Things I Think

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29 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How could you not be Thinking today on this anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession in 1530?
    The greatest document of the Reformation and the actual ‘real date’ for the birth of the Lutheran Church.

  2. j2theperson says:

    Re: Chuck Smith…Do you think history will find him or his “movement” particularly significant? I attended various CCs for 20 or so years, and yet now it’s becoming a distant memory and the experience seems less and less to have resulted in any sort of enduring impact on my life. It’s hard to imagine in a couple hundred years Calvary Chapel being worth anything more than a footnote or two in some comprehensive church history notes.

  3. Michael says:


    Whether we like it or not, Chuck Smith was a leader in the last great revival of the 20th Century.

    The Jesus Movement has significantly affected theology and especially ecclesiology and has impacted the culture to this day.

    It’s present day significance is waning with the age of the participants and the folly of this generation of leaders, but it’s much more than a footnote.

  4. bob1 says:


    Don’t care for Franklin Graham in the least and what he stands for.

    But he did publicly come out opposing the “family separation” policy of the Trump

    Seems like a no-brainer to most of us…but I give him credit for that.

  5. Michael says:


    His coming is creating more division among the churches in town…which is the last thing we needed…

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – what is the division in your town’s churches? You have always described them all and the radio stations as Graham type clones.

    I traveled NoCal memorial day weekend to see my mom and my grandson – Franklin was making the tour then – billboards everywhere – I think he was on a 10 day tour.

    Franklin’s grandson Will(?) was here in the desert a couple of years ago – I think he has his own gig.

  7. The thing that distinguishes Independent Baptists from Conservative Southern Baptists is the former’s doctrine of separation. Not sure what you have in mind, but in action, I have seen it to be brutally abusive.

  8. Michael says:


    We have enough problems here without FG bringing a gas can to a kitchen fire…there are many here who think this unnecessary and unwise, but will be pressured to support the noise anyway.

  9. Michael says:


    I think the Bible teaches a separation from the world…at least in terms of the uniqueness of the church and it’s mission.

    The question is how we interpret that mandate…

  10. I’m not sure what he’s up to now, but in the past when Franklin has done his tours, it’s been your basic evangelistic crusade type meeting. Doesn’t usually draw huge numbers. It will probably be a more benign issue than you think.

  11. Kevin H says:

    “It will probably be a more benign issue than you think.”

    Only until he calls their town, “a little picture of hell”. 🙂

  12. Kevin H says:

    I would think there are some pluses and minuses as to how the church has traditionally “separated from the world”. Not chasing after earthly political power and not accepting sinful items as okay that the world accepts as okay I would think are good separations. Separating to the extent that every “worldly” practice – drinking, dancing, card playing, movie going, etc. is to be condemned and drawing up a separate culture that does not allow interaction with those who do these “wordly” things is not a good separation.

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    I wonder if the issue of separation has as much to do with what we are separating ourselves “to”, as what we are separating ourselves “from”. If we are separating ourselves to pray, to study, to read, to perform acts of mercy… well and good. If we are simply separating ourselves so as to not interact with the culture, I think there could be a problem, as Kevin has pointed out…

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In the Lutheran church I don’t think we have any concept of separation. You can only do your vocation in the world.
    I guess we do our separation at the Lord’s table.
    A healthy understanding of the 2 kingdom’s allows you to properly hold political office as many Lutherans do.

    We saw the evangelical concept of separation in the city of Costa Mesa in the 70s, 80s and 90s where all the businesses were Christian and named Maranatha.

  15. Kevin H says:


    As one point of clarification, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a Christian seeking and/or holding political office. The problem is when the church as an entity seeks political power.

  16. Michael says:

    “The problem is when the church as an entity seeks political power.”

  17. Davew says:

    Very pithy commentary! Amen especially to the last four. I believe that you and your followers could provide an excellent solution to #10 in about an hour. I would love to be a part of that conversation. I think a big part of the problem is that the church isn’t the first line of contact. We are asking a government to do the church’s job. How can we, as Christ’s hands and feet in the here and now, do this job? I feel like the church has abandoned this calling. Am I missing something?

  18. Em says:

    I don’t think that it is so much a matter of the Church not doing its job as it is the context of this problem… it is not a Kingdom problem … yes, we are tasked with showing mercy and sharing Christ, but isn’t this problem one that is the outcome of the commerce of the evil one, the world’s systems? many are its victims – the world’s systems…
    and we do need to remember that, yes, the righteous suffer, but so do the determined hell-bent sinners… Our Lord was crucified between 2 sinners. One asked Jesus for mercy and one didn’t. They all died…. suffering and virtue are not synonymous … Just so all those trying to enter into a more prosperous country bring different agendas with them…
    The best solution that i have heard is to grant worker cards, but not citizenship. If one has a job they can bring their families, settle here and go back and forth between the U.S. and their homeland freely… exempt from S.S. deductions, but paying taxes… if they then want to apply for citizenship and its “privileges” they can do so… getting in line in an orderly way…
    Make sneaking across the border illegal – period – unless, you are someone fighting for your native land and in danger of being killed for doing so. The fact that you live in a dangerous country is not sufficient reason to open the borders IMV…
    FWIW, this nation is becoming more dangerous by the minute. One of my near and dear ones just got a warning from Facebook because of a quote she posted in hers.

  19. JoelG says:

    #4 and #9

    I struggle with these ones. I grew up in a conservative Christian home and the “world” seemed to me a place full of bad people who swore and smoked and chewed and went with the girls that do. I have perceived this same idea in the evangelical circles I was in even relatively recently.

    I have found that this “bad” world is full of people like all of us… people that could use a little kindness and attention despite their “worldliness”.

    I’m not sure if that’s what you meant with those thoughts but that’s my 2 cents.

  20. Michael says:


    Back in the old days I was “the cussing, Kahlua swilling, Calvinist”.

    What I mean by separation is a recognition that our identity is first and foremost Christian and if we embrace or detest anything it’s based on whether those things fit our real identity.

  21. JoelG says:

    Ok I see that makes sense. I know I push the boundaries and go overboard sometimes and I think I need to remember what you are saying here.

    Btw my wife agreed to go visit our local Anglican Church. Thanks for the guidance through your writing.

  22. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Michael, one of the better complements I got in college was from a friend of mine who was a missionary kid, and she said that of the friends she met since she’d come to live in the US and attend college, I was one of the handful of Americans she got to know where she said I was clearly a Christian first and an American a very distant second or third in contrast to a majority who simply conflated being a good Christian with being American.

    apropos of nothing, The Incredibles 2 is a blast and the film critics at The New Yorker are morons.

  23. JoelG says:

    Ok I think Im getting #4 and #9 in light of #7 and #8. Many thanks to WTH for helping this numbskull understand.

    I’m looking forward the The Incredibles 2!

  24. filbertz says:

    I like your #10–a hardy amen.

    Graham Crackers…head to my end of the valley for a dose of sanity, dinner on the patio with live music Friday night, and adult beverages. On the house. 🙂

    separation–yes, but we don’t have to parade it around like know-it-alls and better-than-others. I like the comment above about separation “to” as opposed to “from.” Makes better sense that way.

  25. berean says:

    “4. Back in the old days many churches had a doctrine of worldly separation…this might be a good time to revisit that belief…“

    I’ll give a practical analogy that may work.

    In our age of political idolatry and political offense (I’ve been guilty of it too), I think to one way to disengage…

    Here’s the comparison:
    I have several polo shirts I wear, which are of very little real significance to me. One is a college team, one is the Chicago Cubs; oh and a Broncos shirt. Acquaintances from the local hardware store or strangers will start fake (or real) strife with me when we come across each other’s path. Frankly, I don’t REALLY care much at all. I have more important things going on in my life.

    But clearly it matters a great deal to them.

    I know sports teams (kinda) matter.
    But not THAT much.

    We need to be that way with politics.

    But all too often we think Oakland Raiders fans are criminals.
    Cowboys fans are rich and arrogant. Or whatever.

    There may be some half truths but the crap GETS REALLY OLD.

    Keep it up, Michael. Don’t lose your unite some disparate folks here, and that should give us both hope.

  26. Em says:

    being a Christian as a requirement for citizenship…. ahhh wouldn’t that be great 🙂

    but what would be the test? are you sprinkled? are you immersed? do you have a tongue? is your communion cup transubstantiated? … sigh… can’t happen, can it?

    God keep all close

  27. berean says:

    On #10, you seriously help me, Michael.

    I rarely get conservatives to get my points, and I rarely get liberals to admit stuff like the record deportations under the early years of Obama.

    Immigration is such a bull crap system. Neither party does anything to reform the system. And the rules are such a joke, and enforcement seems random and unfair at times.

    I hope the current issues bring the two sides to the table. When Chuck Schumer says he won’t do anything, I wanted to scream.

  28. Cash says:

    “The problem is when the church as an entity seeks political power.” I agree wholeheartedly. That’s why the separation of church and state is important. The Moral Majority of the 1970s and 80s solidified the church as a reliable Republican constituency. Franklin Graham has inherited what is left of that entity. He regularly gets involved in political issues and is a reliable Trump supporter. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, except when the religious is combined with the worldly pursuit of political power.
    That, in my view, is where the separation from the world and thus the state should take place.

  29. Cash says:

    On another subject, #2, devastating news that a 21-y/o college football player had CTE, the degenerative brain disease being found in pro football players. How long can the sport continue with this tragic disease, indeed.

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