XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church

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177 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    When I consider the authority this article speaks of it scares me. It sounds very restrictive. I suppose that puts me on trial more than the church the article refers to. By afterglow are you referring to charismatic experience oriented services?
    I don’t get how a worship service could be considered repugnant. maybe that’s because the worship at my church is more God centered and less man centered. At least I hope it is. I’ve been going there for many many years and maybe I’m institutionalized. Hope not.
    On the other hand maybe it’s over my head.

  2. Gary says:

    Another thing it makes me think of is Isaac Watts. He may disagree with the article. I sure like his music.

  3. I’m not for traditions nor am I against them .Some I like and some I don’t.

    What always bothers me though is why someone gets all motivated to change stuff. A good example (I think) does a church need to have a cross? I don’t think so and have no problem with those who do not (CC for example – the Dove instead of a cross)

    But at Ocean Hills, Skip removed all of the crosses on the property (27 of them) – what was he trying to say? Well I know – he thought the cross was offensive to “seekers” so he catered to them.

    The fact that CCAlb had no crosses – not a problem. To remove crosses (changing traditions) in OH – totally wrong.

  4. Steve Wright says:

    A brother just built a beautiful new pulpit for us, and instead of a dove there is now a cross on the front.

    Hope you don’t object, MLD. 🙂

  5. at the risk of offending, how ’bout the tradition of a ‘pulpit’ in the first place? the meeting we attend has a simple small table 3-4 ft tall. big enought to rest a bible on but not large or ornate enough to ‘separate’ the speaker from the rest of the Body of Christ.
    or what about the ‘tradition’ of a senior pastor (moses model)?…
    i could go on, but i’ll spare you.

  6. Babylon's Dread says:

    I love traditions they gave birth to the present freedom we enjoy in churches.

  7. Gary says:

    How many of our traditions actually draw closer to God? I like simplicity but the older a church gets the more traditions they have to have.

  8. Josh Hamrick says:

    The word “tradition” use to cause me to dry heave. I appreciate tradition more now. I still think it is useful for each generation to retrace the steps and discover the meaning anew. I think empty tradition can be quite destructive.

    I have no clue what this article is talking about.

  9. Xenia says:

    I don’t understand the article either. The 2nd half seems to contradict the first half.

  10. 2nd Fiddle says:

    Troubling. Traditions are fine. They’re preferences. Leave them at that. Don’t get caught teaching and holding folks accountable to traditions of men as though they are doctrines of God.

  11. Believe says:

    Further proof of Selective Fundamentalism and the paradox of the bible and in this case “Authority”

    As I’ve stated from day one on here: Absolute/Objective vs. Relative/Subjective Truth and Authority…every Belief System boils down to this principle above.

    I agree with X, there is a contradiction in the article

  12. Believe says:

    Unfortunately, my Premise has only been more proven and solidified over the years here and elsewhere (or fortunately, if you are in the Camp that says, “I don’t know for sure, I hope God is merciful and loving and unilaterally forgives if it’s all real at some level”)

  13. Believe says:

    “Don’t get caught teaching and holding folks accountable to traditions of men as though they are doctrines of God.”

    You mean like the CC Distinktives? LOL

  14. Babylon's Dread says:

    The article is not contradictory it is nuanced and hence genius. Since I am not a black and white person it suits me well. Tradition is IMPORTANT but not FINAL that is very helpful and liberating.

    And to clarify what I said above it is the deadening and stultifying realities of tradition that have given birth to the liberties we now enjoy as the church.

  15. Believe says:

    “Since I am not a black and white person”

    Do you believe a Mormon who embraces the Mormon Tradition can be saved?

  16. Believe says:

    50 Shades of Black and White LOL

  17. Babylon's Dread says:

    Believe … YES but Mormonism is heresy damnable heresy … it is a lie

  18. Gary says:

    I appreciate being able to learn from others’ mistakes.

  19. Believe,
    “my Premise has only been more proven ”

    You show very poor thinking skills. Something is either “proven” or it is not.

    How do you “more prove” the proven?

    I know – you will spin some large explanation … and I guess that will “more prove” my opinion.

  20. Michael says:

    A little history here…
    One must remember that at the time of the writing of these articles all churches were state churches.
    All those states had gone through different struggles and debates to become Reformed.
    Reformed practice and tradition would have differences and nuances according to region.
    The Genevan liturgy was different from Bern, which was different from Zurich, etc.
    The 39 Articles had a distinctly Genevan flavor as many of those involved in writing them were associated with people who had been refugees in Geneva.
    The article here is simply stating that differences in liturgy are acceptable according to regional traditions, but private differences are not allowed…the state still has the final say in crafting the liturgies and traditions of the church,

  21. Steve Wright says:

    Further proof of Selective Fundamentalism and the paradox of the bible and in this case “Authority” As I’ve stated from day one on here……
    I truly don’t remember this from you from “day one” Three years ago or so you were quoting Bible verses with authority. You were asking questions about other passages as legitimate questions, and discussing Genesis and some of the other stuff with us all.

    You certainly weren’t saying stuff like “God (if He is real)…”

    rather your postings in this manner began in earnest when you got sued, and kicked up greatly when you lost your attempt to get the case tossed.

    And THAT is why the people who care about you around here worry about you. Faith matters most in times of trial and difficulty Nobody wants to see anyone go down the road of apostasy…

    Then you have an occasional self-professed life changing breakthrough, like last week, that disappears after a couple days and the hardening returns even more.

    Praying for you believe.

  22. Believe says:

    Steve, the underlying philosophical premise I’ve stated from day one is what I stated above.

    Now you can insert what you consider as “the” Authority into that equation (like Sola Scriptura from a particular interpretive model) and get the answers I postulated here many times when I was trying to remain a Fundamentalist in some form.

  23. Believe says:

    If you insert as Authoritative: Reason and Common Sense that views the bible as not necessarily “infallible, inerrant, perfect” etc yet still containing some truth and view Science and fact as co-Authoritative, then you arrive at some different conclusions.

  24. Steve Wright says:

    I think if we asked the community that has been with you since your first posts years ago, they too would attest to a change since your court activity

    But I won’t argue the point further….

  25. Believe says:

    Steve, I’m not arguing against that, there has been a change and I’ve been extremely upfront about it: I now reject Fundamentalism for good.

    I think I’ve stated that often on here recently. I couldn’t have been more upfront about it.

  26. Believe says:

    I’ve attempted to cling to Fundamentalism for years. It’s the Tradition I was raised in. The CC and BG thing was a real catalyst to show me once and for all what isn’t true and that Fundamentalism is largely a lie, though many are well-meaning.

  27. … and he has “more proven” his point! 🙂

  28. Michael says:

    I am a fundamentalist.
    Calvin was a fundamentalist…who adjured his people not to be afraid of the scientists as they teach us more about God with their discoveries.
    The foremost proponents of inerrancy have been B.B. Warfield and J.I. Packer…who both allow for the possibility of theistic evolution of some kind.
    The strawmen are easy to attack as long as you don’t actually engage with what real scholars write.

  29. Believe is a fundamentalist of a different kind. He may have changed his beliefs – but regardless of what the new beliefs may be, Believe is a staunch Fundamentalist of his position.

  30. Believe says:

    Here’s what I learned for good:

    The bible’s “truth” is really a function of what you or a particular Group or Guru or Tradition interprets the bible to say.

    There is no Group that doesn’t explain away glaring contradictions and errors in an intellectually dishonest manner (other than Universalists and Liberals) to protect some looney “Bible is Perfect and God” thing.

    Fundamentalists are very selective in what they pick and choose to be Fundamentalist about. Fundamentalists are really Liberals who decide to be strict Fundamentalists with regards to things they pick as taboo and sins they don’t like (homosexuality, women in leadership). The sins they like?…they become very Liberal (divorce, women not covering their heads, porn as adultery/fornication and disqualifying, pastoral qualifications, gluttony, against slavery, church discipline for leadership, not serving God and Mammon etc).

    The Good Samaritan is often an Atheist, very Liberal Christian, Homosexual, a Woman, etc.

    The most evil lying un-Jesus-like folks in this existence are often Christian Fundamentalists.

    The Rules apply only to the “Sheep” and not so much to the “Shepherds”

    When a Church and Leader wants justice and blood, they get it and cite all manner of bible verse to support their “Proper church discipline” and “God is a God of justice!” etc.

    When a Church and Leader is held to the same Standard for their sin and wrongdoing, it’s a much different Narrative: “Unilateral forgiveness!” “Leave it to the Lord!” “Don’t Judge!” “Forgive!” “Just Love!” etc.

    And, I learned that the real belief expressed by most in Fundamentalism is: Take care of you and yours first and foremost. If it’s not your problem, it’s not a problem (which is similar to all the other Groups on the planet and just human nature).

  31. Believe says:

    …oh, and God doesn’t seem to do supernatural miracles any longer and no amount of extreme acts of Faith will conjure that up, I tried.

    It’s likely the Cessationists are correct about today, or the miracles of the OT and NT were metaphor or gnostic/spiritual miracles.

  32. Gary says:

    I’m new here and it didn’t take me long to sort out who was the instigator. Sometimes you need a simp to say the emperor has no faith. I ‘believe’ folks know who I’m talking about. He’s the one who will correct my grammar and speling. Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t have made it so easy.

  33. Believe says:

    But, enough about me. Back to the Fundy Freak Show. I love it. I’ll just watch for awhile while some of you do your thing.

  34. Gary says:

    The baby, the bathwater, the tub, the whole room. lol

  35. Josh Hamrick says:

    Fundamentalists are meanies!!!

  36. Steve Wright says:

    Here’s what I learned for good:
    Learned? That list of cynical, hardened commentary supports my observation.

    Hoping you have another breakthrough and see this soon, and don’t let that lawsuit take from you what is really important…..

  37. Josh Hamrick says:

    I hate Fundy Freak Shows!!!

  38. Michael says:


    You are judging God and His word by the people who claim to believe it, not on it’s own merit.
    You have unintentionally made an excellent case for the doctrine of total depravity, which I affirm.
    As for miracles, I prayed that both my son and I would wake up healed…it didn’t happen.
    God’s will today is for us to walk in brokenness… which is as biblical as a miracle would have been.

  39. Josh Hamrick says:

    He wants to be banned. It will more prove his point. (whatever that might be.)

    He’s certainly not here because he values your friendship.

  40. Believe says:

    I could be wrong. Those are my theories above.

    What I think is true is that God is real and that the Jesus of the Gospels is real (and is more akin to G’s and Bono’s version of Gahndi Jesus). I believe that on faith and something innate, I certainly can’t prove it.

    Michael, I agree with Partial Depravity, as I see good and bad in every person in every Group: Atheists, Mormons, CC’ites, RCC, EO, Universalist, Calvinist, etc.

    Folks are a mix of good and bad, the Cherokee parable of the 2 Wolves.

    Atheists are just as capable of morality and the fruits of the spirit (and example them) and of being the Good Samaritan as any “bible believing Christian!” its’ just a fact from first-person experience.

  41. Believe says:

    Josh, I don’t want to be banned or not want to be banned. I want to be me and if that doesn’t line up with your agenda, then I’m sure I’ll get banned eventually.

  42. Michael says:


    I understand that.
    He wants to prove that were all hypocrites and we will sacrifice difficult people on the altar of comfort.
    I also understand that nothing I do will change that.
    I am a hypocrite and I do grow irritated and exhausted with this stuff.
    I also know that if and when God chooses to turn it around that perhaps the patience we’ve shown will be a light to better things.
    Maybe not.

  43. Josh Hamrick says:

    I have no power to ban anyone, and have never requested that anyone be banned. Your agenda has been to ignore the requests of our gracious host over and over. Seems you want to be a martyr.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    As to the Bible being Truth. (Not containing truth, becoming truth, but that it IS truth)

    Christians with different beliefs on some interpretation of some verses obviously can’t both be right. But we can affirm that the Bible is right, and true, despite our failing to understand it on occasion.

    It is we who would be wrong, not God’s word. So I’m going to preach what I believe is a proper understanding of the whole of Scripture, and others will do likewise and God will sort it all out (and as teachers we are judged more severely) as long as we stay united on the foundations of the faith though, we remain brothers.

    All those scholars who signed the Chicago statement on inerrancy certainly did not believe all the same things about every verse of Scripture.

    (Michael, maybe you could do an article next week laying out the Chicago statement for discussion….)

  45. Believe says:

    Steve, do you believe the Logos of God is the bible or Jesus Christ?

  46. Xenia says:

    Tradition is is a topic I have strong feelings about as I had fifty years of “before” Tradition and eleven years of “with” Tradition and I know the enormous beneficial changes that have taken place in my own life when I embraced the Tradition of the Church, which is nothing more than our life in Christ.

    Benefits include:

    1. The Holy Eucharist, the medicine of immortality, and the other sacraments.
    2. Beautiful, God-pleasing liturgy that worships the Trinity in spirit and in truth.
    3. A Church calendar that incorporates the life of Christ into my daily life
    4. Joy of reading the Scriptures w/o the burden of having to interpret it for myself
    5. Continuity with 2000 years of like-minded believers
    6. The Communion of the Saints
    7. A consistency makes me feel at home no matter what Orthodox Church I visit. I could step into a parish Church in Vladivostok, Sophia, Athens or Cleveland and know exactly where we are in the Liturgy and in many locales, I could sing along.
    8. My wonderful prayerbook, which rescued me from many decades of prayerlessness.
    9. Timlelessness,
    10. The examples of the lives of the Saints and the wisdom of the theology of the Fathers
    11. Secure theology, never changing, adherence to the Seven Councils
    12. No need to keep searching for the truth or the proper set of doctrines. No need to lie awake at night worrying if Calvinism or Arminianism is correct, or if there’s a Rapture, etc. I just ask: What has the Church always taught? And that is my answer. I am freed up from this futile pursuit, freed to just live my life in Christ in a simple way.

  47. Michael says:


    That was very well said.
    The Bible is not the problem…we are.

  48. Josh Hamrick says:

    I think Fundamentalists have been very kind and patient with Believe.

    I think Believe has not been very nice to anyone else.

  49. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I agree with Partial Depravity, as I see good and bad in every person in every Group:
    If I may give support to what Michael repeats often.

    Believe, Michael used a theological term “Total Depravity” – that term has meaning in theological circles, and typically one must read a theologian or two to understand what is meant by the term.

    Your comment above shows you do not either know this term, or you could care less about it as you choose to invent your own terms for discussion while eventually calling everyone else ignorant and illogical.

    So how can there possibly be fruitful discussion and progress in learning – for any of us?

  50. Xenia says:

    We ought to try to get back on topic, I think. Reuben goes to all the trouble of posting these Articles every week and we should honor that by sticking to the topic, in my opinion.

  51. Believe says:

    “He wants to prove that were all hypocrites and we will sacrifice difficult people on the altar of comfort.”

    Partially true, one of many layers/levels. I think that it is an opportunity to demonstrate a belief in the love and grace of Jesus vs. stating it in words, as doctrine tends to not be the true belief, but rather the actions, IMO.

  52. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m a hypocrite. No argument there.

  53. Believe says:

    Agreed with X. Let’s talk Tradition.

    IMO, every Group has it, though the anti-RCC/EO/Anglican types will claim otherwise.

  54. Believe says:

    The ODM’s even have Tradition…only there’s is built on a much more recent history.

  55. Michael says:

    “I think that it is an opportunity to demonstrate a belief in the love and grace of Jesus vs. stating it in words, as doctrine tends to not be the true belief, but rather the actions, IMO.”

    The problem is that by extending that love and grace to you on a continual basis, I deny it in some fashion to the rest of the group.

  56. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, I’m with Michael on this one. It seems like the Article per se is for a unique time and place in Church History (Post 21)

    I tend to go then with MLD’s take if looking for a modern application. Way back up there in post 3

  57. Josh Hamrick says:

    “the state still has the final say in crafting the liturgies and traditions of the church,”

    I admitted to not understanding this article, and this is what Michael provided as a summary.

    I completely disagree then.

    Question – do you have to affirm each of these articles to be an Anglican?

  58. Xenia says:

    Believe, I agree that all groups have some kind of tradition, even if it’s their tradition to claim they don’t have a tradition.

    In CC, the tradition includes biblical inerrancy,, vs by vs teaching, non-sacramentalism, casual dress, contemporary worship, strong male leadership, the Moses model, pre-trib/ pre-mil rapture, etc. <—- These are some of the traditions of Calvary Chapel.

  59. DH says:

    Believe, what do you believe?
    You are making yourself to be the critic and mocker of everything I believe. Some things (most) things I can’t answer, never will have the answer. But you have become less than friendly and you are doing your best to slam most here that actually care about you and have been more than willing to hear you out along the way. But you are so stuck on your own demands that God cater to you that you can’t see how far you are moving away from Him. It is almost like you are challenging Him to prove Himself to you. It will never happen on your terms. Praying for you.

  60. Xenia says:

    Ok, then lets not talk about church tradition. Let’s continue the PhxP tradition of arguing w/ Believe.

  61. Michael says:

    Back to the article.
    We see that arguments about traditions “distinctives” if you will…extend far back into the churches history.
    Xenia has put together a list of why she is thriving in a static tradition, where all is set and has been for centuries.
    Protestants tend toward innovation while trying to hold to that which is good…and you lose some of the benefits of static tradition.

  62. Believe says:

    Reuben wrote, “Another thing this article makes me think of is traditions in the modern church that at the time of this article would probably be considered “repugnant”. Maybe those things would be “afterglow” or “worship service”?”

    Agreed. Those are examples of Traditions, as well as the Distinctives (in a CC context).

    I think all Groups have Traditions, if by another name.

  63. Believe says:

    DH, sorry, another time. X is right.

  64. Josh Hamrick says:

    Does anyone know if you have to affirm each article before becoming an Anglican?

  65. Xenia says:

    I’ll accept the word “static” if by the term you do not mean “dead,” which I don’t think you mean. I’ve experienced the most lively, vibrant worship experiences of my life at the Orthodox church.

  66. Fundy Drive-By says:

    Believe is a spoiled brat who was told no for the first time and has now run upstairs screaming, “I hate you, I hate you!’ and slammed his bedroom door. Nothing any of you say will change that. Banned or not. Just know that the things he says here will have an effect on those who lurk and read and are searching for answers.

  67. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, Is tradition the same thing as just a certain style or characteristic or even a belief.

    For example, you used CC and “casual dress” as a tradition. Chuck always preaches in a suit, and requires all the ushers and others on Sunday to be in suits as well. So I don’t see how tradition is relevant to that. Rather maybe the idea is that people feel accepted and comfortable coming in casual dress – but that does not equate to a tradition in my opinion.

    On Sundays I am typically the most dressed-up person at the church – even without a tie.

  68. Michael says:

    The Anglican communion is splitting over this article in some ways today.
    The head of the communion is a heretic, so we are seeing new communions forming to hold to the traditions of old.
    CC is going through something similar…with the impending passing of the founder, which traditions will stay set in stone?

  69. Believe says:

    I think Tradition has its place.

    I think it is much more enforceable in a Theocracy.

    Russia is getting closer and closer to that as they enact laws with the support and partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church:

  70. Michael says:


    One of the most repugnant expressions of this generation is to label someone else’s traditions as “dead orthodoxy”.
    It makes me angry, so I will never use it in that context.

  71. Josh Hamrick says:

    Well, can someone explain to me why anyone in 2013 would affirm this article?

  72. Believe says:

    “One of the most repugnant expressions of this generation is to label someone else’s traditions as “dead orthodoxy”.”

    Yes, I was told that many times growing up. My best friend was a Lutheran and went to a “dead” church…yet Jesus was so alive in our family and church…ya, right.

  73. Michael says:


    The new Anglican communions would affirm it, just as someone in your church would affirm your “statement of faith” before choosing to become a member.
    In a modern context it would affirm that there can be different liturgies or musical styles from region to region and still be in that communion.

  74. Believe says:

    From Reuben’s article: “Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church..”

    There’s your clue. It’s in the context of a Church/Govt construct, a semi-Theocracy.

    Impossible in the US. Churches don’t want any authority otherwise they have civil liability. Those that do claim “Authority” only have it as far as the civil and criminal justice system in the US allows, which is pretty much at the end of their property line (assuming they don’t violate civil rights, break the law etc).

    The churches in America have an Authority only in-so-far-as-much as they can kick folks out of their church or fire or discipline their clergy.

  75. Steve Wright says:

    I think tradition is a little tricky in this way. We always want to leave room for the Holy Spirit to change things.

    However, that does not make church a free-for-all that we blame on the Spirit either.

    For example, preaching. I think the Spirit guides the pastor’s preparation, study, and message formation BEFORE he delivers the message to the people. At the same time, if I feel a strong burden to share a comment or two that was not in the prepared notes, I certainly do so. But mostly, I stick to the “script” so to speak.

    The Spirit certainly can be relied upon to form and establish the various traditions in our churches over the years as well….my belief though is that we leave a little Spiritual “wiggle-room” for Him as well.. 🙂

  76. Believe says:

    Before Constantine, the “church” did not have this sort of Government-type Tradition Authority construct. The early early church was a-government. It was outside the Government and World System.

    Constantine institutionalized the Church and merged it with Government and the World System of doing things.

  77. Nonnie says:

    I sometimes attend an Anglican Holy communion service during weekdays because the CC I attend only gives holy communion one time each month and it is on the Sunday when my husband and I have a ministry with learning disabled folks so we do not attend that Sunday. I asked the Vicar of the Anglican church if it was ok for me to partake of holy communion and he said that as long as I was a believer in Christ and in good standing in my local church, he was fine with me attending the service and partaking of holy communion. Also, I should mention that this church has been praying for my grandson who has a serious heart defect every day at the noon weekday service. That has absolutely amazed me! They mention him by name every day, Monday through Friday, praying for him, among others. I get tears just thinking about it. It is a wonderful service with readings from the OT, the NT, the Psalms, and the Gospels. Jesus is exalted, sins are declared forgiven and the bread and wine are distributed. It is a beautiful service.

  78. Believe says:

    Ever since Constantine, the vast majority of “Church” in a Christian context has wanted to be hand-in-hand with the Government and governing authority of their particular kingdom or nation or at least a major influence on it (Amish excluded LOL).

    Seems the opposite of what Jesus and Paul taught in the NT, but we certainly established some Traditions…

  79. Michael says:

    Nonnie just brought me to tears …again.

  80. Michael says:


    That is a very “Protestant” way of thinking…and I agree.

  81. Xenia says:

    Constantine institutionalized the Church and merged it with Government and the World System of doing things.<<<

    This is not exactly true. He made Christianity legal, ending the terrible Diocletian persecution. He did call the Council of Nicea to solve the Arian/ orthodox controversy but he himself had no real opinion as to which side was correct. In fact, he seems to have favored the Arians at times. Before Constantine, there was already a church hierarchy with ordained bishops, priests and deacons. The letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (a disciple of the Apostle John) make this very clear. When the Christians weren't running for their lives they were free to build churches. However, Believe, you would be correct if you were to say the after Constantine there arose the problem of nominalism, which is with us today. Some later emperors seriously meddled with the Church, no doubt about that.

  82. Believe says:

    If we were meant to take over Government and enforce “non-heresy” and Tradition like Calvin and the other Reformers did (which led to murdering a man for ‘heresy’ under the “authority” of the church-government) then why didn’t Jesus, God incarnate, set that example while He was here on the planet? Seems Jesus did the opposite, no?

  83. Believe says:

    X, I think that’s a fair assessment above and similar to what I’ve studied.

    My premise is more that Constantine was the first to bring the Church into a Government Context. It became a part of Government and became an Institution at that point in history and never looked back.

  84. Josh Hamrick says:

    I would agree with Believe at #82 – It seems that Christianity is best when it works from the ground – up, not from the top – down.

  85. Xenia says:

    The Byzantine Empire was the largest, longest-lasting Christian empire the world has ever known. (I know, I know, how can an empire be “Christian.”) Here’s Byz Christian history in a nutshell:

    1. Emperor has an idea contrary to Christian teaching
    2. Patriarch (and all the monasteries) stick up for the truth
    3. Emperor exiles Patriarch and sets in place a heretic
    4. Monastics and all the people revolt
    5. Emperor relents and returns the Patriarch
    6. Monasteries and people are at peace until…
    7. The next emperor has an idea contrary to Christian teaching

    The truth always prevails in the end. But w/o the emperor, the Byz Empire would have been overrun by Moslems in the 7th century and even western Europe would have succumbed and we’d all be reading the Koran, except for the grace of God.

  86. Believe says:

    In other words, through his Government Authority position, Constantine was the first to, by edict, legitimize Christianity and embrace it as a Government sanctioned religion and then he, through his government authority, made the then “church” come to Consensus on a number of issues through councils and even the Canonization process, which formalized the “church” we all came from today. It wasn’t until Constantine as Emperor and Government that we even have the bible and orthodoxy etc.

    I find this very interesting, in light of the fact that Jesus, God incarnate, walked among the Roman Government Authority and took the opposite position, choosing to operate under the Godless Roman Authority and the Sanhedrin without mixing the Gospel with Government Authority of His time.

    Why? Dunno. But Jesus certainly seemed to take a hands-off approach to Government and seemed to teach the church was not an Institution or authority in the manner that the world perceives and exampled. Paul the Apostle then tweaks things a little closer to what Constantine finished off by teaching of offices and roles and hierarchy in the church…even though Jesus taught differently in the Gospels.

  87. Xenia says:

    Believe, your 1st paragraph in #86 is a good summary.

    I am of the opinion that God allowed the Christian Byzantine Empire to exist to protect the Christian world from the world domination intentions of Islam. It held them off for many centuries, something we should all be thankful for! (And thankful to Charles Martel in the west, too.)

  88. Believe says:

    X, that is very possible and even probable.

  89. Gary says:

    Please don’t take this personally but since you posted what you believe and why I’ll say that for most of the reasons you posted I rejected the RCC. That was when I was young. I haven’t changed my mind much on the matter.
    Way behind. Gotta ketchup.

  90. Michael says:

    Calvin and the other magisterial Reformers believed that the authorities were established by God and thus had a civil responsibility to enforce the things of God.
    It is a complex theological construction…which doesn’t lend itself well to blog posts.

  91. Believe says:

    I think that Constantine did in fact see something in the sky that was meant for him. There is a supernaturalness to that whole story and there is a lot of documentation and evidence that such an event occurred.

    I think it’s likely no accident that Constantine became the Emperor of Rome at that time and then was the impetus to propel the Christian church.

    This issue is one that appeals to my “show me” side, and something that seems too non-coincidental to be random chance.

  92. Believe says:

    I would love nothing more than to see God intervene directly again, like it appears He did with Constantine…and we have empirical evidence that strongly suggests Constantine saw a real physical manifestation of a fire from heaven in the form of a meteor, at the time he asked God to intervene.

    Constantine goes on to win his battle. He goes on to be the most transformative figure in “Christian” history besides Jesus and Paul the Apostle.

    Chance? Random occurrence? The odds are staggering…

  93. Believe says:

    Read the BBC article I linked above. It’s pretty fascinating. It is one of the very rare examples where religion and observation science converge. The skeptic will appeal to “random chance”…but wowzers, the odds are so staggering. If not for this “miracle”…the Christian Church probably doesn’t survive.

  94. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Folks are a mix of good and bad, the Cherokee parable of the 2 Wolves.

    Atheists are just as capable of morality and the fruits of the spirit (and example them) and of being the Good Samaritan as any “bible believing Christian!” its’ just a fact from first-person experience.”

    I agree with this. I see good and bad in everyone including myself. Even brethren that I know have good and bad on their best days. I had an athiest boos who was a very good guy and would give you the shirt off his back and I knew Christians that would drink a galls of water if you were on fire.

  95. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    boos=boss, galls=glass

  96. Believe says:

    To me, it doesn’t seem Deterministic. History seems to paint a portrait that God is reactive rather than proactive. Somehow, it seems, that God sets the machine in motion, but is rarely hands-on, except for certain points of extremity and/or extreme faith in specific points of history, but not as a normative function.

    The Constantine example tells me that real literal miracles that aren’t spiritual-only in nature should leave verifiable markers of their existence.

  97. mike says:

    Believe on May 23, 2013 at 10:53 am
    To me, it doesn’t seem Deterministic. History seems to paint a portrait that God is reactive rather than proactive. Somehow, it seems, that God sets the machine in motion, but is rarely hands-on, except for certain points of extremity and/or extreme faith in specific points of history, but not as a normative function.

    The Constantine example tells me that real literal miracles that aren’t spiritual-only in nature should leave verifiable markers of their existence.
    Wow, this is extremely helpful. I actually believe the same way, but wasn’t fully able to codify or express it.
    Regardless of what they say about you and how they treat you, know that you have at least one person who ‘tracks’ with your POV most of the time. “Give ’em Heaven, brother A”

  98. Gary says:

    Would it be out of line for me to post what I disagree with in Xenia’s post about the RCC? I want to state what I believe but some things are out of bounds with the RCC.

  99. Michael says:


    We allow a lot of diversity here.
    If you want to disagree respectfully, that is allowed.
    Expect though, to be challenged…that is also allowed.

  100. Josh Hamrick says:

    Hey Believe, have you ever looked into the Delia Knox healing?

  101. Gary says:

    Ok. bbl Gotta work on my wife’s car.

  102. Xenia says:

    Gary, I don’t agree with the RCC either. I didn’t think what you wrote was out of line at all- that’s what we’re here for, to discuss things.

  103. Xenia says:

    (I am not a Roman Catholic)

  104. Andrew says:

    Does Calvary Chapel believe in total depravity?

    I just listened to Chuck Smith on audio from the East Coast Calvary Chapel pastors conference. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised but I am saddened by his message that mentions little about Jesus being the bridge between God and man but a lot about the pastor being the bridge between God and man. Anyone else come away with this same feeling after listening to this? Its not that long.

  105. Michael says:

    It wasn’t a sermon, it was a greeting to a pastors conference.
    What would you expect?

  106. Andrew says:


    I understand Chuck was trying to motivate the pastors but I didn’t expect him to use language of standing in the gap and being the bridge between God and man and having a heart perfect heart towards God. I don’t know but to me this kind of language I would only use of Jesus.

  107. Michael says:

    “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.”
    (Ezekiel 22:30 ESV)

    In the NKJV it’s “stand in the gap”.

  108. Andrew says:

    So, who is worthy? Reading the entire counsel of God it appears only Jesus can bridge the gap between God and man. (Revelation 5).

  109. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Ever since Constantine, the vast majority of “Church” in a Christian context has wanted to be hand-in-hand with the Government and governing authority of their particular kingdom or nation or at least a major influence on it (Amish excluded LOL).

    Seems the opposite of what Jesus and Paul taught in the NT, but we certainly established some Traditions…”


  110. Michael says:


    To stand in the gap simply means to represent God in a place where His presence is needed. That is all Smith was exhorting those men to do.

  111. Andrew says:

    Yeah I get that Michael. But Chuck uses way more imagery than just standing in the gap. The language he uses such as having one hand on God and one hand on the people is just too strong of a metaphor and really only belongs to Jesus in my humble opinion. This is imagery of Moses which foreshadowed Christ. But I guess I should have expected this since its nothing more than the Moses Model.

  112. Believe says:

    Chuck sounds a lot like Promise Keepers which is very ecumenical, I love seeing the Native American Indian in there 🙂

  113. Michael says:


    I hear an elderly man speaking extemporaneously to bunch of pastors and quoting a very tired verse again.
    You hear some nefarious preaching of the Moses Model.
    Whatever works for you.

  114. Steve Wright says:

    Andrew, I honestly do not get it. Even if Chuck was secretly being recorded telling the pastors the special Illuminati handshake, why let it consume even a moment of your time?

    Michael is hardly going to cut Chuck any slack, and yet listen to him (for he is right). These are some off the cuff remarks before a conference. Why even listen, why imagine the sinister, why spend time writing about it? Why spend more time arguing with Michael about it?

    How about telling us about your church these days. Is there anything that is sort of traditional that relates to the topic here? ,

  115. Michael says:

    May 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I hear an elderly man speaking extemporaneously to bunch of pastors and quoting a very tired verse again.
    You hear some nefarious preaching of the Moses Model.
    Whatever works for you.
    gotta tell you brother michael, that was a pretty dismissive and rude comment you just made towards andrew, who was just trying to participate.

  116. Michael says:


    You have discerned both of our motives.
    Thank you for sharing.

  117. Andrew says:

    “Andrew, I honestly do not get it. Even if Chuck was secretly being recorded telling the pastors the special Illuminati handshake, why let it consume even a moment of your time?”

    I rarely participate much here Steve. Although I see you here all the time. For a pastor, I wonder who you are not ministering to in your church when it appears most of your time is spent blogging here and complaining anytime anyone says anything about CC in a negative light.

    How about telling us about your church these days. Is there anything that is sort of traditional that relates to the topic here?

    Steve I go to a Chinese church. Most of the attenders are first generation believers with very little Christian tradition in their heritage. I find this refreshing to not have to deal with some of the garbage that many traditions bring with them.

  118. My pastor stand in that gap. When he pronounces the forgiveness of our sin, he is stand in the stead (not instead of) of Christ and when he communes us, he is doing the same.

    I find it sad that some like having a pastor with no office or place other than to be the teacher.

    But hey, different strokes for different folks

  119. I have trouble with that word stand I guess
    He stands in that gap
    He is standing in the stead…

  120. MLD, your #30. I have thought that myself.

  121. Steve Wright says:

    I rarely participate much here Steve. Although I see you here all the time. For a pastor, I wonder who you are not ministering to in your church when it appears most of your time is spent blogging here
    Well that was a cheap shot. But it’s not the first time that sort of crack comes around.

    Haters gotta hate….

    I guess it would be safer to spend the day on the golf course or strumming a guitar somewhere than to interact with the brethren… 🙂


  122. mike says:

    It wasn’t yours or andrew’s motives I was discerning. It was your words, tone and lack of love for your brother in Christ.
    Ask the Lord who bought, paid for and loves you both whether you words were “seasoned with grace” the way they should be… Especially as one who ‘stands in the gap’ as a representative of God to men and men to God.

  123. Andrew says:

    “I guess it would be safer to spend the day on the golf course or strumming a guitar somewhere than to interact with the brethren… :)”

    Seriously Steve, I thought you senior pastored a pretty big church. I would think there would be oodles of opportunities if not demands to interact with the brethren in a more personal way (face to face). I almost sometimes get the impression that you have been specially commissioned by someone to an Internet ministry on this blog. I do find it astonishing that you would have the time to blog here and pastor a large church simultaneously. This is a serious question and is not hate. If your primary focus is Internet ministry, I have no problem with that but I do think it would behoove you to be upfront about that.

  124. Michael says:

    Seriously, Andrew, you’re talking out your backside.
    I know a little bit about Steve’s schedule…and how many people he sees.
    His plate is full often until late at night.
    You have no clue, but you take the shots anyway.
    That’s a sin.
    Look it up.

  125. Believe says:

    I looked it up, talked to God, He says “no, not a sin” 😉

  126. Believe says:

    …hold on…He’s saying something.

    He said He’s taking it up on appeal and will get back to you.

  127. Michael says:

    I’m in an historically bad mood.
    Someone hurt my cat.
    I’m sick.
    I have to leave town tomorrow.
    Tonight is not the night to push my buttons.

  128. Andrew says:

    Good night. You are right I don’t know Steve’s schedule. However, I sure as heck would love to see it though before he calls me a hater.

  129. Michael says:


    I have some sad news for you.
    It’s none of your business.
    His church and his board love him and I’ve been wondering privately when the guy takes a day off.
    Just because he’s a pastor you think that means he’s a target…and that crap ends now.

  130. Andrew says:


    Talk about taking shots. You have done nothing but take shots at me and will defend pastors over the brethren until the cows come home. But I got some great news for you Michael Jesus stands in the gap between God and man. I love my pastor and support him immensely but he will never take the place of Jesus.

  131. Steve Wright says:

    Andrew, I’ll humor you. Thursdays are actually my day off. And by day off I mean they are the one day of the week I try to not have any special pastoral appointments, and it is the most minimal day of the week for message prep.It is also the day I used to not work my outside job, but since I lost that months ago, that is not so much an issue these days.

    And by day off, I mean it is the day we schedule all the family appointments, errands shopping and household chores. and the day I am free to help my high school son who is homeschooled. (We did a lot of geometry today 🙂 ) So I’m either watching the kids while my wife runs the errands, or I am running the errands. It is often a very busy day for at least one, sometimes both of us.

    Of course, today my day off was exchanging multiple emails and phone calls on some very important church business taking place. Stuff that could not wait 24 hours. And the thing about the computer is, you can have this blog open on a window, refresh while waiting for someone to get back to you (or my son to finish an assignment etc) and make a couple comments during the day. Shazam! 🙂

    Seriously, I don’t RUN the blog, don’t moderate the blog. How much time do you really think it takes to make some posts during a day – when your day is typically spent on the computer anyways? And how much ministry needs do you think there typically are on a Thursday afternoon?

    Hopefully, you’re not rooting for someone at the church to die or be hospitalized, right?

    You see, though you likely don’t see it – not only did you judge without knowledge, but you were rather insulting as you did, implying I was ignoring some needy people at the church wanting me in order to post at this blog.

    But that’s cool. I know when I asked you why you are so interested in what Chuck says to a bunch of pastors, it probably was convicting of the hate and unforgiveness you’re keeping in you.

    I did try to engage you in the thread – about traditions. And I do know it would go much better for your soul if you would determine not to care so greatly and devote so much energy to continuing to seek out stuff from the group you despise and apparently cares little for you.

    But, as my presence here I hope will show you, that isn’t me. If my question was asked by just about anyone else, it probably would have given you pause. But the CC guy asks it, and its time to lash out and put up the defense. Believe me I get it. I’ve seen it for awhile here.

    Just engage me as Steve, a brother in the Lord, next time. And I certainly will do likewise.

  132. Michael says:


    You are on my last nerve.
    I’ve done more stories and exposed more bad guys in the ministry than you have even dared think about.
    Steve is not a bad pastor.
    He’s a damn good one.
    I will defend good guys…because it’s one hell of a tough job and often a pretty thankless one.
    The Bible says to honor those who serve well.
    Steve serves his people well.
    No one takes the place of Jesus in my life and only an idiot would even make that suggestion.
    If those truths cause you grief go complain on the other blog and I’ll send you a hanky.

  133. Michael says:

    and take Mike with you.

  134. Steve Wright says:

    Thank you Michael. God Bless you. Very sorry for your battles right now.

  135. Believe says:

    Ya, get the hell out! 🙂

    Steve gets lots of adulation. I know how it works in CC. He’s like a god and celebrity to the faithful at his franchise. Don’t buy that “it’s a thankless job” stuff. I saw it up close and personal. The guys with good size CC’s, with radio shows, with a decent sized following…get a lot of positive feedback stroking from their followers…and they get admired by others in the community because they influence voters of local elections and they often are looked to as being influential.

    Is Steve a good pastor as compared to the total jerks in CC? Ya, I think so.

  136. Believe says:

    “No one takes the place of Jesus in my life ”

    Calvin and Packer hold a huge amount of sway and their interpretation of the bible and of Jesus is pretty much your belief in Jesus.

  137. Michael says:


    I knew Jesus a long time before I knew Packer.
    Don’t start on me tonight…I don’t need anymore issues right now.

  138. Believe says:

    OK. Sorry to hear you are going through it again.

  139. Andrew says:

    “No one takes the place of Jesus in my life and only an idiot would even make that suggestion.”

    When I listened to Chuck, you immediately went to defend his words and attack me. Only thing I could possible think is you are on board with what Chuck said. And when I listen to what Chuck said I am told to ignore it by Steve. How can I ignore it? It is scary to me especially since this appears to be a movement now on the east coast moving back to the west coast. The last thing I want is the east coast to resemble California with all the spiritual mess that is going on there now.

  140. Believe says:

    Steve said, “Seriously, I don’t RUN the blog, don’t moderate the blog. How much time do you really think it takes to make some posts during a day – when your day is typically spent on the computer anyways? ”

    I agree with that. I’m able to multi-task. Making comments in between emails, phone calls, helping customers, checking on online auctions etc doesn’t take away from those duties, though it makes me a bit unapproachable for chit-chat when I’m commenting and not available for in-store b.s.’ing.

  141. Michael says:


    Nobody…and I mean nobody…has criticized Chuck Smith as long and loudly as I have.
    I have little respect on any level for him.
    Having said that, criticisms need to be of substance if they are to be heard and respected.
    Simply nit picking the statement of the man (especially when there wasn’t anything of substance to pick at) destroys the credibility of the critic and the venue the criticism is made on.
    I am not a good person, but I strive to be a fair one.

  142. Andrew says:

    Ah, I think Believe has topped you with your claim. I ask you to retract. Not really sure about your beef with Chuck but mine has always been about the Moses Model which was very much modeled in his address at the conference. Just saying….

  143. Michael says:


    I’ve been doing this here for 10 YEARS.

    Go read the last 7 years of Christianity Today articles on CC…I consulted on all of them and was directly quoted in many.

    You, however, will have a much shorter life on the PhxP.

  144. Andrew says:

    Michael, Many of my opinions on CC came directly from Christianity Today articles on CC. I guess maybe in way I can thank you. However, I learned most about the Moses Model on Believers blog.

  145. Michael says:

    Who do you think taught the guy at CT about the Moses Model?
    Who did the L.A. Times go to when they did their article?
    Who did the AP go to?
    I am not boasting…I say all this to show how inane it is to paint me as some kind of Chuck Smith/CC apologist.

  146. Andrew says:

    I was hoping Chuck Smith would have changed his mindset a little bit. Instead he appears to be doubling down. I believe he is moving the shop to the east coast to get out of the legal trouble they are in in California. I think Chuck’s address in the conference is significant since it is not setting a new tone within the movement but rather is attempting to just get out of dodge in California but keep the status quo. You may think I am nitpicking him but I don’t look at it that way.

  147. Michael says:


    I’m too stressed to be polite.
    I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know about Smith and CCCM.
    He has no desire to change the movement in any way…in reality, he blocks any attempts at change or reform.
    He is not moving anywhere.
    He has no current legal issues.
    You are indulging in fantasy with absolutely no basis in fact.

  148. Andrew says:


    Its not about Chuck personally but about the movement headquarters. I doubt it will be costa mesa when Chuck passes.

    But here are some observations.
    Don McClure is onboard in ccphilly who started CC Bible College.
    Lance Emma is onboard in ccphilly who started Calvary distribution.

    Regarding legal issues. You say none. I would have to defer to Believer if he actually concurs.

  149. Michael says:


    I defer to your wisdom and years of research…to say nothing of having sources directly in the mothership.
    Yours must be better than mine.
    Sometimes, I just have to laugh…

  150. Andrew says:

    If we can end with a laugh that’s good. :). Pure speculation I know but when Chuck speaks about the movement moving from the East coast to the West my ears perked up. I I think you would agree that Chuck has some pretty close ties to the mothership. no?

  151. brian says:

    Actually I think Pastor Smith is just trying to end right, he wants the movement to continue, his family in control to some respect. All the end time stuff did not pan out, but did generate revenue so it was blessed by God. That is a sure measure and always has been, except in the bible and with Jesus, but we agree those folks did not get it like we do. I cant speak to his heart, even though I have had my heart discerned since day one in the corporation. If there was any type of disruption to revenue then of course they should move, that is just simple business, and before all the bible, creed nonsense, it is, has been, and always been a business. I think we get that part.

    I often think of ending well, as I see the end closer then the beginning I want to end well in the faith, of course that makes me a worshiper of Satan for some strange reason but I still do want to end well in the faith. All that aside I think Pastor Smith just wants to end well, and he loves Jesus. His theology cant grant me the same status, I hate God, God hates me and that is that. I get that, but still I think he loves Christ, but through a mirror darkly. Like the rest of us. Funny how that works.

  152. “Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.”

    as to the original article, i’d like to express some ‘gleanings’ from yesterday’s conversation on this thread and the blog as a whole:

    PhxP traditions that must not be Crossed or you will be openly rebuked that others might fear…
    – anything michael says
    – churck smith (which is ironic considering the genesis of this blog)
    – JI Packer, John Calvin, Reformed Theology, Calvinism…
    – attempts at asking michael to be civil and graceful on his own blog when conversing with those with whom he disagrees (and won’t be bullied into silence or agreement)
    -… anything ELSE michael might say or think or believe or might be happening in his life that we in the scattered blogosphere may have NO idea of (he might just used the excuse that he’s ‘too stressed to be polite’) gotta admit… that was a new one for a man who claims to be a shepherd.

    any infractions of these and the blog owner will probably ask you (not so politely) to bugger off ‘and take mike with you’

    michael, you really need to check your heart and your actions and your words and how you react/respond to others. if you can’t have a christlike demeanor or exchange with others according to the fruit of the Spirit maybe you should consider shutting it down again till you can. 10years or not, this is NOT the way to treat others even if you disagree with them. even if they are mistreating you, which neither andrew or myself did.

    you might just erase this comment. it’s your blog. but remember, your reactions show your heart. you have a heart that literally hates correction or to be told you’re wrong in any way. the root of that is pride and bitterness. take it to the Lord and stop ‘taking it out’ on others in the Body of Christ who disagree with you.

    consider the ‘Traditions’ you have created here that draw ‘open rebuke’ when crossed’ and repent.


  153. mike says:

    I love you as a brother in Christ, but I gotta be honest when I say that other than that we have little in common and we probably wouldn’t be friends. Knowing you only from your persona here on PP, I just don’t like you that much.

    You’ve become what you said this blog was created to expose and combat. Time to re-evaluate.

  154. Josh Hamrick says:

    Mike, a little judgmental, huh? Michael is a great guy. Back off.

  155. Andrew says:

    Thanks for your insight. I would agree with you.

  156. mike says:

    Sorry, different perspectives I guess. I got no beef with you. Enjoy the day

  157. Josh Hamrick says:

    I’m just saying, I like you and Andrew, but why get personal? Why not just address the things brought up in conversation. Over the years I have found Michael to be an extremely caring soul. Much more so than I am. Sometimes, too caring of others for his own good. I don’t see any reason for you to try to tear him down personally. Disagree over the issues presented, absolutely.

  158. Sarah says:

    The other day I tried to visually show my son how his actions impact others in the day. We homeschool and there are days that this boy…my middle…will just relish pushing buttons. He will be distracting, he will make completely off-topic comments. He will do everything he can to get a reaction.

    So I started picking at him…physically. I poked him and touched him and moved his arm and just picked. I kept asking, “Is it getting to you yet? Is it getting to you yet? Are you annoyed yet?” Until finally he shouted, “Enough!” He was giggling, but he got the point.

    That was the impression I had of this discussion in ways. mike you might think Michael is irritable and impatient with anyone who doesn’t agree with you, and Andrew seems to come at Steve with a distinct pre-conceived opinion.

    When you were met with answers you didn’t like you kept picking at them. Not discussing, but picking. And Believe…you know you are good at this.

    This is not discussion or dialog or working through differences. This is trying to get a reaction, and then pouting when you get the reaction.

    I’ll grant that Michael was more irritable than usual last night. His reaction came quicker than on other days. We’re all dealing with our stuff and instead of pointing out that he uses that as an excuse…how about extending some grace.

    I have been around this blog for over 7 years and have seen Michael…and others…go from very angry and volatile and challenging in discussions to being a person who seeks to understand before condemning. He has extended enormous grace and patience to many who have come in wounded and lashing. He has pastored many offline and has been a friend to a large number of people who have felt completely betrayed by the church. He has tried to bring them into community here and many have seen God work in their lives in a healing way that brings them to a place where they can return to church.

    That didn’t happen in a tit-for-tat discussion with the final shots coming at almost 4am and 6am.

    There are many of us who can defend Michael. There are many who can come against him. You can line up your supporters and we can line up those annoyed with you.

    Then what have we gained.

    When can we come to a place of seeing the other not as an enemy…even if we disagree…but as another on this journey, faced with all the pressures and fears and joys and celebrations we are.

    When can we come to discussion with a desire to learn of the other and not just find their weaknesses?

    When can we come with grace, knowing that this is such a limited medium and there are going to be misunderstandings and all kind of history that we simply cannot gather in the first few comments.

    I remember listening to Eugene Peterson in his class on the parables…he suggested that instead of jumping into discussions with people thinking we knew what God was doing in their lives and what they needed to hear…that we should listen more and hear what God was doing. Listen to where they are on their journey with Him and in life and then try to enter the conversation of their life with encouragement and with understanding.

    I don’t always do that very well. I so wish I had more time to engage here, but with 4 kiddos 12 down to 2 my time is very distracted during the day. I’ve just begun homeschool this year and have found that I just do not have time to comment and then follow up with discussion. I don’t have the time to listen in for awhile and engage before really jumping into the discussion.

    But I had to comment on your last comment against Michael. Nope…he doesn’t handle himself perfectly. He is emotional. He cares deeply for those who are his friends and for those who are struggling. He is impatient with debates that seem to go nowhere.

    I’m thankful that he is emotional and that he cares. I hope he does not become callous. I hope he always is passionate about those who struggle and are in pain….but that is a difficult burden because it means he is emotionally invested in so many. That makes a person tired and cranky sometimes.

    Have some grace. You can say you disagree with him without giving a point-by-point critique of his personality and commenting ability. I’d come out rather obnoxious if someone did that to me. I think we all would.

    Have some grace. Maybe if you extend some grace you will find that the discussion changes and you can explore differences without it becoming an argument that invokes petty shots.

  159. Gary says:

    As the new guy here I feel like I’m in a foxhole and y’all are snipers. Well, not all of course but I can easily see the self righteous nit pickers. You make me sick. You make me want to get out of here. Sarah said it so much better than I could. There are some posters who I don’t read anymore. Buncha jerks. Biting the hand that feeds ya. Dumb sheep who think yer spechul.

  160. Kevin H says:

    Hey, does somebody want to volunteer to homeschool Sarah’s kids so that she can spend more time with us? 🙂

  161. Nonnie says:

    I guess I have to say, that if you come to my house, tell me my kids are ugly and you don’t like my cooking or housekeeping, and think I’m a lousy hostess, and then proceed to sit on my sofa and prop your dirty feet on my coffee table and start spouting orders to me…….well I would wonder why you would want to spend time in my home, in my company. I just don’t understand.

    Make your own application.

  162. Sarah says:

    Gary…I think that is the hard thing, I think a lot of us just stop engaging because everything is picked at. So, instead…maybe we should just smother everyone with grace 😉 Seriously though, we have to learn to do this better…to engage without it becoming personal attacks.

    Kevin..I have a feeling some of my kids would take you up on that on certain days. Although, today we are going to play with baking soda, salt, vinegar and food color 😉

    Nonnie…fantastic example.

  163. Sarah says:

    The thing is…we just have to learn to be more aware. There are many times when Michael is very long suffering. The days when he…or anyone here for that matter…is not, we should pay attention and realize there might be “stuff” going on behind the scenes.

    We bemoan the fact often here that Christians are not good at caring for one another, and yet we throw words around here in what seems a way to just get a reaction. There is so much more room to really dialog about difficult things, things where we disagree, when there is a foundation of respect and of care. We all are believers here..I think that is safe to say…we all believe in God and although that plays out in different specifics, we believe that we are created and loved by God. We should treat each other that way.

    Okay…I’ve belabored my point long enough.

    Any more thoughts on tradition 🙂

  164. Michael says:

    Thank you to my friends.
    Thank you very much.

  165. PP Vet says:

    I have said it before but I will say it again:

    One of the charms of this place is that we say things that other Christians only think.

    When the church overall is Somalia pretending to be Disney World – it’s nice to have one place where perhaps the greatest crime is pretense.

  166. Bob says:

    OK I have observed this blog for years now and quite frankly I think there’s something just plane weird about Michael. However, in-spite of that I have noticed one very important thing about him, he listens and learns.

    When critiqued he may push back, do his two step and huff and puff but in the end there is an obvious change in his blog presence. So what do I find in this blog-man Michael? A model of a grumpy person who wants to be in the right place and actually does something about it.

    Mic, I’ll bet he heard you and that is something every person should hear and learn from.

  167. Gary says:

    I don’t believe all are believers here. This blog is a church and Michael is in charge. Those who don’t respect his authority snipe to try to establish their own authority. Sniping is a tradition with some.
    I have a lot of respect and admiration for parents who homeschool. My wife and I did it with one of our kids for a few years. It was a lot of work and we didn’t do well.

  168. filbertz says:

    pretense…is that a verb before it’s conjugated? Or one’s state before getting stressed? 😉

    the scripture that comes to mind has to do with the speck in another’s eye vs. the plank in my own. The text doesn’t argue about the presence of the other person’s speck, but about the blindness to the plank in my own. Some rightly notice a speck, or even a plank, in a brother or sister’s life and want to point it out, often from pure motives. Where that delicate operation goes haywire is that I am too blinded by my own faults to do it rightly. Perhaps that is the reason the Apostle calls for those who are ‘spiritual’ to assist the one who has been overtaken by a sin (in Galatians 6:1-2). With a big ol’ fatty blind spot of my own, I shouldn’t be calling the kettle black.

  169. Gary says:

    Many have a problem with authority. Some for good reason and some cuz they’re jerks. Anyone who expects people to respect their authority must have an authority they show respect to. If they aren’t under a human authority they should at least acknowledge that someone is in charge. Don’t take your personal problem with authority out on the one in charge here. It’s a no-brainer.

  170. Gary says:

    Pretense is what it used to be, fil. I like your word play. Are you saying I have to walk the plank to get to the speck?

  171. sarah says:

    Gary…I should have clarified that all the main contributors are believers.

    Bob…yep, I like that description.

    We all have our quirks. It is hard to have them called out…harder when it feels like there is glee in the critique.

    Pp vet…yeah, this place is unique. I wouldn’t argue for it to lose the honesty, just to couch the honesty with a little more compassion. MLD will probably tell me I’ m just being a girl 😉 And there probably is some truth to that.

  172. Gary says:

    That would make this a glee club. *sings* Hit ’em with yer best shot. 😉

  173. Gary says:

    Yes, Sarah, but I bet you enjoy being a girl. Something MLD can’t do. I’m still trying to decipher what you’re going to make with your kids with those ‘greedients.

  174. sarah says:

    Ha! I actually grew up with four older boys and never felt girlie…until having my own little girl 2 years ago. I even started wearing pink!

    We’re just playing with the baking soda, etc. put it in a pan, mix a couple drops of food coloring with vinegar and you can put some salt in the soda. Use a dropper to drop color and it makes like little volcanos with color.

  175. Reuben says:

    Thanks Sarah! That was awesome!

    I wish I could be a bit more engaged in these threads I throw up here, but answered prayer for work has turned into way too much work. By the time I get home, I am whipped.

    I would have shut this thread down yesterday for a number of reasons. Glad I didn’t.

  176. #162. Exactly.

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