The Weekend Word

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117 Responses

  1. Jean says:


  2. Al says:

    I agree with how you articulated that.

    I especially agree that Jesus is the Logos of God….Jesus’s teaching and example trump all other….only Jesus has the authority as you stated to give God’s proper “Utterance” or Reason or Mind or rationale behind the scriptures.

    The rest of us are imperfect vessels, even those who documented what he said. I think we have to start with Jesus and filter everything in the bible through the Jesus Lens which helps explain a lot of the issues/perceived problems inherent in the bible.

  3. Al says:

    It is interesting to me in learning more and more about Christianity and Islam….these interesting dynamics:

    In Islam….Mohammed started off more peace and love and hippie….and in the Islamic faith…the teaching is that Mohammed’s last word is the final word and undoes the previous teachings in terms of emphasis (essentially). Well, Mohammed got more and more angry and went from peace and love to hate and smiting the enemy for god and he ended with that. Basically, kill all who are “apostate”.

    In Christianity….it starts off pretty brutal in the Old Testament, you have smiting of enemies, stoning unruly children, executing adulterers and gays, slaves, etc….and you have a very strict Levitical Law etc. Then Jesus, literally the Logos of God, God’s “reason, mind, intellect” comes on the scene and properly puts all that in context for us and completely turns the Law and Prophets upside down and speaks the Truth of God to us and clarifies everything.

    Christianity’s end is Love. Law of Love. The true Gospel appears to be extreme Grace and Love. That seems to be the last word of Jesus…that trumps everything before it.

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    an editing note – under the title The Beatitudes the 323rd point down, I think in an effort to cut my word count I over edited.
    “Jesus is blessing Israel.” should read “Jesus is blessing his New Israel.” we know that he has different words for old Israel and their leaders.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The 3rd point down. Sorry, having Bloody Mary’s with breakfast.

  6. Em ... again says:

    what is rolling around in my head as i read this lesson this morning is what our Lord is illustrating in these Beatitudes is so antithetical to that video of yesterday… whether intentional or naive, i can’t say, the video came across as … i don’t know …?… smug? If we march thru the streets of the city we aren’t ministering to the city are we? dunno

    Good lesson here … might tweak it a bit to fit my viewpoint, but it doesn’t need it 🙂

  7. Michael says:

    I think the Sermon on the Mount is the most important passage in all of Scripture.
    To me, it shows that what passes for corporate evangelical Christianity is false and antithetical to the teachings of Christ.

    I will have lots to say as we move along…

  8. Michael says:

    There are in the history of interpretation three basic types, which complement one another.

    a. A first basic type emphasizes the word of grace in the Beatitudes.
    This interpretation is based primarily on the first four beatitudes. People are pronounced blessed who are in a particular situation: “That they are poor and sad and meek and empty and in need of righteousness is only the situation which has come on them.” Grace is often spiritualized, especially in Protestant interpretations: “It is … the empty before God … to whom the promise is made.” The Beatitudes “all describe … the same contrast … between those who are righteous in themselves and those for whom there is righteousness only by grace.”

    b. A second basic type understands the Beatitudes primarily as ethical exhortation.
    Included here is the mass of the interpretations of the ancient and medieval churches and most modern Catholic interpretations. In the ancient church and in the Middle Ages the series of beatitudes was understood as a royal stairway. The way from the first to the last beatitude is identical with the way from repentance to perfection. Thus the Beatitudes are all about virtues. Their sequence is irreversible. The first three deal with the person’s emancipation from earthly ties, the next three with one’s relationship to others, the last two with one’s final acceptance by God. Gregory of Nyssa impressively places his interpretation in the framework of a journey to the top of a mountain. More recently, Martin Dibelius interprets the Beatitudes as a “catalogue of Christian virtues,” Hans Windisch as “conditions for entering” the kingdom of God. According to Neuhäusler, they are to lead the hearer to the question: “Am I like this?” For Trilling they are to be put under the heading of 5:48*: be perfect. According to Dupont, in the final analysis all the Beatitudes deal with one theme, righteousness. Walter sees the Beatitudes as a counterpart of the Decalogue and, like it, divided into two tablets.

    c. A third basic type sees in the Beatitudes regulations for the life of the community. Their goal is the life (beatitudes 5–8) that comes from grace (beatitudes 1–4).

    In a sermon from 1725 Zinzendorf impressively understands the eight beatitudes as a description of the way of those who “hunger and thirst for grace” and then learn from that “how one is to deal with other people.”41 More recently similar attempts begin with Matthew’s arrangement of the Beatitudes into two strophes. Then the first strophe may be described as dealing with persons who are living in hope or who are needy, while the second strophe deals with those who act. Or the first strophe deals with attitudes, the second with activities.

    Luz, U. (2007). Matthew 1–7: a commentary on Matthew 1–7. (H. Koester, Ed.) (Rev. ed., pp. 188–189). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

  9. Michael says:

    For Bonhoeffer it does not matter whether the Beatitudes speak of the disciples’ behavior or their suffering; the only important thing is that they speak of life with Christ in discipleship. “The fellowship of the beatitudes is the fellowship of the Crucified. With him it has lost all, and with him it has found all.”

    Along with the ancient church, Luther interprets the Beatitudes ethically, but he understands their commandments as the content of the gospel. “This gospel … also contains commandments—namely, how one is to be poor in spirit, meek, merciful, etc.” Jesus’ interpretation of the law by means of the Beatitudes is “the greatest blessing of all.” There are others who understand the Beatitudes ethically, but they place the emphasis on the “reminders of the promise” in the second clauses, because it is “not the injunctions … but the reasons for them” that are enjoined.

    Luz, U. (2007). Matthew 1–7: a commentary on Matthew 1–7. (H. Koester, Ed.) (Rev. ed., p. 189). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

  10. Michael says:

    People often say what wonderful teaching the Sermon on the Mount is, and that if only people would obey it the world would be a better place. But if we think of Jesus simply sitting there telling people how to behave properly, we will miss what was really going on. These ‘blessings’, the ‘wonderful news’ that he’s announcing, are not saying ‘try hard to live like this.’ They are saying that people who already are like that are in good shape. They should be happy and celebrate.

    Jesus is not suggesting that these are simply timeless truths about the way the world is, about human behaviour. If he was saying that, he was wrong. Mourners often go uncomforted, the meek don’t inherit the earth, those who long for justice frequently take that longing to the grave. This is an upside-down world, or perhaps a right-way-up world; and Jesus is saying that with his work It’s starting to come true. This is an announcement, not a philosophical analysis of the world. It’s about something That’s starting to happen, not about a general truth of life. It is gospel: good news, not good advice.

    Wright, T. (2004). Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (p. 36). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

  11. Michael says:

    This is critical, especially because there are those who do not believe these teachings are for the church…

    “The word for ‘wonderful news’ is often translated ‘blessed’, and part of the point is that this is God’s wonderful news. God is acting in and through Jesus to turn the world upside down, to turn Israel upside down, to pour out lavish ‘blessings’ on all who now turn to him and accept the new thing that he is doing. (This list is sometimes called ‘the Beatitudes’, because the Latin word ‘beatus’ means ‘blessed’.) But the point is not to offer a list of what sort of people God normally blesses. The point is to announce God’s new covenant.

    In Deuteronomy, the people came through the wilderness and arrived at the border of the promised land, and God gave them a solemn covenant. He listed the blessings and the curses that would come upon them if they were obedient or disobedient (chapter 28). Now Matthew has shown us Jesus, coming out of Egypt (2:15), through the water and the wilderness (chapters 3 and 4), and into the land of promise (4:12–25). Here, now, is his new covenant.”

    Wright, T. (2004). Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (p. 37). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Obviously from the conversation the other day, dispensationalist do not believe that this sermon is for the church. This is for a pre resurrection people of a different dispensation from the church.
    If taught, it is as good Jesus sayings or as history.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – you need to synthesize down all of these quoted passages and play down on our level by telling us what you think.

  14. Em ... again says:

    trying to sort through all the nuanced interpretations – perhaps, all that focus on them are good… but
    i don’t know that i could agree that the Beatitudes can be “manufactured” … i think that our Lord is speaking of what comes from one’s heart – some of us are more blessed in our natures and some of us, even though we amen and admire this teaching, need to grow, to renew our minds – something that couldn’t really be achieved before His ascension back to the Father and the Holy Spirit’s new ministry to us and in us

  15. Em ... again says:

    two things that MLD doesn’t understand: dispensationalism and evangelical Christians… but then i am trying to understand Lutheranism 🙂

  16. Michael says:

    Just trying to lay a foundation, but I hear you .
    Taking this passage out of the present Christian canon is beyond error and close to blasphemy in my opinion…

  17. Em ... again says:

    there is so much compassion and evidence of Jesus’ understanding of the human condition in the Beatitudes, i’ve always read them as loving and encouraging…
    sometimes human attempts to fine tune theology is not uplifting at all … but then sometimes what theology declares glorifies God and lifts our understanding …? … or so it seems to me today

  18. Xenia says:

    This is neither here nor there, but in the Orthodox Church we always sing the Beatitudes during the Small Entrance, when the Gospel book is brought forth.

  19. Jean says:

    “something that couldn’t really be achieved before His ascension back to the Father and the Holy Spirit’s new ministry to us and in us”

    What we really need to do, as gently as possible, is nip this dispensational theology in the bud, because it destroys the unity of the Bible and creates many other problems, besides being plain wrong.

    In regard to the quote above, let us repeat again that salvation has always been by grace, the Gospel and the Spirit have always been active carrying forth a remnant true Church from which the promised Seed would come.

    Below, David, perhaps the richest man in the world at that time (from a temporal kingdom perspective) shows us what it means to be poor in spirit (from a kingdom of heaven perspective).

    “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.”
    1 Chronicles 29:14-16 ESV

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Only close? If we all agree, and perhaps we don’t, that Benny Hinn’s 9 person trinity is heretical – why not all the false stuff of dispensationalim —- and I’m not even talking of the crazy end times stuff.

  21. Xenia says:

    From OrthodoxWiki:

    The beatitudes are considered by the Church, to contain the most concise summary of the spiritual life of man. They are an introduction to the teachings of Jesus. In the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the beatitudes are chanted when the Book of the Gospels is carried in solemn procession to the sanctuary to be proclaimed as the Word of God to the faithful. Thus it is the clear teaching of the Gospel and the Church that one enters into the mysteries of Christ and the Kingdom of God only by way of following the Lord’s teachings in the beatitudes.

  22. Michael says:

    There are some beautiful traditions in the Orthodox liturgy. I’m in full agreement.

  23. Michael says:

    I don’t discount all of dispensational theology.
    How this passage is read is a hill I’ll die on however.
    This IS the new covenant and it describes what the kingdom and those who are part of it will be.

  24. Xenia says:

    People will say that Jesus couldn’t possibly have meant for us to actually try to follow the things He says because if we can’t do them perfectly, as someone here recently said, we’re toast.

    I have an ailment, my doctor has given me a difficult diet to follow and a web app to keep track of everything. I do pretty well and I am feeling better. My doctor does not expect perfection but he does expect me to give it my best shot if I want to be healed. If I abandon the diet, my ailment will return and I will be sick again. If I do what I’m told, things will be fine. As far as my doctor (who is nothing like Michael’s old cardiologist) is concerned, as long as I am making progress in the right direction, he’s fine. Heading in the right direction: that’s what counts.

    So those are the commandments of my doctor: Xenia, take your medicine and eat what I tell you. Physical healing.

    Jesus knows we are spiritually sick and He has the prescription to heal us. As He once said to the man by the pool: “Do you want to be healed?” If the answer is “Yes, Lord, heal me!” we will follow His commandments and take His medicine (Communion, the medicine of immortality) and we will be spiritually healed.

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    dispensationalim says that Abraham was saved in a different fashion than I was. That for me is enough to compare it to Hinn’s 9 person trinity.

    But hey, back to the Beatitudes.

  26. Em ... again says:

    i don’t really know that this is worth the effort … however
    not to change a mind, but to clarify my #14
    ““something that couldn’t really be achieved before His ascension back to the Father and the Holy Spirit’s new ministry to us and in us”
    Jean said:
    “What we really need to do, as gently as possible, is nip this dispensational theology in the bud, because it destroys the unity of the Bible and creates many other problems, besides being plain wrong.”

    dispensationalists may come in many colors, i have no idea … but they surely must as the declarations made here are strange ones

    let me reply … as gently as possible
    if you don’t believe that your character improves with your acceptance of Christ (post crucifixion and ascension) by the work of the Holy Spirit, then you don’t understand the purpose of the Church

    as to the fact of God’s grace, it went into action the day God provided clothes for Adam and Eve and gave us our first hint of the gospel – before that i haven’t a clue

    you are saved by the same plan of God as Abraham, but to a different purpose in time…
    the Law and the Gospel are not separated in my camp … emphasis distinct and defined yes, but not separate – they are parts of the whole
    if i could change the view of those who see no defined emphasis or pattern in Scripture, i’d leave them with no Faith as i’m sure to not bring anyone to my view …

    but i am just refusing to be misinterpreted for the benefit of stating another case… if i’m not clear by now? – no matter – carry on … as gently as possible … 🙂

  27. CostcoCal says:

    Regarding the Sermon on the Mount:

    These are the greatest words ever spoken. They are truth and will set us free when we live by them. And they are the Law. At it’s zenith.

    (Btw, Jesus also preached this very sermon “on the plain” in the Gospel of Luke.)

  28. CostcoCal says:

    All of these inspired and unparalleled words from this Sermon, as well as any other of Jesus’ teaching before His resurrection, were not to go beyond the House of Israel. It was only upon His resurrection, Jesus declared, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.”

  29. CostcoCal says:

    …aaaand while I am at it.

    Paul never directly quotes Jesus from the Gospels. Not even once! For it was a divine, unparalleled, beautiful, inspired….message to those under the Law of Moses.

  30. Steve Wright says:

    Obviously from the conversation the other day, dispensationalist do not believe that this sermon is for the church.
    This is dishonest…..and insulting. Not “for the church” – so is the argument that we dispensationalists don’t read, study, live, pray, sing, and preach the Sermon on the Mount? Of course, since I referenced my almost 5 hours of teaching on the Sermon just two days ago, I guess that must not be the case, huh?

    Well readers, that would be wholly inaccurate and I can’t believe even MLD thinks that but it is just another easy cheap shot given there is hardly anyone left willing to engage

    And no, I’m not going to waste time explaining why (again). I only write the above in case there are a couple readers who might think MLD’s bias and constant animosity is accurate.

    There was a time that the comments aimed at brothers in Christ over doctrinal issues were not encouraged as they are of late….but it was a time before the guest authors too.

    I understand the help that Jean and MLD contribute to keep the blog in new content. But it is a shame there could not be a little more humility in handling the truth of God’s word once the article ends and the comments begin…..

  31. Costco – you are preaching to the choir. we have already acknowledged your position that Jesus and his words were not for the Church (which was plan B) but for his real people as you described the House of Israel.

    The whole concept of the rapture was devised for this very purpose – God invented the church to make Israel jealous, so he must rapture out the church, get them out of the way so I can now get back to plan A – which according to the various dispensations will take God back to live in a new temple, create a whole new set of sacrifices for the House of Israel and save them in some manner that he originally planned.

    Again, Benny Hinn’s 9 person trinity sounds less heretical than your position. I think Hinn still believes Jesus speaks to the church.

    On another note I think Bart Ehrman agrees with you that Paul is the originator of the church.

  32. CostcoCal says:

    MLD… uh huh. 🙂

  33. Steve, you are dishonest in calling me dishonest. Go back and read what you said about the purpose of the parable of the unmerciful servant. You said it was not written for the church but was written to a group of people in the pre resurrection dispensation who had no way of knowing what was coming up.
    So, I applied the same to the sermon on the mount as they were basically the same audience.

    Also, I said above that you do teach it – read the last statement at #12 ” If taught it is as good Jesus sayings or history.” Meaning taught as an historical event – what Jesus said and what Jesus did.

    Also, if you go back to Jean’s thread, it was you who took umbrage at his article or comments and brought up your view of what Jesus said and who it was for

  34. Michael says:

    I consider Costco Cal’s position as stated in #28 to be so aberrant as to approach heresy.

    I also believe this teaching has been the fertilized soil that a hundred more distortions have grown from.

  35. CostcoCal says:

    Well, let me go back to reading my Bible. And may the Lord have mercy on me.

  36. Xenia says:

    #28 has the effect of stealing Jesus from us.

  37. Michael says:


    Rather than there being “hardly anyone left to engage with” the actual numbers of people reading these teachings has almost doubled since MLD took over.

    Jean’s teaching are also very well received and often reposted on other blogs.

    The value to me isn’t simply new content…the value is in these men giving clear expositions of the Gospel without all the encumbrances of evangelicalism.

    The value is in all the feedback I get thanking them for the work.

    I don’t always agree with either, nor with Xenia…but my readers love what they write.

    We just had a thread with over 160 comments…people discussing the Gospel.

    If that is a problem, give me more problems.

  38. Steve, are you saying that this is a no doctrine distinction area? A politically correct theology zone like the Episcopalians do? I think I take the high ground in the other area and not participate in the pastor personality bashing etc- something I have never done.

    I think I said it the other day, if I were doing the same thing to the theology of our Word of Faith brother – no one, not even you or CC would object – because it would not be your bull being gored.

    What do you think of my 9 person trinity critique of brother Hinn?

  39. Xenia,
    “#28 has the effect of stealing Jesus from us.”

    I said on the Jean thread that dispensationalism separates God from his people just by insisting the differences for the dispensations. You and I can see it clearly as we now look from the outside at something we were totally immerse in at a different point of time.

  40. CostcoCal says:

    Jesus is Lord! 🙂

  41. Michael says:

    Jesus is Lord…and that’s what this passage is about.

    It is a description of the kingdom and kingdom people, that which has been inaugurated and that which will come in it’s fullness.

    It’s about how we are to live as citizens of that kingdom…right now, as the New Israel, the church.

    It is the manifesto of the New Covenant…not the old Israel.

  42. Jean says:

    “#28 has the effect of stealing Jesus from us.”

    To learn of this dispensational theology is like a very bad dream. The Bible teaches that God saves sinners through means of grace, which include the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. If, as the dispensationalists teach, you don’t believe that Baptism and Holy Communion convey grace and you further teach that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, isn’t speaking to Christians, then you’ve severely cut off the Holy Spirit from people in the churches by limiting the means of grace down to the epistles. So, what remains?

    Costco Cal, is wrong about Paul not quoting Jesus. Paul quotes Jesus in 1 Cor 11 regarding Holy Communion.

    For anyone to say that the 4 Gospels, which were written after Paul’s letters (or so it is argued by many), and which were written to churches for evangelistic purposes, do not contain Jesus teaching to the Church, or that Jesus didn’t know what he was doing by preaching with the foreknowledge that his sermons would be passed to the church, is inconceivable.

    So, with this dispensational theology, are we to believe that Jesus didn’t give us his prayer to be passed down through history for every generation to pray, so that we could pray his words back to the Father?

    Is the Apostle’s Creed erroneous because it says that when Jesus returns it will be to judge the living and the dead, and not for some 1,000 millennial reign?

    I’m beginning to think that this dispensational theology not a harmless variation.

  43. Michael says:

    Gal 5:22-24 is basically a restatement of this sermon…

  44. Michael says:

    The key here is to teach truth as one understands it without worrying about what another tradition thinks.

    Be clear, be concise, and let the Word do it’s job.

    I’ve never censored anyone who wanted to teach things here that were within the pale of orthodoxy.

    Outside, yes…inside, no.

  45. Xenia says:

    Like Jean, I was going to write that Paul didn’t quote Jesus (much) because some of his letters were written before the Gospels were written. Paul doesn’t talk about a lot of things, like the virgin birth, etc. I am not one to base doctrine on word count. (“This word is only mentioned one time in the Bible whereas this word is mentioned…..”)

  46. Michael says:

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    Blessed are those who know that they are born spiritually bankrupt…that they have nothing in themselves to recommend them to mercy.

    Blessed are those who know this…because they will come to Jesus on the basis of His grace alone.

    It is to those who do so that the kingdom of heaven belongs…and to those alone.

    It is also those who will attract others to Christ who have nothing to recommend them to mercy…

  47. CostcoCal says:

    Well, we do all have this in common. We see through a glass dimly. What a day when we see Him face to face!

  48. Michael says:


    Great point @ 46…

  49. Jean says:

    If I can make any point tonight, or if you read only one thing I write tonight, please make it this comment. The entire Bible is written for you. It is all about Jesus and has been given so that you might believe in Jesus as Lord and be saved.

    Isaiah prophesied about the coming Gospel of Jesus Christ (and I’ve quoted a wonderful passage from that prophesy below). That prophesy was written for you. The Sermon on the Mount was written for you. This issue is learning to distinguish Law and Gospel in the Bible, not learning to cut out parts of the Bible under the guise of some recent innovation called dispensationalism. You can’t cut Jesus words out of Christianity any more than Thomas Jefferson could cut out Jesus’ miracles from his bible.

    “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
    And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
    He will swallow up death forever;
    and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.” (Is 25:6-8)

  50. CostcoCal says:

    I read Jeremiah 31:31-34 as being fulfilled after Christ’s resurrection. That is why the New Covenant (Testament) begins upon His resurrection, my dear friends.

  51. Jean says:

    “if you don’t believe that your character improves with your acceptance of Christ (post crucifixion and ascension) by the work of the Holy Spirit, then you don’t understand the purpose of the Church”

    Actually, your character has nothing to do with the purpose of the Church. The purpose of the church is to gather together in Christ’s name to receive his Word and Sacraments. The church as been entrusted with the manifold wisdom of God. And the purpose of the Church is to make that wisdom known….

    There are a number of other religions that make it their purpose to improve the character. Some are quite effective.

  52. Michael says:

    I will throw in one more N. T. Wright quote…

    “What Jesus is saying, rather, is, “Now that I’m here, God’s new world is coming to birth; and, once you realize that, you’ll see that these are the habits of heart which anticipate that new world here and now.” These qualities ”purity of heart, mercy, and so on”are not, so to speak, “things you have to do” to earn a “reward,” a “payment.”
    Nor are they merely the “rules of conduct” laid down for new converts to follow…They are, in themselves, the signs of life, the language of life, the life of new creation, the life of new covenant, the life which Jesus came to bring”

  53. CostcoCal says:

    (Hence, I suggest John is in a different category than the Synoptic Gospels, in this regard)

  54. CC, I see the new covenant coming with the birth of Jesus and confirm in several events – to mention a few, when God reentered the temple after 400 yrs absence – Luke 2 when Jesus was presented in the Temple – at his baptism when heaven opened and at the resurrection when we see the completeness or at least the completeness of our understanding.

    But someone else here has taught that the new covenant is not for the church.

  55. Michael says:

    I don’t think it particularly helpful to try and pin a certain beginning on the New Covenant.
    Many think it inaugurated at the Last Supper, others at Pentecost, and other opinions abound.

    I do think it helpful to speak in terms of the “kingdom”…which Jesus explained was already here…

  56. Michael says:

    I would probably concur with MLD @ 54…

  57. Jean says:


    I’m trying to understand your point in #50. Yes, Jesus made a New Testament, which went into effect upon his death (Heb 9:17).

    You could think of the OT sacrifices (this is a crude analogy) as a credit card. They atoned for sins and made the people holy on a temporary basis in anticipation of the “once for all” sacrifice of Christ. So Jesus atoned for Adam’s, Noah’s, Job’s, Abraham’s, David’s, John the Baptist’s, etc. sins. The cross works back as well as forward.

    Is that what you were addressing?

  58. CostcoCal says:

    Obviously, there is great validity to what both of you gentlemen just stated.

    I simply personally believe and read the Scriptures as the New Covenant beginning upon His Resurrection. That is why I state that up to that point, it is all under the Old Covenant. Including, Jesus’ life, teaching, and ministry. I see nothing heretical about this. In fact, personally, I see it as proper context. I realize that’s my personal read on the New Testament.

  59. CostcoCal says:

    Darn. Missed a comma. 🙂

  60. CostcoCal says:

    Or two. Lol

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think Jesus had already dispatched of the OTld Cob long before the resurrection.

  62. For example, everytime the Pharisees asked why does your master do this instead of this or the disciple eating on the sabbath etc.

    I think everytime Jesus said “You have heard it said, but I say” I think instead of saying theres a new sheriff in town, he was saying”hey, there is a new covenant in town

  63. OTld Cob = Old Cov

  64. CostcoCal says:

    Ok. Heading to Harry and David’s….anybody need something?

  65. Steve Wright says:

    not learning to cut out parts of the Bible under the guise of some recent innovation called dispensationalism
    The above comment is an embarrassment.

    I hope the readers are not swayed by such false witness.

    If interested, Dr. John F. Walvoord wrote a simple little commentary on Matthew, and his words of introduction before the Sermon on the Mount, given he is arguably the most influential dispensational theologian in Church history (certainly top ten) and managed to serve as President of Dallas Theological Seminary for 36 years (on staff for over 50), might represent the mainstream dispensational view a little more faithfully than the opining of those who reject it out of hand.

    Of course, why study a doctrine before you urinate all over it.

    The Sermon on the Mount isn’t rapture and Israel stuff to generate some chuckles from the critics…the idea that dispensationalists as a whole could care less about the three chapters of teachings offered here by our Lord and Savior is preposterous and amazingly insulting to so many brothers and sisters in Christ.

  66. Jean says:


    I looked up your Dr. John F. Walvoord in He is credited with one of the 4 basic tenants of dispensationalism. this #3 to be specific:

    “3.the view that the New Testament church is a parenthesis in God’s plan which was not foreseen by the Old Testament,”

    Now, perhaps the Roman Church, the Orthodox Church and the Reformers all missed this gem and the other three tenants of dispensationalism. But if your claim in #65 is that dispensationalism is not an innovation that the brilliant scholars at Dallas Theological Seminary or elsewhere from around the 18th century invented, then please give us some early Patristic support.

    Urinating on this rubbish might be too kind. Not you, but the theology. I can’t even imagine an orthodox Christian referring to the church as a parenthesis in God’s plan.

  67. Michael says:

    For those interested, that Walvoord commentary can be read here;

  68. Michael says:

    Before the urinating competition gets to the prize round, lets stick to presenting our views and let others do the same.

    Engagement with the theology is permissible…

  69. Michael says:

    I’m too wiped out to fill out the thought, but MLD @ 62 is presenting what I believe is the proof that the inauguration of the New Covenant preceded the death of Christ…

  70. Steve, In your rush to be right, I think you passed over the main point. No one is arguing against the beloved Walvoord – we are arguing against your comments the other day that the words of Jesus, as exampled by the parable we were discussing was not to the church. If you want to rescind those comments – then good we can move on.

    Now to you using Walvood as a source, especially his long time service at the seminary – how do you work around our brothers in the Word Faith movement justifying their purpose and teachings by quoting brother Oral Roberts who held a similar position for just as long?

  71. Jean says:

    Good idea Michael.

    Okay, let’s join the issue at hand.

    Regarding the Beatitudes, here are the positions:


    “Follow along here and note – these are not laws, not instructions, not something to follow. These are pure gospel – the Christian is…

    The Beatitudes are not a prescription to how to reach your spiritual potential.

    It is a blessing – Jesus is blessing His New Israel

    Blessed are you = Jesus’ words give what they promise”

    Now, here is Steve’s source, Walvoord:

    “The introductory verses, picturing Jesus seated, imply, as Tasker points out, Christ’s role as a Lawgiver or Rabbi.

    So, are the Beatitudes Law or Gospel? Personally, I can’t find a “command”, “ought”, or exhortation anywhere in there. So, Walvoord is wrong. And it’s precisely because of his dispensational theology that he classifies Jesus as a second Moses.

  72. This is a total aside but you gotta love Walvoord. His book Road to Armageddon was produced in 3 editions between 1974 & 2004 and in each edition, the foe (anti Christ or just general bad guy) was different.

  73. I think this story kind of relates…

    A few years ago I taught a series through Jonah. I gave it the simple title “Go!” And tied it to the idea that believers are called to, a la the great commission of Matthew 28. Jonah ran, but he was supposed to go. And so are we. Well, a few weeks into the series, a hardcore dispensationalist couldn’t take it anymore and cornered me, complaining that I was using the OT to talk about evangelism. On top of that he questioned whether the great commission was for the church as Jesus taught it pre resurrection.

  74. And Piney wins the Kewpie doll 🙂

  75. I was hoping for the big stuffed gorilla. ?

  76. Em ... again says:

    re: #51 – Character improvement has a great deal to do with the purpose of the Church
    Romans 6 cannot be done without the work of the Holy Spirit in us and without an improvement in your character, you cannot very credibly spread the Gospel, nor the efficacy of the death of Jesus and what follows in time as well as beyond time – which down thru these centuries IS the purpose of the Church … IMV
    but then there are plenty of church goers – no matter your denominational preference – that do a pretty good job of making the Gospel look impotent

    God keep all close this night

  77. I agree with em 100%. She has stated the evangelical purpose for the church. In fact there is a book of that title The Purpose Driven Church. It is all about character development (which I think a couple of Boy Scout badges does the same) – so that the church person graduates to Alan Redpath’s Victorious Christian Living.

    Yes, going to church is all about me, 🙂

  78. CostcoCal says:

    I hope not to be snarky here. I really don’t think about Dispie vs Covenential as I have in years past.

    Re: MLD’s thoughts on #62, it is of my persuasion that Jesus was simply making the Law totally untenable. To the point that the Pharisees couldn’t even claim to keep the Law. So the sinners adored Him and the Sanhedrin crucified Him.

  79. CostcoCal says:

    Or how about Covenantal? Lol

    On that faux pas alone, I outta cede my argument tonight.

  80. Michael says:

    ““The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”
    (Luke 16:16–17 ESV)

    My position would be that the King, the kingdom, and the covenant were simultaneously inagurated.

    Even if we posit that the covenant began with the Cross, we would have to cede that the Sermon on the Mount was spoken in regard to what that covenant would bring, not a lecture describing anything to do with the former covenant with Moses.

    There is no passage in scripture that so clearly contrasts what it means to be a Christian with what it means to be of the world.

  81. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Lutheran doctrine is always left out of discussions. It’s like Lutheran thought is rejected without consideration.

    Calvinism vs arminian are always the hot flash points. Lutherans not allowed.
    Now we see the discussion shift to dispensational vs covenantal.- we are neither.

    Where is the Lutheran love? 😉

  82. Michael says:

    “Where is the Lutheran love? ?”

    I gave you guys the keys to the place!

  83. Al says:

    I love the Sermon on the Mount and the Beattitudes. It is so Jesus.

    When I was a kid, it came naturally to me. Life had its way of taking that pureness away from me….but it is still “the good” and right way. It is Jesus. He turned everything upside down from how the World views things and does things…though there are many outside an orthodox faith who do example some of the things expressed in the Sermon. I think there may be a bit of a Good Samaritan dynamic going on as well. Where there is good, there is God IMO.

  84. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Our messages crossed. My comment was to Costco cal when he aligned dispy v covenantal as the options.

  85. Back to the Beatitudes – will you hear God’s blessing on you today? Blessing as to who you are in Christ? Unadulterated blessing that is not shorted by a list of what you need to do? Just blessing because you are.

  86. Scott says:

    Sure, I’ll receive God’s blessings as outlined in the beatitudes. Lord knows I have a hard time keeping them. Right will I feel like I’m getting all merciful, some idiot in the L.A. traffic cuts right in front of me!

  87. Mr Jesperson says:

    The sermon on the mount is my favorite passage in the whole Bible. He speaks of who is blessed in His Kingdom and why. This can be taken at face value, no tradition needed. Jesus emphasized that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher, not a new tradition that he was starting. Not that I am against traditions that bring life, nor sacraments that are a clear part of what Jesus taught. But Jesus did not speak well, overall, of Tradition, did he? That makes me cautious when others want to empathize their own and hold to it as tightly as the Scripture itself. Is that not the same thing that the Pharisees did? These verses highlight how important humility is in the Kingdom we are citizens of. Let that humility be evident in our discussions here and in how we interact with everyone. God bless all.

  88. Em ... again says:

    #77-that is a silly distorted response or it is a complete misunderstanding… growing in Christ is ALL about Christ… it is not about merit badges, interpersonal skill development nor any methodologies of any sort… although i probably would benefit from all 3

    i absolutely believe in renewing one’s mind – growing in Christ, but no need for doctrines here – my thoughts are just those of a pew sitter, not a theologian, nor a teacher of same – my views have been so strangely misinterpreted that it looks like the reason for the lesson is a search for theological gotcha opportunities – that’s alright by me, if, in the end that makes the truth clearer and doesn’t distract from this blessed teaching

    such loving words from our Lord and many wonderful comments, too…

  89. Al says:

    “Back to the Beatitudes – will you hear God’s blessing on you today? Blessing as to who you are in Christ? Unadulterated blessing that is not shorted by a list of what you need to do? Just blessing because you are.”

    I like that a lot.

  90. Michael says:

    I don’t have much time this morning, but I feel the need to comment on something that will clarify some differences here.

    I’m a Calvinist and Calvinists believe in the threefold use of the Law.

    The first purpose of the Law is to be a mirror that shows us our sin and how far we are from the righteousness of God…it breaks us and send us to the Savior for salvation.

    The second use is the civil use…the Law restrains evil in the culture.

    The third function is to tell us what pleases God and guides us into the good works set before us. It tells us what the rule of Christ in our lives is to look like after the first use of the law has done it’s work.

    Thus, Calvinists have a less dramatic contrast between Law and Gospel than the Lutherans do, though the differences are often exaggerated.

    For us, understanding the third use of the Law in no way affects the first use…salvation is still all by grace and we are not under the Mosaic law, but the law of love.

    So…when I come to this first Beatitude I rejoice that I am blessed by Christ based on His merits alone, and none of my own.

    However, I also note that perhaps I have begun to believe that when Christ chose me, He made an excellent choice…perhaps I’m not poor in spirit anymore,but have grown arrogant and judgmental in my heart.

    This is not pleasing to God.

    It doesn’t result in damnation, nor the loss of eternal blessing, but it mars the image and name of Christ and puts me in a place of holy discipline.

    It tells me that I need to repent, not out of fear, but out of gratitude and a desire to serve Christ to the best of my ability.

    We are not good, we are redeemed…we are beggars telling other beggars where we found bread.

    May God always remind me of who I am without Him…

  91. Michael says:

    Richard Pratt does this better than I did..

    “To understand these three uses of the law, an example may be helpful.

    Consider the command “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15).

    The first use of this commandment reveals that stealing is a sin condemned by God and that we are inclined to steal. If we steal we need pardon. Since forgiveness is only in Christ, the law leads us to Christ in repentance and faith.

    In the civil use of the law, society is directed concerning the responsibility of the state to protect property, etc. Laws and their respective punishments consistent with this commandment should exist to inhibit theft.

    In the moral use of the law, we see that this law remains for the Christian as a necessary guide for his path of holiness. By this law we know what God expects and the high goal of holiness to which we should aim. We are reminded to avoid stealing and to cultivate honest relations with one another.”

  92. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A couple of points so that the gospel and blessing do not get lost. Mr J said something about the who gets which blessing in the kingdom and why. I think everyone who is in the kingdom has all the blessings and have all the attributes of the Blessed people. It’s not like I am blessed because I am merciful and Michael is blessed because he is poop in spirit. We are all blessed because we are all all of those things as that is what it means to be a Christian.

  93. Michael says:


    What do we do when we are not all of those things…as none of us are consistently?

    Do we repent and seek after these things or repent and assume that because Christ has done it for us we have no need to do anything at all?

  94. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am driving across the desert stuck in construction traffic in 115 degrees – so I hope I can peck this out.

    In this conversation I think it is destructive to the beatitues to mention alongside the law – in any fashion. The blessings should be taken as is.

  95. Michael says:


    You do realize that makes me want to ask complex theological questions… 🙂

  96. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – we are those things, just by being in Christ. Are you actually striving to have Jesus delare you righteous or merciful? If so, I would like to introduce you to the Reformation 😉

  97. Jean says:

    I think the issue is whether the Beatitudes are indicative or imperative.

    “Blessed are….” It sounds like an indicated, doesn’t it?

  98. Michael says:


    As I explained earlier, I’m fully aware that because I’m positionally in Christ all of His blessings belong to me.

    However, because I understand that, I want to do what pleases Him and thus my efforts in good works are not to satisfy his demands that I may be saved, but to live in a way that is pleasing to Him and furthers His kingdom because He has saved me.

  99. Jean says:

    Yes, Michael, now you’ve engaged the Simul. Saint and sinner. We would say, mortify the old Adam so that the new man shines forth. This is why Law and Gospel are always to be heard by Christians. But, the Gospel should have the final word.

  100. Michael says:


    The Gospel should absolutely have the final word.

    I’ll just throw this out there.
    I believe that American evangelicalism doesn’t see these Christian attributes as blessing,but as weaknesses.
    I understand that is a broad brush, but I’m making a general observation.

  101. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know indicative from imperitive – like I said I dumb enough to be sitting in roasting desert hear. I just know it was done to me.

    Even when we move on in the sermon, the remainder is all Law … to the uninitiated but a description of the Christian to those who are saved.
    Bask now in the glorious gift of blessing, with no thought to law, which is to come.

  102. Mr Jesperson says:

    What Michael does an excellent job here of doing is displaying one of the logical fallacies: Equivocation. This is a way of using words that can confuse those who read it. Sometimes this is done intentionally to win an argument. Other times it is done accidentally, with the person making the argument not realizing what he is doing. But the word “Law” does not, in this case, mean the exact same thing to everyone using the term. Hence the confusion with some of the comments. Arguing to be understood and also to understand what someone else actually means is a real art form.
    It takes effort to understand and to not talk past each other. Lets make a point to do that and there will be less misunderstanding all around.

  103. Michael says:

    I don’t think anyone here is trying to confuse others.

    We come from very established traditions which differ and that makes communicating our nuances difficult at times.

  104. Em ... again says:

    “I believe that American evangelicalism doesn’t see these Christian attributes as blessing,but as weaknesses.” not this evangelical (maybe i’m not an American? 🙂 )

    as i read the rebuttals by the Lutes to others such as myself who opine here, it seems to me that they are teaching that we grow by a sort of osmosis thru the ceremonies (sacred) of the sacraments?
    we dance around which is more efficacious, the sacraments or the study to show oneself approved unto God … perhaps, they are of equal importance, one to life and one to growth?
    it’s clear there are differences between us fundy, evangellyfilled folk who are willing to see the knowledge of the plan of God evolve with greater understanding as it unfolds over the centuries and the tradition-toe-the line-of-the-ancients-Believers, but i do believe that both are in the Kingdom IF Christ and the cross (the atoning mystery of His shed blood) are all we bring to justify ourselves before the Holy God…
    i don’t mind at all having the traditionalists speak loud and often as to their understanding… i hope i see their views more clearly than their comments here would indicate that they see mine… but, then, it always surprises me when anyone even reads what this pew sitter says, perhaps, i should be more careful? nope, i’m just speaking from a pew view (sorry bout that :smile )

  105. Michael says:


    I think it’s important for you to opine. 🙂

  106. Xenia says:

    Isn’t “the Law” the Old Testament Law? Not the commandments of Christ?

  107. Em ... again says:

    from the grammarist:
    “In the indicative mood, for instance, the speaker is sure that something is the case, while in the imperative mood the speaker desires that something should happen. “

  108. Em ... again says:

    #105 – well, at least it gives some indication of what us, the hoi polloi, out here are thinking as we read … i really don’t mind being the goat at times… however, i may insert a but or a rebut … at times 🙂

    FWIW – i found Michael’s explanation of the Law @ 90 very helpful

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Denis – when Jesus commands you to love God / Love neighbor how is that different than OT Law?
    When I speak of distinguishing between the law & the gospel it is all Law and all gospel.

  110. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Denis = Xenia

  111. Xenia says:

    OT Law: Keeping the Sabbath, keeping kosher, observing the feasts, so on and so forth.

  112. Lutheran says:

    Lutherans also believe in a Third Use of the Law. I’ve read some Luther and the evidence is that he strongly believed in it. It’s a common teaching in Lutheran circles and of course in the Book of Concord. What’s more difficult to parse is what Michael said, that we each come from established traditions.

    “However, because I understand that, I want to do what pleases Him and thus my efforts in good works are not to satisfy his demands that I may be saved, but to live in a way that is pleasing to Him and furthers His kingdom because He has saved me. “– MN

    I don’t see how a Lutheran could object to the above from Michael’s #98.

    From the Book of Concord:

    “For the explanation and final settlement of this dissent we unanimously believe, teach, and confess that although the truly believing and truly converted to God and justified Christians are liberated and made free from the curse of the Law, yet they should daily exercise themselves in the Law of the Lord, as it is written, Ps. 1:2;119:1: Blessed is the man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law doth he meditate day and night. For the Law is a mirror in which the will of God, and what pleases Him, are exactly portrayed, and which should [therefore] be constantly held up to the believers and be diligently urged upon them without ceasing.”

    Here’s an interesting and recent book from Concordia, the Misouri Synod publisher —

    “Friends of the Law: Luther’s Use of the Law for the Christian Life”

  113. Michael says:


    I thought so, but thought it best a Lutheran correct me… 🙂

  114. Xenia – so in what category do you put the “commands” of Jesus if not law?
    Jesus is not a new Moses type law giver – but he seems to have given a little nod towards keeping the 10 commandments and then some.

  115. CostcoCal says:

    Indeed, Jesus both preached AND fulfilled the Law. It’s not heretical for me to believe and preach that, as has been implied. To me, the cornerstone of the Gospel is that Jesus not only preached it beyond even the parameters of the OT but also that He Himself fulfilled it. To state that is heretical or absurd….um? 🙂

  116. CostcoCal says:

    LeBron…you care not only about yourself but your city. As you stated in the post game ceremony. You kept thanking “the Man Upstairs.” Tonight, this Oregon white guy thinks of you as a hero!

  117. Mr Jesperson says:

    I do not think anyone here is trying to confuse anyone else either. It still is quite clearly happening at times from what I read in the comments, though. As I said, listening to others close enough to understand what they are trying to communicate is certainly an art form. It will go a long way to be a peace maker too. How much unnecessary conflict comes out of misunderstanding in this world?

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