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80 Responses

  1. Linnea says:

    First? It can’t be!

  2. Probably not up to the level of the potential CC split – but a good article about Thomas Aquinas and his Summa and Martin Luther and his Small Catechism.

    http://lutheranreformation.org/theology/foundation-structure-faith/

    Good Saturday reading

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    That is a good article, MLD. Interesting commentary on the approach that made Luther’s theology so different from what had come before.

    That being said, I wonder if some readers could recommend their favorite “smaller” theology books. By smaller, I mean not multiple volumes. A little more on the popular level. A modern Luther’s Small Catechism, if you will.

    Here are some I have opinions on:
    Grudem’s Systematic Theology – It’s OK. Was kind of the standard for the neo-reformed crowd. Just OK.
    Millard Ericson’ Christian Theology – It’s a text book, and it reads like one. The moderate Calvinism proposed though is pretty cool.
    Ryrie’s Basic Theology – I like it. Very readable. The dispy stuff would turn-off some before even getting started, but it’s a good book.
    Dale Moody’s Word of Truth – Ehh. It’s thorough, but his consistent “moderate” handling of Scripture is off-putting for me.
    Chafer’s Major Bible Themes – I haven’t even tried to take in his Systemacti Theology, but I love this condensed version (revised by Walvoord). To my surprise, I may actually be Dispensationalist.
    Paul Enns’ Moody Handbook of Theology – Probably my favorite concise reference for theology stuff.

    So, what else do I need to have? What do you love, what should I avoid?

  4. Michael says:

    “Smaller”…

    I think Packers’s “Concise Theology” is hands down the best.

    For a bigger and fuller systematic, James Boice’s “Foundations of the Christian Faith” is very accessible as most of his works were.

    I would avoid Chafer and Ryrie like the plague, but that’s me…

  5. Babylon's Dread says:

    Thomas C Oden – Classic Christianity

    Greg Allision – Historical Theology

    Two that I am checking out:

    Christ the Key – Katherine Tanner
    Theology in Outline – Robert Jenson

  6. Michael says:

    I will amen BD…Oden is always worth reading and Allison’s volume is well worth a read as well.

  7. Michael says:

    My favorite one volume systematic is probably Horton’s “The Christian Faith”…but it is unapologetically Reformed.

  8. Josh the Baptist says:

    Awesome guys! Will add the Packer book (Which I’ve never heard of..What?!?!) and Oden book immediately.

    Michael, it’s funny. I had to read Ryrie for a class and felt the same way. He’s actually a very good teacher at making the big things more accessible. After reading Basic Theology, I bought his Dispensationlalism too. Now THAT one, you would hate 🙂 I’m not crazy about it either, but I wanted to see more depth on his defense of dispensationalism.

    The Chafer book is fantastic. There are chapters on dispensations and eschatology which I’m sure you’d take issue with, and I take issue with some of it, but it’s a really great popular theology.

  9. Josh the Baptist says:

    Re: Horton and Reformed theology:

    I have to admit that Reformed scholars have the best systematics. That’s kinda who reformed theology is made for though. The really linear thinkers, tying up all the loose ends. It does make for a tidy Systematic theology.

    That being said, I only have Calvin’s Institutes in a one volume version. I’m just not into the 7,10,11, volume theologies right now.

  10. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Just to be clear…I think Chafer is among the worst major theologians this country has ever produced and maybe the most influential.

    Given the opportunity, I would sneak into your house and burn his books. 🙂

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    Ha!

    I love him. Is it the dispensational stuff that you hate so much?

  12. Michael says:

    No, it’s his soteriology and his bizarre scheme of sanctification.

  13. Michael says:

    The seven dispensations stuff is so ludicrous I can’t appreciate much of anything the man has to say.
    Very influential though…huge influence on modern evangelicalism.

  14. This is why I no longer cross pollinate my theology. When I go outside my own, everyone has a piece that makes sense – but you can’t fit it in the entirety of the system … and to be a ‘systematic theology’ it must all fit together. Otherwise you have an unsystematic theology.

    The best example of this are those who call themselves 4 point Calvinist. This is nonsense as the system breaks down when you leave one out – it collapses.

    It may seem closed minded but you can only stick with what is there. A John MacArthur calling himself a Calvinist (which he is) and having the inconsistencies of an altar call and such heavy emphasis on personal testimonies does not add up.

  15. Michael says:

    I cross pollinate with vigor.
    I guess I’m just a theological whore.

    Every systematic breaks down at some point…and that point is where God demands that we accept mystery.

    I’m also a four pointer…

  16. Steve Wright says:

    I’m about to hit week 9 of a 10 week study on dispensationalism. Our midweek. I have no trouble seeing the 7 distinct dispensational changes throughout human history. I think it has been one of the better studies I have done.

  17. Michael says:

    I could come up with a bunch of creative divisions of history too…and they’d be every bit as biblical…or not.

    I have nothing every remotely irenic to say about that stuff, so I’ll forgo any more comment on it.

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    Are you posting those studies, Steve?

    I think the existence of the Dispensations is pretty clear. Whether they compose the theological framework that dispensationalists claim is the only question.

    I also cross-pollinate. But I’m a student and don’t have much choice in that matter. I will say that I can gain valuable insight from most of the systems.

    Barth has to be the biggest theological figure since at least Calvin. Every single modern theologian has to deal with Barth’s work. Some of it is pretty good.

  19. Steve Wright says:

    The curse, the flood, Babel, Pre and Post Egypt, (Law of Moses) The cross, The 2nd Coming….I don’t think those are wild Biblical divisions in history. But yeah, no need to discuss it here.

  20. Michael says:

    The existence of the dispensations was hidden for 1800 years.

    I know a lot of great theologians who don’t wrestle with Barth…

  21. Steve Wright says:

    Josh, it takes a week or so for our volunteers to post but the first 7 weeks are at our website. Help yourself.

  22. Steve Wright says:

    Many early theologians distinguished different dispensation of the past, dividing the OT in 3 or 4 divisions. Nothing revolutionary in that.

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    The dispensations were never hidden. Like I said, are those dispensations the framework to build a theology? That’s the only question.

    Who doesn’t deal with Barth? He’s almost a stream of theological study unto himself. Most that I read are critical, but pretty much all have to reckon with him.

  24. Potatoe Head says:

    In that tiny Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel that was on Sunflower street Chuck Smith had a guest speaker who had set up dispensation charts on stands in the lobby.

    The guest speaker shared about them.

    Only happened that one time that I know of or can recall.

  25. CostcoCal says:

    MLD,

    “Unsystematic Theology”…

    That might not always be a bad thing.

    God’s ways are not our ways and just as it is with Him, surely it can be said of His Word.

    Theology is beautiful.

    And messy.

    Systematic Theology, maybe not so much either of those.

    In my opinion. Of course. 🙂

  26. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Most of the systematics I’ve taken deal with Barth separately and briefly.

    Frankly, he is the most over blown theologian of all time, with impact on some parts of academia and very little impact on common theology or practice.

    He’s damn near impossible to parse.

    Chafer has had a thousand times the impact of Barth on the actual religious life of the country.

  27. Michael says:

    I have two brilliant friends who are theologians par excellence…they are disciples of T.F. Torrance.

    These are very good, very godly, very decent men who may be the smartest people I know.

    I can’t understand a word they say or write.
    I usually have no clue what they are talking about, I just assume it’s profound.

    Their brilliant theology doesn’t impact me much because I can’t comprehend it.

    That’s how I feel about Barthians as well…

  28. Why would theology be messy? Is God unclear?

    Theology is just the study of God, what he says and what he does.

    My point is that you cannot discuss man and his bound will and at the same time his free will as being equal in a ,messy’ system.

    What is messy is not the study and systematics of God’s word – but the study and systematics of man’s theology.

  29. CostcoCal says:

    Theology is messy in that you can’t fit it into a box.

    By “messy”, I simply mean perfect.

    But not perfectly understood.

    Until Heaven.

  30. Which addresses my point – why confuse it more by mixing theologies – especially when they oppose each other – but each sounds good.

    “Theology is messy in that you can’t fit it into a box.Theology is messy in that you can’t fit it into a box.” – you should not even try to fit your theology in a box – but you should fit your theology on the cross.

  31. Steve Wright says:

    Irenaeus Against Heresies Book 3 (Hat tip Ryrie for the reference) http://www.orthodoxebooks.org/node/249

    For the living creatures are quadriform, and the Gospel is quadriform, as is also the course followed by the Lord. For this reason were four principal (;kaqolikai) covenants given to the human race:(3) one, prior to the deluge, under Adam; the second, that after the deluge, under Noah; the third, the giving of the law, under Moses; the fourth, that which renovates man, and sums up all things in itself by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon heavenly kingdom.

    So as Bon Jovi told us, “We’re halfway there” 🙂

    Seriously though, there are a variety of old theologians who could be cited in some fashion along these lines. That is NOT to say they were dispensationalists or espousing a modern dispensational theology. Just that one can’t read the Old Testament and not see some pretty dramatic transitions taking place in history.

    But people here “dispensationalism” think rapture, and dismiss the whole thing as recent and silly.

    And this is one aspect of understanding Scripture, history, and God. There is nothing within dispensationalism that would speak about the pros and cons of infant baptism, views of the Lord’s Table, Spiritual gifts, eternal security (or any details in soteriology)…that is not to say that if you look at Dallas Seminary you won’t find a lot of agreement on these things, but they are irrelevant to what dispensationalism is (and what it is not)

    So yeah, I cross pollinate my theology too. Unless one wants to just appeal to the authority of their denominational perspective, and thus only believe and read what they tell you to, then some cross pollination is going to happen (and I would argue, though not here because I know I would get an argument, that it is healthy)

  32. CostcoCal says:

    I agree, MLD.

    On the Cross.

    “I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

    That’s the hill to die on!

  33. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael, I agree that Barth is hardly understandable. I’ve sometimes wondered if I’m missing something in the translation from German. Nevertheless, the dude is a giant.

  34. Steve, I guess I would have to take Costco’s claim of messy theology and apply it to your statements. You make dispensationalism the core of your theology and then list the areas not covered by your core.

    Does dispensationalism speak to justification or Christology? If not it is no wonder that it has nothing to say about infant baptism or the Lord’s Supper. See, this is not a denominational thing at all. Infant baptism comes directly from the theology / doctrine of justification and the Lord’s Supper comes out of Christology. One thing leads out of the other.

    Dispensationalism I’m sure says nothing about the 2 natures of Christ – in fact dispensationalism probably says nothing about 70% of your statement of faith – yet somehow it is the lens that you read so much.

    Personally I like something a little more unifying and thought out.

  35. Steve Wright says:

    You make dispensationalism the core of your theology
    —————————————————–
    That’s your editorial spin.

    The “core” of my theology is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

  36. Steve Wright says:

    Just for fun, I looked at the 600 page Ryrie Theology mentioned earlier…no specific mention to dispensationalism in his 15 page subject index (which is a pretty comprehensive index).

    Chalk it up to another example where MLD thinks he knows more about what you believe than you do. 🙂

    You might want to check when pitchers and catcher report… 🙂

  37. John 20:29 says:

    as i read the comments of this thread it is clear that dispensationalism is not understood by many…

    the cross is not the end of the Faith IMV – yes, it climaxes God’s plan for humanity (and the devil) however, it is man’s launching point, walk on pilgrim, keep walking…
    bogging down in one man’s set of theological dogma is like walking the walk wearing hobbles…
    does God the Holy Spirit have no purpose today beyond bringing one to the cross?
    still, i guess, it’s better to be hobbled than wandering off the path into the briars where the little opportunistic rodents squeak out their false doctrines -dunno …

    it is too bad that there was such a feeding frenzy a few decades back on the late great planet – right now is a good time to be sure that you’re familiar with what is prophesied in the Book regarding end times (it’s in there for a reason)… no matter how you view the time frame – IMV, it has nothing to do with who’s in the White House BTW

    just passing thru and sayin – cuz i can

  38. I always like to accommodate my good friend (and he is) Steve Wright. When he suggests;
    “You might want to check when pitchers and catcher report…” – I’m on it 😉

    “http://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/#sthash.g1MB5snh.dpbs

  39. But to be consistent about the topic of having a ‘consistent’ theology vs buffet style – the views Steve mentions that are not addressed by dispensationalism actually may be – if you god to roots.

    My view of baptism in general and infant baptism in particular is not a stand alone doctrine but derived directly from the doctrine of Justification – the 2 cannot be separated. The same with the Lord’s Supper. which comes not by itself, but again is derived directly from the doctrine of Christology. I said this a couple of posts up last night.

    So my point is that the differences are not on what one might call primary issues and secondary issues (where you like to place baptism and communion) – but are on the primary issues (doctrine) of Justification and Christology – 2 very important issues as justification has been described as the foundation of all Christian doctrine and as I like to point out all theology is Christology.

    To my original point, no matter how good NT Wright may sound in his book of the month, it will not work as an overlay to my set theology –

  40. This may be from a Lutheran’s point of view (mine) but I see that heresy is coming to a theater near you.

  41. and while I am at it, why are so many Christians singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah?
    It’s not a Christian song by a long shot. (we need more discernment in the Church)

    But Leonard Cohen was cool – at least back in my day.

  42. dusty says:

    MLD that was funny…and sad

  43. We need more of this when these movies and songs get embraced by the church. It’s a 10 second action that could correct many wrongs

  44. dusty says:

    You are on a roll today! 🙂

  45. Jean says:

    I think it would behoove folks to learn or remember that the only purpose of theology is in furtherance of proclamation. The purpose of Scripture is.to bestow salvation. Listen to Paul:

    “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
    2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV

    Paul is very narrow minded about the purpose of Scripture. We should all be so focused.

  46. Em ... again says:

    “the purpose of Scripture is to bestow salvation” … i would have to question the succincticity 🙂 of that

    teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness to the end that the man of God may be complete and equipped for every good work…

    does the purpose sum up in the one word: salvation?

    from where i sit that sounds like the purpose of Scripture includes equipping the man of God with what is necessary to live and grow in the Faith after salvation…
    …?… unless one concludes that we must work to keep saved, eh?

    it’s also chilly where i sit as it has begun to snow – guess i’ll get off the computer and go close the windows

    God keep

  47. Jean says:

    Em,

    “from where i sit that sounds like the purpose of Scripture includes equipping the man of God with what is necessary to live and grow in the Faith after salvation…”

    There is nothing after salvation. Salvation is the end goal. What could be lacking from the righteousness of Christ imputed to sinners?

    Fruit of a tree is not a next step, as if first a fruit tree is borne and then it progresses to becoming a fruit bearing tree. It is what a tree does. It produces fruit. But only so long as it is a fruit tree.

  48. Jean, evangelicals do not see sanctification as part of justification, so sanctification as a standalone becomes the next step prize.

  49. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Chafer has had a thousand times the impact of Barth on the actual religious life of the country.”

    That’s probably true, and I count that a good thing. But there again last night, I was reading up on different views of special revelation, and of the 5 or 6 references I checked, at least half of them had a section devoted to Barth’s views. Chafer doesn’t get that kind of treatment ever.

  50. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – How are you always so sure what evangelicals believe? You don’t cross-pollinate, remember?

  51. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The purpose of Scripture is.to bestow salvation.”

    Reading Chafer this morning (gotta get it all in before Michael reaches it with the matches 🙂 ) ,and he says the one purpose of Scripture is the manifestation of the glory of God. (Major Bible Themes, 28-29)

  52. Jean says:

    Josh,
    That sounds like a very Calvinistic thing to say. It’s a difference in perspective. But an important difference, especially for a preacher.

    If someone asked me “Where is God’s glory most manifest?” I would answer on the cross. Why did Jesus manifest his glory there?

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “MLD – How are you always so sure what evangelicals believe? You don’t cross-pollinate, remember?”

    I just repeat what I hear you guys say… oh, and I was one (even a teaching one) for 25 yrs.

    But I do know for a fact that in evangelical theologies that sanctification is not taught as justification – in other words justification and sanctification are not 2 separate actions.

    So, is sanctification your justification – or as I used to teach it, first you get saved (justified) and then you and God work as a team to get you cleaned up (sanctification)?

  54. Josh the Baptist says:

    Poop. I’ve got too many links. Lemme break this up (sorry Michael)

    “That sounds like a very Calvinistic thing to say.”

    And Chafer is kind of the opposite of a Calvinist.

    Here is a little more from him:

    “Since the Bible is God’s message to man, its supreme purpose is His supreme purpose; which is,that He may be glorified. The Bible records:
    1. That “all things … that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (for his glory, Col. 1:16). Angels and men, the material universe and every creature, are all created for His glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psa. 19:1).”

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    Here is an online version of the book, though it is the small original version. Walvoord took passages from Chafer’s Systematic and incorporated it into this book to make it about 3x as long.
    http://gotonewheights.com/pdf%20files/Major_Bible_Themes__Chafer.pdf

  56. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – so you are justified and sanctified. You sin free?

  57. Steve Wright says:

    The underlying purpose in the world being the glory of God is a sine qua non of dispensationalism.

    Calvinism is unrelated to that fact…one can be a dispensational Calvinist or a dispensational non-Calvinist. (A point I implied above when commenting on what dispensationalism does and does not imply)

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, = “MLD – so you are justified and sanctified. You sin free?”

    Teach me more of this new doctrine on sanctification? You must be sin free to be sanctified? So what you are suggesting is that no one walking this earth today has been sanctified? or do you know some sin free people?

    But to your question – yes I am both justified and sanctified.

  59. Jean says:

    “But to your question – yes I am both justified and sanctified.”

    A beautiful portrait of Holy Baptism. Not only does God forgive our sins (wash us) and set us apart (sanctify us), but he clothes us with Christ’s holiness.

  60. Josh the Baptist says:

    Define “Sanctified” in a sentence or two. Is it just a synonym of justification?

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – Monday’s are really busy for me with meetings etc. You can define it if you want but I will just say that sanctification is God’s work in our justification – again, it is not step two.

    This is why we have different preaching in our churches. In a Lutheran church, the believers still have justification (the work of Christ saving them) preached every Sunday. I need to hear every Sunday what Christ has done for me on the cross and what he is continuing to do for me. We see this in the way we view what is going on in the absolution, and the supper – what God is still delivering to us from the cross.

    In a Baptist church, justification is behind you (the believer) – what you now are in need of is to hear preaching on your sanctification – what you need to be doing (even with God’s help) to make you a better Christian – a better man / woman of God. Any justification preaching is saved for the end in the call of the unbeliever.

  62. Josh the Baptist says:

    Incorrect on what the baptists believe and teach. No biggie.

    If you can’t define it, I’ll have trouble saying whether I agree with you or not. So, I’m done with that.

    Any theology books you recommend, or would you only read directly from Luther? I have the small catechism.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – you still have not expanded on the fact that you believe that no one is sanctified because sanctified people do not sin.

    I did define it a bit when I said – “I will just say that sanctification is God’s work in our justification – again, it is not step two.” – and you do not need to guess if you agree with me or not – I know Baptist theology (I was one for 13 yrs – I taught adult classes for at least 10 of those years) and their view of sanctification is not what I have stated.

  64. Josh the Baptist says:

    You have yet to tell me what it is. And I don’t want to go around all day talking about something that we aren’t even agreeing on the basic definition.

    Do you read theology outside of Luther himself? Are there Lutheran Theology books? I honestly don’t know.

  65. Jean says:

    Josh,
    It is widely agreed among Lutherans (and based on Luther himself) that his Galatians Commentary is one of his greatest contributions. Galatians really hits the distinction between Law and Gospel. Here is a link to a free pdf version. It is also available for free or $0.99 on Kindle.

    In addition, if you send me your email address by FB messenger, I can email you some other Luther writings that are very good, such as his Commentary on Genesis 1-5, the Sermon on the Mount and his Preface to Romans.

    For a more complex theological work, Luther’s Bondage of the Will is a must read.

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8a46/b2ad32bf48ae905c08c751141d54ecc809b5.pdf

  66. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks Jean – you can send it to jamesjoshuahamrick(at)gmail.com

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean reads far more Luther than I do. I read very little Luther. I do work with materials of people who have done the work on Luther. There is a whole host of materials on line from Concordia Seminary on itunes – or if you want I can send you massive sets of youtubes and Vimeos. – on doctrine and theology -even a set called The Lutheran Mind.

    The first 5 years at my Lutheran church I sat in the adult bible study of Steve Mueller who is the Dean of the School of Theology at Concordia Irvine – it is his class that I have been teaching for the past 5 years since his departure.

  68. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thanks MLD.

  69. Josh the Baptist says:

    Just doing some googling and came accross this reading list you guys might be interested in:
    http://blogs.lcms.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Fall-Reading-List-for-Lutherans.pdf

  70. Josh the Baptist says:

    Packer’s Concise Theology is in the mail. Read the first chapter online and it looks fantastic.

  71. John 20:29 says:

    #’s 47 & 48 ….
    yes, justification is followed by sanctification and if one rejects (most here do, i take it) that one, before redemption and the new birth, is a 2 part being (dying flesh & immortal soul), then new birth is simply a new vision stemming from the work of the Holy Spirit, thus it would make no sense that sentient growth of a new spirit born life (flesh, soul and now spirit) follows salvation… i know that there is a war within me the old man and the new …
    so many aspects of the walk are based on interpretations are they not?
    a Lutheran would reject the eternal security of the redeemed one and, yet, if you’ve been properly baptized they say, do they not, that you can’t “lose” your salvation? you can only with forethought repudiate it and walk away from it? …. and those who say that eternal life, by its very definition can’t be lost claim that those who walk away were only tasting the Faith, not accepting and submitting to it…

    yes, the core and the main point is the cross of Christ – God’s victory (and now ours) – a good doctrine that is the main thread that flows thru the whole Book…

    there’s myriads more to ponder, but enough evangelical viewpoint out me for today

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “and those who say that eternal life, by its very definition can’t be lost claim that those who walk away were only tasting the Faith, not accepting and submitting to it…”

    The “tasting it” is just made up theology. If you look at Sunday’s Weekend Word it is addressed right there in verse 20 “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, …”

    It does not say that he tasted it, nibbled at it, played with his food etc. — it says that he received it and not only received it but with great joy – not with doubt or caution. AND, if he wanted to keep it – nothing could remove it from him. But as to giving it up – we see that in that passage.

    But hey, I have heard evangelists tell people to “just give Jesus a try and see if he doesn’t make a difference in your life.” So I guess we live in a anything goes christian world. – that could be the same as “come taste Jesus.”

  73. John 20:29 says:

    well, yes, using the term “taste” is perfunctory and was used to make the point that different theologians use different rationale to explain the why of some folk seemingly, or actually, falling away from the Faith – God knows…

    the grounds upon which the seeds fall and germinate is much more explanatory and a great study – much more theological 🙂

    give Jesus a try? not a bad idea – open your closed mind, humble yourself and hear what the Spirit is tasked with telling you… don’t be prejudiced against what you’ve not even studied… you may or may not understand, but – ahem – what have you got to lose?
    the whole world as we know it isn’t worth the price of your soul

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, “different theologians use different rationale to explain the why of some folk seemingly, or actually, falling away from the Faith – God knows…”

    We agree as long as we are saying they had the faith, the true faith because it did come from the seed – and then they fell away from the faith. What I usually get is, well they never really had the true faith to fall away from.

    Saying ‘try Jesus’ is like saying ‘try Dove soap’ – it’s one of many soaps but I think you will like our soap better.’

    How many people, and I have run into 100s, have said “oh, I gave that Jesus dude a try 10 yrs ago – he just didn’t work for me.”

  75. John 20:29 says:

    MLD, those 100s of people had their chance; they “tried Jesus?” perhaps, bad soil? or perhaps, not God’s timing? – dunno

    it isn’t the Faith that was lost IMHO, what died was the lack of good soil and that might have been their only chance OR perhaps not God’s timing, perhaps they need a little more composting 🙂 – again, dunno

  76. John 20:29 says:

    the soap thing doesn’t wash, BTW (sorry) as there are many soaps, but only one Faith that is efficacious for the cleansing of a soul

    and to take it one step further, a Lutheran might say one has to take the wrapper off and use with water

    sorry … it’s time for me to quit this soap thing

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    there are many gods for people to choose from.
    Many have given Buddha a try and really liked him.

    And no, there is only one efficacious bar of soap and it’s name is Dove – but there are many on the shelf.

    This is one reason that most Lutherans (and it is forbidden in the Lutheran ‘rules’) will not participate in inter faith events – as if we are parading our God among the many gods like a beauty pageant.

  78. Babylon's Dread says:

    Nothing beats doing systematic theology by the unfolding covenant. I only wish that it existed more fully outside the Calvinist perspective.

  79. Josh the Baptist says:

    Dread, is there a book ( even Calvinist) that does a good job with that perspective?

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Ha ha – I thought Babs comment was based on a new book of the month from NT Wright 😉

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