Things I Think

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94 Responses

  1. Pineapple Head says:

    #6. Yes

  2. Steve Wright says:

    Strange, but true…Paul never uses the word “repent” in the book of Romans…
    —————————————————-
    Repent never shows up once in ANY New Testament epistle (in the normal usage)

    (Once it shows in Hebrews in connection to the Lord, and once Paul uses it to describe a decision he made to the church in Corinth)

  3. Paige says:

    Shocking, indeed, about Puzzletop…. seems so sudden….

    Yes, political and or cultural issues are just so temporary, subject to change, and honestly worthless in eternity….

    Happy Birthday sister Xenia! Hope your chickens and bunnies are happy, thus, you are happy.

    I think about death and drying pretty much all day every day. Not in a morbid way, but in a reality way. My peers are sick and dying. I could be next. I am acutely aware of the fragility of life; that it can vanish in an instant…… I actually try to grasp the ‘wonder’ of death and eternity…. and certainly, try to live ready to go.

    I do have a lot of cats in Heaven…. whatever Heaven is. God knows.

    Romans…. The Other Magnificat…. the MASSIVE and VAST work of salvation in Jesus Christ through grace, by faith. My only hope.

    Interestingly, the first mentioned message of the Lord Jesus was “repent”….

    Had a lovely, too brief conversation with a long time friend last night about how we are realizing that so much of what we have been taught and believed for decades is works-centric, drenched in guilt and completely wrong. We’ve left the good news out of the Gospel.

  4. A Believer says:

    Initially, I got to know Ken through The Phoenix Preacher blog. We developed a friendship through e-mails and phone calls- later becoming Facebook friends. I finally got to meet him personally when driving my daughter cross country to Florida. He allowed us to stop and rest at his house and took us out to dinner.

    I always knew him to be a warm and compassionate person with a love for God and theology and a great sense of humor. I will miss him a lot!

    As some here may know, years ago Ken was part of the original “PP Night Crew”- a place in the evenings where many of us would go to simply relax and have some fun on this blog.

  5. Michael says:

    “We’ve left the good news out of the Gospel.”

    Paige, I’m more and more convinced that you’re right and this is why we’re losing so much ground.

  6. Bob says:

    I don’t know about cats, but the bible says there’s horses in eternity.

    It’s always bittersweet when another enters their next age.

  7. Michael says:

    AB,

    Thank you…I’m saddened that we’ve lost so much of that sense of community here.

  8. Nonnie says:

    Paige said, “I think about death and drying pretty much all day every day. Not in a morbid way, but in a reality way. My peers are sick and dying. I could be next. I am acutely aware of the fragility of life; that it can vanish in an instant…… I actually try to grasp the ‘wonder’ of death and eternity…. and certainly, try to live ready to go.”

    Thank you Paige, for saying that. I have exactly the same thoughts and was beginning to think I was becoming (even more) neurotic.
    Well, at least I know I am in very good company now!! 😀

    The last 2 years I have lost so many people in my life and many were younger than I. It is very evident that my days are numbered and that number is not so big anymore. God help us live each day to His glory.

  9. filbertz says:

    Puzz was a kind, compassionate, well-spoken, balanced, and thoughtful friend on this site. I always valued his opinions, insights, and humor. And yes, there were many ‘night crew’ escapades which he heartily joined in. May the comfort of Christ rule in his circle of family and friends.

  10. Michael, “… and this is why we’re losing so much ground.”

    Why the dour statement? What makes you think we are losing ground? Are the gates of hell prevailing? Christianity is thriving all over the world – people are excited to be Christians. Even in America where we may be stalled somewhat, I will bet that there were more people in church yesterday than any time in our history.

    Don’t be a glass half empty guy in relation to Christ and his work (heck, don’t even be a glass half full guy) – be a glass overflowing guy.

  11. Tim says:

    So sad to hear about Puzz…I sure missed seeing him around here. I always enjoyed my interactions with him.

    On a much lighter note, happy birthday to Xenia!

  12. Tim says:

    @7 – I remember that sense of community. I was just remembering the other day the privilege I had in meeting “Liberated” (whom some of the older crew might remember). He drove 100 miles out my way for a party we had at our home (I think I made brisket that day…I don’t recall). I have no idea what happened to him since, but he and his wife were truly good people.

  13. Xenia says:

    I have Ken as a FB friend but I didn’t know he was Puzzletop! May his memory be eternal.

    Are you all trying to say repentance is not a NT concept? What?

    Thank you for the birthday wishes. Yesterday morning before church everyone jumped onto the bed (dog, cat, granddaughter, daughter, husband, etc.), covered me with kisses (mostly the dog and granddaughter) and gave me presents and cards. My daughter gave me a Fitbit, a very small gadget with a very large potential.

    Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the 7th is Christmas. Whoo hoo!

    Love to you all,
    Xenia

  14. Michael says:

    Tim,

    I think as so often happens the blog became an institution rather than an organism.
    That may be why I find it more draining now then when it was really cooking.
    Something for me to think about…

  15. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I would never say that repentance isn’t a NT concept.
    I will say that Paul places much more emphasis on what God has done for us than what we do for God…

  16. I like the “what God does for us.” It is God who repents us … we don’t repent ourselves. We hear God’s word, and as always, God’s word does what it says.

  17. Jeff Jones says:

    Happy birthday Xenia! You are loved and appreciated dear sister. God bless you!

  18. Jeff Jones says:

    Dear Michael, you are in my prayers.

  19. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jeff…

  20. Things I am thinking about today:

    1 – Life is too short. If this is all there is, what a gloomy, hopeless existence.
    2 – I am thankful for my church family. Friday night I took my wife and kids to a little party with several families from the church, and it was just so nice and peaceful and fun. Haven’t had that kind of church fellowship in about 15 years. For those seeking a church, I would advise the same thing that Eugene Peterson says: Find the smallest church close to your house and commit to stay there for a while.
    3 – Music is an ancient form of communication which is being reduced more and more each day to simple sentimentality, and sensuality. And I’m talking about IN the church.
    4 – I like reading about past Revivals. The book of Ezra records two Revivals. The first lasting about 20 years, and the second coming 58 years later. It occurs to me that a Revival during my grandparents generation, actually doesn’t do much for my generation, spiritually. While those coals are still warm, the flames need to be stoked again in order to fuel REvival for the next generation.
    5 – If there is a greater blessing than seeing your child smile, I have not experienced that yet. Wonder if our Father feels that way about us?

    And that is the 5 point amateur version. I leave 10 points for the heavy-hitters. 🙂

    I appreciate you Michael, and everyone else here who has been a part of my life for the last 6 years.

  21. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Thank you…and well done on your list!

  22. papiaslogia says:

    Still bummed by the passing of Puzzletop. Weird how the passing someone that you have never met face to face can have a effect on you.

    My wife and I met with two other couples from our Sunday School class for supper 6 on Saturday night at a restaurant. The food could have been better but had a good time with the people. Looking forward to getting together with them next month.

    5. Paul wrote the book of Romans to people who were already believers – hence no mention of “repent”. I find that interesting.

    6. Having discussions about various topics online and there’s one person who claims that he’s a Christian, but a universalist. He has the questions like “How could a God of love send anyone to Hell?” I get it. I get the inability to mesh the Love of God with the wrath and punishment, and wanting so hard to have them mesh. But some truths just have to be accepted and held in that “Holy tension”.

    Xenia – Happy Birthday my sister. May you have a blessed Epiphany and a Happy New Year!

    10. Yep, it takes WORK to mess up the Gospel. Usually that work is disguised as a list of “Things you should do to walk closer with God”. How can the world believe that all you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus and yet see so many Christians marking off their holy honeydew list?

    Thanks for continuing Michael.

  23. Michael says:

    Thank you, Papias.
    Reading through Romans almost makes me feel like a heretic….because it keeps shouting all grace and not of works.
    The good news is just phenomenally good…

  24. Xenia says:

    Find the smallest church close to your house and commit to stay there for a while.<<<

    This is really good advice.

    We used to attend a really large EO parish an hour's drive away that was quite glorious. They had a choir that couldn't be beat plus a big bookstore, day school for kids, and so forth. But it was too far to really be part of the community and we always felt like we were watching the congregation have church rather than really entering in, even though everyone was most kind. (Ann knows this parish.)

    Within walking distance of our house there is a small Russian parish that we thought was too forbidding to serve as our home church but finally, as the long drive was becoming an issue, we decided we'd give 'em a try and discovered the warmest, most loving parish of people we have ever been a part of. You just never know what treasures are behind the doors of tiny parishes.

    People will say that these churches are small for a reason, that is, they are mediocre and if they were really doing God's work they would be large. Phooey on that! I would take knowing everyone's name, all the Svetlanas and Faisals and Carstens and Ivans and Natashas and Vladimirs by name and be greeted warmly by them each Sunday than all the fancy programs and learned homiletics in the world. I love coming home from a long trip and have Father tell us he prayed for us each day we were gone. I love small churches. People who eschew them for big outfits don't know what they are missing.

  25. Michael says:

    Xenia…I couldn’t agree more.

  26. filbertz says:

    Michael,
    perhaps the most bedrock realization I’ve had in the past couple years is how our natural tendency is to legislate. Rules, policies, guidelines, standards, expectations, protocols, laws, etc. all create an inside/outside designation for actions or people, including, perhaps even especially, folks who claim faith in Christ. We tend to ‘add to’ the gospel, amending its reach with qualifications or ‘clarifications’ which merely blunt its point. But for all those ‘rules,’ we see such widespread rebellion. The old adage is true: “So many laws, so little order.” Grace, mercy, and forgiveness break the mold; yet, we long for the mold. How we need to be re-ordered by the giver of grace, the merciful source of forgiveness.

  27. Michael says:

    fil,

    Well said!
    I had to discipline myself not to add qualifiers to the incredible grace of God that I’ve been privileged to share in our fellowship the last few months.
    For us, it’s almost been like hearing the good news for the first time…it’s been awesome.

  28. filbertz says:

    yes, like it’s “too-good-to-be-true news” and if it sounds too-good-to-be-true, it probably is. “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. First, the good news…” 😉

  29. Linda Pappas says:

    May the God of all, who mourn the passing into the Kingdom also fill our hearts with the jubilation of having known Ken for the time He blessed us with his presence among us.

    Scriptures having to do with repentance of one kind or another:

    http://calvarychapelassociation.com/helps/

    My favorite is when Jesus was first quoted, “Repent and Believe.”

    What I often see in in each book that Paul wrote was that he first laid out the good news of the gospel, then went into what living in Christ would look like having the Holy Spirit to empower and to equip us to enable us to walk in our obedience and likeness of Him.

  30. Babylon's Dread says:

    #6 — I have come to think that we impose our tensions on the biblical text…

    I love that repent is not in Romans… I am not surprised that those who preach the gospel of private salvation finds it implied on every page of Romans…

    Nor am I implying this of my friend Michael who I am sure is preaching a very good news version of high Calvinism

  31. Hmmm, I don’t see Romans as a call to repentance. I see Paul stating facts and realities of who we are … those in Christ and those outside / opposed to Christ.
    A total scenario of who God is and what he has done set on a background of how people throughout time react, reach out or rebel against God.

    In the end i see Paul saying, hey, this is what God has done and why – take it or leave it. Now that is grace upon grace.

  32. His Kid says:

    I’m really struggling with finding the right words to express my thoughts since Ken’s passing. I met him first here, as “Puzzletop.” Later he became a friend and brother in Christ, one that I feel honored to have known. He always seemed to have a wry grin on his face and a witty remark that showed his ability to find humor in most situations. What this communicated to me, was Ken’s understanding of the Sovereignty of God and his real and profound faith in Him. Most things that others would fret over Ken placed in the hands of Jesus and trusted Him with it. Once he had given his burdens over to God, he could find something to smile about. Maybe what I’m really describing is a quiet joy. God is good. God is in control. My heart is at peace. Yes…that’s what I felt Ken communicated to others in his life. Now that I think about…I think he is communicating that still to us. God is good. God is in control. We are content knowing, Ken, that your heart is at peace with Jesus. See you on the other side…

  33. Linnea says:

    His Kid…very well said.

    My memories of Puzz, Ken, were initially from this blog. Well-measured responses, kindness and integrity are all words that describe Ken’s character. When we organized a PP lunch in this town, Ken agreed to be the Emcee. Ken had, as His Kid relayed, an ability to find humor in just about anything. At some point in time, I became part of Ken’s email joke list. His jokes were always lighthearted, clean, and uplifting. Ken reflected Christ in the schools where he taught, and maintained a position that wasn’t readily accepted by those in public education. It’s tough to be an outsider. I admired Ken then, and admire him even more now knowing that his whole family will be reunited with him in heaven. That is a testament to his love of the Lord and his ability to reflect that to his children. Blessings and love to Ken’s family….

  34. Linnea says:

    Xenia…I hope your birthday was wonderful…no reason not to keep celebrating 🙂

  35. Steve Wright says:

    I repeat…repent is not in any NT epistle, Romans or otherwise…Paul-authored or otherwise

    . It is prominent in Acts, Jesus’ words in Revelation, and of course the Gospels. What that means I don’t know, but I file it next to the fact that “hope” does not appear in the 4 Gospels. 🙂

    (And note to Xenia…yes, repentance is a NT topic)

  36. His Kid says:

    Linnea, yes!! Loved Ken’s email joke list. 🙂 I also vaguely remember him wearing a very unusual hat to that PP gathering, but I can’t remember what it was. Maybe you do…or Dread…he was there, too. 🙂 That was a good day and a good memory, Linnea. Thanks for bringing it up.

  37. Linnea says:

    His Kid…it was a mitre hat…hope it’s ok I mentioned you in my posting. I asked Michael to remove that reference since I should have asked first!

  38. His Kid says:

    Linnea, no problem mentioning me in your post. 🙂 And yes…I thought I remembered it being a mitre hat, but wasn’t sure if I was remembering correctly. Thanks for confirming.

  39. Erunner says:

    I met Ken on the Phoenix Preacher many years ago. Through time I got to speak with him on the phone and also connect with him on FB and through e-mail.

    Even though we never met in person his passing hit me hard. I imagine him looking down from his Heaven telling us not to fret because he’s just fine. I look forward to seeing him one day. I’m grateful for having known him.

  40. JimB says:

    Someone once said that if you torture scripture long enough it will confess to anything!!

  41. JimB says:

    Was Ken Blatchford ever a pastor? I am wondering if I might have met him at some conferences in the past…

  42. Michael says:

    No, he was never a pastor…even though I tried to talk him into being one once…

  43. JimB says:

    Thanks Michael!! As Puzzletop, he had many good things to say back in the day…

  44. Linda Pappas says:

    Therefore, since there not any tense or the word, “repent” in Romans, are we to believe that Paul did not teach on it nor did he tell us that we must rid ourselves of sin?

    Romans 6:1-3

    1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    Romans ch.8:1-13

    1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

    1 Corinthians ch. 5-6
    2 Corinthians 7
    Galatians ch. 5:16 Galatians ch. 6
    Ephesians ch. 4-6

    What I am hearing, and I hope that I am wrong is this. That because the word repent is not used in Romans, then repentance is not an essential part of the gospel or good news, therefore, it is not big deal if we sin because we will no matter what as long as we claim to be in Christ will spend eternity in God’s Kingdom with Jesus.

    If this is true, then we could also apply this same reasoning to the “trinity.” Yet, we know that unlike, repentance, that is mentioned by Jesus, and others elsewhere in scripture, that repentance means to turn away from sin and to walk in obedience to God. So, like the “trinity,” even though Paul does not use one tense of the word, “repent,” he does provides specifics on just what it does and does not look like when one is and one is not in the faith. And he tells us to turn away, put it away, get rid of, have nothing to do with it, expose it, do not participate in it, confront it, and unless or if we do or if we do not.

    Praise be to God, the book of Romans was not all that Paul wrote:

    Galatians Chapter 8

    7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

    As for the triune God, praise God that we have an ears to hear, and eyes to see that within scripture, our hearts can be changed and we can repent from that which does not give honor, praise, and glory to His Holy Name bearing witness to the world why it is that we by faith do believe.

  45. Xenia says:

    The repentance theme of this thread is one big non sequitur for me.

    In the Epistle of St. James we are told to confess our sins to each other. Genuine confession implies repentance, does it not?

    And on this very blog we are continually calling “rogue pastors” to repentance. They offer their apologies but we are not impressed, they need to really really repent before we are satisfied.

    Yet now I am hearing that expecting people to repent of sins is not really the good news. No, according to this view the Gospel is such good news that nothing else is required.

    Sorry, no.

  46. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, I believe that the idea behind confession of sins is first to agree with God that such are sins, which certainly involves repentance (the change of mind)…. 1 John certainly has plenty of that.

    Like I said above, it just is an interesting concordance observation…I do not bring any heavy theological conclusion to it…

  47. Linda Pappas says:

    To be “born again” is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
    To be fill with the Holy Spirit, one must be saved.
    To be saved, one must repent and believe (that we need Jesus and that He (God/man) has paid the penalty for our sins and that to be in Him, we must walk in Him)—at least this is what Jesus has told us.

    Unless, our hearts are changed, we cannot repent, nor can we choose to walk in in the spirit, but are destine to, like the pigs, returned to the mire.

    Xenia—well put.

    To simply agree that something is sin is not repentance for God has placed within each person what is right and what is wrong. But to confess with a genuine godly sorrow and to then repent by turning away and restoring what was loss as much as one is able to do and not to do this again—this is repentance.

  48. Linda Pappas says:

    For me, repentance, is as important as believing that Jesus died for me and paid for the sins, that I have committed. Repentance provides a means to be able to clear the slate and to be washed anew by the Holy Spirit, dusted off and lifted up once again. A clear conscience, the road before me, the past behind me. No condemnation, but conviction that without Him, I am a big zero. But with Him, a perfect 10, as I move through this life into the next, learning, stumbling, falling, and then crawling, walking and running the course set before me as I seek His face and walk in obedience to Him and not according to that to found in the world.

    If I believed for a minute, that it is okay to sin and didn’t have a choice to do otherwise, well —- it wouldn’t be pretty and I doubt seriously if I would love God and others as much as I do. It simply would not be about Him and others–it would only be about me.

  49. brian says:

    He was very kind that says alot. My deep sympathies to all family and friends. Ken reflected the Lord Jesus to many of us, including a cynic such as myself. May his tribe increase. God be with you all.

  50. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Some people are not Born Again, some people do not want to be Born Again, some people will be Born Again, some people think they are Born Again but really are not and some people are in fact Born Again. In my personal opinion there are even those that do not know that they are Born Again, but they are – I am referring specifically to many of those who have died before Jesus was transfigured from being only the “word” of God into becoming physical, tangible, human flesh. God is fully aware of everyone’s heart; and a person’s heart is the human aspect that He looks to when He decides if we are Born Again or not. What we think of others and even ourselves has no value close to what our deep inside heart believes the word of God is.

    There are many Pastors, Preachers, Priests, etc. that are even ordained and still have different definitions of what it is to be Born Again. My main point is that there IS only ONE absolute “Truth” and that Truth is The Word of God. Again in my opinion people misunderstand The Word of God when they concentrate on thinking about the human flesh Jesus as the only way to Heaven. Yes the only way to get to Heaven is through believing in God’s True Word, but obviously we can never obey it because we have already broken it. He does not even ask us to do because He knows it is impossible for us to do so.

    But He does demand us to admit to His True Word and realize it for what it is. He even tried to tell us by sending Jesus on Earth to show us in our own understanding that neither Jesus nor the Ten Commandments (also God’s Word) can be properly done by any of us.

    All we can do is give God’s Word the full praise He deserves and do our very best to not disrespect it. I call this, “Faith”.

  51. Ivan Solero says:

    To Linda,
    Regarding repentance…
    Who decides repentance (judges repentance) you or God? Is there a scale? Is there a continuum? Is it one and done? At which point do others understand where a person is on the “repentance” cycle (if there is one?). At which point do we point out if (according to so many here they are not?). Is repentance hard or soft? Or black and white? Is it emotional? Or just robotic? Do we see ourselves in others with repentance or do we only point towards them? Should a pastor and elders seer of repentance and the congregation be the “eyes and hears” of repentance, pointing it out. Should their be a church policy regarding repentance or maybe a set of laws regarding repentance? Could repentance be part of the conditional affirmation such as 12 steps, and presented to the church body?

    Or should it be about my relationship with Christ?

    So many ways, so little time.

  52. Ivan Solero says:

    Linda,
    With all due respect, I believe repentance is not a black and white, turned key solution. I believe it is very complex, very intimate and very spiritual. And I also believe that we do not owe anyone an explanation regarding our own repentance. That’s between the person and God. However I do have problems with the prejudice that people can align against or with anyone not fitting their own version of repentance. That’s a dangerous trap.

  53. Jean says:

    I tend to agree with the person above who recognized that we may not find Paul using the word “repent” much in his letters because he was writing to believers. However, when he preached to non-believers we have evidence that he preached repentance:

    “Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Sermon at Athens).

    In addition, in his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul expected repentance from members of the household of God who were involved in sexual immorality:

    “I am afraid that when I come again, my God may humiliate me before you, and I will grieve for many of those who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practiced.”

  54. Ivan,
    What the heck, I will just ask straight up. Are the homosexuals in the church confessing their homosexual acts as sin and are they on that cycle of repentance for such sin? What i usually find is that is not the case – in fact no attempt is made as they will usually affirm that (1) it is not sin and (2) Jesus affirms their actions.

    Now, I know that most “other” sinners in the church will at least for a moment when confronted with their sin of adultery, pornography, living together, sleeping around – along with gossip, anger, envy and just general being a butt head – will confess it as sin, repent of of, even if temporary and for a time abstain … no matter how many times they all back.

    In general I find the homosexual quite reluctant to do so to the point of going to or forming their own ‘gay affirming’ churches.

    Could you imaging the Adulterer friendly church – or the Pornographer friendly church?

  55. Michael says:

    Most other sinners in the church are still sinners in the church…
    Sometimes we repent…often we justify our sins or minimize our sins and nobody really cares about our sins because they’re not “those” sins.
    With the acceptance and affirmation of any divorce in the church most of our churches are adulterer friendly.
    From my own pastoral experience they’re pretty pornography friendly as well.
    We think we are so much holier than we really are.

  56. Michael – you are right about us not being holy at all – but that is not the issue before us.

    As I said, if I confront someone in my church because I have found out that the step out on the little lady each month, I can pretty much assume that he will confess that yes he has, yes it is sin and yes he will repent. How successful he is is not my issue right here.

    But, the homosexual, in most cases will not. That is the only issue before us. The question is – why not?

    PS – if the adulter stands toe to toe with me and denies his adultery is sin, well, he will need to sit in the penalty box away from the supper and if the case gets bad enough he will need to be excommunicated like the guy sleeping with his father’s wife and treated as a sinner and tax collector … or whatever the comparison was.

    How about your church?

  57. All sinners in the church – not most sinners are still sinners. It’s a matter of are they a repentant sinner.

  58. Michael says:

    MLD,

    We would exercise church discipline in such a case.
    There are, no doubt, homosexuals who would deny that their behaviors are sinful.
    There are far more straight people who do the same.
    We are not nearly as up in arms over the state of marriage and family in our own assemblies, most of which never have to deal with gay people at all.

  59. Ivan Solero says:

    MLD,
    Wow!? Wow?
    You make these declarative statements as if they are facts. They are not.

    “Now, I know that most “other” sinners in the church will at least for a moment when confronted with their sin of adultery, pornography, living together, sleeping around – along with gossip, anger, envy and just general being a butt head – will confess it as sin, repent of of, even if temporary and for a time abstain … no matter how many times they all back.”

    MLD, you know nothing about other people, period. Only God knows. Humans are the the greatest fakers in the world. What you see is a “shell” of who they are. What connects you to them is your “love” in Him driving that connection.

    Just that statement above alone shows a real of misunderstanding on empathy. It borders on ignorance. I feel that you would never want to be perceived that way but your statement and thinking is pointing towards that.

    Secondly, sin is sin is sin. To what degree you think it is doesn’t matter. In fact, it doesn’t matter what you think about “my” sin. It only matters to God, period.

    Whatever slight you have about mine or anyone else’s sin speaks more about YOU than about God. It speaks towards your prejudice, your self-righteous hatred, and lack of clarity. It feeds your soul with pain, instead of joy.

    Seriously, you mentioned a number of sinful acts (this is the clarity). What do you think will happen? Is being gay a disease? Is watching pornography a disease? Is being an adulterer a disease? Is gossipers, envy, jealousy are they diseases? If you say a church tolerants (your words) any of these things, what is going to happen in the church?

    Will it sway the congregation in the church so much so that these sins rub off on others to be gay pornographers who act as adulterers, when they gossip and carry envy, jealously and hate towards others? Does it mean that the people in the church are so weak in their faith that other peoples sins (as you call it) will infect them to turn them into sinful zombies with no will of their own? Because that’s how it sounds.

    Or does it tap into your own spiritual insecurities that you need to declare others “more” sinful and sordid than you, in order to validate your spiritual depth with Christ? To me, that sounds wrong, but I may be in the minority.

    I have to laugh, because this is funny but sad too.

    I guess the last thing I would ask, do you think I will be in trouble with my Father because my son is gay? That I will become a castaway shunned from my Father because I didn’t help my son (as you say) repent? That maybe this was my test from God to convert gays starting with my son and I failed? That I will be held accountable at the judgement seat that I let a gay man getaway who was family?

    Thank You Jesus that you died for all of us. That YOU and YOU alone know the hearts of man. That YOU can make love powerful enough to overcome ignorance and human feelings. That YOU ALONE can save any soul, at any time, anywhere. That YOU know what influences can change in hearts. That YOU know sin, and were sin for us when you died. That no man can ever replace how YOU will accept us into your kingdom. No matter what they preach, punish or shun, you promised the gospel to all with no prejudice
    and with no sin greater than YOUR sacrifice. Amen!

  60. Ivan,
    3 points
    1.) I never addressed you about your son – in all of the posts over the days – not at all. In fact I changed it to adultery for that reason.Why would you be in any trouble over what your son does? Who is your God that you would think he would treat you that way.
    2.) How much validity am I to give to your ‘declarative’ statement since you just dismiss mine out of hand.
    3.) “MLD, you know nothing about other people, period. Only God knows” – so how do you know so much about me and what I know?
    4.) Your dismissal of people and their own walk with God is outrageous. The fact that you can call most people fakers in the church is probably worthy of having your mouth washed out with soap.

  61. Ivan, as I read your #60 closer I am in more amazement that ever.

    1.) How can you say I can’t know anything about people, and then you go into a long detail telling me about people being “shells” etc.

    2.) you say “Or does it tap into your own spiritual insecurities that you need to declare others “more” sinful and sordid than you, in order to validate your spiritual depth with Christ?”

    I don’t think I have any spiritual insecurities and no one can sin more than I do. As I told you the other day and have said here often, I break all of the commandments every single day. I am worthy of death and eternal destruction.

  62. Steve Wright says:

    Jean..Thank you for pointing out my error about Paul using repent in that passage…I am not sure how I missed that, but I did.

    Ivan’s posts in this thread to me explain the challenges of the discussion in the other thread from the weekend. When new posters come onboard it takes awhile to know a little about their starting views…because, speaking for myself, I am far more likely to engage MLD, Xenia, Andrew and others about out disagreements because I know what all we do share in common.

    And it is why this forum is an interesting place…why I don’t waste time posting at atheist sites, or other religious sites..Our starting points are far too different.

  63. Ivan Solero says:

    MLD,
    These questions I poise are indeed the richest questions I can ask because each sinner is a son or daughter of someone. I don’t have to defend my parenthood that’s between God and I. That your segmentation of people without knowing much except based on your assumptions will get you and anyone else in trouble, And the reason you may be bothered so, is this hits very close to home in what’s going on with us as believers. Hypocrites, you know we all are, that’s why it hurts to be straight (pardon the pun) plain forward.

    The black and white in your word has no end. Why stop with gay son, why not with the parents, the church that accepts the gay person, the work that employs the gay person, the benefits,”oh the trail these gays will leave behind” and it could have all been prevented if only, if only they just repented, all this would be behind us. The truth is, if not this it will be something else, maybe single mothers who never married and have three children. You know why right? Sin is sin?

    In terms of church policy, I agree that “disrupters’ should be confronted and either spoken to in love or asked to leave. Being careful to much sure we define its acting as a church and not a club.

    But here’s a rub for everyone. Do I believe in gay marriage (drum roll)? No, I do not.

    Lastly, I am not out of line to articulate what type of fears there are in churches. And that’s what they are.

    Start the machine gun of verses…

  64. Ivan Solero says:

    Here’s to everyone,

    Apparently I am coming across offensive, so let’s keep peace. I apologize to anyone for posting my point of view. I will not post anymore.

    Michael, I truly wish and pray that you and the others stay together in your warmth and love. I do not want to be a distraction, although some things I wrote in are very real.

    I will read your post though.

    Much Love To All,

  65. Ah Ivan, don’t go away! Everybody has to has one good fuss with MLD. It is sort of our orientation. You bring a unique perspective.

  66. Steve Wright says:

    Ivan, no need to take your ball and go home. 🙂

    The different points of view have always been a part of this blog (at least the 6+ years I’ve been here and I am practically a rookie compared to many longtimers here)

    Any “peace” is found in a shared Christian bond between a variety of denominational points of view (and social/political POVs as well) – doesn’t mean there is not good discussion from our different experiences and backgrounds.

    If it was an Amen corner it would be quite boring…and to Michael’s credit, (unlike some blog owners) he encourages civil disagreement and discussion. Even against his own beliefs, much less amongst the posters.

    Besides, stick around long enough and you learn whose posts to just skip over and not even read 😉

  67. Xenia says:

    Oh Ivan, you are not offensive in the least. So what if we don’t all agree with you, you are well-spoken and I hope you stick around. I hardly agree with anyone here about most things yet I am quite comfy. Please stay!

    -Xenia

  68. Michael says:

    Ivan,

    I think we need your perspective here.
    Many of us are wrestling with this issue…not necessarily about whether certain acts are sinful or not, but about how we offer the Gospel and grace of God to those in the gay community.

    Don’t worry about whether or not people agree…as Steve said most folks here don’t agree with a lot of my doctrine. 🙂

  69. Jean says:

    Ivan,
    I would like to jump in here because, you are someone I can learn from, you having a gay son. I am empathetic to a lot of what you have been writing, and I recognize that you haven’t said, for example, you support gay marriage.

    You answered the church discipline question, which I was going to ask, but no longer need to. Thank you.

    My only other question is on the issue of love of neighbor. I run into issues with my own young adult boys who I see taking a path that can lead to trouble or heartache for them, such as my older son deciding he would live with his girlfriend. I knew it was a sin and I know that sins are sins because they do not lead to human flourishing (that is why God in is wisdom told us not to sin – for our own good).

    So, as a parent, I want to love my son (protect him from trouble), by counseling him to turn from the wrong path he headed on, because I love him and I don’t want him or his girlfriend to get hurt (in any number of ways). I could say instead, “that’s his life” or “he has to learn from his own mistakes” or “I don’t want to alienate him from me on this issue, because keeping our relationship strong is more important in the long run.” Or I can take a risk and counsel him in truth and love, while always loving him, on the chance that he will turn from the wrong path.

    The gay issue is in some ways much more difficult because for the person who has a natural same-sex attraction, the counseling is basically, if you can’t change your attraction, then you need to be chaste, which means never sharing the sexual bond with another human being that most humans are made to share (not in a gay/straight sense, but in general). Even Paul advised marriage for most people because he knew the power of physical lust. Well, that same longing not to be alone and phsical lust inhabits the person with same sex attraction. So, their situation is very difficult. I recognize that.

    So, this brings me to my question: What is the responsibility of, and your advice to, the parent? What is the responsibility of, and your advice to, the pastor? Beyond those two positions (parent and pastor), I don’t think it’s any business of the congregation, other than love of neighbor.

    How would you (parent or pastor) advise (if at all) the person with same-sex attraction?

    Thanks.

  70. Nonnie says:

    Ivan, I hope you know that this is also a place where we come and can disagree with each other on certain issues and still love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
    It’s a rarity in this day and age, but it is very real here on this blog. ( For him who has ears to hear.)
    Sadly, in our culture, many will not accept that someone can disagree with them and still love them and wish them God’s best.

    Even MLD, in his very straight forward way of stating things, is really an old teddy bear, but don’t tell him I told you that.

  71. Xenia says:

    But I must agree w/ MLD about changing our theology based on the errors of our loved ones.

    Recently, an Orthodox priest with a lesbian daughter wrote an essay on an official diocesan blog about how the Church needs to rethink its stodgy stance on gender issues. It was a careful study in ambiguity… what was he really saying? Based on things he does in his parish and other things he has written, it was quite clear to most of us exactly what he was saying: change the teachings of the Church and welcome homosexuality. This caused and enormous outcry and his article was removed and we haven’t heard a peep from this priest since although many believe he needs to repent or be defrocked.

    Just because a family member has gone astray, you don’t change what is right and what is wrong to accommodate them assuage your personal sorrow. I have five adult children and several of them have completely abandoned Christianity. How is my anguish over this any less than the parent of a homosexual’s anguish? But do I say the Bible and 2000 years of Christianity are wrong in order to excuse them because I am upset? No, I must pray that they come around to the Truth, just as the parents of homosexuals must pray. I love my kids but I am not accepting of their agnosticism. I don’t console myself by adopting a new, non-Christian morality that lets them sneak into heaven even if they are not believers.

  72. Xenia says:

    We do not need to wrestle with the issue of homosexuality. We know right from wrong.

  73. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I think the Bible is clear that homosexual acts are sinful, as are myriad other acts.
    That’s not a question I wrestle with.
    What I wrestle with is how we deal with people who may be gay and who may or may not engage in such activity…especially when they claim to be believers in Christ.
    Let’s say for the sake of argument that in a fallen world where nothing is as it was intended to be, (including human sexuality) that some people are born with same sex attractions.
    I do not believe that being born with a sin nature like the rest of us (except with a proclivity to a sin that we find especially distasteful) excludes them from the Gospel.
    My concern is how to minister to those people with love and grace, but without compromise.

  74. Nonnie says:

    Xenia speaks with no ambiguity and I agree.

    Jesus wept for and loved sinners, but He calls us to repent. Sometimes there are sins that beset us and we have to repent again and again…..and He is always there.

    “Lord, I am not worthy to receive, but speak the word and I shall be healed.”

  75. Nonnie says:

    Does anyone here believe that a man or woman with same sex attraction, but, by faith, in obedience to God, not acting on it, are in sin?

    I don’t.

  76. Xenia says:

    Can’t we just deal with them as we do with any other sinner?

    The only reason we are conflicted is because they have successfully launched a propaganda was that has many people confused.

  77. Xenia says:

    propaganda WAR, that is.

  78. Ivan Solero says:

    Jean,
    To you and me as parents;

    Love them regardless! I made so many mistakes and my mom would just love me and talk to me at the “round table”. The round table was the “open forum” where truths can be shared, expressed and reasoned with. It was perfectly unperfect.

    For example, I was living with my girlfriend when I was younger. I was saved although my girlfriend wasn’t (terrible combination, we later married and divorced). My mother always kept an open door policy. We can come and go, we can sleep over (but not together there) and we raid the fridge, laundry, etc. There was a house rule, though. Everything is up for grabs to talk about.

    And boy, did mom in her loving way talk to us about everything school, money, friends, drinking, drugs (she found a joint once) and sex with us, especially oral sex (were we doing this is the house), do we love each other, what do you think God thinks, why do you have do you have to drink so much going out, why do you (my girlfriend) have to dress like that and so on…and we had to give an answer, but just not an answer a dialogue. It was very safe, funny, shameful and enlightening. It also cause me to think and ponder and feel safe, all the while I knew the Holy Spirit was working inside me.

    She would never say I was wrong, it was wrong or any fire or brimstone. No…it was much worse, she would ask us to pray, for people, for things for help, for guidance, then she would get excited and read some scripture that highlighted what she wanted to talk to us about. Then she would start asking questions. Sh would call us out on our BS. She would say if POV is foolish, but she was ask to hear my perspective to try change her mind. Sometimes I would win, only sometimes

    Can you imagine, I am getting fed, sleeping over, watching TV, getting shown love and care and she’s expecting a loving dialogue about life. Those were the rules. God bless her!

    My friends from 30 years ago still come over to visit her. She represent Christ in the best light and she was non-judgemental,fun and safe to be around. A lot of my friends were converted because of her witness and some joined me at a christian university years later.

    My son LOVES my mother!!! And they have the frank and open conversation about life. Like I said, she is safe, warm and welcoming.

    She told me long ago, “you cannot change what the Holy Spirit already has planned for you, and He has a plan for you, you just need to support it”!

    We will never know God’s ways! Unfortunately we know enough about man’s ways that often we get burned!

    Love your children continually! Keep an open house! God will and does open hearts! Keep the fire going.

  79. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia – I was thinking about starting points, and it almost has become a necessity these days before any discussion about ministry, relationships and so forth to know/ask:

    “Whatever the attractions, temptations, circumstances, commitment and consent of partners, and whether in a state-sanctioned union or not, and ignoring degrees of sin or what is worse than something else….

    Is the homosexual-sexual act, skin to skin, ALWAYS a sin and thus always something a Christian should attempt to avoid by choice and with God’s help. Yes or no.

    The world (and many in Christian churches) say, no.

    Because how we minister to a person is sure going to be determined by our belief on that question…

  80. Steve Wright says:

    I see I was late with my comment… 🙂

    I saw a headline news article that GLAAD and many other groups and people are losing their minds over a new reality show that focuses on Mormon men with homosexual attractions but who apparently are married to women and seeking to not act upon their desires (no doubt out of commitment to their god – though I have not watched the show (if it even has been released yet)

    I then saw another simply article yesterday, also about a man who claims same-sex attraction but admits it, recognizes it, and forsakes it in exchange for a heterosexual marriage (Don’t know if he was Mormon or not)

    As I have said many times, if a person leaves spouse and children for a same-sex lifestyle, they are celebrated by the world as being true to themselves (and I have seen this many times in church)…but if the reverse takes place, there is nothing but condemnation from the world.

  81. “The only reason we are conflicted is because they have successfully launched a propaganda war that has many people confused.”

    That is the issue, and the reason it is so talked about.

  82. Steve Wright says:

    I’m sure in the years to come, when grown, there are women out there, engaged in various sins, that I would not want my son to bring into our lives and would not be welcomed in our home, though my son, alone, would still always be welcomed. Nobody would think twice about a parent making such a decision.

    And if the son chose the woman over his parents, it would not be the parents abandoning the son, it would be the son making the choice of this woman over his parents – which as an adult he certainly could make.

    We see this all the time. I’ve seen it with my own sibling.

    I see no difference if the parents made the same decision with a child who was in an improper relationship, just because the homosexual factor was involved. “Son/daughter, you are always welcome here, anytime you want to come”

    That is not abandonment or treating them as an outcast.

  83. Michael says:

    The gay people that I know and that those in my church know aren’t involved in pushing an agenda or all the other things that we associate with the gay “movement”.

    I choose to view them as people and as individuals, not part of some monolithic group.

    I won’t compromise my convictions either about sin or the grace of God to sinners.

  84. Michael,
    “I do not believe that being born with a sin nature like the rest of us (except with a proclivity to a sin that we find especially distasteful) excludes them from the Gospel.”

    Has anyone suggested that? I want them in church – I wish we had 10 times the number of unrepentant sinners in my local assembly each week. That is the only place they are going to hear the gospel. But what does the good news mean to anyone who doesn’t think there is any bad news?

  85. Jean says:

    “I wish we had 10 times the number of unrepentant sinners in my local assembly each week. That is the only place they are going to hear the gospel.”

    That kind of mindset is a death sentence for a church.

  86. Michael says:

    “But what does the good news mean to anyone who doesn’t think there is any bad news?”

    I’m insanely bored with this whole line of discussion.

    Your question assumes that homosexuals are the only group of people that has some among them that don’t believe there is any “bad news”.

    Oddly enough, I know many heterosexuals that believe the same.

    I’ll simply keep dividing the world into two groups…redeemed and unredeemed and let the Gospel convict those who He will in the unredeemed category of their need for a Savior no matter what their particular proclivities may be.

  87. Perhaps your church – not mine.
    We go after unchurched / non christians in our surrounding area through our school to help these folks enter church, hear the gospel and in God’s timing be saved

  88. Michael,
    I have not put the focus on homosexuals at all – I keep saying that I am speaking of all sinners who refuse to be called to repentance … and now you for refusing to hear a message calling people to repentance. Are you playing to the crowd or what?

    I said I want, let me quote myself – “I wish we had 10 times the number of unrepentant sinners in my local assembly each week.” That includes them all. How many times does it have to be said, when I try to switch the conversation to adulterers, pornographers, people sleeping around – gossipers, those who envy, you name it – I even included butt heads.

    You, Ivan and Jean keep bringing it back to the homosexual issue … and I don’t know why.

  89. gomergirl says:

    Xenia….. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
    I hope your day and year are filled with joy and blessings above what you can imagine.

    And I love my Fitbit, btw. I am on my second one and was so excited to get it. I hope you like it.

  90. Steve Wright says:

    I go back to the alcoholic example (as an aside, where there is certainly strong evidence that many are born with that propensity)

    Many alcoholics are in denial that they are powerless over alcohol
    Many alcoholics KNOW they are powerless over alcohol, but don’t see their life as unmanageable.

    To want sobriety, both must be true. (AKA Step One of 12) Until they are both true, they will not seek a life that results in total abstinence from alcohol, no matter how many others can drink responsibly – they know it will forever be off limits to them.

    And many of those who do seek deliverance find Jesus (or He finds them depending on your POV) – because they seek repentance from this sin.

    Good luck preaching Jesus to the drunk who has no desire and sees no need to stop drinking.

  91. Xenia says:

    Thank you, Gomer Girl!

    I lost my fitbit zip within the first 24 hours of ownership. Happily, I did eventually find it again.

    I am sure I am going to lose it for good.

  92. dusty says:

    I just now heard this sad news….

    how my heart breaks because he is no longer with us here but how my soul rejoices that we may see each other again in heaven.

    Ken, I miss you my dear brother and friend. ((((((((hugs))))))))

  93. Michael says:

    Dusty…good to see you again.
    I just wish it had been under better circumstances and news.

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