’m beginning to see what Sister Christian has been describing.

  189. Another Voice says:

    One more point, there is so little we KNOW about the new body. What sort of body does the infant get, the 102 year old. We can’t go too far with Jesus’ example, especially since He never saw corruption.

    I laughed at the end of Titanic. Remember all the dead folks from the crash were the same age and body as when they died, even the elderly. But the woman who survived and died at an old age reverted back to her beautiful self to be reunited with her true love. This is how the world thinks of heaven.

    We let the Bible be our guide of course, except the Bible just can’t guide us too well here.

  190. Michael says:

    “And a funeral SHOULD be a celebration.”

    No, it really shouldn’t …although for some, mine will be. 🙂

    Jesus at Lazarus tomb didn’t celebrate…He wept and had deep grief.

    Death should remind us of the cost of sin…death is the final enemy…we should grieve and grieve deeply.

    Yes, we have hope and we should remind ourselves of that in our grief, but to call a funeral a celebration is trite and frankly disgusting to me.

    No offense, AV…I’ve wanted to say that for a while now… you just prompted me. 🙂

  191. Lutheran says:

    “I know the “I can’t wait to get rid of this old tent when I die” line is popular in the CC world but it’s not the Christian view of the Resurrection of the dead.

    Xenia:

    Right on the mark.

    “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” (Apostles Creed)

    There is often denigration of the body and the physical in fundamentalist and evangelical circles.

    I love what C.S. Lewis said: “God obviously likes matter. He created it.”

    ‘This is not even traditional Protestantism.’

    Very perceptive, Xenia! And absolutely correct.

  192. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    It is not “no Lordship” – (1) it is no Lordship as a condition and (2) do I make Jesus Lord in my life or does Jesus make Himself Lord in my life?

    I don’t think that today’s especially American Evangelicals have gone to return to the Roman position of Grace and Justification. Rome’s view of Grace is that God, through the removal of Original Sin through baptism, has now made you capable of living a justifying worthy life. Your job until you die is to prove God right. If you do it right (and most people don’t, so they have purgatory) you warrant full justification and entry into heaven. Without purgatory, this may be the same as the Orthodox.

    I do not deny Jesus as my Lord – but I had nothing to do with it.

  193. Another Voice says:

    Michael, what if I said ‘respectful’ celebration. I oppose the ‘party’ idea, and I think that is what was assumed by me using the word ‘celebration’ I will retract that word as to inflammatory and easy to be misunderstood.

    What is a eulogy? Surely you do not oppose to ‘speak well’ of the deceased at the funeral. That is what I meant by ‘celebrating’ his/her life.

    As you know, there is a wide opinion on WHY Jesus cried at Lazarus funeral, but I won’t take the time now..I do think we need to see all the details in the text that Jesus observed BEFORE He wept.

    Death reminds us of the cost of sin..and we do sorrow. No question.

    But the funeral is where we get to say ‘Oh death where is your sting!”

  194. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    oops, forgot a phrase
    “I don’t think that today’s especially American Evangelicals…” should read

    I don’t think that today’s especially American Evangelicals, realize how far they have gone…”

  195. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I have no idea what you just said…

  196. Lutheran says:

    Michael,

    Your 10:14. Perfect.

    Everything doesn’t have to be a celebration. I remember attending a Charismatic Good Friday service one time. It was totally bizarre — people dancing around, etc. Barely
    a word about the Cross and what Jesus did there on our behalf.

    ‘There is so little we KNOW about the new body. What sort of body does the infant get, the 102 year old. We can’t go too far with Jesus’ example, especially since He never saw corruption.’

    AV,

    Well, Jesus had one. What more does one need to know?

    ‘We let the Bible be our guide of course, except the Bible just can’t guide us too well here.’

    I hope you might see the irony here. Evangelicals LOVE to speculate!!

    I assume you’re one — don’t understand why you don’t care to speculate about this one.

  197. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Lutherans like the corpse at the funeral, as a sign of death’s final victory. This is very different than what we go to so many times, which is a Celebration of Life.

  198. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    That’s OK – even if I had been more clear you wouldn’t have got it. 😉

    I just believe in Jesus’ saving work by itself. I don’t know how anyone else can judge one’s submission to Jesus’ Lordship – as someone said last night “unto obedience” since no one is obedient.

    If I am told not to kick the dog, and I only kick the dog twice a month, I am still in disobedience to the one who gave the command and have not submitted to their Lordship.

    Back later, gotta run and go watch my grandson’s T-Ball team kick butt on the other team! 🙂

  199. Another Voice says:

    Well, Jesus had one. What more does one need to know?
    ———————–
    I stated my questions..you didn’t answer. So why the snark? I am not denying the FACT of a new body, or the value thereof. I know from past threads you tend to react to my posts without actually, you know, READING them.

    I can speculate with the best of them. The key is to always understand we are speculating.

  200. Lutheran says:

    I know from past threads you tend to react to my posts without actually, you know, READING them.

    AV,

    I did read this.

    And I’m wondering…

    Why the snark?

  201. Another Voice says:

    I’m gone in a short time for most of the day..but I just spent some minutes reading online various unbelievers opinion on funerals, especially the care and showing of the body. It will make you weep. People saying they want cremation because they don’t want bugs to eat them, others do or don’t want everybody to see them and why or why not. These are LOST people.

    I am reminded that THESE are so often the ones at our Christian funerals. I have two groups of people in mind when I do a funeral. And they both get the same message.

    I seek the Lord’s words to comfort those who mourn, the close friends and family.

    And I seek the Lord’s words to reach the lost, those who have no clue about eternity.

    The gospel meets the needs of both.

    Blessings to all.

  202. Lutheran says:

    I’ve never been to a Lutheran funeral service, but I’m told they’re really something.

    MLD: Have you?

    Here’s a brief description from a Lutheran pastor:

    From my experience, we recognize two aspects of what is taking place: grief over the loss of a loved one, and joy for the victory of sin and death that has been achieved through Jesus Christ. Hymns tend to be somber at the beginning, but move to the triumphant by the end of the service. Scripture readings (OT, Epistle, Gospel) focus on the resurrection of the dead and the promises of God.

    The sermon is strictly evangel (good news about Jesus Christ), not a eulogy (good words) about the person; this means solid Law and Gospel preaching. What better opportunity to reach people who may never darken a church doorway.

  203. Psalm62 says:

    am i the only one that thinks it a bit bizarre to try to define how to grieve?

    my viewpoint is colored by the fact that i don’t like ceremonies (including most weddings), but others’ conduct of these matters is really not my business
    the only way **IMO** to lay a loved one to rest is at the grave or crypt – where the remains are reverently and quietly laid to rest and it is for the comfort of the loved ones left behind as God knows where every molecule is and what to do with it – the apple tree over the grave thing, for example and some of us have or will ‘feed the fishes’ with what we leave behind… sorry, but we lose our illusory control of everything mortal upon death
    my young son’s death brought about, at the graveside, a sermon to a very large group of
    unsaved – strangely all that mattered to me that day? the fact that these folk went away having heard the gospel – it was and still is a comfort to me
    my husband was quietly laid to rest by a small group of friends and family with a faithful old soldier and his bugle on the hillside playing taps – perfect for him and a perfect memory for me

    but i’d sure hope that no one would say that there’s a ‘correct’ formula for an end of life ceremony – an Irish wake has its merits (make sure the guys dead and then celebrate) 😆

  204. Psalm62 says:

    Lutheran,”The sermon is strictly evangel (good news about Jesus Christ), not a eulogy (good words) about the person; this means solid Law and Gospel preaching. What better opportunity to reach people who may never darken a church doorway.”

    that is a wonderful thing to ponder and i would think every Lutheran Believer must smile when they think about the fact that when they die folks are going to hear the reason for the hope

  205. Xenia says:

    The last Evangelical funeral I attended really bothered me. It was for a middle-aged friend of ours. Everyone was all smiles. No sign of grieving at all that I could see. No tears. And this was a very well-loved individual. At the receiving line afterwards, the widow was all smiles. Now I KNOW she was devastated by the loss of her beloved husband but the tradition of this type of church is to SMILE SMILE SMILE to demonstrate that you really believe the dearly departed is in heaven. She probably collapsed into tears when she got home and all the people finally left and she could be herself.

    At this funeral, the various pastors who spoke were all grins and smiles and corny jokes.

    But the worst thing I ever saw at a funeral happened at the local Catholic church where the communion “hymn” was the playing of a CD of Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way,” that modern anthem of self-worship. Man, the RC’s have really gone off the rails.

  206. centorian says:

    “The sermon is strictly evangel (good news about Jesus Christ), not a eulogy (good words) about the person; this means solid Law and Gospel preaching. What better opportunity to reach people who may never darken a church doorway.”

    sounds like every baptist funeral that I’ve attended….

  207. Believe says:

    What are “we”?

    There is an eternal part of each of us…saved and unsaved. What part of “us” is that? Where is that part referenced in Scripture?

    There is the “flesh”…that the sin nature indwells…and there is the Spirit (the Holy Spirit in a Believer).

    I’ve heard there is an “animal soul” and then our spirit that is the Spirit of God…is that separate from the Holy Spirit?

  208. Believe says:

    MLD said, “With the new covenant, we accept God’s salvation with no strings attached. How we are changed after that is a whole separate scenario – but it is not as Believe and others have portrayed that come Judgment Day at the Pearly Gates that Saint Peter will have you stand at the Morality Bar to see if you are tall enough to get in.”

    That’s not what I’m intending to say…but that appears to be the way you’re interpreting what I said.

    Hope your Grandson hit like Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier combined! 🙂

  209. Another Voice says:

    Xenia, I share your disgust. That sort of funeral would bother me. I will remember what you and Michael wrote today before using the word ‘celebration’ again. I never dream of it being a non-grief, party, circus. I recognize others can imply that with the word, and have the experience to show so. I’ve never done a funeral that was not somber.

    God Bless.

  210. Another Voice says:

    Xenia..I was speaking of the evangelical one. The RC debacle speaks for itself.

  211. David says:

    Another Voice, Re: your post 9:03pm yesterday…

    It seems like this thread took a turn in a different direction, but just to reply to you, I already showed in my other posts that you cannot just assume that the same Greek word used in different places in the Bible, automatically means the exact same thing in every place. I already showed in my other posts that this doesn’t work for the word saved or the word disciple, for example. Because it ignores CONTEXT. Unbelieving disciples? Yes, some. John chapter 6 verse 64 and verse 66. I showed that it doesn’t work for the word saved, and it also doesn’t work for the word inherit. Because you’re ignoring the CONTEXT. Without context, you have nothing, but some faulty system that relies on a false assumption, that somehow every use of the same word means the same thing.

    It does not work that way.

    You had previously given me a long list of uses of the word inherit, and told me to just read them. And I said that I wouldn’t do that, that I wanted quiet time to study. To pray, to examine the context of every use of whichever word we’re discussing. If you don’t take time to study the context of the uses of that word, then how do you know that you’re right? As with saved and disciple, we see that this system doesn’t work. Contextually, the words don’t mean the same thing every time they are used. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    So for you to state that my belief is “unbiblical”, doesn’t matter. My view is that your belief about this is unbiblical. That means nothing. A third person might come along, and disagree with both of us, and call us both “unbiblical”.

    I have the minority position, by a wide margin, for sure. That doesn’t bother me, because we both know that popularity never determines truth. Some popular beliefs are right, and some popular beliefs are wrong. If done on numbers alone, then 1.2 billion people in the world would say that we are both supposed to shut up and instead, listen to what the pope says about these verses. Of course we don’t do that, because we know that popularity doesn’t determine truth.

    Please at least understand where I’m coming from, even if you don’t agree with my conclusions. In my opinion, I believe that you ignore context. That’s the issue we differ on. Now our interpretation of each context, that’s another story. But at least admit that the same word used every time, doesn’t always mean the same thing, due to context.

    I don’t know that I’ll be able to be back this weekend, I also have to continue to study to give a message tomorrow.

  212. Psalm62 says:

    Xenia, you have shown your wise, Biblical and compassionate heart here every time you post, but please don’t equate tears with grief – i’m hear to tell you that grief can be too overpowering for tears and, for some tears are not where their grief finds an outlet nor should those not expressing their grief in tears be made to feel ashamed as they, too, can have tender hearts IMO

  213. Goose says:

    Michael said…”Death should remind us of the cost of sin…death is the final enemy…we should grieve and grieve deeply.”

    At the risk of sounding like an idiot, what am I missing in this statement?

    If a “believer” dies why should I grieve at all? (other than the fact that I may miss them on a personal level)

    Death isn’t the enemy for the “believer” is it?

    Now the funeral for an unsaved person, that’s a different story. That should cause all to shed tears and grieve, but for the “believer”….I don’t think so.

    Isn’t it true that our best life begins after we die?

    Let me know if I am all wet on this, as it wouldn’t be the first time.

  214. Michael says:

    “If a “believer” dies why should I grieve at all? (other than the fact that I may miss them on a personal level)”

    Grieving isn’t for the one who has gone to glory, it’s for those left behind and it is a recognition that death is our enemy…we were created for life and death is a reminder of the horror of sin.

    Frankly, if you’re so holy that you want to parse grief, I’m probably not the guy to talk to.

  215. Xenia says:

    Psalmy, I do understand and agree with you that people express deep grief in many different ways and tears are not a universal expression of grief. What makes me sad is a church culture that squelches people from demonstrating their grief (which may involve tears) because to do so at a memorial service suggests a lack of joy that the beloved went to heaven. I agree; people express grief all different ways. I am uncomfortable with a church culture that expects widows and other family members to smile through the whole thing. Doesn’t seem right to me.

  216. Erunner says:

    About 16 months ago our brother-in-law died from cancer. He and his wife had been married for over 35 years. Today my wife’s sister (his wife) was here from up north. Her first year without her husband was not nearly as difficult as she is experiencing now.

    Some depression has moved in as she is having to now eliminate his name from things that wasn’t necessary till recently. She now has to take some sort of supplement so she can maintain her weight. She was always thin. As we talked she told me she could cry right now as she was choking up.

    The great love she has for her late husband is a gift from God. Love is of God. The meanest thing I could have said to her is “why be sad because he is in Heaven now.” Death sucks. Losing your life partner sucks. Losing a child sucks. The devil sucks. I really do hate him.

    If it was only as easy as some make it out to be…. God allows people to experience grief in different ways. Some are able to move on easier than others. How can our hearts not break for a person who has experienced such pain?

    I haven’t read very far up but Xenia expressed this perfectly with her 5:25 pm comment today.

  217. Believe says:

    David…so following your line of reasoning regarding “inherit” the Kingdom verses “enter” the Kingdom…

    You must then believe that Homosexuals can believe and be saved…and that Homosexuals can hold leadership positions…even as pastor…in the church…yes?

  218. Believe says:

    MLD…if we are saved by “Faith Alone”…”Sola Fide”…as Luther postulates…then it doesn’t matter what I do after I’m saved, correct? I cannot commit the unpardonable sin. I can go back to being a fornicator…I can seek out sin and commit all the sin the flesh desires…is that right?

    I don’t need to continually repent of sin, correct? Salvation is by Faith Alone…”it’s not doing…it’s already done.”

    There are some serious implications with this position.

    How do you know if you had enough Faith at the Lutheran “moment” of Salvation?

  219. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believ,
    1.) We are saved by God’s grace alone.
    2.) This comes through faith alone.
    3.) This faith is a free gift from God (Eph 2:8) that we receive solely by the proclamation of God’s word. (Rom 10:17)
    4.) The reason that you ask “How do you know if you had enough Faith at the Lutheran “moment” of Salvation?” is because to most evangelicals, faith is something that you muster up from within. The reason people get tricked at altar calls is because the previous message was built on getting the people to have faith in faith.
    5.) To a Lutheran, the faith comes from outside ourselves.
    6.) Your first paragraph of questions baffles me. I have asked you several times and you continually refuse to answer – WHY DO YOU KEEP DEFAULTING TO MORALITY TYPE SINS WHEN YOU WANT TO DISPROVE SOMEONE AS A GENUINE CHRISTIAN?
    7.) I gave the example that the person, perhaps you and me included, who have not visited someone in prison this week, someone who has not visited the widow or the orphan and the person who has not fed a hungry person this week is equally guilty as the person who has returned to fornication. WHY ARE PEOPLE GIVEN A PASS ON THOSE SINS OF OMISSION?
    8.) It’s funny that you bring up the comment about not needing to repent – check out Luther’s first public act (posting the 95 Theses) and the very first statement of the 95 – “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
    9.) But let me conclude with this – you have confused the message of the new covenant to be about the Christian, but it is about the Christ. It is not about what we can do for Jesus – it is about what He has done for us. You rest in your doing, not in what Jesus has done. Believe me when I say there is no peace or rest because I can avoid some particular actions. Mormons and the Dali Lama beat me hands down. 🙂
    10.) Please give me a direct answer to #6 & 7 – I keep asking and you keep skirting around it.

  220. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Is my 6:51 to Believe in moderation as it states?

  221. Goose says:

    Michael said…”Grieving isn’t for the one who has gone to glory, it’s for those left behind and it is a recognition that death is our enemy…we were created for life and death is a reminder of the horror of sin. Frankly, if you’re so holy that you want to parse grief, I’m probably not the guy to talk to.”

    Obviously, grieving is for those who are left behind, however, the statement you make that “death is our enemy” doesn’t resonate with me.

    Death is not the enemy of the “believer”.

    Sure, death is incredibly sad, especially when it is a loved one, but if my loved one is a “believer” and has gone to glory than how sad can I really be? Yes, I will be sad and grieve for a bit but when I consider where my loved one is and where I am at, I know my deceased loved one has the better deal. I mean, where would I rather be…here on Earth or with my Lord and Savior? Where would you rather be?

    Conversely, if my deceased loved one was not a “believer” than I really do have something serious to grieve about, don’t I? They don’t get to go to glory and this is what should cause us who are left behind to really, really grieve because …death is the enemy of the “unbeliever”.

    For the record, these thoughts and questions have no correlation to my holiness, as you suggest…maybe my lack of intelligence, but definitely not my holiness. And yes, I have experienced the death of loved ones.

  222. Another Voice says:

    David, I am floored by your reply above. The list of inaccuracies as to what I said, or didn’t say is so long that to try and fix them all would take far more time than I have to offer. Nor do I see the purpose since anyone else reading can read the thread for themselves, and clearly there is some communication barrier between us.

    I will say this, I never ignore(d) context. I even gave you a specific explanation of the John 6:66 verse that speaks to context. This was a verse that you suggested as difficult.

    I am not so simplistic to argue the same word means the same thing – for that you might go back to reading Missler, whose writings you promoted started this discussion in the first place.

    However, any exegete will warn you, when the same author uses the same word in the same epistle in different places, to tread lightly before falling back on the ‘context’ argument when the words don’t fit the theology being offered. As was the case when I showed Paul using the same word, inherit, to describe regular believers, as well as (per the view offered by you and Missler) the disciple warnings – in same epistle of 1 Corinthians.

  223. Nonnie says:

    Speaking of “expressing grief in public.” Does anyone struggle with not doing this. I find that when someone close to me dies, I sort of freeze and my emotions find a place of “knowing God is in control” but at the same time going sort of numb and then feeling very guilty because I am not “falling apart” like others are. However, sometimes, when I least expect it, the tears surprise me and overtake me….most often privately, in my bed late at night or when sharing with another person, the tears may begin to fall.

    I have struggled with feelings like “what is wrong with me?” Am I really that uncaring? There is a part of me that acknowledges, “my loved one” is in heaven, in His presence, in fullness of joy, and not suffering, and that brings me such peace and then another part of me that says, “this is so wrong, “but usually the tears do not come when I am with others. Then that makes me feel like I am “cold hearted” and not normal.

    A recent example. My dear auntie was just diagnosed with cancer. Some of her children wept and wailed when they found out. I am concerned, I am praying, but I do not have tears. My mother (her sister) has also just this week, had a mammogram and has a lump. I am very concerned but I am not falling apart, not weeping. No tears. What am I feeling? God is in control, I am trusting in Him and yet at the same time, there is a horrible hurt, a yearning that this will all go away. But in the midst of it all, no tears.

    I guess I share this all as I have come to the conclusion that we all grieve, process, and walk through these valleys in different ways.

  224. Erunner says:

    “I guess I share this all as I have come to the conclusion that we all grieve, process, and walk through these valleys in different ways.”

    Nonnie, Early on as a believer I thought it a spiritual thing to show up at funerals very upbeat. I thought that was how I was supposed to act because a 16 year old nephew and an 8 year old nephew were now in Heaven. In retrospect I regret my actions deeply.

    You captured the truth with your statement above. The problem arises when we seek to create some sort of standard for grieving. In doing so we create categories with some believers seen as not quite being spiritual enough. Thanks for sharing.

  225. Nonnie says:

    Erunner,
    Thank you for your encouragement.

  226. Lutheran says:

    Nonnie,

    I think there’s a lot of wisdom in what you’ve shared. I agree with your observation that each of us is indeed different when it comes to sadness and grief, and we shouldn’t straitjacket or judge ourselves or others with regard to how and when we grieve and experience sadness/loss.

    I’ve found in my own life that real grief takes a sort of life of its own. If I don’t consciously grieve/cry over an event that’s ‘grievable,’ the grief and sadness will come in later like a wave, intense and then it eventually subsides.

    I get so frustrated sometimes with Christians who live in denial of our human, fallible, weak human side. This isn’t something Jesus came to destroy or obliterate. The reality is, ften we live in paradox — for example, we’re happy that someone is with the Lord, and at the same time, we’re overwhelmed by our own emotions, good or bad. Both are part of our reality. Both — either/or — not both/and. God doesn’t need us to deny our weaknesses. I don’t think He needs us to be strong or anything, just who we are.

    Besides, acknowledging and expressing these very human emotions creates a connection with others who experience the same.

  227. Nonnie says:

    Lutheran said:
    “The reality is, ften we live in paradox — for example, we’re happy that someone is with the Lord, and at the same time, we’re overwhelmed by our own emotions, good or bad. Both are part of our reality. Both — either/or — not both/and. God doesn’t need us to deny our weaknesses. I don’t think He needs us to be strong or anything, just who we are.”

    Yes, exactly! Often times I find that when my tears fall, it is after others seem to have had a melt down and usually when I am alone.
    I think what gives me pause is that I am not an introvert and usually very open to sharing emotions; that I why I am surprised by the way I seem to handle grief/tragedy more privately. I am quite a gregarious person,usually.

    The Bible speaks of this paradox of pain and blessedness in the same breath. We are told of joy and grief in the same text.
    Tough times, yet good times.

    Romans:5:3 We rejoice in our sufferings
    2 Corinthians 6:10 Sorrowful…yet always rejoicing.
    1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice…though you suffer grief
    Jer. 31:13 He turns my mourning into dancing

    We know it is only by God’s grace they can and do co exist as we live our lives in God’s kingdom of already/not yet.

    I really appreciate the affirmation that each one of us is different and we have a God given right to be who He created us to be and not put on a pretense for the sake of others, whether it be to put on a happy face or wail and lament. Someday we know there will be no more tears

  228. Lutheran says:

    Nonnie,

    Perhaps your not showing emotion when others are melting down or experiencing strong emotions is God’s way of using you to be there for them. My experience has been that when someone’s melting down, they just need someone there — the words aren’t important — one’s presence is.

  229. Nonnie says:

    Thanks Lute. Good insights.

  230. victorious says:

    Jesus was the first to proclaim the gospel. He expected disciples and gained disciples as the gospel was proclaimed and taught. Jesus commanded and commissioned us to handle our stewardship of the gospel in the same manner.

  231. victorious says:

    Michael said. “I’ll go out on a limb here…the longer I meditate on these matters the more I’m convinced that the presence of sin in someone is not the issue.
    The issue is the lack of repentance.
    There is no sin that I’m not capable of doing…and probably enjoying.
    If I feel no guilt that leads to repentance…then my soul is in great danger no matter my profession.”

    That’s a strong enough limb for us to to stand and live upon.

    It may take time and may require us to expend much effort in order to build back within someone the hope of grace that moves them back into a practice of repentance that also receives the grace of renewal; and it may take time to weed through false professions of grace that reveal a rock heard, self willed heart that has steadfastly refused repentance and manifested a false profession of faith in it’s place.

  232. Believe says:

    Responses in Brackets [ ] to MLD:

    First, I am “in process” and wrestling…in real time. I am constantly testing the “how” my Salvation happened. I know I am saved…I don’t know the “how”…though I feel compelled to try and know.

    MLD said, “Believ,
    1.) We are saved by God’s grace alone.

    [I believe this. We must “bow our knee”…but maybe even that “bowing of the will” is given by God.]

    2.) This comes through faith alone.

    [I believe this. Faith is belief..belief is obedience, no?]

    3.) This faith is a free gift from God (Eph 2:8) that we receive solely by the proclamation of God’s word. (Rom 10:17)

    [I don’t understand this the way you believe it. Is Salvation the free gift or is Faith the free gift…or do you believe both are the free gift referenced in that verse. I have believed in the past that both are the free gift…both the Salvation and the Faith…so I believed when I said the prayer that I had my “fire insurance” and then went off…not in submission to Jesus as Lord…and lived like a total heathen a lot of the time.

    Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of Christ…but that does not clarify for me if there is man’s responsibility as an act of the will to respond in Faith and be Saved (the free gift)…or if we have NO responsibility and that we are given both the Salvation and the Faith…if God “gives” as a free gift…both the Salvation and the Faith…then why would we need to share the Gospel…the Word? Is it just me, or does this not make sense?]

    4.) The reason that you ask “How do you know if you had enough Faith at the Lutheran “moment” of Salvation?” is because to most evangelicals, faith is something that you muster up from within. The reason people get tricked at altar calls is because the previous message was built on getting the people to have faith in faith.

    [I’ve experienced “salvation” both ways…the altar call type of Arminian salvation…and the Sola Fide…and reformed salvation…neither “took”…I’ve lived like a heathen believing both…I haven’t experienced victory over sin unless Jesus is Lord. Maybe you CAN be saved and live like a heathen all the time…maybe you can’t. One sin is enough…so how about a quadrillion?]

    5.) To a Lutheran, the faith comes from outside ourselves.

    [OK, that clears up one of my questions.]

    6.) Your first paragraph of questions baffles me. I have asked you several times and you continually refuse to answer – WHY DO YOU KEEP DEFAULTING TO MORALITY TYPE SINS WHEN YOU WANT TO DISPROVE SOMEONE AS A GENUINE CHRISTIAN?

    [I haven’t answered because I don’t have a good answer. I don’t know. Probably because in my experience I can’t resolve how I could have been saved and lived like such a depraved heathen for many years…not that I don’t sin now…just did some pretty hefty sinning last night drinking and dancing at a Roman Catholic friend’s 40th birthday party…thank God my wife was with me (which is why I let my guard down…I knew I couldn’t go home with another woman…so what the heck…let’s test some grace and party…there was a dance floor and the music was pumping…and there were lots of people to sin with)…the Spirit is willing…the flesh is very very weak…a few (or ten) too many drinks (my choice…it didn’t sneak up on me…and I’m “Super Heathen”…life of the party…what a terrible witness…I haven’t sinned in those areas in over a year-and-a-half…so I guess the “go and sin no more” theory is out the window…either that or I lost my salvation last night (again). I still can’t resolve how someone can continue in serious sin for decades and be saved…but maybe they can (the examples of me and my step-dad come to mind).]

    7.) I gave the example that the person, perhaps you and me included, who have not visited someone in prison this week, someone who has not visited the widow or the orphan and the person who has not fed a hungry person this week is equally guilty as the person who has returned to fornication. WHY ARE PEOPLE GIVEN A PASS ON THOSE SINS OF OMISSION?

    [Good point. People in church leadership are given BIG passes all the time…you can pretty much be the Anti-Christ himself and still have a Dove on your building (in my step-dad’s example…not painting any other CC guys with that brush…though Michael may want a little of that paint to splatter on Heitzig (who was a total jerk in how he handled Pete and that whole situation..what a lying deceiving scumbag he was…but “grace” “grace” “grace”). That point also is why I don’t understand how the church shuns homosexuals…even if they are practicing the sin…as we all sin all the time…so why can’t they be pastors and elders in sin, too? Why can’t we welcome them into our churches…just like the rest of us heathens? We sin ALL THE TIME…sometimes we’re able to hit the pause button for awhile…I’ve had a lot of victory over sin the last year…and even the last six years…progressively sinning “less” in terms of quantity and severity of sin…and you know how? When I bend my will to the Holy Spirit and daily make conscious DECISIONS to make Jesus Lord and not just someone I’ve heard of. However, you and others make the point well…we all still sin…I don’t care who you are…how Sanctified you are…you still sin…and there is no hierarchy of sins…or is there? Isn’t just ONE sin enough to damn you? We don’t know whether people are REALLY saved or not…yet we…and especially Pastors and many Religious leaders act like they do. My step-dad is “righteous” and a “Prophet of God” to himself and his cult followers…and I am a “child of the devil” and “enemy”…and so are the others who seek to hold him accountable. This pattern is COMMON in the “church”…especially some (SOME) CC’s.

    8.) It’s funny that you bring up the comment about not needing to repent – check out Luther’s first public act (posting the 95 Theses) and the very first statement of the 95 – “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

    [OK. I believe that. We should constantly repent…but what if we don’t for say 30 years? Are we saved? Must we say a prayer and repent just before death to be saved? Or, we’re saved and can die in sin that is un-repented of? Or does it matter? Is it merely a by-product…we will naturally repent continually because we are saved? (which is what I believe right now). Jesus as Lord and Master…that part I believe is critical. If not for Salvation (justification)…certainly for Sanctification…]

    9.) But let me conclude with this – you have confused the message of the new covenant to be about the Christian, but it is about the Christ. It is not about what we can do for Jesus – it is about what He has done for us. You rest in your doing, not in what Jesus has done. Believe me when I say there is no peace or rest because I can avoid some particular actions. Mormons and the Dali Lama beat me hands down. 🙂

    [I hear you on the Mormons and the “Lama”…however, they miss the Cornerstone and the Stumbling block…though some Mormons are saved by the Gospel that is right under their noses…as many Mormons read the Bible as well as the wacky book.

    I believe I rest in my “being” which as a by-product leads to the “doing”…I have doubt when I don’t see any desire for “doing” and instead see desire for being “Super Heathen”.]

    10.) Please give me a direct answer to #6 & 7 – I keep asking and you keep skirting around it.”
    [It is done. But it was “works”…so it doesn’t mean anything to you 🙂 (just being a Biblical Donkey (J.A.)…saved by grace!)]

  233. Psalm62 says:

    faith non-meritorious, yes – but i love the example of the courtship model – God courts us and we respond (that response ends in a love relationship IMO) = grace meeting/activating faith – completing a circuit that results in this mysterious new birth

    mossy-rock theology? this time i don’t think so… 😕 but…

  234. Believe says:

    MLD…clarification to #3…Faith comes through hearing the Word…isn’t “hearing” something man must “do”? Isn’t spreading the Gospel something man must “do”? Both are linked to Faith, which you say is solely a work of God…is the “hearing” the Gospel which is a prerequisite of Faith a work of God also?

    Does that mean that God doesn’t save someone who cannot hear, see or communicate in any way? Do you believe that there are any…post-crucifixion…who are saved who have NOT heard the Gospel?

    What about the age of accountability?

  235. Believe says:

    Can God speak to someone’s heart…and they be saved? The Word of Christ…does it have to come from man or written word…can the Holy Spirit share the Word with someone’s heart and they be saved outside of hearing the traditional Gospel?

  236. Believe says:

    MLD…”hearing” can be blocked by a hard heart…is it God who hardens the hearts of the unsaved? There seems to be evidence in Scripture of that…or is it man’s will in opposition to the Gospel (the Word) that leads to not “hearing”?

  237. Believe says:

    MLD…there is physical “hearing” and there is “hearing…agreeing…understanding”…what is the “hearing” that is a prerequisite to Faith?

  238. Sister Christian says:

    “Believe me when I say there is no peace or rest because I can avoid some particular actions.”

    MLD~

    Surely you are mistaken in your comment here,
    Or i missed the context.
    Would you like to rephrase that?

  239. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Good morning Sister,
    The short answer is, No, I wouldn’t rephrase my comment. I think that my #9 applies and is what causes great spiritual distress to many evangelicals such as yourself and Believe. We obviously come at the scriptures from completely different angles – I hold entirely to the point that the scriptures are about The Christ and not The Christian. The Bible was not given to tell us God’s plan to ‘clean us up.’

    I don’t think that I can ever declare myself any closer to God than He has made me just because I decided to give up a certain sin.

  240. Anything good...think on these says:

    In defense of the posters here I do not hear them saying the gospel/scriptures are for Christians and a way of life. To say this is a gross misrepresentation of what they are saying.

    Now I have to ask; if God does all the work and we ignore all the repent, believe, receive stuff in scripture, why should we even bother with church and why so do many denominations basically say, “we have it right, we are the Church?” If the former is true I might as well just relax and enjoy my free gift.

  241. Anything good...think on these says:

    “Jesus was the first to proclaim the gospel. ”

    I believe the gospel was spoken by God in Genesis. Jesus I believe said He fulfilled it, or something like that.

    He has blessed me with all things and nothing created can separate me from the love of God!

    Amen!

  242. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anything,
    Please clarify – “Now I have to ask; if God does all the work…”

    Are you in agreement that God does ALL the work in our salvation or are you questioning it and adding “our work” – repent, believe, receive? It was unclear to me.

    Also, you asked “why should we even bother with church”? Is that why you go to church – to keep some standing with God?

    And lastly “He has blessed me with all things and nothing created can separate me from the love of God!” I agree, but I am arguing against those who are saying that my continual sin (whether it be besetting or incidental – not terms I use, but others do) will render me unsaved, or unsavable.

  243. Lutheran says:

    ‘Now I have to ask; if God does all the work and we ignore all the repent, believe, receive ‘stuff in scripture, why should we even bother with church and why so do many denominations basically say, “we have it right, we are the Church?” If the former is true I might as well just relax and enjoy my free gift.’

    Uh, well…No.

    Those of us who believe that God has done it all in Christ are not sitting around, relaxing, and enjoying this free gift. Quite the contrary. If anything, it sets us free to love and serve our neighbor.

    Christians I see who want to add something — focusing on what ‘we’ must do, do, do — are the ones sitting around judging others — seeing if they’re doing the Christian life just right — engaging in spiritual navelgazing and taking their spiritual temperature, getting lost in rabbit trails of spiritual experience, while all the time they could be set free to love others. They’re also the ones, IMHO, who burn out because they’re never quite sure where they stand with God. IMHobservation, they’re not responding to God in grace — exulting in His one-way gift — but in law, by what they are doing. It’s a great prescription for spiritual burnout.

  244. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wow Lutheran, you sound like you’d make a good Lutheran some day. 😉

  245. Lutheran says:

    MLD,

    🙂

  246. Believe says:

    Lutheran said, “IMHobservation, they’re not responding to God in grace — exulting in His one-way gift — but in law, by what they are doing.”

    By “responding”…what do you mean? An act of the will? Submission? Or it just “happens”.

  247. Lutheran says:

    Believe,

    When I use the term “respond,” what I’m referring to is reflected well in this verse from a hymn (“And Can it Be”) by Charles Wesley — especially the last 2 lines:

    Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

  248. Anything worth...think on these says:

    “If anything, it sets us free to love and serve our neighbor.”

    Why can’t I do this without religion? It would seem to me not having to submit to a law of liturgy would make loving my neighbor a whole lot easier.

    Jesus said His yoke was easy and the comparison was to the Pharisaical yoke which prescribed every detail of how to live like how far one was able to walk on a sabbath.

    I think I will stay with Jesus’ yoke.

    Don’t you love the goodness of God and His mercy in Christ Jesus!

  249. Lutheran says:

    “Law of liturgy”

    What on earth are you talking about??

  250. Lutheran says:

    “If anything, it sets us free to love and serve our neighbor.”

    Why can’t I do this without religion? It would seem to me not having to submit to a law of liturgy would make loving my neighbor a whole lot easier.

    Again, I don’t follow your logic — maybe because there isn’t any?

    Is there something wrong with loving your neighbor as a Christian, just because others can, too?

    And is there a connection, at least somewhere in your ‘mind,’ between loving your neighbor and a ‘law of liturgy’ (another leap I don’t get)?

  251. Anything worth...think on these says:

    Lutheran:

    I guess you don’t get it. You imply that loving and serving our neighbors is something people do as a result of God’s grace or is a part of our church membership/confession and liturgy.

    I know many un-believers and non-churched people who are wonderful, loving and serving people, so to say Christ has set us free to be loving and serving really doesn’t make sense.

    Jesus has set us free to worship Him and we can best bring glory to God by loving Him.
    So if by loving God the results of which are loving and serving our neighbors that is a blessed thing. But serving God though liturgy is just another law which binds and isn’t the yoke of Jesus.

    “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”

    Again none of you have answered my question:

    “If God does all the work and we ignore all the repent, believe, receive stuff in scripture, why should we even bother with church and why so do many denominations basically say, “we have it right, we are the Church?” If the former is true I might as well just relax and enjoy my free gift.”

  252. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anything,
    Can you give me an example of a church that does not use a liturgy – since liturgy is just the order of a church service.

    I’m dying to see this church that is just ‘free style’.

  253. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anything,
    You are not an honest person. I asked you some clarifying questions at 8:53am. It is hard to answer if we don’t get the point. Perhaps you just overlooked the questions.

  254. Xenia says:

    I don’t understand the phrases “law of liturgy” and “serving God through liturgy,” (as used above.)

    Liturgy means “work of the people” and pertains to a church’s worship service. I am not sure how the word “liturgy” fits in with what you are saying. (Maybe it fits; I just am not seeing it.)

    Now, we do speak of living a liturgical life but I am not sure that’s what you mean. By this, we mean that we order our days around the Church (liturgical) calendar and use the ancient prayers of the Church when we pray our morning and evening prayer rule and follow the Church’s lectionary as we read the scriptures in our private devotions. But I don’t see how this would have a negative impact on our freedom to love our neighbors? If anything, in my life, it has energized me in this direction.

  255. Sister Christian says:

    “I think that my #9 applies and is what causes great spiritual distress to many evangelicals such as yourself and Believe. We obviously come at the scriptures from completely different angles – I hold entirely to the point that the scriptures are about The Christ and not The Christian. The Bible was not given to tell us God’s plan to ‘clean us up.’

    I don’t think that I can ever declare myself any closer to God than He has made me just because I decided to give up a certain sin.”

    Good Afternoon MLD!

    We havent spoken in quite some time I do believe.

    Im not sure where you get the impression that evangelicals like myself and Believe are in straights of great spiritual distress. Thats simply not the case, at least speaking for myself, and seemingly as well for Believe.

    I have a great depth of joy and peace of mind, soul and spirit in fact.

    Yes, I concur we come from different angles of scripture,
    Its all about Christ for you,
    I see a relational God, its about Christ and Gods redeeming a creation He loved
    part of that redemption is walking in newness of life, putting off the old man,
    walking in the spirit, no longer walking in the works of darkness but now walking in truth,light and ambassadors of Christ. We are not only positionally saved, but also practically saved from the chains and bondage of sin and the kingdom of darkness on earth and entering the kingdom of God which is presently at hand.

    Your comment simply seemed to unreal:
    “Believe me when I say there is no peace or rest because I can avoid some particular actions.”

    There is no rest for the wicked,
    There is no peace for those who are unjust

    There is peace and rest in avoiding those things
    and there is peace and rest in avoiding a thousand other pitfalls in life

    God will not hear the cries of the wicked,
    He will not hear the prayers of Husbands who do not deal with their wives in understanding

    Psalm 34:18
    NKJ
    The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
    And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

    Psalm 145:18
    NIV
    The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

  256. Anything worth...think on these says:

    I am being very honest, you don’t get my question to you.

    “Liturgy means “work of the people” and pertains to a church’s worship service.”

    Exactly it is a law about how one must approach God through service. The Pharisees took the Law and did the same, adding their own and building a burdensome yoke. So it is with most if not all denominations, take the simple and add burdens or more law.

    But that is not an answer to my question:

    Since I guess you are a bit confused I will state it this way:

    Do I have to confess, believe, repent, (I’ll even add) be baptized in your denomination(s) to be one of God’s people or is it really a free gift? If it is a free gift why do I have to join your denomination(s) (xenia says her’s is the true church of Christ and I guess so do Lutherans) why can’t I enjoy Jesus without your burdens?

  257. Sister Christian says:

    also consider this:

    If they had really stood in My council,
    they would have enabled My people to hear My words
    and would have turned them back from their evil ways
    and their evil deeds. Jer. 23:22

    Are we or are we not to stand in Gods council
    to encourage and enable Gods people to hear His words
    to the effect that it would turn people back from their evil ways and deeds?

    there is a difference between those who serve God and those who do not:

    17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. [a]
    I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.
    18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
    Malachi 3:17,18

  258. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sister,
    Your scripture verses back up my position – the peace comes from being “in Christ” and not in some decision to not smoke a cigarette or have a glass of brandy. It is to those who call on Christ not to those who live a moral life (the Mormons & the Dali Lama).

    In the end you are still saying that if you don’t follow the rules, you cannot be saved – you equate those who don’t follow the rules as the ‘wicked’ and you say that God will not hear their prayers (hence they are not His sheep).

    Sin, and you are out or you were never in. God saves you in the beginning, but does not keep you saved – He stops listening to you if you step out of line.

    I would like to hear the same condemnation on those who were so selfish last week that they did not visit anyone in prison, did not visit a widow or orphan and did not purposely feed a hungry person – I would like to hear you call them wicked and tell them that God has stopped hearing their prayers. I don’t see the difference between those who do a bad act, versus those who failed to do the good act. I will bet that by far the majority here have failed to visit and feed more often than people here have committed fornication’ – but who gets the brunt of the condemnation? – just my thought.

  259. Lutheran says:

    AW,

    No, you’re the one who doesn’t get it.

    And, I guess your parental units never taught you any manners. You waltz on here on your first day with an arrogant attitude and are going to set us all straight? What a horselaugh Try and dialogue if you are able. Otherwise, take a hike.

    Read a little Luther. He had it right. You don’t seem to have a clue.

    He said, “God doesn’t need my good works. But my neighbor does.”

    I did give my explanation to your original statement. It’s not my fault or problem if you don’t like it or just want to act like the new kid “pain in the ass” on the block.

    MLD and Xenia are trying to dialogue with you. She said, “But I don’t see how this (the liturgy) would have a negative impact on our freedom to love our neighbors? If anything, in my life, it has energized me in this direction.” That’s pretty similar to what I said.

  260. Michael says:

    “Do I have to confess, believe, repent, (I’ll even add) be baptized in your denomination(s) to be one of God’s people or is it really a free gift? ”

    Repentance and confession of sin upon coming to Christ are part of what is included in the gift.

    We’re going to do a whole article on Lordship salvation tomorrow…

  261. Xenia says:

    I agree with (and am happy to see!) Sister Christian.

    This statement of MLD’s:

    “Believe me when I say there is no peace or rest because I can avoid some particular actions.”

    … may be true for MLD but I worry about him if it is really true for him. If he is in sin and is not distressed about it… well, how could this be, MLD?

    Or maybe I am worried about the inverse of what you are really saying. Maybe sin distresses you (I hope) but not sinning does not bring a feeling of peace? I suppose that’s not quite so bad.

    To me, this type of discussion is in the same category as counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

    Love God, love your neighbor. Do it in the name of the Lord.

    Jesus said to be holy- try your best to obey Him in this. If you fall, He will pick you up. If you don’t understand what He means when He says to be holy (and the hundreds of other things He tells us to do) don’t try to turn it around to mean the opposite of what He says because it doesn’t seem possible. With God, all things are possible. With a mustard seed’s worth of faith we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. I liked what DMW said the other day about being honest- aim for 100% compliance. Don’t say “It’s not possible so He didn’t really mean it and it would be a miserable, burdensome life if I even tried to do what the Lord said.”

    I simply cannot fathom a view that has a person reading the words of Jesus and saying, “No, He means the exact opposite of what He is saying. He only said that because He knows it isn’t possible.” The reading of the Gospels for such folks must be a herky-jerky affair, not taking the plain, simple words of the Lord for what they appear to say but re-engineering them to mean the exact opposite.

    I try to avoid most of these types of discussions but man! Sometimes it’s just too much!

  262. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My whole point is that we need to be people of repentance, not because of what we do, but because of who we are.

    How many people committed moral sins and repented? Probably most of us. How many of us failed to do good when it was presented to us? How many of us repented of that sin? I would guess not as many – because in America we are so stuck with obeying the rules.

    We have a Christianity that is about lifestyles and not about the fact that we need salvation.

  263. Sister Christian says:

    Anything worth…think on these,

    Hello! Im not sure we have met… nice to meet you, unless you are a regular poster under a new name…well still nice to meet you either way.

    You write:
    “why can’t I enjoy Jesus without your burdens?”
    and
    “serving God though liturgy is just another law which binds and isn’t the yoke of Jesus.”

    Why do you see Liturgy as law and burdens?
    Im sure MLD, Lutheran and Xenia dont see these as Laws and Burdens
    but as means of order and way to enter more fully into joyful worship and communion with God, Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

    My apologies if I was not supposed to enter the fray! 😀

  264. Michael says:

    I love the ancient liturgies…so much so that I’m looking for an Anglican church in the area for for my own edification.

  265. Sister Christian says:

    Hi Xenia! Thanks! and so good to see you too!

    MLD~

    You bring up very valid concerns here when you write:

    “I would like to hear the same condemnation on those who were so selfish last week that they did not visit anyone in prison, did not visit a widow or orphan and did not purposely feed a hungry person – I would like to hear you call them wicked and tell them that God has stopped hearing their prayers. I don’t see the difference between those who do a bad act, versus those who failed to do the good act. I will bet that by far the majority here have failed to visit and feed more often than people here have committed fornication’ – but who gets the brunt of the condemnation? – just my thought.”

    okay give me a few minutes…

  266. Michael says:

    “But serving God though liturgy is just another law which binds and isn’t the yoke of Jesus.”

    That’s just ignorant…sorry.

  267. Anything worth... think on these says:

    Lutheran:

    A bit testy aren’t you? You still haven’t answered my question and the “dialog” is always dancing around it. My question is valid and you resort to protecting your denomination and personal positions rather than answering with gentleness and respect. Only Michael has answered shown this gentleness and respect to a very real question.

    I guess I ought to waltz away and I have been very respectful and have written with great manners, despite your claims.

    May God bless you in your endeavors.

    Michael, thanks and I will return to read your article tomorrow. You continue to be insightful in your teachings.

  268. Believe says:

    Lutheran, great hymn.

    The “chains fell off…my heart was free”…for me was the ending of tremendous guilt, shame and fear…when I was broken before God in repentance.

    Repentance has to be continual (for me)…as one sin leads to another to another and so on. I don’t want to end up doing some of the things I used to do…it causes me to doubt…and this last weekend was a wake-up call for me.

    I believe one terrible part of sin is the lying about it and hiding it out of fear of what other Christians will think of you…then you don’t get accountability and help…and then a hypocritical lifestyle sets in and you get used to compartmentalizing your life…your “in the Christian public” life and your “behind closed doors” life.

    I blew it this last weekend…I’m not feeling “guilt and shame” like I used to…I believe grace covers me…and I’ve confessed and repented. I am disappointed that I have stumbled some people and ruined my witness with them…and I’m disappointed because it stumbles my wife…though it did make her feel better…as she thinks she’s going to hell for not having victory over certain (minor) sins that she struggles with…while she’s witnessed me having victory over some major sins…especially in how I treat her.

    It was a good opportunity for me to share with her that I am being reminded of God’s grace and His Sovereignty…and that we can’t shake the sin nature…until physical death…we can only seek help from the Holy Spirit within us…and that when we fall…we need to repent…because we are commanded to.

    The Theological debate aside…that’s where I’m at today.

  269. Michael says:

    “My whole point is that we need to be people of repentance, not because of what we do, but because of who we are.”

    The correct answer is that we need to be people of repentance because of both… 🙂

  270. Xenia says:

    Anything,

    Why O why do people consider Baptism, communion, regular prayer and so forth to be burdens???? This floors me.

    Jesus says to be baptized. Do we respond, “No Lord, that’s burdensome.”

    St. Paul says to pray without ceasing. Do we respond “Nope, that’s a chore.”

    Jesus said if we don’t eat His flesh and drink His blood we have no life. Do we respond, “No Lord, what a drag. I want to do my own thing.”

    I typed another few paragraphs which I deleted.

  271. Anything worth... think on these says:

    Sister:

    Before I leave I want to thank you for your insight and gentleness.

    “Why do you see Liturgy as law and burdens?
    Im sure MLD, Lutheran and Xenia dont see these as Laws and Burdens
    but as means of order and way to enter more fully into joyful worship and communion with God, Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

    I fully understand what you say here and agree all organizations have a liturgy. But many others do see these traditional liturgies as law and burdens and choose a simpler form.

    I will leave now as Lutheran asked me to.

    Thanks again!

  272. Xenia says:

    As to not feeding the poor, etc, and not getting as upset about sins of omission as we do or sins of commission, this is valid, I think. I recommend getting to work on both problems. A person who just naval-gazes and obsesses about his own sins and never reaches out to others is missing the point.

    But some of us have attended churches in the past that actually discourage feeding the poor,etc, fearing Salvation by Works because that ol’ cassette tape is still playing in the back of their skulls droning We are NOT Catholics we are Not Catholics we are NOT Catholics….

  273. Xenia says:

    We need to repent because of the actual things we do, for specific things, or else it’s meaningless. It’s not enough to say to God, “Yep, I’m a sinner alright. We both agree on that, Lord.” That’s a good start but needs to continue with “And I lied to my sister last week and was rude to the clerk at Wal-Mart.” And in the spirit of this particular conversation, “And I passed the homeless man on the street and didn’t give him a dollar and thought evil thoughts about him.”

  274. Xenia says:

    I agree with you all that salvation is a free gift.

    But let’s think about what it means to receive a gift and how it impacts our relationship with the Giver of the gift. Suppose I get a blender for my birthday. It’s a free gift, it’s all mine. I suppose I could never even look at it again and it would still be mine until the end of the age.

    But the Giver of the gift would be delighted if I were to actually unwrap it and use it. There’s a lot of things you can do with a blender (some listed in the Users Guide, some not!) but the thing is to use it. And it’s going to involve some work, the bananas and milk and ice aren’t going to jump into the blender by themselves to make a smoothie, I’m going to have to make some effort here. Now, some might want to quantify this by asking “How do you know when you’ve made enough smoothies” but that’s not a question the Giver asks and neither will I. And some will get bogged down with the minute study of the Users Guide and never make any smoothies.

    I could just leave the blender on the counter and go into the living room and watch TV all day and only notice the blender when I happen to walk past it. This would give me a feeling of guilt at first but I would soon convince myself that this guilty feeling was certainly not from the Giver Who would not want me to feel burdened in any way. I’ll make smoothies if and when I want to. Leave me alone. Where’s the remote?

  275. Sister Christian says:

    Psalm 5

    4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
    with you the wicked cannot dwell.

    5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
    you hate all who do wrong.

    6 You destroy those who tell lies;
    bloodthirsty and deceitful men
    the LORD abhors.

    Psalm 15

    LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
    Who may live on your holy hill?

    2 He whose walk is blameless
    and who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from his heart

    3 and has no slander on his tongue,
    who does his neighbor no wrong
    and casts no slur on his fellowman,

    4 who despises a vile man
    but honors those who fear the LORD,
    who keeps his oath
    even when it hurts,

    5 who lends his money without usury
    and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
    He who does these things
    will never be shaken.

    He who mocks the poor reproaches his maker Prov 17:5
    He who oppresses the poor, reproaches his maker
    But he who honors Him, has mercy on the needy Prov 14:31

    Whoever shuts his ear to the cry of the poor,
    Will also cry himself and not be heard Prov 21:13

    Proverbs 29:7
    The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.

    To do righteous and justice
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice Prov 21:3

    He who gives to the poor will not lack
    But he who hides his eyes will have many curses Prov 28:27

    Deuteronomy 15:9

    Be careful that there isn’t this wicked thought in your heart,… and you are stingy toward your poor brother and give him [nothing]. He will cry out to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty.

    Isaiah 58

    Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the house of Jacob their sins.

    2 For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
    as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
    They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.

    3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
    Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’
    “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.

    4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
    You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.

    6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
    to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?

    7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
    when you see the naked, to clothe him,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

    8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
    then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

    9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
    “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

    10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
    then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

    11 The LORD will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
    You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.

    and of course Matthew 25:

    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Well, with all of that said MLD~

    I dont think its very wise to neglect the poor, the homeless, the orphan, the widow, the naked. For it certainly is something God desires for us, to have mercy upon, show compassion unto those who are less fortunate than ourselves,
    and yes, I would question a professed faith of one who does not have a spark of this compassion and a consequential growth of this compassion in their lives.

    Not that we can help all the poor, the needy, the naked, Orphans, widows,
    we cannot visit everyone in prison or take in each and every homeless person,

    But as much as lies within us,
    as we have opportunity, we are to be concerned, do good and care for those who are less fortunate than we are.

    also we are not to give to the point that we ourselves become a burden to others
    But only in the measure of faith and means that God gives us to so do.

    let me also add
    to your statement:
    “the peace comes from being “in Christ””
    the fruit comes from being in Christ
    the compassion comes from being in Christ and is a result of the work of Gods Spirit in our lives…
    which helps us make wise choices which deepen our faith, peace, fruit etc.
    lack of these signifies at best a spiritual deficiency at worse a lost soul.
    For how can one be in Christ and not have His heart in these matters?

  276. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This isn’t rocket science. I just want to hear someone say that if we are going to say that the serial adulterer cannot be a Christian, then the serial non prison visitor is just as guilty and cannot be saved either.

    I am just tired of people saying that sinners cannot be saved if the continue to sin post salvation.

  277. Xenia says:

    Sinners can be saved, of both the sins of omission and commission.

    I would say that a person who cheerfully sins and never repents- you can wonder to yourself if this is really a saved person. If I cheerfully and continually sin and never repent, I would really need to examine myself to see if I am in the faith.

    But same with no good works. If I live a totally selfish life that never reaches out to others (sick, poor, hungry, incarcerated) then likewise, I would need to do some self-examination to see if I am still in the faith.

    If the point here is that Christians get morally outraged over morally outrageous things and completely neglect works of mercy, then I completely agree with you but it’s not one or the other but both things that need to concern us.

  278. Sister Christian says:

    Sorry MLD
    my few minutes took and hour and my posted comment is in moderation..
    maybe cause its too long? 🙂

    Xenia, your 1;48 and 2;07 very much agreed!

    “Anything worth… think on these things”,

    Lutheran asked you to leave? Im sorry to hear that…

    As to the liturgies being a seeming burden,
    not regarding all, but for those of prayer, worship, baptism and communion:
    its more likely that they seem so foreign because they are not generally practiced in the church today and often taught they are the burdensome traditions of men.

    Consider the aversion is not so much because it is a law or burden but because we are unaccustomed to such practices
    takes us contemporary evangelicals out of our ordinary comfort zone of free and easy spirit worship style of God as we please mentality

    You may be pleasantly surprised to find that some of this is a wonderful exercise of worship in rest and form, that when practiced and developed becomes a beautiful expression of our Love for Christ in the corporate setting.

  279. Sister Christian says:

    Xenia,

    Your 2:48… yes exactly what you wrote!

    with that, will bid you all a good evening and richest blessings in Christ!

  280. Lutheran says:

    The term liturgy comes from a Greek word. The idea of liturgy as the “work of the people” is a later medieval notion (like many other things, the liturgy has undergone many changes in meaning over the last 2,000 years.

    Lutherans believe, teach and confess that the liturgy is primarily receiving the Triune God’s gifts through Word and Sacrament. We do “act,” but they are responses to God’s prior acts. We believe that that’s how the early church saw it.

    For those interested, I recommend “Heaven on Earth: The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service,” by Arthur A Just., Jr., professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Earth-Christ-Divine-Service/dp/0758606710/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268691665&sr=1-4

    Another good one, by an Episcopalian/Anglican, is Mark Galli’s “Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy.” He’s Christianity Today’s Executive Editor.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=mark+galli&x=0&y=0

    A third one is Thomas Howard’s “Evangelical is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament.” Howard was an Episcopalian when he wrote it but is today a Roman Catholic. He’s a fantastic writer; some have described him as a modern-day C.S. Lewis

    I haven’t read Galli’s but I have read the other two, and they are excellent.

  281. Bob Sweat says:

    Long thread! Its MacArthur’s fault. 😉

  282. Lutheran says:

    ‘they seem so foreign because they are not generally practiced in the church today and often taught they are the burdensome traditions of men.’

    Sister:

    Actually, they’re taught in the majority of Christendom.

    I love the term “traditions of men.” So liturgy is one, but the need for a CC sermon to be 45 minutes isn’t? ROTFLOL.

  283. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I posted this the other day on the Packer thread. This guy does a great job of explaining the Anglican liturgy – it is quite close to the Lutheran and I am sure many others that come from the ancient churches.
    It would be good for all to be exposed to.

    http://www.hope-aurora.org/LutherSermonPodcast/index.php?p=archive&cat=all

    Depending on your computer, I turned off the HD

  284. Lutheran says:

    MLD,

    Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprisedly to do a little study recently and discover that the English Reformation was strongly influenced by Luther and Lutherans. I knew there was a reason I’ve always liked the Anglicans!

    I wish we had an Anglican or two on here regularly…

  285. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    oops, wrong link – but it is good also. Bryan Wolfmueller reads a Luther sermon.

    Let me try the Liturgy one again. Hang on! 🙂

  286. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Here is the Liturgy link

  287. Psalm62 says:

    everybody, you might take deep breaths, back off a bit and ask yourselves just exactly what is it i’m ‘defending’ here?

    will look for nuggets later tonight when my brain is free to laboriously concentrate on all the wisdom and insight above 😉 will be edified, i know

  288. Believe says:

    MLD and X both make good points…

    I can’t out-sin God’s grace…and I desire to do good works to help others and glorify God.

  289. Erunner says:

    I took the post Michael left on forgiveness that originated with Xenia and posted it as an article today. What a beautiful picture of forgiveness was displayed in the story.

    Lutheran, Nonnie, and Xenia, I copied and pasted some posts where the topic of how we show grief was discussed. With your permission I’d like to incorporate that into an article. So often those who struggle emotionally aren’t sure of what is acceptable or allowable as they seek to express themselves in any number of ways. I believe it would be an encouragement for folks to read. I’ll wait for permission here or via e-mail at erunner54@gmail.com God bless!

  290. Xenia says:

    Sure, Erunner, and thanks!

  291. Lutheran says:

    ERun,

    Sure. Glad to help.

  292. Nonnie says:

    Erunner :
    Happy to help. Thank you. Please see the email I sent you.

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