Loose Ends

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136 Responses

  1. Bob Sweat says:


    “Loving doctrine more than loving people means that you won’t love people who veer (however minimally) from your doctrines.”


    Don’t think Johnny Mac’s conference will interest me.

  2. Michael says:


    There were some speakers I like…but I can’t get past the attitude…said the guy who has an attitude of his own right now… 🙂

  3. Bob Sweat says:

    My wife and I are attending a church whose pastor graduated from Masters College. I thought it best that I take him out for coffee to gather how much he was influenced by JM. We’re still attending! 🙂

  4. Bob Sweat says:

    I like Begg.

  5. Bob Sweat says:

    I wonder if JM will chastise Begg for speaking at the CC Senior Pastors Conference? 🙂 Maybe Mark Driscoll will show up to pass out his new book? 😉

  6. Michael says:

    I like Begg…love Truman…but I’ll still pass. 🙂

  7. Josh The Baptist says:

    I counted 9 guys on that list that I really like, but I don’t do conferences much, especially not completely across the country. If you are in the market though, it looks like a very good one.

  8. Xenia says:

    Who watches over your pastor?<<<

    Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco


  9. Michael says:


    Any thoughts on the upcoming Orthodox church council?
    Is this an historic event?

  10. Xenia says:

    We see him several times each year. He visits our parish on our parish’s feast day. I have the great calamity of being the member of our sisterhood who has been appointed to poach Vladika’s salmon when he visits.

  11. Xenia says:


    The liberals are thrilled. (That would be mostly the Greeks.)

    The conservatives are suspicious. (That would be mostly the Russians.)

    Ecumenical Councils are always called to correct a heresy, such as Arianism. They are not supposed to be called, in a Vatican II sort of way, to update the Church. No one really knows what’s on the agenda. There’s the usual discussion about the so-called “scandal” of multiple jurisdictions in the US and western Europe.

    The whole idea of this council is un-Orthodox, is the opinion of many. It will not be counted among the Seven Ecumenical Councils I don’t think. I think it will go down in history as a gathering of the bishops of all the Orthodox churches in the world where they discussed stuff but nothing of any significance was decided.

    If what they talk about is:

    1. Affirming traditional Christian morality, which I think they wiil;
    2. Kindling a desire for evangelism, which I think they will.

    … then that will be fine but there’s no need to call a Great Council for that.

    Among the Greeks there are the best and the worst of us. There is quite a bit of tension between the traditional Slavic churches and the Greeks. In the US, the Greeks outnumber everyone else but this is not the case in the whole world where the Russian Church has considerable influence.

    Consider that while we all hate Putin, he is pro-Christianity while the Greeks just elected an avowed atheist.

    If there is ever a schism within Ortholandia, it will be between the traditionalists and the “liberals.”

    Now, “liberalism” in Orthodoxy is not the same as liberalism elsewhere. When we call a group liberal, we mean they have pews, priests wear the Roman collar instead of the proper cassock in public, want to “dialogue” with homosexuals (for pastoral reasons, they say) and just can’t seem to get enough of Pope Francis. They do not deny the Scriptures or the Nicene Creed. In my neck of the Ortho-woods, we would not like to see the ideas and practices of these liberals gain ascendancy.

  12. Bob Sweat says:

    Just went to the conference website. Fernando Ortega is leading worship.

  13. Michael says:


    Thank you…I find the whole thing fascinating.

    There are little schisms in every group…I hope they find a way to overcome them.

  14. dswoager says:

    When I hear the nam John MacArthur attached to the word conference, I get a weird picture of Mark Dricoll and James McDonald going around sticking bananas into people’s tailpipes, then snickering in the background. That’s weird right?

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    The so-called “Christian Post” website is basically full of trolls in the comments sections who will attack you if you disagree with them, and is also full of articles that incite fear of Muslims, Gays, and Liberals. They also run ads that kind of conflict with their sexual purity focus. Basically the website is a joke and no one can convince me otherwise. Ugh, it is a HORRIBLE website!

  16. Xenia says:

    Orthodoxy has been around a very long time and in the past 2000 years there have been worse things than some priests wanting to wear Roman collars around town. There was the era when the whole church nearly succumbed to the heresy of Arianism. The Church will endure to the end.

    And lest I give the wrong impression of Greek Christians, some of the most strict Orthodox Christians on the planet are Greeks, often found in monasteries and on Mt. Athos.

    It’s the monks in Orthodoxy that usually set the Ship aright when it begins to flounder. This is a big difference from Roman Catholicism where their monastics seem to be leading the charge to liberalize the RCC. In Orthodoxy, it’s the exact opposite.

  17. Babylon's Dread says:

    Outrage is what I have
    Accountability is what you need

    From 1980-1995 if you went to the SBC Annual Meeting you got 10 sermons about the Bible for every one sermon from the Bible while they obsessed over the Bible.

    They won and are now in decline. I do not think they are in decline because of their beliefs, though those have turned decidedly Calvinistic, I think they declined over the poison.

    If Southern Baptist had made charismatic Baptist a subset like they have done with Calvinism, they would by now rival the Catholics in numbers.

    Baptist win people like no one in the world but the deep desire for encountering God fuels a constant flow of Baptist into charismatic circles.

    What you are illustrating here is that the poison of the spirit of a thing can drive people away even when they want the content.

    My argument is not flawless and my analysis is overly general but there are many more former baptist in my world than any other group and than most protestant groups combined.

    Draw bigger circles people and build more bridges and fewer walls.

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    Dan from Georgia

    The Christian Post website is so bad that I consider it a virus… navigating it is not worth the trouble.

  19. Kevin H says:

    Maybe if Driscoll shows up to MacArthur’s conference again, something like this will break out: http://theblazingcenter.com/2015/02/the-first-ever-wwe-pastor-royal-rumble.html

  20. Alex says:

    The Driscoll thing is remarkably simple.

    Had he chosen a path of lawsuit and intimidation, Driscoll would still be leading Mars Hill this moment and Wenatchee would be a pair of toe nail clippers. That is the fact of the matter, unfortunately.

  21. OCDan says:


    I don’t know how I feel about the Shepherd’s Conference. While, like you, there was a day when I even attended for several years, I find myself no longer caring that much. It just seems like one big echo chamber and I surely don’t need anymore books, let alone books in that area of Christendom. I have enough to read and besides I work in a library.

    I get where you are coming from in that it seems that getting doctrine right is so much more important than leading people to Christ, unless you do it the Mac way, I guess.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate Mac’s ministry. However, it is to a lesser degree than years before and I think a large part is burnout for me.

    Sorry if I seem to be rambling. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone on this post/feeling.

    As for Xenia, I do find that conference to be fascinating.

    What I would pay to see is Mac at the Orthodox Church Council. Wow! That would be made for tv televangelism right there. Sorry, I had to lighten things up a bit. I know it wouldn’t happen, but I had to go there for the chuckle.

    Anyway, I do find the Orthodox council interesting. Maybe I am ignorant of it, or, maybe broadening my horizons a bit, so to say, or, maybe just burned out on the guys like Mac. Maybe a combination of all of the previous.

  22. Alex says:

    Wenatchee can claim Driscoll’s scalp, whoever the person is, and I’m glad they didn’t have to face the kind of intimidation and lawsuits others have faced in confronting abusive church stuff.

  23. OCDan says:

    Kevin H that is really funny.

  24. Alex says:

    I don’t know what that says about Driscoll…it’s either a very good thing about him…or a weakness. He could have survived had he chosen a different route to deal with it.

  25. Xenia says:

    Here’s the jurisdictional “scandal” in a nutshell. (Please feel free to skip this as I know this is of limited interest.)

    1. In the Old World, each country had it’s own self-ruled Church with its own Patriarch. (no Pope, in other words.)

    2. When immigrants from these Orthodox countries came to the US, they wanted the Old Country to send them priests so they could worship in their own language and keep their ethnic identity.

    3. As time pasted, this resulted in over-lapping jurisdictions with ties to the Old Country. For example, I don’t know how many Orthodox bishops there are in San Francisco but there’s two Russian bishops, a Greek, and probably a Serbian and Bulgarian and who knows what all.

    4. Yet the biblical and patristic and canonical pattern is one bishop per city.

    5. The problem has been exacerbated by the influx of American converts who have no ethnic ties and are often quite irritated by it all. They want an American Church that has services in English and serves hamburgers at coffee hour.

    6. So how’s this going to be fixed? Will my archbishop step down so the Greek archbishop can rule over the Bay Area? Or vice versa? This is an impossible problem to fix. (I don’t think it needs to be fixed, personally. Just leave things as they are.)

    7. Back in the Old Country, certain Patriarchs say this problem has to be fixed and that there should only be one bishop per jurisdiction. This might be Topic Number One at the Great Council.

    8. There’s also the calendar issue, with half the world’s Orthodox following the Old Calendar and the other half following the New Calendar. (Julian vs Gregorian.) This is a reflection of the Greek/Slavic “liberal”/conservative situation.

    9. This is the kind of stuff that is debated on Orthodox forums and blogs. No one is debating theology, just administrative issues.

  26. Alex says:

    Johnny Mac is a good man, but I agree with Michael’s assessment of the Altar of Correct Doctrine.

    It can be as much a false god as anything else.

  27. Michael says:


    Well said…I think BD nailed it.

    “What you are illustrating here is that the poison of the spirit of a thing can drive people away even when they want the content.”

  28. Alex says:

    In the “correct doctrine” debates I always like to remember that if there is a devil and if there are demons, they have a more correct understanding and knowledge of doctrine and theology than you ever will this side of existence.

    Correct doctrine is about as useful and meaningful as having a correct understanding of engineering and science and mathematics and medicine and then never building a bridge or never healing a sick person.

  29. Michael says:

    “Correct doctrine is about as useful and meaningful as having a correct understanding of engineering and science and mathematics and medicine and then never building a bridge or never healing a sick person.”

    Well said, Alex.

  30. OCDan says:

    And least we forget…

    How much “Correct Doctrine” did the thief on the cross have? I am sure he didn’t have the five points down pat, frontwards and backwards, let alone in Latin. Yet, he was promised paradise that very day by our Lord.

  31. Xenia says:

    Correct doctrine is about as useful and meaningful as having a correct understanding of engineering and science and mathematics and medicine and then never building a bridge or never healing a sick person<<<<

    I like this comment, Alex.

  32. Alex says:

    OCDan, I very much agree.

    In fact, “men of God” like Justin Martyr (or Justin the martyr) were not trinitarians and had an “incorrect” understanding of what later became the “official” doctrine of the trinity. Many “christians” of the Early Church had no idea about the Doctrine of the Trinity and its nuance that didn’t come until hundreds of years after the church began.

    Much of today’s “correct doctrine” is the same…it wasn’t codified and nuanced until many many hundreds of years after the fact.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How many times can the thief on the cross be tossed out as as reason to be a non participant in Christianity?

    If you don’t want to be baptized, toss the thief on the cross into the conversation
    Don’t want to learn anything, toss the thief on the cross into the conversation

    Well I guess if you don’t want to help the poor, witness to people or just want to ‘hang around’ – toss the thief on the cross into the conversation

    Here is the thing about the thief on the cross – if you have Jesus in person right next to you and giving you his promises, then you can be like the thief on the cross – what a poor excuse to stay inactive.

  34. Alex says:

    This is why I believe men of God like Billy Graham have come to very ecumenical Conclusions in their old age.

    Some blame Graham’s ecumenicism and “incorrect doctrine” on senility…I blame it on the Holy Spirit.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Alex – it’s just old age. Barry Goldwater ended up by supporting very liberal political agendas and was in support of homosexuality at the end.

    We get old, we just don’t give a crap anymore. 🙂

  36. Alex says:

    If God is Spirit and if God is real and “Is”….and I believe God “Is”…then it is not about “correct doctrine”…that can be a distraction and a trap akin to any other over-emphasis.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Alex – doctrine is just teaching … and you just gave us your teaching about God and Is.

  38. Alex says:

    Doctrine can be about teaching.

    Doing is more important than teaching.

    On that note, I will take my leave to comfort someone in crisis who needs love and encouragement who has been abandoned by his own parents.

  39. Xenia says:

    Justin Martyr did not deny the Trinity, he just didn’t have a developed understanding of it at that time.

    The very early Church Fathers had a good grasp of the divinity of the Son but weren’t sure how the Holy Spirit fit into the divine scheme. There’s a lot of ambiguous references to God’s Spirit in the Scriptures that require some sorting.

    In fact, the first version of the Nicene Creed (Council of Nicea in 325) barely mentioned the Holy Spirit and did not define Him. By the time of then next Council (Constantinople in 381) they added the portion of Creed that includes a definition of the Holy Spirit: And [I believe in] the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the give of life, who proceeds from the Father* and with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.

    *The non-Orthodox churches include a phrase (the filioque) that says the Spirit also proceeds from the Son.

  40. Happymom says:

    Just wondering how many have watched the opening session of the conference?

  41. The Dude says:

    MacArthur doesn’t really interest me. I do listen to Alister Begg quite a bit. His church is a 30 minute drive from my apartment. Big church with errr 10’000 people who attend weekly.When the weather is nice I do attend his Sunday nice service. Smile… Dude is not Reformed yet his preaching is like living water in my life.

  42. Judy says:

    You can have all the correct doctrine but if you don’t know Jesus, and if you aren’t able to hear his voice, you might be in trouble.

  43. Michael says:


    I haven’t watched or listened to MacArthur at all for about three years.

  44. Xenia says:

    At the risk of being offensive, years ago I could listen to folks like MacA and understand what they were talking about. Now it all sounds like gibberish. Almost none of it relates to where I am at now.

  45. Oh No says:

    The thief on the cross was baptized as an infant. 🙂 There, that solves it!

  46. Bob Sweat says:


    I’m older than you, and I still give a crap. The Giants need to beat the Dodgers.

  47. OCDan says:


    I think you misunderstood my comment about the thief on the cross. I would never use that as an excuse. However, my point is that I would rather plead my case before Christ, than take my chances with Mac and failing his school of thought. My Lord and Savior shed His blood for me, Mac has done nothing close for me. IOW, I’ll seek forgiveness from Jesus, Mac, well, as I wrote above, I am lessening his perspective in my life.

    With Jesus, you take Him all or nothing, hot or cold. With Mac and his ilk, I take what I see in scripture and can validate through God’s word, the rest not so much.

    Also, I am tiring of the attitude those guys bring to the debate, i.e. Pyromaniacs. Wow! is all I can write. I know some here give MLD a tough time, but he isn’t even close to what is on Pyro. At least you, MLD, challenge me to think. Pyro and a lot of those guys just put people down and are mean-spirited. God knows I do not need anymore of that attitude in my life, either by me or coming to me in teaching.

  48. Xenia says:

    1 John 2:11 is inerrant too.<<<

    You get around this by declaring those who don't agree with you are not really brothers.

    Yesterday I was googling around the Internet trying to find information on a certain topic and I landed in a place called The Puritan Board.

    Good grief.

  49. Xenia says:

    We would say that the Thief was baptized in his own blood and tears.

  50. Michael says:


    Been there, done that… they are rabid at times.

  51. Xenia says:

    MIchael, I got a good laugh out of the thread I found myself on. They were talking about the evils of Orthodoxy and one guy said that he was disappointed that the Reformed had dropped the ball (his words) by not coming up with a good apologetic against Orthodoxy because arguments used against Catholics don’t work. He said something to the effect that the Orthodox have arguments that no one has ever heard of before.

  52. Michael says:


    You are the best argument for Orthodoxy I know.
    May God grant that the rest of us represent our traditions and Him as well.

  53. Xenia says:

    I’m a terrible example of Orthodoxy.

  54. covered says:

    I watched a little bit of the conference. Like Josh, there are a handful of teachers that I would have enjoyed listening to. The thing I think I like the most is the pulpit. Did you see the pulpit rise out of the stage? I have got to get one of those!

    Who watches over your Pastor? is a great read and good question. I struggle with this. It’s hard to find other’s that I trust enough to allow me to be totally and completely accountable. I’m not sure how to draw that line between friendship and accountability. I love our elder’s but don’t have the confidence I would hope to have in someone I could rely on as an accountability partner. There have been a couple of situations that were life changing for me and I had no problem “running” to Michael. I wish that I could trust other’s that were closer in proximity. This is a problem I would imagine for many pastor’s and why we rely on long distance relationships with other pastor’s. I would love to hear from Ixtlan, Steve W, Bob S, BD and other pastor’s on how they are held accountable.

  55. Josh The Baptist says:

    🙂 That’s why we love you so!

  56. Josh The Baptist says:

    Oops. That was in response to Xenia.s “I am a terrible example of Orthodoxy”…not that we don’t love covered….but…um…nevermind.

  57. Josh The Baptist says:

    My pastor is held accountable by the congregation. That has its pros and cons.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My pastor is cared for by the congregation – we pay him 😉

    Spiritually, he comes under the guidance of our District President and the Circuit Counselor

  59. Rob says:

    Public Shaming (Outrage)….seems to me this is a self-righteous, hypocritical action, that destroys people, leaves them hopeless….rather than providing room for mercy, grace, and healing.

  60. covered says:

    Nice try on your #57 Josh but it’s too little too late 🙂 Accountability by the congregation isn’t enough. Unfortunately, because “man looks at the appearance…”, my personality is different when I’m not up front teaching. We (wife and I) have been burned by many in the church so we keep up appearances and don’t let many from our fellowship into our personal lives. I am available for whatever the need is and whenever there is a need but we learned a long time ago that many people struggle with whether they want a pastor or a friend.

  61. Bob Sweat says:


    If the Bob S. was me, I’m no longer a pastor, but I am held accountable by my wife. 🙂

  62. Julie Anne says:

    Alex said:

    This is why I believe men of God like Billy Graham have come to very ecumenical Conclusions in their old age.

    Shoot, even Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist softened before his death and was even shunned by Westboro.

  63. Happymom says:

    Michael, Xenia, Covered,

    Thank you, I was curious to know what others thought.

  64. Michael says:


    I went ahead and watched it…and it was typical MacArthur.
    He has some legitimate concerns, as do I.
    However, he overstates and condemns without nuance or exception and thus defeats his own purpose.

  65. Jim says:


    If Greeks are involved, there’s gonna be problems.

  66. Rick says:

    I must admit that I struggle with the whole concept of these for-profit conferences. I highly doubt that anyone struggling with the concept of inerrancy would attend the conference, and thus be transformed into agreement. Seems rather an exercise in self-congratulation and, frankly, marketing–selling.

    An echo chamber…

  67. papiaslogia says:

    Alex @ 32.

    Have you ever read any Justin Martyr? He has a pretty good grasp of the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    “We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein” (First Apology 13:5-6).

    And has a pretty good grasp of the Deity of Jesus:

    “The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch 63)

    “Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch, 36)

  68. papiaslogia says:

    If history is any indication, last years Strange Fire conference had some good points to make, but I won’t be caring what Mac has to say about Inerrancy.

    Likely he will condemn those who don’t believe his definition of Inerrancy.

  69. covered says:

    Bob S, yes I called you a pastor. It’s the condition of the heart that makes it so.

  70. Alex says:


    “Then I replied, “I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things–above whom there is no other God–wishes to announce to them.”–Justin Martyr

  71. Alex says:

    papi: a strong case can also be made that many of the Early Church fathers are Modalists.

  72. Alex says:

    Arguing it really does no good. Folks will pretty much believe what they want to believe once they are entrenched in a particular position. Not knocking folks, it is just the way things are.

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    the question may be asked it that is a good quote from Justin or is it an internet quote. I don’t believe half the Luther quotes I see on line … they never come with attribution

  74. Muff Potter says:

    Alex wrote:

    Arguing it really does no good. Folks will pretty much believe what they want to believe once they are entrenched in a particular position. Not knocking folks, it is just the way things are.

    Amen Alex. It’s a very human thing to want others to agree with us. And failing that? As I get older I find myself less and less concerned with what others believe regarding religion and more and more interested in what we have in common as human beings.

  75. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I have found that what we (humans) have in common is we disagree about religion. 😉

  76. Pineapple Head says:

    I was a Grace Community Church member in the mid 80’s. After a couple of years I felt compelled to move on because of the echo chamber mentality. I still reach for a Mac commentary now and then, but I found the culture of the church ministries, such as the shepherds conference, suffocating. I know they view themselves as sheepdogs, but sometimes they seem to resemble pit bulls.

    The only people I clear off my Facebook are those who are obnoxious about their politics and/or religion.

  77. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Alex, our situations are probably not ultimately in any way comparable. The cease-and-desist fiasco of late 2011 signaled that MH and MD were aware that actually letting things go to law was enough of a PR disaster without any actual suit being filed.

  78. Babylon's Dread says:


    Are you reading Bart Erhman for your information? I think there are many sources including the Fathers who could give you a better picture.

  79. brian says:

    I think Dr. Erhman can be a bit bias, but so is many conservative theologians as well.

  80. Alex says:

    Hatchet, comparable in many ways, though the accusations were different.

    Not comparable in that you were successful in removing Driscoll from ministry and he has lost income because of that.

  81. Alex says:

    Dreadly, no not Erhman, though he’s a good scholar…hard to assail his scholarship, though you can certainly disagree with his opinions and conclusions.

    I am assuming you are referring to the Justin Martyr stuff.

    I’ve read Justin’s stuff first-hand…many times. There is little debate as to the fact that he did not hold an “orthodox” trinitarian view…as even Xenia notes he didn’t understand the Doctrine of the Trinity “correctly” (assuming the later codification of that particular doctrine is in fact “correct”).

    I’ve read the apologies of run-of-the-mill evangelical gurus like Matt Slick and others…and it’s pretty weak stuff. Even Slick acknowledges the quote above…however his spin on it is really weak.

    Most of the “official doctrines” of the church came well after the Early Church. The teachings changed dramatically over the years as Greek Platonic Thought influenced the codification of “Official Doctrine” and then later as the Philosophical School of Thought of the Reformation changed Doctrine yet again…and then again during the Enlightenment…and again today with the Post-Post-Modern liberalism of our time.

  82. Linda Pappas says:

    “Most of the “official doctrines” of the church came well after the Early Church. The teachings changed dramatically over the years as Greek Platonic Thought influenced the codification of “Official Doctrine” and then later as the Philosophical School of Thought of the Reformation changed Doctrine yet again…and then again during the Enlightenment…and again today with the Post-Post-Modern liberalism of our time.”

    Huge factor in the way we decide to or are taught to do Christianity. This is why we need to be able to separate out what is of man and what is truly of God and His Word.

  83. Alex says:

    Linda said, “Huge factor in the way we decide to or are taught to do Christianity. This is why we need to be able to separate out what is of man and what is truly of God and His Word.”

    I do this in reverse now.

    When I read the Old Testament about God supposedly telling the Israelites that it was OK for them to make sex slaves of good looking women they liked from peoples they conquered…I tend to view that as “what is of man” and not truly of God.

    Same applies to when the bible says that God said to execute your rebellious kids with stones (similar to what the Taliban does today) and when the bible says that it was righteous for a Samuel to hack an unarmed man in captivity to pieces with a sword (similar to the Taliban and ISIS today).

    If God is “Good” and God is “Love” and God is “Spirit” then some of that text on those pages could very well be from man’s own evil corrupt mind.

  84. Em says:

    where i am now…
    when i read these threads where so much effort is spent on proofs that the protestants, evangelicals, theologians of the last 100 years are loose cannons or, at best, academically inept i find myself thinking, what a waste of time… Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world as it now spins… rather, it is in the hearts of the individuals, is it not? it is in Michael, it is in MLD, it is in BD, it is in Xenia and almost all the rest who post on this wonderful anomalous (?) website
    in my humble, tired and grouchy opinion… we need a little less adamancy, less attitude of academic, inerrant righteousness and a little more enjoyment of the search …
    FWIW, it seems to me that God has been working down thru time with a fallenI race, winnowing from Satan’s domain in spite of our hard hearts – hence the slaughter of innocent children and tribes of rebels that He has ignored or, in some cases directed. He uses the depravity of fallen man such as we”re seeing now. His omnipotence is beyond genius. None of us (all Believers) has as strong a hold on inerrant theology as we hope we do. Perhaps, we all believe this, but feel a little platitudinous saying it? … dunno

  85. Alex says:

    These are among the bible verses that ended the “Inerrancy” debate for me (and many others):

    “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.”–Leviticus

    “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.”–Exodus

    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”–Exodus

    “At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

    “So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory. He thoroughly defeated the Ammonites from Aroer to an area near Minnith – twenty towns – and as far away as Abel-keramim. Thus Israel subdued the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter – his only child – ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “My daughter!” he cried out. “My heart is breaking! What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, you have made a promise to the LORD. You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.”–Judges

    “The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the LORD and has done a horrible thing in Israel.”–Joshua

    “At the LORD’s command, a man of God from Judah went to Bethel, and he arrived there just as Jeroboam was approaching the altar to offer a sacrifice. Then at the LORD’s command, he shouted, “O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: A child named Josiah will be born into the dynasty of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests from the pagan shrines who come here to burn incense, and human bones will be burned on you.”–1 Kings

    “He [Josiah] executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem. King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in the Book of the Covenant.” There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. This Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem during the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign. Josiah also exterminated the mediums and psychics, the household gods, and every other kind of idol worship, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to all the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the LORD’s Temple. Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.”–2 Kings

    ” “Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.”–Deuteronomy

    “When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.”–Deuteronomy

    ““If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”–Deuteronomy

    Sounds a lot like the Taliban and ISIS/ISIL and today’s Islam…which most Christians would call “evil” and wrong.

  86. Em says:

    i disagree with your conclusion, Alex… you are assuming that your life in Christ could have been lived before the cross… today’s Islam is ancient times’ reality for the whole planet… the genius of God at work isn’t always hearts and flowers…

  87. Alex says:

    Em, one of the “Inerrancy” arguments’ pillars is that God “never changes” and that God spoke every jot and tittle in the bible.

    If that’s the case…then we owe the Taliban and ISIS/ISIL an apology.

  88. Em says:

    i don’t follow your reasoning, Alex…
    God never changes? why does the depraved condition of the human race affect the character of God? If the Taliban and ISIL are behaving after the same manner of their tribes down thru history… hmmm… your logic tells you that God is a pacifist, that He could not meet depravity with force? …. or…. He could have used lightening bolts or earthquakes? …. hmmm …. then man could have told their children, “be good or the forces of nature will strike you down where you stand!”

  89. Alex says:

    “why does the depraved condition of the human race affect the character of God? ”

    The Inerrancy Position ascribes Depravity to God himself via his commands through his prophets to Israel in the OT…if you assert that God spoke those commands.

  90. Alex says:

    If I were to command you to burn all your enemies with fire today…like ISIS does…would you consider me righteous and holy or evil and depraved?

    Now apply that standard to God….

  91. Alex says:

    A common reply is “well the rules don’t apply to God, God can do whatever he wants!”

    …which is a very slippery slope.

  92. Michael says:

    God doesn’t change, but His methodology does…his revelation has been progressive.
    The fullness of that revelation is Christ…who tells us to love our enemies, not slay them.

  93. Michael says:

    Israel was a theocracy…God was the head of state.
    As the head of state He commanded His armies to take out the ISIS of that day…after giving them 400 years to repent.
    We do not live under a theocracy.
    When we do again at His return He will wipe out all the enemies of Him and His people.
    I’m all for it.

  94. Alex says:

    Michael, not to argue, but to try and understand your rationale…how does it being a Theocracy led by God make the evil commands any less evil?

    The commands weren’t just to the enemies of Israel in terms of burning them, slaughtering them, enslaving them and forcing their women to be sex slaves…some of the evil commands were to Israelites and executing their kids with stones and selling their daughters as slaves and terrible mistreatments of women as lesser humans etc?

  95. Alex says:

    When did God change? When did God go from those evil commands he gave under his Theocracy to not commanding those things? How does being a Theocracy change the Morality of the commands?

  96. Em says:

    #90… Alex, it sounds to me as if you really don’t understand the word “depravity”

  97. Anne says:

    I appreciate the above discussion between Alex & Michael because I constantly wrestle with such issues.

    It seems since early christendom, God has “changed his mind” or as Michael stated, “his methodology”. I see it in my long, getting weary, study beginning with Paul. Jesus chose 12, and even the one he said would be the rock of his church, Peter, was usurped by Paul whose only bonafides were in some ways very Joseph Smith-ish – setting up systems and applications not clearly spoken of by Jesus during his earthly mission.

    I know one of the replies will have to do with the Holy spirit. But everyone who interprets the scripture this way or that lays claim to being led by the spirit.

    Then there are the other cultural compromises which I think really got kick started clear back to Constantine. I venture to say he was the first to co-opt Christian symbolism and faith for purposes of empire & warfare. Throughout history, holidays and rituals incorporated to make the faith easier for the pagans who were conquered to assimilate. Etc, ad nauseum.

    Each cultural shift comes with seeming changes to God’s methodology. We sing “Amazing Grace” and honor the former slave trader for his change of heart. Yet many, the literalists of his day, believed the bible supported the capture & trade of other humans. We again can play the God has changed up the methodology by the HS card. I don’t think God changes so much as man does, then cherry picks the parts of the bible that are useful to him – whether politically, to ally the fear of death & separation from loved ones, to give life meaning and purpose, or just to make it through the night.

    I understand brian’s angst over why God couldn’t make his love, his will, his plan for man to partake of living water as concrete as the formula for H20.

    I feel like so much I was taught about God was lies. And so many who claim his name and the leading of the HS disagree on so much – even so called basics. I am grateful for your efforts, Michael, to let those whose gospel storylines in their traditions differ. One of the reasons I keep coming back.

    My biggest take away is, like Alex, I hope if there is a God, he truly is a God love.

  98. Linda Pappas says:

    I think it had far more to do with just being a theocracy, although that is one factor.

    Think of it this way, God called out a people from the lineage of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, then through Jacob and his 12 sons. Now he told Abraham that He would give them a land and that land was Canaan and that they the (Hebrews/Jews) would be His people and that in this He would be with them and that He would be there God throughout all times, even when they were in rebellion, adopting and practicing the way of the pagans and so forth. But He also said they would suffer accordingly whenever, they decided to go their own way. God told them clearly that they were like no other people and that in this they were to be an example other people and nations. At the same time, He told repeatedly told them that he would not tolerate any type of idolatrous practice and in this He set up various types of laws to enable them to deal with the sin in the camp and the influence of other nations around them. God wanted His people to remain faithful and to understand how much He hated sin—even to the point of not tolerating rebellious and drunken children. While also making provisions that enable women to be cared for who were abandoned as a result of war and taken in as slaves. Was it harsh—not in terms of keeping themselves obedient to him and not permitting anyone to subvert His authority as their God. In today’s term—yes, but then again when you have a son who is drunken and being rebellious and turning the whole household upside down, unless that parent does take measures to draw a line, then he too will place a much higher cost on the family’s welfare as well as his own. Do we take their physical life away from them. No, we don’t—but the court will circumvent their freedom, if they bring harm or injury to another. In those days, God wanted to impress upon the people as well upon later generations, that He is a merciful God, but sin cannot continue in His house without consequences. During that time, it had much to do with preserving the Jewish people and doing away with anything that might bring leaven into the camp or to take seed therein as well. For God hates sin and in this He is a just God also. FWIW

  99. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You know that this is not just wrestling with the scriptures – this is all out denial of them. Jesus accepted the scriptures as written, which means he validated them.

    Go and do likewise or get out.

  100. Alex says:

    Is Moses in heaven? Is he a Christian? He gave many evil commands under the assumption it was God speaking through him.

    The typical apology says “well it was cultural” or “it was a Theocracy” or “God simply allowed it” etc.

    Not true. God commanded it, much different than allowing it to happen.

    “Well they weren’t ‘in Christ’ which is why we have the New Testament”

    Well, then Moses wasn’t “in Christ”? Moses wasn’t speaking on behalf of the Triune God which included Jesus?

    Very slippery stuff. It’s a very weak apologetic IMO.

  101. Em says:

    one of the arguments for God turning His back on Jesus as he hung a vulnerable, but sinless human on that cross – bearing mankind’s sins – was Jesus’s cry out to God: “My God, why….” … it is a sign of our condition as mortals trying to resolve and deepen our understanding of our God that we continue asking … “why”
    perhaps we are a bit presumptuous to expect answers to much of what confuses us?
    enjoy Christ and hope in Him

  102. Michael says:

    God began to reveal Himself to a barbaric people in a barbaric world where ISIS like tribalism was the norm, not the exception.
    He gave them what they were able to handle…and they still couldn’t handle it.
    He progressively revealed Himself through the ages with the final revelation being Jesus.
    In my opinion, we still haven’t taken hold of the fullness of that revelation due to our own cultural structures.
    We’re not as civilized as we think…

  103. Anne says:

    “In my opinion, we still haven’t taken hold of the fullness of that revelation due to our own cultural structures.
    We’re not as civilized as we think…”
    Now that’s a point to ponder on! Thanks, Michael.

  104. Anne says:

    MLD @ 100 : Really????? Sure glad our blog host and hopefully God himself has more patience with doubts and frustrations than you, sir.

  105. Michael says:

    I’m not bothered by doubt or frustration…I would rather it be worked out in community among family than to send people off into isolation.

    The experiences people often have in the church today produce broken people, who found freedom to ask tough questions in their brokenness.

    God can handle it…

  106. Alex says:

    Michael said, “He progressively revealed Himself through the ages with the final revelation being Jesus.”

    Why has that Progressive Revelation ended? Has it ended? Maybe it didn’t end with the Reformation, maybe it didn’t end with the Enlightenment?

  107. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anne, it’s not about doubts and frustrations. When it reaches this level and people question did God write those parts of the bible, then it is a flat out denial of the authority of Jesus who said that the OT was correct and was was about him.

    Look, I have no problem with saying as a man here on earth it may appear that God is a bastard – but I also accept that I am limited and wrong when my thinking may turn in that direction. But to deny it as his Bible is quite another thing.

  108. Alex says:

    Maybe the “final” revelation is the 2nd coming?

  109. Alex says:

    Don’t worry about MLD, I will tune him out. I’m used to his schtick.

  110. Michael says:


    @107… it ended because Jesus is the fullness of all revelation.
    Our understanding and acceptance of that revelation will continue until He returns.

  111. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I have been teaching through the sermon on the mount for the past 6 weeks and this conversation made me realize what was missing. I now note that Jesus neglected to bring up the big issue bothering his followers. I note he did note preach;

    “You have heard it said that God was evil and a murderous marauder killing those who disobeyed or got in his way – but I say God was really a seeker friendly kind of guy.”

    Nope, didn’t see that passage.

  112. Em says:

    #111 – well said… and, for me, about sums it up

    i do think that picking the O.T. apart according to our own inclinations and mental capacities skates way too close to what the snake said to Eve…. 🙄

  113. Em says:

    MLD #112 amen … seems to me there must have at least 2 “dispensations”

    to be honest, i am slow to grow spiritually and i question God all the time … so much is wrong in this world and it goes on and on and on … has anyone ever done a study on all the times recorded (in the Bible, of course) that presumptive, questioning folk shut up, fell on their faces or generally stopped dead in their mental tracks before God?

  114. Michael says:

    “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;”
    (Matthew 12:20 ESV)

  115. Babylon's Dread says:

    Looks like I need to write a little explanation of the destruction of the Canaanites. But, frankly I do not struggle at all with God’s judgment. I never have.

    Judgement in history is no less egregious than final judgment.

    If you think judging sin is evil then the God and Father of our Lord Jesus is not your cup of tea in deity. I would suggest baal who is pretty liberal about having fun but is probably pretty bloody as well… maybe Oprah and Ellen could be your deity of choice.


  116. Alex says:

    I hope for the best and ask God for mercy for what I don’t know and don’t understand. That’s all I got at this point b/c the typical apologetics just don’t square with what my Conscience and Reason can know and understand about Good and Evil and Right and Wrong etc.

    Thanks for the discussion guys. I have no beef with God or Jesus and have no problem submitting to “their” authority….I just have a hard time with men taking the place of God and saying they speak on behalf of him and don’t know which of the 9,000 to 30,000 sects and gurus to listen to.

    I do know “Good” when I see it though…and I see a lot of good in a lot of you folks.

  117. Anne says:

    Some of Jesus’ most powerful words, culturally redefining words are in Matt 5:38-48. Yet not long after he spoke them it seems men started in with the “except whens” and so it goes today with this and many of his sayings. I appreciated the thread not too long ago that addressed loving enemies, both personal and national. It was encouraging to know others struggle over the same things.

    I guess I shouldn’t be so flustered that his current followers can’t even agree on what “inerrancy” means.

  118. Neo says:

    Anne…except when….Jesus’ words are applicable only in terms of the Old Covenant. 🙂

  119. Neo says:

    …I am being snarky. They still obviously apply. But not unto righteousness. Sorry for the snark. 🙂

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I guess I shouldn’t be so flustered that his current followers can’t even agree on what “inerrancy” means.”
    Why should we agree on this word? It’s not a biblical word … it’s a word someone made up. I never use the word ‘inerrancy’ – I just say the bible is true. But then I never say “Bible believing” christian either as their is no other kind.

    There is no other kind of scripture except those that are true.

  121. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I didn’t exactly make accusations, even if others did. I published quotes of primary source statements; provided what seemed like a plausible interpretation of things; and left things open for other interpretations.

  122. Bob says:

    Jesus’ words applicable in terms of the OT is a church derived doctrine and not a biblical defined one either.

    To say the scriptures are true is not the same as inerrant either.

    To not act with justice and judgment would in it self be “evil” and to purely base the idea all those acts Alex brings up in the scriptures are “evil” is a false understanding. The development and establishment of law and consequence for disturbance of social order in community is considered by even the atheist as a requirement for humanity. In Jewish and general religious ideals it is considered a command of God (god) to do so.

    But, law seems to favor those who make them, especially in the secular world.

  123. Alex says:

    Ya, keep telling yourself that. Driscoll could sue the hell out of you for what you did, that’s a fact. That he didn’t, IMO, speaks volumes that he and Mars Hill do have some morals.

  124. Alex says:

    And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he’d win in front of a jury…just that he’d break you by dragging you through the expensive and stressful process.

    It costs tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of time and stress to ever get to a jury…and folks are usually done in before that point.

    That’s why people in Power often sue. It’s not about justice and right and wrong, it’s a strategy and tactic.

    As such, Driscoll could’ve survived and could’ve buried you….even if you’re right and righteous in your Cause to take him down….that he didn’t go there and that Mars Hill didn’t go there speaks volumes to me that they aren’t total bastards like you say…just partial bastards.

  125. Bob,
    “To say the scriptures are true is not the same as inerrant either. ”

    I know – true is a better word.
    The scriptures being true means you can trust what they say.

    To say that the scriptures are inerrant only means their are no mistakes and there cannot be any mistakes … but they can still be a false account with no error.

  126. Babylon's Dread says:

    I’m with MLD

    The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy took what something like 20 qualifying statements to describe …”We affirm, We Deny” statements.

    If you tell me that you have a map to my house with 20 qualifying claims… I won’t use it
    If you tell me you have a remedy for my illness with 20 qualifying claims… I will pass
    If you tell me I can trust your word with 20 qualifiers to secure the claim… I will not listen

    On top of it all they claim the scriptures were inerrant in the original manuscript … thus God wanted a perfect Bible but didn’t bother seeing that it was preserved for you… that is squirrelly… Hey kids the will I wrote is inerrant but there is no original but you guys can work out my intent…

    In other words inerrancy is a claim that I do not need.

    I will stick with MLD the scriptures are true and God saw to it that what you have will work just fine. Overstating a claim is always a weakening of it.

    Remember I did this with the Baptists for 20 years… wasted breath, energy
    One thing for sure inerrancy among the Baptist didn’t produce love … DID NOT

  127. Bob says:

    For some reason many, if not most Christians and religious people, think the bible is a text filled with laws, mystical incantations and or methodology to somehow please God and get what they want in life. Sadly, for such people, it isn’t any of those things.

    The bible is a record of creation, t’s continual sin or rebellion against how they are created and the being who created them. When given an apple to eat, they choose the fruit on the opposite tree. Given the ability to love, appreciate and grow old with one person, they chose to chase after another (applies to both sexes BTW). Rather than have faith in God they have faith in almost every other thing in creation, including the religious systems they concocted to “please god” and get what they want.

    Yep, I agree, its a true account of creation, humanity and their middle finger.

  128. Linda Pappas says:


    “Yep, I agree, its a true account of creation, humanity and their middle finger.” Thinking it was their thumb instead.

    Heard this once—and thought it to be true. Ironically.

  129. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    so back around 7/18/2014

    Driscoll mentioned this:

    ” …And being a bit of a public figure I don’t have the same–try to get this right–protection sometimes as a private citizen, because I’ve made myself a public figure. So that’s just sort of a blessing and the complexity of the great opportunity that God has given me as a Bible teacher and a pastor, especially in an age of technology, which I praise God for.”

  130. Em says:

    it seems to med – dunno – that we’d do better to think of our pastors and teachers as “caught up in a [specific] sin,” and do what we can to confront that sin – or pray – rather than LABEL them by their besetting sin…. course, if they’re charlatans, just exploiting the office for personal gain then we need to ride them out of town on a rail… er something…
    i vote for John MacArthur’s right to be adamant and grouchy after all these years of dishing up food for the soul to us picky eaters 🙂

  131. Alex says:

    Well, that was before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in Commiefornia. I don’t know that Driscoll would be ruled a public figure now.

  132. Alex says:

    Basically, the Courts opinion was that if Driscoll never spoke exactly and specifically about the many things you accused him of, then he is not a public figure in that regard. He could probably find a few issues you nailed him on that he has not publicly led a charge against (even though in our case there was a public campaign against Phil Aguilar for similar issues, but the court didn’t seem to care) and then he might win.

  133. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    and if WA was actually CA …

  134. Andrew says:

    “We’re not as civilized as we think…”

    But even if we are civilized, What does being civilized mean anyway? I think its a stretch to say that being civilized is less evil. All I know is our savior Jesus had to suffer and die for each and every one of us for our sin.

  135. Francisco Nunez says:

    I got an opportunity to catch a few of the conference sessions via Internet.

    As michael mentioned in c’s corner, It would be good to have some sessions that touch on the pressures that the smaller church shepherds face daily while leading a local church and how to stay encouraged in light of these challenges. Overall good conference though. Blessed that it was made avail on Internet.

    It is

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