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197 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Amen Michael! Well said.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jean…I had to get it out clearly so I could sleep.
    I love my brethren who are angry with me, but I fear God more than I want to receive their approval.

  3. erunner says:

    Is God coming to judge the church or only the Evangelicals? I ask tongue in cheek as it would seem the people you’re hearing from would be considered evangelicals?? Or are you hearing these things from people from all denominations and traditions??

  4. Xenia says:

    I wonder why my comment on the other thread is in moderation.

  5. Papias says:

    Michael, I am not angry with you or your views on immigration reform.

    I just don’t agree that the passages related to sojourners – that interpretation and applying the text to issues of illegal immigration.

    I hope that I am still your friend in the Gospel despite our differences.

  6. PP Vet says:

    National political decisions are not best driven by micro-observation but by macro-observation.

    Building a healthy country that can solve its own problems and help solve the problems of the world requires a long-term strategy.

    What may seem compassionate at the individual personal level is not necessarily good or compassionate governmental policy.

    Keep thumping your chest and crowing about your care for the poor, but please do not run for office. Or vote.

  7. Michael says:

    I’m away from the computer for a bit…Xenia, the spam filter was on the fritz. Papias, I’m always concerned about preserving relationship even when we have different views . That too, should be something we are known for.
    Back in a bit.

  8. “We are to be the ambassadors of Christ to all people…and when we refuse to do so that puts us in danger of holy discipline.”

    The function of government?

  9. Jim says:

    The solution is political because the problem is political. The Church does not have borders. Nations rules by governments do. There is zero morality in stealing money at gunpoint from producers to pay for recipients (corporate or human) chosen by politicians.

    I’m in favor of an open border for legitimate refugees so long as the Church agrees to take care of them. The Church let the State rob her the ability to fulfill here humanitarian mandate. Getting together to take it back means that we all get our hands dirty helping, and also deciding that “if a man does not work, he does not eat”.

    Is the Church ready for that?

  10. Steve Wright says:

    After we agree not to protest buses, post stuff on facebook, and write nasty emails to blog owners…..

    What specifically can Christians do in THIS issue. Hands-on. Tangible.

    Because Christians first and foremost are to abide by the laws of their country except when those laws violate Christian conviction in which case nonviolent disobedience with full acceptance of the consequences is permissible (and even encouraged). As we have said many times this situation is playing out according to the laws of our land, which specifically speak to unaccompanied minors from other nations besides Mexico and Canada.

    So how would one apply civil disobedience to this situation? I ask sincerely.

    Now, some of us believe Christians can also actively lobby and seek to influence their representatives in political power, and do so in the name of Christ as His followers, but we often are criticized for doing so by our brethren who talk about mixing Christ with politics and so forth. At least when the issues are related to abortion, homosexual activism, pornography and fornication issues, and religious freedom areas.

  11. Steve Wright says:

    Jim’s #9 is spot on. I reject the idea that the church failed and so the welfare state was born. The welfare state was born first, robbed the resources previously used by the church, and brought about the nation we see before us.

    Nonetheless, even with greatly limited resources, churches all over the country (including ours) are seeking to help the needy in the name of Jesus. The welfare state has made that challenge much greater.

    It is very hard to encourage people to trust the Lord for their daily bread, while trying to help them have food, clothing and thus be content….. when the government says “Divorce your wife, keep living with her, and you guys can get more benefits and live better than you are now”

  12. Dan from Georgia says:

    Well stated Michael!!! Well put! I agree with you 110%!

  13. Rob Murphy says:

    I think it would be interesting to study the Scriptures and examine how God allowed the sojourner to be exempt from the laws of the land, allowing the sojourner to ignore the religious practices of the Land of Promise and uphold their own foreign traditions, rituals and ideas while living in the land of promise.
    Of course, we don’t live in the Promised Land, so there might be some variation on the application. Like today, in the land of Israel how they have to let missiles sojourn there.

  14. Rob Murphy says:

    Look, I have the privilege of helping out about 10 different families a month financially. If every one of those families said “give what you would have given me to these kids at the border” I would not do it because there’s 10 more families here that I know intimately who need help as well – and likely 10 more behind them.

    The system of help and support via the gov’t in this country is $17 trillion in debt.
    Every dime given to help these kids at the border is a borrowed dime that we cannot pay back as a nation.

    Every one of you with a burden for these kids at the border should collect your cash money together and buy what you think the kids at the border need and deliver it.

    My family is taking care of the people we have the means to take care of.
    We are not borrowing money we don’t have to offer this care and I cannot demand any other family borrow money to act out on my compassion.
    I cannot demand any city borrow money to act out my compassion.
    I cannot demand any state or nation borrow money to act out my compassion.
    I cannot damn the Christian Church for not acting out on my compassion.
    The Christian Church is helping folks pay rent, buy groceries, treat the sick, visit the imprisoned, reach the lost.
    The backs of the charitable are already stooped under the burden of the government while trying to act on the convictions of their own compassion.

  15. DavidM says:

    This is neither the time nor the place to discuss this, but Michael’s comments remind me of another issue that I’d like to see discussed here at some point:

    I received noticed many of my FB Christian friends posting that we should “pray for Israel” in light of the current conflicts. My first thought was, “Will you also pray for the Palestinians?”. I believe their comments come from the mind-set that we’re supposed to be on Israel’s side, even when they are brutal to their neighbors. Is it a political issue or a spiritual one? Shouldn’t we have compassion for the people on both sides of the wall?

  16. Xenia says:

    Here’s what I think:

    I think any Christian or any decent person would have sympathy for these kids and realize they are fleeing terrible situations in their homelands and these situations are partially (but not entirely) caused by the US.

    The question is, what can or should an individual Christian do in keeping with the Gospel message? <<—- That's where there is disagreement.

    While on earth, did either our Lord or St. Paul or any of the Apostles try change the government, which at that time was the Roman empire? No, from what I can tell, they worked with individuals. They didn't try to stop slavery, they worked with individual slaves.

    I cannot fathom how I can possibly vote in any way that will change living conditions in Guatemala, etc, but I can treat every Guatemalan (or any other person) I come across with compassion, as I am able. (I may not be able to do much.)

    Also, I don't think any sovereign nation has to be expected to open up the national borders for everyone who wants to come here. Pretty much everyone in the Third World wants to come here, there has to be some kind of limitations. I am not wise enough to make those rules, though.

  17. Michael says:


    I would have asked the same question, but I’m already wearing my butt for a hat on this issue… 🙂

  18. Paige says:

    This is pure religion that is undefiled, to care for widows and orphans in their distress, James 1:27. I live in Oregon, pretty far from the Mexican border. I’m broke myself, though well fed and comfortably sheltered. If I could offer shelter and food, I would…. I do my ‘bit’ of that locally when opportunities arise.

    I agree with DavidM’s comment about the believers who are obsessed with Israel, as if it’s residents are sinless. We have no clue what is really going on there or at our own border.

    I have absolutely zero confidence in news media or our political system in the U.S. or elsewhere. Man is corrupt…. yet, God is on His throne, hopefully governing the, for lack of a better word, ‘affairs” (literally) of mankind. Some times, we get to bring comfort to the afflicted in His Name or otherwise…

    What I do have to offer are my prayers, lame as they are, but are backed with my confidence in God’s unlimited power to accomplish His will.

    PS, I’m tired of Deuteronomy.

  19. Michael says:

    This is what I’m trying to communicate.
    I believe we have to look at these issues from a biblical perspective first…which means having love and compassion for those involved.
    That perspective will then color our political actions, if any, or our personal involvement.
    At this point, many in the church are looking at this through the political lens first…and that’s where I have an issue.
    I may be crazy…but I believe that if you put Jim, Steve, Rob, Jean, and myself in a room with the task of praying together and finding basic solutions to these and other issues, we could do it.
    We have been promised wisdom by the Holy Spirit…the task would be to get us to agree to enter the room.

  20. Michael says:

    “I think any Christian or any decent person would have sympathy for these kids and realize they are fleeing terrible situations in their homelands and these situations are partially (but not entirely) caused by the US.”

    I agree…and if that is so, do we not then have a measure of responsibility to alleviate what we created?

  21. Paige says:

    Amen Xenia #16.

  22. Xenia says:

    do we not then have a measure of responsibility to alleviate what we created?<<<

    Sure. And what would that involve?

  23. PP Vet says:

    The direction to slaughter the inhabitants of Canaan is the prototypical example of a national policy that made no sense whatsoever at the personal level.

  24. Michael says:


    The very first thing is if all sides recognize that responsibility.
    Then we can dialog over all the other issues concerning the rule of law, etc.
    We have to have the will to come together to find answers more than the desire for our side to win.

  25. Muff Potter says:

    A hearty amen here Michael!

  26. Michael says:

    Thank you, Muff!

  27. Michael says:

    I can speak to what is unhelpful.

    Unhelpful is sending more money to prop up corrupt governments as the sitting President has proposed.
    Unhelpful is characterizing those on the right as either lacking in compassion or generosity.
    Unhelpful is characterizing those on the left as weak minded socialists.
    Unhelpful is not hearing the concerns of both sides.

  28. You list what is unhelpful – but your scripture reference to Matt 25 frames the conversation in a very unhelpful way..

    My salvation is at risk if I hold a different view of this situation

  29. Xenia says:

    # 24
    Well, you are talking about talking and I am interested in more practical things to help, which I guess would involve sending money to those Catholics who we are criticizing on the other thread.

    The US government has and will continue to prop up corrupt governments no matter who we vote for because much of this is done clandestinely. There is really nothing we can do about this.

    As for characterizing people, left or right, this is still talking about talking.

    I am a practical person. If my neighbor is sick, I bake them a pie. I don’t write articles about the morality of baking pies, or the lack or charity of those who don’t bake pies. or whether the sick person deserves a pie, or what the liberals and conservatives think about sick people and pies. I just bake the pie and take it over and ask what else I can do. I think this is what most people do.

    So what can we do to help the children on the border besides talking about it? Apart from sending money and supplies to those who are on the border doing work (that would be those Catholics again) I don’t think we can do much of anything at all.

    I live in a town full of Hispanic people who have come here to improve their living conditions. My husband and my daughter-in-law are Hispanic and I have learned to speak Spanish (not very well, though.) I give my neighbors stuff from my garden, eggs from the hens. They invite us to their baby baptisms (joy!) and I go to their funerals (sorrow). In other words, I try to be a good neighbor to my actual neighbors. Frankly, I think this is the best I can do.

  30. Michael says:


    If I would have wanted to say that a persons salvation was at risk if they took another view on this issue I would have said so.
    I did not.

    I posted a Scripture that speaks to Jesus own expectations of those who are saved…as part of the biblical witness that I believe should inform us.

    Don’t start twisting my words or intent…I simply won’t tolerate it.

  31. Michael says:


    Those actions you take, that we all take in our day to day lives… are our primary points of action.
    Actions on a bigger scale are framed first by thought and discussion…and having a platform means that I can speak to and help frame that discussion from which others may act.

  32. I don’t think I am twisting anything – you posted this – ““Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    What am I to take away from that? “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these (Central American children) , you did not do it to me.’And these will go away into eternal punishment,

  33. Xenia says:

    Michael, I do not believe there are any actions on a bigger scale that we, as individuals Christians, can take.

    I do not believe that we, as voters, can affect any change at all in the situation, period.

    As I recall, you yourself voted for Obama. When you voted for him, you never thought he’d be contributing in a negative way to exacerbate a situation that you care about. If you knew he was going to do this, you would never have voted for him, I imagine.

    When you say “Obama is sending money….” you are talking politics.

    When you say “Here is something physical you can do to alleviate the suffering of the least of Christ’s brethren,” then you are talking Gospel.

  34. Steve Wright says:

    Here’s the challenge. I know it is a crazy hypothetical for California but humor me. Let’s say there was an open race for governor and a pastor like myself decided to step down to run for office – in order to actually get the power necessary to make the changes that all of us putting our heads together prayerfully concluded.

    About half the Body of Christ, if not more, would villify such a man just for choosing to do so. There would be no consideration that God might actually move someone to leave pastoral ministry for politics.

    And then imagine if someone in ministry stepped down in order to just campaign for someone else that they believed could make a difference and that knew the Lord. Or to fundraise for them. Or any of the other countless things it takes to win major political office

    My point is that we, the Body of Christ here in America, need to encourage the vocation, concept for our young people. That God’s calling can be in media, business, politics, the classroom and so forth – and not just some sort of Christian version of those things but in the world.

    Sure it may be hard for Christians to get (and keep) journalist jobs at major media outlets, but we need to stop thinking in terms of writing for Christianity Today only.

    As long as we offer only Christian Bible colleges with ministry, missionary, or worship leaders as the means of serving Christ with your whole life, we will continue to be ruled by mostly infidels who put their own self-interest first, rather than dying to self and picking up a cross of their own.

  35. Michael says:


    There are going to be political solutions attempted.
    My hope is that they are well informed by both the electorate and the elected.
    I hope to help in some way with having a Gospel tinged view to offer for consideration.

    Politically, my disappointment in this President is boundless.
    I can’t let that change my heart.

  36. covered says:

    Xenia’s #29 has valuable insight and contains a great message. The church does do a lot but can do much more. A message was sent loud and clear after Katrina that the church is far better equipped to help others in a practical way than the government.

    I see that Paige at #18 correctly cited James 1:27 and I feel that 1 John 3:17 also gives us (the church) direction as to our responsibility with helping the less fortunate. I’m fairly confident that some the of the regulars here will correct me and say that this passage doesn’t apply but it convicts me regularly.

  37. Michael says:


    I will amen your comments about Christian vocation.

  38. Michael says:


    I agree…

  39. Xenia says:

    Regarding the border, I don’t even know what a Gospel tinged view would look like.

    Again, the Lord and all His apostles worked with people one on one. He never said anything about the borders of the Roman Empire. Christ and His disciples worked with individual people. As I said earlier, He and His disciples worked one on one with slaves (as an example.) He did not try to end slavery, He was a neighbor to every slave and slave-owner He encountered.

  40. Michael says:


    Christ spoke and ministered to crowds as well.
    The apostles established communities of people that were to be the conduits of God’s grace.
    The Bible is laced with principles that can inform us on this matter…in my opinion.

  41. Xenia says:

    Well, it’s tempting to bat this back and forth all afternoon but I need to get to some projects over here.

  42. Kiki Bacaro says:

    I love what you wrote here Michael. I do struggle though because to be perfectly honest, I am terrified of what is going on with this new influx of immigrants. I do not believe the government is capable of handling this appropriately and I have very little faith that the church will either. I do believe that it’s going to bring much more crime to our country as the Mariel boatlift did years ago (and I am Cuban but it still is true that crime increased horrifically, at least in Florida and the surrounding states). That said, I am embarrassed by how the church is handling the issue of lonely, hungry, poor humans, mostly unaccompanied children for goodness sakes! Can we not separate how we feel about it politically with how we are called to deal with it from a compassionate Christian perspective? One picture I saw of children sleeping in pens absolutely broke my heart. I keep thinking “who is protecting these children from predators while they sleep in their little cages?” Heartbreaking!

  43. London says:

    Some people in the church work one on one with their neighbor, some people in the church work with policy issues regarding the border.
    It’s not either/or. Everyone has a different role. To say only one is important or “the church” is naive.

  44. How does the church work with border issues? The states don’t even have authority to decide anything about the borders.

  45. Xenia says:

    I keep thinking “who is protecting these children from predators while they sleep in their little cages?” <<<

    The grim reality is that this is probably the safest these poor kids have felt in quite a long while.

    May all children find a good home with a warm, soft bed before long.

  46. Michael says:


    Good to see you here…thank you for adding to the discussion.

  47. Michael says:


    I haven’t made that assertion.
    I’ve stated previously many times that there are policies that need to be addressed.
    My main concern right now is to speak to the platform I have about very basic matters before we can even get to those issues.

  48. Jean says:

    “That said, I am embarrassed by how the church is handling the issue of lonely, hungry, poor humans, mostly unaccompanied children for goodness sakes!”

    Kiki, #42, Amen. Embarrassing and downright scandalous.

    Here’s what I think:

    I see a nation and a church where at the same time many (if not most) people feel they’re overtaxed, this nation and church goers in the aggregate continue to engage in massive consumption of goods and services. When I go to the supermarket, I see newer cars everywhere and the Starbucks line is always long. In my opinion, the problem is not taxes, it’s people’s expectations about fulfillment in life, and for Christians – what it means to be blessed. As a nation and a church, many have fallen into gluttony, plain and simple IMO.

    Please do not misinterpret me. I’m not accusing anyone in particular on this blog of gluttony and I’m not lecturing. I’m relating what I think from what I observe in my neck of the woods. I am more than aware that there are a lot of people in real financial stress and there are people barely making it. But as a whole, and if you look at national consumption statistics, you will find that the US continues to lead the world in personal consumption. In addition, I’m not defending current government spending priorities or advocating higher taxes.

    A few years ago, I read a couple of quotes over a short period of time, which God seared into my heart:

    “Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?” John Wesley

    “I live simply, so that others may simply live.” John Stott

    You see, money and possessions were an issue in my life that were interfering with my relationship with God. I asked God for the grace to submit my entire life to him. Guess where He went first (reader beware)? When I say “seared”, I mean that God reminds me of these quotes nearly every day. Over the past couple of years, as the Holy Spirit has increased my faith, I have learned part of what Jesus meant when he said His yoke is easy to bear.

    I’m not living under a guilt trip (I don’t feel guilty at all), and I’m not trying to guilt anyone else. This is my testimony about how the Lord has truly blessed me through helping me get my priorities in line with God’s priorities for my life. Simplicity has been a blessing in my life. This is part of why I can say that I am happy.

  49. brian says:

    Pastor Steve asked if I am understanding it correctly “What should we do as Christians and citizens to help these people”? A few tangible things I do, I dont have a lot of money, a moral, personal failure on my part (and I dont say that for effect I really mean it, I failed, if I had made enough money my mother could have died in her bed not some hospital as well as I could have given my sister a better life. I literally hate myself, at times for that, I consider one of my biggest sins). Sorry I had to say that for context to why I blabber on about money so much. Because it makes things better when properly used. I would support the kids I could afford but also educate people as to why the trouble is going on down in central America. I think the US has had a real effect on those nations and not in the positive. We did not cause all of the problems but we have exacerbated them.

    I think NAFTA has had a negative effect on those nations especially Mexico, the political corruption which people put up with in those nations, the poverty etc.
    Sorry for the rant,

    Practical actions
    1. Support reputable agencies / churches / groups financially
    2. Interact with our local, state, and federal representatives and push for a solution. This is very practical and I have seen it work. I write my representatives at least twice a week on a variety of issues, this one included. Call key leaders on a monthly basis and attend local government meetings and speak at them.
    3. Pray for them / us

  50. Jean says:

    Michael #19 and Steve #34,

    I’m definitely up for a Pow Wow. Are you guys up for a road trip to Iowa? The Pork Tenderloin sandwiches are to die for 🙂

    I would like to take Michael’s challenge and marry it to Steve’s idea. To be more specific, I would like to start with a project to craft a Gospel message, which is faithful to Scripture and at the same time doesn’t alienate half the population (as the statistics Steve shared earlier indicate that evangelicals do). I think it can be done or I wouldn’t suggest it. If I’m wrong, then IMO the Kingdom in this country will atrophy. Only at that point, should Steve run for governor. 🙂

    Any one up for a road trip?

  51. Jean,
    “to craft a Gospel message, which is faithful to Scripture and at the same time doesn’t alienate half the population ”

    Anyone can do that. It’s not the gospel that alienates … it’s the law – but you must preach the law to people first before you can preach the gospel.

    People get mad at you and hate you when you tell them that they are a sinner and need redemption. Why would anyone care that Jesus saves if they don’t think they need saving.

    So, the only way to come up with an acceptable gospel message is to not have a law message – “let me tell you the good news of chemotherapy … but I can’t tell you why you need it..”

  52. Jean says:

    “Anyone can do that. It’s not the gospel that alienates … it’s the law – but you must preach the law to people first before you can preach the gospel.”

    MLD, is that what Jesus did? Is how Jesus treated people germane to the discussion?

  53. How Jesus treated people is not the Gospel

  54. Jean says:

    #54, Wow! Anyone else agree with MLD?

  55. The gospel is that Jesus Christ lived the perfect life, was crucified, died and rose again for your salvation … to put it simply.

    When Paul preached the gospel, he said that he preached only Jesus and him crucified.

    But if you think the way Jesus treated the Jewish leaders is gospel well what can I say.

  56. Jean,
    Is that the gospel message that you give to people? Jesus was rad!

  57. Jim says:


    Lets see, Oregon, California, Florida, or Iowa… 🙂

  58. Jean says:

    I will try to craft a first draft of a 21st century gospel message that is faithful to scripture, which I will post in tomorrow’s Open Blogging. I hope that with the constructive comments of this community, we can improve the message and perhaps arrive at a consensus.

    In the mean time, if anyone else has any elements they would like to see considered (or excluded), please offer them up.

  59. Jim says:

    Oh..Jean dis-invited me. I’ll stay in Florida….

  60. Jean says:

    Jim, I can’t dis-invite you neighbor. You’re welcome any time brother.

  61. Jim says:

    Thx. So new we’re back to, “Lets see, Oregon, California, Florida, or Iowa”

    Paul said that the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. MLD has accurately proclaimed the gospel. Let’s not be foolish….

  62. Steve Wright says:

    I find it fascinating, when Jesus did walk the earth, how often He went out of His way to keep people from following Him.

    Tell people to deny themselves and pick up their own crosses.

    Tell people to love Him more than they love their parents, children and spouse.

    And of course (MLD’s favorite) the John 6 discourse.

  63. Jesus was the most divisive figure in all of history.

  64. Sorry, “is the most divisive figure”

  65. London says:

    My comment want directed at you. It was more general really

  66. London says:

    Want = wasnt

  67. Michael –
    I’m going to give you a political label – “Compassionate”

  68. lordtheoden says:

    God established nations He also therefore established borders. With your faulty reasoning we might as well just open the borders and let 100 million people from poor nations flood through because Jesus said we are too feed the poor. If you wish to give up your whole paycheck to feed and house these people then dismiss with the phony super spirituality. If these children were born in Mexico or Guatemala or Pakistan that is where God placed them in life. To imply by your reasoning that the United States ,must self destruct to fulfill some kind of biblical admonition is beyond ridiculous.But hey it’s the liberal way which your beliefs and agenda echo.

  69. Michael says:

    By my reasoning we should seek to obey the biblical commands to love the stranger among us.
    I put forth no political solution, but a biblical exhortation.
    If that makes me “liberal” than so be it.
    My agenda is simply to survive one more day…so maybe I have a lot of empathy for those trying to do likewise .

  70. lordtheoden,
    I don’t agree with Michael’s position, but your reasoning is faulty. So, unless you are native american, shouldn’t you go back to your country of origin and correct the ungodly act your ancestors performed when they “left where God placed them in life” – and came to America,

    If you’re were a godly person, you would do so to get back in God’s will. I hope you didn’t come from a country that now executes Christians because it is going to be tough on you.

    Send us a post card when you get there so we can hold you up in prayer as a man / woman of god following god even to your nation of origin.

  71. London says:

    Re:Jean’s 55
    I agree with MLD’s 54
    How Jesus treated people is not the Gospel.

    God created us, we chose to disobey, God disciplined us but still loved us, came to Earth as one of us, reversed our screw up by living out the Law, dying and rising from the dead. Then, he went back home to live with our Father, but sent the Spirit to hang out with us until He (Jesus) returns to take us home.
    In the meantime, we get to live forgiven of our screw-ups, belong to the Church universal and never have to walk through life alone (see Spirit hanging with us defended above)

    That message transcends time. We don’t need a “21st Century” gospel.

    It’s not about how He treated people. History is full of radical thinkers/doers who treat people with love and respect in and outside “the box”.
    What makes Jesus different is who He was.

  72. Jean says:

    Hi London,

    I disagree with your #72. Here is where I think your exposition of the gospel is most deficient:

    1. To say that it’s not about how Jesus treated people, but about who He was, is a Platonic concept that is utterly foreign to the NT. Jesus was a man of history. He can’t be understood for who He is apart from how he treated people. Jesus was crucified not for who He is; Jesus was crucified for the way he treated people and the claims He made. The 4 Gospel writers put all that stuff in about Jesus’ ministry because they thought it was important (e.g., the Parables of the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son).

    A person cannot follow Jesus (i.e., be His disciple) unless that person not only knows how Jesus treated people, but does likewise.

    “I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

    “For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, namely, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Gal 5:14)

    “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19a)

    Thus, the way Jesus treated people is inseparable from who He is and integral to the gospel.

  73. Xenia says:

    Jesus was absolutely crucified for who He was. If He wasn’t God incarnate it wouldn’t have mattered that He was crucified.

  74. Jean says:

    Xenia – The Romans and the Jewish officials who condemned Jesus did not recognize or acknowledge that Jesus was anyone other than a false messiah. So, they couldn’t have crucified Him for who He was.

  75. Xenia says:

    Who cares what the Jews and Romans erroneously thought.
    In the grand scheme of God’s plans, Christ was not crucified because He was a nice guy. He was crucified because He was the only One who could defeat death.

  76. I wonder how many other people were crucified for being “nice”.

    Jesus made claims – I think Jesus put the heaviest yoke on people – greater than the pharisees.
    Be perfect
    Hate your mother and father
    Let the dead bury the dead
    Calling the Syro Phonetician a dog
    Telling people if the wanted to enter heaven to cut off their hand and pluck out their eyes
    Telling people to be cannibals
    If people disagree with you shake the dust off your feet to them
    Telling people that the devil is their father.

    Where again is this Mr. Nice guy Jesus?

  77. London says:

    I disagree with your #72. Here is where I think your exposition of the gospel is most deficient:


    Dude, I typed it on an iPhone in the middle of the night. It’s probably a lot more “deficient” than you realize…and a lot more “efficient” than it ever was in the past.

  78. Steve Wright says:

    Jesus was crucified for the way he treated people and the claims He made
    Only to the extent that He was accused of violating God’s Law and being a blasphemer. Yeah, He healed people on the Sabbath. That was nice. It also was a violation of the traditions of the elders, and on top of it, He then said He was Lord of the Sabbath.

    His claims of Deity and Messiahship are true – though His Jewish enemies thought them blasphemous. THAT is why they sought to kill Him. This is not even open to debate as the gospels could not be clearer.

    As to the Romans, Pilate was a cowardly political hack as history well attests and the Jewish pressure to see that Jesus was executed was more than he wanted to stand up to – as the gospels also clearly state.

  79. The point Jean was making was that we need a new gospel message for the 21st century – everything he says after that is to back up this claim. So, a new message, one that downplays any claims or demands that Jesus made on people – but a new one that reflects Jesus as a nice guy who has paved the way for us to be nice people.

  80. I thought London’s statement was fine.
    Jesus was not “Mr. Nice Guy” all the time. He comforted those who needed comfort and assailed those who needed assailing. We are talking about someone who braided his own whip then used it to make a point.
    The gospel does not need an upgrade to v2, it is perfect straight out of the box.

  81. “The gospel does not need an upgrade to v2, it is perfect straight out of the box.”

    I tried to deliver that same message to Joseph Smith – but he did not listen either.

  82. Jean says:


    The fact that Jesus was not recognized for who he was is attested to by John: “He was in the world, and the world was created by him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:10-11). This is integral to the gospel; John not only warns us that Jesus may not be who we are expecting or hoping for (the Jews were hoping for a messiah), but he also challenges us to be alert for the moments when Jesus reveals Himself to us, so that we do not miss Him. That is why it is insufficient to the gospel to simply state that Jesus was crucified because his was the Son of God.

    As I said before, you cannot understand who Jesus is apart from how he treated people. His gospel is the whole package. Some of the statements above mischaracterize what I’ve said on this thread or in Open Blogging about a 21st Century gospel. For example, I haven’t used the term “nice” once.

    By definition, a disciple needs a master to follow. I can’t follow a deity. I can follow Jesus, who shared in my flesh and blood, who was made like me in every respect, who suffered and was tempted just like me. The author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to make this clear; this is what enabled Jesus to pioneer our salvation, to set us free from slavery by our fear of death, to be our faithful high priest in things related to God and to make atonement for our sins. (Heb 2)

    My Christology is as high as anyone’s. My question back is do you have a high view of Jesus’ humanity?

  83. PP Vet says:

    What does “humanity” mean? The Jesus born of Mary died. Being born of Mary does not make Jesus human – the person born of Mary died on the cross.

    You cannot come up with a definition of human that makes Jesus human, without making a lot of things that you will agree are not human also human.

    The me born of a human mother also died on the cross.

    If the resurrected me is human, then so is Jesus. It all depends what you want to call the resurrected race.

    But do not confuse it with the expired race.

  84. London says:

    You are moving the goalpost and now asking a totally different question.
    The first one was about coming up with a new gospel, which as we have said, is not necessary.
    Your last question is do we think Have high regard for Jesus the person. Of course we do, or we wouldn’t claim him as Lord.
    How he treated people came from who he was, but that is not the same as saying the good news about his being on earth was that he treated people appropriately.

  85. Steve Wright says:

    That is why it is insufficient to the gospel to simply state that Jesus was crucified because his was the Son of God.
    He was crucified because it was God’s plan, foreordained before the foundation of the world – in order to save us from our sins. He became a man in order to die. London laid all this out perfectly.

    The discussion that followed concerned putting a human explanation on the motive of his enemies, which we can do with some confidence as to some of them (like the Pharisees) due to Biblical details, but which we can only speculate when it comes to someone like Judas (as seen in various movies over the years trying to explain what the Bible is silent about)

    I’m of the view that the world would eliminate Jesus rather quickly today as well…I wonder if He would even make it through 3 1/2 years of ministry today…

  86. Michael says:

    I think the church would nail Him before the world did…

  87. Michael says:

    The compelling thing about Christ was not just how He treated people, it’s the people he treated well.
    Outcasts, lepers, women, children…sinners…those on the margins of society.
    The way Christ lived may not have anything to do with a basic Gospel…but it has everything to do with being a disciple.

  88. Steve Wright says:

    I think the church would nail Him before the world did…
    Depends what country He landed in. In some the outward church and the world are practically indistinguishable.

  89. In most places, including America, I doubt Jesus would be crucified. I don’t think anyone cares enough,
    We have become so multicultural – so “coexist” that Jesus would make his claims and people would mutter something like “hmmm” or “right on” or if you are old enough, keep their head down and snap their fingers like the old beatniks – all showing approval that a person has a point of view … not buying into it all all – but ready to now listen to the next person present their nonsense.

    Nope, in today’s culture – in today’s America, Jesus would die an old man in assisted living.

  90. Jean says:

    #84, PP Vet,

    The author of Hebrews stated: “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest….” (Heb 2:17; see also John 1; Phil 2:7-8) The incarnation is perhaps impossible to fully comprehend. The best I can do by way of explanation is give you the Scripture texts.

  91. Jean says:

    London #85, I’m not moving the goal posts. Some people are putting words in my mouth and/or twisting what I’ve said, or have brought out other issues. I’m trying to respond to the various things people have said about what I’ve said.

  92. Jean says:

    The way Jesus lived is integral to the gospel. Here is part of one of the first (if not the first) sermon ever given to gentiles (i.e., the gospel preached), in this case by Peter:

    “You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)— you know what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:36-37)

    This is the basic gospel. How Jesus lived is not the whole gospel, but it’s certainly a part of the gospel. Why do people want to shrink the gospel?

  93. I was set apart to be an ambassador for Christ – and i was given the message, the gospel, the good news to deliver.
    2 Cor 5 – 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    This I can look someone in the eye and say, this message is for you. The good news is that God is reconciled to us, God no longer holds our sin against us and that we through this message are to become the righteousness of God.

    I am not saying we are not to be good people, but the good news of Jesus Christ is NOT – be a good person.

  94. Steve Wright says:

    Hi Jean, I don’t think anyone deliberately would want to twist your words. I know I don’t.

    I assume you are talking about your Open Blogging post. As I read “The Message” part of your post, I find total agreement and yet I find nothing that would not have been said basically the same way for the last 2000 years I also see your comments supported by use of Scripture as the source of the message you declared, as everything you wrote is of course supported by the most plain readings of Scripture.

    You then admit that the Bible does hold a similar place today, and I have no argument with that observation. But that is where you probably lose me, because one thing about anyone who comes to our church they are going to know that I stand on the Bible as the Word of God, revealed to mankind by Him, and do so without equivocation. I may on occasion offer an apologetic for that belief, but for the most part, I don’t spend my time describing my sword, explaining the sword and why we should think it is a weapon, detailing how the sword was made….

    I just use the sword. “The Bible says…” I think the power of God’s Spirit to change lives is found there.

    Thus, as a messenger, I don’t see how I can really try to communicate in a way that diminishes the Bible as my authority, even if the larger audience of the world has rejected it. At the end of the day, this is the spiritual work of God, not my tactics or skills.


  95. Steve Wright says:

    You then admit that the Bible does hold a similar place today,
    does NOT hold (that should read)…a rather important mistake to understand my post

  96. Jean you said:

    “Is how Jesus treated people germane to the discussion?”

    Explain what you meant by this?
    Did you mean how Jesus healed people and ate with sinners?
    Did you mean how he blasted Pharisees all the time?

    It is obvious that most on here thought you were saying “Be good like Jesus”

    So explain what you meant.
    Are you talking about things that “you” think embarass the Church in the 21st Century?
    In your latest in #93 you quoted from Acts:
    “He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.”
    That still makes me think you are really focusing on only the things that people would not be turned off by when talking about Jesus treatment of people.
    Not the things like MLD mentioned in #77 which might turn some off.

    Correct me if I am wrong.
    It was all vague and people red what they are used to hearing into it.
    Show us what you meant.

  97. Jean says:

    Steve, apparently the point where I lost you was the point at which I was arguing that in a post-Christian culture, to be effective with non-believers who have no background in either any church or biblical teaching, the gospel will have to be both proclaimed and demonstrated by the Christian community to be effective. The term “body of Christ” will have to be more than a slogan (not that you’ve used it that way); it will have to become tangible.

    Gone will be the days when people seek out or go looking for a church. In this type of environment, the church will need to provide onramps for people to experience the love of Christ and these will increasingly be outside the church walls. We won’t get the opportunity to say “the Bible says” until we have the trust of someone who is willing to come in and listen.

  98. PP Vet says:

    The person who was incarnate died. Much of Christian theology is based on that. So that has nothing to do with whether He is “human” know.

    People squirm like crazy and refuse to define what they mean by “human”. Then they beat you with a stick if you will not agree that Jesus is human.

    Just define “human” if you want to lord over people with respect to their position on the humanity of Christ.

  99. Jean says:

    Derek #97,

    Good question. My original premise was that how Jesus treated people is part of the gospel. When I say “how Jesus treated people”, I meant the whole enchilada. It was never my intention to encourage people to value some of Jesus’ words or actions over others. It was people on this thread who ascribed that intention to me.

    Now, if you ask me, “How did Jesus treat people?”, that’s a different question. Going strictly off memory, as far as I can recall, Jesus treated the people outside the religious power structures, including people who would have been identified as enemies (e.g., Centurion, Samarian), unclean, sinners or even traitors, consistently with mercy and kindness, whereas he treated the people inside the religious power structures who were corrupt and/or oppressing the people harshly. He went out of his way, changed his schedule, endured ridicule, and was eventually handed over to the Romans in part on account of his ministry to outsiders. The only possible exception I can think of is that Jesus would not perform miracles for people who were looking for a sign of who he was.

    I can’t think of a single instance where Jesus said, “shape up if you want my help.”

  100. Jean says:

    PP Vet #99,

    I believe that Jesus was as fully human as you and me, while at the same time believing that he was God in the formulation of John 1. I believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead and that he is the first fruit of the resurrection that all Christians look forward to.

    Does that help?

  101. Steve Wright says:

    Gone will be the days when people seek out or go looking for a church. In this type of environment, the church will need to provide onramps for people to experience the love of Christ and these will increasingly be outside the church walls. We won’t get the opportunity to say “the Bible says” until we have the trust of someone who is willing to come in and listen.
    Well, that is how I think it always has been. The simplest evangelism is still someone asking a friend to go to church with them (assuming that church then preaches the gospel each week).

    I spoke to a missionary from China at the conference a couple weeks ago. He said in a city of multiple millions they do not even waste time with anyone who does not say up front they are interested in learning about God. Just pose the question and move on to the next person.

    The reason, which I heartily agree with and I think is missing from the equation, is that salvation is an act of God, through the Spirit. Yeah He uses us, the Christians, but if God is not at work then it does not matter what we do.

    I got saved as a sovereign act of God through His word – no Christian, no church.God and His Spirit and Scriptures. He moved me to unrest in my life, moved me to seek Him, and showed Himself to me as a result. Then, after being born again He led me to a church and other Christians….

  102. PP Vet – do you see human as different from people? If we were to say Jesus was a people and he is still a people, does that help?

  103. PP Vet says:

    The only definition I have ever found for “human” that works is “descended from Adam.”

    By that, Jesus and I are not human.

    What other definition is there? Fingers and toes, a soul, a spirit, etc: none of that works. How do you eliminate angels without eliminating zygotes?

    If you want to define “human” as “resurrected former seed of Adam”, I guess I could live with that, and that makes you, me, and The Lord “human”.

  104. Jean says:

    Steve #102, I am in general agreement with everything you said. I might have placed more prominence on the role that Christians play in reconciling people to God. I wish I could remember who it was who said: “We can’t expect God to do for us what He has placed us here to do for Him.”

  105. Thank you for clearing that up Jean.

    It seems you think demonstration is needed for the gospel to take root and explode though.
    I hope not, because I surely can’t live up to that.
    There will always be something to not like about me.
    Demonstration is not as effective as many think.
    Non-Christians do a lot of the same things. It doesn’t take a Christian to act Christian.
    The gospel is the important thing and it does not need an update.
    The 1st century gospel is the 21st century gospel.
    Our actions are not the gospel.

    “Preach the gospel and if necessary use words” is not something I ascribe to.
    This however, I do.

    How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14 ESV)

  106. Jean says:

    Derek #106,
    You’re welcome to your view. I’m not offended and you certainly have a lot more support on this blog for your view than mine. All I can say in response is that one has to ignore a lot of scripture to hold to your view.

  107. Jean,
    I guess I am confused. When you approach someone to offer a small gospel witness, do you lead with what Jesus did on the cross or what he did walking the earth. If I had time for only one, are they completely interchangeable?

  108. Bob says:

    I like Michael’s #7, 70% of the money will be held by us baby boomers!

    Oh yeah, bring it on!

    Now more important issues,

    How one lives is a response to the gospel. A murderer who doesn’t stop murdering and yet can preach the gospel in words does not have that gospel living in his or her heart.

    Solomon was the wisest man in his day, wrote enough to be included in the scriptures and yet he is not in the “hall of faith.” Why? His life did not live up to his words and he loved his wives more than God and turned to their gods.

    The gospel message say the same thing, we must love God and the finished work in Jesus more than anything else.

    So I support Jean and Derek both.

    The gospel is more than words on a paper it is also living it as a life.

  109. Jean says:

    For anyone who has been following this discussion, I have been encouraging people to think of the gospel as one of demonstrating as well as proclaiming. This doesn’t undercut the message or the proclamation. It strengthens the proclamation by the living witness to unbelievers of the messenger.

    This is consistent with both Jesus’ commands and Paul’s ministry. Please read here what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

    “For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some. 23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.” (1 Cor 9:19-23)

    The gospel is news we can become participants in, in order to reach converts.

    There’s nothing weird about anything I’m saying. Please do not be deceived by anyone twisting my words.

  110. Twisting words…deceived…whatever. You like to use deceived on here quite to much.

    You have just persuaded me to exit this conversation

  111. jean says:

    Derek, #111, it’s unfortunate that some people would rather use these discussions as sport for ginning up arguments, twisting words and ascribing beliefs to others, instead of engaging the issues in a respectful manner. You are not one of those individuals. But I don’t have to put up with it either when people do it to me.

  112. Lutheran says:

    When I was in InterVarsity in college, we used to say that living the Christian life is like the 2 wings of a plane. One side=what you say, the other side=what you do/how you live. It might’ve been the late Paul Little who said it.

    I do believe how we live is a witness to Christ. Maybe it’s not the gospel literally. But it is a witness.

    So I guess I agree with you, Jean, if that’s what you’re saying.

  113. Jean says:

    That simile works for me Lutheran.

  114. Steve Wright says:

    But why is this new, Jean? That was the testimony too of the earliest church (Oh how they love each other). That’s the testimony today when people walk into a church and feel instantly welcome and accepted (it does happen on occasion).

    Speak the truth in love has always been the refrain. Not love without truth, and not truth spoken without love.

    As far as preaching the gospel with your life, that is ONLY possible if at least once you have preached it with your mouth. This is often the case in a family of unbelievers. A new Christian will most likely want to reach his/her own family first, and they are most likely to reject them…at first. Sometimes with a “don’t talk to me about Jesus ever again” – but the believer can then live out the new life in the faith in a way that the family member can’t deny – without ever mentioning Jesus, because they already have at least once

    But if you are dealing with a complete stranger. Col 3:17 is pretty clear. If I ever do anything good in this life to people I have never met – I make sure to tell them it is because of Jesus. Even if there is no chance of me being able to continue the discussion, but especially if there is a chance for a discussion to continue.

  115. Jean says:

    Steve #115,

    As I wrote in Open Blogging, what I’m advocating is how the gospel was originally spread in the first few centuries when Christianity was viewed as a deviant movement by the dominant culture. It’s new in the sense that what I’m advocating isn’t how the gospel has been presented recently by many expressions within the American church.

  116. Steve Wright says:

    But its not a deviant movement by the dominant culture in America. The early centuries saw Christians killed and imprisoned for the faith. That’s not happening anywhere in the USA.

    If anything, Christians in America who claim persecution, usually don’t have a clue what it really is by historical standards (and need to get out of the country more often). There might be a couple exceptions when it comes to business, and true it may get a lot worse in the future.

    Yet in America if someone runs for political office who is not a Jew, he/she STILL feels the need to profess as some sort of Christian denomination. We do have one Muslim in Congress in Minnesota I believe, but to my knowledge there is not a single professed atheist democratically elected by the people of America…though there are scores of practical atheists (in both parties)

    But thanks for explaining. If that is your starting point then that is why I had trouble following you and that is the starting point for where I would disagree. However, I still don’t think the early church reached people other than preaching Christ crucified and being willing to even die for their beliefs…as should we too be willing.

  117. London says:

    I’m not sure who you are saying is twisting your words Jean.
    I don’t see anyone doing that.
    What I see is people who understand what you are saying, but disagree.

  118. Jean says:

    London #118,

    No doubt my argument was ineffective, despite my appeal to scripture. At least we were discussing the gospel, instead of politics for a change. It was good to get my thoughts together regarding the gospel and get feedback. I think I understand the gospel better tonight than I did last week.

  119. London says:

    I can’t think of a single instance where Jesus said, “shape up if you want my help.”

    He, in essence, said that to the rich young ruler.

  120. London says:

    If by “ineffective” you mean your agreement didnt get us all to believe what you believe, then yep, it was.
    If you mean we didnt understand your point, then I don’t think that’s the case.
    We got it. We just didnt buy it.

  121. London says:

    Definitely agree about politics though that’s what this thread was meant to be about really.

  122. The undercurrent of politics ran all through this thread.

  123. Michael says:

    This thread wasn’t intended to be about politics.
    It is proof that the majority of people choose to see the issue as political.
    I don’t… not primarily.
    I consider it a moral, ethical, and above all else, a biblical issue.
    The impact of being on the “wrong” side of this has been staggering on a personal level to me…it may bring an end to my writing and pastoral ministry.
    I’m wrestling with that today as I have been for weeks…but I’m also more convinced that the Bible is clear about where our hearts should be.

  124. Jean says:

    Michael #124,

    If it makes any difference, your writing here is excellent, has supporters, and I believe has at least planted seeds, if not yet bared much fruit. If change was easy….

  125. Michael says:


    I appreciate that and thank you for your support.
    In the past, controversy on the blog didn’t spill over into my personal life and the church I pastor.
    It has now…and to be blunt, I don’t have the emotional resources to deal with it on top of everything else.
    This is a very difficult season, but not nearly as difficult as others have endured.
    God is good.
    I’m out for most of the day.

  126. Jim says:

    The conversation can only be political. The Church doesn’t create laws or define borders.

    And liberals, your politics do matter because your welfare system is the reason the Church is unable to fulfill her mandate.

  127. Jean says:

    So Jim, the Church could fulfill her mandate under Caligula and Nero, but can’t because of the American welfare system?

  128. Jim says:

    Did Caligula and Nero create a social services state monopoly?

  129. Jean says:

    #129, Did America?

  130. I do think that Christian charities should force the governments hand. With this new executive order signed yesterday saying if you accept federal funds, you have to hire the homosexuals and cross dressers etc.

    All Christian charities should immediately stop accepting federal funds and tell the government why – “we will do things or way in the name of Christ – and let the government realize how much they depend on outside charities.

    I remember in the 80s I think it was mayor Dinkens who tried a similar thing with abortion – and the Catholic Church said, “we’re out!” Refused funds and refused to do any projects involving the city.

    Within weeks the law was changed.

  131. Xenia says:

    Here’s the thing. When you show the love of Christ to your own neighbor- take them the proverbial pie- you are being biblical.

    When you start talking about large groups of people involving themselves in a national situation, you are talking about politics.

    If you want to avoid politics entirely, just bake (metaphorical) pies for your neighbors.

    If you have a blog and want to disseminate opinions about how “the church” should act in a national crisis, you have stepped into the realm of politics.

  132. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t see how this can be seen as anything but a politically caused issue. I asked way back there what tangible things any Christian could do and I believe the only answer was a combination of “write your political leaders”, “pray”, and “support those agencies doing something”

    Well, on the last of those, who are those agencies doing tangible aid to actually change the lives of these people? Because, as Rob pointed out, I know of several agencies doing that, in the name of Christ, all around the world and our limited funds are already heading there.

    It’s great that Beck is buying soccer balls and teddy bears and has enough clout to get them down there, but the average Christian is forbidden by law from even SEEING these kids.

    And whether one is wanting to see it or not, President Obama and his amnesty bluster has directly contributed to this crisis in the last couple of years. These nations were hell holes in his first three years as President, but this crisis did not occur then. When you have kids willingly turning themselves in to border patrol (and not simply getting caught) as is happening here, they are expecting something from this President – and he is to blame.

    But like with Israel, many will just say “Well that’s just Steve who hates Obama anyway” – At some point the people of America, including the left and the Democrats, need to come to grips with how this man is responsible in large measure for a whole lot of problems in this world, not to mention this country

  133. We need to remember that politics, in the ideal, is just us folks getting together and deciding how to handle various situations. Nothing more and nothing less.

    Some times the folks decide the way we like and sometimes the folks decide in a way that we don’t like… but we the people have decided.

  134. Michael says:


    The church stands up on the issues of abortion and gay marriage because they consider them to be moral, ethical, and biblical issues primarily.
    I believe the same about this issue.
    Obviously these things have political ramifications, but our political response is built from our religious convictions.

  135. Steve Wright says:

    Except MLD, in this nation underlying all that is something called the Constitution, which all elected politicians swear an oath to abide by.

    America’s #1 problem as to the Constitution….nobody takes seriously the impeachment remedies it contains…something the founders who were quite serious about limiting national power and quite serious about the separation of powers between executive, legislative and judicial..were wise enough to include and expected future government leaders to exercise as needed.

  136. Michael says:


    I am not a supporter of Obama…but I don’t blame him for this anymore than I blame the sainted Reagan for introducing crack into America so he could use the proceeds to fund our covert (and illegal) operations in Nicaragua.
    I think he was on the “right”.

  137. Jean says:

    Steve #136, we have separation of powers specifically to deal with one branch overreaching. The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and always has. The remedy for an overreaching law or executive action is the Supreme Court. Talk of impeachment is a ridiculous side show.

    Blaming Obama for every foreign policy blow up is ridiculous also. We don’t have the money and shouldn’t shed American blood for every problem that comes up in the world, especially when other countries take a free ride off our treasure and blood. Plus, the country is broke and no one wants to raise taxes.

    You’re awful gloomy. The American economy, while uneven and difficult for many, has bounced back better than any other western economy since the financial crash. The stock market is at or near all time highs. The greatest and most innovative companies in the world are in America. America is closer than ever to energy independence. And the homeland has been kept safe from foreign terrorism. American’s are still spending more money on conspicuous consumption and wasting more food (40% in 2013) than any other country.

    I do think there is moral decay in this country, which is right in the wheel house of the church to address.

    Cheer up everyone. We have a lot to be grateful for and many reasons to be happy.

  138. See..all the undercurrent was political.

  139. Jim says:

    The Constitutional quandary is the defined role of government. When we threw that out the window, it became about “I think we should do this or that” (with other people’s money).

    The way back is painful, but simple.

  140. passin through says:

    “Talk of impeachment is a ridiculous side show.”

    Yeah. 6 years+ into the man’s presidency and still there ar nitwits suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    Thankfully the large majority has movedd on.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  141. Do we really use impeachment when we don’t like the other party’s policies.

    Which of you were on the bandwagon in 2005 / 2006 with the impeach Bush and Cheney?

    Suck it up. in 2 yrs it will be over

  142. Jim says:

    True, MLD. Hillary will make Obama seem benign.

  143. then get out there and get your guy / gal elected.

    Isn’t this a great country, where even our guy could win an election.

  144. I remember all of the hand wringing over the Bill Clinton administration – and now look, he has been out of office 14 yrs.

    I am sure as I sat in my high chair eating dinner that my parents complained about Harry Truman

  145. London says:

    Not Republican vs Democrat political. But it’s about immigration which is by nature political.
    I for one an really disappointed to see so much republican vs democrat political talk on here.
    I’m democrat so that makes me evil incarnate to many people in churches and on this site.
    I’m with jean. The non political part of this thread, the wrestling with the question of “what is the gospel” was much more compelling to me.

  146. Steve Wright says:

    My #136 did not mention Obama. It was a general point of observation about the Constitution. However, the reaction about the gasps over the remedy of impeachment do illustrate my point.

    Actually, I had federal judges in mind as I think they do far more lasting harm than most elected officials.

    To not blame Obama for the current border children crisis is like saying you hate the Iraq war ever being waged but you don’t blame Bush for its happening. He just happened to be in the White House when it all took place…..Yeah, right.

    Between the Libya and IRS lies and cover-ups though, Watergate looks like a Junior High School prank in comparison. But when you have a willing press and a hyper-partisan divided Congress, a dead ambassador or the targeting of political opponents is not enough to get most people’s attention in America these days.

    And if you do express outrage, well, then you are dismissed as “deranged” – even on Christian websites where truth and justice one would think would hold some value.

  147. Steve Wright says:

    True, MLD. Hillary will make Obama seem benign.
    Jim, I think Warren’s going to float to the top. Another academic, lying about their heritage who hasn’t even served one entire Senate term…

    What could go wrong? 🙂

    Whoever wins the (D) primary has the election most likely, especially given another historic voting opportunity, this time the first female President.

  148. Jean says:

    Steve, your 133 did mention Obama. You’re right, this is supposed to be a Christian website, and last time I checked Democrats are supposed to be able to be Christians too. When you engage in hyper partisanship, not only do you hijack the blog from its purpose, but you make others who don’t share your ideology uncomfortable. Like someone else said earlier, this should be a safe place where people can share ideas in an environment of mutual respect.

  149. Well, I see now the blog has been hijacked. Oh, the humanity!

  150. Steve Wright says:

    Oh please Jean. Your reply is as hyper-partisan as it gets. I have not disrespected any posters here (unlike your charges against us yesterday of twisting your words and such). I have not “hijacked” the blog, and if people are uncomfortable reading a point of view they don’t agree with then that really is not anyone else’s fault. I certainly never have remotely suggested Democrats can’t be Christians too…and I have a six-year track record here of never doing that.

    But yes, Jean. My OTHER post did mention Obama. And it also anticipated the rejection of any responsibility he might have by some here simply because “Steve hates Obama” (or has Obama derangement syndrome apparently)

    But if we are going to talk about the problem on the border, and insist that this President’s actions have zero cause for the problem….well, that too is as hyper-partisan as anything I might post.

    Like I said, its like trying to talk about the Iraq war debacle…but let’s leave Bush and politics out of it.

    Michael doesn’t need a fight here, but that pathetic guilt-trip attempt in #149 deserves a response. You can have the last word now if you choose…or multiple last words for that matter.

  151. I agree with Steve. People should be able to speak strongly and sternly on any topic as long as we don’t call each other a ninny or say “your mother wears combat boots.” – without someone pulling up the rear with guilt trip comments.

  152. Lutheran says:


    You have a long, long history on this blog of faux outrage against any position anywhere remotely less reactionary than yours.

    But your favorite tactic is to turn any differing point of view against yours, back on the person presenting the evidence, complete with namecalling and (“Jean, you’re hyper-partisan..”.)

    Time for you to put on your big-boy pants and…

    Oh, wait — I forgot. You don’t really want to dialogue unless you’re forced into a corner.

    You can say anything you want — but I’ve been on here longer than you, and I remember…

  153. Jim says:

    FWIW, I don’t think Democrats are evil at all. I think many are very well intentioned. I think that they generally have an incorrect view of the role of government which leads to poor policy, and that our current hangover from FDR’s and LBJ’s policies will become a nightmare that may very well be our downfall.

  154. Lutheran,
    Jean started the bomb throwing stating “Steve When you engage in hyper partisanship, not only do you hijack the blog from its purpose,..”

    He called Steve “hyper partisan and he called him a hijacker.

    But this is OK, we all do have big boy pants, and he should act so,

  155. Jean was being political…just doesn’t want to admit it.
    Be like me and be free to admit you have political opinions that don’t need to always be informed by scripture.
    X’s comments on this thread have made the most sense.

    I say again, the bible is not political or economic handbook.

  156. Michael says:

    I went to the woods.
    Think I’ll go back.

    I can safely say without boasting that over the last few years I’ve put more time and study into this issue than anyone here…by a huge margin.

    If you want to affix responsibility to one political party for whats happening on the border, you are either hopelessly partisan or an idiot.

    Obama is president and bears some responsibility …he’s been terrible on immigration…I don’t know of any group involved who thinks he’s been anything but a stiff and poser.

    However, the Republicans have refused any meaningful immigration reform, so they take the blame too.

    When I wrote this, I wrote it to examine the issue from a biblical viewpoint.
    I wrote it pretty carefully.
    We give biblical witness to our positions on gay rights and abortion…but we won’t engage on this one.
    I even included a link to Russell Moore (who is a right wing activist in my book)…but he gets that this is a Gospel issue.
    For the life of me, I don’t understand why the rest of the church doesn’t.

  157. “Be like me and be free to admit you have political opinions that don’t need to always be informed by scripture.”

    I like that. For those of us who understand the function of the 2 kingdoms will understand that God is perfectly happy to operate the civil kingdom with barbarians – even democrats and GOPers – no religious qualification needed or requested.

  158. Jean says:

    Steve, you come on here constantly making matter of fact claims about what Scripture says (typing in capital letters like your readers are too stupid to get your point using small letters) or which politicians are lying or covering things up without any backup. I don’t exactly know what your inference about women running for president is in #148, but it wasn’t complementary to women.

    Why can’t you argue a position without being mean and alienating some of your readers? I think you might more persuasive.

  159. Michael says:

    Russel Moore:

    “The Christian response to immigrant communities in the United States cannot be “You kids get off of my lawn” in Spanish. While evangelicals, like other Americans, might disagree on the political specifics of achieving a just and compassionate immigration policy, our rhetoric must be informed by more than politics, but instead by gospel and mission.

    I’m amazed when I hear evangelical Christians speak of undocumented immigrants in this country with disdain as “those people” who are “draining our health care and welfare resources.” It’s horrifying to hear those identified with the gospel speak, whatever their position on the issues, with mean-spirited disdain for the immigrants themselves.

    This is a gospel issue. First of all, our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called “illegal immigrant.” Fleeing, like many of those in our country right now, a brutal political situation, our Lord’s parents sojourned with him in Egypt (Matt. 2:13-23). Jesus, who lived out his life for us, spent his childhood years in a foreign land away from his relatives among people speaking a different language with strange customs.

    In so doing, our Lord Jesus was re-living the life of Israel, our ancestors in the faith, who were also immigrants and sojourners in Egypt (Exod. 1:1-14; 1 Chron. 16:19; Acts 7:6). It is this reality, the Bible tells us, that is to ground our response to those who sojourn among us (Exod. 22:21; Ps. 94:6; Jer.7:6; Ezek. 22:29; Zech. 7:10). God, the Bible says, “executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:18-19).

    This is much more than a “political” issue, abstracted from our salvation. Jesus tells us that our response to the most vulnerable among us is a response to Jesus Himself (Matt. 25:40). God will judge those who exploit workers and mistreat the poor. No matter how invisible they seem to us now, God hears (Isa. 3:15; Amos 4:1; Jas.5:4).

    This is also a question of our mission. There are upwards of 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country right now, and many more in the Latino community who came here legally. If our response to them is to absorb the nativism and bigotry of some elements of society around us, we are showing them a vision of what the Bible calls “the flesh” rather than the Spirit. If our churches ignore the nations around us who are living in our own communities, we will reflect 1970s Bible Belt America rather than the kingdom of God which is made up of those from every tribe, tongue, nation, and language (Rev. 7:9).

    It is easy to lash out at undocumented immigrants as “law-breakers,” and to cite Romans 13 as reason to simply call for deportation and retribution. But this issue is far more complicated than that. Yes, undocumented immigrants are violating the law, but, first of all, most of them are doing so in order to provide a future for their families in flight from awful situations back home. Many of them are children (as our Lord Jesus was at the time of his immigration).

    And, even given our nation’s Romans 13 responsibility to maintain secure borders, the message our nation sends to those across our borders isn’t clear and univocal. As Southern Baptist leader Richard Land puts it, there are two metaphorical signs on our border: “Keep out” and “Help wanted.”

    This isn’t to say that there aren’t real political challenges here. I agree that the border should be secured. I support holding businesses accountable for hiring, especially since some of them use the threat of deportation as a way of exploiting these vulnerable workers. I support a realistic means of providing a way to legal status for the millions of immigrants already here. But there are many who disagree with me, and for valid reasons.

    The larger issue is in how we talk about this issue, recognizing that this is not about “issues” or “culture wars” but about persons made in the image of God. Our churches must be the presence of Christ to all persons, regardless of country of origin or legal status. We need to stand against bigotry and harassment and exploitation, even when it’s politically profitable for those who stand with us on other issues.

    And, most importantly, we must love our brothers and sisters in the immigrant communities. We must be the presence of Christ to and among them, even as we receive ministry from them. Our commitment to a multinational kingdom of God’s reconciliation in Christ must be evident in the verbal witness of our gospel and in the visible makeup of our congregations.

    Immigration isn’t just an issue. It’s an opportunity to see that, as important as the United States of America is, there will be a day when the United States of America will no longer exist. And on that day, the sons and daughters of God will stand before the throne of a former undocumented immigrant. Some of them are migrant workers and hotel maids now. They will be kings and queens then. They are our brothers and sisters forever.

    We might be natural-born Americans, but we’re all immigrants to the kingdom of God (Eph. 2:12-14). Whatever our disagreements on immigration as policy, we must not disagree on immigrants as persons. Our message to them, in every language and to every person, must be “Whosoever will may come.”

  160. I’ll bet he is glad he lives in America and can voice his opinion – which is what he did… voiced HIS opinion.

  161. Michael says:


    What was scripturally incorrect with what he said?
    How can we wave the bible about homosexual activity and not do the same on this issue?

  162. Lutheran says:

    Great article, Michael.

    I think Mr. Moore lays it out nicely. Especially:

    I’m amazed when I hear evangelical Christians speak of undocumented immigrants in this country with disdain as “those people” who are “draining our health care and welfare resources.” It’s horrifying to hear those identified with the gospel speak, whatever their position on the issues, with mean-spirited disdain for the immigrants themselves.

    People just want to help other people in need.

  163. Michael says:


    This is the clincher for me;

    “Immigration isn’t just an issue. It’s an opportunity to see that, as important as the United States of America is, there will be a day when the United States of America will no longer exist. And on that day, the sons and daughters of God will stand before the throne of a former undocumented immigrant. Some of them are migrant workers and hotel maids now. They will be kings and queens then. They are our brothers and sisters forever.”

  164. “People just want to help other people in need.”

    3 weeks ago 87 people were shot in Chicago over 1 weekend. Last weekend 47 people were shot in Chicago over that same period.

    Are you rushing up there to help our kids?

  165. So what you are saying is that any immigration law is unbiblical – because it restricts people’s movement.

  166. Michael says:

    “Are you rushing up there to help our kids?”

    We should be.
    The two are not mutually exclusive.

  167. Lutheran says:



    Is there anything you don’t comment on?


  168. Michael says:


    “So what you are saying is that any immigration law is unbiblical – because it restricts people’s movement.”

    I have hundreds of books and papers on the subject of immigration.
    Not one…not one…says anything like you just imputed to me.

  169. Why don’t I see any of you quoting scriptures about Chicago? It is more immediate and has been going on much longer and has more dreadful effects … yet I have not seen a Chicago thread on the blog.

  170. “Not one…not one…says anything like you just imputed to me.”

    But what justification do you use to stop even one person looking for, well, you fill in the blank.

  171. Jean says:

    I echo 163 and 164, and add the following:

    “Our churches must be the presence of Christ to all persons, regardless of country of origin or legal status. We need to stand against bigotry and harassment and exploitation, even when it’s politically profitable for those who stand with us on other issues.”

  172. Michael says:


    I’m ignorant of everything but the headlines in Chicago and would be writing ignorantly if I did.
    Perhaps you should start a blog on the matter or share your expertise here.
    I do know that Chicago is a cartel hub in this country…I don’t know if the current violence is connected.

  173. I would like to know the names of the Christians who are treating these people badly.
    Everyone keeps mentioning them.
    Everyone on here who differs says to treat them decently and send them back to their own country.
    No one has said anything bad about them that I have seen.

  174. Lutheran,
    “Is there anything you don’t comment on?”

    A well placed comment to silence another person, I see.

    But to answer you – I do not comment on the prayer thread or if topics turn to touchy feely subjects.

    I also do not comment when the subject turns gossipy about bad acts of pastors … just never got into that over the years.

    How did I do? but it seems odd that you would solicit my comment.

  175. Michael says:


    “But what justification do you use to stop even one person looking for, well, you fill in the blank.”

    The vast majority of people involved in this believe in sovereign, secure borders.
    Many of us also believe in recognizing and accepting refugees from other countries, as this country was founded on such.
    We are looking for immigration reform…and the reform of practices that contribute to making these countries they are fleeing from hell holes in the first place.

    I see lots of rage against Obama… no one wants to touch what Reagan did to this country when he enabled the drug trade and destabilization of the region.

    We haven’t stopped doing that sort of thing…

  176. Michael says:


    I’ve set a personal record this week for being “unfriended” and “unfollowed”.
    My email looks like that of a man who hates teddy bears,would kill Bambi, and burns flags to keep himself warm at night.

    The things I’ve read about immigrants and myself has been utterly unbelievable.

  177. Jim says:

    Michael said, “I have hundreds of books and papers on the subject of immigration.
    Not one…not one…says anything like you just imputed to me.”

    You need to read some libertarians… 🙂

  178. Michael says:


    Maybe so. 🙂

  179. Michael says:


    You read Gary Webb, so I owe you one…

  180. I used to be on Michael’s side, but not anymore.
    The side he is on is to blind to history.

    I can also tell that people on here who advocate more of one group around another group that does not want to be around them, have never had to see or smell a mass grave where that has happened in other places.

    Is everyone in America Christian?
    They will therefore act as history shows they historically act eventually.
    Either violence or war or genocide. From one side or the other.
    You can see the anger inherent there, either in the anti-immigration protesters or the La Raza counter protesters.
    This is the part people don’t want to examine in this whole thing.
    It is actually a cultural blindness, because it has been so many years since it has happened here in America.
    Don’t fool yourself that it can’t happen here.
    Sometimes the best thing to do is to send them home to delay or stop such things.
    Sometimes the best thing to do is to help on a personal level while advocating for the best future outcome of the nation.
    I guarantee that if you, personally treat immigrants well then God will not care what your position politically was.
    I have a clean conscience on my reasons.

  181. “I see lots of rage against Obama… no one wants to touch what Reagan did to this country”

    I have no rage against Obama nor do I ignore what the Reagan administration did. My rage??? is against those in leadership who refuse to follow the laws of the land and give lip service to “some better alternative.”

  182. So does un-friending you mean that in their interpersonal interactions they treat illegal immigrants badly or does it mean they think your position is injurous to the nation?

  183. Michael says:


    I’d rather be blind to history and true to Scripture.
    If I read you correctly, you’re saying that a race war is possible.
    I think it will be a class war if it happens, but I don’t discount what you’re saying.

  184. Michael says:


    That link at #184 was damn good…

  185. Michael says:


    That stuff sounds like me without the bible…
    This is gold…

  186. Michael says:


    There has been hatred expressed toward both the refugees and me…it’s been ugly.
    Paralyzingly ugly.

  187. Michael says:

    I rarely clap when at the computer…but I did this time from the link I posted …

    “So let’s get this straight: Like a marauding elephant, America sticks its trunk in Latin America, snorts out one-trillion in military and other aid to stop the flow of drugs that Americans want, gives a huge push to drug cartels in these countries who unleash all kinds of unspeakable atrocities on innocent civilians, and now, when these civilians desperately try and get their children out of harm’s way by grasping at a Bush-era law that is required to give them a hearing, nativists march on the street blathering about America’s national sovereignty?

    Where were they when their guvmint (which is about to authorize nearly $4 billion in emergency funding to deport these kids immediately) was violating the sovereignty of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — the three countries from where most of the unaccompanied minors are coming from? These countries enjoy the highest murder rate in the world, thanks, in part, to our drug war.

    Yet nativists shamelessly march on the streets demanding that these kids be “Returned to Sender.”

  188. Jean says:

    I haven’t spent much time comparing the Chicago crime situation with the children at the border issue, but I see a few differences:

    The citizen residents of Chicago are enfranchised to vote, so they can influence their situation through the political process, whereas the children at the border have no political influence.

    There are a lot of local churches in Chicago, which can evangelize, provide services and advocate on social justice issues on behalf of the poor in Chicago, whereas the children at the border appear to be denied access from faith based groups.

    The residents of Chicago have access to public education, basic public assistance and social services, whereas the assistance to the children at the border is much more limited.

    So, while I see an significant opportunity for the church to serve the children at the border (which will depend to some extent on effective lobbying to gain access) who are severely underserved at this time, I’m not sure that the same can be said of the poor in Chicago, at least from the standpoint of people from the outside coming in.

    That being said, I’m only educated on the Chicago situation at the headlines level, so there may be other considerations I’ve omitted.

  189. Michael,
    I have had to guard a mass grave. It is not pretty.

    It has nothing to do with race and all to do with cultures clashing.
    In Bosnia, it was Orthodox vs. Muslim. The only way you could tell the difference was names.

    Right now, black people I know express the same reasons as white people against it.
    Jobs, crime and dismay that the govt has more interest in illegal immigrants welfare than people in Detroit.
    It is all about the culture clash and yes I can see it happening easily.
    History is replete with it.

    I understand your stance, but I do not feel it is in the best long term interests of either America or the immigrants.

  190. Michael says:


    I do not discount what you’re saying at all…it is a genuine concern and one that people will be afraid to discuss.
    My conscience demands I be faithful to what I believe the Scriptures teach above all other considerations, but that doesn’t mean we don’t consider all the factors.

    The Chicago situation fascinates me now that MLD brings it up…there is good reason to believe that in Juarez that some of the later massacres were perpetrated by the government to clean the place up a bit.
    I wonder who’s doing the shooting in Chicago…perhaps I need to look more closely.

  191. Michael says:


    It took some guts to post that perspective…I appreciate that.

  192. Steve Wright says:

    It’s an odd hermeneutic. On the one hand, I have seen right wing Christians absolutely trashed on this blog over “claiming” 2 Chronicles 7:14 has an application to America. And for myself, I have joined with those voices against the vast majority of my evangelical (and especially CC) brethren. Indeed, that verse is not a promise for American Christians.

    And yet, Russel Moore uses the history of Israel as to Egypt in the age of the patriarchs, and the deliverance from there to the promised land as the foundation for how American Christians are to understand the teachings in the Mosaic Law and other Old Testament passages about the stranger and sojourner in context to national borders and immigration laws.

    Now, if Moore also applies 2 Chron 7:14 to America, then at least he is consistent and consistency, even when we may disagree, is something to admire rather than swinging back and forth on an argument depending on which side one wants to support or criticize. I have no idea if he does.

    Though calling Jesus an illegal immigrant is sure agenda-driven. It was not illegal to travel to Egypt from Palestine or vice versa during the Roman Empire, and Jesus never immigrated to Egypt anymore than my wife and I immigrated to India when we went to live there for a season.

  193. Xenia says:

    I don’t exactly understand this conversation.

    In the border kids conversation, we are being asked to choose between two impossible choices. We are being asked to choose between compassion for the kids or border integrity. Personally, I am in favor of both. Any country that does not guard its borders will not be a country for very long. Yet any person who does not have compassion for fleeing children has a heart of ice.

    As a Christian, I am more interested in what I can actually, physically do for people than I am in trying to come up with a solution to this impossible situation. That’s why I keep talking about pies.

    If the subject of immigration came up in some kind of way that I could vote on it, I don’t even know how I would vote. I would certainly not vote for opening up the border and letting the entire world come rushing in upon us like the Oklahoma Land Rush. This is a case where I don’t know what the compassionate thing to do really is. I really don’t. Sorry if that makes me sound hard-hearted.

    I also don’t understand why people are so angry with Michael and why he’s so angry in return. Can’t people just have opinions on this subject without all the anger?

    Also, this trying to separate out Bible vs politics just makes no sense at all. Unless you live on the border and are able to do something physical or can send money to those who are there, anything else one does involves politics. I have been saying this over and over.

    I think most people have compassion for the kids but are not interested in seeing our own country turned into a third world nation. Our country does a lot of good around the world and if it is brought to ruination we can’t help anyone.

    So, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    That being the case…. might as well start showing love to our neighbors by showing kindness to those who do not agree with us on this topic. No need for anger. Easy to show compassion to a group of pitiful children 1000 miles away. Likewise, show compassion to the people you “know” on the Internet.

    Remember, a soft answer turns away wrath.

  194. Jim says:

    Plenty of room at the table, Michael. 🙂

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