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88 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    I’m re-reading a book I first encountered about fifteen years ago. “The Book On The Bookshelf” (1999) by Henry Petroski. It is a wonderful history of books and how we store them and use them. For anyone interested in the access people had to written materials (including The Bible) through the centuries, it’s a really great introduction.

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I was listening to this on my walk this morning – a conversation on James 4:1-12 that turned into a discussion on the Lutheran thought of an open canon and why James is in dispute – not something you get on basic Christian radio – thought I would share it here for anyone who has a curiosity.

    There are 2 downloads towards the bottom – it is the upper one and is not the programming contained in the peach colored player.

  3. John Donne says:

    Can a fallen minister be restored back into ministry?
    In your opinion does it depend on the type of fall, and how repentant the person is, or do you believe there is no restoration whatsoever to the former ministry, or does it depend on the ministry to you?
    Are there precedents in scripture that would allow it, is Peter one of these, after denying the Lord three times was then restored in his relationship with the Lord and the to ministry, or in your view someone like Peter today should never be allowed to “feed the sheep” again?
    As a congregant would you attend a church where the pastor had had a moral failure, is there a type of sin where you would draw the line, and say “nope, he can’t be restored back to his former ministry, and if he was I would never attend that church again!” and if so what would be that line for you?

    If you feel so inclined to give me your thoughts on these I would be grateful.

    Thank you

    John Donne

  4. Dan from Georgia says:

    Tomorrow is the white nationalist thing here in Newnan, GA…prayers appreciated for no physical and/or armed conflict. I hear ther are going to be around 600 officers in the area and word is that they cannot guarantee anyone’s safety despite the number of law enforcement personnel.

    I want to say that this is not what Newnan is about. There is the belief in other parts of our nation that southerners are all racist bigots. I may have said that a few times myself, coming from a more progressive state politically and socially.

    No more.

    There is no room in the heart for Jesus and racism.

  5. Michael says:

    John Donne,

    My first thought would be comparing pastors to Peter is a false equivalence…

    We’ve gone over this issue for a long time here…I think there can be restoration after an extended period of time and testing.

  6. Michael says:


    God be with you in whatever you choose to do…and may he be with your whole community as well…

  7. John 20:29 says:

    John D, as a pew sitter i cannot rule a pastor as unfit to return to ministering if he has been overtaken in a sin. Surely, it must be on a case by case basis?
    I sat this because I am aware of a pastor, who through a chain of circumstances and over a period of years found himself an alcoholic and he embarrassed himself royally. I suspect it had its beginning in a root of bitterness he’d held onto when he felt he’d been betrayed by some “devout” fellow Believers he’d trusted.
    As his story unfolded, he repented and came out the other side more of a man of God than he’d ever been. Circumstances gave him a congregation of recovering alcoholics and their families and friends in the community. Outcasts, as it were, who would never have darkened the door of the local churches of the holier than thou.
    Then there are those who never should have entered the ministry in the first place…? So, God knows… But it is interesting to watch Him work….
    I hope Michael’s TGIF today is read and appreciated. My 66+ years watching the story of the people of the Church unfold tells me that he is right on the mark today.

  8. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael!

  9. Duane Arnold says:


    You’ll be in our prayers… take care.

  10. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Duane!

  11. Jean says:

    John Donne @ #3,

    I recommend you review the history of the Donatism controversy of the 4th century.

    Based on the outcome there, I understand that a pastor could in principle be restored from many types of falls. However, at the point of restoration, a body of ecclesiastical authorities, or in the case of a non-denominational church, qualified elders, would need to find that the pastor once again meets the qualifications of I Timothy III and Titus I (which might not be possible or may take a long time, depending on the sin).

    In any case, restoration to the office must be distinguished from absolution for the sin. They are two separate issues and must be analyzed within the proper distinction of Law and Gospel.

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    The Donatist controversy has little to do with the questions asked in #3. Furthermore, the Donatist controversy was far more complex than what is suggested in the Wiki article and stretched back to Cyprian and forward past the time of Augustine.

  13. Jean says:

    You’re welcome to your opinion Duane.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    Yes, indeed I am…

    Oddly, I just sent this to Michael earlier today. It’s a very fine overview done by a MA student of mine who was in my Augustine class some twenty years ago…

  15. John Donne says:

    I don’t see how it’s a false equivalence between Peter and the fall of a Pastor, is it not a pastor who “feeds the sheep”? Was not Peter called to feed the sheep? And if Peter is not comparable to a fallen pastor who is he comparable to, who else feeds the sheep?

    Is not a moral failure equivalent to denying the Lord, or any sin for that matter equivalent to denying the Lord? And yet after Peter’s repentance which in his case was a matter of days, he is restored fully once again to feeding the sheep!

    I wonder how many would have had difficulty accepting Peter back in ministry, including you Michael who most likely would’ve said, we must stop him from ever preaching or teaching again!

  16. John 20:29 says:

    FWIW – i find all the comments regarding John D’s question to have merit… Yes, forgiveness and cleansing are not synonymous with restoration to an office or ministry…. It isn’t difficult to define areas of lack or weakness that would make restoration itself sinful…
    On the other hand … We ought to be clear in our minds what constitutes forgiveness and what is simply shallow enabling – i sense we’ve seen a lot of the latter lately…
    In politics and in the churches…. dunno

  17. John Donne says:

    John 20:29
    Would you agree that in Peter’s case it was synonymous with forgiveness and restoration to ministry, for only Jesus knew his heart, but those standing by on the outside like Michael with what seems to be a hard and fast rule would have disqualified him without any chance of ever being restored to ministry, wouldn’t most people who sit as judges pointing fingers would have told Peter in Acts Chapter 2, to “sit down you’re not qualified to preach you just denied the Lord a few days ago, or what do you mean Peter you’re going to Cornelius’s house to invite them to know Jesus, you’re a Christ denier, you need to sit for a couple of years at least until we tell you you’re ready if ever,” so I’m not sure if Michael’s and others judgements readily discarding fallen ministers without any recourse for restoration to their former Ministry lines up with scripture.

    Thank you

    John Donne

  18. Michael says:

    John Donne,

    If you don’t understand the difference between the Apostle Peter and the guy up the street that can’t keep his pants on, then there is probably little I can do to enlighten you.


  19. John Donne says:

    So you’re lifting Peter above a modern pastor who also has a calling from God, do you do the same thing with Paul who called himself the “chief of sinners”, and I don’t remember Peter lifting himself up and saying “I have been forgiven and restored because I am someone special and on a higher plane than you,” no Michael if you read the scriptures Peter said, “what you see today is not just for me, but for your children and your children’s children.” Please refer me to scripture where Peter lifts himself up as you have done, so again please refer me to scripture and not to your self righteous opinion.

    Thank you

    John Donne

  20. dusty says:

    John D, you will do well not to call Michael self righteous. That was un called for.

  21. dusty says:

    I don’t think all pastors are called by God but appointed by man. There are other pastors who are clearly called by God Himself!

  22. John Donne says:

    His attitude comes across as self righteous and condescending.

    Thank you
    John Donne

  23. dusty says:

    I a sure you that is not his character

  24. Jean says:

    John Donne,

    Who in your opinion is comparable to Jesus who would restore the fallen pastor? You are comparing Peter with the modern pastor, but isn’t the real comparison Jesus and the modern restorer?

    I Tim III and Titus I set forth clear qualifications for pastors. For modern authorities to judge the qualifications of a fallen pastor, they cannot read the heart of the individual. They must judge on the basis of proven repentance, no?

  25. Jean says:


    Your orientation, John Donne, seems overly concerned with the restoration of the fallen pastor, instead of the spiritual health and safety of the victims and the flock. In I Peter IV the one who speaks should speak “as one who speaks oracles of God.” Why? “[I]n order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

    Only in a celebrity pastor culture, which is not particularly biblical, would the restoration of a pastor be such an immediate necessity.

  26. dusty says:

    Thank you Jean! Well said!

  27. John 20:29 says:

    John D., I lean toward agreeing with Michael on the Peter comparison as the Church was not yet formed and, while Peter’s role was predicted by our Lord, he was not yet “installed.” Peter’s eyes told him that he’d been fooled as Jesus was taken into custody and i suspect his mind was in despair and turmoil that night. I just can’t see it as dereliction. He didn’t go looking for Judas to split up the purse or try to run off with the maid who accused him of being one of them…. I’m extrapolating, i know .. sorry

    And, even tho we are separated by our assessment of a certain pastor of yesterday, Michael is jealous for God’s integrity, a bit of a bulldog for Truth – you can trust dusty for a character witness. ?

  28. dusty says:

    John 20:29, I love how you put that…

    Michael is jealous for God’s integrity. …a bit of a bulldog for truth…..

  29. Jean says:

    I’m picturing Michael gathering the people at Mount Carmel, jealous as all get out… 🙂

  30. dusty says:

    Good picture Jean, i can see that. Makes me happy!

  31. John Donne says:

    Yes Jean, very good point, but at least you are reasoning and thoughtful in your question, and not just giving a blanket condescending dismissal, so yes you are right, each pastor would have to be submitting to his authority which in most cases would be a board of elders. But my original contention was that a fallen pastor whatever his sin may have been can be both forgiven and restored to his ministry a la Peter, and Michael’s condescending retort was that Peter is unlike fallen pastors today “who can’t keep their pants on,” and thus according to Michael are beyond restoration to ministry, I was simply saying that I don’t see that as being scriptural.

    But thank you again for your thoughtful response.

    John Donne

  32. dusty says:

    There you go again. ……you are not being nice!

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I watched the video posted on another thread about Kittle and the other Nazi theologians. It’s amazing that people used Kittle’s works – a known Nazi who was jailed after the war.

  34. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s a warning about the mixing of Christianity and nationalism, an aberrant ideology and, at least in my mind, a Christian heresy. To Kittle’s name you can add Ludwig Mueller, Walter Grundmann, Paul Althaus, Emanuel Hirsch and Georg Bertram, just to name a few.

    The issue of The Dictionary of New Testament Theology and its use is addressed, in brief, here –

    By the way, I looked in my set and no mention is made in the preface of Kittle’s politics nor those of the 100+ other contributors, many of them resident in Germany during the Third Reich…

  35. bob1 says:

    If I’m not mistaken, recent scholarship about the German church’s entwinement with Naziism is showing that most churches and clergy were much more complicit than had previously been suspected.

    The power of totalitarian nationalism can be very seductive and demonic.

  36. dusty says:

    Just came from a funeral. Its location….my old CC. Sigh… of the women who hurt me the most came up to me and asked my forgivness for what she did….16 years after……of course i forgave her……but wow i was not expecting that! God is so very good.

  37. Duane Arnold says:

    #35 Bob

    Yes, the recent scholarship shows them to have been much more complicit. People tend to forget, Hitler was elected. The majority of the churches spoke of a “renewal” of the nation and a return to traditional values. While many considered Hitler’s rhetoric to be extreme and often outside the norms of Christian behavior, they supported him because he promised to undertake their agenda in matters of policy. A majority of the churches either embraced or tolerated the persecution and/or expulsion of minorities. Most chose not to comment on the activities of the para-military brownshirts.

    It should give us pause for thought…

  38. JoelG says:

    Wow Dusty that is great! ?

  39. dusty says:

    Thanks Joel…it really is. This is someone i never expected this from…..she asked for forgiveness and apologized for everything everything and didn’t expect anything in return it was amazing.

  40. dusty says:

    The old pastor lives in Montana now or I’m not sure they would have let me in the door. That is what led me here to Phoenix preacher.

  41. John 20:29 says:

    Hitler was elected is a lesson we mustn’t forget. We cannot elect a cure when the core of the nation is corrupted. Michelle Obama said on TV the other day that the nation had gone from the good father, Obama (the one who makes you eat your vegetables and be in bed on time) to the bad father who lets you get away with everything…. dunno, i think the nation’s fathers do effect the country, but we don’t elect them, do we? Is that what people want in the White House? A Daddy? I pray we turn to a nation of wise men who fear God – then we won’t elect a disastrous dictator out of any political camp….. sigh….

  42. John 20:29 says:

    dusty, i have heard it said that one’s enemies tell us who you are…. I would be ashamed to call you (or anyone here, i guess) an enemy… I, too, have a few, tho. ?

  43. JoelG says:

    Forgiveness is hard. I don’t think it’s possible without God’s help. Way to go Dusty.

  44. dusty says:

    I never called her an enemy….she considered me one cuz i no longer went to cc

  45. dusty says:

    The funeral was for a dear friends husband who died of cancer. She is a rock! She love the Lord and spreads His love everywhere she goes.

  46. dusty says:

    You are so right Joel

  47. Dan from Georgia says:

    All, white supremacists rally ended short time ago. No major incidents. Apparently a few counter-protesters were arrested…most likely Atlanta Antifa. Counter-protesters and cops WAY outnumbered bigots..of which there were only 50-100…400 cops alone and many peaceful protesters.

  48. Xenia says:

    .she considered me one cuz i no longer went to cc <<<

    I have a few of those, although "enemy" is too strong a word for how they feel. They act like I joined the Scientologists.

  49. dusty says:

    Glad you are /were safe Dan! Still praying for you and your family.

  50. dusty says:

    Xenia, oh gosh! Silly people

  51. Duane Arnold says:

    #47 Dan

    Thanks for the report… Glad you are alright.

  52. dusty says:

    Xenia, are you still in pain over those lost frendships?

  53. Jean says:

    The character of the President is important for a variety of important reasons and one of them is that he is a “father,” to his citizens. That is how God has ordered creation.

  54. Xenia says:

    Hi Dusty, no, not really. My best friend from those days is still my best friend today, so I feel blessed to have her in my life.. When I run into some others, they want to talk about CC activities, things I don’t remember with much fondness, but it’s their lives and they are allowed to be happy about their lives. 🙂 They absolutely DO NOT want to hear about my church activities so it doesn’t go both ways but I think back when I was a devout CC-er and I think I would have been the same way. They are good Christian people but our paths have diverged.

  55. Xenia says:

    I remember I joined an a prayer group for moms of students at a particular high school, and the leader looked at me and said “There will be NO PRAYING TO MARY in this group.”

    And there’s always the awkward moment when a living-roomful of evangelicals want to get in a circle, hold hands, and launch into a series of prayers that I now believe should be reserved for one’s private prayer closest, aw well as prayers that I cannot say “Amen” to. So I slip-slide away from situations like that, probably causing folks to say I no longer believe in prayer.

    But again, they are all decent God-fearing folk who are practicing a type of Christianity that I used to think was God’s Best. Can’t fault ’em but I can’t join ’em, either, not for everything.

  56. Duane Arnold says:


    “The character of the President is important for a variety of important reasons and one of them is that he is a “father,” to his citizens. That is how God has ordered creation.”

    Disagree completely… on every sentiment…. God has not ordered creation according to the decisions of the electoral process.

  57. dusty says:

    I get it xenia, and I’m glad your best friend is still your best friend. I am happy for you.

  58. bob1 says:


    Wait. What?

    I think a few theological steps were skipped to make this leap.

  59. John 20:29 says:

    Well, Jean seems to agree with Michelle Obama as to the President’s role… I don’t. However, it is, or should be, a given that the character of our President is important. These days we don’t seem to come up with many qualified candidates and that doesn’t speak well of the state of the nation, does it?

  60. Jean says:

    A few steps were skipped Bob1, not because they’re not there; I wanted to see who might get it.

  61. bob1 says:

    Jean’s model sounds a lot like the European countries and their state churches.

  62. Duane Arnold says:

    #61 Bob

    It is way worse than that…

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Any and all presidents or national leaders are completely irrelevant to the life of the church and the Christian.

  64. Duane Arnold says:


    Mark the date and the calendar …. I agree.

  65. Jean says:

    #63 is incorrect.

  66. John 20:29 says:

    #63- leaders – those in authority – do not play a role in the life, the governance, of the Church… But it is certain that they can make the life of the Believer harder… or easier
    That is a part of the plan of God unfolding, is it not?

  67. bob1 says:

    How can an opinion be incorrect?

  68. Jean says:

    #63 was an assertion, not an opinion.

  69. Jean says:

    #61, That’s not my model. I learned it from Luther, and it’s supported by Scripture.

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We have had 45 presidents – not a single one has grown the church or impeded the church – especially by their character.

  71. Jean says:


    Can you cite any evidence for your assertion?

    Moreover, your unprovable assertion also does not address the other object of #63, the Christian.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So tell me how 44 improved your Christianity and 45 has harmed your Christianity.

  73. John 20:29 says:

    No one becomes a head of State unless God permits, but…. ? …. interesting thread… has me wondering if the lack of agreement could have anything to do with definition of terms… ?
    We call Geo. Washington the father of the country, but what have the other 44 fathered? Maybe i don’t want the answer to that… ?

  74. Jean says:

    You keep changing the assertion, that is moving the goalposts.

    However, in any case, the burden of proof is not on the one who stands on Scripture.

    We are taught to pray:

    “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

    Civilian leaders have an office from God serve their people with peace, justice and dignity, and punish wrongdoing. Christians have a duty to honor and pray for them.

    More broadly, Christians hunger and thirst for righteousness. This particular blessing is directed at civil righteousness (i.e., coram mundo).

  75. Jean says:

    My #74 is directed at #72.

  76. Jean says:

    Hungering and thirsting for righteousness means the blessed do not kick back and ignore unrighteousness, particularly when they can make a difference.

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jeanne, you continue to miss the misunderstanding in your original statement. The times of biggest church growth and the growth of individual Christians has been in times of persecution under scoundrels of no worthy character.
    But I would never think to stand in your way of calling Donald Trump father. I will not. (nor would I allow myself to call Obama father.)

  78. bob1 says:

    I’m out.

  79. Jim says:

    The former first lady’s comments don’t surprise me at all. The mindset is obvious.

  80. Jean says:

    #63: “Any and all presidents or national leaders are completely irrelevant to the life of the church and the Christian.”

    #77: “The times of biggest church growth and the growth of individual Christians has been in times of persecution under scoundrels of no worthy character.”

    Which one is it? You’ve now asserted both.

  81. John 20:29 says:

    This thread is confusing me…. so…

    But i’ve been pondering the contrast between Barbara Bush and Billy Graham, their lives and their funeral services, too… Yet i am convinced that both are in the presence of the Lord now… My morning reading was Romans 14… maybe that is what directed my thoughts?

  82. Jean says:


    You are free to disregard the BOC, but be aware that the LC brings civil leaders directly under the 4th Commandment. See, LC, 141 ff.

  83. Jean says:

    Good night everyone.

  84. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, that is where you misunderstand your original words about character for one to be father.
    But now I have shown you that character does not matter – in fact church growth flourishes where moral character is absent.
    When you are in church tomorrow, please note and list those things in the divine service that have been hindered or promoted by Father Trump. Nothing.

  85. Outside T. Fold says:

    Dan from Georgia—

    Thank you telling us about the events in your community. I checked in from time to time on the #Newnan hashtag on twitter and thought of you and your community. I saw tweets describing over aggressive policing. Do you know if those were local police or were they law enforcement brought in as reinforcement (or both?)

  86. Dan from Georgia says:

    OTF, probably both…on my side of Newnan I saw only two state patrol cars and one local police car parked in a spot where I usually don’t see a car (yes, I confess I wasn’t anywhere near the rally as my wife wouldn’t have it and I don’t like to view conflict and hate). From what I read there were 400 law enforcement personnel there, most dressed in riot gear and, shall we say, well-armed. If you look at the pictures of the event it looks like overkill, but I believe they wanted to avoid another situation like that in Charlottesville, VA. From what I read this morning the arrests of the Atlanta Antifa members were because they refused to remove their face masks when asked to by the police..apparently there is some state law about wearing masks or something like that at gatherings…may be related to past KKK activities.

    Thanks for the kind words and prayers…we were a bit concerned that what happened in LA back in 1991 or 1992 could repeat here…violence spreading across a city.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled silly debate and chest-puffing…

  87. Outside T. Fold says:

    Dan from Georgia–

    Just saw a tweet with photos from last night (taken by a Getty Images photographer) of burning swastikas. (speaking of past kkk activities, gulp.)

    (search dot twitter dot com: burn swastika newnan)

    I sense a need to make some additional comment about it. Contemplation of the fear that drives people to DO stuff like this? Desire to minimize it as “only a very small number?” Wishful thinking that sentiments like those are a thing of the past (and how we’re shocked, shocked, when an act like that slithers to the surface)? A contemplation of decades and decades of the life of this nation where burning emblems was combined with terrorism of the more powerful against those who had less power? Though I feel the need to make a comment, I do not know what to say.

  88. Jim says:

    Contrary to popular opinion, the people of our country are more safe than any other time in our history. 40 nuts in a park is not newsworthy in a nation of over 300 million people.

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