Loose Ends

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94 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:


    About CCM…

    Contemporary Christian Music

    Contemporary Christian Music was found unresponsive this morning and, after multiple attempts at resuscitation, was declared dead. Lack of brain activity for several years had been monitored. The death was the result of a rather lengthy illness. Born out of the Jesus movement of the late 60’s, Contemporary Christian Music (known as ‘CCM’) broke new ground in 1969 with numerous creative artists such as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill and Daniel Amos and gradually launched itself into the forefront of ‘Christianity’ in the years to follow.

    The rise in popularity and fame of CCM was eventually paralleled by artists who took themselves too seriously (Carmen/Crowder/Assad) and those who saw the writing on the wall and took a different direction (Sufjan Stevens, Leslie/Sam Phillips, MuteMath, POD, Switchfoot). This led to a (not-so-subtle) downward spiral that may have started when Peter Furler’s (Newsboys) drumset turned upside down. This was the beginning of a slow, painful, imminent death.

    A long bout with complacency followed, with only occasional bursts of activity. This led to an atrophy which shriveled away the muscles and poisoned any creativity that was still flowing through its veins. Despite desperate attempts to regenerate itself through intravenous doses of dated sounds, worship in arenas, uninspired lyrics, repititous worship choruses and increasingly cheesy band names (often with days, numbers or colors in the title) CCM’s demise was inevitable according to those caring for it. The lyrics of Steve Taylor (penned in 1993) were, perhaps, prophetic words for CCM: “the news of my impending death came at a really bad time for me.”

    Although no children of CCM could be found (at least none that would admit the relationship) CCM is survived by distant cousins, The Bill Gaither Trio, Amy Grant, the Christian t-shirt, really bad praise bands across the world and the WWJD wristband. While a public viewing and visitation will be held at Capitol Christian Music Group headquarters in Nashville, the time and place of internment has yet to be announced, but the contracts and debts of current artists will remain legally binding with very few post-mortem royalty checks issued.

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    I can’t wait to read about the CCM industry and Duane’s comment above…CCM has annoyed me for some time now how milquetoast and boring it is. In my opinion, good Christian music died with Rich Mullins.

    Just my $0.02.

    Re: Saeed, not sure why some media outlets, like Christian Post, continue to cover this freak.

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    That is ONE. EXCELLENT. COMMENT. there Duane. You said it best. I for one will not be mourning it’s death. In fact, on the day of internment, I will purposely turn my back to the NNW (direction Nashville is from my home).

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Who killed the contemporary Christian music industry?

    I think all those singers who have come out as gay and lesbian the past several years hasn’t helped.

  5. Michael says:

    Duane…I think that captured the truth well… 🙂

  6. Scooter Jones says:

    MLD, I seem to remember a talented young lady named Jennifer Knapp (?) who did just that several years ago.

    I think she still tours as a Christian performer, maybe Duane knows of her?

  7. CostcoCal says:


    You are a very smart guy.

  8. Chris says:

    I didn’t care for the CCM article, I felt it was sloppily written…
    1. You can’t compare album sales now and in the past, due to streaming media. Or at least he doesn’t explain how he is accounting for it. So that data point is questionable.
    2. In the “heyday” there were a couple acts who could cross over at any given time. Today there are still a couple acts who cross over, although he acts as if there are none.
    3. He seems to get his generations mixed up, linking Keaggy chronologically with Newsboys, and Jars of Clay with Petra. It’s like he created the narrative and is just cherrypicking (or inventing) data to try to support it.

    Also, just a nitpick with Duane, I wasn’t sure if the “Crowder” he referenced was David Crowder, but I certainly wouldn’t lump him in with the “takes themselves to seriously” crowd (maybe there is another Crowder I’m not thinking of.

    All that being said, I’m not a big fan of the current “positive hits” that make it to Christian radio. There is good stuff out there, but it isn’t generally on the radio

  9. Scooter Jones says:

    I hardly ever listen to christian music, I’m more of a Sloe gin (Joe Bonammasa) kind of guy. However, I was flicking through the radio dial the other while driving and heard a young lady named, Lauren Daigle. Nice voice and bluesy vibe, which I liked.

  10. CostcoCal says:

    Best Christian Album in the last 50 years?

    U2. Joshua Tree.

    And if you disagree with me, you are in danger of apostasy.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Me and a couple of the grandkids listened to a whole hour of Fleetwood Mac on the car radio yesterday – I don’t know for sure but it seemed to address the human condition much better than the usual CCM stuff.

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



    Theologically, that was like reading the tax code to somehow find Jesus.

    Compassionately, I am sad that anyone is suffering a life-threatening illness.

    Strategically, this is the kind of “ministry” that demonstrates an impossible standard, an imagined singular “orthodoxy. Faith traditions are irreconcilable precisely because they require an interpretive framework. We living, breathing followers of Jesus always follow Him ad-libbing our performance against someone else’s charted score. We breathe life onto such static sheet music by our individual musical expressions, relative skills and heartfelt response to the music. We are Jazz. We are artists who refuse to paint by the numbers, having discovered Expressionism & Fauvism. We are dancers within architecture who twirl onto the beach outside the temple

  13. JoelG says:

    “I’m not a big fan of the current “positive hits” that make it to Christian radio.”

    Yeah I hear you. Sometimes I wonder if these folks have ever broken open the books of Job or Ecclesiastes. Or Psalms for that matter. Talk about the blues….

  14. Dan from Georgia says:

    JoelG (13)…it’s all about keeping little kids ears safe and from being offended. CCM is basically geared towards the stay-at-home-mom and her kids. Much like much of the ministries in most evangelical churches.

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

    CCM is about struggles within the christian journey, struggles with self identity, broken hearts, imponderables. It’s music. What i don’t find appealing is the quality of the story telling. Plus, real people are edgy and the genre demands it be “family safe”, which, sorry, real life and art are not.

  16. JoelG says:

    Dan you made me chuckle because it’s kinda true.

    G-Man love your #12

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    #6 Scooter

    Jennifer Knapp is a good friend and has been for some years.

  18. A few years back a buddy and I were doing a podcast and we did a two-part interview with Terry Clark, much of it about the origins of CCM. Some really good stuff there. Episodes 4 and 5. https://www.corbystephens.com/notesfromtheroad For those interested.

  19. DavidM says:

    #14 “CCM is basically geared towards the stay-at-home-mom and her kids.” Isn’t that the truth! That’s why the Christian radio stations have the happy, chirppy program hosts throughout the day. It is Christian “light”, and barely that. There is little room for real issues, struggles, rubber-meets-the-road life. I will not discard it all, since it does uplift and encourage many. But I stopped listening to Christian radio many years ago when I heard a guy call in with a prayer request to a radio station in Seattle. His brother had passed and he was struggling. He bared his raw pain (probably not a good idea over the airwaves). The host said, “Wow, that’s tough.” Then,, without skipping a beat, said in a chirppy voice, “What’s not tough today is the traffic. Adam, how are the roads out there this morning?” Real life collided with radio programming demands. It was awful.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    #10 Costco

    In 2013 Joshua Tree was placed on the Library of Congress’ National Recording registry… along with Larry Norman’s “Only Visiting This Planet”…

  21. Dan from Georgia says:

    DavidM (19)

    CCM sugar coats everything. Struggles are only discussed in vague terms, no real expose. When is the last time a CCM artist came out and said they struggle with drunkenness, adult men’s material, fighting, etc? Kirk Franklin (not CCM but Gospel) has been upfront about his past struggles with illicit men’s material (using this terminology so that I won’t get moderated). Such a struggle would never, and I mean NEVER, be mentioned on The Fish. It’s too raw for CCM radio. It’s really a shame it is that way.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wait a minute – the issue isn’t CCM being sappy or too light or made for stay at home moms and the kids – the problem is that it is they are the songs of choice being sung in evangelical worship services. It is nothing to have a whole church break out in a round of “Jesus is my boyfriend” type of song.

    Faith killing worship is what it is.

  23. Descended says:

    Duane nailed it. When they switched “ministry” for “industry”, I think the Spirit wiped His feet of the lot of it.

  24. Descended says:

    Not on Facebook. Can’t read anything about Saeed.
    What is he bringing to the attention of us bottom feeders that he is being conspired against?

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    #6 Scooter

    I should, in all candor, be even more specific about Jennifer Knapp. After she “came out”, she was assailed by evangelical hate mail. I saw a good bit of it. The same sort of hateful comments were all over the web. The comments were not only hateful but crude and demeaning. As a result, I made contact with her and we arranged to meet. I asked her to sing a duet with Michael on our first album. She was wary of anyone even remotely connected with CCM, but I gave her the lyrics based on a child’s prayer from Ravensbruck concentration camp. She called me that night, crying, and said she wanted to do the song. She came to the studio the next day and I asked her if she needed anything before we started to lay down the track. She answered, “No, I’m here to be a servant…”

    It was not about agreeing with her decision. It was about showing respect for her talent and letting her know that we loved her. We’ve remained friends to this day…

  26. JoelG says:

    Duane that brings s tear to my eye. Bless you….

  27. Xenia says:

    Hank keeps telling his listeners that Eastern Orthodoxy is not all the different from Protestantism and that Reformation standards, such as the Five Solas, are compatible with Orthodoxy. They are not. We are synergists and we believe we do, in some way, contribute to our salvation if only by saying “yes.” We do not believe in the Penal Substitionary theory of the atonement. We do not believe the Father punished the Son on the cross. We do not believe in Sola (or Solo) scriptura. We do not believe in imputed righteousness. Eastern Orthodoxy is a completely different way of looking at the Gospel. Hank can’t just mumble something about “it’s just a difference in emphasis.” He’s got to decide if he’s really going to be Orthodox or if he’s going to be someone who knows relatively little about his new faith yet intends to keep making money by confusing the evangelicals who still listen to him. It is appalling that he is now attempting to be a spokesman for Orthodoxy.

    It’s ok not to understand Orthodoxy right off the bat but most converts don’t have a national radio show from which to proclaim their ignorance. I am going to run into people from my CC/Baptist past who may still be listening to the BAM who are going to tell me that Orthodoxy is not really much more than Calvary Chapel with candles and incense.

    Get off the radio, Hank. Don’t write a book.

  28. Michael says:

    Well said, Xenia…and in a lot fewer words than my friend Perry. 🙂

  29. Xenia says:

    I probably got most of my ideas about this from Perry…..

  30. Descended says:

    So sad on so many levels

  31. Descended says:

    #30 was @-#25

  32. Kevin H says:


    If Hank continues to misrepresent Eastern Orthodoxy on the radio and other avenues, what do you think EO Church leadership might do about it, if anything? As a Protestant/Evangelical Hank was never under any real jurisdiction of any kind that could or would try to do something if he were to be out of line. But could it be different with the EO church?

  33. Xenia says:

    HH says he hasn’t changed.

    Well, as a convert, I can say that when I moved from evangelicalism to Orthodoxy, it was the same God that I was praying to. I was a Christian for 30 years prior, it’s not like I converted from Islam or Hinduism. So in a sense I could say (but wouldn’t say) I hadn’t changed because I still had the same Savior.

    But that’s disingenuous because the new way I looked at my Savior and considered what He had done for me and how I could interact with Him- that was a HUGE change. The free-floating anxiety I always had was gone, for starters and replaced with peace. The ever-present feeling of guilt I carried around with me was gone and I felt forgiven. The idea that I didn’t *have* to *be good* because of imputed righteousness always bothered me and it was a big relief to let that go, along with anxiety about some imagined Rapture.

    I had changed. It was a major change. I can measure my whole life into before and after.

    Now Hank, I guess, wants to salvage his radio show and book-production business so he is either deliberately watering down Orthodoxy or he hasn’t undergone a serious change or he is ignorant. Probably a combo of the three. I know I said some colossally dumb things the first few years (and still do.) As I said, no one expects a new convert to know much but he’s got to get off the air ASAP before he does harm to himself and to his listeners.

    And I would like to have a serious conversation with his priest and ask him why he is permitting this train wreck to continue.

    The BEST advertisement he could be for Orthodoxy would be if he made a public confession of his prior terrible actions and reconciled with everyone. This might take a while. I had to do it myself and it didn’t occur to me right away that I needed to write a few notes to people and in one case, to travel 3000 miles. Over the months I became aware of things that I had not thought were sinful and came to see that they were. It is true that the Sacraments are not magic but they do have their effect.

  34. Xenia says:

    Kevin, it depends on how his priest is thinking about this situation, and how the bishop sees it. Chances are no one at his parish ever heard of the Bible Answer Man before HH became a minor celebrity. Maybe they are listening to him now and maybe they will see some red flags.

  35. Xenia says:

    Sometimes when I am explaining Orthodoxy to people from a Protestant background I will point out similarities. “No, we don’t believe in Sola scriptura but we do believe the Scriptures are the main source of information.” “Praying to the Saints is like asking a friend here on earth to pray for you.” Etc. All true and eases the conversation along into deeper waters, and maybe that’s what Hank thinks he’s doing. As I think Perry wrote, it’s not that he’s saying blatant lies but that what he says is incomplete. He stops short of saying the hard stuff that would turn people off. I am guilty of doing that here myself.

  36. Kevin H says:

    Thanks, Xenia.

  37. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ve studied with the Orthodox, my academic specialty is in the Fathers, been to Russia often, even lectured in Orthodox seminaries – all over the course of 30 years.

    I don’t “know” Orthodoxy.

    I know about it, but I don’t “know” it. A friend once told me that you have to live it for some years before you begin to really know it…

  38. Xenia says:


    This is a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio hosted by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick and a Protestant minister. They are good friends and discuss the world of Christianity through the lenses of their own Churches. Fr. Andrew is very amiable but never once muddies the waters. He clearly understands the significant differences between Orthodoxy and the rest of Christendom and is able to express these differences in a learned yet kind way.

    He is also the author of a great book and podcast series (also on AFR) called Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy where he describes all other denominations and religions (Christian and non-Christian) and compares them to Eastern Orthodoxy in a very non-ODM way.


  39. Xenia says:

    Duane, I would be deep in prelest if I claimed I really knew Orthodoxy.

    It’s a life to be lived. The longer the life is lived, the better the life is understood.

  40. Xenia says:

    Has this conversation happened in the past few weeks on the BAM?

    Caller: Do you believe in Sola scriptura?

    Hank: No, I do not.

    Caller: Do you believe in Sola fide?

    Hank, not anymore.

    Has anyone asked him these questions? Any listeners here?

  41. Michael says:

    He’s been off the air here for decades…

    Each of the ancient traditions has it’s own culture…Anglicanism is much more diverse than I thought and has very distinct personality traits.

    I have a steep learning curve even though I’m familiar with the terminology and much of the history.

    Orthodoxy is a whole different ballgame…

  42. Xenia,

    No it hasn’t and no it won’t. Hank won’t openly deny those doctrines. And he wont because it will cost him money. He knows that the majority of his donor base is pop evangelical. That is, he’d lose even more money. And when u live in a 9200 sq ft 3.1 million dollar mansion, well that takes a lot of money.

    And no, no one is likely to even get through the call screeners with those direct questions either.

    And no, he won’t likely make a public confession or a private one either. We attempted to initiate a dialog towards reconciliation a few weeks ago. That again has been rejected. Hank will never meet with or talk to anyone who claims he wronged them. This has been his consistent behavior for thirty years. Chrismation hasn’t changed that.

    Hank is accountable to no one.

    What is coming next is his Orthodox book deal with accompanying interviews, prolly on AFR and other venues to promote its sales to an Orthodox audience.

    I keep trying to tell people but they are more interested in hero worship and making excuses for him, tell me the church is a hosptial and hank needs time and so forth.

    I just ask them if a supposedly repentant pedophile came into the church, and wanted to work in the child care, would you let him? Why not? What is the difference here?

    All I hear is crickets and then more appeals to pity and hero worship.

    Sadly, they will learn the hard way. I have done everything I can

  43. Michael says:


    I think you’ve done a great job…even if it falls on deaf ears.

  44. Xenia,

    As far as what Hank says, well that is why I put the broadcast links up so ppl could hear him say it himself in complete context. As you know, I am not making it up. Its pretty clear he has no idea what he is doing. And my point is, he never did.

  45. Duane Arnold says:

    #41 Michael

    If I may say so, I think there is also an issue of temperament. Knowing you the bit that I do, there is much in your temperament that aligns with Anglicanism. You’re moderate, very much a via media sort of person. You don’t have to “bend” Anglicanism to fit who you are as a person.

    I can’t speak to Hank’s temperament or personality, but my guess is that he found something in Orthodoxy that resonated. The problem is, however, he may attempt to bend his understanding of Orthodoxy to his personality, when he should be doing the opposite.

  46. Xenia says:

    What is coming next is his Orthodox book deal with accompanying interviews, prolly on AFR and other venues to promote its sales to an Orthodox audience.<<<

    And you and I both know who will write the foreword and whose endorsement will be featured on the back cover.

  47. Michael says:


    You’re right and it’s a very interesting aspect of this to me.

    I love the via media aspect of Anglicanism and it fits how I think and react to ideas.

    Now, there is also a gentility and dignity to Anglicanism which is unlike me.

    Instead of trying to turn Anglicanism into a raw, shoot from the hip iconoclasty, I’m letting folks like you and your historic predecessors teach me and conform me in their way.

    This is a challenge, but one that has already borne fruit.

    Hank would do well to get to know Xenia…

  48. Duane Arnold says:

    #47 Michael

    The gentility and dignity is automatic… it comes from the Book of Common Prayer. You may have noticed, you can’t read it aloud in any manner other than gentle and dignified. It is part of the genius of the language.

  49. Xenia says:

    The whole EO world view is that we are all pretty darn sinful in ways we don’t even realize and that if someone criticizes us, they are probably right in their assessment of our sinfulness. In every Bible story we are told to see ourselves as the bad guy, not the hero. (If anyone doubts this may I suggest they take a look at The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. )

    So even if HH were completely innocent of everything Perry has told us, the proper Orthodox response is to meet, talk, and repent of whatever needs repenting of, even if you aren’t sure what you did wrong at first. To blow it off is completely contrary to Orthodoxy and all Christianity.

    Hypothetical conversation:

    Accuser: Xenia, you did this awful thing. We must meet so you can apologize!
    Xenia: What? I have no idea what you are talking about; Let’s meet and talk.
    Accuser: Xenia, you said this terrible thing about me and it cost me my job!
    Xenia: Whoa, Accuser! I had no idea! Forgive me, brother! How can I make it right?

    ^^^^^ That’s how it’s supposed to work. Not just for the EO but for all Christians.

  50. Michael says:


    Agreed…and every day I read from it, the greater treasure it becomes…

  51. Xenia,

    Quite right on all counts.

    As far as the book goes, to be sure, the usual suspects are already lining up for the gravy train. I tried to warn them privately, but that went nowhere. The book is just another way for Hank to make money. The real question is who will ghost write this one for him since none of his Biola staff can probably cut the Odox stuff.

    Ole well, I suppose I’ll go do some fishing.

  52. Jean says:

    I’m grateful that Perry and Xenia have entered this discussion. I’m in listening mode.

  53. em ... again says:

    okay, since the subject here is leaning a bit toward the Orthodox…
    does anyone know if this is fact?
    i read today in the paper that every year on Resurrection Sunday (or thereabouts) in Jerusalem, an Orthodox priest goes into the tomb where, according to tradition, Jesus’ crucified body was laid… the priest goes in with a bundle of unlighted tapers (after being checked by a local authority to be certain he isn’t taking anything in with him to light those candles) and he places the tapers on the ledge where Jesus’ body had lain, falls to his knees and prays and sometime during his prayer, the candles ignite and he brings them out two at a time and hands them to the waiting crowd

  54. Xenia says:

    em, yes, it is true.

  55. Xenia says:

    I personally know people who were there for that event.

  56. em ... again says:

    thank you, Xenia – the article in the local paper said the plan is to bring one of those lighted tapers here to Washington this year and keep the flame going perpetually, that WILL be a miracle…
    the link only gives a paragraph of the article, but this is the newspaper where i came upon it…

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sounds like voodoo type stuff to me. Religious fraud at best.
    Somewhere the devil is involved to keep people’s focus off of the risen savior.

  58. JM says:

    Regarding CCM: There is a distinct lack of creativity and originality in the music these days. It doesn’t sound any different from the world’s music and for the most part, the lyrics could have been written to a boyfriend or best friend because there is nothing uniquely Christian about a lot of it. I call it pablum and I pass by the Christian station on the radio because it pains me to even hear it.

    The worship music isn’t much better. It’s all sounding like Hillsong and when I hear a song with the voice of a woman singing/wailing through some instrumental interlude, I honestly want to throw up. Everyone is doing it, everyone is imitating everyone else. It pretty much, without too many exceptions, all sounds the same. It’s boring. It’s emotional and not spiritual and again, I want to throw up when I hear most of it. This make church worship a real drag for me.

    I think God left that gig years ago.

    As to Saaed. Ugh. What can you say about that?

  59. Dan from Georgia says:

    JM, I hear ya. CCM is indeed really stale, and “worship music” has become the same way (not sure which one went stale first, but doesn’t matter). Anyways, this may sound kind of snobbish (as I fancy myself as a visual artist (painting), and guitarist), but when I turn on The Fish and hear the happy clappy announcers talk about the “artists” on their station, I want to gag too. In my very opinionated mind, most of these “artists” don’t belong in the business/ministry/whatnot or on the radio. They lack creativity and conviction. I guess as a music-lover and consumer of music, I may be hard to please. And I am sure CCM is filling it’s role of catering to the white, middle-class, suburban families out there. Yes, they do occasionally talk about Jesus during their prayer moments between songs, but it almost seems like Jesus is an accessory instead the focus.


  60. em ... again says:

    #57 – i won’t judge just what is going on there – the claim is that they’ve been doing this for over one thousand years… like the weeping statues, i just have to walk away… i suppose it would make a hot topic for open blogging today… but i’m content to just let God be in charge of miracles, if He wants one in my life, He puts it there
    God, forgive me for the ones i’ve missed

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em, you should take note that we find these things in those church bodies who have rejected the Solas. When you reject the Solas you are willing to accept the Crazies. (Like the face of Jesus on my peanut butter sandwich.)

  62. Steve says:

    Xenia @ 33,
    I understand you had a profound change when you converted to Orthodoxy and I take your word that HH doesn’t understand Orthodoxy as most of us don’t as well.
    However with that said, I do feel that you have somewhat lumped evangelicalism into a cohesive group that would somehow come to the same conclusions that you did. For instance you wrote:

    “The idea that I didn’t *have* to *be good* because of imputed righteousness always bothered me and it was a big relief to let that go, along with anxiety about some imagined Rapture.”

    First of all, I am an evangelical but I don’t entertain any imagined rapture. Many other evangelicals do not as well, so that is by no means a distinctive of evangelicalism. Also, the idea of being good is an extremely good thing to do and the way you interpret “imputed righteousness” seems to me to be quite off with a bizarre application. Possible I don’t understand the doctrine myself but I have never viewed it this way.

    So I will concede most of us don’t understand Orthodoxy but I think it goes the other way as well that you do not seem to understand some of these western doctrines that you have apparently abandoned.

    I say all this because maybe someday, probably not HH, but someone else that has experience in both camps can eventually bridge the gap that keeps the east and west so far apart.

  63. Xenia says:

    Steve, you are absolutely correct. I never did understand Protestant theology in its many manifestations. It never made a lick of sense.

  64. Xenia says:

    The Orthodox Church did not reject the Solas, MLD. They were never a part of the Early Church to begin with.

  65. Michael says:

    “Somewhere the devil is involved to keep people’s focus off of the risen savior.”

    If anything supernatural is always the devil, we have bigger problems than fraud.
    For me, any Christian tradition that doesn’t allow for the supernatural is more of a problem than than the veracity of a particular event.

  66. Xenia says:

    Thank you, Michael.

    I am not expecting anyone here to accept this particular miracle. I accept it. I have never mentioned it here because I knew what certain parties would have to say.

    I believe in myrrh-streaming icons and wonder-working relics, too.

    Christianity is supernatural.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, I can accept supernatural – but it had better be something already spoken of in scriptures.
    But if your Christianity accepts an “anything goes” attitude in that arena – count me out.

  68. Michael says:


    I’m not in any position to judge the veracity of any miracle.
    I do believe we should be open to the possibility that God can act in ways that confound the rational.

  69. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Oh, and it had better have a message attached that everyone can understand. Jesus on my peanut butter sandwich had better be a clear message.

  70. Xenia says:

    MLD, we shall count you out.

    But you are always welcome to be counted in.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – note, no superstitions or voodoo for me – you guys enjoy. 😉

  72. Michael says:

    “But if your Christianity accepts an “anything goes” attitude in that arena – count me out.”

    We automatically count out the Lutherans if an idea isn’t explicitly Lutheran. 🙂

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I doubt that it is solely or explicitly Lutheran to require some standard to measure miracles (like scripture) – but if it is, then I guess we are alone in being right on this one.

  74. Michael says:

    I suspect that whether you do or do not believe in miracles that God will meet your expectations…

  75. em ... again says:

    thinking as i come off of reading #62 …
    so many of the experiences that both MLD and Xenia (& others) have experienced in “Protestantism” and “Evangelicalism” are things that i never encountered… i must conclude that the problem is not with those two labels, but rather with aberrant offshoots of same
    my biggest problem with the turn that some the churches on this side of the stream have taken is that the pastors’ agendas became works oriented – works that made their church look good, putting the first thing, mentoring their congregations in growing in Christ (out of which works naturally flow) at the bottom of their to do lists… i assume that this is what folks are, rightfully, running from?

  76. Duane Arnold says:

    “God can choose to perform such mighty works in and through His church today.
    Lutherans affirm the supernatural and the possibility that God can and does intervene in the
    course of natural things.”

    Lutheran Church and the Charismatic Movement
    April, 1977

  77. em ... again says:

    must say – yeh, again 🙂
    one can’t “get saved” without a miracle

  78. em ... again says:

    MLD, has me thinking that he’d better stay away from peanut butter because, among other things, our God has a good sense of humor … LOL

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – thanks for quoting the Lutheran documents. It is what I said – I believe in the supernatural – but it had better be something the scriptures allowed for and it had better have a message for the church.

    I don’t understand why some of you folks want to just accept someone’s claims to miracles?

    Jesus did not say he would come to us in visions or peanut butter sandwiches. I do believe he comes to us miraculously the very way he promised – in his word – in the waters of baptism and in the bread and wine of the communion elements – voila – supernaturally.

    If I claimed that each year on my birthday Jesus painted my house a different color (and I didn’t paint it myself) would anyone here believe it was a supernatural work of Jesus?

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If I remember correctly the story of Luther throwing a fluid (some say inkwell some say his chamber pot) at the devil – the story goes like this;
    Jesus appeared to Luther in a vision. Luther, being a good Lutheran knew that Jesus did not promise to come to us in a vision – but in word and sacrament) – so he knew that the supernatural manifestation was the devil himself and hence he cursed him and tossed the fluid at him.

    Jesus had left the tomb long ago – so what is the message of the mysterious fire for the church today?

  81. Duane Arnold says:

    #79 MLD

    To paraphrase,
    There are more things in heaven and earth, MLD,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    (Apologies to Hamlet…)

    I’m not willing to put limits on God other than those he has placed on himself.

  82. Xenia,

    And yes the Orthodox reject the Reformation solas pretty clearly in the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672, among other places.

  83. Xenia says:

    Perry….yes, you are right. I was thinking in terms of a timeline.

  84. Xenia says:

    …because, MLD was suggesting the EO believe in crazy things like the Holy Fire because we rejected the 5 Sola’s when the Holy Fire miracle predates the formulation of the Solas by 1000 years, which makes a reference to them, in this case, an anachronism.

  85. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So what is God’s message to the Church with the Holy Fire? After 1,000 years it should be clear.

  86. Xenia says:

    What is the purpose of any miracle? Many different reasons, I would say.

    The Holy Fire miracle is a bit of joyful encouragement for the Faithful on Holy Saturday.

  87. Jean says:

    “But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’ And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”

  88. Descended says:

    Miracles are not necessarily reserved for the believer. Remember Jannes and Jambres? Tongues and healings can happen in the occult, why can’t a candle light “itself” if God allows deception to come by it? Nehushtan also comes to mind.

  89. bob1 says:

    So…God is a trickster, I guess?

    Don’t believe that.

  90. Descended says:


    Romans 1

    Not a trickster. If folks want to be deceived by a flickering flame or someone calling fire from the sky, at some point he’ll give them over to their pursuit of deception.

    “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”

  91. bob1 says:

    I feel sorry for you, with your crimped, limited view of what God can do.

    You should get a copy of this book.

    1200+ pages on miracles in the church’s history.


  92. Descended says:

    Thank you for your resource and your condescension.

    I guess I’ll go pray to Mary and hope she shows up in my bagel

  93. David says:

    A late, late comment about the CCM Article:

    If your article on any aspect of the music industry over the past 20 years doesn’t focus on the drastic upheaval of the music industry, the birth of Napster or streaming, or the mergers that left most of the CCM labels as imprints of gigantic multinational corporations, you’re doing it wrong and the article should have never made it to print.

    And frankly beyond that it never seemed that hard to figure out: Once bands kids actually liked (instead of the ones the CCM industry foisted on them) like Sixpence and Switchfoot could be heard on their local Top40 stations they moved with them. Those bands never wanted to be associated with church basement concerts and low-powered CCM Radio that never understood them anyway. So the labels backfilled by promoting worship bands that were never going to go to the press to complain about being CCM and were safe enough for mom to like. Boom.

  94. Erunner says:

    I have a long history with music. Through the years I’ve seen all sorts of attacks on CCM.

    I’m sure throughout the years there’s been all sorts of stories. I’m aware of most of them.

    Larry Norman comes to mind. His story in hindsight seems quite sad.

    I’ve read tons on the criticism of all sorts of “modern” or contemporary music. And then I read what the writers suggested was worthwhile. I often chuckled as I couldn’t stand so much of it on any level. I didn’t begrudge their taste. I simply disagreed.

    Music I might not enjoy and music across the spectrum is invariably disliked by some. On the other hand there’s much music in the Christian world for us to choose from and enjoy.

    As none of us can see into the hearts of various artists how on earth do we know how God responds to their “offerings” to Him?

    Who are we to say what music God chooses to minister to or uplift His children? Again, we can’t. We can offer opinions.

    I came up in the church being told what to listen to. I eventually made peace with the place of music and its impact on my life. No one can take that from me. I certainly wouldn’t do that to anyone else.

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