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37 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Thank you.
    I commend that article to all who read here.

  2. Dread says:

    Linn

    That looks really interesting. Leithart has 10 kids? Wow.

    Along that line… the think about world economies that few people seem to be factoring in is population trends There are reports that China has been falsifying their population numbers by at least a hundred million. Their one child policy has doomed them to an aging population that they cannot resolve. The sheer death of women of childbearing age will not allow them to meet their own needs for a labor force.

    Similar trends plague the West for different reasons. But depopulation seems to be the reality of the planet and our present path is deadly for the poorest. The poorly played lockdowns and the war in Ukraine guarantees faltering access to food for the poorest worldwide. Stephen Pinker’s research on an improving world could not forecast these events of the last 3 years and our interdependence because of globalism has us causing trauma in worlds most of us have never seen.

  3. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I came away with a feeling that, as a church, the battle needs to be more about building the kingdom snd less about saving what we are rapidly losing. Just my take.

  4. Michael says:

    We are the only ones with real Good News…an awesome responsibility…

  5. pstrmike says:

    Good article, thanks for the link Linn. Much there to give some thought to ( and even offer some counter points) and looking forward to how Liethart further unpacks this in his up coming book.

    Just one quote from the article:

    “Perhaps most fundamentally, our Godless world is a story-less world. “Modernity was defined by the attempt to live in a universal story without a universal storyteller,” writes Robert Jenson. It cannot be sustained. “If there is no God,” Jenson concludes, “there is no narratable world.” And without a narratable world, without the apocalypse as its triumphant and awe-inspiring denouement, there can be no hope.”

    I think the church has both adopted and rejected modernistic precepts. What is acceptable is also assimilated or baptized into philosophical/theological methodological construct as a means to justify how we do church today. I think some of the systematic theological positions that were formed from the 19th century onward may have actually been both a reaction to modernism (Darby), while integrating some of its operative principles (Edwards). Were some of these things in our past 200 years of history actually moves of God or were they a momentum of trying to embrace a new theo-narrative? I don’t have an answer, but I think it does merit some thought.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn

    Good post, and he is right that hope is what is needed… It seems, however, to be a scarce commodity.

  7. Pineapple Head. says:

    Saw 2 cars on the way to pick up my son. One was a Subaru plastered with stickers extolling every gross, extreme liberal agenda. The other was a pickup with decals that such as Don’t Tread On Me, F*** Joe Biden, and Faith (where an AK-47 was used for the “f” in faith. Sigh.

  8. Captain Kevin says:

    Piney, that’s an illustration of the extremes of our society. I saw one the other day with a large decal that said “F*** the Police.” Lord have mercy!

  9. JD says:

    CK said
    “Piney, that’s an illustration of the extremes of our society. I saw one the other day with a large decal that said “F*** the Police.” Lord have mercy!”
    That’s been a popular song for not a few years now.

  10. Steve says:

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/distrust-pastor/

    I think this pretty much rules out most mega church pastors and many CC pastors if not all when you consider #2 unaccountability. A trustworthy pastor in my opinion would denounce the ‘Moses model’ once and for all without hesitation.

  11. Officerhoppy says:

    Steve
    There is a lot in the GC article to consider. But having been a pastor for 30 years or so, when ever a devision is made, inevitably, someone is going to be offended and criticize the pastor and/or leadership. But the basic structure of what is presented in the article is right and true. But at the same time, one needs to do their homework regarding a pastor’s conduct. Appearances and assumptions can be deceiving.

  12. Steve says:

    Officerhoppy, yes appearances and assumptions can be deceiving. But its getting easier to spot the frauds. This is why I can not go to a church where the pastor picks his own board, includes multiply family members on his staff, has no formal membership structure and treats his church as a corporation as if he were the CEO of a multimillion dollar family business all disguised in a spirituality to look and feel like a church.

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    Sometimes you read something that is remarkable…

    “I follow the ancient Fathers, not as thinking that on such a subject they have the weight they possess in the instance of doctrines or ordinances. When they speak of doctrines, they speak of them as being universally held. They are witnesses to the fact of those doctrines having been received, not here or there, but everywhere. We receive those doctrines which they thus teach, not merely because they teach them, but because they bear witness that all Christians everywhere then held them. We take them as honest informants, but not as a sufficient authority in themselves, though they are an authority too. If they were to state these very same doctrines, but say, “These are our opinions: we deduced them from Scripture, and they are true,” we might well doubt about receiving them at their hands. We might fairly say, that we had as much right to deduce from Scripture as they had; that deductions of Scripture were mere opinions; that if our deductions agreed with theirs, that would be a happy coincidence, and increase our confidence in them; but if they did not, it could not be helped—we must follow our own light. Doubtless, no man has any right to impose his own deductions upon another, in matters of faith. There is an obvious obligation, indeed, upon the ignorant to submit to those who are better informed; and there is a fitness in the young submitting implicitly for a time to the teaching of their elders; but, beyond this, one man’s opinion is not better than another’s. But this is not the state of the case as regards the primitive Fathers. They do not speak of their own private opinion; they do not say, “This is true, because we see it in Scripture”—about which there might be differences of judgment—but, “this is true, because in matter of fact it is held, and has ever been held, by all the Churches, down to our times, without interruption, ever since the Apostles:” where the question is merely one of testimony, viz., whether they had the means of knowing that it had been and was so held; for if it was the belief of so many and independent Churches at once, and that, on the ground of its being from the Apostles, doubtless it cannot but be true and Apostolic.”

    J.H. Newman

  14. bob1 says:

    I wonder if catholicity (small c) is a big reason for the renewed interest in the Fathers. Allows us to transcend the “me and Jesus” type of Xnity and helps us realize we’re part of something much bigger and more glorious…

  15. Duane Arnold says:

    bob1

    I think that is it exactly…

  16. Officerhoppy says:

    I’ll get in trouble for saying this but please allow me to make an observation. From my time on the PxP, I have come in contact with members and scholars of the Orthodox religion. There have been some interesting discussions and and they have made me reevaluate my beliefs. I think that is a food thing. But, I may be mistaken but I have noticed a sense of exclusivist among some Orthodox believer as well as an attitude of superiority towards Christians who think and express their faith differently. I get the sense, sometimes, that many in the Orthodox faith feel the fullness of divine revelation can only be found in the Orthodox Church.

    Consequently, a conflict arises between dogmatism and dialogue. How can there be genuine dialogue if one side is convinced that they alone possess the fullness of truth? Any different perspective, like mine, has nothing to contribute and any discussion about theology and orthography becomes nothing more than a thinly disguised apologetic.

    I appreciate the deep beliefs and expressions of faith spoken of here. But at the same time, I often time feel like “I am not in the club” and thus marginalized.

    Any way, this is my observation. I don’t mean it to be snarky. I just wanted to share how I feel some comments come off.

    I am open to input and correction

  17. Michael says:

    Creedal and confessional believers will always have a measure of exclusivity.
    They are convinced that their tradition is correct…that’s why they joined with them.

    Evangelicals do the same thing…

    I have no issue with devoted members of any sect as long as they don’t damn those outside that sect.

    it doesn’t bother me to be outside the club…I still profit from other traditions.

  18. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    The other thing you may be noticing is that those of us in non evangelical traditions started our journey as evangelicals and didn’t find it fitting.

    They have already considered many of the standard evangelical arguments and have rejected them, rightly or wrongly.

  19. Officerhoppy says:

    “ Evangelicals do the same thing…”
    Yeah we do.

    The CC guys gave off the impression that they would be the only ones in heaven

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    Hoppy

    If it’s any comfort, I started reading the Church Fathers when I was a Calvary Chapel pastor, years before becoming an Anglican. I became an Anglican – rather than RC, EO or LCMS – for some of the reasons you have mentioned. Nonetheless, like Michael, I read widely and gain much from other traditions…

  21. Linn says:

    Talk to an independent fundamentalist. If you don’t cross your Ts snd cross your Is the way they do, you have a very small chance of getting into heaven. That’s where I first came to faith. Reading about other faith traditions brought me away from the crazy.

  22. Michael says:

    I will fully confess that I have issues with evangelical doctrine and practice.
    I have to be careful not to express that when it’s neither necessary or charitable.

    There are times when we have to moderate folks…LCMS Lutherans are very hard to commune with…

  23. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks Michael and Duane

  24. pstrmike says:

    These days I am not as concerned about systematic theology as I am spiritual formation, both of individuals and groups. If we are not spiritual transformed, all we have done in changing our theology is swapped out one form of expression for another.

    One of the books that I need to get to this summer is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero, HIs premise, printed on the front cover is “it’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” I think he is right in this.

    Reading the likes of Henri Nouwen, Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Calcutta and others have been helpful to me. One person who addresses this is Richard Rohr. His identification of 8 different schemas of development has been helpful. I approach Rohr with great caution but I find myself more disturbed by the things he says that I agree with rather than those things that I do not.

  25. Pineapple Head says:

    pstrmike,

    Have you read Scazzero’s latest called Emotionally Healthy Discipleship? It’s a gem.

  26. pstrmike says:

    Pineapple,
    I haven’t read it yet. I’ll have to put it on the holding pattern. Thanks for the reference.

  27. Muff Potter says:

    Officerhoppy wrote:
    “The CC guys gave off the impression that they would be the only ones in heaven”

    I have no desire to go to their version of ‘heaven’ anyway.

  28. Dread says:

    I love theology and prefer to sing it lately

    1 O Love that will not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in thee.
    I give thee back the life I owe,
    that in thine ocean depths its flow
    may richer, fuller be.

    2 O Light that follows all my way,
    I yield my flick’ring torch to thee.
    My heart restores its borrowed ray,
    that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
    may brighter, fairer be.

    3 O Joy that seekest me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to thee.
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
    and feel the promise is not vain,
    that morn shall tearless be.

    4 O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee.
    I lay in dust, life’s glory dead,
    and from the ground there blossoms red,
    life that shall endless be.

  29. Reuben says:

    Good stuff. As most here know, when I authored here occasionally, my last stop was the Anglican Church. I certainly felt I had “arrived”, but the people were all the same as anywhere else. Prior to Anglicanism, I had a brief stay at a Mars Hill that imploded. Then the Anglican Church I was in imploded as well. It further compounded my sheer hatred for Christianity. The realization long term was that regardless of where I churched, people suck. Out here in the secular world, I hate to say it, but it’s not nearly as bad. I’m a blue collar guy in a blue collar trade, surrounded by people who are so far away from me in social/political/economic beliefs that I have just learned to not even bring it up. Once that is put away, the people I correspond with daily and weekly are wonderful people, hard working, dedicated to family, salt of the earth folks. The people on the complete opposite end of the spectrum that I have befriended over the years are just as agreeable, sometimes even more, being sympathetic to things that most blue collar simply don’t. I don’t miss the church. I may never walk into one again.

  30. Dread says:

    I still find Jesus when the church gathers… in his abiding presence, in the table, in praise and worship and especially in the people… those suck people… he is in them.

    I don’t always find him easily or sin the same measure but I always go there to find him again in a measure that exceeds what I alone can carry.

  31. Shaun Sells says:

    Reuben, it still breaks my heart to hear of your leaving the church altogether. It is a reminder that I wasn’t a very active or good friend. I was dealing with my own grief and pain in those years and had little left in my tank. I have had different, better experiences than you in the church and in the world – I wish I could loan my church experiences to you.

  32. Reuben says:

    Hey Shaun! Good to hear from you!

    There were good people I met in the church, like you, Michael, Steve, Dread, Josh, Nonnie, kinda why I still hang out here. It wasn’t all horrible. I still remember well hanging out with you up there in Cheyenne one afternoon. Baseball games with Ryan. Good times. I don’t know if he is still at it, but Ritchie Furay is an awesome guy, and I sure do miss Stipe. I have so few Christian friends left.

    I don’t know that I have totally left the faith. I am trying to relearn god. I just seriously doubt I will ever get involved in a church again.

  33. Reuben says:

    Thinking back, a lot of us were going through a rough patch in those days. I remember the hot seat you got thrown into out of seemingly nowhere.

  34. Officerhoppy says:

    R
    “ I don’t know that I have totally left the faith. I am trying to relearn god.”

    That is an awesome statement. As a pastor for 35 years, I am in the place of relearning about God too. This has been a great venue for that. Different ideas and they tolerate my dumb questions and comments

  35. pstrmike says:

    I gave it some thought, and I don’t know how many times I’ve had to relearn God. I just realized that I’m going through that process now. I’m hoping that I am able to land the plane before I am done, but I think I will die with more questions than answers. I’m still unsure what to do with that concept, or whether I should be comfortable with that or not. It’s not like I am content to sit in my uncertainty, I read quite a bit each week. Perhaps the name of that runway (yes, they have names) that I will finally set the plane down upon is uncertainty. It might be at least for me, that is the ultimate expression of my faith and trust in God.

  36. Michael says:

    The only thing I’m certain about is Jesus and that certainty is derived more experientially, than doctrinally.

    I believe He will receive me when my time here is over…the rest is mainly up in the air.

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