We Need A New “Theology of Engagement”

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373 Responses

  1. OCDan says:

    MIchael,

    I just don’t see this issue getting any better. The divide is going to get wider and wider. No matter your eschatology, things are not getting better. Sin is more in the open than ever before, why do you think Maury and Springer were able to do what they did on tv.

    Ergo, this issue will keep dividing the country and the church. Of course, God is in the miracle business, but based on man’s wisdom, so far, I am not putting any hopes in any solutions we come up with.

    This issue is totally with God.

    That said, I am totally out of the politics of this issue. Whatever, if two or three men want to marry, let the state hand out a certificate. Just don’t expect me to call it a marriage and don’t expect my church to officiate the ceremony. But, if you want the civil rights, like inheritance and health care, go for it. But remember you also get the bad, i.e. divorce, with it. A major sticky issue for me though would be adoption of children. You can guess where I am going with that, but I’ll leave that alone.

  2. Michael says:

    OCDan,

    I would agree with you for the most part.
    I just have had this gnawing in my bones that we can represent Christ and His Gospel more clearly than we have been.

  3. Laura Scott says:

    Ministry first.

    We don’t need more words, we need more action. If Jesus is indeed the great healer (which He is), use that.

    You can totally save on printing costs as it does not require a tract of any kind, just a question: “Can I pray for you?”

    A very wise man, Steve Stewart, taught me that. He knows a fair bit about reaching the lost.

  4. Michael says:

    Laura,

    I do think that personal “evangelism” is a huge part of this equation.
    I think the day of the “crusade’ have passed…

  5. JoelG says:

    Amen

  6. gomergirl says:

    Thanks.

    And Laura, I agree. I want to actively love all the people in my life, and for some reason, God has allowed people who are hurting in so many ways in my life. I love that POV and think I will now adopt it. It is hard sometimes to know what else to say and stay true to what I believe and love the people in my life.

    And Michael… keep up the work. It may not bring accolades here, but in the end, I think it is worth not selling out.

  7. Michael says:

    gomergirl,

    Thank you…and thank you for your contributions here.
    They have not gone without notice.

  8. Rick says:

    Michael, thank you for this–we must, I think, repent of the idolatry of our seeking to exert political power. It is the open door to conversations, I think, with those that differ from us.

  9. Rick says:

    It will take time…

  10. Michael says:

    Rick,

    Thank you.
    I think one of the planks of the new platform I’m suggesting is a realization that we are a “remnant”, not a majority…

  11. JoelG says:

    You know what we’ve actually going to have to do? We’re going to have to get out of our sterile environments and get into the messy world. Actually make friends with transgender and gay people. I know it’s hard for the righteous to take the time to hang with such unrighteous, but its what we have to do.

  12. Xenia says:

    In fact, it is the church, however you define it, with all its crazy modern manifestations, that is holding back the tide and preventing the enemy from a 100 percent victory. As far as I can tell, almost the only American institution that is even engaged in this battle is the church.

  13. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    I agree…and I think that was Brodersens point.
    The question becomes where you draw the line between being salt and light and appearing to approve of sin.

  14. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Point taken.
    My point is that I believe we can do much better.

  15. Chris Long says:

    Agreed Michael! The whole way we’ve dealt with this issue (and a host of others) hasn’t worked out well for us. And it comes down to: We’ve been loud, clanging symbols, and have lost site of love. The culture has seen and heard the clanging and it’s been easy for them to dismiss it because we haven’t offered them a compelling reason to even listen to us!

    It may sound simplistic, but love is the answer. I mean real, genuine, heartfelt love motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to maintain the Biblical standard (this is where many churches/denoms have been failing in recent times), but we also need to show forth love. Love is very powerful, and it is to be our trademark. It is very telling that the culture has been able to label us as “haters” – the exact opposite of what we are to be known for. They shouldn’t even remotely be able to come to that conclusion. Even though they are generally wrong in that assessment, we’ve made it too easy for them to do so.

    Genuine love combined with Biblical truth with our own personal lives an evidence of the power of Jesus is a powerful witness.

  16. Babylon's Dread says:

    We must be where we have always been and where I have spent my day already today. We must be with the victims of this revolution. Jesus does best with women at the well, men at midnight, thieves in the marketplace, prostitutes at his feet.

    I will simply engage the church and via the church engage the broken of the culture. Empty souls cannot be filled by sex changes, sexual disunions or altered states of consciousness. Christianity works best at the garbage dump. That is where I live.

    My church is not among the beautiful people, it is with common folk who have mental problems, relational tragedy, sexual bondage and moral confusion. They are addicted, fallen, failed, afraid and angry… they are ordinary, common, and shattered in a thousand pieces. The people I serve know pain every day.

    Hollywood cures and Vanity Fair fixes do not assuage the soul. They cannot and will not mend the brokenness. So I will have plenty to do as main-street parades into the abyss. The demonic hordes they loose on themselves will not obey their voices.

  17. Michael says:

    Chris…well said.
    Thank you for your contributions here…we are all enjoying your voice.

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why do we need change?
    Jesus said ” “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca, is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

    No one listened – so he went on and said

    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    and no one listened – so he said

    31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    and no one listened

    So tell me again, why are you expecting people to listen to us now???

  19. Chris Long says:

    We can declare the truth on social issues. But I’m more concerned right now on the Church even really rediscovering what the Good News really is and putting it forth not as just some theological argument (which is what we’ve done in the past), but in real-life, practical, showcase.

    We’ve been telling people for years that there’s a God that loves them and people should believe in Jesus so they can go to Heaven when they die to be with this God. But then, far too often, our own lives haven’t looked much different from the world around us. There’s been little distinction. And if there isn’t any or little distinction between us and the rest of the world (light and dark), why would they want to take us seriously?? Further, we have made a mistake in portraying the Gospel as only having relevance to what happens after we die here. It’s about MUCH MORE than that!

    If we get some of these fundamentals fixed, then things may change around in the culture, but it will most definitely take time.

    I’m with BD in his assessments that it is bad and likely to get worse. However, I do hold hope that there will be a revival. But that revival has to start with us. We need to be revived first.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    When we understand that our institutional security is worthless but our security in relationship is everything then we will continue to advance. Let the market share drop the professional opportunities be diminished and the crowds go elsewhere.

    Our work is redemption. Our work is rescue. Our work is reconciliation. Our work is not the ministry of condemnation and those who think they hear that from me are MISSING THE POINT. I speak fearlessly and harshly here because this is a Christian forum. It is doubtless read by some others but primarily this is family talk. So debate, strong calls, rebuke and exposure of sin is appropriate.

    In the real world I am a pastor who weeps with those who weep and laughs with those who laugh. In the real world I am 100% healing and reconciliation regardless of the sin. In the family I am all confrontation. So is/was Michael.

    We engage the world with the power of God and we confront one another with unyielding courage and strong argument. Our rhetoric among ourselves is not the same as our witness in the world. And yet we remain the same people.

    So expect swords to clash in debate but the basin and the towel is our normal equipment.

  21. Michael says:

    BD,

    That was profound and eloquent as you often are.
    My concern is that these broken ones feel as if we have something to offer them.
    Will they come when all else has failed, or will they buy the lie that we hate them?
    Are we getting the message out that we love them?

    We are just now coming to grips locally with the fact that our young ones are killing themselves in record numbers.
    Our hospitals are regularly going on diversion at night, meaning that they are full and cannot receive any more patients.
    Many of those are mental issues.

    I am seeing the trickle begin of the flood that will follow…

  22. Michael says:

    BD,

    #20 is gold.

  23. Babylon's Dread says:

    As for the narrative …

    Well that will always be mixed.

    Always there will be voices to tell the damned they are under judgment.
    Always there will be voices to revel in the judgment of God on people in pain
    Always there will be voices to anger an already alienated public

    It was true in AD 30 and true 2000 years later

    But always the power of God will pierce the darkness
    While some heal the sick by calling darkness light
    Others simply shine the light dispelling the darkness

    Jesus still heals the body
    Jesus still heals the soul
    Jesus still sends the demons howling
    Jesus still forgives the sinner
    Jesus still saves people from themselves
    Jesus still gives us true identity
    Jesus still abides…

  24. Xenia says:

    The Orthodox Church sees itself as a hospital for broken people and offers Medicine from the Great Physician to effect a cure.

    We don’t start out from the premise of total depravity. We believe that all men and women still bear the image of God, which is in shambles but can still be restored to the intended condition. That is salvation in the Orthodox Church: the recovery of the Image. This is union with God; this is Theosis. We believe that people are by nature good but become sick. They can recover and become the true human person God created them to be.

    We believe that the Sacraments, especially Holy Communion, are medicinal in nature, spiritually speaking.

    We have confession and absolution, followed by a dose of the Medicine of Immortality for the healing of the soul and body. If a person falls, they are helped back up.

    One has to be willing to accept treatment.

  25. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That has to be the best brief synopsis of Orthodoxy ever written…

  26. JTK says:

    “We need a clear Gospel message.

    Once we have that we must learn how to communicate it.”

    Let’s go evangelize.

    We have a clearer command to that by Jesus than anything else.

    Trust me, this next generation needs it.
    They have believed the perverted messages the world is sending, and they will abandon that sin and filth if we just consistently present them with the truth. Believe that.

  27. Chris Long says:

    BD:

    I just have to tell you brother that I’ve been reading your posts here for years, and you are a real blessing. You are very insightful and I really appreciate your sincerity and heart for just wanting to help people and bless people in the name of Jesus.

    Your #16 and #20 above are indeed gold! Also, I agree with you about how we talk about this amongst ourselves vs. the world. I wrote a long article on gay marriage and the church (http://www.laughandlift.com/personalarticles/gaymarriagechurch.html) that was primarily intended for the Body since there has seemed to be so much confusion within the Body as to what the Biblical standard really is. So it was harsher in tone. But then at the end, I switch gears to talk about how we really should be addressing in culture – and I even suggested to my readers that they not send my article to unbelievers precisely for the reason that it would probably hit “unbelievers” wrong as being too harsh. We can talk about certain things “in house” in a way that’s not the most profitable to do out in the world.

    The sad thing is I just realized that the article I had written awhile back is already semi out-of-date because the ball is now being moved further along from homosexuality/gay-marriage to transgender. It’s like everyone has acknowledged we’ve lost the homosexuality debate so those of darkness have moved on to the next level.

  28. Michael says:

    JTK,

    How do you define “evangelize”?
    What does that actually look like?

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How do you counter Jenner with “evangelism”? He said in the Sawyer interview that he has God’s OK.

  30. JoelG says:

    How do you define “evangelize”?

    Invite him/her to dinner. Be with them as much as possible. Be present in their lives as much as possible.

  31. JTK says:

    Michael,

    Talking to people one on one about Jesus. Period.

    Introverted? Get over it.
    Not your “gifting”? Figure it out.

    One on one with Jesus on the middle.
    HOWEVER.

    I’m on vacation with several other pastors and evangelists (mostly one on one.

    And what we’re seeing “on the streets” that is very effective, which Laura just stated is,
    “Can I pray for you?”

    Anyone see “Obama’s America 2016”?
    I was JUST LIKE Barack Obama in college (only lighter). Seriously. I was a communist. And a conservative (bleeeech!) taught me the Bible, told me about Jesus. Within weeks, I was changed eternally.
    Within months, my whole life (included much/most of my politics) was changed. Radically.

    THAT is how I’ve seen it, in my life as well as in countless others.

    It works.
    And in my reading, that’s how Jesus wants it.

  32. JTK says:

    MLD,

    I’ve see quite a few people who were gay, and one transgendered person, make decisions to follow Jesus.

    “Such WERE some of you…”
    True 2000 years ago, true now.

    Sure, some specific people may not be receptive like Bruce…

  33. Jim says:

    Didn’t have time to read all of the comments, but Michael and Rick get it.

    Repent of our govt idolatry, lose the Christian nation myth, and consider life in first century Rome, Corinth, and Ephesis.

  34. Michael says:

    JTK,

    If being born again makes you a political conservative I’m gonna split hell wide open… 🙂

  35. JoelG says:

    I don’t understand why this is so hard for some folks. Be a friend. Seek to serve where/when needed. This is evangelism. This does not require a degree in theology lol.

  36. Laura Scott says:

    MLD,

    As it is, Bruce Jenner will have his pop culture moment and it will be done. Once a picture of him is posted without great lighting and generous Photoshop looking like what he is, a 65-year old man attempting to look like a woman, our fascination will be done.

    It’s kind of like what Rita Hayworth said: “Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda… and woke up with me.” That moment comes all too soon.

    It’s then we (the church) have our best chance, when he and others are faced with the harsh truths of the flippant nature of societal acceptance. Part of those harsh truths is when we figure out that no, God is not OK with our choices.

    We just got to be ready to get off the bench when He gives us the opportunity to show these folks what real love looks like.

  37. Paige says:

    Thank you BD and Chris Long. ….and Michael, of course. Amen….

    Jesus said “blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness sake”…. I’m quite convinced that the ‘persecution’ the church at large is receiving is not due to righteousness, but arrogance, forgetting that we can only claim, “Saved by grace, through faith, even that is a gift, lest anyone should boast”.

    We can only boast of Him, not our marital state, fidelity, sobriety, health, political views or church/club memberships. Somehow we are loved by God, in spite of our depravity.

    I appreciate Xenia’s comment that we retain a remnant of being made in the Image of God….Thank you.

  38. Xenia says:

    I’ve known three actively homosexual people in my life (that I am aware of.)

    Two are atheists and any attempt to bring up God is met with “Don’t give me that God stuff.”

    The other is a Bible college graduate who knows the Gospel message better than most.

    I am exceedingly polite to these three people but I don’t pretend I’m on board with their sin. Actually, it rarely comes up. A “can I pray for you?” would be met with either anger or eye-rolling so I keep my prayer plans to myself.

    I suspect most homosexuals know in their hearts that they are in sin and would know where to go to find someone to help them repent. They don’t have to go to a KJVO Bible thumping church and get beat up; there are gentler places.

    I don’t know what “going out and ministering to gays” looks like. When I encounter non-believers of any kind, I inject as much Christianity into the conversation as a can until I meet with hostility and then I back off. I might say, “I had some really delicious pie at my church’s potluck last Sunday” and see how that goes. If they scowl and say they hate all churches and start talking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that’s pretty much the end of the conversation. If they look interested, I’ll go on. I wouldn’t do it any differently if I were chatting with a homosexual or a pick pocket or secular humanist. Present the Good News little by little, as far as you can go with it. Always with kindness; never in anger.

  39. Michael says:

    Paige…amen. 🙂

  40. Jim says:

    I’m sorry… do some here actually believe that American Christians suffer persecution in the biblical sense of the word?

    Please…

  41. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That’s pretty much how my church does it…it can take years, but it’s bearing fruit.

  42. OCDan says:

    Much to digest here. I love all the comments. Xenia, that was a great synopsis for us non-Orthodox about the orthodox.

    If I may be so bold, I love this piece Michael and I think the takeaway is to stop following the movements, i.e. church vs. homosexuality, or the church vs. abortion, and realize that we as Christians have to deal with this issue in one on one situations.

    In other words, God will handle the sin in a general sense of the issue, i.e. homosexual movement, abortion, etc. Jesus will be the final judge of all people. Our job is to proclaim the truth that Jesus saves from sin and can heal and we do that by engaging people in a one on one way, just like BD wrote above, at the well, at midnight, with the prostitutes and drunkards at Matthew’s party. We can’t do that when we are trying to win a shouting match or promote legislation. Good luck with that. Never works, never will. More of man’s wisdom. Jesus and Paul, both of whom could have, never tried that approach.

    The problem, as I see it, is the church wants to fight and win a war it will never win. If the church is so worried about homosexuality, what about adultery, as MLD wrote? Why aren’t we going after all the adulterers in the church. What about gulttony? How many overeating Christian ‘MurKans are there? Yeah, I thought so. Not as popular a sin.

    Anyway, we want to fight a war on a country or global scale that is the Lord’s alone. Our duty is to go and make disciples and mend the broken. Sometimes, I think we lose sight of that too often and that just makes everything even messier.

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    One other thing – Bruce Jenner is acting just the way I would expect a non Christian to act. My objection is his public stance.

    Hey, my pastor wears a dress every Sunday … I need to think about this 🙂

  44. em says:

    We need a new “theology of engagement”.
    Maybe it starts with “Jesus ate with sinners”…

    yes, He did, but did He force Himself on them? did He go uninvited? or did He ask if He could sit with them? when and if He did, how did He conduct Himself? something tells me that He didn’t just sit there laughing and nodding in agreement … just wondering….

  45. Paige says:

    Jim, I agree with you, #40, that is why I used “quotation” marks around the word “persecution”…. IMO, the kickback we may get is, ahem, deserved.

    Xenia, my ex daughter in law married her girlfriend, thus, I interact with them, as well as their circle of friends…. I’ve had a few opportunities, actually, to pray for them, even asked to pray and even one very tough lesbian gal respond ‘do you really think God cares about me?”. So, there ya go. On the other hand, the folks involved in fighting against the Gresham bakery are some of the most angry, foul mouthed, curing folks I’ve ever met or read.

    The battle is, indeed, the Lord’s.

  46. Paige says:

    BTW….don’t know if anyone else looked at the link Anne posted yesterday about the person she often sees at senior lunches in Portland…. A curiosity, to say the least..

    Sister Paula http://www.transevangelist.com/index.php/blogs-about-sister-paula

  47. Xenia says:

    One thing that makes me really REALLY angry is a graphic I am seeing increasingly on the lawns of liberal churches: A cross covered with a rainbow motif with the word “peace” written thereon.

    Your gentle Xenia almost feels compelled to sneak up to such a display in the middle of the night with a can of spray paint.

  48. JoelG says:

    Paige, Sister Paula is a regular at our bible studies and the dinners we host. This is a mental illness that needs to be met with love and compassion.

  49. Xenia says:

    The tricky thing is how to show love and compassion without affirming the sin.

  50. Anne says:

    #48 🙂

    I will confess that Sister P is a lot more convinced about and devoted to her faith than I am about mine.

  51. Chris Long says:

    OCDan said: “If the church is so worried about homosexuality, what about adultery, as MLD wrote? Why aren’t we going after all the adulterers in the church. What about gulttony?”

    This is a big part of the problem. We’ve gone after certain fights (homosexuality, abortion, etc.) all the while neglecting a bunch of very obvious issues amongst ourselves. The hypocrisy is astounding and is not unnoticed by the world.

    If I spout off about homosexuality being wrong to my neighbor, yet that neighbor knows me to be a liar, an adulterer, a thief, a glutton, a frequent cusser, etc. then it will ring hollow.

    We make a mistake when we put the emphasis on behavior. We should be putting the emphasis on Jesus.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why isn’t it a show of love to tell someone they are either in sin against a holy God or that they have crossed the line of good societal behavior — whether anyone else agrees with you or not.

    When my doctor tells me I am fat and need to lose weight, is he loving?

  53. Josh The Baptist says:

    Honest question – Should the “T” really be lumped in with the LGB? Seems to be a totally different can of worms.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If you are a smoker no one seems to worry about offending you and making you feel like you are slime dripping on the earth.

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A good sign to see how serious people are about unrepentant sin in the church (unrepentant being the key word as we all sin and continue to sin) – Bruce Jenner walks into your church in full costume – do you commune him?

  56. Anne says:

    The Jesus Movement impacted a lot of traditional folks thinking by helping folks feel like they didn’t have to clean up and get it all right before they were welcome entered the door of a church.

    As time as passed, expectations of how clean one will get and how fast after hearing the good news has given birth to all sorts of divisions and legalisms, IMV.

    I think a lot of believers do not have much faith that God has the power to do the work in individuals or in groups in his timing but rather develop our own yardsticks and timetables for how and how fast change will happen. Just thinking out loud.

  57. JoelG says:

    Xenia, I think Michael said it well yesterday:

    “The Gospel will always heal the soul, but the mind is sometimes sick and stays that way.

    It’s not in my job description to parse out the difference in this case.”

    Anne, Sister Paula puts my bible knowledge to shame.

  58. Anne says:

    MLD – does your MD refuse to keep seeing you when it is obvious you aren’t following his advice?

  59. UnCCed@UnCCed.com says:

    Since America’s [Protestant] co-pastor, the RNC was side-stepped by this discussion that controls their hearts/wallets, it won’t work.

  60. UnCCed@UnCCed.com says:

    Seriously though, I’ve been very thankful for those leaders who at try to model Christ in these matters, and help those like myself who need help.
    However, they’ve had to do it “under-cover.”

  61. Babylon's Dread says:

    ** One thing that makes me really REALLY angry is a graphic I am seeing increasingly on the lawns of liberal churches: A cross covered with a rainbow motif with the word “peace” written thereon.**

    Welcome the warning. I believe the rainbow bows number 6.

    Man Dread

  62. j2theperson says:

    I think getting “the Church” as a whole to change or move in any sort of cohesive way is never going to happen. It’s way too fractured. Individual christians will continue doing what they have done–which is to respond however they are most comfortable or think is most appropriate.

    It just seems a little silly to me to think of the church or christianity as being even vaguely one group or entity that can be shifted as a whole.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Anne,
    “MLD – does your MD refuse to keep seeing you when it is obvious you aren’t following his advice?”

    Yes, but he has nothing else of value to offer me. He doesn’t say “well, my patient MLD won’t listen so I guess I will toss my medical books in the trash and tell him to try something that does not work.”

    That is what I see here. You all have given up on Jesus and scripture, want to toss them out the window and offer some new age advise that perhaps the people will listen too.

    You know in the end, Jesus still told the woman caught in adultery “STOP IT!

  64. Babylon's Dread says:

    Engaging culture is one thing

    When engaging the church this test is above all others…

    4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already., 1 Jn 4:1–3.

    And check for the article in the sentence. Is it definite or indefinite?… that is the telling blow.

  65. Michael says:

    j2,

    The church has mobilized 80% of evangelicals to register as Republicans…we may be able to mobilize a majority of our own for kingdom work.

  66. Judy says:

    …7″And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8″Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9″Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,…

    It’s too bad that many Christians don’t believe this and won’t do it. It’s what we were commanded to do.

    Maybe it’s too simple. Or too risky.

    I have found that God has healed many times when Christians lay hands on people who are sick or afflicted. There’s something about getting down with people and being where they are that touches them and changes them. It’s that caring and that love that speaks to them.

    Seems like contemporary Christians would rather talk doctrine. While Jesus was out healing the sick, the Pharisees talked doctrine and found all kinds of things wrong with what he did. He did it anyway.

    I wish we could. I don’t think there is anything more culturally relevant that meeting people where they are, caring about them, praying for them and watching God move.

  67. Michael says:

    “I don’t think there is anything more culturally relevant that meeting people where they are, caring about them, praying for them and watching God move.”

    I’ll say the amen…

  68. j2theperson says:

    ***The church has mobilized 80% of evangelicals to register as Republicans…we may be able to mobilize a majority of our own for kingdom work.***

    I’m not an evangelical anymore so I don’t know. Even when I was I know there were a lot more Democrats than you would have thought who were parents of kids at the christian school I attended and who went to the CC I went to.

    When I was an evangelical I heard people hoping all the time for revival and claiming that it was right around the corner–if we just prayed enough and were fervent enough or whatever. 30 years on it still hasn’t happened. Nothing I have seen would lead me to believe that “the Church” as a whole (whatever that even is) is capable of doing anything.

    Individuals can believe and think and hope and act and change. Vaguely define anomalous masses of marginally associated people can pretty much do nothing but stick their heads up their butts.

  69. Muff Potter says:

    Jim @ # 40,

    You and I are probably parsecs apart on socio-political issues, and even then, we could probably hammer out some reasonable consensus and compromise. But I am in full agreement with you on the ‘persecution’ card. In Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and in the Levant outside of Israeli borders, persecution of Christians is very real and brutal. Here in America? I won’t even dignify it with an eyeroll and a chuckle.

  70. Babylon's Dread says:

    In American it is incorrect to say we are persecuted.
    We are definitely increasingly silenced and marginalized
    We are definitely living in a decidedly anti-christ nation as per public policy
    We are definitely increasingly lampooned without redress.
    We are definitely taxed without representation more than original colonials were per faith
    (I know that one would garner debate but basically we pay taxes for schools that increasingly diminish and demean our faith rather than undergird it)

    No we are not persecuted but America will precede Europe in that kind of thing…
    We always are much more devoted to zero sum games.

    Lots of people in my world talk about a 7 Mountain Strategy … it has worked much more for the LGBT community than the evangelical. The strategy is good but we fight poorly.

    We have not yet suffered unto the shedding of blood … and if we will submit to the politically correct culture tests we will never suffer. Or at least not in this go round.

    Basically we are likely headed for Israel’s cultural slavery in Egypt… watch out we might thrive in the cultural ghetto

    The smell of sheep is odious to the gods of the age.

  71. Bob says:

    I guess I’m a bit bothered reading the postings here. I read, “the church” this or “the church” that and many disappointments and critiques of the failures and factions with “it.”

    How come there’s appears to be little to know finger pointing at the mirror?

    I think it is Paul who references a mirror and how dull or hard to see what’s in it.

    Yep I gave up on the organized church decades ago and look in the mirror and point at who is at fault. It certainly isn’t Jesus.

    Quite frankly I have never met a lesbian woman who wasn’t a woman nor a gay man who wasn’t a man. The same goes for those who I know who had had the operations to change their external appearance, still men and women from the beginning.

    While committing the sin of keeping the Jenner story open too long, the facts are this; he will always be a man and any inner woman he claims to have is just a perversion of what real woman are.

    I’m the church because I love Jesus and believe God raised him from the dead! Now help me to love even those who pervert the creation and image God made them.

  72. Bob says:

    That’s “little to no finger pointing…”

  73. Bob says:

    BD

    “Basically we are likely headed for Israel’s cultural slavery in Egypt… watch out we might thrive in the cultural ghetto”

    Don’t forget these people lived without written Torah (they became the Torah) and when left alone returned to Egyptian worship and practice.

  74. em says:

    “We can only boast of Him, not our marital state, fidelity, sobriety, health, political views or church/club memberships. Somehow we are loved by God, in spite of our depravity”

    reading the thread, Paige’s above comment has been touched upon quite a bit… if we could get our thinking to center on the Celebrity of the universe (maybe the G-man does – dunno), rather than trying to devise a clever scheme…

    always be polite, say please and thank you to every human being irregardless 🙂

    but be noticeably in love – i’m talking to me here… i’m in a relationship – it is flat out incredible that, for instance, i know, personally, the one who made the world and He likes me… well, i probably wouldn’t share that, but i ought to be amazed by it … if we could just enjoy our Lord thru all the stuff, it would draw interest – i think

  75. Paige says:

    JoelG….. you are in PDX? Door of Hope? Thanks for posting!

  76. Paige says:

    Anne #46 “The Jesus Movement impacted a lot of traditional folks thinking by helping folks feel like they didn’t have to clean up and get it all right before they were welcome entered the door of a church.

    As time as passed, expectations of how clean one will get and how fast after hearing the good news has given birth to all sorts of divisions and legalisms, IMV.

    I think a lot of believers do not have much faith that God has the power to do the work in individuals or in groups in his timing but rather develop our own yardsticks and timetables for how and how fast change will happen. Just thinking out loud.”

    AMEN! Anne! Amen!

  77. JoelG says:

    Paige, I live in Vancouver but just joined First Baptist downtown PDX. The ministry that serves dinners is called HOTEL Ministry. Most of the volunteers come from Crossroads in Vancouver (where I used to go). I wanted to worship where we minister, which is in 3 buildings in the FBC neighborhood.

    http://www.hotelministry.org/

    If you’re in PDX we’d love to have you join us. 😉

  78. Paige says:

    Thanks JoelG! I’m in Beaverton…. ministry looks great! Thanks!

  79. JoelG says:

    Sorry about the shameless plug Michael 🙂

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Transgender (ism) is not a religious / christian issue to me. This is strictly a societal issue on how we want to live.

    Because of this, I don’t give a hoot if a transgender person becomes a Christian

  81. Linnea says:

    We’ve hashed over the shortcomings of the church and we have opinions about how to evangelize. At the core, most folks just want loving relationships and security….with others, with family, and yes, with the Lord if they dare believe that exists.

    I agree with the comments about sharing relationships and offering prayer with unbelievers….but it must be done because we have a genuine interest in the person, not because we want a notch in our evangelism belt.

    What I like about Xenia’s comments @24 about orthodoxy is that because the church views all as broken images of God, we’re all in the soup together. The church has a temporal and eternal fix for a soup with the wrong ingredients. In this way, we see ourselves as no different from the homosexual; we just have a loving and secure relationship with our Father and each other…and that is an appealing place to be when looking in from the outside.

  82. Laura Scott was somewhat prophetic in her #36
    “It’s kind of like what Rita Hayworth said: “Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda… and woke up with me.” That moment comes all too soon.”

    I just got done watching Gilda on TCM this evening. Hayworth was no Caitlyn Jenner, but she was stunning enough 😉

    But really, Glenn Ford was one of my all time favorite actors – I hope he didn’t dress up as a woman after work.

  83. em says:

    MLD @80-“Transgender (ism) is not a religious / christian issue to me. This is strictly a societal issue on how we want to live.

    “Because of this, I don’t give a hoot if a transgender person becomes a Christian”

    assuming that to mean it’s okay… it really is, isn’t it? … while some mix-ups can be rectified and some sins can/must be abandoned, all in all, it most definitely is about Jesus Christ and what He is to us …

    that said, when someone says, “I’m a Christian” and yet they don’t want to talk about Christ …?… i kinda sorta wonder

  84. em,
    When I say ““Because of this, I don’t give a hoot if a transgender person becomes a Christian” – I mean I don’t ‘evangelize’ to specific sin.

    Jesus is clear on what we are to do – we are to go from town to town and announce that the kingdom of God has arrived. People want to hear it or they don’t – that is not our concern. Jesus was equally clear when he said if they don’t want to hear it and they give you a bad time, tell them to screw off, and leave the town.

    So what are ‘christians’ going to do – stand toe to toe and tell the transgender “no, you are going to listen to me until I am done”

  85. em, you’re old enough – did you like Glenn Ford?

  86. Alex says:

    “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

    “Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

    “Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials”

    “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.”

    “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,”

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,”

    ^^ All from the “bible”….that inerrant, infallible, perfect “WORD of GOD!” …just sayin

  87. Alex says:

    …just demonstrates the very non-Absolute nature of “thus sayeth the Lord!” or there wouldn’t be all this angst about the governing authority laying down the law about Gay Marriage and civil rights etc.

    Very human, very much human nature…”The bible is IMMOVABLE! The bible is GOD’S WORD! NO WIGGLE ROOM!”….unless it says something very clearly that you don’t like…then it’s just a suggestion and there’s “context” and it doesn’t mean what it explicitly states etc.

    Just pointing out the irony in this thread (as usual) and the contradiction that direction takes when applying a literal and “simple” read of the “perfect” bible.

  88. Alex says:

    Dreadly, I know you aren’t a bible literalist…so I’ll pose the question to others who are:

    How do you resolve the clear teaching about obeying the Govt. authorities and that “God” is ultimately responsible for putting them and their rules in place in light of the laws on Gay Marriage changing…and laws like Abortion etc? Why do you “rebel” against that stuff?

  89. Alex says:

    I know the Troof Bombs sting and disrupt your “bible is perfect!” boxes. Wish I didn’t see the contradictions so clearly all the time…but they’re there…and troof is more important to me than being popular.

  90. em says:

    MLD, i’m old enough that i wanted to be Rita Hayworth when i grew up – either her or Elizabeth Taylor … Glenn Ford? yep 🙂

    #86 – i wonder what God thinks of all these racketeer “Christians” flying around up there in His sky … you’d think those guys would be scared to be up there

  91. em says:

    “…we are to go from town to town and announce that the kingdom of God has arrived…” that’s kind of funny when you read one way…

    God keep all close

  92. surfer51 says:

    Opened up this board back in 2007.

    It was my attempt to open up dialog between people on both sides of these issues as it were. In a neutral marketplace of ideas where everyone was allowed to speak freely.

    Some of those who participated have since passed on.

    The board has been mostly silent of late but I have left it where it is for the historical record.

    http://www.quicktopic.com/39/H/LLn3p9VeCH5Sp

    Interesting reading going back over the years…

  93. surfer51 says:

    #86
    Hi Brian.

    Pastor Tilson posted this on July 18, 2007.
    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-pentecostal-handshake.html

    Alex,

    I am told that they are not contradictions.

    Just merely antinomy or conclusions that seem equally necessary and reasonable.

    X cannot be non-X. A thing cannot be and not be simultaneously.

    And nothing that is true can be self-contradictory or inconsistent with any other truth.

    …a conflict of authority; and a contradiction between conclusions which seem equally logical.”

    What about Jesus’ “paradoxical” statements—”the first shall be last,” “you must lose your life in order to save it,” and so on?

    These are not contradictions, but plays on words. Jesus was not asserting contradictory propositions, but merely using oxymoronic language to stress the point He was making.

    O…”I protest against protestors.”

  94. JoelG says:

    “So what are ‘christians’ going to do – stand toe to toe and tell the transgender “no, you are going to listen to me until I am done”

    You be a friend, a neighbor, love them, be with them.

    The lack of compassion is mind boggling

  95. Josh The Baptist says:

    Just thought this morning: There will be lots of polygamists, murderers, and slave masters in Heaven.

  96. JoelG says:

    Yes Josh, and I believe transgendered, bipolar, alcoholics, drug-addicted, thieves…..you know… broken people like us. There’s no fine print in the Good News. This is why we never ever give up and turn our backs on anyone.

  97. Babylon's Dread says:

    “How do you resolve the clear teaching about obeying the Govt. authorities and that “God” is ultimately responsible for putting them and their rules in place in light of the laws on Gay Marriage changing…and laws like Abortion etc? Why do you “rebel” against that stuff?”

    Disobeying civil authorities at risk of death when you feel them to be errant is not rare. Paul was put to death by Roman authorities that he suggested we obey.

    Caesar is simply not LORD. So we will disobey him.

  98. Alex says:

    Dreadly, agreed, the bible/scripture presents another contradictory and dual narrative.

    “Obey the Govt! Obey the King! God put them and their precepts in place!”

    Yet, don’t obey the Govt and King if you disagree with them and their precepts.

  99. Alex says:

    “Gay Marriage is EVIL!!!!!”

    Yet the bible doesn’t really speak to the issue….you have to make a lot of assumptions…and then the NT narrative says “Love your neighbor” and “turn the other cheek” and “don’t judge the outsiders, judge inside your church walls” and “Law of love” etc.

    Many many examples where the “hard IMMOVABLE bible verse!” isn’t hard and immovable at all as exampled by so many other examples you and others in evangelicalism practice and believe that is contrary to other examples in the bible and scripture and the historical example.

    The reality seems to be, you pick and choose (you in general, not you Dreadly) what you want to be hard and immovable and what you can explain away with caveat and asterisk…when something directly contradicts scriptures and verses that you don’t like.

  100. Alex says:

    ^^ This is the pattern, practice, example throughout history of every Group, every Philosophical Belief System….sometimes even Humanism which claims Science.

    It is human nature.

    In practical terms…that is why I believe that Conscience and Reason applied to a particular ancient text and religion/philosophy is what trumps. That’s the reality of how humans process “God” and religion.

    We all pick and choose based on what we think is “right” in our eyes…none believe it all…everyone is forced to pick some and eschew some…and most depends on Consensus within the particular Sect/Group you gravitate toward in your Journey….often disagreeing with other Sects and other Philosophical Groups who are all viewing the same static information.

  101. Babylon's Dread says:

    @99 NO you phrase it wrong

    “Yet, don’t obey the Govt and King if you disagree with them and their precepts.”

    That is far too light. It is not if “I” disagree… the apostles would posture it simply that they have to Obey GOD Rather than MAN. That is how they saw it … that is how we must see it this is not about private opinions. It is about divine revelation and that is always where you jump off the boat.

  102. Michael says:

    This isn’t that complicated.

    The church has traditionally held two truths in tension.
    The clear command to obey the civil authorities and the equally clear truth that we must obey God before men.

    “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
    (Acts 5:29 ESV)

    Thus, when Christians have had to disobey the civil authorities to obey God, they did so…with the expectation that the state would wield the sword against them.

  103. Babylon's Dread says:

    Alex,

    You are mistaken… gay marriage is not in the Bible because .. it is not marriage that is the simplicity of the matter. Even a plumber knows the parts won’t marry. It is something else.

    The gay lobby is working with the so-called 6 passages that condemn homosexual acts… they are arguing simply that the Bible is only rejecting homosexual acts as they pertain to non monogamous or abusive acts. That comes with the ASSUMPTION that the Bible would not condemn homosexual partnerships.

    The problem with that is many-layered
    1. Nowhere does scripture endorse gay relationships
    2. Nowhere does the Bible categorize persons as being gay or lesbian… it is an act not a person.

    Every attempt to tease support from the Bible for same sex relationships is an end run.

    As for Gay Marriage being EVIL as you put it… that is not my argument though I think it is. My argument is simply that it is NOT marriage and cannot be marriage.

    Now Alex you are flatly a deconstructionist who constantly refuses to actually assert what you believe … you always assert the errors of belief. So I do not know what you believe except that you believe virtually nothing that Christianity asserts nor do you sense any personal submission to the text as a revelation of God.

    So it is very difficult to parry with you … as you know

  104. Babylon's Dread says:

    @103 Michael said it better

  105. Michael says:

    I say within 10 years the wisdom of God will be made manifest in the carnage of sexual devience.
    I do not know what that will look like…my only concern at this point is to keep those entrusted to me from the wrath to come.

  106. em says:

    “I know the Troof Bombs sting and disrupt your “bible is perfect!” boxes. Wish I didn’t see the contradictions so clearly all the time…but they’re there…and troof is more important to me than being popular.” Alex

    sometimes you look like a tap dancer performing at the Bolshoi … sigh

  107. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel,
    “The lack of compassion is mind boggling”
    Where do you see the lack of compassion. I already said the transgender stuff is not a christian issue – Bruce Jenner is just acting out the way I would expect a non believer to act.

    I also said that I do not witness / evangelize – whatever you want to call it by sin category. That is why I said that I don’t care if a transgendered person becomes a christian. I am only concerned with non believers becoming christians.

    So, what do you do with the instructions Jesus gave us, when rejected in towns and by people for his sake, that you tell them to screw off (the symbolism of shaking the dust off your shoes) and getting out of Dodge?

    I think it is compassionate to tell Bruce Jenner he is sick and needs help and the LBGT community wants to shut me down.

  108. em says:

    #106-carnage of sexual deviance (courtesy of my spell check) … that pretty much describes it – that and
    “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (R. 3:17)

  109. JoelG says:

    MLD,

    “transgender stuff is not a christian issue” – I beg to differ: See Sister Paula at #46. How we treat transgendered people and homosexuals, believers or not, is a Christian issue.

    “So, what do you do with the instructions Jesus gave us” – He also said love our neighbor as ourselves. I will never give up on anyone who rejects Christ now. I’m thankful to God He didn’t turn His back on me when I rejected Him at times in my life.

    “I think it is compassionate to tell Bruce Jenner he is sick and needs help” Agreed. He’s sick like we’re all sick and needs to Spirit of Christ to fill the emptiness inside. But it’s much more effective to go be his friend rather than go John the Baptist on him.

  110. Babylon's Dread says:

    “go John the Baptist on him”

    Strange conclusion.. .John did OK

  111. Michael says:

    This is an article I’ve been meaning to write for some time…but someone else has written it better than I would have.

    http://thejaggedword.com/2015/05/04/the-new-n-word/

  112. JoelG says:

    BD, you can stand on the corner in Portland, OR and tell people to repent, that the Kingdom is here all day long and it’s not going to do a thing.

    Here’s an interesting story from several years ago.

  113. Babylon's Dread says:

    JoelG

    I was searching for your nuance…

    But I have no trouble standing on the corner announcing the kingdom your warning notwithstanding…

    Preaching the kingdom always DOES something… but now I get your point.
    I would not “go John the Baptist” on Caitlyn because there is no kingdom claim on the part of BruceCait that I know of. If he claimed to be in the Kingdom I would definitely go JB on the guy.

  114. Babylon's Dread says:

    Good story on the gay mayor and the evangelical…

    I think you could find as much file footage for protesting gays as you can for evangelicals. Of course that is an aside.

    Further, we the church do that stuff every day in every city…partnering with the mayor as a gesture of reconciliation is the only thing new about the story.

    Most of the other stuff goes unreported.

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel,
    You miss it. What about when they don’t want to hear your message and they don’t want to be your friend? That is where I asked earlier – do we just go toe to toe with them “you must listen to me because I love you so much!!!” Give me a break.

    So, you have a friend who is stepping out on his wife with a gal 20 yrs his junior. He is not a christian, he is not sorry for his actions – he just figures if gays can put it whereever the want, why can’t he.

    Are you going to double date with him to show him love and whatever else you want to show?

  116. Laura Scott says:

    Michael,

    Thank you for that link. I was attempting to make a similar point with my kid not long ago and Mr. Hess said it far better than I could have.

    It’s a good reminder of the value and power actual conversation can have.

  117. JoelG says:

    BD, preach the Kingdom and God bless you as you do. I am thankful God has gifted you to preach. I think God has gifted ALL of us to simply be a friend to the world, to be a neighbor.

    Looking forward to reading Palau’s new book on this subject:

    http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Setting-Aside-Differences-Gospel/dp/1476789444

    MLD, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate asking THEM how they’re doing, bringing them a dinner, a hug, a smile, loving them however possible to the point where they ask “why are you doing this”? This is not how the world treats anybody. Believe me it will make a difference.

    And their is a difference in being a friend and approving of sin. I wouldn’t want Sister Paula to tell me my anxiety / depression and my actions that result from it are what God intended.

  118. em says:

    since we’re nuancing here today per the call from Hess & Michael (a good thing)

    ” I think God has gifted ALL of us to simply be a friend to the world, to be a neighbor.”

    just to tweek that declaration a bit:
    we are told NOT to be friends with the world, rather – perhaps, a friend to sinners? ‘course “to” isn’t quite “with,” i guess…. thinking… James 4:4

  119. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    odd to me – so your buddy is stepping out on his wife and kds and you bring him a covered dish? 😉

    Look, you can’t out grace me. I don’t expect anyone to change just because they become a christian. I have not changed. Any sins I have given up are because I am too old or too tired.

    I posted this a couple of weeks ago – I agree with this view of the church.

    http://www.200proofgospel.com/2015/05/what-is-church-if-not-outhouse.html

    My church can be an outhouse, but not my society.

  120. JoelG says:

    Em, good reminder. I should be more careful. Friend to the world is a better way to put it. In the world but not of the world. Sent out of our sterile Christian bubbles into the messiness.

    MLD, I will check out the article. Thank you.

  121. Josh The Baptist says:

    Our church used to have a covered dish adultery once a quarter.

  122. em says:

    “My church can be an outhouse, but not my society” … say what?

  123. em says:

    thinking on what gets dirty on this journey… we’re told to wash with the Word and then there’s that foot washing thing … must be where our minds go and where our feet walk?

  124. The Dude says:

    Yesterday one of the Players from the Cleveland Cavaliers went on line and called Bruce Jenner a science project. The Team owners are making a fast track in the opposite direction.

  125. Erik says:

    I don’t know if this is on topic. But scripture says the sin of Sodom / Gomorrah was pride and they where wealthy (fullness of bred). We all know the story. I lean that the sin of Sodom was “Gay Pride”. This might be offend some consider San Francisco. Its one of the most wealthiest places on earth. Yet with all there billions in that city you see very little outreach of the gay community to the poor and needy. Its the local catholic churches to do the heavy lifting along with some smaller evangelical churches. Just a perspective.

  126. Jtk says:

    “If being born again makes you a political conservative I’m gonna split hell wide open… :-)”

    It made me conservative on SOME issues. A radical shift.

    And I’ve seen the Gospel transform rebellious conservatives and libertarians into much more generous, even “liberal” people.

    I’m not baptizing the GOP in my testimony above.

    When we hand over our lives, the good Lord often sees fit to install and uninstall quite a few (at the time often) unwelcome changes.

  127. Babylon's Dread says:

    If you read the survey of the Jesus People in the book God’s Forever Family it is very clear that being born again shifted the politics of the Jesus generation in a decidedly conservative direction.

    And JOSH

    What is covered dish adultery?

  128. Josh The Baptist says:

    Dread, you haven’t been away from the SBC THAT long have you ?

  129. Alex says:

    Michael said, “The church has traditionally held two truths in tension.
    The clear command to obey the civil authorities and the equally clear truth that we must obey God before men.”

    Yes, two “truth” held in tension:

    Gay Marriage

    “Bible says homosexuality is sin! (but so is gluttony, lying, pride, greed, etc…all “abominations” yet you have no problem issuing those folks a Govt. Contract called “marriage”)

    “Love your neighbor, Love covers a multitude of sins, Law of Love” etc.

  130. Alex says:

    This gets frustrating…either blindness or stupidity…either way…

  131. Alex says:

    With MLD it’s probably a bit of both LOL

  132. Alex,
    You are pretty silly. You are making a darn good case that the church should not be for or against anything as a wise person could clearly see the other side of the coin or the other side of a command or could never quite be sure that what they thought was wrong really was wrong.

    Alex, is your motto “I feel strongly both ways.” ?

  133. Alex says:

    Sorry for taking the jab at you MLD, you’ve been not poking the bear lately. I’ve been asked to tone it down and give others some space so I will. Good night.

  134. Jim says:

    I’m loving my neighbors here at PP by ignoring the political comments in this thread. 🙂

  135. Bob says:

    Michael

    Alex had serious personality issues which are constantly on display here on your blog. And yet you shut it down when they are addressed?

    The man clearly abuses others on a blog which stands for the abused?

    It’s your blog, do what you must.

  136. Jim Vander Spek says:

    MLD’s post at 120 saddened me.

    “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

    When the soil is full of entrenched thorns, God’s Word does not produce a crop. Could Jesus have said it any more clearly?

  137. em says:

    i have no problem with Alex venting – sometimes he’s right – i say let him speak his heart and his hurt, but when he disrespects the Bible – not questions it, but thinks he can tear it apart with his superior intellect? … in my view that’s tap dancing at the Bolshoi – i hope and pray the day comes when his mind can celebrate God – when he sees the genius of the Book, of his creator…
    Alex’s formative years, as described here from time to time have left wounds and scar tissue. i can’t imagine a worse combination than that stubborn boy and that … step-father.

    well… ? … God have mercy … on us all

  138. Jim Vander Spek,
    Sorry to have saddened you. So are you suggesting we blame God for the ‘bad soil’?

    The crop that is produced is that of faith – not “I cleaned up my life”. Unless you wish to speak to us of your now clean life.

    Just think, when someone comes to visit my church they have to sit with me. Imagine how they must want to hold their breath. 😉

  139. Bob says:

    em and Michael,

    I have no problem with Alex venting his views on the bible, Christians and doctrines either. The truth is I often agree with some of what he states, but I find it reprehensible when he begins his superiority rants and chants. His reoccurring behaviors are indications of a person with serious issues and the post Michael removed was a valid and accepted checklist dealing with those types of issues.

    I will come to the defense of the abused in any place in life and I believe that is one of the calls of our Messiah Jesus. Again this isn’t about doctrines, opinions or bible authority at all nor a personal attack on a man I know very little about.

    Again this is the “michaelnewnham.com” blog and not mine so he is free to manage it as he believe is most appropriate.

    Blessings to you.

  140. Andrew says:

    Do we really need a new theology or actually start using the one already given to us in 1 Corinthians 5:10-11?

  141. Babylon's Dread says:

    Alex,

    As per @82 on I Am Not Batman

    Nice of you to offer your observations. It is not a credo as I am sure you know because there is nothing there but a rationale … and faith is not a leap.

    Those of us with faith are not leaping.

    Faith is always rooted in REVELATION … God reveals himself and we receive that revelation. Let me say it another way. Our Father speaks and we HEAR his voice. That is the revelation/faith exchange.

    I did not see any evidence in your statement that you ascribe to any form of revelation

    So you are left to nothing but your very smart but very limited thoughts.

  142. Steve Wright says:

    My calling out Alex on his boorish behavior has led him to repost against me and our church with some untruthful things in the comments.

    My reply there is pasted here as well, in full. And that is all.
    ——————————————————————————–
    For the record…I have no intention of suing Alex. I have not threatened to sue Alex. I am concerned that Alex is acting out the same behavior for which he is presently being sued, and would not be shocked if I am subpoenaed to share what is now almost six years of online relationship with Alex.

    Anyone who is at all interested in what those approximate six years have shown can email me and I can gladly explain…and will explain why he has brought this post back from the dead in his present emotional state. Maybe one of you can advise him it is wise not to so blatantly use the internet to bully and seek harm out of anger when one is being sued for that very same thing.

    Likewise, any questions about our fellowship will be answered, or I can refer you to someone on the Board if necessary.

    pastorsteve (at) calvaryle (dot) org

    (This will be my one and only post here)

  143. Jim Vander Spek says:

    MLD: I will joyfully continue explaining how Jesus has freed me from the power of entrenched sin. He came to set captives free. His desire is that we be a light house not an outhouse. http://www.overcoming-lust.com/

  144. Michael says:

    Bob,

    I believe that Alex is a product of what has happened to him and continues to happen to him.

    This does not absolve him of responsibility here, but it explains it.

    Because of my schedule, the blog needs to be pretty much self correcting.

    When I saw that Alex had gone over the line last night I called him personally to discuss the matter and we resolved things at that point.

    I did not take down the inflammatory post before you posted yours or in the allotted time that Steve Wright finds appropriate.

    I believe it is only in the most difficult situations that we learn how to walk out the graces of our faith…and this has been a very difficult situation.

    At the end of the day, you’re right…my name is on this blog and I take the responsibility for it and manage it to the best of my ability.

    There are 650,000,000 other websites to peruse for those who think me incompetent.

  145. Andrew says:

    ” I am concerned that Alex is acting out the same behavior for which he is presently being sued…”

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Steve, if I recall, Alex was being sued specifically for posting online about his physical and emotional abuse growing up as a minor under his step father who happens to be a pastor in your affiliation. With pointing out that Alex is telling untruthful things in his comments juxtaposed to stating this is why he is being sued, it seems as if you also calling Alex a liar about his previous abuse? However, If I recall Chuck Smith even believed Alex about this. Not sure how what you post helps the situation.

  146. JoelG says:

    Jim, praise Jesus for breaking that bondage. I struggled with the same sin and He has freed me as well. Hugs brother.

    Michael thank you for letting us discuss on your blog. You are a blessing brother.

  147. Michael says:

    Thank you, JoelG.

  148. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jim Vander Spek – how is that lighthouse thing working for you?

    I can always tell when an evangelical / Saddleback Sam comes and visits our church. I will introduce myself to them saying “Hello, I am MLD and I am glad you came to visit. I have been a Christian almost 35 years and have been a Lutheran almost 10, here at this very church. By the way, I am also the congregational president and I do apologize if the smell of my sin is still upon me.”

    Their eyes get huge with surprise, but when they come back and thank me for my comments saying at their church they are expected to not let on that they have sin in their life.

    It makes me sad that some live in a church environment like that.

  149. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I sin because I am a sinner. Some who have been freed me from the power of entrenched sin must just continue to sin because they want to.

    Why would a person who is freed of sin over them choose to keep sinning. I would think that person would be sin free and incapable of sinning.

    On the other hand, I have been freed of the consequence of my sin, the punishment – the wrath of God. So I keep going to confession.

  150. Xenia says:

    I’ll just say this:

    1. If I was a guest at someone’s house and the host’s friend loudly and continually blasphemed the Lord and insulted the rest of the guests, I would leave.

    2. This whole blog ethos is based around the believably of Alex’s stories of his childhood and the interpretation thereof.

    3. What’s more, many of us here on this very blog have endured much misery at the hands of our own parents, myself included. This has not marred us for life; we must be stronger, more resilient people than Alex.

  151. Alex says:

    My response to Steve Wright here (and on my blog) so the record is clear and you aren’t confused by Pastor Wright’s spin and trying to muddy the waters (full comments, please delete the other post):

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 10:51 am (Edit)
    Steve Wright, your comments on Michael’s blog seemed to indicate lawsuit, that is an interpretation held by others besides myself that read your comments.

    Glad to see you walk them back now and cover your ass.

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 10:53 am (Edit)
    “Bullying” is a bunch of b.s. when it comes to confronting abuses and corruption and criticizing the church online. It is a made-up crime. Even Bob Grenier’s attorney knows that one.

    By your logic, then you are BULLYING the gays every time you teach against homosexuality and make your comments that are anti-gay on Michael’s blog and elsewhere.

    You are using the internet to “bully” gays by your own logic…careful which sword you cut with…b/c it can cut you too.

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 10:56 am (Edit)
    Steve Wright, I’ll have to let the lawyers know who are looking into Civil Rights lawsuits regarding the Church’s treatment of homosexuals know your statements about how online speech that is strongly opposed and not nice to something is “Cyber-bullying!” and some sort of crime (you seem to indicate, that is my interpretation of your many comments today and previous).

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 11:00 am (Edit)
    Steve Wright, can you clarify your comments so we have the proper interpretation of what you are saying?

    Do you consider speaking out online consistently against something…not being nice about it…calling things “evil” or “sinful” or a corrupted or depraved behavior etc is “Cyber-bullying” and should be prosecuted or be grounds for a civil lawsuit?

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 11:02 am (Edit)
    Kudos to you Steve Wright for exampling so well the stupidity and duplicity and pettiness in your Calvary Chapel pastorate.

    Circle those wagons…keep up the Anti-Gay stuff while ignoring the abuse and corruption in your own Calvary Chapel Church System.

    1 Corinthians 5:12

    1 Timothy 3

    Titus 1

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 11:11 am (Edit)
    Your buddy Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob isn’t going to waste his money on you…he’ll have his hands full with a long witness list of folks speaking to his abuses and corruption…my being unpleasant and persistent online is a non-issue and will likely not even be admitted in the court.

    The issues are: Did I defame Bob Grenier with regards to Paul Grenier’s allegations of Child Molestation (bob’s gay blood son), my and my brother’s physical Child Abuse, and the allegations by Calvary Chapel staff, bookkeepers, and bob’s son that he was corrupt with the finances. Those are the issues and that’s what is on trial.

    I can save you the hassle of your “cyber-bullying” bullcrap: It’s a fake thing…only applies to kids bullying other children online and picking on them for reasons like they are fat or wear glasses or whatever…DOES NOT APPLY to speaking out against the Church and Societal Issues like Child Abuse, Church Corruption, Molestation etc. You’re a total idiot to believe that fluff in BG’s lawsuit. It is laughable and telling of your lack of knowledge and experience in these areas. I would eat you alive in court if you came at me with a lawsuit.

    Alex says:
    June 5, 2015 at 11:14 am (Edit)
    Your buddy Pastor Bob will get his at Trial. He’ll hold out hope for a deal, but it won’t come. The day he fears most will happen in about a year. He will face his accusers and a long list of former employees, pastors, bookkeepers, all of his sons etc and he will have to give an answer.

    Calvary Chapel will continue to be held accountable and in the coming years your “We’re 100% independent! But we are a Denomination and special!” will be hit hard…believe me when I tell you that…there are some major things in the works and folks taking a peak at your Calvary Chapels that would surprise you.

    This is a life-long battle and slowly but surely your Calvary Chapel corrupt System will be dealt with.

  152. Michael says:

    Alex…the links are getting stuck.

    Now, lets drop this and move on.

  153. Xenia says:

    So, I’ve taken up driving a car again after six years of not driving, I have a new car and a new bicycle and some hiking shoes and some other good things have fallen into my life.

    I am going to spend more time outside getting exercise and fresh air and less time having my faith mocked and watching my friends be threatened and insulted.

    Alex has committed the unpardonable blog sin: he has become boring.

    A tout a l’heure!

  154. Alex says:

    Thanks Michael, I have to get a lot done today and will stay off the blog. Please delete the first post, the other is complete and a full response to Steve Wright’s version.

  155. Babylon's Dread says:

    Xenia,

    Happy trails

    You never bore

  156. JoelG says:

    MLD, this is one of my favorite articles describing how we live out our lives as Jesus followers. It’s longish, but written by a fellow Lutheran. It even starts with a quote from Luther, so it can’t be wrong. 😉

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/48716

  157. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JoelG,
    Thanks for the article. I will get to it over the weekend. You might want to read the comments of Steve Martin (the first one to comment) – I tend to be in his camp.

    Steve is local to me and we have gone out to lunch a couple of times. He was here on the PP at one time, lasted about a week and Michael banned him. I don’t remember why.

  158. JoelG says:

    I miss Steves comments on Imonk. They always made you think.

  159. Jim Vander Spek says:

    MLD: The debilitating consequences of continuing in sin are many, not just the wrath of God.

    Who is claiming to be sinless? That would be a sinful by itself. However, “if we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie (pseudometha—“fakin it”) and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

    Confession, repentance and forgiveness are all central to walking in the light.

  160. em says:

    i think – dunno – that Alex posts here for the benefit of his following…
    he isn’t interacting with any intent of edifying or even enjoying the great folk who talk shop here about Christ…
    God has brought reasonable folk like Xenia to Michael’s sight – and several others who sporadicly make a whole lot of sense 🙂

    have a wonderful, healthy summer Xenia

  161. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jim Vander Spek

    “Who is claiming to be sinless?”
    I know you are not claiming to be sinless – but I ask why are you still sinning if Jesus has freed you from the shackles of sin, you are not a slave to sin any longer and he has made you a new creation – why do you continue to CHOOSE to sin?

    I sin because I am still a sinner and can’t help myself. Some days I fake it better than others. Some days I fool even myself.

    Who are you fooling. 😉

  162. Jim Vander Spek says:

    MLD: I do not disagree with you. We sin because we are sinners.

    “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” I identify now with those to whom Paul was writing. At one time my sin enslaved me. My confession was genuine but there was no true repentance or obedience. I now happily identify myself as a slave to righteousness.

    Do you not believe that God intends to set us “free from sin” so that we are no longer “slaves of sin”? What do you think Paul meant when he wrote this?

    http://www.overcoming-lust.com/articles/overcoming-indwelling-sin-romans-6-8/

  163. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jim Vander Spek

    If you (like me) cannot stop sinning, doesn’t that make you still a slave to sin?

    You ask “Do you not believe that God intends to set us “free from sin” so that we are no longer “slaves of sin”? ” Yes I do, when I shed this flesh.

    Paul is clear in Rom 7 describing the daily Christian life – but thanks be to God who no longer brings condemnation for such sin. We are not released from sin – only the penalty of sin.

  164. Jim Vander Spek says:

    MLD: You wrote: “You ask “Do you not believe that God intends to set us “free from sin” so that we are no longer “slaves of sin”? ” Yes I do, when I shed this flesh.”

    This may be what you believe but is not supported by this passage. Paul wrote of his readers as being formerly slaves to sin and set free from sin.

    Though we all sin, in Christ we need no longer be slaves to sin. Though Christians all sin, they are not all slaves to sin. Certainly not the ones that Paul was addressing.

    My rather long article (link above) shows how I understand this. It is beyond the scope of a comment.

  165. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jim,
    In Christ is a big deal and the key- but is it the now, now?

    In Christ right now I am seated in the heavenlies. That makes me pretty special. So in Christ I must be in a state of sinless perfection. So now I can sound like Paul in your passage.

    But down here on earth in this flesh I am the Paul of Romams 7.

  166. Jim Vander Spek says:

    Applying the truths of Ephesians 2:6 to Romans 6:15-18 seems counter to the plain reading of the text.

    I no longer see myself in Romans 7:13-24. However, I recognize that expecting every Christian to view this as the normal, optimum state is a popular view. Unfortunately, this interpretation has provided many with a rationale for continuing in sin.

  167. em says:

    reading about my condition as described by Jim V and MLD… thinking…
    do i have the same conscience post redemption that i had before i accepted God’s offer of salvation?
    MLD makes it sound as if i’m not expected to show any improvement in my choices/conduct until i am dead…

  168. em says:

    #161… can’t let it rest… maybe God did bring Xenia to Michael’s sight, but what i meant was “site” lol

  169. “Unfortunately, this interpretation has provided many with a rationale for continuing in sin.”

    I keep asking and no one will answer – what is your rationale to continue sinning? You are making a case that we do not have to sin any more. You can’t get around it, if you are not a slave to sin, then you must do it to poke God in the eye.

    Or perhaps that IS Paul’s point – you don’t have to sin, but you do it for the fun of it and to mock God.

    Jim, and I mean this in a good way – “stop sinning, you are not a slave to it any longer” and when you tell me you can’t stop sinning, then we are back to your word above “what is your rational.

  170. Now you may be right and I am wrong. Perhaps I don’t have enough of the Holy Spirit in my life to pull it off or I am just too stubborn and stuck in my ways.

  171. em, “MLD makes it sound as if i’m not expected to show any improvement in my choices/conduct until i am dead…”

    Non Christians can make the same life improvements for purely human reasons. A drunk can stop drinking, cold turkey without God because he realizes he may lose his wife ad family. A cad can give up the ladies one day because he decides he want to settle down and get married to the girl of his dreams.

    Because I can stop a particular sin, and I can so people will think I am so holy and righteous, I can still sin all day long in my head – or by ignoring others. When I quit smoking, it did not change who I was in God’s eyes one bit, I am still that dastardly sinner I have always been. But church and society like me better. 🙂

    As I said earlier most sin that I have given up was not for a holy reason – I just got too old, too tired or too bored.

  172. No one else feels like me? It’s like in my Sunday morning Bible class when, to make a point I reference something about WWE wrestling and they all look at me funny as if they all don’t watch the wrestling also. They just don’t want to admit it. 🙂

  173. em says:

    hmm… same person i was before i accepted Christ?
    well, i know that my flesh is corrupt, that is why i’ll physically die eventually… but, and i guess this is where the 3 part being comes in (which i subscribe to), i am not the same person i was BC… Before Christ i was “dead and dying” and it wasn’t until i was born again that i knew it… the blood of Jesus is our cover, but let’s try to improve how we behave under it – otherwise, we’re disrespecting the God who paid such an unspeakable and unfathomable price – besides, as MLD pointed out, unredeemed sinners can improve their behavior, so why not the redeemed ones – or so it seems to me

    FWIW, if it’s something i’m afraid to admit, i’ll try not to do it (i ate 6 chocolate chip cookies today and i don’t even like choc chip ones, so i don’t know if that’s sin or sacrifice)… and these days when i get mad (at barfing cats and inanimate objects mostly) and i ask God to damn them… i repent pretty quick… God sees, He knows… “morning by morning, new mercies i see”

  174. em, 2 points
    “hmm… same person i was before i accepted Christ?”
    1.) I don’t think we accept Christ – Christ accepts us.
    2.) not the same person at all. We are now saved (fill in your own definition) – we are now seated in the heavenlies (in heaven with Jesus) and whole bunch of other things.

    Our behaviors – eh, not so much changed. Remember we are judged on thoughts, words and deeds – in all things that we have done and what we have left undone.

  175. Jim Vander Spek says:

    MLD: I was away.

    Paul starts Romans 6 with the question, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” He takes three chapters to answer this question in many ways but the answer is always an emphatic “no.” I believe that when he speaks of continuing in sin he is referring directly to habitual, presumptuous sin. Such a dangerous way of sinning will make you a slave to sin even if you are a Christian.

    The epidemic increase in “sex addicts” is a good example of this as is R7 Man in Romans 7. This is a very different type of sin than that committed by the old man we carry around and continually put off to make room for the new man. We are never done with that project but rather grow increasingly aware of the need for grace and forgiveness, even as we grow in godliness.

    However, when we give up on sin and the thorns choke, we are no longer good soil and should not expect to bear fruit, a hundredfold. That was the point I tried to make in my first comment in this thread earlier today and it is the primary point Jesus made in the most prominent of his parables.

    Peter helpfully lays out in detail what is required of us, ending in words that echo those in his Master’s parable. “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

    Where else should we look for the answer to the problem of why the western church has become increasingly useless and unfruitful (the question raised in this post)?

  176. Bob says:

    Jim V

    We keep trying to figure out what Paul is writing while at the same time forgetting he is a Pharisee and Jew. This say to me he does attached how one lives with their love for God. It’s not about working or stopping sinning to be saved it’s about a love for God.

    Those who walk in God’s Love attempt to follow His instructions.

    In Hebrew there are three types of sin, intentional, accidental and the worst of all twisting the instructions to make it seem like it was not a sin. In the text there are two sacrifices to cover sin, the ones for accidental sin and the Day of Atonement for all sin, intentional included. Jesus’ sacrifice covers them all, but continuing to sin because one knows He covered it smells real bad and says something about that sinner.

    Maybe the Western church really doesn’t love God and Messiah at all, maybe they just love not going to Hell? Could the real question not be about sin but about one’s Love for God?

  177. Bob says:

    Jim V

    I want all to know my lifetime battle against sinning has been fruitless. Every time I peal back and remove a layer of sin I find another and with it greater frustration. But the more I remember to demonstrate love for God the easier it seems to be to walk with Him and not hide behind a bush. A whole lot more satisfying and much easier than trying to clothe myself in leaves.

  178. This is not really a response to Jim V or Bob in particular – but I use it as a jumping off point to show a difference in a basic evangelical approach to God and say a Lutheran one in particular and Reformation theology in general.

    Bob said, and I think almost all evangelicals would agree; “Those who walk in God’s Love attempt to follow His instructions.”

    And I ask,”what is this “will attempt?” God never laid out “try harder” as an option. His commands are clear “be perfect as my father is perfect.” or “if you love me follow my commands.” I have never seen the verse “thus saith the Lord – try harder!…please”

  179. Now I do agree with Bob’s #178 – the first 2 sentences 100%- “I want all to know my lifetime battle against sinning has been fruitless. Every time I peal back and remove a layer of sin I find another and with it greater frustration.

    So when God comes to me in “my garden” and says “MLD, we art thou” I do not need to hide or cover myself – I can reply, “Here I am – in Christ.”

  180. Bob says:

    MLD

    I’m probably just flogging myself by engaging with you at all, but here goes.

    ““try harder” as an option.”

    You missed it completely.

    You keep associating sin with salvation.

    Though out the entire text and tradition, both Hebrew and Christian, sins are the failure of humans to build their own way and salvation is always, and I repeat, always given by God to his creation. The problem is we have a “failure to communicate here on what salvation and sin are.

    Many confuse salvation with blessing. Yes salvation is a blessing, but it is solely a consequence of God’s loving kindness or grace and never by the works of man. Human works can bring both blessings and curses as their consequences, but they never bring salvation.

    Yes we do have different doctrines on this subject and as predicted you will quote the scripture which defend a single point and ignore those which seemingly contradict that point. The truth is this, scriptures are a package.

    “Blessed are the “peace makers” (in Hebrew those who bring Shalom), they are sons of God.”

    Will you love Him and walk in His ways or is it something else to you?

    Be blessed today!

  181. Bob says:

    MLD

    As soon as you get the idea that you don’t have (or own) a garden you might begin to get the idea of what it means to follow in His ways (instructions).

    Man I hate farming, that dirt under my fingernails hurts.

  182. Bob,
    I don’t know what you thought you read that would indicate that I tie sin to salvation at all – that is 180 degrees opposite what I think. Sin was taken care of at the cross. Salvation is not about me at all.
    When you understand that – then we can have a conversation.

    Here is my position on this topic. And you can find these all strung throughout the OT & NT
    1. God doesn’t want you to just try harder, He wants you to be perfect.
    2. Because you can’t be perfect it is impossible to meet God’s standard.
    3. God’s love for you in Christ has NOTHING to do with you.
    4. No matter what you do, if you’re in Christ, God will NEVER be angry at you for your sin.
    5. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that an overemphasis on grace leads to sin.
    6. Christian growth is not measured by good works, but by dependency on Christ’s good works.

    ** Please show me how you, Bob “walk in His ways” when his ways are perfect.***

  183. Michael says:

    I can neither love or obey perfectly.
    My only hope is the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    We are in desperate need of revisiting the Reformation.

  184. Bob says:

    MLD

    OK the first way creation, us, can walk in His ways is this:

    “if you confess with your mouth Jesus Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;”

    I think you know the reference.

    Jesus is Lord, a living breathing Lord. Now walk in your Lord’s ways!

    What did He teach?

    Oh,one thing many miss is this; He’s not Lord because I confess it or believe it. It is a fact even if I totally reject it, which is also a sin.

    I don’t have time for much more of this exchange because it always leads to the same thing.

    Go ahead and comment further and have a blessed day in Him.

  185. Bob says:

    Michael:

    “My only hope is the imputed righteousness of Christ.”

    Of course, but don’t confuse this with what I wrote.

    And it’s not a “hope” it’s a fact.

    But you may not be expressing what the “hope” mentioned in the NT letters is describing.

    Acts describes it best:

    “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve cthe God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.

    I am speaking of living between today and that blessed day when the trump sounds. How will we walk while today is still today?

  186. Bob,
    All I can say is that you did not address anything I said in my list of 6 items above, after misapplying my thoughts on sin and salvation. What you did was explain to me how you are pulling it off.

    Again, the difference between the theology of the Reformation and the theology of American Evangelicalism. We do differ.

    I am going over to Open Blogging to share a video on this topic.

  187. Michael says:

    Bob,

    My spiritual father is Abraham, not Moses.

  188. Bob says:

    Michael:

    You must be one of those “rocks” Jesus spoke of.

    Amazing how the subject was “hope” which is addressed quite well in the selected text (and by Paul in other texts) and you turn it into Moses verses Abraham. Are you sure you haven’t taken lessons from MLD?

    😉

    Abraham is considered by the Hebrew people as the Father of the faith. Moses is considered the one who gave written Torah to His people.

    You might add to your list that to be called, a “son of Abraham” by the Jewish people (and in the NT text also), even in Jesus’ day, means the person is full of hospitality and loving kindness. Which is one form of “walking in His ways” to others.

    Got to go.

  189. Bob says:

    MLD

    I have learned your points and engagements always lead to pain and suffering. Hey that does make you a sinner as you say.

    So I never address you points, ever, directly (even your baseball stories).

    Be blessed!

  190. Bob,
    You caught me. My message of radical grace, one that does not allow you to steer the car, does cause pain and suffering to the American evangelical. 😉

    Once again I am guilty as charged.

  191. Michael says:

    Bob,

    You might want to read the book of Galatians again.

    The children of Abraham are the children of promise, those of Moses, the law.

    You can only have one daddy…I choose Abe.

  192. em says:

    gotta say this, but don’t want to distract Open Blog day from its opening shot

    i’ve come away from considering the Josh Duggar scandal with admiration for that family (the mom and dad aren’t my cup of tea, but that falls in the same category as cats – they both have a right to be what they are)… were they wrong to keep an experimenting, very young teenager’s problem in the family? i say no, they weren’t wrong to do so – no i say NO with capital letters – would you make public your child’s transgression? probably not unless he broke the neighbor’s window and needed to pay for it…. and for the record the recidivism rate on these young boys who get proper help is less than 10% – the guy should not be labeled for the rest of his life as a “sex offender.” to call the family hypocrites is an outrage!!! well, they might be for other reasons, but i don’t know that

    just sayin

  193. Bob says:

    Michael

    Did I not point that out?

    The point of Galatians is not just for Gentiles it’s for all, Abraham is the father of Faith and Mose the writer of Torah, translated Law there.

    So I would hope all would say Abraham is their father and then go and live like one of his sons. Never in the OT or NT does salvation come by being a son of Moses, nor is it a Jewish teaching either then or today.

    Why you are arguing and acting like MLD is beyond me considering I have not disagreed with anything you wrote.

  194. Bob says:

    Michael

    I’ll ante one better, go back and read Romans 9 – 12. The rich root.

  195. Michael says:

    Bob,

    MLD and I both have our spiritual roots deep in the Reformation.
    Deep.
    While we have our theological differences, when we speak of justification, we speak with one voice.
    Loudly. 🙂
    The video he posted on Open Blogging could just as well have been a conversation between he and I…

  196. Babylon's Dread says:

    em @193

    B R A V O!!!

  197. Bob says:

    Michael

    At what point do I disagree with justification via grace alone?

    MLD just turns everything into that single subject. The problem is this, “There’s a whole lot of living between the cross and heaven.”

    Let me give a testimony about today, I mostly physically feel like crap. But that, as all things, given to me by God. So am I going to turn it into a curse or a blessing. If I walk with him as I feel crappy it is a blessing.

    BTW Piper would say, “Don’t waste a cancer…”

    This isn’t about making a new Torah or Law, as many do in Christianity, it’s about loving and walking in His ways.

  198. “MLD just turns everything into that single subject. The problem is this, “There’s a whole lot of living between the cross and heaven.”

    Wow, what a swing and a miss
    1.) I can tell you didn’t watch the video – it was not about justification – it was about confession and absolution and the need that evangelicals have for it.
    2.) My conversation yesterday with Jim V had nothing to do with justification and had everything to do with how to handle sin in our life – the Christian who has already been justified.
    3.) The living between the cross and heaven thing is very interesting. To me, the living is filled with sin and it is how we handle sin that matters. I look to Christ and his work on the cross while you have been clear that you first look inward at yourself to see how you can clean up your own act. When that fails, and it always does, then you may take a glance at Jesus to see if you can get help there.

    So tell me again where I turned a conversation into justification. You are getting very close to needing a good dose of absolution if you keep misrepresenting me. 🙂

  199. em says:

    BD @ 197 – thanks, i needed that – i’ve been butting heads with a Dugger hater – so many reactions to this story are biased IMV and irrational

  200. em says:

    ” To me, the living is filled with sin and it is how we handle sin that matters.” is filled the same as “riddled?”

    i would agree with the above and, perhaps do so with a caveat, if we focus on ours sins we just might go nuts ,on the other hand if we just say, “I confess I’m a sinner saved by grace and that’s the end of the matter” we can neglect our day in day out accountability…

    i truly believe the key is in renewing your mind – that’s where the Pipers and the “African Anglican archbishop” come from IMHO

  201. em says:

    #198 – beautiful… only i’d like to think that God is, or should be, both object and cause 🙂

  202. What is our day to day accountability? When I read the scripture Jesus already accounted for all my sin on the cross, promised to toss it as far as the east is from the west and to remember it no more.

    When I bring up my own sin it is because I don’t believe the promises of God, and this is why, I need to hear absolution in my ear so that I come back to faith in what Jesus promised to do and has done.

  203. Bob says:

    MLD

    You are so full of it and never fail to put words in the writings of others. You pick and choose what scriptures you want to throw out to attempt to trip others up.

    So here you go, “examine yourself lest you find…” Do something with that and keep you assumptions to yourself.

    Michael makes me want Reform, you make sinners want to run from you and embrace Jenner.

    Yep you reveal the sinner in all of us. Self flagellation when engaging with you.

    And yes even you and these writings between us have been given by God. Now will it be a blessing or curse?

  204. em says:

    when you bring up your own “sin,” you have acknowledged it as such, i.e., confessed it and you move on from there – hopefully
    i am beginning to gain an understanding here of the village Lutherans i have known

  205. Michael says:

    I don’t understand the consternation over MLD’s theology.

    All he is affirming is the finished work of Christ on the cross along with what we Reformed types call the doctrine of “union with Christ”.

    We are in Christ, so what is true of Christ is true of us.

    The work is finished and we can add nothing to it and we ‘get better” not by looking at we do, but what has been done for us.

  206. Bob says:

    em

    Finish the renewing your mind scripture.

    Then tie it in with the whole thesis of Paul from 9 – 12.

    If we are to be conformed which world is it to be? The how is via renewing. Of course some are mindless. 😉

    BTW Jenner is clearly conforming to another world.

  207. em says:

    we’re trying to find the balance between living IN sin with Jesus blood as our cover and spending all our days, while under that cover, in self examination – both miss a relationship with Christ in the here and now IMV

    we only develop the mind of Christ by concentrating on Him – we do need teachers and we need to be learners – and that goes beyond one data point: His victory 2,000+ years ago

  208. Bob says:

    Michael

    It’s not his theology nor the doctrine of justification, it’s his insistence on calling or imputing his idea that others are wrong about living it out is a result of that justification and the power of God’s sanctification.

    Those who love Him do. Are they not sinners? May it never be!

    If MLD is correct why does anyone need the text or any tradition?

  209. Bob says:

    Let me phrase it another way, there’s a whole lot of living between Baptism and that day all of us will face. How will we know how to walk in it?

    I guess via osmosis.

    Thanks it is a blessing. Done for now.

  210. Michael says:

    Em,

    That is the only data point.
    The cross.
    One of the worst, most frustrating errors i deal with is that if people believe the radical nature of grace and believe in the finished work of Christ that they will then become licentious.

    Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    First off, God is always active by His Spirit and if a believer falls into sin the discipline of God follows to to bring them out of what would shipwreck them
    One of the marks of election is the discipline of God.

    Second, any obedience is flawed…and any obedience should flow from gratitude for what has been done, not to curry favor with a God who could not be more pleased because you’re already in Christ.

  211. Bob says:

    em

    Oops forgot one thing. How does one concentrate on the mind of Christ if they don’t know him beyond a salvation message?

    Bye.

  212. Michael says:

    Bob,

    This will shock you, but I don’t always or even often love God…not with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself.

    This could damn me or lead me into spiritual despair.

    It used to…until I learned that the issue wasn’t whether I performed properly, the issue was that Jesus loved as I ought and His performance has been imputed to me.

    My despair lifted and by grace I loved him more and was able to give what I had received.

    That process repeats itself continually…because it’s all about Him, not me.

  213. Bob – “How will we know how to walk in it? ”

    Again, here is another big difference . You think that you then have to know something so you can do something.

    Me, not so much. John 15 speaks of this. Now that I am a branch connected to the vine (God’s doing not mine) – my branches now produce fruit. Branches (me) do not produce fruit, but the vine, through the branch (me) produces the fruit.

    In fact, if you read the passage you will see that the only thing the branch does is get cut back to help the vine have better passage.

  214. A couple of quotes from my link @15 on the Open Blogging – some people will faint 🙂

    “Your best day damns you and everyone else.”

    “All of our repentance is half assed”

    “Even our tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of Jesus.”

  215. em says:

    “One of the worst, most frustrating errors i deal with is that if people believe the radical nature of grace and believe in the finished work of Christ that they will then become licentious.”

    personally, i believe that MLD is trying to make your point by overstating for affect…

    what i am saying is that there is one other danger – the danger of not growing… staying mired in sin or in the status quo of being nice, having good manners and going to church on Sunday

    BTW it is the One Who hung on that cross that is the point, not just the crucifixion…the victory of the finished work of Christ on the cross is not the end, it is the beginning for the Church

    however… for those who are the Redeemed outside the Church, it holds the same efficacy as it does for the Church and, perhaps then one can say that the cross is the only thing relevant to salvation

    God keep

  216. Bob,
    I noticed this from your #205 and it truly makes me wonder if you read what I write. You said “Yep you reveal the sinner in all of us. Self flagellation when engaging with you.”

    I have not once said anything about your sin – or anyone else here. I think I have been specific to speak of my sin before God.

    I got a kick out of this “you make sinners want to run from you and embrace Jenner.”
    Well, that would be a good thing – sinners aren’t suppose to run to me – they should run from me and to Jesus.

  217. em,
    I wasn’t trying to help make a point by “overstating for affect” I posted my beliefs on this topic earlier this morning.

    1. God doesn’t want you to just try harder, He wants you to be perfect.
    2. Because you can’t be perfect it is impossible to meet God’s standard.
    3. God’s love for you in Christ has NOTHING to do with you.
    4. No matter what you do, if you’re in Christ, God will NEVER be angry at you for your sin.
    5. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that an overemphasis on grace leads to sin.
    6. Christian growth is not measured by good works, but by dependency on Christ’s good works.

    #5 & 6 would be the key we are speaking of – the Bible never says more grace leads to more sin and our Christian growth is not measured by our works.

    I know those are fighting words here, but hey 🙂

  218. em says:

    #216, it’s not how well we walk, it’s that we’re willing to let go of the seat cushion and try – i think i have seen God honor some very silly stumbling because the person was honest in his effort to walk

    … don’t we all agree that we are not saved by obedience to the law… or lost by disobedience to it… ?

  219. em says:

    BD, you presume to know more about your fellow believers than you do sometimes 🙂

    over emphasis on grace leads to sin? that’s an old tired sidetrack

    better to focus on the fact that sin can lead to presuming on grace and, if one is a child of God, that leads to Divine Discipline that may not feel very “divine”

  220. em says:

    all of these points miss the key that, if we take advantage of our position in Christ, if we are in the Word of God developing a renewed mind, we are going to improve in our relationship with our God – all three Persons – we won’t be like God, but we can walk closer and be liking Him more… we’ll develop an ever greater capacity to appreciate Him

    enough from the pew here

  221. Bob says:

    Michael

    I read your 214 about not loving God.

    Loving God in the sense of our culture is tough, because God doesn’t play fair ( at least to our idea). Why do we get crap in this world and then are told our hope is in the “resurrection”, the next life. Pretty unfair, if you ask me and many others (the same question is even in the text). What I discovered is people, including me at one time, put their hope in the wrong thing and use God like some pagan ritual to either make this life better or the next. It’s all about self, essentially.

    My love affair with God isn’t about getting anything anymore, although I really hate tribulation, I’m even to the point that I don’t care if there is even a next life when I die. His kingdom starts today and bless His Name for I’m allowed through Messiah to be called an adopted son today.

    MLD before you pick it a part I believe Jesus is the first born from among the dead and His people will be as He is, alive.

    What a day that will be, when the trump sounds! Chaos will be restored to peace.

    Michael I will never forget that day when a woman in our bible study confessed she hated God the day her mother died. You could have heard a pin drop, the silence was deafening. To this day that woman is one of the most God loving, full of life and joyful people to be around.

    Night, be blessed!

  222. SJ says:

    On MLDs 219, are we not supposed to act in manner to approach living as a better person once saved and now christian? How do you rectify James 4:7-8 where we are told to resist the devil ….and draw near…, not just except we are sinners and not attempt to be more Christlike. Resisting and drawing near indicate action on our part.

    Should your sinning decrease upon growth in the Lord? Yes. Don’t get me wrong I’m not bean counting my sin and continuously dwelling on it as if bound by the law.

  223. Babylon's Dread says:

    @ Em 221 “BD, you presume to know more about your fellow believers than you do sometimes”

    It is no doubt true but I think you may have me mixed on this thread.

  224. SJ,
    I tyhink the difference is that I confess even my good works as sin.

    For example, Michael was saying above that he does not always love God or neighbor the way he should. I say none of us ever has. We are told to love neighbor as ourselves – today I showered myself, put on fresh warm clothes and fed myself. I have done none of those today for my neighbor – yet here I am already to go to church.

    Now in my church, we recognize this and will begin the divine service on our knees confessing that very thing – “I confess that I have not loved God with my whole heart, soul, mind and I have not loved my neighbor as myself.” Even yesterday, it I did some of that (and that is good works) I did not do it fully as I am commanded – so if I gave someone a buck in a Costco parking lot, I must confess that as sin, where some may chalk it up as a good work.

    I guess it’s a matter of perspective. So yes, I try to do good – in my vocation as Christian, not as a God pleasing act – and then I confess it all as sin, because I didn’t do it right.

    Does anyone here want to claim that they love God and neighbor completely? If not, you had better drop to your knees in confession.

    Off to church to confess my sins, hear God’s absolution, hear God word in the law and the gospel and to receive his body and blood to strengthen me for the week to come

  225. em says:

    Pastor Dread, 😳 my apology – it might be old age, but i did, long years ago, occasionally call my son by the dog’s name (had to have traumatized the boy) when multi-tasking
    i do so apologize… obviously, it was consternation with MLD that i meant to express

  226. em says:

    it’s those blanket confessions that bother me… not that they are unnecessary or wrong, but the real proof of the pudding is the One on one or one on one with restitution – that’s what delivers a real blow to our pride and i haven’t done that very often – not often enough

  227. Restitution to God for not loving him completely?? That sounds like the RCC penance.
    So, you prefer I say 10 Hail Mary’s and 4 Our Fathers?

    The point was I confess even good works as sin. I don’t know how you come up with a blanket prayer out of that as I am confessing
    1.) I have not loved God as I should.
    2.) I have not loved my neighbor as I should
    3.) I have sinned against God in the things I have done
    4.) I have sinned against God in the things I have left undone

    I couldn’t even begin to list daily my offenses against a holy God – many / most of my offenses I didn’t even recognize as offenses.

    If I went out right now looking for a person who needed some money and gave them $10 – that would be a good work, because my neighbor needs my good works — but I would still have to come back and confess it as sin because I did it for the wrong motive. What is that wrong motive? At this late time I did it because I realized I need to do it to please / love God. Good works for the wrong motive are sin.

  228. em, to your comment confusing poor Dread with me – you said,
    “over emphasis on grace leads to sin? that’s an old tired sidetrack ”

    Actually I said the opposite. Over emphasizing grace (which I don’t believe is a possibility) cannot and does not lead to sin. The Bible never speaks that way.

  229. Bob says:

    MLD

    Truthfully all that you have written I find very sad. You might remember the Westminster confession and the aim of man.

    To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

    So the only joy I see is the confession of being a worm in all you do. No joy in walking with Him or recognizing He is your Husband?

    Yes I’m a sinner but my Husband will never foresake me. He builds me up when I am in the lowest valley, He watches out for me when I am lost, He finds green pastures to feed me and our children, He provides gentle correction when I am in error. and He comforts me when all is lost.

    That is just a taste of my Husband. Bless His Name above all things.

    There is joy in Mudville today!

  230. Michael says:

    Bob,

    How you extrapolate your conclusion is beyond me.
    There is real joy in knowing that despite the fact that I sin early and often, by omission and commission, that I’m judged by the performance of Christ and not my own failures.

    You only really begin to dance when you stop looking at your feet…

    The Westminster divines would agree with every word MLD wrote…because it is the Gospel.

  231. em says:

    MLD, i don’t know whether we “talk” past each other or we’re both comprehension challenged…. 🙂

    i did not say that we make restitution to God, but, if we confess to God that we have sinned against a fellow human, does that settle it? well, sometimes, but if restitution to the one we have wronged is possible (IQ. test here), then we are expected (by God) to do so – IMHO confession, even to God, is not always the end of the matter

    “5. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that an overemphasis on grace leads to sin.” well, i don’t know about “overemphasizing,” but the argument as you stated it, is an old caveat and stopping at that declaration detracts from what should be emphasized to the Church in regards to sin and grace – IMV

    that really is the end of my involvement on this – carry on until your heart is satisfied that you have made your point, if you wish

    God keep

  232. Linda Pappas says:

    “If I went out right now looking for a person who needed some money and gave them $10 – that would be a good work, because my neighbor needs my good works — but I would still have to come back and confess it as sin because I did it for the wrong motive. What is that wrong motive? At this late time I did it because I realized I need to do it to please / love God. Good works for the wrong motive are sin.”

    For those who does a “good work” by Who now lives within them, thereby their character and heart being changed, such is not done to please God, although it does, but now because it is a part and parcel of who they/we now are: A new creation, the new man-woman, molded, made, shaped more and more in the image that aligns with the heart and will of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. It just comes naturally, not as an after thought of what one must do–for there is nothing one can do to earn extra brownie point. It is, however, as a person walks in obedience by putting away the things that does not honor and give glory to God, freeing in the very best way and something to greatly rejoice over in seeing how, we once were and are now equipped and able to walk in the light as He is in the light and not having to beat ourselves up over the darkness that once had us in bondage. BE it from the sins of others, the self, or even as a result of persuasive arguments that would mislead a person to believe that true repentance is something other than actually turning and not returning the pigs’s mire each week after receiving absolution from confessing and taking communion, which originated in basic RCC practice. Just to do it over and over again . Whereas, Paul has told us to rid ourselves and to mortify these things. Once and for all!!!!

    Sure appreciate the comments made by Bob, Em, Dread, and in particular, Jim V and Bob.

  233. Michael says:

    “after receiving absolution from confessing and taking communion, which originated in basic RCC practice.”

    The practice predates the RCC by about 250 years.

    “Just to do it over and over again .”

    Not necessarily.
    I usually have something new to confess weekly…

  234. Linda Pappas says:

    If it is a new thing, then either it was something that was revealed to you or something, that was fresh—

    250 years predated still would put it under the “church fathers” who were very much in the thick of getting the ducks in order to declare or identify itself as the RCC.

  235. Linda Pappas says:

    Have a blessed Sunday, everyone. Shalom, in Jesus

  236. Michael says:

    Linda,

    You’re simply wrong about the history of the RCC and it’s early beginnings.
    I realize it’s pointless to argue the point with you, but every conservative historian recognizes that and the development is easily traceable and proven through documents.

    Rome didn’t begin to achieve preeminence among the churches until the 4th century.
    Even at that juncture there was nothing unique about it’s theology.

  237. Bob says:

    Michael:

    “There is real joy in knowing that despite the fact that I sin early and often, by omission and commission, that I’m judged by the performance of Christ and not my own failures.”

    Well duh and that is the joy, but MLD’s explanation is pure sadness. The joy is knowing I don’t have to be on my knees 24/7 but rather walking and talking with Him as He does the work for me.

    My perception here is this, you have a glass half full, I have a glass filled by my Husband Jesus.

    I’m glad my personal marriage is not a reflection or anything like what either MLD or now you seem to indocate here. If this is your joy than I don’t want any of it.

    And as far as the “good news” goes my understanding of it is and MLDs not so much.

    Here’s what the text says to me:

    God created it all and He’s in charge of it all.

    Because He created Adam, my mud man father, and He sent the second Adam to redeem me I am His. I am an adopted son (look that one up in the context of Christian/Roman history BTW). That is good news!!!

    You are committed, as you have stated, so the only thing we seem to hold in common is Jesus is Messiah and Lord over all. He died and was raised by God. He is the sacrifice for all sins. His blood is our covering. And I could go on.

    He made me, molded me from the clay He created, He knows my past and my future.

    If there isn’t pure joy in walking with that type of Husband then you can walk with your head down and not look up into His face.

    The chief aim of man is to…

    Interpret your relationship with Him as you must.

    BTW I can only get what I read from this media, so please be careful about snap judgements and I will do the same.

  238. Michael says:

    This is fascinating, it not simply frustrating.

    MLD and I can share in all the “joys” you note.

    Here is the difference between us Reformed types and the rest of evangelicalism.

    We believe that we are still sinners, we will always be sinners until the resurrection, and that the depths of our sin nature are such that we will never be able to honestly state (as Linda has) that there are days when we simply don’t sin.

    We believe that everything we do and are is still tainted by sin.

    That’s the really bad news.

    The really good news is that because we are in Christ we are ‘counted” righteous in Him.

    Let the dancing begin!

  239. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bob,
    Let me just say one more time – you and I have a completely different view of the Christian faith – at times, Lutherans and American Evangelicals can be polar opposites – on almost any point we touch on.

    I am in complete joy and comfort daily in the Lord. I have not scaled back sin as you do. I do not give myself “credit in the Lord’ for giving forth a good effort vs God’s command of perfection.

    Look, I know you don’t like to engage directly with my actual questions or points, but try this once as it was another that you just walk around.

    We are commanded to Love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Have you ever done this fully as commanded.Not I try my best, because there is no scriptural support for “trying” (post it if you find it)

    If not, then yes you should be asking forgivness 24 hours a day.

  240. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bob,
    “He made me, molded me from the clay He created, ”

    No he didn’t – that’s the way he created Adam. What 2 pages into the Bible and you have it wrong already? 😉

  241. Bob says:

    MLD

    Just one thing in response to your insults, read Romans.

    Ok two things. I never said I didn’t sin or wasn’t a sinner.

    Back to your only way of challenging.

    When did you stop abusing your wife?

  242. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “When did you stop abusing your wife?”

    I probably haven’t. I sin against her also at time …far too many times in our 46 yrs of marriage.Don’t you sin against your wife …isn’t that abusive?

    What I don’t get is when I say I confess my sin and seek to hear God’s absolution through my pastor, whey you find that offensive. I never asked you if you sin and I never said that you didn’t sin – I asked you don’t you sin like I sin and sin often like I sin?

    But I fessed up and said I have never loved God or neighbor in the way God has commanded. I asked you a pretty simple (no gotchas attached) question. Have you and if you have how did you pull it off?

  243. Bob says:

    MLD

    You want to win a battle which isn’t. We don’t agree on many things obviously and you are never satisfied with where we agree. This is why an exchange on any subject is just rotten fruit.

  244. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hey, In the beginning of any conversation,I never object to your initial comments, I either ignore them or assume you are speaking to someone else.

    But you always jump into my conversations (as you did above with Jin V) and even in my reply I said I wasn’t necessarily addressing you but you take you potshots and then I reply.

    Look, I held your American Evangelical views for 25 yrs. I even taught them – and then jumped ship.

    Enjoy your voyage.

  245. Michael says:

    I don’t get it… MLD hasn’t done anything worthy of scorn on this thread.

    Quick story before i leave for church.
    I’ve had a pretty good day, sin wise.
    Finished my sermon, talked to some folks, did a bit of blogging.

    I went over to pick up Trey so he could skateboard for a while.
    We went to get something to drink beforehand…it’s 96 in the shade here.

    Now, he also picked up a candy bar.
    I’ve promised his mom that I’d be more careful about buying him sugar because Trey and sugar don’t mix well.

    It was dark chocolate…with ginger.
    That’s good for him, I reasoned.
    Sure, you can have it.
    No biggie.

    In reality, I sinned against his mom, against him, against God, and if not for Jesus would be going straight to hell for a candy bar.

    In that one act I broke the whole law and deserve the just punishment for doing so.

    Thankfully, I’m in Christ who fulfilled the law for me and I’m credited with His righteousness.

    Watch out for candy bars, if you’re counting on your own…

  246. em says:

    Romans 7:19-25 … i know everyone posting here will say amen to this … there seems to be some nuancing and posturing going on … IMHO … unnecessary … IMNSHO

  247. Babylon's Dread says:

    I would have commented more but I had nothing to say.

  248. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Amen – Paul’s description of the Christian’s daily life — but thanks be to God 🙂

  249. Anne says:

    Ha! Your #247 reminds me of when I worked for a para-church ministry in socal before going on staff at CCCM. The CEO and some of the staff attended The Village Church Irvine and the 2nd in command and most of the other staff, Saddleback. I and one other fellow who worked at another site only CC’ers.
    I had never heard of “Forgiveness is easier than permission” until then 🙂

  250. em says:

    #247-Father Michael (see open blog’g) , now you have to confess and ask Trey and his mom for forgiveness – you might try the David and the shewbread defense – there were no carrot sticks or celery to be had… it was on the (Christian) sabbath 🙂 😆 🙄

    hmm… on the other hand this may be legalism

    dark chocolate and ginger? Trey has good taste

  251. Bob says:

    Michael:

    “I don’t get it… MLD hasn’t done anything worthy of scorn on this thread.”

    No scorn, just how he converses; I hate having a trap set for me every time an attempt is made to try an exchange.

    It’s my fault, I confess.

    I should have known better.

    Didn’t make peace out of chaos at all. Oh well live and learn.

  252. Bob says:

    MLD:

    You don’t know my views at all. That is one of the problems with any exchange with you; your assumptions.

    I gave you (and all the others) my views on the blood of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. I have also given my view of what it means to be called a Christian, the old Roman 10 thing.

    We differ in these areas (from previous encounters):
    How one confesses sin.
    Baptism.
    Communion.
    Our views on who Israel is.
    Walking with God
    What it means to Love God.
    What it means to do.
    We haven’t challenged the “who’s my neighbor” question yet. Of course Jesus found the answer, “the one who showed mercy towards him.” But maybe you disagree, I’m ok with that.
    If you can add a few more I’m also ok with that, but please don’t ask for clarification, just go with it.

    Be blessed in Him!

  253. Scott says:

    Bob, if I might. MLD does know your views and he differs with many of them. You don’t agree with many of his as you’ve stated.

    Why would you continue to annoy yourself by debating with him and trying to make your point?

    That’s the thing about these forums, so many of the arguments are circular and unfruitful. At some point it’s not even worth wasting the energy to type out the words, in my humble opinion, of course.

  254. Well I know what Bob believes, especially in this conversation the past 2 days.
    He thinks I confess too much sin and that I do it too easily.
    I even confessed to him I sin against my wife (his accusation of abuse).

    All I have said the past 2 days is that I confess my actions, even my good works as sin. Bob has disagreed at every point, so I must conclude that he thinks differently.

    Oh, I also stated that my works (good or bad) don’t affect my standing with God one way or the other – in fact Jesus already told me in the scriptures – “to hell with your good woks!” I don’t know what he told Bob.

  255. Linda Pappas says:

    Romans chapter 8 (KJV)

    1 There 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.

    14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

    Romans 6

    And finally, you can confess all day long you have sin and that you are a sinner, however, it does little as we are told to repent (turn away, get rid of, put to death), not to continue in them. Will we still sin—yes, however, as we grow and mature in Him, we ought to be looking more like him — seeing and doing things through the filter of He, who lives within us. God knows the heart and He also knows the difference between sorry is, as sorry does. You cannot gain forgiveness through ritualistic practices—it is what goes on in the heart that He wants us to work within us to change us and only as we walk in submission to His will, His way, and His instructions can this be accomplished. It is a choice — it is active participation to die to the self and to live in Him and for Him with our whole heart, mind, body, strength, and soul. It does mean one must be intentional, but then again, living in the Spirit, I would think one is in constant communication with Him, with the H.S. bringing to our remembrance that which we need to know to go about our day and as we interact with the world and others. And for those times that we slip, we can make amends and we can ask for forgiveness of those we have offended while asking God to show us what the core issue might be that leads us to that place to offend (actual offense, that is). As an example, that is in terms of repentance.

    I just don’t see anywhere in scripture that indicates we can walk through life haphazardly, “just sinning, right and left,” and then at the end of the day, you line it all up and then say, “Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.” In fact, scripture tells us that if we have sinned against another, we are to leave our gifts at the altar and get right with that person. Scriptures also tells us that we are to bring gifts that are fit for repentance. In other words, we are not to bring our praise, worship, or anything else to lay before the Lord, while we are in intentional sin against another (hidden or visible).

    Scripture tells us of so many area of sin and then it tells us of greater sins that these lead into and then it tells us not have anything to do with them and also not to tolerate them in the congregation or body of Christ. Far different, then that nightly prayer or just confessing then taking communion. per scripture, that is.

    There is no such thing as “sinless perfection, unless one is thinking we are made perfect in Him. But this does not excuse us from running the race for the prize nor does it excuse us to say, “Oh well, I’m just a sinner, saved by grace—-with the intention of continuing in ones sins. In this, God would say: “Your lips praise me, but your heart is far from me. Repent from your wickedness and walk in obedience as I have commanded you to do.

  256. “I just don’t see anywhere in scripture that indicates we can walk through life haphazardly, “just sinning, right and left,” and then at the end of the day, you line it all up and then say, “Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.” ”

    And I have not seen a single person on this thread advocate what you just stated – so, you may have told a falsehood or at the very least tore down the reputation of others for your own gain.

    Knowing you, you will deny it, so there will be no confession or repentance on your part. And that is how the game is played on your side. Give it some thought.

  257. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You beat me to it…it is a false accusation and to impute such to either of us is sin.

  258. Michael says:

    “But this does not excuse us from running the race for the prize nor does it excuse us to say, “Oh well, I’m just a sinner, saved by grace—-with the intention of continuing in ones sins. ”

    If this is being credited as a belief of myself or the Lutheran, it is sin as well.

  259. Bob says:

    Scott:

    You’re absolutely right.

    I wanted to write more but just thought, “let it go” and erased it.

    Thanks!

    Ok one more thing Scott, it’s this kind of stuff/comment from MLD which I love:

    “He thinks I confess too much sin and that I do it too easily.”

    Pure something…, oh well.

    Blessing to you!

  260. One last thing because I need to go to bed … it takes me longer to go through the confession of my sin each night than it does for some of you. 😉

    Bob, you said “You don’t know my views at all.” I don’t think I would brag about being on this blog as long as you have saying all the things you have and then boast that we don’t know what you believe. The onus is on you to make your point clear.

  261. MLD and Michael: I understand the total depravity position and also that the only righteousness we have is imputed by God.

    My concern is that many who read what you write, who have never experienced increasing godliness and self-control, and who cannot identify with Romans 6 as those who once were slaves to sin but have been freed from sin and now are slaves to righteousness will read into your comments that there is no hope for them—that their habitual, destructive sins cannot be stopped.

    Christ, who sets captives free, is hidden from them. The transformative power of the Gospel disappears.

    For example at #120: ”Look, you can’t out grace me. I don’t expect anyone to change just because they become a christian. I have not changed. Any sins I have given up are because I am too old or too tired.”

  262. Jim V,
    You bring up good points. First, I do not write to those who may ‘read’ here but to those I am having a conversation.

    1.) Here is the difference we may have – I have not changed and I cannot change – I have been changed by God himself. What was the change? Before Christ I did not care about sin, I did not care about repentance. Today as a Christian I care about sin and I care that Jesus has given me a way to handle my sin – repentance / confession and absolution.

    2.) You said “Christ, who sets captives free, is hidden from them. The transformative power of the Gospel disappears.” I hope you aren’t saying these are Christians and Christ has ‘hidden’ something from them. If they are non Christians, the whole playbook is hidden from them.

    3.) I guess each of us will need to choose our location for ourselves, but my belief is that a Christian does not live on the mountaintop of morality but at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.”

    Make your own application 😉

  263. btw, to anyone out there reading, so you don’t get the wrong impression – Lutherans are not into “total depravity” language – we prefer “the bound will.”

  264. I certainly do not ascribe to “a mountaintop of morality” Morality is all about behavior. God searches the hearts. The thorns that choke—“life’s worries, riches and pleasures—reside in the heart. Those who are not choked by thorns because of the transformative Gospel are good soil and will bear fruit a hundredfold. We are the light for a world that gropes in darkness.

  265. Jim V,
    Still I want clarification – who is this Christian who has had “Christ, who sets captives free”
    hidden from them. Believe me, the gospel message Michael and I preach, The Great Exchange should set everyone free. Not the Do’s and the Do nots lists evangelicals pass out. Those are bondage.

    But tell me, is this person a Christian?

  266. Jim V, is your thoughts on the soil based on the parable or something you made up.

    The parable says that the sower goes out and tosses the seed. The soils are what they are – some capable of receiving God’s word and producing fruit and some not. God has prepared the soil that receives the seed and produces the fruit. The soils do not change – each type of soil reacts the way i does by nature.

    Your story about the soils seems to be – the sower has tossed the seed on you, now you go change your soil so you can produce fruit.

  267. ? says:

    The proof is in the pudding ( soil)
    Does not the soil represent us?
    And ultimately a heart issue?

  268. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ?
    According to the parable, the soil was already prepared before the word even went out. I agree, 3/4ths of the soils (people) are not prepared to receive the gospel and cannot produce fruit. When we toss the gospel at them, it bounces off like hitting hard rocky soil.

    What Jim V’s parable seems to say is, “prepare your own soil, make your soil worthy enough to receive my gospel seed and then I will give you the gospel. That is every other religion on the face of the earth except Christianity. Jim’s parable is well meaning and may work as a bed time story but…

  269. ? says:

    So what makes the soils different?

  270. Nonnie says:

    Here is a good article about “self righteousness.”

    http://www.keylife.org/articles/steves-devotional-attracted-to-self-righteousness

  271. Jim Vander Spek says:

    Those who have the word planted in them—who have deep roots— can be good soil or be choked by thorns.

    “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

  272. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “So what makes the soils different?”

    I know it’s the stock Sunday School answer, but – Jesus!
    Did you think I was going to say ME? 🙂

  273. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jim V – you can’t have the deep roots if your soil hasn’t been prepared AHEAD of time. It is not an after effect.
    Your view on this says -I am God, I gave you my seed (word / gospel) now go do the best you can with it.

  274. Jim Vander Spek says:

    Those who have “Christ, who sets captives free” hidden from them are those who never learn that they can truly become new creatures in Christ, that they can mature, that sin should not have dominion in their lives, that in this life they can become a “slave to righteousness.”

    For example, I grieve for those who hear defeatist teaching and references to R7 Man in Romans 7:14-34 as speaking of an exemplary Christian. This is only one interpretation out of about a dozen floating around. I believe that this teaching is not supported but rather contradicted by clear teaching elsewhere. My own take on this: http://www.overcoming-lust.com/articles/overcoming-indwelling-sin-romans-6-8/

    As one who spent most of my life in that ditch, I know blindness and darkness only too well and shudder at it.

  275. ? says:

    Luke 13:24

    Nonnie- do you consider that self righteousness?
    Is obedience self righteousness?

  276. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The Romans 7 view that says Paul is describing the daily life of the Christian is not defeatist at all – it is pure gospel and victory.

    “Who will save us?” – “Thanks be to God” – “There is now no condemnation…” – those my friend are all victory chants that we, the Romans 7 Christians make as we take a victory lap with Jesus.

    Checking off my good works on a yellow tablet – that is defeatist.

  277. ? says:

    Ok MLD

    So now I ask that he creates some soils then to purposely keep us lost ?

  278. ? says:

    So He desires that we get chocked , He desires that the birds come and eat the seeds…easy theology..it’s all his fault that you sin…

  279. ? says:

    No one checks off their good works… On the flip side, I don’t blame Jesus for still sinning.

  280. em says:

    did Adam and Eve have souls? the soul that sins dies… the flesh is dead, a gone goose, but it is the soul that God’s wills to rescue from death in time as well as for Eternity

    if our focus is our flesh, God isn’t rescuing flesh – our flesh is corrupt, i.e., it’s dying – remember the treasure is in an earthen vessel – it is silly to say the flesh can be sinless and it’s equally silly to say that we have no control over it – these theological turns of phrase, the fine tuning borders on nit-picking, if not pharisaic

    just confess when convicted and move on – renew your mind – focus on Life in Christ – overcome evil with good – focus, focus, focus

  281. ? says:

    Em

    Do you agree with MLDs take on the soil?

  282. covered says:

    Great stuff here. em, your 282 is perfect. To think that we can make the changes ourselves is silly. To think that we shouldn’t at least try is also folly. It’s all a heart condition and only One can change the heart.

  283. Erunner says:

    I have to echo covered. em pretty much explained things in her 282. Our pondering theologian!

  284. Michael says:

    “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
    (Galatians 3:1–3 ESV)

  285. em says:

    #283 – yes and no – obviously a hard heart or one whose affections are, like Lot’s wife’s, focused on this life will not (i think by choice) be conducive to root development – i do think the illustration can only be taken just so far, i.e., do we say that God takes a rock crusher to the rock hard heart and then applies compost and other organic matter? could be 🙂 …

    sorry, i do have my own personal suspicions that are just that – i’ll have to wait and see what the Big Plan was – suffice it to say that He’s not willing that any should perish… so free will has to come in there somewhere, eh?

  286. Bob says:

    I started to think he was being a bit more civil and this:

    “Your view on this says -I am God,”

    You don’t know what his view is, so how dare you put words into his writings!

  287. Bob says:

    Michael:

    You’re quote is about Jews who want gentile converts to fully become Jews in practice, including circumcision and sacrifice. It’s out of place here in this thread and not appropriate. It might rather be said the organized church took the simplicity of Paul’s teachings and turned them into a new yoke of practice which was never intended from the beginning to be.

    In a nut shell a new Law, which is not the one made clear further in Galatians from your quote.

    ” For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

    But MLD is correct, we never do this perfect and that is why we must remind ourselves daily that it say to do this.

    Thank you for the forum.

  288. ? says:

    No one commented on Luke 13:24

    Why is that? What does ” strive” mean?

  289. Michael says:

    Bob,

    That’s a very narrow interpretation of a broader principle.
    Both the book of Galatians and the book of Romans tell us that all the blessing of God come from being in Christ and are acquired by grace through faith alone.

  290. Jim Vander Spek says:

    Amen to #286.

    “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

  291. Nonnie says:

    ? said:
    “Luke 13:24
    Nonnie- do you consider that self righteousness?
    Is obedience self righteousness?

    If you think your striving will get you into heaven, that is exactly the same thing the Muslims believe. They believe their obedience and good works will earn them a place in paradise.

    Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

  292. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bob,
    This may clear up our conversation. You say – “But MLD is correct, we never do this perfect and that is why we must remind ourselves daily that it say to do this.”
    1.) Do we just remind ourselves this is what we should be doing
    2.) or do we confess as sin the fact that we haven’t been doing it?

    It’s not an either or but you can’t properly do #1 until you have done #2 – but we need to realize that we will never properly do #1 – so we must daily come to #2

    At least that is the way I see it.

  293. Bob says:

    MLD

    Wow that was polite so I’ll risk with a response.

    It’s both.

    The reminder of #1 lets us know #2 is needed.

    Why do you think God instructed the repetitious Shema, the two greatest commandments (of which Paul reminds his readers of in the text I posted)?

    Not that by saying, writing or even bobbing one’s head or strapping on the thongs with those words in them can a man get closer to God. They are already God’s chosen people do the issue isn’t about getting his eye anymore than improving on ones Christian salvation.

    Why the reminder? So we will do, imperfect and all! My walk with my wife isn’t about her being perfect or even pleasing me in ever way. It’s about living with her in an understanding way. And that is the biblical model of my Husband Jesus. He knows and understands my sins and imperfections, He loves it when I remember His instructions and do them. But if I forget He still loves me, confession or not.

    It’s both and a part of loving Him.

    Now it’s not worth analyzing just say hmmm thanks and being gracious let it go.

  294. Bob says:

    Michael

    Be careful in how broad you interpret things.

    What I got from your quote was an accusation of Judiazing and if you’re going to do that we need to narrow the focus and intent of the text.

    I did widen the idea by submitting to you that the traditions of our institutions can and may be compared to the yoke of “oral tradition.” the Additionally they may have created a new law never intended by the Lord most High.

  295. ? says:

    Nonnie

    So how do you interpret that text?

  296. ? says:

    Why is there an opposition here to strive towards obedience?
    It’s not a salvation issue at all.

  297. ? says:

    If I am a Physician who strives to be a better one, would that also be wrong?
    Would it be wrong to attend seminars that give me a greater ability to help others?
    I already have my license, it’s an issue of a calling on my life to be the best that I can be where God has called me.

    We already have salvation, do we turn a deaf ear to his voice of conquering sin?

  298. em says:

    would it help to let go of the word “strive?” we need to grow in Christ … do we grow by our effort or by our nourishment and environment? dunno – just thinking…

  299. Nonnie says:

    He is the vine, we are the branches….abide in Christ.
    Branches don’t strive to bear fruit….they abide and get life from the Vine.

  300. ? says:

    Em

    In anything we do in life we don’t take a back seat.
    Sinners can stay where they are or grow.

    What I am reading here by most is that if we attempt anything we are in the flesh and not in Christ.
    I personally have gotten thrown many trials.
    The striving is getting up in the morning and asking Christ to take hold of my day.
    My mind, my thoughts my actions.

    I do not believe that is self righteousness.
    I depend on Him, but I can also pull the blanket over my head and refuse to get up.
    That’s what I am addressing.

  301. ? says:

    Nonnie

    The abiding takes striving.
    You can easily walk away and not abide.
    This is not an easy life.
    I have seen many refuse to abide.
    Abiding takes a decision

  302. ? says:

    Any fruit is His harvest.
    I need to decide to abide.
    Kind of like God opening his arms to embrace us.
    In that embrace we are one abiding.
    But it is my choice to submit to that embrace.

  303. Bob says:

    em, nonnie & ?

    Very good comments thank you.

    The text, even after the resurrection, is full of doing. Because we love Him who loved us first.

    Is it better to confess a breaking of vows (sin) out of love or obligation? Which has more value?

    Of course I also admit doing obligations for my wife because I love her. I wonder what Jesus would ask?

  304. ? says:

    I want to say one more thing before calling it a day here.

    The least self righteous people are those who ask.
    They are the ones who recieve.
    Jesus said that.

  305. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ?
    Nonnie has it right. You are at the wrong end of the growth cycle.
    1.) Do you tell the branch to strive harder to push out an apple?
    2.) or is the Vine the generator of all things and the branch (us) is just the conduit and Voila! an apple.?

    We are only there so that Jesus can produce fruit through us. It’s not Jesus saying, “OK branch, I have passed this apple product from me (the vine) to you (the branch) so now strive and finish the apple production process.”

    That may make sense to some – but not to me.

  306. ? says:

    Bob

    Religion asks for confession.
    God knows the heart.

  307. ? says:

    MLD

    “If” you abide in me.

  308. ? says:

    That’s a choice is it not?

  309. ? says:

    So MLD, what sins do you enjoy holding on to?

  310. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Religion asks for confession.”

    And there is my point – American Evangelicals have absolutely no doctrine of confession. It’s part of that Jesus & me spirituality. God knows my heart, that is good enough.

    John, who must have been one of those old time religion guys said something about confessing your sins and Jesus will be right their to forgive your sins.

    Stupid John. It’s a good thing we don’t go in for that religion stuff. 😉

  311. ? says:

    Forced confession means nothing.
    Confession comes from the heart at the time of conviction not because religion dictates it.

  312. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ?,
    “So MLD, what sins do you enjoy holding on to?”

    I don’t enjoy hanging onto any of them – that is why according to some here it seems like I over confess. Sadly, I just haven’t figure out how to stop sinning like some of you.

  313. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    /
    I don’t know what forced confession is.
    You don’t confess sin until you are “convicted”? I always thought the holy spirit convicted people who refused to confess their sin. So, if you wait for conviction … you’re doing it wrong.

  314. ? says:

    Lol the Holy Spirit does the convicting. But that doesn’t mean we repent.

    If you are over confessing, could it be you are not abiding?
    Where is the fruit?
    Or is it God’s fault?

  315. ? says:

    Forced confession is the weekly ritual of confession before communion.
    It’s not from the heart
    It’s forced.

  316. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ?
    All I hear from you is man’s rebellion against confession. Where does that come from?

    “It’s not from the heart” – so now that you have personally judged the heart of every person who confesses sin with their church body, and you have shown where your heart is – perhaps this is something you may wish to look into.

    Why do you think it is forced? It can’t be any more forced than the Holy Spirit bearing down on you.

    Does the ? stand for The Judge of all Souls?

  317. ? says:

    You are too clever to not know what I am saying.
    You so easily turn things around.

    Yes, if I attend a church that will not give me communion unless I confess, it is forced.
    What is so difficult to understand?

  318. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ? – “If you are over confessing, could it be you are not abiding?”

    “I stated earlier, while you guys live on top of the mountain of morality, I abide at the foot of the cross

    “Where is the fruit?”

    Do you really believe that sin negates the good fruit you produce? I have always challenged people not to confuse good fruit / good works with bad deeds.
    You can’t say that person sins therefore he has not good fruit / works. The 2 are not related.

  319. em says:

    i think this thread needs a theology (doctrine) of disengagement

    it has devolved into substance abuse again IMHO

  320. Michael says:

    What a bunch of nonsense…where do I begin?

    First, the next person that claims that somehow believing in the Reformation doctrine of grace makes a person an unrepentant lover of sin is going to get banned.

    That is a wicked lie and the height of theological ignorance.

    Second, if you are “in Christ” you are by necessity ‘abiding” in Him…unless you’re one of those who think that you can jump in and out of Christ at will.

    Third, there is a beauty and power in the corporate confession of sin that is awesome…even more beautiful is hearing the absolution of what you have confessed.

    If you want to strive and sweat and grunt to produce that which the Spirit produces naturally, go ahead…but keep the accusations about others holiness to your selves.

  321. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So you don’t follow Paul’s teaching about examining yourself before taking communion. Another strange evangelical route away from the cross.

  322. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “it has devolved into substance abuse again”
    Only for those who don’t think proper doctrine is important. 😉

  323. ? says:

    Michael

    In all fairness you have misrepresented what I have said.
    That’s ok you don’t have to ban me.
    I will go in my own accord.

  324. Michael says:

    ?,

    Did you not ask this question/ What does the question infer?

    “So MLD, what sins do you enjoy holding on to?”

  325. ? says:

    #244

    Would abiding be ineffective?
    Is God ineffective ?

    I am not challenging I am attempting to dialogue but it becomes abusive when someone can’t do that here .

    If we are abiding, there should be fruit.
    You can’t have it both ways to say I am abiding and Christ is in me, yet I am still sinning as much towards my wife as I was 47 years ago.

    This will be my last since I see the hostility towards evangelicalism which I had never categorized myself as.

  326. Michael says:

    ?,

    It’s not hostility, it having a completely different view of both sin and grace, to say nothing of the bondage of the will and God;s sovereignty.

    MLD did not say that he was sinning in the same way or frequency as decades ago, he simply acknowledged the fact that he still sins against her.

    I’ve had friends for almost that long that I love dearly and sin against in myriad ways, by omission and commission.

    It is only God working in me to will and do that makes any difference.

  327. Bob says:

    In MLD’s defense I believe his confessions are not forced at all.

    When people convert, in today’s culture, to one of the traditional denominations and practices they do it voluntarily and the alone conclusion we observers can make is that.

    We don’t live in the days when the Church forced Jews to convert, eat ham and such. The average church convert today is far more intelligent and generally informed than maybe even 4 decades ago.

    In spite of the church history and MLD’s really bad ways here, I believe he is fully convinced of what he does and the correctness of it. He is so fully convince he has no room or vision for others and how they view or interpret the same texts and instructions. While I disagree with many of the practices and doctrines my beef has never been with him practicing them. It has always been about, shall we say, his delivery.

    Now do I think there is validity to the idea of forced practice or a history of it? You bet! To ignore even the most cursory version of religious history is a denial of the truth.

  328. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ?,
    I was going to make the statement that I don’t want you to leave this platform because we don’t agree, but… your statement “You can’t have it both ways to say I am abiding and Christ is in me, yet I am still sinning as much towards my wife as I was 47 years ago.” is way out of bounds and a total misrepresentation of what I said.

    But let me ask this – if you are married – do you ever sin against your wife? If you do, then how are you different than me. Is there anyone here who would make the claim that they don’t sin against their spouse?

    But I still don’t get your resistance to confessing your sin (you said God already knows your heart.)

    Now I know that God knows my heart also – that’s why I confess my sin.

  329. em says:

    #329 = a thumbs up IMHO

  330. em says:

    confession is simply agreeing with God

  331. Linda Pappas says:

    263 and 266

    Precisely!!!!!!!!!!!

    “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

    “Walk” is an active verb and is made out of choice and is enabled by that which indwells the believer. But as Bob, ?, and Jim V has drawn to our attention, it will not happen unless we make the effort to pick up our mat and walk. We will not grow and mature through osmosis. To be more like Him, we actually have to make a choice and in the choice, we do need to act on it.

  332. Michael says:

    “To be more like Him, we actually have to make a choice and in the choice, we do need to act on it.”

    Yea…just like the “choice” Paul made when he was knocked off his donkey.

    This is free will religion at its finest…

    This thread is a poster child for why I am running away from evangelicalism and do not even wish to be identified with it by accident.

    MLD has comported himself well on this thread…it is the holy ones who have accused him of all manner of things that were not true.

    That is because, in my experience, that is what pietists do…after all, they have conquered their sin.

  333. em says:

    MLD is teacher’s pet… 🙂

    i think that many good points were made here by what MLD labels “Evangelicals”

    do you know where those Evangelicals came from? out of the old historic churches that were full of doctrine… sound, dead doctrine – labels aren’t very good identifiers IMHO

    however, #333, for the record we do become more like Christ thru a kind of osmosis – IMV we wear a yoke and carry a burden, it is true, but it is learning of Him that makes us more like Him – the renewing of the mind thing… there was a Chinese fellow a few years back that likened it to what a tea bag does to a cup of hot water… a little sketchy, but some merit

  334. em,
    “dead doctrine ” – can you explain what a dead doctrine?

    Lutherans were the first to be called evangelicals and now in the past 25 yrs we have been forced to run from the distinction.

  335. MLD is teacher’s pet… 🙂
    Well it is the one topic I can talk freely about here with no fear of being banned or moderated. 😉

    Oh, and it is the singular most important topic of the faith.

  336. em says:

    MLD, i think the pendulum swings, i have known so many beautiful Evangelicals-so-called, if nothing else, in honor of their memory we need a better word to describe the corporate minded, madison avenue churches

    the world is describing those churches as “evangelical” – i don’t think we should buy into it

    dead doctrine is what happens to it when it becomes rote… when the Spirit leaves the building

    sound doctrine is not a singular topic IMHO

    God keep

  337. Why is rote dead? Why can’t rote be spirit led? btw – rote is not a doctrine.

    I know of many folks on their death bed or in the throws of Alzheimer when we go to serve them communion they can’t remember who we are, in many cases they can’t even remember who they are, but they can still make it through some parts of the liturgy.

    Making yourself say something of the top of your head is not necessarily from the heart or spiritual. In many cases it’s nonsense.

  338. em,
    forget what I say – the silly people call themselves evangelicals.
    Joel Osteen calls himself an evangelical – Perry Noble calls himself an evangelical – Steve Furtyk calls himself an evangelical. Just about any CC pastor who is made fun of here calls himself an evangelical.

    But I usually try to make the distinction by calling out people as American Evangelicals because they are a special breed.

  339. Bob says:

    MLD

    Can I say one thing about the practice of confession; I don’t need another person to confess to nor their absolution unless that confession is about them personally.

    Now is there an appropriate place for asking forgiveness of others? Of course there is and I don’t think anyone in this thread would deny that. One of the most important books I found on forgiveness is “The Sunflower…”

    Is there a scriptural position and order for absolution in a manner similar to RCC? Kind of, but in my interpretation not in the manner they hold their priesthood. The scriptures make it clear all, who call on His name, have direct access to Him and His love. He is our non-stop advocate!

    But if I just pray and ask forgiveness and then do nothing about it I think that confession is just empty air, for me at least. No love there at all for God I’m just seeking fire insurance and pagan good things for my life. There is something about telling others about what I did and then manning up to it, accepting the consequences, and moving forward. It’s a love affair and partnership with the Creator and it’s what we do when we care/love others.

  340. Bob says:

    MLD

    Never forget evangelicals are the children of Protestant.

    And all those guys you mentioned are thieves, taking advantage of the weak and also giving them what they want to buy. Happens all through history, nothing new there move on.

    let us not forget what pushed Luther over the edge, could it have been a Pope who forced and coerced people to give their money away? All for some pet building project? One can never have too many church buildings.

  341. Michael says:

    “MLD is teacher’s pet… :-)”

    That’s a first…
    The only way to get a Lutheran and a Calvinist to stop fighting with each other is to bring in a pietist…they will stop whacking each other to whack the pietist together.

    These discussions make me thank God above for Luther and Lutherans.

  342. Bob says:

    Em

    Let’s be honest many doctrines and practices are for social control and order. So MLD won’t get huffy I do believe laws and social order are a God mandated task, but they aren’t there to make people love Him.

    A black sister of mine says this about prejudice, “when you hate a black person, you are hating God. I am made in His image and when you hate me because I’m black you’re hating God.” Wonderful woman.

  343. Michael says:

    The liturgy is not for social control and order.
    It’s intention is to worship God in a way in which He has revealed Himself wanting to be worshipped.

    I don’t care if you prefer the evangelical liturgy of 5 songs, a prayer, an offering, a song, and a sermon followed by a prayer and a song.

    That’s ok with me…just don’t impugn the ancient liturgies with bad motives.

  344. Michael says:

    We pray a rote prayer every week in my church.
    It’s called “The Lord’s Prayer”.

    I tried to add words to it, but it didn’t work out that well…

  345. Bob,
    “Never forget evangelicals are the children of Protestant. ”

    Confessional Lutherans rarely call themselves Protestant any longer, for the same reasons. The nomenclature has been hijacked. We call ourselves Lutheran.

    People insist on calling themselves evangelicals, but I read somewhere that scope runs from RC Sproul to Benny Hinn.

  346. Bob,
    I will ask you the same thing. You said “many doctrines… are for social control and order.”
    Can you elaborate a known doctrine of the church currently other than decision theology?

  347. em says:

    “rote” as in mechanical… not as in memorized

    God keep all close and all our doctrines sound

  348. Bob says:

    MLD

    Good morning!

    I’m sitting on an airplane and wrote on my mobile device a response about social order and the airplane wifi ate it.

    Without debating doctrines let’s choose something simple.

    Jesus said pray in this manner…

    I was at a church in Mexico and was asked to pray. As I began the whole congregation of about 75 people loudly began to pray out loud and it was total chaos. I don’t know if they heard me or agreed with me? Now picture a church saying we are going to recite the Lord’s Prayer and instead of a single group voice they all just start yelling it the way they want to. Total chaos!

    God is a God who takes disorder and brings order, taking chaos and bringing Shalom.

    Now you take any church doctrine and how you believe it should be practiced and order for the individual and the community will rise to the surface.

    Sadly evil men exist and take advantage of the heart, designs of God and the individual and bring tyranny instead of order. These men exist in for the smallest to the largest groups.

    MLD just so you know I find even the simplest liturgy, three songs and a 30 min talk, can be as meaningless as the best of high church. I also find, as in Michael’s cat illustrations, they can be very powerful. In the end it’s about the heart not the practice.

    Think about it, which doctrines when practiced aren’t about bring order.

  349. Bob says:

    Exist in even the smallest groups.

  350. Linda Pappas says:

    “Yea…just like the “choice” Paul made when he was knocked off his donkey.”

    This reference is not speaking of abiding or walking in obedience to Him.

    This reference has to do with knocking Paul off his (high) horse to get his attention.

    Even then, Paul had to make a choice, but then again, God knew something pretty drastic was needed to convince Paul and that in the doing, knowing Paul’s heart, as well as being omniscience–Paul was the person He would used to carry out His will and purpose. Once Paul accepted Jesus as the Messiah, there was no stopping him.

  351. Linda Pappas says:

    ‘But if I just pray and ask forgiveness and then do nothing about it I think that confession is just empty air, for me at least. No love there at all for God I’m just seeking fire insurance and pagan good things for my life. There is something about telling others about what I did and then manning up to it, accepting the consequences, and moving forward. It’s a love affair and partnership with the Creator and it’s what we do when we care/love others.

    Amen, and Amen

    Matthew 5:9-12

  352. Michael says:

    “But if I just pray and ask forgiveness and then do nothing about it I think that confession is just empty air, for me at least.”

    The presupposition being that one who participates in liturgical confession acts in this manner.

    That presupposition is not any more true for liturgent professors than for pietists.

  353. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    That’s what God does in conversion – he ‘convinces us’?? Wow!!
    So conversion in your world is just giving people enough information? Wow
    The Christian view is that God changes us – God gives us a new heart … and that is not after a time of negotiation.

    I would like to see the scripture verse that shows Paul weighing the evidences given him when he was knocked off his donkey?

  354. Michael says:

    The real issue behind the debate here is that we have a section of the church that believes it can fully obey the law in it’s breadth, depth, and fullness to such a degree that they sin only occasionally and are fully aware of any broach thereof so they can immediately confess and repent, and continue living in pristine fashion in front of God.

    That is not the historic position of the Protestent Christian church on either sin or sanctification and when a full understanding of the law is present it is simply not possible.

    The ones who are truly progressing in holiness are those who understand that the farther they go, the farther they have to go…

  355. em says:

    MLD, Paul weighed the evidence, but he did so real quick 🙂

    amen to #355, BTW and FWIW

    praying this morning for us all to be knocked off of our donkeys and for all our doctrines to be real to us…

  356. Bob says:

    MIchael:

    “That presupposition is not any more true for liturgent professors than for pietists.”

    “The real issue behind the debate here is that we have a section of the church that believes it can fully obey the law in it’s breadth, depth, and fullness to such a degree that they sin only occasionally and are fully aware of any broach thereof so they can immediately confess and repent, and continue living in pristine fashion in front of God.”

    You make these two comments as a response and yet you are wrong about the audience you are responding to.

    The first is fully correct and I have not read Linda or myself saying anything different. So maybe an AMEN rather than an negative implication.

    In the second you assume way too much and make way too broad brushed statement. Again you imply the authors like Linda or myself are making such claims and if that is so please don’t.

    Jesus said I came to bring life and more abundantly. The cross is the beginning, the confession is the response to revelation and the rest of the day is left up to what we do with what God gives us. Could it be we either walk in it or crawl under rock and out of the light.

  357. All the right thinking and dogmatic convincing mean squat if (flawless doctrine + belief) are the standard.

    Give me a generous, kind, patient atheist who sees the best in their fellow human over an Ayn Rand influenced curmudgeonly christian any day.

  358. Bob says:

    Michael:

    You and MLD keep returning to conversion and justification in one form or another so in an attempt to move on I would like to ask you a question.

    You have written extensively about the young man you have adopted. Sparing all the details there is a model there for us to understand our relationship with the Creator. Thinking purely of yourself now and not the benefits to for the young man, considering there was or is no requirement for you to reach out and go beyond a normal street relationship with him, so why have you done it?

    What in your inner man led you to accept the risks of such a relationship?

    Consider the question the start of a parable, “What can it be compared to…”

    Thanks, I’ll read on with no comments or questions.

  359. Michael says:

    Bob,

    Linda has stated that there are days when she does not sin and that Jesus death on the cross only covers those sins before conversion…those committed afterwards must be confessed and fully repented of for the atonement to be applied.

    In the historic understanding of the law, such would be impossible as the depth of our sin natures is such that we need divine revelation of the Spirit to even fathom it.

    The difference between myself and MLD and you is evident in your statement that the cross is the “beginning”.
    For us it is the beginning, middle, and end of all things.
    We are monergists who see all of the redemptive life from salvation to glorification as being wholly the work of God.

    I do not doubt the position of either of you in the kingdom or love of God, but I utterly reject your understandings of grace and the Gospel.

  360. Michael says:

    Bob,

    I have no clue what you are asking me in #358…and how in any way it could apply to this discussion.

  361. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bob,
    As Michael says, “For us it is the beginning, middle, and end of all things.” There is no aspect of the Christian life that is not under the cross.

    Luther spoke of the Theology of Glory vs The Theology of the Cross
    Those of you who subscribe to the Theology of Glory, think that you can measure how God feels about you by results you see in your life (God has really blessed our church this past year – he has doubled our attendance) and then tie the good results to you actions.

    Those of us who subscribe to the Theology of the Cross say that the only way to know what God thinks about us is to look at Jesus on the Cross

    There is no joining the two.

  362. em says:

    “there are days when she does not sin and that Jesus death on the cross only covers those sins before conversion…those committed afterwards must be confessed and fully repented of for the atonement to be applied.”

    the atonement price was paid, it is finished – done! – the reconciliation is offered to all a free gift – the purpose of ongoing confession of sins – specific sins, is for the health of the new life of one who accepts God’s gift, it enables one to be more honest before God, to not grieve the Holy Spirit, to walk and to grow in Christ

    coming to terms with the fact of it in the here and now is the starting point for the Christian it is the most important single event in man’s history until Christ returns – we should keep the event in remembrance with reverence and in humble gratitude

    but like the angel said, don’t just stand there gazing… so i guess i don’t quite agree with MLD and Michael if i understand them correctly

    it seems to me that both sides of the coin is this are missing the point of the crucifixion – it was ugly, the victory over it is unfathomable – a stunning view of the heart and power of a holy God, the result is the unspeakable gift of eternal life – if you’ve received that gift, confess as needed and move on in The Life… which i think all here are doing, BTW – dunno

  363. Michael says:

    I’m sick as a dog and busy as a bee today but let me try to clarify without further references to the animal kingdom.

    The Bible tells us that we are children of Abraham who believed God and it was “credited” to him as righteousness.

    Jesus death on the cross was the culmination of His earthly work on our behalf.

    He “fulfilled” the law on our behalf…he was perfect in both passive and active obedience to the law.

    When we believe in Him, that complete obedience to the law is “credited” our “reckoned” to us by grace through faith.
    He took the wrath of God upon Himself and thus our punishment was received and our sins atoned for.
    When He said “it is finished” He meant it…all that necessary for both justification and sanctification had been completed.
    We add nothing but our sin.

    Our confession and repentance is for our good and that of our neighbor…but the work has already been done.

  364. em says:

    Michael, that’s good doctrine !!! and with it there is one comment on this thread for each day of the week for a whole year…

    i so wish you were’t having such health problems and i pray God gives you healing and strength,too

  365. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em, “but like the angel said, don’t just stand there gazing… so i guess i don’t quite agree with MLD and Michael if i understand them correctly”

    I don’t know why you would think we do nothing but ‘gaze’?

    I think this is the issue when people make justification and sanctification 2 different things. Lutherans barely have a doctrine of sanctification. We see sanctification as just an outgrowth og our justification.

    God justifies us, he sanctifies us and he glorifies us. I also go out on a limb and declare that God repents us by himself.

    When justification and sanctification are separate then it seems to become – “Lord, thanks for saving me, but now stand back and watch what I can do … and folks set out to do it.

    This is also the reason we are more comfortable talking of working in our vocation that to discuss good works. My vocation? God has placed me here in several vocation – father – son – husband – citizen – employer – employee etc and it’s not that I do “good works” but I serve my neighbor through those vocations God has placed me in.

  366. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The question on the other side and has been asked and left unanswered several times – if you cannot love God and neighbor as we are instructed (with all of our heart, soul and mind) at any time – why wouldn’t you confess that as sin daily/?

    disclaimer – I claim we cannot and no one here has.

  367. em says:

    i accept the teaching that sanctification comes in 3 phases – or steps:

    1-positional – in Christ at salvation (it isn’t, itself, salvation – but the theologians can play with that, i guess)
    2-experiential – the opportunity to advance in spiritual maturity in time, i.e., develop the mind of Christ – not equally gained by all of us, and most definitely not artificial, robotic or vanilla
    3-ultimate – at the Resurrection when we receive a new body… like Christ’s

  368. Linda Pappas says:

    #369

    Like

  369. Bob says:

    Michael:

    I accept you don’t understand my view and yet it may not be as far as you think from yours. I also understand MLD doesn’t either and it will never be clear in light of what you two have said. But please be careful about your “reject statement” because you don’t understand it.

    Oh and I have no problem with disagreement, it’s just when MLD or any others (me included) started acting like an ass and putting their doctrine higher than others.

    Now to this question:

    “I have no clue what you are asking me in #358…and how in any way it could apply to this discussion.”

    I was trying to redirect the thread back to a subject of loving others and your example in the young man Trey.

    In the Bible one of the terms used for believers is “adopted sons.” Knowing a bit of Roman history as you do you may recall it was an applicable term in the day for men who were adopted by another to inherit the family position and wealth. Remember the novel “Ben Hur?” While it is fiction it demonstrates the common practice of adoption in the day.

    You write about Trey, so please write about your motivations for making him your “adopted son.” It might be better than “cat” illustrations.

  370. Bob says:

    em

    That is well explained.

    Thank you!

  371. Michael says:

    Bob,

    I have learned not to write much about T, because people are vicious.
    Frankly, I don’t think it has a thing to do with the topic at hand either.

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