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79 Responses

  1. JD says:

    God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.
    Oswald Chambers

  2. Em says:

    JD, Amen to you and Oswald…. 😇

  3. BrianD says:

    The latest Rise and Fall of Mars Hill episode dropped this week and it focused on David Nicholas, the pastor and church planter who helped found the Acts29 network. My first impression is that it gave a backstory to the man that I hadn’t heard before, although I’m sure it’s been covered elsewhere. It portrayed Nicholas as a pastor who was busy helping plant churches and mentor church planters right up to the day he died.

  4. Dread says:

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2021/11/the-failure-of-evangelical-elites

    Trueman tells us that our efforts at being thought well of in polite society are in vain.

  5. Jean says:

    The Trueman article is interesting and thought provoking. I will ask a question after the following except from the article:

    “Let me put it bluntly: Talking in an outraged voice about racism within the boundaries set by the woke culture is an excellent way of not talking about the pressing moral issues on which ­Christianity and the culture are opposed to each other: LGBTQ+ rights and abortion.”

    Who here believes LGBTQ+ rights and abortion are the pressing moral issues on which Christianity and culture are opposed to each other?

    Personally, I experience no conflict in my daily life from these issues.

  6. Michael says:

    “Who here believes LGBTQ+ rights and abortion are the pressing moral issues on which Christianity and culture are opposed to each other?”

    Without a doubt they are certainly the political ground that war occupies.

    As someone considering a church plant you better believe LBGTQ issues are front and center as an issue that will be hard to ignore.

  7. Jean says:

    I think David French is more accurate on the pressing issues. His critique of both sides is more persuasive too.

  8. Michael says:

    “Personally, I experience no conflict in my daily life from these issues.”

    I don’t either…because I keep my mouth shut.
    I find it difficult to do so when the country’s chief health officer is a man in a dress.

    Still my own stall needs mucking and the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few

  9. Michael says:

    The churches mistake was the idea that you could combat immorality with one of the most publicly immoral men of our time as your champion…then scoff at the cognitive dissonance…

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    Trueman is perfect for Halloween… politics dressed up as historiography. Trick or treat…

  11. Jean says:

    I experience no conflict, not because I keep my mouth shut, but because the issues do not come up. No one asks me about them and I have no reason to ask anyone else about them or modify my behavior because of them.

    My men’s bible study meets in a public restaurant and we freely converse, bibles out, on any topic we want.

  12. Michael says:

    Jean,

    The difference is that you are not a pastor.
    Not only in the church I pastor, but here online I receive many questions about these matters every week.
    Working with people who are “deconstructing”, LGBTQ issues are usually one of the first things folks bring into question.

  13. Jean says:

    I think a major issue is that there are church bodies, not many, that have made no moral compromises concerning LBGTQ+ and abortion, where the clergy and the laity are on the same page. So deconstruction is not required or encouraged.

    A couple weeks ago the gospel text from the lectionary was Mark 10:2-10. The sermon made a strong defense of marriage between one woman and one man for life. I’m not bragging but grateful.

  14. Michael says:

    It’s a great deal more complex than that.
    Some sects that affirm traditional sexual mores in doctrine have allowed heterosexual abuses and easy divorce for years.
    The hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance between condemning one group while secretly covering another has kept me busy for the last 21 years…

  15. Jean says:

    “Some sects…”

    With the number of sects and the differences in clergy qualifications and supervision, from a lot to none, I’m not surprised. For me, it’s why doctrine is non-negotiable and liturgical practice is essential.

  16. Michael says:

    Orthodoxy is negated by sinful orthopraxy…

  17. Jean says:

    sinful orthopraxy is an oxymoron. I get your drift, but I would challenge the orthodoxy on one or more points of doctrine of a church that practiced sin.

  18. Josh Hamrick says:

    So True man doesn’t care about racism, therefore, no one else should. Only care about the sin he cares about.

    Pass.

  19. Dread says:

    Trueman doesn’t care about racism? Absurd… you should indeed pass by on the other side.

    and

    Trueman is perfect for Halloween

    The former is absurd and the latter is clownish for a man who posts and wants to be taken seriously. Trueman is a first rate thinker, a morally respectable man, and a fully engaged man of Christ in the academy. But we think we can slur him and cast him aside in our blog splatters.

  20. Dread says:

    The issues he raises face me every day both in my pastoral ministry and now in my post pastoral work. Every family is marked by some intrusion of identity confusion imposed upon their children by culture, by peer pressure by our indoctrinating education system and by internet confusion.

    Since leaving the pastoral charge everywhere I go I am asked these questions…

    Thank you Carl Trueman

  21. Michael says:

    I once took my significant other to a Trueman lecture…which may be why she’s no longer my significant other… 🙂

    I always read him, buy his books, and find him interesting even when I don’t agree with him.

    He has taken a hard right turn that makes him less compelling at times.

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    I have nothing against Trueman personally, but he presents an argument in this article that, in my opinion, is deeply flawed by its methodology. The “bait and switch” is way too obvious…

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    “…a man who posts and wants to be taken seriously.”

    I let readers decide if they want to take me seriously. That’s the nature of the enterprise… always has been…

  24. bob1 says:

    Trueman is perfect for Halloween… politics dressed up as historiography. Trick or treat…

    Duane,

    Exactly,

    I do like David French, at least mostly, like 75%. He’s still a little too reactionary for my tastes in some respects. But he does seem to get both sides of the current cultural/spiritual divide. That’s too rare.

  25. josh hamrick says:

    I quite admire Trueman, and have benefited greatly from his works in the past. The current right-wing stuff he talks about seems beneath him.

    My comment was only in response to the quote that Jean posted in regards to speaking about racism.

  26. Jean says:

    My take away from the Trueman article is twofold: 1) collegiality between conservative Christians and the cultural elite is impossible because of the two divisive issues of abortion and LGBTA+, and 2) never Trumpers like Russel Moore are undermining conservative Christianity.

    IMO Trueman is espousing tribalism more than conservatism.

    As arguably the most theologically conservative regular commenter here, with a “glass half full” personality of optimism, I believe;

    i) true conservatism is based on principles, not outcomes. A conservative calls balls and strikes according to the rules of the game. You cannot call yourself a conservative and not categorically call 1/6 a crime; you cannot be for law and order or defend the blue if you cannot categorically condemn the 1/6 break in; you cannot call yourself a conservative and call the 11/20 election illegitimate (because all the evidence is to the contrary).

    ii) Conservative Christians can and should engage and collaborate with the liberal elites on topics of mutual interest, such as: ecology; criminal justice reform; climate change; defending democracy; race relations, health care and immigration.

    None of the forgoing topics requires any compromise on the issues of abortion or LGBTA+.

  27. josh hamrick says:

    ” the most theologically conservative regular commenter here,”

    The most…umm, ok.

  28. josh hamrick says:

    That’s a knee-slapper.

  29. Jean says:

    Josh, again, no one is forcing you to not believe in the historic faith. If you believe your expression is correct, more power to you.

  30. Xenia says:

    As arguably the most theologically conservative regular commenter here<<<

    No, that would be me, a member of a "denomination" that is 2000 years old. And I believe all of it, to the bottom of my toes.

    Lutheranism is full of innovations.

  31. Xenia says:

    “Most conservative” does not equal “Most Lutheran.”

  32. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    Whether I agree with you or not, I do agree that Orthodoxy is theologically conservative.

  33. josh hamrick says:

    “Josh, again, no one is forcing you to not believe in the historic faith.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    This guy is a riot.

  34. Michael says:

    To my knowledge and theological understanding…we have one theological liberal here, my old friend G-man.

    The rest of us represent the conservative arms of our traditions.

  35. Michael says:

    Jean,

    “Josh, again, no one is forcing you to not believe in the historic faith.”

    Why would you insult Josh in this manner?

  36. josh hamrick says:

    It’s just what that tribe does. Seen it too many times.

  37. josh hamrick says:

    The guy that I apparently don’t follow said:
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

  38. Jean says:

    It’s not an insult. Just following up humor with humor – his 5:15 pm.

    But truly, Baptists by definition are not a historic expression. That doesn’t necessarily mean the historic faith is correct.

  39. josh hamrick says:

    This is like KJVO argumentation. So ill-informed you can’t believe it is sincere.

    But still hilarious.

  40. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Baptists embrace the historic creeds of the church whether they acknowledge them or not.

    They certainly have roots in all orthodox doctrine that is non negotiable.

    I despise this type of tribalism…

  41. Jean says:

    If Baptists reject chiliasm, accept that Baptism confers the remission of sins, as confessed by creedal Christians, and hold the other non-negotiable orthodox doctrines, then praise God!

    I would disagree that historic Christianity is tribalism.

  42. pstrmike says:

    “Baptists embrace the historic creeds of the church whether they acknowledge them or not.”

    Yes, they do.

  43. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Are you really so dense that you do not understand that your attitude makes Lutheranism an offense?

    Do you not understand that your certainty leaves no place for brethren who do not belong to your tribe?

    Xenia has the oldest claim to orthodoxy among us…yet her and I have traveled the internet together for more than 20 years…and I appreciate all she brings to the table.

    I love Josh like a little brother…he loves Jesus more than I do.

    I love all these traditions…but yours is becoming nothing more than an offense.

    This is to your shame.

  44. josh hamrick says:

    Ignorance can be fun for a while.

  45. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    I really don’t know how one can argue otherwise from a historic perspective.

  46. Jean says:

    One can’t if he is being insulted, misrepresented and shamed into silence.

  47. Michael says:

    Jean,

    You are free to celebrate your tradition.
    I rejoice that you found a home.
    You are no longer free to insult every other tradition here or misrepresent historical facts…which you seem to have a very tenuous grip on.
    There has been nothing here today that would entice anyone to join any of these tribes…and it calls into question why anyone would follow Christ if they had to travel with us.

  48. Josh says:

    Yep.

  49. josh hamrick says:

    Meeting with other members of the non-historic faith this morning we sang together, prayed, read Scripture, baptized two new believers…

    I don’t know what those members of the historic faith were doing.

  50. Em says:

    Josh @ 7:53pm
    Is ignorance another term for falling? Might be until you get “grounded”
    Haha. 😏

  51. bob1 says:

    This is, by far, the best article on right-wing conservatism and its effects on the church. Very in-depth reporting.

    A couple of quotes:

    “Nearly everyone tells me there is at the very least a small group in nearly every evangelical church complaining and agitating against teaching or policies that aren’t sufficiently conservative or anti-woke,” a pastor and prominent figure within the evangelical world told me. (Like others with whom I spoke about this topic, he requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.) “It’s everywhere.”

    “The root of the discord lies in the fact that many Christians have embraced the worst aspects of our culture and our politics. When the Christian faith is politicized, churches become repositories not of grace but of grievances, places where tribal identities are reinforced, where fears are nurtured, and where aggression and nastiness are sacralized. The result is not only wounding the nation; it’s having a devastating impact on the Christian faith.”

    “What we’re seeing is massive discipleship failure caused by massive catechesis failure,” James Ernest, the vice president and editor in chief at Eerdmans, a publisher of religious books, told me.

    Ernest was one of several figures I spoke with who pointed to catechism, the process of instructing and informing people through teaching, as the source of the problem. “The evangelical Church in the U.S. over the last five decades has failed to form its adherents into disciples. So there is a great hollowness. All that was needed to cause the implosion that we have seen was a sufficiently provocative stimulus. And that stimulus came.”

    “Culture catechizes,” Alan Jacobs, a distinguished professor of humanities in the honors program at Baylor University, told me. Culture teaches us what matters and what views we should take about what matters.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/10/evangelical-trump-christians-politics/620469/

  52. Em says:

    Dr. David Jeremiah
    Heard him this am… Beautiful salvation messsage. Yes, he mentioned the plethora of compromising pastors among us today.
    Don’t know the man – first time i heard him – but he took that two two edged sword, thrust it in your gut and twisted it. Ouch! ! !

  53. Em says:

    Last comment. 😇
    Listening to the late Adrian Rogers as i type
    “God is not fair! God is just!”. Hard truth! Amen

  54. josh hamrick says:

    “Is ignorance another term for falling?”

    Ignorance is falling off a skyscraper and thinking you are flying.

  55. Michael says:

    That Atlantic article needs to be everywhere…excellent .
    I’ll post it again.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/10/evangelical-trump-christians-politics/620469/

  56. bob1 says:

    Em,

    I interviewed Dr. Jeremiah for a magazine article I did of him, probably 20 years ago or so now.

    Seemed like a good guy. And it was obvious he didn’t buy in to the extreme dispensational/rapture date setting, either.

  57. Em says:

    It seems to me today that anyone, hard over left or right, does not use their brain…. analytical thinking cannot be done without making good use of a fact gathering grey matter that has the capability of …. analysing those “facts.”
    Someone once wisely said, “emotions are meant to be the appreciators of life, not the govenors.”
    Now i am done … 😁

  58. Duane Arnold says:

    “On the flip side, many churches aren’t interested in catechesis at all. They focus instead on entertainment, because entertainment is what keeps people in their seats and coins in the offering plate.”

    From The Atlantic article… sadly true.

  59. Michael says:

    When I spoke with Dr.Packer all he wanted to talk about was catechesis…he long ago knew that was the greatest need of the church.

  60. bob1 says:

    I believe catechesis is it very important…but it’s not a magic cure as I believe the article writer points out. Right now the culture predominates and it’s 24/7.

  61. Jean says:

    I agree that catechesis is essential.

  62. pstrmike says:

    I agree that catechesis is very important. I don’t think it is something that we ever outgrow. However, people can use doctrine as a means to insulate themselves from being spiritually formed. They become so concerned with doctrine that they neglect the weightier matter of transformation.

  63. bob1 says:

    I wonder if the “rub” here is spiritual formation vs. mental assent when it comes to proper use of catechesis.

    And is the term “discipleship” synonymous with catechesis? My understanding is that the latter refers to “religious instruction given to a person in preparation for Christian baptism or confirmation, typically using a catechism.”

    Don’t have the answers, but…

  64. CM says:

    Michael,

    Excellent Atlantic article by the way. It pairs well with the stuff you and I have been posting from David French lately.

  65. CM says:

    Michael,

    Speaking of David French, here is another where he hits it out of the park:

    https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/jd-vance-and-the-great-challenge

  66. josh hamrick says:

    The catechesis discussion is interesting. I don’t know of any churches that aren’t interested in catechesis; I know many churches that are trying different methods to achieve the same goal, with varying levels of success.

    You have to understand, the culture isn’t winning over our converts by teaching classes.

  67. Michael says:

    Thinking on this a little more, I’m not sure catechesis is the problem…it’s discipleship.
    Even that is too narrow…we need to redefine what it means to be a Christian…as I think the true meaning was lost some time back…

  68. josh hamrick says:

    ‘“Culture catechizes,” Alan Jacobs, a distinguished professor of humanities in the honors program at Baylor University, told me. Culture teaches us what matters and what views we should take about what matters.”

    That’s the key to the thing right there. This is a true statement, but the more important question is HOW does culture catechize? Culture is all immersive. It is art, entertainment, education, fashion, language…I don’t think you are going to overcome that with 30 minute weekly lessons.

  69. bob1 says:

    Josh, I agree. And I think that comes out clearly in the Atlantic piece. I wonder if a piece of this is the old Christ vs. culture discussions. Do we believe, for example, that Christ has somehow abandoned our culture? If so, that will certainly color the scope of how we look at and define discipleship. And of course other POVs will color it differently.

  70. Xenia says:

    ‘“Culture catechizes,”

    If we really believe this, are we willing to make personal changes in our lives?

    Do we send money to the devil’s propaganda tools such as Netflix, HBO, cable companies, etc. etc.? Are we feeding the beast? Do we tell ourselves “It’s just entertainment.”

    If all we do is discuss how the culture is catechizing us, yet make no changes in our own lives, there’s no point even talking about it, might as well go watch another episode of whatever Satan has lined up for us tonight.

  71. josh hamrick says:

    Well, that is the Benedict Option…

    But in this conversation, it doesn’t help that much because the culture will still be catechizing everyone else.

  72. pstrmike says:

    “You have to understand, the culture isn’t winning over our converts by teaching classes.”

    Well said Josh. Culture is transcend in that we experience it often without even being aware of its influence. Its like the people who come up with weird doctrines who tell me it was the Spirit who told them. They do not, or are unable to identify, the voice that is speaking to them.

    I think of emersion training. While I haven’t had much exposure to it, there is something about being placed in an environment 24/7 that shapes us way beyond what a 90 minute weekly class can do. You mentioned Benedict, who from what I have read understood the value of being emerged in an intentional community or sub-culture, while not being cut off from the larger culture.

  73. Jean says:

    I don’t see culture as negative as a binary choice between a Christian worldview and a secular worldview. In some significant ways culture has never been better. Let’s look at some cultural improvements: In Western Society, we don’t have child chimney sweeps and child labor; forced slavery; torture as a means of exacting a confession; amputation of limbs and burning at the stake; life expectancies are much longer; women and racial minorities have far greater civil rights; access to education is universal. This isn’t to minimize Christian problems with culture, but culture is not all bad.

    Perhaps the challenge is to find points of engagement on topics of mutual interest, while holding to integrity of values where Christian interests diverge from culture.

  74. Dread says:

    J D Vance was amiss to chasten Baldwin at a time like this. The church I was in prayed for Baldwin by name and spoke blessing over him and his family in this dark hour.

    Another church I was in was filled to overflowing with people from a cluster of rehab ministries bring healing to addicts and praying one by one for them as they requested.

    Another was almost empty but the faithful were humble and of a broken spirit asking God to heal our land without doing us and them indictments.

    Meanwhile the culture converts our children with all kinds of means. And we are at a loss to even understand the weapons fashioned against us in the age of illiberal ascendancy. But the people pray and they ask for the God of our salvation to heal and help.

    The people I see as I travel may be often confused and sometimes angry but they hardly evil.

    Jacobs, French, Trueman can all help us. But we must take care how we devour one another. We must find a way to stop it. Online forums can facilitate the bloodletting but so far the healing of nations illudes them.

  75. Michael says:

    J.D. Vance is a soulless opportunist.

    I have spent countless days and sleepless night wondering how to facilitate understanding and healing.

    I have failed to find a single answer.

  76. BrianD says:

    “we need to redefine what it means to be a Christian”

    Michael, what would that look like to you?

    Asking for a friend.

    🙂

  77. Nathan Priddis says:

    Defining what a Christian is…
    That’s the question of our new era.

  78. Em says:

    One thing i think i have noticed – with regard to a bona fide “Christian” – forbearance…
    Unless they are put in the position of defending The Faith, their approach to most of life seems to rely on God, an unspoken, but clear faith that knows God is in charge.
    Dunno, though, do i? 😇

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